A Mother Who Understands Addiction in The Family

by | Apr 30, 2015 | Addiction | 15 comments

addiction in the famiy

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Hi Everyone –

This is a message for all of you Moms and Dads out there who have just discovered that your son or daughter is an addict.  I know – you are beyond scared; actually, terrified is a much more accurate word.  I have been down the same road, for over five years now, that you are just beginning. I thought it might be comforting, and maybe helpful, to hear a little bit about my own experiences with addiction in the family. I also have just a few suggestions as you begin what will be, although you may not realize it yet, a life-long process, both for you and your beloved child. You can alleviate stress and get your family back from the grips of addiction.

The Mother of an Addicted Son

First, just a little bit about me.  I have two of the best sons in the whole wide world.  Really.  My eldest, Sam, now age 25, is an addict who started using during his teen years, I suspect just like many of your children.  He is an especially charming, exuberant, intelligent, loving kid. I love him beyond reason. You all know that feeling when they are first born, that feeling that you would do anything for them? That they are just so beautiful and special and perfect, and you are afraid from the minute they take that first breath that something might hurt them? Well, as you all know that feeling only grows with time, no matter how they behave, and no matter how big they get, and it certainly doesn’t stop when you find out your child is an addict. Anyway, we suspected something had gone very wrong with Sam for a long time, years in fact, before we knew – officially – that he was addicted to opiates.  His behavior became increasingly erratic, and he began asking for money for all sorts of bizarre reasons. We took him from doctor, to therapist, to psychiatrist, not really knowing exactly what the problem was, although of course we already strongly suspected drugs were involved.  Then, he stole, things he knew were terribly valuable, and which had sentimental value – from me and other family members, and I’m sure others, and ran away, only to return and finally admit he had a serious drug problem.  And so our journey began.

We Took Addiction in the Family Seriously

We initially took him to a local hospital for detox, from which he tried to escape, and then finally arranged to send him to a drug rehab down in Florida.  That is one of scariest things you can do as the parent of an addict – to send your child away, to people you don’t know, and maybe have never met, and to literally put your child’s life in their hands.  Anyway, Sam went from that rehab, to a stint in homelessness, back to rehab, to sober living, to relapse, then on to an arrest, jail, more detox, a suicide threat, another drug rehab, and finally a year in sober living. Now the good news:  he will be celebrating four years of being clean this April. I thank God every day, for helping him to maintain his sobriety.  I am beyond proud of him – for his courage, and honesty, and strength and his continued efforts to maintain his sobriety and to help others with the same disease. And I am afraid, every day, that he might relapse again.  And every time he calls me, even with good news, I still, just for a second, wonder: Is he okay?  Does his voice sound different?  Is he stressed?  Is he maybe using again?  Am I crazy to think these things?

You May Have a Similar Story…

I know my story sounds familiar – you have probably gone through many of the same horrific experiences that we did, or maybe even worse.  And now you have discovered your child is an addict, and you don’t know what to do next.  I don’t have all the answers, by any means, but here are a few thoughts on how to deal with addiction in the family:

  1. You are not alone – I know – it feels that way, especially right now.  So first thing – join a support group.  There are so many great ones out there.  I attended AL anon meetings, and met many brave, loving parents. At those meetings I found myself surrounded with, and comforted by, others who were going through similar experiences, and many them knew about some tremendous resources out there. There are also many such groups on the Internet – The Addict’s Mom, addictsmom.com, is one great example.
  2. This is really important – In our experience, your addicted child will do best if he or she gets completely away from his or her current environment, at least for now.  Do your homework, and find a good, reputable rehab facility, preferably in a location away from home.  Amethyst Recovery is a great place to start looking.
  3. This is the hardest, most gut-wrenching thing of all – You cannot heal your beloved child from this horrific disease. You have absolutely no control over whether they use, or not. And if you love them, you may have to allow them to fail, to relapse, to risk death, without intervening.  And you will not be able to do this alone, so please, please, get help from some of the reputable, experienced professionals out there.
  4. Be good to yourself – You are a good person and a good parent. You did not cause this disease, and you will need just as much help as your child in order to make it through this journey.  You will experience heartache, and terror, and hope and joy and anxiety, of course all the while continuing to love beyond reason your beautiful child.

 

My thoughts and prayers are with each one of you as you start down this road.

