Too many, young adults and teenagers today are falling prey to drug addiction, and Sheila, understands this better than most. Her son Kyle came to her when he was twenty years old, to reveal his addiction to Oxycontin “the new street drug”. This revelation about his addiction turned her world upside down. She battled through many stages of emotions over the next three years. It began with shame and denial, went into blame and enabling, then anger and bargaining. Sheila explains that alcoholism is a slow chronic progression, while drug addiction, is so quick it’s hard to go through the stages. Trying to cope, she began to isolate herself from others. As a nurse, she realized two things about herself, one, she was going through the grieving process. Something she remembered reading in a book by, Elisabeth Ross “death and dying”.  Two, she was worrying, to the point of crippling her life into unmanageability, making her dizzy. Dizzy also, from her expectations of who she wanted her son to be and him not meeting her expectations continually. She finally realized that she needed to seek help.  

She began to attend Al-Anon and Nar-Anon meetings, which helped her to face the truth of his drug addiction and supported her to pass through her denial, and admit, that she was powerless in his addiction. She did not like this feeling of powerlessness, and countered it, by focusing her energy, on educating herself about his addiction. The more she learned, the more she felt her power return. As Sheila shared with others what she was going through, the healthier and happier she felt. She had grieved the loss of which she wanted Kyle to be, and surrendered, accepting who he now was. The support groups taught her the three C’s, cause, control and cure. Sheila added a fourth C, which she found helpful, contributing. What was she doing to contribute to his behavior, which made him less responsible? Whatever she thought that was, she changed it. They also taught her to, say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean, and to identify her anger and to talk with him about it. They soon stopped fighting and started to communicate.

Her researches into his addiction led her to important information about Oxycontin. When the drug was first released, it was promoted as a non addictive pain-killer; therefore doctors prescribed it like aspirin. Strong addictions followed as well as law suits for false advertising. Now each capsule is tamper resistant, making it less desirable on the streets and the old prescription more valuable and limited in supply. This change has forced the addicted person to transition to a cheaper and more readily available fix of heroin. One of the major problems with heroin, in contrast to a prescribed drug, is that, you don’t know how potent it is. Heroin can be cut with so many things, diluting its potency or NOT. This unknown, leads to many deaths by overdose, and this is what happened to Kyle, at age 23.

Sheila is heartbroken at the loss of her only child. She gets through her loss by relying on her Catholic Faith. She has comfort in knowing how strong Kyle’s faith was too, believing he is in heaven. He reached out in his faith, not only trusting in the system of rehab, but to the church, for prayer, healing and deliverance of his addiction. Unfortunately, things ended not as hoped, but Sheila has experienced God’s healing through the outreach from the interfaith communities. She has found prayer, comfort, support and friendship, in an ecumenical embrace, which fills her with an abundance of God’s love, through and in His people. Her words of wisdom to help others going through the same struggle is this, “live life despite the outcomes, helping others, helps you, Al-Anon or Nar-Anon frees you from the prison of shame, so step out, and seek help, and above all, remember, you are not alone, so don’t live as though you are.” Isaiah 57:1-2 Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die. Deuteronomy 31:8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.







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  1. Addiction is a terrible thief of life. It destroys and devours souls, and the souls of family members. Getting help for yourself is so important, even if the addict is not ready for help. Thank you Shelia for sharing and your faith. You are in my thoughts and prayers, as is Kyle.


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