Mrs.Bowker speaks on behalf of her sons drug abuse. After all the hardships and struggles her family had faced while trying to cope with the addiction, today her family is as happy as can be and are looking forward to a nice and bright future.
Interviewer: Who was the person in your family misusing drugs?
Mrs.Bowker: My oldest son.
Interviewer: Did he ever lie about his addiction to any of the family members?
Mrs.Bowker: About the actually addiction? Yeah, of course.
Interviewer: Was anyone else in your family misusing drugs, or was it only your son?
Mrs.Bowker: Him, yeah, just him.
Interviewer: Did you ever notice him going to any of the family members, stealing money to help feed into the addiction?
Mrs.Bowker: You know that's really one thing that's really strange to me is that as far as I know, and I could be missing something, but he never stole anything from the family or the home. Nothing really noticeable.
Interviewer: How did the addiction first affect you, and then the whole family?
Mrs:Bowker: Well, how did it first affect us? I would see him acting out, and hating school, cutting school, and of course I found out later that he was selling his ADHD medication in middle school, did not know it at the time. I remember finding liquor bottles in his closet once, that was disturbing. And it just went down from there.
Interviewer: About how long was it before you noticed, or about how long was he doing this?
Mrs.Bowker: uhm. Probably a couple years. I mean i knew he was struggling, and he didn't like school from day one of kindergarten. So that was always a struggle, and you know he hated that he had ADHD but everyone has ADHD you know. He was a squirmy kid and had a tough time sitting still, so that didn't help. That was always a challenge. Then his dad and i got divorced so there was all that. So it made sense to me that he was struggling and kind of going through something but it took awhile for me to catch on. You know, like he was abusing stuff.
Interviewer: Did the addiction affect your relationship with him alot? Like how did it affect his relationship with everyone.
Mrs.Bowker: Oh yeah. This was something that went on for year and it was just gut wrenching. It got to the point where I had to kick him out because i have two other sons, and that was just gut wrenching. He was at the hospital once, and he had asked if he could come home after, and he asked if he could come home I had to tell him no and it almost killed me. The pain is more than emotional, it's also psychical, you feel like throwing up, like being kicked in the stomach. It was almost unbearable.
Interviewer: How did it affect your other children? Did hurt them as much as you or where they handling it in a different manor?
Mrs.Bowker: well, you know, they seemed to be handling it pretty well, they seemed pretty adjusted. Interesting, I found out just last year I guess, my middle son, who has the same father as my oldest son, my youngest son has a different father, the man I been married to for 26 years now, is my youngest son's father. But my first two sons, me and their father divorced when they were pretty young. So my middle son, he ended up going to Asia after graduating from college to teach english, and he loved it over there. But I just found out last year one of the reasons why he left was because he just couldn't handle all the drama that went on with having a family member dealing with an addiction, and I had never known that.
Interviewer: How did you decide what to do with the situation? Did you decide to take it on by yourself, or did you seek help from a therapist or a doctor?
Mrs.Bowker: Yeah, everything. I tried to handle it myself. I tried to be a good mom, a better mom, everything. My husband, his stepdad, was very good, very supportive of him. He tried, you know, talking with him, we tried the treatment, the counseling, it was a long time for everyone for the treatment. The first time, he went into treatment a couple times, he left a treatment once, early, lied about it. But he was in and out of treatment. We treated so many things. Tough love being one. He was living with a women at the time who had a couple of kids and he was active in his addiction. And i tried to reach out to the show Intervention, you're familiar with that right?
Mrs.Bowker: So I reached out to them and they wanted to do a show about him but they had to have cooperation from the women that had been living with him, and she wouldn't cooperate. So, she was on the phone with me and she was like “you know I can't I have two sons”. Well I said I'm not sure how much you care about your sons because you have an addict living with you. So you know that's not a really good excuse. So the thing that I felt that I kept running into was other people enabling him. As long as theres inabilers, you know, it's difficult for someone to get help. Because they have people inabiling him.
Interviewer: So right now, after all the treatment that he went through and been through and everything, did it actually help him in anyway? Is he off the drugs, Is he doing better?
