The urgency of addict parents cleaning up

Every so often, I speak to someone or read their story, of how they had no relationship with one or both of their parents because of addiction. It’s different every time; not all were removed from their parents as my son was removed from me. But one thing is always the same: their parents did not get them back, unlike my case where I did get my son.

It always leaves me sad. It leads me to think and imagine an alternate reality where I did not succeed, a reality where I either continued using meth, or cleaned up too late, and lost access to Josh forever. It could so easily have happened.

This post was going to be much longer, but I think more words would only distract from the point… There is a small window from the time when your child is first removed (or you lose access through divorce or separation or whatever the case may be) until the the time when you lose access for life. In between, you need to understand the urgency. The longer you continue to use drugs and don’t see your child, the higher the probability that you will never see your child again.

I’m not going to project my own experience on everyone – in fact I got lucky. I didn’t have any sense of urgency. After my son was initially removed, I relapsed and used for another three years. Then once I got clean, it still took a further two years after that before the court placed him back with me. It could so easily have worked out differently. I know so many people who didn’t get their children back, and I know even more adults who were such children of addicts. The fact is, most addict parents will lose their parental rights, and if you’re living in that small window where the chance of losing them for good has begun, you need to wake up and understand how serious and urgent it is to do whatever you can to stop using drugs, and get your children back.

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