A mother of four looks back on her life of abuse, addiction and achievement

A mother of four looks back on her life of abuse, addiction and achievement.
Carole Eady

Carole Eady paid a high price for the 12 years she spent addicted to drugs. She lost her children, was in and out of jail, and ended up surrounding herself with johns, dealers, and other addicts to feed her habit.

Back in the 80s, she got into drugs as a way to cope with a childhood of abuse and abandonment. She came to New York from the South to be a singer, and the city’s exuberant nightlife became an accomplice to her descent into addiction. What started as occasional dabbling in the party scene grew into an overpowering dependence on drugs that drove her to homelessness and crime, and left her unable to care for her children.

She took her daughters to live with relatives because the strength of her addiction made it impossible to provide a good home for them. But she believes that the legal system cheated her out of her being a mother to her son. When she was pregnant with him, and about to go to jail, a federal law was passed that made it easier for states to terminate parental rights. There was little Carole could do from behind bars to fight for her son, even though at this point she was making progress in a rehabilitation program and was about to get out of jail.

When she got out, she set out to start a new life free of drugs and the demons that had accosted her for so long. She went back to school, got a master’s degree in forensic psychology, and focused on healing her relationship with her children.

At the moment, Carole is an advocate for individuals who, like her, have fallen into drugs. She has traveled around Europe advocating drug reform and locally she tells her story to those struggling with addiction as an inspiration to change their lives.

The following interviews are a continuation of her advocacy work. In her own words, Carole discusses her life as an addict, an inmate, and a mother. Her stories are vivid accounts of what happens in jail and on the street, what has to be done to survive, and how she left it all behind.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: What impact did incarceration have on your addiction or your family member’s addiction?

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