More and more mothers all across East Texas are losing their children to alcohol and drug abuse. Brenda Rodrigues shares her story because she doesn't want other parents to ever think it can't happen to their child.
"It's like a disease. You don't ever think it's ever going to hit your family and it will. You wake up and you're going, 'Wow,this has happened to me,'" said Rodrigues who strongly suspects her son has a drug addiction.
She loses sleep wondering how a child with a normal, loving upbringing grew up to be someone she no longer knows. She goes through pictures of a little boy with his beloved dog, first trophy deer, and lots of family members. Her prize possessions are the Mother's Day cards he makes for her each year. They no longer come.
Rodrigues enters a room that reflects the outdoors that her son loved. "This is his room. This is everything he left behind. Who leaves this stuff behind? He had everything."
Most of all he had what appears to be a wonderful childhood filled with the outdoors, family vacations and church. He preached from the pulpit at age 12. Then in the home schooled child's late teens the red flags appeared.
"Appearance. His clothes were getting loose on him and he wasn't eating like he should. He would pull up in the driveway and sleep in his truck all night, that was happening," recalled Rodrigues. An empty gun case is all that's left of a valuable gun collection. The prize possession was sold to pawn dealers. Pickup trucks and four wheelers were also left behind.
Rodrigues says her son walked out two years ago after she and her husband chose to use 'tough love' and ask him to leave. He's now 21 and on probation for DWI, but Rodrigues knows his problem is more than alcohol. "They call it meth. I think it's a myth. I don't think anybody knows what to totally do about it and I hope they can conquer it," said Rodrigues. She suspects other family members are supporting his habit.
Rodrigues says she'll keep her son's room just as it is, in hopes that someday the boy she loves will return. She pleaded, "I had a good son. I love you. I wish you would get help."