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.