Addiction – A Family Disease

by | September 13, 2018

Addiction wreaks havoc on families.

If you have a family member struggling with addiction it can leave you feeling helpless. You try everything in your power to save them, but unless they’re ready to help themselves, your efforts are futile.

You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, you can’t cure it.

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When Sherry Collier’s son was 15, he was prescribed pain pills after breaking his hand. After some time, she began to notice that he would do things to hurt himself to get more meds. He’d punch walls to re-injure himself. That’s when Collier realized that her child had a substance abuse problem.

At the age of 18 he moved onto heroin and suffered his first overdose at 21. He was rushed to the ER only to be sent home again as there was nothing they could do.

Collier was lost, she didn’t know how to get help for her son. She made a lot of phone calls looking for help, eventually, her pastor told her about Delmarva Teen College in Sanford, Delaware. She called them and he was accepted into the program. It wasn’t an easy fix, as with a lot of addicts in recovery there were many relapses.

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“He was there for four months and then left, relapsed, went back and did six months, left again, relapsed, went back did 12 months, which is the requirements for the program … relapsed again, went back for three months and left again” said Collier. Against her wishes, he eventually started a methadone program and stayed on it for six months. “Next week will be one month off of it. So technically he is only three weeks clean,” she said.

Sherry realized that the best way to help her son was to just “be there for him” when he needed her. On a mission to educate herself about how to support him, she went to all the local addiction support groups she could find. She soon learned that she was  “addicted to her addict”. Now she makes sure she’s available to him when he needs her and that he knows she loves him, unconditionally.

Sherry would say to other parents going through a similar ordeal “Never give up. Educate yourselves. It’s not easy, it was hell watching my child self-destruct and there not being a damn thing I could do about it”

Sherry Collier is the founder of Mid-Shore Restoring Hope in Women, a local non-profit that links women to addiction recovery services in the area.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse please call SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Children's nightmares, addiction

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Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, USA | Contactable via Julie@raisevegan.com

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