Parents of Opioid Users View By Question


Tell me the story of your child’s addiction.

I call it a journey, although it feels like a roller coaster ride. Jack was 12 years old when we first realized he was smoking marijuana with friends who were twin boys. He had been spending a lot of time at their house, and we found out he was smoking marijuana with them. So I made a phone call to the mom to let her know what these boys were doing. She didn't seem very concerned about it. She said she was going to punish her boys by having them cut the grass for their dad that week. We grounded our son for a month. Surprisingly, through addiction, he has always been truthful with what he's doing. He owned up to smoking marijuana.

Fast forward to high school and we noticed Jack was skipping school a lot. I called his counselor at school. She looked at his attendance records to see what was going on and said, "He doesn't appear to be skipping anymore than any other kid in the school." I was like … in our house, it is not OK to skip school. You don't skip school.

Honestly, it was so long ago that I don't remember how we ended up finding out that he was stealing pills out of people's medicine cabinets, his friend’s parent’s medicine cabinets, and from our house. I remember one time I had a brand new bottle of cough syrup with codeine in it, and it was empty. I asked all three of our kids about it. And Jack said, "Oh I spilled it." So I went and got another prescription and the bottle was empty again. I still didn't think anything about it. The thought never even entered my mind that one of my kids could be taking it. Then he had his wisdom teeth taken out and they prescribed Percocet. Actually I think that's when it probably started was with the Percocet. Then he got dry socket, and they prescribed more. And then stealing from the medicine cabinet started happening.

He got in trouble when he was a junior in high school. He got arrested for underage drinking at that time and after that, it all just started to go downhill. Probation from that included drug testing. He tested positive for opiates and he swore he didn't take anything. He went in front of the judge because he violated his probation. They basically told my husband and I that we were crazy to believe Jack because the tests don't lie. He came up with all sorts of "Oh it was in the cough medicine." He ended up going to jail for eight days because of that. He was in high school at the time and they put him in big boy jail. He didn't go to juvenile. I remember when they put the handcuffs on him and took him out of the courtroom. To this day, I just still can't even believe that happened. My husband had to take me straight to the doctor from there because I couldn't cope.

But going to jail didn't seem to scare him. Then he went away to Indiana University. He got into a fraternity house and was introduced to heroin. We weren't sure what he was doing at that point. We had taken him to counselors. We had taken him over to Fairbanks Hospital, which is a drug and alcohol hospital. He went through anger management counseling. Finally it got to the point at IU where he asked to come home. He said he needed help and that he needed to come home.

When his addiction started, it wasn't a big thing then. We didn't know where to go. We couldn't find any help. We had no one to help us. I had tried the school. I had tried different facilities around here. Places were good with alcohol at that time but they didn't really know a lot about opiate abuse. So we were kind of at a standstill at that point in time. I think he was twenty-two when we decided to hire an interventionist.

This all happened towards the beginning of the opioid crisis. The interventionist suggested a facility in Nashville, Tennessee. Insurance wouldn't cover anything. So we spent $30,000 out of pocket to get him into this treatment facility for 30 days.

My husband drove him to Nashville. Jack used heroin all the way to Nashville. My husband would have to pull over and Jack would get out of the car and go into a gas station to use. The interventionist told us at the time to let him do it. Let him do what he needs to do and once he gets there they'll put him through detox medically and supervise it. What was a five-hour trip turned into a ten-hour trip. Jack fought and screamed the entire way.

Another facility recommended to us was in Delray Beach, Florida. So he went to Delray Beach. And I think over the past eight years that he's been using heroin, he's probably spent six years down there, which is known as the recovery capital of the United States. Sending him down there is probably one of the worst moves we've made so far. There are dealers at every corner waiting for these guys to come out and offer them heroin. And that was the first of his six overdoses that I know of.


