Secret to Getting Off the Roller Coaster From Hell

Valerie Silveira

Life with a son or daughter who deals with an addiction Beast is a roller coaster. I call it the Roller Coaster From Hell.

Nobody looks at their baby and imagines they will become an addict. In our worst nightmares, we could not have visualized the road of addiction. You once believed you could protect them from anything, and now you are not sure which end is up.

We do anything and everything we can think of to try and save our kids from the Beast that has taken hold of them. But, after attempting for years with zero results, we have to come to the harsh reality that if we could save them from addiction, from themselves, we would have done it long ago.

There is absolutely nothing remotely close to easy about the road traveled by a parent of an addict. It is a life I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But, if you are living on the Roller Coaster From Hell, riding it apprehensively up one hill, and screaming down the next, it is time to make an excruciatingly painful decision to get off.

The Secret to Getting Off the Roller Coaster From Hell

It’s this – you pull the emergency brake and get off!

While I realize this is far more difficult than it sounds, it just might save your life. In the words of Nike – just do it.

My Roller Coaster From Hell ride lasted for nearly 13 years until I made my life-saving decision. Nothing I was doing was helping Jamie. I thought it was my job to save her, and when I couldn’t, I felt like a loser. I became depressed and defeated. I felt that if I saved myself, it meant I didn’t love her when nothing could have been further from the truth. The more her life spiraled out of control, the deeper I plunged into darkness. Separately, yet intertwined, two people were self-destructing.

You are waiting to come to the end of your ride, hoping somebody will come along and pluck you out of your seat. The reality is there is no exit, and we are each responsible for saving ourselves. The only way off is for you to pull the emergency brake and get off.

For years I thought I was helping Jamie, hold it together. In reality, I was helping her stay in addiction, something I would never have chosen to do had I understood what I was doing. The truth is that I never had any control over my daughter’s addiction. If I did, I would have saved her long ago.

The reality of addiction is scary and heartbreaking. Your self-destruction would be a tragedy. We don’t get better on the Roller Coaster From Hell; rather, we become pessimistic, fearful, and insignificant. When your son or daughter finally decides to stand over their Beast, don’t you want to be standing bold and courageous with them?

For more than a decade, I believed I would never be happy again unless Jamie beat her Beast. I felt I was a complete failure as a mother, had let God down, and missed my purpose in life.

There was a pivotal moment for me that changed the trajectory of my life. I stood in the kitchen and told my husband, Rich, what had been on my mind hundreds of times, but not spoken out loud,

“I don’t want to be here anymore. It’s too hard.”

Hearing those words from my lips scared me into action. I would not leave this legacy for my son Sean nor my daughter. With a tiny bit of courage and the shred of confidence I had left, I decided to stand up and fight for my life. I stopped waiting for circumstances to change. I no longer placed the burden of responsibility for my happiness on Jamie’s shoulders. I took responsibility for my life. Right in the middle of the chaos, I pulled the emergency brake and got off the Roller Coaster From Hell.

Get Off the Roller Coaster From Hell

It is time for you to start living again. Demonstrate to your son or daughter courageous living. Prove it is possible to stand your darkest days. I am standing with you.


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We are women overcoming the trauma of addiction in the family. When our Beasts get bigger, so does the need for a voice to fight them. We are that voice.

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