Looking Back, Moving Forward

Posted on June 15, 2013. Filed under: 12 Step Recovery Program, addiction, Addiction Resources/Support, AlAnon, Parent of an Addict, Recovery | Tags: , , , , |

calendarI haven’t posted for over a year now, but have intended to many times.  I started a new job in February 2012 that requires a lot of writing – not a great excuse, but I guess I’ll try it.  An even better one is that my almost 96 yo mother is at the end of her life and on Hospice. Whatever the reasons for my absence here, thanks to those of you who are still hang’in with me. I do still have a lot to learn, work out, and explore.  If you’re new to this blog, I invite you to look back at where my drug addict daughter and our family were 4 years ago at this time – and how far we’ve come.

Initially, this blog was a place for me to vent and share my despair as the mother of a heroin addict.  I felt “Helplessly hopeless” and overwhelmed.  I was numb with disbelief, anxiety, and crazy worry over my brilliant, beautiful, well-educated 30 year-old daughter’s life choices. Don’t most parents breathe a sigh of relief when their child successfully graduates from college and begins her own adult life?

Hayley’s drug addiction was a slow erosion that occurred over a period of about 10 years after college. It happened so insidiously, it was almost imperceptible – like the constant flow of water smoothing stonesriverrocks over the course of time, or a river gradually changing course after a millennium of steadily wearing away the riverbank.

My daughter Hayley, a 34-year old former heroin/crack/everything addict, has been in recovery now for over 3 years.  If there ever was evidence of a miracle, she is it.  It’s not all smooth sailing – and she’s still fairly early in her recovery.  However, I am so grateful to be able to share her story of experience, strength, and hope.

Today, Hayley works at a wonderful treatment center in southern California and recently referred one of her ‘clients’/patients and her mother to this blog for comfort and support.

“Mom”, she began. “Why haven’t you updated your blog for so long?” Of course, this fact has haunted me for over 14 months now, and has become one of those nagging, burdensome undone tasks over which I constantly beat myself up.

And then she continued, breaking in to a sob:

“Ya know, Mom – I’ve never really read your blog.  But after  suggesting to my client’s family that they might benefit from reading it, I thought I better check it out more carefully.  After work yesterday, I stayed up almost all night reading through the nightmare of my addicted life.  I had no idea that I was that screwed up and caused you and the family so much worry and pain.  I knew it on a somewhat suppressed, in-the-past-foggy level; but to actually read   your words detailing the particulars of my frightening, dangerous, and sordid life 4 years ago, made it all so visceral.  I’m not sure I was ready to read about it and resurrect those horrible images until now. Can you ever forgive me? Will I ever be able to fully repair my relationship with Jake? (her older brother)”

Both Hayley and I are in recovery from her addiction.  I’ve been at it longer than she.  We both actively work a ‘program’ – she goes to AA, has a sponsor, and now even sponsors others who are new to recovery.  I go to Al-Anon and limp along at a snail’s pace, learning how to take one day at a time, live in the present, let go, and maintain healthier relationships.  We both have a lot of work to do – and will, for the rest of our lives. There is no end point to recovery, no diploma.  It’s an ongoing commitment and winding path full of triggers that tempt relapse.  You have to work every day to stay ‘sober’ – which in my case,  means staying inside my own hula hoop, and getting ‘clean’ from my addiction to worry.

Yes, it’s very painful and almost surreal to read those early posts – particularly from September 2009, when I started this blog, to May 8, 2010, when Hayley ‘walked away’ from her life of addiction. The months, weeks, days, and even hours leading up to that event were harrowing. It’s a miracle she didn’t die.  Writing about it helped me get through it – – – I couldn’t have written a more horrifying screenplay.

I heard this Pearl at Al-Anon today: For true healing to occur, we must abandon all hope of a better past.  We’ll never forget the past, but we cannot change it. We acknowledge it, learn from it, and move on.



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17 Responses to “Looking Back, Moving Forward”

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Coming clean and staying clean from drugs is nothing short of a miracle.
Congrats Haley for all your hard work.
Bless both you and your mom.

Hello, Arlene. Thanks for stopping by my blog. It’s so true – Hayley’s recovery from heroin/all substances addiction is nothing short of a miracle. I’m constantly amazed at her strength and commitment to working a program. I still notice compulsive behavior, but she’s learned how to channel this innate tendency into healthier choices. She knows she has an ‘addictive personality’ and what her triggers are. It hasn’t been easy for her – she still struggles and has to deal with consequences of her past addictions. Yet, she’s healthy, alive, working, and most especially, grateful for this second chance at life. Take care.

