Friday, August 31, 2012

Pain in her eyes...

For those of you who are new to my blog, I work at a public high school. No, I'm not a teacher.  I work with parents and students, in the business/counseling office--and I love my job.

I once shared a story, about a student who opened up to me. (You can read it here.)  Sadly, a couple years later, that student died in a car crash. He had been drinking and was high on drugs. I was deeply saddened to hear of his death, and yet I wasn't completely surprised.

This week, a mother came into the office.  I asked her how her daughter was doing-- "A" had graduated in 2008.   "Mom" shook her head and my heart sank.

I clearly remember "A", because she was a beautiful girl... a cheerleader and a great student. She was one of our TA's (teacher's aides) and so I got to know her.  Something happened, towards the end of her senior year. I could see it.  It was the same time that my son was going through his rehab.  In fact, I was very open to "A" about my son's addiction to oxy and heroin.  I remember "A" listening to me, and sense she was reaaaaaaally listening to what I had to say. 

Fast forward.  "A" is now living in another state.  I had seen her a couple of years ago, and she looked completely different.  Really different.  She had lots of tattoos, and she remarked to me that her "mother was going to kill her" when she saw it. Yep, I thought-- this won't go over well with her mom.  Her mom, in fact, is a beautiful woman-- classy. Dresses very nicely.  I knew her since she, herself, was a little girl.  I don't know her well, now, but she's always been friendly towards me.

When "J" shook her head, I could see the pain in her eyes.  It made me so very, very sad. I wanted to hug her, but I didn't.  I didn't want to draw attention to her. She knew.... she understood that I understood.

I remember that same bravado I had to keep... when my throat would constrict, and the tears felt like they were going to explode.   I'd shake my head, and compose myself.

I can't cry. No, I cannot break down.

It's bad.  "A" is in jail, as is her boyfriend.  It doesn't look good. Dealing drugs and fire arms. Ouch.

It's so hard to believe that this gorgeous young woman, in the cheerleader's uniform is facing felonies.

Her mom said she's had to let go.  But, I could see the pain...

"Let go".  Can we really do this?  How can a mother, who gave birth to this baby, let go?

I gave "J" my blog address.  I hope she comes here to read.  She's a smart woman, and in talking with her I can tell that she's pretty much up-to-date on what's involved in being the parent of a drug addict.

If you are reading this, "J", I want you to know that I have been praying for you and "A".   As I was praying for you, I got to thinking that addiction has long tentacles.  When a loved one is an addict, it affects everyone in it's path.  It's like finding out that someone you love has an incurable disease.   It's like a cancer-- you can only hope and pray that the treatment will stop it, and it will save their life.

Yet, we must prepare ourselves that we could lose our loved one.  Oh, how I remember that pain and terror myself.  There was a point, where I feared for my son's life.  He was hanging out with some pretty shady people, and I was so afraid he'd end up being shot and left for dead.

I could not fathom the possibility that my son would end up in jail.  That never happened-- and, believe me, I thank God for that more than you could ever know.  According to my son, he had many very close calls, but he got lucky... they didn't find the "stuff".

The most painful thing that any mother can be asked to do, is to "let go".  To be told that we must hang up the phone, when they call for money... or refuse to bail them from jail... or to not allow them to stay with us-- as long as they are strung out and using-- well, I remember that it felt as thought I had to watch my son drowning in a stormy sea, and I could only watch from the bow of the ship-- and I was not allowed to send him a life raft.

Today, my son is not using drugs. The storm has subsided, and I can exhale and move forward with my life. My marriage has never been better. My son and I have restored our relationship.  Amen.

I would be lying if I said that I believe "it's over".  I'm terrified, sometimes, at the possibility that my son could relapse.  It's a possibility, but I choose to live each day with gratitude that today is not the day. Isn't that what they teach addicts?  One day at a time...

I do not want to become apathetic towards other people's plight with addiction. I do not want to forget the pain that I felt, because I want to bless someone with compassion and comfort.  I wish I could say or write something that would be the "all knowing answer"-- but I'm just a mom, who loves her son and doesn't have any kind of counseling degree.

