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The Joey Song
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Sandra Swenson, author of the forthcoming book The Joey Song, tells the heartbreaking, frustrating, too-familiar story of a defiant, delusional addict and the mother who won't give up on him, until finally it hurts more to hang on than to let go. By the age of twenty her son Joey has OD'd, attempted suicide, quit college, survived a near-fatal car accident, done time behind bars, and been kicked out of rehab numerous times.

Sandy’s story may bring listeners to tears as she describes the suffering her beloved addict son inflicted on the one who loved him best – his mother. In the process Sandy discovered life lessons she needed to learn in the experience and shares them with others who may be walking along the same shattered path.
Episode Segments:
 
Break the Chain: The Joey Song

There’s only so much parents can do to shape their children’s lives. Sandra Swenson learned that the hard way, when one of her two sons followed the straight and narrow— while the other spiraled into addiction. She tells her story in the upcoming book The Joey Song.
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Guest(s) Appearing on this Episode
Sandy Swenson
Sandy Swenson is the mother of two sons—one of whom is an alcoholic and drug addict. The Joey Song chronicles her journey through the place where love and addiction meet.

A vagabond since college, Sandy found community service opportunities wherever she moved. Between unpacking boxes, hanging curtains, and figuring out where her kids would attend school, Sandy volunteered as a first grade teacher in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia; co-founded a volunteer group dedicated to providing life-altering medical care to orphans in India; and photographed cleft surgery patients for Operation Smile in Dharamsala.

As a member of the Junior Woman’s Club of Chevy Chase, Sandy created the Bistro Boyz – a program in which she and a team of Bistro Galz meet weekly with young men from the National Center for Children and Families’ Greentree Adolescent Program to plan menus, budget, grocery shop, cook, and share meals together. In 2012, the National Center for Children and Families awarded the Junior Woman’s Club of Chevy Chase the Spirit Award for Humanitarian Advocacy. In both 2011 and 2012 the Maryland Federation of Women’s Clubs awarded the Bistro Boyz program the Advocates for Children Award. And, in 2013 the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs — the largest philanthropic women’s organization in the world — nominated the Bistro Boyz program for their International Advocates for Children Award to be awarded in June.

Sandy loves to garden, read and travel, and has recently moved from Bethesda, Maryland to Austin, Texas.


Sandy's Website