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Our Children Are Not Just Our Present, They Are Our Future

In the final Stories of Hope series post, a woman discusses how her son's addiction affected the family and the support group she founded to help other parents.

Cross-posted from Faces and Voices of Recovery

I am a parent of a graduate of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Program. I don’t think there is a bumper sticker for that. Every Tuesday my husband and I meet with other parents dealing with the issues around drug addiction in the family. We were the first parents when the group began. After three or four weeks another couple came, followed by a single mother. And so it grew, single parents, married couples, divorced couples working to save their children even when their own marriages had failed. There are half couples too, the other parent either working, doing supervision at home or in denial, a common thing with parents of a drug using child. For who among us, in even the most exasperating moments of parenthood ever pictured our loving, cherubic faced child fighting the devil of addiction. Not I, not my husband and none of the other parents who show up each week. They aren’t there for the pizza.

Although our son has been clean for over three years we have continued to attend. Drug addiction is never cured. It is faced every day, one day at a time. We need to remember that for our son. We have also realized that others are not yet able to see that recovery is possible. Almost every week we have a new parent hemorrhaging from the devastation of this disease. We feel such a responsibility to be there for them, to help in any way to give hope and courage to continue their fight to help their child get clean. To keep the faith that recovery is indeed possible and even likely given strong, loving, consistent support amidst the inevitable, tough, painful decisions that will have to be made.

Having the privilege of witnessing active recovery, we are able to see more objectively what every family endures as they face addiction head on; anguished parents trying to help drug-using children, ignoring themselves as they try to hold onto their marriage, family and job; siblings, who have been ignored by loving parents while they focus all their efforts to save this sick child. Things getting so out of control under their own roof, they can hardly recognize their family. "How did we get to this place?" the distraught parent asks. "No one else could possibly be experiencing this hell," they incorrectly assume.

This post is part of the ONDCP Stories of Hope blog series.