To My Dearest Daughter

Hello, JoDee. I hope wherever you are that you are well, though I know, that you are not. When I first became aware of your addiction, I went into overdrive trying to get you away from the source, which I mistakenly thought was John. I was so hyper-focused on making sure that John was away from you, that I missed the most important thing, the why. I have written many times that no one wakes up one morning and adds drug addiction to their to-do list. As your mother, I should have spent more time pushing therapy, talking to you, and reassuring you that we can help the problem, not the symptom. Addiction was merely a symptom of a bigger problem. And, I feel as though I wasted precious time enabling you to use, managing your recovery for you. Every time you are using I assault you with begging and pleading and compromising until you go into detox, and then further treatment, and then you are back on the street before long. It’s a crazy pattern, and it’s killing both of us.  Instead I should have been apologizing and changing things, so let’s start there.

When I think about your childhood, I always thought of good memories. Dad and I were young, that’s true, and we made mistakes but you were loved beyond this universe by both of us, and our families. As the first grandchild on Dad’s side, and the twins-ish grandchild on my side, everyone adored you. You were the most precious, blond-haired, Hershey-kiss brown-eyed, little ball of piss and vinegar we had all ever seen. You were a fighter back then. You made sure we all knew exactly what you wanted and when. I think about family trips to Disney, camping, and then after we split up trips the four of us took (me, you and your bro’s), camping in the living room, picnic’s inside when it was raining, road trips, birthday parties and girly sleep-overs. I thought that I had done the best I could for you even though I was young and poor and uneducated. But ignorance is bliss.

I think when you think of your childhood you see turmoil, parents fighting, mom dating, moving around a lot, disruption and upheaval. I think you feel there was no stability and no guidance, and no money for the things you needed. I think it was chaotic for you as a child to spend weekends with Dad and weekends with me. I think it made you feel as though you were constantly moving, and never able to settle down.  I think I greatly misjudged your childhood, to the version I had. And if I am being honest, you are probably right.  You see, I loved being a mom. Especially to you. My first born. The one I had the first bond too. I was so happy you were a girl, because I would have a friend for life. I can remember holding you in the hospital and whispering in your ear all the things we would do as partners as you grew up and when you were an adult. I vowed that we would be so close, as close as any two people could be, that I didn’t really process the parenting that would go into that. I may have been looking at the finish line, without running the race. Maybe I was so focused on what you would be when you were older, that I missed what you needed when you were younger.

I understand now, when you say addiction can make you believe anything, because selfishness can do the same thing. When we were moving across country I convinced myself that this was going to a life experience for the three of you. That you would be able to see how another part of the country lived and it would broaden your horizon somehow. I thought we would look back on all those car rides, with Jared peeing in a bottle, and Jay J trying to get the trucks to honk at us, dead deer, floating tires you thought were cat’s and broken-down cars, and enjoy those times. Laugh about them. See them as experiences in life, adventures. I was so so wrong. Uprooting you from everything you knew, and everything you had done, for my own selfish reasons was so wrong. And when it was time to come home, and I stayed, and sent you with Dad, I thought it would be good for all of you to live with Dad like you lived with me, so you could bond with him and see that we are both your parents. I had such high hopes that Dad and his wife and her kids and you and me would all get along and be a big happy family. The depths of my delusion was terrible and to the detriment of all three of you.  I wasn’t gone very long, in the broad scheme of things, however, it was enough for you to feel that I abandoned you. All the calls, boxes of presents, trips back and forth, are not what was important.  That span of time, out west, back here, back out west and then all of us back here, and then all the fighting over where you all lived must have left, no branded, you all in a terrible way.  I should have worked with Dad and Momma J to come up with a plan that allowed all of us to spend time with you guys in a loving way without fighting.

Next big no-no was when you hit high school. I watched you, I watched your grades, I fought for your IEP  so you could get the services you need. I made friends with your friends so I would know what was going on, I went to gymnastic meets, bought prom dresses, limo’s and graduation party that filled our back yard and our hearts with love. What I didn’t do was insist you date NO ONE. One bad choice after another floated throughout your high school years and I chalked it up to kiddie love. As a precaution I put you on the pill and often had sex talks to make sure you didn’t get pregnant. When your last love was out of high school and much older than you I was con-ed by his politeness and charm, and opened our family to him. I was so wrong. Red flags were getting tossed around like penalty flags at a Patriots game and I IGNORED them. Ignored them. I let you walk right out of our house into the devil’s den.