With Love,

Laurie Kesaris

15 Comments

  1. Lisa

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Melissa

      Thank you for sharing your story. I had the privilege to meet Sam when he was here in Md. with Ian. My son is in recovery in Florida and just celebrated a year clean in April. That fear of relapse never goes away. Naranon has helped me tremendously in realizing I could not help my son. I too thank a God every day for my wonderful,loving son!

      Reply
      • Laurie Kesaris

        Dear Melissa,
        Thank you so much for your kind comments. It s always so nice to hear that someone was touched by Sam’s story. And of course I am really glad you got to meet Sam and Ian when they were here in Maryland! What a true blessing that your son just celebrated a year of being clean. Many prayers to you, your beautiful son, and your entire family as all of you continue down the road of recovery.
        Laurie Kesaris

        Reply
    • Ida Shinder

      Kudos and thank you. This site is taking such a wonderful direction. Gods blessings

      Reply
      • Laurie Kesaris

        Dear Ida,
        Thank you so much for writing, and for your very kind words about my article and this website! Wishing many blessings for you as well,

        Best wishes,
        Laurie

        Reply
  2. Kathleen Kiefer

    My son passed away as he slept on 3-1-2010 ( he was 23 years old) from Oxycontin 30mg and Xanax 2mg. His body just forgot to breath. I thank God her was home in his bed and not under a bridge somewhere. Where no one knew who he was. The problem is we have no help for they young people that these doctors get addicted and can get off the stuff or Gov turns a blind eye while big pharmacy get rich. They were treating my son originally for a lower back and neck problems that were a true fact. He player Hockey, soccer and a lot of contact sports always on all Star teams. Instead of treating him with PT they treated him with 60mg of Soma to start that turned into 120 – 30mg of Oxycontin plus Xanax 2mg bars eventually all to hook him in.

    I was able to get there DEA taken away and also the pharmacist in the office. Owner lost the business. BUT IT DID NOT BRING MY SON BACK :'( I hope, I pray that a few were saved by getting the clinic closed.

    Reply
    • Laurie Kesaris

      Dearest Kathleen –
      Thank you very much for writing. I am so incredibly sorry to hear about your beautiful son. What a horrible tragedy. So many young people are dying from this horrific disease, and as you pointed out, there are still way too many doctors who over-prescribe addictive opiate and benzodiazepines.
      My heartfelt thoughts and prayers to you and your family —
      Laurie Kesaris

      Reply
  3. Treasa

    Thank you for articulating exactly the life and feelings of a mother with an addict. After 6 months of watching my daughter relapse several times and struggle to stay sober, I just pray for 30 days clean. She is almost there once again but this time she has made huge changes in her life. I have learned through Alanon how to detach with love and that I can be more helpful if I take care of myself first. As a mother, it feels selfish at times, but it does help both her and I. I love my daughter and hate that she has this disease, just as any mother would with a child that has a chronic disease!

    Reply
    • Laurie Kesaris

      Dear Treasa,
      Thank you so much for your very kind comments. You are absolutely right — It is gut wrenchingly difficult to detach with love from your child, I know all to well. So glad you are being helped by Alanon. I hope and pray your beautiful daughter continues to be successful in her recovery.
      Best wishes to you, your daughter, and your family —
      Laurie Kesaris

      Reply
  4. Belinda Bradbeer

    Thank you for your story Laurie it sounds identical to mine except my son is 15 months clean today. His use was only a year.
    He too
    Is in Fl and has not been home since I sent him there in Nov 2013. We don’t talk about h coming home, I go visit him twice a year.
    He manages a sober home and works at a rehab as a tech.
    I felt and feel everything you described above.
    My sons addiction brought me to create clean start help for addicts and families of addicts.
    I send most to FL. Some make it there and some continue to be enabled and end back home.
    God bless you
    Belinda Bradbeer

    Reply
    • Laurie Kesaris

      Dear Belinda,
      I am so very grateful for your comments, and to hear about your beautiful son. Fifteen months clean and working in the rehab field — how wonderful, for him, and you, and your entire family!
      Many prayers and blessings to all of you as you continue in your recovery —
      Laurie Kesaris

      Reply
  5. Lisa

    My son is begging for help, but I am tapped out on money. He has TriCare Insurance, through his active duty military estranged wifes. I have been dealing with this for 15 years. His brother, younger, is i. Prison…drugs also. I am heart sick. Pleas pray for my two sons…,

