As a mother to a son addicted to crack cocaine, I felt hopeless and confused. To sit and watch your son's downward spiral is something no mother should have to go through. But I did. As a health care professional, I thought I understood addiction, but in reality I did not. My son's unhealthy habits cost him everything: his business, his truck, his friends, and a job opportunity. He was in denial and had absolutely no coping skills. It was especially hard for me to watch because of my profession. In a career where I was used to helping and healing people, I could do nothing to help my own son. I felt alone. Thank God I was not.
After I contacted the Chautauqua Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Council the staff met with my entire family to educate us on the issues and how an intervention worked. CASAC was an integral part of my own healing because I felt like such a failure as a parent. They helped me and my husband, as well as my other children, develop an understanding about addiction. Unfortunately my addicted son chose not to enter a treatment program. It was then that my family decided on the painful choice to have my son, and their sibling, arrested. His use of crack cocaine was so severe that we feared for his life and the lives of others. As a mother, this was the most difficult decision I have ever had to make. But it was also a decision that I believe ended up saving my son's life.
While in jail, CASAC staff members continued to work with my son through their jail program. Slowly they were able to chip away at some of the delusions and addictive thinking that stood between him and his recovery. After my son was released from jail, he continued the recovery program. He also continued to work on his relationship with me. We had become estranged for quite some time. Today our relationship is far from perfect, but it has been saved because of the entire team at CASAC. They helped bridge the gap between a concerned mother and her hurting son. They helped educate me, and helped both of us learn to trust each other again. Our entire family is starting to heal because of this new relationship I'm developing with my son. Recovery and relationships are both an on-going process. I am proud to say that my son's recovery and our relationship are both moving in the right direction because of CASAC.
Family intervention is one of the many services provided by CASAC. Its overall objective is to confront a person in a non-threatening way, allow them to see their self-destructive behavior and how it affects them and their family. Intervention also gets the person into a treatment program by stressing love and concern and providing a safe environment. While the cost for a family intervention in many treatment agencies ranges from $2,000 to $5,000, with the help of United Way donors, the cost for CASAC's Family Intervention is reduced to an affordable level. Other CASAC services are also either at a much reduced rate, or free. For more information about CASAC, you can check out their website at www.casacweb.org.
CASAC is one of 19 partner agencies and 44 programs supported by the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County. When you give to the campaign, you help families, just like the one mentioned above, find hope and healing while dealing with the pain of addiction. Your gift helps reconnect loved ones torn apart by substance abuse, and helps start the steady process of recovery and relationship.
United Way utilizes over 40 volunteers to help make sure your donation goes where it's needed most.
Name: John Lloyd
Hometown: Erie, Pa.
I'm an allocations volunteer because ... "The United Way does a great job of helping people in need in the community. They bridge the gap between the agencies and the donors."