I recently read on one of the addiction websites I frequent about the ridicule a father faced because he cashed out his retirement fund to continue to pay for his 17 year old son’s rehab stay. He was shamed and chastised for giving up his future security for a hope in a sober life for his precious son. The responses were meant to be helpful and supportive, but came across as being bitter and angry.
What would I tell him, if I could? This:
I found that every time I bailed my son out, and allowed him creature comforts, whether in rehab or on his own, he went right back to using. And while I did not cash out a retirement fund, I did gamble my future financial success on his recovery. Do not let anyone fool you all parents of addicts have shelled out what COULD have been in our retirement accounts over the years our loved one used! The lost time from work, the countless gas tanks visiting in prison or jail, the replacing of ‘lost or stolen’ items. Twenty dollars here, forty dollars there, without the clothes, movie tickets, or bowling memories it was meant for.
Dropping criminal charges, paying court fees, replacing clothes, health care costs- pulling rotted teeth, antibiotics for abscesses, throwing out blankets and spoons and other things ruined by the black tar. Having to move in the middle of the night and leaving your furniture because of being harassed by dealers. Stolen cash, unauthorized purchases or cash advances from credit or debit cards, pilfered purses and wallets, depression, anxiety, worry anger; “borrowed” then damaged cars, lost relationships, loss of health, loss of sense of self, loss of security, lost sleep, pawned jewelry… It is all the same. We all do what we believe are our level best and all of us having our own personal line in the sand. Would I have spent more than the $13,000 I had in rehab, had I the resources to do so? I can as sure as hell say no, but in reality, most likely. Who can judge? NOT ONE OF US!
Best of luck, father of the 17 year old in recovery, and remember, you can have hope, even~ just for today!
Jan writes about Heroin Addiction on her There is No Hero In Heroin blog where she writes openly about her son Stevie’s struggle with Heroin. Jan best described her writing style as “Heartfelt, honest and raw, not happy ever after at all.” and we agree with her.