britney clean 2
Katies Daughter Brittany

I was the PTO mom, the carpool mom, the Brownie leader.  We ate family dinners at the table, taught our children manners and took family vacations.  My husband and I were blessed to have very good jobs.  My daughter, Brittany, the beautiful girl in the photo, was the honor roll student, the volunteer at the city parks and recreation department and loved playing sports.


Growing up, I had skewed images of what a heroin addict looked like.  I envisioned them sitting in an ally, or a gangster or a criminal.  The stereotypical hippie from the 60’s and 70’s that grew up in a bad home. I had preconceived notions that you had to stay away from them…that they were BAD PEOPLE.


 I am very ashamed of my thoughts now.  I never really had a “real” exposure to addiction.  What I saw was what was pictured in the movies, or on TV.  We lived in the suburbs where “that just didn’t happen around here”.


 Now, addiction has a multitude of faces.  It’s the high school quarterback who became injured in a game, was prescribed Vicodin and became addicted.

It’s the mom down the street from you, driving her minivan to CVS to pick up more pills, even though she just finished a 30-day supply in 10 days.

It’s the babysitter who went to a party and didn’t drink, as mom and dad properly told her the dangers of it.  So she took a few pills instead.

It’s the heroic marine who fought in the Gulf War, who is now fighting PTSD.

It’s the corporate executive who was prescribed Xanax for stress.

It’s the senior citizen who had hip surgery and within weeks, unknowingly was now dependent on prescription narcotics.


This is happening in our homes, our communities, our schools!!  No one is immune.  It affects all classes, races, ages and professions.


If you feel like “it would never happen to you or anyone in your circle”, take a look around.  It’s happening.  You may not even know it.  Most become isolated in fear and lost in their addiction, finding it hard to reach out.


Recently, as I was walking to my car, I noticed a homeless man hunched over.  Instead of walking by him, I stopped and asked him if I could sit down next to him.  We talked for a good hour.  Turns out he was a marine, who was injured, became addicted to Vicodin and didn’t know how to stop, but wanted to so bad.  Swore, he would NEVER do heroin…that’s what junkies do.  But then his pills got too expensive and now his body was physically getting sick.  He ended up turning to heroin, just to feel normal again.  My heart broke for him.  I gave him my card and said to call me if he was ever ready for help.  He called 2 days later.  He is currently at a 6-month treatment facility, fighting for recovery and has renewed hope in life.

As a community, it’s time to come together.  These are not “junkies in the corner” …these are our friends, our neighbors, your grandfather, men who fought for our country.


Please, don’t’ make assumptions on people.  The next time you are walking and see someone homeless, don’t walk past and avert your eyes.  Stop and reach out your hand.  It was my daughter sitting there once, lost in her addiction and feeling hopeless.



This was originally posted on



Nicola is our Blog and Article Editor at Her work has been published internationally in many publications. She is a qualified Reflexologist, Masseuse and Life Coach. She has created content for for many years and was Editor at She has lived with type 1 diabetes since she was 7 years old.


  1. colin chatburn Reply

    we have to fight the stigma as well as the addiction
    but we will fight until the politicians have got to listen.when their own sons and daughters start dying.matbe then they will listen.but we fight on

  2. Sandie Hall Reply

    I was recently diagnosed as an alcohol abuser and joined an in-house group working toward a clean, healthy life. I saw beautiful young men and women in that group who were helplessly fighting addiction for everything from pot to heroine and prescription pills along the way. Your story brought all the memories of that wonderful group of kids and made me resolve with renewed determination to continue my fight as an addict. Thank you so much for sharing your pain and your hope.

    • Thank you for sharing your story of hope. I’m in recovery and just celebrated 3 years sober!!!! I’m so happy I can be a better mother to my 6 year old son and also a better daughter to my mom and dad! I never ever wanted to hurt anyone and before I knew my addiction took control of my life and the lives of my family members. Good job Mama!!

      • Congrats on 3 years!
        I’ll have 2 this month, God willing. I never thought I was hurting anyone. Boy was I wrong!!
        One day at a time is enough for me.

