By Austin's mom, Victoria
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
When my phone woke me in the middle of the night, I knew in my heart this was it: this was the phone call that every parent of an addict fears. I was told they were trying to revive my son Austin and to come to his bedside as soon as I could.
Austin died at an early age of 22 years.
Austin was an intelligent, vivacious, caring, funny young man. He had everything going for him and was to eventually take over the family business. We thought this was just a phase and had no idea of his addiction to OxyContin.
When I arrived at the scene there was an officer waiting for me. This would be the officer’s first time telling a parent that their child had died. I looked into the young officer’s eyes that were tearing up, and could see he was struggling to form the words. I reached out and grasped his arm said, "Just say it, you can do this” and I quietly whispered, “I already know". I then collapsed to the ground and don’t remember much after that.
Losing a child is simply, not supposed to happen. It goes against everything maternal in you. I was stricken with guilt. Guilt for not understanding addiction, guilt for not preventing this, and guilt for not being able to be a better parent and rescue my son! However, I was not able to mourn; my youngest son, in his own mourning, decided to take a much more aggressive path of self-destruction. Again, I found myself in a place of now trying to keep him alive. People don't realize it's not uncommon to lose a second child, especially with this horrific epidemic of drug abuse creeping across America.
I quickly educated myself about drug addiction and lived on PDFA! I learned the balance of unconditional love verses tough love, that it was ok to search his car, his room, and even his backpack. I learned how to have him arrested, 5150, not give money or gift cards, and even slam my door and let him live in bushes. However, I had an agreement, with him: “If you ask for help, I will drop everything." I got “that” call and I already had my pocket full of resources. I found an amazing program and my son has since checked himself into: Teen Challenge. He is now in training to become a counselor. This is his treatment, his recovery, and will soon be his story.