Finally Recognizing Addiction As A Disease Not A Moral Issue

It has taken far to long.  To many beautiful souls lost.  To many families being ripped apart. To much misinformation out there.  Lives destroyed.  Hearts broken.

We, as parents, who have drug addicted loved ones, know all to well that our teen and adult children who battle addiction are not bad people.  They are sick people.  Sick people who often do “bad” things to relieve the debilitating physical and psychological pain.

Our addicted loved one’s behavior completely shatters our lives.  We would do anything.  Give anything.  Go anywhere,  to find help for the addict in our lives that we love so much.

For far to long, society has treated our addicted loved ones as weak, immoral, selfish, uncaring, worthless, a stain on society. “Put them in prison and throw away the key”.  That has been the mentality we have tragically lived with.

Our addicted loved ones have been harshly judged.  We as parents may have felt harshly judged as well.   After all, if we were good parents this couldn’t possibly have happened, right?

Wrong!!!

Addiction has been judged as a moral issue for far to long.  It has created isolation, pain and suffering for our addicted loved one and for each member of the family, in their own way.

Sadly, it has taken thousands of overdoses in every  single area of every single country on earth.  Millions and millions worldwide. And countless numbers of deaths before what scientists and many doctors and we as parents have always known, addiction has become a brain disease.

The very first time our addicted loved one tried a potentially addictive substance, they made a moral choice.  But once addiction raised its ugly head, a beast was awaken and the disease of addiction grabbed hold of our loved one.

Many of you will remember those days when the talk of addiction within the family was more often than not,  confined to the family.

We were lead to believe it was a weakness.  That it was completely a choice.

Only it isn’t.

Addiction is finally being talked about for the horrific disease it is.  This is a disease unlike any other, in that all the addict has to do is stop taking their drug of choice.  Seems so easy.  Just stop using and the disease halts.

Well if it were that simple we would not have millions of people world-wide suffering unbelievably because of their addiction.  We would not have families torn apart.  Our prisons would not be over-flowing with addicted inmates, incarcerated for drug related offenses.

My son Nathan, battled heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and meth.  His addiction lasted twenty-three years.  He tried over and over again to walk away from his drug use. I never doubted he wanted to be drug free.  Each and every time he reached out for help, he meant it. He wanted to be free at that time.  An hour later he may well have been back to using, but when he asked for help, I knew he meant it. To have the chains of his addiction broken.  He wanted that and so does each and every addicted person.  They are being held hostage to their addiction and we as the families who love them deeply, are being held hostage to the behaviors of their addiction.

We need to have programs in place where when an addict reaches out for help, it is immediate.  Just like someone having a heart attack.  Would we say, “We’ll put you on a wait list.  Call back every day and we will see if we can fit you in”. Of course not. Delay would result in death.  Delay in getting our addicted loved ones help is resulting in deaths every single day as well.  When an addict asks for help it has to be immediate.

Finally, we have enough highly educated professionals, at the top of their came, stressing addiction as being a brain disease.  Doctors, neuroscientist, psychologists, addictions specialist, mental health experts.  This is not a moral issue.  This is a medical issue.  We must do everything we can – use our voices, use our pens and computers and send our government leaders letters encouraging them to implement services to help our addicted loved ones.

We know better than anyone, the pain and suffering of watching our addicted loved one self-destruct, is the most difficult, painful, heart-wrenching experience possible.

Our lives have been devastated because of their behavior.  But – your loved one’s addiction was not about you.  My son’s addiction was not about me.  It was never about us.

Addiction is a disease.

Our addicted loved one never meant to hurt us.  Because of our deep love for them, we were hurt.  We were devastated watching their pain, their spiraling out of control.  We were the collateral damage of their addiction.

What our loved ones don’t need is rejection.  When they are reaching out for help, more than ever before, they need support.

Of course they are still accountable for their previous actions, but we must step away from what was and begin to embrace  what is happening.

Our loved one is already consumed with enough self-blame, guilt and shame.  They don’t need to be reminded of where they were.  If only their brain would be quiet so they could forget for awhile.

Forget past relapses.  Those were then; today is what we’ve got. Encourage the efforts. That is the real connection our loved one needs.

