Heroin addict warns parents about enabling children

Updated: Feb. 21, 2017 at 1:49 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's not just a job, but a step toward regaining something Amanda Rogers lost when addiction took hold of her life.

It's been more than four weeks since Rogers last used heroin. As she continues her recovery at the McShin Foundation, she's now working as a delivery driver for Ledo's pizza.

"Just having something to do every day, even if it's as small as delivering a pizza, I have something to do rather than sit around. Motivation to do something," said Rogers.

Rogers says the job is a start to working toward becoming financially independent for the first time in eight years.

"I'd gotten dependent on other people," said Rogers. "My mom would give me money. My dad would give me money. We're manipulative. I could make up any excuse in the world."

Rogers says at first, her parents didn't know she was using the money to buy pain pills, and then heroin, nor how serious her addiction really was.

"Parents so easily enable, and they don't even know it because they are parents. They want to love us, they want to do everything they can for us, and that is just the wrong thing. They very wrong thing," said Rogers.

That part of her story is one she tried to impress upon parents of teen addicts during a recent visit to juvenile court in Hanover County.

She didn't sugar coat her battle with drugs, telling the teens about her recent near-fatal overdose.

"The 'I died two weeks ago' thing ... their jaws really hit the floor. That's where you're going. That's what's going to happen. It's a horrible thing to say, but it's the truth," she said.

Rogers says the parents she spoke with wanted to know solutions: how to help their child before it was too late.

"Telling them you've got to learn to recognize when it's something you really need to help your child with, and when to say no and stick to it," Rogers said.

It was ultimately a difficult decision made by her parents that Rogers says helped turn her life around. Her mother had her arrested and then wrote a letter to the judge saying she was a heroin addict.

"When my mother had me arrested, I was livid. I was like, 'How could you do this to your baby girl? How could you do that,'" said Rogers. "Then my head cleared up and I was like, 'My mother just saved my life.'"

The arrest was what brought Amanda to the McShin Foundation, where she's been working on her recovery. While Rogers says she doesn't like to look too far ahead, she's optimistic about a bright future, one she once thought was entirely out of reach.

"You get to a point in active addiction where you lose that hope. You don't ever think you're going to get back there ever. You lose all hope for everything,"
she said. "Even though it's a small pizza place, it gives you that motivation, it gives you that hope. Ok, I'm getting back up here."

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