Angela had hit rock bottom. Drugs had so consumed her life that she no longer had the ability or desire to be a mother. “In the end, I chose drugs over my children” she said. Angela is one of an ever expanding demographic of substance abusers in America today. More than 18 million women of child bearing age, some with young children are battling various forms of addiction. Rampant misuse of prescription drugs has plunged many mothers who never thought they fit the image of a “drug addict” into a substance abuse lifestyle.
In the super hectic pace set by society, these women of varying age, ethnicity and socio economic status are reaching for drugs to help them sleep, manage pain or simply to help them keep up with the revolving demands of motherhood and modern life.
For Angela, dependence on drugs and alcohol eventually took her to a very dark place. She went from what she describes as being a full time mother and productive member of society to being a thief, prostitute and IV drug user. Despite the fact that she recognized herself as the source of grief and embarrassment to her children and her own mother, Angela said she had no idea how to stop drinking and using drugs.
In another mother’s addiction recovery story, a drug intervention helped her to understand the extent of her drug problem. Julie said she was prescribed Vicodin by her doctor for back pain. But long after the pain had subsided, she continued to use the drug. What helped her to take the step that made her recovery possible, was her daughter’s tearful plea for her mommy to just get better. “The smallest voice was the one I heard most clearly” she said. With the emotional roller coaster of pregnancy, postpartum blues and all the stress that comes with being a primary caregiver of one or more children, it is often surprising when a mother gets caught up in a substance abuse lifestyle.
Sadly, the effects of drugs can be so initially alluring and feel so necessary to function that the reality of addiction is often vehemently denied. As such, most women will do everything possible to hide their drug use. With children to care for, many women do not even consider entering a drug rehab program. That is, until their substance abuse has begun to wreak so much havoc on their lives that they are subjected to a family intervention or make their own cry for help.
This was the case for Angela, who finally came to grips with a life that had spiraled out of control. “I realized I was not living or even existing; in fact, I was barely surviving” she said. After losing everything, including her children and her self-respect, Angela reached out to her mother for help and her mother reached back. After a horrendous self-induced detox that she suggests would have been better done under medical supervision, Angela took another important step towards long term sobriety. She found a rehab program and this time vowed to do whatever it took to stay clean. She also hired a sober coach and worked the 12 Steps. “I chase my recovery like I chased my dope” she said.
There are various treatment options for women with children battling addiction. Many of these programs are sensitive to the challenges that some mothers face and tailor programs designed to meet those needs. Some treatment programs offer specialized accommodations so that babies do not have to be separated from their mothers during the recovery process. There are also programs that help moms to receive intensive counseling or group therapy while still living at home. When choosing residential care, it is always advisable for mothers to choose a facility with flexible visiting hours in order that she stay in contact with their significant other and children if possible. Thanks to a commitment and treatment that helped Angela to push past the guilt and shame and reclaim her life from addiction, her story has a happy ending. Although there are still times when she wonders how her children were able to forgive me for turning her back on them she knows that they are just happy to have their mother back. Thanks to making that decision and following through with treatment, Angela says today, her life is amazing and filled with blessings. To read other addicts stories visit us here.
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