No One Brings You Casseroles When Your Child is an Addict

No One Brings You Casseroles When Your Child is an Addict.I remember when I was 15 years old and my Grandfather passed away of cancer. Friends and family brought over casseroles, pies, and lasagnas. Warm cookies left on the porch and neighborly visits of talks and coffee. My mom needed that support. She was able to work through some of her grief without having to worry about making dinners and going grocery shopping. It was my first experience with a community coming together to help another one, who was going through a very hard time. Years later, my own friends and I would do very similar things for those struggling with something….a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer was dropped off food on the doorstep, another friend who had lost her father had food delivered to the funeral home. “If there is anything I can ever do to help….” Were words spoken and truly meant. When someone experiences grief and trauma, we come together to bring comfort food. It’s a beautiful thing.

But not when your child is an addict.

• Opioid addiction is considered a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior and drug use despite harmful consequences.
• Opioid addiction is federally described as a progressive, treatable brain disease.

What is the common theme here? BRAIN DISEASE. But yet, as a society, there is such an enormous stigma attached to addiction, that we don’t treat it as such. People tend to shy away from something that is so taboo. It’s the WHISPERED disease. If we do talk about it, its behind closed doors.

It’s one of the main reasons why families who are going thru it, stay quiet.

I remember when my daughter Brittany went to treatment in California. She left right before Labor Day weekend, when our family goes up to our cottage for the annual Turtle Races. It’s a big event and the entire extended family attends. How could I explain her absence? I was scared of them knowing. Scared of the possible judgement, the uncomfortable look in their eyes, answering questions that I didn’t have answers to. I also wanted to protect her. What if she came out OK? I was paralyzed in fear of her being scarred.

John and I felt very alone. It’s an isolating feeling, when you are going through something of such enormity. I could barely function. Getting out of bed was a chore in itself, let alone making dinners, grocery shopping, trying to live NORMAL. Hours upon hours were spent on the phone with insurance. Sleepless nights not knowing where Brittany was, my heart gripped with fear every time the phone rang, or a siren was heard.

At the age of 19, Brittany went into her first treatment center. I couldn’t breathe. I was beyond distraught. THIS CANT BE HAPPENING!!! I could barely drive the 1 ½ hours home. I had to pull over a few times, my vision blurred with tears. When I came home, I collapsed into bed. Overcome with emotion, exhausted from the previous days of convincing her to go.

No casseroles were brought.

At the age of 20, she was admitted into a psychiatric facility and diagnosed with bipolar. I spent days at the hospital, eating Cheez Its out of a vending machine, while my family at home lived on peanut butter and jelly.

No tin foil pans of lasagna were on the porch.

For 7 years, as a family, we fought to save Brittany. Putting out fire after fire, dealing with one crisis after another. Flying all over the country to find the best facilities, the best doctors, researching and arming ourselves with education.

Certain types of pain can feel invisible or hidden by families— mental health and alcoholism, miscarriage and infertility, job loss, a parent’s slow decline. The need for communication, support and comfort of a homemade meal isn’t as apparent, or may not even be known.

I didn’t write this as a criticism of my loved ones -they didn’t know! I didn’t communicate how our family was crumbling. Because I was SCARED. I am BEYOND blessed to have an incredible support system, once I FINALLY talked about it.

Different kinds of crisis and grieving are more difficult for those who love us to understand and to comfort. It can be uncomfortable and we tend to shy away from topics, events, or things that are out of our comfort zone.

If you know someone who is struggling, a few warm cookies on the porch may just be what they need to feel accepted, loved and understood. Offers of coffee, cake and a chat could be what saves their sanity. We all just want to be loved and accepted, no matter what we are going through.

2017-03-11T18:28:52+00:00

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86 Comments

  1. Cheryl bushbaker April 4, 2016 at 9:44 am - Reply

    Great blog Katie! And……so true. It’s people like you that makes the world a better place…keep it up!!

    • Katie April 4, 2016 at 9:48 am - Reply

      Love you Cheryl!!! Thank you so much!!!

      • mishb67 April 4, 2016 at 9:18 pm - Reply

        Katie,
        God has just used you yet again! Our family know of my son John’s addictions and mental health issues but I rarely share anything ‘public’ on FB out of respect for him. Im not sure if I was trying to respect or protect him tbh? Either way, the enemy is no longer using this to keep my quiet! I have a voice and Im going to use it!! Thank you for your love, prayers, FB messages and encouragement xox

        • Katie April 5, 2016 at 1:01 pm - Reply

          Michelle, we are soul sisters from across the world!!! I’m so blessed to be connected with you!!!

