I am married to a wonderful husband of 18 years, and we have one girl, two boys, two granddaughters and one grandson.

My son, Cooper, was always active as a child. There was never a dull moment. He would make you laugh one moment and make you pull out your hair the next. The special part is that he and I were a team – there were times that it was just me and him against the world.

He was 14 years old the first time he got high. He spent the weekend at his older cousin’s house, and they smoked pot. When he was 16, his grandmother was sick, and he was helping to take care of her. I was so busy that I did not realize that he had gotten his hands on her morphine.

His first time in jail was the weekend of his 18th birthday (he has been there at least three or four more times). The last time was when he was helping a friend move and a large amount of meth was found in a bag. The friend placed ownership of the meth onto Cooper. After serving a month in jail, Cooper was released to await his trial date. On the day of his release, he went into his first inpatient rehab.

Just before this happened, I started working at a recovery center and they had a sign out front for a PAL meeting. I went home that night and looked up the organization and knew I wanted to be involved. I attended my first meeting just a few weeks before my son was arrested.

I tried loving him to death and using tough love. I tried holding him steady and letting him fall. But nothing worked. PAL has helped me to realize that he is an adult and is responsible for his own decisions. I cannot run and protect him through everything, but I can still be there and support him as he decides to make a change.

Cooper just passed his 100 days of sobriety and is proud of the work he is doing. He works enough to pay rent and has several dollars left from each paycheck.

As a result of attending PAL, I have learned how to support my son without enabling him and love him without making my husband feel as if he is being loved any less.

– a PAL mom

*Names have been changed to protect identities