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We all need a Laugh!

June 18, 2015

Al's post

Hello and Welcome to My Blog!

April 11, 2015

This picture was taken a few years ago as Al and I soaked-up the sun in Orlando, Florida. I had always hoped that after my retirement we would be comfortable to do this often on many tropical islands. God had other plans for me.

My main goal for setting up this blog was to reach out to alcoholics and drug addicts, along with their families to talk and share our outlook on pain, confusion and many times abuse from addiction. We used to hide this topic of alcohol and drugs behind closed doors and suffered in silence. I was one of many people who did and became the experienced enabler. I learned too late after losing my husband, Richard, and daughter, Lori, from their own addiction that innocently doing so I pushed my loved ones deeper into their habit and it lead to their death. I could only love and support them, they had to make the decision to want the help.

I became an author and speaker from the loss of my first husband, Richard Lopes, and my second tragedy of losing our daughter, Lori (Lopes) Cahill, both from North Dighton, Massachusetts from their alcohol addiction.

Suddenly I became a speaker at halfway homes, court ordered programs, rehab locations and to the public. I speak from the heart on all the mistakes I feel could have been handled differently and maybe…just maybe, they would both be alive today. At least I would have felt I did everything possible in my power to have helped than believing A.A. swearing to let them fight this until they reached that rock bottom.

I wrote three memoirs: A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey To Medjugorje, which is about love, faith and miracles; Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round; An Alcoholic Family in Crisis, about my young marriage to Richard with our two daughters, Debbie and Lori. The sequel Please, God, Not Two; This Killer Called Alcoholism is about losing Lori.  I wanted answers to why some addicts make it and other die like Richard and Lori so I published my first Narrative Non-Fiction What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholics and Addicts; In Their Own Words. This is a book of testimonies from thirty-four recovering alcoholics and drug users from all walks of life from the United States and Canada with their testimonies on what hasn’t and isn’t working in their recovery programs. This book is for the addicted, family members, counselors, doctors and the public.

All my books are in paperback and Kindle at

My email is if you want a quote for a talk.


Alcohol Abuse from both the addict and Family Member

April 2, 2015

phil (2)  Tom Cirignano  DSC01153

My video of my talk Feb. 6, 2014. Two other recovering alcoholics and my talk from the family side.

Daily Sayings

March 16, 2015

dinty balloon backgound

“They say, ‘To serve is to love,’ and I think to serve is to heal, too.
Oscar-nominated actress Viola Davis

Ryan’s Battle with Herion

March 15, 2015“>
Susan Haddad 3 months ago
I know Ryan personally… just want him to know I pray for him everyday… My heart goes out to you … I was an herion addict myself… took my last shot 8 years ago… I was so tired of being sick and tired and like Ryan did not want to do it anymore… I lost everything… Lived in the hood named James Creek in SW Washington D.C. … Panhandling on South Capital and M st, so I can get my fix… I lived in abandon houses and cars … in the area where the Nationals Stadium now sits.. I am so Grateful to Officer Moon in the 1st district police station for rescuing me and arresting me for panhandling and Judge Diaz for saving my life… I will remember these people for the rest of my life… I hate herion with a passion for what it did to my life in the past , but now I have a life beyond my wildest dreams… for the people who think I might have died… I am very alive saving other addicts and alcoholics in Florida by telling my story in all treatment centers and detoxes… I also work in a drug and alcohol treatment center , Life is awesome… you have to want it…
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Are Parents Friends or Enemies to the Addicted?

March 6, 2015

A. Sequeira

I guess you could say that is an odd question for a parent to ask after losing a husband and daughter to their addiction.  Why do our loved ones turn away from us instead of towards us for help.? Every time Al and I tried to help Lori, or even our whole family, she’d remark she was fine and had no problem.

The Patient Privacy Act gave Lori the right to omit family completely in her counseling sessions, even though we believed that she needed to hear what really happened to her while growing up. I believe that this law is also as enabling as the family.  It protects the substance abuser to the point of them not getting the past out into the open to see how much we can help them.

No matter how much we yell, scream, threaten, punish or ask them over and over again why they can’t get their life together, they look at us as being smothering. I had to lose two people I loved to realize that they don’t know themselves why they are going down this path and only they can pull themselves out of this dark hole and we can only love and support them. Sometimes, that is not enough.

Lori feared dying like her father when he was forty-five and she went down the same path to only be laid to rest by his side at thirty-nine years of age at the St. Patrick Cemetery in Somerset, Massachusetts. All my prayers and rosaries went unanswered. I live on believing that God is all love and mercy and had a reason that I will never understand to take her home early. He gives life to us and then we belong to Him and he takes us to our home in heaven when he needs us.

Counselors and doctors need to dig deep into the addicts past to find out “why” they are using more than trying to fix the disease. I tell the patients when I talk to them that they have to get the garbage out of them to heal. Holding the pain and resentment will keep them stuck. That is what happened to Lori. Instead of talking about the events and recovering, she held it in and drank to take the pain away to only end her life.

Parents and family members become the enemy in the addicted’s eyes and mind. If others in their life drank and treated them badly, than it’s hard to talk and forgive. To become their friend, we need to “listen” to them when they want to open up to us.  We need to “show” them we love them, not tell them. We have to let them know it’s the disease we hate not them.

I wish I had all the answers when I give talks or hold an addict in my arms knowing they are hurting and are frightened to return to a world of no more drinking or taking drugs. They forget how to be happy and live what we call a normal life again.

In my book What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholic and Addict, a high percent of them talk about turning back to God and their faith. We have pushed the most important person out of our lives..our Maker who loves us. He gives us choices and we have to choose to either get better by reaching out for help or staying with the comfort, which is really their killer, in the world of drugs and alcohol.


Reviews of What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholic and Addict

October 10, 2014


Thirty-four alcoholics and drug addicts from all walks of life from the United States and Canada tell their personal stories on what did and hasn’t worked in their recovery programs to doctors, counselors, family members and society.
Great Info for the family of the addict
By MSH58
Format: Paperback

I have learned a lot from family and friends who are in recovery and this book took it one level deeper. The stories are raw, honest and heartfelt from the people who lived through the pain and came out on the other side. I would recommend this book to family members or friends who want to know how an addict/alcoholic thinks. It’s also could be a good way to open a conversation with a loved one who is struggling to come to grips with whether they have a problem. We all want to know the right way to handle things and I think Alberta’s book gives us insight that there is no “pat” answer that applies to every addict. Bravo to the folks telling their stories!

Many addicts stories
By Amazon Customer
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Very informative reading many addicts stories. What made them seek help. What helped them stay sober. What length of time needed in treatment. What treatment programs need.

Personal and revealing
By Heidi Hofschulz
Format: Kindle Edition

It is amazing that there are so many different experiences, all gathered by the author and put in one place. There are no stereotypes that can encapsulate all the individuals who shared their stories. This book is very personal, and the stories are revealing in many frames of reference. I think the book is a gentle tool for addicts/alcoholics and for their families. It is nice to have a book I can recommend to someone I come across who is in either situation, since it’s rare to find a person who is unaffected by these things in their lives at some point.



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