Mother of an addict
From: New Jersey
Lisa DeAngelis's Humans in recovery story
My name is Lisa D., I’m 55 years old and I am from New Jersey. I work a program in Naranon and my daughter is also in recovery.
In the beginning, I noticed different behaviors in my daughter, but I wanted to be in disbelief that nothing was wrong. I guess I wanted to cover it up like everything was ok and believe that my child couldn’t be on drugs. I always thought it was other people influencing my kid, not that she really wanted to use drugs. When I first found out the reality of what was happening, I fell to the floor and broke down.
When she was in active addiction, it was really scary because I never knew if I was going to get that call that she was dead. It was like living on the edge of my seat every day. I was physically sick to my stomach every day and I felt like I had to hide it from the rest of the world and act like I was fine. It was really hard because you have hopes and dreams for your child and you realize that they may never happen. That was hard for me to accept. I would often think “why me?” and “why our family?”. It was like I was obsessed with addiction, but I feel like I was addicted to finding a cure for my daughter. It was 24/7, it was all I could think or talk about it, it was crazy. As a parent, I blamed myself and wondered if I did anything wrong.
At first I had hope when she decided to go to Florida for treatment. But she then decided to AMA from there, and I don’t even know how I functioned. I was like a walking zombie because I was so distraught not knowing where she was or what she was doing. Honestly, when she got arrested, it was like a relief because I knew she was actually safe. With the support of my Naranon meetings, I was able to get through the heartache of not having my daughter home, where she should be. It helped me realize that I am not alone.
I am grateful that my daughter got her life back and that I also gained support from my own program of recovery. I didn’t want my daughter to become an addict, but because she did I found myself in Naranon. I am a completely different person today. I never had a voice before, but I’ve learned so much from these experiences. I learned that I can take away good from a bad situation.
Today I have a newfound life with my daughter because we each work our own programs of recovery. Now I am able to sleep at night and I’m so grateful for the life I have. Looking back, the things that we went through as a family were meant to happen to get where we are today. I never had best friends in my life until my daughter became an addict and led me to my program. I was meant to cross paths with these people that I’ve met along my journey. Every day of my life now, I have God moments that I had never experienced before, and believe it or not, I owe it to my daughter’s addiction and recovery. Like everything is just meant to be.
My advice to families struggling with a loved is to not blame yourself, that it’s not your fault. You can hate the disease but don’t hate the addict. You must realize that you are not alone and that there is help out there.