I have a daughter that’s 29 years old and has been addicted since she was about 19. It’s been awful for my husband and myself these years. As far as I know, my daughter is addicted to cocaine. She’s been in rehab as an outpatient and inpatient, gone to psychiatrists, doctors, etc. Nothing seems to work. She keep saying she wants to get better, but she continues to steal, lie, and say she’s going to do better. A couple days later, she’s back to her old ways. I’ve run out of things to do. I don’t know what my husband and I should do.

I’ve been a heroin addict since 2003, I’m a vet a college educated man and I cant stop ! I’ve been to prison, I’ve been to hell and there is not one person left in my life. I’m very sorry about your daughter and I only wish I had someone left in my life that cares as much as you . Your daughter is truly blessed to have you. Jonathan.

This is a wonderful blog helping so many other parents in their struggle for saving their children. You should really continue sharing your experience which gives hope to others.

These are good words to read today. Thank you for all you have written; your blog has helped me to help my own daughter who struggles with addiction too. I am so glad that we are all presently in recovery and doing well as are you and Haley but yes indeed it will be a lifelong learning experience for us, won’t it ?~!

Hi, Lynda. The recovery process appears to be a marathon, not a sprint – and I’m almost certain there’s not a finish line. BUT, we are on the track and moving forward! Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your encouragement, and will try to post most often. I still have plenty of things to work out. Glad you and your daughter are in recovery.

I recently stumbled upon this while looking for something else, similar themes though. I have absolute faith that she’ll be fine. Yes, she does have the whole personality and past with “always SOMETHING”- eating disorders, drugs, etc- but I think she stopped early enough. You became aware pretty fast regarding her heroin addiction, you were close by, you stayed involved, even if it was to a smaller degree for a while. Just that unimaginable family guilt can push someone into stopping, before it gets to the Point where that lifestyle is so routine that she’ll have as minimal contact as possible and continue. Earlier addiction- they usually want to stop, whether it’s a daily struggle or lofty goal. Anyway, thank you for sharing your story, it can help people through similar circumstances and make them realize there is still hope.

Hey, Marie. Thanks so much for you comment and perspective. I still seem to need support and affirmation that Hayley will be ‘OK’. Hayley’s advantage was that she had graduated from college and was ‘older’ – 30 yo, when she became addicted to hard drugs. Although she did ultimately become a heroin addict (after a 10 year, slow spiral into serious drug addiction), it was ‘only’ about a 9 month experience/exposure to that risky, dangerous, hard drug addiction lifestyle. Yet, during that time, Hayley did experience the full spectrum of what it means to be a heroin addict.

My intent is to share my journey, as a mother of a heroin addict, with those in the same/similar circumstances. And although I still have much to learn about addiction, I also want to share my daughter’s story of hope – and recovery – through her most desperate/sordid days of drug use and into her transformation towards sobreity. It’s a miraculous story that can hopefully give hope to those who think their own situation is hopeless.

Wow. That’s a powerful reminder that, whatever their intention, blog’s like this have a serious impact on others. They really can give people the hope and support that they need, and lead to a breakthrough for others. Really powerful post. I also love the quote from the meeting. I think that can be applied to all aspects of life. It’s a great bit of advice for more than a few things. Keep strong on the road to recovery!

Hi, Anna. It’s so good to hear from you! I just went to your blog and tried to comment on a couple of posts – but I haven’t been active for so long that I couldn’t get my comments to publish. I’ve forgotten how things work. In any event, I hope to catch up with you and your life – and all my other ‘blog buddies’. Your support has meant so much over the years. I’m so glad you went back to AlAnon. Even though I don’t necessarily adhere to all the AlAnon tenets, the literature, non-judgment, empathy, knowledge, and hope I find in those rooms have kept me sane. I, too, keep going back over Hayley’s childhood/adolescence, trying to excavate and discover how/where things went so wrong for her. Can’t help but think her father and I failed her in some way. More later – in the mean time, thanks for saying hi.

Thank you for update. When you have a chance, look at : http://www.motheringaddiction.blogspot.com

Thanks and many prayers !!!!!!!!

Thanks, Lynda. I’ll peruse your blog site when I have more time.

Glad that both of you are doing well and in recovery. That’s awesome!

Thanks, Syd.

I remember you both fondly. I am still here living the life of a POA. So glad to hear that Haley was able to straighten out her life. It gives me hope.

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