As parents, as families we need to keep speaking out for programs, for help for our addicted loved one.  When deep in their addiction, they are unable to speak out for themselves.  We must be their voices.  We must be the advocates.  We must speak up for social justice and help for those we love.  They are counting on us.

I wish you all some much needed peace. Be kind to yourself.  Remember, you count too. Never give up hope that your loved one will find his or her power to reach out for that lifeline you have been throwing.

For any of you who follow twitter, I hope you will follow @AddictionAMS  – I will have thoughts,  inspirations we can all identify with and articles, related to addiction, mental illness, homelessness, etc., that I believe you may be interested in.

Remember, you are not alone.  I truly care.

Much love,

June

Time To Stop Blaming and Beating Ourselves Up

After a presentation I did earlier this week I had the privilege of meeting a wonderful, loving Mom, who sadly has  a son drug addicted.  She was in the depths of self-blame.

You know what that feels like.  I know what that feels like.  We have been there so many times.  As parents we blame ourselves.  It’s  that parent guilt.  I more often call it “mother guilt”.  And if you are a Mom, you know exactly what I am talking about.

We are so sure that we must have done something wrong.  That somehow we failed as a parent.  We go through what I refer to as the “if onlys”  – “if only I had done this”, “if only I had done that”, “if only I had said no”, “if only we hadn’t moved”.    We start to second guess every decision we ever made thinking that perhaps that is what lead to our loved one becoming drug addicted.

It really is time to stop blaming and beating ourselves up.

Could we have done some things differently in our lives?   Of course  we could have.  We are human.  We are a work in progress.  We did the best we could, with what we knew,  at a given time.  But did we cause our child to become drug addicted?  Absolutely not!!

You did not cause the disease of addiction and you cannot cure it. And you have to stop blaming yourself.  It is time to be kind to yourself.  Stop beating yourself up thinking you caused this. You didn’t.  Sadly,  you have a loved one with the disease of addiction.  That propensity was there before they tried that first time.  That first time, in a sense “awakened the beast”.

When we have a loved one addicted, we often spend our days in an environment where the unpredictable is predictable, if that makes sense.

We try and do our best every single day without a mean bone in our body and with only true heart at work trying to guide our loved one, trying to keep our family together, trying to understand, trying to help  – and most of the time, hopefully, we get it right.  But we are human.  Sometimes we don’t. So we have to accept where we could have done things differently.  Not given money.  Not paid the rent. Perhaps not believed the story you were told.  It is time to move on – stop blaming yourself.  Move on knowing that next time will be handled differently.

We have to be open or we don’t grow.  We are all works in progress. Every act, every decision we make is a chance for growth and a chance to do  things differently, do better next time.

And, there will be a next time,  because sadly,  that is the environment we have been thrown into when we have a loved one drug addicted. But next time is the opportunity to handle things differently.  And that is a positive lesson.

I had another mom mention her son’s  troubling behavior.

Sometimes unknown to us, our loved one may be in a psychotic state – and when we are dealing with someone in drug induced psychosis, they are so positive what they are saying is correct that we can be convinced there has to be something to it.  In their mind what they are feeling, what they are seeing is real to them. And because it is so real to them, their pleas for help are so convincing,  we sometimes wonder if it is in fact real.

In their drug induced psychosis, those addicted often believe people are after them.  Everything is at a much more heightened level.  At that time there is no way of bringing your loved one down – bringing that psychosis to a manageable level.  Sadly drug induced psychosis just doesn’t work that way.  De-escallation only occurs with time or with medical intervention.  In drug induced psychosis, they are unable to think.  They just react.  Again, where the unpredictable is predictable. It is the affects of the drugs.  It is the nature of the beast.

So we try and do the best we can.  Sometimes it works out for the best and sometimes it goes astray.  We can beat ourselves up but that does no good.  We did what we did with the best of intentions and it went astray.  We have to accept that and know we will try and do better next time and that is all we can do.  To beat ourselves up only “beats ourselves up”!!  It doesn’t change anything.  Next time we may consider other options.

What I know my friend, is that we try and do the best we can in every situation.  You are doing absolutely everything you can think of to help pull your loved one out of the bowels of addiction.  Sometimes our  decisions, our actions are right.  Sometimes they’re not.  We can’t take it personally –  addiction is a ruthless enemy – it tricks our loved one’s thinking – but we learn – and we will try differently next time.  And will we make mis-steps again?  Of course we will but we will keep trying and hopefully most of the time we get it right.

