We are here to share our stories without shame, and support one another in making healthy choices as we walk this walk.
The feelings of isolation and helplessness were overwhelming to me when my first son went into treatment. As a mother, I was completely unprepared to handle this challenge. I was scared, feared the future, and felt as if l could not share with my friends and family. Through a support group of wonderful parents, I learned that I was not alone in my thoughts and fears. Learning through others is powerful. I gained more strength than I thought possible. I was much more prepared when faced with my second son’s addiction. Just getting into treatment isn’t enough to heal from the damage addiction does to a family and ongoing support has been invaluable.
I will never forget the day I learned that my dear friend lost her son to the disease of addiction. As we sat weeping in her living room, the thought kept crossing my mind “I don’t want to be a member of this club. Lord, please protect my son”. My child has struggled for years with substance dependency in various forms. As a mother I have felt the clutches of fear at the thought of losing him, the judgmental innuendos in conversations with people, and the sleepless nights, tossing and turning, praying through tears that he is okay. As mothers that’s what we do. We love them as furiously as we worry about them. I can’t begin to say how thankful I am to have found people who have walked this gut-wrenching journey before, who know the roller coaster ride that it is, and who are there for you when you need them, day or night. Like it is said, it takes a village to raise our children. It has been helpful to know I am not alone in this.
My son is addicted to opiates. When this disease first affected my family a few years ago, I had no idea the toll it would take on me and everyone I loved. Sure, we have friends that have kids struggling with drug addiction. And one of my son's closest childhood friends lost his life due to an overdose. So it's not like we weren't aware of the opioid epidemic. But you really can't understand the gravity of the disease and the shame that comes with it until you live it yourself.
It seems ridiculous now, but for the first two years I didn’t want anyone to know about my son's addiction. I was too embarrassed to tell our family and friends. I was struggling in silence and it was actually making me sick. I was depressed and falling apart on the inside. I didn't have the energy to take care of myself. All I could think about was that I had to be strong so I could fix my son. I kept going over his life trying to figure out where I went wrong and why I didn't catch this and stop it. I was hanging on by a thread. Then I met with Shawn and she became my lifeline. I finally had someone who understood how I was feeling. So much so that I thought she was reading my mind. I had no idea back then how important her support would be for my well-being. For me, the advice from a mom of an addict is invaluable. And some things were tough to hear, but I followed Shawn’s advice so I wouldn’t enable my son's destructive behavior. I learned to love my son and hate the addict. I also learned this is not my fault. Shawn has been there for me on the darkest days of my life, when my son overdosed and was on life support, and her continued support is critical to my healing. I truly feel blessed to have such a kind, caring and compassionate friend.
In the midst of the winter/spring of 2020, the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic, lockdowns beginning, colleges closing, all our worlds shifting, my 20-year-old son suddenly landed back at home. He had been away at college, but I knew that he was not thriving, and we'd struggled with school, addiction, and defiant behaviors a few years before. He could not return to college, he had no job, a relationship break-up, and he was constantly getting high. A good friend who'd shared similar struggles with her son, introduced me to LITT. Right when I was in such desperate need for help, I got a phone call from Deetsie, a member of LITT, reaching out, sharing her story, her strength, her compassion, and her love. I will never forget how blessed I felt by her presence, her guidance. My struggle with my son and his behavior continued for weeks, and she and I continued to talk, and learn about each other. One day it all escalated. I came home to my suicidal son crying in his room, furniture broken, our house in shambles. I reached out to my new friend and she was there. She then reached out to LITT co-founder Shawn who responded immediately with crisis intervention numbers to call, and comfort to share. The crisis did somehow pass, my son apologized, we cried together, and soon after he moved on, along with his pain and his struggles. I continue to connect with LITT members and meetings as often as I can. I feel forever grateful to have a come into a circle of women who love and support each other through shared experience, understanding, knowledge and love. It is a wonderful community which makes living through terrifying times with our children and the devastating disease of addiction a shared journey, but one with hope and compassion, in a safe space, without shame.
LITT has been a safe place for me to share, vent, learn, feel completely safe and supported. Shawn and Kelly share their years of experience around addiction and their stories as well as everything they have learned about the systems in places, choices available (why some places are set up for your child's success more than others), insurance answers, and advice on how to get your child help. They alert members when overdoses in the area go up because of tainted drugs on the street and so much more. Shawn is a wealth of knowledge. They also connect you to a community of people experiencing what you are experiencing but who might be in a different place in this journey. They remind us to, "hate the addict but love our child". When my husband and I first started going to the live groups we met people who had kids in all different stages of this disease and we quickly learned that while the stories are different, we as parents all suffer in similar ways and can help one another.
I recently had a friend reach out to ask my advice on how she could help her friend (in another state) who was experiencing the throes of her adult child in addiction. It was amazing to have LITT to offer as a resource and community. With the support and knowledge of the group she was able to hold the boundaries that she needed to help her son and take care of herself.