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Karen Oliver, a single mom of 3 with a great sense of humour , takes her role as mother to heart and makes every day in her chaotic tribe purposeful. Follow her on twitter or facebook for quirks on her tell-it-all life.

I am writing this article through the reflection of my own tears as I am urged to share my last few weeks of absolute chaos and turmoil. Through this article I want to make parents aware of the drug war which is in our midst, attacking our children, the next generation, those we love so dearly.  Only a mother of an addict can understand the real grief I am currently experiencing….

On 26 July 2011 I did the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life, I had my beautiful son admitted to a drug recovery centre.  I have aged a million years, cried a million tears, &still they have not stopped. I’m tired to the core of my being, yet for the first time in weeks there is a flicker of peace. I know I have done the right thing…

The process of realising there is a serious problem took only a short while, as I know my children very well.  I noticed a change in his behaviour towards the middle of term 1 (yes he was in matric this year).  A sudden change in increasing frustration, fights with his siblings and moodiness.  At first I put it down to the fact that his teenage hormones has kicked in.  The only mistake I made was to think that this will not happen to my son.  He was my perfect child from the day he was born, and close to a straight A student at the end of Grade 11.  He never disrespected anyone and was so well mannered.

The wheels came off during the June holidays; he never came home when he was meant to, crashed my car, and started disrespecting me with

Credit: livescience.com

Credit: livescience.com

the most horrid language and insults.  This was not my son! It was then that I knew we are dealing with unwanted substances because my child, the one I was closest to, became a stranger overnight.  When I started with a Tough Love regime in my home, he ran away and went missing for four days. I went through the valley of the deepest darkness in those four days, and all I could do was pray for his safe return.  He returned, broken to the core, sobbing and asking me to please help him…. I flew him down to the recovery centre the very next morning, and he is now on the road to recovery with our full support.  His younger siblings have been affected hugely by this trauma, and we are all on the road to recovery.

I recently wrote an article on male role models in a single mother family, and I feel that I have somehow failed my boys in this regard, as I traced the use of drugs back to a huge fall out my son had with his father in December 2010, when he refused to see his father again.  My son has never been a rebel, and I see his addiction to be directly linked to finding refuge for the hurt and inner conflict he is experiencing in stepping into adult male hood and not trusting men…

This mom however will allow NO MORE COMPROMISE: Not only do you have a right, but it is your duty as a parent to question your child’s change in behaviour, to check their phones and pc’s regularly when you have concerns, to check with other parents when your child is going out, and to go through their rooms when things don’t make sense … Do not be manipulated by your child, it will enable the behaviour and ultimately lead to their destruction!

Read up on the various forms of drugs, and have a good all round understanding and knowledge on the use, the effects, and the availability.  A couple of years ago I read an article that statistics show that at least 85% of all teenagers will try a drug at least once.  Where these statistics are right now, I would not dare to give my opinion.  Some of these kids cannot control the use after the first taste… Take Real Action and Do It Fast! We must save the next generation. Addiction does not discriminate against gender, race, culture, religion, location, class…

I am no longer afraid to take a stand.  If you thought I was a mover, groover and shaker until now, you ain’t seen nothing yet… This warrior woman is only just emerging from her shell!  In our darkest moments come our richest blessings, if you open your eyes and really see!

I will continue to write and speak on my journey to healing with ongoing information on substance abuse and addiction.  Please feel free to contact me in this regard.

Some reliable reference sites:

www.toughlove.org.za

www.scrc.co.za

www.rael.co.za

www.mightywings.co.za

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