We can fool ourselves into thinking that we have our lives well planned out. It was that way for me, being a product of the 1950/60’s: I’d go to college, meet my prince, get married, have children and live happily ever after. As much as I thought I knew what to expect, my life was riddled with surprises. But the last was the most unexpected, compelling me to write Fifth Child, a non-fiction book about the anguish and consequences of a drug-addicted child, which resulted in parenting her child almost since birth.

My husband and I are cast into a shockingly large demographic. Grandparents raising grandchildren is a growing phenomenon in our country because of our shifting economy, unmarried teen mothers, alcohol abuse and illegal drug use. Close to 10 million grandparents comprise the club. We had already raised four children. Jaime was our third child, and Brady is her son, who began calling us Mommy and Daddy when he was three. Readers may be amazed to find calamity overcoming a so seemingly traditional family. But as events and family history unfold, disturbing pitfalls and unfortunate genetic vulnerability reveal fault lines that can sabotage people from any walk of life.

"The Addict's Mom Sharing Without Shame" Video is so important whether addiction has touched your life or not. It's powerful. Please click on the link below to watch the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHNZbbePiKg

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Saturday, December 6, 2014


"Brady, please get your muddy cleats off the carpet," calls Lynne Gassel to her 10-year-old, who's just returned from baseball practice and has dumped everything—backpack, shoes, cap—on the floor. He grudgingly obliges, then heads to his room to play a video game while Lynne prepares dinner. Shortly thereafter, over takeout pizza and salad, Lynne, her husband Stu and Brady discuss their upcoming Disney cruise. It's all quite ordinary, except that Lynne, 65, and Stu, 66, are Brady's grandparents, and they are raising him as their son.
In fact, the Gassels' family structure is becoming less out of the ordinary every day. More than 2 million grandparents in the United States are caring for their grandchildren without the help of a parent or another relative, according to census data. "That number rises to 2.7 million when you factor in the parents whose own grown children and their children have moved in with them," says Deborah Whitley, PhD, codirector of the National Research Center on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.
Experts refer to these as "grandfamilies"—households with kids headed by a grandparent. It's easy to see why so many would-be retirees are forgoing golf and long-postponed salsa lessons: The 2008 recession saw many parents out of work. There was also a 25% rise in the number of parents who were incarcerated between 1997 and 2007, and a jump in heroin and other illicit drug use between 2002 and 2012.
The Gassels began the process of adopting Brady five years ago, after their daughter Jaime, Brady's mother, died from complications of drug use when she was 32. (His birth father was never in the picture.) The transition was difficult for Stu and Lynne, who were devastated at losing Jaime, but it was fairly seamless for Brady, who was 5 when his mom died, because he had already been living with the Gassels.
As hard as Jaime's death was, in one way it came as a relief. "We no longer had to worry about how her coming in and out of his life would affect him. And it gave us the opportunity to be parents to him in every sense," says Lynne.
The challenges of taking on parental duties late in life are many, and a big one is financial strain. For the Gassels, who are financially stable thanks to Stu's pension, the hardest issue is physically keeping up with their son. "When Brady was a toddler, I tried so hard to do what the younger moms were doing," says Lynne. "I remember one birthday party, where all the moms were kneeling on the floor playing with the kids. I forced myself to get down on the floor with them until one of the grandmothers said to me, 'You don't have to be their age.' I realized then that I wasn't really fooling anyone," she laughs.
Still, Lynne pushed herself. "I didn't want Brady to miss out on anything." Looking back at the toddler years, Lynne sees that she and Stu were trying to make up for the fact that Brady's mom was frequently absent. "We raced around every weekend. Brady loved fire engines and police cars, so we visited every police and fire station and went to all the county fairs, trying to give him as much joy as we could."
