There are numerous reasons why Dear Jack will prove to be a seminal contribution in the fight against the national crisis of opioid addiction. Through a lifetime of love letters to her son Jack, her search for answers, and revelation of her own courageous pursuit of healing, Barbara Conroy’s book embraces anyone caught in the grips of this fatal disease but provides a way through and out. There is no doubt that her book will save lives. Perhaps this is both her and Jack’s sacred gift to us.
Her book brings us face-to-face not only with the life-destroying consequences of opioid addiction, but the underlying relational traumas that can lead people to seek escape through drugs in a desperate attempt to cope. It is this revelation that makes her book a necessary read for any parent.
Simultaneously, any professional working in the field of addiction recovery should be required to read Dear Jack for it calls into question the entire paradigm of “rehabilitation” and the harsh reality of profit-motivated recovery efforts. By sharing the soul-crushing bipolar reality of recovery and relapse, Dear Jack is a call for change in the field of recovery.
Ultimately, in a mother’s love letters to her son, we are gifted with the assurance that there is a way to restore ourselves to a place of truth, beauty, compassion, and acceptance in the face of tragedy. As Barbara shares her journey with Jack, we too experience the healing power of a mother’s unconditional love, tenderness, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Barbara shows us that the very best of Jack – the essence of his childlike charisma, joy and kindness – are not lost in his passing, but remain for us to realize in ourselves and encourage in each other.