I saw the pain in "J's" eyes, and for a moment-- I was right there with her.  I remembered the fear and pain I felt not even a year ago.

I pray that "A" will beat that demon. I pray to see her looking healthy, with her beautiful face and smile restored.  I pray for her to break free of those who are holding her in bondage, and to start her life over again.  I have no doubt that her mother wants her back.  "J" has let go, to save her.  She loves her. I saw it in her eyes.

I don't want to forget.  I want to rejoice in today, and thank God for blessing our home.

Today, I received another email from a mom who is in pain.  Thank you for writing to me.  I feel your pain, too.

May you find comfort from those who truly understand your plight.  May you find strength and wisdom in what you should, or shouldn't do, with the addict that you love.  May you find comfort from our Abba Father, our God in heaven.  Please don't blame him, because this is not his doing.  We are living in a sinful world. It's so hard to live a life that is free of sin, because temptation is everywhere.  I need my faith in God to help me be strong when temptation comes-- and it does. Because of what I went through, my faith grew ever stronger, as I cried out to the Lord. He comforted me, and restored so many things in my life.

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Too many random thoughts, along the bumpy road. How is my son?

It has taken me a few weeks to sit down, log in to this blog and write. That's unusual for me, because writing is my comfort.  I do a lot of self-reflection and praying, every day.  I listen to inspirational podcasts, like Pastor Greg Laurie.  I go to a weekly women's Bible Study, to study God's Word, and for fellowship. I go to church, every Sunday, to hear the Word of God being taught in such a way that I walk away feeling inspired and re-energized.  I willingly give my tithes and offerings to help organizations, and my church, to help others. 

This blog has helped me to journal, from the very beginning, about how I had to cope with my son's addiction to opiates.  For a long while, so many fellow bloggers left a lot of comments to support me... to help me wipe my offer cyber hugs and to offer their advice and support.

It helped me a lot. Many of them have gone away, or stopped reading my blog.

I keep writing.  (Not as often as I used to, but I won't go away.)

I have also read my fair share of anonymous comments who had no problem condemning me, or attacking my faith in God. I've read comments that, pretty much, labeled me an enabler-- or who offered harsh criticism about what I wrote about.

It made me stronger.

In the last few weeks, I've received comments and emails that have made my heart grieve.  I receive emails, on a weekly basis, sharing a parent's grief over their arduous journey as they watch their loved one go through drug addiction and/or withdrawals.

They paralyze me.

For the last few weeks, I have flagged those comments and emails-- and I haven't approved them, so that they'd publish on my blog.  Yes, I do have blog moderation turned on-- because I got tired of the SPAM comments from gambling sites and drug treatment centers.  Sometimes, the words that I read makes me feel so sad. It brings e back to a painful time in my life, when my son was so sick.

This morning, I need to write. The urgency is strong.  I've just published those comments.  I'm back. For today.

Where do I start? What do I address first?

Please know, that I read every single comment.  Thank you, to those of you, who pour out your hearts to me.  I really and truly do care. I pray for you. Believe me, I do.

I just received an anonymous comment from someone who said this, "Your son is not clean, he is still using suboxone (optiates) every single day. It is not a miracle, its switching one addicting drug for another...Try stopping suboxone and you will see this 'miracle' unveil its true self. Your son is still a drug addict, just a more manageable one. praise jesus right?"


I guess I'll start here--

Dear Anonymous person--

My son is technically not "clean".  That is, if your definition of "clean" means that he doesn't use any kind of drugs-- this includes opiates, weed or speed.  So, you win on that count.
But, you see, you don't know my son's story. It's a very long road that he has been on.  It started 11 years ago, with smoking weed.  It progressed to pills, then oxycontin, then heroin.  It progressed to my son being so strung-out, that he came close to death.

My son's addiction became a cancer in our home.  His addiction caused so much drama in our lives. It opened up a very Dark World that I was totally unfamiliar with-- the lies, his constant scamming for money for his next fix. It began to erode on my very happy marriage.  It began to cost me money that I could ill afford.

