Wednesday, February 1, 2017
The day I met heroin
The day I confirmed that Hillary was using heroin, I said, no, not my child! Heroin is for “junkies” and street people. People “like us” don't use heroin. She would NEVER stick a needle in her arm, I was wrong, and I thought I would die on the spot! I had no idea what to do, or where to begin or simply how to wrap my head around the whole idea. How did this happen, I thought I was being so proactive in trying to help her and that it wasn't that bad. She was a teenager, not an addict. I left my visit with Hillary that day and cried, I cried over the loss of her innocence, I cried out in anger at the (I won't use the words: m*f*S*O*B) that had given it to her in the first place and I cried out in fear that ultimately she could die.
I have always been a very candid person and wear my heart on my sleeve so when I went to pick up Bert at Sunday School that morning from a teacher whom I did not know very well at all, I lost it. She asked me if I was okay and I said, no, I just found out my daughter is using heroin and I cried. The teacher said "well you just told the right person, my son is in recovery from heroin addiction, I am here for you and I will help you get the help you need and find resources for Hillary as well."
That was the moment I knew that if I had remained quiet or felt shame in talking about her
addiction I was setting myself and Hillary up for failure.
Addiction is a disease! It doesn't matter how you acquired it, there is no need for explanations or excuses or the bullshit that goes along with shaming the person or their families. I have yet to encounter someone who doesn't know firsthand someone that suffers and I can almost guarantee you that if you think you don't know someone, you are wrong. This affects everyone everywhere. It is not junkies and Street people and I will always be sorry for using those stereotypes in that way.
I was not quiet that day, I never am, and I never will be, which is good and bad, however in this case It is not only good, it is necessary. I will scream it from the rooftops because I have to.
I live both sides of the disease every day. I grieve the loss our family and the world suffers because Ben is no longer physically present and that F-ing sucks! At the same time I am ever so grateful that Hillary is sober and living a life that includes a peace that eluded her for so long. One is not a trade off for the other, having Hillary does not make losing Ben any easier, never has never will.
One thing I know that Hillary taught me early on in her recovery, is she will always be an addict in recovery, the day she forgets that, is the day she is at more risk for relapse. I also know that I will always be the parent of a daughter that has the disease. That too never goes away.
For those of you out there that may get tired of hearing me talk about addiction, I will never be silent! The day I become silent is the day I have given up on the promise I made to myself, to Ben and to Hillary that I will share my love and support with those that suffer and those that love them who suffer in their own right till I take my last breath.
If you are reading this, please, I beg you, DO NOT BE SILENT!!!! Share your story with as many
people as possible so that we can change the stigma associated with this disease opening one closed mind at a time.
One voice can and will make a difference!