From a Mother’s Perspective

I knew from my own previous addictions that no matter how much you love your family member, daughter, son, mom, or dad, “you cannot love an alcoholic sober and/or a drug addict clean,” but you can enable them to jail, an overdose, or worse… to the grave.  I thought if I loved my daughter enough and gave her what she wanted then she will be safe. I was willing to do anything to help her or at least that’s what I thought I was doing.  My mom was a prayer warrior who loved unconditionally, but was an enabler in every sense of the word.  My mom was the glue that held our family together, but she also undermined me where Erica was concerned. By this statement, I mean if I said no to Erica, my mom said yes.  It made some conversations with my mom about my daughter’s behavior and the things that I knew she was doing very difficult. There were many fights with my mom about Erica. From experience I knew that giving my daughter money and listening to her lies were the worst thing we could do, but my mom would not listen to the truth. She refused to stop helping Erica with cash, even when she knew in her heart that her granddaughter was not doing the right thing.  It was very frustrating and sometimes made me second guess the reality that I knew.

Erica was abusing alcohol and drugs and I was fully aware of this.  I was helpless and felt so defeated when trying to get help from my mom so that we could help Erica.  My mom thought Erica could do no wrong, so she would not hear anything I would tell her.  Erica had been staying at my mom’s house, so all my mom could wrap her head around was the fact that I would not allow Erica to live at my house and do the things she was doing. Don’t get me wrong, Erica could live at my house, but under the rules of the house.  Erica wanted no part of any rules at any point in her life.

On March 12, 2010, after a long week of sickness my mom passed away. It was unexpected, and we were all devastated. Erica took losing her memaw extremely hard and resorted to using more drugs and drinking more alcohol.  At this point, I was mourning the loss of my mom and battling the helplessness I felt because I knew that I could not change or help my daughter. She was out of control, she was drinking, using drugs, and self -destructing daily. I knew I couldn’t help Erica and I couldn’t change Erica. I was helpless, hopeless and scared, but I had to do what I had been praying to God about helping me learn how to let go. I had to step out of the way and I had to listen when He spoke to me.  I had spent countless nights praying to God to protect her, to help her and to do whatever it took to get her clean and sober. I could no longer dwell on the what ifs, what if she died or what if she accidentally killed someone while under the influence.  I had to let go and trust that no matter what happened that God would be there to see me through.

At this point and time, Erica had totaled her car, had misdemeanor criminal charges and she was basically homeless.  She had to have her friend bring her to court for the minor in possession she had gotten.  I told her that I would give her friend money for gas if she would bring her.  After court, I put gas in her friend’s car and of course, Erica wanted cash.  I refused to give her cash, so she got out of the car and took off walking.  As bad as I wanted to pick her up and give her the money, I didn’t. I called my sisters and told them under absolutely no circumstance were they to give her cash.  That if she wanted a ride that was fine or if they wanted to buy her food that was fine, but no cash.   I will never forget this day, because this was the day that I decided enough was enough, I could no longer sit back and allow my daughter to continue to live the life she was living.  I knew that at this point it was up to God, and that I would listen. This time “tough love” was the only answer.

Erica started cursing at me and just was totally out of control if she wanted money and I would not give it to her. At this point, I had had enough.  I decided that I could no longer pay her phone bill. I called Erica and I told her that I was shutting her phone off at 6 p.m. or she could go to rehab.  Of course, she started in with, I didn’t love her, how would she talk to me, etc. she cussed me and hung up.  I prayed so hard at that moment that she would call back.  God in that small still voice said, “I’ve got this” and I knew it was up to Him.  The next 30 minutes felt like hours.  I did not know what she was going to do, but I knew no matter how hard it was at 6 p.m. her phone would be shut off.  Trusting God in those moments was very hard.  All I could think is what if she didn’t go and what if something happened to her.  I cried so hard that I couldn’t even see to drive, but it was out of my hands.  About 15 minutes after she hung up on me she called me back and I will never forget her words, “if it would make me happy that she would go to rehab.”  She told me where she was at and I went and picked her up.  My sister and I went straight to a place we found online, but they would not take her. I was devastated, I didn’t know what the night would hold but I knew I was not letting her out of my sight.  The next morning, I found a place that would take her.

When I dropped her off, I knew that she could check herself out at any time, so I made sure she understood that if she left the facility that she was not to call anyone in her family that no one will pick her up. I figured even if she hated me she would be alive. At 4:55 p.m. after checking her into rehab I got in my car and cried so hard that I could not drive.  I was leaving my baby in a locked facility due to addiction.   All I could think was where did I go wrong. That it was all my fault. At that moment, I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I prayed so hard that she would stay.  Then it was like in my head, I heard my mom say, “you got her here now let God work on her.”  She called and tried to manipulate the situation a few times, but I called her bluff and she stayed.  I traveled to the rehab center every weekend while she was there and did family counseling.  She was in the facility, but she was never alone.  I know that the last 8 years have not been easy, but I am so proud of my daughter and who she is today.  She is a true inspiration and I am lucky enough to be her mom. The road to recovery is possible for anyone and I believe it takes one individual to change and that person can lead others to change.