Loving an Addict-The Secret VIP Club

Loving an Addict-The Secret VIP Club.During my daughter’s 7-year battle with addiction, many people suggested that I seek help for myself. That this was too much for me to handle alone. “Katie, you should really go to a support group, or talk to a therapist”. At first, I really resisted. Are you kidding me? Who has time for that!! “She’s the one with the problem, not me”. “How can I focus on me, when my daughter is dying before my eyes?!”.

At this point, only a few close friends and immediate family knew about Brittany’s struggles. It’s just not something you talk about it. When people would ask about how she was doing, sometimes I felt I needed to protect her from the stigma and judgment. And honestly, did they REALLY want to know? Or was it just good gossip?

So, I kept it to myself for much too long.

I was always a very happy, upbeat, energetic person. Music on loud in the car, dancing around the house, I LOVED life. I was a morning person, super motivated, organized and half my day was done by 10am. I loved to ride my bike for miles, having dinner with lifelong friends, and entertaining at our home.

I found myself losing who I once was.

Most days it was very hard to get out of bed. I had to really force myself. I would put on that fake happy face, make my youngest daughters lunch for school, drive her to the bus stop, big kiss on the cheek, “Have a great day honey!!”. Then I would drive home and go back to bed. When it was time to pick her up, I would hurry and shower, fluff my hair, smidge of lipstick, back was the fake happy smile. ”How was your day honey?!”.

I gained weight and stopped riding my bike. Wrinkles appeared. When I drove my car, I didn’t put music on anymore. The car was silent. I was lost in my own thoughts…grieving for my daughter, although she was alive, I was mentally preparing for her funeral. I pulled away from friends…I just didn’t want to be around anyone.

Sirens made me jump. The sound of my phone ringing put me into a panic. I would go on Facebook to see when the last time my daughter was on, just to be sure she was ok. Watching the news made me cry.

Actually, everything made me cry.

Then, one day, I think I lost it. Some may call it a mental breakdown. I really don’t know how or why it happened on that particular day.

I just know I snapped.

I was on the phone with my husband John and flipped out. I can’t even tell you why, I have NO idea. And I went CRAZY. Screaming, crying….I went into a full blown panic attack. I told him I couldn’t do this life anymore. It was just too much. Then I got in my car and just drove. I drove and drove and drove. I remember it was pouring rain out and at one point, I had looked down at a light and I was still in my slippers.

My cell phone kept ringing. John was calling nonstop. I couldn’t answer. I JUST WANTED TO BE LEFT ALONE. Then my mom started calling. Then my brother. PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE!!! YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!!!

John left work and somehow found me. I had pulled over into a grocery store parking lot. I think I was in shock. I could barely talk. I was in a blank zone of absolute despair. I didn’t want my LIFE to be over, I just wanted the PAIN gone.

My husband is amazing. He really is. He saved me that day. No one really knows this story. But writing about it now, although I’m in tears once again, I think is healing me.

It was then I realized I really needed help. I had to be better for my husband, my children, and myself.

I started going to some support groups for families of addicts. It was there that I found ACCEPTANCE. I wasn’t alone anymore!!! These people UNDERSTOOD. I was free to talk, without being judged. I learned so much, became strong again. It was like we were in this secret club. A club none of us wanted to belong to, but yet had VIP membership. Bonds were formed with strangers, sisterhoods developed. I started to be able to breathe again.

The music was turned back on.


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  1. Lora April 15, 2016 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Wow this speaks volumes to me. To finally see it written all the same things I felt! I’m so sorry for your pain and for my own pain, but more than anything I’m sorry that our children were bound by these chains of heroin.

  2. Brenda April 15, 2016 at 11:03 am - Reply

    Where do i find a support groupin my area? I live in Lagrange ky. Where do i start?

