There are days when I sit and think about my son’s addiction. I think about everything I did do, didn’t do or should have done. I start to disassemble his entire journey in my mind trying to find the missing piece. That piece that somehow I overlooked during our struggle for recovery. You see, my son had the worst outcome. The one every parent dreads but would never allow the thought to even cross their lips. My son overdosed and died of the very pills he was given to manage his post op pain.
His addiction snuck up on us like a thief in the night. Carefully and quietly taking us by surprise. Like the elephant in the room, we all knew there was a problem but no one had the guts to say the words. I called it our dirty little secret. Keeping it safe and sound between me and my addict son. Protecting both of us from the ugliness of the stigma attached to this most misunderstood disease. We had brief periods when we were given a glimpse of normal, tricking us into believing the demons had lost their grip and moved on. Then reality would hit as my son returned to his world of darkness and chaos dragging me along for the ride of my life.
His addiction consumed me as I struggled to find places where he would stay safe and I would get a much needed break from the endless worry constantly dancing in my mind. Finding the right fit of rehab was like finding a rose in six feet of snow. I fought to get him in and he fought to get out. Never feeling like the help and support he needed was available wherever he was staying at the time. I’ve learned that helping the addict is like matching fingerprints. Almost impossible. Hindsight is such a great gift if only it arrived before things were said and done, people were trusted and money was wasted on places that made promises that could never be kept.
There are days I feel like I failed him. After all as mothers our job is to keep our children safe. I have a double whammy. I’m not just a mom but also a nurse, a fixer. The very idea that I could not fix my son horrifies me. I allowed myself the sick illusion that I was in control of his addiction and I had the power to fix him. Even when that little voice of reason resonated through my brain, and was echoed by close friends and family, “you didn’t cause it and you can’t cure it” I still continued to beat myself up dissecting every fight, every rehab, tough love, no love or tons of love that we lived during his battle. Being the lone survivor of my sons addiction is a life sentence. I’m still shocked that he is gone. It feels like the beginning of my end. I have become my own personal punching bag. I have a million reasons why his death is my fault. I should have… begins my sentence when close friends try to set me straight.
There is nothing that can change my mind. I should have been able to save him. I had years of practice. So now my painful reality is every parents nightmare. Now, I must figure out a way to go on without him. I have become a sounding board for other mothers living the nightmare of addiction. In the midst of my struggle for survival and my fighting back at the broken system, I have made many contacts. By channeling my anger to make a difference I have stumbled upon people who have started the walk of grief before I joined this club. Together we find strength and hope that the bigger we grow and the louder we become the harder we will be to ignore. Parents whose prior struggle was to save their children. Working together to fix the breaks in the system we have come to know too well. A system that fought us when we were begging for help, a system that turned its back on a generation of addicts pleading for their lives. My son’s struggle has ended. Mine has begun. Everyday is a struggle. Trying to ease the pain that grips my heart and fighting to find joy in a world that has turned upside down. My new normal is just that, so new that even I have trouble adjusting. I pray for acceptance. I pray for peace. Until then I survive one day at a time.
Detoxification is a process that can be used with rehabilitation to help overcome alcohol, drug or other addictions. Once an addict stops using drugs and alcohol the body experiences symptoms of withdrawal, which can range from minor to severe. These centers specialize in taking a person through the whole process to achieve and maintain sobriety.
Medical supervision is critical when detoxing. The cessation of drugs is just not possible alone. Detoxification centers provide a safe environment to go through the treatment. Having medical professionals present will lessen the chance of relapse significantly. Setting up an appointment with your preferred detox center to discuss the process is always a good idea. The center staff will discuss the entirety of the process and your chosen methods.
Another thing to keep in mind is after the body has rid itself completely from drugs and/or alcohol it will begin to heal. So, this means that after an absence of drugs, one time use can affect the body in a severe manner. There could be intense consequences from using again. This is why medical supervision is imperative in order to combat any withdrawal symptoms, but to also monitor the body in the chance that the it is thrown into a state of shock or worse. Immediate medical attention may be needed.
When entering the center keep in mind that any wounds or medical ailments will need to be inspected. If deemed appropriate the patient may need to enter into medical attention for such treatment before said detox can actually safely occur. An evaluation of each person’s mental and physical state is done before entering the program.
Both Inpatient and outpatient options are available to those seeking treatment. Outpatient treatment will allow the patient to return to work or necessary duties after detox is complete and the patient has been cleared. However, inpatient treatment allows a much better transition into a complete therapy and treatment of that individual. Inpatient treatment will allow extended and essential supervision throughout the entirety of treatment. Treatment centers with inpatient programs will usually allow the patron to have their own room and move freely within that area as opposed to detox taking place in a more medical type facility.
Cravings will return after the drug has left the body. Arm yourself with the knowledge and support needed in order to fight the cravings. This is why rehab after detox is the best course of action for any addict looking to become clean. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Backing detox with rehabilitation treatment ensures that the patient will have all available tools and a network of support to engage if it becomes necessary.
Detox can take some time. Each person’s experience will vary. This is great information to discuss with the detoxification center as well. Withdrawal symptoms may cease after a couple of days for one person and last for an entire week for someone else. The staff is there to solely support that individual seeking treatment. Medicinal and holistic remedies will be made available to the patient for the entirety of the session. Caretakers will make sure that the patient is fully safe and as comfortable as possible during this time.
Rehabilitation and detox centers usually take many forms of medical insurance as payment. This should not be a deterrent for entering a program. Always call the center to discuss payment options. Many centers are quite flexible with payment plan options, but it is always a good idea to check. The goal is to get the patient healthy first and foremost.
