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The Joey Song: A Mother's Story of Her Son's Addiction
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The Joey Song: A Mother's Story of Her Son's Addiction

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  295 ratings  ·  39 reviews
By the age of twenty, Joey has OD'd, attempted suicide, quit college, survived a near-fatal car accident, done time behind bars, and been kicked out of rehab. Now manipulative and hateful, the once sweet and charming Joey is long gone.

Written from the place where love and addiction meet, this is the poignant story of a defiant addict and the mother who won't give up on him
Paperback, 200 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Central Recovery Press (first published August 18th 2014)
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Average rating 4.54  · 
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Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Beryl by: Jill Swenson
For those of us who've wrestled with the anguish of loving a child bent on self-destruction, this mother’s story is a “must read.” Sandra Swenson’s oldest son, Joey, is such a child. Like many of us, Sandra missed the signs of addiction in her young son. She attributed his loss of interest in school, his growing hostility, volatile anger, and hateful behavior to teenage angst. Like most of us, she struggled to help her son deal with what she believed were simply behavioral and emotional issues w ...more
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have read 225 books since I first started writing reviews for goodreads in December 2008. I have written reviews for 224 of them. The one book that I did not (could not) write a review for was Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff, which I finished reading in July of 2009. At the time, writing a review for this excellent book would have taken more from me than I had to give. It simply would have been too painful for this father of an addict. Parents of ad ...more
I just finished the book...I am speachless. This was like reading the story of my last 2 years with my 20 year old son. This book is an example of courage, thank you for that Sandy!!
It made me feel that I am not alone, I am not the only mother that feels sometimes that his adiction is consuming my life, that I am adicted to my son's adiction and it made me realize how much my younger son (13) is missing his mom without saying anything, that I am letting my younger son live without a mother beca
David Cooke
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“The Joey Song – A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction” is a powerful, honest, and very authentic story of a mom's journey with her oldest son’s addiction.

Every parent dealing with addiction in their world has a story. Their stories are often painful, disturbing, heartbreaking and quite difficult to share and articulate. While each of these parent stories is unique, they all share many common or similar threads to that of other parents dealing with addiction.

Not every parent is willing to or
Donna Barnes
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The place where love and addiction meet.

I've been "dealing" with my son's addiction for 10 years now. I've spent many many hours researching to try to somehow understand. I've spent so much time on my son but this book was for "me." And how sweet it was to read something so relatable. To know that someone, another Mom, loves their addicted son as much as I love my son. And to know that another Mom has made the same mistakes...but out of love. Thank you is not enough.
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
For those who don't understand addiction and how it affects a family, this is a great read. Particularly good at showing how sometimes good boundaries from your addict can be perceived by family and friends as not caring or a lack of love. Swenson put into words exactly how I feel about the struggles I have faced with my daughter. Thanks for that and thanks for the recommendation Dee. ...more
christina barea
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Agonisingly raw pain. Unless you are a parent of an addict you cannot imagine the pain we live with

I cried from start to finish our stories are very similar anyone who has a child addict will connect on many different levels especially that letting go really is love. My deepest prayers go out to the Swenson family.
Judy Herzanek
The Joey Song:
A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction

“Over the years, Joey dreamed of becoming a firefighter, a rodeo clown, a fisherman, and a marine biologist, but addict was never on his list. Nor was it on mine.”

Throughout The Joey Song, Sandy captures an array of emotions that are universal to mothers. Not all have experienced the devastation of an addicted child—but I can guarantee that most moms will relate to her poignant descriptions. She digs deep as we relive similar memories and feel
Kathleen Pooler
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Joey’s Song is a heart wrenching and raw glimpse into the life of a mother whose teenage son is in the grips of drug addiction. With unflinching honesty and vivid detail Swenson paints the grim reality of addiction and its impact upon her young son, her family and society.

As Joey, her bright and talented son who held so much promise skates through high school and prepares for college, behavioral changes signal concern but nothing more than usual teen missteps. In time, as the degree and persist
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is a must read for anyone who loves an addict. Sandy tells her story of loving her son, the addict, and writes all of the feelings, emotions and struggles that parents go through when their lives turn from being a "regular" parent to a parent of an addict. This story ended giving me strength, but also showed me that other parents are struggling with grieving a child that is still alive.
This book can really help parents learning about their son/daughters addiction and help them realize
Cheryl Dicken
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I thought Sandy Swenson had been spying on my life when I read this book! I finished in 2 spoke to my heart in so many ways, validating my experience with my addicted son, and helping me to know I wasn't crazy!! The events in the story SO paralleled mine frequently!! Thank you SO SO MUCH for being so articulate and transparent in writing this book. I am buying a few copies to share, and definitely will be re-reading!!

