Other Stories of Addiction/Recovery

Guilt and Gross Feelings for Sharing Drug Use with Mom

Man, I’ll do my best to keep it straight forward. My mom is now in her early seventies. She’s been addicted to opioids for the last 14 years or so. It started out as a typical story, in that her arthritis bouts had been becoming more intense and she was prescribed hydrocodone then percs and eventually oxy.

When her addiction first started, I would hang out with mom a lot. I was in grad school and I’d pick her up to go to lunch, etc. One day I was pretty hungover (unbeknownst to her) and I had a bad headache. She said “here, take this it’ll help.” I had never taken a perc before, and I was like HOLY SHIT this stuff is magic. From time to time thereafter we would be hanging out and she’d slide me a pill or two and we’d laugh and have a good time, thinking nothing of it. She was happy hanging out with her son, and I was happy to be taking a break from classes, and kicking it with moms.

Here is where the guilt settles in. I had my share of recreationally taking pills after that for the next couples of years, and sometimes when I was home, I’d take a few from her different bottles. After a dentist prescription of mine ran out I tried to get a refill, faking that I still had pain. Thankfully, they denied me. I later found myself feeling “gross” for trying to get pills I didn’t need, just to party with. Meanwhile, my mom was sliding more and more into dependency and addiction. I also had moved away which made it less noticeable to me at first.

One holiday season I came home about 7 years ago and she was just a mess… sweating, mood swings, making up her own reality about stuff. My brothers all noticed too, and at that time she eventually decided she wanted to go to rehab. She did a few days at a center and withdrew. She started the suboxone and began to recover. In the meantime, I went home and on with my life. A few months later I learn she’s back on opioids with a new doctor and my heart sank. I was fortunate enough to not let it get fully ahold of me and yet her addiction was only getting worse. She started lying, doctor-shopping, and meeting with friends that she hadn’t seen in years. She was blowing through her prescriptions in a matter of days instead of a month. My poor dad had to be the “drug police” and hide her pills which only caused them to fight.

This past year, she again had a very tough holiday season because she was out of pills and withdrawing. She was so despondent and feeling so ill that this precious time we had to spend together was spent taking care of her and trying to make her feel comfortable. She couldn’t enjoy anything. She was a different person, and it broke my heart. When I got back to the west coast, my dad called me and told me he had once again dropped her off at a treatment center. She’s currently almost 6 months clean from opioids and I pray every day that she can sustain. It sucks being far away and I’ll always hold onto some of that guilt/gross feeling, knowing that I partook in the drug abuse with her. It also pains me that my dad’s golden years with her are spent managing her addiction. Here’s to hoping! I’m grateful for you sharing your story and providing a space for folks to talk about this kind of stuff.

1 thought on “Guilt and Gross Feelings for Sharing Drug Use with Mom”

  1. As a fellow child of an addict, the guilt you have at not being able to help or change things is immense. I can’t imagine your exact situation. What I need you to know, it’s not your fault. Whether you had participated or not, there’s a strong chance that thing would’ve gone the same way. My mom had every opportunity to get clean and I mean every. I pray for the day that someone tells me she is actually sober. I’ll keep you and your mom in my thoughts.

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