What is the plight of the young children of drug and alcohol addicted parents?
They feel insecurity, fear, terror, violence, pain, confusion. Dad is usually gone or angry, When he is home he yells, throws things, and hits people. He fights with mom. Shoves her around. He hurts her. The children watch in shear terror. What’s to become of them? Of mom?
Finally dad leaves or passes out. Mom is also terrified. How can she stay in this dangerous situation? How can she leave? Where would she and the children live. How could she pay rent? How can she feed her children and herself? Fear and failure grip her. She can’t face it. She can’t bear to face it.
She knows how to escape the pain, the neediness, the fear, the unbelievable overwhelming responsibility of trying to be a strong person and a good mother. She can escape into drugs and or alcohol and numb her feelings and temporarily block out the whole scene.
Ah! Euphoria. Tingly comfort. All is well. Who cares about anything else? This is happiness. But wait. What about the kids? Oh well, mom tells herself, the kids are fine. They are in the other room and can watch TV. I can feed them later. Or they can find their own food and clothes. There must be some food in there some place. It’ll be O.K.
Mom has by now had a lot of drugs and she is numb and happy. She falls into a deep sleep. Her child comes and finds her and asks if mommy is O.K.
Mom is annoyed and screams at the child. The child feels afraid and guilty. The child feels terrified and traumatized. She says, or thinks to herself “Mommy, I’m sorry I woke you up. Please don’t scream at me. Please don’t hit me. I’m sorry I made dad mad and made him hit you. I’m sorry I am hungry. I won’t bother you or ask for you to help me find something to eat.”
The children are the victims of violence, neglect, and abuse. If they survive physically, what is to become of them mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually?
What chance do they have?
When mom sobers up how can she face the guilt and shame? She promises herself that she won’t use drugs or alcohol again.
But life is too hard. Her unhappiness, fear, and desperation are too deep. She is depressed, discouraged and despondent. Where can she get relief other than in drugs and alcohol?
Part of her doesn’t want to ever drink or use again. But she craves the substance physically and it is her relief emotionally. She is dying spiritually.
Her substance abuse gets her into criminal activity. She goes to treatment or jail and then treatment. Some one else (either the state or family or friends) takes the kids.
She sobers up. She feels overwhelming guilt and shame. She wants to minimize it. She wants to blame some one else; her husband, ex-husband, boy friend, dealer, the cops, the judge, the state, child and family services, family, or any one else she can.
She yo yos back and forth between wanting a fix more than anything and wanting to never see or use a fix again.
She wants her kids back. She wants a relationship with a man. Someone she can love and who will love her and her children. She wants someone who will hold a job and take care of her and her children - protect all of them. Pay the bills and meet their needs. As she nears the end of her residential treatment she faces a gigantic hurdle. She must continue out patient treatment or she will probably relapse (or in court ordered cases she will go back to jail). She must start to take care of her children. How? No job. No skills, no time to be in intensive (8 hours a day) treatment, take care of the kids and still work. Where can she live? How will she pay the rent? It seems that the only solution is to find a man that will take care of her and her children.
Where will she find him? She will need to go back to the men she knows. The ones she got into trouble with in the first place.
She hopes it will be different this time. He promises it will. IT ISN’T. Very soon the violence, abuse, and drug/alcohol use begin again.
Many Moms spend about 30 days in residential treatment center. When she is ready to leave she need to have a safe affordable place to live. She needs support in many areas of her life so she can become sober, healthy and self-reliant.
Lighthouse Lodge is offering a solution.
Please be a hero and donate to help safe the children and their mothers.
Are you or your loved ones affected by drug and alcohol abuse? Is this a problem in your neighborhood?
Substance abuse affects us all. There are drunk drives on the road. Many ( about 80%) of the people in jail and prison are there because of drug/alcohol related problems. There are people going to the ER room because of this problem.
Addiction is not a respecter or persons. It crosses economic, racial, educational, religious and cultural boundaries.
Lighthouse Lodge proposes to offer solutions.