About Me

As of October 2015:

I am a 67 year old mother and retired professional who discovered in July 2009, that my beautiful, talented, intelligent, college-educated daughter, Hayley, was a heroin addict. How did this happen? The shock and reality of it was overwhelming. I started this blog to connect with other parents of heroin addicts, share my fears, anxieties, frustrations, and feelings of hopelessness, and most importantly, learn more about the disease of addiction that seems to be at epidemic levels in our country.

My physician husband (Brad) and I divorced in 2000 after almost 27 years of marriage.  I have a B.S. in Microbiology/Public Health plus one year of graduate work and research at Stanford University.  I chose to be a “stay-at-home” mom, but have always been done a lot of volunteer community work as well as part time work as an educational/gender equity consultant in math and science, women’s history, and Title IX monitoring for our public school district.

I exercise every day and try to “mix things up” with a variety of different workouts – run with my 89 lb golden retriever,  bike, ski, do Pilates or yoga, swim laps, or play tennis.  I also love to knit, and find the repetitive motion soothing and meditative.

My dad died in 2008 at age 94, and my mom in 2013 at age 96.  Sadly, I love and appreciate them more now than when they were alive, something I deeply regret.

In the last 10 years or so, I’ve turned to writing as a cathartic form of therapy/self-reflection – poetry, essays, newspaper editorials, travel journals, and this blog.

My life is very full with good friends, interesting activities, projects and . . . a daughter who is (was!) a heroin addict.

Update: As of May 8, 2010, my daughter has been in full recovery from her addiction(s).  She is currently working at the all-women’s long-term treatment facility in southern California where she was a patient over 5 years ago. She is doing amazingly well, and has embraced her sobriety and the 12 step program. It’s a miracle.  For well over a year, I had very little contact with Hayley, wasn’t ever sure of where she was living, and had very little hope that I would ever see her alive again, let alone thriving in recovery. My daughter sank so low and was stuck in such a deep, dark hole of addiction, recovery seemed impossible.  But then, a miracle happened.  I hope you find some comfort, compassion, and useful information here – and come to believe that as long as your addict is alive, there is hope.

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22 Responses to “About Me”

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My beautiful, intelligent 19 year old daughter is a heroin addict. She is alive. There is hope. Thanks for sharing.

My beautiful, intelligent 19 year old daughter is a heroin addict. She is alive. There is hope.

Carol – my heart goes out to you. I know what you’re going through. And yes, there is always hope. My daughter’s recovery from heroin addiction is a miracle. I think that her age (30 when she started using heroin), the fact that she was a college graduate, and ‘only’ shot heroin for less than a year, were all contributing factors to her recovery. I wish you all the best – hope you’ll stay in touch. Peggy

i came across this blog looking to understand….where or how, maybe what position i’ve put my parents in all these years.

i’m 36, nearly 20 year i.v opiate/cocaine user along with all the other drugs it takes to get there. (newly clean/trying to get there)

i’ve always hated it, always hated what it’s done to my family….but nobody’ll be honest with me.

you’re writing reminds me very much of my own mom – same wit, insight, intelligence – i imagine, if she could, these are the things she’d say, or would of said (thru the years).

anyways, thank you for writing all that you have.

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your perspective. I think it’s important to look at, consider, and hear all sides of the addiction issue. My daughter also hated how her addiction affected our family. She was overwhelmed with these feelings of guilt, hopelessness, and worthlessness, which then just fed in to her use. It was a vicious cycle.

The fact that you are confronting these feelings and seem willing to face them, is a good sign. It takes years of reflection, honesty, hard work, making amends, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable in your recovery to regain the trust and respect you lost. It can happen, however. My daughter is now my rock and a source of comfort and support to me. We both are grateful to her addiction and subsequent recovery for building the foundation of our current, close relationship. I don’t think it would have ever happened without her experiencing this journey. It knocked the chip off her shoulder. She is a better, stronger, wiser person for having been a heroin addict.

Best of luck to you, sta8ce – I admire your intention to get and stay ‘clean’ (hate that word) and sober. It’s not easy. My daughter actively works a 12 Step program to keep herself sober – she says it’s vital to her sobriety.

