As soon as I get to the house, I go into the bathroom and put my hand on top of the medicine cabinet over the sink.  I grab the syringe and then move to the bathroom vent, removing it to find the spoon I know is there.  Did he really think I didn’t hear the spoon rattling?

I continue and check all the crevices of the heater along the floor.  Nothing this time.  Then onto his room through the underwear drawer.  2 baggies of white powder.  I stick them in my pocket with the syringe.

Now it’s confront time.  He goes crazy and screams at me that none of it is his – one of his roommates must be using.  Oh and I’m a terrible person for going through his stuff.  I know immediately he’s lying by the way he reacted and I tell him this.  The yelling continues and apparently he is only reacting that way because I never believe him… and now he wants me to leave…

This is an everyday occurrence for me.  At 21 years old I have chosen to put up with this nonsense because I love him.  I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing or how to handle the situation.  The only thing I know is that I’m not going to stand back and do nothing like all his other “friends”.

So I go over every day after work, bring him food, conduct the search, watch TV with him, research rehabs and have these knock out fights.  I never give him money, let him borrow my car, or let him use while I’m around.  My thought is that at least if I’m there with him, he doesn’t have a needle in his arm for those few hours and that’s all I know to do.

One day he called me to tell me he is going to rehab in Louisiana but wanted to make sure I knew it was my fault he was using and that his life would be fine if it weren’t for me.  He said he hated me and never wanted to see me or speak to me again and hung up the phone.

Fast forward 5 years… we are preparing to celebrate his 4th  year sober in July.  We are now engaged and in the process of buying a house.

My reason for sharing this story with you is to tell you it is worth it not to give up. Proposal I wanted to walk away so many times and did once or twice, but I never completely shut the door on him.  The drugs had taken over but I knew in my heart that the person I loved was still in there somewhere.

Although the people we love or care about who are struggling with addiction say and do things that hurt us,  it is important to remember that’s not really them.  It is the drugs or alcohol that have taken control of their actions.  Do what you can to help them and get them into treatment, but don’t completely write them off.  Watching someone battle an addiction like this is extremely painful, but getting the person you know and love back makes it all worthwhile.

Sometimes I came to the edge of losing hope – yet as desperate as I felt, he was more desperate.  The most important thing is to help them get into treatment as soon as possible. Because they don’t have hope if we have lost it.

Written by Tara SmithP1100800

Tara’s involvement in substance abuse treatment followed her involvement helping a loved one through an addiction.  She works in the substance abuse field at Narconon New Life Retreat while following in her mother’s footsteps by pursuing a Bachelors in Social Work.

4 Responses to “Searching for Needles… Searching for Hope”

  1. Mary StockmanSmith says:

    So proud of my daughter & all she does to help others. Reading this, as a mother, is frightening-all that was going on that I knew nothing about. She has grown as a person through Jeff’s addiction and her struggles to help him be the good person he was born to be. Proud of Jeff too for all his hard work and humility. Thank you Narcanon New Life Retreat Louisiana!!

  2. Jason Gallik says:

    Tara I love what you have written I was in your shoes sadly he took his life before I could attempt to try again for rehab went rounds and rounds with them got him in bit he chose a different path. Good job. Miss ya

  3. Kathleen S says:

    Tara-girl – such a well-written article. I can feel the pain you must have felt through the words you have written. You are such an amazing young woman. Sending a big hug out to you, and to Jeff. – Kathleen

  4. jane pierce says:

    Amazing story!

Narconon Louisiana New Life Retreat, Inc. is a BBB Accredited Rehabilitation Service in Denham Springs, LA