I helplessly watched my son try to kick his habit.   I watched my son try everything he could think of to break his addiction.    I was judged, criticized and attacked, by people who either thought they were experts and knew it all--or by people who didn't understand one thing about addiction -- and I began to second-guess my abilities as a mother.   

I was forced to do the unthinkable-- to learn how to detach from my son's addiction. I had to throw my son out of my home. I had to learn how to say "no" to helping him with money, and I had to watch my son suffer from withdrawals. I watched his body waste away, and worry that a call would come-- in the middle of the night-- with bad news...that my son was either in jail or at the coroner's office.

So, when my son finally got off the methadone (and I think that stuff is poison, and have nothing good to say about the clinic)-- and went on suboxone, I had to do what works for me. I sat back, and let my son deal with his own addiction.

My son is being seen by a physician who has very strict rules about being on suboxone.  B has been tapered down, to where he is on a very, very low dose.  He is nearing the end of using suboxone, and he feel confident that he'll be okay with that. He says he has no desire to use, any longer. Before you judge about suboxone, I suggest that you do research.  Dr. Junig ( is a medical doctor, and former drug addict.  He offers some interesting perspectives on this.  

So, is it a miracle that my son is on suboxone?

Yes. I have written, multiple times, that I pray for my son to be completely drug-free.  I wish that the only pills my son has to take would be an aspirin, on occasion, vitamins and an antibiotic (if he has some kind of infection).  Yes, my son is a drug addict. He always will be-- whether he is 100% free of suboxone-- or any kind of opiate blocker.   The suboxone treatment seems to have done the trick for my son.  He says that all cravings are gone.   He has money, at all times. He willingly pays us rent, and he pays his own car insurance, gas and all living expenses. He hasn't asked me for a dime, for six months.  Can a drug addict, who is using, do that?

What I do see is that my son lives a much more normal life than he's had in many years. 

My son said something, last week, that made me smile.  He was getting ready for his job (that he has held for two years), and said to me:

"Mom, you know what's great about being normal?"  "I earned $130.00 in tips the other night, and I still have it!  I'm going to put this in the bank.  When I was using, this would already be gone."

So, yes, Praise Jesus.

Oooops, you were using sarcasm when you wrote, "Praise Jesus, right?"

In this blog, I often talk about my faith in Christ.  I don't have the gift of evangelism (which Pastor Greg Laurie does.... and he's worth having a listen to).  I started to share my own personal testimony, on this blog-- months ago...but I never finished it.  That's because someone who knows us, personally, found my blog and was using it to hurt my son.  I stopped, because I don't want my personal story to be used against me, where I live.   If I ever do finish my personal testimony, you would better understand how God saved me from my sinful nature.

My point about Jesus Christ is this-- I don't blame God or Jesus Christ for the sorrows in my life. The sorrows in our lives are brought upon us, because there is evil and sin in this world.  Those of us who believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, believe that he died for us-- on the cross-- for our own personal redemption.  Because he loved us first.  Those of us who have accepted the gift of redemption are now adopted into the family of Christ, and we know that we will be in heaven.  In the meantime, we are here, on earth-- to learn, to share the love and to "believe" with all of our hearts.  

A world that is free of suffering is not guaranteed.  It is my faith in Christ that gives me the strength and courage that I desperately need-- because I am sinful, by nature.   I have become a much better person, since I became a believer.  I'm a work in progress.

So, did I feel offended by your anonymous comment?

Yes, for about five seconds.  

Guess what? I prayed for you.  I prayed that you would understand who the real Christ is.

I do not condemn you, either. Because God loved you first.

What do you know? My writer's block just went away.  Praising God does that to me.  When I'm feeling down, or under attack, I look up-- and I feel joy.

I'll try to write more often.  

Thank you, to all of you who write to me.  That this humble little blog has touched so many of you-- it makes me thankful.

I give all the Glory to God, for He has been good to me.  My son is alive. He is happy. The dark grip of illegal drugs has lost it's strength on my son.

I live each day in faith and gratitude.