A Father’s Struggle with Son’s Addiction

Residing in the northern suburbs of Atlanta in the 90’s, where the economy was booming and jobs and new homes abound, life seemed to be going well for Jeff Catton and his family after migrating from the northern Midwest. He and his wife Susan worked at a hard but rewarding entrepreneurial career in the healthcare field, their oldest son Jason was proudly serving the country in the United States Marine Corps and youngest son Luke was getting good grades and playing sports. At times, it seemed like they were living the ‘American Dream.’
Things started to change on New Year’s Eve of 1994 when Jeff and Susan came home to find 16 year-old Luke and his friends in a state of intoxication. Though this was the first time, it turned out to not be the last.
Luke had good enough grades early on for him to graduate high school early. Though his drinking was moderate through his sophomore and junior years, he quit playing for the high school baseball and basketball teams. When he turned 18 all hell broke loose, as he suddenly had no time schedule during the day, nowhere to be early in the morning and a group of friends that encouraged him to party.
During the next three years Luke dropped out of two colleges, totaled his car and changed jobs nearly a dozen times, not showing any responsibility or stability due to his alcoholism. The behavior landed Luke in financial difficulties and legal trouble, having been arrested twice for under-age alcohol consumption.
“I just couldn’t understand why my son was destroying himself and harming everyone around him,” recalls Jeff, who had tried on numerous occasions to confront Luke on his drinking problems. “He became a totally different person and didn’t seem to care anymore.”
Finally one July evening in ’99 Jeff got a call from his son Luke, then living in Florida in a state of complete desperation and depression from addiction to alcohol and ecstasy, looking for help. “I could hear in his voice how desperate he was,” said Jeff, “I told him to just come home.”
Two days later, that’s exactly what happened. Jeff and Susan found a non-traditional drug rehabilitation program in Oklahoma called Narconon that utilizes the drug-free methodology of L. Ron Hubbard and has an extremely high success rate. Luke was on a flight out there after the weekend, ready to start a new life without drugs or alcohol.
Nearly four years later, life is better than ever for Jeff and his family. His business is doing exceptionally well, his youngest son is now happily married to his new wife Erica and drug-free, and this Father’s Day is his first as a grandfather, as his oldest son Jason and his wife Amy just had their first son.
In his spare time, Jeff plays in a band called Chronic Tendencies. As a reminder of the troubled past, Jeff wrote a song about his son’s addiction and the pain involved from a father’s perspective. Entitled “Additive Free, “ the lyrics in verse two say, “I want you back, Gotta get control, I want you back, Gotta save your soul.” When the song is recorded and released, he plans to give a portion of the proceeds back to the program that saved his son’s life, now called Narconon Arrowhead.
According to Jeff, “I just hope that other fathers in a similar situation to what I was in can know the happiness and comfort that I now have, thanks to the wonderful people dedicated to saving lives from the devastation of addiction.”

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