    • Linda April 15, 2016 at 10:33 pm - Reply

      Brenda, look on line for such groups as al-a-non, nar-a-non and families against narcotics. That’s a good place to start. And I can attest to this woman’s story. Getting support makes a huge difference in your life. You will be educated and learn new tools to cope with your addict and your own issues. You will learn how to live again and meet people who understand. Good luck and God bless you!

    • Katie April 18, 2016 at 2:27 pm - Reply

      Brenda, I am going to email you

      • Peggy April 27, 2016 at 2:06 pm - Reply

        email me also to find groups in my area please.. I’m am suffering more than my 22 year young addict daughter.

      • Lindsey Kortyka October 17, 2016 at 3:44 pm - Reply

        Hi Katie, I’m doing a story for my journalism class on addiction. Do you mind giving me a personal perspective? If interested, please reach out to me at lk2686@columbia.edu.

        Best Wishes,

        Lindsey Kortyka

  3. Pamela April 15, 2016 at 11:04 am - Reply

    You could have been writing about me. Only I don’t have a husband. It was my mother who I broke down to. I truely lost it. She said she thought I was going to kill myself to end the suffering. But how could I do that?!?! I was all my son had and he was in full blown addiction at the time. He needed me and come hell or high water I was going to be there for him. But being there for him was killing him. It was killing me. Loving an addict is a very slippery, scary slope but as a mother with support from wonderful women like you, I’ve grown strong and I’ve grown claws that allow me to hang on and fight for all our children’s lives. God Bless you my sister. Stay strong and keep spreading the word. So many have been through this alone. They need to know they are NOT alone.

    • Judy J.J.M.P. April 16, 2016 at 12:09 am - Reply

      And I sound like both of you. I know I will fight this battle for my daughter, your daughter, your son, your mother, your father, your sister, your brother and your friend. There are alot, way too many people like us. We need to change the stigma about addiction, its a disease like any other and the more we educate ourselves and others then we have a great chance to get this epidemic under control. Be brave and remember who your fighting for!

    • Katie April 18, 2016 at 2:26 pm - Reply

      Bless you Pamela, such a beautiful and heartfelt message.

  4. Sara Siemen April 15, 2016 at 11:41 am - Reply

    This post is so beautifully written. I’m happy you were able to find the support you needed!

  5. carol April 15, 2016 at 11:53 am - Reply

    My son relapsed again yesterday , I can’t shower or get off the couch!
    I feel like a failure!
    This has been going on for so long , he’s been in about 8 rehabs ran away fom all of them my faith is going !
    Can’t live like this anymore want to wake-up from this nightmare!
    Everytime the phone rings I cry!
    This child has recked ‘my family we are all sick now!
    I’m afraid all the time!
    Why did this happen?????

    • Judy J.J.M.P. April 16, 2016 at 12:50 am - Reply

      Please dont say this child wrecked my family, she is your family! If she had any other disease would you say the samething? I know how you feel, I have lived it the past 6 years with my own daughter who is 24. Some people dont educate themselves enough about addiction, and it is not our childrens fault. The addiction has stripped them of who they were. They didnt ask to live this way, and they certainly didnt want their families to hurt the way that we do. Some people might say “well they did their own first injection, so they knew what they were getting into”! Do you really think for a moment that they thought they wanted to be on the chase everyday, thinking only of heroin when they wake up until the time they go to sleep at night, if they can sleep! They didnt wake up one day and say “I think I will become a junkie today”, NO they did not! It seems to me that when they fall to this darkside of life they dont have the power to get out. The drug has ahold of them tighter than any hug they received in their life. Heroin owns them now, but as a society we can buy them back by fighting this rampant drug and educating ourselves, the addict, and other people so that they know that there is help. We will not give into this life taking disease, but we will reduce the stigma of an addict and get their lives back and ours too!
      My reply to this earlier post was not to intentially hurt anyone but to realize that this is a fight worth winning!! Hang in their Moms and Dads pray for those lives that struggle everyday with this horrible nightmare! God Bless all of us…….

