Why can’t you stop?

By Patricia Beech – 

Kelleyanne had been awake most of the night making hand-crafted gifts. It was Christmas Eve and she was spending the holidays with her family at her mother’s house.
The following day while talking with her mother she began nodding off. While that simple act would normally be dismissed by most people as just “sleepiness”, for Kelleyanne’s mother Diana, it set off warning bells.
Her daughter was battling drug addiction.
The family had already held an intervention and Kelleyanne had gone through an outpatient rehab program.
While Diana had initially resisted the idea that her daughter would ever use drugs, she was slowly coming to terms with Kelleyanne’s addiction and learning to recognize the signs.
“During her intervention she made a comparison to a friend of hers that was using and she said, ‘I’m not like so-and-so, I don’t nod off’, but I looked over at her, and there she was, her head nodding, and I thought, ‘I’ve got to find her drugs’!”
“I went downstairs and searched through her stuff, and I found it for the first time,” Diana said. “I’d never seen it before, it was in foil envelopes, so I opened it – it was white.”
She hid the drug and when Kelleyanne awoke, she confronted her.
“I was beside myself, my hands were shaking, and when she came in I told her that I’d found it, I was screaming and crying at the same time, ‘Get out of my house, I can’t believe you’d do this with your little brother laying upstairs, what is wrong with you, why can’t you stop doing this’?” Diana said, “She was on her knees begging me not to throw her out, and I said I can’t deal with it anymore, get away from me, I don’t want anything to do with this anymore.”
Despite her growing frustration and sadness, Diana couldn’t turn off her maternal instincts or her enabling behavior. She and her husband decided to do a home detox with Kelleyanne.
“We switched off so there would always be somebody there with her,” said Diana. “I don’t know whether or not she had any drugs, I thought she was going to be more sick than she was. She didn’t feel good, but she wasn’t sick, sick, but she hadn’t started injecting it yet, she was just snorting it then.”
Shortly thereafter, Diana’s mother became ill and her attention turned away from Kelleyanne while she cared for her own mother.
“I remember saying to Kelleyanne right before Mom passed away that I was so glad she decided to get clean because I didn’t know if I could handle it with Mom being so sick – but addiction doesn’t work like that.”
When Kelleyanne showed up for her grandmother’s memorial service, Diana says, “She had a different look than I’d seen before, instead of little teeny, tiny eyes – they were huge, she was high.”
Disappointed and hurt, Diana says in the weeks after her mother’s funeral, Kelleyanne’s drug use reached a new level of abuse:
“Her boyfriend said ‘enough, he was done’, and that’s when it became really terrible. She didn’t have any people to hide it from. She didn’t live with me, she didn’t live with him, she was by herself and that’s when her addiction went spiraling out of control. That’s when she started shooting up. That’s when she truly became someone I didn’t know anymore.”
In the weeks and months that followed Diana found it harder and harder to make excuses for Kelleyanne.
“Granted, she had lied a lot before, but it became even more extreme. I used to say, ‘well she doesn’t steal from me’, but then, things came up missing, bad checks were written on my husband’s account – there were so many things she did, I just couldn’t believe the things she did”.
Kelleyanne was losing her moral center, and Diana could only watch helplessly as her daughter’s drug addiction stripped away her self-respect and her sense of duty and obligation to her family.
“It takes that all away,” she says, wiping away tears. “I asked her at one point when she was sober ‘Did you ever think about me when you did these things?’, and she said, ‘No, Mom, I did not think about you, I did not think what it was going to do to you, I didn’t think about it when I was getting high or when I was going out to find a way to get the drug, I didn’t think about you, I didn’t think about anybody, I thought about getting high, and after that I did think about you.”
When Kelleyanne was arrested weeks later, Diana went to visit her.
“I saw the track marks on her arms, she had lost weight, she looked like a completely different person at this point. I asked what that was on her arm, and she started crying and said, “It’s bad Mom, it’s really bad.”
Diana once again searched through Kelleyanne’s belongings, looking for drugs.
“I found spoons, and needles, and Q-tips with the ends pulled off. I didn’t even understand what these things were used for, but I understand now.”
She called Sheriff Kimmy Rogers with a simple, heartbreaking request, “I need you to arrest my daughter,” she told him.
“That was probably the hardest thing I ever did,” she says. “But she was dying and I didn’t want her to die, I couldn’t let my daughter die.”
(Look for Part Six of this series in the July 26 edition of The People’s Defender.)