When Life Doesn’t Hand you a HEA

28 Feb

Back when I wrote IF YOU STAY, I received a lot of e-mail from readers.

Most of it was amazing and inspiring from readers who had also known addiction, or knew of someone who had.

However, some of it was from disgruntled readers who said that my story wasn’t realistic.  That if someone took drugs to disappear into oblivion, then chances are that they were, in fact, addicted and that I was sending out the wrong message of rainbows and butterflies with my book.

If you read my work, you already know that I’m a big believer in Happily-Ever-Afters.  I mean, people read fiction to escape from reality.  Why in the world would I want to depress them with a book that ended in any way other than happily?

When I wrote IF YOU STAY, that was the reality of my “Pax”.  He wasn’t an addict at that time.

Unlike fiction though, life continues to evolve and change.  A book, after it ends, won’t stray from the final storyline.  That HEA will remain for all of eternity.

Life, however, does change. And sometimes, the changes aren’t for the better.

I’ve always said that I wouldn’t reveal who I based Pax Tate on.  He didn’t want me to, and so I won’t.  I never will.  Readers have guessed that it was my husband, but I can tell you that it is not.  It is someone else that I love, someone very close to me.  

And unfortunately, he has descended into the world of addiction.

At first, like Pax Tate, he was a user, not an addict.  He wanted to disappear into oblivion, into a place where he didn’t care about anything.  He realized what he was doing and I sent him to rehab to be on the safe side.  All seemed to be fine.

But  he started using again and this time, the outcome hasn’t been good.  He’s throughly addicted.  If you follow me on social media, you might have noticed that I haven’t been online a lot.  I’ve been preoccupied with this horrible issue.  When I am online, I usually act normally, because that is my coping mechanism.  I’m a very private person and I don’t tend to advertise my private life.

However, I do have some things that I want to say.

I’m writing this so 1) you know why I’ve been fairly absent online, 2) to address reader concerns that I wasn’t depicting reality with my storyline in IF YOU STAY and 3)  to flip the bird at addiction itself.  

I’m here to tell you that anyone can be an addict.  It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black or purple, if you’re rich, poor, or middle-class.  Addiction knows no discrimination and it knows no bounds.

We live in a world where high schoolers are offered Ecstasy in the hallways for $10 a pill and where they can get heroin as easily as they can get sweet-tarts.  It’s sickening, saddening, and devastating, and it is the reality of our day and age.

However, THIS is our reality too:

The human spirit is created to thrive, to fight and to eventually overcome.  We’re all born with an innate sense to fight to survive, to fight what oppresses us, to come out on top, and to be healthy, happy, and strong.


With today’s support networks, groups, medications, doctors and therapies, WE CAN BEAT YOU.  Anyone who is addicted to a substance and wants to fight it, can.  Anyone who wants to fight it can WIN.  All they have to do is set their mind to it, be strong and fight it.

Will it be easy?

Hell no.

Is it worth it?

Hell YES.

All of us, every one of us, deserves to be happy, healthy and strong.

With that in mind, I’d like to ask for your prayer.  I’m a huge believer in prayer, and I believe that the more people who pray for one thing, the better.  The more voices, the better God can hear.  

Can you please say a prayer for my “Pax”?  He desperately needs prayer if he’s going to beat addiction.  He’s strong, but addiction can level the strongest person.  In order to beat it, you have to be strong, determined and have God’s help.

If you can pray for him, for God’s help, I’d be eternally grateful.

In closing, let me just say that the fictional Pax Tate will forever have his Happy Ending. He is happy and strong, and living a perfect life with his wife Mila.

My real-life Pax might be struggling now, in the most difficult struggle of his life, but I have full faith that he will come through it. He will overcome it.  That’s what human beings are designed to do.

No matter how hard or difficult something seems at any one time, always know that a Happily-Ever-After is always possible, whether it is “REALISTIC” or not.  The power to change lies within us, and no one else.

If you are a reader who contacted me about IF YOU STAY not ending in a realistic way, please know that I heard you and I respect your concerns.  I still stand behind my notion that not all users are addicts, but I do fully believe that if a user continues to use, he/she will eventually become addicted.  Just as I believe that addicts can overcome it if they choose to fight.

If you are an addict or struggle with using, or if you know someone who does, please ask for help.  Contact a support group, go to your doctor, tell your parent.  JUST GET HELP.  Please.

And if you’re a drug dealer, whose sole purpose in life is to addict our children to toxic substances for the simple reason that you want to line your pockets with drug money, you can go to hell.