      • Sabrena April 26, 2016 at 9:58 pm - Reply

        Well said Judy

      • Cindy August 23, 2016 at 9:45 am - Reply

        My nephew is in jail awaiting trial on a 2nd degree felony charge for possession of meth. I have been angry and so upset with him for what I thought he had done to us and especially his mother. You just changed my mind. This one small reply made me realize he is ill. He’s not doing this to us, but to himself. Thank you for writing this.

    • Regan Davidson April 17, 2016 at 12:27 am - Reply

      Carol, get help for yourself and others in your family if you can! I found a WONDERFUL counselor who made all the difference for me. I realised that I could not fix my son, and that when he was using he had no control. The heroin is in control. Jail is a very safe place! It saved my son’s life more than once. I also advocate for a long term rehab ( my son’s pro gram is a year long) if you can find one. Save yourself and then try to help your child.

    • Katie April 18, 2016 at 2:10 pm - Reply

      Oh Carol!!! I’m going to email you xoxo

  6. Mer April 15, 2016 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    To hear the pain of your heart brings tears to my eyes…i too have felt this way. Always waiting….waiting for phone calls…waiting for the child to walk through the door. In my case I have 3 children addicted…my son…my twins..a boy and a girl..
    All in their early 20s….sometimes I really struggle….my pain is unbearable…i am often in a trance…afraid to acknowledge the heart felt pain. How could 3 of them be addicts….i feel I’ve been robbed of something…..family says turn your back…my eldest won’t speak to them….i feel I’m in mourning…..rigid in time….always thinking about them…..i do my best to detach but with 3…it is hard.

    • Carol April 16, 2016 at 3:22 pm - Reply

      Mer – My heart just literally cracked in half when I read your post. I’m sitting at my computer crying for you. I only have one daughter who is an addict and in rehab for her 4th time and it feels so overwhelming. I just can’t even imagine what you go through. I have kind of lost faith, but I will pray for you. Hang in there and stay strong!

    • Carol April 21, 2016 at 11:20 am - Reply

      Wow I thought I was the only one in the world with 3 children all addicts,it’s such a lousy feeling and you wonder what did I do wrong that all 3 would turn out like this.i too have lost the person I once was and it has really taken its toll on me. My 2 daughters are in rehab and my son is trying but it’s a struggle every day and I can’t turn my back on them if they were to die tomorrow they would know that I’ve loved them more than life ,just praying

  7. Liz April 15, 2016 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    Phone calls terrified me… sirens terrified me. A car accident down the road terrified me. Was it her? Did she hurt herself? Did she hurt someone else? To this day, it is hard to hear these noises. Once about 2 years ago, I had chest pains and thought I was having a heart attack. My husband called for an ambulance and they took me to the ER. After numerous tests, I was told ‘No heart attack’.. It was stress. Stress caused the pain, the palpatations. I’ve also detached from friends, family, fun things, people.. Work and home is good enough. I’ve gained about 30 pounds too. I remember driving in my car and just screaming… SCREAMING and SOBBING. The next day I couldn’t talk very well and told people at work that I must be coming down with something…. And on and on and on…

  8. Liz April 15, 2016 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    Also meant to say .. I’ve been to meetings in the past.. They helped me. But, I don’t want to do this anymore. I really, really don’t.

    • lucy flegal April 15, 2016 at 6:31 pm - Reply

      Stay strong Liz, don’t become like me. I have overdosed twice because I can no longer stand the pain, and my heroin addicted son told me I was selfish. Find a good doctor and a good counselor. That can work wonders. I am on medication for depression and sleep and although I am still worried sick it is a little more tolerable. You are so not alone..

