The following piece was written by my beautiful friend Tracy. I have been lucky enough to know her for 19 years. She is the mother of three amazing children. She is the most compassionate, loving, nurturing and gentle mom I know. My youngest daughter once said “I wish Tracy was my mom.” Not because she was mad at me or being mean to me, but because she was being genuine. Tracy is so incredibly soft and gentle. If you could pick a mom, I promise you’d pick her.
She is hurting. She is proud. She is strong. She needs the world to be gentle with her. And, she needs other moms to hear her. I share this here for her with love and pride and support. Please leave comments for her to read.-Heidi xo
INDUCTED MEMBER written by my friend, Tracy Faye
I have had this echo of a song inside me for all of my lifetime. As if I can feel it in every fiber of each hair on my head. It is written on my bones, the stories that would become mine are so familiar. Shaded, slightly murky and always waiting.
My daughter placed me into a club that I never wanted to be part of. Without my consent, forced by the breath she breathes, I have found myself in the “Mom of an Addict” club. Never crossing my mind even for a moment during my time spent wiping her nose, teaching her the alphabet, answering all of her “why” questions from the back seat as we drove.
I taught her our phone number, address, my name and birthdate so if she was ever lost she would be able to find me. I warned of strangers. I showed her pictures in magazines of smiling grandmothers and told her they were even strangers if you don’t know them. However,it escaped me to teach her about the worst type of predator that would appear in her life as her dealer and take her from me as they wrapped their heroin arms around her like a snake.
I held her, consoled her, fed her, clothed her…Watched TV with her, read to her, made mud pies, rode bikes, colored in coloring books, gave her music and dance. Dreamed of my fantasy life: her and I against the world as we grew together.
My heart, My whole entire heart existed outside of me.
I cried the first time she slept over her Dad’s house when she was two. I couldn’t imagine me not tucking her in or brushing her thin wispy baby hairs out of her eyes as she chewed her pacifier on the side of her mouth, “goodnight momma” whispers in her sweet raspy tired toddler voice. She would ask for her blanket, tell me she loved me “bigger than the sky”. The Lion King song “Circle of Life” was translated by her into “Circle of Love”, her and I were the circle. Sometimes she would include other people but mostly it was her and I, as she grabbed my hands initiating the circle. Sometimes she insisted on wearing a hat to bed. Often she choose to wear her tutu out into the world and I let her.
She was loved, snuggled, missed, thought of, celebrated and disciplined.
I talked to other parents before she went to her friends homes. I secretly followed her through the mall the first time she thought she was there alone, checked up on her, paid attention to her grades and her friends. She expressed herself, different clothes for the different people that she tried on. Each time encouraging words to her were spoken: to be herself, whatever self she felt at the time, knowing someday the clothes would fit just right and be a second skin, but she had to try on every color first to see what one felt best and most like her own uniqueness.
I am left without knowledge of the first time I stepped through the door to this club. No recollection of a first impression or what it looked like or the people there, just empty echoes, cold gray memories. I have resented, contorted, anguished, and died in my head throughout the course of one day inside the metal, stuck, swollen walls of drugs. I have told people to fuck off that I care about. At times the heartache swells; consumes me in its entirety. Yet I still nod and empathize with someone sharing their bad news or bad day with me. The car didn’t start or they spilled coffee on their shirt in a morning rush or they are upset about the weather and the price of groceries. I have to remain part of society, blend in, so I cannot scream, hiss and run like the animal that is inside me. I never want to compare tragedies. I sometimes cannot have another paint brush stroke of sadness on top or the weight will shift and cyclone me into another reality.
I keep this rock that I carry with me all day to myself, I protect it, I do not show other people my rock or ask them to hold it for a minute. The fear of judgement pokes at me with an icy sting.
Being a Mother is something I have always given my all to and excelled at. I love being a Mom. For someone to think I didn’t do all of the Mom things right or out of order is terrifying, as if some magical cocktail of parenting exists where one is guaranteed to not set an addict free into society.
Some members of my club have meetings to support each other & others have social media groups. Nights have turned tirelessly into birds chirping while searching for the answers alone in my bed, light shining from the glow of the phone that connects me anonymously to the world of addict moms.
