Saturday, January 24, 2009

If I don't call for three days, you'll know I'm dead

Before I explain my title for today, let me say that my son is gone. He has left my home.

I gave B his antibiotic at 8am, this morning. He snarled at me, that he wanted to sleep. A few hours later, we told B that we were going into town to get groceries. He asked for some hot soup.

C and I drove B's car to the repair shop. B admitted to me that he had fallen asleep at the wheel in a parking lot and ran over a concrete barrier. Most likely, he has broken the steering linkage. In a way, it seems like God's blessing-- with B not having a car, he cannot drive to find drugs.

When we returned, having been gone maybe an hour, B was dressed and in the backyard. He seemed alert and fine. He summoned me into his bedroom and started telling me "Mom, I've been using since the day I left rehab (in October). He started to spill the beans, but I suggested that the three of us (my husband, C) join in with this discussion.

B admitted that not only did he start using as soon as he left rehab, but his roommate (from the treatment center) told him that they could make all kinds of money selling drugs in the tenderloin district of San Francisco. B said that he was dealing pills to support his drug habit.

Nice, huh...

So, C and I asked him what he wanted to do. B said that "I know that I'm out of here, and I'm leaving today". We told him that we wanted him to stay long enough to heal with his strep throat and to get his insurance squared away. We told him that we were not throwing him out, but that we wanted him to go into rehab and then he could come back to live with us. He responded that the last rehab didn't do a bit of good, so this time would be a waste.

I cannot write every detail down, as this discussion lasted for a couple of and on, and in bits and pieces. The highlights that I will share is that B does not feel ready to get clean. In other words, he has not gone low enough that he has to reach up from touching bottom.

This was my turning point where I realized that I had to let my son leave. Letting him stay with us, without my son wanting to get professional help, was pointless.

I have a lot of raw feelings to blog about, but that will come later. For my family members and friends, who want to be kept updated, I am sharing what I want you to know.

Drug addiction is very dirty business. It means that you need a source to get the drug that you want. It means that the addict needs to find a source to get the money to buy the drugs that their addiction demands that they do. Like it or not, drug addicts will resort to just about anything to support their habit. In my son's case, he deals. He's been selling his prescription anxiety meds and suboxone to buy black tar heroin. It's his drug of choice, now.

What I'm trying to say is that my son owes his dealer for 6 grams of heroin. That's $360.00, total. Where we live, there is a gang problem. There have been 12 shootings and 6 deaths since the first of this year. These are all gang related shootings. Gangs sell drugs. That's just how it is. Gangs kill each other to protect their turf. My son owed a gang member money for drugs he smoked. B's cellphone was ringing off the hook. I could hear B pleading with his dealer to give him one more day to come up with the money.

What does a mother do? Am I enabling my son, by letting him suffer the consequences? Am I going to risk my son being shot or stabbed or beaten up, because he owes money to a drug dealer? What do you think? Is this tough love? Am I making a mistake in helping him? B never asked me for the money. He knows that I won't give it to him.

I prayed about it.

I told my son that I would give him the money (from his trust account) under ONE condition-- that the money is given to a third party who pays off the dealer. My son cannot have the money.

Scroll back to a couple of days ago-- a woman I refer to as "C". This is a woman that my son met, at the time that she was homeless. Like many homeless people, her story is one living a hard life. Yes, she once used drugs. She's been clean for many years. BUT, she was hit by a car and lots of bad things happened to her. She lost everything. Many times, in my own prayers of thanks to the Lord, I thank Him that I have never been homeless, jobless nor known starvation. I have compassion for homeless people, rather than disdain. I believe that homeless people have a story to tell.

"C" offered to let my son come and stay in her small ramshackle home, in the downtown area of where I live. For those of you who do not know where I live-- I am in a rural area. I live in a gated community, in a small but lovely home, that I rent from a cousin. It is my little "bubble" of safety where I live-- there is no danger with gangs where I live. Only 10 minutes drive, down the freeway, is the center of the city where I live. It's relatively safe, but there is an East Side. I don't go there, and I have always avoided it. I don't belong there, and I'd stick out like a sore thumb. "C" lives far from that area, and very close to a public high school. It's not a bad area, but there is more crime in that area. It's a low rent section. So, that is where B is right now.

