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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

5 Tips for Dealing with a Loved One with an Addiction

Secrets of an addict Part 4. Putting a face on addiction

A Northern Kentucky Native, Amber, has made the brave decision to put her face on this epidemic ripping through our region. If it can happen to a normal girl like her, it can happen to anyone. Here she is with her fiancĂ©, Austin. 

Looking back at my past, I have to say I would not take any of it back. I believe that every last second of it was needed to make me who I am today. And I must say I really like that person. I can look myself in the mirror and be proud of the decisions I make today. It hurts knowing that I hurt others with my past actions, such as my family, but those relationships are amazing and strong because of the past.
My dad cut me out of his life for a long time, and rightfully so. He told me that I was killing his baby girl, and he couldn't stand watching it. On several occations he would drive right past me like I was a stranger. And I was. That broke his heart and mine. Not too long ago he told me he was sorry for that. My response was "I'm not." Our relationship is incredible now, and we are closer than we have every been. I believe that we had to go through that to have and cherish what we have now. I get the honor of seeing my Dad several times a week now, when he stops over just to give me a hug. I must say I am one lucky girl.

I would like to give you some advice if you are dealing with a loved one that is in addiction.
1) Do not enable them! Meaning call them out on their behavior and actions.

2) Do not give them money, and rides.

3) Do not buy into their lies. In the long run it will only hurt them, and you! My mom went one step further and called the police on me, because I was stealing, and called my probation officer and told her I was using heroin. Those were probably the best things she could have ever done. Granted at the time I didn't think so, but I thanked her later.

4) Also, if you are a parent, don't blame yourself for your child becoming an addict. My mom always thought that she did something wrong raising me. She didn't. I was taught right from wrong. I made the decision knowing it wasn't right. I blame myself, and only myself. So, do not blame yourself.

5) And know that if they do get sober, unfortunately they may relapse. I went to a long term recovery center. I was there for 16 months and was doing wonderful. But after I moved out and into my own apartment I thought I could still drink, as long as I didn't do any drugs. I just wanted to be normal. After a couple of weeks of drinking I ended up with a needle back in my arm. I continued that for about 2 months and in that short time I lost everything I had just worked so hard for. I ended up back at that recovery center for another 15 months. I needed that last lesson, because I have been sober ever since.

And once they really are tired and ready to change, they can stay sober through anything, if they choose to. When I was 7 months sober I held my moms hand as she took her last breath. I have never felt that kind of pain and heart break. But getting high didn't cross my mind, because I was truly ready to be finished. I've had alot of ups and downs since, but I'm 3 years sober and have learned how to deal with life on life's term with a clear mind.

I used to wake up every day wondering how I was going to get high, now I wake up and get to be a productive member of sociotey. I get to wake up next to the man of my dreams, who is also a recovering addict with almost 4 years sober. We are planning our wedding and we also just found out the that we are going be having a baby! We are blessed to have a house and 2 wonderful dogs. We don't have a little white picket fence, but we have a chain link one. Which is perfect to me. Our lives are not perfect but they are quite amazing, and only because we were lucky to make it out of our pasts alive.

I hope that by me sharing my story I have helped at least one person in some way, big or small. At least it's a start! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need a shoulder to vent on.

Thank you for letting me share and for encouraging me to be me!

Part 1 here
Part 2 here
Part 3 here


  1. So proud of you amber!!!

  2. Amber you are simply amazing! I am proud to call you my friend! And for the record I wouldn't trade my past for anything either because it has made me the person I am today and for once I really like that person. ♥, Kym

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story and giving advice on what to do and not to do. God bless you :-)

  4. Thanks for sharing Amber. And thank you Mark and crew for putting this together. Very good information to have as so many of us are now close to someone going through this.

  5. Could you post the names of the places to get help

  6. I know that the Brighton Center and Transitions both do great work.

    The Brighton Center has a facility in Florence, KY for women. 282-9390.

  7. I also turned my son in. He spent 6 months between jail and prison. He just got out on 3/24/14. So far he has been doing good. He will be on parole for 4 months. I'm scared to death he will relapse. He has been in and out of treatment. Im hoping he doesn't want to go back to prison and is ready to take on the world, drug free. Heroin is death and I'm glad that it hasn't happened to him. Good luck with the baby and your up coming wedding!