My story begins when I was around 21 and my mother’s substance abuse first came to light. For a few years prior, I had suspected that something wasn’t right, but no one ever wants to accept the fact that their own mother could be addicted to drugs. Nonetheless, that was the cold hard truth I was facing. I found out that I was 10 when mother’s addiction began. She had an accident with her foot that required surgery to try and repair it. The surgery didn’t go as planned, and my mother was essentially left handicap after trying to fix this error so many times. She was prescribed pills to deal with the pain during this time, and that is how the addiction started. When we were little she was able to hide her addiction better and in my mind was the most amazing mother ever. She was my best friend and I idolized her. I realize now, looking back, things were not right but at that age you don’t understand the whys of the world. Once I realized at 21 that my mother truly had a problem I had no choice but to confront her. Of course she was in denial and never admitted to abusing them. Accident after accident would occur and require yet another ER trip. Still, she wouldn’t accept the reality that she was fully dependent on the drugs and needed help. In her mind, like many others, she was prescribed these drugs, and wasn’t an addict because she didn’t buy them on the street. But we all know that addicts come in all shapes and colors and drugs do not discriminate. The next 10 years of my life were a constant struggle trying to help my mother and her not accepting she was an addict.
I felt embarrassed about her addiction, and didn’t want to talk about it with anyone. I feared someone judging me, or worse, her. The stigma surrounding addicts is unreal. Once you are labeled an addict you are always an addict in people’s minds and I didn't want that for my mom.
A few years ago my mother had a terrible accident involving drugs. She ended up taking too much and blacked out, falling face first onto a concrete driveway. She essentially shattered every bone in her face. Reconstructive surgery was done, but there was only so much they could do given the severity of damage. I thought for sure after the incident that left her permanently disabled that this would be her rock bottom, but unfortunately it wasn’t.
To this day my mother has never fully acknowledged her addiction and that it is still very prevalent in her life. Our relationship has been strained for so long through the years of lying and deceit that I’m unsure if it could ever be fully repaired and back to how it was. I have realized that no matter what, she will always be my mom. I am willing to help her in any way I can, but I also have to understand this is something she has to want for herself. Her addiction is not something I can control or fix, she has to do that on her own. One day I hope to look back on the last 10 plus years and say my mother defeated this awful disease that has wreaked havoc on so many people’s lives. - Kelly, OH