Brady is a happy kid, but the pace took its toll on Lynne and Stu. When Brady was 6, Lynne tore her rotator cuff while holding onto his shirt as he tried to avoid cleaning his room. "Brady pulled away from me really fast and I heard something in my shoulder snap. I went 'Uh-oh.' I had to have surgery and was in physical therapy for six months. It wasn't easy."
And of course, grandparents don't get a pass on later-in-life health problems just because they're doing what is usually a younger person's job. Many have arthritis, high blood pressure or diabetes, and research shows they delay their own medical care to look after the kids. To Stu, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's abdominal lymphoma when Brady was 3, raising an energetic boy began to seem impossible. "He adored Brady, but one night he said to me, 'I can't do it.'" Stu suggested asking one of their sons to take Brady (they have three other children, all adults), but Lynne felt they couldn't allow Brady to experience another rejection. She took on more of the parenting so Stu could recover, and tried to keep Brady away when Stu was resting after his chemotherapy treatments.
Ultimately, though, Lynne says it was Brady who helped Stu through his ordeal. "One evening my youngest son came over to shave Stu's head, since he was losing his hair from the chemo, and Brady just thought it was the funniest thing. He giggled hysterically and had us all laughing. Then he threw his arms around Stu and told him, 'You're gonna be OK.'" From then on, there was never any question for Stu that Brady would be his son. "I made a choice to e
mbrace fathering my grandson," says Stu. "Brady gives purpose to my life."
Now that Brady is older and the physical demands have lessened, the Gassels love that they can be the kind of parents to Brady that they simply didn't have time to be while raising their own kids and working. "I almost feel like now we're being given a second chance to do it better," says Lynne, who was the class mother for Brady's fourth-grade homeroom; Stu coaches his baseball team. "Brady loves to have us involved in his activities. He would just beam when I came into the classroom," says Lynne.
The Gassels' adult children are supportive, but it has affected all of their lives. "It's probably hardest on my son who has kids," says Lynne. "We're busy being Brady's parents, which takes away from our ability to be grandparents." Lynne also sometimes wishes she could spoil Brady rotten. "But Brady needs me more as a mother than as a grandmother, so that's what I am."
Raising a child who has lost a parent is another grandfamily challenge. Brady hadn't seen his mom in over two years when she died. "Brady doesn't remember Jaime leaving but it had to have left a mark on him," says Lynne, who adds that Brady suffers from mild PTSD. The Gassels answer any questions Brady has, but they rarely bring up Jaime's death themselves. When he first asked, around age 6, they told him that his mom loved him and wanted to take care of him, but that the drugs changed her brain so she couldn't. "Brady said that God knew that Jaime couldn't take care of him, so God gave him to us. He's an amazing kid," says Lynne. Still, she says, "I know it's in there somewhere, that sense of loss."
That is likely why Brady regularly makes deals with them, asking, "How long do you think you'll live?" Lynne says, "He'll just grab Stu and hug him out of nowhere. That anxiety, that fear of being abandoned, is his biggest challenge." So Lynne and Stu take extra-good care of themselves: While Brady's at school, the couple exercises and Lynne enjoys creative outlets—painting, singing and writing (she wrote about losing Jaime and raising Brady in a self-published book called Fifth Child).
Lynne admits that there have been days when she imagines what it would be like if she and Stu had a more typical retirement, spending evenings with couples their own age. She often conks out at 8:30 P.M., when Brady goes to bed. But the Gassels wouldn't trade their grandfamily. "Brady made me a Mother's Day card in May," says Lynne. "He cut out big red letters spelling M-O-M and wrote: 'I love you because…it's hard to say why I love you because no words describe how special you are to me.'" The feeling, she says, is mutual.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

“Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.” Judge’s Commentary*: HAD TO SHARE!

