Addiction has distorted my past…

When ever my daughter comes home after being away for awhile she loves going through family pictures. It obviously brings her great joy. She just loves to reminisce about all the details..birthday dresses, Christmas parties, old friends and family vacation photo’s. I find myself looking at the photo’s and wondering what I was thinking at that moment. Are there clues to my future? I look happy but am I really? Addiction has not only clouded the present but it has also distorted my past. This picture was taken not long after my brother died…am I happy?

A very young and inexperienced mommy....

A very young and inexperienced mommy….


When J was born it was a very difficult and traumatic birth. When they first brought him to me and tried to place him in my arms I said NO, I don’t want to hold him. I feel guilt to this day. I was just so overwhelmed by this painful experience that I was totally unprepared for, and I didn’t want to hold him. My husband was the first to hold J. After a few minutes, a very wise nurse came and took the baby from my husband and placed him in my arms before I could utter the word no. It was love at first sight…and I was his mommy.  I will never forget on the day we were to go home I looked at my husband and said “Oh my God, are they really going to let us take this baby home?” I had never held a baby in my life and now they were sending me home with one? My husband thought this was so funny. He was the oldest in his family and had 3 younger brothers. He had held babies and changed many diapers. He walked out of that hospital a proud dad to a beautiful baby boy. I walked out of that hospital a young frightened girl who had just become a mom. I had never even changed a diaper before!

I don’t trust my memories anymore. Was I happy? Yes I was…I think? I would not trade my children for anything but if I had to go back and do it all again would I have 4 kids? I am not sure I would. Maybe if I had dedicated more time to J’s childhood things would be different …maybe 4 children stretched quality time to thin and I just wasn’t a good enough mom. Maybe if I insisted my husband worked less, he would have been home and been a positive influence in J’s life.

After reading all of this back…I realize addiction is deeply entrenched in my life. My oldest brother died in a rehab! He had been fighting addiction for as long as I can remember. Why did I choose to marry my husband knowing he was an alcoholic? Why am I surprised by my life?


About madyson007

I am a mom of 4 who thought she was home free when my oldest son went off to college. My serious blunder? Genetics and being naive or maybe just plain stupid.
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26 Responses to Addiction has distorted my past…

  1. Another mother says:

    I have been reading your blog and I felt compelled to send you a short note. I am also another mother of a J…. your stories are the same as what I am living. I read your words and think to myself did I write this. You are not alone and most of all I know now I have a sister mom and I am not alone. I feel your pain and wonder went will my life be about anything other than this. Addiction is a disease that is so hard to understand why my son keeps returning to the same place. I hate pills as they have ruined my son. I just keep praying that one day he will see the light and I will still have my mind. Thanks so much for sharing your story. It helps the rest of us hurting moms….. sister moms.

  2. dorcon1 says:

    I think about what I could have done differently with my son. I have one more child than you and wonder “did he get lost in the shuffle?” I was at a meeting with a woman who only had one child (so he had plenty of attention), and he was an addict. Her husband, a cop, was also addicted to pills. As I learn more about this disease, I am becoming less guilt ridden, because I see now that no matter what I would have done (except tied him to a chair), he was going to do what he wanted to do. He made some very bad choices, at a time when his brain was not mature, with a strong family predisposition to addiction…a perfect storm. I feel bad that you are carrying so much of this inside, with no one to talk about it. Maybe it’s time to unburden your secret…it is too much trauma for a person to handle alone. Perhaps Families Anonymous if you don’t feel comfortable talking to your friends about it.

  3. Gal says:

    Predisposition to addiction is it. We didn’t do it. If we had, surely we could do something to undo it. But, we can’t. So altogether now, let’s forgive ourselves and recognize we’ve always loved our children and done the very best we could. And Happy Mother’s Day Week to all of us. Pats on the back all around.

  4. Please don’t think that the choices you made, or the way you feel, caused your son to become and addict! My life was “perfect”- no alcoholics, a man that loves me and is my life partner, both of us educated and successful, great kids, rules and boundaries. We did everything “right”. And my son is an addict. Addiction has no rules, and there is no reason. It just is. You are not alone! We don’t make addicts. If you keep blaming yourself or the choices you made, you will never get past this. I am proof of this- I am surviving and thriving. My son is sober for over a year- and that’s all him, not me. And for J, it is all him.

