What it Felt like to Watch my Son become an Addict

Being the parent of a child who suffers with addiction is one of the worst kept secrets in America – and it shouldn’t be. The stigma that surrounds addiction is fed by silence and ignorance.  This is why I am sharing; We, as a culture need to cast off stigma and put on truth.  This is my story…


The hardest secret I tried to keep was the fact my son was addicted to drugs. In fact, I tried to keep it a secret even from myself through denial.  My mind raced:

This cannot be happening! I mean, We are a good Christian family; I home schooled my son most of his life, I took him to every wholesome event available to teach him right morals and values, my son chose baptism, and he would not be so foolish as to do drugs – he’s smarter than that! He’s a good kid, an accomplished athlete, and well liked by many.  A little weed is one thing, most all kids try that at least once, but harder drugs…no way!

Siding with denial earned me a grade of three “F’s” — Fear, Frustration, and Failure.

Fear: the kind of fear that felt like a tornado in my gut, pretty much immobilized me. Twisting and gathering speed, it worked it’s way up my esophagus and out my mouth like a putrid vomit, denial imploded and I wailed, “This IS happening! My son is using drugs!”  Imagine a child waking up from a nightmare and not having anyone to run to for comfort – that is what I felt like – living a nightmare and not having anywhere to go and sob my terror to, and so, I stayed silent.

In reality… who can you go talk to about your kid using drugs without risking judgment or opening your door to the local authorities. 

STIGMA answered THAT question for me … NO ONE!

The trifecta aligned. Frustration and Failure followed Fear and I was consumed.  This was a problem that I could not fix. I became an impotent mother – helpless and powerless. Time confirmed that my son was becoming addicted; changes in his sleep cycles, moods, and patterns of elusive behavior formed.  Money went missing, curfews were dissed, and normal life skills became obviously more difficult for him.

I wept, “How did this happen!” I was really good at beating myself up; I thought, “I must have done something really, really wrong – worst mother of the world award, right here!”

Dread overwhelmed when I began to think about other people finding out: “What would they think of us?” – “What would the repercussions be?”

Anger mounted.

Shame percolated.

I was a wreck most every day on the inside, but on the outside, I was “normal” —  only a handful of people knew my turmoil and they were just as impotent as I.

Grief began here.

My heart broke, and stunned as if with a taser, I moaned in dismay with a guttural whisper,  “Where is my son, the one I used to know…?” 


You need to know this because you need to understand the pain and suffering that a parent endures as their child, with a broken brain, is taken ill by this disease named addiction.  YOU have the power to help erase the STIGMA that pervades and prevents people  from getting the help they need, parents and the child alike.

I am doing my part:

I am putting myself out there, vulnerable in my loss and exposing my experience, for all to see and hear.

Will you do your part? 

I beg you to do these 3 things:

  1. IF you are turning a blind eye,… don’t, and instead become educated about the truth of addiction
  2. IF you have been quick to judge & shun, stop… individuals and families affected by addiction suffer enough
  3. Always, reach out in love and have compassion and be supportive in tangible ways… love can bear all things

If we work as a team to cast off stigma and put on truth,

HOPE will grow, and we can reach those among us who are suffering and ease their pain, and bring healing in better proportions!