  3. Man….. addiction has no face, no sexuality, no economic status, no language, JUST PURE AND UTTER HELL FOR THE VITCTIM…..but your only a VICTIM as long as you want to be….Getting up and out of the gutter, been CLEAN since 1/1/03….there isn’t a difference between an alcoholic and an addict. There are few VERY few true blue alcoholics around today. Most are addicted to other chemicals so it really irritates me when someone says they are alcoholic or an alcoholic/addict….Narcotics Anonymous tells me that a drug is a “MIND ALTERING CHEMICAL” with that being said….SEX can be a drug…but won’t go there…Free and Clean

    • glenn yip yip Reply

      Very Well put! In my Humble Opinion, “Sex” is highly overrated by the Culture in the “States” “Subliminal Suggestion” from TV, Disney Cartoons, etc.,etc. makes it worse, and to a Point though Natural Evolution, Men and Women really “ARE” looking more Attractive. We all know that “Sex” sells. Madison Avenue’s Motto. When all else fails in advertising, it’s the last logical Result. Men have had “Ego” problems much longer then Females had access to Make-up too. So yes Sex can act like a Drug to be sure. Especially if we are Emotionally Weakened by Alcohol/Drug as it to can and usually is Mind-Altering. I’m not sure, but doesn’t Sex create the same Chemicals in our Bodies?

  4. Unfortunately, many people are not so open minded to addiction until it happens to themself or a loved one. I could relate to this sad story 100%. I was raised in such a “normal” upper middle class, two parent household. I was taught manners, etiquette and right from wrong. I had morals, values, and a strong work ethic. I grew up, graduated from a good University and held a good job. I had my own child and became that pta mom, that little league mom, that field trip chaperone. I lived that “normal life” until one day I was introduced to opiates. Every bit of good I ever knew flew out the window. I struggled for 8 years of my life; doing anything just so I would not get sick. Addiction knows no color, class or creed. As we know, it has nothing to do with self control or how you were raised. Let’s join together America and squash the stigma once and for all!!

  5. Having a family member who is an addict is so hard to go through. You do not have any idea how to help or know if what you are doing is helping. And even harder is when they have a young family and both parents are addicts. Even what you have done to help any of them has brought you no where. I just pray every day God will help us get through this. My son has been clean almost 3 months.( He has been in jail). I hope he can stay this route when he gets out. This is the hardest thing I have ever been through in my life. Heroine is horrid. Every thing they do to get money, hurting family, lying, manipulation, play on your kindness, pulls you apart. I have never cried so much in my life as I have the last 8 months. I hope something good comes from all this bad. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope your kindness helps someone.

  6. My dear and best friend since high school (whom has 27 years of recovery under her belt) lost her 22 year old daughter to a heroin addiction last Christmas. It is heartbreaking. These stories need to be told. Thank you for sharing.

  7. colin chatburn Reply

    reply to staysea
    in conntact with ver,very nice people in australia/south africa/irelan/austria.addiction does not respect any there would be no reason for it to respect a person having money.the sooner every body strats to fight the stigmas out there.the more people will gravitate towards the treatment they need

  8. Kathy Adams Reply

    Thank you for your story and the mission you’re on regarding addiction. Addiction IS a killer and can take ANYONE down, and one of the things that struck me so profoundly in Narcotics Anonymous was that “drugs were just a symptom of the disease”…very true, when the drugs are stopped, the disease remains and needs constant work on the addicts’ part…and saying that, that is one of the reasons I keep going to NA since I am an addict and have been in recovery since Aug 28, 2014. I’m so grateful I ended up there…it saved my life! I’m hoping society is getting the message that the stigma needs to be removed and this is a problem that needs to be treated with compassion. Thank you again

  9. I’ve been clean off of street drugs and alcohol since Nov. 25th, 2012. Cigarettes since Aug. 13th/2013.

    Rehab, and AA, and other 12 step groups will help sometimes. But the fact is, is that they have been proven to fail approx. 90% of the time. This is because their approach is very ineffective. IF you want real help, go see a psychitrist or a psychologist FIRST before entering these places. I’ve always noticed the people who got long term sobriety usually have seen a professional at some point.

    I personally have not been to a meeting in over four months. AM I cured of the disease of addiction? Nope, and that’s because addiction isn’t a disease, and should be treated as one. This is why these organizations are so often ineffective. Don’t believe me? Look up the statistics. Thanks for your time. -Matt

  10. I am recovering. Daughter binges on crack a day every 6-8 months. Breaks my heart. Married to a narcissist. Relationship isn’t healthy. One day at a time, sober over 30 years.

  11. That was incredible. Excellent read for me. I am a recovering opiate addict myself and without help and support I don’t think I would be where I am today. Addicts are fantastic at hiding this disease for a long time if need be, so you’re very right..most don’t even know its happening to their wife, daughter, mother, son, neighbor, boss nothing. I loved this. Thanks again!

  12. Great article!
    It’s so sad that by the time a parent finds out what’s going on it’s too late. All of the parents I talked to about their children had no point of reference about drug addiction. Many were very slow to get up to speed on the subject and consequently weren’t able to help. Parent’s need to at least be aware of some rudimentary things about addiction.

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