Know that now is the time to commit to detox and rehabilitation. Nothing is more important that becoming happy and healthy. Family and friends are allowed at just about any detox and rehab center. A support group will be allowed to help the user through this difficult time. No one wants to watch their loved ones suffer. So, medically supervised treatment immediately is crucial to sustaining one’s sobriety.
Growing up, my family dynamic was so different from anyone I’ve ever known. My father was born a footling breach with the cord wrapped around his neck. He ended up with brain damage due to the lack of oxygen to his brain and was later diagnosed with schizophrenia. My mother is developmentally delayed and was also later diagnosed with schizophrenia.
My parents met through my mother’s brother, my Uncle Bob, who was also developmentally delayed. Uncle Bob and my dad went to special education school together and became friends. Bob introduced my dad to his little sister, my mom. They met, fell in love, got married and then I came along.
Neither one was really capable of living on their own, much less together, and now a baby, me. By six weeks old I was malnourished and dehydrated – I almost died. My maternal grandmother took me away from my parents and brought me to the doctor. From then on, she did her best to raise me. It wasn’t long before my parents divorced and my mom moved back home with us. My father moved back home to his parents, too.
We had grandmother, my mother, Uncle Bob, and my grandfather, the child-molester, all under one roof. My grandfather molested my mother and had a reputation for other little girls in the neighborhood. I believe he started molesting me when I was less than a year old. I don’t understand why nothing was done legally but my grandmother said they just overlooked him.
I believe that he had intercourse with me around age four. My mom and grandmother noticed that I had like a nervous breakdown and screamed when anyone came near me for over a week. They had to keep me in my baby bed and just bring me food like a animal! I believe with all my heart he raped me but no one took me to the hospital or doctor because he might have gone to jail for it. My grandmother had no education and relied on my grandfather to support her and the rest of the family. I’m not making any excuses; I think she just didn’t know what to do.
I had so many problems with my private areas when I was a little girl and nothing was done. I still don’t understand why. I even had to have surgery on my vagina when I was five – it’s like everyone was wearing blinders. Baffling. My grandfather died when I was seven, so the molestation ended
By ten, I realized I was already more advanced than my parents. I taught my dad his ABC’s using flashcards when I was eight. He never learned to read and neither did my Uncle Bob. My mother can read but has absolutely no common sense, so I swear my dad was more intelligent. At fourteen, I had to quit school to take care of my family. By then my grandmother’s health was failing, times were changing, and they didn’t understand how to make appointments, pay bills, stuff like that because things became automated.
I became very angry that I had no childhood so I rebelled – big time. I ran the streets and ended up getting raped. by a friend’s father. He actually plead guilty to it and severed a year and a half in prison. I still feel like that was my fault because I flirted with him.
That’s the only way I knew to act around a man.
My mom is a religious fanatic so I grew up in church and attended a private “Christian” school. My dad’s mother paid for it but not for the reasons that you might think. Embarrassingly, it was to keep me from going to school with black people – terrible.
The school was crazy too; I just couldn’t escape craziness! At one point we had a so-called Evangelist visit and for two weeks we were made to listen to what was supposed to be real exorcisms and learn all about demon possession. It was horrible! I am forty years old and I still have issues with it.
After I quit, I ran the streets, acting like I was 21. At 14, I met a 19 year old man and moved in with him. I was living like a married woman at age 14. My grandmother was actually happy that I had settled down; now she always knew where I was. Unfortunately he was very obsessed with me and abusive. At first, I enjoyed the attention and punishment; I put up with it for two years.
Ironically – and I know this will be hard to believe but I swear it’s true – BOTH of my parents had nervous breakdowns and were diagnosed with schizophrenia within the same year! My mom thought she was possessed by a demon and talked to God while my dad thought he could talk to the devil.
They were both in and out of different mental hospitals all the time. My mom would speak in tongues and run outside into the street, it would take six police officers and EMTs to restrain her. My dad would try to kill himself, he took 120 over-the-counter sleeping pills and was in the cardiac intensive care unit before going to the mental hospital.
At 17, I met my ex-husband and became pregnant with twins. I lost one of them during my pregnancy but delivered my now 22 year old daughter. He gave me my first black eye while I was pregnant with her. We had three more children together, three sons. My oldest son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and my middle son has autism.
Dealing with all my family issues with my sons delays was more than I could handle. On top of everything, my ex-husband was abusive. Along with several “minor beatings,” at one point I had a fractured elbow and a nose broken so severely, he split my nose almost in half.
In 2006, my Uncle Bob, who had been like a father to me was killed in a accident. It was more than I could take. I started abusing pain pills – big time. Two years later, my grandmother passed away and added drinking to the mix. A lot of drinking.
I left my ex-husband and met a girl I fell in love with; we were both idiots and addicts at first. Man, do I have stories! Four years into our relationship, I lost my kids. I gave up on life. Around the same time, my girlfriend and I briefly separated. When we were separated, she slept with her ex boyfriend, got pregnant, then we got back together.
I’d like to say we sobered up right away but that would be a lie. The baby was almost two before my girlfriend got help. Eventually I followed. Today, I split my time between my ex-husband’s house and my children. She lives with her boyfriend and her daughter. We are very close. Turns out, I really like my ex-husband now that we’re not married and he’s not abusing me.
I just wish I had someone to talk to that can relate to even half of my crazy upbringing. Someone who can relate to me. I don’t know anyone with both parents like mine or a life like mine. It’s a crazy life, but that’s all I know.
Thank you for listening, The Band.