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8 months of hell

Monday, 7 January, 2019 - 4:39 pm

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It was the worst of times.

Eight months of hell.

It started with a shock. My son Mike* got suspended from school for possessing drugs. He was 15.

We were aware that he hung out with the wrong crowd. But we had no idea he was using drugs.

Mike hung out at home for a few days, then he suddenly disappeared.

We called his friends, but no one knew where he was. After several hours, we got a text from Mike. He was in a Walmart bathroom, sick as a dog. He had been huffing nail polish.

Huffing is a way to get high. People get hooked to sniffing items with chemical vapors. Huffing is also called inhalant abuse, and Mike had gotten addicted to it quick.

The next day, my wife found Mike unconscious in his bedroom. Over the next few days, we threw out all our glue, markers, and cooking spray.

Mike continued huffing. In stores. In public places. Wherever and whenever he could.

Our lives turned upside down. Mike would disappear for days at a time. We got no sleep, calling his friends, searching store bathrooms and empty stairwells, racing from hospital to hospital.

This went on for 7 months. I lost my job. My wife developed heart problems. Our other children started acting up.

Finally, we called Chabad Lifetime and joined Karen's family support group. We never thought our lives could change but the support from the facilitators and the other parents in the group were a massive reason we were able to survive as a family.

We learned how to detach from the insanity. We learned boundaries. When to give, when not to give. Which rules to enforce and how to enforce those rules.

When we set up the boundaries, we were able to resume our lives. Chabad Lifeline's family counsellor gave us resources that we passed to Mike, to reach out for help when he was ready. 

We got the help we needed, and we owe this to Chabad Lifeline's family support group.

It was the worst of times. And thank goodness it's over.


Chabad Lifeline's family support group has helped hundreds of family members get through the most difficult of times. That is why we have decided to start a new parent support group in the evenings (every Monday from 5:45 to 7:00 PM starting January 14th).

If you are concerned about your child possibly engaging in destructive behaviour, please call Gabriella at 514-738-7700 or send us an email

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