I work with a lot of individuals that struggle with addiction. I have spent countless of hours speaking with their parents too, providing support in the moment because their children are usually not doing well. Parents usually plead to me for the right answer to help “fix” or “heal” their children. And sometimes… the only answer is to ask them what they as parents are doing for their own sanity.

I had a mother that I was talking to probably once or twice a week for an hour or two at a time. She would vent how her child made her so mad then cry at how sad and afraid she is for their wellbeing. Sometimes offering an ear would help her temporarily cope with all her fears, concerns, and frustrations. We would try to coordinate with her child so I can talk with them about solutions to finding and living a healthier life. Sometimes they would make the phone call, sometimes they wouldn’t. The mother would always say she wasn’t going to give them money but always found a way to nurture her them through buying food and other necessities.

She would tell me how their clothes were stained and had holes in them. She would be nearly speechless at how skinny and pale her child was. This is an adult child, but the mother’s child, nonetheless. Moreover, I helped them finally get into residential treatment. For those of you not familiar, residential treatment is where an individual will stay onsite for an average of 28 days; they cannot leave, must attend groups, and meet with a counselor. They completed the 28-day program successfully and found a recovery home they were accepted in only to be asked to leave a week or so after arrival.

Her child contacted me and pleaded for help to get back into treatment. They were back on the street, couch surfing, using drugs again, and alone. Yeah, I know, you’re going to tell me they did it to themselves. We were able to stay in contact sporadically when they could find a phone and we were able to get them back into residential treatment. This time, they coordinated with me and their counselor to discuss a plan once completing the program again. This time was different for them and their mother. When their mother was driving them back to treatment, she texted me, “He talked a lot on the way over there. I can hear the kid in him.”

Once they were discharged, Amare, the nonprofit I volunteer with that provides recovery support services (RSS) like recovery coaching, was able to give them financial assistance to help get into a sober-living home and a gift card for food at a local grocery store. They are still doing well today, some 4 or 5 months later. They also have a teenager daughter they have been able to reconnect with once they found some stability.

I know for some, 4 to 5 months does not seem that long, but the 24 hours we have are the most important. Put a bunch of 24 hours together, that is a big deal. Life is messy and isn’t always easy. It is challenging, frightening, yet painted in golden sunsets on some days. I often wonder how we truly value a human life. When and where did we go so horribly wrong that we let our resentments and frustrations convince us people that are struggling should just be eradicated from this existence. This not a parody. This is someone’s son who is also someone’s father.

I pray that these individuals continue to grow and learn from one another, remembering their roots of when chaos tried to consume them. I ask only one thing of the individual. That is to help others that feel there is no hope. It is a mad world out here with some individuals that have no compassion whatsoever. May God bless them, too.

Ty Bechel is a Madison County native that is the founding Executive Director of Amare, a 501 (c) (3) Recovery Community Organization (RCO) that provides recovery support services to individuals and families in our communities. He is a public speaker for motivating change and wellness and has authored two books, written and directed a two-act play, cohosts Madison County Informed with fire captain, Nate Kamp from the Wood River Fire Department, and hosts the Recovery Uncensored podcast at WBGZ 107.1. If you would like to follow Ty on social media, you can find his professional page at www.facebook.com/tafiction.

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