Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Mother's Compassion

I'm home, nursing a winter cold.  In a rare moment, I have the quiet of the house to sit down and write...and pray...and to ground myself.  I ended my last post so abruptly, because my son walked into the room.  In the last few months, I have learned to turn off my laptop when my husband or son is in the mood to have "dialogue" with me. It's so easy to become immersed into being on the web, where I visit my cooking sites and chat on Facebook with friends.   I had every intention of picking up where I signed off, but I didn't.  So, here I am.

I do continue to read some of the addiction blogs that I subscribe to.  I don't mean to ignore the plight of the person's writings by not leaving a comment. It's just that I used to do that a lot.  What did I do a lot, you are wondering?  I used to log on and write every single thing that happened. I'd vent. I'd cry. I'd express my fears.  At the time, the many comments of encouragement (and some were critical) helped me.  I was a mom whose heart was so broken by my son's addiction.  I was giving so much of my time and energy into my son's addiction, that I wasn't paying attention to much of anything else.

Today, I continue to say that I am the mother of a drug addict.  I have to get used to it, and I need to accept that.  I've been able to move past the fear of judgment from parents who have "good kids".   I know that I was-- and still am-- a good mother.  Today, I focus on today. I'm living in the moment.  That sounds carefree and footloose, but it's healthier for me.  The turning point for me was when I realized that I had a model in my head of how I wanted my son to find sobriety.  I wanted my son to get clean. Then, I wanted him to go to college and get a good job.  As a bonus, I've been praying that a good woman would come into his life.  Sounds good, right?

Then it hit me-- these are my expectations.  B and I have had many frank talks about his drug addiction.  He's helped me to understand that, for now, he can only focus on not wanting to use.  B can't go to college, because he's not ready to focus on studying.  It would be a waste of money.  Again, my problem solving says that he needs to leave the area. He needs to get away from those who he used with, in the past. He needs to find a sponsor.  But, unless my son has that own vision for himself, I am only setting myself up for frustration that he isn't meeting my expectations.

Does that make sense?

My son turned 22 in November. He has lived with us since March. He has paid us rent, and he has a small nest egg that I've set aside for the day he moves out.  Still, he doesn't earn enough money to make it on his own. Being in the restaurant business (as a busser) is a minimum wage job.   His last two months earnings have been eager, as this is the time of year when business is really slow.  We've adjusted his rent during lean times, but that's about to end. He's been applying for jobs, though I don't think as hard as he could. Whoops, see? There I go, with my own expectations!

He is still chained to his methadone clinic.  I have come to the conclusion that my son is only buying a temporary fix from using heroin, with his use of methadone.  I'm also not impressed with the methadone clinic, as I once was.   All that counseling I was told was available....yeah, right.  The counselors come and go.  I've stopped paying for his methadone many months ago. For a while, we paid a portion of it.  Two months ago, we cut that help off. B says he'll be off by March.  I can only hope so.  In the meantime, he must drive to the clinic every single morning for his dose. If he misses one, he goes into withdrawals.

It's a sad life. 

Sadder still, what I see in my son is a lack of self-esteem.  I see him not taking care of his health, eating properly and he has no perseverance.  I've had to let go of that.  As a roommate, there aren't any problems.  He keeps the house tidy, nothing has gone missing and he is respectful to us.  I am watching my son as he begins to ask my husband questions. I am seeing in my son that he recognizes that my husband is a good person. 

What makes me very sad is that my son doesn't have any friends-- that is, friend who don't want to use with him.  Every so often, he mentions seeing someone from his past.... and that makes me uncomfortable. B knows they are not welcome in our home.  That's when I kick up my prayers that God would sever those relationships.   His friends have been in and out of rehab. 

My prayer continues that someone will come into his life who is clean and sober. Someone who can be a good role model and mentor to him.  

In the meantime, the time is drawing near when my son has to leave our nest.  When he does, I will miss his presence in our home.  I enjoy the talks that we have, though we work different schedules.  When he moves out, I think I've detached myself enough that I won't fret and worry at night.  That's the peace I've found, and I give the glory to my faith in God.  I hang on to God's promise that he will always be there for us.   When I find myself worrying, I find a quiet place to pray and to thank God for his grace and mercy on my son.

