The Fourth Memo I Received—From These Sweet Grandparents

April 11, 2024

In the lead up to the release of my book, Dear Family, Why Your Loved One Won’t Accept Help and How To Help Them Anyway (currently available for pre-order!), I’m sharing the five “memos” that I got from the Universe that led to the founding of Tipping Point Recovery and the work we do.

If you missed any of the previous memos, you can catch up on one, two, and three.

The fourth memo came from a young man’s grandparents.

The Fourth Memo

What the doctors, clinicians, and treatment center connecting with me for insight helped me realize was they all wanted to better understand addiction. As I quickly engaged more and more patients in the ER—speaking with them, getting coffee with them, taking them to meetings, getting them into treatment—their families started reaching out to me as well, seeking the same thing: information, education, and how to best offer help.

They wanted to know what was going on with their loved one. They wanted to understand and connect with them the way I did. They wanted to know how to really help.

I could see how crushed these families were. How mad they were at their loved one, how scared they were for them, and how confused they were by what was going on.

So I started a support and education group for families where I basically took the information I had learned from the halls of AA along with my own addiction experience and shared it with them. I gave them a peek behind the curtain of what I’d gone through, sharing what had been in my brain, heart, and body while I’d been active in my addiction and shone a light on it. I wanted them to hear that we are all this way, that it is the addiction and not who their loved one was. 

One day, these grandparents walked into the support meeting.

They were so sweet. They were there for their grandson, and they were determined to help him.

The grandfather introduced himself to the group and said, proudly showing his support, “My grandson is in treatment right now, and when he gets out next month, I’m going to buy him a car and get him set up in an apartment.”

What is your initial reaction to that plan?

In this grandfather’s mind, he was thinking that when people “graduate” from something, you can buy them a car and help them get a leg up. That when your grandson is just getting started on their own, giving them first and last month’s rent for an apartment gives them a little boost. 

He thought what he was doing was right. In fact, he was so proud. 

In my head when he said that, I thought, Okay, then. I’ve got some work to do here. No way were they buying their grandson a car. Not on my watch.

What I understood and this grandfather didn’t yet was that when someone is in active addiction, giving us cars and apartments is not what we need. Anything we have becomes a resource for continuing our addiction. Not because we are careless jerks, but because we are unwell.

Addiction has one goal: to stay alive. Addiction is the ultimate survivalist, and anything that appears as a resource will get used. 

Through regularly attending this group, the grandparents did a complete 180. 

They, along with this young man’s parents and stepparents who also attended the group, learned about the disease of addiction and what was helpful vs unhelpful support.

They learned how to support recovery without supporting the addiction. How to enable his wellness instead of his disease.

The shift made a difference. Not just for this young man but for the entire family. 

If you live close to addiction, you become unwell. These grandparents had become unwell (confused, hurt, worried and angry). They just didn’t understand how or why or what to do about it.

The fourth memo that came from them was their need for education as the family of someone with addiction. They needed strategies, tools, and resources, and to learn how to support and love their loved one in a different way.

This need is at the core of all of Tipping Point Recovery’s programs. To pull back the curtain on addiction and shed light on what’s really going on so families can start to understand why something might not be helpful and how they can do things differently.

Click here to read about the fifth memo, which was the most mind blowing of all.

Leave a Comment


  1. plantings

    Thankѕ very nice blog!

    • Kate Duffy

      Thank you, I’m glad you find these…


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts


Subscribe to our newsletter

to never miss a post.