Mrs.Bowker: He is. We sent him to Florida, wow a few years ago now I guess, and he went into treatment and he did great for a little while, he had about a year sober, and then he replaced. He almost died a couple times, you know, it was a terrible, terrible time. Again, now he's been sober for about a year and a half or so, 18 months or so, he's engaged to a wonderful girl who, young lady, well she's a woman but she's a girl. She's wonderful, she doesn't have any problems, addiction, she's very supportive, not an enabler. When they first started dating, he had a brief relapse and she did not tolerate it so she does not inabile him. They worked through it and then he's been good. He's been sober for about a year and a half now, they're supposed to get married in the summer.
Interviewer: So if in the future, if there's a time he happens to relapse or happen to start acting the way that he used too, would you ever reach out and try to give him the help that you did before?
Mrs.Bowker: Yeah you know, there was several times where he had reached out to me, and I was always grateful for that. He knew that when he needed help, I was there. I wasn't going to give him money or not necessarily that he didn't live with me but I would be there for him, I would help connect him with services, there wouldn't be anyone anbiling it would be all helping. You know, we had many talks and he talks about gratitude for that and you know, I guess I did something right.
Interviewer: Now that he has healed from all the addiction and everything, is your family life more stable now than it was before because of all the issues that came out before because of it or was it still shaky.
Mrs.Bowker: No no, its great, its GREAT now. All three of my sons are doing great, we'll all be there in the summer for his wedding, yeah. Everything is really good now. Whenever I think of my oldest son, I'm grateful for every sober day that he has.
Interviewer: Is there anything that you wish you could go back and change that could of possible helped not have this situation happen or help him get out of relapsing sooner?
Mrs.Bowker: Yeah well, I wish I had known more earlier. I learned as I went along and eventually got a degree and entered the field. And you know, by the time it was already into it, and you know when it's your own kid it's not the same as counseling someone else or those kind of things. But I wish I had known earlier. I wish I had myself together more, I had married his dad right out of high school and those kind of things. Then there was things of my own, I wish I had been better prepared, and you know I wish I had been a better mom, I wasn't a great mom for him. And that's painful, but we grow and move on hopefully.
Interviewer: So now you're there to support him and everyone's back on their feet doing good so everything's good?
Mrs:Bowker: Yeah it is
Interviewer: Do you ever have a fear of any of your other children going down the same path?
Mrs.Bowker: I do I do, and we had a lot of conversations about that. Well you know it's interesting because my oldest son his dads side of the family is all Italian who are always drinking and stuff, and my side of the family there's addiction so, when he was little I was very careful and I guess I was not very effective with the messages really, but you know whatever life threw at him, the divorce and all those other things, you know he just ended up being addicted. My other sons yeah I worry about them too but they are pretty educated. You never know what's gonna happen.
Interviewer: Do you ever feel as if it was your fault that he fell down this path? Or did you always believe it was just the outside factors that made him choose this way?
Mrs.Bowker: Well I dont think its a easy answer for that. I used to really just beat myself up for that and there are times now when I still will think about when he was young and the mistakes I made so I feel really sad and very cheerful for that. So I think of course I played a role, I wished I had been a better mom. I dont think its my fault that he became an addict, but I was an ingredient, there was other things but I could of been apart of it . I can't change the past, only move forward you know. Yeah there will always be a little guilt.
Interviewer: Now that you've had this type of experience once, do you feel as if you are better prepared for your other children or grandchildren if they fall down the same path?
Mrs.Bowker: Yeah I do. I work in a drug education setting where I teach kids everyday. Many of them deal with these kinds of issues and I'm much better prepared to help them.
Interviewer: Now you're happy with where he is in life, where you are and the whole family?
Mrs.Bowker: Yeah I feel really really blessed. Life is good and he's come along way and I'm really proud of him. I've never ever been ashamed of him, I been trying to open a treatment facility in Hammonton to talk about it with other people there who are in that area and you know i'm not ashamed of my son, he has an illness just like any other illness. He's just now an awesome awesome man. There's so many wonderful things about him. I never was ashamed of him I guess is what i'm trying to say. And I try to always let him know that. He made many mistakes but I just always let him know that I will always love him. I'm not ashamed of you, I don't blame you, I'm sure we had our moments, was never ashamed of him.
Interviewer: that's good. You guys have a good relationship and everything.
Mrs.Bowker: yeah we do.
Interviewer: That wraps up my questions. Thank you so much for doing the interview today.
MRs.Bowker: Of course.
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