You Cannot Live Here Anymore

Desperate to Get High-And Desperate For Peace, by BrittanyWhen my daughter Brittany suffered her seizures, she was in the hospital for 5 days. 5 excruciating long days. I couldn’t sleep, for fear she would have another seizure. I had moved the hospital chair around so I could directly face her, my body jumping in fear every time her eyes fluttered. At the time, my husband John and I had NO idea the seizures were caused from Xanax withdrawal. We were SO uneducated about this disease! Due to HIPAA, the doctor was not able to tell us that was actually what had occurred. I firmly believe our actions after her release would have been very different, if we had known.

For the next 3 months, her life slowly spiraled out of control again.
She was living with us, but we could see her slowly disappearing again before our eyes. I felt so helpless!! Dark circles under her eyes, becoming very thin, and I would have to remind her to shower. She started going out ALL THE TIME. Coming home at all hours of the night, or not at all. I could barely sleep. When I would hear the garage door open, it was a rush of relief…SHE’S SAFE.

I think I knew in my heart she was using heroin again, but I didn’t want to believe it.

Please God, I really can’t go through this again. Really, I CAN’T.

At the dinner table one evening, we had all sat down to eat but Brittany still hadn’t come out of her room. I went up to check on her. Knocked…no answer. Pounded…no answer. Called her name…no answer. My hand trembling, I opened up her door. There she was, laying on the floor, in the oddest of positions. I saw a needle next to her and it felt like my heart just stopped. THIS IS REAL. THIS IS HAPPENING. My youngest daughter Brooke, who was 10 at the time, yelled out “Mommy, is she coming down for dinner?!”. I replied with a small weak voice, “I don’t think so honey”.

I could see her chest raise up and down, so I knew she was breathing. I sat down next to her and shook her. No response. Bile rising up in my throat, tears stinging my eyes, I shook her again…this time very hard. She stirred, opened her eyes and what I saw scared the living hell out of me. Her beautiful green eyes were now black. Almost clouded over. They closed once again. She was “nodded out”. A saying that I finally learned now that we were in this new, unknown world of heroin addiction.

I quickly searched her purse and found more needles and little packets of heroin that were wrapped in keno wrappers. I grabbed them all, went into my bedroom and called for my husband. My hands and body shaking, I couldn’t event speak. I just opened my hands and showed him what I found. He said “She has to leave Katie. We can’t have this in our house. What if Brooke had walked in and found this!?”.

In my heart, I knew he was right. We could not control this situation. We had tried so hard…she was in counseling, seeing an addiction specialist, long talks with us, we had even formed a contract that she had to sign with our house rules and consequences. At this point, she had been in treatment 5 times. She knew what would happen. But the thought of having her not be in my sight anymore, not knowing where she was, if she was OK, if she was eating, showering, not knowing if she was ALIVE, was just so overwhelming. How, as parents, do you say “You can’t live here anymore”?? She needed HELP, not the streets!

I slowly walked back to Brittany’s bedroom. She was stirring now and starting to come out of her heroin fog. I just sat down next to her and cried. I cried so hard I could barely catch my breath. I hugged her and told her how much I loved her. I saw recognition in her eyes that she now realized that she couldn’t hide her addiction anymore. She then started sobbing too.

Lowering her head, she leaned in to hug me and just said “I’m so sorry Mom. I don’t want to be this way. I just don’t know how to stop”.

2017-03-11T18:27:30+00:00

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29 Comments

  1. Karla April 14, 2016 at 11:30 am - Reply

    I am speechless … As I read this with tears in my eyes picturing myself in your shoes. I cannot imagine and thank god for the outcome today that Brittany is safe and drug free. I love you both. Xoxo

    • Katie April 14, 2016 at 1:21 pm - Reply

      I love you too!!

  2. kay sikora April 14, 2016 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    Katie – You are doing such a good job. Love you!

    • Katie April 14, 2016 at 1:27 pm - Reply

      Thank you Kay!!!!! xoxo

  3. Ashley Vitelli April 14, 2016 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    I am so thankful she is safe and back to the girl we grew up with. The girl that we played ball with, the girl we swam with and swung on the swings with. Literally the girl next door!! When she was using, I didn’t even know. And once I heard it, I chose not to believe it. Reading your blog is absolutely heartbreaking (I cried at my desk reading this today, lol) but it is real and raw and people need to hear this! You guys are so strong and I hope people across the country hear your story. XOX Love you, fam.

    • Katie April 14, 2016 at 2:31 pm - Reply

      You are such a good person Ash!!! Love you and your support always!

