THE LETTERS PROJECT: Families dealing with addiction

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Andrea McCarren's series about families dealing with addiction sparked a thoughtful and interesting concept on

WUSA9 has decided to post letters from mothers and other family members about dealing with someone in their families who have been addicted to drugs.

Drug addiction doesn't only affect the person who is abusing drugs, it affects the whole family.

Here are the letters sent to Andrea McCarren by the families:

"BANG!" Justan Daniel Verna woke up at 10:45am on Thursday, Janunary 26th, 2012 to the sound of a gunshot that would ring in his ears for the rest of his life. He was a handsome, tall, 22 year old boy with the softest eyes and a piercing smile. I had spent the past 5 years in the room next to his, and I never saw him cry until that day.

He tried to ignore the commotion outside but was forced out of bed by a loud banging on the door. "Chris!" he yelled to his brother in the next room. No answer. "Chris! Get the door. Come on, dude!" The knocking at the door didn't stop.

Justan rolled out of bed in his boxer briefs, still hungover from a party the night before, and looked out the window. Police cruisers lined the street and officers were running into his backyard. There was a problem. Justan ran down the stairs in his underwear and opened the door. The police didn't have time to get a word out before Justan had jumped the railing of the front porch and was running with everything he had toward a stretcher covered in a white sheet being pushed toward an ambulance. The police chased him, but Justan was always the fastest kid on the block. "Don't touch him!" they yelled. Justan kept running.

The bumps in the grass knocked Chris's hand off the stretcher. His arm hung lifelessly. By the time Justan reached his brother, he already knew he was dead. Clapping over him, "WAKE UP!" he screamed in desperation. Chris's stunning blue eyes had turned white and were rolled back in his head. The paramedics loaded his 6'3" 240 lb body into the ambulance and closed the doors. Justan's fist hit the ambulance with a vengeance leaving the imprints of his knuckles on the door.

Chris became addicted to prescription medication in high school, just like many of his friends and peers. He purchased pills at parties and eventually from individuals selling prescriptions at school and out of their homes. Throughout the time Chris spent in the public school system, he was educated about drugs and the negative effects they have on peoples lives. Heroin was specifically mentioned over and over again. Also, the stigma around heroin was so dense that Chris never could imagine himself touching such a powerful and obviously life-ruining drug. Chris was never educated about the effects of abusing prescription medication until it was presented to him in the form of two caskets, containing both of his best friends, whom both overdosed and died just two weeks apart.

When he was 22 years old, Chris went to his primary care physician in desperation. Every time he tried to stop taking the pills, he got very ill and depressed and did not understand why. His physician gave him no real answers, advice, or referral to treatment. She treated the fevers and vomiting as if he had the flu and gave him a prescription to antidepressants. Needless to say, this did not help Chris with the addiction problem he had developed.

The next time Chris visited the same doctor, he had been in a car accident and was experiencing back pain. She treated the problem, knowing he was addicted to painkillers, with a high dose prescription to the opioid roxycodone. He was prescribed four 30mg doses of roxycodone per day for the following two years, occasionally switching him between oxycontin and roxycodone based on Chris's requests. Now Chris's addiction was covered by his insurance and prescribed by a licensed healthcare practitioner who knew he was addicted and untreated. In November of 2011, Chris's doctor decided to "taper" him off of the opioids she was prescribing him by cutting his prescription from four 30mg pills per day to four 5mg pills per day. This sent Chris into severe withdrawl. His brain was no longer capable of producing opioids on its own, therefore he could not experience a sense of happiness or joy the way you or I do. It can take up to 6 months for the brain to start producing opioids again after being addicted for 10 years (source). By January of 2012, Chris took his own life, leaving his family and friends in state of shock and causing a hole in the heart of his mother, brother, and in me, his fiance, that will never be able to be filled. We can never really know what could have been, but had Chris's doctor helped him get treated for his addiction, rather than supplying an addict with free access to the substance he was addicted to, and treated Chris's pain with other forms of pain management rather than opioids, I feel confident saying that Chris's story could have turned out much differently.

The day Chris died was just the beginning of hardship to come. I don't honestly know what was worse, seeing Chris's dead body or sitting in the hallway against a locked bathroom door and listening to Justan's screams on the other side, night after night. No one could comfort him. I wonder sometimes how he is doing now. I sit in my bed some nights and type his number into my phone, but to hear his voice would be bittersweet and only bring back memories of an old life that we both spend every moment trying to forget.


Lori Cross Schotten
I wrote this to share at the public hearing next week...
If my son had cancer…
He could go to any hospital for help and not be denied treatment because there were no open beds or he had no insurance
There would be multiple options available for treatment…ones that would put him into remission rather than give him a new disease
Our insurance would cover all his treatments regardless of whether he was "in network"
He would not be released from the hospital until the doctor deemed he was well enough to go home, not just because insurance only covered a certain number of days
Upon release from the hospital, there would be a home care plan in place, not just a "bye and good luck"
Ongoing services would be available and be regulated so we knew they were legitimate
There would be major organizations dedicated to funding research treatments
Fundraisers would be held across the country to help cover research and treatment costs
Lobbyists in Washington would be fighting for funding and treatment options
People would have compassion for his disease rather than shame him for his "weakness"
No one would be afraid to call for help when his disease strikes him down
But he doesn't have cancer…he has an addiction
If my son had cancer, I would have more hope for his future
~Lori Cross Schotten


(Suboxone )That's 12 mgs a day I was on 32 mgs aday so I'm proud its a kinda big drop but I'm gonna stay at this dose for a week or so then drop to 8 mg for one week then 4 mgs and so on till I'm down to none. I go to my sub doc Monday and I'm going to tell him this is what I want. I'm hoping he understands. When I started he said it would take about a year. Then we would work oncoming off of them. Yeah right a whole year would really cross addict me. I've only been on them 4 months two days shy of five months today and I'm already at the point where my body and mind race when I'm low or run out I'm sick. So no way no way am I gonna go threw this anymore. Its given my mind a good lesson on what I have done to my life while using drugs and given my body a chance to heal from the heroin but its time to do it myself no more crutch for me. I've gotta change it now or it will become a need to have to do anything just like heroin was. Thank you so much for opening my eyes to this denial I was in about suboxone. I really thought I could live life forever by taking it. But nope its holding me down and blinding me to alot of my real problems. God bless you and your family? much love to you all.


It's all about the money and to Hell with your Child. The only damn person that cares is the parents and TAM. some family if any. We all know the Government and the legislature and the judges or the damn court systems could care less if they live or die. It makes me sick. My child is a human he has feeling he hurts he cries and he gets cold and hungry. I have not let my child down. My country and my government has...


This disease doesn't discriminate! It affects all of us from all walks of life, from Park Avenue to the park bench. On August 5, 2013 it took my husband, Donnie Ingram. He was a soft spoken, kind, funny, loving, intelligent father, son and brother. It came as a complete shock because we had been in recovery (I still am), we had been on a camping trip over the weekend with friends and had a wonderful time. On Sunday night after returning home he wasn't feeling well so on Monday morning he went to the doctor about his cold. He saw our youngest daughter at home around 1:30 - 2:00 then when I began calling him to go to our meeting at 6:00 he wasn't answering. I had a bad feeling. So I headed over to the meeting place hoping that he was already there but he wasn't. Once again, I tried to call him. No answer. So I sent a text. As soon as I sent the text I got a call from a number I didn't know. It was the hospital. They asked how I knew Donnie and then proceeded to tell me that he overdosed and there were "complications" and I need to come to the hospital right away. So I told one of my sponsees what was going on and I headed to the hospital, crying and praying all the way there. When I got there, they had me sign some papers then took me into a small room and informed me that he didn't make it. It was the worst news I have ever received. I couldn't believe it! Now I had to call his mom and then go tell my 2 younger daughtee s that Donnie raised and that consider him to be their dad. He's been the only father they've ever really known and now he's gone. That was the hardest thing I've ever had to do by far. We'd lived as husband and wife even though we'd technically gotten divorced in 2000 We'd talked about getting remarried at the courthouse this year on our original Wedding date August 9th. But instead of celebr as tng b our nuptuals or our 18 years together, I was at his viewing. Heroin took him from us. Heroin/drugs will rob any addict of everything good in his/her life if they live through their addiction. Please get help. Go to 90 meetings in 90 days, get a sponsor, work the steps and try a new way of life that is beyond your wildest dreams!


The promise was to get clean, get a job and start his sober life. I really had hope. I know that he did too. Unfortunately, our insurance is all but useless. I'd have to take out a second mortgage to fund his recovery. I've already used my savings for a 30 day stay, with was not even close to long enough. Without long term care in a sober living environment where an addict can get clean and relearn life skills as a sober person, the relapse rate is astronomical.

It's night and I don't know where my addicted son is. The thoughts go through my head that he could be passed out in his car with a needle in his arm. Is he alive? Will the phone ring and, he's been arrested again? Is he hurt? I pray every night, "Please keep him safe" "let him come home", and "please God, help him to get sober and find his happiness"

sleep doesn't come easy, not with all those thoughts racing through your head. I listen for the door to open while I sleep fitfully and lightly.

Morning comes, I find that the first place I check is the couch where he's been sleeping since he came to live with me, again.

Sometimes he's slouched on the couch in a sitting position, kind of passed out. Sometimes he's still up, buzzing around, high as a kite. Sometimes he's gone and rarely, he's there sleeping normally like a sober human.

He was sober for a short time, I think, it's hard to know. But it was wonderful to have my son back. His witty and caring self. So sensitive and thoughtful. He loves science, cooking and is fiercely loyal. He used to have such a brilliant memory for facts. Not anymore. He was so handsome and had a beautiful smile. Not anymore, we just paid to have 12 teeth pulled that were completely rotten.
I know I'm a happy person. I can be happy doing just about anything but I feel like my life isn't mine. I'm a prisoner attached to his behavior. I know there's a name for this. I know I'm supposed to "detach with love", all the books and people will tell you that. I'm waiting for someone to tell me how to live with myself knowing that my son is living on the street, in prison, or worse. I'm waiting for someone to explain to me how to be this parent of an addict. I didn't sign up for this and I don't want to do this anymore. I want to wake up, smile and start my day without the dread that washes over me when I think of my son. It's a helpless, overwhelmingly sad feeling. It eats up all your smiles and tears apart your family.


Canyon Lake, CA


No one wants to travel this road; it's long, it's hazardous and the outlook is often bleak. How did we get here? Not by choice. After a college graduation things were positive, her life was in front of her and she was growing up, yes she had been sick some but it was just allergies and asthma right?

Wrong, two years later after continuous illness and doctors visits, there is an emergency admission; she has pericardial infusion—how can that be she is 23? Two weeks of ICU, six doctors, and countless biopsies we have a diagnosis; Vasculitis--Churg Strauss Syndrome to be exact, it's extremely rare and has no cure but can be treated. The doctors have plan and she is on morphine drip for pain—the cycle has begun, I just didn't know it yet.

