Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The addiction is bigger than us and an update

My husband reads my blog. It's a weird feeling, in a way. Yet, I am posting my personal story for anyone to read-- people I do not know, are reading my story. When I write, I am allowing my feelings--in the moment-- to manifest through my speedy typing on a keyboard. Sometimes, my thoughts might appear as a very lengthy read. To others, I am honored to receive private emails and comments-- from people who tell me how touched they are or how they are experiencing what I am going through. I read every single comment and email, and I appreciate them.

I'm not a professional writer, by any means. I'm not a drug counselor, a psychiatrist, nor a licensed therapist. I am, simply, a mother who has a son who is addicted to opiates. I am also a mother, who is divorced from my son's father (for about 12 years now) and who remarried three years ago. Corny as it sounds, I am serious when I say I married a good person. I'm not writing this, because I assume that "C" is reading this. I also know that his sister is reading this. I married someone who remained a bachelor into what many people would consider to the "The Stone Age". He has no ex wives in his life and he has no children. Me? I have ex-husbands and one son. Still, he accepted me having received full disclosure from me of my past. I have been completely honest with "C" because he is the kind of person that I feel safe with.

Something that C and I have in common is that both of us were in relationships with addicts. I had a very brief "drive by" marriage between my divorce from B's father and my marriage to C. I don't like to talk about that chapter in my life, very much, because I feel so stupid. I did not know that this person was an addict and an alcoholic. C's relationship with this woman lasted for many years. Neither one of us knew our "significant others" were using...he thought she was sober... I was never disclosed by "him" that he had a drug and alcohol problem. I never knew his dirty little secret, until after I married him and he bled me financially dry and stole from me.

That's more than I meant to share, but so be it...

Ultimately, both of us bailed out of our prior relationships. Neither once of us wanted the addictive behavior to be in our lives, anymore. I could only endure the alcohol and drug use for a year-- he stuck through it all much longer than that. Consequently, he knows more about addiction that I do. Both of us had vowed to ourselves that we would never get involved with an addict again.

So, once again, addiction has come back into our lives...his life. I feel so bad about it. It's not my fault, but I still feel a lot of guilt.

At the time that "C" and I were engaged, he wasn't living with me. B was living with me, full time. I was unaware that B was using drugs the entire time that C and I dated, and became engaged and then married, over the course of 2 years. "C" and I went to see a counselor to ask for advice on how to blend as a family. Our counselor told us that the best role that my husband should strive for was to become an adult role model to B... a "mentor". We were told that this would be a very slow process. B had me all to himself for several years, so we knew that there would be some resentment. The process has, indeed, been slow. Today, I think that my son has begun to notice what a good person it is that I am married to. I think that B is seeing C as a good adult role model. Still, C has been fooled by my son's lies. Understandably, C is not a happy camper.

What I adore about my husband is that he is so dependable. He's the kind of person that you can count on to follow through on his promises. He pays his bills on time. He's a hard working person and treats me in such a kind and generous way. That I think he's the most handsome man I've every met is mine to own. He has finally shown me what a healthy relationship is supposed to be.

My greatest fear is that my son's addiction could tear at our marriage. Right now, I don't feel as though we are in trouble. But, I also know that our marriage is as vulnerable as anyone else's. I have a tendency to become controlling, when I am feeling pressure. I hate it, and I fight it. What most people don't understand is that my wounded child, within (from physical and bad relationships with men) can come out in me. I catch myself lacking patience, or being short with my words. If I'm not careful, I can easily slip into my micro-managing persona and asking "did you do this" or, I need this...NOW. My voice takes on a tone of authority, and less of compassion. I don't even know that I'm doing it, until my son or husband points it out. Then, I feel bad. I don't deny it, and I try to be aware of it.

What people don't understand is that this has become my coping mechanism. I feel more secure with structure and systems in my life. I'm not a free-spirit, if that's a more understandable term.