  4. mishb67 April 14, 2016 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    Katie! The Lord has AGAIN used you to encourage me at precisely the right moment. I am loving your blogs and watching your family’s journey through addiction. Every time I read a new one I long to hear the end of the story because I know it ended well. I think God is teaching me patience in this and our own family’s journey. TRUST on a whole new level!!!

    Romans 8:28 – And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose for them.

    Something good is happening in this mess my son has made of his life. To God be the Glory forever <3

  5. Kim April 14, 2016 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    I can’t even imagine how scary it was to see your baby like that with your own eyes.? So proud if you aAnd Britney for keeping up her sobriety fight??

  6. Jennifer April 14, 2016 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    Katie, Thank you for creating this blog. My daughter has been in treatment since January 9, 2016 and is due to come home next week. I’m suppose to speak with her tomorrow and provide my list of rules and expectations. I can’t even put a pen to paper! My mind just keeps repeating ” you can’t use if you want to live at home”. I know I need to be specific and direct about my expectations but I don’t even know where to start. Is it possible that you could give me some idea of your list created for Brittany? This mom could use a little help. 😉

    • Katie April 18, 2016 at 2:37 pm - Reply

      Jennifer, I’m going to email you…xo

      • Kris April 28, 2016 at 5:33 pm - Reply

        Katie, would you mind emailing me your list too? Our son is in treatment for the 9th time. Not sure he will be coming home but we too have to make the “list” and I don’t even know where to begin. I dread it if he’s not home because he did OD at home and the Narcan I had obtained brought him back. Renting a room where people don’t know him or his disease (and if its an illegal rooming house they are not likely to call 911) or a “bump” heard in the middle of the night won’t make them jump and react like we as parents of a heroin addict do. My younger daughter thinks I have PTSD because every noise I hear I react, even if I know it’s her, I just ask if she’s ok – and I know she’s not the addict. I applaud your website and I sooooo look forward to more from your daughter!

  7. Laura B. April 15, 2016 at 12:13 am - Reply

    Omg. ??❤️ Wow.

  8. eyaeger61 April 15, 2016 at 8:44 am - Reply

    This blog… EXACTLY. WHAT. HAPPENED. WITH. ME. AND. MY. DAUGHTER. Absolutely gut wrenching.

  9. MelissA April 15, 2016 at 9:19 am - Reply

    We seem to be at the same point.

  10. Regan Davidson April 17, 2016 at 12:17 am - Reply

    I love my son with all my heart but he knows he can never live with me again.he is 25, nearly 26. We have such different personalities that even with no drugs involved it’s hard for us to coexist :-). Add in all of the horrible things he has said and done during these 4 years with heroin, and the bridge has not been burned, it has been blown to holy hell! So much trauma inflicted, so many lies, so many thousands of dollars that I have spent on heroin (joke with my counselor) so many betrayals of trust. Hard to say how many years I t will take to repair it all. You also gave to protect your marriage and your daughter, not to mention yourself. My daughter will no longer stay in my house when she visits from college, she stays with grandma. Praying for you. I know the journey.

    • Katie April 18, 2016 at 1:52 pm - Reply

      So true…thank you so much for the prayers. By the grace of God, she is now 15 months clean. But I know every day is a fight for her. How is your son doing now? I would love to connect with you. Please email me at katiedonovan01@gmail.com

  11. Sarah k April 17, 2016 at 8:39 am - Reply

    Wow, this is powerful! I just read a few of yer posts and I will definitely be reading the rest. I’m a heroin addict and have been clean for 6 years but I remember all too well the seeing in my moms face that she knew and the pain in her eyes was constant after that. I swear to god I aged her tremendously in 2 years, outings were rarely fun or happy cause I was falling asleep uncontrollably and just totally out of it, my mom said she stopped sleeping at night for fear of being woken up by the police or a call. I’ll never forget hearing my parents cry and begging me to accept help, begging me to save them from having to bury their first born. 2 years ago I became a mother to a beautiful girl and just thinking of her sticking a needle in her beautiful chunky arms makes me feel physically ill. Now that I’m a mother and I know that intense boundless love I know what my mother must have felt and everyday that she can go to sleep proud of me & my accomplishments is a relief for me & a welcome change for her and the rest of my family. I still have bad days but they are few and far between. Everyday I tell myself that I am better without it and that my life is a blessing I never though I deserved, but I still have to remind myself about losing everything because it’s easy to want to romanticize it. Give your daughter a big hug from me and my family, it gets better. Even when it seems like it never will, the sun always comes up again. Very much love to you & yers!

