Thank You Mom, For Never Giving Up On Me


Katie Donovan

BY:Katie Donovan

For so long, I never understood how my mom stuck by my side. After all of the harm I’ve done, the lies I’ve told, things I’ve stolen…how did she still love and support me?

Once I got sober, I slowly began to understand.

April 2016, I was about 13 months sober and I received a call from my mom. A worried mother in North Carolina had contacted her. Her daughter was homeless in south florida and was on a crazy run. She knew where her daughter was and I wasn’t too far from the area. I never hesitate to help someone and I certainly didn’t this time either.

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My mom sent me a picture of her and ten minutes later I found the girl. When I pulled up, my heart sank. She was beautiful..gorgeous blonde hair, bright green and blue eyes. When she got into my car, no words were spoken. I didn’t even know this girl and we instantly hugged each other and started sobbing. I could feel her pain, I could feel how broken she was and I could remember what that was like for me.

A little over 2 years ago, I remember sitting in my room when my mom came in and found me using. I have a younger sister who was 10 at the time and my mom could not have this in her home. At this point, I had been a full blown heroin addict for over 5 years and I knew all of the damage I had I left. I roamed the streets of Detroit for 3 days. I didn’t talk to my parents and I didn’t have any friends left.. I was alone and terrified. I used everything I could find and destroyed anything attempting to stop me. I stole someone’s car and ran around the city like I owned the place. 3 days..3 long, lonely, terrifying, destructive days. My runs kept getting shorter and shorter. And each time they got worse. 

teen-using-cell-phoneI finally called my mom. I had made it back to the suburbs and was sitting in a Chase bank parking lot, sobbing. I wanted help and she instantly set everything up for me to go to treatment. Not even 20 minutes later I called her back..”I can’t do it mom. Tell Brooke I love her.” My life had spiraled out of control in the darkest ways and I didn’t know a way out of it. I was done. I didn’t want to try addiction created an obsession of drugs and alcohol so profound that I could not control it. I had contemplated suicide for so long and now I was ready.

As I cooked up the shot that was going to put me out of my misery, I cried uncontrollably..thoughts and memories of what life used to be like came racing through my mind like a tornado. Even though so many memories were happy ones, it put me in a dark depression. The only thing that truly made me happy at that moment was knowing I wasn’t going to be alive anymore. I laid back and let the drugs take over my body. When I woke up in the hospital, the only way I can describe the way I felt was hopeless. Even the drugs wouldn’t kill me.


I remember praying for God to please just curse me with any disease, a car accident, anything that would kill me since the drugs wouldn’t. Toward the end, the only reason I used was to die. Even after being so ungrateful for everything my mother had done for me, after not caring about how SHE felt through all of this..she still loved me. She might have been mad, disappointed, angry, hurt..but she loved me nonetheless. She saw how broken I was laying in that hospital bed. She took me into her arms and told me it was going to be okay. And I finally realized she was WAS going to be okay.


Over the last few months that girl and I became very good friends..she is like my soul sister. Her story is my story and vice versa. Everything she does in her addiction, I did. The way she is when she is sober – it is beautiful. So full of life, as I am now. But she can’t seem to stay sober and it breaks my heart. I have tried everything from keeping her at my house, taking her to meetings, getting her to treatment 4 times, searching all over south Florida for consumed me for awhile. All I want is to save this girl. But even after all of the rehab attempts, the arguments, her cussing me out, the continuous lies – I love her. No matter what, she will always be family. Something that helped me in my addiction is when my mom cut me off. All communication ended unless it was for help. No money, nothing. This is something I have had to do with the girl. I have had to tell her to not contact me even though I want to say so much more. I have had to hold myself back, literally, from jumping in the car and going to find her on the streets. I have had to tell her mother and family things that I couldn’t imagine my mother hearing about me.


Yet, all of these things – families, loved ones – you do this DAILY. We don’t realize in active addiction how much you all truly do for us. We don’t understand how blessed we are to have people that love us despite all of the torture we put them through. Thank you for being strong when we aren’t. Thank you for being there when we had no one else.

Thank you for loving us when we could not love ourselves.

Katie Donovan, National Director of Family Advocacy, Reliance Treatment Center




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Katie Donovan
Katie has spent over the last 20 years in the marketing, events and communications industry, working at companies such as CSR, Default Attorney Group and Chrysler. After experiencing the addiction journey, Katie left her marketing career, in order to focus on family recovery. She has now dedicated her life to guiding others through the overwhelming process of finding quality treatment for substance abuse, coaching families through their own recovery, and a consultant for the treatment industry. Katie is on the advisory board for FAN-Families Against Narcotics, is a public speaker on addiction, and an advocate for treatment vs. incarceration. She has been with her husband John for 19 years, and they live in Macomb, MI with their 12 year old daughter Brooke and Labrador retriever, Biscuit.

Her daughter Brittany, is now 25 years old, healthy, happy and working as a behavioral health technician at a treatment center in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Note: by management Katie is a Platinum member of the SFYB network and highly recommended. Her references have been verified and she has no complaints on file.

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