Not only does Jack abuse heroin, he also abuses meth. I don't know if that's because he can't find the heroin or if the dealer doesn't have heroin or what it is. We let him come home once for a short amount of time between rehabs. In the middle of the night he said to my husband, "I need to go to the hospital." So I took him. Jack said he lost his eyesight and that he couldn't see. That alone scared me enough. He told us he had overdosed on meth, and he needed to go to the hospital. I went to the entrance of the emergency room and ran in to get the nurses. I told them my son was overdosing and I needed help. Jack was awake at that point in time. He had his hoodie on with his hood up. He always wore a hoodie and long sleeves to cover everything. I went and parked the car. They took him to the back. They put a sheriff outside of his door. I couldn't figure out why the sheriff was there. They had taken all of his clothes off. I looked in the room and I couldn't believe what I saw. It didn't even look like my son. His face was just disgusting. Open sores all over the place. And he had been living in our house. We didn't see it because he hid it so well. Unbeknownst to him at the time, I recorded his overdose, which was horrible. Even now I can't watch it. It just was so horrible. His legs were jerking. His head was jerking. He couldn't control any of it. I kept asking what was wrong with him. They said it's just the effects of overdosing on meth. I asked why the sheriff was there. They said he's here to protect everyone because sometimes these patients can go berserk and attack people. They couldn't keep him at that hospital. They transferred him that night to a different hospital and put him in a locked psychiatric ward for three days to try to get him medically detoxed.

That was his second stint in a psychiatric ward. The first one was when he had totaled his car.

He was driving home from Bloomington. He had gone to IU for the weekend to visit and was coming back on the interstate and fell asleep while he was high. He drove his car into a retaining ditch. They actually closed the interstate. I asked him if he had any drugs in the car and he said yes. And I'm ashamed to say that I told him to get rid of them. But he didn't get rid of them. They didn't search his car other than to shine a flashlight in there. That's when we took him to the first hospital and they put him in a psychiatric ward for seven days. He actually ended up coming out worse than when he went in. They had him over medicated and that was a mess. We swore we would never put him through that again.

He can stay well for about 10 or 11 months and then he falls off and has a relapse. I wish I could tell you how many relapses and how many different times he has detoxed and been in a 30-day treatment program, which is a joke. It takes much longer than 30 days. And he's such a great human being, as most of these abusers are. They're all good people. On Facebook last week, a friend of mine actually made a comment about two women who were arrested for dealing opiates. She said, “Get these scumbags off the street.” I sent her a behind-the-scenes message and wrote that those are someone's daughters, and to please remember that these people belong to someone. They came from decent families. And even if they didn't come from decent families, they are someone's children. She took it down and apologized. She said she forgot and that she wasn't thinking when she posted it and that she's sorry she did it. So I'm pretty comfortable letting people know that. And Jack is pretty open. He allows me to be open and to tell his story. It took us years before we told our parents. Absolutely years, and we had to hide it. Finally it got to the point where we couldn't do it without the support of our families.

Jack has been everywhere. So this time I said to my husband, let's let him come home and try to get well. We've never done that before. Let's have him come here and try. My husband said this is not going to work and that he didn't want to do it and that he didn't want him in the house. I said let's try it. Jack always said, "I want to be around my family. I miss everybody. It'll help me." He did OK until right before Christmas when Jack started using again. We picked up on a lot of the signs.

As a matter of fact, I'll show you one of the signs. I brought it. It's a shampoo bottle or a body wash bottle. You see the black marks? That's from his hands when he would cook his heroin. And these black marks are all over his bathroom: on the door, on the sink, on his toothbrush, on the soap, on his carpet. It's everywhere. Or it was. I've kind of kept this as a reminder to myself, not that there aren't a million reminders. It makes me sick to my stomach every time I look at it. I want to keep it so he can see when and if he gets better, he can see the things that we saw. Because he doesn't remember.

So, back to letting him come home, we let him come home and he started using again around Christmas. Jack’s bank account is hooked to our bank account. My husband opened accounts for all three kids when they were minors. And this is the only account that Jack has. I check it maybe once a week, and I saw that he had all this money being deposited into his account and he was taking it right back out. I confronted him and I said, "You have no money. You have no job. Where is this coming from?" Jack said he stole a check from his dealer and that he'll never know it's missing. I came to find out he had stolen his father's business checks. He picked the locks on a file cabinet and took forty-four hundred dollars from my husband's account and six hundred from his younger brother's account. His younger brother works so hard. He is on his own. He is twenty-six years old. He's done everything to be able to do this on his own and he never asks us for money. That was his rent money. So not only did we have to cover the forty-four hundred dollars plus all the fees that came from Jack's account, we had to cover his brother's rent. So that's when we told him he had to leave and he couldn’t come back. Jack did all the legwork and got himself back in the same place in Prescott, Arizona. And that's where he is now. It is a 30-day treatment program in Arizona. He arrived there mid-January and then he moved into a sober living house with other men. He goes to his meetings and groups while he lives there.

