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A mother on meth

chad A Mother on Meth
Our family has just entered into a extremely difficult situation. Over the holidays I discovered that my sister has been doing Meth. She is 31 and a single mother of two (one twelve, the other ten). She has lived with my mom since they were born and has also been helping her out since she (my mom) became disabled this past year. We're all very VERY close to her children.

I don't know what to do or what to say. I confronted her on her use and she of course denied it then stormed out of the conversation. She's become enraged and detached from the entire family leaving for hours on end every night. She doesn't care about any of us and has made that very clear.

I wish I could just send her away, call the police and have her face reality...but her kids, my niece and nephew, my mom's grandchildren...I have no idea what would happen to them. I've been trying my hardest to keep them sheltered from what's been going on. They shouldn't have to burden that kind of stress at their age. I feel like I've been pinned to the wall though with no solution to this problem.

If ANYONE has any thoughts, ideas, numbers to call...ANYTHING...please please let me know.
Re: A Mother on Meth
Hi Chad,
I am so sorry that your family has to handle this terrible situation.
Your sister needs help, but she probably won't seek it out as a response to anything you say or do. Unfortunately, just as addicts are powerless over there addiction, loved ones are equally powerless over the addict.


I wish I could just send her away, call the police and have her face reality...but her kids, my niece and nephew, my mom's grandchildren...I have no idea what would happen to them.

I don't know about the state of Colorado, so I can't help you out on that..... And unless she's caught red-handed, the police can do nothing to her. My best advice would be to call around to different government agencies and find out what programs are available, what sort of help there is out there.
There's also usually a help-line in most states, like 411 and 911, it's usually 211. You can call a help desk that has all sorts of info about community programs.

Again, I am truly sorry that you are in this situation. It is a painful one.

Re: A Mother on Meth
My advice is to call Child Protective Services. Is there any way a family member could take the children in for a while?

If your sister is refusing to even admit her problem, chances are she's not going to improve any time soon.

Your responsibility is to keep those children from harm. Please help them.

Sfj Re: A Mother on Meth
I’m sorry to read about the problems, but I’m also wanting to welcome you to the first part of the solution – This Forum.
You are not alone. There are many thousands here who have written posts almost identical to yours.

At the start, it will be tough. But don’t despair. There are solutions. Read the info below ( substitute feminine pronouns in place of the masculine pronouns )

Some things to consider when trying to help a loved one to quit using drugs. (or to stay quit)
1. Addicts are human beings. We are not perfect.
2. Don’t take his behavior personally.
3. Consider his willingness to change.
4. He is in pain and suffering form internal conflict even though
he may seem totally different outwardly.
5. Don’t try to “FIX” him.
6. Begin building trust in your relationship.
7. He is aware of his own needs.
9. Be patient.
10. Look for his strengths and encourage him by applauding his
11. Explain choices and consequences.
12. Relapse, while not desirable is often part of the learning process.
(I don’t know anyone who got it perfectly right the first, or even the
second or third time.)
13. Eighty per cent or more will not get it right the first time.
14. Are you willing to question your own part in all this?
15. Denial is a product of shame and punitive sanctions.
16. Try to understand reaction rather than overcome resistance.
17. Language determines the stigma.

Ok, for those of you who are not meth users, let me tell you this,
there are ways of helping an addict, but it will require incredibly huge amounts of emotional investment and it may seem unfair and not worth it, and even small amounts of success may seem to be too much to be worth the trouble. The time, energy, tears, pain, and even money can make you emotionally bankrupt unless you really know what you're doing,
If you don't know what you're doing, I suggest you be very prudent
and cautious, maybe consider another avenue, because meth addition is very powerful, cunning, deceptive, selfish and ruthless.
We meth addicts will stop when the pain of continued use exceeds
the fear of withdrawal. Drug abuse begins for one reason and continues
for another.
One thing that will almost always get an addict angry, is when
someone tries to “Tell them what to do.”
“Treat people as if they are what you want them to be and you help
them become what they’re capable of being.” - - - Goethe

May I strongly recommend the book, "Crystal Meth They Call It Ice"
by Dr. Mary Holley, she is also the founder of "Mothers Against Meth."
Get as much info as you can 2. Develop a plan 3. Seek professional help 4. Realize the truthful limitations 5. Most importantly - Trust God

Of course there are no easy solutions, but there are some that are better than others. This is just off the top of my head, if I think a little more, maybe I can be more elaborate.

My recommendations would be:

1. Win trust and friendship by giving praise, congratulations, and some form of positive comments about non-meth things in order to start the conversation.
Something simple, “Nice shirt,” “I’m glad to see you.” “Thanks for being here.”

2. How are you feeling?
At this point she will open up and talk, or b!tch at you and say, “What do you care?” or something similar.

3. Respond with “What do you mean?” or “Tell me more.”

It will take huge amounts of self-control to avoid getting angry, and responding with emotion. Any emotion on your part will indicate to him that he is winning and you are losing. You must remain stone-cold emotionless in your speech and conversation.
Soft and gentle.

4. You can ask open-ended questions, like, “What do you want to do to improve the problems?” and “How do you feel you can get control of the things that bother you?” and “What would your life be like if some of your main problems were solved?”

