PAIN AND FEAR ARE ALMOST ALL THEY HAVE EVER KNOWN
I am talking about women who are alcoholics and drug addicts; more specifically young single mothers who are in treatment for addiction.
Many of them have a history of almost nothing but pain and fear. Here are some of the emotions and experiences they have been through: physically sick, heart sick, desperate, feelings of hatred and self-hatred, failure, disappointment, wounding, depression, retaliation, stress, fragmentation, shattered heart, revenge, terror, hopeless, helpless, criminal activity, lying, violence, molestation, abuse, self-doubt, trauma, poverty, abandonment, guilt, shame, miss-trust, betrayal.
In these personal true stories can you pick out the pain and fear?
My name is Lisa Tilson. I am a 42 year old female drug addict in a drug and alcohol treatment center.
My children have suffered many different ways because of my addictions. I have three children. Two boys ages 18 and 14 and a girl age 9.
I have been an addict almost as far back as I can remember. I started drinking at the age of 9 to escape the molestation I was enduring at the hands of babysitters and a neighbor. Yet later, due to my being high or wanting to get high, I left my children with people who did the same thing to them. Of course I didn‘t know it then but the result was still the same. My children were taken from me a total of three times before I finally decided enough was enough. I still couldn’t get clean on my own. As I was on my way to prison I finally put them first and relinquished my parental rights so that one family could adopt all three of them. The only way I knew of at the time to give them the stability they deserved was to give them up.
However, this was not before my drug use and death style (not life style) had caused major damage.
My 18 year old son is now using drugs and following the same lonely road I did. My 14 year old son is in proctor care (like foster care but more structured) after he was also sexually abused and started acting out. He sexually abused his adopted brother.
Then there is my 9 year old daughter, who like me, hides her true feelings and tries to excel in everything. My 14 yr old son after 2 ½ years in therapy is also trying to hide his feelings by excelling. I am not saying there is anything wrong with excelling in school and extra-curricular activities but when it is used as an avoidance tactic, then there is a problem.
Of course these are just a select few of the issues they are now or have been facing but I think you get the picture.
I, like most woman, suffer what could be called the “Curse of Eve Syndrome.” My whole life until just in the past year totally revolved around men. They were the way I sought validation from my molestation and rapes. Instead of hating men even though I did not trust them, I felt I needed them. NO, I craved their approval more than I craved drugs. I craved men to the point of sacrificing everything, my children, my freedom, my self respect and almost my life in order to get men’s approval.
I even supported them financially and made sure they never went without just so they would stay with me no matter what I had to do. I forged checks, stole, lied, cheated, and even had a sugar daddy just to keep them happy so they would not leave me. So I would not be alone. I did this because of no self-worth.
This is a serious problem facing many women today. Not only is it a women’s problem, but I think that it is a community problem as well. Because until we address this issue and do something to change it, our whole community is affected. Until we start valuing ourselves and loving ourselves in a positive way we will only continue to give birth to children who will eventually learn to think and react the same way we did. We need be taught how to love ourselves to be valued people by our own accomplishments and not based solely on the fact that we have a man in our lives.
If we could have safe housing, support, education, and training without a male relationship for a few months until we can experience some success and gain some self-esteem, self- reliance, and independence it could make all the difference for us and our children. Please help.
Contact: Louise Knapp
My name is Chantel Lewis. I am 34 years old. I have 5 beautiful children and I have never married. I am a recovering crystal meth addict. I am currently in a treatment center.
I am writing to show the almost impossible task I and women like me are facing. When I get out of residential treatment after about 30 days, I will be expected to magically be all better. It is expected that I have a job even with the little job skills that I have, that I have parenting skills that I need, that I have a home for my 5 children to return to.
The reality is that when I complete inpatient treatment I will get a job for $5 to $10 an hour working 40 hours a week. At $10 an hour my weekly check will be $400 per week or about $1,600 per month. That is before any deductions. Rent will be around $1,000 a month. I will be responsible to provide, as a single mom, food, utilities, day care and transportation. I will probably be expected to attend out patient treatment also. I will also be responsible for the love, time and care given to my 5 children.
This is overwhelming. How could any women be expected to do all of this? How can a drug addict accomplish all this and remain clean and sober? What about my children?
If I could have safe housing and a supportive environment while I work on the education and skills I need it could make such a difference. I need classes on parenting, goal achievement, structure and scheduling, and a trade so I can support my children.
I want to learn how to reclaim myself, love myself, and accept myself. I desire a life that is stable; A life with positive direction, creativity, and confidence.
I need structure for myself and my children. I am working hard so my dreams will come true. If I can get the help and support I need now, the odds are that I will become someone great.
You can help so much. You can do a show about the problems that children of addicts face and also about the problems their moms like me face. How can I do all that is expected of me if I am all alone? Obviously (remember I have 5 children and have never been married) my pattern is that I become desperate and turn to a man.