Some people write truthfully on these pages. I read them, gaining awareness of others that are in my club makes me feel less alone. However, it magnifies my sadness to be aware of all of the other people walking around with half hearts, pieces missing from every place. Taping on their shoes, filling them with rocks to keep their feet heavy and grounded. They are gluing together their body parts because they feel like they may fall right off. In rare moments when the fear was bigger than me I did share things with the world or an individual just so someone somewhere would know I am not whole.
I am not what you think I am.
I am broken with jagged shards protecting my skin. Armored more than I ever have been and looking for something solid and unbreakable at every angle.
Shuffle one two, shuffle one two, through the days.
You cannot stop.
Do not stop or you will stay there.
Don’t forget to sign the boy up for camp. Don’t forget we don’t have his favorite breakfast item. Don’t forget to tuck him in and hold him tight and breathe all of him into you so he sticks right there in the place he can never leave.
Remember the other girl needs you too and she asked you for that thing. What was that thing she wanted? What did she say? Remember to console her too because her heart is just as broken as yours. We are both mourning a person who is still breathing. I have lost my daughter and she has lost her sister. She is growing, too quick, don’t forget to teach her that people’s opinions do not matter because she shines. She glows and shines and you can feel it in her presence ever since day one. She leaves a trail, a path to find her always. Her glow softens me.
Keep working. Pay bills, in slow motion. Does it matter if we have electricity?
You need light, sunlight and air. Maybe you need yoga. Maybe you need to try to become a runner again? Lose weight, Have a drink, remember how much fun you had when you consumed all of the alcohol everyday… Maybe a good book? No it is ice cream..a whole tub of ice cream. On second thought it isn’t, it is a good walk in the woods with the dog…laughter you need to laugh, where are those friends? Find them, you have them, remember, can you remember anything before this, before the smoky glaze that covers your eyes appeared.
Unsure if the cloudiness is from too many tears or not enough. Forget this, if only for one minute, I want to forget.
God please do not let them ask me how she is doing, I will need to cry and look for an exit or feel as though I have a mouth full of salt and have to talk at the same time.
Shuffle one two, shuffle one two, skip, hop.
A glimpse of the exit shines through the haze. My body believes that I am somehow carrying out a sentence, doing time, that will come to an end point and return to life before the drugs, when all of the freckles on her face showed all of the time. When she knew her way home.
There is no end. There is a circle, rough, unevenly textured, differently colored circle. There is no choice to be caged within the circle. No soft spot to break through, no comfortable place to rest.
I love Free Will. I hate stuck. I hate not controlling my own mind or ways that I spend my time. Too many nights furiously searching for anything that will give me a glimpse of her viability left my eyes crazed and my heart on the floor out of my body. In my life I have been many people, had many roles, many jobs, many styles, many friends, many favorite things, many pet peeves, many happy hours and much laughter. This person in this club was never a thought.
Trying to explain to someone not here in this room of grief with me is impossible. If you are not in the club you do not comprehend the rules, no instructions are given nor would they teach you this game or how to do the dance of the shuffle shuffle step, two, five, one…
I have become someone I once judged and thought I knew all about.
My daughter has become someone I once judged.
The NEVER has happened.
The NOT my child IS my child.
“Opioid Epidemic”, “Heroin epidemic” or now just “THE epidemic” will do.
… has swallowed me, whole, my brain, my beliefs, my heart, my whole body at times as it is crumples into bed, atrophied.
Tough love, Rehab, Section, Detox, Sober House, Meetings, Commitments, NA, Convention, Narcan, Vivitrol, Clean time, Home drug test..I only had vague relationships with these words in the past. All words I thought I understood the definition of.
Two, three, eight, shuffle, fall, clap….this is all wrong…..
Compassion is MISSING from THE epidemic, for the addict & for those who love the addict. COMPASSION IS MISSING FROM THE DEPLETING, EXHAUSTING, SEVERITY OF THIS DAILY LIFE I LEAD. Compassion only comes from weary eyes who know your battle. Compassion seldom comes from the institution of the moment.