She had started taking percocet before she was diagnosed because of the pain, I didn't know. While in the hospital she had been receiving large amount of narcotics, we questioned the doctors but they assured us she was in pain and needed them, it wouldn't be a problem. Discharge came with a drain tube to keep fluid off her heart, steroids, meds for her stomach, inhalers, depression meds and of course the narcotics for pain. We all complained to the doctors-"you can't put a 23 yr old on all this med", but of course they won and the meds continued.

Fast forward a few years, she has now been getting two scripts for opiates and the family doctors alerts all; that should have been the red flag—but the rheumatologist she was seeing just says she has built a tolerance and doubles her prescription. My hindsight tells me this is where I should have intervened, I argued with the doctor but again he won. A year and a half later-it is out of control.

Money is now missing from around the house, not a lot of money at a time twenty to thirty dollars here and there. She has become detached from friends and family, spends a lot of time alone, sleeping patterns are unusual and she is often agitated. Then I realize there is jewelry that is gone, it's gold jewelry and in the end was a great deal, about 14K worth…she admits it was her when she learns the police are on the way. Now is when the reality of the situation is finally going to sink in, she is using so she says about sixteen percocet a day—I now know that was not quite true either, it was much worse.

We go to the doctor, he is told the problem and says we should gradually decrease the drug, I say no she will only have five a day and she has to go to detox. She admits to buying off the street to the doctor and says she wants off the drugs. In June she goes to detox. She says she is going to meeting and is making progress. What I didn't know and probably did not want to admit to myself is within 30 days she is back a the doctors and he of all people is writing the script for her again. She is spiraling out of control and is completely withdrawing from family and friends (the ones that aren't into the drug culture), everything is now a lie or excuse, her appearance is being to go downhill.

It's now the beginning of Oct, she is arrested for a petty charge—we have reached a point I never thought we would go. I know there is more and I know it is now or never; this has to stop, I will not live like this. I find a facility that will take her but she has to agree, ok now how do I get her to agree? Drawing this line is hard, but she has the choice—she can go voluntary or I will have her removed and admitted involuntary. She goes, and in six days is transferred to a 28 day facility---We refuse to let her come home, she needs help I cannot give her.

After 28 days she does not want to leave the facility, she feels safe and she is sober-something that has not happened in five yrs. We have found the evidence, it's not just pills; the spoons test positive for coke and I suspect there is possibility of heroin, needles are everywhere. This is a nightmare that you can't wake up from. Now she is in Intensive Outpatient Treatment and living in a sober house.

Recovery will be long and hard, she will struggle and she is still sick---I am so bitter. While I am thankful for her life and the treatment that has kept her alive, she is paying a terrible price because of addiction. The doctors gave the meds so freely never tried any alternative methods….why…..was it easier for them? Why couldn't I have been more argumentative and fought for other ways? Why could I not see what was happening to her?

Why, because it's your child. You don't want to believe it can happen to you or your child, your child can't possibly become "that addict" you trust the doctors and you think your situation is different. In the end you realize you need to trust your instinct, and take off the blinders. It can happen to anyone, and before you realize it---you don't have time to feel sorry for yourself, you are in for the fight of your life.


My son is now 31 and serving time. He has 4 children, 2 of them i am raising. He was and is a wonderful, kind hearted, hard working man with a disease!! His disease is addiction. He was a good kid growing up, and a star basketball player in high school, by the time I figured out he had a problem with drugs he was 18, and I could not get him help any where. I called all over the state of Kentucky and the state of Indiana and could not get help from anyone. I cant tell you how many times I have seen him passed out, foaming at the mouth and barely breathing. I cant tell you how much sleep I have lost or how many tears I have cried, but I can tell you this.... OUR CHILDREN ARE DYING BECAUSE WE CANNOT GET THEM THE HELP THEY NEED!!


Today marks two years since i last held and played with my granddaughter, and we were together as a family. My AD has punished us for not allowing her to steal from us by alienating us. She and her ABF drug my granddaughter and admit it. They post photos of her high on the internet. They love to torture us. Meanwhile, cops and CPS are worthless. This family is living a nightmare. I know the pain, Terri. It never ends. Hugs, prayers and love.


And neither the police, nor the County will count this death as an opiate-related death statistic. Therefore, we still do not have enough deaths to warrant tax payer dollars spent on increased prevention, treatment, or recovery. Even though many of our kids, reaching "rock bottom", without access to good quality treatment, take their own lives.


im ready to share my story with you Carin Callan Miller, Let me start by saying I am a mother, a wife, a sister, im a daughter and im an addict. I grew up in a split family and was raised by my very violent drug addicted father. and in return was taught at a very, very young age that using and being abused was normal. because me and my sister didn't know any other way. with what me and my sister had to endure for all those years we found an escape with heroin/drugs when we were still just kids. my life revolved around getting high and trying to forget the past and present. as I got older I found out it wasn't ok, it was normal, any of it the drugs the abuse, and I was in so deep with the drugs I honestly didn't know any other way of coping with what was going on. drugs had become my everything, heroin became my best friend!! it took away my pain when my father inflicted it, it became my crutch. but when I got away from my father and found out that our upbringing wasn't ok, and all of it was anything but normal. I for the life of me couldn't get the help I needed... this drug has destroyed so much of my adult life now, I have health problems with my liver among a lot of other things. I was able to get a tiny bit of help when I got pregnant . I put myself in rehab and so badly wanted to change and get help with all this but it was short lived. as soon as I got diagnosed with severe liver damage and other problems physical and mental, I was dropped from the government insurance. apparently my life is expendable to our government:( I want and need help so badly to undo all these yrs of abuse and I want to be the mother my kids deserve, I desperately want to break the cycle and break these chains that hold me back. I need to get back into to therapy, and councling. I want to be strong enough to one day to be able to forgive my father and say you cant beat me down any more. that you lose, I win!!! my father died almost 5 yrs ago he overdosed, but he is still in my mind tormenting me and I cant let him win any longer. I would use to block him out and because I know no other way im so screwed!! I need insurance to get the proper help and care I need. or I am going to die out here!!! them my children I bet will follow right into my footsteps and honest to god I fear that the most I don't ever want my kids to feel the struggles of this debilitating disease. they are still young 5 and 6 but real talk if I cant get help with my addiction I honestly don't know what is going to happen... I recently found a cash pay suboxone treatment doctor and he is helping me stay clean, I have 4 moths 2 wks and 2 days today, suboxone has given me my life back but at such a high cost that I honestly cannot afford. my script alone every month is over 600.00 and plus I have to pay the doc every month75.00 to see me. but I need counseling and I need therapy I need these things to learn the tools I need to stay clean and to get out everything heroin allowed me to bottle up for the past 16 yrs, im about to turn 31 this coming year and without help im going to die even if I stay clean. because heroin has destroyed my liver my health mental and physical its destroyed me completely. I need medical help with my liver asap, I was given 5 years to live if I didn't change my life and seek medical help right away for my liver problems, so I did and as soon as I started medication therapy insurance dropped me that ws 4 yrs ago. ive fought and fought to get it back and I cant afford to pay for the medical I need done. so here I am an addict who's screaming and fighting tooth and nail, but nobody cares , nobody cares but me. no wonder there's so many addicts dying every single day, because ore government makes it next to impossible to get the proper help and treatment we need. thanks for letting me share a piece of my story. # from an addict who's almost outa time #

Rachael Sherherd-Glen Rock, PA


I lost my son on January 16, 2013. He had Valium, Xanax, klonopin , cocaine and herion in his system. He went to sleep and never woke up.
He was 31. A dad with 2 adorable children and he was addicted to any drugs he came across. He did not discriminate.
For 17 years i prayed, wished, hoped and cried for help for my son. His death broke me ( strongest women ever, at least I thought so) so far down i couldnt cope. I cried all the time. I felt guilty, ashamed. I blamed myself. If i could have done just one more thing to help him.
I chose the tough love route. I put him and us in counseling, jail, and lots of rehabs. I could not get thru to him. I even had to make him leave his own house because i didn't want my grand daughter around all that mess.
I very seldom saw him because i would not allow him to give me excuses. I even wrote to Dr. Phil. I checked the papers everyday to see if he had done something bad or gotten arrested, again.
My whole world feel around me. I layed in my yard screaming until neighbors came to get me and take me to E. R. My mind tried to implode. I went to hospital one time thinking I was having a heart attack. The doc said no but wondered why I was out of my mind. I made the mistake of saying I wished
It was a heart attack because dying would be easier than living with the pain.
In july/August i tried to kill myself by taking a lot of pills. My boyfriend came hm an hour early and found me and saved me.
My youngest daughter hates me now but not quite sure why. I think she feels left out. I should have been there for her and i couldn't do it. I couldnt take care of myself My mind was trying to kill me. The thoughts i had were horrible. I couldnt sleep and if i did go to sleep i woke up crying and/or screaming and crying.
My son told his girlfriend that he was tired of disappointing everyone. He said he wanted to get comatose that night and he did. Maybe he was finally looking to get help because he never cared about anyone before. I like to think he was about ready for real help. Instead he took to much of everything to get comatose and never woke up. My oldest daughter is going down the same road and i just cant do this again.
Im in therapy and im on medication. It's still bad but not as bad as it was.
Im not afraid of dying now so i dont have a filter on my mouth Im always looking for a fight.
My sons death has been the proverbial "it could be worse" scenario come true. My other daughter is mad at me for a lot of things but she can't give me a rational reason. I cant even talk to her. She had no place in her life for me.
I dont get why some families come together and some fall apart. I hate my life right now. I cant see my grandchildren or my 1 good child anymore. Im lost, still ashamed and still left wondering where i failed my son and evidently my daughters.

Thanks Kat!


My experience with Heroin is I was petrified when I found out my son was doing it. A few years back on Thanksgiving night my son went for a walk. On his way back home he walked with my sister in laws home and they said he seemed so much different since he had been off the heroin. He was clean at the time. When they all got here to the house a friend came knocking on the door and we at the time thought he was a good friend of my sons. My nieces and nephews were playing with him and a little while later came running downstairs and told me Steve was unconscious on the floor. I ran up and had him laying in my arms at the same time I yelled for help. My sister in law came running up and we laid him on the floor and started CPR. I in the midst of things I had to leave room and my sister in law kept doing CPR until the ambulance arrived. At that time my son had come back to me and the ambulance crew told me that if my sister in law wouldn't of kept on the CPR my son wouldn't be here today. You do not know what that feels like holding your child in your arms when they have died and are blue, I was out of my mind that night. Come to find out later when my son went to the bathroom his so called friend put heroin in his drink. That was the first time he was brought back. No one else knows about the 2nd time which was only back in September he was not coherent or anything and I had to bring him back for the second time in which a friend said to let him rest he is just passed out. That friend to me just wanted him to die and I refused to let him. I got so pissed off at that friend I told him to get the hell out. There is quit a bit I could tell you by experience. Back when my son was a teenager I had to bring one of his friends back. It is so frightening to deal with this but I will try to save who I can. This is the worse nightmare you can imagine. No parent should have to bury their children before their children bury them. Kids have told me that this demon is stronger than God. We the people all need to stick together to keep this demon out of our towns. Thank You Sandi


Hi, Carin. Here is my family's story. Thanks in advance for compiling these. Hope it results in some relief for us.

