I waited for change.
For years, I overtalked and undervalued myself. I allowed addiction to take control of my thoughts, my nights, my days, my home, and my health. Yet, I’ve never had an obsession with substance use. I never smoked one cigarette or used a pipe or needle. I drank excessively once at age 21- it never happened again! (Who needs that mess?)
I researched to learn about chronic substance use disorder, addiction, detox, and recovery. The numbers are staggering, and the statistics are grim. I tried to lift up and encourage by words, helping to pay bills, gas in cars or rides, food, and a home where a restart could happen. We only watched replays.
The situation escalated as police were called. The charges were filed. First came misdemeanors, followed by felonies. Then came hospital stays here and there, and they only amounted to more prescriptions to numb the underlying issues. Numbing the pain, memories, loneliness, and fear was the goal.
Time went on, and we experienced incarceration, probation, parole, and work release. I sat in court in one county and then another. I wanted to be present and show support, and I wanted to inspire and motivate.
“This is just a blink in your time.
These mistakes are not who you are.
You deserve to move past the destruction.
You are worthy of fresh starts and new beginnings. I love you.
On and on I went, fighting for you in whatever way I knew for restoration and recovery. I knew you could achieve both but needed the strength, and I learned too late that I couldn’t be that strength for you.
Years passed, and my tears stopped. That should have been my first clue. I felt defeated and carried deep shame because I failed to fix the brokenness. The guilt didn’t just weigh me down; it began to suffocate me.
“How did I let this happen? What did I do wrong? Am I being punished?” The questions were endless, with no answers.
When one death came, we feared the loss of our child would follow. When our other child disappeared at Thanksgiving, I didn’t sleep for days.
Fear held me captive. If my phone beeped, my heart fell. When a number I didn’t know called, I had to sit down. I was traumatized into thinking every contact that came through was a police officer, coroner, or hospital telling me my child was dead.
The panic attacks came late in the game, and the paralyzing alarm took my breath away. The stress I endured over the years has scarred my physical health for good.
When I came to the end of myself, I stopped holding on to hope in you and transferred it back to hope in Him.
Only in Christ can a parent live through the hell that is addiction. Finding myself at the foot of a bloodied cross, I found freedom. Jesus died for me, even in my sinful way of making my children an idol over Him. My power was never to save or fix you from yourself but to surrender to the one who fully saves.
Years have passed, over a decade. We have tasted the sweetness of recovery, but the bitter truth of active addiction pours down our throats. We are drained from the constant turmoil. We’ve stepped out, but our hearts remain linked with the destruction we watch unfold.
We no longer intervene. It’s your journey. Your choices, your consequences, and our sorrow. We still hope for a turnaround. We tell our grandchildren there is always hope that one day…
Then, I fall to pieces alone. The battle between fear and hope rages on. Questioning myself has no limits. What I believe one day, I doubt the next. Each day I have to bring myself back to Christ. To engage Him- and he meets me in the dark places of truth. Reminding me why I do what I do, say what I say, and feel how I feel. He is a good comforter and keeps me grounded in reality as He unravels the lies.
Satan is in love with addiction. He has used it to tear mothers and sons or daughters apart. He laughs in the center of addiction, taunting God’s child to stop- to enter withdrawals, all while convincing them they can’t handle the outcome. “You’ll be too sick; you may die.” He whispers relapse into a broken mind that craves escape. Evil speaks to the shattered soul of an addicted child, and it laughs at the damaged soul of a broken mother.
Where I stand, I am safe. My child is just beyond, in a place I can’t reach. She’s asked to come home without ever getting help, and the answer is no. “We will drive to another state to get you and take you to treatment.”
She refused. That option was ignored, like I never put it out there. “You’re leaving me here.”
No, we want to take you to treatment.
Our home is no longer an option.
We won’t ever live with addiction again.
The children will never live with addiction again.
The pain of these words haunts me every time I speak them. I survived once; I can’t do it again. I recovered what addiction had terrorized and broken. I am healed, and I choose to live free. I will not return to the horrors of living between addiction and recovery in my home.
But there’s still hope. Hope in healing, healthier choices, and stability. It takes work, commitment, and love for self, but it can be done.
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