I’ve never done well in situations in which I cannot control. I’m a planner; a list maker; a well-organized person. It’s just how I’ve always lived my life. It’s where I have found my comfort. I’m college educated and have a well-paying job; I’ve done well by myself and my son. At least that’s what I’ve thought. My son has been given more than I ever had in life; much more. Wanting has never been an issue for him. Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly prepared for what was to come. I stay here stuck, wondering why…and how? How could my child become a drug addict?
How could this happen to my son?
Why our family?
How can I stop this?
Being a self-proclaimed control freak and loving an addict usually aren’t things that can coexist. I’ve made it my mission though to find an area in which I am comfortable and my son is safe…at least for the most part. I’ve sent him to countless professionals, he’s gone to rehab, heck, he even went to a Christian retreat for the youth. Nonetheless, he continues to use. Some may say it is my fault because I don’t hold firm lines with him, but I’m not willing to give up on my child just yet.
Many parents and professionals have told me that my behaviors are simply prolonging the inevitable. They have told me that I am loving him to death. They say that I need to learn to let go and “cut the cord.” It is not that simple. I refuse to allow my child to sleep on the street and go hungry. What good would that really do? At least if he is home, I will know that he is safe. I have Narcan on stand-by for those just-in-case moments. Sound crazy? It did to me at first too, but I’ve become accustomed to the unusual, the unfamiliar, and the outright crazy.
“I Would Never…”
As my son has jeopardized all of his morals and values, throwing everything out the window that I have taught him, I have begun to do the same. Never did I honestly think that I would hand over cash to my drug addict child. I never thought I would bail him out of jail and pay for his lawyer. Never could I fathom administering Narcan to my sweet little baby boy. Yet they have all happened…some, more than once. My “I never’s” have become a place in which I now call my life.
I no longer have friendships or relationships. I’ve either distanced myself from friends and relatives I was once close with, in order to better hide what was going on within my family, or I simply do not initiate new relationships, in fear of what they might find about me. Having a guest over my house is completely out of the question, because I never really know what kind of day he will be having. I do not wish to welcome anyone into that chaos. Maybe there’s a part of me that feels as though, if I hide this from the real world, it will not become reality.
But it is reality; my reality. As he continues to feed his addiction, I continue to feed my addiction to loving him alongside my control issues of trying to “fix” the situation. Only if I take care of everything, he will be okay. I’ll pay his bills, I’ll cook him dinner if he gets hungry, and I’ll wash his laundry. I won’t ask questions when he goes missing for days, or when he shows up again with another new “friend” that is going to crash on our couch for a few days and eat all of our food. I won’t wonder where he finds the money, other than what I give him, to fund his habit. I won’t wonder why he keeps torturing himself. If I begin wondering, then I’ll begin asking questions, and when I begin asking too much, I’ll push him away. If I keep the addict close enough, then maybe, just maybe, he’ll feel more inclined to ask me for help when he is ready. He knows he can trust me. I’m his mother.
The Addict Is Killing Me
I’m down to 112 pounds. My face is sunken in and my eyes have deep circles around them. I’m 42 and look like I’m 52. As he continues down this path of destruction, with me steadily by his side, his addiction to opiates kills me all the same. I don’t really sleep anymore, spending countless hours pacing the halls, practically leaving holes in the carpets with each stride I take. Eating is a delicacy in my home, for both my son and I. While he doesn’t eat for obvious reasons, I can never really muster up the energy or the appetite. I hear things at night that aren’t there. Like a drug-buddy attempting to break in or the sound of ambulance sirens streaming past my house. Being the over-the-top planner that I am, I now own a gun and have two phones carefully strapped to my belt at all times. You know, just in case I get that call from the ER or Police Department…or worse, the morgue. I’ve literally gone mad, crazy, bonkers, whatever you want to call it…and for what, loving an addict? Where do I go from here?
I genuinely want to get him help. I dream of the day that he’ll be ready to change and I could finally have my boy back. The addict is not him. My boy is funny, energetic, sweet, intelligent, handsome, and empathetic. This imposter that has taken on the role of my child, I do not know. He is a stranger; an intruder in my home and family. The one thing I have learned through this torturous process, that regardless of the facts, I must love the addict and hate the disease. Even with that said, what more can I do? I obviously can’t change him or control him.
This disease does not care who you are, where you come from, how much money you make, or how much you love your children. If you allow it into your life, even for a mere glimpse, it will sink its teeth, until it has you exactly where it wants you. His disease of drug addiction is killing both of us, and it knows only one kryptonite…CHANGE.
I’ve heard it time and time again in the facilities I’ve sent him to. “Change I must, or die I will.” I honestly always thought it only applied to him. He’s the one with the problem; he’s the addict. I’ve never even put a chemical into my body, not even a cigarette! Why should I have to change?
Well, it’s simple. Either I change or I die. While my son’s addiction has brought me to my knees, it’s my incessant need to control the outcome that’s going to be the death of me. As difficult and as painful as it may be, I must let him go. I must say goodbye to the addict I call my son. I must attempt to move on without him, and hope that one day he may want to change too. Either way, I can’t force it or more importantly, I can’t control it. That will be his decision to make. Today, my decision is to live.
Contact Clearbrook Today
Is someone you care about struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction and you’re not sure what to do to help? Clearbrook understands. With over 40 years of experience in treating the addict and providing educational services to the family, we know the devastation and turmoil addiction can create. Nevertheless, through the process of recovery, we have also had the privilege of watching those same individuals rebuild their lives.
If you or someone you love is struggling and they are ready to make a change, please contact our Admissions Specialists today. Help is available for both your loved one and yourself. You are not alone in this process. Make today the day you change your life!