There's nothing worse than telling your own child they can't live in your house. I mean there are worse things: he could be dead. It's hard. I mean … he's just … he's a part of me. He's my heart. And to tell him that he isn't welcome in our house … is just … it's devastating. I can't even cry about it anymore, which is hard too. It's just been so long. And I'm so tired. The nice thing about finally being able to cut him off is he doesn't call as much anymore. I used to get 10 - 15 text messages or phone calls from him a day. And now he might call once a week because he knows he's not going to get any money. My husband hasn't spoken to him since he left. He's so angry. His brother and sister have cut off all ties. That's probably another one of the hardest things is to have your kids hate one of their siblings. We don’t do family trips. We don’t do family dinners. When they say it affects the whole family, there is nothing further from the truth. I'm the oldest of six. It affects all of my siblings. It affects my husband's siblings. It affects our friends. We're lucky because our friends haven't shunned us. They're all pretty understanding. For the first probably three years we didn't leave the house. We didn't go out. We didn't do anything. We didn't tell anybody. Because Jack is not a polite drug addict. He's very mean and nasty and for years the name he used for me when he didn't get his way was three horrible words.

Recently when Jack asked me for 15 dollars and I said no, he argued with me about it. I said, "I'm arguing with a 28-year-old man over fifteen dollars." But he thinks like a 12-year-old. He thinks like he did when he first started abusing drugs. And it's hard to reason with him because he thinks he is entitled. He does tell his friends that we are the best parents and that we've never abandoned him and that we've done everything we can. But to us, he tries to manipulate us. So it's quite a ride.

But this time I'm very proud of myself. Jack hasn't had a dime from us since January 15 when he left. He got on an airplane and called when he got there and said, "How are you going to get my car here?" We said we're not getting a car there. We've shipped his car twice: once from Arizona to Washington state and then from Washington State back to here. This time he hasn't had a dime from us. Or his car. He likes to throw in little jabs like "I had to walk here." So we just change the subject quickly and move onto something else. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. It hurts my heart. But I know he's not homeless. I know he's not going hungry. And I know he's safe. So … this may really piss him off. But you know what, we're pissed off too. If he had cancer, he'd fight cancer. But he's not fighting this the way he would fight a disease like that. It is tricky though because this disease messes with your will to fight. I mean … I get that this disease changes your brain. I get that. It's so tough to understand for those of us who aren't addicted. It's just so hard because your typical thought is that these people are dirtbags standing on the corner all dirty and their clothes are shabby and gross, and that's not my son. My son is a good looking boy. He's been raised well. He was raised the best way we knew how to raise him. He had just about everything he ever wanted in life, which is a detriment also. He was a varsity athlete all through high school. He played basketball with the number one NBA draft pick when he was in high school and with another boy who is one of the highest paid players in the nation. Jack had good role models. He is a good person. His brain is just so whacked out and changed. He hates authority. He rather punch someone with authority instead of sitting and having a decent conversation with them.

I feel like we've done everything we possibly can for him. And we've been so blessed because we have been able to, for the most part, afford most of the treatments for him. My husband did have to go into his retirement account to fund some things.


How is your child doing today?

Today Jack is doing great. All I have to go on is what he says. But he sounds good. He and another young man who is in the sober living house with him have started their own business, with no coaching from us at all. They had their first paid gig this week. He still needs to find a regular job where he is held accountable and goes in on a daily basis. Jack FaceTimed me yesterday. He's good. He's still mad. But he'll get over it.

When did you first realize you were dealing with a drug addiction problem?

We probably first realized when he was arrested as a junior in high school when he took ecstasy and ended up going to jail for eight days. I think that was really the first time we realized that we had a problem bigger than what we originally suspected. The marijuana use, especially at age 12, it was just so unbelievable that a twelve-year-old could even get his hands on something like that. But I think he was probably 18 when we first realized something was wrong. He was in the Spanish immersion program. By the time he was a senior in high school, there were maybe 30 kids left in the program. And Jack wasn't doing his work. These kids had all gone to school together from kindergarten to their senior year together and they all took classes and did extracurricular activities together. We got called into the high school and they said they’re not allowing Jack to graduate with the other immersion students. He could graduate from high school but they were not going to let him participate in any of immersion activities. That was the first major blow. At that point, Jack knew that other people knew. He had always kind of been a rebel, and he always had a reputation as kind of a thug, I guess. But this sealed the deal and they weren't going to let him continue on. So he didn't get to walk with all the other immersion students at their own private graduation.

During all of this, what was your biggest fear?

Hands down that he's going to die. I need to do what other people have done and write up his obituary and get all of that in order and present it to him so he sees it. But he knows it all. He's very bright. He's so bright. And he just knows so much.

