I’m a mother of an addict, words I never thought I’d say. I don’t think any parent thinks they will endure what our family has gone through.
She was a tough teenager. We had typical mother daughter issues, but she started running away quite a bit. We decided that she could live with her dad in hopes that new surroundings and some space from each other would improve things.
When her dad and I were together, we were very young and it was not for a long period of time. He welcomed the chance to have Vanessa live with him. If only I could take back that decision.
She lived with him for over a year, on and off. She’d come home for holidays, but we’d argue and she’d storm out and call her dad to come and get her.
One night, she called me crying. She finally wanted to come home. When my fiancée and I picked her up, she was wearing a ragged pair of slippers, dirty sweatpants and a tank top. She looked emaciated. She looked homeless.
She broke down and told me everything, about the drugs and other horrible things she endured. She said she and her dad were living in his car. He had taken her out of school. I was beyond shocked. After we had her safely home, I cried for what seemed like forever. The guilt I felt as a mother for not protecting my daughter was beyond excruciating.
The next day, we went to social services for help and they checked her into detox. She was having severe withdrawal symptoms from the drugs. After that, it was really hard to find inpatient treatment for her.
I was falling apart at the seams. We didn’t have the money to send her anywhere either. We couldn’t afford it, but absolutely couldn’t afford not to send her to treatment. This is when Arapahoe House came into our lives.
From the first phone call for help to the day we checked her in and out of Arapahoe House’s residential program for teens, Arapahoe House has been amazing. The counselors at the StepWise program helped her work through all the horrible things that happened to her.
During the recovery process, she revealed to me that the arguments we had (and all the storming out, calling her father to come pick her up) was because of the withdrawal she was experiencing from the drugs. Her behavior started making sense. My family and I will always be forever thankful to Arapahoe House for helping Vanessa turn 180 degrees in her life and bringing us back together.
She is a completely different teenager now. I don’t think the counselors there would recognize her. Her GPA is 3.6; she’ll graduate from high school in 2013. I’m so proud of her; she’s a survivor.