    • Judy April 17, 2016 at 3:00 pm - Reply

      Liz, Please dont give up. We need you to help fight this fight. We have all felt this way and I myself I thought or out loud screaming “I dont wanna do this anymore, I want my life back”! And then I realize what would my daughter do without me? She didnt ask to be an addict, I have to help her and others to gain control of life again. I myself have not reached out to family support groups, but after reading these posts I definitely will. And you should also. Some people think if we take an active stand on this and go to groups, be part of an advocasy group, march our statehouses, help with a charity group for addicts and get therapy fo ourselves then our children may follow and get help. We will have our purpose for living with this merciless disease and hopefully give our children another reason to live by being an advocate also when they are clean. I hope in someway my words help but, please do not give in and give up, we are all in this together and we all love and care about each other.
      My charity that I help out with in Massachusetts is “Hand Delivered Hope”, they are on facebook. Maybe they can help you find something in your area. They are new being a charity in the last year or so but do great things for the addicts and homeless in my area, please look them up! God Bless you and your family and keep the faith.

      • Liz April 21, 2016 at 10:10 am - Reply

        Thank you Judy.. I will never give up!

  9. Tina April 15, 2016 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    You have me crying once again. Not only for all of the struggles but also your strength!!! Xoxo

  10. Kim April 15, 2016 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    I love you. That’s all I have to say after reading this. I love you, the happy energetic, fun-loving Katie and I love you when you just can’t be that Katie. Xo

  11. Annette G. April 15, 2016 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    My daughter in law just left my son & their 16 year old son to live in a hotel due to her Norco/Vicodin addiction. We are crushed. We love this girl dearly & have no idea where she is. She won’t reply to calls/texts from any of us. We do know she has been getting the drugs at a Pain Management Clinic & she used a 90 day supply of Norco in 3-5 days. Now she is seeking drugs elsewhere. My son is deep in depression & won’t talk to anyone, other then family about this. I have chatting with one of the FAN counselors, but my son is the one that really needs to talk to a professional. My daughter in law has been in our family for 25 years & I think of her as one of my own children. The pain of loving an addicted person is real-it hurts & there is nothing you can do. All you want to do is make them well. We can’t even know where she is.


    • Judy April 17, 2016 at 3:22 pm - Reply

      Annette, giving you a big hug first of all and your son. Does your state have a court system mostly a district or county courthouse? See if they have any type of program that is a Section 35, (thats the name of it in Massachusetts) and family goes before a judge that does this and you tell them what she has done and where she is, bring the empty bottle if you have it(if not thats ok too), tell them what she has been doing and they may consider her as a danger to herself or others(your family), and the court can put thru papers to section or mandate her to treatment for up to 30 days at a local detox and court ordered aftercare. The local police get a warrant from the judge to go get her(thats why you need to know where she is ), they bring her before the judge that day and he asks her questions and see her appearance and then she will see a court psychiatrist(whom you get to talk to first before she gets there)and he also speaks to the judge and the decision is made where to send her. Please look into it, I know peoplee and familues it has worked for and not worked for. But you can go to the court again and do it again, I just dont know what or if there is a time limit in between. But the longer she is out there the worse she will get, and if she gets introduced to street heroin it is more reason to go forward on this. You can look up Mass general law section 35 on the internet to see what I have told you. My prayers are with you all!

      • MelissA April 24, 2016 at 9:29 am - Reply

        But if there is no bed they go to MCI- and do a hard detox! Then when they get there to WATC- they are out in 10. I wish they could mandate a year! But I guess jail is not too bad of a holding place.

  12. Katrina April 15, 2016 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    My daughter just came out of rehab this week. I feel so scared and suspicious all the time. I do t want to be in this life anymore either. I wish to do because I don think I can bear the pain if anything happened to her because of drugs….. I need some support I have been single mom for a long time and at my wits end. Also she thinks she is entitled even though I have sacrificed almost an entire decade for my kids

    • Linda April 15, 2016 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      Please seek out support groups in your area. I promise you it will be the best thing you can do for yourself and your addict.

    • Judy April 17, 2016 at 3:28 pm - Reply

      Katrina, she thinks shes entitled to what? You are the one that should not be living in this fear and to be happy in your own life! Please try to find a support group for parents, you will see that she is entitled to nothing…..except to be drug free!
      You need to see your not alone in this battle. Look up on internet for your area a NA ALON for families, and get some individual help from a local therapist. Your in my prayers.

