The Heroin Diaries

Heroin has a grip on my town, a town that pretends it happens in other places. A town where we have an activist who talks about being drug free, but not much else. An activist who ran for office with someone who declared us drug free, despite being a heroin hotbed.

Heroin has permeated my town, a town in which members of our Board of Education have claimed our schools are drug free. A town in which the school district ignores the crisis. A town that believes it happens to bad kids, broken families.

A town where kids are dying.

A town where kids have been in rehab. Multiple times.

A town where kids have been arrested over and over again.

The school district has it right in some ways.

My family is broken. Not because I’m a single mother.

No. My family is broken because one out of three of my children is an addict. Thankfully in recovery, but still an addict.

My family is broken because I have kids who have a sibling that will never be able to live with them again.

My kids have a sibling that will always live far away. As in from them, from their future partners, from the kids they will one day have.

It is a permanent separation.

Their sibling coming back could be life or death.

What does that look like for my family? It looks like a lot of birthdays, Christmas, Easters, holidays where there is an empty seat at the table, a seat we desperately wish was filled, a seat that is a constant reminder of a loss that so many don’t understand yet so many experience.

Heroin has broken my family. In a way that would break your heart.

Heroin has a hold on my town, even if my town pretends that it is a problem happening somewhere else.

I don’t know the answers. If I did, I’d tell you. What I do know is that the recent arrests are not the solution. I do know that we cannot arrest ourselves out of this problem, even if our police department forgets that, even if our local social service agencies pretend that the arrests are part of a partnership.

All I can do is speak to you as a mother who desperately longs for all of my kids to be under the same roof, a mother who has driven my kid to rehab in the midst of withdrawals, a mother who would gladly take the blame if you could tell me what I did to cause this.

I’ve been to too many funerals of kids I have loved.

I have seen too many kids I love in jail.

Heroin has a grip on my town. I don’t believe the answers are easy, but I believe the first step is to stop pretending this is happening somewhere else.

I call on the local activist, the school district, the BOE, the parents in my town, all of us.

Heroin is holding our town hostage. We can’t take it back until we realize that we are all in this together.

 

 

Advertisements

The Addiction Peeing Contests (not grammatically correct, but ok)

I’ve spent the better part of a week trying to figure out a “nice” way of saying what I’m about to say. I know. Typically I just say it. I don’t worry about how it sounds. So I’m doing it a bit differently this time.

People aren’t always as nice as they should be. No, silly. Not me. Some other people.

What do I mean? Hmm. Well. There are still people who believe that addiction is a choice. Yeah. I know. I wanted to call them names too.

I stupidly engaged in an argument on social media last week with someone who called the victim of an overdose terrible names.

Imagine. A young life is lost and someone is name calling. I mean if death isn’t enough of a punishment, pile it on.

Not.

I took issue because I knew the life that was lost, although, I have taken issue when I have not known the life lost. I mean at some point most of us will know a life. If you think that’s not true, ask yourself how you’re breathing with your head buried so deep in the sand.

This was not my first one, death, I mean.

I knew a few lives lost. And I know a few lives that I still worry about, as in I go to bed at night and say a million prayers that I’m not going to wake up to a FB post about them or a news article about them, or any news about them, which means that they are still breathing, that their mothers can still hug them or even be annoyed at them for not taking out the garbage or whatever it is that they are doing that gets on their mother’s last nerve.

Because the bottom line is that despite the love, we all get on one another’s nerves. Even addicts. Especially addicts. Even the ones we love. Especially the ones we love.

People don’t understand addiction. I don’t understand addiction. And it is something that has hit home for me. I don’t believe I need to explain that.

What I do know is that its not a choice. Who would choose that? Who would choose something that comes with a lot of annoying stuff, including the potential of death?

For those of you who love an addict, whether he/she is using, in recovery, whatever stage, I get it. I support you. I will never blame you, even when blame feels easy.

