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My Daughter's Addiction: A Thief in the Family - Hardwired for Heroin Paperback – March 23, 2009
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"Very very good book-Hard to put down once I started reading it. It's also sad to hear what the family & the addict goes through. Very well written."
-Kimberly Sinkovic, as posted on iTUNES, 03/23/2012
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My son told me that sitting in those meetings (often rehab or court ordered) just made him anxious, couldn't wait to get out to go use. Listening to the stories of the good ol' days, although usually ending with "I'm happy to be sober" did NOT help him. My son was in and out of 9 rehabs from the age of 15. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and actually worked with addicts because my field of expertise was HIV/AIDS and many of our patients were IV drug users. Not that Jeff started that way. It's a choice, yes, to try, to experiment, which most teenagers do, but if you are predisposed to addiction (proven medical fact), your brain becomes hijacked and you are no longer in control. It's like air or food. You will do whatever you have to to get it. It changes you.
Marie explained this, along with the history of her family dynamics (which helped me understand her daughter better), "admitted" all her failings as a "codependent" and "enabler". I wonder if the person who hated this book would consider it "enabling" to continue to take her child in for cancer treatment when the child kept relapsing. How about diabetes? Don't comply with doctor's orders? Ok, you're out, no more treatment for you.....This is absurd.
This illness is destroying so many families. I have found that many of these "kids" no matter their age are "too tender for this world" They have that in common. They are intelligent, creative, kind, compassionate. The drug changes them when they are using, yes. But it's a rare addict who hurts anyone besides themselves and those who love them. I feel very sorry for those parents who walk away from their child, kick them out, do the "tough love" (which is meant for incorrigible, acting out kids, not addicts), and then their child dies! How can they live withthemselves? I know for a fact that we did everything we possibly could for our child. He knows it and he knows how loved he was by his entire family and hoardes of friends. He touched everyone he met.
Addiction is a public health issue, a medical illness, not a criminal one, and Marie pointed that out very succinctly in her book. I was thrilled, because I knew this already due to my profession and my extensive research trying to help my son, but to have it in print by a non-professional, telling her story, her beautiful daughter's story was a gift. Thank you Marie! You will open the eyes of the ignorant who have not yet been touched (that number is growing smaller daily). Yes, some will continue to look at it as a weakness or character flaw, moral failing. But, I believe in my lifetime it will be accepted as what it is. A treatable, chronic, relapsing disease. Once more people believe this, more funding will go to research for treatments (REAL treatments) not meetings alone or white knuckling it. Medications to correct a brain disorder, behavioral therapy & other alternative options.
Unless you have traveled this road of addiction, this horrifying roller coaster of hope, devastating relapses, you really cannot understand what comes before the actual loss of your child. You lose a little at a time, but as long as they are still alive, there is hope. Always hope.
AngelaMy Daughter's Addiction: A Thief in the Family - Hardwired for Heroin
I, too, lost my precious son to an overdose. Our children's stories are different, yet alike. Marie's daughter and she were on the roller-coaster of addiction for years and suffered the additional horrors that involvement with the criminal justice system, treatment facilities, and society thrusts upon those suffering the DISEASE of ADDICTION and the stigmatization of not only the addicts, but, on those who love them most. My son struggled with depression from childhood and during his teens began drinking and dabbling with drugs. We were on the same emotional roller-coaster with our son for almost 3 years while he drank, smoked pot, and did a few pills. We tried everything as Marie did from tough love, to psychologists, to rehabs, to psychiatrists. I finally when I think he was 17 told my boy that I would do anything to help him graduate from high school, but if he went off to college and partied, flunked out, and wasted our hard earned money, he was out of the house until he grew up. Being a truly smart guy, he pre-enlisted in the military and left for boot camp in August at the age of 18. The time in the military curtailed his usage and demanded the discipline he wouldn't accept from us. Four years later, after being honorably discharged, he started college, but when he began having problems with his girlfriend which led to depression which led to self-medicating and from drinking and smoking to using anything and everything. We lived 1600 miles away, but knew he was in serious trouble. We were already checking out treatment centers, when we learned that he had poured bleach over his girlfriends clothes and was in jail. He spent the only 2 days of his life in jail and went straight into a rehab from which he ran after a few weeks, and upon our return we found our son so in the disease that we feared prison or death were staring him in the face. Our son at age 23 beat the 1% odds of gaining and maintaining sobriety. After another 6 weeks of rehab, he moved into a sober living home for 2 years and was lucky and strong enough to get a great sponsor and made true friends within the program. My son was sober for almost 11 years, accomplished much finishing school, successful at every job he had, fell in love, married, and had a son in July 09. He had many stressors the last two years of his life and in 09 began to see a shrink, who immediately put him on drugs. After rehab he never saw a psychiatrist for he did not want to take any drugs. He abused these meds, and very rapidly fell into the disease. He overdosed a few months ago. We always knew that the disease would be a lifetime struggle, but so believed that he'd struggle through. The Disease won in both Mary's and my son's cases. Many hearts have been broken.
I was hooked by Marie's definition of HBD, particularly at the astuteness shown in her saying that addicts suffer the most intense form and are idealists who can't cope with the limitations and boundaries of the physical world. I have noticed this is true in so many that we've lost. My son had the biggest heart in the world and acted with honor and integrity, 99 % of the time! In the disease, he lied/evaded/put on a face.The hook was deepened with the discussion of all the various labels that are thrust upon caretakers; we've all been called enablers and co-dependents when in truth we were doing whatever we could to save our children.
Marie is correct in pointing out that addiction is a public health issue, and there must be changes that allow for consistent treatment and communication between medical personnel and institutions, the legal/criminal justice branch,social workers and religious leaders, the addict, and the addicts' families or chosen representatives. She points out the ineffectiveness of most methods caregivers use in trying to save their loved ones and the torture and toll it takes on the entire family. Society's perception of this brain disease must be corrected and the stigma removed. With consistency in and better availability of treatment, the success rate of treatment will rise. Education is key. I do feel that at this time (hopefully not in the future) that although there are treatments, relapse will still be too often the end result. Even with education, cooperation between the agencies, and medications, we do not have the diagnostic tools (neurological or genetic) to offer early/preventive tests which could nip (treat) it before it began.
I say Bravo to Marie for a job well done and for the help and education that can be gained through reading this book.