Here, on this motel floor, I need to know that you still love me. If it isn’t too painful for you, please visit me in rehab. When I tell you that I’m finally ready to get clean, please believe me even if it’s the 100th time.
I constantly find myself in conversations with both of my parents about that dark time in my life. In the beginning of my sobriety, I tried to explain to them about opioid receptors and dopamine levels but it never seemed to make a difference. Many parents have a “You did this because you are weak!” mindset. They think that you can just quit. Well, Mom…
1. I Can’t Just Quit
I’ve been tired of this life for a long time and I have the desire to be the person you once trusted. But every time I quit, I get sick and believe that life just isn’t worth living. I’ve tried to get clean but once the fog clears I realize how much I’ve damaged my life and I go back. I wish I could snap my fingers and be normal with a job and home, but my brain has changed. I want to be the child who you loved unconditionally but I’m not, I’m sick. I don’t like sleeping outside and going to rehab every few months, but that’s what this drug has done to me. It’s a part of me now and unless I have it I can’t even get out of bed. I hate myself and what I’m putting you through, but my mind and body are broken right now.
2. This Isn’t Your Fault
This didn’t happen because you left me to cry it out in the crib for too long or because you weren’t strict enough. There isn’t a recipe that you followed to make me a drug addict. This happened because I tried something out of curiosity and my brain and body responded in a way that made it impossible to stop. Ever since that first time, my brain hasn’t worked the same. I am not lazy, stupid, or weak. I wish that I could sleep this off with a hot shower and an iron-rich diet but it doesn’t work like that. It started off as fun, but now I’m trapped.
3. My Addiction Shouldn’t Be the Topic of Gossip
I wish you could tell all your coworkers that I graduated from that expensive university we planned on me attending. I know you aren’t proud of me right now, but I’m still a person. I want you to heal and be able to talk about how much I’ve hurt you, but please don’t use me and my addiction as entertainment. I am still your child.
You might not know much about how addiction works but I need for you to keep my most embarrassing secret close to you. Your coworkers and distant relatives don’t need to know that I’m in jail yet again. My great grandmother that lives a thousand miles away doesn’t want to hear about how I am living in a dirty motel. Unless I’m a threat to them or their belongings, I ask that you protect my dignity. People assume the absolute worst about people like me and I’m not proud of anything I’ve done to feed my addiction. Along with getting high, I have engaged in degrading behaviors and even exposed myself to disease and violence.
When people hear, “My child is a drug addict,” they think about every negative thing they’ve ever seen in a movie or heard on the news and they will apply it to me. Why would you even want to share these awful things? Talk about the president or what movie you just saw instead. When I get better, I will have to face what I have done and accept the mistakes that I have made. I will have to face the people that you shared my humiliation with. Please don’t think that I am asking you to suffer in silence. There are support groups and therapists who have the knowledge and skills to help you get through this, too.
4. Try to Learn About My Addiction
Did you know that the American Medical Association classifies my addiction as a disease? I didn’t make this up to make you feel sorry for me, it really is. I made the initial choice to start using drugs but when I wanted to stop, my brain said no. It made everything else in the world unenjoyable. Could you imagine not being able to enjoy your favorite piece of cake from the best bakery in town? This is my life right now. The chemicals in my brain have been reprogrammed to want one thing only.
If you don’t believe me, and you probably won’t, take ten minutes and do a little research on addiction. While you are clicking on different links and learning about what I’m going through, please look at all of the different treatment options too. Did you know that there is a medication you can give me in an emergency that will reverse an opioid overdose at home? It’s called naloxone and you can get it from the pharmacy and it could possibly save my life.
I know that you want me to get better. I do, too, but it’s much harder than just saying no. It’s important that you know that there are some medications available that can help my cravings and others that will completely block the effects of opioids. Whether or not these are what’s best for me is something I will have to decide on my own but you should know about them. As long as I am seeking treatment or have even talked about how I want to get better, I am still here fighting.
5. I Have Suffered Through Incredible Trauma
I have seen death and loss. I have lost my dignity and self-respect. Some of my friends have died because of these drugs and I have been close to death myself.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to talk about the terrible things that have happened in my addiction because I know how much it will hurt you. You might say that this is my fault and that I’m weak, but I’m not. I’m in here fighting with these memories and still waking up in the morning. When I get clean, I will need time to heal. I will need counseling and even a little bit of space.
6. I’m Sorry
I’m sorry I stole from you and constantly lied to you. I’m sorry I didn’t make it to Thanksgiving last year, and I’m sorry you found me unconscious. I’m sorry that I made you cry. If I had a penny for every regret, I could pay you back for everything you’ve done for me. Right now, however, I would probably spend that money on drugs because I’m sick. One day I hope that you will forgive me. I don’t expect you to forgive me soon, but hopefully you realize that your child is still in here.
7. Please Don’t Give Up on Me
I’m not asking you to give me money, that ship has long sailed. I’m not asking you to let me come home or even to trust me right now. Here, on this motel floor, I need to know that you still love me. I need you to call me and tell me how you are. Please be a constant in my life, even if it’s just through text messages. If it isn’t too painful for you, please visit me in rehab. When I tell you that I’m finally ready to get clean, please believe me even if it’s the 100th time. If I tell you that I’m going to start taking medication to help with my sobriety, be proud of me! Don’t tell me that I’m trading one drug for another, because I’m trying.
Just please, don’t give up on me.