          • mishb67 April 14, 2016 at 6:48 pm

            A double blessing with eternal benefits! If I ever get to your part of the world I am definately looking you up!!

    • Mary Piuma April 4, 2016 at 10:07 pm - Reply

      Lots of “not my kid” comments. “Control your kid ” comments. Some family members offered support. Many judged. Many cousins offered support that are sober themselves. Few and far between of the people I thought would offer support or at least prayers. Addiction has such a bad stigma attached to it. And yes addicts are not the same personality they would be without drugs. They do things they shouldn’t. They cause family problems, hurt their kids if they have them. But the flip side is they are someone’s daughter, son, sister, brother and yes even a parent.

      • Katie April 5, 2016 at 12:50 pm - Reply

        True words Mary!! They are our neighbors, the kids at church, the quarterback…it affects all of us, in every capacity.

  2. Teresa Mullins April 4, 2016 at 11:38 am - Reply

    I to have felt the mixed emotions of trying to keep family business only family business….but I’ve learned along the way that the opening up and showing awareness has been the biggest step in the healing process….for the addict and the family! The more we let out and be noticed may have some impact on another family dealing with the secrecy…. Keeping it all hidden I believe shows maybe a kind of disappointment to the one you are trying to help! They do not need to feel like they are an embarrassment anymore than they already do!! I think somewhere through we all have theories and prayers of making it all go away so we can get on with our lives!! Its probably been the most difficult thing I’ve ever experienced….the lies, the stealing….more lies and more stealing but you keep going you find that little bit of energy that gives you hope to keep your loved one just one more day!! Best to all with addictions and strength to families to help fight it!!

    • Katie April 4, 2016 at 12:25 pm - Reply

      Beautiful words and absolutely spot on. Bless you for sharing!!!

  3. kelly hurley April 4, 2016 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    This brought tears to my eyes just as your other have. It is so true!

    • Katie April 4, 2016 at 12:24 pm - Reply

      So grateful for your support xoxo

    • Jenni April 29, 2016 at 10:53 am - Reply

      I have tears running down my cheeks as I read this too. Fortunately for me my extended family has pulled together to support me but for a very long time I felt alone…there are still times.

  4. joan April 4, 2016 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    Wouldn’t our world be a better place!! I remember when my mom was diagnosed with Early Onsite Alzheimers. The medical community considered it a MENTAL HEALTH issue! Now, knowing the physiological brain anatomy changes are plaque deposits literally destroying the brain, Alzheimer’s families get the support and acceptance they so desperately need. We need to get there and beyond with this current epidemic. Thank you so much for your heartfelt words!

  5. Jenni April 4, 2016 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    I love reading your blog, Katie! You are such an inspiration!!

  6. Hunter April 4, 2016 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    I agree with Teresa. The more that we have shared our story, the more people we have foiund out have similar struggles in their families too. Thank you for sharing Katie. I am part of a parent support group for parents of addicts
    that I attend and it has been a blessing. Addiction is an epedimic and there needs to be more awaremenss. God Bless you and your family.

    • Julie Lissner April 16, 2016 at 11:39 am - Reply

      Hunter – please help if u can! My son is an addict and a criminal, the need for his drugs causing a run of crimes for which he had been indicted. Due to his age, 19 at the time, he was given a plea bargain allowing him to go to rehab.his sentence would have been 3 years. Instead, he did rehab, and graduated, and was on 5 years probation. He had a dirty drug screen with his probation officer, and is back in jail, awaiting court. Don’t know if he will get 30 days for parole violation, or if he will be going to prison to serve out his full sentence.

      I am falling apart and need help finding a support group online. I live in a very rural area and have no transportation so going to mtgs is nearly impossible. I have tried finding support groups online myself, but never succeeded.

      Can you give me either some sites that offer support or some guidelines for Internet search? Hang in on by a thread here…

      • Katie April 18, 2016 at 2:04 pm - Reply

        Julie, I just emailed you….xoxo

  7. Becky April 4, 2016 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    One of the best pieces I have ever read, on this subject.

