A Mother Reflects on Her Daughter's Addiction
I clearly remember the day when I discovered that my daughter was using drugs.
I was devastated.
I was also filled with shame and confusion.
My daughter started out life as a typical little girl growing up in a suburban neighborhood.
She excelled in school, participated in all the normal school activities. She had many wonderful friends, a quick wit and fun sense of humor. It was during middle school that I noticed her grades had started to slip a bit.
The first two years of high school were smooth. She joined the water polo team, as well as the swim team and made some close friends. I felt that I knew her friends' parents, since most of the girls had grown up together.
During the last two years of high school things started to get a bit rocky. Not dramatically, but we noticed. She kept her curfew, many of her friends remained the same, although there were a few new ones that made me a bit curious and concerned.
Her father and I prodded her onward and encouraged her to do better, monitored her whereabouts and tried to be on top of all that was going on. Graduation came and went.
She was accepted to college in Colorado and I flew back with her one August morning, sending her off with the hopes and dreams of any parent.
Those hopes and dreams were dashed after her first semester, as she was soon on probation. After the second semester, she needed to attend the local junior college in order to return in the fall. But after the dismal fall semester of her sophomore year, college was over. She took a part time job washing dogs. But that soon fell apart as well.
I flew back to Colorado to see what I could do to help my daughter and find out what was going on. After a few days, she finally admitted to me that she was addicted to crystal meth.
She made a good choice that summer morning in Colorado -- she made the choice to come home with me. Her instincts told her it was time to make a change and find a better way to live.
Within one week she was on a plane to Utah to attend a Wilderness program for five weeks, and then on to Southern California where she was in treatment for another three months. She then lived in a sober living home for six months.
Her program included getting a job and/or attending college. She did both and graduated from a local state university in 2009. A part time job in a grocery store helped pay expenses while going back to school.
After leaving the program, she remained in southern California and has lived in apartments with amazing young women from her program. Several remain close friends. She worked full-time at the store until she found her present job in advertising.?She is now ready to come home to live closer to her family.
Being addicted is not what any mom dreams for her child. This is the last thing I expected. The emotional exhaustion sends you down a devastating path. It is a challenge to find your way back. The financial costs took my breath away.
As a parent, we had the weekly calls from the wilderness camp and received? the weekly reports from her treatment center. I tried counseling and Al-Anon in my efforts to find support.
As a mom, I thought about who I would tell and felt the shame of addiction. I also felt guilty, frustrated, angry and afraid.
Now as a young adult, my daughter has come full circle.?She has moved on with her life and doesn??t discuss her addiction often. She knows, however, that life can be hard due to poor choices and the disease of addiction. She also knows that there is always hope.?
We??ve both realized that our lives could change when we were ready to dig deep, overcome our fear and take on the challenge to begin again. My child made it to recovery and there is hope for your child too.
This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.