When Ashley was home, we talked about the number of clients and recovering addicts she knows who feel abandoned by their families. Family members who know their child is gripped by the tentacles of addiction and choose to ignore it and turn their backs as if by doing so will make it go away. Or force their loved one to stop using. I am telling you, “THAT WILL NOT WORK!”
What it will do is reinforce the addict’s feelings of worthlessness. It will not stop the desperate search for drugs, a time when they will go anywhere or do anything to get that next fix. Lying, stealing, loving a drug more than anything else will not dissipate because they feel abandoned. The tentacles will wrap themselves tighter and tighter around your child’s body until they feel there is no other way out but to shoot up in hopes of feeling some release. The drug will make them feel like they have never felt before and each time that euphoria releases and the feelers start capturing their prey again. That prey is your child.
Truest me, the very last thing I wanted to believe was that my child was an addict. Images of homeless young women searching for drugs on the street, selling their bodies and soul for drugs played like a horror movie in my head. I only knew that the person Ash was on drugs was not really her. It was almost as if she were possessed. And she was. When you know how much your child loves you and can still tell you that a drug can gain control so that their love is the drug, that is possession.
If you are thinking that by ignoring this, or telling your child, “If you loved me, you would not do this”, you are wrong. They do love you. They will continue using it until they find help.
You can help. Let your addict know that you love them no matter what. You may not like the behaviors exhibited, you will cringe when you see their body wasting away until they look like death walking, and you willhate the fact that your thoughts go to planning their funeral. But you will still love the person who is your child. The child who you once could solve all problems for, the one who cuddled in your lap as you read stories, whose first day of school tore your heart out, and the bullies you wanted to throttle when they went after your child.
Love them. Educate yourself. Whether you do this online, in meetings, through books, talking to addicts, please educate yourself. You are doing nothing to help your child by thinking this is a phase or it is not really a disease, it is a choice. Many will want to argue that it is a choice every time a needle is drawn and plunged. I am telling you, that is not a choice made by your child but by the disease of addiction.
I have found that by visiting with recovering addicts and talking with Ashley have been the catalyst for me to research further. Documentaries on the opioid crisis have convinced me we need to do something as a society to bite into the brain of this octopus likeintruder much as we have with other diseases.
Parents, please. Love them. Support them in efforts for recovery. Educate yourself. Do not be ashamed of them. Let your voices be heard. It is difficult if you are a private person who does not want others to know or judge you or your child. The empowerment I felt when I began stating that my child is an addict was the scariest. It became so much easier from there to share and I have found nothing but support for my daughter, me, and my family.
Just had to get this off my mind.
Love you Ash. Miss you.