For those of you who love an addict, no matter what stage, I will fight for you, fight for the one you love. Because that’s what we should all do. Even those who think they don’t know an addict, even if those who are deep in it know that’s impossible.

Especially those who have access. ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO HAVE ACCESS. As in those who know Police Commissioners, Heads of Agencies, politicians, people. Don’t make me define people.

Yeah, I’m not going to explain that either.

I’m just a blogger, not someone some may consider important. But, I am important. Know why? Because I have lived it. Because I don’t care who I make hate me. I’m going to keep demanding answers. I’m going to keep pushing. I’m going to scream until the people I know who have the access will scream as loud as me and insist that those with access will make a difference. I expect them to do just that.

I demand that they do that.

I had an argument with someone this week, someone who should know better, someone who tried to pull rank, even when there really is no rank.

I expected more. I demanded more. Lives are at stake, lives of people that I love, lives of people I don’t know, but still lives, a lot of lives.

They are worth saving. They are all worth saving. Make that your worthwhile thing for the day, the week, or whatever period of time. They are worth saving. Every single one.

We are all in this together. Even if we don’t all know it. I mean I know it, but not everyone does, not even some who should.

When it comes to addiction, there is no rank. We all just want to survive. We all just want those we love to survive, especially us mothers. God, how we want those we love to survive.

You should too. And if you can do something about it. Do it. Now.

 

Disclaimer: I am just a blogger. This piece is my personal feelings. Some don’t believe this is fact-based, ┬ábut they too are short on the facts, short on the evidence that scapegoating our kids is evidence-based. Demand evidence. If there is a financial benefit, be more adamant that you want evidence-based answers. Because these are our kids. Your kids.

 

Addiction Strikes Again

A mother is planning a funeral for her kid, a kid who had been a fixture in my home. There are so many parts of this story that I cannot tell, because its not my story to tell. So I’ll tell you the parts that I can.

I went to a Town Hall type meeting a few weeks ago. The Police Commissioner was there. Members of his department, high-ranking members discussed how addiction had affected their families. They discussed how they knew that they could not arrest us out of this crisis.

Right before making multiple arrests that were front-page news.

Local social service agencies were also at this Town Hall meeting. They spoke of the importance of awareness, the need for treatment that was accessible, and other things that I can’t remember because I was stuck on the headlines I knew were coming, headlines that talked of 50 or so arrests in my town, arrests that were designed to, well, I don’t know what they were designed to do because I knew that all of those arrests were not going to end the crisis.

Kids I loved were still addicts, some in recovery, some not there yet. The arrests that made the front page were not stopping those kids from using. Those arrests were not stopping the deaths that were still going to come.

I’m not blaming the police. I’m not blaming the social service agencies. Well, not really. Maybe just a little.

We cannot say that we can’t arrest ourselves out of this crisis and then make multiple arrests in various towns and ┬áthen put the arrest numbers in our local news as if those arrests are doing anything.

They’re not.

They’re not.

No. Really. They are not.

These kids are burying their friends, some who had been arrested. The deaths of their friends have not stopped them from using. You know why? Because they suffer from addiction.

It is not a choice.

So the news I received today was especially heartbreaking because I don’t think we are any closer to figuring this crap out.

Another kid that I loved, that my kids loved, is dead. I will be going to another wake where I will feel tremendous guilt for thanking God that I am not the mother receiving visitors. I will go home and thank God a million times that out of all of the problems I have, burying one of my kids is not one of them.

I will see a ton of kids that have grown up in my home shedding tears for their friend. I will hug them and tell them that I love them and worry that some of them will be next and say more prayers that it will be the last wake I go to all while knowing that its not.

There are people who will read this and think they are somehow immune to this. They’re not, but I’m not going to argue with them. Instead I’m going to tell you to hug your kids, tell them how much you love them, hug them again and tell them you love them again.

There is a mother out there tonight who would give anything to hug her kid. Instead she’s planning a funeral.