Remember your loved one is being held hostage by the drugs he or she is addicted to.  You are being held hostage to their behavior.  The love a Mother has for her child is unlike any other connection on earth.  It will defy everything.  It is real.  It is pure. And know you are doing the very best you can.

And I want to leave you with a thought – because we know we live in a world where sometimes people can be unkind.   Where people can judge our loved ones harshly.  Remember, we may not be able to change the views of everyone.  We cannot change the world.  But we each have that one voice, that if we speak up, perhaps, just perhaps, we can change even one person’s viewpoint and soften one person’s heart.  Addiction is a horrific disease that devastates the lives of those who loved them. And we will continue to love the people we do.  We may not be able to change our loved ones situation but deep down they know, we love them.  That we “see” them.  That we want their lives to be whole because of our deep love for them.

Take care my Friend and I wish you a peaceful weekend.

Much love,

June

 

 

Families Begging For Help For Their Addicted Loved Ones

Families worldwide are begging for help for their addicted loved ones.  You have been pleading.  Begging for help.  Our addicted loved ones  very often are asking for help.   We have a medical crisis going on in our homes, in our towns and cities, in our country and worldwide.  A medical crisis on our streets, in our hospitals and in our prisons A medical crisis that is destroying the lives of people in every walk of life.

Last weekend alone – in 48 hours –  there were 42 overdoses in a two block radius in Whalley, B.C. A neighbourhood of unimaginable pain and suffering.  All people suffering the unforgiving disease of addiction and many battling mental illness.  Every single one of those people I know well and care deeply for.  They are the sons and daughters of other mothers.  They are people struggling with a disease so severe, a disease holding them hostage and sadly they  can not find their way out of that disease.  They are being held hostage by their addiction.

And as family members who have an addicted loved one, you are being held hostage by that same addiction – all the behaviors that become the fall-out of that addiction.  The everyday fear when the phone rings.

Just a couple of news headlines this week that are indicative of the growing epidemic society  can no longer deny.

“BC Inmate “begging” for drug rehab says he can’t get it”.

“Union for Corrections Officers say rehab in BC jails is inadequate, even though the government says it is a priority”

“Fraser Health Authority putting forth a list of harm reduction initiatives in Surrey including a supervised drug consumption site”

“42 drug overdoes in Whalley in one weekend”.

“Crack cocaine contained fentenyl”

“Drive-by shootings linked to drug trade”

“Targeted attack”

I am not a “political” person but the treatment given to those we love, those struggling with addiction so powerful it has overtaken their lives, overtaken our lives, that treatment has to change.  The status quo does not work.  It never did and it never will.  Addicted people need treatment.  Punishing people alone convicted of crimes related to their drug use does not fix the problem.  Yes, they should be held accountable for crimes they commit.  I don’t deny that.  But we need to stop “putting a bandage on a gunshot wound”.  We have to treat the disease.  Every day we wait more people are overdosing and dying.  Families are devastated and lives are shattered.   And those numbers have been increasing astronomically over the past few years.

As I mentioned, I am not a “political” person but one chapter in my book Addiction: A Mother’s Story – Second Edition, deals with this issue.  It is perhaps a political chapter.  Change has to happen.  I am going to copy that chapter here for you to read.  You may agree with me.  You may not.  But we have to start somewhere.  I hope if you agree with anything I have written, you will forward it on through Facebook or Twitter or another social media avenue.  Perhaps sending it off to your political representative.  We did not sign up for this.  But someone we love, someone we care deeply for, one of our loved ones is heavily addicted.  They are not at a place where they can help themselves.

Our lives have been forever changed because we have a loved one addicted to drugs or alcohol.  You have been trying absolutely everything you can.  I know this because so did I.  But this is a disease you cannot fix on your own.  It will take the health care system, corrections, housing, mental health –  it will  “take a village”.

Taken from

ADDICTION: A MOTHER’S STORY

SECOND EDITION

Chapter 66

Treatment or Punishment – Treatment or Incarceration?

 

I am sure that every one of you who has a loved one struggling with drug addiction and the resulting criminal activities will feel as passionately as I do about this subject.

