I’m not sure when we lost our son, who once excelled in sports and school, to a life of heroin addiction. The lies and deceit that come with addiction started out gradually.
When Troy was about 13 years old, we discovered he was using marijuana. By the time he was a senior in high school, we knew he was using more than just weed and couldn’t stop.
This is when we started trying to “fix” his addiction.
At first it was Suboxone, then outpatient treatment. After that, he went to a couple different detox centers. From there he moved on to inpatient treatment, which is where he started Vivitrol. Then back to detox a couple more times, inpatient and then Vivitrol again!
We were going in circles and getting nowhere.
Each member of our family dealt with his addiction differently. I was the one who would beg and plead with him while he was using and when he was clean. I tried to manage his recovery so he wouldn’t relapse, it consumed me every minute of every day. This became my very own addiction.
On the other hand, Dad and brother wanted nothing to do with him. They couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t stop. I didn’t understand how they could.
Proving to them that he was not using became my addiction.
I secluded myself from family and friends. I was either spending my time trying to get him back or managing his recovery to ensure he wouldn’t relapse.
There was a period of time when I would wake Troy up and give him his Suboxone strips every morning. This assured me that he was clean, although he still had a huge attitude problem that I couldn’t figure out. Parents of addicts will understand the excuses I kept telling myself, that “he was a teenager and he would grow out of it”.
Little things were off. Things like missing tin foil, missing money, weird smells in his room and bathroom (from smoking heroin, we later learned) He never wanted to spend time with us and his friends never came to our house.
It wasn’t long until we confirmed that he was using again.
The truth was we didn’t know what to do. We didn’t understand what we were dealing with.
This was tearing my family apart.
Even when I found him passed out with heroin in his hand, he tried to deny it! This is when I could no longer lie to myself. He couldn’t live with us any longer.
We were done. I was done.
We just couldn’t do it anymore. We kicked him out of the house but we always helped when things got bad. He would tell us that he had “real” family on the streets. I felt like he was trying to hurt us, but when it got bad he always came back!
At 21 years old he found out he was going to be a father. I hoped this would be the thing that would bring him out of addiction. It did for awhile, and he came back home. But it wasn’t long until he was using again.
Shortly after our grandson was born we couldn’t ignore the signs anymore and it became the roughest year we had encountered yet. We started “tough love” by kicking him out of our house again and offering no help at all.
This time we pretty much lost all contact with him.
This was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
I finally joined The Family’s Battle group on Facebook and was amazed at how many people were going through similar situations. As I read people’s posts and saw the support they were receiving I was astonished. I was not alone.
Then I got that call we all hope for, our son had walked 6 miles to my brother’s house and was in a defeated state with nowhere to go. We saw this as our chance to try to get him some help. He crashed on my brother’s couch and I scrambled to figure out what I could possibly do.
This was a Sunday, which meant that treatment centers and insurance companies were closed. I knew that if we didn’t act right away he’d be gone and we’d lose our chance to help him.
I finally reached out to Angie from Battlefield Addiction. She responded quickly and helped me find a detox facility. She also spent the day coaching me on what to say to Troy. 6 hours later I was dropping him off at a detox center.
I think that the reason I waited so long to post anything on The Family Battle group or contact them was that I just didn’t understand what they could do for us. We had already done everything, what more could they possibly offer? But here we were with no other options.
Troy relapsed a week after leaving detox but my recovery had already started. After all the help Angie had given me on the phone, I was compelled to go to the Battlefield Solution Group to see how else they might be able to help. I drove 65 miles to the group that day. My husband refused to go, he wasn’t going to waste any more time on our son who didn’t want our help. I walked in and found a room full of parents that really understood what I was going through. They weren’t feeling sorry for themselves, they weren’t whining about the problem. They were focused on solutions.
That one 90 minute group made me realize it was time to let go of the past and focus on what I could do right now. All this time I had been trying to figure out WHY my son was a drug addict, when there was absolutely nothing I could do to change it. Instead, I needed to focus on my own recovery and education.
I set up a consultation with Art and Angie and forced my husband to go. During that consultation Art explained how our son was not doing drugs to intentionally hurt us and that his brain had been hijacked, he could no longer choose to quit and it was up to US to get him to help. Addiction was not his choice and he needed our leadership.
My husband and I, finally on the same page, left the meeting determined to get our son back.
We reopened communication with him. I didn’t plead with him to get help or badger him with questions of “why”. It was simply “We love you and we want you back, let us help”.
It didn’t take long before it worked. He called, wanted help and we knew exactly what to do. We have had some bumps along the way, but Battlefield has been there to help us at every turn. I attend solution groups each week, no matter the drive.
Our son now has over 4 months clean and our family is coming back together. We’re learning that addiction isn’t simply “fixed”, it’s a process. This journey has been about so much more than our sons recovery. But about our recovery as a family.
NOTE:If you would like to hear Troy’s story in his own words you can listen to him tell it on The Battlefield Addiction YouTube Channel.
-Malinda, Mom of an Addict, committed to the solution
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If you have a family member fighting addiction contact us to see how we can help you find the solution.