Monday, December 31, 2012

Another Year, as the Mother of a Drug Addict...Out with Old, In with the New

Today, is the last day of 2012.  It's a quiet morning and I finally have some "me" time to sit, reflect, pray and just "be".  

Gosh, it's been a very long time since I've written a blog post. I must appear to have abandoned my blog. That hasn't been my intention. After all, I've invested a lot of time, and money (having it professionally designed.) I have poured out my heart and soul, and have documented my experience as the mother of a drug addict. So, why am I not blogging much? I have been blessed to receive emails, or posts, from people whose lives are being ripped apart by the scourge of drug addiction. When I read those emails, I feel so bad for them. I want, so much, to have just the right words to say-- to give them comfort and hope. I'm embarrassed to say, that I've gone silent. Again.

I think it's because I have come to peace about my son's situation. It wasn't easy, I can promise you. I try not to do this, very often-- but, if I do allow myself to go back to 2008,  I can almost recreate that feeling of helplessness. I can remember the shock and horror of it all.

My son's drug addiction put a lot of stress in my marriage. I learned things about myself, I didn't realize. My relationship with my son was so fragile, and we were not getting along at all. I felt like I was such a total failure.

For you-- if you have stumbled across  this blog post-- and you are in the throes of it you, or someone you love-- my message to you is that there is hope.  The best advice I can give, to a person who is watching someone's life being destroyed by addiction is this-- take care of you.

When addiction comes into your life,  it can bring out the worst in everyone.  I might upset a few people who read this, but I'm going to make this raw and honest.  I was guilty of this, and it shows in my earliest posts. Ready?

I got caught up in the drama. I became a whiner and complainer. I wanted people to come to my aid, to rescue me, to coddle me, to feel sorry for me. Oh, woe is me!   I finally saw where I was going, and I decided that I needed to find a different way to learn to cope with watching my son's life unravel.

What did I do? I came to understand what codependence is. I began to dig deeper in my relationship with God. My spirituality began to grow stronger and stronger, and I began to find those quiet times of prayer and meditation.

I also began to learn more about addiction, and I learned a lot of addicts, themselves.

I began to admit that I was enabling my son's drug addiction and I began to gather enough courage to understand that saying "no" was helping my son to see where his life was going.

So, how is my son doing?

B is 10 months free and clear from using any kind of street drug-- be it heroin, oxy or smoking weed.  Please note that I didn't say he's 10 months clean and sober.  From an NA point of view, he's not considered clean, since he is on a very low dose of suboxone. He is under the monthly care of a good addiction doctor. (Thank you, President Obama--and my husband's job-- for making my son's health coverage good for two more years. Amen.)

From my point of view, my son is clean. I'll tell you why--
He's held his job for over two years, and still loves it and is well-liked by his co-workers.
B pays $600.00 a month in rent, to us, never once complaining-- and it's always on time.
B has cash on him, all the time. This Christmas, he saved $200.00 to buy gifts. He looked so proud and pleased with himself, as he gave generously to us and to his uncles and cousin.
B has a new set of friends. He calls them "geeks", because they're all online "gamers". 
B has matured into a respectful, and interesting young man. He is no problem  as a roommate. When he isn't working, he's in his room, gaming on his BIG TV that he bought with his own money.

As a mom, I'd love to see him spending far less time with video games. I wish he'd go back to playing golf (that he's so good at), finding a career that will pay him benefits. I wish he didn't smoke. I wish he'd save more of his income, for his future.  He's talking about moving into his own place, this Spring, with a new friend that he works with. I'll miss him, but it's time for him to be completely on his own.

But, that's what moms do. We worry about our kids, because we're nurturers.. and dangerously wired to be enablers and coddlers. 

What's most important, is that I have learned to "let go" of my son's life.  By that, I don't open his mail. I don't snoop in his room. I don't question where he goes and I don't give him advice. I rest, assured, that he's not using drugs.  I know, I know, so many of us "thought" our kids weren't using drugs-- and they were.

The reason I know my son isn't using is simple. Drug addicts (unless they deal drugs) don't have money on them. They struggle with keeping a job. They look gaunt and unhealthy. They're secretive. Things go missing-- money, valuables. 

B looks healthy, and our relationship has been restored. Sometimes, when he gets home from work, I'm still in the living room. He sits and just chats with me. I love those precious moments. We chat about life, work, movies. 

My marriage is intact, and my husband treats my son as an adult. The two of them get along great, which makes my very happy.  It's interesting how our finances are much better, now. I didn't fully realize how my my son's drug addiction cost us.  B never asks us for money, now. Halleluia.

I'm not trying to brag, here. I'm rejoicing. If you're still reading this, I hope that I have shown you that a drug addict can get their life back. It isn't easy, and I'm not fooling myself. I do know that this could all change.

There are "trolls" out there who have written rude comments and emails, telling me that my son's use of suboxone is just temporary. They have told me that he'll go back to using, as soon as he quits using it.  I say to them, you don't know my son. Every person's story is different.

Bottom line, I have come to realize that only the addict can make the choice to get clean and sober. There is nothing in the world that I could do to make my son realize that he didn't want the life of constantly looking for his next fix.   The only help I gave my son, that worked, was to not help him-- and love him.

I'll repeat that. The only help I gave my son, that worked, was to not help him-- and love him..

I am a follower and believer in Jesus Christ. I believe there is a God. I don't worship the Universe, but I worship the creator of the Universe. I study his Word (the Bible) without shame.  Without my spiritual faith in God, I would not have had the strength to get through the five years of hell that B's drug addiction put all of us through.

2012 was a good year.  It wasn't perfect, but nothing and none of us are.

I look forward to seeing what 2013 has in store for us.

May the love and Grace of God, pour upon you.  Whether you know Him or not, he knows you. Be blessed, be loved, love others-- and be filled with peace and hope in your lives.