Sunday, 19 January 2014

Welcome to hell

Welcome to Hell
By: Rose Barbour

Please take a moment to think about your children – no matter what their ages – and how much you love them. Feel that intense love inside your heart.

Consider how many times you thought about the dangers lurking in the outside world, and how you would do absolutely anything to protect them from all of it.

Remember the precious times when your child’s biggest problems could be fixed with a hug, kiss, band-aid, soothing words, or some combination thereof.

Recall the look of love and gratitude in your child’s eyes as your loving care took away the pain and replaced it with a smile.

Think back to when your children shared their hopes and dreams with you. How they wanted to be famous singers, firefighters, doctors, and everything else under the sun. Oh, how you loved to hear about their dreams.

With the warm memories in your heart, please take a moment to imagine....

That your precious child has been diagnosed with a devastating disease.

A disease that kills more people each year than car accidents.

People (young and old) in your area have already died from the disease so you know it is serious.

Can you feel the fear?

Can you feel your heart breaking?

Now, imagine that the world does not understand this disease. In fact, many will look down on your child for having it.

You feel so alone and scared to death, but you can’t reach out to anyone for support.

You fear that if you do tell someone, your good, loving child will be judged as a bad person.

To protect your sick child from any type of stigma, you remain quiet and suffer in silence. You suffer for a very long time.  

There will be no benefit held, and no family or community support shown, even though you and your child will experience more pain than you’ve ever experienced in your life.

You are forced to fight the biggest battle of your lives all on your own.

You immediately take your child to get treatment.

You trust that your child is getting the best care.

You eventually figure out that what is being offered is inadequate.

Your child will not have access to the best treatment available.

You feel betrayed by the very system that was supposed to help him to get well.

You are forced to watch helplessly as the under-treated disease escalates, causing the child that you love so much to become a shell of his former self.

Your child is sick and getting worse. The disease is winning.

If you don’t figure out how to save your child, he will surely die like so many before him.

You are heartbroken and scared to death. You begin to lose hope as all of your efforts fail.

In frustration you cry out for help, but your cries are met with silence and indifference.

Your health begins to suffer as you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.

There seems to be no escape from this nightmare.

After years of fighting for help for your child, but never getting enough, you watch him die a little more each day.

You begin to plan his funeral in your head.

Your precious child. So sick. So desperate. Telling you that he can’t take it anymore. He will be dead by the end of the day.

Your child so desperately needing a life line, but it never comes.

You wait for the call or knock on the door that will forever change who you are.

You are scared, sad, lonely, tired, and heartbroken.

You are powerless.

No hug, kiss, band-aid, soothing words, or some combination thereof will save your child this time.

Your love is no longer enough to protect him. You cry a million tears.

Welcome to the reality of life with an addicted child.

Welcome to hell!

Written by: Rose Barbour


  1. Wow what a strong message very well done. This should be printed and sent home to all parents. Children need more education as do the parents.

  2. lost my son at 36 to this disease and fought for years to get help heartbreaking and so true

    1. I am so sorry for your loss. That is our biggest nightmare. This is such a cold, cruel disease. xo

    2. And the same can be said for someone who watches a sibling go thru very accurate Rose, just what I feel for my family member.....

    3. Yes, it is hard to watch anyone that we love go through this journey of addiction. I hope your family member gets the help that is needed and that, as a family, you have support as well. Addiction is a family disease.

    4. We are suffering through the process right now. Six months sober after spending those months in a rehab facility for which we took out a second mortgage. When the money was used up, he was "fine" to go on to a sober living community. That last two weeks. There was no supervision, and the owner turned out to be an addict with an anger management problem. If I didn't hear from others afterwards, I wouldn't have believed what our son told us. The first center doesn't care anymore, the money ran out and he was replaced by someone with insurance. God knows what we are going to do. I certainly don't.