Avoid questions that can be answered with one word, such as ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if you want him to talk.

I’m not sure if I’m answering the question in your opening post of this thread, but if you can be more specific, I’ll try to do the same. 
Sfj Re: A Mother on Meth
I'm going to take a risk and question a previous post.

Unless she has done something wrong, I'd seriously consider the problems involved in calling CPS. That move could easily backfire on you.

Being a meth addict does not automatically make someone a bad parent. It might contribute to some bad behaviors and bad decisions, but be careful on this.

If the kids are not in danger, use a bit of prudence.

Snitching on a meth addict however, is almost certain to make things worse in your relationship with her.

You didn't really specify what she was doing that caused your concern other than using meth.

To be sure, meth is a nasty, vile drug, but there are many parents who can continue being good parents. Not all are good, not all are bad.
Re: A Mother on Meth
I think we've been over this before. I respectfully disagree with Sfj when he says that using meth doesn't make her a bad parent.

Maybe I shouldn't have jumped to such a conclusion in my earlier post, but if she truly is using and she truly avoids any type of help, I think her kids are definitely in danger. Maybe they aren't malnourished or being physically abused, but they are old enough to see a difference in their mother. Let's just hope they don't follow in her footsteps.

Re: A Mother on Meth
I agree with SFJ. I've never seen a situation that ends well when a family member immediately goes to the authorities without any proof of wrongdoing.

And it is possible to have an addict for a parent and never know. It happens ALL THE TIME.

Edited to add, the welfare of the children is important, and if they are being neglected or their health and well-being is in danger, than yes, the authorities should be called. But there was no indication (that I saw) that this was happening in the original post. 
Sfj Re: A Mother on Meth
To Savedinillinois,
Using meth is a bad decision. I can agree to that. But being a parent is much more involved than controlling substance intake.

Does smoking cigs, or drinking liquor make a person a bad parent?
How about beating children, refusing to feed them, not providing home, bed, hygiene, and things like that?
Name calling, denigrating, verbal abuse, cussing them out, belittling them?
Aren't those signs of being a bad parent.

I used meth, but I never did any of the above.
There are other parents like that on this forum also.

There are many things worse than using meth. IMHO

Re: A Mother on Meth
I believe that all of the above are qualities of "bad parents". However, I do believe that it's possible for bad parents to change their ways and become good parents.

My counselor and I have been over and over these scenarios. I believe that he thinks I'm way too critical of others and myself. I can maybe see where he's coming from.

Just an FYI - I was a horrible parent while using. I thought I was doing great because I didn't run around with the meth-heads. I stayed home and used my drugs. I was a bad parent because of the environment I created for my child. He was never physically harmed or neglected in any way, but he could've been very easily because of my drug use.

Again, I realize that I may be way off here, but I'm just being honest about the way that I feel.

Chad - obviously most disagree with me so please disregard the advice I gave earlier.
Lisa Re: A Mother on Meth
I was a using mom, and my son never knew; never had an inkling. When I chose to tell him, he was sixteen years old and he didn't believe me.

Using did not make me a bad mom...as a matter of fact, I was an excellent mom. My son is testament to that.

However, I know that I'm the exception rather than the rule. If she is staying out all night and ignoring her family, that would be an indication that there is indeed a problem there.

vctry7 Re: A Mother on Meth
leaving for hours on end every night

That would be neglectful towards her children.

They shouldn't have to burden that kind of stress at their age

That tells me that there are problems and the children know what is going on.

I suggest calling CPS. If there is nothing to worry about, great. She is already detached and angry with the family. Maybe it would be a wake-up call.

Usually a person has to have drug charges against them to be forced in a treatment program. You can't force an adult against their will.

meth mom
I use to be a meth mom also. I do think you need to be careful on calling the CPS on your sister. In my case there was neglect with my children in the way of me truly not being "there" for them when they needed me to be. My children are the same age as hers and they new a lot even though i tried to hide it. Fortunately My family stepped in and took my children and the state wasn't involved. This is how it had to be in my case. I was to far gone and didn't even acknowledge it. I would say there are tuff boundaries that lie in-between how bad her situation is.

I truly believe in sfj's how to help an addict is true. If you follow what he was saying i think it could help. I also think that hope and faith are the two most important things in a nonuser or addict to have. Never give up on the addict.

I am very sorry for your situation. My eyes tear up when reading your post.
My situation with meth was a happy ending! I have been sober for almost 2 yrs and have custody of my children back and work and things couldn't be better for me. Everyone is different and every situation is different. Come here anytime for advice I think that's your best bet.

Good luck to you and your family!! Hang in there and make sure to let us know how it goes along the way!!

Re: A Mother on Meth
CPS can't just swoop in and take children away from their homes. It takes more than a parent having an addiction and being gone all hours of the night. Her mother is at home, so there is an adult there, so it's not technically neglect.

I'm sorry I keep saying this, but I know how this stuff works, I've seen (and lived) it more than once.

Calling CPS or the police is going to be more stressful for the children at this stage. Nothing will come of it legally, but it has the potential to wreak havoc on the family and further alienate brother from sister.

