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…I am so much more. I am a wife, a mother, a friend……
For the last 5 years I have identified myself as a parent of an addict. For the last 2+ years I have been in therapy trying to remember who I am and who I should be. And sometimes it’s been ugly, but I have come so far.
How does a parent survive the ups and downs of loving an addict? The hope when he enters rehab and the devastation when he leaves. Trying to hang onto hope each time he gets clean is exhausting. And the utter agony, knowing he is using again.
After being clean for almost 2 years, my beautiful boy relapsed in December. It didn’t happen overnight, it was a gradual process. He began drinking, smoking weed, got some pain meds from the dentist and started shooting up again. One day in January, my husband had a hinky feeling, so he looked through Son’s backpack and found foil, a spoon, needles and heroin. I thought, how am I going to survive this? We kicked him out. I fell to my knees and cried out for God to help me. And He did….
I grew up without any church experience- neither a believer or non- believer. But I was so desperate for some kind of sustained peace- the highs and lows of my son’s addiction were killing me, aging me, making me sick and sucking the happy out of my life. I really did not know how I would survive another round of addiction. I felt so hopeless, but in my darkness, I turned to God. I had such a big hole inside of me. I felt like I was never going to smile or find happiness again. What kind of life would that make for my Beloved and my younger son, whom I adore?
I had to find a way to move forward and I was desperate. I was so broken. I went to church, and as it happened, there was a special program called Celebrate Recovery beginning the next day. It’s a Christ based recovery program based on the AA 12 Step program. This was clearly a sign! So I began attending. Through this Christ based community, God has helped me make my world right. I began this journey to work past being Co-Dependent on my son, and trying to manage something completely out of control. But I’m learning a lot about myself… not all of it so great.
But I know I can’t do it without God. And a lot of prayer. My healing and strength is here, with Him. And past has been forgiven. What a freeing feeling! I live in today, knowing that it is difficult enough, but not worrying about the future. And that feels very good. I am happy again!
My son went back into detox and rehab. Today he is living in a sober living house for the next 90 days. I hope the Holy Spirit works magic in his soul, as it did in mine. I believe the only way my son can fill the hole inside him is with Christ. I found the people, addicts and families, who have survied and flourished for a long time. Son sounds so good. He has recognized that he is an addict, and always will be- but that it no longer defines him. He has embraced his past and will remember it and understand that it has patterned his future. But he will use it as a lesson. And I believe, completely, that he can succeed. He is a determined young man. Whatever the future brings, I have God on my side!
And I love my boy, and I will always be with him.
So here it goes:
He is the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6)
I am transformed. Period.
and right now we are on very thin ice.
I have really enjoyed the last 6 months. My son has made so much progress and overcome so many obstacles. And I am so fucking proud of him. His life is not easy but I’ve watched him thrive and grow. He is becoming the man he should be.
he is in the early stages of relapse. It began with him drinking on occasion, even though alcohol is not his drug of choice. But one thing leads to another. A few weeks ago my youngest son had some dental work done and received the standard pain meds to help with his recovery.
Four pills went missing but I was sure Youngest didn’t count them right.
Two days ago, Son had some dental work. He made a big fuss about declining pain meds. He even showed me the receipts for the antibiotic and muscle relaxants he got. But to me, he looked a little fucked up. Things felt hinky, so I called the pharmacy wondering what meds were prescribed… since I only had 2 receipts. They confirmed that a prescription for Oxycodone was also prescribed.
There you go…….
I know the words “relapse is a part of recovery”, but I didn’t want that to be my story. And here I am.
My therapist advised me that a person so deep in addiction, like my son, has a 90% or greater chance for relapse. The job at hand now, is to lessen the frequency and length of the relapse.
And for me, my husband and my youngest boy, we must grieve. This set back will not diminish the joy we have felt for the last year or so. We have many happy memories to treasure. And we must try to help our son see the light, and stop now before he turns to heroin again. But dark days are ahead……
Recovering addict on my left!! He is so good, and so is God. I treasure every minute we are together! It has been such a difficult journey, and I had to make some decisions that were so horribly painful, but in the end, I feel joy for this moment, and every moment I have with my boys!! Keep hope!!!
Son’s strength and resolve, so inspiring!!
I love you Alex!!
And it’s over!
My son is finally on the other side, the bright side, of his life! He is clean for a year. I see the boy he used to be, and the incredible man he is becoming. He is clear eyed and kind. And he smiles and laughs. He makes no demands on us. He owns his past and has made the choice to put it behind him and embrace his future.
He is grateful for a job and works his ass off- it’s very physically demanding. He has a most lovely girlfriend who adores him. A young brother who is so grateful to have his older brother back. My husband and I are so delighted to have our boy in our lives and in our hearts.
