Rethink the Family: The Laura Project

The Laura Project takes you on a family's personal journey through 15 years of struggle with substance misuse and addiction that ultimately claimed Laura Bradfield's life in 2017.   The Rethink the Family portal features "Lessons from Laura" written by her mother in the years following Laura's death, along with additional curated content, education and strategies to help families understand the risks that children face if they misuse substances and develop the disease of addiction.

Carolyn Bradfield: My Key Takeaways 

My daughter Laura battled addiction for 15 of her 29 years and we tried multiple treatment programs, tough love, and even starting our own licensed adolescent treatment program.  Here are some key takeaways from our journey together.

  1. It can happen to you:  No matter who you are, no matter how wonderful your children are, no matter what you financial status us, anyone can be affected by the disease of addiction.  1 in 10 adolescents develop the disease before they even leave high school.
  2. Families are critical to recovery: Becoming educated about the disease, making the commitment to fully engage in the recovery process, and involving the entire family is one of the most critical factors in ensuring that your loved one has a path to recovery.
  3. Compassion wins the day: We are often taught that "tough love" is the way to get the behavioral change you are looking for; however, understanding, love and compassion are much more powerful and effective tools.  Set boundaries, but don't give in to anger and blame.
  4. Understand the risk: Although a family history of addiction puts you at greater risk, today the biggest risk is the hidden danger of fentanyl.  Counterfeit pills are easy to buy on social media or the street and according to the DEA, 6 of 10 they confiscate  have a lethal dose of fentanyl in them.
  5. Talk about it: There is absolutely no shame in having a loved one who is struggling with addiction or mental health issues.  Talk about it with friends and family to get their support and understanding.  My grief process was made much easier as I wrote the Lessons from Laura knowing how they might help others.

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