Saturday, February 26, 2011

A letter from a 17 year old girl, seeking advice - will you help?

I received an email, this morning.  It's from "Kelsey" who says she is 17 years old.  I admit that, at first, I wondered if this email is legit.  But, I don't want to take that kind of gamble.  The purpose of my blog began as a way to find my own advice, encouragement and support as I grappled with the fact that my son is a drug addict.  My blog cultivated a lot of wonderful people who understood me, because they had similar problems.  There are times when I received comments from people who are, themselves, drug addicts.  They have helped me, tremendously, to try and better understand my son's perspective on his battle of addiction. For that reason, I have decided to post Kelsey's email (without her email address, to protect her privacy).  I'm going to email her and ask her to check my blog, because I'm going to ask my readers/followers to leave comments for her to read.

Before I do, please know that my son appears to be staying clean, though he is still on methadone. I'll update more of that, but I'm giving Kelsey a spot on my blog. Kelsey, I pray that you will find guidance from those who will comment. I'll write to you when I have a chance to come up with my own response.

Hi, I came across your blog when I googled early signs of addiction. I googled that because I wanted to know if I would fall under the "addict" catergory. I don't really think I do, but my one sober friend thinks I need help. I'm not sure if she's the right person to go off of, but then I feel she might be because I'm so used to all of my other friends using more drugs than I do. When I say I use drugs I mean I only use like, coke, subs, acid, weed, and then these precription pills are the love of my life: adderall, xanax, ativan, percs, oxys. I don't use any of these daily, with the exception of weed, but I use one or more at least 4 times a week. When I'm not using I'm thinking of how I can get it, what I can get, etc. I just think about being high non stop.

I didn't really email you so you can tell me if I'm a drug addict or not. I feel like it's not that simple when I am only text on a web page to you. I emailed you because I want help before it gets to the point where I'm having bad withdrawls and can't stop. I mean, I want that help, but then I don't because I'm not convinced it's a problem. I just don't know how to tell my Mom, and that is where I come to you for advice. Please excuse me if I'm not making sense, it's 7:11 in the morning, and I haven't slept in over a day. I think I may be delirius to everyone but myself.

So here is my story, and I hope you can give me some insight on what I can do:

I'm Kelsey. I'm a 17-year-old junior in highschool. I'm screwing up my life. I'm practically failing out of school, and I want to fix that but I don't care enough to. I'm scared to tell my mom because she is already going through a hard enough time, I don't want her to have to deal with my problems. That is, if she believes me. I have a feeling she'd tell me I just want attention. Or she'd just try to ground me or something like that. She's an alcoholic that is dealing with the death of my older brother and her husband is divorcing her. She's not very stable and she has no self-confidence.

I also can't tell her because I am supposed to be the "good one", the one with "promise" in my family. You see, I come from a long line of alcoholics and drug addicts. I'm the only one of my cousins that actually has is together. I don't want her to be embarrassed because I know she's proud that I'm not a screw-up like her brother's daughter and her sister's son. We're all very similar in age, the girl is 19 and the boy is going to be 17 in a few months.

I honestly don't even know if this little "addiction" that I may or may not have is even serious enough to tell anyone.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


God bless you, Kelsey!


Fractalmom said...

Dear Kelsey: yes, you are right. I had a daughter once, who was also the 'good one', the one who wasn't in trouble, the one who was doing well in school.

She started out on Oxy's and Xanax and the rest. She also smoked weed. She didn't think she would become an addict.

She is now 31, has three kids and lost custody of two of them. Every day she gets up and goes to a methadone clinic to get her dose. She will be on methadone the rest of her life. She is no longer brilliant, she is a complete and total idiot now.

Oxy's got too expensive in college, she turned to heroin, snorting it first, then when THAT got too expensive, she started shooting it.

And, I see your dilemma. Your mom is in a really bad place and she too is an addict, only hers is alcohol.

It probably seems like you are between a rock and a hard place! Wow, and you sort of are.

The good news is, there are things that YOU can do.

