A Mother’s Devastating Story Of Her Daughter’s Tragic Life, And Death

Do you blame yourself for Zoie’s addiction?

“I always worried and prayed that it would never come to this. Denial and minimization were my middle name. I always rationalized it was going to be ok.  I often think now that I wasn’t smart enough to save my child.  I wasn’t good enough.

“I believe Zoie was hard wired as the child of an addict and alcoholic. ‘Do you think he’ll kill us with a kitchen knife when we’re asleep?’ she once asked me about her father.

“Addiction affects you on such a huge level.  You’re addicted to your child’s addiction. It’s a myth to say, ‘let the addict hit bottom. Live your own life.   Do the tough love because you’ve got to go on.’   You’ve got a sick person in the room who you can’t ignore.  You love that person, and then they die. And you feel worse. The death is so different from the fear that it’s going to happen, which drives you crazy in itself.

“I lost my mind. I suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. I went to LA, to Paris, to London. I went to see a friend in Lima.  I just ran, the pain was so great. I ran to be able to stay alive. It wasn’t pretty. I couldn’t stay home.”

Do you have ideas about how to halt this epidemic?

“It has to start very early because you still have a chance with younger people.  They’re our future. ‘Just say no’ doesn’t work. TV programs glamorize drugs and that lifestyle. We’re immersed in it as a culture. The stakes have to be raised.

“When children are in middle school, they’re searching for an identity and are most vulnerable. One organization has a therapeutic storytelling model that gets inside the heads of kids and makes them think for themselves; confront their problematic thinking.

“Women are proactive, so we need to impact mothers in their 30s and 40s, and get them to understand that it can happen to their kids.”

How is your life now?

“When Zoie died, I thought ‘OK, I’m done.’  I had so much chaos around me before she died. I ran from my place and never went back. I was so despondent that I didn’t care. I had a total breakdown.  I’m at a friend’s house in Phoenix now. I am safe. I am getting counseling, but it’s never going to be the same. I’m the poster child for the crazy mother who lost her mind, and couldn’t do anything,  and now I don’t want it to happen to another family.”

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