My Jaw Dropped

Author Wendi Brown

“You know how much your dad and I love you, right?”

I smiled and said “Of course I do, Mom.”

“And you know we’ve got your back, no matter what?”

I knew this was leading somewhere, I just wasn’t sure where…

“I know that, Mom. Always have.”

Then she dropped the mother of all bombs.

“Okay, so you and me, let’s cut the bullshit here. You sit here, you listen, and don’t say a word until I finish. Capisci? Good.

We know you’re using, we know what and how much. You ain’t that slick, sugar. You look like death on a cracker; you’re grey, you’re skeletal, and your pupils look like pin heads. Not to mention, it’s eighty-five degrees and you’re wearing a hoodie.”


“You’ve got two options, and two options only. One, we lock you up in the house and do this old school Trainspotting-style, or two, you get your fucking ass into treatment. Your choice. I WILL NOT bury my precious little girl. It ain’t happening that way. I can’t do it. I just love you too much to watch this anymore.”

I had just overdosed six days before, and EMTs kept me alive, bless them. That didn’t scare me enough. Those words from my mother, the woman who adores me more than anything? That broke me. Not only was I killing myself, I was killing my parents. I bet we hugged for an hour, crying our eyes out.

“Promise me, Poodle?” she said through her tears.

“I swear it, Mom. I swear it.”

The next day, I signed up for methadone treatment. It saved my life. Two years later, I was off methadone, and ready to face the world, clear-headed, for the first time in years. This past April 30th, I have been twenty-five years clean from heroin.

Thank you for shocking the shit out of me, Mom. Thank you for speaking the ugly truth. It might’ve been harsh, but I needed to hear it exactly that way. That had to be the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do, and you did it. Because of you and Dad, I’m still here.

They tell me all the time how proud they are of me. I’m pretty proud of them, too.

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