Saving Eric by Mary Burns 

by | Sep 18, 2023 | Author | 0 comments

Why can’t they just stop using? What’s wrong with them? Don’t they realize how much they have to lose? These are questions that I often hear when it comes to someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. These are questions that I have asked myself. These are questions that I didn’t know the answers to until I had the unfortunate experience of living through drug addiction with my son.

My experience began when my son was in high school. He suffered from extreme mood swings and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder between his junior and senior years. Even though he was given medication for this condition, it didn’t do what oxycodone and eventually heroine did for him. 

Drug addiction and mental illness are often linked. For my son, in the beginning, the illegal drugs that he took helped him with his mood swings. They were medicine for him. They allowed him to feel happy and to have confidence in himself. Once addiction took hold, though, the calm and the relief from his inner pain that these drugs gave him was no longer and life became a living hell. 

My son’s journey of trying to attain recovery began when he was nineteen, and he asked me for help. As a mother you’re supposed to be able help your child, but due to the stigma that surrounds this disease and what type of treatment insurance companies are willing to pay for, I was unable to get my son the type of help that he needed. It was the start of a three-and-a-half-year journey that is chronicled in my book, “Saving Eric.” It was a journey that was at times harrowing, and at times, full of hope. 

Trying to support someone to attain and maintain recovery is akin to riding a roller coaster. There are days that you think that you see the light at the end of the tunnel and then days when you find that the light is a train, and it runs you over. My book brings you into my day-to-day struggle of trying to support my son’s attempt to get well. It shows the reader how difficult recovery can be and how a loved one struggles alongside an individual in their attempt to get well. The struggle is not for the addict alone.

So why was my son unable to stop using drugs? Drug addiction is often seen as a moral failing, but we know today that isn’t the case. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is considered a brain disorder, because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control. So, you see addiction isn’t a moral failing, but instead the inability to stop using substances, is due to physiological changes made to the brain by the drugs used.

So, my son and many others, are unable to stop using addictive substances because their brains won’t let them due to these changes. My son was unable to maintain recovery and lost his struggle with addiction at the age of twenty-two. 

My book will speak to many who have lived through addiction and/or mental illness with a loved one. It can also educate those who have never experienced first-hand the difficulties of dealing with such issues. With addiction and mental illness on the rise, I think that it is essential that everyone come to an understanding of how difficult these issues are, therefore, my book is a must-read for everyone. 

I thank Author’s Lounge for allowing me to write about this issue and my book.

Mary Burns

Author – Saving Eric

International Firebird Book Award Winner 

Addiction and Recovery Category


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