I hurt for my friends… who are not spending Mother’s Day with their entire family. I am not sure I should share but good news is great to hear sometimes too. J asked me this morning if he could take me out to breakfast for Mother’s Day. I said “You mean…you buy?” and he said “Of, course.” which actually made me chuckle a little because it wasn’t long ago that there was no “Of course” about it. Then I got a little choked up….he looks so good, tan and strong with his blonde streaks and big blue eyes. He looked like my son and it was a little shocking for a moment. I don’t think he has been perfect….There have been a few times where I think hmm…I wonder if he used….Do his pupil’s look small? I trust my gut and it says: yes he did, but he stopped and got right back on track. I am proud of him. He gets up early 6 days a week and isn’t home before 7:30 in the evening. He paid off most of his fines and got his drivers license reinstated.
We are all heading to dinner right now except for my “Bama Girl” because she is still in Bama. There is a very exciting story that goes along with this news but I am going to save it for another day…it deserves its very own post!
Please reach out to a mom that has had more than her fair share of grief. Take the time to offer some comfort and leave a message. Dear God please help her…
J has been up at 7:00am and gone until 7:00pm….6 days a week. This kid is working hard. His body aches but he looks so handsome with his tan and beautiful scruffy face. I also know he is probably making decent money and you all know what that means. <sigh> I wish it didn’t mean relapse but money is J’s NUMBER ONE biggest trigger. I am keeping positive. Also, keeping my fingers and toes crossed because J has been doing really well. I try not to be too invested when I look into those cool blue eyes but happily so far all I see is my intelligent son with perfectly sized pupils. He seems to be looking towards the future but if I have learned anything in this journey life is a crap shoot you never know how the dice will roll.
Looking back at some of my long ago posts I see a mom who believed she could fix her son. I believed if I could get him away from bad influences…get him into therapy and the right rehab all would be well again. I was just sure that if I loved him enough and tried hard enough I could fix him and everything would go back to the way it was. I wish I knew then what I have learned the hard way now.
What I know now came with a lot of heartbreak and tears. The odds were stacked against my son from the beginning no matter how special I thought he was or no matter how much effort I put into his sobriety. This basically was all on J and really had very little to do with me in the first place. So here is a letter to my former self the new mom just entering this hell called addiction.
I ache for you I understand the pain and total despair you are feeling right now. I would like to be able to say I don’t ever feel like that anymore but that would be a lie. I can say that I do choose not to wallow there anymore. I don’t make my self sick and not eat for days at a time. My heart no longer pounds 24/7 like it is going to come out of my chest and I now take blood pressure medicine to control it. The antidepressant was also a really good move on my part because it helped bring back my ability to take care of the rest of my family.
I try very hard to choose happiness everyday…sometimes I am successful other times not so much. The only way I was able to do that was by understanding that I didn’t cause J’s addiction. The most important epiphany came when I realized that honest to GOD there was nothing that I was going to be able to do to fix J. Had I REALLY understood that in the beginning things would have been very different I think. I would not have wasted immense amounts of time and money rescuing him from jail with lawyers and rehab and therapy I forced on him. I would have let him fail and fall hard to the point where he could barely get up. If J had fallen hard early on it might have scared him and given him a glimpse of his gloomy future. Instead we rescued him. We got him out of jail….we paid for expensive lawyers multiple times (because ya know I was so much smarter than what everyone else was telling me)….we sent him to the “best” and most “expensive rehab” we could find (umm we actually did this several times cause you know once again I knew best). I went into rescue mode at the expense of my own health and the emotional health of my other children.
I only now realize that everything easily given was just as easily thrown away by J. Every time I stepped in front of him and got in his way it felt like I was being hit by a Mac Truck. I needed to get out of his way and let it happen. I had to give him enough dignity to let him figure it out on his own. Only then did it matter to him. It was hard lesson and I got hit by a Mac Truck on a regular basis for years! Then one day he went to jail….real jail…scary scary jail. It was so hard not to get him out, not to call a lawyer and not to rescue him. Guess what? He got himself out. He got a public defender who genuinely cared!
