Finding Peace and Purpose amidst the Tears

My Journey of the Love and Loss of My Son through His Mental Illness and Addiction

Non-Fiction - Memoir
188 Pages
Reviewed on 07/19/2023
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Author Biography

Debbie always knew she wanted to contribute to other people’s lives in a meaningful way. Little did she know that tragedy could hold a gift that would reveal her highest purpose. After losing her beloved son to mental illness and addiction, Debbie transformed her life by turning her pain into her purpose of helping other parents of teens and adults struggling with mental illness and/or addiction. Through finding her calling, she was able to find healing for herself.

Debbie’s story of love and loss includes raising three children as a single mom, her oldest son being diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol, and losing him when he was twenty-six. She has been through challenges with her oldest son’s mental illness and addiction, and she supported him, fought for him, and loved him through his journey.

Throughout her journey, she sought to turn her pain into serving others. This motivated her to become a certified life and relationship coach from the Center for Strategic Intervention.. She is passionate about using what she learned in her training and her life experience to help parents of teen/adult children with mental illness and addiction reclaim peace and a loving relationship.

Debbie holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore School of Law and an LLM from the American University Washington College of Law. She has worked as an estates and trusts attorney and trust officer administering trusts and estates, including special needs trusts.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite

Finding Peace and Purpose Amidst the Tears: My Journey of the Love and Loss of My Son Through His Mental Illness and Addiction by Debbie Gail Zane is a heartrending, brutally honest, and tremendously selfless and compassionate chronicle of the author’s struggle to come to terms with the untimely death of her son Alex after a protracted battle with drug addiction and schizoaffective disorder. As we follow Debbie through her roller-coaster experience, essential concepts such as acceptance, forgiveness, and self-love figure significantly in the narrative, allowing us to experience her journey personally and with devastating but ultimately edifying intimacy.

This book is a powerful testimonial in support of the idea that those among us who suffer from the pain and isolation of incomprehensible loss are not alone. The message is both transformative and freeing and would stand alone as a compelling reason to read the book if not for the sterling quality of Debbie’s impassioned narrative, which scores direct hit upon direct hit emotionally and psychologically without ever indulging in the merest moment the noisome self-pity that mars many similar accounts.

Finding Peace and Purpose Amidst the Tears by Debbie Gail Zane does not offer any miracle solutions, easy fixes, or so much as a hint of much-sought-after resolution in the wake of unspeakable tragedy; rather, it provides the kind of unwavering honesty and courage that, against all odds, comforts and heals. Whether you are experiencing the pain of loss or trying to understand the pain of loved ones facing the journey, this book will surely prove to be a tremendous help and invaluable resource that you will return to time and time again for comfort and guidance.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

In her book Finding Peace and Purpose Amidst the Tears, Debbie Gail Zane discusses the heartbreaking reality for caregivers who struggle to help children who suffer from mental illness and/or addiction. The author covers her journey with her son Alex in three parts. The first section recalls Alex’s death and experiences as a teen just before and when he was diagnosed with a schizoaffective disorder. The second part details Alex’s drug and alcohol abuse in his young adult years as he resorted to substances to help him cope with his condition. As he dealt with diabetes and other medical conditions, Alex found a haven in religion and reached out to his mother often to let her know he was okay. In the third section, the author shares her grief and healing as she discovers a purpose.

Debbie Gail Zane has written a beautiful tribute to her son that will resonate with caregivers in similar situations. Whether readers are trying to help their suffering children or grieving over their treasured ones, her book will serve as a warm reminder that they are not alone. It’s difficult to watch once happy children and teens suffer from the effects of a mental illness or addiction, and Zane speaks about the grief of losing the hopes and dreams that they may have held for them. The author relives her pain and uncertainty but communicates hope and understanding to anyone in a similar situation. Finding Peace and Purpose Amidst the Tears is a great choice for anyone trying to help someone battle a mental health issue or who has lost a child to addiction.

Alma Boucher

Finding Peace and Purpose Amidst the Tears: My Journey of the Love and Loss of My Son Through His Mental Illness and Addiction by Debbie Gail Zane reflects on a journey that began when her son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Alex started using drugs. Debbie passionately defended her son and supported him through his most trying moments until his eventual death. Debbie painted an accurate image of what it is like to be the parent of a mentally ill son who also struggles with addiction to alcohol and drugs. Debbie maintained a strong relationship with her son through all of it, despite the challenges. Debbie described how at times her life felt completely taken over by Alex’s hospital appointments and his stays at treatment facilities. Debbie’s life changed forever after the call came notifying her about Alex’s death.

Finding Peace and Purpose Amidst the Tears by Debbie Gail Zane is heartbreaking and inspiring. I respect Debbie for her courage in sharing this story so soon after her child passed away to support other parents who are going through a similar situation. The nine years covered in this book are filled with heartache, hardship, persistence, and grief. After reading Debbie's experience, anyone who questions the seriousness of mental illness or doesn't think that it is a medical disease will change their opinion. I recommend this moving story to any parent who has lost a child or is battling with their child because of a mental illness or addiction.