Tammy AUG 17 2023
Embracing Acceptance and Detachment Amidst Addiction
Join Tammy's emotional journey navigating her daughter's meth and fentanyl addiction. Discover lessons from their challenges and the resilience of a family bound by love

Welcome to the treacherous seas of our addiction journey, I invite you to ride the waves with us while we seek to find safe harbour. 

I shared my story on the Ashes to Awesome Podcast in May of this year (episodes 92 & 92.5 ) and at that time, it had seemed like we were on the right path to recovery but that changed quickly and now we find ourselves deeper in addiction, to the point where daily we feel there won’t be a happy ending to this story.

I can honestly say that during my life I have faced my fair share of challenges but none of it compares to addiction, addiction is a beast like no other. I want to slay this beast that has my daughters face, and her heart & soul are trapped inside. Even though I want to and would do it in a heartbeat, its not for me to save her from her demons, only she can do that. My soul aches for her to come back to me because more than anything I miss her so very much.

There is a lot of back story to me, who I am, how I came to be the person I am and a lot of it isn't pleasant and not something I freely talk about, but I am willing to open that door if it helps. I often wonder how I got to this place in my life, how did addiction work its way into my world when I worked so hard to keep it out. Due to childhood trauma and circumstances as a young adult I was hyper aware of the risks of substance abuse, and I realized I was highly susceptible to addiction and the odds would not be in my favour. I made choices to keep myself out of harms way and I raised my daughters with open and honest communication about the risks of addiction. it still found a way to sneak its way in. I didn’t fall victim to addiction for myself, but it certainly impacts my life daily and it’s a battle that I must fight, and I will continue to do so until she is ready to fight for herself. 

I am happily married and have raised 4 beautiful daughters (we are a blended family - his, mine & ours) and have 8 grandchildren, ranging in ages 10 years to 2 years old. My oldest daughter, my first-born struggles with addiction to meth & fentanyl as well as untreated mental health conditions. Her name is Brittany, and she is now 30 years old. She struggled with mental health issues even as a young child, ran away from home at 15 and was absent from our lives until around 19 when she was pregnant with her 1st child, our first grandson. We suspect that she likely dabbled with different drugs but more in a social way, full blown addiction started about 7 years ago with meth and she has been lost to it since. Over time we noticed changes in her behaviour, she was withdrawn and isolating, her appearance drastically changed, and she was repeatedly asking for money because she didn’t have groceries or bills weren’t getting paid. My grandson seemed to be spending more time with us than at home with her and he permanently came into our care about 6 years ago - she showed up at our house with him to visit, no shoes on his feet and hadn't eaten. We knew she was high and told her she can leave but he is staying with us. She didn't resist, if anything she was grateful because she just needed time to figure herself out. Well, it has spiraled from there and she still hasn't figured herself out. He is happy, healthy and above all else - safe! There was no involvement with family protective services or the family courts because there wasn't a need - she didn't fight us, threatened a lot but never followed through.

My daughter found herself pregnant while living in a trap house, father unknown. She led us to believe that she had an abortion, and we weren’t informed of anything different until child protection services got involved and a protection order was in place - if we didn't agree to take her and the baby in then she would've been placed in foster care immediately after birth. My daughter lived with us and the children for a short time, we had serious concerns about her patterns of behaviour and overall well being, there was clear signs that she was actively using. Meetings with CPS to develop safety plans with the intent to maintain connection for our daughter with her children as well as her family. Once confronted she made arrangements to live elsewhere. She was permitted access to her baby which was short lived, and visitation was terminated before the baby was a year old. Her daughter has been in our care since she was an infant and permanent custody was granted to us. I know she loves her children and desperately wants to be the mother they deserve but this addiction and the mental health struggles are preventing that from happening and I believe she recognizes that now. Her inability to mother her children just feeds the addiction and the vicious loop continues.

The last 2 years have been the worst, as far as watching her spiral out of control. It’s like watching a train wreck and helpless to do anything to prevent it from happening. She has been in and out of homelessness – in and out of our home, criminal activity, hospitalizations and multiple and now regular overdoses.

Most days, I am of the mindset that the how’s or why’s are irrelevant and I try to focus on one day at a time. Living in a constant state of survival mode for loved ones and addicts, has great impact on your quality of life and can take a toll on your mind & body. It takes a tremendous amount of strength to not allow it to wear you down. I need to maintain my own strength and self care so that I am healthy and can be there for my grandchildren and my family. I make space for my daughter and her addiction, but I try not to allow it to consume my life. I know that I didn’t cause it, can’t control it or cure it but what I can do is love her through this even on the days I want to walk away from all of it. I offer support to her that is in alignment with my boundaries and my comfort level. 

Addiction has taken so much from us but also taught us valuable lessons, we have a better understanding of addiction which has developed a higher level of compassion and empathy and we have learned how to let go of judgment and shame. We have learned how to be humble and grateful and most importantly kind.