After I realized he really could take care of himself (even when I thought he was helpless). I untangled myself from his life…who knew that was even possible? He was no longer my first thought when I woke up and the last thought before I went to bed. I joined the walking, talking, living world! I found my husband again who had been waiting there for me. I prayed that I didn’t damage our marriage beyond repair and still pray for that everyday. I joined my other children lives again…we vacationed together and just spent time as a family. Whether J was sober or not was not going to determine how my day was or anyone else for that matter. I was in charge of myself now and J no longer had the power to destroy my life.
I have from time to time gone back and re-read pivotal posts that signaled baby steps of growth. They are stretched out for almost 7 years between lots of hopelessness and despair. I think I might repost some of them at some point just for those parents beginning this journey. Here is my first epiphany of sorts when I realized I truly was powerless:
Looking back, I am not sure it would have mattered what anyone would have said. In my mind…that was their child and mine was special and the outcome was going to be different because I was going to make it different. <sigh>
I know I have been very wishy washy about Suboxone being J’s answer. However, I am coming around to my faithful reader Jeff’s way of thinking. J has been clean for 3 months. I think it is working because he wants it to work. He seems highly motivated not to use and I think the Suboxone just aids in that resolve. We have had a few issues with trying a new substance but even that has been short lived when confronted. Xanax is not his friend. He has a doctor who will prescribe it and I want to hurt him….I mean literally I could punch him.
J has always been able to drink and not abuse it. I know red flags and bright lights are screaming from all my readers but J can drink at anytime…he has access to beer and wine everyday. I have only seen him have a beer or two at a restaurant every once in awhile. I have not seen him drunk since he was a teenager. J seems to be very singular in his addiction and I feel very lucky about that but maybe I am just kidding myself. My gut tells me alcohol is never going to be a DOC for him. I think Xanax is very appealing to J because he can sleep so soundly. Xanax I worry about. I have noticed that as a commonality between all of our addicts…this inability to sleep easily or soundly.
Jeff left a link in comments to a great article http://projects.huffingtonpost.com/dying-to-be-free-heroin-treatment . It is very long but totally worth reading. It certainly mirrors my thoughts on 12 Step Programs and other things. Suboxone can and has been a miracle for some. In the past it was not at ALL effective for J. He used Subs as currency to trade for opiates or to sell for money to buy more opiates. Suboxone is a HIGHLY sought after drug. What’s different right now is that J wants it to work. It’s that simple. So right now I pray every night that he continues to want sobriety. I no longer look at Suboxone as a temporary solution until he can find real sobriety. For J this is REAL sobriety. He is my son…the bright, handsome, intelligent young man I love. Now, if he can find a job or dare I say it: a career. Oh how dangerous this feels. Hope breathes again…hope is scary. Hope is wonderful!
PS…Please remind me of this lovely feeling if this all falls apart….again.
I want to add that there are a lot of bloggers out there going through some very difficult and challenging times. Please visit some of the blogs in my blog roll. Parents of addicts are not always able or willing to communicate what’s going on. I have total respect for that, but I know it would mean a lot if we supported with some kind words and hope for their addict.
A very wise mom once told me…well she didn’t actually tell me, she shared it on her Blog. I really felt like she was speaking to me and it was a foreshadow of what was to come. It was very early on in my addict journey but I often went back to look at it and eventually just copied it for myself. I think it is “10 Truths” that I would tell any parent just starting this sad journey. She no longer blogs but I remember her fondly and wish she knew how profound I found those words and still do after eight years…
Top 10 Truths after 10 Years
1. Heroin is mean and tenacious. Be prepared for the long haul.
2. Every junky tries at least once to clean up by switching addictions, usually (alcoholic) drinking.
3. Addicts/ alcoholics do not want to quit using; they want to quit suffering consequences for using.
4. Ten years of IV drug use leave irreparable neurological, physical, and emotional damage.
5. Long term methadone or suboxone maintenance is the best option for some.
6. Just when you’re ready to give up on them, Hope whispers, “Try one more time.”
7. Meet your addict where they are, not where you wish they were.
8. When in doubt, pray.
9. Err on the side of compassion, but don’t leave your car keys out.
10. Recovery is a spiritual transformation. Not using drugs does not equal recovery.
I don’t want to be J’s mom. It just hurts to much.