A Mother’s Heart: (Click here for full article )Devlin tells stories of heartache, anger and hope

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PAWTUCKET – Anita Baglaneas Devlin never imagined she’d be returning to Rhode Island under such circumstances, the mother of a son addicted to opiate pills and heroin.

Equally far-fetched to the Pawtucket native was the thought of letting go of the façade of the perfect Greek family, especially one strongly rooted in religious faith. After all, her father was a Greek orthodox priest.

The Samaritans of Rhode Island is offering two pre-Mother’s Day opportunities tonight, May 10, and Thursday, May 11, to hear Devlin tell a mother’s story of heartache, anger and, eventually, hope. Her presentation will be more than a story of drug addiction and recovery. Two free public events will happen Wednesday at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 175 Oaklawn Ave. in Cranston, and St. Paul Episcopal Church, 50 Park Place, Pawtucket, both from 7 to 9 p.m. They will include a lecture, book sale and signing. 

Organizers say the events will speak to all caretakers, especially women, no matter the caregiving challenges they face.

Facing Addiction: Anita Devlin: "We Can't Keep What We Don't Give Away"

Anita Devlin recalls a moment of clarity as she and her husband Michael drove their son Mike to treatment.

She describes a quiet car ride on a bleak, rainy day. Mike was asleep in the backseat as she stared, exhausted, out the window.

During those moments, Devlin suddenly realized that everything was real; all her attempts to manage the unmanageability of addiction had failed. In fact, for the very first time, she knew with gut-wrenching certainty that she was walking a parallel destructive path with her son Mike.

Mike was hiding behind a wall of drugs while she hid behind a forced-facade of denial.

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Cape Cod Times: Finding recovery in church pews, not basements

For many churches, 12-step meetings held in basements or parish halls draw more of a crowd than Sunday services.

The Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at Falmouth Lutheran Church each draw 75 to 100 people. But only 50 to 75 attend the Sunday service, said the Rev. Carl Evans. And while the crowd at the Narcotics Anonymous meetings are young, the faithful attendees on Sunday are over 60, the pastor said.

The Hyannis Federated Church hosts from six to a dozen 12-step recovery meetings each week, drawing more than 100 people, said the Rev. Dr. John Terry. But on Sunday, only about 75 to 80 attend the service, with an average age of 75 or older, the senior minister said.

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The Oaks Treatment: How an Angry Mother and Her Ashamed Son Beat Down Stigma Together to Achieve Sobriety and Freedom

When parents finally realize (or admit to themselves) that their child is an addict, they will often experience worry along with feelings of anger and bitterness about being played by their child.

"Sibling resentment toward an addict can be just as sharp, if not worse. It’s a hugely underestimated dynamic, said Anita Devlin, mother of Mike Devlin Jr., soon to be five years sober from a painkiller addiction. Together, they have written “S.O.B.E.R.” which they say stands for “Son of a Bitch, Everything’s Real.”

Addiction is like a cancer that usually metastasizes beyond the addict himself. Its toxic effects end up spreading to other members of the family, as Anita puts it, like an octopus with tentacles."

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Opiate Rehab Treatment: Prince Story Demonstrates the Stigma of Opioid Addiction, but Will It Help Change It?

“’What in the hell are you waiting for?’ should be the title of your article,” Anita Devlin said in an exclusive interview with OpiateAddictionTreatment.com. “And as I tell the other mothers, if you want to keep it a secret, they are going to die.”

Devlin authored a book with her son, Mike, called “S.O.B.E.R.,” which is short for “son of a bitch, everything is real.” The book shows how Devlin and her son both swallowed their pride and got Mike treatment for his opioid addiction. As a result, Mike is alive today. And Anita is a happy mother again enjoying life with her children.

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Cape Cod Times: Forum, summit tackle substance abuse using diverse methods

On Thursday, Anita Devlin told the audience her son entered Barnstable High School as a freshman with a shoulder injury that left him in a sling.

“A guy approached my son like a moth and asked if he had any pain medicine,” she said.

That gave Michael the idea to take opiates recreationally, leading to years of addiction that culminated with him sitting in a bathtub at a Vermont motel, popping pills and waiting to die. A text from his mother that day may have saved his life, he said.

“I was a very busy mother who was busy talking (judgmentally) about everyone else’s children and the worst part is my son heard it all,” Anita said. “I wonder if he didn’t come to me because he was worried about my judgment.”

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