Mothers on meth – Moms say drug takes over
Abusive parents, molestation and abandonment caused Kim Oxarart to self-medicate with methamphetamine for years.
Now sober, cheery and expressive, she has been arrested and in drug treatment several times, but always returned to the meth culture. What finally got to her was the night police took her disabled 15-year-old son away.
“Losing Christopher was horrific for me,” said Oxarart, 43, who was busted in her Grass Valley home May 12 for running a meth sales operation. “I really wanted to quit but I didn’t have a reason, and a bottom … Some people have to lose their children, some have to die.”
Christopher was taken to a foster home in Sacramento where other children harassed him and, at one point, threatened to stick a knife in him, Oxarart said. Now back home with his mother, he still wakes up crying from the nightmares of his days away from her.
Facing multiple charges and a possible jail stint, Oxarart has found hope through the Nevada County Behavioral Health Department’s Mothers In Recovery program.
“Hanging out with women really helps,” Oxarart said. “I’m not lonely, I’m not scared,” and she is surrounded by peers, many of whom are also dealing with the ravages of meth.
“You can’t share the secrets we do without caring for each other,” said Jeannie, another mom in the program who feared she would lose her job if she used her real name. “I’m glad Kim’s program is here.”
Kim Cuisinot is the behavioral health therapist who runs the program for Nevada County.
“Women differ from men in that a lot of their treatment revolves around relationships with men and children,” Cuisinot said. “Very few have relationships with other women. It’s really important they do.”
“We talk about everything and get to the root issues that made you do dope,” Jeannie said. She started using meth casually at weekend parties but admits a molestation by a friend of her father’s and a death in the family may be underlying reasons why it escalated to addiction.
Jeannie is 36, tough, street-smart, but also college-educated. She was skeptical of Mothers In Recovery at first.
“Three hours a day, three days a week with a bunch of cackling hens. I thought it would be a gossip circle,” Jeannie said.
But once she started the program, “I could see myself in others. It’s working.”
Both women said methamphetamine gives the user a false sense of security.
“I call it looking California and feeling Minnesota,” Jeannie said. “It gives you that boost because you’re thin,” as American women constantly are told they should be. “It gets rid of inhibitions.”
“I thought I was stronger,” said Oxarart. “I could put my foot down.”
Getting healthy but 20 pounds heavier than when she was busted, Oxarart said meth helped her control her weight. It also made her face gaunt and made it break out, but she would put on makeup and think it was hiding the visual effects.
Now that both women are managing to stay straight, they know what they have to do.
“Removing yourself from the people you were around before is the key,” Jeannie said. “If they can suck you back into that lifestyle, they will.”
“You have to be sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Oxarart said. “I stop and think now before I act.”
“I have a stable environment,” Jeannie said. “I’m not doing what I’m qualified to do, but I excel in my job and I provide for my daughter.”
“Now I know I’m going to pay the rent,” Oxarart said. “I’m still facing five charges, and I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m not right, but I will be some day.”
Mothers in Recovery
WHAT: An outpatient drug and alcohol recovery program exclusively for mothers.
WHEN: Three hours, three days a week for one year.
WHERE: Nevada County Behavioral Health Department.
INFORMATION: Call Kim Cuisinot at 470-2458 for enrollment. Transportation and day care provided.
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