Do we, as a society, keep doing what we have always done, or do we stop that revolving door and admit that what we have been doing is not working? It is not working now. It never worked in the past. And it won’t work in the future.

Our prisons, worldwide, are overflowing with people whose crimes are related to their drug addiction. Most of those people likely made that first moral choice to try potentially addictive drugs in their teen years or early twenties. And I believe it would be fairly safe to say that none of those who experimented with drugs ever expected to become addicted. Never expected to be that person who would lose everything.

Those are the years when every generation tends to take the biggest risks. In the case of drugs, not any one of our loved ones ever expected to become addicted to the drugs they were experimenting with. It was just supposed to be fun. It was just supposed to be a party.

And for some, it was just a party.

It wasn’t that they were stronger or more determined than our child. It wasn’t that they had willpower and our child didn’t. It wasn’t because they were born into a certain family or attended a certain school or lived in a certain area. None of that matters. It was simply because they did not have the disease of addiction, and our child did.

Many people will argue that it is a moral choice, not a disease. My feeling about addiction is that the very first time our loved one took a potentially addictive drug, they made a moral choice. They crossed that line. But once addiction raises its ugly head, it is a disease, albeit a disease with a choice.

At any time, an addict can stop using their drug of choice, and the disease halts. They will always have that propensity, but they will have stopped their addiction in its tracks. Sound simple enough

Well, if it were that simple, we would not have hundreds of millions of people worldwide struggling with addictions so severe that they lose everything in life they love. Everything and everyone they care about for that next fix or that next drink.

Addiction is a disease, and as a society, we have to stop treating addicted people with punishment. Worldwide, countries are building more and bigger prisons to house all those people who have committed crimes to feed their addiction.

Now don’t get me wrong – I too believe that people should have to pay for crimes they commit. I am not saying they should not be held accountable. I am only saying that incarceration is not the long term answer.

Instead of building more and bigger prisons, why are we not turning some of those prisons into long-term treatment centers, under the umbrella of our healthcare agencies and in connection with our corrections services.

Say, for example, your son or daughter is before a judge for robbery. Typically, if guilty, they will receive a prison sentence, serve their time, and then be released – still an addict. And thus the revolving door. Drug use – crime – punishment – release – drug use – crime – punishment – release.

If nothing changes, nothing changes. It is as simple as that.

The average cost to incarcerate one person is $115,000.00 per year. I say the average cost because minimum security prisons would be less, maximum security prisons would be more.

What if our governments got smart and admitted what they clearly know: that the status quo is not working?

On average, 90% of imprisoned people are for one reason or another there for drug or alcohol-related crimes – possession, robberies to support a drug habit, car thefts, home invasions, assaults, spousal abuse, prostitution to support a drug habit, DUI’s, vehicular homicide while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fraud, identity theft, credit card theft, shoplifting. The list goes on and on. But the common denominator is that 90% of the imprisoned population is in for substance-abuse-related offenses, and 70% of them are battling severe addictions.

Now, what if our laws changed? Instead of it being an automatic prison term, what if when an addict is before the judge, awaiting sentencing, he or she is given a choice: prison or treatment. (I am talking about individuals not convicted of violent crimes, such as first-degree murder, sexual assault, or crimes against children; those people should receive prison sentences.)

If you choose prison, then off you go, nothing is really expected of you. You receive no reduction of your sentence for time served, no chance of early release, but you go in, do your time, are bored out of your mind playing cards or watching TV, sleep, live in a potentially violent atmosphere and eventually you’re released. You don’t have to do anything. Just be there. After release, you check in as required with a parole officer and have regular appointments.

If you choose treatment, then you go to a facility that was previously a prison, only now it has been concerted into a fully functioning treatment center, with bright, clean rooms and inviting common spaces. It is mandatory to attend daily meetings, group counseling and individual counseling. You must attend programs and engage in behaviors that help you come to terms with your addiction – learning relapse triggers so you are prepared when they arise, taking anger-management courses, taking communications courses, eating nutritious meals and snacks, engaging in fitness programs – all run by caring, well-trained professionals at the top of their game. Every facility is accredited and therefore required to meet those criteria.