  8. Pan April 4, 2016 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    This article is spot on and the lump grew in my throat as I read it. I have been there. There are no casseroles. And there are no cookies when your child spends 11 months incarcerated in a state prison because they have a disease. My son is a recovering heroin addict. Everyday he stays clean is like a casserole to me.

    • Denise M Tononi April 4, 2016 at 11:28 pm - Reply

      Counting the days, 19 so far. But I have such trepidation about what will happen after this 20 days of rehab. Asking for prayers for my son James. Praying for our children. God give us peace, hope and strength for every day.

      • Katie April 5, 2016 at 12:41 pm - Reply

        Denise, I’m praying so hard for James. I’m so glad he’s getting the help he needs. We all know the real work comes after treatment. What is his aftercare plan? Please always feel free to email me at any time…katiedonovan01@gmail.com

  9. Janie April 4, 2016 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    Perhaps just opening the door, like you have here Katie, will be the reminder people need. ❤️ Perhaps this can be the kind gesture that this generation begins… As a community Mom’s like us can begin this tradition once we learn of another diagnosis in the neighborhood. Your words are beautiful and full of emotion Katie, you’re touching so many with your kind spirit. Xoxo

  10. Donna Roxbury April 4, 2016 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    So true. I lost my son Christopher to cancer at 19. For the one month he was sick, people helped. And after. Then 10 years with 2 heroin addicts in my house. No help, except emotional help from family and friends. I was cooking chicken chili one day and arguing with my daughter about my oldest son. I was trying to help her in a ridiculous house situation, which was no big deal. She yelled at me. I immediately went to my room and took all the pills I had. Obviously didn’t work….I didn’t even know that was the state of my mind. There are still lingering problems. Needless to say, I don’t even bother trying to cook anymore – not for myself or my son who is still in my house. Waste of time.

  11. Jan April 4, 2016 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    I learned early that I really needed to talk about it. When you open up, you do get the casseroles and the cookies and the caring people helping you get through it. It was hard to open up, but I have found very few people who have not been affected by this disease in some way. Once we start talking, not only do we get the support we need, but we also get the chance to educate those people who don’t understand it.

  12. Sad Mom April 4, 2016 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    It’s comforting just knowing I’m truly not alone. I’ve never felt so alone, sad, ashamed, heartbroken and down right mentally exhausted.

  13. Lori April 4, 2016 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    As I sit here reading this I am a mother of an addict and all I can do is sit and read this and cry? When does this stop? Will I ever feel whole again and the suffering for my son is unbearable? I can only pray this horrible demon is defeated somehow before another mother and child is taken

    • Linda A. April 5, 2016 at 8:15 am - Reply

      From my experience you eventually can move forward but no, you’ll never ever be the same. This disease is a cancer of the soul. It robs your child of everything you knew before. It also takes everything away from you as a mom. It wasn’t the shame for me, it was constant fear. The only time I didn’t have that horrible feeling in my stomach(and my heart) was when he was in rehab. I knew he was safe. Even if they do “recover” the feeling is still there. Waiting, watching for the signs. My son has battled for 20 years. He’s not using now and has changed many things about his life but the addict is still there. Not the little boy I so loved. Also there is the hole in my heart big enough to drive a truck through! I’m 66 now and raising 2 grandsons. He takes them on weekends sometimes now but we are still their primary support system, emotionally and financially. I’d love to tell you that God has helped me through this but I’m not sure what to believe in. I put one foot in front of the other every day but I am and always will be truly broken. I wish I could be more positive but all I can say is find help for yourself. Therapy, naranon something to help you get through each day. ?

      • Katie April 5, 2016 at 11:59 am - Reply

        Linda, thank you so much for your words. I too have found solace in therapy and support meetings. It helps tremendously. My heart goes out to you and I admire you for your strength and taking care of your grandchildren. Hugs to you

  14. Teresa Toller April 4, 2016 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    My oldest son is addicted to heroin as well as prescription drugs. This is so on point with how I feel as the mother of an addict. Thanks so much for sharing ?

  15. Diane April 4, 2016 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    Excellent post. Thank you. How we wish we communicated more with our family and friends while we struggled to help our daughter. Their knowledge might have provided our daughter with more assistance. We lost our precious daughter at the age of 24, four years and 8 1/2 months ago, to a heroin overdose. After the funeral family and friends offered money to help pay for the funeral. If they were more aware of her problem maybe they would’ve offered us financial assistance to help combat her addiction rather than pay for her funeral. I don’t know. As you so correctly stated it’s taboo, still. I make sure that I tell everyone I come across about my daughter and what happened to her to crush this taboo and open their eyes to the extreme power of these drugs that can take anyone!!!! Thank you for sharing.

