September 25, 2020 AddictionLife

Heather’s Atonement: Being the Sober Daughter Her Family Needs

Indiana Center For Recovery wants to share stories of our alumni who are still sober, living life to the fullest during this year’s National Recovery Month. We got a chance to interview Heather about her experiences in active addiction and recovery for National Daughter’s Day, September 25, 2020.

At the age of 14, Heather’s parents divorced, leaving her a confused teenager. She lived primarily with her father at that point, feeling safe and stable. He had just gotten remarried and went on his honeymoon, leaving Heather to watch the house. She used that time to throw a party for her whole grade and ended up with alcohol poisoning.

Her dad was very upset and tensions were high in the house, so Heather moved in with her mother who was well into her own active addiction. The house was too chaotic for Heather, so she made the decision to live on her own at 17.

Within a year of moving out, she had tried meth for the first time and became a full blown intravenous user within months. Heather’s life spiraled out of control very quickly. Trying to keep her addiction a secret was out of the question and her parents grew worried, especially when she announced her first pregnancy to them.

To their surprise, Heather stayed clean and sober throughout the entire pregnancy and began to repair the relationship with her parents. After delivering a healthy baby boy, she and her then husband moved into her dad’s house and began using methamphetamines together. This catapulted Heather back into her addiction. She became desperate and signed over custody of her son to his paternal grandmother and went to rehab for the first time at the age of 24.

She became pregnant with her second son and was able to stay completely free of substances until delivery again. Unfortunately,  right after the birth, Heather got herself sucked into the same cycle of recovery and relapse, but this time with opiates, mixing heroin dependency with her meth addiction.

Heather’s father had cut her off completely at this point, but her mother continued to enable her. Her mom had finally gotten clean and into recovery herself and was more forgiving and understanding of Heather’s addiction. After blowing up her trailer while cooking meth, Heather’s mom allowed her to live at her house in Florida and get back on her feet there.

The codependency and enabling continued through each of Heather’s relapses over the past 15 years, even her last one that was focused solely on alcohol. She was drinking a fifth of vodka daily, but her mom figured that if Heather wasn’t using a needle anymore, she was fine. Heather was killing herself with liquor every single day and after a physical altercation while drunk, she decided enough was enough.

On September 30, 2019, Heather checked herself in to the Indiana Center For Recovery and began her new life in sobriety. Upon arrival, she knew something was different this time in rehab. She was ready to change.

At the recommendation of her therapist in treatment, Heather had to sever the codependent ties for a few months so she could focus on her recovery. Today, she and her mom have a beautiful relationship because of it! Heather recently became a grandmother and they both were able to be present for their family, attending the baby shower and welcoming the baby home together. Anytime Heather needs a shoulder to cry on, she can go to her mom not just for support, but also guidance since she’s been through these situations sober too.

We are so proud of the woman Heather has become, especially because she’s gotten to give her mom the daughter she deserves. The best part of being sober is that their mother-daughter relationship isn’t so one-sided anymore – Heather is able to provide emotional support to her mom and truly be available for her.

For any daughters out there straining their relationship with their parents because of addiction, Heather just wants them to know that no matter how harsh things may seem, your parents are only trying to help you. And to those women just getting sober who have a codependent relationship with their parents, she hopes that you won’t take advantage of their kindness and allow them to enable you in recovery.

CBT effectively treats addiction.