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Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I am sorry to see Lou go. I am sorry to see Madison go. I am sorry that Alex relapsed, along with a few others. I am sorry Kel lost her son.

This whole effing heroin addiction thing is a journey for a parent. I am not here to talk about the addict at all, never have been.

This hard ass started out MY journey clueless. Stayed that way for a good long time. Didn't have A CLUE. None. Nada. Zippo.

thought the spoons disappearing was because I also had an 8 year old daughter who liked to dig in the yard LOL.

Thought the screens always being damaged was because of the cats.

Thought that HOPE was something I would always have.

Each of us walk our journeys in different cities, different communities, differing circumstances.

Some of us have chosen to direct our energies to the raising of the addict's children which, while extremely time consuming and difficult, is, I think, easier in that the grandchildren fill the void in our hearts left by the addict child. It's also much harder to obsess about ANYTHING in the world when you are surrounded by busy toddlers, or whining pre-teens. They do tend to fill your days with constant need for attention and direction.

I have been asked privately to explain something. So, I will try. My journey is pretty much over as far as my daughter is concerned. I deal with her in a civil manner. We see each other.

What I did was realize that my daughter's ESSENCE, her individuality that I had strived so hard to give her, the values that I had instilled in her as a child, the morals that I had raised her to believe in, were DEAD.

So I grieved. I went to grief counseling. I cried and cried for my little darling baby who was dead. I went through all the stages of grief, starting with disbelief, moving to anger, then negotiation with God, etc.

Finally, after a year, to me, my daughter was dead. I know this sounds strange. She still walks, and talks, and breathes.

but my heart is at peace because my grief is about 4 years post incident. I would say post death but since she really isnt dead yet, it would be weird.

She and her addiction were consuming me. Eating up my emotions like a termite feeding on an abandoned house.

I have four other children and now four grandchildren who needed/need me. I couldn't let myself be consumed by her addiction, even if SHE already was consumed by her addiction.

So, I stopped the consumption ON MY END. She has to stop the consumption ON HER END. But that is not my problem, it is hers.

My daughter is dead. I am sad, but okay. Her body lives on.

That's how I coped. I talk to the distant relative that seems to inhabit her body, but I no longer get the instant diarrhea when she calls. I no longer toss and turn all night with wondering is she dead or alive. I no longer dread phone calls. My panic attacks have almost disappeared.

My relationships with the other children are healthier. I smile more. I laugh. I go places and do things. My life is no longer controlled by someone else's addiction. I don't even blog that much.

My daughter's choice to become a heroin addict had nothing at all to do with me. It was ultimately, whether you are in the choice or disease camp, her issue. Just as a diabetic who won't take insulin can not be tied down and forced to do so, or just as a bi-polar individual cannot be forced to take their meds, it is THEIR issue.

It just no longer controls, or even seriously impacts my life.

I took control of my life back from the addiction of my daughter by grieving for the child I raised.

And that's just the way it is.


  1. I went through grief counseling and it was the best thing I could do for myself and my family. I am just starting to come out of the tunnel into the light of the living again. Such a sense of peace when can get there. Great post, much admiration for you!

  2. It took me a long time to see your logic, but now I totally understand it. There are two different people (addict and pre addict). If you picture them as separate entities it is much easier. I have not done the grieving part, but I am going to seek therapy. I would like to work through why it took me so long to accept reality.

    I recently read on an addict's blog how everyone else is the problem..ha,ha. I loved that you had the balls to dispute that, and left a comment to that effect.

    I'll be checking on you to see how the pints are doing. After Kel's loss, my heart just wasn't in the blogging anymore. I can't help but wonder who is next.

  3. Lou: For me, it was a story I used to tell the kids, when they had to do something they didn't want to do.

    Once upon a time there was a little boy who got a new puppy. The breed requirements insisted that the puppies tail be docked. The little boy didn't want to cut the puppy's tail off because it would hurt, so he told the vet to only cut off one inch, thinking that would be less than the whole tail. After that healed, the puppy went back and got another inch cut off, and then after that, another inch,......then I would explain to the children that if the little boy had simply had the puppies tail docked completely the first time, it would have saved the puppy and the little boy a lot of pain.

    finally, one day I realized I WAS THE PUPPY and my daughter was the little boy. I was allowing myself to be chopped up inch by inch.

  4. Dawn, I understand too. I've always admired you and KNEW you were doing what's best for you and the rest of your family. At first I didn't get it, now I view you as the mother that has been there, done it and is now an example to the rest of us when we get to that point that the addict has chosen heroin over everything else.

    I still have hope for my son because at the moment he seems to be doing good and he's still just a kid. But I know it can change in a second.

    What Lou said really got me - I've sometimes wondered the same thing "will I open up a blog today and read that one of us has lost a child?" Who's next? Its heartbreaking.

    I hope you keep writing. I'm in "denial" that Lou quit, but I understand her reasons now that I read what she said here :(

  5. I'm not at the place that you are in, although I am well aware that I could get there if he relapses and continues to lose.

    Your posts and your point of view is vital to someone like me because you give me a perception that I need to acknowledge and understand.

    Thank you for sharing.

  6. "What I did was realize that my daughter's ESSENCE, her individuality that I had strived so hard to give her, the values that I had instilled in her as a child, the morals that I had raised her to believe in, were DEAD."

    I get it Dawn. And over the past year, I've found myself facing the death of my daughter. Not her body, but as you say, her ESSENCE. I see glimpses of her, now and then, but they are coming further and further apart.

    I'm angrier this year. Sometimes a bit numb. I'm also more okay, in an inexplicable way. I'm more positive.

    It was kind of an eye opener not too long ago, when my husband and I were driving around taking care of some errands, and the conversation drifted to our daughter and in the space of two paragraphs, we planned her funeral. Nailed down where, who would speak, the church that would not be involved (due to some bad treatment we'd received there as a family when her addiction surfaced), and we then moved on to making sure I had put "inexpensive roast" on the grocery list so we could slow cook it, shred it, and mass produce DH's favorite beef enchiladas and freeze them for busy nights.

    It was just that surreal and matter of fact.

    I have not given up hope, or prayer, or my belief in the possibility of miracles. But I am stronger. I'll take that, for now.

    I hope you will continue blogging. Your viewpoint and your plain speaking are of enormous value to me.

    And prayers continue for you and the pints!

  7. Dawn - you are so courageous to tell your truth. It helps me to recognize and tell my own. However, I often am not sure what that truth is and/or it seems to change.

    I'm having difficulty maintaining hope for my daughter. I feel as if I've given up on her already, even though she's a relatively "new" heroin addict. I'm afraid to see her. I'm afraid to be around her and not know what's true or real. And my grief - my grief is already paralyzing. I get you. Thanks for being there.

  8. Dawn, Her Big Sad, Lou, Barbara. . . all of you, I respect each of you immensely for being transparent enough to share your lives and the truths you've learned along the way with others. You are all in my prayers,