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The Night my Son Went Missing

Friday, 12 July, 2019 - 12:05 pm

 Jordan's story (1).png

I lived in silence for years. I lived in misery for years.

My husband was an alcoholic. My husband is an alcoholic.

There were signs when we dated. He partied hard. We got drunk often. We were young, and it was part of the fun.

We moved in together and I realized his drinking was a problem. He needed the nightly "shots" of scotch. 

He was a giggling, messy drunk, and he cleaned up after himself, but most nights I went to bed alone. Still, I reasoned it had to do with the pressures of growing a business. I thought it was part of the road to success, that when we "made it" and could relax, he would no longer need the booze.

We married and had a son, Brett.* The business grew and we moved into a beautiful home in Westmount.

The drinking got worse.

He'd go out for a night with the boys and wouldn't return until 5:30 AM, the time that he used to wake up. You would think his business suffered, but somehow it continued to grow. We prospered, but our family was broken. I felt like I no longer knew my husband, and I worried about Brett.

When my husband was sober, he was a good father to Brett. As Brett grew, the two would go out together on ski trips every weekend. Initially, I wondered if he was able to stay sober in the mountains, but Brett assured me that it was under control.

Then came a night that changed our lives.

Brett went out to play hockey with some buddies. He was 16 years old at the time. We expected him home at 11:00 but he never showed.

By midnight I started calling his friends. I found out that someone had brought vodka into the locker room after the game and the boys had been drinking. Brett had gone through "at least one bottle," according to a teammate.

My husband was asleep on the couch. I tried to wake him but he wouldn't stir. 

I drove to the arena. It was locked. Somehow, I got in touch with someone from the city who opened the rink. Brett wasn't in the locker rooms or bathrooms. His hockey gear and cell phone were in one of the locker rooms.

Finally, I woke my husband in a panic. We called the police. We waited at home, worried sick. Later, we drove around Westmount and downtown, trying to find Brett in his favourite hangout spots. We entered bars, visited homeless shelters. Nothing. We returned home to wait.

We spoke. I cried. Screamed at my husband. We argued for awhile, until my husband broke down. Admitted that he was an alcoholic. That he needed help.

At 5:30 in the morning, we got a call from a random number. Brett had woken up in Lasalle. He had no idea how he got there.

By then, our extended family had joined the search. When we notified them that Brett had been found and was safe, my husband's brother reached out and advised us to visit Chabad Lifeline.

We went as a family and started healing as a family. 

Chabad Lifeline is where my husband finally confessed to a past trauma he had kept hidden for years. It's where I learned to become strong, and take charge of my own life. It's where Brett grew as a person.

Eight years have passed since that terrible night. We have our struggles but we take them on as a family. I don't know where we would be if not for Chabad Lifeline.

Every year, I buy raffle tickets from Chabad Lifeline. This year, I plan on selling some as well. If this story touched you, please click here and put "Amy" as the solicitor.

Chabad Lifeline helps hundreds of families like mine. They help the addicts, their spouses and children. They are the only place in Montreal where you can get help without having to wait. Be a part of saving families. Buy your ticket.


*Please note that names and certain details in this story have been changed to protect the anonymity of those involved 

Comments on: The Night my Son Went Missing

Thomas Gagliano wrote...

The world may see functional addict as someone who seemingly has it all together but addiction hits the person's inner self and no money will make that pain go away until you make recovery a WE process and expose that toxic shame. Thank you for sharing this powerful story and carrying a hopeful message to other addicts who are still suffering.

Brenda wrote...

Dear Amy.
Your story touched me in so many ways. When my son went out at night to some downtown hangouts or in other areas of town, I would listen to the news on the radio. When I heard that some young kid in his age group of 20 or 30 got shot and had died,I prayed that it was not him.
I didn t know how severe his addiction was. I knew he drank beer and smoked weed,but I thought that he was sensible.
I was a teacher and thought that I could tell when he was stoned. i was wrong. he always seemed to communicated well with me.
In his early 30 s he confided in me the he was using cocaine.I didn t freak out. I just asked him if he needed help.To which he replied that he didn t.
I immediately looked into resources that could help him if he needed it.
Chabad came up. I made an appointment and quickly put me in touch with Karen.
I joined a family group who had a family member into drugs.
I was given the name of Ruth who my son needed to contact for his addiction.It took him two months to contact Ruth. I didn t bug him,but each time I went to his apartment he showed me that he had Ruth s number on his bulletin board.
He contacted her and he was ready to work the programme with her.Chabad is such a welcoming place and he took to it just as I did with the family group.
We owe Cabad so much. He has a steady job,is 2 and a half years clearn. He sponsors newcomers and his life is great. We have a great relationship.All due to Chabad and the people there.
What we owe to Chabad money can t buy and I will always support Chabad in any way I can.So yes I always buy the raffle tickets and support any events or fundraisers that Chabad puts on.It s the very least that I can do