My daughter has been abusing drugs for, i estimate, about 16 yrs. all of her boyfriends have been actively using and selling. Appearances are very important to her; she needs to pass as straight.

In July 2010 she gave birth to our granddaughter. Neither she nor the child were tested for drugs. The boyfriend was strung out; violent, agitated, leaving the hospital room every 5 min. It was surreal; i trusted the "system" to do the right thing by the child. Nobody lifted a finger to help this helpless infant.

As per usual, soon the parents couldn't pay the rent, so they came to live with us. They left a filthy, sloppy room. The ABF was on probation but once it was lifted he said he threw food at his boss, made her cry (he was quite proud of that) and never went back. We quietly and respectfully told our daughter that he would have to leave after our valuables were stolen. Two days later she left with our beautiful granddaughter. I saw her for the last time on January 9, 2011 in my daughters driveway in the dark.

Both parents have admitted to drugging her. The things they do in the open are appalling. DCF has been openly hostile to our family as reporters. We have never been interviewed, our home has never been inspected. The parents post photos of her high on the internet. They taught her to kiss the pic of a dead drug dealer before she could walk or talk. I printed my daughters FB pages and faxed to DCF. Nothing has been done.

Next my husband and I personally spoke with Sheriff Tom Knight of the Sarasota county sheriffs office. I have reported numerous times. They have done nothing, and have threatened to arrest me for harassment for reporting. No matter how I report, i am accused of not being "nice" and "respectful" enough. I have uncovered numerous persons within the child "protection" circle who know nothing of the case, yet blame me for the outcome. It is an insane, bizarre oddesey of abuse and sadism. Maybe the fact that they deal drugs with a local cops daughter is what protects them....i don't care. I just want my granddaughter safe and any other children my daughter may produce taken away and given to the family. My granddaughter will be 4 in July. God only knows how damaged she is.

Thank you for any help. My granddaughter is not alone. She cant be: our family is nothing, nobody. Her fathers family is from a small town. Corruption is obvious. Im not on a crusade. I love my daughter and granddaughter. Protecting the innocent is the most important thing. Please, please help her and children like her. They are out there. Waiting for us to do something.


You can't make me clean, though I know it is what you want for me to be. But until I want it, I won't be. You can't love me clean, because until I learn to love myself, I won't be. I know you must wonder how I can learn to love myself when I am caught up in a life-style of self-hatred and self-destruction. I can learn from my own experiences. I can learn from the things that happen to me along the path of my own mistakes. I can learn by being allowed to suffer the consequences of my choices. Life has a funny way of teaching us the lessons we need learn.

I know it devastates you to watch me hurting myself. I know you want to jump in and save me. This helps ease your pain, but I don't think you understand just how damaging it is to me.
You see, although I look like and sound like your loved one. I am not. That person is in a self imposed prison way deep down inside of my being and what you see before you is an addict ruled and reigned by my addiction. The main focus of an addict is to feed the addiction. Every effort you put forth in the name of helping me falls prey to my addiction giving the addiction more power to shackle me down a little more each time.

I feed my addiction enough. So please don't help me.

The only way for the real me to get free is to be free. FREE to fall as far down as I need to go in order to find the strength to fight and find my way back. To break free.

How can or will I ever be able to get clean you wonder ...

The same way I gave myself over to my addiction is the same way I can give myself over to my recovery. BY MYSELF

By not enabling me you will be allowing me to reach "rock bottom". By trusting the process you move over and allow me to find the my own way back. You see, it is in the fight to get free that I will find myself. It is in the fight that I will learn to love myself and the more I love myself ... the more I will start to do to better myself, but I myself, must do this.

I am aware that when I use I am playing Russian roulette with my life. I know this, but that is a chance I take when I use. The addict in me is willing to take that chance in the name of getting high.

Rock bottom is but a circumstance away. I can't reach it you are blocking me from it.

I know you love me and you only want what's best for me ... but that very love keeps you blind sighted to just what truly is best causing you to act out of fear and from your emotions.

Please for my sake let me go and move out of the way. Let me fall as far down as my addiction is going to take me ... as far down as I have to reach rock bottom. Don't try to cushion the fall. Just believe in me and trust the process. Pray for me that when I do hit ... it is not with the impact that leaves me for dead (I know that is your greatest fear), but if it comes to that, be sure to tell my story so that others might learn from my mistakes and live.

Recovering addict


Hi Carin Callan Miller, nice to meet you. I am a new member, just from today, and I will definitely write you. How long does the letter have to be? Because I don't want it to turn into a book, or a whole chapter, or volumes. Like you said, I am sure many of us have a lot to say, and at the same time talking about those experience brings a lot of emotions that we don't like to experience, which may be re-traumatizing for many of us, so that may be one of the reasons for low responses..... I can totally relate, but not sure, but definitely, I am willing to share. I even had someone write for me a few pages movie synopsis, because 15 years of struggling with my daughter's addiction and trauma associated with it brings a lot of learning, and a lot of good things to share, "good" meaning healing and positive miracle outcomes, that maybe we can't see coming, and that must be shared. Those positive little or big "winning moment" can bring hope to others who are still struggling. That is why I would love to share, absolutely, just tell me how big the letter, because I can get "wordy" LOL. Love to all, and thank you for allowing me to be a member and share with you


I want to take this time out and let you know how I feel about Heroin addiction. A few years my son was with the family at home for Thanksgiving and he was enjoying it with us. A so called friend came to the door and asked for him so we left him in and the boy went up to my sons room. My sons cousins were back and forth upstairs with my son They came running downstairs and told me that my son was unconscious on the floor up in his room. I ran upstairs and found him laying on the floor turning blue. I cradled him on my lap in my arms and my rest of the family came up when they heard me scream. My sister in law thankfully knew what to do so we laid him down and started CPR right away while someone else called 911. I helped what I could until I thought I had lost him and went berserk and broke down. Within a little bit of time my sister in law got him to breathing again and the Ambulance arrived. They told us that if CPR wouldn't have been performed I would have lost him. I know this is a nightmare but I cant imagine completely losing a child. Then this last time my son was unconscious on bed and his friend said he would be alright that he was just passed out. I knew differently because of going through it before. I eventually got him to come around and he finally got his thoughts together. I have had a few friends pass way from Heroin overdose. It is the worse feeling you want. Its like the devil trying to come and take the most precious thing from you, its like a demon. I cant express myself how much I hate this drug because it ruins peoples lives so much and these young children overdosing on it. I will do anything to fight to get it out of our towns. That is why I joined Bikers against heroin. I have never hated anything more in my life than this. And I vow to help get rid of this demon til I meet my grave. Thank You Sandi


Seems like this story is more common than not...You hear over and over "NOT in my area"..."NOT in my town"..."NOT in my family"..."NOT my child".....well I am here to tell you that it probably IS in your IS in your town...could be in your IS my child...This blond haired...smiling happy little boy...that would spend summer days building a fort under a tree...bringing his mama rocks from the driveway that he thought she would like (and I still have quite a few of them)...excelling at every sport he played in...helped with youth programs...loved and adored by his big sisters....My child...OUR child.

These drugs are robbing the life out of our family. I never realized how this could cripple a family...I never realized the painful hurt each and everyday this brings to us...I never realized how hard it would be to get for OUR child that we thought we protected all his life...

Our children are dying each and everyday because not enough is being done about these drugs. Someone...somewhere has to get control of these drug dealers...Sad~but small town communities where small town cops know small town council members...that know where activities are in the community but turn the other way...Sad too is the fact that so many rehab facilities will drain your bank accounts...if you even have an account wont cover the you are left to pray that your child makes it through another night...and many pray that their child gets arrested...that way we know they are out of the cold...have a bed...and are alive.

Please I am begging for OUR children's lives....that someone take notice of this out of control situation...let us be able to watch OUR children grow...too many have already gone to their graves...

we love OUR child with all our hearts....we HATE the drug!!!!!


I hate it.i have a 29 yr old son who has a 5 yr old son,but the addiction is more important to him than my grandson.he has a job,but u cant trust him with money.he gets paid and blows it up his nose,he cant even pay me rent.but when his money is gone(which is usally 2 days tops)me ,stupid me I go and get him cigarettes and whatever he needs.he has thru the years stole from myself and family,broke into my house,stoled my mothers credit card and emptied her account out knowing she was on ssi. HE TALKS TO ME LIKE I AM A PIECE OF SHIT.


Well … it's 3:30 am & I can't sleep. Been remembering various things that I probably should've included in my previous e-mail.

When my son was in school (Strongsville, Ohio at the time) he was diagnosed w/ADD and Learning Disabilities (LD's). Many people don't know that a student can't even qualify for an LD label unless they have average or above intelligence. He went through SO much in school. IMO the schools get away with what I call Legalized Psychological Child Abuse. They treat parents very badly, too. I ended up staying up till 2, 3 and 4 in the morning memorizing the Federal Laws dealing w/special education. It got to the point where the school wouldn't meet w/me w/o paying their attorney very high prices to sit in on each & every one of our meetings.

Myself and a couple of other parents got together and started a group for special needs parents. The school did not like that - they didn't want us talking w/each other. At one of our meetings, we requested a School Board member attend to talk w/us. She was very arrogant. One woman had many very valid complaints re: her daughter. This school board member finally looked this woman in the eye and told her that "we will do w/your child what we want because we can" !!! I swear that if I had not heard it w/my own ears I would not have believed it. I contacted a City Councilman to come meet w/us once. He said he got a lot of complaints about the same issues.

My son was put through so much. He was tested by the school system until he (and I) was blue in the face. Other parents were told that they would have to wait for testing. It was a ploy to get them off the school's back. The parent's didn't know that, as per Federal Regulations, testing must be done w/in a certain amount of time from when the request was made. The school's attorney would frequently lie to parents & say "such & such" wasn't provided for their child. They hated that I could quote the Federal Regs to them pointing out that, at the very minimum, Federal laws had to be followed regardless of what Ohio law was. Then - all of a sudden, they agreed that it was an option for the child. I ended up attending meetings w/some of the other parents to help them w/their issues.

My son was really screwed over by the school system. He was so optimistic each and every year when school started thinking things would be great "this year". He would start the year out making A's and was lucky to be pulling D's by the end of the year. There was a lake in our development. When he was in 4th grade he told me he just felt like he wanted to walk into that lake and never come back out again !!! He didn't know what suicide was at that time but, obviously, that's what he wanted to do. And people wonder why our kids need to "self-medicate" w/drugs and alcohol.

When he's not drinking, everyone talks about what a wonderful person he is. I've read some of his work performance reviews and they all rave about what a great employee he is & how he goes out of his way to help others, etc. I met his latest employer and he went on & on about how proud I must be to have such a wonderful son. But, when he's drinking, he's a totally different person.

