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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Answer to Anonymous

Dear Anonymous. Yep. You are right. And having been in this 'shitstorm' as you so aptly called it, I have done much studying. Here are my findings.

1. we tried to give our children everything we could, because we were good parents.

2. when problems arose, we tried to help them solve the problems, because that is what parents do.

3. our children were, almost all, the 'golden children'. they excelled at school, they excelled at friends, they did everything right and we were damn proud of them.

4. when the first major life challenge came, they didn't have the coping skills to face it.

5. they crawled into needles to avoid facing the problem.

Did we do anything wrong? No. Because most of us had other kids as well, and we did the same things.  It is just the personality of the particular child that led them to not face up to their issues/problems/challenges.

Can we change it now? Not so far as I have noticed. Once they become a proponent of what I call the religion of Victimology i.e. Nothing is EVER MY fault, it is the court's fault, the cops don't like me, the welfare office is not fair, I got fired for NO GOOD REASON, I can't get a job now I have a record, how unfair is that?, I can't get to work, because I dont' have a car (forgetting to mention they sold the car for drugs).....etc. they simply cannot arise above their own victimology and accept responsibility for their actions.

My daughter is like that after 12 years. My other kids are fine.

And yes, it changes you irrevocably. I have had to struggle mightily to remain loving, to laugh, to act like a normal person for the rest of the family. And, I am raising grandchildren now. That both helps, and doesn't help.

I live a lie daily. I smile for the camera's as it were while dying slowly inside. I feel rather like an emotional Marilyn Monroe. Perfect life on the outside, fractured existance at best on the inside.

AlAnon helped me for a bit. But, I did what I could, I took what I could use and left the rest.

Grief counseling helped the most. Grieving for the daughter I raised, my hopes and dreams never realized, but the daughter still walks around in that body. It is hard, but now to me, emotionally, my daughter is not alive. That helped me accept (as much as I can) what is left of my daughter and at least be civil to her.

I now have high blood pressure (go figure) and am post- 2 heart attacks. I now suffer from extreme anxiety and take medication for it. This for the woman they said "sailed through the murky waters of life like the QE II, weathering all storms with grace". HA! I say to that.

I now suffer from what I call "sensory overload". That is the time of day when (usually) I am cooking dinner, the little  kids want something, the phone rings (oldest daughter) and I usually get at least 2 texts from other kids and my husband calls in from the dining room wanting something.  I can't handle even that anymore. I can no longer "multi-task", it just takes too much energy to do so. I start shaking and my mind just seems to blank out and I want to lower myself to the kitchen floor, curl up in a ball and start crying uncontrollably.

But, I don't.

I will never be the same. It doesn't matter if you believe the addict is suffering from a disease or a bad choice. It still affects the family the same. It still rips you apart. You will always be Humpty Dumpty now. Looking down, you will find the odd piece of you laying on the floor, pick it up and put it back where it belongs, only to find another piece has popped off again.

the REAL victims of drug abuse. Those family members.

Peace be with you.


  1. One of my family members said MY addiction was the worst thing bar none to happen to THEM. They said that some years ago and it really made me think. Didn't make me stop using though. Probably made me use more, like all internal conflict did...

  2. @Gled. True that. We ALL look at life through the lenses of our own perception. My blog is about me, LOL, your blog is about you! I love reading your blog because it makes me understand the addict.

  3. My daughter's addiction is the worst thing that ever happened to me or my husband bar none. I think that most of us would say that.

  4. You are right Dawn, the victims of drug addiction are the loved ones of the addict.

    Very well said.

  5. Amen from me too. Its for sure the worst thing that has happened to me, and I've had some pretty serious stuff happen.

  6. Yes. You have encapsulated my frame of mind on any given day. And yes, worse as the day goes on. And sometimes I just impode or explode. This is the hardest and worst thing I have ever gone through. She is one year sober and I am grateful and I'm trying to focus on the positives. But I always fighting the urge to second guess, to be unable to find something that's gone missing, to steel myself for that phone call from jail (or worse!). Even our own spouses sometimes do not understand the toll this takes. I am not trying to be so sensitive or hyperreactive or emotional. It just is. I redirect my thinking when it becomes stinking, to the best of my ability. I am grateful for this blogging community that "gets it" because I have no one else who really understands.

  7. Well put Dawn and also I feel the same as "Her Big Sad" stated. More often these days I find myself isolating because others don't understand or really don't care to hear about my reality -living with an addict. Sad but true.
    As my grandkids near pre-teen I cringe because I have to wonder if that's when things started with my own kids. Was there a sign at that time that I missed with my kids? Then in my own sick mind I think I could never raise kids again or, help raise my grandkids because I failed as a parent the first time. I wouldn't want to be responsible for how someone turned out because I didn't get it right the first time. It doesn't matter how long you've been a parent of an addict, it's never easy. Thank you all for sharing your life with your blogs - it does help to know I'm not alone.

