I am the mother of three children, one son and twin daughters. All raised in the same house by the same parents. Out of my three children, one of my daughters and my son have a substance use disorder. My daughter used meth and fought with the disorder for three years. Then she was arrested and sent to prison for four years. During that time, my husband and I had custody of her two young children. I was so angry with her for disrupting all our lives—her children’s, mine, and my husband’s. All our lives changed. While she was incarcerated, I prayed so many times for God to help me with my anger and to help me understand why she did what she did. I just couldn’t understand why anyone would choose drugs over their children. Slowly I started to see a change in both of us. She was going to a recovery group and learning her triggers. She was working in the prison and doing amazing, and our relationship blossomed again. The anger vanished.
Then boom! I discovered my son was addicted to heroin. He was older and not living at home, so I think it took a lot longer for me to discover this. He couldn’t keep jobs, he lost his place to live, and stopped caring for his daughter. I felt like my whole world was turned upside down again. I just couldn’t understand how he could do that and why he couldn’t just stop.
Our church had a community forum and one of the speakers was a mother who told her story about her son and his heroin addiction. I sat there and cried through her entire story. After the forum, I talked with this wonderful caring lady who kept telling me “you are not alone” and “there is always hope.”
She told me about a support group called PAL. I couldn’t wait for next Thursday so I could attend the PAL meeting. I felt like I had been strong with my son. I refused to help him, or give him money, or even talk to him when he was high. I thought I already knew how not to enable him. What I learned at that first meeting was there is hope and I should not give up on him. I heard stories of people who had been on this journey a long time and some who still were on the journey.
Over the course of the past year and a half I have learned so much about substance use disorder. I know my children did not make the choice to become addicted, and I know they must fight each and every day against it. The education and support I have received from PAL have helped me to understand so much more than I ever would have on my own.
My daughter has been out of prison for over two years and she works every day. She lives with her children. She takes care of them on her own. She makes the right choices and has an amazing testimony. My son is currently receiving Methadone treatments daily and has been since December 2018. I have not seen much improvement in his delayed emotional growth, but thanks to PAL, I understand what that is, what that means, and that there is always hope!
A close friend and I have recently received facilitator training and started a new PAL group in hopes that we can help others as PAL has helped us. Those words “there is hope” still bring me peace and I have learned to once again find joy in my life despite my children’s addictions. Through PAL I have met so many wonderful people and I am privileged to call them pals.
My prayer would be that no other parent has to go through this horrible nightmare called addiction with their children. I am so thankful to our Lord above that PAL is here and available to those who need it. I will do my part, as God leads me to do, to help with this in any way I can.