    • Katie April 5, 2016 at 1:24 pm - Reply

      Diane, I’m so sorry about your daughter. This disease is so heartwrenching. I pray God continues to provide you with the strength spread awareness in her memory. She’s probably very proud of you. xoxo

  16. Tricia April 4, 2016 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    This is so on point, to a T! Exactly why our family has chosen to speak out. Very well written. I have very recently started my own blog. Please visit and give me your feedback. http://www.downwithdopeupwithhope.com. God bless you and your Brittany?

    • Katie April 5, 2016 at 1:06 pm - Reply

      Beautiful blog Tricia…I love your words and your photos show your passion. I’m so glad you are speaking out!!! It takes a village of us from all over the world to educate, uplift and give hope. Bless you!

  17. Andrea April 4, 2016 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this. We completely relate to every word…it’s like you wrote it from our lives. God bless you and your family.

    • Katie April 5, 2016 at 12:59 pm - Reply

      Andrea, its amazing how similar our stories can be, isn’t it? I’m always here to talk!!

  18. Patricia April 4, 2016 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    This blog really hit home for me. My 26 year old son has been to rehab 3 times. He is now taking suboxone and is 7 months off heroin. As a parent of an addict, i felt so isolated, hopeless and helpless. It is hard to open up to friends for fear of being judged. My husband and i have found out who our real friends are. I have been offered a shoulder to cry on which mean the world to me. Thank you for writing this post. It is beautifully written.

    • Katie April 5, 2016 at 12:54 pm - Reply

      Bless you Patricia. I’m so glad you have the support of someone….WE NEED THAT! And wonderful news about your son!! Those who fight this addiction are the strongest people I have ever met.

      • shari April 13, 2016 at 10:38 am - Reply

        I have said for several years now……….I respect someone who can overcome drug addiction more than I do ANYONE!!!

  19. Michelle April 4, 2016 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    So devastating and on point. Destroys families until there is no hope and no healing and mother’s are left as a shell who wonder throughout their days wondering what could have been……..

    • Katie April 5, 2016 at 12:48 pm - Reply

      So true Michelle….xoxo

  20. Cindy Perez April 4, 2016 at 11:28 pm - Reply

    My youngest daughter is addicted to heroin. I am raising her 2 daughters, 7 and 3. Both the girls are “special needs”, ADHD. Most days I feel lucky to have survived the tornados in my apt. I also have an autoimmune disease which is causing my spine to fuse together. At night I silently cry over my child who is out there, lost in the streets because I won’t stress my granddaughters out. My daughter became addicted to prescription opiates. They were her own prescriptions from her dr. I live in chronic pain, afraid to take my prescription medication. I am terrified of getting “that call”. I pray she goes to jail so she will get clean and I will know where she is, and that she will eat and be off the streets. I am overwhelmed with guilt for putting her out there, even though I know I had to protect these babies. My ex husband doesn’t even ask about her anymore. This is not his problem and it truly feels like it’s just mine. Sorry for the rant, but grateful to get some off my chest. Please add my daughter, Taylor, to any prayer lists out there. Thank you.

    • Katie April 5, 2016 at 12:38 pm - Reply

      Cindy, I just sent you an email. Praying so hard for Taylor and your entire family. xoxo

    • Kalyn Zuber April 5, 2016 at 8:58 pm - Reply

      Cindy, You sound like you have a lot on your plate. If there is any way you can get a little help with your granddaughters, you should jump on it. Just so you don’t burn out. I can understand your reluctance about using your own medication. My husband was a drug addict who had a severe stroke 2 years ago. He is home with me, bedridden and half paralyzed. I was also trying to do it all, including operating our business, but finally got help a few hours a day. There comes a time when your needs must come first, even if only for a short time every day. Your daughter is an adult and has chosen her lifestyle over her children. The little ones are so lucky they have you, and I will pray for your daughter to somehow get the help she needs. But you can’t make the choice for her, so please leave your guilt at the curb. I hope you get some help, perhaps your ex-husband could pay for a babysitter on occasion. Best wishes and take care (of yourself!).