So I entered my book in a Writer's Digest Contest and expected all kinds of negative comments about how I'm not a real writer, etc. OMG! I had to share this! From “Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.” Judge’s Commentary*:
FIFTH CHILD is a real ringer – pick it up, and the first thing a reader notices are its so-so cover, production flaws (page numbers on the dedication and other front/back matter pages and on chapter title pages) and overall mundane design. But start reading, you are immediately transported into author Lynne R. Gassel’s situation – waiting at the airport for a flight with her husband Stu and five-year-old grandson Brady, she gets a phone call from a stranger from rehab where her daughter Jaime (mother of Brady) is supposedly staying– and she’s thinking, why bother me now? What follows unleashes an all-too-believable thread of events that takes the reader by surprise and might very well leave one in tears.
This and the rest of the FIFTH CHILD are a testament to author Gassel’s simple yet deceptively powerful writing style. The finely structured story weaves back and forth between the challenges faced by grandparents in their 60s; Jaime’s constant struggle with addiction and relapse; and the lively antics of Brady, whose quotes are cleverly placed at the beginning of each chapter. The author’s insight and lack of pretense cuts right to the heart of things, aided by her fine eye for characterization and dialogue. Especially poignant is the ending when one finds out the real truth about Jaime.
While this is a book best read with a box of Kleenex, it offers understanding to those with a limited knowledge of addiction and reasons why grandparents become "second time around" parents. It also offers hope.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

ONE GRAND FAMILY-Woman's Day Magazine-It's here!

The November issue is in the stores! It's the Feature Article and our story about our raising our grandchild as our own. Go get it!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Thank You for this Wonderful Review!!!!

5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the best books I have ever read and I could not ...September 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fifth Child: The Turbulent Path That Led to Parenting Our Child's Child (Paperback)
This is one of the best books I have ever read and I could not put it down until I finished. Anyone would love this book but as a Mom of a drug addict it was so encouraging but also real. It is a must read !!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


If you want to read FIFTH CHILD, now's the time! I'm in the running for a big prize (for Brady's College Fund, of course!) from Amazon.com Kindle Unlimited. That means if you BORROW from Kindle Library on Amazon or PURCHASE; I will stay in the contest and could be a winner! Please!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Watch the Magazine Racks and Online

Just got the word that the November feature article on Brady, Stu and Me will not only come out in early October in the magazine on newstands but there will be some videos/ photos on the online magazine as well. How cool is that??!!! I'll let you know as date gets closer!
Woman’s Day captivates more than 22 million readers by inspiring them to find Value Every Day.
Magazine: 853,955 like this

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Addict's Mom Grandparent to Grandparent (G2G)

If you are a grandparent raising a grandchild or a relative raising a child because of the disease of addiction, please make a request to join. I am the Administrator on this site and you will never feel alone or unsupported again.

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/154033158118579/ The Addict's Mom Grandparent2Grandparent was created in love for grandparents raising their beautiful grandchildren to Share Without Shame. A place t...
  • 769 members

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Thank you Jeri Stern, for Your Wonderfully Honest Review

on August 23, 2014
Format: Paperback
This book was hard to put down once I started the first page. She tells how addiction
affects not only the addicts life, but every member of a family. Lynne has the unique
ability to allow the reader to see that addiction strikes all walks of life. Because of
addiction, there are so many grandparents raising grandchildren. Lynne has written
her story and allows the reader to see the daily struggle it is to watch your child
slowly spiral down , but at the same time you have to be strong for your grandchild.
It is not easy to take on the role as a parent when you are in your 50's and 60's.
Some how, some way, millions of us are doing it on a daily basis. We all have a story,
Thank You Lynne for sharing yours.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Number 42-Five Stars! Thank You!

5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!July 24, 2014
Ashley Marie Oland (Rehoboth Beach, Delaware) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Although I finished this incredibly thought-provoking book several weeks ago, it has taken me some time to be able to write a review of the same. The story of a family's growth and constant transition weaved around an honest tale of addiction provides the reader with an insight into the often misunderstood and over-generalized world of substance abuse and dependent/neglected children. The strength of the two grandparents highlighted in this book as well as the resiliency of the grandchild in question inspire one to be better to oneself as well as to one's immediate and extended family. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has regular interaction with individuals struggling with raising a relative's child as well as individuals struggling with addiction. A book you won't be able to put down.

Monday, June 23, 2014

This Review Brought Tears To My Heart -Thank You!

