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I Got My Son Back: A Mother's Struggle with Her Son's Addiction
by Barbara Hampton
These days, I have a lot of hope and love. Yes, as we move toward the end of 2018, I do have that feeling of real hope for a great year ahead. Much different from the constant fear I felt so many years prior when my son was actively struggling with substance use and heroin addiction.
I tend to keep things - letters, greeting cards, notes. But I have held closer than ever those few notes received from my son Ryan. For so many years I had the dismal thought that someday these papers would be all I’d have left of him. Notes on Christmas saying, “Mom, I’m sorry this year has been such a difficult one. 2004 holds much promise and with God’s grace, I’ll make it the best year yet.” And seven years later a note: “Dear mom, God does have a plan and I think I’m finally following it. Thank you for loving me as I am and always being there for me… love you, your son, Ryan.”However, it wasn’t until three more long and frightening years that Ryan finally came face to face with his addiction. Thankfully, far away in Los Angeles, Ryan finally found the medical rehabilitation he needed.
It was another S.O.S. cry for help, but this time Ryan was willing to sleep outside a detox center for as long as it took to be processed. He knew he needed help and would do anything to get it... But after just one short week of detox at a public facility, he wondered, “now what?” He had been told there was no bed for him. With grace and a lot of luck, Ryan was sent to treatment.
Getting My Son Addiction Treatment
The cost, at this point in my life, was beyond my financial ability. I was still paying off treatment he had received in years prior at substandard facilities that I had charged on credit cards. I even transferred to no-interest lines of credit in order to space out the payments for previous treatments. I was a widowed school teacher, with my last child still living at home and finishing college. With terror in my gut, I tearfully and patiently listened to the treatment personnel. They thoroughly explained the treatment and cost and enrolled him — even though I had no idea at the time how I’d be able to pay. I was able to come up with a down payment and a plan to pay the balance — and it was probably the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. Ryan was getting help, and finally had admitted to himself and others that he had a serious heroin addiction that would, if he didn’t do something about it now, eventually take his life. This is when the hard work began for him. Knowing your child is in treatment gives you a tremendous piece of mind and a break from the constant worry — but it is when the real hard work truly begins.