Please stay in touch.
Best, Peggy

Hi Stace, you have courage! I wish you all the best and wonderful things in life – with compassion and love. Marianna

My heart is bleeding as I am reading this. My daughter, the only one I have is 35 years old now and has been a cocaine user that she dropped 5 years ago, but substituted for alcohol. 18 years of this. When I talk her and when she actually makes sense at all, she tells me that fear is her biggest enemy. I am doing my doctoral in metaphysics and my dissertation is about Fear & Addiction. I firmly believe that her ear of the self is what keeps her addicted. I also think that fear got her there. Although fear can be a survival instinct, it can be also self-imposed irrationally. It is also interchangeable with anxiety. These two negative emotions combined with the mental and physical consequences of the addiction are very difficult to overcome. I asked her today if she toughest that addiction was a state of mind or a disease. Her answer was that it is a state of mind, one’s perception of the self and environment. I thought I share this with you. I am sending good energy towards to you all … Marianna

Thank you for your comment, Mariannna. I am so sorry for your pain as you try to cope with your daughter’s addiction(s). My daughter, Hayley, will turn 34 years old in a couple of weeks. In May, she will celebrate 3 years of sobriety from almost all possible substances, including heroin. She has worked very hard to maintain her sobriety through a 12 step program, surrounding herself with other people in recovery, and just basically, growing up. I forwarded your comments on to her to see what her opinion is regarding the fear and anxiety issues, as underlying causes of substance abuse. I’m sure she would agree with you. But, I also know that in my daughter’s case, her substance abuse, which started fairly “innocently” with cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana, slowly escalated over a period of 10 years or so, until it became the “norm” for her way of functioning and dealing with stress, anxiety, and fear. Towards the end of her addictive use, she was smoking crack and shooting up with heroin! My intentions are to write some posts about this subject – – – the “why” of her addiction. There are many theories, of course, but I seem to need to identify how and why my own brilliant, beautiful, well-educated daughter, from a family of “privilege”, became a drug addict. Stay tuned, and thanks for stopping by. You’ve given me a nudge to keep writing and posting on my blog.

i am so sorry to read this recent post…

i(we) are on this miserable journey(?) as well…
ours’ is also bipolar; which only adds more ‘fuel’ to the fire…

i read and reread as many blogs as i can, the hope they give me is what keeps me going…

again….i’m sorry

Hi Peg,

I got the guidelines in full text online by googling Texas Medication Algorithm Project.

You can also find it under American Psychiatric Association medication guidelines.

I found the first one easier to handle. Make sure to be current. The paradigm changed in 2005.

I am praying for you, especially at this moment….. I know today is the day~
I hope it starts your just for today!

Hi, Peglud- Primarily, I think my daughter’s drug use is the result of clinical depression. I’m fairly certain she has a chemical imbalance that is probably inherited. (My older sister is a functioning bipolar, though she has never suffered from addiction, to my knowledge.) My daughter often speaks of how heroin fills a hole inside her unlike anything else, and I’ve heard the very same words from other heroin addicts who’ve spoken at Alanon meetings. Honestly, I often wish I were a chemist (or even remotely scientific!) and could research creating a non-fatal legal prescription replacement for heroin that she and other heroin addicts could take like an anti-depressant. I don’t think methadone fits the bill, though I’m not personally familiar with it. My daughter does take suboxone, and it is helpful, but not always helpful enough. Like you, I know the risks of her sobriety and question how long she can handle the pain. So far, only 4-5 weeks at a time. This is such a deadly disease, but other than parents like you and me, I doubt many people think addicts are worth the search for a cure. I really believe heroin addiction could be controlled better medically, but I’m afraid we don’t yet have a sufficient understanding of brain chemistry to facilitate research of this kind. I’d be very interested in your opinion about this, considering your background. Anyway, I’m rambling. And I sound like the desperate mother I am. It’s great to talk to you.

As a long-time Crosby Stills Nash & Young fan, I appreciate the name of your blog. Sadly, I can relate all too well. I’m a 55-yr. old former ad executive with a beautiful, brilliant, college-educated 25-yr. old daughter who discovered heroin the summer of 2008. It’s been a long, painful journey of rehab and relapse since then. While I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone, I am grateful that I am not alone as I try to learn to cope, and more importantly, detach. I’ve got a long way to go, and sometimes my rose-colored glasses get in my way. Anyway, thank-you for your blog.