I have found out that in my case, so far, a man is not the answer. In fact a man has only added further problems for me. But what can I do?
I can see at least a start for a solution. This is where you can help.
Louise Knapp who is President of Jacob 2 Foundation plans to build transitional housing for recovering addicted women and their young children.
Louise recognizes two conditions. One she calls “The Ravaged Souls of the Mute” meaning the children of addicts. The other she calls “The Curse of Eve Syndrome” meaning how desperate many women are to have a man in their lives even though to do so is often disastrous.
I fall into the above 2 mentioned categories.
Please help by having me by donating and helping to spread the work to show our country the desperate need that we addicts and our children are facing.
My mother is using drugs during her pregnancy with me.
Her mother and father are going through separation at the time that I am getting ready to be born.
After I am born, my mother takes me and my older sister out all times of the day and night. She leaves us in the car. She is getting drugs or fighting with my dad.
I am very scared to be left alone.
When I am 6 weeks old my mother is checked into the hospital because she can’t stop using drugs and is very unstable.
My grandmother is watching me one night. She has been using drugs that day. She has other people at my house using drugs with her. She has poor hearing and is drowsy and not alert.
She lays me on the bed in my mother’s room. She forgets that I shouldn’t have pillows around me. I lay and sleep for a while then I wake up.
I roll over on a pillow. I am in a panic. I can’t hold up my head. I can’t roll back over. I am gasping for air. I struggle and struggle but no one hears me.
It feels like forever. But soon I feel at peace and my struggling stops. Then I transcend to the top of the room.
My pain is over. I am surrounded by loving people to take me home.
(This is a true story of an infant who died. It was written by her aunt who wrote the story in first person as she tired to imagine what it was like for the infant.)
My name is Shaelee. I am 18 months old. My parents are alcoholics/addicts.
I have lived in a worldly hell because of their sickness.
I have been taken away from them and I want to be with them so bad. But I can’t.
I know that they love me. I don’t understand why they chose drugs over me. It really makes me sad. I am really confused. The were always coming and going.
I don’t understand why one day I was living with my mommy and daddy and the next day I wasn’t.
I am scared and I need my mommy.
I do know that they are trying to become healthy so that I can come home. I am excited because I know it will be good. I just wish it were today.
I can’t wait to go home to healthy parents.
I really don’t remember when they were active in their addictions. I was just too young.
I remember now though that they just weren’t happy then like they are now.
I love to see my mommy smile. She is so pretty. I remember she never used to smile.
I enjoy my mommy now. She is the best mommy ever.
(This is a true story written by the mother of Shaelee. The mother is in treatment and is trying to tell the story as she imagines it from the view point of the child.)
My name is Jodie. I am 8 years old. I live in Pleasant Grove. I am in the 2nd grade and I love going to school to learn and play.
I have a couple of friends and sometimes I go to their house to play. When I go home my mom and dad are fighting again. I don’t know why. Sometimes I think it is my fault that dad stays away at work a lot. I am at home most of the time with mom.
One day mom gets sick. She falls asleep and I didn’t know what to do so I call Grandma. I learned how to use the phone in an emergency when I was 6 and I know Gramma’s number by heart.
An ambulance comes to our house and I am not allowed to see what they are doing to mom. Grandma ushers me away but I do see the ambulance people carry my mom out the door.
Dad comes home to take care of me and my little brother.
I still don’t know why mommy got sick. I know she took her medicine and then she went to sleep.
When she gets home she is mad at dad and it seems like she is mad at me. I wish I didn’t make her so mad. I guess I will have to try harder.
A few years go by and now I am 14 years old. Now I have made a best friend. Her name is Trish and I spend a lot of time there at her house cause I don’t wanna go home. Mom is worse. Much worse.
She calls me names that hurt my feelings. Grounds me for weeks at a time. If I say something she doesn’t like she puts soap in my mouth or hits me with a wooden spoon.
I don’t know why she doesn’t love me. I don’t know what I did. She’s always putting me down, calling me a whore or says her life would have been so much better without me. So I seek love elsewhere with boys.
Every time I go to Trish’s house we sneak out late at night and go to boy’s houses.
I try to feel better by going to church but mom hates me going. She’s against the church. Every time I go she yells at me saying, “Your not my daughter if you go to the Church.” Eventually I stop going.
I loose my innocence to a boy at age 15. At about that time I try running away but Mom has the cops after me and eventually I have to go back home.
I try slitting my wrists because I can’t deal with life anymore. My mom makes me feel lower than dirt. All she says when she finds out is, “Next time do it right so I don’t have to change your diapers the rest of your life.”
I feel alone, worthless, and unloved. I don’t know what I did to deserve this.
(This is the true story of Jodie written by her-self. She is an adult now and writes the story from her memories as a child.)