To all mothers out there who are dealing with a child with an addiction, my heart goes out to you. I have three children, all who have addiction — two to heroin and one to opiate pills. All three are in recovery, but the fear stays with me.
Every second of my life for many years was spent wondering if I would get the horrific phone call that one of my children addicted to heroin had overdosed and not made it.
I spent many sleepless nights crying with worry. The next day, I would try to get through the day without letting my coworkers know I’d lost sleep or that I was worried if my children were alive.
I developed a check-in system. Each day, I would text them, “I love you.” When they texted back, “I love you too, Mom,” I knew they were alive in that moment.
With addiction, it’s one second at a time. I hid how much I hurt because I had to be strong to get the rest of the family through the heartache.
I would watch them nod off, not even finishing the sentence they started. I watched forks fall out of their hands when eating. They lost jobs, hated me for calling the police for welfare checks, got arrested on drug offenses.
I told them they could hate me that day and it was OK. The day one of them couldn’t hate me anymore would be the day I was attending my child’s funeral. I said they would love me again someday.
I knew it wasn’t my child talking, it was the drugs. I promised I would never give up praying they would seek help.
My kids say they had everything they needed growing up — school, church, homework help, and encouragement. We stood with them through the pain of addiction, our hearts broken, to be the most loving parents we knew to be.
I encourage parents whose children are dealing with addiction to love their children, never to turn their backs on them. Love, but never enable. It may take many…