P.S. Prayed for Joey today.
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: addiction
This book made me think I was reading my story about my son. Addiction has robbed me of my family. I want to hold my little boy and make it all better. What this book taught me is that it's ok to Let Go and Let God. The hardest thing in my life is not to enable and detaching. ...more
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Heart wrenching true account of the thoughts, actions and ultimate love of the Mother of a very young addict. Love is often letting go...easier said than done!
Kim Mask
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Dealing with addiction is never over,we think about it 24/7.,but reading this shows us how to let go. Just what I needed to hear right now. Kim mask
David Doty
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a tough book to read, but the author is a gifted writer, and her description of what it is like to be the parent of a young adult drug addict is spot on. In a letter to her 20-year-old son while he was in rehab, the author captures it very well when she says:

"The life of loving an addicted child is hard to explain; it's sort of like grieving your death and fighting for your life at the same time. All while hated, helpless, and alone. It's hope and belief that don't dare come out to play
Tonya Cherry
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am The Mother of an Addicted Daughter. She has 2 beautiful children.. This book has given me strength, made me cry... I am also Letting go with love... Thank You Sandra Swenson for this amazing book. And I'm also praying for Joey..... ...more
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you know addiction for anyone you love, this story will do more than speak to you. It will scream to your already aching heart. Sandra Swenson not only walks the walk, she talks the talk. I'm so sad our world is so entrenched in addiction but since it is, Sandra finds a voice for all of us. No sugar coating here. Pull up a box of kleenex and weep. ...more
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you are the parent, sibling, spouse, friend, child, or just know that there is an epidemic of addiction in this country then this book is for you. Sandy Swenson tells the tale of her son's addiction with deep emotion - frustration, empathy, anger, love, hatred. It is too easy to point a finger when a person is addicted. It is way too easy to shake your head, look down on and then look away. Swenson opens our eyes to the many factors and unknowns of addiction and shows us the destructive cours ...more
Barbara Leuthe
May 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a truly moving book.Anyone who has a family member in any stage of addiction should read this book.This book deals with the reality of addiction ,life does not always work out as we plan but choices are our own.Thank You Sandy for allowing us to see into your life and see that we all go through stages and we can only help when our addict is ready.I received this book free as part of goodreads first reads program
Barbara Stoefen
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sandy’s is a magnificent voice and her story will resonate deeply with moms who grieve a child in the throes of active addiction. She shows us uncommon courage by embracing her own life, when the outcome for Joey is uncertain. We are left with hope that we too can find strength, and joy, amidst the sadness.
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I found this book profoundly moving and am at a loss for words. This should be a must read for anyone who knows a parent who is dealing with an addicted child to better understand & to better support the parents as they navigate a very difficult path.
Valerie Quick
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Touched my soul

Sandra Swenson does an amazing job of putting into words what all mothers of addicts feel. I was brought to tears several times reliving my son's journey with addiction. Reading this made me not feel so alone and helped with realizing that we have to let go.
Brenda Pitchford Harris
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I recommend this book for anyone with a child suffering from addiction. When you are in the midst of it all you feel so alone. It always helps to know and understand that there are others who understand.
Kimberly  Winters
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great book for people who want an insider understanding of how addiction and mental illness impacts families.
Connie Rehman
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully written. Her pain was vividly felt. The truth and honesty in this book made it a walk that anyone could feel and relate to.
Melissa Williams
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had found this book sooner. I am a mother of an addict. I Let Go a few years ago. It was hard and is challenging. I love my son with all that I am, and until he is ready to face his demons and turn his life around, there is nothing I can say or do to help him.

I found myself shaking my head and saying yes, that’s us, or that’s my son so often throughout the book. I was not a bad mother, and I know I made mistakes along the way, but I also know his addiction is not my fault.

For anyone d
Joan K. Roksiewicz
Honest and heart wrenching.

A real look into the nightmare of addiction. Don't ever feel like your alone. A must read if you love an addict.
Jan 20, 2016 added it
A wonderful book! I could certainly relate to the author's story. ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
‘Sometimes addicts don’t recover, but with love and faith their families can.’

This book. Such a painful read but the most powerful book I have ever read on the impact of addiction from a mother’s perspective. Sandra adds flesh to addiction and recovery concepts that lead to stark and unforgettable clarity.

This is not a faith based perspective and that lends to a heavy conclusion based on acceptance but limited hope.

Patricia Hochwalt
Been there

I am a mother whose son took this same hellish path to his death at age 28. I found this book to be spot-on in every way. I felt I was reading my own story as I worked my way through it. I hope Swenson's story ends differently but if it doesn't, she should know that there can still be grace, beauty and joy in life. It sounds like she knows this already. Good for her!

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Sandy Swenson is the mother of two sons—one of whom is an alcoholic and drug addict. The Joey Song chronicles her journey through the place where love and addiction meet.
Life was good. Then my son became an addict.

The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story Of Her Son’s Addiction chronicles my journey of finding a way to survive my son’s addiction even if he does not.

When Joey was a toddler, I would sing t

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