  5. Annette says:

    Oh Mads, I was 21 when I had my first baby. The difference between you and I was that I thought I knew everything and was totally ready! At least that is what I put out into the world. I think I was afraid…but God forbid I let anyone know. I look back and think of how arrogant, stupid and afraid I was. I was determined to do it differently than I had been raised.
    I don’t think there is any rhyme or reason to why our kids become addicts though. I shared in a meeting one time that I had breastfed all 4 kids, was an “attachment parent,” homeschooled, was a stay at home mom, made home-made organic baby food, used cloth diapers, painted their bedrooms in soothing colors so they had a peaceful place to be, planted flowers to celebrate their births….and look how it all turned out! In that same meeting another woman shared….”God, I am so glad to hear you say that! Because I thought my son became an addict because I worked full time, he went to public school, I didn’t breastfeed so he didn’t get that bonding time, he was an only child….maybe if he had had a sibling….” On and on we can go.
    But I do so understand addiction warping our perceptions of the past and scaring us about the future. I can look back and pick apart everything….maybe it was this, maybe it was that…..but really I think that is torturing ourselves. Because I think my girl took her first drink at 12 and loved it. There was something inside her that she wanted to fill up and that drink gave her her first clue where to look. Her response was so addict like…..needing more, wanting more, thinking about it and figuring out how to do that again. By the time she was 14 she was off and running and already in big trouble. Her response wasn’t typical or “normal.” It was the response of someone who has all of those addiction neurotransmitters in her head just waiting, salivating, to be fed.
    I think your J and most, if not all of our kids here who are so lost, have the same ones hanging out in their heads, just torturing them, hounding them to get more, to feed them. No matter what their mommas do to save them, they have to finally tell them to shut the fuck up.

  6. Liz says:

    My daughter is an only child. I raised her by myself because her father died of cancer when she was a baby… I blamed myself for her addition because I thought: ‘she wouldn’t be an addict if she had a father, or if she had siblings, or if I didn’t work, or if I had been more aware, or if I didn’t spoil her, etc., etc.’. AND, no matter what, I still kinda think it’s my fault for not talking to her more about drugs and for not catching it early enough… I KNOW, it’s crazy, but that’s what I think, I can’t help it. What I have learned is that it is a disease. I will never give up hope, but I will not enable anymore. I have accepted death could be a consequence. I feel horrible though for coming to terms this way.

    • Annette says:

      Liz, both of my parents were alcoholics, along with my grand parents and some of my siblings, aunts, uncles….it was everywhere! So my kids were raised hearing all about the genetic predisposition to addiction, the risks, the preventions….so I wonder if in my fear and all of my efforts at making them aware and educated if I created my worst case scenario?! LOL we just can’t win in our own heads.

  7. Cheri says:


    I had to smile when I read Annette’s post above. I also filled my kids’ heads with all those same truths, about the predisposition to addiction, etc. Two listened. Two didn’t. One of those who didn’t listen is still wandering in the desert of his own making. I am getting camel’s knees praying for him! One has recovered and reclaimed his life from destruction, and now I pray for other things for him! Life is good to supply us with never-ending opportunities for prayer, isn’t it?

    I also made many dumb decisions in my youth, while dating. I drilled the kids on the importance of not giving themselves away sexually to anyone but their spouse, because I knew the pain that had cause me in my own life. Three listened. One didn’t.

    When it all comes down to it, we do the best we can, as parents, as people. Hindsight is 20/20. Every single one of us has things we would go back and do differently, given the chance. But the truth is and always will be that you did the best you could, with what you had, when you were walking in that place. You love your kids. You love your husband. Your heart is not to harm any of them. Life gets messy. Sometimes it stays messy. There are no guarantees.

    My heart hurts for you. Addiction and substance abuse , shame and guilt … all these are interwoven in the fabric of my past, as well. It is a painful process to look back. It is a fearful prospect to look ahead. But sometimes we must do both. God wants us to learn, understand, and be freed from the lies Satan uses to keep us in bondage. That’s part of the journey He has had me on lately.

    For me, even though addiction and its tentacles is no longer the major controlling factor of my life, the guilt and shame of the past was still a prison. Over the past year, God has taken me on a journey of self discovery, to begin to find freedom.

    Wayne and I pray for J and your family, and we will continue to do so. And I pray that God will bring you to some inner peace in the midst of all the chaos that is life.


  8. Cheri says:

    Oh, forgive me! Madyson, I addressed my comment above to Liz, but it was meant for you! My brain is getting so old! 😦

    • madyson007 says:

      Thank you Cheri…you are very wise.

      • Cheri says:

        Not my wisdom, but His. When we don’t understand, we have but to ask, and He pours His wisdom out for us. It takes time, but He can bring the understanding … or at least the peace, because some things we may never understand. And He can bring freedom to our tortured hearts. Never give up!