On this dreary morning I think about the most recent events that led you to leaving, again. I can’t help but here your last words time and again in my head- I saw that blog, you don’t want me here. I will add that to the ever long list of mistakes. My words were not meant to cast you out. In fact, I always want you here.  Which leads me to my last and possibly biggest mistake, I want you here as the JoDee I want you to be. Not the JoDee you are. I have spent so much of this time of addiction trying to make you go back to the way you were before using instead of growing with you into the person you will become in recovery. I understand now that no one is the same after going through this horrible disease. I understand that you are the daughter I love more than my own life, more than anything on this earth. I understand that you don’t even know who you are, that you are traumatized, confused and self-loathing which is causing you to run out and block your feelings by using more which makes you feel guilty and hate yourself which makes you use even more….. I understand as much as a non-addict can.

So what I want t to tell you is this: You are so loved. No matter the mistakes I have made for my own selfish or stupid reasons, they were never a result of my affection for you. You have never been the problem. You are missed but I want to get to know the you that you are becoming. As we grew up together once, we can do it again. I want you to walk into your home and feel welcomed and wanted.  I am so sorry that you had a tough childhood. I’m so sorry I didn’t see it more clearly before. I have loved every minute of being your mother. It has been the greatest honor and the greatest gift I have ever been given. I feel like I didn’t cherish it enough but we can make what is wrong right if we work together. Hear this loud and clear, I always want you at home. I love you so much that the words themselves don’t see strong enough. I know the mistakes I have made as a person and a parent which is the first step toward recovery. Give us a chance to be the best friends we should be, the big sister you used to be, and the daughter you want to be, because you have always been the daughter I wanted.





11 thoughts on “To My Dearest Daughter

  1. Fran Montuffar says:

    Awe Melanie, I’ve been there where I’ve said things to my son that I’ve regretted or it didn’t come out the way I “saw” it in my mind. I go over and over in my mind why did I not see this or that before, what could I’ve done differently, is because of this or that? Was I too young when I had him? Was there any trama in his life that caused this, that I missed? Do other parents judge me? I beat myself up all the time. It’s normal for any parent to do this, but being a parent of an addict we do this is 10x as much. I think most of the time it has been because of my fear that I said things to him that sounded like anger. Then of course we have our other children we worry about having an addict at home, of course we have to protect them. Your love for your daughter is so clear. Trust me…well my mom always tells me lol, it will all pay off in the end. All the love, attention, things we do for them will pay of and they will notice it. She knows she is loved. The problem is our kids don’t love themselves. Right now my son has been almost 5 months sober. He lives at home and is working part time. We provide a roof and food and drive him to work. It is very close by. He goes to meetings and counseling. He doesn’t go out with “friends” at all. But is his mind changed? Sometimes I think it has other times I’m not so sure. He has been working out very intensly with positive results. People he runs into (at work or when we are together at the mall etc) they say how great he looks and I think that gives him motivation to work out and be healthy, hopefully.

    In the past, I used to run and trained for marathons etc. Trust me, it was just a one time thing I felt the need to do when I turned 40 lol! Many of the women in my group were in recovery ironcially. They needed to replace their addiction with something else. We even did tough mudder together! So I really push that with him. Even if he is addicted to working out and learning all the stuff about it, at least it is healthy for him. I got him books, weights, whatever to support this.

    What I have been doing now is yoga. I’ve always done it but went back to it because of all the stress etc. Now I’m in training to be an instructor. I will be teaching at a sober living house for women in recovery. That is my goal. To teach people in recovery mediation, breathing techniques and yoga to hopefully teach them an alternative to deal with stress, depression, and anxiety. I’m reading this book I recommend for you, “Recovery 2.0” by Tommy Rosen. He is a recovering addict/yogi. But you will find his take on addiction, interesting.

    Have you read this article? if it doesn’t go through it is Huffington post article by Johann Hari.

    It is another take on addiction. Yeah, my husband days I’m alittle to consumed by all of it. I want to learn. I want to feel like I am doing absolutely everything to help my son. I want to be at peace that I’ve done all I could do for him. Maybe that will never come. Peace ha, what’s that?

    Did you see Star Wars yet? Well, in case you haven’t, I won’t spoil it. But there is this poignant scene in the movie. Ok maybe lost to everyone in the world, but not on me. Hans Solo speaks to his son, the new Darth Vador. I’m not a Star Wars fan whatsoever so I might have this wring but stick with me I have a point! Hans Solo basically tells his son to come home. It doesn’t matter all the bad he has done, he will take him back. And his son is crying saying it is too late. But still Hans Solo assures him he can come back home. The whole prodigal son thing ya know. I was balling my eyes out. You know the whole snot thing. I mean wow. If that didn’t hit home I don’t know what!!! Worth watching at least for that part.

