Child Loss by Addiction

We talk about a lot of things as if they didn’t reflect a real person and a real life.  

Addiction is one of them.  And let me just tell you, every single number is a life and behind every single life is a family.  

Statistics are easy to toss around until one of those numbers represents YOUR child.

My son was killed in a single-vehicle motorcycle accident.  One of the 76 individuals who died on a motorcycle in Alabama in 2014.  If you look it up, you’ll find tables printed with clean edges and comparative data one year to the next.

But if you look at me-and hold up a photo from BEFORE-you’ll see grief etched into a mama’s face that can’t be measured, sifted or weighed.  

My son was not an addict.  He was a health nut.  But he liked his motorcycle and never saw the contradiction between spending hours at the gym then putting that beautiful body on a fast moving, unprotected engine-on-wheels.  A helmet was not enough to protect him that night.  

Addicts don’t start out wanting the life so many of them end up living.  They take a puff or a pill or a drink and think it’s all in fun.  They have no way to know that the one moment of weakness or even purposeful exploration may result in a lifetime of struggle.

Once caught in the cycle of craving and crawling out and caving again they may or may not eventually find the light.  They may or may not become sober for the rest of their days.  They may or may not have the inner strength, the outside support, the medical intervention and inpatient treatment they need to conquer this demon.

And it is a demon.  

Addiction is never a choice even when the first indulgence into drugs or alcohol is.  

no idea of the battle addiction quote

Parents living with addicted children do everything they can to guide them to help.  They try tough love, abundant grace, boundaries, threats and rewards.  Some even move their families to try to escape habitual influences on their child-hoping against hope that a new place and new friends will create a safe space where addiction can’t flourish.

It rarely works.  In the end, addiction takes too many of our children.  Addiction kills.

And the wreckage left the other side of those deaths is enormous.  It’s messy and ugly and hard to sort through.  

The one thing NO parent of an addicted child needs is someone else’s misguided advice on how they could have “saved” his or her child.  They don’t need quips about “seeing it coming”.  They don’t need anyone to heap shame on them because of the choices their child made and the disease that robbed them of choice in the end.

So when we talk about addiction and numbers and treatment and responsibility and especially death, we need to remember that every single statistic is a person. 

Every single person has a family.

And that family is devastated.  

Speak gently.  Extend grace.  Offer love.  

They already know shame.  

shame for being human

Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

9 thoughts on “Child Loss by Addiction”

  1. I lost my son a few weeks ago to this roughly ten year battle. After him being in several facilities over the years and hearing about many devastating losses. Going through life wondering how much time I might have with him or will this time work. I still question myself and personal choices I have made in the past. Could I have done more, had I done enough. He is safe now and in Gods hands. Thank you for your story and everyone for their comments.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My eyes are filled with tears as I read the comments. I too am watching my daughter slowly die from her addiction. We have tried everything as well as all of you did, but nothing can help her to stop.
    She fights for awhile and does good but inevitably gives in again, and the cycle of waiting and wondering if she’d ok begins
    again. I know as I pray, God is sovereign and HE will help me get through this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Our daughter became addicted to pain meds which led to fentanyl which led to her death. You’re right, it’s really tough especially when some pile shame on you for her illness. She was really doing so much better. She was coherent and excited about what she was discovering about herself and her new found potential. We made plans, I was excited too not just for her but for our family as well. I was coming for a visit and was going to cook for her and fill her fridge so she wouldn’t have to worry about acquiring food so she could better care for herself and her diabetes. She died the day I got there. She was entering the emergency room as I was entering our son’s house. We didn’t know until nearly two hours after she passed that she was gone. I don’t know why, I don’t know what caused her to use just one more time. I feel robbed, attacked, brutalized. It will be two years this coming September and instead of getting better, the bad days are worse than in the beginning. I guess I was just in too much shock for too long. I’m doing everything I can to be there for her grown children and her sweet grand babies who are my grandchildren and great grandchildren. Life goes on, no matter what and God is walking beside me, at times carrying me, but always there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your life changing devastation has touched my heart so much & broke It the same. All I can say is I truly feel your pain as I feel my own. I lost my only child 5 mos ago. He became addicted to pain pills after a major knee surgery. 4 years later & on the verge of college graduation, he met a boy who has problems too. That boy introduced my son to heroin & the night he died, that same boy had given him something containing fentanyal. My son had been home for holiday break & the same day we Made plans for Christmas & shopping for his girlfriend’s presents. 4 hours later when I thought my son was sleeping in his room…he died at his friends house. I’m left with nothing but Gods hand on my broken heart. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Much love to you sweet lady

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Those of us who know this journey often fought for years for a different outcome. We were already exhausted and then we had the utter exhaustion of grief. Addiction did not define my son, nor the other sons and daughters lost. They remain precious to us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There are so many of us mommas who did everything we knew how to do to save our child from addiction’s grip. It truly is baffling, cunning, and powerful. But the good news is that I know where he is – safe in the arms of Jesus – whole, rejoicing, healed. I can almost hear my son’s voice saying: “In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and He answered by setting me free.” Psalm 118:5

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes perfectly said. I walked this journey with my son. My son always fought this battle. Tried over and over again to stay clean. A wonderful son and I miss and love him so much. He did not get victory over the addiction in this life, but he is free from it in Heaven. He was saved. John 10:28-29. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, no one will snatch them out of my hand.

    Liked by 1 person

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