Every mother wants only the best for her son, she wants to see him grow up, go to college, get married, and have a family. When addiction entered the equation, Annette’s plan for her son was forced to change, her love for him didn’t.
Addiction is not just life changing for the person who is addicted, it changes the whole family dynamic. Claudia has shared how her brother Henry’s addiction has affected her, now Annette, his mother, tells it from her perspective.
“His problem was mainly his dad. When we split up he had no father, he had no man to tell what he should and shouldn’t do,” Annette said.
Henry’s dad left when he was only 1 years old. Annette later found out that his father left to attend a rehab out of state.
“He took off out of state to get rehab and I didn’t know it. He just took off when Henry was 1.”
His dad came back into his life for a while, and attempted to become a more permanent part of their lives.
“When we moved back to Depew [New York] it kind of mess up his head a little bit. He wanted to be with his dad … It was almost like it was my fault because I wouldn’t take his dad back.”
When Annette’s Rheumatoid Arthritis was at its worst she had to have an aid service come in to help. She was unable to do a lot of the house work and leaned on Henry to help with his little sister.
“He was like Claudia’s dad; he took care of her. In the morning I’d wake up and he’d have her dressed, he would have her fed. Then his hormones hit and he became very angry. Angry at the world, angry at me”
Annette blames herself for a lot of it, “I think mainly it’s because I got ill. I was all he had. I was on a lot of meds, I was acting strange and he was acting out.”
Henry’s dad was still fighting to be a part of his life and he had become too much for Annette to handle.
“His dad wanted him, and his dad took him. I let him have him because Henry [got to where] I couldn’t control him. Angry at the world, angry at Claudia.”
Addiction Takes Hold
“I found out he was drinking, I found it in his bedroom.”
Annette found that he was sneaking out at night, so she shut his window and locked him out, “I found out I couldn’t do that because he just cut the screen.”
When Henry was 13 Annette’s condition got worse. Being basically bed ridden it was suggested that she move to Arizona since New York’s whether wasn’t conducive to her condition.
Unfortunately, before they left, Henry got in legal trouble and had to stay behind.
“One of [his] friends went on vacation and told them were to get the key. They went into the house, and of course a bunch of kids partying, they destroyed the house,”
When Henry’s friend told his parent what happened, they pressed charges. Annette was forced to leave him in New York, with her mother, Henry’s grandmother.
To her knowledge, when she left Henry was only smoking marijuana but that changed when he moved in with his girlfriend and her family.
“The mom, the whole family … was all into Crystal Meth,” Annette said. “They got the kids onto it so they could support their own habit.”
Henry stopped going to school at 16.
“I was devastated, but I couldn’t control him.”
Annette remembers Henry having many run ins with the cops before he moved.
In one particular incident she recalls them bursting in the door and tackled him “The cops looked at me, and they were on top of him. He was only 14 or 15 … they were saying you baby him that’s your problem.”
Although Annette doesn’t feel like she babied him she does blame herself.
“He didn’t care about anything; he was the man. He knew I couldn’t do anything. So I blame myself a lot, I became ill. Even when I see him I tell him ‘I’m so sorry Henry, I got sick.’”
For a long time, Annette did realize how bad Henry had gotten.
“The first time I really knew was [when] I caught him. I walked in his bedroom and saw him on a pipe, with a friend, he was smoking crack.”
Henry offered her some, and when she refused he freaked out.
“He was very suicidal with it. His inner feelings would come out. He had no self-esteem.”
“He put on a show for the outside, but inside he hurt.”
Henry had drug dealers coming to the house looking for him and calling the house telling Annette that they were going to come beat him up.
“It was a total nightmare, I never knew what was coming. I didn’t even know he was selling most of the stuff in my house.”
Annette had noticed that her shampooer was missing, when she asked Henry where it was he told her. Realizing that the person who had it was most likely Henry’s supplier she called the cops.
“[The cops] found my leather jacket, my camera my CDs – everything.”
More recently Henry had lived with her for around two years.
“I found out he was in trouble, I got in my car with just my clothes and went back to New York. I had my apartment set up and within weeks I had him … [and his kids] living with me in this little apartment.”
While it wasn’t easy with them all living there Annette did what she could.
“I got him into rehab twice. I had to take him to the hospital when he would withdrawal, he tried, he hated the drugs, he hated being an addict.”
Henry had the most luck when he was in a Christian program.
“The only thing that work for him was the Lord. He got into religion and the bible, it helped him get strong.”
While Henry got better, Annette’s unsure if he ever got clean.
“To be honest I’m not sure if he ever really stopped.”
Annette said she didn’t feel like anyone wanted to help him get clean. The better he did in his programs the less help there was for him. He was only allowed to start Suboxone when he was failing is UA tests.
“It was sad watching him go through it all. For two years I watched him.”
Henry became violent, and it affected not only his relationship with his mom and sister, but his sons and daughter as well.
“She couldn’t understand why it was that the drugs came before her.”
When his daughter was 13 she began cutting herself.
“He didn’t want to be that way.”
Annette says there were many times that he tried to stop but the withdrawals were too strong for him to do on his own.
“His wife saw that he was getting better so when wanted him back. She went and got him from rehab … took my grandson from me… then she threw him out.”
After that Henry started stealing tools from work.
“Last I knew the sheriffs came to my house they though he would come back to me.”
“Now I’m thinking he’s in rehab.”
In New York if you get charged with a drug related crime, rehab is mandatory. Annette’s hope is that when he got in trouble they gave him help.
“I used to always tell people ‘that’s not my son, it’s the drug’ That was never Henry. I wanted my son back, that’s what I want most, is want my son back.”