Archive for September, 2009

Things I Would Like to Say to My Heroin Addict Daughter

Posted on September 28, 2009. Filed under: Parent of an Addict | Tags: , , |

Things I Would Like to Say to My Heroin Addict Daughter:

  1. Who have you become?
  2. You are a stranger to me.
  3. You have used me up.
  4. What is your life about?
  5. You are a parasite on society.
  6. What do you do all day?
  7. You are careless with life – your own, others’, relationships, possessions, living spaces, your precious dogs – – – and on, and on, and on . . .
  8. You are poor white trash.
  9. When/how did things go so wrong?
  10. You have been lying and stealing for most of your adult life.
  11. I am not interested in your talk – only what you do.
  12. No one is going to rescue you.
  13. I’m planning your funeral and need your input.  How do you want to be remembered?
  14. What are you so afraid of?
  15. You’re killing your 92 yo grandmother – and have devastated our entire family.
  16. What do you know for sure?
  17. Face the truth.
  18. Grow up.
  19. You are my teacher.
  20. You used to be beautiful.
  21. What is your purpose in life?
  22. Other than not wanting to get “dopesick”, why are you using drugs?
  23. Do you have any self-respect?
  24. Why?
  25. I’m afraid of you.
  26. You have been a drug addict your entire adult life.
  27. Is there any beauty or joy in your life?
  28. What have you become?
  29. Help me understand.
  30. You do have power over your own life.
  31. Why can’t you just admit that you need help and you don’t know what’s best for yourself?
  32. Why are you so angry?
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She is so alone . . .

Posted on September 22, 2009. Filed under: addiction, Parent of an Addict | Tags: , , |

My daughter must be so lonely.  She feels she can’t call any family members and has few, if any, friends left.  She definitely suffers from the shame and stigma of her drug addiction.  She won’t tell us where she is living – is afraid we’ll call the police and have her arrested.  (A warrant for her arrest has been issued due to her violating her probation.)  She’s a prisoner – can’t go out in public, for fear she’ll run in to someone she knows.  What does she do all day?  What does she think about?  Is there any joy at all in her life?

She has lost everything – her apartment, dogs, furniture, car, job, relationships, friends, and family.  The looming question, of course, is:  How does she pay for her drugs and support herself?  I can barely fathom the logical answer – it’s a knife in my heart.

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Books on addiction that I’ve read recently.

Posted on September 21, 2009. Filed under: Addiction Resources/Support |

I just started reading the book, Healing the Addicted Brain, by Harold C. Urschel, III, MD

The premise of this book seems to be that alcoholism/addiction, is a chronic brain disease that cannot respond to talk therapy until the brain chemistry is changed. “New, scientifically-based approaches that recognize the biological basis of addiction have brought major advances in the treatment of addiction.  Dr. Urscehl is at the forefront of this treatment paradigm.” The philosophy that addiction is a brain disease and not just a matter of poor will power or weak moral character, helps soften me a bit towards my daughter.  We’ll see.

Other books that I’ve read this summer and were helpful in their addiction information/messages were:

The Lost Years, Surviving a Mother and Daughter’s  Worst Nightmare, by Kristina Wandzilak and Constance Curry.

A child caught in the depravity of alcohol and drug addiction; a mother helplessly standing by unable to save her.  The Lost Years is the real life story of just such a mother and child, each giving their first hand accounts of the years lost to addiction and despair. Both mother and daughter are now in recovery – the mother from co-dependency and the ravaging effects of an addicted loved one; and the daughter, Kristina, from her alcohol and cocaine addictions.  Kristina is now a nationally acclaimed speaker on addiction and is a professional addiction interventionist.  Visit her website at:       

beautiful boy: a father’s journey through his son’s addiction, by David Sheff

This book is a fiercely candid memoir that brings immediacy to the emotional rollercoaster of loving a child who seems beyond help. I typed up and   categorized all of  my underlines in this book – 8 pages!  I’ll attach and/or post them if I can figure out how.  This book contains a lot of good information about meth addiction and brain chemistry; but, again, the most compelling component of the book was the personal story of father David, and son, Nic.

The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure, by Chris Prentiss

This book is essentially an advertisement for the Passages Treatment Center programs that take a holistic approach  to recovery.  The book/treatment centers claim to:  “Heal the Underlying Causes, How to End Relapse, How to End  Suffering”.  “Freedom from dependency starts with understanding that alcohol and drugs are not the problems,” says Chris Prentiss, cofounder of Passages. “They are merely the substances you are using to help yourself cope with your real problems . . . “  Duh. Passages’ 30 day treatment program seems insanely expensive (~$75,000) and too short to truly effectively uncover an addict’s deep emotional problems that drove them to use in the first place.  Although I’m not completely sold on 12 step based treatment programs, they at least have ubiquitous aftercare support groups (AA) in place that are accessible and free.  I’m not sure what a “graduate” from the Passages does to keep him/herself on the path of sobriety. The personal struggle of Prentiss’ son, Pax, who was addicted to heroin, cocaine, and alcohol for ten years, was the best part of the book, in my opinion.  It gave me some insight in to the power of addiction and information about the physical withdrawal from heroin that was helpful.

