Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Living with Addiction- A Mother's Tale

I have known addiction ever since I was a teenager. My brother was an addict who spent months in and out of rehab. centers. Every time he returned home, we held our breath in the hopes that this time he would stay sober. Often, we were disappointed. It wasn't until my parents told him he had to go to a rehab. and a halfway house out of state or he could no longer be a part of our family.

That was what stuck.

He lived in Omaha, Nebraska for a while, and then he moved to Louisiana for over year. We didn't see him but once during that time. By that point in time, I started to despise my brother. I hated all that he put our family through. I quit trying to understand the disease. I believe it was then that I started to distance myself from my family.

That was more than 25 years ago. My brother relapsed a few times, and still, I was angry- not sympathetic.

When I had my own kids, I prayed every single night that they would never know addiction- never have to fight the disease. I didn't tell them about their uncle until they were old enough to understand what I talking about.

Well, all the hoping and praying did me no good. I raised two addicts.

Right now we are at the beginning stages of the disease. I am doing all I can to help them fight the disease. Still, I am afraid every. single. day. I wonder if they will be alive when I see them next. I worry they will get in legal trouble. I question every choice they make.

With the deadly drugs so readily available to kids today, I fear that my sons will be curious enough to try one, and it will become a fatal mistake.

This experience has taught me that nobody is immune to addiction. Sure, certain people have a predisposition to the disease based on family history, but truly, addiction affects people from all walks of life. My husband and I did everything we could to shield our boys. We kept the lines of communication open; we tried to surround them with people who didn't use drugs; we loved them. In the end, it didn't matter.

As a mom of addicts, I have learned to understand Substance Abuse Disease in a way I never could before. For other families out there who are living with addicts, please know that you NEED to reach out to others. It helps; it really does.

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