If you had asked people to make a list of people who might wind up as an addict, I'm sure she would never even make the list. She was bright eyed, talented, loving, funny, adventurous. She was a daughter, a sister, a friend, the world was waiting for her to take it by storm. I know in my heart that deep down she is still all of these things, but somewhere along the way heroin decided to take over. Now she's homeless, unemployed, hungry, and on probation, and there's nothing I can do. She's over eighteen, so there is no forcing her into rehab. I checked.
You can never quite prepare yourself to hear that your child is an addict. I've done a lot of research and it appears that heroin is an equal opportunity evil. It takes over the lives of the poor, the abused, the average, the privileged, middle class and the rich, and no matter who you are, or where you come from, you become enslaved by it. I hate heroin.
We stand by helplessly and wait for the bottom of this pit to be reached, and hope that the bottom doesn't mean an overdose. We wait to help, to heal, to hug, to listen, and support. We hope that some day, some how, the daughter we know and that daughter that we love will come back to us. We love her even as an addict, but we want so much more for her. We know she's in there somewhere, and we hold onto those moments when we see her, or glimpses of her. We want her back. We all do. Both of her moms, both of her dads, her brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins on BOTH sides of her family. I am sure that she never expected that we would all join forces to try and save her, and I know it makes her angry that we talk. I wish she would see that it's because we love her, and we want her back. We want her happy, healthy, and safe. Maybe we should have all joined forces together a long time ago, and we could have done something before things got this bad, but to be honest none of us ever saw this coming. I wish we had, maybe things would be different.
She's come home a few times claiming to want help, but it never lasts for more than a few days. She says she's done, she's tired, she's ready, but not for rehab. We've welcomed her, picked her up in the middle of the night, cleared out rooms so she can stay with us and get sober, made doctor and dentist appointments, and plans to find her employment, only to have her leave the second we're not looking to go back to her life in Ohio. She says she doesn't like Michigan, and would rather be in Ohio, but she keeps finding the same people over and over again, and repeating the same behaviors. . Every time the phone rings and I don't recognize the number my heart stops for a moment and my blood runs cold. Before I answer I hope, I pray, I bargain with God… please don't let this be "the call".
There have been glimmers of hope. Once in a while she asks for help and says she's considering rehab. I spend hours, days, and nights trying to line up assistance only to be disappointed over and over again. Not in our daughter… disappointed that in the lull between highs there is something, someone, some event, that make her think that she can kick this habit on her own, and then she decides she doesn't need rehab after all, or not yet. I hate heroin.
I know that a struggle with addiction is something I can't understand, I know it's hard, it's hard on all of us. Watching someone you love slowly kill themselves while you stand by unable to do anything to save them is one of the most painful experiences I have had to deal with to date. It brings back memories of the powerless feeling I had while her sister Briona was in the hospital. There's a difference though. Briona was fighting to stay with us while waiting for a heart transplant. My daughter seems determined to slowly kill her hopes, her dreams, her spirit. Her fight is with a drug that has chemically changed the make up of her brain and taken over, and won't stop until it kills her or takes her to jail. I hate heroin.
I don't want to bury my daughter. I don't want to tell her brothers and sisters that their sister is dead, or missing, or in prison. I don't want to watch the light fade from behind my husband's eyes and see him retreat into himself while battling his grief. I want my daughter back, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get her back. I hate telling her no. I hate thinking of her hungry, without a place to call home, and struggling through life. I have to say no though, because every dollar, bill paid, phone card, or care package frees up room for heroin money. I want to help her, but for now we have to tell her that the only help we can give her is a ride to rehab but she doesn't want that. I wish she did.
I want my daughter back.
I hate heroin.
I still believe.
God is good. All the time.