Thursday, January 20, 2011
Letter to Merl Hamilton, In Regards to His Daughter Valarie Hamilton
Police chief talks about Valerie Hamilton; 'decisions matter' - CharlotteObserver.com
I would like the parents out there to read this article. And I would like to say a word to the police chief...
Dear Merl Hamilton,
Although I do not believe that Harvey is responsible for "murder", I am not here to talk about that. Let me start by telling you that I am a recovered heroin addict. I have been clean for almost five years, so I look at your situation from two sets of eyes. I write a lot about my addiction, in hopes to help someone else out there. I have a blog that I started to get some of my stories from my memoir written. I want to share my experiences with the world, in hopes that my message will give someone out there hope. At first,I thought my blog might be read by other addicts...and that is true. But, I did not realize that parents of addicts would also be drawn to my blog. After blogging for almost a year, I have come in contact with many parents who have children struggling with drugs and alcohol.
This has been the most satisfying part of my blog. I am helping people with addiction, but I never anticipated it would be the parents of addicts that I really feel like I am helping. It helps parents to understand what it is like to be an addict, and it gives them hope to look at me today...and read the perspective of a recovered addict. I have written many pieces on my blog concerning my parents. I feel like I hurt my parents most with my addiction, and I missed out on a lot of years I could have spent with family...precious time. I am lucky enough to still be alive and get a chance to make it up to them. Some of us are not that lucky.
Anyway, this post was sparked by the criticism you have received for parenting a child involved with drugs. Heroin has such a serious stigma, and using a needle will be looked badly upon anywhere. If someone was involved in this IN ANY WAY, she was not new to using. I am not saying your daughter was an addict because I do not know that much about her. I am saying that you may have a lot in common with these parents of my blog, and with my parents...as I am fairly sure you know a little something about having a child with a substance abuse problem.
I want to respond to the person who said, "Way to go. Good father you are." A child with a substance abuse problem often has absolutely nothing to do with the parents, and whether or not they are good parents. I know that my parents are wonderful parents, and I was still a heroin addict. Chances are, there really was absolutely nothing you could have done that would have changed her choices to use. After I got clean, I read Sheff's "Beautiful Boy," and to see addiction from a parent's perspective was very enlightening. I realized that there was nothing my mother could have done to change what happened to me. I know she had all kinds of what ifs, and I realized that I went there, all on my own...and there was nothing anyone could have done to make it different.
I am sure you were a good parent. There are lots of great parents out there who have children that have succumbed to this disease of addiction. They are all good parents. There are many other parents out there who have lost their children to addiction, in one way or another...and they are all good parents. I want to express my condolences to you. As a new mother, I cannot even imagine what you are feeling, and I am not sure if I would handle the situation with such composure. This is a terrible, terrible thing that has happened. I am truly sorry for your loss.