An Open Letter to Mothers of Addicts
In 2007, my mother and father once again signed me up for a treatment center, in the hope that I would once and for all stop doing everything in my power to kill myself. It was their final attempt to keep them from having to bury their son.
“This is the last one,” my dad told my mother. “We can’t keep going through this. He’s either going to get clean or he’s going to die.”
A mother and a son have one of the most unshakable bonds possible. Throughout my addiction, the bond with my mom was truly tested. As I spewed anger and hatred, my mother gave back support and kindness. When I stole money out of her wallet, she just wanted to help. When I was up late at night crying about everything that had happened, she dried my tears and reassured me it would be okay. When I failed rehab over and over, she was the only one that truly believed I could ever be successful. When the rest of the family was ready to turn their backs on me, my mother said, “let’s try one more time.”
There aren’t many things in this world stronger than the love a mother has for her son. That love is so strong, it can turn into an enabling type of love—love so strong that my mother couldn’t bear to see me struggling without money or food. She couldn’t bear to see me fail over and over and would clean up my messes to give me a clean slate to try again. But the true love that came from my mom came the day she said she couldn’t do it anymore. No more bailouts. No more money. No more fixing my problems for me. No more paying off drug dealers. No more cleaning up the messes I made.
And that love finally got me sober years and years ago.
I know that there are thousands upon thousands of mothers going through the same thing right now. What I want to say to them is don’t give up. Don’t hold out on hope. And you’re not alone. Every mother’s bond with their son is so unshakable, and the thing that almost tears them apart is the very thing that can wind up bringing them back together. There were so many nights where my mother sat at our kitchen table crying because she didn’t know what to do or didn’t know where I was. There were many late-night arguments between my parents about what to do with me that it tore their marriage apart. Sleepless nights turned into endless days. She found herself on medication because the anxiety I caused her was so bad, she could barely function. All she could do was hang on and hope that one day, it would all change.
Luckily, it did.
I went from being a selfish drug addict to being a voice of recovery around the country. I went from having no purpose in life to working at a treatment center to help lost souls find themselves again. Other parents consoled mine while I was addicted and now I console other parents. I have a podcast to help families not feel alone and to give them hope that one day, their family too can be okay.
So, don’t give up. Had my parents given up on me, I wouldn’t be here today helping others. My relationship with them is better now than it was even before I became an addict. Today, they’re proud of the man I’ve become and I honestly would be nothing if it weren’t for them.
If you’re going through the same thing, take my mother’s advice: Don’t enable. Don’t give up. You’ll never know what kind of success your child might be if you do.
If your child is an opioid addict, click here for important, life-saving information.