“My name is Amanda and once upon a time I was a successful businesswoman living a normal life. I paid my bills, owned a home, and did the right things. But at the age of 34 I would make a choice that would change the course of my life forever. My single lapse in judgement would separate me from my son, annihilate my morals, and it would kill my spirit.
Life as I knew it ended with the prick of a needle, but a new one had begun. The life of a drug addict. I didn’t have a gateway drug; I didn’t slowly progress from smoking pot to taking pills to using hard drugs. No, I let a man that I wanted to love me, put a needle full of methamphetamine into my arm. Within six months I had lost everything I worked my entire life for; I was homeless on the streets of Dallas and I lost my son.
I am ashamed of so many things in my past and there are so many things I regret. But nothing comes close to the pain I feel when I think about losing my son. It would be more accurate to say I left him. It would be even more honest to say that I let him go. What kind of mother would let anybody separate her from her child? A mother addicted to drugs.
I knew I was a drug addict the moment I looked into my son’s eyes and realized that my love for him was not enough to make me get clean.
That is the terrifying and dark reality of addiction. Love isn’t enough to make anybody stop using drugs. Ask any mother of an addict. If it was, there wouldn’t be an epidemic sweeping our country and taking the lives of nearly 200 people a day.
Early in my addiction, Child Protective Services were called and I lost my son. I tried to figure out how in the world I could ever have let this happen? I understood that he was removed from my care because I was on drugs, however, I couldn’t accept that the drugs were actually the problem.
Then I went to great lengths to try and get him back. I did everything I could think of. Everything except get clean. I spent hours trying to figure out how to pass a drug test while still getting high. I looked for loopholes in the system. I lied to everybody and said that I was clean. I begged to see him, and I raged at the family that was protecting him from me.
But then one day I watched a woman walk into the dope house where I was living, dragging three small children behind her. It was the middle of the night and their eyes were gritty from lack of sleep. She arranged them on the floor with a blanket and told them to close their eyes and go to sleep. She asked our dealer for dope, pulled out her works and loaded up a shot. And got high. Right there in front of her kids.
It should have shocked me. It didn’t. But I remember thinking, ‘Is this what you are fighting for? For the ability to bring your kid into this madness? Into a place that was filled with the worst life had to offer?’
No, I would do anything to keep him safe. Even if it meant keeping him safe from myself.
I let him go. And for the next year I destroyed myself for a peace of mind I could never find. I wandered around Texas, living from one high to the next. I no longer cared what happened to me. I used toilet water to get high, I lied, I stole, and I hurt everybody that loved me. The spark of my spirit had dwindled to moments of clarity that were gone as soon as they had come. I was dying and I knew it. I lost nearly 75 pounds or so in 5 months. Any chance I had at finding my way back to life was disappearing.
On February 3rd, 2015, I was in a bathroom with blood dripping down my body, pooling all over the floor. I had spent the last 8 hours digging around my body for a vein that eluded me. I wanted to die. I begged God to let me die. But in a final moment of desperation, I screamed out to God to save me instead. And He did. I walked into my mom’s house, fell into her lap, and begged her to help me. She got me into treatment the next day and I have been clean every day since.
The road to recovery hasn’t been easy. Repairing all the damage I had done during active addiction has taken a lot of work. But the best part of it all? I got my son back!
I know I won’t be a perfect mom, but I will be a present one. I’m already making mistakes, but they are forgivable ones. I let him sleep with me at night so I can watch him while he sleeps and feel his heartbeat when I put my hand on his chest. I love the way he smells. Still like the baby I used to hold and never put down, but now it’s mixed with little boy sweat. I have a hard time telling him no because I just want him to be happy.
It’s strange, he seems to have forgotten that I was once gone from his life. Children, I suppose, are quick to forgive those things we as parents have a hard time forgiving in ourselves. Love wasn’t enough to get me clean. But the love I have for my child gives me the strength I need to make it through today. Everyday. Even when he drives me crazy.
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amanda Meredith, bestselling author of: Addict Chick: Sex, Drugs, & Rock ‘N Roll. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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