By Mary Marcuccio, Guest Columnist
Why should you read this article?? Because chances are that you, the reader, have someone in your life that is using drugs or alcohol and you don’t know it…. YET. And if you DO know it…. what to do??
My name is Mary Marcuccio, I live in St. Cloud. I am a substance abuse professional. And I AM YOU. I was the mom who had a 12-year-old son smoking pot who became the 14-year-old snorting pain pills. We dove in head first, trying to stop him…change his path. Despite our exhaustive efforts, he graduated to shooting heroin at 15. This discovery collapsed me onto the kitchen floor, in a full-blown asthma event. Once the tears stopped and I could breathe, I decided to …. ATTACK. “THIS STOPS RIGHT NOW!!” … I screamed at no one in the room. In all my infinite ignorance I actually believed I had that power. 13 years later, my son is still a raging drug addict and alcoholic, despite every effort as parents to interfere/intervene/fix/change. We’ve suffered almost every possible conceivable hurt/pain/trauma/tragedy that CAN be suffered by the family of the addict. Ask me about my son’s recent capture and torture at the hands of unscrupulous bondsmen… and I will fall into a flow of tears. Professional or not, the heartache lives. I’ve learned to manage it.
I have been sleeping much better for the past few weeks because my son is back in prison AND I KNOW HE’S SAFE. Safe is relative, to be sure; but for my family, RIGHT NOW, prison will keep him alive and with God’s good grace and my prayers, maybe THIS TIME he will … WANT to change, BE willing to change, HAVE ENOUGH PAIN to change.
I hope to be sharing more of my family’s story in future articles. For now, let’s discuss how my average day goes? I am the mother of a drug addict/alcoholic while being a professional with a job and many responsibilities … I get up (some days are harder than others), shower, dress, do my hair, put on makeup, pack my bag and spend my day helping other ME’s to find their BOTTOM LINE … their “how to be ok with what I’m NOT ok with.” Who better than me to guide another mother, father, wife, uncle, best friend … how to do US?! THE SECRET: IT’S ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE. COPING SKILLS.
Essentially, I address 2 readers: You’re the wife of the alcoholic, the grandfather of the junkie – and you’re so filled with hurt, pain and anger that you just cry because you’re so lost. You haven’t reached out for help because you haven’t got the strength. Or you’re the reader who THINKS you don’t have any drug problems in YOUR family – so why do you need to read this?
Reader #1: THE ME’S: You spend years … decades … Enabling. Crying. Begging. Pleading. Truly believe that you’re all alone … PLEASE STOP. REACH OUT.
*I host a FREE educational forum weekly, for family support, at a local substance abuse treatment center; COME! (please call me for details)
*You can call/email me for support and resources.
*My website has a list of resources for treatment for your addict.
*Please see the extensive resource list at the end of this article, for YOU. PLEASE REACH OUT … YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Reader #2: “THE NOT – ME’s”: That’s what I call people who don’t have or THINK they don’t have “drug issues” … and here’s what you don’t know and need to.
Capt. Carlos Espinosa, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, shared the following: “Everyone reading this should be concerned with the drug crisis even if it’s not in their own family. Every citizen’s quality of life is affected by drugs. For example, drug addiction and mental illness contribute significantly to homelessness. Crime – prostitution, auto burglaries for example – are largely driven by drug addiction. The user doesn’t want to hurt you; their intent is to get money for drugs. And public restrooms– at the park, the beach, etc. – are often a haven of drug activity. This is a huge safety issue for you and your family. It benefits ‘us’ to help ‘them’ because we’re all connected.”
“The reader should be very aware that central Florida is having a huge drug crisis, most significantly heroin. In Orange County this year, the number of drug overdoses increased significantly from last year, and the rate of death from overdoses almost doubled, as compared with last year. Drug dealers are adding fentanyl, a very powerful opiate, to MANY DRUGS, including cocaine and marijuana. Most of our losses can be attributed to fentanyl laced products.”
As the mother of a heroin user, I have more experience and knowledge of opiate addiction that I could have ever wanted. I can say with utter confidence that drugs are not prejudice … they don’t care where you live, how much money you have, what kind of a student you are, your race/color/creed. DRUGS ARE AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY KIDNAPPER.
I want you to be aware of some things to watch for/ RED FLAGS for opiate abuse within your home and family:
While the opiate user is high: Nodding off, lethargic, sleeping A LOT, Pinpoint pupils, non-responsive to light changes and “Itchy-scratchy” skin.
*Please go to my website for a comprehensive list of warning signs/Red Flags; recent media items that are educational and informational.
*I will be hosting a FREE community educational event in Eustis on 4/9/17. COME! (please call me for details)
Please watch this paper for the ongoing series on drug education, awareness, and resources – RECOVERY CORNER.
NAR-ANON (Parent/Family Support) www.Nar-anon.org 888-947-8885
AL-ANON (Parent/Family Support) www.Al-anon.org
FAMILIES ANONYMOUS (Parent/Family Support)www.familiesanonymous.org
Parent/Family Support Groups – in U.S. www.supportgroupproject.org
2 ON-LINE SUPPORT GROUPS: