Sunday, May 29, 2011

The silence and hope

Last summer my son made his only real attempt at sobriety and sadly it lasted only about a week or two. During the time I thought he was clean, I volunteered to go to court with him. He was facing a felony grand theft charge and still wanting to protect him from his own destruction and the consequences of his actions, I went to court with him to support him. I believed he was clean at the time. I let him spend the night at our home for the first time in many months so we could go to court together early the next morning. He had just moved into a sober living environment. It was very shortly after that we got the call from the house manager to tell us they found needles in his room and he was being kicked out. He tried to deny everything with conspiracy theories in typical addict bullshit. Part of me actually wanted to believe him but all the red flags were there even before that call. Right or wrong to go snooping,  I needed proof. I went into the room he had spent the night in at my house. I found a cigar box with needles. Were they left there from months before we kicked him out? No - that room had been cleared out of all drug paraphernalia. Did he really just shoot up heroin in my house the night before we went to court? The shock of it all sent me reeling again. Any denial I was trying to hold on to was swept away.

I picked up his journal - the one he has carried through it all, so dirty, even with blood stains on wore out dirty pages and a sticky note that said read at your own risk - and it was all right there. He had been lying and using again and even wrote about how he stole something from another department store the day before we were headed to court on the other charge. In all his crazy drug rambling writings there was this one little poem that said it all. I took a picture of it on my phone. From time to time I read it. It gives me hope. It says it all.

Tons of remorse
Yet I don't repent
With fleeting curiosity
Wonder what it meant

Another day
Another lie
Another sorrow
Tomorrow I hope to try

It is the last line he wrote that gives me hope. In the midst of his addicted insanity, somewhere in there he too hopes.

I did finally get a text from him about a week and a half ago - it was 10 days after I sent him one saying simply that I love him and know he can get better after the no show on mothers day. It said "I just wanted to tell you I love you too mom". Okay good, relief, he's alive and I can go about my life.

So now we have entered that period of silence again where I wonder when I will next hear from my son. Since the beginning of this year there has been little contact from him at all. When I am in my crazy mode, I obsess with what he may be doing out there, addicted and suffering, homeless, cold, hungry. I worry endlessly about the what ifs. On my crazy days,  I have to fight an internal battle to go pick him up off the streets and talk sense into him.

Today, feeling so much healthier, I am calm and at peace for the silence of no contact as it means my life is addiction chaos free for now. I stop the obsessive thoughts when they start and don't let them continue on.

This week brought a major change for the better in my career and I was able to really focus on my job. It felt great to go to work each day and throw myself into something I love and am good at. I actually transferred locations to the same town my son has been hanging out in last I knew of his whereabouts anyways, and so far I have been able to resist any temptation to go looking for him. I hope I can stay strong and my crazy days will continue to happen less and less and the healthier ones come more. This plan for me with my company had been in the works long before my son was roaming the streets homeless there and is an amazing opportunity for me. I was able to make this last week about a wonderful career opportunity and stay focused on that - not my son. It felt great.

Instead of helplessness, today I am hopeful.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Letting go & feeling better

Just wanted to write a quick update this morning. I am doing sooooo much better then I was the week following the no show on Mother's day.

Sometimes I just feel hopelessly helplessly addicted to my drug addicted son. At least for now I am not acting on my irrational thoughts of saving him.

After my daughter's words - he knows where all the help is if he wants it - I started being able to let go again. I still haven't heard anything from J or J2, although a few days after the no show I did text an old friend of his and his friend let me know he had received a text from him. Relief then turned to anger and sadness but at least I do know he is alive, and not in jail. I began to let go at that very moment and stopped my frantic calls to jails and interventionists.

Last weekend I finished the book Beautiful Boy, written by the father of an addict is so comforting to know that I am not alone in my craziness. And at the same time so sorry for so many other parents of addicted kids out there and the hell we all go through.

This weekend I also read about half of "Tweak" by Nic Sheff - the son of the author of Beautiful Boy. It is giving me perspective of how sick our addicted kids are. When Nic is on his drug runs, he barely gives a moments thought to his family or the destruction he is causing to his own life - he just didn't care.

And that is helping me let go.

I can detach knowing my son does know what to do. I brace myself for what will perhaps be the longest period of no contact. I wonder if the not knowing, not hearing or seeing him is actually better for me anyways as our lives get to stay free of chaos. I am trying not to live in fear of waiting for the next crisis.

Thank you to all that are reading and commenting..I read your blogs and am reaching out in internet land with a cyber hug to all of you.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Emotional turmoil

In the last year of this craziness, I have managed my best to detach with love and live my life despite what is or isn't happening with my addicted son. I have been learning everyday how to let go and some days or months I do it better then others. This week I'm not doing it well at all.