The Choice VS. Disease debate has rotted and hollowed out my heart.
Onlookers spew their filth to those whose hearts are already slowly beating and weak. Does it matter to you if it is a choice or a disease… MY BABY IS STILL DYING EVERYDAY.
You will still judge her and me.
There are no casseroles for this. Food is reserved for births and deaths and I am somewhere awkwardly in between.
In my paranoia that exists within me, at least once a day my baby is dead, somewhere. Versions create themselves in my non stop brain, sometimes she is found by me, sometimes found by people who only like her for her ability to survive, Or only like her for her beauty. Or her ability to find a way to obtain anything she wants, including drugs and they do not help her. They walk over her.
Sometimes she is in a coma and privacy policies prevent me from receiving a call or no one knows who to call because even though she knows her name, address, mom’s name and phone number you can’t tell anyone when you are half dead.
There is no medical alert bracelet for heroin addicts.
Sometimes she is never found, just alive and part of the sky that just vanished under a cloud. How something so concrete has turned into an oily slick on water leaves me glaring off at the sun to sting my eyes so that I know I can still feel. You can see that shiny slickness, twinkling on the water, colorful, try to grab it or shake it or hug it, you can’t, you end up sinking under the darkness of water holding your breath searching for the beauty that was just at your fingertips.
Detox..rehab..program..sober house..my baby is the one who will beat this, see she is already doing it, shuffle step, step, skip, 3, 4,8…beg..this dance is making my insides raw…plead, cry, …
What parent would not do all they can to save their child’s life? Who? I want advice, I hate advice, I want love and support, I hate love and support. It feels better alone. No judgement, no questions. No talk to remind me of how far the wind can carry something away that you once believed to be anchored to you.
Time doesn’t mean anything. 3 am..shh… 4am..Squeeze eyes tight..Clocks hands do not care, they keep moving. The boy wakes at 6 and will know I forgot the breakfast I promised and he will cry. The girl needs to go to school, with her self-prepared lunch, reminding her mother of the day ahead. Work comes at 8, school after that. Somewhere else laundry and food shopping in zombie like fashion dark eyed. Are you sick, what’s the matter, are you sad, you’ve lost weight, are you ok? How are you? Good, I am good, Just don’t look me in the eyes and ask because you will see the crack in my soul.
Draw on your smile girl because you have to face the world.
END THE STIGMA
We are all humans we all crave love, belonging and compassion when we are defeated.
I am the parent of an addict who suffered long, who was lost, who did not know the way out of her own rabbit hole. My hand was there always at the top of the hole quivering, fading, aging, she just needed to choose to grab it.
I will hold the rusty chain of the anchor tighter, I will not let you go as quickly next time. I will hold you, sit on you, drive into you and sew your arms to your sides to SAVE YOUR LIFE.
Counting days has a new meaning..14 days, 30 days, 45 days..60 days!
The longest club free, cage free time we have seen is here right now .. the light has returned to her eyes, her freckles re-appear as specks of glitter that I want to touch to remember the time they first graced her soft face. I always have wondered if I witnessed any of those freckles landing in their spots as she slept. Her hand holds mine and she remembers me, she really remembers me…and magically she remembers herself.
Right now there is no road map on her face to read that says I am broken, so broken that I am willing to take the chance of death just to feel better momentarily.
This is my life. My name is Tracy, I am the Mother of an addict.
Today was the first day I was glad to be in this club.
It gave me a chance to give compassion.
I had a conversation with a stranger. She told me her daughter was a recovering addict. Flatly. And paused. Waiting for it, I know, waiting for someone to find the words or the gesture that is supposed to come after hearing someone announce that. I met her eye and said “mine too”. Her face relaxed and we knew each other, heart mind and soul with just those few words exchanged, knew the broken sleeplessness of a shadowy life.
If everyone can reach the point to say my child is an addict or my child is a recovering addict and have a real conversation about it, my face wouldn’t twist up so hard and the knot in my belly would not feel so heavy when I say it out loud.