Hope you don't mind my adding the above. Thanks again & best wishes.


Oak Island, NC


Shameful Little Secret

Shameful Little Secret. By Janine Canty.

My son is a drug addict.

I've taken to practicing those words in the mirror. They feel unreal. They sound foreign, no matter how many times I repeat them. They taste bad. They actually taste bad. They smell like sour milk and unwashed skin. They feel like a snowstorm in July.

I love him enough to die for him. I love the part of him that named a gerbil "Blub Blub", when he was three. I love the part of him that ran a gentle finger across my swollen abdomen, and quietly whispered "Baby Brutha", when he was four. I love the part of him that wrote a journal entry for his first grade class. He wrote: "My cat, Mittens, has fleas. Mommy had to give her a bath. Mommy swore a lot."

Maybe it was because I dropped the F bomb in front of him. Maybe it's because he was conceived in the backseat of a blue Dodge Dart with broken seat belts. Maybe it was the tinny rendition of "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" blasting out of cheap speakers. Maybe it was the sound of clothes slipping lazily off of skin. Maybe it was the boxed macaroni and cheese I let him live on when he was six. Maybe it was a cold night in November. When he watched me climb into a police cruiser without him. I didn't look back that night. I didn't see him standing there in a pile of brittle, dead, leaves. I didn't need to see his face, to memorize it's every pore.

Maybe it was bad luck, caffeine, or even a faulty gene pool. Maybe it was Bazooka bubble gum and beer. I remember when I was seven, how the rotary phone rang from it's spot on a kitchen wall. My mother played with the pushpins on a cheerful bulletin board, while she listened. Her voice got smaller and quieter. Her body slowly folded in on itself. Assuming the fetal position. Protecting herself from the words. My cousin, Jackie, a solemn boy with big eyes and soft curls, had been found laying on a Boston street. His blood staining the cement underneath him. His life light extinguished by a strangers dirty knife. Drugs the adults whispered with red rimmed eyes. Drugs . They lowered their voices. Jackie was reduced to a shameful little secret, with that one word: "Drugs."Life went on. Family barbecues resumed without him. Jello cake, sweating soda cans, and half smoked pall malls littered a picnic table. While my aunt sat in the shade, with her broken heart hidden behind a pair of Walgreen's sunglasses.When I was 23 the phone rang again. This time death had come on a beautiful summer day. My cousin Stephen silenced his demons with a piece of plastic tubing, He ended his life on top of a mountain, with one push of a hypodermic needle. He was found among soft grass, and sharp boulders. His face looked peaceful. He didn't leave a note. Whether it was on purpose was never decided. Whether it was on purpose was irrelevant. "Drugs". again, it was "Drugs" Guilty whispers. Shameful glances. Red rimmed eyes, and a closed casket. Stephen's life reduced to it's tiny, sad, ending.

Many, many, years have passed since those events. Rotary phones have been replaced by fancy cell phones. My son has grown into a scabby looking transient. His hands shake. His once beautiful face is cracked,, and covered in tiny sores. He hides his eyes behind an oily string that was once healthy hair. The world looks at him and judges him for what he has become. Someone you wouldn't leave alone around your pocketbook, or your child. When I hear "Ballroom Blitz" start playing from my fancy cell phone, my hands turn to heavy ice.

While I rummage through my purse, grapple on top of a crowded bathroom vanity, or reach blindly in the dark to silence one of my favorite 70's songs. I wonder if this is the time I'll have to go identify the remains of my child in a freezing cold room while bland professionals offer me horrible coffee, and whisper Drugs.


To whomever is willing to listen:

I am what my recovering addict husband would call a "normie." I have never touched a drug except when medically necessary. I come from a good home and have an education. My husband has a different story and it amazes me how people comment on and judge the world they do not know. Once I knew my husband was an addict, I became hyper-aware of how people view them and how they view those who love them. For this reason, I hid his addiction. For this reason, I became sick.

My "rah" (recovering addict husband) grew up in a home filled with drugs and abuse. His mother remarried multiple times, and every man abused him until the abuse became visible and his mother left. One of these men would lock him in the basement while having a coke party upstairs. Growing up in such an environment, I'm amazed that he has any decency in him at all. He is a grown man now and must take responsibility for his mistakes, and the problem he faces is learning how to give to his children what he never had, a sober/clean father.

I also work with many teens facing similar problems. As an educator, students share their stories, and I wonder how they will find their way out of the darkness. How will they learn to be productive and "normal" when they have never seen it up close? I find people judge them as well. The stores near our school often complain about the students waiting for rides and call them bad kids. My friends sometimes make comments that these kids "don't deserve" another chance. For some reason, I still feel shocked when I hear this.

There is an epidemic out there. How does it end? I think there needs to be a radical approach in the way people are educated about this disease. I cannot tell you how many times I took my rah to the doctor, told the doctor he was an addict so please don't give him opiates, only to have the doctor give him opiates for a "mysterious pain." I once worked a job watching over patients high on drugs or alcohol to make sure they didn't hurt themselves and others. Once at a safe level, they were discharged with no information on detox or programs to help. Their families had eyes half dead from the disbelief and exhaustion of dealing with an addict (eyes I am sure someone once saw in me) and they were not given any information on what or where they could go next.

When my rah first wanted to recover, he didn't have health insurance and tried to detox on his own. He put holes in the door of his bed room. See what we didn't know was that his body was now chemically dependent on the drugs. That his body no longer functioned normally without them and he was literally at the point of "can't live with them, can't live without them." He would of course relapse. He had no counseling, no groups, nothing to help him stay clean.

Years later, I finally told my family and they helped me get him into a detox center to safely detox. The cost was great for them and for me. We unfortunately could not afford any continuing care/counseling and he relapsed again. Now it is a condition of his being home that he do both. Funny thing is that every time he decided he wanted help, we'd make calls and would get turned away. "You need $5000 up front," "There aren't any beds for 3 months," "We can't help you without health insurance." He finally wanted and needed help. Finally willing to seek it, and couldn't get it. He did have a good job (was layed off before going into recovery)with decent health coverage, but the cost is still great. Bancruptcy is in his future for sure. Its enough to discourage many from getting help.

No one told us on any of these trips how important my recovery would also be. That his disease infects everyone around him and if we don't get better, there is no chance of the situation getting better for anyone. I took my time on Medicaid to get counseling because I read some literature on the matter. Because I did the research. I wish someone had pointed me in that direction sooner. I would have made boundaries sooner. I would have gotten help sooner.

People seem to dismiss addicts as "low lifes" who will never get clean. But I see the father of my children. I see the sense of humor that made me fall in love with him. I see the gentle spirit that seeks to console others in their desperate needs. I see an animal lover, a student, an abused child refusing to abuse his own. I see a man desperately fighting for his life and more importantly for his soul.

When I look at my students, I see the innocent five year old witnessing abuse/drug use/hate. I see the desperate child bounced from foster home to foster home. I see future mechanics, commercial art designers, social workers (jobs they tell me they seek). I cannot see failure in them and wish others could share this vision. For many, I don't know how they will get out. They too don't know how to get help. They tell me their stories, I tell the counselor, the counselor tells their social worker, and honestly . . . I don't think much happens. They feel better knowing someone knows their story, but there seems to be something missing in this chain. I'm not positive what can be done, but I know something must. The future truly depends upon it.

I could go on and on . . . I hope this helps to bring a little understanding. That is what many of us want: A little understanding and possibly a hand up; perhaps a map to get us in their right direction?


Leah from Colorado


Hi, I am not a Mom, but I am a Dad....I took care of my 4 boys alone for 11 years so I know what it's like to be a mom.....

Addiction runs in my family...What do I feel about it? We I am a non using alcoholic for 22 years now...I watched my son die in my arms from a heroin over dose, but Thank goodness and GOD, they EMT's brought him back....I watched numerous people close to me suffer from heroin and addictions......So much that I had an idea to for Bikers Against Heroin....So we did....I am now vice president, and I am hoping to grow HUGE to help ANYONE we can....Our adress is on facebook....It's and soon we will have up and running....What do I feel about it? I

feel it's the devil....That sucks the life out of GOOD PEOPLE.....and we are going to fight back....We may only help a few people? But that is better than NONE......Love and Hope, Vinnie Corvelli


OMG - Write about what I feel about addiction ? I feel that it's a way of killing our kids. We need insurance to cover rehab & we need more rehab facilities. Some facilities, including County ones, have cutsie, glossy pamphlets about what they can do & how wonderful they are. The "professionals" there talk about meds they're going to put our kids on & full evaluations (medical & psych) they are going to do, etc., etc. And sometimes they do some of it. Not usually. And one time my son was put on a med that's dangerous & cautioned in no uncertain terms NOT to stop it cold turkey because it can cause seizures & all kinds of things. After a few months of being on it, they told all their patients that they couldn't get the meds anymore and made them ALL stop cold-turkey !!

In my opinion, cops know exactly where the majority of drugs are dealt. WHY are the governors NOT calling in the National Guard to clean up these areas ? Seems to me it is a no-brainer to do something like this and it would put one helluva dent in the distribution of drugs to say nothing of the deaths of our kids. EVERY SINGLE DAY I'm reading about another one of our kids dying from drug overdoses. This does't have to happen.

Parents or spouses or kids of addicts should be able to place addicts into treatment AGAINST THEIR WILL. They are making decisions & refusing treatment while they are using drugs/alcohol and are incapable of making decisions !! Their brains are deficient and it's known that even those who go to treatment, it takes up to 18+ months for them to start functioning somewhat normally. In addition, their brains STOP developing at the age at which they start drugs. Therefore, most of our addicts are functioning w/a brain that is about 14 years of age.

I'm so grateful when I see on Dr. Phil that he has helped another family whose loved one is an addict. BUT …. my son is now 35 years old and I've been writing to the Dr. Phil show for YEARS trying to get my son help. "We" cannot afford the great places Dr. Phil sends these addicts to for treatment. And then I get pissed that "my" son wasn't worthy of being "chosen" for help.

I'm now 64 years old. Many people in my family do not live long lives. I keep fretting about just how I should handle finances for my son in my will. I have 3 tremendous step-kids who are all contributing members of society but if I leave money to my son in my will, I have to worry about him drinking himself to death. He spent six days in the hospital in October due to his drinking (he relapsed). UNC-Chapel Hill; a premier hospital. When he drinks, his blood pressure goes sky high. SIX DAYS. He has no money (lost his job), no insurance. Now … just how much do you think THAT hospital stay was ? Yes - they needed to get him stabilized but … six days ? They talked about getting him into treatment as soon as he was discharged and he was totally willing. Did it happen ? NO. Wouldn't that money have been better spent on a rehab facility ?

I have an 8 year old grandson whom I've not seen in five years. His mother is a pill-popper. Supposedly, she moved out of state and we don't know where. She's had several kids. My son does not support his child. He used to, when he worked, but can't hold a job now because of addiction. And, it's getting harder & harder for him to find work due to his work history.