"C" called me from B's cellphone as I stayed parked outside her house. She's embarrassed to have me in. She must think I'm a rich mom, which I am not. Anyway, she confirmed that B had given her the $360.00 in cash. She said that she, and a male friend, will pay off the blood money to his dealer tomorrow. She told me that I had made the right decision, because B could very well be killed or injured for the money. Dealers don't haggle and they don't play games.

As I sat outside the house, I felt so dirty. There were two cops parked in front, and I immediately felt like I shouldn't be there. They drove away, and I could not help feeling such sorrow for the sordid life that my son's drug addiction has drawn him into.

I watched B carry his sleeping bag and backpack into "C"s little house. His eyes looked sad. I could not cry. I don't know what to think, really. I think I'm still in shock.

"If I don't call for three days, you'll know I'm dead."

That's what my son said to me. How do you think that made me feel? At that very moment, I thought of God.

As I drove away, I heard B whistling and racing towards me. He said that "C" asked him to buy some cat food and could I give him a ride. I drove him to a grocery store and I bought a few things for "C". It's my "thank you" for... I'm not sure, you know. I bought a few things for B...drinks, canned soup. I gave him $20.00. He said "Mom, I miss you already. I know I'm going to regret my decision to leave".

As I walked into my front door, C was looking at me to see how I was doing. "I'm hungry" is all I could think. I had not eaten since early this morning.

How am I feeling right now? This might sound strange-- but I am feeling relieved. For the last two days, seeing my son so loaded on drugs, I feel as though my peaceful home had been violated. I don't want drugs in my house. My home is my sanctuary.

I walked into my son's room and looked at his crumpled bed...his shoes on the floor... throat lozenges and empty bottles of soda. I looked in his closet, at his clothes he left behind.

I am feeling an emotion similar to the day that my mother died. I remember when the hearse drove away and I had to walk into my mother's bedroom. The oxygen machine motor had been turned off. Her bedding was there, with her imprint still on it. I looked at her lipstick on her dresser. She was gone.

My son is gone.

I am beginning to grieve. C and I had such high hopes that B was going to start college, and get a part-time job. My son was so excited to be home, and that he was given a fresh start by us.

But, the heroin has won my son's soul, for now. The reality is, if my son does not admit to himself that he is powerless in his addiction to opioids, his life will always be unmanageable. He will remain jobless and possibly homeless. He will, ultimately, end up in jail, institutionalized or dead. It's what his treatment program drilled into him. He knows that. I know that.

Once again, my blog is how I am going to journal how my son is doing.

He plans to detox, on his own.

Heavenly Father, you brought my son into this world. You trusted me to raise my son, and to teach him about you. I have made my own mistakes, and I am sorry. I know that you have forgiven me for my sins. If anything, I believe that my son has accepted Jesus into his heart as his savior. My son is lost in his addiction. I give my son to you, Lord. I trust that You are watching over him. I pray that you will give me, his father, his stepfather and his friends and loved ones...the wisdom to help B according to your perfect will.

Thank you, God, for your mercy on my son. It is nothing short of your miracles, that my son is alive. Thank you, God, for all that you have done and what you will do.

In Jesus' Name


Anonymous said...

Dear Debby,
Please know that the hot tears that run down my face are for you and C and B in pure intercession that Father's will is done and you have perfect shalom that only comes from Him.
Love forever...M

Felicia Afifi said...

I don't know what to say the tears I am shedding are for all of you not that I feel sorry for you but just knowing that this is happening to you breaks my heart...


Anonymous said...

Has your son thought of entering a methadone program? Addicts on high doses often don't do as well on suboxone. Methadone is hard to detox from, and it means his going to a clinic every day, but it allows the addict to lead a normal life, without cravings. It's worth his knowing about.

Anonymous said...

I read your story and I feel your pain. Just know that people are praying for you and B. If you should need anything please call.

Anonymous said...

This story hits home like you wouldnt believe! I have a son who is also a heroin addict and has been to rehab, relapsed and begged us for suboxone treatment. We're on day 4 and so far so good. One day at a time. It's such a terrible and powerful addiction. He is an IV user and finding needles is like finding loose pennies.(in my own home!) Any comfort I can offer you is yours! Take Care.