Thursday, January 10, 2013

Guest Post: Valerie Paulson

I stumbled across your blog and wanted to say THANK YOU for having this as a sounding board for parents, and loved ones of addicts.
It certainly feels like a long, dark and lonely road to travel at times. I have never kept my son's addiction a secret as I have been fortunate enough to have a wonderful group of friends and family who support me. This support can only go so far when it comes to the heartache and worry.
My son is a 27 year old addict who is now in prison. You see.. he steals from our family to support his habit. He has done this numerous times whether it is cash or jewelry to pawn, essentially whatever it takes to get his fix.
I have dealt with this pain for years. Believe me.. I have tried it all to help him overcome his demons. We have had counseling, we have done several rehab treatments  and I am sorry to say.. it has been to no avail.
He brought 2 beautiful baby girls into the world ; one of which I am a legal guardian for. I am 50 years old and my daughter just graduated high school last year. My granddaugher started kindegarten this year. So, as you can see, I am starting over with raising a child. The second baby girl is legally adopted by her foster parents as I felt I could not handle raising a 2nd child. I am forever grateful as these foster parents are truly like a gift from God for me and her. They allow me to see and spend time with my granddaugher as a Grandmother should. Mind you.. both of the mothers are addicts as well.
The addict does not realize how much hurt they inflict on their family and loved ones by their actions. At this point my son will never be allowed to step foot in my house again. As a mother this is truly heartwrenching. You never lose the love and concern you have for your child however, you do at some point come to the realization there is nothing more you can do to help your child. And when you hit that point you refuse to continue to ALLOW him to hurt your family. It took me years to hit this wall and it hurts terribly.
I went to see a counselor when my son took blank checks from my checkbook and started writing them out to support his habit. By the time I noticed the 6 missing checks he had already written out 2 of them to the total of $700.00. I am so thankful we caught on before more damage could be done to our account. At this counseling session I gave a brief rundown of my life situation with my son and inquired " is it ok for a mother to turn her back on her child?" He advised me .. not only was it vital that I do just that immediately but, I should have done it years ago.
With that being said I have come to the realization and awareness that you "Cannot save somebody who does not want to be saved."
I will always love my son and have concern for him but, I have also told him that I am prepared for a phone call that he was found dead of an overdose. It is not a call I want to get but, as a parent of an addict this is a situation I have to be prepared for.
I do write my son in prison as I do love him as I stated earlier. I pray every single day for his safety and well being. I pray everyday that HE comes to the conclusion that he wants something better for his life. As a parent you want your children to be happy and whole. I hope that this comes true for my son but, have decided to step back and hope for the best. And continue to pray.
With regards and hopes of your sons continued health
Val Paulson


Dad and Mom said...


Thank you so much for your post. There is much pain and wisdom in what you write. My hope is that your son has a profound experience while he is away and one day he finds recovery and can once again be a part of your life and his daughters.

ruby-tuesday said...

Hey there, I just recently strating reading your blog

I am a recovering heroin addict and also have anorexia/bulimia
I got clean off heroin acouple of years ago but am still on methadone and have been for 8 years
I still struggle hugely with my addiction, namely with prescription drugs and food

I just wanted to say that I agree with what you said
My parents enabled me for years
It wasn't until they stopped giving me money, stopped bailing me out of the crazy situations I got myself in to that I finally had enough
I was on my own for the first time and I just couldn't continue

I hope and pray that your son gets clean
There is hope

Wishing you hope and faith x

Anonymous said...

Valerie, I can hear the tremendous sorrow in your words and it just breaks my heart for you. The "stories" never get easier to read.

Your decision to remove yourself from the drama of your son's addiction is incredibly courageous! It's so hard and it hurts so much to go against our every instinct as parents but, often, that is what leads to recovery. I will be hoping and praying your son finds his way very soon!

Thank you for sharing your story.


Ming said...

Hi Valerie, Sad as it is to say, your story resonates loudly with me and I am sure alot of us parents of addicts. Thanks for posting and best wishes. I certainly would never wish this life on anyone.

Bristolvol said...

I can totally identify with you. I had to turn my back also on my daughter and I have not seen her in almost 5 years. She has 2 children now and is living with her dad. She contacted me for the first time with a Christmas card and I will meet her for lunch on Saturday. I have been waiting and praying for this day, never giving up hope. She is on Suboxone and caring for her kids and her gravely ill husband. Life certainly has not been kind to her. I have learned that things change all the time, and it is important to keep the hope alive. Thank you for sharing your story.

Tori said...

I commend you for removing yourself from him. As a Mother that has got to be one of the most difficult things we can ever do.

It is painful to read another POA's story of what addiction does to their family. But it is something we all can identify with.

Thank you for sharing your story and wisdom.

Lizzie C said...

Thank you for sharing, Val! Life with my 24 y/o heroin addict son brings much fear, sadness and an overwhelming sense of helplessness.

Val Paulson said...

The support shown on this blog is heartwarming. It is so nice to be able to associate to other parents and loved ones of addicts in the struggles of addiction.
One thing I failed to mention in my blog was most likely the most important bridge I have crossed.
I came to realize how important it was to my physical and emotional well being to focus on the positive things in my life. My gosh.. I am a very lucky person. I have a son & a daughter who grew into good, responsible adults. I have a loving, supportive husband along with extended family and friends. The job I have provides a good home and all the basic necessities. So rather than dwelling on the dark cloud of addiction I chose to focus on the good things.