I Don’t Ask for Much – But This is a Big One addiction grief isolation judgment mother’s day parenting relationships & communication shame stigma taboo

I don’t think I can go more than four hours without stepping on broken glass.  Of course this is a metaphor.  It’s the best way to describe how I feel when the painful realization surfaces that my oldest son is homeless, mentally ill and addicted to heroin.

I doubt you can imagine the emotions I hold in my heart, let alone comprehend what I’ve witnessed over the last ten years.  You can’t imagine how I’ve suffered because frankly, there are no words to describe the depth and darkness of my nightmare.

You can’t imagine because I don’t have the courage to share my story with very many people. I claw and scream to escape public scrutiny and when I do open my heart, I don’t know what I’ll receive in return.
I’ve been told that addiction is a matter of willpower or something that happens to bad people.
I’ve been told that addiction is the result of poor parenting.
I’ve also overheard  harsh comments about junkies and I shrink inside my shell; afraid that my fury fueled grief may cause me to say something I’ll regret.
I’m a mom who cries herself to sleep, swaddled in thick guilt.
I’m a mom paralyzed by late night calls from unknown numbers.
I’m a mom who dreads holiday celebrations, graduations and family gatherings. I listen politely to the Norman Rockwell-esque proclamations of your children’s achievements and I’m just hoping my son is still alive.

For Mother’s Day, I’m proud to declare that I’m becoming a mom who won’t let her son’s disease take her life too.  I must keep living despite the enormous grief.

I will weather these emotional storms because shame, blame and guilt are not as powerful as my conviction for total wellness.

While I can’t change everything, I ask that you consider one simple request.  Please connect with a relative, coworker, neighbor or friends, whomever you know that may be impacted by addiction, and ask how they are doing AND how their child is doing.  Don’t let us suffer alone!

We are avoided like the plague however, please realize that addiction is a disease.  Addiction is a disease just like cancer except there are no celebrity sponsors or spaghetti dinner fundraisers. No collectible stamps or invitations to the White House. Addiction is a taboo subject yet millions of our loved ones are in the clutches of this insatiable monster.

People say they don’t want to bring up anything sad or negative so they don’t ask me about my son.  Here’s my perspective. If you don’t ask, you don’t care and you perpetuate the insidious shame cycle.
I’m not asking for your pity.
I’m am asking that you soften your heart.
I’m not asking for any endorsement of my strength or character.
I’m asking for your compassion.
I’m not asking for answers, cures or...
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