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56 of 58 people found this helpful
Frustrating if you've ever dealt with addiction
on March 11, 2013
It's probably harsh, but having dealt with addicts in my own life, the reaction of the family was extremely disappointing. Instead of trying to find help (or even educating themselves) the family gives the daughter an ultimatum -- stop using or live somewhere else -- which doesn't work. Shock!
I know that it's hard to know what to do and everyone wants to help their children, but this family just seemed in shambles... they kept letting their daughter back in the family home (with other children) on vague promises. Not that the daughter didn't WANT to be clean, but heroin is not like quitting cigarettes. You can't just say "no" and hold out for a few days and then everything is okay. Lewry seemed to never learn that lesson, even while taking her daughter to various hotels and vacation spots to detox and 'clean up' -- which never solves the problem. And yet the parents never seemed to learn. This cycle is repeated multiple times and Lewry admits to giving her daughter valium and other prescription drugs to help her kick heroin (again, it doesn't work like that).
It seems like this family was just hoping Amber would go away (totally understandable if you've had an addict in your home) and looked the other way while she was dealing drugs with her boyfriend and didn't want to face reality, even when Amber is arrested. Instead of allowing her to be punished (and possibly get clean) they bail her out yet again and bring her home - to lie, cheat, and steal from her family AGAIN. Like I said, I understand how hard it is to help an addict, but this family never seemed to do any of the "basics" like asking for medical help or going to AA/NA/Al Anon, etc.
All in all, this book is a helpful WHAT NOT TO DO if you find out your child is using drugs. DON'T be passive. DON'T accept promises. If you want to help, you have to ACT. And it is also totally valid to just say goodbye and let them go -- but you can't be wishy washy. Otherwise, you'll get a story like Amber's where a small time drug habit turned into a full blown addiction and a variety of substances, which cost her years of her life, her health, and also friends (who were dying all around her).