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.


Dad and Mom said...

It is so easy to see the pain and so hard to comfort it.

Anonymous said...

I had to let go. I don't see the relationship ever coming back to a situation of trust and respect. Letting go was the hardest thing I've ever done and it has created a hole in my heart and sorrow in my soul that is indescribeable.

But I couldn't continue down that rabbit hole. I couldn't lose myself in an effort to save him from himself. I made the right decision.

Anonymous said...

I can "feel" the pain in your post. Both yours and hers. As moms, it is an inate, inborn feeling we have to fix our children, no matter the age. As I write, I am facing the decision to go or not go to my sons sentencing tomorrow for F3 burglery. I want to be there in case I cannot see himn for the next year or maybe three, and to let him know (he knows this already) that I love him no matter what. The weird thing is, when he was young I told him that very thing, not imagining that he would be facing possible prison time as an adult. He has been beaten , robbed, homeless and lost custody of his precious child due to addiction and related behaviours. Only God knows what will happen in court. His brothers, my two other sons, have missed him deeply, and only God knows the depth of their pain as well. But, God is the redeemer. Jesus took all of this on the cross. I must remember this as I make the choice to continue in hope. Thank you for your site..

Lisa Lewis said...

I joined this sight just about 65 days ago. My son has been thru rehab and is now at day 65 clean. Your stories have brought such hope and comfort to me, thank you. My son is 26 yr old and is a recovery opiate addict. I feel everything you and everyone that writes stories, could be my own story. My heart goes out to the mother you wrote about. So much pain. Please keep writing. Thank you

Debby of Oxycontin and Opiate Addiction: A Mother's Story said...

Dear Lisa Lewis:
Thank you for your kind comments. You are the reason I keep on bloggng.

Dear Kind Anonymous:
I pray that your son's sentencing is a defining moment in his life. I cannot imagine the pain of knowing my son is incarcerated...but I've heard moms in this situation say that this gives them a strange sense of relief-- knowing where they are.
I pray for his sobriety.

Anonymous said...

Dear Debby,
my son received prison time and for identity purposes, I will not say how long..but it is long. The crime involved was very painful for the victim. I did go to court, but did not get to say goodbye. I am praying ... and waiting...and letting go( I have to let go daily). Thank you for the is encouraging and I know God is not done with my son ..

Anonymous said...

Hi Hon...While I haven't even made it through year 1 of your blog, it has helped me so much...My baby brother suffered from an addiction to smoking oxycodone, it's been so sad and scary to see the changes and distruction. He got into legal trouble and seems to be getting on track (but ive been raised around addiction, my dad is a 24 year recovering alcoholic)and what seems sometimes is not always what it is so I definitely have my fingers crossed. I watched Dr Phil today and there was a kid named Brandon on there and it made me wonder if it was your "B" and even if it wasn't, it made me think of's been awhile since you blogged, I hope all is wells <3 prayers and blessings! Thank you for all you do by putting the word out there for people like me :)

Eddie said...

Thanks for the post Debbie. My son struggled with addiction as well...not opiates but methamphetamine. He was very young when he started using and we thought we had lost him. My family ended up getting help from a place called New Life House - A Structured Sober Living . My son is now a man with 8 years of sobriety. I am so thankful for the second chance he has received.

Susan B said...

Debby, thank you so much for sharing your journey through your son's addiction. It has been a blessing to others, like me, who are somewhere along the same road.
Susan at

kyliesmom said...

Thank you for sharing your stories. My daughter returns home next week from her first rehab...... I am terrified. Any words of wisdom? Thanks!