He's either going to die or he's going to go to prison. It's like they say in NA meetings,there are three things that can happen: they're either going to die, go to prison or get better. And that's true. My husband thinks he's either going to die or go to prison. And the reason prison would be so bad is because there are drugs in prison. It's just as bad in the prisons as it is out on the streets.

Prison would not be a good place for Jack. He has even said, "You don't want me to go to jail or prison because I'll come out worse." Sometimes I think it would be better if he died. It would rid him of all his pain and anguish. I know … it's a terrible thing to say … but sometimes it would be better. I mean, that's the last thing I would want. But I think I'd rather have him go to prison. And … I hope he doesn't die because I think he wants to get well. I still don't think he's at that point. He's not humbled. He's never been humbled. He's never felt real pain because we've always softened the blow for him. Until now. Hopefully, he'll work his way through this. He seems to be with a good group of men who can help keep him on the right path. But he's always been with good men. I just don't know what his triggers are.

I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. It's just so hard. I wish we had a normal family life. I don't care about having a normal family. I just want a normal family life … and I said I couldn't cry anymore.


This is the gift Jack left us the last time he came home. That's a scale in there. I think there's some in there. I think those stones are heroin. I think that's a rock of heroin. Look at me. I'm shaking. I'm not 100% positive. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that is heroin. I was going to take these syringes to my doctor's office. My doctor knows everything about this but I didn't want to fill up their syringe container. I should take this to the police. I just don't want to get in trouble for carrying this around. This was all under his bed. In his dresser. On his dresser. All of this is one run. That's maybe 5 days.

When you think back, was there anything that put your child at risk for drug addiction?

No. You know, we went back to both sides of our families and there's no drug addiction on either side. My mom had some uncles who were in the war who came back and turned into alcoholics. But we really never had any genetic component to blame it on. We drilled and drilled and drilled Jack and asked him things like was he molested? No. Did anybody ever do anything that would have caused him to be in this much pain? No. There was nothing. We've had numerous therapists talk to him and there's nothing. And we can't pinpoint what would have caused it. I could be a drug addict but I've never done heavy drugs like that so I don't know if I'm prone to it. My parents had never done drugs.

Have you wondered whether you could have done something different as a parent to prevent your child’s addiction?

Oh gosh yes. I think every parent initially kind of blames themself for their child's addiction. I can remember one thing that really sticks in my mind: when Jack was little he would always say, "Well my sister gets to do that. Why don't I get to do that?" Or "You bought her that. Why didn't you buy me that?" And my reply was … always as a joke, "I like her better than you." One time my husband and I were getting ready to go on a trip. We were going to Hawaii with three other couples. I went in to say goodbye to Jack and he said, “You know mom, you really hurt my feelings when you say that.” And I thought “Oh my gosh.” Even now I wonder whether I caused his addiction by saying that to him? Did I make him feel so unworthy? I know I didn't cause it. I know in my heart and I know in my brain I didn't cause it. I don't think I could have stopped it. And short of forbidding him to see people, there's nothing we could have done.

Has your child’s addiction affected how people treat you?

I don't think it has. I don't think people treat us any differently. I think our family is a little softer with us because we have that stress of our son’s addiction. So they tend to protect us a little. We've been pretty open, myself more than my husband. He's more private about it. But I don't think our son’s addiction has changed how people treat us. I really don't. We've been blessed with a good support system. They don't treat us any different but I think they treat Jack differently, which bothers Jack.

Couldn’t your child have made better decisions and not abused opioids? Was your child just weak-willed?

Yes. He could have made better choices. I don't think he wants recovery badly enough, yet. I think … he either makes it or he doesn't. Because we've backed off. We quit giving. He knows we mean business this time. He knows he can't manipulate us anymore. And we have to stick to it. We're just as sick as he is. We're addicted to the addict. We're addicted to our son. And I think this time we finally have decided to get ourselves well in order to help him get well. So we're working on us the same as he's working on himself, if that makes sense.

One of the other things about most addicts is that they are "Me" centered. “Me” focused. And Jack just wants to feel good. He says when he does opiates, it feels like a heavy sigh. And with opiates, everything feels even and that he doesn't have to worry about anything. I wonder what he worries about because he really doesn't have anything to worry about. We've tried to take all that worry away from him but we've also done him a huge disservice by not letting him grow as a man. He's a 28-year-old who still relies on us. Or he did. We've now turned over a new leaf.

Did you ever try shaming or punishing your child to make them stop?

