Drug Rehab and My Daughter

Heroin stole my daughter from me; drug rehab brought her back home.

My daughter was 17 when she first met her first boyfriend. I knew that I did not like him when I first met him but I had no idea, at the time, that he was a heroin addict. I thought that it was simply the beginnings of empty-nest syndrome being that my youngest daughter was suddenly, seemingly, a woman. Later, when she left home to go live with him, after less than 3 months of dating him, I knew something was wrong. This was not the sensible, smart behavior that my daughter had always exercised. This was a rash, ill-advised decision and there was no denying it. But, she was 18, and even though I did not want her to leave home, I could no longer keep her in my home against her will. Little did I know that letting her leave home would eventually lead to her finding not a new apartment to live in, but a drug rehab.

I did not find out that my daughter was using until I stumbled across some paraphernalia when I was cleaning her bedroom. I was shocked. My first thought was that the needles could not be hers. Maybe she was holding them for someone, I mused. If she was really using, she would have taken the needles with her wouldn't she? Or, maybe, she is using so much that she didn't realize that she left these particular needles here. Visions of driving my daughter to a drug rehab came to the forefront of my imagination. No, no, no! I told myself.

Then, I mentally starting sorting through a lot of the uncharacteristic behaviors I'd observed. I confronted her. She did what every addict does: she lied. At first, my mind could not go anywhere except to relief. I breathed a huge sigh of relief that she was not using. I was completely naive. I didn't want to believe it so when she told me otherwise, I jumped at the opportunity for that reality. While I was busy not believing my daughter was an addict, her addiction was silently spiraling out of control.

Eventually, I learned that my daughter and her boyfriend were both heroin addicts. I begged her to go to a drug rehab. I promised her that I would be there for her in every step of the process. She refused. She didn't want to leave her boyfriend and he was against any type of treatment. They both enjoyed using too much.

It wasn't until they both hit rock bottom that they reluctantly agreed to go to two different drug rehabs. While I never wanted to see my daughter get carted off in handcuffs, it was the best thing that could have ever happened to her. The thought of burying my daughter was terrifying and it was becoming too close to reality towards the final days leading up to their arrest.

For much of her stay at drug rehab, I had some anger and guilt that I needed to work through. I worked with my own counselors to realize the steps that I needed to take myself in my own unique recovery. I learned about the consequences of chronic heroin use kidney disease, liver disease, respiratory failure and death and tried to count my blessings that she was still alive.

I do still get upset at the thought of her addiction; I do still feel like heroin stole my daughter from me. She will never be the perfect daughter that I remember her as. But these days, I recognize that it is progress, not perfection, for which I need to hope. She is sober today. Hopefully, she will find the strength and serenity to stay sober tomorrow.

Whatever comes our way, I will be forever thankful for drug rehab because it brought my daughter home.

Contact the National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC) anytime toll-free at (800) 784-6776 or through our online form, and we will recommend the leading drug and alcohol rehab centers for you or your loved one.