And for three hours a day, you work in a program that helps you become employable upon your release – for example, as a carpenter, welder, hairdresser, barber, cook, nurses aid, care aid, or one of many other professions. These courses can be completed during your stay. As you come to the end of your term in treatment, plans are in the works to help you secure safe and affordable housing and employment, and you have an aftercare plan that includes a support network so you have the best chance of staying the course.

If we keep incarcerating people, keep punishing them, without giving them the tools they need to live a life they deserve – we as a family deserve, we as a community deserve – then the cycle continues. But if we offer treatment and training, then we give each of those people the opportunity to break the chains of addiction holding them hostage.

We break that cycle of the revolving door, and we welcome back good men and women who were lost to us, perhaps for a very long time. They have gained the necessary tools that a very good treatment program will provide, and they have an opportunity to work proudly in industries or professions that can support them financially.

If we did this, the cost per year would be comparable. But when a person chose recovery and training, their chance of re-offending would decrease considerably. In comparison, the person who chose incarceration in all likelihood would continue to struggle, leading to yet another revolving door.

Everyone wins every time a person struggling with addiction finds sobriety. We then have another responsible adult in our community – working, raising a family, contributing in a healthy manner.

Crime would go down astronomically. The cost of health care, emergency personnel, police, the courts and all the other services related to substance abuse would decrease if members of our addicted population found sobriety.

We have that opportunity when they are before the courts. We have a “captive audience”. Let’s use that opportunity to help those people who are at a place in their lives where they are unable to help themselves.

Addiction is a disease. The status quo doesn’t work. It is time to rewrite some of our laws.

Some will say this is impossible to implement. But I have to say: Why? Everyday that we delay, more very sick people continue in the revolving door. And sadly, many die while our governments are building more prisons.

We will always deal with the naysayers who believe we should simply lock up addicts and throw away the keys. Too often, though, people have stayed silent when their voices could have made a difference. We can’t stay silent any longer. The lives of our sons and daughters are depending on us. We need to speak up and let our politicians know that it’s time to see addiction for what it is: a disease that has far too many of our loved ones in its grip.

