Tag Archives: family

When You’re In It … You Can’t See it!

Have you ever been in a dark room? I mean REALLY dark … so dark that you cannot see your hand when you hold it up to your face.  You cannot see darkness nor can you see anything within that darkness. The fact is … there is no such thing as darkness. Darkness is simply the absence of light and its different intensities.

Life is much the same. For those who have had marital problems, received a chronic illness diagnosis, or experienced financial ruin, they know what darkness looks like. Marital counseling, a good doctor or financial planner can bring light to the darkness. Letting the light into the life situation allows for the proverbial “light” at the end of the tunnel. Until then, hopelessness is the darkest place we know.

The disease of addiction is darkness for the addict and those that love them (co-dependents.) Unlike other diseases, the stigma connected with this disease adds shame and guilt to the hopelessness often preventing those affected to seek the light. The disease of addiction is so cunning that it convinces the addict to stay in the darkness of denial rather than expose their problem to the light for all to see.

This morning I learned that two young women I know, both in their early 20’s and both with a young child, lost this battle yesterday.  They refused to see their problem, keeping it in the darkness and not allowing the light to expose them. One died of an overdose yesterday. The other is in a coma on life support with no chance of recovery.

Faith Farm Ministries is a 65 year old, free, faith based drug and alcohol recovery program with 445 beds for men and women. It is that safe place where people can emerge from the addiction darkness into the light with no shame or guilt. Light gives new hope, new purpose and new life. I am aware of nowhere else that provides a free program with free education, including recovery classes for up to 9 college credits, GED Classes, life-skills and spiritual classes, vocational training and life counseling.  We help those who want to heal, restore their families and contribute to their communities.

If you want to help Faith Farm in its mission to save lives, you can text FAITHFARM to 41444 or visit www.faithfarm.org and click the Ways to Give tab to make a gift. For every $1 you gift and invest in our addiction recovery program, there is a tax dollar savings to you estimated at $12 in reduced drug-related crime, criminal justice costs, theft and health care expenses. (Source: Association of Gospel Rescue Missions) 

About the author:  Judy Walters is the Project Manager for Faith Farm Ministries and serves on the ministries’ Academic Board serving as the Board Secretary. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Oceanside Emmaus community and is a published author,  copy writer and editor. Audiences are sure to have valuable take-a-ways when Judy is the presenter as she draws on her past with her own powerful testimony to inspire and equip audiences in recovery from issues like addiction, co-dependency, abuse and low self-esteem. Her favorite thing is teaching, whether at the pulpit or in the classroom. She strongly conveys the healing nature of Christ through the Celebrate Recovery materials combined with knowledge from The Alpha Series materials by Pastor John Glenn. She is the Celebrate Recovery of Boynton Beach Ministry Leader. She provides administration, marketing, social media, event planning, donor development, customer service and public relations for Faith Farm as the ministry’s Project Manager.
As a mother of four with a former real estate career spanning 25 years, she has many stories and life lessons worth sharing. Redirection of her passion has led her to become a licensed minister and a counselor with compassion and a powerful message of hope for those who struggle with life controlling issues. She has a genuine love for ALL of God’s people and cherishes diversity. She is a friendly and enthusiastic disciple with a mission to show others what agape love looks like. Her goal is to remove the stereotype and preconceived stigma of addiction and recovery by showing others that recovery from life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups can be fun and even fruitful. “People in recovery for any life controlling issues are the strongest, bravest and most transparent people I know, and I admire their courage.”
Learn more about Judy | Request Judy

Ask the Addict’s Mom – Do you feel addict’s moms are getting the support they need in dealing with addiction as a disease?

Let me start with a quote from one of our moms:

“. . . drowning in despair…watching you die right before my eyes.” 

When I read these words written by a member of The Addict’s Mom, I immediately understood.  Any mother who has had a child with a disease understands.  Any mother who listened to doctors tell her how sorry they are to tell her that her child has cancer, leukemia, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, or any other chronic, life threatening disease knows how this mother feels.  We all feel like we are “drowning in despair.” 

