How I feel about my mother’s addiction, a poem from her daughter.
I wrote the poem below for my mom, who has been an addict since I was born. As her daughter, I’ve seen my mom go to jail, move from place to place, choose drugs over her children — but the worst was when she would choose drugs over herself. In the past year, I found out she’d been using heroin intravenously. This poem is about how I feel about my mother’s addiction, and how it has ultimately affected me as her daughter.
I get up in the morning and she’s still awake — it’s probably because of all the drugs she takes.
I look into her eyes and all I see is emptiness, with every passing day, I see less and less of the woman who gave me life.
Her face is sunken in and her arms are black and blue — tell me, mom, what does this life mean to you?
Are you happy to be alive? Proud to be a grandmother? Or do the dark thoughts and trauma consume you until you take another?
One shot, two shots, three shots, four? Or is your goal to keep going until you aren’t breathing anymore?
When the phone rings, I immediately begin to think — is this finally the call where they found her dead in the bathroom by the sink?
Or did she get stopped and searched, then charged with possession? Tell me, mom — when will you learn your lesson? I know how it goes all too well: “It wasn’t mine! I’m not lying, I swear. I’m in jail and I need you to come and post my bail!”
You bond out — you’re back on the streets and begging your dealer for a fix. He gives you heroin laced with fentanyl; a lethal mix.
We need you, mom, come on, this isn’t fair! I know the real you is in there somewhere!
The woman who tucked us in and read us bedtime stories has been replaced with an addict and overwhelming worry.
A woman who spews profanity and steals from her children — you need help, mom! If you won’t go now, then when?
If you don’t make the choice to better yourself soon, I’ll find you overdosed tomorrow; probably before noon.
The people around us really don’t understand, they pass judgement on you when they should be holding your hand.
They wonder why don’t we just let you go and accept we can’t save you. But if it were their loved one, would they feel the same way then, too?
Would they call them a “junkie,” “trash,” or “a waste of space”? You’re none of these things, mom — you’re just a lost soul without a place.
I love you mom and I’d fight the whole world for you, even though everything I’ve said is unfortunately true. But the fact that you’re an amazing woman with a beautiful soul outside of your addiction is also nothing new.
You’re just a person fighting a horrible disease, using the drugs to numb you and keep your mind at ease.
One day, you’ll get up and the thought of drugs will no longer haunt you. You’ll be in bed, asleep; dreaming of your life anew — oh, what a beautiful view! It might be a few months or even a few years, but when that time comes, there will be only happiness and peace flowing through our tears.
Loving an addict is painful. Addiction is a family disease and needs to be talked about more so we can better understand how to treat it. Drugs not only affect the user but also everyone around them. Drugs don’t discriminate. It could be your mom, your daughter, your neighbor, your teacher, your preacher, or even you. My mom recently completed treatment and has began working the 12 step program. As the daughter of an addict, I know recovery is possible, and you are worthy of a sober life.
For more resources on substance abuse treatment, call 1-800-662-4357.