June Ariano-Jakes –

Author of Addiction: A Mother’s Story Second Edition

http://www.AddictionAMothersStory.com

~~~~~~~

I sincerely hope this week is a better week for each of you.  The daily worries.  The daily fear.  The daily heartbreak.  I hope some of that is reduced for you this week.

Take care of yourself – remember, you count.

Thank you to those of you who have sent me notes and shared your stories.  I am humbled.

I truly care.

Much love,

June

Addiction – The Light Has Not Completely Gone Out

Two days ago Canadians celebrated Canada Day.  Tomorrow our neighbours to the south in the USA celebrate their Independence Day. There are fireworks and banners and people waving flags.  The country as a whole seems to be in celebration mode.

Sadly, in far to many homes the world over, there is no celebration happening.  Instead worry, heartbreak and devastation persist because you have a loved one heavily addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Lives with potential seemingly lost.  Once beautiful children with goals and dreams  now broken.  And as their Mother.  As their Father. As their sister or brother you are devastated.  You so desperately want that loved one back.

They are struggling with a disease that is holding them hostage.  That disease is holding you hostage as well.  The collateral damage of addiction is immense.  As parents, as families, our lives are changed.  And each member of the family will handle it differently.  From fear, to frustration, to indifference, to anger or hatred, perhaps to enabling, being willing to do whatever it takes to get our loved one back, and loosing control.  There is not a single “nice” thing about addiction.

I know many people who struggle with addiction and mental illness from working amongst them.   I can tell you, that the goodness, the love and the lessons you have raised your adult children to know are not lost on them.  The light has not completely gone out.  Their lives have a great deal of darkness, but those memories are still there.  I see it every day and it touches my heart.

Society for the most part ignores and looks away from them.

People walk down the street, stepping over them, never really seeing the actual individuals there.

For God’s sake people, open your eyes.  Please see, this is someone’s son.  This is someone’s daughter.  This woman has children in foster care, hoping that one day she will come and pick them up.

They are our sons and daughters, and we love them and would do anything possible to help them get away from their addiction.  But they are just not at that place where they will allow you to help .  So, you continue trying to convince your loved one to accept treatment.  To embrace recovery, to believe there is a better life for them.  But ultimately, they have to walk the walk.  It is a journey only they can take.  You can be their greatest supporter.  You can be the one encouraging them every step of the way, but in the end, only they can choose the path they will follow.

For the most part, they carry tremendous shame.  They don’t want the life they have thrown themselves into.  But they are stuck. And as much as we don’t want to accept it, there really is nothing we can do to help them make the changes until they are ready to grab that lifeline we have been throwing them.

It took my son twenty-three years.   He endured some of the most horrific abuses imaginable at the hands of dealers and traffickers for twenty-three years.  And for twenty-three years, as his Mom, I kept trying everything I could think of to pull him out of the trap of addiction that was holding him captive.

After twenty-three years, this son I love so much did what I could never have done for him.  He did what no treatment centre had been able to do.  What no recovery program had done.  He did what no one could have done for him.  He decided he’d had enough.  On his own.  With no intervention.  He decided.  He told me there was absolutely nothing I or anyone could have done for him.  He had to decide – enough.  After twenty-three years of hard-core addiction, my beautiful son started his climb out of his addition and out of the bowels of hell.

I cannot even begin to imagine the strength he pulled out.  The inner demons he had to battle.  The utter commitment and desire to be well and healthy.  The absolute will to come back.

I cannot imagine a physical and psychological hold more powerful  than that of addiction.

Today Nathan is two years, four months and sixteen days clean.  My son began his “rebirth” on February 17th, 2014.

Is every day a struggle?  I am sure in some ways it is.  But he is winning a battle he did not think it possible to survive.

This wonderful, kind, loving, generous,reliable, responsible and caring son fills my life every day with joy.  He laughs at those descriptive words  of him today!!

Please let this give you the hope you need to keep going.  As long as there is life, there is hope.  The nightmare you are living is horrific.  I know your pain.  I believe only a person who has walked this journey with an addict they love  can truly understand the journey you are on. It is a journey of heartbreak and devastation.

My hope for you is that your loved one will grab that lifeline and begin their “rebirth” in a life of hope and happiness.  They deserve that life.  You deserve that life.  Until that time, know you are not alone.  I truly care.

Today, please do one thing nice for yourself.

Much love,

June

 

 

Today you can make different choices….

Where did addiction take my beautiful son? Where did his addiction take me? Where did addiction take our family, who love Nathan so much?

Addiction eventually took him to the bowels of hell and we were along for the ride.

As I look back on what I have learned from many mistakes over many years, I realize we truly are the authors of our own lives. Each and every day, we start a new chapter. We can’t change our past, can’t change the decisions or the choices of yesterday. We have to acknowledge them, accept them as decisions we made with the information we had at that time.