Finding help is one thing, but CPS and/or the police will not help anything at this point.

I'm not trying to be a naysayer, and I definitely don't think Chad should just throw up his hands and give up. But I very strongly caution contacting authorities. Help, yes. Authorities NO. Not unless the children are in danger at this very moment. No one can act on what will eventually happen.

vctry7 Re: A Mother on Meth
How do you force an adult who doesn't want help to seek help for a problem they don't think they have without involving the authorities?

I do agree that SFJ does have really good advice for dealing with an addict.

I think the family could benefit from going to an Al-Anon meeting or meeting with a drug counselor for advice for their unique situation.

Whatever is decided, please put the kids first.

Re: A Mother on Meth
How do you force an adult who doesn't want help to seek help for a problem they don't think they have without involving the authorities?

Because they don't WANT help and it could backfire very quickly.

If the authorities are involved, they cannot do anything legally at this point from the information that we have. There is no offense unless she is caught red-handed with the stuff. So he calls the authorities, and they do nothing.

She says. "see, I TOLD you there was no problem." And then she's even more infuriated and cold.

And you can't force an adult to seek help regardless of what kind of trouble they're in.

Re: A Mother on Meth
Hi Chad, and welcome to the forum. If you do nothing else, keep coming here. We are addicts, recovering addicts, loved ones and family members of addicts. We welcome you with open arms and open hearts.

My best advice is this: keep the safety and care of the children at the forefront. There is nothing much you can do for an addict in denial who is angry at the world.

But there is much you can do for the children of that addict. I would keep them in the family at all costs, rather than involving social services.

When you do get the opportunity to talk with your sister, couch your words in care and concern. Help her to understand that it is her very life that you hope to help her save. Always phrase your words in a loving, non-judgmental way.

Addicts are diseased just as if they were afflicted with diabetes. Meth addiction, like diabetes, is progressive and chronic, meaning that it will get worse as time goes by, and if the addict does not stop using, he/she will die.

But the addiction is treatable, just like diabetes. Unfortunately, inherent in the addiction process is denial. Denial isn't conjured up by the addict, but is an automatic delusional system that prohibits the addict from realizing the reality of their own situation.

The only thing you can do about her denial is to approach her out of love and concern. Point out specific incidents where her addiction has caused problems, and how her actions made you or others feel. This approach is the best chance you have to fracture the wall of denial in the hopes of bringing some clarity to her thinking.

She is not morally culpable; she does not have a willpower problem. She has the disease of addiction.

My prayers are with you and your family, and your sister.

kell Re: A Mother on Meth
Just an FYI - I was a horrible parent while using.

That does not mean EVERYONE who uses is a carbon copy of you. To just tell someone to call CPS based on one post is irresponsible at best. Even more so if you are that narrow minded to believe that everyone on METH behaves the same way.

Cassandra Re: A Mother on Meth

Sfj's responses are excellent... and true. I hope you can take the time to read his words thoroughly... Many of the "techniques" he mentioned were the saving of my marriage.

Also, I agree that calling CPS is not your move. If there is abuse or immediate danger then, by all means, protect those children. But without proof, the likelihood of results is very slim to none...

When trying to help or deal with an addict, we have to pick our battles. Do not take action without considering the reaction... you don't want to eliminate your chance more hopeful, future opportunities.

Meanwhile... be there for those kids. Don't let your sister's addiction consume you and weaken you to the point that you waste away... or meth wins. And honestly, like I said, most if not all of Sfj's suggestions have been tried and true by many people...  
Re: A Mother on Meth
Is anyone alive truly qualified to determine who is a bad or good parent?
Especially if one has never had children of their own, or been in a similar situation.
If I were your position, I would tell sister how I felt, probably have a blowout, but not call CPS -- at least not right away. Only if I personally witnessed the children being in imminent danger, being neglected (no food, abused, etc.) would I contact social services.

I'd just keep a close eye on the kids, let them know I was there for them all the time, and perhaps see if a family member could take the kids in for awhile.

The kids are the most important thing here. And if mom is battling something that impacts them poorly, family can help. I'd let sister abuse herself if she wants -- but be around for the kids.

vctry7 Re: A Mother on Meth
I wanted to clear something up. I did not think that calling CPS would result in CPS swooping in and taking children from the responsible non-using family members they are already with.  I do, however, think it is very important that someone outside the family know what is going on. To have the names on paper, so to speak. That way if the mother decided to move out and take the kids and the family needed to call CPS they might act faster.

Also in many states it is a crime (child abuse/child endangerment) to have illegal drugs or paraphernalia in the presence of a child or for the primary caregiver (their mother) to be under the influence. The grandmother is disabled. If something were to happen is it a possibility, albeit a very slight one, that they would not allow the children to stay with the family because they allowed the drug using person to stay in the home without any attempts to correct the situation.

This is a link to a PDF file about which states have which laws. Many are directly speaking about manufacturing, but not all. www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/drugexposedall.pdf

See also:

Effects on the Family and loved Ones from Crystal Meth and Methamphetamine Topics

Back to Crystal Meth & Methamphetamine Questions, Answers & Advice

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