    • Katie April 17, 2016 at 9:06 am - Reply

      So proud of you!!!! Yes, the sun ALWAYS comes up again. I loved reading this!!!

  12. LAURA SEROK April 20, 2016 at 11:16 am - Reply

    Your stories are inspiring! Having both a husband and a twin sister that struggle with addiction, I can relate to the pain that you experience. Finally reaching out for support the past 6 month has helped me. I told my husband he couldn’t come home after his 4th time in jail in 5 years. Things are finally looking hopefull. He is doing excellent at a recovery house. Unfortunately my twin sister isn’t in recovery at this time. I continue to pray!

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

      Thank you so much Laura! I’m so proud of you and your own recovery with your husband. It takes great strength to do that. Praying for your sister!! I’m always free for a chat..to vent, resources, anything. HUGS

  13. Breisha April 28, 2016 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    I don’t know but in glad I found this site . It gives me hope that I’m not alone and that others know what it’s like to see what happens to someone you love and care for ! Def going to keep reading and following your families journey .

  14. Jen April 29, 2016 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Your story is amazing. I myself am a recovering heroin addict from a good suburban home in PA. I had an overdose where I was dead on arrival, in acoma, life support, and my parents had decisions to make. After choosing to pull the plug (because the doctors gave them no hope) I pulled through and I’m now a substance a use therapist with 11 years clean. Every time I read one of your stores in this blog I get tears in my eyes cause it takes me back there and also puts me in my mothers shoes. I’m so happy your daughter found recovery.

  15. Maria Sanchez April 29, 2016 at 10:51 am - Reply

    I am literally speechless,This is so heartbreaking and I only say that because, I was that girl in that heroin fog daze. I was her nodding in and out in front of the only people who never wanted to tell me “NO”. In fear that they would never see me again and if they did it would be to identify my body in a morgue. Like your daughter I have resilient family and friends that showed me that Love really has to be tough. Wow, Thank you for baring your family’s journey,(I am in tears right now) just Wow. Very humbling words. Thank you,Thank you for never giving up.

  16. Kristie April 29, 2016 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Reading this is just like reading about our own family situation. I am a mother of an addict. My son is 26 years old and we have been dealing with his addiction for 6 years. He is currently incarcerated to which I am thankful because I know he is off the streets. My heart aches for anyone going through this horrible nightmare. Prayers for your family. Someone once told me, “As long as he is breathing, there is hope”.

  17. Kathy April 30, 2016 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    My heart breaks as I read your blog. I am offering you prayers, as I have nothing else to offer…

  18. janet May 1, 2016 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    My Daughter is in her 3 rehab – she is beautiful – 21 and was “ready” she said…we are thousands of miles apart – her first time in another state…I am over come with fear but proud of her and pray she means it this time. I spoke to her today and she said she’s happy and wants to stay there – too scared to come back home to familiar surroundings…she wants to go to sober living there…trying to let go and let God and also let her grow up! Any advice would be appreciated – how did your daughter finally stay clean?

    Blessings,
    Janet

  19. Ron May 2, 2016 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    I am going through this now with my daughter. I told her she needed help, and that she had to leave. But quite the opposite response, denial and anger. I have heard from her in three weeks, and I worry to death about what she’s going though, and if she’s safe, and has she eaten. I pray to God constantly. I feel so very helpless

    • Cindy May 2, 2016 at 8:42 pm - Reply

      My prayers are with you, Ron and every other parent out there who knows the pain of living with an addict.

  20. Tanya May 29, 2016 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    I’m reading this nodding my head, my heart hurting. It’s been six months since we’ve faced the reality our son is an addict. Slowly, we’ve seen the decline – phone shut off, late paying bills, no show at family functions to simply weeks at a time where we are simply left to wonder where he is and what he’s doing. He’s come home twice and both times he leaves to see his girlfriend and vanishes. I’ve cried an endless river of tears, worried to the point of exhaustion and searched court and jail records hoping that maybe he’s in jail and I can rest assured he is not using tonight. Like your daughter, my son was a good kid. Always responsible and worked – it was shocking to learn he was using.

    Now he’s got a court case for possession pending, lost his license, no job, no money and is living his girlfriend who’s parents enable their behavior. He goes weeks without reaching out to his dad and I. It’s painful dull ache all the time. I hate when people ask me how he is….I stumble and get caught between saying “He’s fine” or breaking into tears.

    Your story is amazing – I’m so happy your daughter is on the right path now. Thank you for this blog.

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