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.