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Biography & Autobiography Personal Memoirs

Here With You

A Memoir of Love, Family, and Addiction

by (author) Kathy Wagner

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Sep 2023
Personal Memoirs, Addiction, Death, Grief, Bereavement
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price

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The powerful story of a mother’s struggle to save her son from addiction—and the strength and hope for change that she found in her grief.

When the author’s son, Tristan, began experimenting with drugs at the age of fourteen, Kathy Wagner told herself it was just a phase. But by the time he was fifteen, she had to face the gravity of Tristan’s addiction. Unable to get him treatment without his consent, she did everything else that she could to try to save her child, from sending him to China to study kung fu with Shaolin monks, to signing him up for culinary school, to paying for his drugs in an attempt to keep him safe.

When Tristan finally began his recovery journey, six years later, Wagner was unexpectedly thrown onto her own recovery path. Learning from other parents of children struggling with addiction, she began, for the first time, to live for herself. But soon her oldest daughter needed help for her own addictions, and Tristan struggled with relapse, eventually dying by accidental fentanyl overdose.

After Tristan’s death, Wagner struggled to find herself without him and travelled the world to be alone with her pain. But she soon realized that to truly heal, she needed to come home to her family, and herself, in all their messy wonder. Told with compassion and insight, Here With You is a story about how addiction tore a family apart and how they came back together through shared love and a deep commitment to learning a better way. Timely and honest, it will resonate with those struggling with substance abuse, their families and anyone who wants to better understand the impact of the current drug toxicity crisis.

About the author

Kathy Wagner is the mother of three grown children, including her son Tristan who died from fentanyl poisoning in August 2017. Since that time, Kathy has actively advocated for improved access to quality addiction recovery services and was a peer support group facilitator for Healing Hearts Canada. Her interviews have appeared on CBC’s The National, the Vancouver Sun and many local newspapers and radio shows.

Kathy has published personal essays in the New York Times and The Globe and Mail, and was awarded a position at The Banff Centre for the Arts summer writing retreat in 2019. She is an experienced public speaker and has presented to large audiences at numerous conferences in a professional capacity.

Kathy’s wish is to bring hope to parents who are lost in the darkness of their child’s addiction or are struggling with a child’s drug-related death. She currently lives in the Metro Vancouver area.

Kathy Wagner's profile page