A Mother’s Perspective: The Loss Of My Son Harris Wittels To Heroin
The Huffington Post published a story by Maureen Wittels, the mother of award-winning comedy writer Harris Wittels, on the loss of her son to heroin. My worst fear became Maureen’s reality as she described coming to grips with her son’s tragic overdose. I won’t begin to insinuate that I understand her pain – I can’t even bear to imagine it. I worried endlessly for years that the same fate awaited my son Michael as he became a slave to prescription opioids and eventually heroin. When Michael finally got sober in 2009, I felt a great weight lifted off my shoulders – a gift many parents never receive. I thank God every day for guiding my son out of the darkness of his disease and into the light of recovery. I would have never imagined standing at my son’s wedding, welcoming his beautiful bride into our loving family 8 years ago.
Society is finally accepting drug addiction for what it really is – a disease. For the last 30 years, the drug problem has been addressed criminally, and now is the time to put an end to the archaic “Just Say No” and the failed “War on Drugs.” We have an obligation to rally the lawmakers and health agencies to address this national crisis before we lose future generations to this disease.
While I can’t identify entirely with Maureen’s experience, I found her ideas on rehab especially interesting as an advocate for recovery and drug treatment:
“I firmly believe that the current model of treatment is not working. Overdose deaths are the number one cause of accidental death in the United States. It is officially an epidemic.”
“[Drug treatment centers] need to be up to date with the most current trends for treatment – not just relying on the 12 steps to fix the problem.”
Maureen, I couldn’t agree more. The widely adopted models of treatment in this country are killing young men and women. We preach abstinence and emphasize the consequences of using heroin and opioids but we don’t explore the underlying issues that contribute to the disease cycle.
The major problem I identified in one treatment center after another was the physicians and counselors dealt with the surface issues. Michael would go in, perform well for the clinicians, show signs of improvement, and find himself falling into the same disease cycle with opioids and heroin. His father and I couldn’t understand how this happened – we raised him right, we were always there for him, and felt we were involved in his recovery. But what we found over time was the treatment centers only started him on his path to recovery. They didn’t incorporate a holistic, therapeutic level of intensive work and comprehensive aftercare. Michael may have been sober for 28 days, but we found time and time again it was not enough to keep him sober for good.
My heart aches for Maureen. No parent should have to go through the tragic ordeal of laying their child to rest. What I can tell her is that there is a center that’s addressing her concerns so that other parents don’t experience what she has.
Infinite Recovery has updated their programming to treat the intricate disease of heroin and opioid addiction. We found that there isn’t a “cookie cutter” method to getting sober. That’s why we’ve incorporated our 8 Dimensions of Wellness model with extensive trauma treatment to uncover the root problem of the disease. We also focus on the 12 Steps of Recovery, but in conjunction with advancements in clinical techniques. We’re now considered the Gold Standard of heroin and opioid treatment.
As a mother, I’m most proud of how we’re addressing the trauma piece of heroin and opioid addiction. We’ve cracked the code on this very specific addiction, especially in young adults, by addressing the regulation of emotions through trauma-based clinical programming and EMDR therapies. Other treatment centers tend to simply identify the presence of trauma – Infinite Recovery helps each person work through it. Had Michael received the high level of care Infinite Recovery offers during his active addiction, we may have stopped that vicious cycle sooner.
My hope is that other treatment centers will follow our heroin and opioid specialists and begin providing appropriate levels of care. I’m so passionate about this because I’ve seen my son literally brought back to life, and I know the same is possible for families across the country.
Infinite Recovery is following the opioid epidemic closely. We are a proud supporter of Facing Addition and like-minded activist organizations. Our biggest contribution to the cause of overcoming addiction is sharing the proof of long-term recovery. For more information about Infinite Recovery and our daily work, see our new website. We offer a 24/7 confidential hotline at (844) 206-9063 and our admissions team is available online.