Hello, Gal, and thanks so much for your comments. Yes, it does ‘help’ to share our grief, worry, helpless feelings with others in the same ‘club’, doesn’t it. I’m so sorry about your daughter. Please know that I understand what you’re going through. As a mother of a ‘troubled’ child, I struggle with my ambivalent feelings. I’ve gotten to the point where I almost dread the day Hayley decides to ‘come out’ and start recovery. Even though this is what I want most for her, I know that the process of treatment and recovery are such ‘dice-throws’, with low success rates. I’m protecting myself a bit, I guess, from being so devastated, disappointed, and hurt again by my daughter’s addictive personality/behaviors. David Sheff, in his book, “beautiful boy” says that the bitterest irony of rehab and recovery, is that the addict is then, once again, facing what drove him/her to use drugs in the first place. What do you think pushed your daughter to heroin? I know that this kind of question is often fruitless – – – but I spend an inordinate amount of time wondering where/when did things go so wrong for my daughter? I guess I need to know.

I know so well what you are going through. My daughter is 29, oxy addict, now a mother of 2 infants, college degree and now estranged from me because I quit enabling her. She has been in rehab 3 – 4 times, (I lost count), relapsed many times. It is killing me at times to think about her and her babies who I have never seen. Her husband hates me, because I always tried to make her accountable for her actions. She has been bankrupt, divorced, in jail, now on probation for felony theft. I don’t know what the future will hold, but I know how much I miss my girl and how frightened I am about her future. None of us signed up to be in this club but it seems like there is an awful lot of us.

Helga – thanks for sharing a bit of your story, pain, fears, and concerns. It must be extra difficult when there are innocent children involved. I truly don’t know what to think: are “our” addicts choosing their lifestyle, or are they hopelessly stuck and don’t have the strength to change their circumstances? This is one of my major dilemmas, because the answer affects what I do or don’t do. Right now, I’m not doing anything. It doesn’t feel right, but I’m trying it out.

I believe that many (I don’t know about all) don’t have the strength or willpower to change. When you quit doing anything, you will quit enabling. I was enabling my daughter without knowing what I was doing for a long time. I bought her lies, because I so desperately wanted to believe her. Now, 2 years later, I have not heard from her, because she knows that I won’t give her anything anymore. I can’t contact her, because her phone number changes frequently and so does her address. You become useless to the addict if you don’t help them out. This year for the first time, I supported some charities for children in my grandkids honor.Christmas is a tough time, but it too shall pass.

Helga. There are a few of us out there who have grandchildren involved. Mom vs Heroin, at http://athenarising.blogspot.com/, or me at http://daughterheroinaddictsmoms.blogspot.com/, and perhaps some others on my blogroll. It will continue to be a growing problem.

Feel free to stop by either website. I’m deeply sorry you are being kept from your grandchildren.

How are you doing?

I’m feeling numb. I just posted about this. It concerns me that I am not emoting much now about Hayley. Is it the 10 mg of Lexapro that I started in August? Am I stuffing my feelings? I do ruminate, and visualize Hayley’s sordid life and living conditions. But I’m beyond sad, I guess. I have a lot of anger – – – and just general helplessness. And guilt. Is there something I should be doing?
How are you?


My name is Ron, aka:Dad on our blog. http://www.parentsofanaddict.blogspot.com. I am sorry to see you have your own “qualifier” to this terrible club. I get a lot of support from friends online. I hope you can find support too. I also write for “The Partnership for a Drug Free America”. You will find other bloggers there too. http://intervene.drugfree.org/2009/11/7-truths-about-my-addict-that-took-5-years-to-learn/

Feel free to write anytime you need.

Dad & Mom

GAK !! we have alot in common. My daughter too is 30. Valedictorian of her graduating class, dual majors in college of physics/math.

now, she is a heroin addict with 3 kids, two of whom I have custody of.

i have four children, and have raised an additional 10 through the years. only ONE turned out to be an addict. Why? who knows.

I too have an advanced college degree. This was NOT supposed to happen to our babies.

I am glad I found your blog. I already left a comment on another one of your posts, we have built sort of a largish community of upper middle class parents who have heroin addicts for kids. sad that there are now enough of us that we have a large community. but, it does help.

Prayers coming your way.

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