A Vernon family is hoping they can spare others at least some of the same horror and pain they suffered watching their son be taken away by addiction.
Tim and Sandy Varga are the loving parents of two boys. From happy, healthy little babies, they both grew up under hardworking parents with strong morals and a solid foundation.
“They grew up in a good home,” said Tim.
But despite good intentions, their once energetic younger son, who excelled in sports, fell into addiction. Just going to show that it is not a pre-determined disease.
“It can happen to anyone,” said Tim, fondly recalling his son’s passion for hockey, where he made it to the juniors, but one bump sent him off track.
“I don’t think he ever got into a fight in his whole time playing hockey,” said Tim of his boy’s demeanour.
Wife Sandy’s eyes resonate with light as she recalls her youngest’s true character.
“He is a fun-loving, caring guy. Where ever he goes people glom onto him,” said Sandy, who is very close to him. “He’s got that contagious personality.”
But the man who became addicted to prescription pills and alcohol in 2011, is not the same person they once knew.
“That is not him,” said Sandy.
When it comes down to it, their son’s addiction was no fault of theirs.
“He admits that what happens is he lost his way,” said Tim.
“He’s a great kid who just went off the rails.”
Their only mistake was loving him to a fault.
That is the story told in their book, Loving Him to A Fault. A book the couple wrote in the midst of their distress in 2013.
“Loving him to a fault, that’s what you do as a parent but it’s about knowing the right time to let go,” said Sandy. “Save yourself.”
“What you have to learn is to set boundaries,” said Tim, who has unfortunately met many parents in the past few years who don’t do that. “We have to go on and live our lives.”
It wasn’t easy, but letting go is what saved them.
“We had to make the toughest decision a parent ever had to make,” said Tim. “We had to let go with fear that he’s not going to make it.”
“We had no choice, nothing else was working,” said Sandy. “We exhausted every other avenue so that was all that was left to do.”
And since making that tough decision and following through with it, their son is now on the road to recovery.
“He is in treatment and working hard at the program” said Sandy.
Tim Varga will be sharing what he has learned in a public presentation called Loving Your Kids To A Fault – Parents, Don’t Enable Your Child, on Monday in the Vernon Secondary School theatre at 7 p.m.
The presentation, put on by the Vernon School District, is free and children are welcome to attend.
Proceeds from the sale of the book, Loving Him to A Fault, will be donated to the John Howard Society.