I am proud of my daughter. I want everyone to know my daughter is a recovering addict. I am completely 100 percent happy that she is my child. I will never disown her or judge her, or shut her out of my life. This is her life to live, with her path to make. I did teach her to take the one less traveled. Everyone has demons, everyone has made bad choices, not one person leaves this earth without some amount of suffering, struggling or internal conflict. This is OUR struggle. I do not need to explain if you do not understand that this is my child and that I am proud to tell you of the things that she has endured and rebounded from.
I am proud to stand next to her at a meeting and be introduced as her mother.
Through it all-she does fall and stagger, catch her balance, then forcefully rises again, she continues to sway and splash ferociously against the tide. She has been knocked out, dragged through, walked on, left for dead and has walked this earth in ghost form. Yet she reemerges with the gust of a hurricane with lists of contacts, Doctors and therapy appointments, with clear eyes.
How hard are you fighting today just to breathe? Clinging and swaying every single day just to be alive? Some are fighting to get ahead or to get more things, more money, more titles, more of what they think they should have. The timeline laid out by society, stay on the path, stay on the path.
She fights her own mind everyday for her life.
I am fighting every single day to not make a nest in my bed and stay there.
Every day is a question of if we will get to count it and stack it on top of the day before that. Every day I take time to remember her pure heart, her softness that exists underneath her coating of makeup, polish, hair or attitude. I revel in the days she strips her coating away, with glasses and messy buns when I can see her. That is my favorite version of her. I want to put the tutu on her and go for a walk and pretend she is a ballerina.
The courage of my child to say to the world “I am an addict”, this is me and I am trying is beautiful and courageous. There is not one other soul in this universe that I would trade her for. She is mine, next to her I am whole, my body finally relaxes, the spaces she carved out inside me as she grew fill up the hollowness and the world makes sense again for a minute.
Every Single Day my daughter is a mother fucking boxer in the ring. She wakes up knowing she will fight all day.
Sometimes she sleeps, sometimes she doesn’t. I think those sleepless nights are the days that she just wants blended into one another to feel a rhythm of consistency, to not have to start the fight from the beginning because it is still the same day if she never fell asleep. Eyes wide on the lookout to keep the demon at bay. She is thrown and tossed about in her own sea of emotions, in the memories that are imprinted inside her of the lives she has had, the people she has been, the masks she has worn. And of all the people she has known that have lost the fight and no longer have the choice to lace up the gloves. She knows more people who have passed on than I do. Yet she stands in her stillness, braces herself, waits for the storm, the flurry and rage to pass all around her right on through to the calm.
She still remembers that her momma likes her freckles.
She remembers to let me know she is OK.
She knows I hold my breath easily.
The people I have been in my lifetime fade in the shadow of how tall she has become to fight this beast.
She is my daughter and I love her for who she is. I am the mother of an addict who is now in recovery.
Please share with love and compassion.
24 thoughts on “(Guest Post) Inducted Member”
You and your daughter are strong! You’ve both gone through so much, thank you for sharing.
Thank you Tracy for sharing story. Some areas of your story that stuck with me the most were when you said that your daughter was dead but still breathing, the visual that you would sew her arms to her sides, anything to save her and how you refer to her as your baby. Being the mother of an addict is not the only club you belong to, being a mother makes you a member of an elite club that gave you the strength to not punch someone in the face who bitched about their coffee spilling or traffic when you may not have not known if your daughter was alive at that moment or where she was. To me this screams to what an amazing person you are. And I hope that when you reached up from your rabbit hole there were hands of other moms ready to pull you up too.
I hope your beautiful daughter doesn’t let the fact that she is an addict define her, I pray she will lead a long and wonderful and it will only be a part of her that will keep her hungry and give her more drive to take on the world.
And lastly, I can tell you are friends if Heidi when you use the phease mother fucking to describe how awesome your baby is. Xoxo
Thank you so much! I appreciate you taking the time to read and to comment here. It is hard to walk around and do everyday normal things when a crisis you have no control over is happening. Yes, Heidi is one of my best mother fucking friends and she would hold my ankles while I am head first looking down in the rabbit hole so I don’t fall too far in. Have a good day.
