The Drug Addicted Mother I Never Understood | Lake Arrowhead Recovery Center

drug addicted mother devastated by loss
I bought into the stigma of the drug-addicted mother, until I became one.

I never understood how drug addicted mothers were able to walk away from their family, especially from their children.  As a mother, we are meant to protect our children, not harm them.  Doesn’t she understand that her children need her?

I never understood those women who were in jail for not paying child support.  Even in a co-parenting relationship, aren’t the mothers typically the parent who has primary custody of their children?

I never understood how a woman could continue to use while being pregnant.  Was she intentionally trying to harm her unborn baby?

I never understood how a mother could give CPS (Child Protective Services) a reason to get involved in her family’s life.  Did she not want her children?  Did she not love them as a mother should?

Both of my kids are fast to sleep in my bed.  They look adorable and I know just how lucky I am.  My sobriety is indeed a blessing.  Yet, it’s these quiet moments that I dread.  My mind begins racing. The thought of drug addicted mothers and the effect it has on her children ravage my thoughts. I think about how my kids mean the world to me.  I would do anything and everything for them.  They will grow up in a loving home without lies, deception, criminal activities, and drugs.  As their mother, I vow to protect them for the rest of my life.  I mean, that is what a mother is supposed to do.  Right?

Recovery strengthens the protective bond of motherhood
All a mother wants to do is protect her children. Even a mother in her addiction and especially in her recovery.

The Stigma For Drug Addicted Mothers

Our society will never understand the effects that drug addicted mothers and fathers have on their children. They will never understand babies born addicted to drugs because the mother felt she could not stop using while pregnant.  Some people do not understand why a drug addict can’t simply stop.  They will never understand. Nor will they try to understand.   That is the stigma of addiction.

The stigma of addiction is bad enough.  Now add in the fact that the drug addict is a mother or pregnant with her first child. Too scared to ask for help due to the stigma of it all.  Even other drug addicts stigmatize drug addicted mothers.

Now, before I come off as a saint preaching to the choir, hold on just a moment.  I was one of those addicts who stigmatized drug addict mothers.  I didn’t understand.  That is until it was my turn.  Until that was me.  Until I did everything that I despised and criticized.

The Irony

I became that mother.  A drug addicted mother.  A pregnant woman who used every day of her pregnancy.  Despite what my doctors told me, I didn’t change.  The day I went into labor, I was trembling, in fear of what I knew was going to happen.  When I left the hospital after giving birth, my baby was not with me.  In fact, he would never be with me. Instead of getting help and following CPS’s stipulations to get my child back, I did nothing.  All I did was slip further into my addiction.  I became worse than I ever thought possible.

That is the scenario for many drug addicted mothers.  You, me, her, all of us that go through it.  We hide deep within our addiction to try and cover up the pain. We imagine that it is some sort of sick nightmare that we will wake up from.  Unfortunately, it’s not a bad dream that will end.

Hope for mothers addicted to drugs
Don’t give up because you are an addict and a mother. There is help and hope.

Don’t Give Up

As addicts with a baby on the way or children already, there are many reasons we choose not to get help.  As irrational as it may seem.  Here’s why.

  • Scared of CPS involvement
  • People’s criticism and negativity
  • Fear of losing custody of child(ren)
  • Admitting the severity of the situation
  • Being a failure in the eyes of our children

Take it from me, do not give up on being the mom your child needs. Sobriety is the key to success for drug addicted mothers.  You will not have to do it alone.  There is help.  I regret that I didn’t take the help that was offered.  If you get help now, you can stop this situation from getting even worse.  No mother wants to neglect, harm, or lose custody of their child.  

How Can We Protect Our Children?

From a drug addicted mother to a mother in recovery, I will tell you, it gets better.  I live every day thinking about how I can change my past but the truth is I can’t.  The world keeps spinning, life continues on. My life didn’t stop and neither did my little boys’.  I love my children, all of them.  We will never be able to correct the mistakes of our addiction. The questions will remain.

Why could I get clean for my other children but not my first?

Is he really happy?

Could I have given him a better life?

Would I have raised him better?

Would he rather be living with me?

Does he cry over me it as I cry over losing him?

Does he wonder why I was a drug addict?

Over the years, these questions will haunt you.  They still haunt me. Even as drug addicted mothers, we never mean to intentionally harm our kids.  So, why do we do it?  Truth be told, there is no simple answer. I am just glad that I got sober so I can be a part of his life.  My only wish is that I would have gone into treatment and began sobriety much sooner.  I still have to live with the choices that I made back then.  That’s why you need to make the right choice from the start.

Second Chance

My first born is now ten years old. I missed out on so much.  It was not ever meant to happen this way.  Never did I think that I would lose my child.  Most mothers in similar situations, don’t comprehend what will actually happen.

Thankfully, I now have a relationship with him.  He doesn’t love me unconditionally like my little ones do but, he knows that I’m his mom. He knows that I was a mess and doesn’t hate me for it.  I am grateful that he has given me a chance to love him.  A chance to be in his life.   