  9. Sheila says:

    Glad to have found an active blog. There are so many out there where the posts just trail off and you wonder why. And you think you know why.
    Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Firstborn, who has a job she loves and an MA and a sweet kind BF will be by.
    Child 2, who is a functional addict and lives with his lap dancing addict GF, has been out of high school 6 years next week and works name tag jobs, has an appt. with a doc for Suboxone on Tuesday. Will he go? Who knows. This is not his first detox anyway.
    Like someone has been squeezing my heart in a bad way for many years now.
    I just read that anyone who starts their addiction before the age of 21 has a one in 4 chance of being an addict till death.
    I send hugs and tears and will not say Happy Mothers Day but simply how about a calm day with no drama or pain. I’m good with that.
    I’ll be back soon.

  10. Courtsmom says:

    It’s off topic but I am desperate for help and hope you don’t mind my coming here for some answers. It looks like my DD may be getting ready to ask for help. Perhaps wishful thinking or just hope on my part. While I do not invest myself in enabling her and I invested in enabling recovery.

    I want to be ready with treatment programs when/if the time comes but we are not able to contribute financially. I have googled treatment centers in our area and am overwhelmed with the number of them. So the question is…

    How do I figure out where to send her? The task seems enormous and I don’t know where to begin.

    Just a little background. We did invest $15,000 +living necessities in a out-of-state treatment center and it turned out to be a dismal failure so I am terribly paralyzed by choosing wrong again. Not to mention the apprehension at sending her somewhere where the court appointed attendees will influence her yet again. With jail time behind her as well she has unfortunately learned the wonderful art of manipulation.

    I would appreciate ANY feedback you can offer. I’m sorry if I’m out of line. Thank you for being here.

    • Barbara says:

      Hi Courtsmom,

      I hope you are right about your girl asking for help – and you’re very wise to have a plan in place so you can “strike while the iron’s hot” so to speak. My son has been addicted for 6 years and in and out of rehabs. I think each one helped him to some degree, but what I’ve learned is that until they are ready to stop, it doesn’t matter which rehab it is. Its her frame of mind when she goes in. I’m not sure what state you are in but I found a site that helped me find the last place my son went to and it only cost me $500 because they work with insurance and billed it all so that my insurance would cover it. I can’t find the number but will look for it later and if I find it come back here and give it to you.

      It can feel overwhelming, but try to remember – its more about her wanting to go then where she ends up. As long as its safe and has a good reputation, it shouldn’t matter too much. I hope this helped in some way.


    • Annette says:

      Hi Courtsmom, There are three programs that I can think of off the top of my head that do not charge or charge very minimally. They are faith based programs and consider themselves more of a ministry or a discipleship program… I don’t know how you feel about that. But they are:
      Teen Challenge
      Victory Outreach
      Salvation Army
      They are year long programs and they are located all over the U.S.
      I have been doing this whole journey for a long time….my girl started really young. She is 25 right now and in her 6th program. Our insurance paid for the past 2, and we had to pay the co-payment. She is currently in treatment (for the past 2 weeks) and we will see how it goes.
      I so agree with everyone who said its more about her wanting the help, wanting to change…..don’t waste your money unless its her idea. My girl drug her skinny little strung out self into the above mentioned program 2 years ago on her own. Its a 1 year program, but she has had multiple relapses which has made her have to begin again from the very beginning, numerous times. That she keeps going back says a lot to me. She wants to change, but is so trapped. Depending on how long they have been using, its really a battle. Its a battle any time they want to stop, but especially if they have been out there for years. Its such a sad journey. Please take care of yourself. Alanon has really helped me to survive and even have times of true happiness. ❤

    • Cheri says:


      I saw that Annette listed Teen Challenge as an option. My son went through Teen Challenge when he was 19. He has been sober now for eight years on June 23rd. Any program is only going to be a successful as the abuser’s desire to be well and get clean, but I can whole-heartedly endorse Teen Challenge from personal family experience. If you would like to talk about it, feel free to email me: (Also, don’t let the name mislead you; a person does not have to be a “teen” to go through Teen Challenge.

      God bless,

    • Ron Grover says:

      Dear Courtsmom,

      I see you have gotten some very good suggestions and you would be wise to do what you can while your daughter wants help.

      Another suggestion I have for you is to call a resource I have found helpful. I don’t know where you are located so it is hard to be specific but if you call The Parent Helpline at The Partnership at they have lists of resources that are difficult to come by just as a parent and can tailor it to your area.

      Call Jerry or Denise, they are both professional counselors that can help not only steer you to resources but answer questions about where and what YOU do to help yourself her. Tell them I told you to call, I know both of them and they are great people. 1-855-DRUGFREE

      Ron Grover

  11. madyson007 says:

    I personally would never pay for treatment for J again. J has been in-patient 3 times and out patient 3 times….none of them have worked out. One time there was a 9 month stretch of sobriety but then he got cocky and thought he had it under control and BAM…relapsed.

