Most individuals view their mothers as the absolute example to follow. To an innocent child, their mother is the person who never gets scared, who knows how to fix any situation, who cares deeply about your happiness, who loves you unconditionally and who knows right from wrong. What confusion, then, is brought upon a child who is watching their mother struggle with substance abuse and addiction.
Anthony’s Story of Addiction Recovery
Anthony is a Combat Engineer in the United States Army. He describes his mother as strong, caring, devoted and hardworking. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree, and despite being a single mother for many years she provided a nice home for herself and Anthony to live in. She eventually remarried and had another son. Anthony says it was a nice family, and a nice life. And then it changed.
Anthony’s mom decided to divorce her husband, and with her two sons moved back to her hometown of Eufaula, Oklahoma. She began a relationship with a man who had just finished serving a prison sentence. They fought often, and began to use drugs. Anthony’s quiet family life shifted dramatically as people were constantly coming into their home to use drugs, and Anthony and his brother were dragged to other homes for drug parties and illegal methamphetamine production. There were sometimes as many as twenty people crammed together in one home, and many of them had guns.
Anthony’s mother chose to move her family again. Anthony remembers people walking into the house and fighting with his mother or buying drugs from her. At one time their car was stolen by other addicts. While Anthony’s mother feared for her life, she was so intent on getting and staying high that she continued to risk her life – and her sons’ lives.
Anthony became sucked into the hard life. The addicts who associated with his mother taught him how to talk tough and be tough, how to fight and how to act like them. By the time Anthony was ten years old he knew how to guard and protect his home – with threats and tough talk. He began to act out, spray painting trailers and throwing rocks at cop cars. He was cheered on by his mother’s “friends” as he ran from the police who were patrolling the trailer park, looking for him. He began to feel invincible, but only on the surface. Deep down he was really scared.
Anthony’s mother felt horrible, not only personally but because of what she had allowed to occur with her sons. She decided to get help, and her sister set her up to enroll at Narconon Arrowhead. At a court appearance, however, her boyfriend convinced her to leave with him. She abandoned her father at the courthouse and disappeared for nineteen days. No one knew where she was.
Anthony’s aunt found his mother in Dallas, Texas. She and her boyfriend had been arrested while high on methamphetamine and parked in the cargo section of the Dallas Airport in the middle of the night. In court, Anthony’s mother began to spill some alarming truths: her boyfriend had tried to kill her, she had stolen things, she had lied and she had thrown away everything in her life for drugs. Anthony’s aunt, with the help of the Narconon Arrowhead staff, worked with the attorneys and probation officers in Texas to have Anthony’s mother released for drug rehabilitation treatment at Narconon Arrowhead.
At the tender young age of eleven, Anthony ended up in a shelter in Eufaula. While he was well taken care of by shelter staff, he felt that he had lost everything. He had no family, no friends, no home and no personal possessions. One thing he was given by the shelter, a baseball cap, had a tracking device sewn to the inside so that they could find him if he tried to run away. Anthony became depressed and prayed to God for guidance. Anthony remained at the shelter for three weeks, until his mother was dismissed from the Narconon program for failing to adhere to her program and interfering with the programs of other participants. She was given the option to return if she agreed to follow the rules and her program.
The court released Anthony back to his mother’s care, but she remained under surveillance by the state to ensure she took proper care of herself and her child. She became involved with a new man, secured a house and a new job and started to create a family again. She’d been sober for over a year when she had another baby, but social services took him from her at the hospital. She tried to get her baby back from the state by attending a variety of different rehabilitation programs, but they didn’t work like Narconon could and she failed time and again. She was arrested for carrying methamphetamine with intent to distribute and lost all chance of being granted custody of her newborn baby. In an act of selflessness, Anthony’s aunt adopted the baby herself.
Anthony’s mom returned to jail and found out that she was once again with child. It was at this time that she decided she had to get straight – she refused to lose yet another child due to drug abuse. She stopped all drug use and moved in with her brother, delivering a healthy baby girl shortly thereafter. Quite suddenly, she decided that she wanted to return to Narconon and complete her rehabilitation program.
Anthony’s mom has been clean and sober for nearly two years now. She credits Narconon Arrowhead and her sister’s unfailing support with saving her life. It is the life skills that she learned at Narconon that allowed Anthony’s mother to stay straight, even when things got really tough, skills she continues to use today in order to remain healthy, happy and productive. She not only graduated from the Narconon Arrowhead program, but turned around and participated in the extensive Narconon Arrowhead training to become a staff member so that she herself can help save others from addiction.
Watching his mother struggle through substance abuse and win with the right tools, support and encouragement has made Anthony want to succeed in life, no matter the hardships he faces. Anthony graduated from military school and has been to Afghanistan, Germany, Iraq and Kuwait. In his own words, “She is fighting one war and I am fighting another … but we are both on top!”