“It Takes Our Children Away from Us.”
Anne Lucas remembers a terrifying spring night when she stood in the street in front of her daughter’s car, trying desperately to stop the girl from speeding off to meet a drug dealer.
“She was racing the car towards me. I was willing to do anything to stop her,” said Lucas, who lives in Marblehead. “It was self-sacrifice, insane behavior. I know the war that parents are fighting to keep their children alive.”
Lucas spoke at a program on addiction sponsored by 3 Voices, a Marblehead group whose mission is to empower women.
Lucas’ daughter, Elizabeth, started experimenting with drugs and alcohol with friends when she was 13.
“My husband and I were clueless,” she said, adding that it quickly escalated. “She was in big trouble. She was arrested, served community service, she OD’d, ran away from home for seven days.”
Lucas and her family struggled to find the right detox program for Elizabeth, who would get clean and then relapse. One residential treatment program in Massachusetts cost $50,000 a month for treatment. Elizabeth checked herself out after one week.
Eventually they found Caron, a rehab center in Pennsylvania, where the staff is made up of recovering addicts.
“It’s a 12-step program that includes parent education. It was a miracle for us.”
Today, Elizabeth has been sober for nine years, is getting a degree in social work, and is expecting a baby in June.
Lucas has written a play, "Recovery," that tells the story of three sets of mothers and daughters who meet in rehab. It’s been nominated for a Pulitzer, been performed in New York City, and comes to Marblehead Little Theater in October.
“It’s a terrible disease,” she said of addiction. “It takes our children away from us. It robs us of the people we love.”
Ariele Goldman recognized Lucas’ story all too well. At 30, she’s a recovering addict living in Salem who shared her story at the same 3 Voices event.
“I had a good childhood with two really loving parents,” she said.
Goldman said she attended the private Hillel school in Marblehead.
“I had every opportunity in the world. Everything looked really good from the outside," she continued. "But I hated myself. I was in a lot of pain at a very young age.”
Goldman has since been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
She started smoking pot in high school to help make friends.
“By my junior and senior year, I didn’t want to do any work. I finally felt relief from my pain, by using substances," she said. "But my friends could stop and I couldn’t. My motto was, ‘I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care.’”
Then she started using Percocet and dating an addict.
“We were both very sick, we used together," Goldman said. "We did very bad things for drugs. It was almost like I was possessed by the devil.”
The man later overdosed and died.
In 2013, Goldman went into treatment for heroin addiction, but relapsed quickly and went in and out of rehab.
About two years ago, she got help again, and also started seeing a psychiatrist.
“I finally started working on myself I have peace of mind and feel comfortable in my own skin,” she said.
Goldman said she's been clean since and attends Narcotics Anonymous meetings several times a week.
“I basically face planted into the center of the program," she said. "I have a ton of support, people who show up for me. I sponsor other women.”
Goldman is getting a degree in drug and alcohol rehabilitation. She also interns at Prevention Werks, a Lynn nonprofit that does outreach to help stop teens from using drugs.
Lucas and Goldman agreed that parents need to know more about addiction, so they can help their kids.
“Parents need to get educated,” Lucas said.
She said if you know something’s wrong, “find the right therapist who can handle addiction and family dynamics.”
3 Voices will present another program on addiction on June 4, 7 p.m. at the Abbot Public Library, with addiction experts, therapists, and recovering addicts all answering questions and offering resources. One such resource is the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids at www.drugfree.org.
For more information, go to www.3voices.org.