    There are free drug treatment programs but there is usually a wait to get in. I hope some of my wise readers can offer you some names of these programs. I can not seem to remember them. My advice is if your daughter is over 18 have her call. Get the info. for her but have her call and make the arrangements. She needs to invest in this recovery “idea” or it will just be just another thing you arranged and she went along with ultimately ending in failure.

    Addicts are masters of manipulation…it’s the nature of the game. I just don’t play anymore…much to J’s unhappiness.

  12. Sheila says:

    I think it’s fine to compile research- it’s hard for addicts to do a lot of things we find simple, but as everyone else said, it needs to be her decision.
    And what about out-patient? Most cities and counties offer that sort of thing. I have never located a low cost in-patient program.
    In Austin TX, there is currently a hospital based minimum one week inpatient detox program they pay you to be in because it is a medical trial, but one in four participants will get a placebo. My son’s GF looked into it but was unwilling to face cold turkey. I mention it because there may be similar programs in other cities.

    Another tactic is going cold turkey and when it gets too bad, the addict presents at an ER and says they are a heavy drinker, too. Opiate detox won’t kill you but booze detox will. I heard that approach from an addict.

    It’s hard to find help for the uninsured. I know it well. Too bad the war on drugs has never included what it takes to save the wounded.

  13. Courtsmom says:

    Mady – Sheila, Thanks for your input. I feel the same. I WILL NOT pay for or do all of the leg work for her. I’m just looking for the resources I can pass on to her should she ask. Unfortunately, I have lost all hope. My anger with her still clouds any love I have for her in my heart. I am not able to be in the same room with her without it turning nasty.

    Right now she has a “tag along” that she met in jail this last time. I got conned into letting her stay one night that turned into 3 because she has no where to go. She has a young son that her mother allows her to see occasionally in the park but SUPPOSEDLY her mean, mean stepfather won’t let her come back home. Go figure!

    They have not been allowed back in the house. I am not comfortable having another addict in my home. Not to mention all they did all day was sit in her bedroom and get high. She is using very heavily again. Of course she denies it but the signs are all there.

    I am so tired of this and my husband I continue to disagree on setting boundaries. His position is that he would rather have her die at home than on the street. I on the other hand know I will bury her but I should not have to be forced to watch it happen.

    She was the light of our life – now I only see darkness.

    Thanks again for letting me be here.

  14. Courtsmom says:

    OMG – I somehow missed the follow-up posts from Barbara, Annette, Cheri, and Ron. Thank you all for you input. I’ve pretty much said it all in my post back to Mady & Sheila but I will add this.

    She is not really ready. She is becoming desperate because her father is pulling back some. He put his foot down (read as – he’s doing it for me) about her staying here with a stranger. She knows she can only return here if she is alone. Even then I am uncomfortable with this.

    I am so appreciative of mady for letting me commandeer her site. Ron, I have found your site through mady’s and my heart breaks for all of us. Cheri, thanks for your offer. I may take you up on it some time. I have begun obsessing again. I am addicted to my addict. While I can let her go physically, mentally is another story.

    Thank you all again!

  15. Courtsmom says:

    Hi Mary. So nice of you to ask. I’m still here following everyone. My daughter is doing well. It took several more months after my last post for her to turn a corner. A new guy in her life and another traumatic overdose led to the police offering to not charge her if she completed IOP. I’m really very proud of her. While it was forced it was the first program she has ever completed. She still suffers from the addict mind set which is beyond frustrating and I know drugs are not completely gone from her life. The guy she’s living with has two young boys (10 & 4). My husband and I are playing surrogate grandparents and have had to be vigilant in making sure they are being cared for properly. Their father is an alcoholic and uses drugs for his supposed PTSD. He’s not interested in the prescribed medications which leads to me to believe the PTSD is just an excuse for his behavior. This pisses me off really since their are so many that truly suffer and are still capable of taking care of themselves and their children. So all in all she is no longer livin on the streets, she has food in her stomach, and she is currently working two fast food jobs. We are miles ahead of where we were and for that I am grateful. I still struggle with my emotions and the turmoil that still follows with the kids but I’ll take this over the horrors of her active addiction any day.

    Thank you again for thinking of me. I hope your son finds the strength he needs to fight his demons. It breaks my heart to follow you, Annette and Tori but thank goodness you all had the strength to share. Finding your blogs was my salvation.

    • madyson007 says:

      I am so glad to hear your daughter is doing well! This is never really over….whether they are in active addiction or not. It just kind of hovers through life…

  16. Courtsmom says:

    Damn autocorrect…it should have said Hi Mady!

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