Mom grate­ful her ad­dicted daugh­ter sur­vived

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By BAR­BARA MILES

I have two daugh­ters, one is a heroin ad­dict and one is not. We have started a Face­book page to raise aware­ness. “True Life Heroin Di­aries” can be found at https://www. face­book.com/True-Life-HeroinDiaries-1494386997291627. Aug. 30 marked five months clean for my daugh­ter with ad­dic­tion. It has been hell, but we want to share our stor y to help raise aware­ness.

I’m not em­bar­rassed any­more to talk about my daugh­ter’s ad­dic­tion. I was ter­ri­bly em­bar­rassed be­fore, but that si­lence al­most killed her. She has been to re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion sev­eral times — the last time, she was near death.

She had huge ab­scesses on her arms from shoot­ing nee­dles, and they were in­fected al­most down to the bone. She avoided see­ing me when she was us­ing be­cause she knew I could tell.

She was in an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship with a drug dealer, and she be­gan sell­ing heroin also to sup­port their habit. She would make sev­eral runs daily to the worst neigh­bor­hoods in Bal­ti­more and was fi­nally ar­rested on the day she left re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

At 25 years old, she is pretty and smart; no one could be­lieve that she would ever use heroin. That is my big­gest warn­ing to other par­ents: It hap­pens to any of us: young, old, mid­dle class, rich, poor, black or white.

It was in­cred­i­bly hard to tell the other fam­ily mem­bers what was go­ing on, so I kept it se­cret and died a lit­tle ev­ery day with her. I thought, “What will peo­ple think of me? What kind of mom must they think I am?”

Well, that was stupid be­cause I kept get­ting just as sick as her when I needed to be keep­ing my­self healthy and strong to be take care of her. This has been the most hor­ri­ble ex­pe­ri­ence of my life. The wor­ry­ing and wait­ing to get the phone call — you know, “that phone call,” the one that she is gone.

Mak­ing up lies about why she never shows up for fam­ily events causes anx­i­ety. Know­ing your beau­ti­ful baby is suf­fer­ing daily causes sad­ness, and you can do noth­ing at all un­til she has had enough.

Now, I will shout it from the roof tops: “I have a daugh­ter who is a heroin ad­dict!” I’m not ashamed any longer. I am a grate­ful mom of a heroin ad­dict who sur­vived.

If you have a per­sonal story and are will­ing to share (anonymous sub­mis­sions are ac­cepted) please email tal­bot­goe­spur­ple@gmail.com. To find out more about Tal­bot Goes Pur­ple, go on­line to www.tal­bot­goe­spur­ple.org.

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