My Daughter’s Heroin Battle: Serena’s Story– February 10, 2015, the journey began into what we thought to be a solution to the unending suffering my baby girl was going through; battling the Devil’s drug, “Heroin!” After spending 5 days in her 3rd detox, they were ready to release her back into society and she wasn’t ready. She was simply, terrified. She told the Dr., “If you let me go out that door, I will be high before the day is through, I can’t go out there!” So, they got busy trying to find a treatment program that would fit her.March 3,2015 we entered into what we believed was a substance abuse treatment program, for up to 9 months. Then we were to only to have another battle on our hands. It finally turned out that it was not a substance abuse program, it was a mental health facility that offered a drug class. The problem with our youth—my daughter—then ensued the a torment of the wrong side of treatment for my daughter, and wrongly battled stigma for many more.
Unfortunately, there are very little drug rehabs for our youth; it makes my stomach turn! The truth is: “Today’s youth are considered a liability.” But why? This statement infuriates me. How can anyone ever say that “our kids are a liability?” Where is there an answer to this youth epidemic?
On another note, during the time that the class was being taught my daughter did well. It was relieving… for a while. And then that relief went away. After the “class” was over and my daughter was on pass from the center, she would relapse. I confronted the facility she was at to see what this class was about, maybe they had an answer.
They were teaching her what drugs do to you, what is in the drugs that could hurt you and left it up to her to figure out what her triggers are that made her want to use. How is this helpful to a youth unaware to her own body’s feelings? The battle began when they wanted to prove to me what they were teaching her.
She could tell you how many chemicals are in a cigarette, she could recite the drug class backwards and forwards… but she was still getting high. They began to say that it was my fault, that I wasn’t supervising her enough! They had the nerve to say that’s why my daughter kept relapsing. Needless to say none of these people were addicts. How do they truly know what they are teaching is working? Especially if she relapsing!
I am a firm believer that unless you’re an addict that you won’t understand the brain of an addict. My daughter would return to their “lock down” facility and started cutting herself. So now we were dealing with substance abuse and a self-harm issue. Who’s to say she didn’t learn how to cut—a mental health illness—while in the mental health hospital, anyways? How was this helping…
When they said it was my fault she was relapsing, I asked them a simple question: “Who’s fault is it that she’s cutting herself in your facility, how is this even happening, should I blame you?”
I answered the question for them and the answer was no because she was the one doing it.
The bottom line is that “teaching is not treating”. An addict doesn’t need to know what drugs will do to them, they are already clear about that! And who’s to say that isn’t what set her up for relapse, with the constant talking of drugs and how they effect you? If she already knows it, and they keep bringing up a traumatic past, wouldn’t that be a trigger all in its own? The medical system had failed my daughter too many times so far, but it hasn’t apologized.
What youth need is that they need to know is how to stay clean, how to make new friends, if my daughter knew what her triggers were and not giving them to her, she wouldn’t be using. She needed someone who’s “been there, done that” to guide her, not someone who was plainly guessing at this point!
I explained to them, you don’t need a trigger to use. The trigger is., I want to get high, how am I going to make it happen. As my daughter stated, “I get a thought in my head and it won’t go away, until I act on it” (obsessive/compulsive?).
I fought to get treatment for my daughter, to be able to take her to 12-step meeting so she could make new friends and get a foundation of recovery because she wasn’t getting anything she needed from this failed system they had forced her into. The mental health institute were against it. They fought me every step of the way. And now, after several relapses and fighting, someone finally heard me say it… “Can we try it my way now?” It was finally time put her into a treatment plan with one set-back. Just one last set-back!
Before I could get started taking her to that meeting, another test came back dirty. They tried to fight me on the 12 step meetings, and of which I took her out against medical advice every single day. But this time she didn’t relapse again. Again making new friends, and changing habits. This is the first time I saw my daughter shine beautiful light into the lives of other people and her own. When she left this facility, the kids cried to her “please don’t leave!” I’ve never seen anything like it. It hurt my heart to the core. We also saw change as I starting seeing my kids refuse medications. I had a nurse ask “where are you taking her, what are you doing, somethings different”. The same nurse began taking her sister-in-law to 12-step meetings. We made a difference and that’s what matters! And I know, I just know, you can make a difference too!
My message to you as a mother who’s been through it and is still going through it is this:
Don’t be fooled by mental health facilities that offer drug programs. Investigate first before you send your child to one. Make sure that they don’t start digging into your child’s brain to try to fix what’s wrong with them before they even have a foundation of recovery. Remember the reason that most people use is because of pain. Why would we drag that right back up the minute they stop using drugs? We need to allow them to be stable first!
I challenge every parent or caregiver to pay attention to your children just because if they’re behaving in a bad that way doesn’t mean that they have a behavioral health problem. Don’t be so quick to allow a doctor to put a label on your child; maybe they have a drug problem and are overlooked.
With love, care, and truth. This is what I call, “Serena’s Journey,” although many of you can relate to this, almost word for word. So go out there be the change and make awareness happen for your mission, for your heart.
–Kim, Many Faces One Problem
A message from Serena…
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