From a Parents Perspective – Having a Child Addicted to Alcohol and Drugs

Today we are discussing some issues that our guess Tim’s son Jimmy encountered. He passed away in 2011 at the age of 46. He succumbed to many years of alcohol and drug abuse. We are having a discussion about that tonight and how it made Tim feel from a parent’s perspective and the heartache he encountered.

Jimmy’s Childhood

Both my wife, June, and I had our businesses. We were retailers in a small town and demanded a lot of our time. So the kids were pretty much left on their own. They’d get off the bus at the end of a 500-foot laneway and go in and wait for us to get home at six or seven o’clock, five nights a week. We often didn’t get home till nine or ten because we were open till nine on Thursday and Friday. The Retail hours were long and hard, and we didn’t have enough time to spend with the children and raising them. I imagine that’s part of the problem that led to Jimmy’s abuse of various drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, there are probably many people in the same situation that June and I, we’re in. You’re trying to work and supply a living for the family. Unfortunately, sometimes, if you don’t have a support system close to helping you look after them, children are often left alone.

I had gone to church as a child and stopped going in my early teenage years, as was the case with many people. June wasn’t raised in a church-going home. So we didn’t attend church as a family. It was a kind of an awkward situation. She just wasn’t interested in going. She didn’t feel compelled to do so. However, I tried to get us involved in a church in town. I had a good friend who was a pastor there, and he and I would spend a lot of time talking. But as a family, we did not attend. We probably went to church maybe half a dozen times as a family.

I never drank with Jimmy, and I didn’t know what marijuana was back then. But we did play on many sports teams together, and he would go off with a few members of the club and have a few pints, I guess. But he never really drank in front of me. I never saw him drink as a teenager for sure. Later on, of course. It’s funny, as close as we were and as much time as we spent together, I never really saw him drinking. I saw him in a drunken state a few times but never witnessed him using alcohol or marijuana. It wasn’t until later on, when he was away, that he got involved with some harder drugs.

Trying To Get Him Help

June was more involved and more instrumental in trying to get him help. He was institutionalized a couple of times through KMH and Browns in Toronto. He’d come out after a 30-day stint and go on a binge to celebrate his new freedom. We didn’t seek the right kind of help. We weren’t able to be on the same page and help him.

But most of what was done for him at that time was done by my wife. He and I didn’t communicate about his problems. I guess I was in a state of denial. First off, I didn’t understand addiction. I prided myself in having tried a lot of things but never really got hooked on anything. I didn’t understand addiction and couldn’t share or talk to Jimmy about the problem. As I say, we were close in many ways in that we played a lot of sports together, but there wasn’t a father/son relationship where I could help him. I think the main thing for people is that they have to share the problem with parents who have a child with a problem. They have to open up. They have to have the child open up and share and get involved in a program of some sort, whether through church or school, and work with the child. I, unfortunately, didn’t do that with Jimmy.

Jimmy was married, and unfortunately, he was given a sort of an ultimatum. After a couple of years of marriage, his wife gave him an ultimatum and said, either you quit drinking, or we split. Jimmy chose to split. I know that I’ve talked to her recently, and she looks back on it and thinks that maybe the ultimatum wasn’t the way to go.

What You Need To Know About Addiction

Many people don’t understand addiction, and they don’t realize that it’s an illness. It’s a sickness. It’s an illness. It’s a disease. It’s something that needs to be treated. I looked at it as bad behavior rather than something they couldn’t control or that they were addicted to.

Sometimes, addictions are attributed to some traumatic trauma that we’ve had in our lives or something. It’s a cry for help. It is a cry for help. And the individual, whoever is suffering, needs help. They’re sick; they’re ill. A lot of people look at it as bad behavior. Or some people would look at the addicted person and say, “You know what? You need to get your life together. It’s something deeper than that, and they need help. They are sick. It’s an illness, just like someone with cancer. If you’re diagnosed with cancer, you’re going to the doctor. They are going to treat that cancer. When someone has an addiction to alcohol and drugs, they need help. They need to have a cure for that.

It’s so important that we would be more in-tuned and more compassionate and more loving and reach out and not give up on them. Yes, they hurt the family a lot. They do a lot of bad things. But it’s not them. It is the drug. The mind-altering drug that they are dealing with makes them do all these different things.

Health Issues

Jimmy’s main problem was that his liver deteriorated substantially, and he was in line for a liver transplant for a couple of years before his death. Finally, it was all arranged, and there was a liver available. He went into the hospital and got a virus in the hospital. That’s really what took him down. He never did get his transplant. He passed. Before this happened, I visited him with two pastors from my church. They talked about his passing, his dying, and talked about Jesus. Then Jimmy accepted Jesus as his Lord and savior.

I remember I had this jersey, a special jersey that I had for Jimmy because he loved hockey. We both love hockey, and I had a jersey for him that I wanted to give to him. I remember being upset that I didn’t get a chance to give him his jersey. But I gave him something else. I gave him the chance to receive salvation. That is the best gift that he could have received. This happened on one particular day, and the next day Jimmy transitioned. He had received Jesus as his Lord and Savior, which is incredible news. I mean, despite how much we love him, how much we miss him, and no parent ever wants to lose a child, I tell you that was the best news that you could have given me, that I could have heard, was the fact that he received his salvation. So we knew when he transitioned, where he was.

If you have a child that is struggling with addiction it is so important to thoroughly understand addiction and how to help them. Watch the interview to hear Tim tell the whole story of his son Jimmy’s struggle with drugs and addiction and how he learned how to cope with the loss of his son.

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You don’t have to travel on this journey alone. At Burning Love Outreach, we speak out loud, so others don’t have to suffer in silence. Hold on, and remember don’t give in, don’t give up, and don’t give out.

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