I have been waiting for his "bottom" to come before it's too late. I have been obsessing again on my biggest fear of all - If they day ever comes that he overdoses and dies out there - it will be too late for me to say I should have done something, I should have tried, I should have intervened. He has been running the streets, homeless for over a year. He has no car (sold the one I gave him for drugs, motels), no phone (I think I have bought 5), little to no contact with family or friends. If that isn't a bottom I don't know what is. He steals to survive and is cycling through the revolving door we call the courts. From one county to the next and has never spent more then 5 days in jail as far as I know yet. The first time he was arrested and had to kick in jail, the dope sickness was horrendous and he swore off heroin, was never going to go through that hell again. But it was fleeting and he was soon to be right back to it.  I used to hope for mandated treatment through the courts but they just drop the possession charges and send him on his way. The arrests for petty theft etc turn into diversion programs that don't include any drug tests. I am tired of waiting and putting my hopes in the system.

This week I have gone off the deep end again and become an emotional wreck. Perhaps starting this blog sent me there, I don't know. What I know is I am wrecked with emotional turmoil over wanting to do something to save my son again and a head full of Nar-non telling me he can only save himself.

It had been a really really long time since I had even cried. This week I have had multiple crying meltdowns as I have tried to implement and force my family on board with some sort of intervention. I know that this idea is fear driven. They say fear is the flip side of faith so I must be losing faith.

My husband is trying to ground me back to reality and my daughter is so afraid of my being hurt. I know I shouldn't be making an emotional decision when I am in this mind set. I am taking the steps to get myself out of it. I went to a meeting & I made an appointment with my shrink to get on anti-anxiety meds again.

Every fiber of my being tells me I have to do something. I have to feel like I have TRIED EVERYTHING to help him even if it gets me nowhere...I know this is a dangerous road to go down and I can't stop myself from wanting to do something. It's that dark time when I feel like my little boy is drowning in a lake and I am supposed to sit back and let him. Then I have to remind myself he is not that little boy.

Like so many other normal American families, ours too has suffered great economic hardship these last few years. In reality, there really is no money for a professional interventionist, much less any private paid rehab and this is all some convoluted dream that will never be. Conversations with my husband this week have not gone well in this regards with him trying to be rational and me being in an emotional rage - I have argued I should sell my car and drive a beater to pay for it. I argued that we would do it without hesitation if our son were dying of cancer and it was the only hope of saving him. When I brought it up to my daughter, she reminded me that he knows where all the free detoxes and treatment options are (we have personally given him the numbers and driven him there ourselves) and he had made it clear he doesn't want the help. She is angry at him for the basket-case I am sounding like again and wants to protect me from being hurt and disappointed. I get it, but it is so emotionally painful.

We agreed that I will continue to do some research..if I can find low/no cost help my family may get on board. (Am I dreaming?) My goal for today is to keep my emotions in check so I can make rational decisions, not desperate ones.

To the other families of addicted loved ones or kids out there? What are your experiences or thoughts on interventions? Or do I sound like a crazed desperate mother trapped in emotional turmoil?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The empty chairs across the table

When I started this blog on Sunday, I thought I would be seeing my son that evening. He had text me from J2's phone Saturday evening and confirmed the time and place we would all be meeting for a mothers day dinner. No matter how hard it is to see him, I still want to hug him and always let him know he is loved.

Our family all met at restaurant at the planned time. They (J - addicted son & J2 addicted codependent girlfriend) were not there. We decided to be seated and began the evening of texts - where are you guys?

We decided to order - still no J & J2.

We sat and ate, tried to laugh and smile. We looked like the perfect family..except for the empty chairs at our table. I wondered how many times I could casually glance over at the enterance to the resturant without looking like I was obsessing on their absense and the hopeful moment they would walk through the door.

We finished the meal - still no J & J2

My daughter told me she was sorry that I was hurt on another mothers day..I told her it is not the hurt - the hurt is forgiven. My son is sick. It's the worry that eats me alive inside.

48 hours have passed - still no word from him. These are the things families of drug addicts have to learn to deal with. I realized of course that any expectation from a heroin addict (like thinking he would be there) is a disappointment waiting to happen.

I miss him, I want to hug him. I want to save him. I can't help wanting to - I have a mothers heart.

This morning I called jails. This afternoon I text an old friend of his. I still am left not knowing what happened. He hasn't had a phone since March, also the last time I saw him - when we met at a restaurant for his 28th Birthday. I rely on J2s phone (the only phone still in their possession after multiple phones and minute plans purchased by me, his sister etc, all to be sold, pawned, lost) Not buying another phone was a big step in trying to let go for me.

Today I text the phone to tell him no matter what - he is loved. That I am never giving up on him, that there is always hope and its never too late. When I text "the phone", I think of it that way because at any given day I don't even know if they are together. To say this relationship is turbulent would be a severe understatement. They are both so sick, and even sicker together.

