Another mothers struggles…

Posted: December 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

imageFrom our friend Michelle Christine Linton

Merry Christmas everyone. . I wrote a story about my addicted son this morning and posted it to the AZ C.A.N. page. Now, I will share this story here.. our stories have huge a impact in the community. The more we share, the more we bring awareness to SUD.

Good morning everyone! I haven’t been on here in a while, but.. I need to vent. Mostly to the people who understand what I go through as a mom, dealing with an addicted son. Heroin to be exact.. let me start out from the beginning… when it all started.. It might take a while but I have not fully shared my story with anyone. And i know I need to do that as the first step to heal.. So, here it goes…

Justin Tylor was born on January 4, 1995.. he was the sweetest, quiet, and most independent baby I have ever seen.. he was always able to self soothe and only cried when he was hungry or he needed his diaper changed. That’s all. Generally, he was a happy kid. By the age of 4 I started noticing how hyper he would get. I figured out a way to change his diet and found he was allergic to red dyes, processed foods, and chocolate. Those foods were triggers to his hyperactivity. So growing up, Justin wasn’t allowed to have candy, hotdogs, or anything that was processed. He often felt left out of parties, hangouts, etc.. (I did my very best to compensate, but.. unprocessed and organic foods were very expensive and hard to come by back then. Unlike it is now..) by the age of 6 despite his diet changes and other environmental changes we made his hyperactivity increased. It was something much bigger… I took him to see a psychiatrist. The Dr. Diagnosed him with ADHD and Enuresis. Tbey put him on Ritalin, and Clonadine for bed wetting. It seems to work for just a little while. by age 7, I started noticing unusual changes in mood. This was a kid who was generally happy, full of life, my little prankster if you will… and HYPER! he was sad and would cry all the time. My child was not able to self soothe at this point. I took him back in to his dr. And they of course changed his medicine. Took him off the clonadine. And added an antidepressant.(Again.. same thing. This time it worked for a few years until one day…. another big crash) at this point I was frustrated. Took him back in and told the drs I was sick of my child being a lab rat and against the drs orders, I declined medication all together. It took a good month for all the meds to leave his system and I had my bubbly child back! He did great other than getting into trouble at school for clowning around. But at least he wasn’t sad anymore! I’d take that any day over complete sadness. He did well for a good 4 years until age 12… I caught him smoking. Then smoking Pot. Of course, I grounded him.. took away his stuff.. etc. All the normal things parents do in those situations. Despite random testing for drugs, it appeared he manipulated the tests or alter them to get away with it. He was getting smarter and cleaver at hiding his use. At 13, I started noticing severe mood changes. More bizarre irrational behaviors. At this time I had sent the boys to live with their dad for the summer. Justin and his dad have never really had a father and son bond but their dad was able to have them around and watched closer because I was always working. And the boys were out of school. Justin would call me crying begging me to come home. I had to say no because I needed him supervised with all the trouble he has been in. It wasnt a week later after the boys returned for the summer my other two go to their dad’s for the weekend. That night I get a call from my oldest son to tell me he thinks his grandmother is dead. (SHE lived with the boys father) Justin wasn’t there as he declined to go but had a very close relationship with his Nanna) I rushed over there, the minute I got there there were ambulance, Fire, and Police in the driveway. She had passed away. And Justin took it very hard. This was the start of the spiral…
Weeks go by, again.. more and more irrational non compliant behavior. What I didn’t know then like I do now, this was the start of his heroin use. I would never find it on him. I never found it in his urine drug tests. He was so good at hiding his use it went undetected for a good year before he started getting into trouble with the law. He was always in trouble. . How the heroin was finally discovered was his best friend accidentally killed himself by acute freon poisioning. Justin lost it at that point and just gave up on everything. He let his addiction show its ugly head right there it was in front of me to see. This kid was in need of serious help. Not even a year after losing his best friend another close friend dies of a hydrocodone OD. Again… suffer another set back. Another loss. He dropped out of school. He got into trouble with the law and he was put into Juvie for 3 weeks. Finally! Some help! I wasn’t totally thrilled at the fact the law was involved with him but I was able to show Justin he had to be held accountable for his actions. I begged the court to have my son assessed for Juvenile Drug Court.for those of you who don’t know what DC is, it is a program that holds accountability for their use. They see the judge every week, drug