Alcoholism is hereditary. I've had a ton of relatives who were alcoholics. Many died young from the disease or car crashes because of driving drunk. My son no longer has a drivers' license due to DUI. I told him I'm positive he doesn't trust himself to drive w/o drinking & therefore won't attempt to get his license back. He agrees w/me (surprising that he agreed). States now prosecute drunk drivers for vehicular homicide if they happen to kill someone while driving drunk and yet they are too easy on most drunk drivers. Cars should be impounded & licenses revoked. Instead, they get a slap on the wrist & turned loose to drink & drive again. One man was on the news recently because of having NINE DUI's. NINE and he was stopped again.

I'm a smoker. I'm not "allowed" to smoke cigarettes in many places and the taxes just keep being raised. IMO taxes on alcohol should be commensurate w/those of cigarettes. I'm not going to kill someone while driving w/a cigarette ! Political correctness has run amuk concerning cigarettes. Many people w/mental illness are smokers. I'm diagnosed w/depression and anxiety. I NEED to smoke and yet I'm ostracized because of that.

I've been involved w/Al-Anon for approximately 10 years. They helped me in dealing w/my son's addiction BUT it's not nearly enough. I'm tired, I'm angry, I'm scared of getting "that" call which so many parents of addicts of gotten. Dr. Phil once said that a mother is only as happy as her saddest child. My son is my only child. He's been "sad" and worse for decades and I'm worn out.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I'm glad you're doing something about this issue. Thank you so much. I hope the above is somewhat coherent. It's too depressing to proof-read.


Oak Island, NC


My Story about my son's addiction and how I hate it but I love my son no matter what

My son has battled this disease for probably 12 years now. He's been in and out of rehabs and jails. He currently is serving a state sentence for violating parole. And if he had been able to get in a rehab he may have not had to go to prison.

The rehab systems excuse my language "suck" they do not adequately treat the disease my son suffers from which is heroine. Detox alone is NEVER enough and a 30 day stay is not enough either. Heroine addicts need longer stays. Our Leaders need to be educated on this disease and how it affects both the brain and the body and how they no longer have the "control" to say no to the choice. That's the reason all the rehabs and jails didn't work. That's why we have so many young lives lost to OD's, suicides because they just can't live with the pain any longer. It's time people realize THIS IS A DISEASE PEOPLE. I'm angry! I'm upset, I want action! Not just for my son, for every young person out there, for the young ones that have yet to try any drugs, the babies, the unborn, it's an epidemic just like Aides, and people didn't want to talk about it. It's time to talk about it, face it and do something about it.

It's time to do something about the prison systems around this country too. My son is in the Pennsylvania prison system. He is now in the treatment phase. Do you know what they are doing right now? No talking phase. WHAT? Tell an alcoholic or addict not to talk? That's crazy!! They are told to go to AA/NA meetings to talk to recover. He's going crazy right now. I'm praying so hard right now that God will protect him, and give him strength through this phase. Are the people in these prisons trained and by trained I mean are they in recovery? Because I believe that's the only people that should be certified to teach these addicts in therapy. Someone who is NOT an in recovery has NO CLUE how to manage a case in recovery and I speak from experience! The prison systems are not sending our men and women out ready to face the world ready in recovery. No they are sending them out ready to probably OD..

I'm sick to death of watching so many young people die from this disease. It's time for the People to Recognize The War on Drugs has been Lost, but the War on the Disease Can be Won!

I have stood by son through these years, yes I've thrown him out of my house, worried about him on the streets, visited him in jails, drove him to rehabs, now he's so far away at a jail my heart breaks, but he's safe this Christmas. But I know one thing when he's using, that's not my son, that's the heroine, right now I get beautiful letters from my son. And I pray it's my son that comes home and stays clean by the Grace of God.




It's been almost 2 years since my Higher Power carried me to
Nar Anon--and I do mean carried.
It literally saved my life.
2 years-- I think about how much Recovery I have packed into that short time--considering that I was addicted to "saving/fixing" my addict, my daughter, for almost 8 years. If you had looked up Co-dependent in a dictionary, I'm sure my picture would have been there..... My life did not matter to me at all.
At first, I just grabbed on for dear life and LIFE is what I got, minute by minute, then hour by hour, then One Day at a Time--- Grateful....
As crazy as this sounds--I had no idea what "self care" was ..... doesn't that mean "selfish? " --Oh no, not me! I'm a Mom, a fixer, a giver...... and I was completely lost, broken and empty. So how was THAT working for me?! NOT at all!

I kept coming back-- I read my Recovery books cover to cover, I went to a meeting every day and read and posted responses on the online Nar Anon Forum, I met lifelong friends/sisters in Recovery, I built a bottomless Recovery tool box, found a local meeting to attend and I got a sponsor. AND- I picked up the biggest mirror I could lift to look at myself in all my affairs...... I had completely lost myself in trying to "save" my daughter.
Getting help for ME--THIS has been the key to finding ME again. Insecurity, low self esteem, co-dependency, fear--- Lordy--- lots of work ahead.

2 years is a very short amount of time when I look at how many years I rode the Crazy Train of all things addict. But I learned that this is indeed a process, a journey, not a race and it is life long. I have miles to go, but I have also come so far ..... I GRATEFULLY will travel on this path, take this journey for the rest of my life. I only need to remain willing, humble and open .....

This is a WE program .... and now I work hard to advocate for The Recovery Movement—Education, Awareness, NO stigma, Celebrate those in recovery, Reach out to those struggling, Honor those we have lost ……..
Yes, it works if you work it--and the more you work it, the more it becomes a way of life—Wow ...... Is that ME I see in the mirror?
Just for Today, my addict, my daughter is working her Recovery--her choice-her responsibility. I work my Recovery-my choice, my responsibility. Our relationship is better than ever, One Day at a Time......
Awareness--take Action. Fear to Faith.... Never alone......
WE must stick together…. TOGETHER we CAN!

Every day-- I open up my bottomless Recovery tool box and say out loud to my HP and to myself that I am all in, powerless but not helpless and if I fall back-- that's ok-- I have LOTS of back up!
I will keep coming back .....

Thanks for letting me share....
Nancy xoxo


my story is going to seem so long. but the details are what makes it so important. our lives have literally been one crisis after another. when does this stop?
i have a daughter, Taylor, who needs an inpatient dual diagnosis treatment center. my insurance will not cover it. she started at 14, cutting, burning and by 15 she was into alcohol. she was seeing a therapist, but it didn't seem to help. she went on a downward spiral. during this time, she was a honor roll student, graduated and went on to college. her first two semesters, she earned a 4.0 while also holding a job. she is very, very intelligent and one of the most manipulative people i have ever met. she has not learned how to cope with situations that she is in and impulsive with her actions, not thinking for a second that she could end up hurting herself or worse. she has talked her doctors into prescribing whatever she wanted and when they caught on to her, she would find another doctor. i, myself, have taken her to the emergency room over 40 times. most of these were for overdoses. she's a beautiful girl who can't/won't get out of this disastrous lifestyle. she also has a mental illness. invisible on the outside but ravishing her on the inside. the mental illness and the drug use go hand in hand. this disease she has is going to take her life. i don't know how she has walked away from every single overdose symptom-free. she thinks she's immortal and she'll get her way out of everything. sadly, this is true. she has bounced back every time. don't get me wrong, i am thankful she is alive. her problem is that our insurance company, Excellus. Excellus will pay for her *aftercare* following an incident but they will not pay for preventative treatment for her. i'm not sure exactly how much it would be or how long she might have to stay, but it has to be more effective than what is happening to her now. Taylor is currently in jail for breaking probation. (she left rehab early) i have gone down everysingle avenue i could find.
i tried talking to the supervisors at Excellus and they repeat that they don't cover an inpatient dual-diagnosis treatment. i have contacted Senator Tom Libous, who in turn couldn't help me but directed me file a report. this report was so unusual that it didn't have any specific place to go. Finally, it landed at the department of labor. for weeks, they worked on it but to no avail. she still wouldn't get the treatment she needs. please look at her timeline below. i have not left out anything on purpose, only for the lack of keeping track of the paperwork.
these last 4-5 years, our family has been turned upside down. my marriage has suffered, my sons have absorbed whatever time and energy i have left for them. i have spent far too much time in hospitals, hoping that *this one* will be her last or that she's finally hit rock bottom. there's nothing more i can do. there's so much to my story that i haven't included because i wanted to keep this letter somewhat simple. i am asking for you to look into her story, please. she has unlimited potential but will never get a chance to show it because she's not getting the correct treatment.
Carol Roche


My name is Jennifer Faulk, and this is my testimony of God's grace in my life. Grace is God's undeserved favor. I started using drugs at 13 years old. I was hooked on heroin and crack by the time I was 15 years old. I realized that drugs had become a major problem in my life and although I tried to stop using, I could not. I went into about fifteen detox programs and rehabs over a 15 year period. While in these places I was told that addiction was a disease and had to be treated medically, but later I found out otherwise. Throughout the years I continued using drugs and going into treatment centers to try to quit. I would live on the street, use men, or do whatever it took to make money to support my habit. It was a big vicious cycle. During this time I considered myself to be a Catholic because it is what my family told me that I was from a little girl. All this time I knew that God existed, but I had no real understanding of Him or faith in Him. I thought that what I had to do was get my life together and start going back to Catholic Church on Sundays to be able to go to heaven. At that time I did not know, that what GOD actually wanted was a relationship with me, not my religious rituals.


n the midst of my drug use, a man that I will call Joe came in to my family's life. He was a born again Christian. My mom told him all about my drug problem and how she tried for years to help me, but her attempts were unsuccessful. This made him want to try to help me. The first time I met him he had his Bible in his hands and he tried to tell me about Jesus, but I did not want to hear it! I pretty much persecuted him and the church. I told him born-again people are crazy if they think they are going to heaven. I told him I was Catholic and would be Catholic until the day I die and nothing would change my mind, because I knew it was the right way. Now, here I was a drug addict claiming to be a Catholic and not even understanding what it meant, persecuting one of God's people and thinking I knew everything, when in reality I knew nothing. I had no idea how much God actually loved me, and what He had done for me.

I eventually began taking Suboxone, which is similar to Methadone (a legal form of heroin). I thought it was great, the answer to a so-called clean and sober life, but I was deceived. I eventually got back on crack and heroin, and now I am 28 years old and hit "rock-bottom". I lost everything including my family. No one wanted to talk to me and my parents did not even want me coming into the town that they lived in. They told me if they even saw me in town, they would have me arrested, and I honestly could not blame them at all because I had robbed them so many times and put them through so much. I'm surprised they didn't react this way sooner. I did not know what to do. I did not want to keep getting arrested because I hated going to jail. I was staying with the only person who would still talk to me and they were fed up with me. So in my foolish mind I decided that I was going to become a "functioning addict". In my mind I thought that this would actually be possible where in reality there was no chance of this happening. Psalm 107:27 says "they reel to and fro and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end." This verse describes me at this time; I was at my wit's end.