    • Scott April 7, 2016 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      Cindi, oh your not alone! What amazes me is the strength of fellow AA’s and sober addicts, who are in pretty much your position. There trust in there higher power has given them an acceptance if there sons, daughters who are out in the streets . Not knowing when that call will come. They have been there. They pray they will get it, the gift that they do not know exists given the chance. I am being super sensitive here, because I have been there. Overdosed twice, beautiful wife and abundance. It’s a god given gift. I have eulogized, and and lost far too many friends. I see these recovering absolute depend upon a higher power. This is all I can suggest to you. Your husband is sick himself, he has a reckoning. Your present, take comfort in this. Miracles do happen. I have seen far too many. A military man got me to open my eyes. They have a saying. We shall leave no man or women behind. Addicts cannot stand quiet and idle. If we do we die. People care more than you can imagine. Find your peace. So easy too say, it takes work and faith. We came, cleared up, came too, came to believe. Never give up hunn

  21. Morgan April 5, 2016 at 1:17 am - Reply

    Does anyone know of free treatment centers in cali

  22. 30 Year Old Sister of an Addict April 5, 2016 at 7:39 am - Reply

    I don’t mean to criticize but I have an alcoholic brother, in and out of psychiatric hospitals and rehabs. Now in jail for theft.

    I don’t expect people to bring cassaroles and I never had issue telling people where he was. The older generations (my dad, his mother) felt the need to be quiet. Felt the need to cover it up. But this generation does not.

    Maybe if you were more open about it, you’d receive the support you’re looking for.

    People bring cassaroles to deaths as tradition. Maybe you can start a new tradition. Start talking about it verbally with strangers. Start helping those around you going through the same thing.

    Lovely story but when you choose to isolate yourself, please don’t expect people to poke and prod and ask you what’s wrong. And when they do, don’t hide it, don’t lie about it.

    Support is there. And to anyone who turns their back on you or judges you, pay them no mind. They are not worth it.

    • Katie April 5, 2016 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      You are exactly right…once we decide to communicate and be open about what is going on personally, we then give others a chance to support us. My post was not meant to show expectation at all, and I’m so sorry if was perceived that way. It was only to raise awareness to some topics that remain to be stigmatized. I think its so wonderful that you have the courage to speak out, that not many of us have. I have finally found peace with becoming open about my journey, but it took going to therapy and support groups to get there. Bless you!

  23. shari April 5, 2016 at 8:24 am - Reply

    Thank you for now I feel that I don’t need to hide my daughters problems with drugs and her mental status. Although our family has pretty much dismissed us because of her bad choices.

    • Katie April 5, 2016 at 11:56 am - Reply

      Shari, I’m so sorry about your daughter. I am always here to help at any time.

  24. Kristin April 5, 2016 at 9:45 am - Reply

    A friend posted this on Facebook andI am so very glad she did. I have had secret griefs, and am blessed and honored to walk alongside another who does, too. I knew something was wrong and simply couldn’t let her go. I truly believe this is something God has done, to knit us together, for both of us.

    Just last night I say with another friend who was admitting her son to the psych ward…again. I wish with all my heart I knew what would help her son, to heal him, and all I can do is pray, cry with her, listen, do laundry, watch her other kids..,the list is actually endless! It’s those little things that seem to make a difference to suffering people.

    Thank you for what you wrote.

    • Katie April 5, 2016 at 11:55 am - Reply

      Bless you Kristin, what an amazing heart you have.

  25. Lanfen Liu April 6, 2016 at 4:31 am - Reply

    kathi, thank you for your sharing. Could you please recommend me a rehab in California ?

    • Katie April 6, 2016 at 7:20 am - Reply

      Lanfen, I just sent you an email 🙂

    • Katie April 6, 2016 at 7:24 am - Reply

      Lanfen, your email came back undelivered. Please message me at katiedonovan01@gmail.com

  26. Sue April 6, 2016 at 5:30 am - Reply

    This was a terrific article. So very true!

    • Katie April 6, 2016 at 7:21 am - Reply

      Thank you so much Sue!!!

  27. Sherrie Stiefel April 6, 2016 at 6:11 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for recognizing the silent hell that my addiction has put my family thru. That my daughter’s addiction puts ME thru, even though I also, am an addict. The stigma our family has endured has been VERY painful, and it is only because of the Love of each other and our blessed Lord that we have been able to get thru it, one day at a time!