  8. Dear Dawn. that is my single biggest fear. Since I actually AM raising her children, and both their mother and father were/are heroin addicts....and I raised their mother....

    The only thing that keeps me halfway sane is that I have raised a total (I'm on #18) of a bunch of kids, some mine, most not, and out of all of them (16, 17, and 18 not yet raised completely...) only ONE turned to drugs. So maybe it WASNT me? The other kids all got together to tell my husband and I that it was not us. It was HER.

    That helped. ;) but..even with all that, I still worry.


  9. thank you for addressing my issue and validating my point. i'm trying to keep my feelings real and let me tell you i can bring down a families anon meeting like no one's business. like families that have to deal with a child dying from cancer i consider myself in the same boat only my kid refuses treatment that could save his life. try being 'normal' while living through that. i truly just want to be left alone. being fake happy is exhausting. i feel for you b/c of the grandkids, luckily i don't have any b/c i don't think i could do it. you are a good mom and a good gma, i know that rings hollow but that's how i see it.

  10. My son's addiction is one of the worst thing that has ever happen to me too. I hate the "faking happiness" thing! I am really bad at it. Oh and God if you are listening I really could not do this again with another child so please don't let my other children go there. AMEN!

  11. Wow Dawn I just posted about addiction and my younger son. I think I have been through my share of pain. But my sons addiction? Nothing compares to it.

  12. Oh Dawn, I disagree to an extent, but then I usually do. You know I respect you for what you have taken on. I suspect beneath it all, you have a heart of gold.

    Addiction is not the worst thing that could happen to me. I could have my kid die in my arms, waste away slowly and painfully from cancer, be handicapped and need 24 hour lifelong get the picture. Addiction is just the burden that God put upon my family, but at least there is hope that is will get better. I know someone who's entire life is consumed with taking care of a handicapped child, and she worries all the time who is going to do that when she dies.

    I pray for Calamity, and her beautiful children. There's a plan in all this. Here's hoping you see the plan before you go nuts..LOL

    Love ya, Lou

  13. PS I'm back.

  14. Wow I am shocked at your level of anger and unforgiveness.

    I am going to pray that Jesus heals your family,exspecially your daughter that is addicted.

    Myself I am a former drug addicted survival sex worker,my choice though.

    My family would always make excuses for my adiction,as a way for them to deal with it.

    Today I've been clean for 7 years and work with drug addicted mothers and their children in Vancouver,Canada.

    I was never around my family when I was using,I lived in another Canadian city.

    So I can't relate to this damage your daughter has casued in your life.

    I guess your anger has triggered me on how addicts are treated by family and society.

  15. Dear Anonymous. Shocked? Really? Maybe because when you were using, as you said, you didn't live around them.

    Your response triggered in me how the family and society are treated by ADDICTS. I mean for real. They steal from those that love them the most, they bring criminals into our lives, they take our money and our love and shit on us. Anger? Yeah. I still have some anger.

    But I can honestly say for 6 years, we paid for rehab after rehab, let her live with us, and did everything possible to allow her to find sobriety. So, my feelings are valid. After losing about a quarter of a million dollars, and seven years of pure hell on earth, yah.\

    and thank you for the prayers ;)

  16. Dear Anonymous #2,

    You are at the wrong blog if you are looking for sympathy. You have not walked in her shoes and she does not even pretend to have walked in yours. She is sharing her experience and her anger is real and she does not need to justify it here on her own blog. These are her words good, bad or indifferent.

  17. Dear Anonymous #2

    I am in a very similar situation to Dawn. I am raising my addicted dd's three children. She floats in and out of their lives leaving nothing but confusion and heartache. You can bet I am totally pissed at her and want nothing other than for her to just "go away".

    But the kids love their mommy. So I bite my tongue and allow visits when I know she isn't actively using. But even when she isn't using she's still shoplifting, lying, etc.

    How can you work with addicted mother's and not see the destruction they cause their families?

  18. @yaya. Anyone who hasn't walked in our shoes, sigh, they will never get it. I used to be somewhat sympathetic to the addicts back when. WAYYY back when.

    then, I realized, the only thing keeping an addict addicted is THE ADDICT.

    the family however, is left to deal with the fallout every single day of the year.

    I have realized that really, no one gets it unless they deal with the children of the addict on an hour by hour basis. Nothing against anyone who is the parent of an addict, they all suffer horribly too.

    but until you spend literally decades holding a suffering child, whether getting them through the first hours of their lives in heroin withdrawal, or sitting on the edge of the teenager's bed for hours every night while they cry their eyes out, or calling a case manager because you have a semi-psychotic pre-teen on your hands who is lashing out at you because you are the only safe person she has ever known...

    like I said, if you haven't raised the child of an addict, you don't have a CLUE what the real damage of addiction is.