Her Son Has an Addiction, What Do I Say?

What is it like to walk alongside your 13 year old son while he battles addiction and recovery? This is Part 1 of a two part series where Jessica McCurdy shares her deeply raw and authentic story of loving her now 20 year old son, Camron through some incredibly dark times.

What is it like to walk alongside your 13 year old son while he battles addiction and recovery?
This is Part 1 of a two part series where Jessica McCurdy shares her deeply raw and authentic story of loving her now 20 year old son, Camron through some incredibly dark times.
My Guest: Jessica McCurdy
Jessica is a growth seeking, passionate, highly motivated, people person, unmarried, faith-filled, encourager, and mostly single mom. She spends her days working as an office manager at a physical therapy clinic, and just recently returned to community college part time to study Alcohol & Drug Counseling. She is active in her church, attends all the women’s faith events she can, volunteers with sober girls in recovery, exercises regularly, runs, hikes with her rescue pitbull, and enjoys quality time with her best girlfriends.
The Weed Scare & How It All Began
  • 23:20 His first attempt to buy it
  • 26:20 Their move to different area of town Freshman year – Revealed he had tried weed in his best friend’s parents’ garage (the dad’s medical marijuana)
  • 33:08 Sophomore year his grades went down and he started skipping school and lying about it
  • 34:00 He runs away to use with a bunch of friends
11 Days of Using
  • 36:00 How she discovers he has run away
  • 37:30 She makes the police report – had to remember what he was wearing
  • 38:40 Camron calls and tells her he’s not coming home – the feeling of anger, terror, and powerlessness – the was the beginning of getting used to this feeling of powerlessness
  • 41:00 Everyday he would call to check in
  • 41:48 Her daily routine for the next 11 days to find him
  • 41:27 Always check your kids phones & be in touch with your kid’s friends’ parents
  • 43:48 This is when shame settled in – questioning her own parenting- “What kind of a home do you have that your kid is running away?”
  • 45:55 Kathleen: Isn’t this a part of parenting? Don’t we all tend to see our kids’ behavior as a reflection of our parenting? Any yet we don’t know what’s going on the inside of each other’s homes. It may not have anything to do with our parenting.
  • 49:00 More of her shame – this is why parents don’t get help – they go through it alone
  • 50:00 Codependency/enabling settles in here – “We are one.” – what he does is a direct reflection of me.
  • 51:15 Her healing with Camron to become intra-dependent – Your actions do not change how I am feeling. -You can feel empathy for them but it’s not like your whole day will be ruined by their actions
  • 52:55 How she figures out he’s using while gone – her Private Investigating work
  • 54:50  She was only 6 hours behind him at one point
  • 56:04 When you accept the addiction, you get power back – there is a solution for addiction, not a cure
  • 57:20 Camron’s drug of choice : “more” – what an addict ends with is often not what he started with; it doesn’t matter what it is.
The Next Step – Treatment
  • 59:13: She researches treatment centers
  • 1:00:50 She calls all the treatment centers – there is not a lot of help in Oregon (Oregon is the 4th worst in access to treatment)
  • 1:02:31 He is finally found by the police
  • 1:04:08 She picks him up and he seems sad – she starts to grieve because he is gone, his eyes are vacant- she went into action mode
  • 1:05:10 Her plan – ultimatum “go on your own, or someone will take you to the rehab clinic”
  • 1:06:10 the “transporters” come into the backyard – he says, “You’re not my mom anymore” Called his dad by his first name. – Another defining moment of shame again, “I can’t believe I’m doing this to my son.”
  • 1:08:05 Kathleen: “My mama’s heart is breaking because he’s angry with you.” – she has had to do this continually – this is not a one-time thing
  • 1:09:12 He was in and out of rehab from age 15-18
  • 1:10:20 it’s not The Place that brings recovery
Kathleen’s Wrap Up
Let’s talk about Shame:
Here’s what stood out to me:
Jessica’s immediate thoughts of “I’m not one of those moms”
“What kind of a home do you have that you would have a kid running away?”
I ask you, What kind of image/pic do you have related to someone else’s child being addicted? Do you see addiction as a result of bad parenting… do you look to see who is to blame?
If you do, you are not alone or abnormal. Our culture is built on science, fact. We are all constantly trying to make sense of our world whether it’s good things or bad thing, by figuring out who is at fault…who’s bad decision got us here.
In her book, It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok – Meeting Grief & Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand, author Megan Devine says, “There’s a pervasive weirdness in our culture around grief and death. We judge, and we blame, dissect, and minimize. People look for the flaws in what someone did to get to this place. She didn’t exercise enough. Didn’t take enough vitamins. Too too many. He shouldn’t have been walking on that side of the road….I bet they had unresolved childhood issues – see what unhealed issues do to you?”
I believe this pervasive weirdness surrounds all things we don’t want to happen to us and our loved ones. It is our fear. We don’t want to believe it could happen to us so we look for reasons why it’s happening to them and then we promise ourselves we’ll never do that. We’ll be attentive parents. We won’t get divorced. We’ll check their phones. We’ll won’t be like THOSE parents.
We do this out of self-preservation. The truth is that what has happened to Jessica and Camron could happen to any one of us and we know it. The reason we look for blame, and that’s what we’re doing when we are looking to see who is at fault, is to protect ourselves. And friend, we all do it. You are not alone.
But here is the danger, as I see it.
  1. What happens when it does happen to you?
-because you’ve built this structure that everything bad is a result of someone’s mistake, you are then left to blame yourself
-and then you are left to your shame
-you will be tempted, as many parents like Jessica said have done, to not tell anyone so that you don’t have to face other people’s blame
-in the darkest of times, you are alone
SIDE NOTE: Shame lives and grows in 3 things (Brené Brown’s Research)
  1. secrecy
  2. silence
  3. judgement

2.  Second Danger: when something horrific happens to our loved ones, out of our own fear, we do not enter into their pain, we run from it

This need to find who is to blame is driving disconnection in our society, in our churches.
If we want to make a difference, if we want to be like Maddie who left the Apple Podcast Review and we want to continue learning new ways to love like Jesus loves, I believe we have to address our need to find blame. It could be the very thing that is blocking you from having the real connections you desire.
In 2 weeks, join me for Part 2 of Jessica’s story where she explains to us what it is like to have this disease, how our culture’s view of addicts is skewed and damaging, her experiences in the church (painful and good), how you can love another woman in the midst of supporting someone through active addiction and recovery, and words/questions that are unhelpful and hurtful.
How to Reach Out to Jessica:
Resources for Those Supporting Someone in Recovery
Facebook Support Groups:
Kathleen’s WorkbookEmbrace You: A Guide to Uncovering the Real You
Are you a visual learner? Wish you had in written form all the guest’s tips about how to be a loving supportive friend? Become a $2/month patreon member and receive an Episode Guide that outlines all her practical tips (as well as some others we didn’t discuss). Patreon Information
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Where to find Kathleen
Instagram: @speakerkathleenmpeters
Email: kathleen@whatshewishesyouknew.com
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