I always hear that relapse is part of recovery- been there done that. This is Son’s time to shine. Am I worried? No. But I hope that if he ever struggles he knows to come to me. I love hime so much.
My “word” for the last few years has been Hope and that word has sustained me and pushed me forward- it was essential to my survival. Now my words are Peace and Grace- everything is in God’s hand.
And He is good.
That’s what it was.
On friday, my son was to return to the jail at 4pm. Son returned at 5:45. He was at the employment agency filling out his paperwork and running behind. He called the probation officer on duty (as he was instructed) to inform them of his situation, she said she would make note on his file. The return bus trip was long ( 2 hours), further delayed because of traffic from the Rockies game.
Well, she neglected to note the file, so when he returned he was considered an escapee. We finally heard from our son and that is what he told us.
And it was the truth……
not used to that….
So, he started his new job on Monday, and he sounds pleased to be out and doing something. Ten hours a day in a cement factory, but he is a felon, and feeling lucky he has a job.
We dodged a bullett.
Things I am grateful for…
My healthy son. He is so lovely and dear to me. He makes mistakes, but I can live with them.
My husband- we are not always on the same page, but he is my forever man.
My friends- what could I do without you? listening to me, supporting me and loving me even though you may not be able to comprehend my pain. Always by my side- I cherish you!
My family- for loving me blindly!
The day I got to touch and see and hold my addict son for 20 minutes knowing it could always be my last.
I got to see my son that day. He looked healthier than I have seen him in years. It was so good- I balled my eyes out just seeing him and holding him in my arms again. That was Wednesday.
Yesterday (Friday) was horrible. It was to be my son’s first day at work. We received a call about 3 hours after his start time informing us he never showed up. I threw up. Not sure why I was so surprised- maybe not surprised, but I felt my hope crushed, pissed on, shit on…. Doesn’t matter if I suspected this might happen, but it crushed me none the less.
Several hours later we found out that they never let him out to go to work. An investigation is pending. He returned to the jail the night before 2 hours past checkin and he was locked down. Not sure where this will go. Today I feel spent- emotionally, physically , spiritually.
But once again, I have to pull on my big girl pants and find my happy.
I love this kid, totally, completely, unconditionally. He is my son-always.
The day arrived- my son has been released into The Department of Corrections work release program . Yesterday was the first day he went out on his own. I was so excited (and anxious) at the prospect of seeing him again, but tit was not to be for me. He has to take the bus everywhere he goes and is prohibited from getting in a car- any car even mine He gcame to the house to get some clothes we were holding for him, he got to see the cats and Harper and meet the new pup. He saw my younger son. It was the first time they had seen each other since Father’s Day in 2012 Siblings of addicts have the ability to stand strong and make the choice not to participate in the addicts life. But my youngest missed his big brother. He has struggled to.. His brother missed his prom and high school graduation and all the ups and downs. And Christmas and birthdays and the pleasure of conversation with his brother. He has felt sadness and shame for the path his brother took. But he loves him.
But me- I was longing to hold my son again. The only times I’ve seen him is through a video monitor or in court where he is shackled. But I missed seeing him. I have a job. Gone are the days where I would drop everything to run an help him.
But this morning I sit here wondering if I will ever see him again. Life is so fragile for the addict- he could start using again and next week may never come. I feel a hug hole inside of me.
So much can change in a week……
And here you have it. I have so many feelings and thoughts inside, I want to wear them outside….it’s my story.
I started this work in progress about 2 years ago. Getting tattoos is a big decision – one that came pretty easy to me- I have an artist’s heart. Too many people think that tattoos are only worn by “certain people”; bikers/losers/jailbirds/thief’s/thugs/junkies/stupid/low-class people. I’m hear to dispel that myth. I’m a wife/mother/educated/moderately affluent/middle-aged (53) woman. All walks of people may have tattoos. The reason for each person is different.
NEVER judge a book by it’s cover!
Let me tell you about some of mine, if you are interested.
The word Hope: worn inside my wrist to always remind me.
Flowers to remind me that there is beauty all around me, and I should never forget to keep looking for that beauty in everything. There are thorns with blood drops that represent the pain and loss I have felt.
Sugar Skull: to celebrate those that have passed from my mother to my puppy Scout.
Butterflies to represent transformation, vulnerability, the willingness to accept the changes in our lives, profound changes in the soul…. it represents so much.
Kanji characters that represent Love, Hope and Truth.
And there is more, but that’s it for now.
Looking at these tattoos remind me of the challenges and delight I have had in my life.
It’s a work in progress.