I so admire your post,I picked up on those same phrases & thought Right on ! Being the Mother of a Addict in Recovery ,this story made me Smile ,Tracy expressed everything I felt & just couldn’t find the words ,She taught me a life lesson ,EXPRESS YOURSELF WITH TRUTH ! My son’s 27 he has 2 daughters 2 different mother’s ,He’s 4 mos clean our 5th Attempt at Sobriety this time was Jail he willingly turned himself in,although it kills me he’s in there that was a Huge Step for him to be willfully be Confined Wow! He detoxed cold turkey prison doesn’t feel your pain!He hates it he could of been Released on $300.00 bail but He chose to stay , He’s been to Court *& Was Granted a Golden egg by the Judge because he has never been in trouble and he did well in School& earned various skills& has Degrees in his fields & has & still can Earn a good living but should he get in any trouble for the next 2 yrs he does 2 yrs State time & if County time isn’t for him State over his head is a good thing. I really thought he would be made example of due to his father & cousins being Regulars in County lock up . He gets released from jail in a couple of weeks and into a Mens recovery house that’s managed they don’t have free time,basically they can walk the grounds& have a few more Freedoms . The big issue with my Son is he’s in Pennsylvania& I’m in Virginia & it’s hard to travel due to health issues , I am Blessed to be married to a man who loves not only me but my kids like his own& me his, I still say our kids friendship made us both realize we were hurting them staying with their toxic other parent. We did ” Family” type things for yrs before we ” Officially” became 1 big family , I miss them all young & at home again once they leave you it’s a wide open world and you can only Pray they choose wisely with the decisions they make & people they choose ………
Your comment was great Linda. I am a grandmother and have watched the addiction “bug” swarm around my family.
This is powerful thank you for sharing. May she continue to fight and win. God bless you both.
I cried reading this! You and your daughter are so strong. I am so proud of you and her. I pray that she continues on her road to recovery…one day at a time, even an hour or a minute at a time. I do not judge you or her. Addiction is in my family as well and i know firsthand how heartwrenching it is to watch someone you love so much be a slave to this EPIDEMIC. I remember that little freckle face as you describe it and it makes me smile. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. You are doing an amazing job and so is she!! Love you both!!!
I keep reading and re-reading. Even now I picture Kourt at 7 years old with messy bangs and crooked teeth and freckles in her night gown dancing to the tv in the morning hours. Love you ladies with all my heart ❤
As the mother of an addict in recovery you know I couldn’t read this without crying. We all have the same memories, the same thoughts, the same fears but you were so eloquent. Tomorrow night I will present my daughter with her one year medallion and I will be at proudest person in that room because I know how hard she is fighting every single day for this life.
Susan Congratulations!!!!! I am cheering for you and your daughter. That is something that should receive as many congratulation cards, wishes and gifts as any milestone acheivement would! Celebrate her and Yourself XO
Your words left me breathless as you described to perfection the depth of sorrow and pain and loss and numbness we feel when our child is using as well as the joy and relief (tinged with ever-present fear) as they work their asses off in recovery.
Reblogged this on Heroin. Stop the Silence. Speak the Truth. and commented:
This is THE most powerful description of what it is like to be the parent of an addict that I have ever read.
I was breathless as I read it. Thank you Tracy Faye for writing this.
We share tears, my friend. Love and strength to you and your daughter. Love and strength to mine. Thank you for your courage. Enough shaming. Period
Thank you for sharing your story. It was like the words were coming directly from my soul. My Son Joe lost his battle with addiction on Thanksgiving Day 2015. He was my hero and I am so very proud that he was MY Son. He was smart and funny and so very kind. His friends described him as having the most amazing soul. There was not one person that he disliked. He used to say that you can’t pass judgment on anyone because you don’t know what their story is. He was loved by everyone that met him. He was a heroin addict. When in active addiction, he was someone I no longer knew but still loved. I never gave up on him. I miss him every single day and there is so much guilt. Maybe if I would have done this and I should have done that. I didn’t cause it and I couldn’t control it and I tried to. Your Daughter will be in my prayers. YOU will be in my prayers. May she be happy and healthy.
