Dear frozen parents

There are times that the mental illness or addiction of a loved one leaves you completely and utterly unable to act. Immobile. Stunned. Catatonic.

You are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start so you shut down completely. You just want all of it to go away. There are too many layers to tackle. Too many problems you can’t solve. Many times your loved one is not compliant either, making it that much more difficult.

You are so worried about hiding your ugly family secret, you start to implode and unknowingly make the situation worse. You are so secretive, you … Read more... “Dear frozen parents”

Your friend’s child who is using is not dead

You never ask your friend about the son who is not doing well. The child who suffers from addiction. You are afraid it won’t be good news. It never is. That child is either in rehab. Or using drugs. In some recovery house. Or in the hospital. You don’t want to remind your friend. You are worried you may say the wrong thing and then what? So you ask about other children. Other things.

Good God there hasn’t been good news about this child in five years. You are sure this friend wouldn’t want you to ask. It would be Read more... “Your friend’s child who is using is not dead”

What is it like to suffer from addiction?

by Missy S.

From Anne Moss: Missy is a friend from way back. She had surgery and became unwittingly addicted to the pain medication prescribed. There were many years of shame and humiliation and I recall how terrible I felt for her–especially after Charles’ death. I knew her family was suffering and the added shame and gossip made it that much harder. While I didn’t suffer addiction, Charles did, and I felt that judgement by association. She is in recovery. Thanks to the love of her family, who never abandoned her. 

For so many years addiction and depression has been … Read more... “What is it like to suffer from addiction?”

Even if you relapse, we love you

fall off the wagon

You have felt worthless.

Others have treated you like trash.

The criminal justice system treats you as criminals.

Society has labeled you a throwaway.

I believe that lack of support and compassion has fed the epidemic and contributed to your feelings of low self worth.

Typically those with addiction struggle with self esteem. You feel deeper than most and often it comes with mental illness.

Behavior makes this disease more complex.

Here’s the thing

This disease is awful but it comes with gifts. Gifts you are not aware of.

Often those who suffer have talents we often take for granted. … Read more... “Even if you relapse, we love you”

I have a son that just hit 2 years clean

by Anonymous Mom in North Carolina

2 years clean and sober

I know they can go back, with triggers and all the other life stuff he can easily go back!

It’s a nightmare being a mother worrying with daily fear of where my son is and if he is safe–with sleep deprivation and riding the roads at night! I don’t know why one child survives and another one doesn’t, but I do know when everyone was telling me to kick my son out because of his behavior– stealing from us and raging with every lie why he needed money!

I just couldn’t.

I cried, pleaded, … Read more... “I have a son that just hit 2 years clean”

10 things I learned at ‘Research to Recovery’

Hosted by COBE and the VA Dept of Behavioral Health (DBHDS), this COBE Substance Use Disorder Conference focused on the science behind the disease. This post is inspired by Bill Maher, gentle interventionist, who asked me what I learned from the perspective of a mom who lost a child to addiction.

The conference was great and very informative. Here are my takeaways Well, some of them. Please add yours in the comments.

1. Drug users lives matter

These individuals are human beings, not throwaways. It’s someone’s son, brother, mother, sister, wife, husband, friend or cousin. They are people with … Read more... “10 things I learned at ‘Research to Recovery’”

The shame and humiliation of having an addicted child

When those in recovery reference the shame that comes with substance use disorder, I get it. Because as a mom, I got that treatment, too.

It was bad when my son suffered depression and anxiety attacks at school. But attitudes towards my family and Charles got much worse once drugs entered the picture.

I expected it from clueless neighbors and uneducated parents.

Surprisingly, the most belittling humiliation came from behavioral health specialists–people I was paying to educate me on what to do. Don’t get me wrong, there are some compassionate, awesome people in the field. But in 2010, finding them … Read more... “The shame and humiliation of having an addicted child”

Is there more stigma with depression or addiction?

Changes in stigma ahead

I thought stigma was bad with depression until Charles developed a drug habit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s bad with both. Due to lack of understanding and education, both depression and addiction are seen as “weaknesses.”

With addiction, things take on a new level of shame.

Until it happens to someone’s family they don’t see the disease because the nature of addiction is such a different illness. Hallmarks of addiction include behavior that is often considered “immoral” behavior therefore people think the sufferer should be able to control it. In short, it’s seen as a moral failing.

Addicts steal to … Read more... “Is there more stigma with depression or addiction?”