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly emotional and honestJune 23, 2014
This review is from: Fifth Child: The Turbulent Path That Led to Parenting Our Child's Child (Paperback)
As a grandparent raising the child of my addict daughter this book was the most stunningly emotional book I have ever read. There was hardly a sentence that I couldn't relate to. I was drawn in by the end of the first page and couldn't put it down until the last. It is extremely well and honestly written and a must read for any grandparent raising their grandchild, especially if they are doing so because of addiction. My intention was to pass this book on to another grandparent raising a grandchild but feel so connected to it that I want to hold on to it for a little bit first. Thank you Lynne for sharing your life with us and telling our story honestly. Kudos to you...Bravo...xo

Wow! This Makes 38 out 40 Five Star Reviews!

5.0 out of 5 stars Father of a Heroin Addict who is still alive & in PrisonJune 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fifth Child: The Turbulent Path That Led to Parenting Our Child's Child (Paperback)
My wife and I are living Lynne's story. Our daughter is in prison for several felonies to
fund her drug addiction. She gave birth almost 6 years ago to a baby boy, Jaden.
Only to relapse when he was 3 months old. We became guardians & then 3 years ago adopted him.
He is a joy & consumes most of our life now,
Our daughter is still alive and is serving another year of a 4 year sentence .
What happens next is in God's hands,
This book was so real at every level of what we feel & our journey being parents of an addict.
Thank you Lynne for words we read that we relate to and at some level feel we are not on this journey alone.
I read the book in one night after the first chapter.
St Pete, Fl

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


5.0 out of 5 stars Fifth Child authentically captured life behind the closed door of a family's journey through hell and back.June 10, 2014
This review is from: Fifth Child: The Turbulent Path That Led to Parenting Our Child's Child (Paperback)
Lynne absolutely got it right. Since I have walked in her shoes from losing my own child all the way through my own Grand kids asking "do I call you Mom" I am blown away by her ability to tell the story just like it went down. The book is authentic and truly captured every nuance from beginning to end.

This book to me about her family dealing with the results of the rampant drug addiction tearing through our Nation which does not spare any social or economic group is equal to how Silver Linings Playbook captured a Family dealing with mental illness.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Heartfelt Thanks. This Review Gave Me Chills and Tears...

5.0 out of 5 stars "God made a good decision."June 7, 2014
Parents don't plan on their children becoming meth addicts. They don't plan on burying their children and parents don't plan on raising their children's children. Lynne and her husband Stu have experienced the intense heartache and ultimately, the satisfaction of such life experiences.

"God made a good decision." The true story of a mother's love for her family, her sacrifice and selfless journey into parenting--again.

Lynne sets the stage for telling her personal journey as she recounts her all-American childhood experiences, whirlwind romance and her anticipation of a traditional Baby-Boomer family life.

She then, draws the reader into the midst of her ever-darkening world as addiction insidiously creeps into her family and seizes control.

For those who may be experiencing similar circumstances, this book helps to assure the reader that they are not alone. It also provides some very important truths and helpful resources regarding co-dependency, dealing with an addicted child and the ever-increasing situation of grandparents raising grandkids.

Throughout the book Lynne intersperses short and wise snippets from her grandson Brady, who proves to be wise beyond his years. One "gem" happens after Lynne attempts to join other parents in a martial arts class to complete a strenuous workout. Brady hugs Lynne and cupps his hands around her beet-red face and states, "It's not what you do, it's what you try to do."

Lynne sums up her arduous but fulfilling journey at the end of the book by leaving us with one last heartfelt statement from her grandson Brady (as he questions Lynne as to her role in his life).

"So," he said with his hands on his hips, "what are you, my stepmother or what?"
Obviously, his friends must have been throwing terms out at him trying to figure out who I was.
Now it's time for some straight shooting. Maybe he'll get it this time around.
"No, Brady, stepmothers aren't related to their children; and you have my blood running through your veins."
He looked confused.
"Brady, I'm your grandmother; and because I take care of you, I'm also your mom--you have two in one!"
He got a very serious look on his face.
"So, let me get this straight," he self-assuredly re-capped. "In real life, if Jaime were still my mom, you'd be my grandmother. But because she took drugs and couldn't do it, you're my mom?"
"Yes," I replied.
Brady stood there, very pensive. Then a smile of recognition came on his face.
"God made a good decision . . . He thought you'd be good parents for me. Jaime couldn't be good at it because she used drugs, so he gave me to you."

