98: Katherine James | A Son's Addiction & A Mother's Love

98: Katherine James | A Son's Addiction and A Mother's Love

Katherine James | A Son's Addiction & A Mother's Love

Katherine James holds an MFA from Columbia University, where she received the Felipe P. De Alba fellowship.

Her novel Can You See Anything Now? was long listed for the Doris Bakwin prize and won Christianity Today’s award for best fiction of 2018.

Her work has been published in various journals and anthologies and one of her short stories was a finalist for a Narrative Spring Prize.

She’s taught fiction at Columbia University, Festival of Faith and Writing, and elsewhere.

Her memoir, A Prayer for Orion, was released in January of 2020. 


Katherine James and I discuss her journey of loving her son through his addiction and the magnificence of God during some of the darkest days.

Questions Katherine and I Discussed:

  1. (3:34) You have 3 grown children whom you used to pray for while looking up at Orion‘s belt.  Take us back to that time and share a little about those prayers, your hopes for your little people and what your family’s life with Jesus was like at that time.
  2. (6:19) Eventually, you discovered your youngest son was heavily addicted to drugs.  Share a little of that discovery with us.
  3. (11:59) In A Prayer for Orion, you frequently reflect on the guilt parents feel as they raise their kids: “Parenting was supposed to be if this, then that. We would raise them right and they would be all right” How did you work through the guilt and shame you experienced being both a parent of an addict and a Christian?
  4.  (15:53) What would you say to parents who struggle with guilt or feel as if they somehow failed their kids?
  5. (19:31) Your home became a welcoming place for your son’s friends who were also addicts.  You and your husband welcomed and loved, “The Lost Boys.” What did you learn from opening your home to those who were walking through addiction?
  6. (25:05) While reading A Prayer for Orion, I could feel the heaviness of evil and the hope of God. Describe the tension between evil and magnificence you refer to in the book.
  7. (25:58) Let’s close with the moment when “what if” became “even if.” Even if Sweetboy didn’t survive a heroin overdose, everything would still be okay.  Share that experience with us.

Quotes to Remember:

“He was always a great kid at home. There wasn’t any sense of rebellion or anger.”

“The unique thing about drugs is it’s unpredictable. That’s one of the particularly difficult things about it… you don’t know if it’s going to come back or not….There’s just this, I have to trust You [God]. What I’m trusting in, isn’t the way that things are going to turn out. What I’m trusting in is that You are who You say You are, that You have not lied to me.”

“Really double down on believing God is who He says He is.”

“Without consciously doing it, I was still judging, assuming things, so from these kids, God’s saying that these are not kids to judge, these are kids to love.”

“The lifestyle of a drug addict, and the whole drug world is darker than anything I’ve experienced before.”

“When you’re experiencing that kind of darkness and getting glimpses of it [and] when you see glimpses of God, of His power, and majesty overcoming these things… it just blows your mind.”

“That was the only way I knew I was going to be okay, is that even if my son dies, I will still go to heaven. God is in control. He knew what He was doing. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but once you swallow, it has a healing effect.”

Scripture References:

Resources Mentioned:

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Katherine James | A Son's Addiction and A Mother's Love Quote
Katherine James | A Son's Addiction and A Mother's Love Quote
Katherine James | A Son's Addiction and A Mother's Love Quote
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