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A Long Road of Hope and Recovery
Recovering Journey

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A Long Road of Hope and Recovery

Salmah, Female, 50 Written by Habibah

I looked out of the window in my bedroom. It was a sunny day, but my heart felt no warmth. My granddaughter was happily running around the playground with her friends from the neighborhood. A wave of melancholy swept over me, as I thought of my daughter. Two long years had gone by, without any news from her, since she left the house with her boyfriend, leaving the little one behind in my care. “How could she leave us without a word?” I thought to myself, as I dried my tears and called out to my granddaughter to come home.

Suddenly, I heard a knock on the door. “Who could be at the door?” I wondered.

I opened the door and saw my daughter standing outside with her eldest brother. My daughter was finally back! She looked frail and tired, a shadow of her past self. She made her way into the house and sat her feather-weight body down on the sofa. Turning to my son, I felt a mix of emotions. I was happy and thankful that my daughter was back. I was still angry with her for leaving my granddaughter with us so suddenly two years ago. I was sad over her absence with no news of her. I was concerned over her weight loss and exhausted look. Above all, I hoped that she was home for good and would change for the better.

My daughter had been withdrawn since her father, my first husband, passed away when she was ten years old. Being close to her father, she grieved deeply over his loss. Subsequently, she was resentful when I married my second husband. Being a widow with young children was no easy task. I yearned for a companion in my life and wanted my children to have a father figure at home. Sadly, my daughter frequently started bitter arguments with her stepfather and I was regularly dragged into the arguments. During each argument, I struggled to stay non-biased and to stick to the facts and logic rather than taking sides. Over time, I resigned myself to the fate that my daughter and my second husband could never get along.

To make matters worse, my daughter was a victim of bullying in school and she struggled with her predicament. She came crying to me for help and comfort on many occasions, but I did not help to ease her pain. My standard advice to her was to ignore the bullies and that things would get better over time.

Little did I know that I had let my daughter down in my role as a caring and supportive mother. Amidst my daughter’s struggles at home and in school, she started her downward spiral. It did not take long before she dropped out of school and started mixing around with friends, who introduced her to drugs at 16 years old. At the age of 19, she found herself pregnant and left home with her boyfriend, without any note or explanation.

Now that my daughter was back at home, I came to know about many things that had happened in the past. I was extremely shocked to hear about my daughter’s drug usage. Nobody in my family had ever touched drugs, let alone was addicted to drugs! I cried silently in bed at night, as I thought of how lucky my daughter was, for not being charged and locked away in prison, unlike her boyfriend. It shattered my heart to know that my daughter had a second child with her boyfriend, who was in the care of his family.

“How many times can my heart shatter? How can I help my daughter?” I thought to myself, as I sat on the sofa alone. Just as I felt relieved at my daughter’s safe return, my second husband was diagnosed with kidney failure. I found myself trying to manage my time between my husband’s dialysis sessions and my daughter’s outpatient treatment sessions. Thankfully, my older children rallied around me to help with the family finances, easing my financial burden.

My daughter had her first appointment at a clinic for addiction treatment in June 2016, accompanied by her eldest brother. As her urine tested negative for drugs, the treatment plan for her focused more on relapse prevention. A referral was made to WE CARE a community agency for recovery support.

My daughter reported the occasional craving for drugs, but managed them by keeping herself busy, chatting with family members, doing household chores and attending recovery support groups. Nonetheless, she worried about triggering factors, such as bumping into her former peers who were using drugs and potentially stressful events. Throughout the period of my daughter’s recovery, I kept praying to God for strength and endurance. Despite my daughter’s regular attendance at support groups and counselling sessions, I was constantly worried about her turning back to drugs. Our home was not conducive for her recovery, as she was frequently bickering with her stepfather.

I sought help from my elder daughter to house her sister and keep her occupied by allowing her to care for my elder daughter’s newborn. Unfortunately, the arrangement did not last long. My daughter returned home after staying a few months at her elder sister’s place, after a heated session in which my son-in-law accused her of stealing – an allegation she denied. There was a lot of distrust in the family towards my daughter and she decided to move back to stay with me.

I was happy when my daughter got a job as a waitress six months into her addiction recovery journey. But to my disappointment, she only worked for a day before disappearing from home for two days.

When she came home, she said the job had been very stressful and her boss had scolded her on her first day at work, so she left her workplace and went to stay with a friend. During her stay at her friend’s house, she started to use drugs again. By God’s grace, she came to her senses and returned home, as she wanted to stay free from drugs. The next day, I accompanied her for her treatment sessions.

Since then, I left my job to care for my daughter and husband. I am thankful to be able to spend more quality time with her. I believe that she appreciates my presence and support in her recovery journey. She is a much happier person today and has found a nice and responsible boyfriend who plans to marry her soon. As my daughter continues on her journey of recovery, I sincerely pray that her boyfriend can continue to support her, guide her and bring her happiness.

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