testing, counseling, and family counseling. This program is hard but it has a huge success rate. He did great in drug court! I had hope now. But… wait… not so fast. I lost my business. My husband lost his job. We had to move due to financial reasons. Justin was uprooted from the program and the courts decided to graduate him from the program. At this time he was 17 and spent a good year and a half in the program already.. it was time he put his coping skills to good use. We moved 20+ miles away from his home in Gilbert where we raised our kids to the San Tan Valley area. Justin got a job. And I had tons of hope Drug Court worked. But only for a short while.. he found some “friends” he lost his job and went right back to using. Then the real trouble started… since he was 17 ( by then PCSO knew us and knew the struggles we were having with our son) Pinal County Sheriff’s Office decide to hold all charges until he turned 18. Which they did.and he was then put on probation. He went to county jail.. Then he got caught with heroin paraphernalia. He saw the judge.. at that point I begged his PO to violate his probation and send him to prison. The judge was so moved by my plea he sentenced my son to 1 year in prison. Finally I was able to sleep at night. But again… only for a short while. He was able to be released if he did good while he was there. He served 50% of his time and had to be on parole the remaining. He didn’t show up for his drug tests or to his parole officer. She put a warrant out for his arrest and he went back in. He did the remaining time in Florence Prison. But this time he wasn’t supervised. He lasted a week in my home before he started using again. He stayed away so he wouldn’t get caught. I’d call PCSO everytime he was high to search him. He hasn’t been home in quite a while. Even though he “lives” here..
So I ask him to come home so I can see him for Christmas.. To see if he looks bad.. to see if he is ok. If he was eating. To wash his clothes. Etc.. My son acquired Hep C from all the drug use. Sharing needles. Etc. Which he refuses to see the dr. About. This Christmas was rough as it is. I have pneumonia and a collapsed lung and spent most of it in the hospital. I was discharged last night. I’m running on empty as it is. While I was there justin left and took his brothers bike to the “Store” what he really was doing was buying his dope. With his Christmas money from his grandfather. (We refuse to give him any money or gift cards btw..)the minute we come home my husband is in his room and finds his “kit” heroin and all.. I brought him to my room and shut the door and immediately grilled him about it. I told him he was to leave this house. I told him he was not welcome back here unless it was to do to treatment. I will not enable his use. We called PCSO to report what we found and what he was wearing. He had his paraphernalia on him and we needed him picked up for having that in our home! He hasn’t learned anything! Despite my best efforts to get him clean, will not work because it has to come from him. And he flat out does not want to live without it. Sadly, I just may lose my precious child because of it. You never full prepare yourself for loss of a child, but I have. I want my son to understand but he may never fully understand what he’s doing to himself or us.
I thought I’d share my story with all of you. To give a full picture of the struggles a family goes through. Though some stories may be different with different senerios. But in all actuality. . They are actually no different from mine. It just helps to tell it and let it out every once and awhile. .
Please pray for my son. He is very addicted and will not get help. I pray everyday he will find his bottom and get the help he needs. To let him live one more day so I can have him as my son one more day alive. I do not take advantage of life. My son has taught me that. This is the harsh reality of what drugs do. To families. To our community, and most of all themselves. As I sit here writing this fighting the tears, something has to give with our lovely system. It’s not geared to handle addiction. It’s not geared to handle his illness. My son is sick. Medically ill. Addiction is a medical disease! There needs to be more services in our state as well as the whole country. Ok now.. I’m ready to fight. I will not give up until we have either a cure or treat this as a medical condition. Attached is a picture of my baby with his girlfriend.
Thank you for listening.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

  1. This is the harsh reality of addictions impact on the lives of everyone….Not just the user suffers, in fact,, the active user is most likely oblivious to the painful impact they impose on the rest of the is the analogy of our friend & author Sandy Swensen,
    An addicts mom,
    It’s hope and belief that don’t dare come out to play. It’s a one-way street of trust and open arms. It’s empty words, broken promises, shattered dreams, and tarnished memories. It’s watching as a ship slowly capsizes in a storm, and then waiting anxiously for it to right itself. It’s nudging the baby bird out of the nest only to discover it can’t fly. It is heartbreak beyond description.
    I’ve never felt so incapable, so sad, so lonely. Such fear.
    Sandy Swensen


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