Allison Moorer on Growing Through Her Parents’ Murder/Suicide

Grow Through It: Loss & Grief

Allison Moorer, author of Blood: A Memoir, tells her story of surviving her parents’ murder/suicide, which occurred in 1986 when she was 14 years old. Her father was an abusive alcoholic, among many other wonderful things, who could not control his drinking or his behavior. Her mother was traumatized and could not remove Allison or her sister from the situation. When she finally left him, he could not handle it and ended up shooting Allison’s mother and then himself on the front lawn of the house her mother had rented to get herself and the girls away from him. After her parents’ deaths, Allison went to live with her mother’s younger sister. She began a new school and lost her grandmother all in about 10 days after losing her parents. Both families were shattered after this unfathomable circumstance. She was not put into therapy or cared for any differently than if event hadn’t happened. Allison carried on and went on to graduate from high school, earn a bachelor’s degree, enter the music industry, and make records. She became very productive and tried to figure out something to hold onto to bolster her poor self-image and identity.

She has had many ups and downs in her life and has had difficulty having relationships. She has not felt OK or safe in her life. Allison realizes now that she still has work to do to figure out some things and untangle things that never had the opportunity to be untangled. She learned that personal safety and agency is important, no matter what your age, and that we need to evolve to protecting everyone’s development. She learned that giving and receiving love is the most important skill. And she learned how important it is to be able to effectively express yourself. Allison’s advice to someone going through something similar is to get the child into treatment immediately. Do not let their openness close. Do not let them feel responsible or alone because they will have abandonment issues throughout their life. And for others, whatever gets you to recover sooner, do that.

Gregory Pardlo on Growing Through Alcoholism

Grow Through It: Substance Abuse

Gregory Pardlo, poet and author of Air Traffic: A Memoir of Ambition and Manhood in America, describes his family history of alcoholism and believing that he was above it, which wasn’t true. It wasn’t until his early 40s that he hit bottom and started going to 12-step program meetings. When he could finally say his truth out loud in front of others: “I am an alcoholic,” it was both liberating and empowering. After hearing many stories in meeting rooms over the years, he knows that his story is not unique and believes there are always grounds for forgiveness. He encourages anyone with an alcohol problem to ask for help, as people are eager to give help. In fact, their own sobriety depends on their ability to invest in others.

Stephanie Malia Krauss on Growing Through Teen Alcohol Abuse

Grow Through It: Substance Abuse, Opioid Crisis

Stephanie Malia Krauss, mom, educator, social worker has been sober for more than two decades. She describes growing up in a home with an alcoholic parent and drinking at the age of 14 to escape the reality of her home life, the community’s judgment, and to be taken care of. She had a choice forced on her at 15 by her school counselor and non-alcoholic parent (home for runaway/homeless youth in NJ or rehab in FL) that led to a stint in rehab in Florida. That decision radically changed the trajectory of her life. She grabbed everything recovery offered — tools, strategies, community — and a new plotline emerged in her life that required all that she had experienced up to that point. She learned the importance of community, self-care, and self-advocacy, and believes that sobriety is a wonderful way of life.

Richard Antoine White on Growing Through Early Childhood Poverty

Grow Through It: Financial Issues, Poverty

Richard Antoine White, principal tubist of the Santa Fe Symphony and the New Mexico Philharmonic, and author of I’m Possible: A Story of Survival, a Tuba, and the Small Miracle of a Big Dream, describes surviving early childhood poverty and homelessness. His mother was an alcoholic fighting her own demons. He attributes his imagination, inner strength and ability to be his own hero with helping him grow through it. White believes that “all we want is a chance to make the right choices to see the kind of changes for the betterment” and considers his mother a hero for giving him up so that he could have that choice, chance, and change. He credits the village that raised and elevated him for what he has been able to achieve. White believes that caring for others creates contagious change and advocates for creating a caring environment in which we elevate everyone and pay it forward. And above all else, be kind!

Leslie Jamison on Growing Through Alcoholism

Grow Through It: Substance Abuse, Opioid Crisis

Leslie Jamison, author of “The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath,” on the process of getting sober by joining a fellowship-based recovery program. She describes recovery as an ongoing process with lessons applicable to other areas of life.