Jessica & Laurel

Often, the most important person in an addict’s turn to recovery is his or her mother, but it’s a perspective that we don’t often hear. In our Infinite Recovery Mom Stories series, mothers of people in recovery have the opportunity to speak firsthand about the pain of having a child struggling with addiction, the love that drives them to seek help for their child and the transformative power of the recovery process.

Jessica - Mother of Laurel Tracy, Infinite Recovery Social Wellness Manager
At a very early age, I realized something about my mom was different. She and my dad always had “special” drinks, but even when he was gone to work, she seemed to drink throughout the day. This always resulted in a lot of fighting, arguing, and her withdrawing. This was my normal. Right before I turned 7, I was playing outside when my dad waved my brother and I over to see my mother who was lying in the back seat of our 1962 Buick LeSabre. I had been worried for some time because she had stopped eating and laid on the couch all day. With a dazed look on her face and a weak voice she said she was going to the hospital but promised she should come back. She never returned. I didn’t understand her illness until I was older and recognized my father had the same dependence. This is when I began learning about our family history. Alcoholism and drug use had become like a demon that overtook the lives of my family members and friends. I made a decision early on that I would not fall victim to drugs or alcohol abuse, and by the grace of God I have been spared. What I never imagined was how my family’s issues would affect my life later. When I married my husband, he was a “recreational pot smoker.” I thought he would quit his once-in-a-while habit after we settled down. I was elated when 4 years later I became pregnant with my first child. He displayed a certain reluctance about the news. I would find out why later. It was my greatest joy to welcome our daughter, Laurel, into the world on August 5, 1989. The delivery was long and difficult but it didn’t compare to the shock I had when my husband almost missed her birth because he was home sleeping. He had made some friends at work and decided to try the “drug of the time,” crack cocaine and the fallout was not good. With the help of God, recovery experts, counselors, friends, and family, going through the recovery process with my husband equipped us for what would come later. Laurel was a bright and beautiful little girl, and extremely strong willed. Her teachers in school always seemed concerned that she had a hard time staying focused. Beginning in 2nd grade, we saw counselors and tried meds, but the side effects were too severe. We decided to let Laurel participate in sports. She really thrived as an athlete and became a premier soccer player which seemed to keep her on track, or so I thought.

She seemed to struggle with obeying authority and developing authentic relationships, and looking back I believe she lacked a sense of confidence and self-worth. But how could a child who is loved so much by her family and provided everything she needs for a happy and successful life feel that way? I had hoped soccer would keep Laurel focused on working towards a healthy future, but she was stricken with several major knee injuries and reconstructions.

Then the first BIG RED flag. An MIP. Next came a DWI. Despite our efforts to keep this precious girl out of harm’s way, she was drawn to the world I had spent a lifetime running away from. The demon had returned and was preparing to overtake her life. She worked hard to rehab and regain her athletic abilities and was recruited to play Division I soccer for the United States Air Force Academy. Finally, I believed she was on her way to great things.

The academic and military demands coupled with 2 additional knee surgeries and Adderall were the fuel needed for the demon to rear its head and capture this young life. Laurel entered 2 1/2 years of hell and ran from a world of structure, rules, and honor to a path of self-destruction. I was paralyzed with fear and felt helpless. I did everything a good mother would do to try to talk her into becoming the woman I knew God created her to be, but failed.

I had let my mother die, watched how alcohol and drugs sucked the life and joy out of many of my family members, and now I was losing my baby girl. This is when treatment and recovery took on a dual meaning.

Laurel was discharged from the Air Force and returned home. Her emotions mirrored a roller coaster. I knew she was messed up with bad people and doing harmful and illegal things, but I was diagnosed with cancer and had to focus on surviving the treatments. During this time, my daughter was nowhere to be found and involved with very dangerous people. The few times she came around, I saw a drastic change in her behavior. It was as though her very soul had been removed from her body and a “ghost-like” girl was wandering aimlessly with no faith, love, or purpose for her life.

During my struggle to recover from cancer, I prayed that God would provide a lifeline to help my daughter climb out of a dark, dangerous pit and reveal the truth. The door was opened when a young man who knew Laurel came to work at my school. I had helped him get a much needed job and taken him under my wing. One day, he came to my office to tell me he had to leave for family reasons. I knew this meeting was an answer to my prayers.

I looked into his eyes and asked what my daughter was involved in. He stated it would be too painful to reveal. I asked again and he shared, with much sadness, that she was an alcoholic and had become a meth addict. My mind was reeling and I honestly thought I would have rather had another cancer diagnosis than know my child was in this unthinkable situation. But, I was thankful God had answered my prayers and immediately thought of John 8:23, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

With the help of my husband and a strong support group, we found a treatment center in Austin, TX. After an intervention with our daughter, she reluctantly agreed to get help. What has happened since December 9, 2012 has been miraculous. We have learned that the network for recovery in Austin isn’t just about getting people sober, it’s about people who are submitting their life to God and learning to live in a new and better way. From treatment, to sober living, to a renewed hope. This brought our daughter out of total dependency on substances to taking responsibility and having a new appreciation for life. Both Laurel and I were in a fight for our lives, and through it all we have both experienced great healing.

This strong, beautiful young woman, with the help of great doctors, counselors, support groups, and God’s grace and love, has emerged a new person and lives her life to help and serve others in addiction. I am so thankful for the amazing recovery community in Austin and humbled that God allowed me to have a second chance with my daughter. “Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer…” Romans 12:12 #walkthetwelvestepswithGod

Your family can experience the same freedom and happiness that we have. Call Infinite Recovery today at (844) 206-9063 for a free 30 minute consultation with a licensed heroin and opioid specialist.

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