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Addiction Awareness - A Mother's Journey to the Center of Hell

Created by Sherri McDonald

Addiction Awareness - A Mother's Journey to the Center of Hell

In January 2009 I watched my 18 year old daughter's life begin to spin out of control. She gave birth to her son in January, and within 2 months of his birth her and his Father began to fall apart, it was apparent that their relationship was very violent and dysfunctional. She had gotten financial aid to attend college, she was working part time, and then landed a decent full time job at a prominent dental office as a Steri-Tech, making decent money for her age and was taking some part time college classes. As she continued to hold onto this unhealthy relationship, things slowly began to go from bad to worse. She became very irresponsible, she was constantly asking me for money, and was unable to make her paycheck last from week to week? As I began to question her mood swings and bad choices, I also was able to access her bank account as my name was on it as well, and it was apparent she was taking large cash withdrawals, with nothing to show for it. She became very beligerant towards my questioning of her, and then I started seeing the signs of drug abuse. It started with a call from my Grandson's other Grandmother telling me she had seen text messages and that the two of them were messing with prescription pain pills, that she was sure Jayden's father was selling them as well. I kept thinking to myself, she is going to get past this, it is typical and she is still very young. I was in denial, and she was in even bigger denial. She denied having any kind of problem with pills, it was also becoming increasingly obvious that she was lying about a lot of things. I never noticed her being high, I wasn't sure what I was looking for, she had severe mood swings and always needed money, then became angry and beligerant if she wasn't given what she wanted. The violent relationship with Jayden's father continued, my husband (her step-father) and I struggled with how to get her away from him, she was quickly becoming a very good manipulator and skilled liar, although mostly I could see through her lies. Its amazing what a drug addict will come up with to get money, and you start to question your own sanity because you know there is something wrong, but they are so convincing. My grandson began to be a victim of the violent relationship, and the drug addiction, he was put into several dangerous situations because of this nightmare. By January of 2010 just after his first birthday I could take no more, she was admittedly addicted to opiates at that point, but was refusing treatment, she thought she could stop whenever she wanted. After a chaotic morning at home with her, trying to take her son out of the house into what was another bad situation, I sprang into action. I refused to let her take him, she then began her violent rampage on everyone in the house, trying to rip him from my arms, taking a swing at me while he was in my arms. My husband took her out of the house, I locked the doors at which point she began kicking by sliding glass doors to get back in. She was completely out of control and I had no choice but to call the police. Once they arrived, she of course got in check, but she had already had several domestic disturbances with her son's father, so they were well aware of what was happening with her. The officer told me based on what I told him, that it would be in my best interest to file a protective order against her on her son's behalf. She took Jayden and went to a friends, as I had no choice but to let her take him at that point. I went straight to the commissioner's office and filed a protective order against her and on behalf of her son. Thank God for being with me that day, as I was granted temporary physical custody of him. We went to court and the judge saw fit to grant my order and give me temporary physical custody of Jayden for one year. She was ordered to rehab and we would modify the court order so that she could visit with Jayden under my supevision. She moved in with her Father, which turned out to be another fatal mistake as he is a severe alcoholoic and never really played a positive role in her life. She signed up for IOP classes at Walden Sierra in Charlotte Hall, MD and began making positive steps towards recovery. After 3 months, I allowed her to come back home thinking we had kicked this habit. I was very NAIVE when it came to addiction. She came home in April 2010, in May of 2010 she was with Jayden's father, they had Jayden with them when she got into an altercation with a couple she had problems with in high school. I think if my daughter had been completely clean and in the right frame of mind this may have never happened, but it did and it was the beginning of a complete downward spiral into hell for our family.