1. I think I would go to the school counselor first. Tell them everything, but no names (of friends who are also doing it.) Ask for help. Ask for referral to programs in your city/state/county which are specifically targeted to teen addicts. There ARE programs. Be honest about your addiction. Do not be afraid, it will be VERY scary at first, and some of the solutions may terrify you. Hang in there though.

2. After you have it all in place, then go to your mom and tell her what is going on. Tell her you love her. Tell her you want to love yourself too, and you have made arrangement to (whatever the treatment plan is, a residential rehab, or whatever you and your counselor have come up with.) Tell her you are taking back control of your life from the drugs.

3. Finish high school, do what the program tells you to do, and do it well!

4. Get into college. Someone as smart as you are needs to go to college. There are many grants and loans which will pay for the tuition. Get good grades, and go on to graduate.

5. It doesn't matter about your cousins. What will matter is what you DO ABOUT YOUR ADDICTION. See, you can't control your cousins, or your mother, or much at all. But what you CAN control is YOU, and YOUR addiction.

Just take the first, very scary step. After that, take them one step at a time and you will be fine.

I will pray for you.


Debby of Oxycontin and Opiate Addiction: A Mother's Story said...

Dawn, I wrote to Kelsey privately. However, you have once again said it brilliantly. This is great advice! You are the voice of experience. Thank you for your response. I pray that Kelsey-- and others-- will read this post and it will hit home. My son is 22, and slowly weaning off methadone. I continue to pray that he will move forward in his life, at such a young age, and live a life that is free of using drugs. I continue to hope....and pray....and wait.
Thanks again.

Brother Frankie said...

agreed.. and praying

LisaC said...

I can't give any better, more direct advice than Dawn gave.

I would confirm for you, Dear Kelsey, that as you are smart enough and still in control enough to ask the question, that you aleady know the answer in your head and in your heart. It is a problem, but you can overcome this if you do it now.

Your mother will ultimately be so proud of you for taking control of your life. However, I don't want you to do it for your mother, I want you to do it for yourself! YOU ARE WORTH IT!

You will be in my prayers. Take the first step, you won't regret it. However, you may regret it for the rest of your life if you don't take this step now.

A MOM said...

Dear Kelsy, the best advice I can give you is the same advice someone gave me 4 yrs ago. My counselor in rehab told me there are only 3 outcomes for an addict.
1. rehab
2. prison
3. death
Kelsy I have never seen the outcome any other way since I was told that, in fact 2 months ago I buried an old friend that was found in an abandoned house, alone, frozen and dead from on overdose. He started out on pills, then the expense happened and was shooting dope in no time. Please take the advice of people who have been there, either as an addict like myself or a family memeber who loves an addict, we all have different stories but are all on the same path, it doesnt matter how we get there we have to ACCEPT that that is where we are at. I have a 17 yr old son that lived my addiction with me, he had to bare witness to all my mistakes, but we also have gotten well together, he has a different outlook on things, look at your mom and tell me what you see. You must take control of yourself right now, becasuse you already have the addition gene in your system if your mom is an alcohlic, there definitly is a pattern. If I can get your too understand one thing it would be that addicts have SEVERE consequences for there actions, refer to list 1,2 and 3 again. I will pray for your strength of courage because step 1 is the hardest after acceptance it is all me. If you ever want to talk my email is

Cheri said...

Dear Kelsey,

I agree with all the counsel you have received here. An addict never thinks he/she is an addict, yet ... "I can stop whenever I want." That is what my son said for months before seeking help. He has been sober for almost five years now, but he could have never achieved it without first admitting he was addicted, and then taking the necessary steps to get help, even though it was the hardest and scariest thing he (or our family) has ever done.

You are in our thoughts and prayers,

mumofaddict said...

Hi Kelsey: My son's drug addiction started like yours with weed and prescription meds in his teens, by early twenties he was an intravenous Heroin user plus prescription meds. By late twenties he was in Methadone treatment, but the use of prescription meds continued.

Wonderful advice has been given by others through comments, be that it is only small snippets of their own personal story/experience of addiction, or of having an addicted loved one. I hope and pray all this helps you in your time of need and path of indecision.

