Updated: Mar 10
When a mother carries her newborn baby from the hospital she's full of love and wants to nurture the baby. She showers him or her with unlimited loving care. She nurses the child. She makes sure the diapers are changed. She made sure the child is fed. She is a protective shield around that baby. And she is full of plans for the child's future. Never in her wildest dreams would she have believed that her child might turn in to a monster. To a drug addict. To a liar. To a convict. Or to just a common thief who goes out every day and hustles money for drugs and alcohol. And perhaps one of the most difficult parts of my position here at TLC is talking to women who still trust their children after the child has stolen from them. Lied to them. Disappeared for weeks, leaving them to wonder if they're dead or alive. The misery drug addicts impose upon their parents – particularly their mothers – is incredible. And this belief and faith in the child can go on for years unless there's some kind of intervention. Once in awhile the intervention comes from a professional who's employed to intervene in the child's addiction. But more often the intervention comes from life itself. The child is arrested. Maybe goes to jail. Perhaps is kicked out of school. Or maybe just becomes homeless and broke because the parents can no longer afford to have the child in their house. Maybe they're afraid that the kid will keep stealing and sponging off of them while he or she uses drugs in their room and doesn't go to school or work. When I speak to these mothers on the phone I emphasize that things have to get painful enough before a child will change and seek help for his or her addiction. If the child is of age, there's no reason why he or she should be mooching off of mom and dad. If they're addicted to drugs they need to figure out how to get the drugs. If they don't have a job that provides enough money for them to pay for their drugs, then maybe they have to learn to steal or sell drugs in order to pay for their habit. And this is where the pain usually comes in. Because most youngsters who haven't been raised by parents or family members who use drugs themselves, entering into the world of drugs or crime can be a very educational experience. And, did I mention, painful? But this is the point where change usually sets in. Because living on the streets is painful. Going to jail is painful. To panhandle on street corners is painful. That's why I tell parents that I believe pain is one of the most wonderful instruments of change on the planet. Sooner or later the pleasure of being high is far outweighed by the pain it takes to get enough drugs to keep us feeling as wonderful as we want to. We all have a choice: the pain of addiction or the pleasure of walking the path of recovery.
John Schwary, Recovery Connections