I enthusiastically recommend reading this book for anyone touched by addiction. It is full of redemptive hope and encouragement.

~Judy Herzanek/Changing Lives Foundation
Co-author of:
Book:Why Don't They Just Quit? (2010 Edition, Revised and Updated)
DVD: Why Don't They Just Quit METH? Families need help too. DVD Roundtable Discussion (2 Disc Set)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Wanna Read It? Well, Now's The Time!
June 6-7 ONLY $4.99...June 8-9 $6.99...June 10 $9.99

Saturday, April 26, 2014


A valuable book for grandparents raising grandchildren is called COURAGEOUS LOVE: Instructions on Healing Circles for Children of Trauma by Laura Bailey on Amazon.com. You can get it on Kindle or in soft cover. The author is a therapist who specializes in childhood trauma and addresses PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress). Because the reason most of us are raising our grandchildren is due to a traumatic event of sorts, it is very common in many of the children we're raising. Sometimes, the symptoms are evident and other times are hidden. I had many "ah-ha" moments. This is an important book.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

An Excellent and Honest Book About A Difficult Situation

5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent and Honest Book About A Difficult SituationApril 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was very impressed with how well this book was written. Writing about drug addiction in an honest way is hard and this book tells it like it is. I found the story sad, but at the same time the honesty made it very readable. Lynne Gassel rose to the occation and prevailed against the odds. Most families would be torn apart by this, but they stuck together and came out better for it.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Yes, 10 Million!

            There is an estimated 10 million grandparents having custodial responsibility for their grandchildren, according to the Foundation for Grandparenting, established by Dr. Arthur Kornhaber. The majority of grandparents is under 65 years of age and employed, with half the grandchildren under 6 years of age. This outrageously high number could actually be higher. Casual unreported custody and fear of losing senior housing and other benefits prevent many grandparents from exposing their circumstances.
            According to Pew Research Center, households composed of multiple generations are higher than they have been in half a century. Pew also found that 1 in 10 children is parented by his grandparent(s).
            The Brookdale Grandparent Caregiver Information Project at UC Berkeley Center on Aging said in the last 10 years, the number of children living with their grandparents has increased 50%.

            In 2000, the U.S. census reported that 4.5 million children were being raised by their grandparents. In 2005, the number rose to 6 million and jumped to 8 million in 2008.

For those 10 million, here is a a list of resources. I hope you get the support you so deserve. 

GAP (Grandparents as Parents)Group (www.grandparentsasparents.org/): a support group for grandparents  raising grandchildren.
National Kinship Alliance for Children (www.KinshipAllience.org): a nationwide network of grandparents, community members, and professionals working together to provide education and support, advocacy and thought leadership for children, grandparents, and kinship families.
Raising Your Grandchildren (RaisingYourGrandchildren.com) by Karen Best Wright: a website with ongoing information for grandparents and kinship families.
Grandparenting Blog (www.GrandparentingBlog.com) by Karen Best Wright: an interactive online support site.
The Addict's Mom G2G (grandparent to grandparent) Sharing Without Shame (https://www.facebook.com/groups/154033158118579/): a closed secure forum for grandparents raising grandchildren due to their child’s addiction.
AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) (www.AARP.com. Then type grandparents raising grandchildren): provides information and forum for grandparents.                                            

GRAND (www.grandmagazine.com) is an online magazine with information and articles for grandparents or relatives raising children.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


OK, Friends and Family; This is my daughter Tracy's event. Her voice is AMAZING, her music MESMERIZING and her show ENCHANTING. Please come and show your support. Her music is going places! I know this. You will want to be part of it!!!!

