I am Powerless

Mother and DaughterFighting with insurance companies is a very frustrating process. When the treatment center couldn’t keep her longer than 3 days, I was absolutely panic stricken. I was on the phone with insurance for HOURS, begging them to approve her for a longer stay. Since she didn’t have a history on file of substance abuse, they felt outpatient therapy was what she needed. How can they make that decision on someone’s life?! Brittany was petrified to leave. “Mom, please do something. I’m so scared.”.

The rehab suggested she go to a halfway house. Halfway? Isn’t that where felons go after prison?! Ummm, NO WAY. This was all so new to me, this world of addiction. I had no idea that halfways, or sober living homes, were actually a very good thing. These are structured homes, where the clients living there pay rent, must remain drug free, get a job, have curfews, chores and must attend 12 Step meetings. An inspirational environment with support, morning meditation, yoga and women who have the same goals. OK! This sounds much better! A safe place for her to get her life back on track, while my own home can remain chaos free.

She moved into this home, which was about an hour away from my house. Since it was so far, there was no way that I could drive her places, meetings, a job, etc. I worked full time and traveled quite a bit. One of my best friends, who is this amazing, incredible woman, had given Brittany a car a few months prior, with the promise that Brittany must stay on track and go to college. Once she got deep into her active addiction, we took the car away. But now, she needed some wheels.

Within a week, Brittany found a job and was ecstatic. She didn’t like living in the halfway, she shared a room with 2 other women who were both in their 60’s. She had a hard time connecting, after all she was only 19 years old. So working and being out of the house as much as possible, was a relief to her. When she got her first paycheck, we invited her over for dinner to celebrate. Thinking back, its incredulous to me how we once were so excited to see what college she would attend, to now celebrating victories like her first paycheck after rehab. We felt so hopeful for the first time, in a long time.

On her drive over to our house for dinner, she called me. “On my way mom! Can’t wait to see you guys!!”. I had the table set, her favorite meal of beef stroganoff simmering, and a present of some new jammies. Her sister Brooke, who is 12 years younger, had made her a card and we were anxiously excited for some long overdue, quality family time.

Then I received the call.

“Mom!!! Please help me, I just got jumped!!”. What?! How? What the hell is going on?! “Brittany honey, where are you?!!”. “I’m at I-75 and McNichols mom, please help me”. My heart stopped. I gripped the phone in fear, my body trembling. I knew exactly where she was…it was her dealer’s house.

She told me years later that as she was driving over, she was so happy, singing to music in the car, feeling so positive. But that feeling stopped almost at once, and a force greater than her came upon her. She was going to be passing by her dealer’s area in just a few minutes. She had just gotten paid. She said it felt like the car just drove itself there…she doesn’t even really remember it clearly. She parked, went to the house (the same house she had previously overdosed in), bought the drugs, shot up in her car and drove down the side street. She nodded out at the wheel and crashed into a pole. Now her car was not drivable, so she started walking…in a VERY bad area of Detroit.

Two men came up behind her and attacked her. They dragged her into a field and beat her. She fought hard, kicked, screamed, cried out, but no one came to help. She was then raped.

The men took off running. And as she curled into a ball, crying, bloody and bruised, the first thought that came into her head after was “I gotta get high”.

Heroin was back in control.


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  1. Lisa March 29, 2016 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    75 and McNichols? I’m from Downriver. Our stories are very similar.

    • Katie March 31, 2016 at 10:29 am - Reply

      Lisa, yes, I live in the Metro Detroit area. I would love to connect!

  2. asosnoski March 31, 2016 at 10:11 am - Reply

    I am from the clarkston area and your story is a carbon copy of my life and my daughter’s addiction. She is 21 years old and has been using since 16. Recently seizured at the wheel and smashed the car. Spent 2 weeks in rehab and now in sober living. I stay awake all night and replay the last 5 years over and over in my head. I live with death in my stomach waiting for relapse. Finding it difficult to get out of bed and pretend to be normal. We are all suffering. Thank you for your blog. I’ve been hiding behind my smile for years.

    • Katie March 31, 2016 at 10:20 am - Reply

      I’m so sorry you are going through this. Its such a journey we are on! I know its so hard to function some days. But you must work on YOU and your own recovery while she is working on hers. I would love to talk more with you, please feel free to email me at katiedonovan01@gmail.com.

  3. Mandy Connaway May 2, 2016 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    Hi Katie,
    I replied to your reply but I don’t know if you got it. I’m sure you are super busy. My brother is now going to be admitted to Aton in San Diego today or tomorrow. I don’t know if you are familiar with that rehab. We are wanting to find a good sober loving house when he is released to try to prevent relapse again. The last one in orange county wasn’t good about watching them urinate and take meds so it set all these kids up for failure. Alot of them relapsed together. We were wanting him to stay in orange county or near if you are aware of any good ones. Thanks again in advance. I’m so sorry you have had to go through everything you have. Heroin is the devil, I’m sure we all agree on that. Also we live about 35 minutes outside of Chicago.

  4. Michelle August 22, 2016 at 8:21 pm - Reply


    I have a 21 yr old daughter who is an addict to the HIGH of anything!! Herion was the main Drug. I am afraid and scared she has been in rehab twice and thinks she can do it on her own. I am all new to this DEVIL and dont know what to do where to go. I am in Metro Detroit any help you can give would be so wonderful.

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