I welcomed my daughter into the world in December of 1990. Motherhood was everything I thought it would be and everything I could not even have begun to imagine. She grew up smart, beautiful, full of joy and life. It was like watching my heart walk around outside my body. There were the usual ups and downs of childhood and those awesome, fun tween and teenager years. I knew she was experimenting with drinking and I didn't think much about it other than I assumed it was the same kind of experimenting that I did as a young adult.

She went to college in Colorado and made decent grades her freshman year. She called close to the end of the school year to say she thought she needed to be closer to home for school and enrolled in a community college for the next year.

She lived with me and went to Normandale College. During that time, I could tell that something was going on. Avery didn't seem like "herself", but I could never put my finger on it. She would go out a lot, but she always came home and got up in the morning to go to school. By November 2008, things were getting really bad with Avery not showing up, not doing what she said she was going to do and really lashing out at us.

Her father and I thought she had a drinking problem. We picked her up after school and had an intervention in the minivan. She could go to a 30-day treatment program or would not be able to live at home. She basically said screw you and left the van. That Thanksgiving was the hardest holiday I ever experienced. I was in contact with Avery and I wanted to be with her, but I kept calling a helpline for addiction and they advised me that if I wanted my daughter to get better, I needed her to hit her lowest low and not invite her to Thanksgiving when I had already kicked her out of the house would be sending the wrong message. It was counter-intuitive, because I wanted Avery to know how much I loved her and wanted her there, yet the most loving thing I could do was to tell her she can't be with the family while she is using.


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