I clearly remember the day when I discovered that my daughter was a crystal meth addict.
I was devastated.
I was also filled with shame and confusion.
My daughter started out life as a typical little girl growing up in a suburban neighborhood on the SF peninsula. She excelled in school especially during her elementary years.
She was a brownie, a girl scout, played soccer and softball, and performed in theater productions. She had many wonderful friends, a quick wit and fun sense of humor.
It was during middle school that I noticed her grades had started to slip a bit.
The first two years of high school were smooth. She joined the water polo team, as well as the swim team and made some close friends. I felt that I knew her friends parents, since most of the girls had grown up together.
During the last two years of high school things started to get a bit rocky. Not dramatically, but we noticed. She kept her curfew, many of her friends remained the same, although there were a few news ones that made me a bit curious and concerned.
Her father and I prodded her onward and encouraged her to do better, monitored her whereabouts, and tried to be on top of all that was going on. Graduation came and went.
She was accepted to college in Colorado and I flew back with her one August morning, sending her off with the hopes and dreams of any parent.
Those hopes and dreams were dashed after her first semester, as she was soon on probation. After the second semester, she needed to attend CSM in order to return in the fall.
But after the dismal fall semester of her sophomore year, college was over. She took a part time job washing dogs. But that soon fell apart as well.
I flew back to Colorado to see what I could do to help my daughter and find out what was going on. After a few days, she finally admitted to me that she was addicted to crystal meth.
I should have known, and wondered why I didnt know.
I know now. I was in denial.
She made a good choice that summer morning in Colorado, she made the choice to come home with me. Her instincts told her it was time to make a change and find a better way to live?
Within one week she was on a plane to Utah to attend a Wilderness program for five weeks, and then on to Southern California where she was in treatment for another three months. She then lived in a sober living home for six months.
Her program included getting a job and/or attending college. She did both and graduated from a local state university in 2009. A part time job in a grocery store helped pay expenses while going back to school.
After leaving the program, she remained in southern California and has lived in apartments with amazing young women from her program. Several remain close friends.
She worked full time at the store until she found her present job in advertising. She is now ready to come home to live closer to her family. She has come full circle.
Being addicted is not what any mom dreams for her child. This is the last thing I expected. The emotional exhaustion sends you down a devastating path. It is a challenge to find your way back. The financial costs took my breath away.
As a parent, we had the weekly calls from the wilderness camp and received the weekly reports from her treatment center. I tried counseling, Alanon and Naranon in my efforts to find support.
I thought about who I would tell and felt the shame of addiction. I also felt guilty, frustrated, angry and afraid.
Now as a young adult, my daughter has come full circle. She is mature beyond her years. She is insightful and has embraced a spiritual component to her life. In some ways, my daughters past is invisible.
She has moved on with her life. She knows, however that life can be hard due to poor choices and the disease of addiction. She also knows that there is always hope.
We have both realized that our lives could change when we were ready to dig deep, overcome our fears and take on the challenge to begin again.
All the best,
Lessons Learned in Life
* Addiction Stories, Stories about Addiction, Drug Treatment, Addiction
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