Surviving Addiction – A Mother’s Story

By on November 6, 2017

By Kelli Parisian –

Addiction affects each family member differently. As a mother, it was my job to protect my child; so, delivering my youngest daughter to a behavior modification program a thousand miles from home both devastated me and gave me hope this program would save her life. What we didn’t know was this was to be the beginning of a 10 year addiction journey. Brittany, our very bright, fun-loving daughter, cheerleader, and student council leader at her Christian School, gave her life to Jesus at age 9, yet plummeted down the slippery slope of addiction quickly at age 17.

The day I found out her drug of choice was heroin was surreal.  Imagine picturing your beautiful daughter with a needle in her arm.  Only junkies from the wrong side of town do that, right? Not my sweet Christian girl from the suburbs! The emotional breakdown I experienced that day was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. The pain a mother of an addict feels, the guilt, shame, overwhelming fear and sadness, would at times be almost unbearable. I remember when the phone would ring after 10:00 pm—wondering who was on the other end of the line–is this the call every parent of an addict fears? How do you mentally prepare yourself for that call? I did because I had no choice.

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That day I dropped Brittany off in Montana, at what we now refer to as, “The Program,” I knew I was led there by God but it still rocked me to my core. Soon I would learn this was a program, not only for our daughter, but for our family as well. It was to be the first step in my personal journey of surviving addiction as a parent. He knew I was going to need earthly assistance. As she was going through treatment, I was going through a program myself; a program with similar teachings to Al Anon, but more personalized and intense. I was taught tools that would last me to this day, such as how to get out of the victim mentality, how to go on with my own life, and how to let go of my daughter’s poor choices. 

At times, it was the little things that affected me most. The days I would see mothers and daughters together engaging in simple things, like shopping. I remember feeling the pang of envy, and the sting of tears coming, knowing my daughter was only minutes away from me and yet hideously separated by addiction.

I would like to tell you I turned my daughter over to God daily, and I did, that I knew she was His, and she is; that He would get me through – and He has. But there were days those words felt like empty platitudes. My friends will tell you I’m one of the strongest women they know, but God knows the truth and sees my heart.  It was only His heroic strength that allowed me to put one foot in front of the other some days. Being the mother of an addict is a daily release of your child to Him.

I have two daughters, and while I can’t write my other daughter’s story of how her sister’s addiction affected her, I do know it has had a profound effect.  You see, my oldest makes mostly right choices, achieves her goals, and yet, her accomplishments are overshadowed by addiction.  It’s unfair, but fairness is not a part of addiction.

It is with Brittany’s permission I share my/our story, on the cusp of her one-year anniversary of sobriety. She knows God saved her from death, but she also acknowledges her journey is truly one day at a time. She is working her program, setting goals for herself, and achieving each one.

Today, as we chatted on our daily phone call we both realize this Thanksgiving is the first we’ve shared in many years. As we sit around the table sharing what we’re grateful for, there will be a different level of gratitude. My heart is at peace. Ours is a story of hope, and hope does not disappoint.

Written last November 2016. – Brittany will be sober 2 years on November 12, 2017. Two weeks ago she married a wonderful young man who was raised in a Christian home. 

About Kelli Parisian

Kelli Parisian- 59 years - is founder of Parisian’s Pure Indulgence, a Organic Skin Care Company, specializing in skin care for women 50 + with sensitive skin. She resides in Southern California with her new husband, Don. She and Don enjoy serving God at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, CA. They both love to ballroom dance and travel together.


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Surviving Addiction – A Mother’s Story