The next verse, Psalm 107:28 reads this: "then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses." This verse describes the next season of my life. It was Thanksgiving of 2007. Joe had offered to take me out to eat, so I went with him. On the way to the restaurant, I told him how I planned on obtaining a job and only doing drugs on the weekends, this to me would be considered a functioning addict. He listened to my plan and then asked me if I would like to say a prayer. Still considering myself a Catholic, I said yes because this is what we do on holidays, and it was Thanksgiving. I thought he was crazy, because I knew God did not want to hear from someone like me. After all I was not a Catholic priest or a holy person. Before we prayed he gave me a Scripture. He told me Jesus said in Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with ME." Then he told me to repeat after him. We prayed something like this: "Dear Lord Jesus, I am a sinner, I do need your forgiveness. Thank you for dying on the cross to pay for my sins, I ask you to come into my heart and life and be my Lord and personal Savior, in Jesus' name, Amen."

This was not the first time that I said a prayer like this. Joe had asked me to pray something like this before, but I only agreed because I felt pressured. But now something happened, I truly believed that Jesus died on the cross for me to forgive me for all of my sins. I knew something was different, but I did not understand yet. I did not know that Jesus was actually now living inside of my body through His Holy Spirit (just as Jesus promised in John chapter 14). I was now able to pray out loud and knew, without a doubt, that God was hearing every word. I knew something was very different and it was good. My parents forgave me and let me move back home, thanks to God's divine intervention. I started reading the Bible and it was amazing. It was like the words were jumping off the page talking to me personally. I didn't want to use drugs anymore. I was able to just stop doing crack but I was still hooked on Suboxone. I decided to start cutting down to wean myself. I also wanted to quit smoking so I switched to nicotine free cigarettes, thinking that this would make it easier to quit. So basically what was going on was, I met Jesus and found out what He did for me on the cross, and now I was going to clean myself up for Him. I was trying very hard to quit everything. It was impossible and I could not understand why. I know now, that God needed to deal with my pride. Jesus is the Deliverer but I was trying to do His job, which of course proved impossible. However, what is impossible with man, is possible with God. John; Chapter 8, states that "he who sins is a slave to sin, but he who the SON sets free is free indeed." I was a slave to drugs and I was trying to set myself free.

While I was trying to quit, I was reading my Bible a lot. All I could do was talk about the Lord. I tried to tell everyone in my family. I thought all I had to do was tell them this great news and they would believe. That did not happen. They got offended and started accusing me of being back on heavy drugs because they could not understand why all I could talk about was Jesus. This upset me and I eventually was back on crack and heroin. I knew the Lord was not pleased, I was grieving the Holy Spirit who now lived inside of me and even though I wanted to quit badly, I just could not and I felt horrible. I met a man of great faith while traveling from one drug spot to another. He prayed for me and told me that the Lord had delivered me. I thought, "Yeah right!" I did not know what 'delivered' meant, but I knew I still wanted to get high. I went to stay with a friend from high school for about five days getting high and surely what was told to me five days before was now happening. Jesus had showed up and delivered me. It was like handcuffs were taken off of me. I had a real encounter with Jesus. I did not see HIM face -to- face, but I did feel HIS presence so powerfully, I was brought to my knees. It was amazing! I confessed to HIM that I was living in complete rebellion against HIM, and I asked HIM to forgive me. I did not want any drugs or cigarettes or alcohol at all. Not only did I not need them, but for the first time I did not want them, because they no longer had control of me. The SON had set me free.

The next thing I knew there were police knocking on the door, so I opened the door and let them in. They asked me if I was okay - I told them I was. I knew the Lord had sent them to get me out of there. But I thought they were going to take me to jail because I had a lot of warrants. They asked me if I had any warrants, and I told them I did. Then I was told to meet them outside and I thought that was strange that they would say that rather than taking me out in cuffs. In the car, I thought we were headed to the jail. I asked the officer who was driving if he knew the Lord, and he replied, "You mean Jesus? Yes, very well." I said, "Oh, do you work for Him?" He replied, "Yes, I do". We arrived at our destination, which to my surprise was not the county jail. The officer pulled up to the emergency room of Palisades Hospital, let me out of the car, and told me to go inside and they would help me. Now, I don't know if the officer was an angel, or a believer who was so close to Jesus, that he knew that the Lord was telling him to bring me to the hospital and not to arrest me on the warrants. But, if he was a believer and not an angel, I want to be as in touch with Jesus as he was. Early the next morning I called Joe and asked him if he would come and get me. He did. When I got outside of the hospital everything was so bright and beautiful! I never experienced anything like this before. I was delivered and filled with the Holy Spirit. It was Sunday morning so we went to Brooklyn Tabernacle to worship the Lord. Once again the Lord's unfailing faithfulness came into action, and He made a way for me to go back home and live with my parents. However, on that same day that the Lord delivered me from everything I gave in to temptation. Proverbs 26:11 says "as a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly". And this is exactly what I did. That night someone I knew offered me a cigarette. I took it, even though for the first time I didn't actually need a cigarette. Needless to say, before long I was back on everything. It wasn't long before my parents kicked me out, once again. I thought I had angered the Lord. But I thank God for His mercy, which is Him not giving me what I deserve. Psalm 103:8 says "the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger abounding in mercy."

At this point I was using every day, and once again trying to quit because I felt very guilty for using drugs. I kept asking the Lord to forgive me and expressed that I did not want to do drugs anymore. Then one day, in the midst of my mess, I realized I was lying to God. I then confessed to him that I liked using drugs and asked HIM to forgive me and to change my heart. This is where the healing began. He wanted me to be completely honest with Him. What I was doing before was just trying to clear my conscience by telling Him I did not want to use anymore when in reality I did not want to stop. I began crying out to Him and asking Him to deliver me once again. I told Him how weak I was, and how I had no power over the strongholds in my life. I told Him that if HE didn't do this for me I had no chance. The Scriptures refer to His strength being made perfect in our weakness and when we are weak then we are strong. He showed me what this meant. When I tried to be strong and stop using, I realized how weak I actually was. But when I told Him about how weak I was HE gave me His strength. I kept crying out to Him and then one night I heard Isaiah 1:18 spoken on the television. "Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool". I knew it was the Lord speaking to me. I knew that the Lord had come to get his lost sheep, just as the good Shepherd is faithful to do (Luke 15:3-7).

He told me in my heart that I was going to have to go to jail and about two hours later I got arrested on a warrant. I knew it was Him. This was His divine intervention and I was at peace with going to jail. I was in there for six months and I used that time wisely. James 4:8 says, "draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded". As I began to draw near to Him, He proved true to His promise and began drawing near to me. He taught me the meaning of I John 1:9 which says "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." You see, I was so used to trying to make up for all the wrongs I did to my parents that my attitude leaked over into my relationship with my heavenly Father. He lovingly corrected me and showed me that once I confess my sins I am forgiven and Psalm 103:12 says "He removes them as far as the east is from the west". He does not remember, so why on earth would I, or even try to make up for it? He taught me to just move forward, and continue drawing near to my heavenly Father. He wanted me to stop trying so hard to be perfect and to just come to Him and spend time in His Word, talk to Him and allow Him to change me. Before I came home to live with my parents (yes, once again) He healed that relationship. The Lord sent a woman of God to visit me while I was still in jail. Shortly thereafter I had to go to court and upon being released from jail I knew I would need an accountability partner, so I prayed and the Lord provided. (An accountability partner is someone who is there for us to help us make sure that we are staying on point in our walk with the Lord, and spending our time wisely.) I am grateful to the Lord for her. She stood in court with me and offered to be my accountability partner. It is better to ask for one than to pick our own. He is faithful, if we ask we will receive. When I got out of jail, I knew that temptation would still be there. James 1:12 promises this: "Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love Him". What a wonderful promise! Also, He gives me a conditional promise - James 4:7 says "submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you". So I know that, as long as I submit to God and resist the devil, he has no choice but to leave. Thank You Jesus for these amazing promises! Yes, this time I knew not to give into the temptation, like I did in the past, with the cigarette. The Lord has completely changed my life. He set me free from every addiction that I ever had. The more I get to know Him through His Word and prayer the more I fall in love with Him. He has given me a new beginning and is using me to do His will here on earth. Jeremiah 29:13 is amazing -it reads "and ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."

Maybe today you are reading this and you never heard the gospel, which simply means the good news. Romans 3:23 says "for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." What this simply means is that God is perfect and holy, and we are not. Romans 6:23 says, "for the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." What this means is that, because of our sin, we owe an eternal death sentence (Hell), but God sent Jesus, God the Son, to earth to take our place and pay the penalty for our sins by His death on the cross. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for our eternal freedom. "Christ died for our sins… He was buried… He rose again the third day…" (I Corinthians 15:3-4). He did this because He loves us, and did not want us to have to spend eternity in hell. God's Word says salvation is a free gift. We have the freedom to willingly receive this gift. John 1:12 says "but as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." Have you received Him? If not, you can do so right now. You can pray this prayer to Him:

God, I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus died for me, and that you raised Him from the dead. I welcome you into my heart and life to be my Lord and personal Savior. In Jesus's name, Amen.

If you believe with all of your heart what the LORD did for you, and trust Him as your Savior, here is more good news: John 17:3 says, "and this is life eternal, that they might know the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." This means eternal life starts now, the moment you believe. Now you can get to know your Savior through reading his Word. The book of John in the New Testament is a good place to start. He talks to you through His Word and you talk to Him through prayer. Also ask Him to guide you to a good Bible teaching church. I pray that this testimony of mine has touched your heart and opened your eyes to what GOD desires to do with your life also. He loves you more than you can imagine and wants to forgive you and restore your life. I pray that you will let Him!


