I remember the days all too well that a few of my friends said to me, " I don't know how you do it!" I heard this phrase over and over throughout my life. This has been perplexing me for quite some time. As my life flshes before me now I see what everyone else had seen but not me. One day after I went in for surgery I had come home and my son was gone....My son ran off to California with a friend of his when he was sixteen years old and got addicted to Meth and Heroin. I had the National Missing Children looking for him... I was sick beyond measure. I kept my son's phone on just in case he would call. I would send him messages and would beg and plead for him to come home. One night at 3 o'clock in the morning I got a call and it was him crying, begging and pleading for me to get him out of there. He told me he was going to commit suicide or he would end up dead because of the people around him. He had ran out of a place where they had been drugging him and doing horrible things to him. My son had been violated over and over, exploited, was eating out of garbage cans and was not doing well. First thing I did was get him a greyhound ticket but my daughter intervened and had the police there to pick my son up. Two weeks later he was flown home. The day I picked my son up from the airport he was so frail, pale and skinny... He was walking different and was not the same child I had once known. I got him into rehab and when he was there I found out some horrible things. I remember when my son was in rehab and the counselor said to me there would be a day I wouldn't be able to get out of bed because of my son's addiction. I thought the lady was crazy because I had been through so much and had always been able to overcome so much in my life. She was right! My son took my vehicle in the middle of the night and totaled it, was stealing money from me and drug dealers were showing up at my house.... this went on for a year.... I had many sleepless night, had to take off work and as you can imagine so many things changed. A year later On his 18th birthday, I had to rush him to the hospital... where he was almost lifeless... I drug him out of my car screaming into the E.R. my son was having a heroin overdose. This became daily..This was our long road ahead... Day in and day out... I began to find needles, tied up belts attached to his head board, black tar and him nodding out for a couple of years! Then he started doing meth along with the heron. This was not something I was used to... I stayed away from people who did drugs and I didn't know how to help him.. I thought my love could save him but his addiction was destroying me daily and my relationship with my other children... they felt my son was always before them... I had nobody to help... His father was doing drugs with him so my son had no guidance other than me. I would take him to church and try to get some spiritual lessons into him. The day I came home from work and he had written all over his walls... Begging God to save him and Jesus protect him.... He wouldn't leave the house. He became so scared of the outside world. He kept everything bottled up about what had happened to him and it overcame him. He would come and wake me up numerous hours of the night... He wanted to make sure I was still alive. He couldn't sleep at night but he found comfort sleeping during the day because who could see or harm him during the day. I didn't know what was going on... You can only imagine what all transpired from there.... There was a night one of his people came into my home and jumped into my bed and all I could do was freeze. Two weeks later I sold my home, my son became homeless and I went from home to home... I couldn't bare his pain or the pain he was bringing into my home and my life. A couple months later my son was picked up because he was trying to get into a basement to get warm because it was snowing.... He ended up in the county jail for a year and half.... then he has been in a mental institution for the last 3 years... I couldn't save my own son... I have lived with this pain and his... I have lived with his calls for the last five years of his mental anguish and it took and still takes a toll on me daily.... If you have a child struggling with addiction or mental health.... please take care of yourself... please seek the help you need... You didn't fail as a parent... the world has failed our children by allowing these things on the street.... The heartache of my son and his calls... dailly... breaks my heart everyday! I beat myself up over and over.... Do the best you can with the tools you have and remember sometimes love just isn't enough but can help them get through their struggles.... Here is to the heartbroken Mom's and Dad's out there... you did the best you could.... I know what it feels like to retrace every day of your child's life and wonder if I would have or wouldn't have done this.... would my child have turned out different... don't let guilt eat you alive or your life will not be lived.... always.... much love from my heart to yours....