Dear Heroin User,
I am the mother of a heroin user.
I’ve never had a broken heart like this.
I can barely believe I am typing those words. I could never have imagined life would be like this. I don’t understand why you feel you need to use drugs.
Your life isn’t that bad, your past wasn’t that bad…your life is everybody’s story and yours isn’t that bad. So why? I’m told you have a Disease. I try to understand your Disease…I study it on the internet, talk with other people about it including recovered addicts and counselors. I spend more time trying to understand your disease than you do. And I still don’t understand why you use drugs.
Your self-destructive mission isn’t limited to just heroin. You’ll use anything just to be high. Why do you need to be high? What’s wrong with all there is to enjoy in life that you feel you need to escape in an artificial world of euphoria. Look at all you’re missing out on. You have no home, no food except what you scrounge, no pets, no holidays, no girlfriend, no family… nothing. So what could be so great about this kind of escape?
You conveniently use the excuse that you have to use because you have a Disease. When people have a disease they get help for it… yet all you do is refuse help no matter how many times it has been offered to you. And when you have attended detox and rehab centers, you go right back out and use as soon as you are free.
I don’t care what they say about this Disease and how hard it is to stop. You are sane, intelligent, can comprehend knowledge, can hear, can feel, can see, and you know how much your disease is hurting me and your family…not to mention yourself…and yet you still continue to use. You live on the streets, sleep in the bushes, spend your days scrounging for money to support your habit and frequently end up in jail. You think your drug dealers are your friends and treat your family like the enemy. This is no way to live. You were not raised like that. Why would you want to live the way you are living? You know how much your life could change for the better if you stopped using drugs. So why do you live this way?
You see how much your disease has hurt me, how much my life has changed, how heartbroken I am, how empty my life has become. You tell me your dreams and the life you hope to live, but you know you will never see those dreams unless you stop using drugs. You know this and yet you still use.
I have never had such an empty ten years while watching someone I love so much destroy himself. I have never tried so hard and spent so much time trying to help you…in vain. And yet you still use. I can’t even count the times I’ve driven you to the emergency hospital, detox, rehab, doctor appointments…hours that have turned into months accumulatively, and all for nothing because you still use.
I live in fear and heartache as my constant partners. Crying and feeling emotionally fragile is something I have come to accept as normal life. I spend my days numb knowing that someone I love so much is destroying himself. I live on the edge knowing that at any moment someone who means the world to me could be taken from me forever because of a disease you choose when you don’t have to. I have watched your life, my life, and your family’s life devastatingly change so much for the worse because of your Disease.
The experts and counselors tell me I need to let go and create my own life. They make it all sound so easy …just let go…as though there is some consolation in that. But they don’t have a son who is a heroin addict who is destroying himself, so how can they relate? So for all the condescending advice they give me, I wonder how they would handle this if it were them with and addict child and not me.
As much as I know I should go on with my own life without you, I can’t really be happy knowing at any moment I could lose you forever to your Disease…a Disease that you choose to live with while your real life is passing you by. And believe me I have tried to put my life back together, but my broken heart is weak and the pain gets in the way. It’s hard to live a happy life knowing that someone I love is destroying himself and this is always on my mind.
I’m sure I now have my own disease as a spin-off of your Disease. It’s probably called something like Heroin Addicts’ Mom’s Disease, and it kills its victims just as much as it kills the user. Perhaps not physically, but emotionally and mentally just as deeply, which ultimately takes our life away.
In light of all this, No….I don’t understand your Disease! All the experts say heroin use is a Disease. But your reasons for using could not possibly be superior to the pain I suffer every day because of your disease. The high and the escape you get could not possibly be more than the pain and heartache I feel.
You tell me you love me and that I’m all you have. But this is not love! The experts tell me you are not my son any more because of the heroin, but actually you are still here and you can change. I’m not sure you know what love is because I would never do this to someone I love. At the very least I would get help.
After ten long years, I don’t know how to live like this anymore. There’s no happiness, no joy, no excitement and passion in my soul…just pain, and fear and heartache. Because if you died, you would take with you what is most meaningful to my life. For what is life without the people we love in it?
When I read what I have written, this story and this lifestyle all seems so insane, and yet so easy to change with just one solid decision. When I look at myself in this story, I see how pathetic a person I have become. I am someone who has died inside and can’t seem to find my way back to life. I am not proud of who I have become in these last ten years. I am ashamed. What happened to the dynamic, confident, no-nonsense, happy person I used to be? Where did she go? I don’t even know who I am anymore. And the longer this story plays out, the more hopeless I become. I am losing my belief in life, hope, and faith because after so many years of knowing it would all someday change, it doesn’t…it just gets worse. All the waiting and hope just blurs into fruitless nothingness.
No… I don’t understand your Disease! After I weigh all the info, all the expert’s advice, all the time trying to help you, all the opportunity you have had to change, all the help you have received, all the people who love you and try to encourage you to get sober, I’m not buying it that this Disease is that overwhelming. You have a choice and you refuse to take it. I have never known cruelty like this. It is just plain cruel to use heroin and destroy your life and the lives of the people who love you. Because you still can choose to get help and turn your life around… and yet you don’t.
No I’m not buying it…this BS excuse about Disease…not anymore! I know if you stopped you would have all the dreams you talk about come true and the life you want would be yours. Life would bloom again, there would be color and love and family…better than before. And I, and the ones who love you, would be released from this prison that has become our home for the last ten years.
I have waited for so long for this to change…the rollercoaster hope and then disappointment every time you toyed with another detox and then right back out to using again. The crash from hope to disappointment is harder on me than on you. And I know that after ten years, your fragile body couldn’t possibly tolerate much more.
I am writing this because I feel my life, as well as yours, slipping away. I’m beginning to not feel anymore and I don’t care anymore about recreating my life. My heartache is like a cancer that has metastasized into my whole body. I can’t wait in vain any longer. Life needs to change and it needs to change now.
So I’m asking you one more time to give change a chance and stop using. It’s a different wonderful world on the other side and it can be yours with one decision.
I love you,