Drug addiction is a, strange thing. You read stories in magazines, you see stories on TV, but it is when you start watching a slow progression into addiction that you start to realize just how terrible drugs are.
My sister is Liz. She was a methamphetamine addict for 9 long years. As her family we didn’t immediately notice what was happening. Liz was always popular growing up, always had friends, and made really good grades in school. For all extents and purposes she seemed to have it all. After a high school pregnancy and young marriage, Liz left for college. At this point she had only dabbled in alcohol consumption and some pot smoking….we thought. Turns out she had been turned onto cocaine as a way to drop weight and she did. After college another marriage and another baby Liz seemed to start spiraling. When her second child was 3 she took him for a visit with his father and opted to let him live there. We didn’t understand this as her family. She loved her boys. Soon her oldest son was living with our mom and Liz seemed to be living up life.
Liz and I had always been close but during this time the phone calls were less and less. The showing up for family activities became less and less. It seemed that our loving sister to sister relationship had turned into a constant argument or disagreement. I was very sad during this time, I loved my older sister. I missed my older sister. New boyfriends, moving, never having any money. The drug use now had moved from social using here and there to full blown addiction. Emotional highs and lows. Staying up for days on end. Avoiding the family. This was now Liz’s normal routine. We had lost her to methamphetamine and her “friends”.
Ignoring Drug Use
For a while we were angry and tried to ignore the situation. The children were in good hands and we didn’t feel she cared, so we washed our hands of the situation. In 2004 another baby was coming but this child would bring my sister’s addiction into light. My precious nephew was born addicted to methamphetamine and was taken from the hospital by the Department of Human Services when he was only 17 hours old. I was in shock but my mom, well she was just straight out mad. Our mom had struggled with my sister’s addiction. Mom always wanted to see the best in her, even after missed family occasions, arrest, debt, and all. For the first time my mom was able to see my sister’s addiction simply for what it was ADDICTION. But the baby being taken and the realization that my sister but her addiction ahead of this baby really made my mom realize something was going to need to be done. She could no longer keep my sisters addiction a secret. She could no longer act like it didn’t exist. I mean as long as my sister had stayed away it was “out of sight out of mind”.
It was decided that since I was married and had a new born myself that I would foster the baby until my sister could get through rehab and back on her feet. Off to local state funded rehab my sister went and so it began. The first rehab they let her have the baby there with her. Soon my phone was ringing to come and get my sister that she was being released from the program for having her boyfriend break into the facility and was caught having sex. Onto another rehab, soon the phone rang and had snuck drugs into the facility. Onto another rehab, soon the phone rang and she had gotten in a fight and was being kicked out again. By this point we were exhausted. We could not figure out why she was being so irrational. Why was she not following the rules? How much did she expect us to put up with? Soon my sister was on a trip and was pulled over and a meth needle was found in the car. The jail called me because she was afraid to call mom. They explained that she was being released but they needed me to know that she was pregnant….again. Well crap. I was angry and told the jail I wouldn’t be coming. That was probably the hardest thing in my life that I did. I turned my back on helping my sister. Tough love really hurt, us both. My brother opted to take my sister to another state where he lived and help her get back on her feet. She soon gave birth to a little girl and seemed to be on her feet. In this time the state had taken her rights on the little boy I was keeping and he was put up for adoption. Which I quickly did. So my nephew, is now my son.
Hoping for the Best Through Treatment
We all hoped for the best. We wanted Liz to have happiness. Soon she was asking to return to our home state and be near the family. We were so excited. We had the old Liz back. But it wasn’t long before her old “Friends” started seeking her out. There was a story with every person, this one was clean, this one was doing well, this one really needs her help. It started out with pot being smoked in her house to full blown meth addiction again. Our mom was devastated.
So she asked me to try and find my sister a private program. With some guidance I was able to find a long term intensive program. My sister entered treatment at Narconon Arrowhead and after 8 good months on of intensive treatment she was back on her feet. Treatment didn’t come easy to my sister. But soon she got a grip on things. She was able to get detoxed, purified, and basically she learned a new way to live without drugs. She then decided that she wanted to work in the rehabilitation field too. She now has been clean for 2 years and is working in Michigan and was just recently promoted. She is doing very well, has a boyfriend, and soon will have her daughter living with her. Liz doing well is all that we could ever ask for. Thank you Narconon Arrowhead for saving my sister’s life.