Skip to Main Content

Just Dandy

Living with Heartache and Wishes

Published by Hazelden Publishing
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

Through her child’s addiction, a divorce, beginning a career at sixty, caring for aging parents, and facing her own old age alone, Sandra Swenson shares her heartache and her journey of courage, resiliency, and acceptance, inspiring us to believe that no matter what comes our way, it is possible to say we’re “just dandy” and (usually) mean it.

In the pages of Just Dandy: Living with Heartache and Wishes, Sandra shares her pain and struggles, strength and determination, as crises continue to unravel her world in unexpected ways. A voice for parents of children suffering with the disease of addiction, Sandra puts their thoughts and feelings into words in this inspiring book—bringing hope, perspective, sanity and empowerment to moms everywhere.

About The Author

Sandra Swenson is the mother of two sons—one of whom struggles with addiction. Author of The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction, Tending Dandelions: Honest Meditations for Mothers with Addicted Children, and Readings for Moms of Addicts app, Sandra lives in the place where love and addiction meet—a place where help enables and hope hurts. Sandra is a voice for parents of children suffering with the disease of addiction, putting their thoughts and feeling into words. Her latest project is, an easy-to-navigate hub connecting moms who have children with addictions to a world of help, hope, perspective, sanity, and empowerment. Sandra lives in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota. When she isn’t writing or traveling to speak with other parents coping with the disease of addiction in their family, Sandra enjoys gardening, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Hazelden Publishing (November 24, 2020)
  • Length: 240 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781616498832

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

"Sandy Swenson is a gifted writer! She knows how to tell a story that holds your interest and keeps you coming back for more. Tending Dandelions is Sandy’s story, from her son Joey’s addiction to her divorce to her various moves to recreate her new life. Too she is helping her parents through their transition to needing more care. Through it all, Sandy stays strong, putting one foot in front of the other, maneuvering herself through the turmoil. Other moms will relate to all that Sandy is going through, her pain, her resilience, and her efforts to move forward in positive ways."

– Cathy Taughinbaugh, Parent Coach, Creator of Regain Your Hope online course

"In her fourth book, Just Dandy, Sandy Swenson once again brings her poignant voice to the written word as she chronicles her journey to “self” and to fulfilling her mission, purpose and passion to help moms of children with addiction."

– Lisa Frederiksen, Author of "The 10th Anniversary Edition If You Loved Me, You’d Stop!” and Founder of

"While reading “The Joey Song”, I thought,“This woman has peeked in my windows”. This newest book “Just Dandy”, shares a deeper look into her life; it’s struggles and pain. Sandy is a woman whose trials and pain have graced her with strength to become a support for so many!"

– Kim Palmer ~ a fellow mom of an addicted son.

"Sandra Swenson has written a book about the transformation of pain and loss through grace and hard work into a beautiful service to others. She tells her story with candor and humility, including the lessons she learned along the way. Highly recommended!"

– Tim Portinga, PsyD LP, Manager of Mental Health and Family Program at Hazelden Betty Ford Plymouth.

"Just Dandy is a story of betrayal, recovery, deep grief, profound healing, loss, uncertainty, undying love, unimaginable possibility, and eternal hope all wrapped up in one exquisitely written book. It offers hope that pain isn’t forever, pain isn’t the end, and pain can be transformed into something beautiful."

– Barb Klein, author of 111 Invitations: Step into the Full Richness of Life

"Sandra Swenson nailed it again! Just Dandy presents a window into her life story of vulnerability and surviving what feels overwhelming – addiction, divorce, aging parents, empty nesting, loneliness – transforming heartache and loss into purpose and intentional living. It offers a path toward healing and hope for individuals and families living in chaos."

– Anita Bont, LMFT, LADC, Manager of Family Program and Spiritual Care, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation – Center City

"Sandra lets us into her home and her heart. A bold battle cry for mom‘s, wives and daughters reminding us that we are not alone. She brings us to a place where love, grief, hope and heartache meet."

– Kelly Ryan, MA, LAADC Supervisor of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundations, Family Program.

"Sandy Swenson’s book Just Dandy is a wise and intimate portrayal of navigating life’s unexpected challenges. With warmth and humor, she reminds us that even when a child’s addiction is consuming all our attention, life is often about starting over – and then starting over again. Inspiring!"

– Beverly Conyers

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Sandra Swenson