14 Responses to “When Life Doesn’t Hand you a HEA”

  1. Clista February 28, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    I admired you long before this blog, now I raise you to a higher level. My prayers are with you and your Pax. I know what reality it like, and I for one, LOVE your HEAs in your books. That is why I read them, because you do it so well. Stay strong, my friend. God is Good.

  2. Diana Garey February 28, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    Prayers for your Pax and for you. Help him fight for his sobriety!! He can do it!! I admire you for sharing this story with your readers. I love your books, by the way! Stay strong!!

  3. Joan February 28, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

    Sending prayers your way for your Pax. May he find the strength to conquer his addiction. Each of us must deal with our own struggles but I believe when others are suffering and struggling more than ourselves, we need to lend support and prayers to help and guide them in overcoming their issues. You are a wonderful person to care so deeply for Pax and please know many of us also care and are sending you our prayers and support. Stay strong!

  4. Jenny Rapp February 28, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

    Courtney, thanks so much for sharing. My heart goes out to you and the family of your loved one. Growing up in a house where there was addiction, I understand some of your pain. I pray to God that your “Pax” is able to overcome his addiction and live a wonderful life. Stay strong!

  5. Lynn March 1, 2014 at 3:55 am #

    My thoughts are with you & your ‘Pax’ xxx

    I have to tell you I am not highly religious, (no offence meant & fully respect those who are)
    I believe but I don’t pray, I am more spiritual than religious so I do seek help & guidance from the angels rather than God. I have found help in this way so I will ask them to assist you & your ‘Pax’

    I truly hope he finds peace & is able to overcome his struggles!

    Again can I just stress to anyone who may read this that I mean no offence nor disrespect to your religious beliefs whatever they may be!!
    I have many family & friends who are extremly reliogious & I respect them for that, it just hasn ‘t been my path so far xxx

  6. Lynn March 1, 2014 at 3:58 am #

    Can I also add that I admire your strength in supporting your ‘Pax’ & your courage to tackle such a difficult topic in your writing!

    I also thank you for your honesty with us about how personal this topic is to your life.

    I love your books & find my mind drifting to them from time to time 😉

  7. Andrea @ The Bookish Babe March 1, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    Sending you and your Pax the best of thoughts.

  8. jamieayres March 1, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

    Prayers for you and “Pax” . . . it was brave of you to share this~hugs

  9. Ella March 1, 2014 at 11:29 pm #

    I will pray for your Pax… Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  10. MIchelle Owens March 1, 2014 at 11:45 pm #

    I just wanted to let you know that I will be praying for your “Pax”. I had a brother that was addicted to Meth for many years. Life your “Pax” it started out as an escape but slowly became an addiction. He stole my car, money, and was not there for his daughter like he should have been. I am a christian and believe that God can change anyone. Although sometimes I lost the faith, I kept praying and God answered my prayers. My brother has been “clean” for several years now. He has slipped up a few times but took the necessary steps to stay on track. I have faith that your prayers will be answered.

  11. melmanchua March 2, 2014 at 7:56 am #

    Thanks for sharing your experience.ike you, I know that not all people who use drugs will be addicts and that it’s possible for them to have an HEA. However, I also know that can go the other way. Thinking about you and your “Pax” and wishing you all the best. Hopefully, he can have his HEA, too.

  12. Erin M March 2, 2014 at 8:13 am #

    God is good. He will see you through it. I am a fan of your journeys and love reading them. Prayers for this are being said.

  13. Andi M. March 2, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your “Pax”. Unfortunately, I have intimate experience as a loved one of an addict. My son became an addict as a teenager. The pain and heartache it causes a family and the addict is enormous. In the darkest days of the addiction, it can be difficult to hope. You just can’t give up. After a hellish two years of multiple unsuccessful rehabs, my son is now on a positive path. I wish the same for you and “Pax.” Thank you for the HEA. Books were and are my escape when life is difficult.

  14. Devyn Dawson March 16, 2014 at 11:45 pm #

    I have had a Pax in my life too. Her addiction took her to places I’ll never understand. It was five years ago when she decided to smoke meth and ended up in the hospital giving birth. It wasn’t long before they realized she was high. Her baby was taken away from her before she couldn’t even cradle the baby in her arms, and her world flipped upside down when they took her other child too. Against all odds, she is now sober – a drug that owned her for 10 years has been beat. Happy ending do happen, and I pray your Pax finds his way. It’s hard to be private when we live in a social world and wow, I respect you for addressing this to your readers. I too have happy endings in my books, because we create a fantasy for the reader to escape reality for a minute or two. I for one love your fictional Pax! I’m praying for you all.

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