God has looked after my son, and it's a miracle that my son has been spared a criminal record or worse. 

My son's story isn't over, of course.   I have learned to have compassion for my son, yet I have become less prone to trying to fix everything for him.  How I long for my son to find peace in his life.  He must feel lonely and overwhelmed in life.  If only he'd find his way back in his own walk with God.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Breaking My Silence

With the coming of the New Year, I'm finding my way in a new direction that I have prayed God will guide me through. 2010 was a year that was certainly not devoid of many trials and tribulations.  Since this is a blog that I first started because my son finally admitted to me that he was a drug addict-- I'll start with him.

My son is still living with us.  I thank God every single day for what he has done for B.  My son has a legion of angels, I feel, who have saved his neck from some very close calls with his health.  Now that I begin typing, I realize that I could write a novella on what I mean by this. Alas, time doesn't allow for this.  I will say that my son's diabetes got out of control for him.  As the mother of a drug addict, I still see in my own son a lack of love for himself.  Many of you parents will nod in agreement when I describe how I see B lacking the perseverance to make a decision if he'll go back to school.... get a better paying job (in this terrible economy)... better.  With that I've found an understanding that, as an addict, he is focusing all of his energy of sobriety.  (Before anyone writes the ubiquitous comment that my son should go to meetings-- I get it.  He won't. He will, when he is ready.)

For weeks, my husband and I were concerned that he might be using again.  He'd sleep for long hours and his appetite was gone.  He looked gaunt, and yet he'd go to his job and work hard.  He's paying his rent and car insurance, and all is well.  A few weeks ago, my son left for his methadone dose and we headed to church.  A mother has an instinct when her cubs are in trouble, and I had an uneasy feeling. When we arrived home, B wasn't there. His bed was unmade, which is unusual.  For four hours, I prayed and worried and called a couple of times.

B finally called. He was in the emergency room. He had all the symptoms of a heart attack.  It turns out that was not taking the proper insulin, which he had run out of and not told us.  His blood sugars were through the roof.  He was okay, but shaken and he spent two nights in the hospital.  When he was discharged, it was like I had my son back.  He was energetic and ravenous.  He's taking better care of his diabetes and-- thanks to President Obama-- my son has health insurance again. Amen.

My absence from this blog, I believe, has been my disconnection from my son's addiction.  I have had three years to learn how to adjust and accept that my son is a drug addict.  I have whined, cried, complained, vented and prayed on this blog.  Now, I feel a transition has slowly happened for me. 

I am going to try and write more often on my blog.  The key word is "try".  However, my job has changed and my hours are ridiculously long.  I now work a split shift, and stay in "town" for three hours. I'm using that time to work out at the pool at our gym to lose weight and deal with my new diagnosis of diabetes.  In a strange way, I thank God for my diagnosis.  Because I understand the disease, I know what to do. I managed to get my son's doctor-- who is one of the best in the country-- to take my son back as his patient.  B and I laughed at both of us sitting in the waiting room.  It's weird, to be talking the same language. Yet, it's brought us closer.

I've made progress in detaching from my son's neediness.  He rarely asks me for things. Nothing has gone missing.  Is he using?  Maybe.  My son is fighting a disease where the odds are stacked against him.

The clock tells me I have to go.  I'll wind this up for now--

I thank those of you who still visit my blog and who leave comments. I'm sorry I haven't responded.  I needed to take a break from focusing so much energy on worrying about him.  It is my hope that I can use this blog to write from my heart, and for ME.  By that, I'm not looking for compassion, sympathy nor advice.  I am recommitting my life to follow my love of my Lord and Savior, Jesus.  I'm getting up earlier, to read scripture and to pray and sit quietly.  Today I broke that to blog.  I felt as though I needed to let people know I'm still here. Alive and well.

I'll try to continue my story later. B just got up.