    • Katie April 6, 2016 at 7:24 am - Reply

      Sherri, you nailed it. A silent hell is right. I’m always here to talk,

      • Sherrie Stiefel April 21, 2017 at 9:18 am - Reply

        Katie…I was just searching the Internet and found this old post of mine…I just wanted to let you know, we lost my beautiful Angel Elizabeth, on September 3rd, 2016, to an overdose. She fought hard against this awful addiction, and always had a word of encouragement for anyone else also going thru it, repeatedly saying that “The Struggle is Real”…well, her struggle is over now…I found her that Saturday morning, and I admittedly lost my mind for several months…but on 1-10-17 I checked myself into rehab, because I couldn’t continue to use against my will, and put my family thru the fear of another funeral…I believe that Liz is giving me the strength, from Heaven, to do this, one day at time, and though my heart still breaks every day at the emptiness her absence has left in my life, I want to honor her memory and stay clean, and perhaps someday our story can help someone else. I just wanted to share that with you. Thank you. God Bless.

  28. Michelle April 6, 2016 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    This was nice to read. The stuff I had put my family through was terrible. Thank god I have overcome this terrible thing. I hope people start to understand it’s a disease that never goes away it’s just arrested at some point if your lucky.

  29. Maunie April 7, 2016 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    Absolutely relating to your blog in a very very real and raw way. Sick NOT bad……………………………..and if your family doesn’t understand create a
    “new” family that does. Surround yourself with those who’ve walked this dreadful path. But know in the depths of your heart that God is ALWAYS with us. Our addicts and us. We don’t walk this alone. How could we possibly? God bless us all.

  30. Scott April 7, 2016 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    Bejunkie ing a recovered opiate addict, I say recovered, because it shows the newcomer you do not have to stay sick of mind body, and ” spirit”!! I remain this way by helping others. I have worked in rehabs, seen the hardest cases, did a commitment at a rehab alone this Xmas . Things I must do, or face impending death. We used to be AA , meaning anonymous because we were too few. 39 drunks and one addict. Now, roles are reversed. ” , i am at home with all of youheroin” I call the great liquidator, robbing you of everything worthwhile in life, lastly your hope!!!!! Stigma, GONE. When we get to epidemic proportions, we pull out all the stops. Keeping this a secret is what we call ” loving one to death!!! Lives are lost before they get out of the gate. 15-16 years old. I put hard blame not on the sick and suffering addict , but the U.S. government. Sound extreme, okay , here, we let mr. Dope dealer go to drug court, fail, another chance, fail. A two year sentence, released early. Arrested again. NOW, how many has mr. Dope dealer killed addicts by aiding and abetting . It’s murder. I have lost too many superb loving friends, afflicted here. Bravo Katie. The punishment has to be loud and clear, deal, your dealt with swiftly and tucked away long enough to rethink the harm to those, loved ones, families. Addiction is like a puppie jumping in the water, when he gets out n shakes, everyone close gets wet. Or here sick!!! Those who criticize us can be one fall, or car accident away. I have seen it. FEAR, face everything and recover. I was hopeless beyond hope. Till one day I was dick n was searching the floor looking for an oxy 80mg, I did not know my daughter was mimicking me, picked up the one I knew was now where.!!!! I vacuumed all night and was in treatment the next day. HOPE, if I can do it, so can you. God bless, and I am back in the trenches helping another. I am white collar, have all the stuff . But I am a junkie, always will be , but am no better or worse. Just keeping the gift, till I sleep tonight. SP

  31. Valérie Edison April 9, 2016 at 12:32 am - Reply

    This is such a valuable blog. I can imagine the pain and exhaustion that a parent goes through seeing their child suffer from addiction. I have a son in his 20s and I think I would be completely devastated if I discovered that he has a substance abuse problem. I wish all parents going through this a lot of strength and the same for their child. I know I’ll be making casseroles for the parents if I ever find out they have a child with addiction.

  32. Mary C April 10, 2016 at 5:19 am - Reply

    My family’s life’s changed forever in 09. Not because I was diagnosed with breast cancer but because we found out our son had tried heroin. Looking back, my cancer treatment was far easier to deal with. I have been cancer free 6 years while our son is still struggling with trying to get and stay clean. Everyone in our family knows about my son’s addition but he has become the “subject ” very few ask about. His addition is tearing our immediate family apart. My husband of over 30 years believes in tough love. I do too but cant seem to stay strong enough for long enough. So much more to say but my tears are blinding. What Katie said is so true.

