Joel continues to recover by believing in a higher power and by staying active in a 12-step program that teaches him how to take responsibility for his actions. He's doing well in college and living at home, where he follows his parents' rules.
His life has completely changed. "All that stress, all that anxiety, all that pain - that doesn't build up now," Joel says. "I'm clean and sober."
Herb regrets not taking action sooner. "We were caught in a swirl of loving our kid, believing our kid, wanting to believe our kid, and protecting our family," he says, "and that didn't work."
Herb wishes he'd followed an early instinct that something was wrong. "We should've said to Joel, "If you're angry at us, that's OK. If we're wrong, we'll apologize. But right now we're going to take action to make sure that we're wrong,'" he says. "That's what we should have done earlier."
These organizations tell you where to find help in your community.
The National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence
Hope Line: 800-NCA-CALL (24-hour referral)
Watch Joel's and his family's complete story in the DVD Drugs: True Stories. Read more about Joel, and other stories about drug abuse, in Words Can Work: When Talking About Drugs.
Copyright 2015 Blake Works Inc.