My Drug and Alcohol Addicted Family

What do I know about blogging?  That question occurred to me when I was asked by my colleagues to host this blog.  I quickly realized that I don’t need to know anything about blogging — only about this topic, which is near and dear to my heart.  Frankly, I consider myself an expert on drug and alcohol use, having used almost every drug on the planet prior to entering recovery over 21 years ago.

If only there had been such helpful resources in the ’70s, perhaps my parents could have done some things differently.  But then I wouldn’t be here today, with my dream job and this wonderful opportunity to help others.  The chance to share my thoughts, insights and experiences with parents and other caregivers, is tremendously exciting and rewarding.

I began using alcohol and drugs at age 13.  My parents never talked to me about the dangers and were heavy drinkers themselves.  My father traveled frequently so raising me was left pretty much to my mom.  In my recovery journey, I have come to accept that she did the best that she could. The truth is, her desire to be my friend more than my mother really backfired.  She was one of those mothers who thought drug use was a rite of passage and believed that sharing that experience with me would minimize the risks.  Her intentions were good but the outcome was not.  By the time I entered college, I was a full-blown alcoholic and addict.

The roots of addiction run deep throughout my family.  In addition to being an alcoholic, my mother was addicted to prescription drugs, as were her two brothers and her parents.  My older sister is, thank God, a recovering alcoholic, with almost 18 years of sobriety.  However, I watched her son, my only nephew, struggle with addiction for over 20 years.  Just like me, he began using as a teen, and just like my mother, I used drugs with him, wanting to be a “cool” aunt instead of a responsible adult.  Tragically, he died from a drug overdose almost three years ago, at the age of 36.  I often wonder what else could have been done to prevent his death.  Sometimes, I feel that I failed as an aunt by not setting a good example, but I was in the midst of my own addiction, and made terrible choices.  I have made amends.

Today, God has given me another opportunity, blessing me with two grandchildren, ages 9 and 19.  I am proud to say that they have never seen “Nana” high or drunk, and they know, because we talk about it, the dangers of drugs and alcohol.  My granddaughter, the oldest, is extremely anti-drug, and I cherish a framed, award-winning essay she wrote in the sixth grade about why she chose a drug-free life.  My grandson, whose Marine father died a hero in Iraq three years ago, has very strong feelings about not using drugs.  I am so grateful for the Partnership’s newest offering, Free Talk Kit for Military Families because it provides our family with valuable tools to help him remain drug-free.

I am honored to be a part of this blog and look forward to sharing my experience, strengths and hopes with you.  If you, your child, or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol use, please don’t give up. You are not alone and we are here to help.  Together, we can make a difference!

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    June 25, 2016 at 11:32 AM

    Hello…i earned my seat in recovery..mines a bit leathered…i am a product of the 60’s..learned early to smoke cigs, drink, then get high. I was binge drinking by 14 on weekends, smoking pot at 13, cigs at 11 or 12.
    I got clean, first time at 30…i remained clean, sober for 17 yrs straight, and had 7 yr stretch prior to that as well. I had hoped that being clean, in recovery while raising my son , would protect him from this dreadful, shitty disease…It didn’t. It didnt matter that i hung with Aa and NA natzis who knew the drill…that all my close friends were in recovery too.,that i tried to attend all the fun retreats, the pig roasts, camping, didnt matter. My sons full blown heroin junkie..hes 29, can tell the truth..if his lips move its a lie..hes without a lisense, on probation, using heroin while in outpt.(who even puts or thinks out pt would $÷×%/# work for heroin??) he may be a new daddy also as his heroin addicted junkie girlfriends prego( may or may not be his)
    I’m hating my life as I watch his go down the drain. I have walked away from my one and only because I cant watch this, or get dragged down further..if he dies, im going my feelings today.

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    Heide Shumway

    May 9, 2016 at 1:16 PM

    My son 32 years old has had an addiction problem for over 6 years. He has been to 4 rehabs 3 of them twice. His drug of choice is heroin but also takes pills. He also has a felony and very little college education so when ever he gets out of rehab he has a hard time getting a job. What can I do to help him.

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    August 21, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Thank you for this post, I relate so much! I too come from a family with deep roots in alcoholism and addiction and began using and drinking at a young age. I got clean and sober when I was 17 and I now have three years clean and sober. Since I’ve been sober, I’ve watched many people in my family continue to suffer from alcoholism and addiction. All I can do is be an example of sobriety, and to be there for them when they decide they want something different for their lives. Other than that, there is nothing else I can do. I got help from Drug Rehab for Teens and if you have a loved one struggling with addiction and alcoholism they may be able to help. Check out their website.

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    Residential Treatment

    May 7, 2010 at 3:17 AM

    Thank you for sharing your experience on your teenage years. I’ve been also one of those who is dependent to prescribed drugs. It is really not easy to get out of it when I am immune, this is due to my peer groups that is why I’m influenced to take it as well. And I’ve been on a residential treatment facility for treatment and slowly eliminate addiction. Now I’m working in a facility where I am at. I’m helping troubled teens now and it feels uplifting when I’m helping others.

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