I'm writing about myself, and this blog should be about my son. But, today, it is important for me to try and sort out what role, if any, I can play in helping my son-- while trying to protect my precious marriage.

I have not had a chance to talk to C. That he tells me he is reading my blog brings me mixed emotions. I feel a little exposed and vulnerable, to him. I know that he's a very private person, and he must worry that someone he knows will read this blog. As for me, I'm a very open person. I will not live my life in shame or secrecy about my son's addiction. I don't like TALKING about it to people-- in fact, I do not want to repeat his story over and over again.

"Read my blog! Try to understand!", are some of the thoughts that go through my head, when people call with the purpose of talking to me. I don't want to talk. I know that sounds rude, but I would rather that people read my blog.

I appreciate when people write to me about their own story, or offer me advice. Sometimes, the advice I receive comes from a person who is not a parent or an addict. I know that they mean well, so I do not allow myself to take offense.

OK, I'm beginning to see that today's posting is getting very lengthy. I apologize to those of you who prefer to read in shorthand. But, today, I need to share my feelings.

Let me fill in what happened since yesterday:

I called my brother, A. He was home, taking a day off. I asked if B could spend time with him. I'm not sure why I called him, but I had hoped that my son would be able to unload to his Uncle, whom he adores. So, I drove B to his uncle's house, just a few minutes away from where I work. At that time, I didn't fully realize that B was in the stages of early withdrawal. I will post more on that another day. To those of you who do not know-- withdrawal from opiates is horrible. I have been told, by addicts who have gone through this, that it is pure agony. It is painful, sweating, vomiting, is hell.

I'm getting sidetracked again-- I just spend 1/2 hour talking to a student who is failing all of her classes. I strongly suspect that she is "using". I made her cry, because I drew all of my mother instincts and I connected with her. She is crying out for help, and her mother is clueless that she has straight F's and she is cutting classes. Hello? This girl told me that she thought nobody cared. I tried to give her a pep talk. I want to call her mom (and I know her) to tell her "Wake up! You've put your daughter in five different schools in three years! Changing schools is not doing to change your daughter! Pay attention to her!"
Changing rehab centers isn't going to fix addicts, either, I thought to myself.

Sorry. Back to B's update:

I picked B up from his uncle's house, when I got off work. The three of us had dinner. B said he was hungry, but he was unable to finish his meal. I had to take my night class, so I picked B up from his uncle's around 8:00pm. On the way home, we talked. I listened more, and I let him talk (a newly acquired and vital skill for parents).

He said a lot of things. Are they truth or hopeful promises? Am I being manipulated? I think that they are hopeful truths.

B has an intake appointment on Thursday afternoon. It is for a one year outpatient program, where he is randomly tested and has to attend regular meetings. He believes that this is the program for him. We shall see if his insurance will cover it. He knows that I cannot and will not pay out of my own pocket. I simply cannot afford it.

He asked if he could stay at our house to detox. He has suboxone, to help. He also needs to get better from his strep throat. I have agreed to allow him that. What else could he do? Detox on the couch of house that is inhabited by addicts? I think not.

C was asleep when I got home. I checked my email and then fell into a deep sleep.

This morning, I could see that C looks very stressed. It scares me when I see him this way.

"The addiction is bigger than us", is what he said to me-- with an exasperated tone.

Yes, it is. No matter what the books say... no matter what logic says... there are no fool proof solutions that are universal.

Someone wrote an email to me, yesterday, that echoed exactly what I said to my husband. I said that that "B is a 20 year old inside of a 15 year old mind". Tough Love is not the absolute answer.

C and I need to find balance in how to deal with this horrible situation. We need to find how to give my son a lot of love and hope. We need to learn how to detect the BS Meter. Right now, we cannot focus on his academics or job. We need to find HOW to help my son to help himself.

B is the only person who can be ready to desperately DESIRE sobriety. He has to show to himself and to God and to us-- that he means what he says.

It will not happen overnight.

The vigil of sobriety begins...

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