“Mom, I can’t quit. I think I need help.” I cried to my mom as I laid in my bed. Un-showered, frail, sick, could barely walk without throwing up and thinking to myself, how did I end up here?
I had been using OxyContin and any combination of drugs I could get my hands on daily. I had no idea that people could get addicted to them. It was 2010 and people were not aware of how in the years to come there would be an opioid epidemic that would result in of the leading causes of death in America.
Parents are not given a handbook titled, “What to do When Your Child Starts Using Heroin 101.” They are often left in the dark. My parents talked to their friends and anyone else who had known someone who had been through this type of thing before. They were desperate for help.
They had been in denial for years about my drug use. How could their straight a daughter who loved sports and fashion be into this. I would always shut myself in my room and say, “I am just tried. Leave me alone.” I had questionable friends and was always getting in some sort of trouble I needed bailing out of. They just blamed it on regular high school shenanigans and chopped it up to, “She’ll grow out of it.”
My parents had been in denial and thought to themselves, “this type of thing doesn’t happen to us.” Once they accepted their daughter was a drug addict, they blamed themselves. What I wish I could have told them then was, “it is not your fault. This does not reflect your parenting or any other circumstances. I have a disease.”
My parents had no idea about treatment options, detox, therapy, or anything else that had to do with recovery. Sure, they had friends who had gone to Alcoholics Anonymous but that was about it. Their friends offered to take me to an AA meeting and that was very nice but I went and it was honestly the worst introduction to sobriety. I left feeling scared and doomed.
It was a long process to get sober. I have been clean & sober for 7 years now and it took a lot of trial and error. Many trips to the emergency room, high medical bills, family drama, and rehabilitation centers.
I am going to give you the rundown on what we tried, what worked, and what didn’t,
Reach Out for Professional Help:
We did not do this but probably should have. It wasn’t until I started working in the recovery world that I learned about this.
Call around to specialist and seek their advice. There are rehab consultants out there that can recommend an inpatient treatment center that will fit your adult children’s needs and ones that specialize in their condition. A lot of the time your adult child might suffer from other mental issues and will need a dual diagnosis center.
Beware of people who try to bride you into going to their center. Stay away from people that make promises, talk about their high success rates (there is really no way to measure this), and programs that have no accreditation.
This is NOT a cure. I was under the impression that I would check in and be fixed within a week. The thing about detox is after leaving it is very important to get into some kind of inpatient program. I did this a few times and don’t make this mistake!
I once convinced my parents to take me back to my house to get things for rehab because I needed my UGG boots. No! Do not do this. It was manipulation and I just wanted to find drugs I had hidden.
The last time I went to detox, I was transported from the detox center to the airport and was on my way to an inpatient center. No detours.
To Parents: STOP ENABLING
This was a big one for me. My parents were so worried about me that they couldn’t say no. I started to realize I needed help more when they started saying no more. I hit my bottom quicker and eventually entered recovery.
This is where you go to a facility 3 to 5 times a week for about 3 hours. They have individual counseling and groups. This seemed like a great option because I wouldn’t have to leave my life (which looking back was nonexistent and not important), and I could stay in the comfort of my home.
The downside is that it is really easy to slip up. Faking drug tests, forging AA signatures, not showing up, or showing up and then going to get high. After all, I was in the exact same environment that I was in when I was using. For me, it was extremely hard to be surrounded by all the same triggers and I just wasn’t strong enough to resist.
However, it is a cheaper option than inpatient treatment but I felt like we just wasted money. I am sure it works for some people but it did not work for me.
There are thousands of them out there. There are state-funded and privately owned programs, women focused programs, religious ones, dual diagnosis centers, and the list goes on.
We also asked around to family friends and people who had gone through this before. We would ask them what treatment center they went to and what it was like. After talking and researching I found a center I was willing to go to. I didn’t want to go obviously but my parents put their foot down and I agreed.
This was helpful because I was put on a plane and sent to a city where I knew nobody and had no idea where I was. All of my triggers and connections were removed. I stayed in the center for 30 days, left against medical advice, and then returned for another 90 days. I did not do it perfectly and it was hard.
It is important to note that even after 90 days of treatment, you are still not cured. There is aftercare that goes along with this.
I lived in a sober house for almost a year after treatment. This was honestly one of the most beneficial steps. I had a house manager who kept me accountable and there were always other people around to support me. I also drug tested every other day to show my parents I was still sober and it was also empowering for me. I knew I had to show up and pass a drug test or I would be kicked out and would have nowhere to live.
I created a new life in a new city. I had to make all new friends, find new hobbies, and create a routine. I also had to accept that recovering was a long process and it does not happen overnight.