Lorelie Rozzano is a guest blogger for Vertava Health.
Mom Got Help And This Happened To Her Addicted Son.
Gina (not her real name) peeled potatoes at her kitchen sink, listening for sounds coming from upstairs where her son Mark slept. Even though it was almost dinner it wasn’t unusual for Mark (not his real name) to be in bed. Gina joked with her friends, her son kept vampire hours. But what she didn’t tell them was her son was addicted to heroin.
Mark wasn’t the only one keeping strange hours either. Gina found it difficult to sleep. Her mind raced, wondering where her son was, who he was with and if he was alive. Every time Gina opened up a paper, or turned on the news, she saw another story of someone dying from an overdose. Gina was certain her son would be next.
Gina lived with intense fear and anxiety which created big problems in her life. She was depressed and exhausted. The lack of sleep and feelings of despair and hopelessness had caught up to her.
Gina’s life was a mess. Her relationship with her husband was suffering. They didn’t see eye to eye when it came to Mark. To keep the peace Gina had reverted to keeping secrets. She didn’t tell her husband that she gave Mark money or paid his speeding tickets. She didn’t tell him she replaced Mark’s lost cell phone or that she found drugs in his room again. Nor did she tell him about the dent in Mark’s car that she’d had repaired or that she’d just paid his car insurance for another year. To make matters worse, Gina’s husband wanted Mark out of the home. Gina threatened if Mark left, she’d go with him.
Gina’s relationship with her parents was also strained. They thought she babied her son too much and secretly, Gina felt they blamed her for Mark’s addiction. Even Gina’s friends seemed distance. She’d stopped telling them anything negative about her son years ago. While their sons went off to university or new jobs, Gina’s son had graduated to heroin. No one seemed to understand the pain she was in or that she felt cut off from all the people who once mattered to her. Life had lost its shine.
Unfortunately, Gina’s fears came true. Mark did overdose. But he was lucky. Someone spotted him slumped over his steering wheel in a mall parking lot. 911 was called and the paramedics were able to revive him with Naloxone.
When Gina got the call, she lost it. She doesn’t remember driving to the hospital, or screaming at the nurses or even hitting her husband. Gina doesn’t remember crawling into her son’s hospital bed and curling into the fetal position.
Mark was released from the hospital later that day. But Gina stayed behind. She was admitted onto the psychiatric floor for observation. The intense stress of dealing with her son’s addiction had caused her to suffer a nervous breakdown.
Gina spent 72 hours in the hospital. The first 24 hours she slept. When Gina woke up she was taken to see the psychiatrist. For the first time since Mark’s addiction began, Gina told the truth. She admitted there were times she wanted to go to sleep and not wake up.
The doctor recommended Gina attend a family program at a local treatment center and follow up with a 12-step or Smart recovery program. Gina was prescribed an anti-depressant and asked to continue her visits with the doctor.
Gina went home and began putting her life back together. She was directed to focus on her feelings and behaviors and take responsibility for them. After she completed the family program, she felt stronger and more equipped to deal with her son’s addiction and her role in it. Gina learned how to set boundaries and why she needed to set them. Gina learned without boundaries, addiction ruled the home.
Gina wasn’t the only one to attend the family program. After she completed, her husband went. Gina says she fell in love with the man she married, all over again. Learning healthy communication tools gave her the relationship she’d always wanted. Together they were strong. And Gina doesn’t keep secrets from him anymore.
Gina jokes her breakdown, was really her break through. And better still, her son Mark is in rehab. When he couldn’t manipulate Gina anymore he was forced to deal with the consequences of his addiction. With no one to bail him out, they added up fast. When Mark walked out of an intervention, Gina and her husband made a tough choice. They made their son an offer- treatment or the streets.
Mark sensing a bluff, chose the streets. He phoned Gina many times his first night out. But he never spoke to her. Instead, his Dad answered the phone and his message was consistent. Treatment or the streets.
Today Mark is 18 months clean and sober. He says when his parents joined forces he knew the game was up. Mark says tough love saved his life.
Time does not heal all wounds. Addiction is a progressive illness. It gets worse over time and everyone in the family is affected by it. Unlike Gina, you don’t have to wait for a crisis to seek help. If your life is falling apart due to addiction, either directly or indirectly, you can start the recovery process today by calling the number below.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call this confidential support line for assistance 1-888-614-2379.