Thursday, March 02, 2006

What's James to do with it?

Unless you have been in a cave hybernating this winter, you have, no doubt, heard about James Frey's book, A Million Little Pieces. With some angst, I bought his book last Fall and sat down, for a long, life-enhancing read. As the mother of an adult child who is struggling with addiction, there is so much I do not understand. How can a mother's love be so misunderstood and rejected? What, in my child's life, went so wrong, that he threw all caution (and wise advise) to the wind, and began using? What is a mother to do as she watches a beloved child risk his/her life as he/she tumbles further into addiction?

From the first page, I knew I was in for the ride of my life. With brutal honesty, James Frey allows the reader into his world...of addiction and the struggle for sobriety. It's not a feel good read, it's not a civil read, it's not even grammatically correct. Still, A Million Little Pieces offers so much more than civility and good editing. It was an uneasy journey into the thinking of a young man who was lost in his world. It was an unsettling discovery that enabled me to better understand....something I had long been desiring to grasp: the mind of an addict.

I love my son. You love your child. We want to know them. We want to be known and loved by them. However, addiction clouds their vision, their choices, their thinking--it distorts what was once clear. Many days I look at my son and wonder, "Where did my little boy go?" "Where is his joy, his enthusiasm for life, his potential?" Can you hear the scream...."Someone, bring my little one back home!"

That, is what James Frey...has to do with it! In his book, I felt his mother's loss, his parent's pain as they, too, must have been screaming, "Come home." In A Million Little Pieces, James Frey honestly describes the ugliness of broken hearts and fractured dreams; his and his family's. I needed to know more, I wanted to hear from his parents. What did they do while they were waiting for him to come home? What didn't they do--as they allowed him to unravel and hit his rock bottom? Where did they get their strength to do the courageous work of letting go?

As I finished reading A Million Little Pieces, I was haunted by these, and so many other questions. Honestly, I felt a bond with his mother and father. Their story is our story--characters with different names and circumstances, but hearts have been damaged all the same. I felt strength in this unity, and a strange peace came over me as I began to feel compelled to find a way to connect with other parents who are hurting too as they love their prodigal home.

So you see, that's....what James Frey.....has to do with it. His story, while controversial, has meaning, has purpose, has hope for all who are in the wait for their prodigal. Sadly, I do not believe that James has discovered that our God.....has a lot to do with it! It is my hope for James, that someday, someone will share the joy of their homecoming with him, and his eyes will be opened to the million little pieces of hope we have in our Father--the one who understands the pain of waiting for a world of prodigals to come to him. He understands. Take comfort in that. As James Frey says repeatedly in A Million Little Pieces, "Hold on." However, as we hold on through the wait, I would simply add two little words....."Hold God!"


Elizabeth F. said...

While I have not even crossed your path, and hope I don't ever (my kids are 5, 3, 6 mos.) I totally identify with your mothering feelings. I hope and pray the best for your son. I think Frey's book is impt. for people to read, and shame on Oprah! Hopefully, after the public humiliation he will not spiral downward into addictive behaviors again. Anyway, I thought I would check out your blog...thanks for visiting mine.


Praying for your Prodigal said...

Thank you Elizabeth for visiting Praying for a prodigal! You have made my day! What a lovely family you have--I remember--"the good ole days!" :) Actually, my children are 25, 23 and 14....and I am still reveling in the good ole days! Each day is a gift from God...the job you are doing at this very moment is priceless!

I will keep stopping by your blog...and someday--when I graduate from techno-challenged, I will link your blog on my site. :)


Sarafu said...

Great Blog!! Found it through my sister in laws...Elizabeth. I am glad that you pointed out that even though James is on the other side of his addiction that he still is missing an incredible relationship with his true father and crator. Can you imagine how much easier his battle would be if he has someone to help him through it. Thanks for sharing and I will be praying for your son as well.

March St. Ives said...

I've not heard of James Frey. However, I always appreciate good advice from someone who has lived "through it" so to speak. Thank you for the encouraging and kind remarks you left on my blog. By the way, I came across Cindy's blog quite by accident. But I'm glad that I did. Never stop talking to God. You bet he listens.

Sue said...

Thanks for visiting my site. I'm sure that struggles with addiction can be difficult on the whole family. However, I do not have personal knowledge of that.
The James Frey book has certainly raised some controversy, hasn't it?
My objection to the book was his claiming it was a true story to promote the sales.
I believe honesty is a virtue for which we should all strive. Frey's book may well have sold on it's own merits as a work of fiction, but now he will never know!

shannon from rocks in my dryer said...

Diane, thank you for leaving such a wonderful comment at my blog! It added so much to the dialogue--your sweet story blessed me. Thanks you!

amy4727 said...

This is amazing!!!! I am a sister of an addict and from a Christian family truly in pain. THank you for your thoughts and the ONE I have ever read that makes sense of this crazy situation .
Thanks you thank you!

Lisa said...

Amen to that, Amen! I agree have a very positive attitude and this world is very much in need of it!

Keep on writing!

Hattigrace said...

I wanted to ask him what drove him away? I have not read the book. Saw him on Oprhah. Found him to still be very angry and his parents seemed so disconnected to him.

What hardens the heart of the child to such destructive behavior?

I know my own daughter is a product of my failings. I thought I was doing it all right. . . that was my intention. But as I have journeyed and gone to inner healing courses (Christ-centered), I discovered my own woundedness wounded her, deeply.

She is a sweet and loving daughter but not walking with God. As she has slowly brought things up over the years, I have been quick to agree with her where I was wrong and how hurtful that was to her. No excuses, no justifying, just I was so wrong.

So, at least for now, her heart is not hardened against me anymore. I know the One who loves her more than I will bring her back to Him.

And your beloved children too.

Praying for your Prodigal said...


What a blessing you are to your daughter! When a parent models humility and repentance....we give such a gift to our children.

One of life's greatest lessons is just this: no matter how hard we try--we fail. My husband and I have jokingly told our children (from day one) that we will provide a college fund AND a therapy fund: both will be needed! :)

Thanks for stopping by--please do anytime! I look forward to sharing our parenting experiences!


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