My son's battle with drug addiction went on for 23 years for him, and 14 yrs for us. He spent 18 months in a drug rehab facility for Methadone withdrawal and his drug addiction. He has been clean and in recovery for over 2 years now, but it was a long difficult process to get there.

His years of being drug addicted were destructive, sad and lonely ones for him. He did have a loving family, but no wife, no kids of his own. They were 23 precious years wasted for the love of drugs, and it all started out so simple back in his teens, and wasn't meant to get out of control. But it did, and did really big time for him.

Please be assurred Kelsey your mom will still love you if your drug addiction is declared. All parents have unconditional love for their children. But your mom does have her own addiction problems, so she may need a little time just to accept yours as well, that's all.

My heart, love, prayers and strength goes out to you Kelsey you are so young and shouldn't be carrying such a big burden on your own.


cheryl4170 said...

Kelsey, I agree with Dawn. She stated it perfectly. My daughter left home last Oct. at the age of 19 hooked on oxy. She left everything she owns for it including her family. She is able to admit it was wrong but is so deep in it now she is unable to get herself out. She is the only one that can truely help herself. She knows we are here for her but without wanting help, she is not going to seek the help that she needs. The fact that you are seeking help is a huge first step and a very smart one. I feel it is never too late to turn around. But know the longer you wait or deeper in problems the harder it is. Surround yourself with the right people and whom love you and will give you the support. Do you really feel your drug user friends are truely "friends" that can help you. Otherwise you might not be where you are today. Distance yourself from that and turn yourself around. You can do it and I can see you want to do it. Keeping yourself on the road of drugs will only lead to failure. No good outcome ever happens. Things only get worse. I don't know why God gives us these challanges other than making us stronger for what might be in store for us ahead. Be strong and just be honest with yourself. You will find your family and true friends will understand. The lies will only turn to disaster.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kelsey. I just came across this blog today. Your story sounds so much like mine. When I was 17 I smoked weed every day. I didn't see any harm in it. On top of smoking that every day.. I would take pain killers, take acid, xanax, and during that time I took extasy when ever I could get my hands on it.
I didn't see any problem in it. I thought I was just being a teenager, and that's what teenagers do. I started missing more and more school and finally dropped out.
I told myself I could stop whenever I wanted to, but on days when I didn't have some kind of drug in my system my mind would go crazy!!! The drugs were the ONLY thing I could think about... Later in life I learned that was called psychological dependance. At 18 I started taking vicoden more and more after a couple months went by, I found that I would get SICK when I didn't take them. (Again, later in life I found out I was physcially addicted) Who would have thought I would be hooked so quick??
My mom is an alcholoic also. By the time I turned 19 I decided I couldn't take it anymore and I was going to HAVE to tell my mom. I remember that day like it was yesterday, I cried for hours but I eventually told her. She cried and asked me WHY a lot but she never screamed, yelled, or called me names.. Although my mom has a drinking problem she has no understanding of ADDICTIOIN.. why? Because she never got treated herself. Her way of helping me was to tell me that I was just going to STOP that day and thats it. Obviously that did not work and I just ended up hiding my using from her again. I eventually found the confidence to tell another family member, who I knew got help with a drug problem in the past. From there he told me about treatment centers, meetings, and gave me a phone number to help me!

You already know the answer to your question in your heart! Please don't let this go any further than it already has! I remember thinking that the drugs were no big deal, and people who couldn't stop were weak... Those drugs are so powerful they will make you deny reality.

The sooner you stop the better your life will be, trust me!!! I am now 26 and I still struggle. It took me 6 years to get 1 year clean!! Check out some meetings!! You will find people there who you will be able to relate to you! The people there will UNDERSTAND where you're coming from. This year ... has been the best year of my whole life.

You will never know how much better your life will be until you stop.

Anonymous said...