Don’t beat yourself up. Whatever you did yesterday to handle your loved one’s addiction, whether you gave him or her money, paid the rent, made excuses, let it go. That was yesterday. Today you can make different choices. Today you can hold that person accountable. You are accountable only for the choices you make. You are the author of your own story.

When we allow ourselves to be manipulated out of feelings of guilt or pity, thinking this is what love is about, we allow someone else to be in control of that chapter in our story.

Hold on to your power.

June

Letter To A Drug Addict – “I Could Give A Rat’s Ass”!!

LETTER TO A DRUG ADDICT: “I COULD GIVE A RAT’S ASS”

Hi Friend, it’s me just waiting to hook you up. Sneak out. I’ll be waiting.

Don’t listen to that “inner voice” your Family talks about. You know the one, “We’re here for you”. “Let’s get you into a Treatment Centre”. “Detox”. “The life you deserve”.

Nag. Nag. Nag. That’s all they ever do. They say it’s because they “love you”. “They want you to be able to live a full and healthy life”. Well to hell with them. I could give a rat’s ass about that. That right. No pressure from me. I say, it’s your life.

I could give a rat’s ass if you lie, steal or manipulate the people in your life. That’s their problem.

I could give a rat’s ass if you break into houses, steal cars, shoplift or steal old ladies purses. No pressure from me. I’ll be there whenever you want me. I don’t judge anyone. I’m an equal opportunity friend.

You will do anything to have me in your life. You will devastate your Family – your parents, brothers and sister. You will lose your life partner. Your wife. Your husband. Your children. You will lose your job, your car, your home, your friends. But I could give a rat’s ass. I’ll still be there whenever you want me.

I am here whenever you invite me. I only show up when you call for me. Your choice. That’s right. As long as you want me in your life, I will be there.

I will be waiting for you when you end up in jail. I’ll be waiting when you are beaten to a pulp. I’ll be waiting for your release from hospital if you lose an arm from using dirty needles. Hell, who needs the veins in that arm anyways. They’re pretty much all collapsed. You can use the veins in your neck, or feet or groin. You have other options.

Your Mom is sitting by your bedside. Tears running down her cheeks. I say, “Get a grip lady”. I could give a rat’s ass about her. But, I’ll be waiting for you. I will always be there when you want me. I’ll never be more than a phone call away.

I don’t let you feel anything. Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. I take care of that.  And I’ll leave you feeling empty. And when you die, well, I won’t give a rat’s ass. There are millions of people whose lives I can own.

Yup that’s me. A fickle friend. I took everything from you. Well, actually that’s not true. YOU GAVE IT ALL TO ME AND I COULD GIVE A RAT’S ASS.

Thanks for the memories.

Sincerely,
Your drug of choice, Heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, crystal meth.

P.S A piece of advice: You should have listened to the people who loved you. They really did care. But me? Well like I said – I gave a rat’s ass about you.

Written by June Ariano-Jakes, author of Addiction: A Mother’s Story
http://www.AddictionAMothersStory.com

What Message Does Addiction: A Mother’s Story (Second Edition) Send, and to Who?

If you are the parent whose teen or adult child is battling drug addiction, then absolutely, Addiction:  A Mother’s Story – The Second Edition, is  most definitely for you. 

If you have a brother, sister, husband, wife, mother, father, or friend struggling with addiction,  then yes, Addiction: A Mother’s Story is also for you.

As parents and family members who have a loved one  addicted to drugs or alcohol – we know the journey better than anyone else, of what addiction means.  As parents, we understand the heartache.  The struggles.  The devastation.  The lengths, we as parents will go through, to help our drug addicted loved one.  We understand each other like no one else can.  We share the same journey.  We may live in different parts of the country or different parts of the world, but our journey, yours and mine will be the same.  We will try the same things to help our addicted loved one, we will cry the same tears, we will experience the same heartbreak and we will make the same deals with God.

Our children have become hostages to drug addiction and we have become hostages to their  addicted behavior.

Society judges the addict as a flawed person,  and I understand that, if the only thing seen is the behavior.  But as parents, as family members who have a loved one addicted, we know they are much more than where their addiction has taken them.

Families who have loved ones addicted often feel negatively judged as well.  Over the years I have have had several parents tell me how they feel marginalized by remarks some family members, friends, neighbours, and strangers have made.  As if somehow they had failed as a parent.

I am sure you have heard heartless comments made when an addict is found dead or a girl or guy working in the sex trade to feed their addiction is found beaten or murdered.  That somehow they are “less than”.  Comments like, “Play with fire, expect to get burned”. So often we hear a comment like, “Where were the parents, why weren’t they trying to help them”?

Sound familiar?

Of course it does.

What they don’t realize is that you and I had been trying everything we can possibly think of for years to help our addicted loved one. That you would do anything, give anything to make them whole.  To make them well.

All to often people are quick to pass judgement .  Do we need to hear those comments?  Absolutely not!!  Heck, we have already beaten ourselves up asking the same questions.  We know what self-blame is all about.  We already blame ourselves thinking it is something we did or didn’t do that lead our kids to our child’s drug addiction.  If you wonder what self-blame is, ask the parent of an addict!!

