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."
When my kids relapse, I have a hard time understanding why they choose to use again knowing they will have to go through withdrawal again. How can they want to go through that again knowing how bad they are going to feel? Or not knowing whether they are going to overdose again. How can they take that risk? But the call of the disease is so strong, they can't help it until they have all of the tools. And even when they have the tools, they may not be able to prevent relapse.
If somebody had said, "Brady if you take one more of these pills, you will die." I feel confident my son wouldn't have taken that last pill. I feel confident about that, and I feel confident with all these other individuals that if someone said "If you stick this needle in your arm, right here, right now, you are going to overdose. We have no Narcan and we are out in the middle of nowhere. We have no cell phone. You will die." I feel confident that most of them would not do it at that particular time. I like to think that Brady had it within him. He just didn't know what he was playing with, because when the toxicology report came back, he had a lot of methadone in his system. And it was all time released. We think Brady would pop a pill and it wouldn't get him high enough, fast enough, so he would pop another pill. And that wouldn't get him high enough fast enough. So he would pop another pill. And by the time all of that medicine had fully opened up, it was too much for his system to handle.
I said some pretty nasty things to her. That was my way of trying to shake her out of it. But I’ve come to realize that I could try that, but the reality was that I couldn’t use the same old parental tactics on her because she was different. The brain chemistry was different. It wasn’t her. The whole “pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get your act together” doesn’t work. Because they don’t have the capacity. It’s over. It’s done. You’re not dealing with your daughter anymore— you’re dealing with this addicted monster.
When their grandmother Betty died, Bailey did a reading at the service. She did a great job. It was big because she was very close to Betty. Family came in from out of town for the service and after we all got together for pizza and to play Euchre. I asked Bailey if she would come join all of us, and she looked at me and she said Mom “I am overwhelmed right now. I'm OK but I need to get back to my people.” That is huge. You know that was just huge. And I said you go. And I'm getting better by knowing to not put down the guilt of "Well you know so-and-so is here from Virginia and so-and-so is here and you don't get to see them often." Well, that's not what's important right now. In the past, I might have told her she really needed to come and that they're going to be hurt if she didn't come. I was teaching her to think about others feelings before her own and take care of other people before her own, which I do all the time. And so you know that's the "great" example I am. So to see her go on her own and say I can't, I need to be with my people, I just leaped for joy.
Shelly & Travis
I ran in shame for five years during Tyler’s active addiction. And I’m not running any longer. And so I’m three years running the good race or however you want to say that. I have a lot of work to do. I already ran in shame. I already did that. I already hid. And that didn’t work for me. There’s no freedom there. I’m different now.
Wayne & Christy
Tyler wasn’t mean. He was sweet. He looked like he was in a glass room and he was trying to get out and he just couldn’t find the door. And I’m on the other side saying “Come on. This way”. And he just couldn’t find the door. We have a blind dog and Tyler reminds me of her. She’s looking for you, she hears your voice and she can’t find you. And that was like Tyler. He was looking and he would reach out and would want you to pull him through a portal or a door but he couldn’t find it. Because he was embarrassed. He would detox on his own for 3 days in the basement. Puking. Sweating. You get diarrhea. It’s just horrible. He would do it by himself and then he would come out of the basement soaking wet with sweat. He was embarrassed. He did not want anyone to know about it. And he would break down and cry. He would say “Why do I keep doing this? I don’t understand.”