In the midst of our nation’s worsening opioid crisis, Lisa Hillman, former president of Anne Arundel Medical Center Foundation, has written a searing memoir about her journey facing her son’s addiction. Unlike similar stories, “Secret No More: A True Story of Hope for Parents with an Addicted Child” is written from a mother’s point-of-view and details how the disease harms the entire family. The story offers another rarity in addiction literature: this one ends with hope.
“This is the book I wish someone had given me when I was living with my son’s active addiction,” said Hillman. “I yearned for a ‘happy’ ending – anything to give me hope that he would be okay.”
Hillman’s story is all the more compelling as it is set against a backdrop of personal and professional achievement in Annapolis, Md, where she is well-known and her husband, Richard Hillman, was a former mayor. From all outward appearances, they were leading an idyllic life, raising a happy and healthy family.
That life would begin to turn dark when Lisa receives a phone call from a respected high school teacher about Jacob, her son, at the beginning of his senior year. Lisa feels helpless as his addiction progresses from alcohol to marijuana to OxyContin and, finally, heroin before recovery begins to take hold. Meanwhile, she is running the hospital’s multi-million dollar capital campaign, meeting with high-level donors, and living a near schizophrenic existence, frantic to conceal her son’s drug use. At a critical turning point, when Jacob boards a plane to continue his recovery in south Florida, a wise counselor confronts her: “Your son will have his program, now what are you going to do for yourself?”
While the book portrays addiction accurately, its true worth is for parents and families, and anyone who loves an addict. It’s the story of Hillman’s recovery, the painful process of letting go of control and expectations, sharing her “secret” with colleagues, finding strength in support groups and giving back to the addiction community. It’s also a story of one mother’s love for her child, and how shedding shame and guilt make room for a bolder kind of love.
“Secret No More” is published by Apprentice House Press and available for purchase on Amazon. The hardcover is $24.99 and the paperback is $16.99. More about the book, including a blog written by Lisa, can be found at www.lisahillmanauthor.com. The author welcomes speaking opportunities and has already addressed groups in Maryland, Maine and California, with several talks planned throughout the fall. “I make a point to try to go and speak wherever I am invited,” said Lisa. “If my story can help one mom who is suffering from a child’s addiction, it’s worth it.”
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