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This is a guest post from my husband. It’s been a rough year, and he wanted to write and share this. Beyond some simple formatting, I didn’t edit it. This is his story, not mine, to tell.
Currently, his daughter is clean and in recovery. We continue to take life one day at a time.
My daughter is a drug addict.
There, I said it. It doesn’t change anything for me to admit it.
I did my best to raise her to not do drugs. I spent time explaining the physical and mental damage drugs could do to her. I warned her to stay away from people that did drugs because “bad company corrupts good character.”
She doesn’t even attempt to blame me. I have to tell you, that makes me feel a little better when I talk to her, but not much. Part of her rehab (before she was sent to jail on a drug related charge) was to apologize for all the stuff she had done and to “come clean” with me about her habit. I don’t think she is lying when she says her mother gave her prescription pain medication when she was younger. To her, this is what put her on the road to being an addict.
Her mother and I divorced, and we were in custody battles back and forth throughout their young lives. She left our two daughters with me and moved to Florida. Things went sideways, and she wanted them to stay with her. She took me to court and won because she was married and I was single.
For years, she would not let them talk to me on the phone and made visitation super difficult. I even had to resort to calling the police sometimes just to spend time with them. I had to take her back to court to just get the right to speak with them on the phone while I was deployed to Iraq. When I came home, my daughters wanted to live with me. I was thrilled.
My daughter rarely got in trouble, and stayed under the radar for most of her high school years. Most of the experiences with her were her akin to her locking her sister’s keys in her car on graduation night after borrowing her sister’s car.
Things started getting more serious after she graduated.
She ran from the scene of an accident in my car. The police showed up, and sure enough, she had done it. Then someone “stole her car”. Then she “borrowed” money. Then I found her bong in my house. I told her that was unacceptable in my house and if she didn’t like it, she could leave right after I turned her bong into small tiny pieces of glass. I warned her that she was paying a dangerous game with her mind and needed to stop before things got worse. She made it a week before she yelled at me in my house and informed me that I “didn’t know anything”. I told her to leave. She did.
4 weeks later, her sister brought her home with an infection and a pile of legal infractions. She had been in jail and they let her out to seek medical treatment. She continued this up and down behavior for the next 3 years. She got pregnant, stayed clean for a while but started having issues again. Finally, we had enough. Her sister selflessly volunteered to let her come stay with her so she could get clean.
While she stayed with her sister for a few months, she stayed clean. She began working on her life. She then decided that she needed to come back, because she had found out that she was pregnant. She wanted to be with her husband when she gave birth.
I am not sure how long she was clean when she came back. You see, when she is not doing drugs, she calls me every day. She tells me what she is up to and all the great things her son is doing. When she is living in her addiction, I have to go looking for her. She won’t answer my calls or even acknowledge my existence.
She relapsed again, and she lost custody of her kids.
She was given court-ordered rehab, and during that time she was convicted of drug charges from over a year ago. We are currently waiting to find out how long she will be in jail. She has caused my family to be in turmoil. She brought consequences to herself and my family that we will have to bear.
Illegal drug use destroys, corrupts and diminishes every relationship, person and organization that it comes in contact with. Opioids, narcotics, alcohol and hallucinogens have hurt far more than the people that use them. They cause families to break. They cause children to lose parents. They cause mothers to put their kids at risk. Drugs cause people to die.
Those of us who aren’t drug abusers can’t understand why you would ever start. I have never looked at drugs or drug users and thought: “That looks like a solid career path.”
I made up my mind a long time ago. I am not going to be an enabler. I will reward only positive, recovery driven actions. I am not going to rescue anyone from their bad choices, but I’ll help when they are clean. If they are doing the work and making amends, I am there for them. I will be positive. I will listen and not be judgmental. I will let them have their say. I will not tolerate excuses, nor will I make excuses.
If someone offers you drugs: just get away from them. If you feel compelled to try them, talk to someone who is a recovering addict. If you are already on drugs, then go get treatment now, today, before things get worse. If you have a family member that is on drugs, learn about co-dependency and avoid it.
That is what I have learned so far.
My Daughter, The Addict: A Suburban Mom’s Nightmare (note: I follow Katie’s blog closely and highly recommend reading even more of her posts)
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Hi! I'm Ashley, and my sobriety date is May 6, 2015. I write to share my experience, strength, and hope in recovery. On any given day, you can find me developing websites, writing, or chauffeuring kids around. Read my story...
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So brave to come out and tell your story. I’ve been a fan of Ashley for some time now and now I’m now a fan of yours.
From my point of view, you did everything in your power to teach and protect her, but at the end of the day, you can only do so much as they are their own person. This is a real fear I have for my own child. I can’t help but look into the future with fear of what might happen when becomes his own person.
Your story brings to light that you cannot judge a parent by their child and that as parents we should all support each other.
All the best to you, Ashley and your beautiful family. x