    Reply
    • Laurie Kesaris

      Dear Lisa,
      Thanks very much for writing. I suggest you try contacting the Amethyst staff at the main number listed on this website — they may be able to direct you and your son toward some treatment options. Many prayers being sent for both of your sons, and for you.
      Best wishes,
      Laurie

      Reply
  6. Shelly

    Hello. I am new to this whole scene. I never thought in a million years that I would have a child addicted to anything…
    But I do. And I guess it’s been going in for a while…shame on me.
    My son is currently using prescribed Soma and Xanax….he has manipulated his doctor into prescribing him these medications….he mixes them and becomes this walking zombie…unable to speak or walk… He then tells me that I am over reacting because “he is prescribed” these meds….trying to convince me that since the doctor says it’s ok, then it must be ok.
    Claims that the loss of thought, and unsteady walking are “simply side effects”
    I’ve been reading everything I can on the Internet about addiction….I’ve even gone to NAR-ANON meetings trying to find support and some answers.
    I see so many posts from other mothers who are able to detach with love….and right now I feel extremely guilty because all I can feel is anger. I am so mad.
    I am mad at his doctor….I am mad at his girlfriend….I am mad at myself for not seeing the warning signs before now….and I am mad at him for being in denial!
    I don’t know what to do.
    I’m beyond scared…..and I sit here knowing full well he is upstairs in his bedroom with his girlfriend, sloppy stupid on his cocktail of medications.
    Yes. He still lives here at home with me. He just turned 23.
    I knew he was depressed all last year….he refused to seek therapy….and in my mind, I figured it was just a phase, because at 22 I had no idea what to do with my life either….so I just supported him and told him that one day things would just come together and everything would all work out….I knew, from my own experience that any added pressure to an already depressed state would only cause more stress and anxiety.
    Almost three months ago he came to me and asked what I thought he should do….so together we went online and found several job postings that appealed to him.
    Of course, because my son IS a terrific, loving, smart and determined human being, he was hired on the spot at a very high paying Union job. We were both thrilled. Me, because I wanted him to succeed and notice within himself all the greatness that I knew he had to offer and BE.
    Well….he went to work every single day, 10 hour shifts m-sat….they were/are basically paying him mega dollars TO LEARN. He had/has it all, handed to him on a gold platter….and he knew it. He boasted and bragged about how they called him the “golden child” and “the chosen one”.
    And then a week before memorial day his live in girlfriend accused him of cheating on her and from that point until today he has maybe worked a total of 30 hours.
    Leaving early, not going in at all…..etc….
    I am surprised they have not let him go….yet.
    He really is a remarkable young man, so I am assuming that they are hopeful he will pull out of this “funk”.
    They however are not aware of what he does once he gets home.
    Soma-coma…..
    And I sit here and type away to complete strangers because I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO.
    Do I raid his room and remove all of his drugs?
    Do I contact his doctor?
    Do I kick him and his girlfriend out?
    Do I kick out only his girlfriend?
    The more I talk about his overuse of drugs, the more defensive he becomes….
    He in no way thinks he has a problem.
    Can ANYONE help guide me in one direction or another?
    I am lost.

    Reply
    • Laurie Kesaris

      Dear Shelly,
      First I am so very sorry to hear what you and your son are going through. The disease of addiction is horrific, and affects not only the addict, but each and every member of the entire family. I wish I had all the answers to your excellent questions. Instead, I am going to offer a couple of suggestions and resources that I an confident will give you the information and tools you need to figure out the answers that are best for you and your family. First, please please keep going to Nar Anon meetings. They are an invaluable source of support and information, and will help to educate you on the dynamics within families suffering from addiction.
      Second, please order and read this book:
      http://nar-anon-webstore.myshopify.com/collections/books-booklets/products/sesh-sharing-experience-strength-hope
      Finally, I invite you to join our moms’ group on Facebook, which provides information and support to family members with addicted loved ones. It is called the Amethyst Recovery Moms’ Corner. It is a closed group, which means anything you share there will be kept private, within the group only. Just go to the group page and click to request to join. One of the admin team will then approve you.
      Many prayers and best wishes for you and for your son.
      Laurie Kesaris

      Reply

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