Graduation devastation

April Garcia
Tell us about your (or your loved one's) recovery journey. What has been the most rewarding part?

It has made me realize that it has to end. It creates lots of devastation. And can be a chain reaction on families sometimes. It made me stand up to it. Say no for myself or anyone around me. I say no for my kids and my future.

Do you have a message for the Shatterproof community?

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can beat it. You can be better. It doesn’t just affect you but everyone who loves you. And it’s always okay to say no.

When I was a kid I started to notice my mother was addicted to drugs. Slowly but surely it started to affect me. From her not being the protector and provider I needed to simply just not being able to get up and talk to me. I remember walking to liquor store with her food stamps and the clerk always helping me pick something out to eat. And explaining how to cook it when I was only seven because my mom just couldn’t feed me. My teachers gave me clothing. They would call social worker after social worker. Finally I was taken away when I was 11. But when I was 15 I got back in touch with my mom. She appeared sober. She appeared to be doing good. And fine. I was having my first child at 15. Then I went about my life my mom did hers as well. We spoke sparingly. Then one day I get a call from a hospital that my mom had a overdose and it resulted in a stroke. I was 16. She recovered fine. Then I was 18 and again another call that my mother had overdosed and her heart failed and she needed a pacemaker. I rushed to sign the surgery form and wait for her to come out. She was fine one day talking and everything. Then I noticed she was having seizures. She suddenly has a seizure and went brain dead. A couple months later my high school graduation rolled around and those conversations of her being there were out the window. I walked across the stage crying that I was doing it alone. Then got in my car and drove to the hospice still in my cap and gown and showed her that I did it. And the fact that I had no response from her hurt. All I ever wanted was for my mom to be proud of me. Instead it made me hate drugs. And hate addiction. And realize how much hurt and emptiness the families of addicted people feel.