I have decided today to step out of my comfort zone. I don't usually splatter my personal life out of Facebook but I really have some things weighing heavy on my heart; for personal reasons, for reasons that are hitting close to home with my friends, for reasons that are hitting close to home with the world. I've talked to 5 people just in the last 2 hours who feel in a hopeless position with their loved ones. It's called drug and alcohol addiction and I'm furious with society's ridiculous stigma they have placed upon it; almost as if it's a plague and only the lowest scum in society are at risk of lying in bed with her. Wake up call folks, drug and alcohol addiction does not discriminate!!! It does not care if you are a mother or father, a son or daughter, sister or brother, it does not care if you are 12 or 70, if you have a beautiful home or live in a trailer, if you have a 6 figure income, or if you live on government assistance, it does not care if you have true physical pain or just enjoy getting hi. It doesn't care if you think it won't or can't happen to you, because the truth is it can and is happening everywhere. If we all did an honest evaluation of our lives, many of us either are struggling or know someone who is struggling with this disease. The key word is honest here, because more times than not people are fearful to share what they are actually going through weather your knee deep in it yourself or trying to dig your loved one out of the pit, and by pit I mean Hell! ..I have to chuckle at times when I post awareness about addiction and no one "likes" or comments to it as if they are afraid to be branded or recognized with the disease…society has labeled addiction as SHAMEFUL…why? Well because druggies are POOR pieces of crap who lie, cheat and steal, they live on the wrong side of town and they became a drug addict because there really was nothing better for them to do. They CHOSE to be this way…it's the most absolute absurd statement I ever hear and it is what it is – an OPINION of a person who is uneducated in the disease of addiction. Some to no fault of their own, they are just going along with the labeling society has placed and some because they are so hurt and angry they have no desire to get educated. Do you really think anyone says "I want to grow up and be a druggie" In truth, NO ONE chooses this life for themselves, or for their family it effects. What an addicted person did do was choose to take the first drink or the first drug that in turn, when they have the biological makeup in their brain, started their life long battle with addiction. Here is where it gets scary folks..addiction has so long been portrayed as "something poor folk living on government aid " do , until RECENTLY there has been no education to society on the fact that addiction is not a matter of weak will power or moral degeneration but that the chemical reactions in an addicted brain are much more significant than those in a non-addictive or "normal" brain and that (here's the ticker ding ding ding) not only environmental exposure but HERIDITARY (aka genetics) is a significant risk factor in addiction.. So significant that 60 % of a person's predisposition for addiction is based on genetics!!!!!! in other words… be aware of the factors that could be big fat red flashing lights, such as maybe grandma and grandpa drink all day everyday (but it's actually not an issue because they go to work every day, provided for their family and they have paid their dues, after all its legal right?) Aunt Susie who's been on medicine for the last 5 years ( hydro's for her aching back because she stands on her feet all day, Xanax to help her deal with the stress , a pinch of this to sleep at night and a pinch of that for energy in the morning , but it's actually not an issue because DR.Whateveryouwant is legally prescribing them for all her medical needs) or Uncle Bob who tokes the smoke to deal with cousin Peaty who is a heroin addict(that no one in the family talks about because it's just not happening) …..Yes people these are red flags that perhaps you or your family members may be predisposed to simply by who makes up your family tree…scary huh? We also must consider that environmental factors can also pose risks to a potential addict. For children and adolescents, lack of parental involvement or supervision can enable risky behaviors or experimentation with alcohol or drugs….this is where old peer pressure sneaks in, for those of you who think , oh even if my kid "experiences" they won't become an addict..Whelp I sure hope you don't have that Grandpa, Aunt Susie, Uncle Bob or cousin Peaty in your family because if you do the odds are already 60% against them. Young people who experience abuse or neglect from parents may begin to use substances or engage in addictive behavior as an emotional coping mechanism as well. I could go on and on about the environmental risks that play a part in addiction and these are the ones who get "hooked" because they tried that beer at a party, or the joint that was passing around, or did a line of the pill that was crushed up on the table all in the name of being COOOOOL! All these things are alarming aren't they? Especially when your child is an honor roll student and you have a nice home and good job. Surely it won't happen to you…..panicked yet? If not picture this..Your loved one sustains an injury that requires surgery, they get a prescription for pain medication to help control the pain, unbeknownst to you or the doctor this person has the biological make up of an addictive brain. After a short time 2 pills every 4-6 hours turns into 10 pills every 2-3 hours, which in turn results in prescriptions running out early, drug seeking to avoid with draw, buying on the streets etcetera… Oh, you say it's a choice for them to continue using. …ok, I will entertain the fact that we all have free will or can choose to do or not to do, I agree with this 100%…however the biological makeup in an addictive brain that progresses the disease is what inhibits an addict from the "choice" once addicted…Its almost as Air is to a drowning person as drugs are to the addict, when a person is drowning their Brain tells them to fight tooth and nail for that breath..When an addict is using their brain tells them to fight tooth and nail for that drug..Consider this… Why one person may be able to smoke cigarettes occasionally for pleasure, while another needs them on a daily basis in order to feel normal and to function properly…why one person can casually drink and another requires excessive alcohol on a daily basis …why one person can take prescription pain medication and wean off normal when it's done its job and another becomes physically and psychologically dependent ….it is the brain disease of addiction….well ok Angie, you have made some valid points BUT why don't they stop before they realize it's out of control, they choose to carry on that way….well comrades its quite simple… While some addictions progress slowly over the course of several months or years, certain substances may pose higher risks for addiction than others. Drugs like prescription drugs/opiates (vicodin, hydros, norcos roxys, oxys, opanas, methadone etcetera), heroin, and methamphetamines tend to be more physically addicting than substances like alcohol or marijuana. Since the withdrawal or "come-down" from prescription drugs and heroin use tends to be severely painful, the person is more likely to use the drug frequently and in higher doses, thereby significantly "speeding up" the process of addiction…by this time the individual is so far into the disease and over their own head they often can't recognize their need for help. After all, in their own mind, EVERYTHING is normal and under control…same goes for your alcoholic who doesn't have a drinking problem! So why am I so emotionally involved in this matter?? Because I have many friends and family members who have struggled with addiction. I have made many acquaintances with families fighting to keep their loved ones alive and am compassionate about helping them get educated and heal. And because I have been there. My husband has struggled with prescription pain medication, yes he has very chronic pain issues but he also has an addictive brain. I'm not ashamed of it or of him, it is what it is and nothing can change the makeup of his brain. The days of burying our head in the ground like an ostrich are over.. It is a work in progress, learning the proper tools to manage the addiction rather than feed it. It's a learning process, a healing process and I am extremely proud of him. Tomorrow is a new day and one cannot let their guard down, or she will come in like a thief in the night and steal your life away. It is a one day at a time process. I also have struggled myself with pain medication…started with a car wreck, before I knew it I was on heavy pain medicine (OxyContin) and physically dependent. I too am an addict, only by the grace of God am I free of that burden. I was too wrapped up in the "not happening to me" idea that it snuck in on me before I knew what was happening. She is tricky like that. I now know that I cannot take pain medication as I will easily revert right back to where I was. I would not change what I have been through, it has made me wiser, compassionate, and aware what this evil world is capable of. I believe God has big plans for me in helping others with this disease and I except the challenge graciously! Why our family is healing(By the grace of GOD) gaining knowledge and moving forward I am watching society drowning in this pit of stigma, afraid to reach out for help for their loved ones, ashamed of what their neighbor or boss might think and it scares the hell out of me….NEWS FLASH..Your neighbor or boss probably knows someone or is one too..Addiction is a progressive disease. It ultimately has three outcomes 1) Recovery 2)Death 3)Prison..And that is a fact you can take straight to the bank…. If nothing else disturbs you about this epidemic, #2 should be an eye opener… You see with the prescription drug abuse the government has enforced dispensing regulations (Supply) which means that patients (demand) who have been receiving medications for years are no longer receiving their medications without adequate cause!!! Why GOOOOOOD you say…. No again, wrong answer! Supply and demand people..The supply has been taken away but news flash, there is still a demand (because they are addicted, duh!) So instead of recognizing it for what it is –Addiction- and setting the proper help in place, educating the addict and raising awareness they just say oh well we will just take it away and it will stop…if it worked like that we wouldn't have millions of people addicted…instead the mass pain prescription addicted people who don't have proper resources are moving onto's cheap and as easy to get as it is to drive through McDonalds to get a cheeseburger. Yes Heroin has been around for years, (by the grace of God no one I love has ever been in bed with her…but with an addict you never say never) and people have been dying for years from heroin, I get all this ..but what EVERYONE needs to understand is the danger of her kicking your door in now is bigger than it's ever been…. With the limited availability to buy norcos, hydros, roxys, or methadone on the street now heroin is the new go to , a person who would have NEVER gone there before is suddenly finding themselves knee deep in the shit pot. It's EVERYWHERE now people and its killing our loved ones, and tearing families apart…Just take a gander at the news..narcon..Otherwise known as Evzio(ingredient naloxone)..It's a shot or nasal spray that can be administered in the event of an opiate overdose, its antidote component can potentially save lives by reversing the overdose's kinda like an epi pen …its controversial because society is still stuck in the theology that addiction is a moral choice not a brain disease so why waste the $$$$ on the "wasted people". It's necessary to save lives because the real down and dirty of addiction is as long as we are all turning our head the other way as if it's not happening, enabling our loved ones and not seeking proper steps toward healing people are going to continue to die. The mere fact that it's all over the media should be an eye opener…addiction is real, it's KILLING people.. Oprah Dr. Oz, Dr Phil and so many more are raising awareness and trying to educate the public on this life changing epidemic. In a nutshell people it can be difficult to understand why particular people are more vulnerable to addiction than others. Often referred to as "the disease that knows no boundaries," addiction doesn't seem to discriminate based on color, ethnicity, height, weight, or social status. There can be numerous risk factors that may predispose a person for addictive behavior, regardless of an individual's upbringing or moral code. It comes like the devil, to seek, kill and destroy. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction please seek help. You are not alone!!! There is no shame in it, I say again you are not alone, you are not alone. We are all Gods people, and by his grace can overcome anything. A person can get easily frustrated in the help options that are available out there, that's why it's so important to talk to someone who's been there, let others who have walked through this pick you up and point you in the right direction. I know there are a lot of people who are going to disagree with me, I know there a lot of people who will read this and it will hit home , I know there are a few who will read this and think it will never happen to you. Think again, unfortunately the most common thing all of us addictive families have in common is "how did we get here".

Angie Brooks

North Vernon/Paris Crossing, IN

Jennings County Indiana


8 years ago this past weekend, my daughter and I swam from Alcatraz Island to shore. She was nine. It was an incredible experience for us. I remember jumping from the boat into the icy water first, so she'd know it was okay. Her goggles broke within the first five minutes, so I gave her mine and swam head up the rest of the way. At around the halfway point, we stopped to float on our backs; holding hands and looking out to the bridges to our right and left. Close to shore, she asked me to stay back so that she could finish first and on her own. It was bittersweet, since I wanted complete the experience together, but I understood.

Last Saturday, I called the police to my home to take my daughter to juvenile detention. She'd been on house arrest, cut off her bracelet, and ran away for three days. Through friends, we figured out her location and snapped her up as she stood with some kid in front of a Safeway, waiting for a ride. My daughter is a heroin addict. She is 17 and has been using since 14.
So, 8 years ago, we swam away from one of the most notorious prisons in history, and this weekend's events culminated with my daughter in jail. We've been in a prison, of sorts, since I learned she was using. When I first understood what she was doing, I placed her in an intensive outpatient program and we were on "lockdown" for two and a half months. She was clean for a year, and I thought I'd cured it and had her under control. She was working terrific jobs as a lifeguard and swim instructor. School was going great. Our relationship was strong and she was attending NA meeting regularly. I was blissfully unaware that, behind the scenes, she had picked up heroin again.

As will happen, things began to deteriorate. She was arrested with her then-boyfriend stealing golf clubs from open garages (seriously?). As we've moved through the court process for these charges, a series of events played out in which I came to understand the depth of my daughter's addiction and the person she'd become due to her obsession with heroin. These events also led to me becoming addicted to my addict; keeping her safe, monitoring her every move, spending every waking moment researching options. Controlling, looking for the cure, and trying to pinpoint the cause.
About a month ago, I decided to seek help for myself since I clearly was not helping my child. Through groups like Nar-Anon and many other support groups, I have found kindred spirits and strength. Through understandings gained, I have been able to begin the practice of detaching with love. I am deeply grateful to all of the strangers, now friends, that I have come to know by reaching out for help.

