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Family publishes addiction family survival guide

Mother and son want to be part of solution


by: REVIEW PHOTO: BARB RANDALL - Chad Dingle and his mother, Joan Callander, have written 'Addiction and Families: A Survival Guide.'Joan Callander and Chad Dingle have a message to share. The West Linn mother and son are acutely aware that drugs and alcohol are destroying families and straining community resources. In fact, Callander said that one of every three families is impacted by alcohol abuse.

Hoping to be part of the solution they are sharing their experiences, advice and encouragement in their book, “Addiction and Families: A Survival Guide,” which offers first-hand advice based on their real-life successes.

Dingle’s birth mother — who is Callander’s daughter — used drugs and alcohol; his birth father drank and physically abused him. By age 4, Dingle was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and by high school he was threatening to commit suicide. His grandmother had permanent guardianship, but said that Oregon laws were written to protect the rights of the birth parent rather than the rights of the child. She adopted Dingle when he was 8 years old, and recognized that shifting from the role of grandparent to parent strengthened their relationship.

Today Dingle is happy and well-adjusted. He is a junior at Portland State University and plans to become a physical therapist.

“Ideally what I want to do is help kids my age — help anybody (dealing with alcohol or drug abuse),” Dingle said. “My voice in the book will hopefully help kids and parents realize how addictions affect children. I want kids to know that they don’t have to be embarrassed about their past or what’s happening at home. There’s always help out there and many who have gone through the same things. You’re not alone.”

“I write about the emotional trauma of letting go of an addicted child or spouse to save yourself and the rest of the family,” said Callander. “I discuss attorneys, caseworkers, counselors, educators and how to help children deal with intrusive questions and school projects such as family trees when they can’t, or don’t want to, connect the branches. Life with an addict forces you to make heart-wrenching decisions concerning visitations, holidays, parenting styles and what you believe in.”

Callander, who also wrote “Second Time Around: Help for Grandparents Who Raise Their Children’s Kids,” interweaves stories from other families and includes comments from Dingle’s birth mother, which add “a uniquely poignant and three-dimensional look at family dynamics, family devastations and family successes,” she said.

The book is available online at joancallander.com. Dingle and Callander are hoping to present information on surviving addiction to church, school and civic groups.

To learn more contact either Dingle or Callander at 503-722-8091 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




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