  13. Debbie April 16, 2016 at 11:06 am - Reply

    I love my 2 addicted sons, for 15+ yrs. I was addicted to saving them. But, through my support groups, and my therapist….I’m starting to enjoy life again. I worry about them, pray for them, but I now know I can’t save them. Very hard as a mother, not to be able to heal, help, or save her child.

    • Katie April 18, 2016 at 2:06 pm - Reply

      Debbie, that is wonderful you have been able to move forward some and start to enjoy yourself again. Its so vital to our mental health. Blessings to you

  14. Lonewolf April 16, 2016 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    Wow I think I just read my life. It gives me some comfort, knowing I am not the only one living a nightmare, even though it disturbs me that someone else is going through what I am going through, because its hell. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

    • Annette G. April 17, 2016 at 6:37 pm - Reply

      Hi “Lonewolf”

      You are not a lonewolf. We are all posting because of the nightmarish hell we are going through. In my case, it is my daughter in law that is using Norco/Vicodin. I can attest 100% the fear & worry for our families is real. My daughter in law, Chris, left my son last Monday 4/11/2016. I immediately began having headaches, which I do not get. Friday night 4/15/2016 they talked, agreed to rehab & therapy & lo & behold-my headaches have stopped. We love these kids so much & hurt for them. Let’s all keep talking and remember, you are not a lonewolf.

      Annette G.

      • Lonewolf April 21, 2016 at 3:56 am - Reply

        Hi Annette. Lone wolf was the name I quickly picked for my post. I love wolves and I don’t mind being alone….sometimes. I just don’t want to put my real name up, in case, people I know, who are not aware of my situation recognise me on here. I share my journey and pain with only a few that I know. The rest are complete strangers.
        I know I am not alone, believe me talking in groups like this has kept me sane.

        • Annette G. April 21, 2016 at 12:29 pm - Reply

          Dear Lonewolf, wouldn’t it be great if we could all get together & have a big group hug? I am realizing there is strength in numbers. At least we have come out about our situations, there are so many out there that won’t due to fear of being stigmatized. If it’s all we have, we have each other. Take good care.
          Annette G.

  15. Nancy Webb April 21, 2016 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    Judy, I really appreciate all you wrote. My daughter has literally made all my hair go white. I would have to write a book to explain all we have been through. I am by myself, I have seen her through jails after jails. Rehab after rehabs. Overdose after overdoses. At one time the hurt was too much and I almost thought it might be best if she would just fall asleep in death. That’s how sick I am over her disease. I can relate to everyone who had something to say. May all our nightmares pass, and our children get stronger n healthier.

  16. ~Gail~ mom on mission April 22, 2016 at 7:53 am - Reply

    Heartfelt read, thank you. It was shared with the family that we created @ WE HATE heroin. Please join us on Facebook we are two moms with hearts big enough to love you into recovery and ears big enough to listen.

  17. Donna April 22, 2016 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    This is me. Addiction affects the whole family. There are days and I just want to be alone by myself all by myself. And really don’t care if my friends are upset due to my lack communication I just feel like being alone

  18. Karen April 23, 2016 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    So much like my story? I pray for these children every day !

  19. Longtime suffered April 24, 2016 at 3:49 am - Reply

    You must,must absolutely go to Alanon! You have no idea right now,but it’s the best thing that will happen to you! You will kick yourself once your there and say why didn’t I know this 7 years ago!

    Please trust me!

  20. MelissA April 24, 2016 at 9:24 am - Reply

    Again, you have written my story. It is so isolating to be a parent of an addict.