Oh absolutely. It never worked. He doesn't like authority. He doesn't like to be told what to do. To coop him up in the house is one of the worst things that we could do to him. I remember when he was on probation, they told us to take the door off of his bedroom. We tried to do that and oh my gosh, the kid can finagle his way out of anything. He can talk people into anything or out of anything.

Did you ever feel ashamed or disgusted with your child?

Oh yeah, all the time. Most of the time it's when he would do things to harm other people. When Jack was using, I witnessed him knock his brother out over a pair of sunglasses. That disgusted me. Even now it makes me sick to my stomach. I still have that visual of my youngest son going to his knees. Jack made a boy in high school kiss his feet because he said something that Jack didn't like. It is just disgusting because Jack knows better. He knows right from wrong. He knows. And Jack is only like that's when he's using, because when he's not using, he's a great person. You would love him if you met him. You would absolutely love him. You would have no clue. No clue at all that he was a drug addict. Jack looks like any other 28 year old.

Did you ever feel hopeless or want to give up on your child’s drug abuse?

No. And I'll never give up hope. Never.

Parents in your position are often stuck between wanting to help their child and wanting to cut them off. Were you ever worried you were enabling the drug abuse by trying to support your child financially or providing meals or housing?

Yes, it has taken all these years to realize that what we have been doing has been helping to make the mess even worse than it is. It's not a good feeling. It's easier telling a 28-year-old "no" than it was telling an 18-year-old "no” because at 18, they're still counting on you and relying on you. But at 28, he should be doing all this on his own. I think that my husband and I both finally realized that we've been doing it the wrong way.

How many times did you give your child money and worry they were just using it for drugs?

Oh gosh. I've actually taken him to his dealer. Actually, his dad and I both have taken him to his dealer because he said they would kill him if he didn’t show up. We didn't understand these people. We were told if we didn't give him sixty dollars to go pay his debt, they would literally kill him, not realizing until we got there that he was actually buying the drugs. He wasn't paying off a debt. And when I took him, I remember him telling me to get down on the floor of the car so the dealer didn't see me because the dealer was a boy that I knew. I got back home and I said, "Don't you ever ask me to do that again." This was when he still lived at home. Now looking back on it, I should have known better. But I knew nothing about heroin or drug dealing or any of that stuff. We kicked him out of the house after his senior year in high school. He went to live with another set of twins. They were actually distributing marijuana at that time. Jack would come home with bundles of cash. One time I found a bundle in my tennis shoes. And these boys were having it shipped from California to a pack and ship place. Jack would go pick it up and take it back to the dealer, so he was considered a runner. They would give him a cut. Then they would distribute and sell the drugs. We couldn't figure out where he was getting all of that money. He finally opened up and told us what he was doing. Then we kicked him out of the house and he went to live with people who exposed him to heavier drugs. He told us he started using heavier pills. I don't know what he meant by that, whether it was Xanax or what.

Where do you think the line is between supporting and enabling your child?

Jack will always have our love. We are always going to support him in his treatment and in his recovery. But when he starts to use again is when we have to cut him off, whether it's by not accepting his phone calls or not giving him money. We're not going to stop supporting him in his recovery. But we won't support him if he's not in recovery.

What happened or needs to happen to get your child into recovery?

Every time has been different. I think this time we told him we were done supporting his habit. He realized that he had really crossed the line this time with us. He's done some stinky things before. He's stolen items and pawned them. Once he said, "I realized I needed help when I tried to load the snow blower into the trunk of my car to go pawn it." And this was a massive snow blower. He said, “I was going to put it in my car myself and I realized I couldn't physically lift it.”

This time we've totally cut everything off. Jack adores his dad, and it has been really hard for him because his dad isn’t speaking to him right now. I told Jack his dad doesn't want to talk to him. And that was hard.

Sure we have regrets about it but I think we've done the best we can. Now it's up to Jack. We can't fix him. I always thought I could fix him. I'm finally to the point where I know that I can't do it. He has to do it. And that's been huge for me. I thought if we brought him back home, I could be there for him and I could take him if he needed to go to the doctor. But it doesn't work that way. Jack is definitely feeling this shift in me. I just pray that this ends well.


These are some of the books Jack has been given. This is only a small sampling of books that he has collected in treatment that he hasn’t even opened.

Can you identify anything positive that has come from your experience with opioid addiction?