However, addiction is a disease where only other mothers of addicts understand.  No friends rush to comfort and console a hurt and grieving mother of an addict.  No plans are made to bring hot meals to an addict’s mom.  No Hallmark cards come with comforting messages to say so sorry to hear your child is ill.  No one calls to see if they can help in anyway, or to let you know they are there, if you need to talk. We have mothers who cannot even go to local grief support groups after the loss of their child to addiction because of resentment from other parents.

The family, especially the mother, is left in the solitude of despair without a real support system.   When it comes to addiction, myth, misinformation, and outdated, ineffective treatment still prevail.  It a disease where some well-meaning, but misguided person will tell a mother her child just needs more willpower. Can you imagine any sane person telling a mother of a child with diabetes that they lack willpower?   Can you imagine anyone telling a parent whose child just died from cancer that it was a choice?

If a mother of a child with diabetes, leukemia, or aids was told treatment couldn’t start until their child reached a crisis or until the symptoms became severe there would be protests from all sectors of society.  What would happen if a diabetic teen was left untreated until they lapsed into a coma?  You would hear such public outcry and people would investigate. 
But this is not the case for the addict.  Moms beg and plead for help, for information, and intervention, but are often forced to wait by myth, by apathy, by lack of health insurance, or worse health insurance that won’t cover the treatment.  Mothers are often forced to wait until the symptoms of addiction become so severe that their child faces criminal charges, and they will. Criminal charges are often part of the progression of this disease if left untreated.  They may even have to wait until, as one mother posted recently, they find their “child not breathing with a needle still in their arm.”   Even worse is the lack of support mothers whose children have died from drug overdose receive.  Grieving mothers of addicts tell me they have been made to feel unwelcome and even asked to leave local grief recovery groups.

On top of this, we have family-members, friends or complete strangers weigh in by daring to say that our child did this to themselves and therefore doesn’t deserve sympathy or help. This just compacts the despair and lack of support addicts moms deal with and leave them to silently retreat in pain, shame and despair. I did, until I found “The Addict’s Mom.”  Joining “The Addict’s Mom,” was the beginning of new hope for me.   Through the stories and voices of other members, through the resources and inspiration, I discovered I had also been living with my own myths about addiction.   Most of all I found the support I needed, and our members tell us they have found the support of other moms helpful as well.

Now when personally confronted by people who tell me my son’s addiction was a choice, I ask them “who says so?” I know I have the support of thousands of mothers dealing with a child with the disease of addiction.  I know I have the support of medical doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, treatment professionals and government organization all stating addiction is a brain disease.  I have found I can respond by sharing facts, by telling them the dedicated neuroscientists and other professionals who study and understand addiction say this is not a choice. It is important to educate those who don’t understand how the brain is physically changed by the process of becoming addicted. Addiction so drastically alters the brain that people genuinely cannot change without treatment and help. This is not a matter of will-power, it is a matter of biology.  

And recently when sharing my story of my son’s addiction at a local conference, for the first time ever, I was given a hug by someone who did not have a child or any other close family member suffering from addiction.  This young woman, just heard my story, hugged me and said, “I am so sorry you and your son are suffering.”  It isn’t a landslide of support, but it is a small spark.  And just maybe this small spark will become a flame, so that other mothers will not find themselves alone, drowning in despair without support.

Duana Wilkins 

Executive Director 

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You can also sign SAMHSA’s National Substance Abuse Prevention Pledge. www.samhsa.gov/prevention/docs/PreventionPledge_09192012.pdf 


Barbara Theodosiou

Founder – The Addicts Mom

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The Addict’s Mom reaches out to families dealing with addiction.  We invite them to join us, where they can “Share without Shame,” the daily struggle, their sorrows, their victories with other families who understand the impact of this devastating disease.  We off resources, groups, referrals, but most of all we offer hope and the knowledge that we are not alone in this fight to change perceptions and save lives.  The Addict’s Mom is currently registering for non-profit status and growing by the hundreds daily.  Find us on Facebook as well as the web.  We Are Not Doctors or Therapist. We Do Not Give Medical Advice or Opinions or Engage In The Practice of Medicine or Therapy.  Opinions expressed by our members are opinions and should not be used as therapy or medical advice.  Always see guidance from your doctor or therapist before proceeding with any treatment or procedure. 

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