Great Review from Someone Who Knows

5.0 out of 5 stars
Very touching and heartfeltApril 5, 2014
I read Lynne's book cover to cover. Her writing style is engaging and capturing. Even though I raised grandchildren for reasons other than drug addictions, I found Fifth Child to be inspirational yet down to earth. By the end of the book, I felt that I knew Lynne personally. Perhaps, I will someday. If you are a grandparent raising a grandchild or a parent dealing with your child's addictions, this is definitely a must read book. This is one of the best books I have read by a grandparent raising a grandchild.
Karen Wright

Karen B. Wright has a wonderfully informative Blog "Grandparents Raising Grandchildren" www.grandparentingblog.com and an interactive website "Relatives Raising Children" www.raisinggrandchildren@earthlink.net

Friday, March 28, 2014


5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed from beginning to end.March 5, 2014
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fifth Child: The Turbulent Path That Led to Parenting Our Child's Child (Paperback)
From the minute I started reading this book I was pulled into the story. It was written with both honesty and heart. I cried, I laughed and I cared about these people.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Love These 5-Star Reviews!

5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book! Honestly written and compelling to read!March 6, 2014
This review is from: Fifth Child: The Turbulent Path That Led to Parenting Our Child's Child (Paperback)
I loved this book! So well written and compelling to read. I read the whole thing in 2 days. Couldn't put the book down!! Life does not always turn out as one would hope. This book helped me see that there is good in every situation and that growth comes from the moments where we are challenged the most.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Remember to Ride A Rocket Ship

The following story caught my attention. It made me smile, it made me teary and it made me remember to make it fun. Enjoy!

I wanted to share a post my husband made this morning. We have custody of our granddaughter who is 4 and a half. Tom came into our lives when Marley was 2 and while it was sometimes a tumultuous ride during her terrible 2's and 3's, the two of them have formed a very special bond. This story just highlights how special:
I'm off work today and Renee asked me if I would take Marley to day care. I really didn't want to at first, but then decided it would help Renee get to work on time and it would give me some one-on-one time with Knarley Marley.
As I'm putting the car seat in the car, Marley asks, "Is that a rocket chair?"
I started to give the usual, “No, it’s your car seat.” I caught myself and smiled, “It sure is! Are you ready to blast off?”
The delighted smile that followed would have melted the polar ice caps.
I get her buckled in and I run through a system start up of our ship. I look at Marley in the rear view mirror and ask, “Are we ready to ignite the main engines, captain?”
She giggles and squeals, “Yeah!”
I put my hand on the ignition key and start a countdown from 5. Marley joins in at 3 and it’s, “…3...2…1…IGNITION!” I start the car and she’s all grins.
I back out of the drive way into the alley and stop. I look back at Marley, “We are clear for launch. Launch in 5…4…3…2…1…” I punch the accelerator which throws Marley back into her seat. Oh my word, the squeal of delight was nearly deafening. Of course I had to punch it to create the launch effect…it was for Marley’s enjoyment. Ok… I admit it… I haven’t “punched it” in years and some of the deafening squeal MIGHT have been me. (In all seriousness, it was a small punch, just in case someone else was pulling out of their driveway too.)
As we “rocket” down the alley Marley starts saying, “Look at that planet. Oooo… look at that planet. That one is a tiny planet…”
As we are pulling out on to the main road Marley breathlessly asks, “Are we in outer space?”
“We sure are!” I point to the other cars, “Look at all the spaceships up here with us, Marley…er…Captain.”
The drive to the day care consisted of Captain Marley noticing that all the “ships” on the other side of space(the road) were going the wrong way and that only we were going in the right direction. At one point I hit a bump in the road and Marley asked, “What was that, Opa?” I grinned at her in the rearview mirror and replied, “Space turbulence.” She nodded as though it made perfect sense to her.
We docked with her daycare and I got her safely transferred to her next duty station.
On the drive back to the house it hit me. I really didn't want to take her to daycare, but I am so glad I did. Marley turned a mundane event into a tiny little adventure.
I used to be that way. I used to find delight in almost any situation. Growing up, sadly, makes us lose that ability to make anything fun. I miss that part of me that disappeared as I grew up. It’s something I am definitely going to work on resurrecting. Maybe not to the level Marley is, that’s an exclusive ability rewarded to the children who haven’t been saddled with the burdens of a grown up. However, I can certainly bring a little bit of the wonder of a child back into my thought processes. It won’t be easy in face of everything an adult faces on a day to day basis, but if I can accomplish just a little bit of that wonderment, it might just lighten the load a little bit.
Thank you Marley. Thank you for the exciting voyage to your daycare space station and for reminding this old man what it means to have a little fun every now and then.


