I Got My Son Back: A Mother’s Struggle with Her Son’s Addiction
Our family suffered for years in silence through this horrific journey of my son’s heroin addiction, but now we can speak of Ryan’s health problem out loud.
It was like a light switch -- my sweet daughter was spending all her spare time isolating in her bedroom away from the family. I kept asking myself, “Where did my daughter go?”
The next evening at about 9 PM, two very kind police oﬃcers knocked on my front door. When I answered, the police oﬃcer stated that they received a “Safe2Tell” call regarding my daughter. They told me that she had been cutting. I called my daughter to come downstairs and with the police oﬃcers present, and I asked to see her arms. She had many cuts covering her arms. My heart broke. I knew she was hurting inside.
She was transported to the emergency room and placed on a “M1” (mental health hold) to be evaluated. After she was evaluated, the medical and psychiatric team told me that my daughter’s test results came back alarmingly high for anxiety and depression and that she tested positive for marijuana. My daughter was then transported via ambulance to an adolescent behavioral health inpatient program. She was at the program for almost two weeks, participating in group therapy and individual therapy sessions and met with the doctor daily. She was also educated on healthy coping skills, and she did very well in the program. I strongly believe that the inpatient program helped save my daughter’s life.
Once discharged from the inpatient level of care, she immediately started an intensive outpatient program (IOP). IOP consists of her attending the program three afternoons per week for about three hours each day. She meets with her therapist and mentor each time. She meets with their doctor approximately every two weeks. My daughter really enjoys attending IOP and has not once has she complained about going.
With tears in my eyes as I write this, I am beyond thrilled that my daughter is coming back! She has been so pleasant to be around. She has been so respectful and is starting to thrive the way she used to in school again.
I think the worst thing a parent can say is “not my kid” — always respond as soon as you can to any warning signs:
Some Warning Signs You Can Look For:
Some Tips I Have on Checking in With Your Child:
Learn more about how to identify and treat both substance use and mental health issues at the same time, and see how they interconnect.