It has actually been good for our marriage, which is not a very good thing to say. It's made me a kinder and more tolerant person. I'm not as quick to judge others and I will never ever again in my life judge how other people raise their children. Never. I will never pass judgment. As a young mother, I did judge others. I mean, all of my friends did. This experience has made me kinder. It's made me more tolerant, less judgmental and much more loving. I cherish every minute that I have with Jack and with my other two.

What are you doing to cope?

Well, in all honesty, I do take medication for depression and anxiety to get me through the days. I just went to the doctor and had my medication lowered because I feel like I'm in a better place now. This is not a good thing, but I eat. That's my stress reliever and that helps me to cope. I try to keep busy too. We go to Nar-Anon meetings. I have a small business so I try to work on my projects for my small business. That's really how I cope. Nothing over the top. I tried to get involved in more groups. I was on the board of a couple different ones but they're more centered on legislation, and I'm not wired that way. I operate more on a personal level.

How are you doing today?

Today I'm good because Jack is good. My other two are good. My husband's good. So today is a good day.

Do you have any advice for parents currently trying to help their child deal with opioid addiction?

Try to get your child some kind of treatment before it's too late. And when I say before it's too late, I mean before they get dug so far into that hole that it's so hard to get out. And there is treatment out there. You just have to search for it. Indiana doesn't have many resources. They're getting there but I don't know what it's going to take for them to get on the bandwagon and realize that this is truly a crisis. It really and truly is a crisis.

But … the addict has to want the help. You can't force them to do it. We tried that it didn't work. They have to want the help. And until they want the help, you have to back off. You can't enable them. You have to love them and support them outside of their addiction. I have my son. My Jack. And then I have Jack the addict. And they're two completely different people. And I love Jack. But he has to work to get better. I can't make him do it. And no parent can make their child do it. He has to be ready. And they say “hit bottom.” I don't know if there is a bottom, other than death. You know … Jack has slept in his car. He has lived in his car but no more than a couple of days at a time because I couldn't let my son be homeless. So I wasn't doing him any favors at all. I was making it easy for him. And now I'm making it hard for him. But he has to find the tools to get his brain healed too. Until he gets to that point or until someone's child gets to that point, all you can do is love them.


I couldn't tell you how many sponsors Jack has had. Jack had a sponsor here at home, and he loved the guy. Jack actually went to a convention with this sponsor when he was here this last time. He went to the National Narcotics Anonymous Meeting in Florida. And these symbolize to me that Jack is trying.

What advice can you give to parents of younger children so they can help their kids avoid opioid addiction?

I always tell people that Jack didn't choose to be this way. He made a bad choice when he decided to try opiates. He had no clue he was going to become addicted to them. So, I think you have to drum it into their heads to not even try it. You don't know if you're predisposed to addiction. I've been reading a lot about addicts who have not only the mental illness of addiction, but that addiction also triggers schizophrenia or manic depression or bipolar disorder. These drugs seem to bring out these other issues they are predisposed to. And then you have a whole other set of illnesses to deal with. Nobody knows how they are genetically set up. So just don't try it. Don't even go near it.

List two things you think need to happen that will help put an end to the opioid crisis.

There needs to be more education in classrooms starting at a young age, but I hate to pawn all that off on teachers. Teachers already have enough to teach these kids. And we need to get rid of the stigma that surrounds addiction. Get rid of the stigma and help people learn that addiction really is a disease. It is a mental illness. Growing up I can remember driving in downtown Indianapolis and seeing drug addicts on the corner and making bad comments about them. Get rid of the stigma and make it a certified disease. From what I've read, our military is protecting people in other countries that are growing poppies. Why are we protecting them when they're sending drugs over here?

Why do you want to remain anonymous and not have your picture connected with your interview? Why do you want to have your image connected with your interview?

To help get rid of the stigma of addiction. And to let people know it could happen to anyone. It doesn't discriminate.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

The only thing that I would add, and I said it earlier, is if you are facing addiction in your family whether it's your child or whether it's your spouse or your parent, just love them and keep loving them. They need that love. They need to know they are loved. They need to know their family is not shunning them, because other people are taking care of that. It's a hard battle. But I'm not going to give up. And I open myself up to anybody who wants to talk. I get texts and emails all the time. It's amazing and intimate. It is nice to let people know they are not alone. I'm so elated that I have other people I can talk to about this and know that I am not the only one whose child has this disease. I'm pretty upfront about our story and I've talked to Jack about it and asked him if it was okay that I shared. And he said "If it'll help other people, do it." Jack’s goal is to work in the field. But he has to get himself better first before he can help other people.