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Letter from mother to daughter by Paula.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In a way this is a letter to the disease of addiction. It is powerfully written by a mother to her daughter, however, it is the disease of addiction that possesses our loved ones and creates the pain that everyone around the addict feels. Paula granted permission to post this actual letter that she wrote her daughter. Much thanks to Paula for sharing. Judy is not Paula's daughter's real name.

October 9, 2007

Dear Judy:

I hope this letter finds you are well and safe. I wanted to let you know what’s going on with me and let you know what my reaction to your behavior is.
First and foremost, I love you very much and I always will. Unfortunately, this is not a question of love. Instead, it is a situation that calls for strength and the ability to stand-by what I say. This situation that we are both in involves you---to stand on your own two feet, and pull yourself out of this abyss.

You are spiraling downward. You need to learn…I mean really learn and understand that you do not call the shots…you do not run the show. Ridgeview was a blessing in disguise. QUIT CALLING THE SHOTS, JUDY. I am you mother and I am weary of you. You deplete people –you suck them dry and put them aside…people are tired. I am tired. What is it going to take for you to realize that you are on the road to killing yourself!

This isn’t about marijuana or any other drug for that matter, Judy. This is about attitude, self-respect, humility, and honesty. Your attitude is one of righteousness and arrogance. Humility? Not even close. Honesty is not part of your vocabulary.

I am not going to be around forever. I am your greatest enabler. I am not going to do that anymore either. I am going to do everything in my power to help you get better…to help you want to live a lifestyle that is without drugs. Think about it, Judy. If this weren’t such a horrible way to live, no one would be clean. You must go through the agony of getting better before you are better. It takes time. It takes work on your part. It takes a desire where you will do anything to not use…just as you do anything now to stay high.

When you came in the house the other day with a bruise on your chin crying…saying someone punched you…you know, Judy, I don’t know what the truth is and what the lies are anymore. You intermingle them and so it is hard to determine. Anyway, at the time, your spirit was broken, you were crying, hurting and you said that you would do anything not to live this way. You asked me not to give up on you…and two hours later you were on the run again.

That’s a no-brainer. You scored with some kind of drug and you went to who was providing it to you. When I spoke to you in the phone at 4:30PM the next day, you acted as if nothing ever happened. I understand. You got what you needed. You told me that “I’m fine, Mom. I’m fine.” You had a drug in you…and yes; it does temporarily make you “fine”. The problem with that is that it doesn’t stay forever and three hours from that point, chances are you will be running around looking for money, looking for drugs, once again. It never ends. It never ends. It never ends until you are so sick of the cycle that you would do ANYTHING to stop.

I am going to make this difficult for you, Judy. I don’t know what I would do if I found you dead, overdosed, beaten to death, getting HIV, which today is a death sentence many times…. I will be changing the locks on the doors. You are not wanted at my house anymore, Judy. If you are big enough and grown enough to quit school, to refuse to sign releases so you can be funded, to stay out all night and not come home, and all the other things that you do, then you are grown enough to find a shelter and some food. To eat, there are food kitchens all over the place. You can eat there.

The most I will give you is a blanket. Nothing more. O.K. so go be grown. Feed yourself. Shelter yourself. Pay for your gas, your light, your heat, and your phone. You have that phone only because I pay for it. I will not enable you any longer. You must learn this on your own, Judy. Even though I will hate to let it come to pass, I must let you suffer all these consequences. Then may be you will get tired of living as you are now living.

I want you to think back to when you were at Ridgeview. How adamant you were about leaving. How you told everyone to fuck off. How you were so tunnel-visioned about leaving-that was your addiction calling you, Judy. That’s all. You wanted to get loaded. And you did.

This is your trip, Judy…not mine. I already had my “fun”…. anguish, degradation, etc. You can save yourself from it…I cannot save you. You are the only one that can save you. It is all on YOU.
Need I go on?
Hopefully, someday, God willing, you have children. Only then will you understand this relationship…I hope that your child does not put you through the hell that I am now experiencing.

I do not intend to be dramatic…merely factual. The scenes that conjure up in my mind when you pull your MIA’s (Missing in Action) are frightening, horrible, but not outside the realm of possibility.

1. I see you dying, being used, raped, and beaten.

2. I remember the last thing I said to you, the last time you left.

3. I remember the first time I rested my eyes on you, when you were born, and all the happy flashbacks in between: building sandcastles at the beach, hiding from you in the store to teach you and your brother a lesson not to hide from me.

4. I remember Christmases of the past. All of these visions come back and I remember you as you were through each age period.

5. Now I see a transformation in you that hurts my heart to watch. You are slowing dying in front of me. I am not exaggerating. I’ve seen this too many times. I am beginning to notice hardness about you.

You know, Judy, after you experience so many of those bad scenes, you are no longer innocent…nor do you project that to others. You are taking on the persona of a hardened street girl. It is not attractive at all. Your softness is leaving you. You’ve been through some horrible circumstances at such a young age that your face, your smile…. it is all leaving, Judy. The innocence that you had is fading. You are more rigid…cynical.

I am, and have been watching this outward transformation for a while now. It rips my heart out as I continue to see flashbacks of my little girl who was so full of life and so wanted to live, my little girl who was overflowing with compassion and understanding. The little girl who whispered in her grandma’s ear and comforted her when she was dying by telling her that it was O.K. to go…that we were all O.K. My daughter, the one who treated the child with Down’s syndrome so kindly and so unselfishly, where is she? Where is she? Where is she?

Please, please, Judy. Don’t become another Jessie. She’s dead now because she didn’t stop…couldn’t stop. You cannot stop on your own. You need help desperately. You can just as easily become another Jessie.
I am crying for you Judy. Please, please cry for yourself. Then get up, brush yourself off, and run the other way. This disease will take everything…including your life.

I will love you forever,



Anonymous said...

Powerful letter, Paula. Your feelings expressed are so true, so raw, so brave. I recognized my own situation with my daughter in your letter. You both are in my prayers. This will be the hardest thing you will ever do. There are no guarantees, but you have taken a very big and very important first step. I hope you can take some comfort knowing that the PSST group is there to support you in your endeavor.

Anonymous said...

What a great letter to write to your addicted child. I hope it was sent to your daughter and you stand firm on your decisions to stop enabling. I truly believe that has to be done. As hard as it is to do, it's what your daughter (and all of our addicted children) needs to face on HER OWN.


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