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‘I could stop if I wanted to.’ Famous last words. My mom dreaded seeing my car in the driveway.’: Recovering addict says she’s a girl ‘who spent every day wanting to die,’ but now ‘just wants to live’

“At 19, I was dating a guy who sold drugs. We were at the mall when I felt a cold chill come over my body. It wasn’t something I was familiar with. I knew people who ‘had’ to use drugs to feel normal – I was not one of them. I wasn’t that bad off. ‘If you lived the life I’ve lived, you’d get high, too,’ I justified. I told my boyfriend I didn’t feel well. He looked at me. ‘You’re going through withdrawal.’ This moment changed everything.”

‘I’m one of the lucky mothers. I didn’t have to bury my child. I have my daughter back. For today.’: Mom of an addict says ‘heroin is not picky,’ she still ‘breaks down sobbing’

“I waited daily for the phone call that would tell me my daughter was dead. I planned her funeral. I did not sleep the entire night for years – always waiting for the ring of the doorbell. 18 months ago, she was living in the dumpster area of Taco Bell. She had sold her car for drugs. She weighed less than 100 lbs. Mariah celebrated a year sober yesterday. Do I trust her? Not fully. But she is sober. She is productive. She is happy. For today.”

‘I heard two words: ‘fugitive felon.’ I caught my son’s eye. His shackles made my stomach flutter uncontrollably. His public defender smoothed her beige suit, and approached him.’

“The severely criminal charge was, in fact, a reference to my 24-year-old. I never imagined that term would apply to him. An unexpected call helped me through his transfer to prison. It had been weeks without contact when I answered the unfamiliar number. I fought back tears. He told me how much my son loved me.”

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