The Washington Post recently reported on the horrific effects of the opioid epidemic in West Virginia, specifically on the Pulliam family after parents Austin and Amanda overdosed on heroin. Infinite Recovery knows how real this story is, as many of our staff members are parents themselves and have witnessed their child pull away during their addiction or watched their child struggle with their own addiction. We focus on the moms in many of our stories, but the children of drug addicts suffer just as much – if not more. While the Pulliam family comes to grips with the tragic loss of their mother and father, Infinite Recovery witnesses the alternate ending of their story in our office every day. Leighton Cooper, the Infinite Recovery Office Manager, is the daughter of Infinite Recovery’s Alumni/Discharge/Intake Manager Leah Godfrey. Leah, now a person in long-term recovery with years of sobriety under her belt, has rebuilt her relationship with her children and is now on the other side of this disease. Leighton opened up about her experience watching her mother struggle with addiction and their family’s recovery.
What was your mom’s addiction like?
“Her addiction was hidden for the most part – she lived a lie that we had no idea about. She was almost like an actress, playing a part in a movie in front of us and living her drug addict life behind closed doors. There were definitely times where we questioned her behavior and started to see the signs – it’s not typical for a mother of three to be tinkering around on ‘projects’ well past 3 AM. It wasn’t until my mother went into toxic shock from her addiction that we discovered the seriousness of her situation. She told us she was going to get try getting sober on her own, and everything seemed somewhat normal again, but the day after my graduation she told our family she would seek finally treatment.”
How was it seeing your mom getting sober and going through the recovery process?
“While my mother was in treatment, I didn’t want to see her. I took on quite a few responsibilities – I was an 18-year old girl fresh out of high school who became the legal guardian of both my siblings, taking care of our home, and working to provide while my mother got well. It was nearly a year after my mom got sober that I finally came around and opened up to the idea of rebuilding our family. Then we truly started the healing process.”
What emotional work did you and your siblings have to do on your own to begin rebuilding your family?
“When my mom checked in, I felt a great deal of disappointment and fear – I felt like I had been a part of her lie for so long and had to come to grips with the reality of the situation, on top of assuming full parental and provider responsibilities for our family. I didn’t know how to handle everything all at once. I had initially planned to celebrate graduating all summer, but since my mom checked into treatment the day after my graduation, I isolated out of shame and guilt. I felt like I had done something wrong or acted poorly based on her actions.
Getting over that was difficult but so worth it – my mother wanted to be a part of our family and I wanted her back, so we began to talk open and honestly about everything that happened and started mending those wounds.”
What’s life like today with your mother solidly in recovery?
“It’s amazing. I don’t know how else to describe it. I get to work with her every day, side by side, as we help rescue people from the same disease that almost took her away. The same disease that destroyed my family. We’re offering the same hope and solution that rebuilt my family and gave me my mom back.”
Your family can experience the same freedom and happiness that Leah and Leighton have. Call Infinite Recovery today at (844) 206-9063 or submit a form online to get your loved one back.