The choices of drug addicted loved ones impact their families as a local couple learned after their smart, beautiful daughter began using drugs.
They drug abuse came to the fore in the months after the girl’s favorite grandmother – who lived with the family – died during the girl’s senior year of high school.
“The one person she trusted more than anybody else was gone,” her mother recalls. “She was a good student and all the sudden she was numb. She really did not care if she graduated any more. We thought she had ‘senioritis.’ We thought it was her grandmother’s death.” They thought they could help her.
They did find a special program which allowed the girl to finish school.
“My husband and I did not want to admit this was happening,” the mother said. But, when her daughter did not come home for several days, she searched the girl’s room for drugs – and found nothing.
She asked a recovering addict to search the room. The former addict zeroed in on drug abusers’ favorite hiding places and pulled out swabs, Q-tips, aluminum foil, needles and broken light bulbs – the stash of a methamphetamine user.
When the graduate returned, she was “more angry that we went through her room, than that we found out she was an addict. She refused treatment.”
In the subsequent months, the family stood by as the young woman dipped in and out of drug abuse including the agonies of detoxification – in jail, in the hospital or at home – where she caused utter chaos. “My son – who was five or six years-old at the time – would hide behind chairs,” her mother said.
Only for an unplanned pregnancy did the young woman cease her drug abuse. Three weeks after the child’s birth, she returned to the drug scene.
When she was home, “she pitted family member against family member. If our marriage had not been as strong as it was, we would not have survived. We eventually had to escort her out of our home,” her mother recalled.
An overdose sent her to the emergency room. She refused to consider the prescribed treatment – a rehabilitation center. The ER personnel could not transfer her there unless she threatened herself or others. In her drug induced rage, she screamed she would kill herself if they put her in a center.
“Bingo! We had her saying she would kill herself,” her mother recalled. The police took her in handcuffs to the psyche ward.
She banned her parents from visiting her and would only see her drug dealer/boyfriend.
Her mother stood helplessly outside the locked ward wanting to know what was happening to her child.
“There were police officers and other parents out there. I saw this loud speaker they used to talk with the people behind the door. I grabbed it and announced, ‘My child is in there. She is over 18 and she will not allow me to come back to see her or let me know what has happened. But that guy … her drug dealer/boyfriend ,’ I pointed at him as he walked by, ‘is allowed to see her and be part of her care. He will be trying to get her out and back into drugs. But, when they find her body alongside the road, I will be the one who will have to identify her and make the final arrangements.’ I stopped talking and people started clapping and hollering.”
Having vented her frustration with the system, the addiction, the harsh reality of watching an adult child throw away her life, the mother set out to deal with the situation.
She learned that meth addiction causes irreparable damage to the brain – “and we are the ones expected to take care of the addict for the rest of their lives, but we are not allowed to get them help to prevent it from happening.”
In time she counted the cost of the downward spiral of addiction on the rest of the family.
“Addiction is my daughter’s choice, but my choice is that I will not be around her and be part of her addiction. I will not enable her addiction,” her mother declared. She practices ‘tough love’ and chooses to be part of her daughter’s life only when she is not embracing the addiction.
It was a hard decision to make, but for the sake of her marriage, her son and her grandchildren, it was the only way to survive the quagmire of drug addiction.