Usually, it is the physical aspect of an addiction that many will think of when asked to reflect on the matter; rarely will they think of the impacts it can have on the children of an addict. It can be difficult for kids to try to cope with an addicted parent, especially if the parent is forced to attend drug rehab. In these situations, it is often the case that the youngsters will be taken into care, whether this is permanent or temporary.
Children are often the ones most negatively affected by addiction as they have to grow up around drugs and addiction and their life will often be lacking any parental affection and guidance. This can have a massive negative impact on these kids, who must learn how to adapt to life without the attention and care that they should be receiving. One woman who turned her life around after seeing just how badly impacted her young children were is Fern Nicholas, who attended a drug rehab that allowed her to bring her children along.
Thirty-nine-year-old Fern from Toowoomba, Queensland in Australia, suffered from a severe drug addiction that had devastating consequences for her two young children, aged just four and seven. The youngsters were so terrified of their mother that they would often hide from her and had no alternative but to fend for themselves. Fern spoke of a time where one of her daughters was so scared of her when she was on a drug- and alcohol-fuelled war path that she cowered in a corner and soiled herself; this is a memory that will haunt Fern for the rest of her life and fills her with guilt. The turning point for Fern was when a police officer pointed a handgun at her while she was with her children; this is what made her realise that she could lose her children and that she needed to change.
The kids were removed from Fern’s care while a forty-eight-hour review was conducted, but they were returned to her as long as she committed to attending a drug rehab. Fern explained, “The thought of that [losing her children] frightened me enough to go get help. To have to have a police officer consider pulling a weapon on you to keep you away from your own child – that was pretty devastating.” The idea of going to a drug rehab without her kids by her side was a terrifying thought for Fern, so she was admitted to Fresh Hope, a local rehabilitation clinic that allows addicted mothers to go through treatment while still living with their children.
The home has five bedrooms and can accommodate five women with up to four of their children while they go through an extensive twelve-to-eighteen-month treatment programme to overcome their addiction. As well as treatment, the women will be taught how to clean, cook, budget and how to be a good parent to their children.
Fern recalls that she first starting drinking when she was just thirteen and was abusing drugs by the age of nineteen. She is thrilled that she has finally learned how to be the mother that her children deserve, and she explained that the programme helped her make amends with her kids. Fern is trying to get into a routine and take care of her family ‘in a clean way’. She said, “We learn to how often to wash a kid’s hair, dress them properly for school, and read them stories – how to be a good parent. My children were totally disconnected from me, terrified of me really. We didn’t do anything together. The house was always filthy, and they were pretty neglected. Just prior to coming here, I yelled a lot and was constantly in fights. My eldest daughter would cower in the corner every time I would come into a room and raise my voice and sometimes soil herself – that’s how I could tell she was really scared.”
Fern says that she has now managed to build bridges with her daughters, and for the first time in their lives, they seem excited to see her when they come back from school, as opposed to being frightened as they once were. “They smile again. We’ll do a family board game now before bed, and my eldest daughter will come out and tell me she loves me – that never would have happened before. We’ve come a really long way,” she said.
Fern would never have gone to a drug rehab if her children were not able to go with her, and this is the case for a lot of addicted mothers; this is why clinics that allow children to be present are extremely beneficial. Fern said, “My daughters contributed artwork to the Fresh Hope calendar. My eldest daughter drew her feelings, and it was three love hearts in a series. The first one was dark, black and broken, the middle one it is starting to look pink again, and the last one is this little love heart jumping for joy. She feels her heart came from being black to jumping, happy and pink again.”
If you are concerned about an addiction and are unsure of how to tackle this issue, get in touch with us here at UKAT. We offer referrals to facilities that provide a range of effective treatments. It is normal to feel anxious about entering a clinic, but the friendly and dedicated staff at the centres will ensure that you feel right at home. If you would like more information, or if you have any queries, do not hesitate to contact us today.
Source: Meth addicted mother, 39, reveals how her terrified young daughter cowered in the corner of a room and soiled herself when she flew into drug rage (Daily Mail)
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