I joined a new group on Facebook recently. There are over 7,000 parents. We are from all over North America, and we all have children battling addiction.
I was overcome with sadness when I first joined the group. So many people sharing their pain and raw emotions; reaching out to other parents who understand this nightmare that they are living, day in and day out.
Parents like me whose children are in recovery try to provide encouraging words and give hope to those who are still suffering and fighting this battle. If my arms could reach them, I would give them big hugs as well. Sometimes words just don’t feel like enough when the pain runs so deep.
Support also comes from parents who have lost their children (I couldn’t imagine!), but who want to make sure that others do not have to go through it. As one mom said, “...we want to help moms (and dads) who are dealing with this from our own experiences, and we want to see the same changes made in our system to spare those addicted now, so that our loss will not have been in vain.”
Some of the parents in the group have children in ICU barely hanging on. Others are praying that their children get into treatment. Some are visiting their children in prisons. Others do not even know where their children are or if they have a warm, safe place to sleep tonight.
The most heartbreaking news of all is that two of the parents in the group lost their children this week to the dreaded disease of addiction. They are living every parent’s worst nightmare. My heart breaks for them. I have no words that are comforting enough to take away that kind of pain.
Please take a moment to imagine what it would be like to go through any of those scenarios with your child!
In all of this darkness, there was some light as beautiful miracles were born. Healthy babies. Each baby is blessed with loving grandparents who are praying that their grandchildren will be the catalyst for change in their addicted children’s lives. Just another bit of hope that things may change. As parents with addicted children, we take hope wherever we can get it.
Addiction is a treatable disease. There is no cure, but there is treatment. The sad thing is that many of these young people were not able to access treatment early enough. When they did get treatment, it wasn’t appropriate for their level of addiction. Sometimes it takes many rounds of treatment before it sticks, but they are not given enough rounds. There are three outcomes with addiction: jails, institutions and death. I see it all in this new parent’s group and right here on our little Island.
If any other disease was ravishing our young people like this, there would be an uproar and governments everywhere would feel the pressure to do something. This is a very serious and deadly disease. We need to put the pressure on. Lives depend on it.
All across North America, governments have not done enough. Now is the time.