Sarah, a fictitious 9 year old girl, gets a letter from her mom who’s in drug rehab for prescription drug addiction after an accident. Sarah is excited and sad as she reads the letter.
(Smiling) My mom wrote sent me a letter and it came today! I’m so excited! She’s still up in her drug rehab place that’s really far away, and she’s been there for almost a month now. I was thinking it might be forever before she could write to me so I can’t wait to get it open.
Hi sweet pea, it’s Mommy. How are you? I miss you so much you couldn’t even imagine it. I think about you and daddy every day I’m here. I am lonely for you, but I am with some very nice people here and that helps.
I wish I could have written to you a little sooner. I wasn’t feeling very good when I first got here. I had to stop taking the medicine that was hurting my body. I felt like a had a bad cold with a headache, cough, achy muscles, even an upset stomach sometimes. I did a lot of resting and wishing that I felt better. Finally last week I was able to stay out of bed most of the day, and feel good walking around and doing things.
Peaceful Surroundings of Drug Rehab
This drug rehab place is like a big beautiful house. It’s not like I’m on a vacation, but the inside and outside are peaceful and nice to be in. Being in a beautiful place has helped me when my body and feelings felt so bad.
I want you to know, Sarah, that you are such a great kid. I’m so sorry about everything that happened with me and the medicine. I know you’ve missed me a lot - nothing’s been the same since my car accident. You’ve had to be such a big kid, even though you didn’t really understand what was happening.
I’m sorry I was not there for you. I was there in the house, but I didn’t let you be with me much. I didn’t let Daddy talk to me much either. I didn’t know the medicine was doing such bad things to me until I went here to drug rehab. Please know that I love you so much and I never meant to make you feel so lonely.
Kind People Helping Each Other in Drug Rehab
There are other people like me staying at drug rehab with the same kinds of problems. Some of them have kids and families, some don’t. All of them feel sad about how things went before they got here. I can talk to them about my feelings and how I’m going to be better when I come back home. I can’t promise that things will be perfect when I come back, but they will be much better. I want that very much.
I am going to exercise outside today next to the ocean. It helps me to feel relaxed, and I can also think about you when I’m out there. I can’t wait to come home to you, but I’m not quite done here yet. I will write to you again. I have a picture of you and I tell you goodnight every time I go to bed. I’ll be saving up some hugs for you.
Found in Orchid...Where Women Heal
Girls With Addicted Mothers
Women get two opportunities to have a warm mother-daughter relationship, both as a daughter and as a mother. This bond is so special because it goes beyond gender and generation. It is a connection that feeds the souls of both mother and daughter. Drug addiction can seriously damage a mother’s ability to be there for her daughter. When this happens, drug rehab can help.
What Do Girls Get From Their Moms
Before we really understand what girls lose by having addicted mothers, we need to look at what a girl gets from a healthy mother-daughter relationship. First, they have a role model interacting with them in their home. Girls certainly don’t agree with everything about their mother (no, really!), but they do pick up on many clues about being a woman. They learn about being good friend to other girls and women, handling emotions, being a partner or spouse with someone, personal confidence and goals, family priorities, staying feminine yet strong, and more.
Girls with good mother-daughter relationships also have direct access to someone who’s walked the journey of girlhood to womanhood. This is a richly rewarding yet sometimes trecherous path. A little understanding and help can go a long way for a frustrated emotional girl. Even as adults, woman often see their mothers as a source of guidance and wisdom. You never really stop being your mother’s daughter - a strong relationship can have lifelong effects.
When Addicted Moms Don’t Go To Drug Rehab Girls Miss a Lot
When this critical influence is missing or damaged, a girl can experience much greater insecurity about her identity and her social environment. If she is lucky, another strong female family member or family friend can step in. This doesn’t always happen, unfortunately. And if a family system has a history of addiction, a girl may have trouble finding that strong healthy woman. Relationships are far more volatile and fragile when addiction has infected nearly every branch of a family tree. In this situation, a girl may simply have to forge on without a definitive female mother figure.
Mothers with addiction may still live in the same home as their children as they grow. However, unless they have been to drug rehab, they are likely to be a shell of a parent. Parents rarely have harmful intentions for their children. But mothers with addiction are very often unable to be consistent, to connect well emotionally, and to provide the positive example they know their daughters need. To know your child needs vital things you cannot provide is to know deep pain and shame.
Drug Treatment Can Help Mother Daughter Relationships
If you are a mother and you struggle with addiction, it is not too late. Even if your children are into their teens, it is still possible to turn your family life around by going to a drug treatment center. Your children need you as a healthy mother, especially daughters who look to you as their main role model.
Daughters of addicted mothers, you can also help your moms understand the importance of drug treatment. You’ve probably felt the emptiness in your heart for a long time, and you know a good relationship with your mom is what you need. Tell her about going to drug treatment, help her find the way.
Found in Orchid...Where Women Heal
Addiction Women and Society
Human beings are individuals and also part of a larger society. Whether we like it or not, society often dictates and reflects the personal problems individuals go through. This is no different for women needing drug treatment and alcohol rehab.
Substance Abuse Connected to Child Abuse and Neglect
Drug addiction and alcoholism makes everything harder to do. Mothers who become addicted are much more likely to put their children at risk. They cannot give adequate supervision, they might lose track of time and skip meals, they may have dangerous people around their children, drive drunk with their children, etc. Impatience, a short temper, and intoxication can lead to both physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect.
Probably the worst part of the whole problem is that it often takes a lot of problems to build up before something gets done. Addiction sometimes doesn’t get turned around in the early stages. Often, it reaches a dangerous level with multiple problems before law enforcement gets involved. Perhaps family and friends have tried everything and are glad for the intervention. Perhaps no one has tried to help because they don’t know what to do. Maybe the mother has found ways to camouflage the problems for years.
Drug and alcohol treatment can take time. Mothers (and fathers) intent on reuniting with their children may have to prove themselves. They often need to be stable and sober for a while before they regain custody or even consistent visitation. Even in the most workable situations, this process can be challenging and stressful for everyone involved.
Women Fastest Growing Segment of Criminal Population
Increased arrests for drug and alcohol related offenses have helped increase the number of women entering the criminal justice system. With this increase, there is an undeniable trickle down effect for their families. Women in jail and prison mean children without available mothers. Also, the availability of drug treatment for incarcerated women is limited at best.
In general, time spent in prison or jail seems to do very little to help a person become a productive member of society. More than anything, it reinforces a prison mentality and a “look out for number one” outlook. So when all these drug addicted women are released from jail or prison with little or no drug treatment, what’s to stop them from re-offending and going right back? In many places, not much. This is certainly an area of the drug rehab and treatment industry that could use much more growth.
Extra Addiction Stigma On Women
I’ve said this once, and I’ll say it again. There is an extra stigma for women with addiction, a sort of double standard. This is much like the double standard that women are over-sexualized, then punished for being too sexual. You can’t win for losing.
Women are supposed to let loose and party on. When a man becomes alcoholic from too much of this, it’s more easily overlooked and excused. However, a woman with alcoholism is seen as a shameful social outcast. Getting started with alcohol and drug treatment is hard enough as it is. Feeling like you are in the social gutter makes it even tougher.
Drug Treatment Can Expand And Help More Women
There is so much room for the field of drug treatment and drug rehab to grow. And much of it can help problems unique to women. Let’s hope we see more of that coming in the near future.
Found in Orchid...Where Women Heal