She was assualted by a young man, he was 6'4 weighed 235 lbs compared to her 5'4 112 lb frame. He punched her in the face one time, knocked her unconscious in a parking lot in front of her son, while his father sat there and did nothing to come to her aid. When I got the phone call, I had just come out of Walmart, I had a trunk full of groceries and found myself doing 90 miles an hour to get to her as she was 30-40 minutes away. When I arrived, there were police cars, ambulances, the first thing I saw was my 17 month old Grandson being held by his Father, as I approached him, his little arms flew out to me and he began to sob. I walked to my daughter's car where she paramedic's had a neck brace on her and were holding her head into place as the police officers were questioning her. It was apparent that she was not very coherent, so I insisted that they do their questioning at the hospital as all I could see was blood on her face. I called my stepdaughter, as I arrived in her driveway with my groceries and Jayden, her and her husband grabbed all the refrigerator stuff from my trunk, as I tried to pass Jayden to her, he literally grabbed onto me for dear life, screaming. He was obviously traumatized by what had happened, but I had to leave him and go to her. The injuries she sustained were 3 fractured bones in her face, she was sent to Washington Hospital Center trauma unit as they thought they may need to do surgery to repair the orbital bone fracture. We were eventually sent home, and I spent 3 days watching my daughter vomit uncontrollably and in horrible pain, we also had the pleasure of being served at 1:00 a.m. with a protective order from the guy who assaulted her. He apparently was released as there were mutliple witnesses who stated she was the aggressor in the argument that led to this assault. When I realized this travesty had occured I called the supervisor in charge of the office and had it recified immediately. Apparently, they did not realize how serious her injuries were. He was charged with 2nd degree, yes you heard me correctly second degree assault and given a court date. My daughter ended up back in St. Mary's Hospital, and eventually back to Washington Hospital Center where they discovered her brain was bleeding in the frontal lobe. Her treatment was round the clock morphine, delauded, and a multitude of opiates along with anti seizure and many other prescription medications. When she was finally released, she was home on bed rest and it was obvious she was not the same girl, she was suffering from severe headaches, short term memory loss and just unable to process any kind of instruction. She had a long road to recovery.

Within 2 months of her being home, it became very apparent that she was heavily using in addition to the meds I was keeping under lock and key that she had been prescribed. I had to make her leave at that point to get help. She checked into a rehab, spent 4 days and left, she went back to her Dad's to live trying to convince me that she had it under control. This continued for the remainder of the year, it finally escalated to the point where she was completely out of it both mentally and physically. I was able to get her into a rehab facility in Virginia where she spent 3 weeks because of course insurace decides how much time they should be in an inpatient facility. I thought we had finally gotten over the hump, I had what I thought was a great plan set up, when she left the facility she was going to stay with a long time family friend who had known her and babysat her all through her childhood. The counselor kept telling me she needed to go to a halfway house, but I thought I knew better. She lasted 6 days at our friends house and relapsed into complete oblivion. Eventually in 2011 she started getting into trouble with the law, she racked up 6 driving on suspended's and was arrested on drug and shoplifting charges 6 times in a 3 month period. I went to her second or third hearing, as she was getting lots of little slaps on the wrist, she allowed me to speak on her behalf as she thought it would help her case, I was able to convince the judge that she was a danger to herself and others at this point and that I had the resources, but needed her to court order her into rehab and make her consequences more severe. That was our saving grace, on February first she entered Pathways in Annopolis, MD, she spent 3 weeks there and then onto a halfway house in Laurel, MD for an additional 4 months. She came back home with me in July of 2012, during her out of control time I was able to get fully legal and physical custody of Jayden to ensure his safety. I watched my daughter that I loved, raised with morales and values, held her hand and taught her to look both ways before crossing the street become and emply shell of her former self. She had no conscious, she stole from me, her son and anyone that helped her during her addiction.

She has been sober since February 2012, she has had a few minor slips along the way, but continues to move forward every day trying to reclaim her life. She is in school for hair design, she works part time on week-ends. She has not done everything by the book, but she has managed to turn herself around drastically. She was also diagnosed as bi-polar and takes medication and sees a counselor. She still has a long way to go, but if she keep looking ahead and never back, and she never forgets how close she came to losing it all, it is my greatest hope that she will be a true inspiration to others fighting this horrific disease of addiction. Thank you for letting me put it out here, and she is happy to share with anyone in need of encouragement that there is hope, she never thought she could walk away, but she did and every day, she remembers where she has come from. God Bless and Amen


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.

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