Father in Torment
This is about the single most difficult experience of my life.
I remember the time when I realised what was really going on with my daughter. I had experienced the most heinous behaviour from her. I could no longer believe what she was telling me, her appearance had altered dramatically, and there was an angry aloof imposter in her place. Lie lay upon lie on the back-up stories she told me, to placate me. The sense of manipulation feels insidious. A well-mannered girl with a good job and good set of values had disappeared in a puff of smoke. In her place a hollow, angry being appeared, a being that lost her job and pride while being driven manically by ice addiction.
At her lowest point she had lost a lot of weight, was picking at her head and face, and slept for three days straight. I had tried coercing the truth from her and she finally admitted to doing a bit of ecstasy, but it took investigation to reveal the truth, that she was addicted to ice. ‘Shards’ were on the menu and commonplace.
My sense of failure as a parent was immense. I had raised her almost solely, and tried hard to be mum and dad for her. I supported her sport, music, dancing and a good education. I was desperate and shattered. I felt isolated, inconsolable at times; but I was also driven to turn around this terrible situation – for which, I bore guilt – and retrieve my daughter from the evil clutch of drugs. I enlisted all the help I could muster. I researched as much as possible and decided the best place was one that offered longevity and after care for at least 6 months. With help, I was able to get her to this place.
She was so angry she was hysterical, screaming at me, and threatening to get picked up and leave. I had also enlisted the help of a policeman I knew, and told her anyone coming to the house was going to be drug tested. She hated me at this point, and was in complete denial. She agreed to go, but not before she talked both me and her father that she would go willingly – in a week.
That week she binged. Awake for 48 hours, as she had not come home. I almost lost my life falling asleep while driving, worried that I would never get her in, that I was losing the battle. Exhausted, I sobbed on my bed, wishing it would just end. But that day, I got her into the clinic. I felt a sense of relief. I did not have to worry where she was, and knew she was in good hands. When her drug use escalated, she had burned down our house – we were out for months. My daughter was cooking and got side tracked. I then had a car accident where my car was written off, and I was in hospital with a suspected broken neck. Those things really tested me but not as much as nearly losing my daughter.
Then, she was unapologetic, hard, emotionless but I could see, every now and then, that she knew what she was doing was wrong, scared her, and made her very depressed. Once she did the program, I am happy to say that she has turned things round. She undertook a lot of counselling and did work to understand addiction. She changed her views. This took time and dedication, as nothing worth having in this life comes too easily. She has a good job and has enlisted for university. She takes responsibility for her actions now. She has matured incredibly, for which I am truly grateful. Because of my love for her, forgiveness comes naturally when I can see how far she has come, seen her dedication.
I still get concerned but I learned a lot during this process. I still need a little reassurance, but, if something good can come from something bad, this has been it. I also underwent counselling and therapy to help me understand where I also learned a lot about myself.
We now live an even better existence than we did pre-ice because we have both become better people than we were. I am not happy that she chose to experiment with ice, but I am truly grateful that she has had a second chance. Drugs claim a lot of prisoners and lives. Even those who live, end up living in a hell on earth. I am truly thankful we were not too late.