    Sorry I robbed your blog. I’m not that savy with these things and I’m not sure how to privately message you. Or if can I even? Just know I think of you often. Always praying for all our kids. There was 200 overdoses this year in just our county!! I want that to stop. It is an epidemic. I feel the need to help these kids. We are good moms who love our hard to love kids. But we will never stop. That is how it is suppose to be. God knew that we were strong and I know I was chosen to be his mom for a reason. I’m not deeply religious but yeah its clear to me now. This was suppose to happen for a reason. God I hate that expression. Things happen for a reason. Haha when I figure it out I’ll tell ya virtual hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Melanie, I’ve been following your blog since the beginning, you write from your heart with a mixture of openess, honesty and humour about a subject of misery and loss. I am sorry to hear that Jodee has taken flight again but after reading the post before this one I feared it was only a matter of time, whether she had seen it or not. You described yourself as having embraced your anger which must have been a bit scary for someone most likely fragile being fresh out of detox. I have been an addict for twenty years and it breaks my heart when I think about the turmoil and pain I have put my parents through, and it brought it all the more home when I started reading blogs by parents of addicts. I’ve seen my parents go through anger, frustration, hate, hopelessness, they’ve talked about following me and grassing up dealers, they’ve sat with me through cold turkey only to see me back on it within a few weeks or even days. They eventually came to acceptance in a kind of way, we are close and have a good relationship. They see it as an illness that is out of their hands, they have realised that it’s up to me to deal with it, they can’t control me any more than you can control Jodee, but I think you have come to realise this. I’m aware that my situation is quite different to your daughters, my life is no longer one of the chaotic addict and hasn’t been for years, I work and have held down a full time job throughout the entirety of my addiction, I’m not saying this is ideal or even that it should be condoned, I guess I’m trying to say that just because someone uses drugs their life is not necessarily going to be hell and end with either prison or death. And believe it or not I do have the desire to get clean, hopefully before I’m fifty.
    You’ve put Jodee through rehab etc. and it seems to have failed miserably. I’ve never been down that road, methadone is what’s worked for me and enabled me to function as a participating member of society. I can go weeks without using, which gives me and my parents hope.
    I am lucky to have such loving and supportive parents and I hope that Jodee realises she has the same in you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have seen so many addicts along the way that are able to function and have jobs, and I find that so impressive and scary. Aren’t you ever worried that it will get out of hand? I can see how your parents can find hope when you are able to go weeks without using, I commend that. But aren’t the always worried about the what if? I know, I know, don’t say it. Stupid question. Parents worry about the what if anyway. I am realizing that by helping her I am hurting her so I have vowed not to do that this time. I have to go on with my own life, but it’s hard. JoDee has always been such an integral part of my life, I’m not really sure what to do with out her. And I have the added complication of step-children. Sometimes when I spend time with them I feel guilty that I am not doing something for her. I mean, if she is using and suffering and we all go to the movies it makes me feel bad that I am doing that. But that is what therapy and parent support groups are for, so hopefully I can work through that. Thank you so much for reaching out.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m just learning about all this, but one thing I think I know, is it’s not your fault. My daughter had a different life. Parents married for 20+ years. Like any family, there’s fussing here and there over little issues, but no huge fights. There’s plenty of extended family support and enough money for the necessities and a few extras. Our daughter used lying to pursue a life of opposite values. She hid having a boyfriend, who introduced her to heroin. We had family dinner every weeknight and family fun night every weekend. She was supposed to always tell us who she was with and we verified with a phone call with parents when it seemed sketchy. She kept a part time job and her grades up through high school. She received basically a full ride scholarship to college. All the while she lived a double life through deceit. She kept it relatively under control and under the radar until a trauma sent her over the edge. She was in the wrong place, with the wrong person, and it led to a terrible event. Even now I can’t think of how we would have known except she finally lost it after 6+ years of lying.

    I know a sweet family who paid for private, Christian school all their daughters life and she is a heroin addict. I know a kind couple who raised their son in a much stricter environment than our family, and he did the same. I told my daughter she is at the crossroad of her will and providence, and even though I don’t like it, her free will has been reigning.

    I just don’t think it’s your fault, but as you know, I’m a total newbie with a lot to learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny, all of our stories are different but the same. All different walks of life, different upbringings and our kids all found the same disease. Heroin is going to wipe out an entire generation of something isn’t done. I really hope after 6 years of lies and hiding your daughters free will guides her to a better life. Mine is still struggling. I don’t know if she will find her way before she dies.


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