The Family Afterward: Women in Recovery
Our team at Infinite Recovery prides themselves on the absolute best treatment available for people struggling with the disease of substance use disorder. Nothing warms our hearts more than hearing how a parent feels when they get their child back. We’re continuing our “Women in Recovery” series with Sarah White’s story of her daughter’s addiction and the moment her daughter was brought back to life.
We’ve included Sarah’s full testimony, unedited, to convey her complete experience.
“I got the call on July 13th 2016 at 9:00am. Except it wasn’t the call I had been dreading every single second of every single day for the past year. My daughter called to say she was ready; ready for help. I rushed out the door and sped down the highway like a mad woman. Calling my husband on the way, we met our daughter outside of where she was living. Although it had only been a few days since we had last seen her, she looked like she hadn’t slept in days. Exhausted, frail, shaken up, and she seemed to be all teeth and skin and bones.
I should start from the beginning…
Alaina is my only child… The light of my life. To know her is to love her. She was the most precious and precocious little girl, and was always on the go and going 100 miles per hour all day long. She didn’t stop! Alaina was my beach baby. A tomboy at heart, and afraid of nothing. She charged the ocean, surfing waves as early as 4 years old, she skateboarded at 5, and was talented and skilled at every sport she played. She was a lover of all animals, especially dogs. Her smile could light up a room, reaching the corners of her eyes and touching both ears. It was the most incredible smile in the world. She was kind and caring and had the innate ability at a very young age to put herself in others shoes. Both confident and determined, and a force to be reckoned with, I never saw it coming.
My daughter was 12 when I discovered she was smoking weed. I did what all parents do… Talked to her “about the dangers of doing drugs,” gave her the “Gateway drug” speech and of course grounded her and took away privileges. My daughter in return did what most kids do: She did her time, ignored my warnings, and continued to smoke weed. Once in high school, she progressed to pills, and riskier and more impulsive behavior ensued. The summer of her sophomore year, Alaina was involved in a car accident. She was ejected from the vehicle, and sustained stage 4 lacerations to her liver and spleen, road rash from head to toe, her forehead was split wide open, the skin around her right eye and eyelid were torn and her top lip was no longer attached. She underwent plastic surgery and eventually a skin graft. A month after the accident we also discovered she had sustained a brain injury. It was a miracle that she survived, and we thought we had dodged a bullet. We were certain this would be a turning point for her. What happened was the opposite, and the accident catapulted her into her addiction and her life unraveled before our eyes. As a mother, I thought “this, THIS is the worst and most terrifying experience you will ever have to endure.”
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The first time she tested positive for cocaine, she was 16 years old. We jumped on the roller coaster ride of addiction with her over the next 3 years: Run-ins with the law, tickets, facing felony charges, crazy phone calls at all hours of the night, trips to the ER, drug-induced psychosis, getting fired from job after job, countless car accidents, and being beaten up during a drug deal gone bad. Each incident we thought would be her “rock-bottom.” We spent tens of thousands of dollars on programs, treatments and therapy, but nothing worked. We finally had to get off the roller coaster. My marriage was in shambles and my mental and physical health was quickly declining.
My husband forced me into 12-step programs, and we refused to participate in Alaina’s addiction until she was ready for help. As we got “better,” Alaina only got worse. She was gone: No sign of my beautiful, sweet, and funny girl. She was just a shell of the person she used to be. The lights had gone out and all that mattered to her was getting high, and I was convinced that I was going to lose her. I woke up most mornings convinced that “today is the day my daughter is going to die.” It was pure torture, and a living hell. I had to remind myself what seemed like a hundred times a day, that if I was doing anything other than nothing, I was helping her kill herself. Somehow repeating that phrase over and over in my mind throughout my day brought me peace. I felt that for the first time in a long time, that in the act of doing nothing, I was actually doing something. I was grieving the loss of a child that was still living, and to make matters worse, in her place was this person who was determined to destroy herself, and everything around her. `
…Back to July 13th.
We arrived at Infinite Recovery with our daughter and her beloved dog, Hazy. We were greeted with familiar faces and hugs. Alaina had participated in their outpatient program, but had only made it halfway through the program 6 months earlier. I kissed my baby and hugged her tightly, smelled the top of her head, and said a little prayer. Walking back to our car, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. That night I had the best night’s sleep I could recall having in 3 years.
She was safe. She was being taken care of by professionals, and people who had been where she was, and had made it out. She was in good hands. We were kept informed every step of the way, and the staff was always available to speak to me and calm my worries and fears. It was incredible, and every single visit we were greeted with smiles, positivity and the most wonderful hugs. It felt like a family. Steps were even taken to allow Alaina visitation with her dog!
Alaina completed Infinite’s 90-day inpatient program in October of 2016. Our daughter weighed less than 90lbs the day she entered rehab., and was 120 lbs when she left. The light was back on. I had my daughter back. The difference was night and day. Throughout our daughters 7 years of addiction, we missed out on this incredible, articulate, caring young woman. Not only did I get my baby back, but I was introduced to a young woman I had never met.
Our experience with Infinite was life changing, not just for our daughter, but our entire family. The entire staff was so impactful and meaningful to our lives, and their commitment to our family was immeasurable in so many ways that leaves us without adequate words.
I’ve struggled to write my story for quite some time (8 months, in fact) and kept kicking the task down the road, but as Alaina’s one-year anniversary of sobriety approaches, I knew it was time.
Infinite Recovery, 12-step programs, friends and family, and hope gave us not only our daughter back, but also put our family back together again with even stronger bonds and respect for one another than before. We will forever be grateful for the amazing staff and experience that Infinite Recovery made available to our family.
Intake kept us cool, calm and collected during the admissions process, and our daughter’s counselor were always available, patient, yet also kept it completely real and honest with us when we needed it the most. Our family therapist, who calmly sat with us and walked us through some intense therapy sessions, to her resident advisor who looked after and cared for my daughter like she was her own, and who still plays a part in Alaina’s recovery. I could go on and on.
Every encounter and experience we have had with everyone involved in Infinite’s program and community was positive and encouraging, and we are forever grateful.
I know each day is a gift, and we will continue to take it one day at a time. The knowledge that we have Infinite, the tools they provided us with, and their community available to us should we need their support, brings us comfort and confidence that we can succeed as individuals and a family.”
Sarah White, mother of Infinite Recovery alumni Alaina
If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction or heroin addiction, get help now. Infinite Recovery offers a confidential hotline at (844) 206-9063 and our admissions team is available 24/7 online.