My Life Was an Endless Cycle of Drug Use and Shame
In 2014, I was living in a shame-spiral. My addiction and attempts at recovery were running my life and robbing me of a good life. I could not figure out how to get sober. I had lost the desire to even try. I thought there was no hope for me. I had been in and out of rehabs and institutions for the last four years, and it seemed that nothing helped. I was lying to my family about my drug-use and pretending I was sober. But, I was not sober. I was the furthest thing from sober.
I would wake up in the morning and the first thought in my mind would be “I need to get high.” Every morning, I would place my bag of drugs inside the top drawer of my nightstand so the first thing I could do was get high. I knew the cycle. I would pull out the cracked pink mirror and the bag of cocaine and Xanax. I would crush the pill and mix it with the cocaine and for a tiny moment in time, I would feel normal. Drug-use and addiction were my new norm.
Tough Love Didn’t Save Me from Cocaine & Xanax Addiction
My family had been trying to help me for years. When I was living in Los Angeles, my father used to fly from Texas with a picture of me in his hands. He would walk the streets of Venice Beach and Hollywood Boulevard asking people if they had seen this girl, his daughter – me. The attempts at saving my life had become normal for my parents. Several people told them to stop enabling me and they had stopped in various ways. However, my parents always answered my calls and when I asked for help, they were there to help me. They never gave up hope.
Because my parents did not give up on me, I am alive. I have almost five years of sobriety and I am living a life beyond my wildest dreams. I think there is a notion that we must always provide tough love to our children during their addiction. But, I don’t believe that is the answer.
Different People. Different Stories. Different Paths to Addiction Recovery.
Each one of us who has lived with addiction has a different background and story. Addiction, like trauma, affects all races, classes, and genders. There is not a one-size-fits all method to treatment and there are multiple pathways to recovery. Just as we need individualized treatment, families need to understand that there is not one method or one way to save their child from addiction.
We don’t find recovery in five easy steps and families won’t find the solution to helping their loved ones from one book, one article, or one therapist. Families must utilize multiple tools to find out what will work for their loved one. The majority of articles for families that offer insight into helping their loved one focus on a method of tough love. While tough love may work for some; it did not work for me.
Don’t Expect Your Addiction Recovery Story to be Like Mine
As a person in long-term recovery, I encourage families to do their homework and find as many answers and solutions as possible. If your heart is telling you the information is wrong, then trust your intuition. Do what you feel is best for your loved one. I found recovery because my parents decided to not listen to all of the advice they had been told. While some people may need tough love – others may only live because of unconditional love.
This piece was contributed to our blog by Lara Frazier.