But things are not all kumbaya in my world, I am also angry! I am angry at an insurance system that, in my case, dances around the fact that in reality, they do not provide coverage for the services my addict needs. When I bought the policy for her five years ago, it didn't occur to me to check out mental health coverage. I am furious with my state that for telling me my daughter is too old for juvenile services, but not old enough for adult services. I am deeply frustrated knowing that the only safe option that I currently have for my daughter to stay clean is detention. I am incensed with her dealers. I am deeply saddened by the stigma place on my daughter and on me because of her illness. I am enraged when I hear of the similar situations faced by addicts and the families who love them.

My "escape" from the addiction prison is action and service; working to change the system and helping others along the way. I don't know what tomorrow will bring. However, I do know that, for me, focusing on education, understanding, and communication each day helps me be strong, so I can be present for my addict when she is ready to make her own prison break.

Shayna Landry
Scottsdale, Arizona


I have walked the journey of addiction with my son for 15 years. To be blatantly honest, when I look back over these years I'm not sure how either of us survived – sometimes I wonder even now if we'll ride this horrible disease out to a happy ending. Addiction doesn't have a high "cure rate" and l will always be afraid.

I saw all the signs of my son becoming an addict, but I so wanted to attribute them to the rebellion of teenage years, maybe I didn't want to confront it or maybe it was just easier to think that it was a "phase' he was going through – sadly, it wasn't a phase. From alcohol to pills to marijuana to prescription medicine to heroin. He's done it all and I feel like I received second-hand effects. I love him, how can it not hurt me as well?

My son has been through 12 rehab programs, comes out, says he's never doing it again and usually within a week he's using again. My sane mind wants to scream at the insanity of it all. My mother's heart doesn't want to believe that my child would park in our driveway, stick a needle in his arm and stay there until the next morning when I found him. I'm tired of counting the countless times he's been in the hospital with an overdose, an infected abscess from shooting, a rehab doctor telling me that my son's tox level is so high of so many dangerous drugs that it's a wonder he's alive. It's insanity and then you remember what you've heard so many times before "one addict makes two sick people."

Well-meaning friends and family say 'tough love", "kick him out", "let him live on the streets until he comes to his senses", and the best one yet is "let him hit bottom." Promise me his "bottom" isn't death and maybe I'll consider it. Surprisingly, no one can make me that promise. And to kick your child out and know that they are living on the streets with a disease is imaginable to me. I love my son – I want to direct him to help, not live on the streets doing God knows what to get his next high.

The stigma of having an addicted child is brutal. You listen to other people tell you of their children's accomplishments and find you don't want to talk about how your child is doing. Little by little over the years you just learn not to say anything, retreat into a shell, don't allow yourself to reach out when you need emotional support – literally live through the shame. Shame because you believe that your child is an addict because of something you personally did or said, which of course is crazy and yet you can't shake that feeling.

Addiction is an epidemic and there are so many hidden players along the road. It was never our child's intention to become an addict and no one except the addict themselves can decide how long is enough to be involved with drugs.

Thankfully with the help of a good support system, my son has 60 days clean and is in a long-term rehabilitation center. After everything I've been through, 60 days clean is music to my ears. And yet I'm scared of the day he'll leave this sheltered environment, because this is the point when most deaths from using can occur. The body has healed, it is clean from the drugs, and yet there can be that broken moment when they try it again and they will use the same amount of drug they were using pre-detox and you will find yourself burying your child. I don't want to be that Mom.

Yours in Recovery,

Mrs. Chance Ashman-Galliker


I am writing to you as part of The Letter Project. My 22 year old son Max was diagnosed with acute anxiety at the age of 14. After the diagnosis my husband & I tried desparatley to get Max help, always with much resistance from any insurance company we had at any given time. Max suffered so much, it was heart breaking as his parents to watch him give up on school, sports, friends & most importantly hisself. Through our medical doctor we were able to try anti depressants & anxiety medicine which always made him either uncomfortable or zombie like. This for him was not an acceptable way to live so he just refused to be medicated. Therefore at the age of 16 Max started self medicating with marijuana. He claimed this was the only way he could feel "normal". We then slowly saw Max's drug use escalate to abusing cough syrup & alcohol along with the marijuana. Once again we turned to our insurance companies for help in the form of rehab but were again stonewalled at every turn. We didn't have $ 20,000 to $40,000 to get our son the help he needed so we used tough love & lots of prayers. On October 26, 2013 @ 4am there was a knock at our door, I assumed it was Max who had probably forgotten the garage code. My husband went to the door, when I heard two manly voices I assured myself it was Max & his dad & tried to go back to sleep, when my husband entered our room & told me I needed to get up as there was a police Chaplin @ our door & he needed to speak to both of us. As I put my robe on I prayed my son was in the hospital. When I walked into the living room & saw two police officers and the Chaplin I asked "is it Max?" The Chaplin replied "yes ma'am". I asked "is he in the hospital?" He replied " no ma'am, he's dead. " I pleaded with him "are you sure?" He replied "yes ma'am, I saw him & have his wallet with me." I don't remember much more, only to know it was a heroin overdose. I cannot begin to tell you my grief. My sweet, sweet son is dead. We get to know that Max was in an apartment with three other people, the last time Max was seen alive was @ 8:45 pm playing video games yet the police were not called until 1:45am. No charges will be brought against anyone. Many times down this road my son could have been saved. His addiction was a disease yet no insurance company was willing to pay. We gave the police the heroin dealers name, yet no one will face charges. Five hours my son laid alone & dying, yet no one @ that apartment could help him. Our children are dying @ an alarming rate from this evil, unrelenting drug, yet our government will not help. Please help us, please make our children an American priority.

Sincerely, Angela Courtney


Here it is, he was on his way to work. Walking miracle, he should be dead.

It is so hard to believe how blind I was. He still lived at home, and would stay out late at night; sometimes he would not come home at all. When this first started, he was in his early twenties. I was so blind and naive. I did not see the signs of alcohol abuse, late nights, and damage to his truck, etc…. I finally had enough and sent him to live with his dad. Needless to say, he continued on this deadly path. He finally did stop drinking, but was still using prescription drugs. If I had all the money that he has spent, I would never have to work again!

I am sure it is the same old story for everyone who has a drug addict in their family. Lost jobs, owns nothing…. He went to rehab once and stayed for 2 months, They said he was ok to leave. They said he was doing really good. Yeah, right! He was using again within 3 months.

God spared his life on September 9, 2010, on my 12th anniversary.
A day I will NEVER forget!

He survived this….God has a plan for his life, I will be glad when he seeks that plan. He, of course, got a settlement from this wreck, no drugs or alcohol was involved in this. The guy driving the truck had a sneezing spell and lost control. I never will forget receiving "THE" phone call from his dad. After we got to see him, and found out he was going to be ok, we went to his truck to see if we could find his proof of insurance. Guess what? He did not have any insurance on his truck, so the pieces started falling into place while everything else started falling apart. Needless to say, he blowed all of his money rather quickly after he received it. Hardly any of the money went to pay his medical bills.

Later, I set him up in an apartment, helped him get everything turned on, and paid his first month's rent, thinking this would help keep him clean. He stayed there about 6 months, then had to give it up, because he could not afford it due to his habit. I would not let him return home, so he went to live with his dad. Then one day, his Dad came home, and he was gone. We did not know where he was for 3 weeks. Then he called me, drug addicts are such bad liars, I knew his exact location because his Iphone ratted him out. Crunch time….either get help or be homeless, his drug dealer wanted him to leave, hmm…because he was broke? Imagine that! This is such a controlling disease. A drug addict had rather buy pills than eat, or have a roof over their head.

I am a mother looking for a cure for cancer, and I can't find it. I am shocked that he was able to visit our local hospital twice within 7 days, and they gave him pain pills both times. Someone needs to keep better records! A thirty day supply should not be gone in seven days! RED FLAG PEOPLE!
Our government needs to have strict laws on this subject. I know my Son is a drug addict by choice. Drug addicts do not have insurance because they don't have a job due to this disease. We foot the bill hoping this time it will be different, hoping this time saves him. There isn't a 100% cure for this disease. So, we continue on.

Gayle Skaggs


My AD is soon to be 25 years old. She has 3 children, 7, 2 and 1. She went into a year long rehab facility on Dec 9, 2013. Heroin had taken hold of her. She started with pills about 6 years ago and it turned into a full blown, needle injecting addiction. I've never posted before, but I read someone saying if you practice tough love then you have given up on your child. I respect everyone's opinions and firmly believe that there is not one solution that works for every child. BUT, I did have to turn to tough love. Most of us have other children, jobs, bills and responsibilities. It took me a very long time to first of all...realize that my daughter had an addiction and then it took a long time for me to finally realize that every dime I gave her was going to drugs, every time I bought her something she was pawning it for drugs.....every time I let her in my home she was stealing from me and her little brother, I had even bought her a car for "work" which she sold for drug money. I called the drug task force, I paid gang members for information, I talked to users and ex-users, I called the local police, I went to drug houses looking for my daughter, I hugged her, I loved her, I yelled at her, I begged her, I pleaded with her, I bribed her......I did everything. EVERYTHING and still, she shot up. Still, she ended up leaving her kids with someone and disappeared for weeks on end. I was exhausted. My son's grades dropped in school, my normally immaculate house became a chaotic mess (like my life), and I was almost broke. I came close to losing my job. I didn't sleep, I bought life insurance for her so that I could afford to bury her when I got the call that they found my daughter dead on the streets. I would pick her up in the ghettos, at seedy motels.....begged and pleaded...finally, I broke. I literally broke. I came home one night and screamed and cried and begged God to take my life so she could live hers in peace. I screamed her name and begged God not to take my baby girl from me. Then I realized, there was nothing more that I could do. And my son was paying the price for his sister's addiction. My life was so consumed with her and her addiction. So I stopped. I stopped giving her money, I stopped letting her come over unannounced, I changed the locks on my house.....I kept her cell phone on so that she could call me when she felt like it.....which she eventually sold her cell phone for drug money too. BUT, what I did do was tell her that I loved her every time I talked to her. I still didn't sleep, I still didn't quit worrying about her, I still watched the local news every night waiting to hear about the next unidentified female that was murdered. And I told her I would do anything in the world to help her when she was ready to get help. When I finally got that call.....I ran to her and picked her up. And today, she is 5 months clean and tells me every time that I see her and talk to her on the phone that she loves me and she thanks me for always being there and never giving up on HER. See, I didn't give up on HER, I simply stopped enabling her. I didn't stop loving her or worrying about her. To me, Tough Love doesn't mean that you give up on your child (which I don't think any of us do), it means that you quit enabling them. And THAT is TOUGH for us mothers to do.

Lee Ann


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