Kelsey, I can relate to how you're feeling. I used to use drugs everyday and I thought I could stop whenever I wanted. I obviously figured I wasn't addicted. I just used pretty much anything you could imagine, as long as I was high I was happy. (Or so I thought.) I ended up being able to stop using all drugs without much of a problem except for when it came to cocaine. I finally realized I was addicted to it but I didn't really care. I come from a small town where there were very few dealers. My dealer eventually went to jail so I was forced to find other ways to get coke. I almost got in some serious legal trouble and so at this point I really wanted to stop using but found it almost impossible. (This was all after many years and many losses.)Anyway I was too ashamed of what was going on to tell my parents about my problem, although they had already figured it out on their own. They sent me away to a place where I had literally no access to drugs for a good amount of time. I really wanted to stay clean and after a couple relapses finally managed to do it. I haven't used cocaine for a little over two years but I still think about it and crave it everyday. I highly suggest getting help before it is too late and before your life becomes completely controlled by drugs. There is a fine line between experimenting and addiction; especially when it runs in the family. Don't worry about what anyone thinks about you (including your parents), just do what you know is best for your future. By the way, by the time I was your age I was pretty far gone... so I just suggest getting help as soon as possible!

Your Sister said...

Kelsey: I hope you are still reading these blog comments...over and over again even...I am the sister of a deceased drug addict...

Talk to someone you trust...there is only one you...You are very brave to seek help...not to mention smart for knowing you should...And your friend who spoke to you about it...go hug that person...b/c your friend is brave and must care for you very much...

I don't think my brother ever really thought he was an addict...but at 23 he died from a drug overdose...the coroner told my mom that he had the organs of a very heavy drug it doesn't take long for drugs to wear on your body...

Good brave...and take it one day at the time...

Anonymous said...

Hey Kelsey,

Your story sounds just like my brother's. It's how his started out. He dabbled with ecstasy, weed, and pills in high school thinking it was just part of being a teenager and he could stop when he wanted to. He had fun with friends and thought they would always be there for him. He is now 28 years old and has been battling a drug addiction for the last 12 years. His use progressed from popping pills, to crushing and snorting numerous pills a day, to cocaine and then smoking heroin. He lost all of his friends, totaled his truck, ended up in jail on extreme dui's, and has nothing to show for the last 12 years of his life.

He claims to be drug free now except for weed but I know he is lying. He still has not realized he can't battle this addiction by himself. He is about to be homeless because he is getting evicted from his apartment and he feels like his family should pay for him to live in his own place. I love him but I can't help him anymore because I know that we have all enabled him over the years. So I guess he will be homeless soon.

My point here is please please please get help now and admit that you are on your way to becoming an addict. Don't end up like my brother. I promise you that your drug use will progressively get worse as time goes by. I'm so sorry your mom is overwhelmed with problems in her own life and you feel alone. But if you can find the courage go to her for help. She loves you no matter what. She will probably be mad at first but then realize what you are going through may be an extension of her problems and the addiction gene in your family. And your friends from high school are not going to be there for you once high school is over. Everyone goes their separate ways. You are in charge of your life. Focus on the goals you have for your life and do what you need to to get them in motion. You can do anything you put your mind to as long as you are sober. And don't be afraid to seek professional help from support groups, counselors, etc.