  33. Sherri Jackson April 10, 2016 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    Thank you for blogging about this! You talk about a 7 year journey with your daughter’s addiction. How are things now? My daughter is 19 and began opiates (Fentanyl and heroin) in High School. Youth detox. Adult Detox. One detox at home (never again…). Went through months at a methadone clinic and just when she had the dose right, a good job and things looking pretty good she gave it all up and went to live on the street. we told her at that point she could not come home. So much stealing. So much lying. Almost destroyed our marriage. Six months ago she moved to BC (we live in Calgary, Alberta). Every day I wonder what she is doing. I get Facebook messages every so often and I’m sending her a guitar for her birthday this month. But I haven’t seen her face for 6 months and heard her voice just once at Christmas. It’s so hard.

  34. Debbie Wetzel April 13, 2016 at 4:41 am - Reply

    Such a wonderful testimony of your struggle for your daughter that got addicted to heroin. I feel your pain & know exactly what you are talking about. My daughter is a heroin addict. She spent 11 months in jail because of stealing to pay for her habit. She got out & got 5 years supervised probation & had to go to a rehab facility as part of her probation. She was doing good & we finally thought it was over & she would be home soon. Not just for my husband & myself, but for her 3 kids that we are raising. She had a month to go to graduate from rehab & come home. She got drunk & refused a breathlizer & left. We found out from her lawyer she had left the program. We talked to her & she was supposed to turn herself in. Now she has a warrant for her arrest. They just came to the house right before 4:00 a.m. this morning looking for her. My husband told them where we thought she was at her boyfriend’s house. So now the wondering if they got her or is she running again. She said she wasn’t doing drugs, but we don’t know. When we were at court the last time they told us that the prosecution wanted her to go to prison & so did the judge. They gave her a chance to do rehab & be on probation for 5 years. So if they catch her she will probably go to prison. She had 13 felony charges. One being in another state as well. So now what??? I feel your pain & disbelief. Heroin has ruined so many families. I just hope it gets better for you & everyone else.

  35. Patricia April 13, 2016 at 5:32 am - Reply

    Amazing Katie! Thank-you for sharing your story, it really hits home for me. Our daughter is in her 3rd treatment center also addicted to heroin, only difference she’s my youngest (one older daughter) & the child at home that we’re raising, is her 4 yr old son!!
    I pray for strength and healing to all families affected by this horrific disease/epidemic/demon!!

  36. Heidi Kontny April 13, 2016 at 6:14 am - Reply

    Thank you. Wish we could go have coffee together.

    • Katie April 13, 2016 at 9:24 am - Reply

      Me too Heidi!

  37. Bobbie April 13, 2016 at 8:47 am - Reply

    Absolutely beautifully written. I have traveled this journey I can relate. It seems to be getting worse but no new solutions or preventive measures being taken.

  38. Kim muth April 13, 2016 at 9:42 am - Reply

    Your blog is very similar to what I have been through. My daughter is now 36 and the struggle continues. I don’t know when I’ll be able to completely relax.

  39. Julie Wagar April 14, 2016 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Dear Katie I just signed up to follow your blog. I can really relate to what you wrote. I too did not want to share what was going on in my own family. In august 2015 we were blindsided with the reality that our son was a heroin addict. September he started rehab then in patient. Then on Thanksgiving he went to recovery house. On February 4th we got the call he was dead. I do regret not telling some of my family. I did not want to worry them. I thought we could handle this own our own. Now April 14 2016 I know I was wrong. I now speak to anyone who will listen to me about what I have learned about addiction. I find it is healing for me to reach out to others who are struggling! I will continue to do that. Thank you Katie.

  40. Bev April 16, 2016 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    We don’t talk about it for so many reasons. Stigma is mostly why though. The other day I was trying to find a methadone clinic for our son because the one he is at now is in ‘trouble’ and we don’t know how much longer their doors will remain open. I called one methadone clinic about an hour away from our home (clinics are few and far between) to see if they were accepting new clients. The person I spoke to was beyond rude, she kept questioning why I was asking about their clinic because of the distance. I told her I would love to have our son go to one in our city and explained – one more time – why I had to look elsewhere. She accused my son of lying – “addicts lie”, she said. I hung up on her I was shaking so bad . This – from a person who works in the addiction field !!! Yes addicts do lie sometimes and so do methadone clinics who commit medicaid fraud. You never know where stigma will rear it’s ugly head. You just never know how people are going to react.

