Saturday, May 16, 2009

My story of hope as the mother of an addict

Today is a good day. It's been a grueling week at work-- hectic and stressful. I could barely keep my eyes open till 9pm. For the first time, in a long time, I had a deep and restful sleep, for 10 hours. Heaven!

It's almost noon, and I have managed to get my swimming exercise for the day. My son has been awake for a while, camping out in his room and resting. I have to say that B's job is physically demanding. He definitely deserves to spend his Saturdays resting.

It has been almost six months since B stopped smoking heroin. It's a miracle, and I give all the glory to God's mercy and His grace. Is my son clean and sober? That's debatable, depending on whom you ask. B takes his suboxone, twice a day. Some people believe that means he isn't completely clean.

I don't know what to say to that. I have no idea when B will no longer take suboxone. He tried to quit, a few weeks ago. He went through withdrawals-- feeling ill and lethargic. That was the day he snapped, and took off in his car (click here for a recap). Since that day, he has not been disrespectful in anyway.

What I see in my son is a total transformation. He seems happy-- he chatters, smiles and hangs out at home a lot. Strange as this might sound, I feel bad for him? I say that because, at age 20, he should be enjoying the single life. He might even have a girlfriend, by now. Instead, my son goes to work, Monday through Friday and is home no later than dinnertime. He either reads books or watches some TV with us. He goes to bed. His cellphone barely rings at all. Many of you parents of addicts know that this is highly unusual for a teenager/young adult...especially if they are "using". His cellphone was always ringing, and he'd dash off to go "somewhere".

It's such a change!

As for me-- I'm learning, day by day, that I must accept the things I cannot change. Yes, that's part of the Serenity Prayer. It is my nature, as a mom, to want to nurture and to do things for my son. I'm learning to bite my tongue, and not to launch off into my Mommy Wisdom.

On a positive note, my relationship with my son is getting better. There are still times when he frustrates me-- to the point of feeling disappointed in him. That's when I have to remind myself that my expectations are what feeds my frustration. I'm working on that!

My words of hope that I want to share are directed to parents who are the beginning stages of their child's world of addiction. Please learn all that you can. I am still amazed at how many parents I speak to at my job (the counseling office at a high school). I cannot believe how little parents really know about drug addiction. I will forever be thankful to my son's treatment center for their thorough classes and that they work the 12-step program. It took six weeks of traveling four hours round-trip, and sitting in classes for four hours-- but what we (husband and I) learned has forever empowered me with wisdom.

I am very fortunate that my son is so open in sharing with me his world of drug addiction. He has enlightened me to try and understand how overpowering it is for an addict who can only focus on one thought-- needing to find their next fix. He has helped me to understand that his need to find heroin was to avoid the agony of withdrawal.

I do believe that my son is beginning to understand the damage his lies did to his loved ones. I think he's doing much better at lying less often. Still, I can see that he is struggling with his integrity.

As of today, my son is free of debt! For a drug addict, this is a victory. I see this is a positive step in that B isn't borrowing money, nor going to the Cash Advance place.

B is paying his rent to us, and he has a savings of $200.00. This is huge, because B has never been able to save money. Granted, I'm the one who is holding this savings for him. This money is set aside for the time he moves out to live on his own. As agreed, 50% of the rent he pays us is saved for future rent elsewhere. I am figuring one year.

B still spends several days a week with his sponsor. We've met him. He seems like a nice guy. My son is kinda-sorta working the program. That neither he nor his sponsor has a car makes it tough to get to meetings.

It is my hope that my son will begin to save his money in order to buy his own car insurance. We received a check as restitution for my son's carjacking (B was the victim). I am going to put that into savings, towards his car insurance. For the first time, I will give my son some of the restitution money to spend as he wishes. This is huge! At one time, I would worry that my son would use this to buy drugs.

My son is still testing clean. We see him taking his daily suboxone, because we dole it out to him (we know that suboxone can be sold for profit). My son cannot get high on opiates if he's taking suboxone correctly.

So, back to suboxone-- it is my prayer that my son will finally wean himself off this drug. The day that my son stays clean and sober, without any kind of drugs like suboxone, is the day that I will finally feel my son has reached the pinnacle of sobriety.

I thank God every single day, that my is beating the odds of succesfully finding sobriety from opiates.

There are two students in my school that I fear are using hard core drugs. Their parents are in denial. I cannot say anything, because I have no proof. All I can see are grades plummeting as low as they can go. I am seeing these students failing to show up for classes, or disappearing and being marked truant. Both parents enable this, by excusing their absences.

I am praying for both of these delightful, and intelligent, young kids... praying that the truth will be revealed. I am praying that they will get the help they need-- before it's too late.

My son is still a procrastinator and unmotivated, in my adult eyes. BUT, he is not using anymore. This is what I focus on.

He has been through hell, and spend countless thousands of dollars to support his addiction. He has sold everything he owned and been fired from several jobs. Today, he is loving his job and they really like him.

Thank you, God. You are the God of hope.

I pray for parents whose hearts are breaking, and who are afraid for their addict. I understand. Be strong. Never give up. Love them. Set your boundaries... and know that as difficult as it is to say "no"-- they need to know that you are no longer going to enable them. That is what made my son change-- when he realized he'd be on the streets.

1 comment:

ChaiLatte said...

You do have much to be thankful for, praise God. Like you, I'll never give up hope. God is bigger than Heroin. Hugs to you~C.