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AlAnon helps, but . . .

Posted on September 15, 2009. Filed under: AlAnon | Tags: , , |

Went to an AlAnon meeting today and am including a few pearls:

•Hayley’s Eating Disorder (bulemia) is still, most likely, an issue.  She recently told her younger brother, Brian, that she’s afraid  that when she stops using heroin, her ED will come back.  Hayley went to a residential eating disorder treatment center in  2002.  She was essentially asked to leave after 45 days for     violating many rules (see future posts)

•It’s easier for me to be angry at Hayley – it provides some protection and is a shield against pain/hurt.  But this mask of  anger also cuts off the ability to give/receive love and compassion.  My heart is hardening.

•Addicts don’t respond to logic – only to pain.

•Co-dependency is a huge component of an addict’s  relationships with family members – especially with parents.

•Eventually, the addict will get sick and tired of being sick and tired, and will seek something different.

•We are dealing with the disease of addiction, not the person of  the heart – who that person (addict) really is.  Or are we?  One of my biggest fears is that my daughter will always be self-centered, narcissistic, manipulative.  These traits that she’s exhibited for so many years, may have become inextricably entwined in to her core being.

•I need a script when I talk to my daughter.  Here’s a good phrase:  “We look forward to when you’re in recovery and can rejoin our family.”  It sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Hope to list some good books I’ve read lately on addiction.  Next post.

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Hoping to connect with other parents of heroin addicts.

Posted on September 13, 2009. Filed under: addiction, Addiction Resources/Support, AlAnon, Parent of an Addict | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Here I go.  Where to begin?

A couple of months ago, I discovered that my beautiful, 30 year old college-educated daughter, Hayley, is a heroin addict.  The shock of this news and my incomprehension as to how this could have happened, has turned my life upside down.  The purpose of this blog, I guess, is to vent, dialogue with other parents experiencing a similar situation, get help, gather information, and share what knowledge I’ve acquired over the last few months.

The 3 “Cs” of AlAnon maintain that we didn’t cause it, can’t control it, can’t cure it.  The first one is bullshit.  How didn’t I, we, her parents, set the stage for this tragedy to unfold? I am angry, frustrated, afraid, overwhelmed, desperate – for answers, help, support, and an exchange of personal stories.  I get opposing advice from everyone I talk to – friends, family, professionals.  I’ve attended AlAnon regularly for 7 years, and find comfort and support there in sharing our stories.  Yet, I still don’t completely buy in to their program of detachment with love.  How can you let your child hit rock bottom when that may very mean the death of your child?

Hayley is living in our hometown, but I don’t know where.  She is paranoid that I will call the police to have her arrested.  Who could have predicted that I would eventually arrive at the point where getting my daughter arrested, would be one of the few options available to save her?

Three weeks ago, Hayley got herself out of the drug house where she was living and called me for help.  She wanted a medical detox, which was not available in our small, eastern Washington city.  Over the course of the next 72 hours, I worked 24/7 to make arrangements for her to enter a medical detox facility in Seattle.  There were many barriers and complications to this process.  Hayley was covered in abscesses at her injection sites, which posed an MRSA risk to any medical facility.  Her father, a doctor now living in southern California, prescribed an antibiotic for her to start on prior to entering detox.  I am the only family member in town to be physically present in dealing with Hayley directly.  And because a bed at the detox facility was not immediately available, it was an intense, harrowing window of opportunity, trying to help her withdraw from the heroin while waiting for acceptance into detox.  During this “purgatory”, Hayley was staying at a “friend’s”. The logistics of communication, keeping her “going” and functioning during the waiting period prior to detox, was a nightmare.  At one point, I even scored some hydrocodone to keep her off heroin, I thought, until a bed was available at the detox hospital, 31/2 hours away.  The short of the story is that I delivered my daughter to the community hospital detox facility, 31/2 hours away, only to have her walk out 4 days later.  She got in to a cab to take her back to our home town, 165 miles away – a $250 price tag.  How she paid for this, I don’t know.  The “drug house”, where she had previously lived, didn’t want her back.  Can you imagine – the drug house wouldn’t’ take her back – a testimonial to her manipulation, carelessness, and parasitic lifestyle.

I am desperate, obsessed, and feel helpless.  More, later.

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