“French vanilla ice cream. It was the flavor of ice cream I’d always get during our monthly visits to see my mother in rehab. It was comforting, even though the entire visit was always strange and uncomfortable. My childhood was filled with lots of these strange and uncomfortable events. I lived in the cycle of addiction. Lots of highs and lows. Chaos.
Like most others who live in this lifestyle, I fell into addiction like my mother. As a teenager, I was heavily dependent on drugs and alcohol. I got pregnant at 16 in my junior year of high school. I decided from that day forward I would stay sober for my baby. Aside from my closest friends, my mother was the first person I told, and she said she would help me raise my child. She ended up in jail a few days later and was eventually sentenced to time in prison. From this point on, I completely relied on my grandparents for help. My grandmother took me to my first appointment, and turns out I was having twins.
With the help of my family and my high school, I was able to graduate a year early as a junior and walk across the football field in my cap and gown. About an hour after the ceremony commenced, my water broke. As they prepped me for an emergency C-section, I cried and cried for my mother. I was so scared, and I desperately wanted her there to hold my hand. A piece of me was missing there without her. That night, I gave birth to two beautiful girls. She was released from prison a few months after their birth, and she got to meet her first grandchildren for the first time.
She seemed to be clean for a few years after her release, but things slowly began to unravel. At this point, my oldest children were 6 years old, and I had also given birth to another baby girl two years prior. All of my children loved my mom, who they called MeMe. After months of speculation, it was confirmed my mother had relapsed and had been using crystal meth for quite some time. I let her know this is not the life I wanted to bring my children into and we were cutting all ties with her indefinitely. She told me I ruined her life and I was ruining my children’s as well by not allowing her to see them. She stated how much my children loved her and how terrible it was to do this to them. All I could think about was how I was once a child that loved her just as much as my own children do, and my love for her could unfortunately never keep her sober.
I got home and lay in bed, crying for hours. She promised she would never do this to me again, but here we were. I felt like I was completely alone. I needed someone to talk to, but no one could quite understand my pain. I had an immense need to release my emotions so I could get past the painful feelings I carried around for years. I then laid all my feelings out in the form of a Facebook post to say my farewell to that lifestyle. It felt like the shackles of anxiety, stress, and sadness just suddenly dropped. It was a huge relief. I set myself free from the years of chaos and insanity that kept me bound with depression. I needed to pick things up and move on for my children’s sake. It read as follows:
You wrote me letters from prison. You had found God. He showed you this wasn’t the life you wanted anymore. You promised me you would never leave again and said you were so sorry. You missed my high school graduation and the birth of my first children. I told you that it was okay. I forgave you. I raised my children and always wondered how you could have left me. I knew nothing would ever convince me to abandon my children the way I was abandoned multiple times. Crystal meth. The cause of many tears in my life. The cause of trust issues and anxiety. The constant fear of relapse. I’ve talked to you through a phone behind a window. I’ve talked to you in letters. I’ve said rushed I love you’s and goodbyes as the monotone voice on the phone said we were running out of time. But when Crystal is present, I can’t talk to you at all. I’ve always wanted a mom. A real mom. I’ve prayed and asked God why. I’ve often wondered why you never loved me enough to stay clean. There will always be people that tell me I should love you regardless and that you love me too. Often, those are the same people that chose to stay away when you were spiraling. All the while, I was stuck there. I endured the pain, the heartache, and sometimes even the horror. Trips to Walmart in a small town are often met with small talk with friends and even family. You always come up. They say, ‘I’m praying for her.’ They just don’t know how bad our family is suffering while you’re high. We are often overlooked. I’m not writing this for attention or for sympathy. This is my goodbye to my life as a daughter of a drug addict. I’m setting myself free.
Yes, this picture is graphic. It may upset some, but addiction is ugly. Often we chose to turn a blind eye to it. It’s real. It’s all around us. Protect your families. Protect your kids. I pray that no one ever has to experience this.
I woke up to numerous texts and calls. My post had been shared several thousand times over lots of states, and the number was increasing by the minute. It seemed as though others shared my pain, and the support I received in return was truly therapeutic for me. All of those years growing up feeling alone were not in vain. So many people feel the way I do. It was one of the first times in my life I felt completely understood.
A few weeks after writing that post, my mother decided to give rehab a serious chance. She has now been clean for 3 years. She has her own home and spends lots of time with her grandchildren. Our relationship has improved by so much. I feel like I actually have a real mother.
As for me, the past 3 years have treated me very well. I bought my own home and I have 3 beautiful, healthy children. I have a great job, and I am recently engaged to a wonderful man. And most importantly – and my favorite part – I live in peace. Something I never had before. It may not be a Hollywood success story, but I’m successful in my own right. I broke the cycle.
You always hear people say, ‘It will get better.’ I’m hear to say it truly does get better. Just hold on.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Brittney Payne. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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