If any of you reading this are grandparents raising grandchildren due to your child's addiction; do any of you worry that addiction might be in their future? If so, are you doing anything to prepare them to avoid this "first" choice?                                                                                                             

With 10 year-old Brady being the child of two addicts, I talk to him honestly about his propensity. Yes, addiction sometimes skips a generation, but what if it doesn't? Then it's like Russian roulette and it's better if he chooses not to play. I talk to him about his future peers. I let him know when they become hormonal (I have to explain what hormonal means), they go crazy and want to experiment with anything they can get their hands on, and what they might say to him to coerce him. They'll try to convince him how much fun it is -alcohol and drugs make you feel good. Then I explain that his birth mom felt that way but it immediately took hold of her brain and changed it. He often exclaims; "Why would anyone want to do drugs and do that to their brain?" I say it's because kids think nothing will ever happen to them -they're omnipotent. But no one is, especially if the addictive gene is in your body and you wake it up. It's better to say no in the first place and not take the chance. 

I don't want to harp on this and put that kind of energy out there but want him to have the knowledge and be prepared. What about any of you?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Great Review-Thank You!

5.0 out of 5 stars An important and valuable book for any parent of teenagersMarch 5, 2014
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fifth Child: The Turbulent Path That Led to Parenting Our Child's Child (Paperback)
This is a harrowing story, sometimes hard to read because the outcome is so tragic. Lynne Gassel writes with a rare honesty about the ways she feels she may have failed her daughter and herself. She never tries to rationalize or equivocate. What she learned about addiction and her insights into codependency and raising a grandchild after tragedy strikes make this book a valuable read not only for parents of known substance abusers, but for all parents of children entering their teen years.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

AMAZON REVIEW:5.0 out of 5 stars A heart-wrenching and inspirational story

5.0 out of 5 stars A heart-wrenching and inspirational story ...March 6, 2014
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fifth Child: The Turbulent Path That Led to Parenting Our Child's Child (Paperback)
Lynne Gassel shares a personal tale of family tragedy, resilience and ultimate triumph. Her incredible journey is told in an honest, no-nonsense and conversational way that carries the reader on every twist and turn of her emotional roller coaster ride. It must have been difficult but cathartic to write about these trials and tribulations. Even if one hasn't dealt with issues of a child's addiction, this is an important book for any parent to read.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Oh, No...Long Division!

For many empty nesters in our age group, math problems (unless tallying up what you spent on groceries) are a thing of the past. Not in my household or other households where grandparents are raising grandchildren. It's our "now" and one of the most dreaded tasks that is back to taunt and challenge us. Long division? Converting fractions? What's a rhombus again? We can't even remember what we went to the refrigerator to get and now we have to dig up something we never liked in the first place. Plus we have to seem like experts because these kids are relying on us! I can tolerate packing the daily lunch box, having a catch while my knees ache and play never-ending Nerf wars; but help with math? Nooooooooo, please!

First, my husband, the engineer sat with Brady to help him. When I looked at Brady's worksheet, my husband had written out what looked like hundreds of problem variations, much like I'd imagined something Albert Einstein would do! Brady was in tears. So now it was my turn to try to help him understand how to convert fractions. I was in a sweat. Suddenly, me, the artist and average math student began to remember how to do it. But explain it to Brady? Miraculously, as I was figuring it out, I did some small drawings to show him the steps and he began to get it. I don't know who was more excited -Brady or me.

It took us over an hour to do the problems. Would I rather be watching "American Idol" or reading a good book or be taking a leisurely bath? Sure. When I was an empty nester for a fleeting moment, that would have been my answer. But to see the delight on our little boy's face that he could do this and for the elation in my heart that I could do this with him; I wouldn't have it any other way. Bring on the calculus!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Carry the Message, Not the Addict -A Meditation

I have tried to convey this message to people in my life who don't understand addiction and its power over people. It's up to the addict -and only the addict- to decide on recovery. 