    5. Thank you for your comment. I am so very sorry for all that you are going through. Things need to change, that is for sure! People are dying because of a broken system. It has to stop!! xo

  3. Thank you everyone for visiting my blog and commenting. I really appreciate it! xo

  4. I cried, this is my child, this is me. I am so afraid. Thank you for putting it into words. hugs

    1. God love you! I know how hard and scary it is. I hope it gives you some hope to know that my son has over 3 months of recovery in now. He finally got the help that he so desperately needed. He (and we) waited a long time for this. I pray that your child will find recovery, too! Never give up!

  5. Thank you for sharing you and your son's journey. I will keep you both in my prayers tonight. I don't know you or your son, but I do know how cunning and baffling the disease is. One day at a time, (Or one choice at a time) your son can fight the disease. Stay strong and remember that we are never alone. I am proud of you for sharing and I'm proud of your son for his 3 months of sobriety.

    1. Thank you so much for your kindness. My son is doing wonderful. He feels so good about life. We are so pleased. He is in a wonderful after care program that provides him with employment, healthy meetings, and positive relationships. One day at a time and today is a very good day. xo

  6. 12 yrs ago my world fell apart! My son, my smart, handsome son, was an addict. Everyone would tell me its his battle and you have to let him fight it himself. Not likely!Hes my son and I was going to fix this come hell or high water! The battle I faced with my son and his addiction were nothing compared to the battle I faced here on P.E.I trying to get him the help he so desperately needed. The demoralization I endured within the system brought me to my knees, literally. After ten years I finally realized I had to take a step back or I wouldn't be here at all for my son. Thankfully hes doing better now but no thanks to anyone but himself. My hope is that someday things will change here on the Island so no other mother has to go through the pain and anguish I did. Thank-you Rose for just doing what you do. Your words comfort those of us that so often live in such darkness.

    1. Thank you for your response! I am glad to hear that your son is doing better. You are so right! Here on PEI we face two battles: the demon called addiction and a broken system where help is not easy to get. My heart goes out to any family going through this. The province has recently made an investment in Addiction Services (this allowed my son to get the help he needed) and I pray that there'll be more to come. There's a lot to do, but with the will of the people and government, it will get done so that no other person and their family has to suffer for as long as our families have suffered. xo

  7. This so beautifully captures the incredible heartbreak of loving a child with the disease of addiction.

  8. Very accurate depiction of the parent of an addicted child...thank you.

    In reality drugs and alcohol are the number cause of death 5 times over. It's unfortunate there's no method of tracking the casualties. We have a problem that is rapidly becoming the next generation's Holocaust.

    I can't share anymore than prayers go out to all those caught up in its web, as anyone who has lived with an alcoholic or addict can attest how much family space it literally consumes.

    1. Thank you! Yes, it is a very difficult journey. I wouldn`t wish it on anyone!

  9. you have written the words of so many of us, our lives, our heartache and our frustrations, this is the life and the hand we have been dealt; we're not sure why and we may never know but, somehow these words show and let know the struggle and despair we face.....this is the life we don't wish on our enemies, we pray not another person has to endure this pain.....thank you for putting our hearts in words

    1. You are so welcome! It is very difficult but please hang onto the hope. My son is now 20 months in recovery and a college graduate. Where there is life, there is hope. xoxoxo

  10. Wow! Very powerful piece of writing.

  11. This has really touched home for me, a recovering addict and mother of addicts. When I was in my addiction I never thought of how my addiction affected others. I know how desperate and beaten down I became. When I was finally able to get the help that has saved my life and is working for me to this day...over 9 yrs later...I had no idea the hell and pain I would go through when dealing with one of my sons and his addiction. I could feel his desperation and anguish and it was eating me alive. My son and I don't talk right now, by his choice. He is doing well, working and expecting his first child. I pray to God that he never has to experience what I did with him with any of his children. I also pray that the government opens their eyes and soon sees the desperation many are suffering and they soon help to do something about it instead of turning a blind eye and thinking i will just go away if they ignore it long enough. Thanks for writing this powerful poem and helping so many Islanders, Rose.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I'm glad to hear that your son is doing well. Hopefully, he'll want to reconnect before his child is born. xoxo


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