  41. Waismann Method April 19, 2016 at 12:02 am - Reply

    I believe stigma starts with each one of us and will change with each one of us. How we see and treat addiction, needs to change if we want to save lives. We have to be very careful with statements like:” Opioid addiction is considered a chronic, relapsing brain disease”.
    There is a difference between addiction and dependence. Opioid dependence can be considered a brain disease because it changes the chemistry of your brain, but that is entirely reversible. Addiction is a behavior usually cause by an untreated dependence.

    You would be surprised to see how many people we treat; that allow things to get so bad, due to the shame of being judged and fear of being labeled as a drug addict.You would be surprised that the majority of these patients, have some kind of emotional or psychiatric condition that has never been treated or diagnosed, and they use the opiates as self-medication.

    Regardless how it all started, we need to replace shame with education and acceptance, judgement with compassion, unnecessary suffering with effective medical care, and finally, we need to treat the person and not the symptom.

    What we have done has not worked, and we need to change it. Too many people are losing their lives because of the stigma society has placed on drug addiction and mental illness. We are all humans, and we hurt, some more than others. Let us open our minds and hearts, it is time.

  42. Susan bell April 19, 2016 at 9:05 pm - Reply

    This is my very life!!…….. Fantastic much needed article!!!!

    • Katie April 20, 2016 at 12:25 pm - Reply

      Bless you Susan

  43. Libby Heuer April 27, 2016 at 12:19 am - Reply

    So grateful to have stumbled upon your blog!! Your words are all too familiar to our reality and pain. Just wish people could be more compassionate. I do believe I was meant to be my sons Mom. I don’t think everyone would be up for the task and yet still feel such love. I feel compassion for people who are intolerant and ignorant as they clearly just don’t understand. Ignorance must be bliss….?

  44. rich aravena April 28, 2016 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    every day I pray for my 26 yr old son, and is nice to read these blogs.

  45. Kay April 29, 2016 at 1:06 am - Reply

    I wish I could get help for my daughter

  46. perdid May 4, 2016 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    what is really sad is when parents don’t have the resources to get the help their child needs – my daughter suffers from severe depression and anxiety and self medicates with marijuana, alcohol, and opiates but the only thing my insurance will pay for is outpatient treatment – she’s seen psychiatrists and counselors and nothing helps – it is sheer torture to see your child suffering and you can’t do anything about it.

    • Katie May 4, 2016 at 3:55 pm - Reply

      oh honey, my heart breaks reading this. I just sent you an email.

  47. Maunie May 4, 2016 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    There is help for parents. NarAnon or Alalon. It’s a twelve step spiritual program and you will meet many, many people walking this with you. You’re not alone. You will learn so much. You’re in my prayers

  48. Tanya May 29, 2016 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    This read touched my heart today. Your so right – this is a silent struggle families endure. Your afraid of the looks, the judgements or people wanting to find some mistake that could have “caused” this. My son was an young adult when this started – I know I taught him better. Yet my husband and I are lying to our families and friends, we mutter “He’s fine” or “He’s busy with his friends” to cover his absence at family functions.
    Thank you for this today. Much needed.

  49. Brian Douglas July 25, 2016 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    I had a serious bought with cancer three years ago and lost my bladder as a result. Worse than that it brought depression out of hibernation. I was diagnosed with severe chronic depressive disorder, anxiety disorder and PTSD. After I was home from the hospital and went back to work my condition continued to deteriorate. As word began to circulate that I want mentally ill all contact with friends began to diminish. Like a person addicted to drugs I received no visits, meals or association which is what I was desperately in need of. It got so bad I am now on disability. Three years later phone calls and social invitations are few and far between. It’s pathetic how people rally to those with a “normal” illness but shun those with addiction or depressive disorders.

  50. Dawn Litke September 8, 2016 at 7:42 am - Reply

    WOW, this is so true. Many times when something happened in our family people would pour in with help anyway they could. When my son went to rehab we were alone, not wanting or able to talk about it in fear of being judged. The people that did know didn’t know what to say or do, so ignored it altogether. Its like our family secret that we can’t talk about with the real world!

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