COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — It started as a blog on Facebook expressing her struggles with her sons’ battle of addiction. Then that blog turned into a book and it landed right to the White House.
A Frankfort, Ohio mother Karen Bower is starting a mission, trying to inspire and even save lives by opening her heart, one page at a time.
"I've had a lot of people say I wish it had a happy ending. This is not the ending and not all stories have a happy ending,” said Karen Bower.
Bower is the author of “Loving My Addict: A Mother’s Journal.” It was published in November 2019. She said she didn’t want to be alone in this journey of addiction and knew other families were hurting too.
"There are so many people out there who feel isolated in their journey and I want them to know don't give up hope. I've given up hope. So I know how that feels,” said Bower.
Her journey began in 2008, with her oldest son, Benjamin. She said he started abusing Xanax and Percocet when he was about 16-years-old. A few years later while she was helping Ben stay clean, she learned her younger son, Gabriel was also abusing opioids. That simply crushed her.
"Honestly I wasn't thinking that Gabe was in danger. I was so focused on saving Ben,” said Bower. "At that point I knew I had to do better. I had to think for more innovative ways to be more vocal. I had to talk to people. I had to create a positive force for these people who were struggling and I started doing that on Facebook."
Bower started growing her Facebook following, which motivated her to put her thoughts into paper and a book. She even wrote a letter to the White House about her sons’ struggle with addiction. A few days later the president wrote her back.
She read the letter to us:
It's dated November 26, 2019.
Dear Ms. Bower,
Thank you for taking the time to write and sharing the book you wrote about your son’s battle with addiction. I am terribly sorry to hear of the hardships your family has endured, but I admire your determination to remain a positive source of hope in y our children’s lives. The strength and compassion you have exhibited are truly inspiring.
Opioid abuse is a national emergency. Too many of our fellow Americans have been lost due to the scourge of drug abuse. It is plaguing families and communities across our Nation, robbing so many of their potential. My administration is fighting this crisis on all fronts, and examples like yours motivate me to keep up the fight.
I send my best wishes to you and Ben and to the rest of your family. May God bless you all.
Sincerely, Donald Trump.
Bower told us she was shocked he responded to her letter, "it made me feel like my thoughts and my ideas matter and that I'm not alone in this battle in loving my addict.”
Now her younger son, Gabriel is 25-years-old, and almost two years sober.
"Gabe is doing really well, he's prospering in his career and he's living in the south and he just celebrated his daughter's first birthday,” she said.
Her oldest son, Ben is currently in prison, serving time on a drug charge. He’s expected to get out sometime next summer. But right now he’s helping his mom write a second book. Bower said battling addiction is never over, and she’s just getting started.
"People who choose to be in denial, they need to wake up. You know, we're losing too many lives,” Bower stated. “We need to work together, one person can't change this."
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