Sober Solution For Drug Addicted Mothers

Let me tell you from experience.  Those questions I think about.  They will never go away.  I could ask him for answers but, am I really ready to hear what he has to say?  Will he even tell me?  For now, I am grateful for a second chance with him.

If you are a drug addicted mom, please get help before it’s too late. Before you lose the chance to have and hold your baby.  Mothers are supposed to love their children, protect them, raise them, care for them, and nurture them.  Don’t let drugs destroy that.  Don’t let the stigma of being a drug-addicted mother stand in the way of the mother you can be.   Sobriety is the only solution.  It may be hard but it will be worth it. It’s time for you to be the mother that your child has always needed you to be.

To My Loved Ones Trying to Cure My Addiction | Lake Arrowhead Recovery Center

My Loved One Is Addicted To Drugs
A Letter To My Loved Ones Trying To Cure My Addiction To Drugs

To My Loved Ones Trying To Cure My Addiction,

I know you’re trying to help with your ideas and answers to cure my addiction. I know that you mean well by your actions. I’m grateful for you standing by me, despite everything I may have put you through. I so appreciate the support you have given through my addiction and recovery.
I also know that this disease can be hard to understand. It’s the disease that I am ashamed of; a disease that comes with misconceptions and stigma. It’s not as simple as just quitting. Recovery is something I will be working on my whole life. I wish that there were a quick fix, some sort of magic wand that could make the cravings and pain go away. I wish that I could go back and change the things that led me to this place, but I can’t. There’s no way of knowing where I would be right now had I not taken that first hit. And there’s no way of knowing where I’ll go because of the path I’ve chosen.

Support for Addiction To Opiates, Alcohol, Prescriptions
My treatment is working and your support is critical. I’ll do my part and you do yours. There is no cure for my addiction, but there is full recovery.

Recovery Is My Cure for Addiction

There is no cure for this disease. There is hard work and dedication. There is recovery, but there is not a simple cure.
I’m going to have bad days and I’m going to have good days. I’ll have days where I feel like I am on top of the world, but there will be days where the pain is unbearable. There will be days filled with quiet numbness. Days where I don’t feel anything inside and I may even feel like recovery isn’t worth the work. Maybe I will freak out at times and maybe there will be times where I don’t speak to anyone all day. I’m trying to change and change always seems to be really hard for me. But I’m no longer trying to live without the ups and downs, I’m trying to learn how to live with them. I’m learning how to manage my emotions in a better way. I want to control my life without getting high. I want to spend time with my family and see my little sister grow up. I want to go to family dinners and watch Monday night football together. I want to be able to do all of these things without feeling like the odd one out or like I’m being stared at. I don’t want to have special treatment or have anyone act like I can’t handle the same things as everyone else. I am a capable adult and I can handle myself.
I don’t want you to be afraid of me or constantly worry that I might relapse. Yes, relapse is a possibility but constant reminders of what I did in the past or potentials for relapse don’t help me to not relapse. I don’t talk about the things that I have gone through to get attention. I want to help you to understand me and what I’m going through. It’s okay to ask me questions. Asking about my addiction doesn’t make me want to go out and use.

Support My Recovery
You can support my recovery best by listening, asking questions and just letting me know you are there for me regularly.

What Can You Do To Help My Recovery?

Love me unconditionally. There should never be conditions put on love. I’m going to love you even if you make a mistake, can you do the same?
Support me even on my bad days. The bad days are the days when I really need you the most. They’re the days when recovery doesn’t feel like reality. When all I want to do is stick a needle in my arm to avoid feeling. I need you to support me on these days the most. And I don’t mean support me like give me money or buy me things, I mean really support me. Ask me how I’m doing. Ask me what I need. Even if it doesn’t seem like you’re doing much, I recognize that you see me struggling and it means more than you know.
Realize that just because I talk about my addiction doesn’t mean I’m not going to maintain my recovery. I have an addiction. It’s a part of who I am now, but that doesn’t mean that it defines me. I spent a lot of my life doing things that you probably don’t understand. When I talk to you about them it’s not to scare you. I’m talking to you because I trust you and I want to help you to understand where I’ve been.

Let Yourself Trust Me Again

I know that I’ve done so many things that have hurt you. I’ve done things that I will regret for the rest of my life, but I’m trying. I want to do better but I can only do that if you let me. It’s hard to become better when I am constantly being reminded of my mistakes and that you don’t trust me. Once trust is broken it’s hard to earn back, I get that, but I want you in my life and I’m willing to put in work to make it happen.
It would be so amazing if there was a cure for my addiction, but maybe instead of trying to find one or telling me that I “just need to get over it”,  you could listen instead. Just listen to me. Maybe sit with me and listen to where I’m coming from. Put yourself in my shoes.
I want to feel safe with you. I want to be able to help you to see the darkness that has been in me and not be scared of it.
Thank you for your love and support,