Thursday, March 6, 2014

Katie's story

Thank you, Katie, for sharing this intimate look into what it's like to have a mother who struggles with addiction. 

Photo by George Hodan
It’s always hard for me to explain my mom’s lengthy history with drug addiction to others. I’ll preface my experience by saying that I love my mother. For most of my life, she was an amazing role model. She was my school lunch lady, an awesome Christian mom, and my best friend. I never even knew that she had been an addict until she relapsed when I was 14 years old.

Since then, her life (and our relationship) has deteriorated greatly. I was a teenager. I needed a mom to help me with boyfriend drama, to go prom dress shopping with, and to help me pick a college. Instead, she got worse and worse until I went weeks without seeing her. I tried to support her, love her, and provide for her. I remember a friend in college saying to me, “You have a choice now. You can either live your life, or her life.” At that moment, I knew that I was limited in what I could do for her. I love her, but I cannot support the decisions she continues to make.

I never know whether my mother is clean or not. When I was younger, I would defend her to the ends of the earth. My world would shatter when I found out that she had relapsed again. Sometimes it would be a month, maybe even half a year, but she would always go back to cocaine. Now, it doesn’t matter what she says, I will always be skeptical when she tells me that she is clean. It’s not that I don’t trust her… it’s that I can’t. She cannot help but lie about her addiction; it comes to her like breathing.

Recently, I made the decision to allow my mom to begin healing on her own. This was the hardest decision I have had to make so far, especially because I am pregnant with my first child. I asked her to please respect my wishes and not to contact me. My mom was angry. She accused me of being selfish, ungrateful, and spiteful. I expected this.

I didn’t expect how difficult it would be for me. I want my mom’s advice, her help, and her love for this child.  I know she loves me and she loves her grandchild, but she is making decisions that put us in jeopardy. I cannot allow my child to be around her for fear she is high, carrying drugs, or around persons who would put us in jeopardy.

I pray for her daily and hope we can have a relationship in the future. But right now, I know that she needs to start healing on her own. Call it tough love, call it what you will, I just hope this works because nothing else has. 

If you have an addiction story to share, please email me at

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