My Bottom Line

Recovery Corner: The Unseen Cost of Addiction

this article was originally written and featured on

Last month I shared with readers a story about my 17-year-old son in prison back in 2006. I cried the entire time writing that. The reliving brought back all the pain, ripped off the band-aid, so to speak, that I firmly place on all memories of my past.  Here we are again… computer and Kleenex. Back in 2006, I had some hope, although guarded, that in time my son would find his way out of drugs. Move forward 12 years.

I just got back from a trip to CT, for a funeral and to visit my son in prison. Yet again. He’s doing 9-18 months on old drug charges. He turned 29 two weeks ago. Drug abusing history of 17 years, 14 of those as a junkie (to those who may want to be offended… please don’t… iv heroin users ARE junkies).

I HATE TO FLY. It’s my kryptonite. I am a strong, capable, competent, woman who can manage crises like most people eat dinner. Put me on an airplane…and I’ve got a white-knuckle hold on the seat in front, chanting prayers to any God that will listen, and swearing on Grandma’s grave I will NEVER do this again! Did the plane…to get to CT…to visit my son in prison…suffering a greatest fear – FLIGHT – for the sole purpose of delivering the most devastating news my son will likely ever hear.  My mom died recently, his grandmother, HIS PERSON. The one human being on this planet that he loved, as much as he can understand love. I needed to face him to tell him.

With my heart dragging on the ground, I entered the prison visitation room, once again me on one side of dirty scratched plexi-glass, Matt on the other. I made as much small talk as possible for 20 minutes, then took a breath – “Matt, honey, I have very sad news to share with you…” His tears were instantaneous, before I said the words…he knew. The next 40 minutes were as bad as I expected. I dropped the Hiroshima bomb. No survivors.

Why am I sharing this with you??? Because my son, Louise’s grandson, SHOULD have been at her funeral, memorial service, family dinner … mourning/grieving/remembering/celebrating her life.  NOT in a beige jumpsuit, handcuffs and leg irons, 9×9 concrete cell, with no ability to grieve or mourn. For those readers who aren’t aware, CRYING IN PRISON ISN’T COOL.

My heartache these past days has been almost too much to bear. To have to drop this bomb, and then watch the devastation it caused my son… the sober human… NOT the monster addict. I have now come to see yet another something that addiction steals — even the privilege to grieve. To mourn. THE TAKING NEVER ENDS.

In the momentous words of the beloved and departed actor, Carroll O’Connor (Archie Bunker) – “GET BETWEEN YOUR KIDS AND DRUGS, ANY WAY YOU CAN”.

Below is a poem about drugs, by an anonymous author, very widely used by substance abuse professionals. I think this is the time for me to share it with you.


I destroy homes, tear families apart, take your children, and that’s just the start.

I’m more costly than diamonds, more costly than gold; the sorrow I bring is a sight to behold.

And if you need me, remember I’m easily found; I live all around you, in schools and in town.

I live with the rich, I live with the poor; I live down the street, and maybe next door.

My power is awesome; try me — you’ll see; but if you do, you may never break free.

Just try me once and I might let you go, but try me twice, and I’ll own your soul.

When I possess you, you’ll steal and you’ll lie. You do what you have to just to get high.

The crimes you’ll commit, for my narcotic charms, will be worth the pleasure you’ll feel in your arms.

You’ll lie to your mother, you’ll steal from your dad; When you see their tears, you should feel sad.

But you’ll forget your morals and how you were raised, I’ll be your conscience, I’ll teach you my ways.

I take kids from parents, and parents from kids; I turn people from God, and separate from friends.

I’ll take everything from you, your looks and your pride; I’ll be with you always, right by your side.

You’ll give up everything, your family, your home, your friends, your money, then you’ll be alone.

I’ll take and take, till you have nothing more to give; When I’m finished with you, you’ll be lucky to live.

If you try me– be warned– this is no game; If given the chance, I’ll drive you insane.

I’ll ravish your body, I’ll control your mind; I’ll own you completely, your soul will be mine.

The nightmares I’ll give you while lying in bed, the voices you’ll hear from inside your head; the sweats, the shakes, the visions you’ll see– I want you to know, these are all gifts from me.

But then it’s too late, and you’ll know in your heart, that you are mine, and we shall not part.

You’ll regret that you tried me, they always do, but you came to me, not I to you.

You knew this would happen; Many times, you were told– but you challenged my power, and chose to be bold.

You could have said no, and just walked away; If you could live that day over, now what would you say? I’ll be your master; you will be my slave; I’ll even go with you, when you go to your grave.

Now that you have met me, what will you do? Will you try me or not? It’s all up to you.

I can bring you more misery than words can tell; Come take my hand, let me lead you to hell……

– Author Unknown