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Losing a parent to drug addiction and caring for the surviving addicted parent.


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Hi all,

My father passed away exactly a week ago from a heroin overdose. He was 65 years old. He had been taking morphine for many years, then his doctor cut him off, so he went to rehab. My siblings and I were all proud of him for going through with that. Unfortunately, he made "friends" in there who got him into street drugs which very quickly lead to his death. We were devastated to hear the news. 

The problem worsens because after speaking with the police, we learned that our mother had overdosed on the same heroin only a few hours before his death. When she overdosed he took her to the hospital, she was given narcan and sent home, once home he did the same heroin and then also overdosed, unable to be saved.

My siblings and I have watched our parents struggle with drug addiction all of our childhood and adult lives - to my knowledge this has varied from cocaine, heroin, morphine, oxycodone, and klonopin. My mother claims this was their second time using the heroin and that she will never touch it again after watching her husband die from it. Of course, we have trust issues when it comes to these promises because we've heard it all before. 

While we want to give our mother the space she needs to grieve the loss of her husband (while we are also grieving our father's untimely passing), we are also worried about her. She has been staying with us so we can make sure that she's not going to go back to old habits to help her manage the grief. It's only been a week, but she wants to go back to her house to get things in order, promising that she has no desire or means of obtaining drugs. My siblings told her there's no way she is staying there alone because we would constantly worry about her.

My husband argues that we cannot "babysit" her forever and if she wants to do the drugs, she will find a way regardless. He doesn't see that I would do anything it takes to make sure that my surviving parent doesn't succumb to the same fate.

I guess the point of this post is --

1. How can we ensure our mother is safe while she is living alone? Remember, she was also using the heroin and overdosed on the same day as his death. She's lived a life of addiction. There's a good chance she's going to think she needs drugs to cope the loss of her husband. I'm sure she is also feeling some guilt for not being able to save him.

2. Is it insensitive to her process of grieving to require her to live with one of us going forward so we can get her the help she needs to stay clean?

If anyone has been through a similar struggle, please let me know what worked for you. Any advice would be so greatly appreciated. 



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Hugs MissFriend ... I am so sorry for your loss.  Addictions is a horrible thing and so many lives are lost and ruined because of it.  It certainly is a family disease as it affects everyone in the family, not only the addict.  I am a recovering addict (no drugs) and the best I can offer is my own personal experience and insight.  Your husband is right, you can't babysit and if someone wants to use, they will find a way.  The best thing a person can do is love the addict and let them know that you do.  Offer to be there for them when they are struggling and do a lot of praying for help from ABOVE.  Help for both your mom and yourself.  Wish I could offer more but this is what helped me through the dark times.


take care

Cindy Jane

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Hi Cindy Jane,

I really appreciate your insight. How long were you an addict before becoming clean? Given the lengthy number of years my mother has used, I wonder if becoming clean is even possible for her. It seems she and my father always had an excuse for why they did it -- "everyone did drugs from our generation", "we didn't use every day just here and there", etc. 

She has expressed that she still plans to take the klonopin for her anxiety, but won't touch anything else, including heroin. I personally think because she is concerned about the klonopin, it shows she still has addictive tendencies and could very easily fall into old habits with harder drugs. I don't know how to help her without continuously monitoring her, which she is already becoming irritable about. She won't visit rehab given the issues my father had with that route. I am at a loss of what to do, other than slowly prepare for the loss of my mother as well. 

Curious of your thoughts on the above given your background, you may be able to offer a different perspective.

Many thanks.

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Just an update. Lost my mother to heroin as well on 11/22. Not even 2 weeks after my dad's death.


As I stated in my last post, she was staying at my sisters house so we could keep her away from drugs. She became irritable and wanted to go home, saying she needed to grieve alone. When no one would agree to it, she had a friend pick her up while my sister was at work. They took her home and she began messaging around on Facebook looking for her fix. When no one heard from her Tuesday evening, we became worried. Called the cops to check on her Wednesday morning and sure enough, she was dead with empty bags of heroin around. 

I feel so betrayed. She lied right to my face about never touching heroin again. The whole time at my sisters, when we thought she was clean, we found from her messages that she was doing pills. Told her friend "I'll never change and they know it". I wish she cared more about keeping strong for her children than she did about numbing her pain, but that's how it's always been. I feel so cheated out of a normal life. I feel like I never even got to know the real her. She was always putting on a facade, acting like she would never touch that stuff, meanwhile it's clear that's all she's ever cared about. I hope heaven is real, so someday we can reunite again, and get to know the good soul I know was behind it all, but was so tainted by the ugliness of addiction.

My life will never be the same. I've lost both of my parents two weeks apart to this disgusting drug. People are gossiping. They brought their name down into the mud. They should have never gone so soon. They had so much life left in them. They had so much to live for. Yet when it came down to it nothing really mattered besides drugs and the false illusion that they're in "pain" and need something to numb it.

The bright side is the wheel stops spinning HERE. Watching their mistakes all my life, I've never touched a drug and never will. When my children are older, I will tell them the truth of how their grandparents died and teach them to make better choices.

Please if anyone can offer a kind word or share their own story that would help me a lot. I am still feeling shocked and hard to accept this is reality.

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