The reality is, we did absolutely nothing to cause the addiction.  When our loved one first made a choice to use a potentially addictive drug, they made a moral choice.  However, once addiction raised its ugly head, our loved one began to feel the pull of, and the entrapment of, the disease of addiction.

Do they have a choice in where the disease of addiction will take them?

Of course they do.  But if it was that simple we would not have hundreds of millions of people worldwide, struggling with addiction, so profound, so devastating, that they would lose everything they love for that next fix or that next drink.

Addiction is a disease that devastates lives.  Devastates families.  Devastates communities.

As parents we all did the very best we could.  The very best we could with what we knew at any given time.  We love our children.  We did not cause the disease of addiction and we cannot cure it.  Only our addicted loved ones have the power to do that.  And when deep in their addiction, they do not believe they can.

As parents we see beyond the addiction and remember the person underneath all that baggage.  We desperately want them back.  We want society to know they are more than their addiction.  Much, much more.

I wish every  first responder – policemen, firemen, ambulance attendants, doctors and nurses in hospital emergency departments would read Addiction: A Mother’s Story – The Second Edition because sadly all to often, our addicted loved ones are treated with frustration and disrespect by many of these first responders.  As if our loved ones are wasting their time.  Are taking up time they would rather spend elsewhere.  I would love them to read this most real account of what addiction truly is, so that the compassion that initially lead them to their chosen career, will be shown to those we love so deeply.

I do understand the frustration first responders  may feel if they see the same people time and time again.  But addiction is not a character flaw.  It is a disease.  And although it cannot be treated like most diseases, we have to recognize, that addiction is devastating the precious lives of those we love.  They are sick.  They need help.  Not intolerance.  Not disrespect.  Not marginalization.

Throughout Addiction: A Mother’s Story – Second Edition – you will read of the many things I tried to do to help my son battle the horrific disease of addiction that held him hostage for twenty-three years .  What he lived with.  What helped.  What didn’t.  What I did.  What I wished I had done differently.  About effectively helping and about enabling.  Tough love.  Hitting bottom, both Nathan’s and mine.  You will undoubtedly recognize your own efforts as a parent as you travel this journey with me.

I frequently receive powerful and heartfelt feedback from mothers, in particular,  who tell me they have felt so alone in their grief and heartache.  Moms who have told me my story is their story.  Different loved ones.  Different parts of the world.  But the same feelings.  The same desperation.  The same heartbreak.

So what message does Addiction: A Mother’s Story – Second Edition – send and to who?

Well, I am first and foremost a Mother.  Nothing in my life compares to that privilege.  Addiction: A Mother’s Story – Second Edition is my story.  It is a Mother’s Story.  The story of my son’s addiction through my eyes.  What I lived with, with my son whom I so deeply love.  As a parent to four other beautiful children and the affect of addiction on their lives.  So Addiction: A Mother’s Story is for you, if you are the parent or family member of someone battling addiction.

And as I mentioned previously,  I would like to see every policeman and woman read Addiction: A Mother’s Story.  I would like every doctor,nurse, lawyer, judge, teacher counselor, parent, and teenager read Addiction: A Mother’s Story.  I want individuals who interact with our loved ones to know they are dealing with  people  battling a devastating disease and that they are more, much more than  where their addiction has taken them.

Addiction: A Mother’s Story is the true story of addiction.  This is what drug addiction truly is.   Not a polished or cleaned up version.  This is the real story.  This is what we as the parents of drug addicted adult children live with.  These are the people we love.  They are not throwaways.  Our loved ones are sick. Devastatingly sick and they need help.

Addiction affects people in every walk of life.  Addiction does not discriminate.  Those battling addiction are our loved ones.  They are treasured.  They have feelings and are very often in very fragile states.  They cry, they feel immense sadness and overwhelming guilt. And we as their parents feel exactly the same.  We too,  more often than not, are also in very fragile states.  And yet we carry on, because we have too.  We will not give up on those we love so deeply.

As  parents we never ever expected to be in the position we are in, but we are, and we are doing absolutely everything we can to encourage those we love to find their way out of the darkness of addiction.

This Second Edition of Addiction: A Mother’s Story  continues the story of Nathan’s twenty-three devastating addiction and where it took him.  And where it took us as a family.  It is profound. It is often heartbreaking.  And it will give you much needed hope.

Addiction: A Mother’s Story also lets you know exactly how our addicted loves ones are treated by all the various “players” in the drug scene.  The dealers, the gangs, the violence, slum landlords.  As well as recovery houses, treatment facilities, the police, the healthcare system.

This Second Edition will provide you with incredible insight into the life of your addicted loved  one and sadly, sometimes the treatment they receive by those we expect to help them.

I hope Addiction: A Mother’s Story speaks to your heart.

Be kind to yourself and remember, you are not alone.  I truly care.

Much love,

June