Federal Senator Jacqui Lambie is living a nightmare that shows no sign of ending any time soon. She’s caught in a struggle with her son and his drug of choice and it’s a position many mothers will identify with. Jacqui isn’t alone in finding herself in a situation that is fraught with hard decisions, tough love and heartache.
We all carry hopes and dreams for our children and when our babies are born they are delivered with the hope and optimism of the endless possibilities and joy that life will bring them, and us, as they grow. When a child turns to drugs, and their life begins to spiral out of control, it must be an unimaginable pain for a parent to bear.
Last month Jacqui Lambie surprised us all when she made a very emotional announcement in the Senate, telling us that her 21-year-old son was an ice addict. Her openness and her honesty about the agony of her personal situation has made her a focus for people who are are looking for help.
It’s not possible to hear Ms Lambie speak about her circumstances and not feel her pain and wonder how we would deal with such a life-changing turn in our lives.
Ms Lambie told ABC’s 7.30 program, “I’m not talking to my son anymore, I can’t get any sense out of this human being sitting out there. [I] think he is going to end up in jail. I can only pray that a court will see enough sense and [that] he hasn’t done enough harm that the court will … [say] ‘right you will go and do the rehab for the next six months or you are going to jail’, because right now that is the only way I’ll get my son back.”
Those must be very difficult words for a mother to speak and it must be even harder to reach the conclusion that those are your son’s best options.
Most of us hope our son’s options, as young men, will be the difficult choice between a career or starting his own business, or moving interstate to pursue his career, not a court deciding between rehab and jail – that is too painful for many of us to think about, but it’s a reality for some parents.
Senator Lambie continued, “I can’t help my own son … I’m struggling with that a little bit. I need to be out there and I need to be trying to help others. Hopefully something will switch in his head and he’ll say ‘please give me some help, I need it’.”
Ms Lambie’s frank, open and raw words are hard to hear or read, but they must be helping people who thought they were alone in being the parents of an addict and hopefully they will help to remove the stigma attached to other families living through the same nightmare.
Last week Senator Lambie visited a drug rehabilitation centre near her home in north-western Tasmania, where she told ABC’s 7.30 about her struggle.
Do you think Jacqui will help other parents by sharing her painful struggle? Have you had to help a child who’s an addict, and do you have any words of comfort or wisdom to share?