‘Her 13-year-old son. Flat-lined.‘
It's a combination of words no mother - ever - wants to use.
"Everyone can tell you should've done this, you should've did that, or you needed more structure in your home. They're telling you this when you're doing the best you can. When you live, work, and teach them with the tools you have, you can't really feel guilty about that," said Renee LaPuma, mother.
Luckily enough, that 13-year-old boy is now 24. It was a poor choice that was hard to swallow.
"It hit me hard. That's something I could've lost my life to being so young. The insanity of something like that happening, and I go back out and drink as if it was nothing [is crazy]," said Robert Solano, victim of an addiction to alcohol.
Solano has been in rehabilitation centers on-and-off since
age 13. His past addiction to alcohol was not uncommon.
"In our family, there's a lot of alcoholism. Once you understand it's a disease, and it can come from genetics, it makes you understand more what they are going through," shared LaPuma.
"Most of them, I'd say about 90 percent of the population there, have some sort of addiction problem. The treatment isn't always there in institutions like it is in rehabilitation centers," said Solano.
Locked away for months at a time, his mother did not see him fully turn into the man he is today. However, she had letters addressed just to her…putting words into pictures.
"It's been real hard. It hurts me to know that I have two boys that I love to death. As a single parent, to watch them grow up in treatment centers was really hard. I missed a lot of their lives," said LaPuma.
Most people would want to erase troubling times in order to spare them the pain. For Renee and Robbie, it's a different story.
"I'm content with where I am. I wouldn't be the person I am if I didn't go through what I went through," shard Solano.
"That's why I'm so proud of both of them. I am very proud of the experiences they've gone through. If I had to go back, and want two sons, and had a choice, they would be my first choice," said LaPuma.