Good luck girl! Don't waste another day.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kelsy,
It's been a while since you wrote the email, but I wanted to share my experience w/u.
Stop the pills now.
I know I shouldn't condone smoking weed to anyone, but if you have to focus on one thing, the pills are what have the power to really enslave you.
It doesn't take long to become physically dependant on them.
I was a chronic pain patient at age 29, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I went from 5mg of oxy lasting a whole blissful day to 300mg a day to just not be sick. No high, no fun, just not sick.
Withdrawal is hell on earth. I had never been thru it until the day I decided to abruptly stop taking oxy on the first of the year.
I was so sick physically and entered into a deep, dark, horrible depression along with MASSIVE anxiety.
During this period, I managed to stay off the meds for three months, even tho I had a full script in my med cabinet.
I focused on my husband and kids and fought through hell every minute of ever day.
Groundhog day from hell.
Finally, just as I was begining to turn the corner & feel hope again, my husband left me.
Ironically, he left because I was sick for too long & finances were a huge burden that he carried alone. While I was sick, he also took a lot of the burden of the home & kids.
I was, and am, devastated. To me, getting off the prescribed meds was the worst decision I made because doing so, and being sick, changed my life forever.
Not long after he left, I started taking them again. The second worst decision of my life. I want off badly but fear wd more than anything.
The moral of this story? Quit while you're ahead. A year ago I was making 33 dollars an hr in local government, top of the foodchain. I had a family of my own and a nice house. I had all I wanted.
Today, I am 33yrs old & living with my parents because I can't find a decent paying job, so I work three PT jobs that suck.
I miss my husband, I feel for my children and am devastated. None of this would have happened had I never started on pain medication.
So even if it's prescribed, it can ruin your life.
Once you become addicted, which is inevitable ifyou take it long enough, the odds of permanent freedom from it are extremely low.
I feel like a slave, I am extremely sad.
You can still escape... please don't wait.
As for the weed & even the acid...I think many of us experimented with that at your age. I did.
But nothing, nothing compares to being trapped by opiates.
Chose life, sweetie. The warm fuzzies aren't worth it. You can obtain that from other, less deadly & destructive means.
Will be praying for you. I hope, for you, that you stop.
If you've been using opiates for not too long & not high doses, you can get out with minimal discomfort. You may feel down & fluish, but it will pass.
Once you ride the oxy train for years, it is very difficult to see the light at the end of a scary, dismal tunnel.
Please stop.
To the others on this blog, pls pray for me: my secret war & the reconcilliation of my family. It will take a miracle.

crazylife said...

Kelsey, are you serious... Im a addict, Im actually going through withdrawl right now! Today is my 2nd day, the 2nd day to the rest of my life. My addiction, pain pills, about 350 mg of codeine 2 times a day. Youre in complete denial, you need help! Youre to young, and you say u come from a family of addicts, right theres the clue! And if u have to ask "AM I AN ADDICT?" pretty much chances are that you ARE an addict... And with all the drugs youre using youre going to die if u keep doing this. I know and understand the pressure to be "perfect" but thats the thing PEOPLE ARE NOT PERFECT, WE ARE FLAWED... If youre around other users you need to just make the choice to stay away, at this point I dont know how often u use, but if what you say is rigjt u may not go through withdrawl, the mental sucks just as bad though, and thats what people who are NOT addicts do NOT understand, its NOT just getting clean, its getting out of bed every morning and living clean, the physical withdrawl is over for some in a couple of weeks, or 5-7 days, but the mental can last months to even years... So get help before its that bad for you, look in to local NA meetimgs, find someone you can trust and feel will listen NOT judge you, addiction is an illness, and some of us just happen to have an addictive personality.
Someone once told me, the harder things are to over come in life, are the best things to over come. Ive been an addict for 5-6 years, and I am NOW taking my life into MY hands, I will NOT be controled, I will live a better life, and to be honest Im one of the few lucky ones that withdrawl isnt as nasty as it should be. I should actually be dying right now, Ive stopped COLD TURKEY, but I actually woke up happy and excited this morning to feel better, I still am suffering withdrawl dont get me wrong, but it could be worst, Im awake, alert, and feeling pretty dang good mentally, physically though I feel like crap, im in loads of pain, but the pain isnt as bad as yesterday, so I know tomorrow will be even better... Get help before it really hurts you! Do not be controlled by drugs trust me its no way to live, and youre already thinking when and how you can get your next HIGH, thats a red flag right there....

Megan said...

To Kelsey and others who "think" they dont have a problem, please check out my blog at maybe itll help you rethink that you dont need help, my blog is all about MY road to recovery from MY addiction, giving day by day updates of my withdrawl, I am only a few days into recovery, and I know its a long slow bumppy road, but Im going to beat, crush, and over come this demon.
Anyone who wants to check out my blog go ahead. I put it out there to help other addicts and nonaddicts understand.. feel free to comment or give advice on how to stay clean...