Then I spent the day obsessing on doing an intervention. We however do not have the financial means to pay for rehab or a professional interventionist.  Sometimes I am oddly grateful for that when I hear other families spend so much and the addict isn't ready or willing. I am going to do some research. I have to do something - to at least feel like I tried even if nothing becomes of it.

Tonight I am headed to a Nar-anon meeting where I will sit amongst the other broken hearted moms of addicted children and try to learn how to let go. But right now, I still want to save him.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The moment it happened - the begining

It was just about eighteen months ago that my adult son J sat across the kitchen from me and said the word that changed my life. Heroin. My mind was reeling with panic and at that moment, he could have said anything else, in that moment anything else would have been ok, but all I could think was don't say that one word. Not that, please anything but that. The moment it came out all I wanted was for it to go away. Take it back, change it to anything else. I knew it could never be undone. He is a heroin addict.

In penetrated my heart like a dagger..I think at that very moment in time I knew I was about to embark on a long and painful journey. In actuality I didn't have a clue what was coming. It felt as someone had kicked me so hard in the stomach, I couldn't breathe. I think I cried for 3 straight days as I grieved for the little boy he was, and the man he may never become.

Him & his girlfriend had to move from their wonderful little apartment where they had been living their dreams in the city - or so I thought. He had been doing very well with his career, he was blessed with bountiful brains and personality for days. He was always the life of the party. It was not surprising that he was gifted with natural sales ability and had a successful career.  We adored her (i'll call her J2) and offered for them to stay at our home until they could find somewhere to go. It was within days of their arrival that the truth came out - he had been fired from his job, evicted from the apartment. It was that conversation in the kitchen, that moment (one of few to come) that he told me the truth. They had become heroin addicts. Some pieces of raw honesty from that conversation that stick with me today, included that everything he owned, everything of value, no longer were what they appeared - they became little bags of heroin. Everything had been pawned for the drug. I was so angry that someone as smart as him could be so damn stupid to put that needle in his arm the first time. I kept thinking why!?!!? How many recreational heroin addicts have you met in your life? Apparently, like so many others it began with Oxycontin. Once he was addicted, he figured out that heroin is cheaper. It was that simple.

Little League dreams to heroin nightmares..that is how it felt in the beginning. How did this happen to him? Why my smart, talented, amazing little boy? I believe I still grieve for the dreams I had for him. Now I pray daily for him to be arrested so I can have a little peace. Jail is better then dead.

I sit here this Mother's day deciding to begin this blog and joining the other moms and dads out there that know what I feel..reading your blogs has helped me feel not so alone, perhaps to help some other mom who has just heard those words. This blog will be about my journey, to find a light in the dark, to find peace in the chaos that is addiction. One year ago this very weekend, he stole money from his sister's bank account and left a suicide note on her car. It was the Saturday night before mothers day Sunday that my daughter burst through the front door sobbing hysterical to tell us what had just occurred.

Zooming ahead to today, this mothers day one year later, I reflect on what has transpired over these months. Three unsuccessful trips to detox, a few jail stints later, stealing from his family and pawning treasured irreplaceable family items, the hope and the sorrow. My son is now 28, he is homeless and I have very little contact with him. Through lots of online and in person support, Naranon, Alanon etc I am learning how to live again. My heart is still broken and I feel like it holds a black spot that will never heal until he someday finds his way to recovery. I stopped enabling him finally and at least for today! The last time I tried to help was August 2010 after paying for a months rent on a sober living house, when he made what I thought was a real attempt to get clean. He was promptly kicked out when the found needles in his room and has been homeless ever since.

Today I wrestle only with contact or no contact and can't decide which causes me less pain. In the no contact times my mind still runs away with me. I wait for that knock on the door, the ring of the phone - is he in jail? Did they find his overdosed body in an alley? A simple unknown number on the caller id will send the adrenalin racing through my body. The not knowing is as painful as the knowing. Seeing him, gaunt, face drawn and eyes hollow and sucked in, unshaven, long scraggly hair, thin body frame covered in long sleeves is very difficult as well. I hardly recognize the man he once was. Hearing him speak is always about trying to make me think he is ok as if he could convince me it will manifest in reality. Except almost every word that comes out of his mouth now is a lie or underlying manipulation.

This Mother's day, I am choosing to see him tonight and include him in our family plans. Nothing is a simple as it seems when it comes to an addicted adult child. I am subjecting his siblings to seeing him as well and this journey has been very difficult on them as well. I will write more about them later but my daughter N had stepped in to continue enabling for a long time until she was burned badly enough that she no longer has contact with him. My youngest son A is has been shocked into reality of what addiction is and is angry at his big bro for all the times he has seen me cry.

I have had to set many boundaries to keep our family safe and the chaos to a minimum. Included is that I don't allow him in our home..I don't trust him not to steal from us and worse yet - it seems the few times he has visited I can hardly get him to leave.

I wait and hope daily for his bottom to come..a mothers heart never stops hoping.