Carry the message, not the addict

“They can be analyzed, counseled, reasoned with, prayed over, threatened, beaten, or locked up, but they will not stop until they want to stop.”
—NA Basic Text, p. 62

Perhaps one of the most difficult truths we must face in our recovery is that we are as powerless over another’s addiction as we are over our own. We may think that because we’ve had a spiritual awakening in our own lives we should be able to persuade another addict to find recovery. But there are limits to what we can do to help another addict.
We cannot force them to stop using. We cannot give them the results of the steps or grow for them.
However, if we refuse to try to exert this power over another’s addiction, we may help them. They may grow if we allow them to face reality, painful though it may be. They may become more productive, by their own definition, as long as we don’t try and do it for them. They can become the authority on their own lives, provided we are only authorities on our own. If we can accept all this, we can become what we were meant to be—carriers of the message, not the addict.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Two at Once

I'm sorry I haven't felt like posting. The death of my mom brought up the death of my daughter. When mourning my mom, it occurred to me that I never took the time to mourn my daughter. She passed 4-1/2 years ago but I was so immersed in raising her little boy, trying to stay strong and positive that I neglected something very important. Of course, at the time of her passing, I was distraught but also angry at her disease and what it took from our family. I blamed her at the time and not the disease. Through my relationship with a site called "The Addict's Mom," I've learned so much, especially about loving and about forgiveness. now I'm ready to mourn her in the way she deserved. My mom's death was shocking and no one wants to lose a mother. However, it brought me closer to my daughter and to myself. I am saying the mourner's kaddish for two, I am grateful to have had them in my life and it's making me whole.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Back Soon

I've been away. Sadly, my Mom passed on somewhat unexpectedly and we flew back east for the funeral. We returned last night and I will post soon. Thanks for your patience.

Monday, January 27, 2014


There are many times raising a child (grandchild) at our ages makes us weary, to say the least. However, experiencing the joy that only a child can bring takes it all away.

This morning, after packing Brady's lunch, making sure he brushed his teeth, took his vitamins, ate breakfast and remembered his viola (which he nearly forgot) because he has a school concert, today; I walked him to school. There I heard happy noises -kids laughing and talking on the playground and it made me smile, as I waved goodbye and wished Brady a good day in class. On the way home, two neighbors my age passed me in their cars and waved. All I could think about was how happy and grateful I was at that moment because I had a young child in my life to give me joy that they don't get to experience each day in their aging years.

We've been with Brady since birth, got guardianship when he was 3 and adopted him when he was 7. He turns 10 in a couple weeks. Thank you for the joy.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Disturbing Facts: Why I'm Passionate About This Subject

Drug Abuse Kills 200,000 People Each Year: UN Report                            Drug abuse kills about 200,000 people worldwide each year, according to a new United Nations (UN) report. Global treatment for drug abuse would cost $250 billion per year if everyone who needed help received proper care, according to the UN.

More than 22 million Americans age 12 and older - nearly 9% of the U.S. population - use illegal drugs, according to the government’s 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and HealthThe number of young people using drugs has continued to increase. In 2008, 19.6% of 18- to 25-year-olds used drugs, but in 2010’s survey, that number had climbed to 21.5%. The increase is largely due to marijuana use, according to the study.
Marijuana is the most common drug for first-time users, according to the study. Among people who started using drugs in the year before the survey, 62% said they first used marijuana, 26% first used prescription drugs like tranquilizers and stimulants, and 9% first used inhalants.
Alcoholism Statistics in the US
In the United States, nearly 14 million adults, or every one in 13 adults, abuse alcohol or have an alcoholism problem. In addition, several million more partake in risky alcohol consumption that could potentially lead to abuse, and over three million American teenagers aged 14 to 17 have an alcohol problem. Compared to adult drinkers who start drinking around age 21, youth who begin drinking before the age of 15 are twice as likely to abuse alcohol and four times more likely to develop dependence on the drug.

RECOVERY: ONLY 1 in 10 U.S. Adults
The new report, by the Partnership at Drugfree.org and the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, shows that there are as many as 23.5 million adults in the U.S. who have at one time had issues with their alcohol consumption or drug use.