Newsletter page 4

We have been lifted up by the love of family, friends, and fans. It is important to have you really hear me when I say “thank you” for every little prayer, card, thought, and communiqué. Your steady friendship is having a profound effect.

Layne, aged four, once asked me, “Mom, what’s it like when you die?” In my infinite wisdom (I was 23) I said, “Well, Honey, I think it might be like when you’re born. You get too big for the old space and you get pushed out into a new space, into the arms of those who love you the most and are waiting for you”. I hope I was close.

Today, and every day, I reach out to my dear son, and say “Thank you, Layne, for your courage and integrity in the face of the animal. You are my teacher, now”.
I miss him more and more, because the separation is longer and longer. At night, I say, “Nite, Layne. Love you forever, Honey”.

I don’t know what to tell parents who ask me what to do. I do ask them to learn all they can about addiction by Googling, and to immediately arrange a consultation with a treatment center supervisor near them who can help create a recovery plan or find another more appropriate facility. Every case is different. But, it doesn’t stop there. Someday we will know what to do, and we will know in time! This is why I work to raise funds for hope and recovery.

I recommend that families read Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. I carry it in my car, and read and reread it. Recovery is for everyone, the addicts, and all of the people affected by addiction.

Attend a 12-step program for loved ones of addicts/alcoholics yourself. You can learn to drop behaviors that keep the addict sick and from getting the professional help they really need. Beneath the bravado and reassuring arguments the addict wants and needs help to recover. Laws forbid us to force the issue. We can conduct an intervention to relate to the addict how their behavior is adversely affecting relationships, and to state that they have our support should they choose recovery. Have their bag packed on-site, and be ready to take them to a facility which you’ve already contacted and which is in on the intervention plan and has reserved a bed and a space in their program.

Intervention is becoming more of a science; and more effective. Get professional advice to plan and guide an intervention for your loved one. A treatment supervisor at any treatment facility can help you plan the right course of action. Look in the yellow pages under Alcoholism/Drug Abuse and go from there. It’s the addiction talking when the addict refuses help. (I call it abcd, a brain chemistry disorder. The brain is no longer on physical survival. It is rerouted by the drug use to serve only the craving.) Maybe you can use intervention to wear down the false bravado. When the truth is heard in stories over-and-over from loved ones and friends who care, perhaps the addict will choose the treatment options you’ll present.

Kurt Cobain said it would take three years to repair his life. I believe he was absolutely correct. True sobriety is healthy, learned behavior. 12-step work re-parents. We learn problem-solving and create safe zones of friends, and rules for life. Practice, over-time, with safe friends in 12-step can cement these healthy responses and behaviors. It is a life-long program, and never interferes with your church of choice. It does not take the place of counseling, should you choose both or all three. (Isn’t that a sort of trinity?)

Alcoholism is where it starts for most, because alcohol is legal and available. The tendency is usually inherited, and has compromised the health and behavior of those generations who have gone before us. It forms poor social habits in the home, which result in heightened fright-fight-or-flight adrenaline bursts, because of heightened tension and fear. Alcohol and other drugs provide an escape from being ever-on-the-alert. That’s why it is called a family disease. Everyone suffers from exhaustion, lowered immunity, emotional outbursts, and depletion in all financial, emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual areas of the family. We’re re-acting to sickness instead of acting out the lives of our own creating. (Life as a knee jerk.)

Abstinence is only the beginning of recovery. Maturity is the process that takes place in 12-step groups. There’s lots of re-learning that needs to take place, this time from our higher-power (instincts and intuitions for good/conscience/love) instead of in response to fear. Abstinence without a program of recovery only allows the anger to mount and explode periodically (rage/binge-drinking/drugging.) The alcoholic/addict and the family remain sick, and locked in the same destructive behaviors. The users still feel enraged and ineffectual. If you’re the alcoholic or addict go to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). If you’re the target, go to Al-Anon/Al-Ateen/Nar-Anon. It’s a family disease. Everyone needs healing and retraining.

Goodness, how can the seasons be flying by so fast? I hope your year is feeling like a good one. I know that can’t always be true, but remember to add up the good: we made it through the tribute; we celebrated family birthdays and holidays; had a few vacation breaks; honored our mothers and fathers, heavenly and human; and set our clocks ahead and behind.

I’m keeping busy by completing projects that have been waiting in closets and under beds for years now, and planning a little relief for me from the cares of the business, the Fund and the Tribute, “downsizing” my life…a choice Layne did not feel he had. It is an honor to continue to partner him in this next phase of his fight against drug addiction by encouraging each of you to donate in some way to recovery from addiction.

Congratulations on making it through the holidays and winter storms. Whew!

As we go into spring, I hope the change of birds, the cloud formations, the still quiet and longer days give you pause to complete some personal projects, phone family and friends, read a good book. Give yourself a break each day, if only for 10 minutes, to do something completely for you that may not make sense to others (a hobby, a magazine article, a nap), something that inspires, invigorates, empowers you as my moments do me. Always remember to look up.

Happy Spring!

Much love,
Nancy and family

(Feel free to make copies of this update for friends, email it as an attachment, and share this information in chat rooms, and on message boards. Go to www.layne-staley.com. Be sure to wander through the gallery. You’ll see the many portraits of Layne sent by fans.)

Daily Meditation
Credit: Tim K.

Just for today, I will…
Cultivate the Habits of Happiness.
Believe that I am Good.
Appreciate the wonders of Life.
Nurture My Emotional and Spiritual Life.
Say Goodbye To My Past.
Give Myself Credit For What I Have To Offer.
Make Enthusiasm A Daily Exercise.
Let Love Change the Course of My Life.

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