Parents of Opioid Users View By Question

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.

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Death. That one of my children will inadvertently use the wrong drug or too much of a drug and they’ll be dead. My grandson lost his daddy a few years ago to lung cancer at a very young age. So if he were to lose his mother he would be an orphan.

I have a very close relationship with my son. It would take my breath if I were to lose my son.

Some parents have lost their children. And there are those of us that fear losing our children every day. Every day. I feel really bad for people that have lost their kids, but I also feel really bad for us. We never know if we’re going to go over to our daughter’s place and find her dead. The guy she was with called us once and he said they were over at Burger King and that they ran out of gas. And that they had my granddaughter in the car, but that my daughter had overdosed. He had injected her. And thank God he called us. After he let us know, he went back over to her place and robbed her.

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Well, obviously we weren’t capable of thinking Brady was going to overdose. That was never on our radar. So I can’t say that was our biggest fear. Probably the biggest fear was he had such a bright future and he was on a path that was going to be a dead end. And my biggest fear was he wasn’t going to go to college and that he was going to get kicked out of the military for using weed. My own addiction set me back probably 10 to 15 years. That was wasted time that I should have been dialing in on a career, on a savings account, on a home, etc. I was so behind the eight ball when I finally decided I had enough and that I was going to get sober. I’m 17 years in recovery for all of the above. My drug of choice was cocaine. Yeah … it was a bad time.

So that was my biggest fear: that Brady was off to a great start, but that he was going to crash and burn and it could cost him a lot of years and a lot of financial heartache.

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I had two fears, to be very candid with you. The first fear was that I would lose my daughter. Obviously. The second was that I would have failed as a parent. The helplessness that you feel is profound. The feeling of not being able to help and fix it is devastating – it is that way for any parent and for any child. But for this situation, it is beyond what you can think. And you know … you will always doubt … did I do the right things? I was most fearful that I was going to find my daughter dead. And it is even scarier now because the drugs have gotten so much more potent.

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Death. I don’t want to lose my girls. You know it used to be that my biggest fear was jail, and jail isn’t a good thing and it’s horrible there. It’s heartbreaking. And now that Riley’s incarcerated, just the rules of what I can wear you know and how and when we can talk – there’s just too many rules in prison.

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Travis: Well, our biggest fear happened: death. We got the knock on the door. And when you’re in active addiction and your family is working through this, you fear death. You can’t sleep at night. Every time the phone rings, you jump. To this day, I don’t sleep well. I wake up every day of my life between 3 and 3:30 a.m. I come down these steps. I walk to that door and I check it. I walk to the front door and look out because his car used to park right in front of our house. And every day I still do that. I still do that now. Our biggest fear happened.

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Christy – I didn’t think he would die.

Wayne – See that was not even a risk to me. I was thinking how are we going to get through this cleanly without being scarred? How can we get through this without having a felony? How can we get through this without anybody knowing? See … we were the poster children for stigma. We didn’t even tell family members. We were embarrassed. We thought we did something wrong as parents and that Tyler is not a morally strong or ethical person. That’s what we thought.

Christy – But for me, the motivation was I was protecting Tyler. And it sounds weird now but I was protecting him because he was going to get better. And I didn’t want it to taint his reputation. Once someone knows your child is an addict, that is the way they look at them. They look at them through these glasses that sees them as a tainted human being that is weak. And we were putting this fence around him where we were going to protect him and he was going to get better and then we will open the gates and he will step out. Tyler can then tell you if he wants to. I never thought it was going to kill him. I never thought that. He passed away in 2011. And from then until now, it is out there and on TV. In the last year and a half, the opioid epidemic has ramped up and everyone is talking about it – on the TV, in the paper. When Tyler was going through this, opioid abuse was in the paper but it was more hidden in the back of the paper. And now it is talked about so much more.

At the time, we didn’t know anyone else who was dealing with this addiction. If they did, they were like us … hiding in their homes. We didn’t know this was an epidemic because at the time it wasn’t out there. It wasn’t talked about it. It was rising. It was something you kept really close. We didn’t tell our younger sons that their brother was using opiates.

Wayne – Our middle son got wise to it and he was getting angry because of the reputation. “People are talking Dad. What’s going on with Tyler?” I’d say relax. And he would get mad because something got stolen and he wanted to physically fight Tyler because he was a big kid. I said “No. Tyler is sick. He’ll get through this. He doesn’t mean to do these things.” 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.”

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