Thanks Tracy for writing this. I am an addict in recovery and it is so important that we end the stigma NOW! No one can understand what an addict goesthrough on a daily basis and the help that we put our families and friends through. I’m so happy your daughter faught her way back to life like I did and i hope she continues to lace up her gloves every day to fight the hell out of this demon. We CAN recover! There IS hope!! Love you and your daughter!! Praying for yall!
I love you my friend… you take my breath away.
Thank you so much for sharing your story! It is beautifully written and expressed so eloquently. My son is a recovering addict . I am so proud of him as he fights the good fight!
First of all….your writing skills are phenomenal.
I took this journey emotionallyrics, every day, every moment.
I grew up with addiction. I saw my parents go through hell for years….even to this day, 35 years later.
You’re incredible ability to feel puts you in a place of healing, far ahead of the curve.
Faith…..Faith. all is achieved through Faith.
I’ve had some long heart felt talks with my Mom about Tom….I asked her to let go of her dream of who she wants him to be. He’s 53, still a full blown addict with false memories. He disowned all 11 of us 25 years ago. Our family.
Mom, the addiction is now Tom. Tom’s gone. I cried with her begging her to bury the son she once had to protect from the world. I had to bring her to reality. Tom was using pills, pot and Crack in “5th grade”….yep, he started in 5th grade.
I knew everything and said nothing.
Mom and Dad are 80 and 81.
Tom is still making false accusations against Dad and the Bishop.
….a physic told him in a vision about his past.
$1.50 a minute.
I want my parents to have peace.
Thank you for taking me through your journey.
You need to be a bit selfish.
Keep yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually healthy.
Talk to your kids….they need to know everything.
Talk about emotions.
This never happened in our home….I believe this allowed for addictions to continue.
Keep the Faith, in the Love of Our Lord …..Cheryl
I am not a mother but, I read this and can feel your pain. I am a sister of an addict who lost his life many, many years ago, long before this was an epidemic. I’ve witnessed the struggle to detox and stay clean. I lived through my mother searching and searching for her son through the years and saw and felt the pain only a mother can feel for her child. I live in a large city and walk every morning for miles to start my day. Each day I see the devastation on this disease on someones child. I think to myself when I see them, this is someone daughter, someones son. I want to tell them to go home, get help but, know it isn’t that easy. I also wonder if their parents know where they are, most likely not. I struggle with the disease, choice issue but, that doesn’t matter. The epidemic is real, the struggle is real and seeing it every day it scary. The toll is larger than one can imagine, those who love the person hurt and struggle as well. I am so happy that the silence is ending, I see it here and I see it in the way too many death notices. The truth will set us free. I pray for you and your daughter and hope she is strong, God bless you.
My son Josh is 63 days clean from herorine and meth. He’s living in a sober living house and working the program everyday. Now when I see him I feel the same feeling of love I had for him when he was born. I have never stopped loving him I just did not like him. I always thought if I could just divorce him like a bad ex-husband I would feel better. We know as moms it’s never going to happen. He is my son and love him unconditionally. I will never stop fighting for him. Your words are also my words. I know my feelings of anxiety, grief, anger, disappoint, hope, love that I’m not alone. I’m so happy your daughter is in recovery. Thank you so much for sharing.
Thank you for sharing this. You have truly captured the struggle…both yours and hers. I love that you used the phrase “mother fucking boxer in the ring”. I have never used the word “fuck” in my vocabulary until dealing with this disorder. Not only are our kids boxers, but we are as well…”mother fucking boxers”. Namaste… May your journey become more peaceful and Light shine down upon you and your daughter.
Roseann, I’m a big fan of the word Fuck…so Tracy made me a little proud with that one. You are both champions-but remember that even the best boxers have coaches, corners, training and recovery. Take care of yourselves mommas!
I have just entered the club. Not with heroin, but with amphetamines. My daughter has a daughter of her own, and at this point I’m not sure whose well being I am more concerned for. Godspeed to you and your daughter. I’m praying for recovery for mine, but it has only just begun, and recovery at this point is nothing more than a wish and a prayer.
Hang in there Jen! Wishes are something too! Hoping for recovery for you, for her, for the baby.