Addiction is a major factor in children being placed in foster care. Many parents struggling with addiction fear that reaching out for treatment will lead to a child welfare investigation, yet living with addiction also puts kids at risk. Stories in this section offer guidance and information on getting clean, repairing relationships with children affected by addiction, and knowing your legal rights in seeking treatment.

Alive, Sober and Sorry – I want my children to know me but my family told them that I’m dead.

Illustration by Elizabeth Deegan

I was 9 years old when I started getting drunk. I would sit in my friend’s house in her brother’s room where the walls were black and the lights were black and everything glowed in the dark. It was 1969. As she played slow music I’d drink Mad Dog 20-20 and cry because the pain I felt was overwhelming.

I cried because my first memories were of getting hit by my … Read More

Letting My Sister Go – I’m afraid for my sister but I can’t help her.

Illustration by James Faber

My little sister Jasmin has put me through hell. My love for her will never change, but her addiction angers me and hurts me. I want to protect her but I also feel like I have to protect my children and myself.

Jasmin and I grew up together. Jasmin got everything she wanted and she never got hit. My mom hit and kicked me every day, and … Read More

A Family Again – With support, my wife and I recovered from her addiction.

art by Thaynia Waldron

I took my wife to the hospital because she was having contractions. It was early for her to be in labor, so the doctor did all kinds of lab tests. When he came back with the results, he told us that she had tested positive for meth.

I was so shocked and hurt. I couldn’t believe it.

Sandra denied that she was using meth. But I started to put two and two … Read More

‘You Can Turn This Around’ – I overcame my addiction to bring my daughter home.

art by Rise

In 1998 I was pregnant with my daughter when I was arrested for possession of crack cocaine. I was given a conditional release to go to a drug treatment program but for a long time I could not get it right. First I ran away from that program. Then, when I was let out on bail to give birth, I purchased some crack while I was bringing her home from the … Read More

Making My Son Proud – I had to prove I could be trusted.

My son Louie has been a good kid ever since he was small. He rarely complained about anything. He was one of those toddlers that clings to the mother. Wherever I went he was there. Summers when I was outside playing spades, my son was curious so he kept pestering me until I taught him how to play. When we were short, my son would fill in.

As he got older, Louie loved basketball. He filled … Read More

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