  21. Maria April 25, 2016 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    I know all those feelings. I did try to end my life. I ended up in a hospital. It was probably for the best. Unfortunately my husband still holds it against me. We do our best. After 5 years of addict drama, My daughter is now 49 days clean and just moved into a halfway house. We will see. I now know it’s on her. I can’t help her fight this fight. I still don’t go to groups. I was seeing a therapist but she just kept talking on and on how the courts and hospitals were failing my daughter and I just wanted one place where she was not the constant topic. One day I hope the pieces will go back together again

  22. Jodie April 26, 2016 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    Gosh I am in tears reading this…I think you just summed my life up. Even down to checking her Facebook at all hours of the night to see when the last time she was on. I too have been told I need to get help. I just don’t even know where to start. My daughter is a 25 year old bi-polar addict whose father (my EX-husband) committed suicide 6 years ago. She just will not let it go and uses it as a crutch for everything! He left her a VERY big inheritance and all she has to show for it is a house that she purchased a couple years ago… I am thankful she did that and has no rent to pay so at least I know she has somewhat of a roof over her head..She won’t work and continues to choose loser after loser in her relationships…I am an enabler, I do admit that. But as a parent how do you let your baby that you raised, fall so far down that it seems hopeless that she will ever get out of this?? As of today, my daughter’s electricity has been turned off, her car is about to be repossessed, her phone is broken, she probably has no food, and I have not seen or talked to her since Saturday when I went flying out to her house to make sure she was okay because I couldn’t get her on the phone. I was told by her that she loved me but I really needed to stop doing this and that she is 25 and a grown ass woman! . I so badly wanted to tell her that she needed to start acting like it! I am mad, sad, and hurt all at the same time. She text me last night from her latest guys cell phone but I have not heard from her since. My stomach is in knots and she is literally the 1st thing on my mind when my eyes open and the last thing on my mind when I shut my eyes…HER addiction is affecting my health, my marriage, and my parenting to her younger sister…As a parent how do you stop trying to save them? I feel so guilty when I try to push her out of my mind…It is taking everything I have not to pay her electric bill, buy her groceries, and get her a new phone…I have the most understanding husband, but I can see he is growing very weary of all this constant turmoil she keeps me in. I too have disengaged from everyone and just want to do nothing!!! I want so desperately to TURN MY MUSIC BACK ON!!

  23. Suzanne Pinkston April 27, 2016 at 1:58 am - Reply

    I relate to this on almost every level except where her husband found her and saved her. I’m divorced, the father doesnt have much to do with it. Most days I just want to crawl in a hole and hide.

  24. Tammy Lemon May 2, 2016 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    To jodie every word you just wrote above is my life right now to a tee my daughter is 21 been at this 4 yrs & on 10th rehab I am exhausted.

  25. Liz May 6, 2016 at 10:57 am - Reply

    My son slipped again 4 months ago. He lives out of state with his drug addict girl friend. He was also in a 24 month program, got out doing very well until he me her. And the hell began again. I no we can’t enable him, but my fear as well is we will be burying him – as some parents of addicts once told me, that death would be easier than dealing with this insane addiction. I try to let go and let God, I put Joe in God’s hands everyday, but this is so tiring – so trying – so sickening. I lost a daughter at age 23 in a car accident and don’t know if I can lose another child. Thank you for your blog – we can only help ourselves.

  26. Terea May 6, 2016 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    I am crying while I write this. Not because I feel bad FOR you but because I KNOW how you feel. I have lost 1 son to drugs, not from an OD, although that was just waiting to happen, but to suicide due to what his addiction brought him to. I have another son still fighting addiction and 1 other who has managed to stay clean for a couple years now thanks to the help of Suboxone. I have 1 other son who never did any of it, thank God. So when I say I know how you feel, I am still suffering everyday, gained weight, restless sleeping, sleep with my phone, just in case, and some-days can not get motivated to get anything done. Cry when I am alone and put that fake face on when I am not. Now I am reading every article on drug addiction and treatment centers and legislation changes I can hoping beyond hope that SOMEONE cares enough to help with change before anyone else falls into the claws of this demon.

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