Sunday, February 9, 2014

Visiting my Blog Home Away From Home - Random thoughts

Another eight months has passed, and I haven't written a post in all that time. I just now cleaned out my SPAM comments (and there were hundreds) and published those comments that were "legit".

I'm sorry.

I've written, more than once, that the reason I quit posting here is because the crisis of my son's addiction has subsided. 

Of course, there are many people who feel that I'm a fool for thinking that my son being on suboxone is sobriety. They say it is NOT.

So be it.

This is how I view my son's current sobriety (or un-sobriety for you suboxone naysayers).

Of course, I wish my son had an "organic" sobriety.  I would love it if he didn't use any kind of medication to keep my son from using. That is simply common sense.

However, let's look at things from my son's perspective.  True that, he had a severe addiction. He was strung out and had sold everything he owned to avoid the misery of withdrawal.  This was my son's "bottom" he says.  He realized that, in his last relapse, that he had sold everything of value that he had.  Fortunately, my son didn't have it in him to resort to theft or robbery (for that I am truly grateful) and he finally came to the realization that he absolutely had to conquer his body's craving for drugs.

Methadone didn't work for him.  So, he turned to suboxone.  Lest you naysayers judge him and/or me, it is working for him.  He is going on four years of working at the same job.  He doesn't make a ton of money, but he has money.  He bought a brand new X-Box, a new HDTV and he can afford to buy things he wants-- here and there.  He doesn't ask us for money, either.

All of the friends he was using with, are out of his life. He has a very small, but new circle of friends. They don't use, but they do drink--- no differently that I do. That is, we are social drinkers. The glass of wine with dinner, or  a beer while watching a football game.  Nothing to worry about.

My son's brain has healed. He is no longer forgetful, or spaced out.  He can focus his thoughts, and that brilliant mind of his is back.

B has lived with us, ever since he detoxed with the help of suboxone.  He pays us rent, faithfully, and never EVER complains about it.  We are charging him the going rate it would cost him to rent a room-- or share a cheap apartment.  We use the majority of that money to subsidize his medical expenses (health and car insurance, diabetes supplies, suboxone), groceries and cost of living-- and a small portion goes into a rent savings. 

Best of all, my son and I have the kind of relationship that any loving mom longs for.  He is kind, respectful, thoughtful and willing to help me when I ask for it.  The relationship between my son and his stepfather makes me smile with such gratitude and joy.  I have watched the two of them interact as two men-- "dudes", "guys".  I've watched my husband help my son to learn things that guys should know how to do-- like how to fix things in his own car.  My son asks for advice from his stepdad.

Best of all, my husband tells me that my son is a "good kid" and a "good room mate". 

So, if my son is doing so well-- is it such a bad thing that he uses suboxone?  He's cut his dose down by 75%, and has to see a doctor once a month.  He has to take a drug test, and always comes out clean.  If he didn't, this doctor would no prescribe suboxone.

Again, I keep praying for the day that my son gets off suboxone completely.  B says, it's just around the corner. He was waiting for the slow season to come to his job (now).  He needs to take a couple of weeks off work to detox from the suboxone.

Of course,  B and I talk about this, candidly. I've asked him what his plan is, once he is off the suboxone. That is, what will steps will he take to prevent him from relapsing? You would think he'd have some grandiose answer. He simply says, "that last relapse made me realize that I don't want to go back to that again." He says the withdrawals were horrific, and he never wants to experience that again.

Just like religion, this is a question that has a myriad of answers.  I've written, countless times, why I don't believe that NA meetings is the answer for everyone.  I went to Nar-Anon meetings, and they did not work for me at all.  I couldn't deal with the whining from the same group of people.  I didn't find the meetings helpful. In our small town, my son says that NA meetings didn't work for him, because that's where he was most likely to reconnect with people he used with. He says that anytime he went to an NA meeting, someone would ask if they could hook him up with drugs.

Before anyone gets upset by this, and writes a harsh comment, because you believe that NA is the only way-- please don't.  Otherwise, I might have to say that "Jesus is the Only Way" (written tongue in cheek, okay?) 

So, what prompted me to write today-- after such a long absence?  Partly it's guilt.  I still get an occasional email from someone who is asking me how I am doing... or someone who wants to thank me for sharing my story.  Collectively, to "you", I want to say that I am doing just fine, thank you. To those of you who ask me for advice, it takes my breathe away.  I wish I had some dazzling advice to give. What I've learned, during this painful chapter of my life, I have shared on this blog.  I'm not an expert and never professed to be.

I have become a much better mom, a much better listener  and a whole lot less judgmental about other parents. I no longer assume that bad parenting is why kids use drugs. 

I have become much more compassionate to parents and drug addicts. My faith in God grew by leaps and bounds, during these painful chapters in my life. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for sparing my son from death, incarceration or physical harm.

The tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman really affected me. That a man, who had so much talent-- and certainly financial security-- relapsed AFTER 23 YEARS of sobriety-- really shook me hard.  It was a reality check, that my son has no personal guarantee that he will never use again. He knows it and I know it.  My deepest sympathies go to his family and loved ones, including his small children.  What a tragic death.  Will we ever know why he relapsed? Will we ever know what it was that woke the demon of addiction in him? 

Once more, I am reminded that my son will have to fight the disease of addiction for the rest of his life.  For today, I see a 25 year old young man, who tells me that his last relapse wasn't worth all that it cost him. He tells me that he didn't even enjoy it, and didn't really get that "buzz" from using Oxy Contin that he used to get.  I pray, with all of my heart and soul, that he will continue to hold on to that memory.

As B's mom, I choose to forgive and forget what's happened in the past. Today, I can hand my son my credit card to pick some things up for me while he's in town. I don't have to hide my wallet, choosing to leave it in plain sight with money in it. The money is always right there, where I left it. My son no longer sneaks out, in the middle of the night. He is always home, playing on his X-Box, with his invisible online friends.

In a perfect world, I would love to see him get a better paying job-- with benefits. I'd love to see him buy another set of golf clubs, and get outside for exercise and to play a sport that he is really good at. I continue to invite him to join us at church (the very church he urged us to come to with him, years ago). We continue to counsel him on the importance of financial wisdom-- like saving money (which, for now, falls on deaf ears).

So, I guess my son has gone from a "using" drug addict to being a typical young man.  He has so much wisdom to learn in life.  My husband and I are doing the best that we can to be positive role models for him.

I think some of our wisdom is beginning to stick.

We will never give up hope.  I feel comfort, gratitude and joy that my son loves me. I know he feels the same way about my love for him.

For those of you who are suffering with addiction-- be it YOU who is the struggling addict, or for the loved ones who are dealing with a struggling addict-- I pray for you, collectively, all the time. I know there are plenty of people who think prayer is useless. Or that there is no God. I've had plenty of comments left, calling me a fool to believe in a God that doesn't exist.  Well, that's one more prayer I add to my list... for non-believers.

No matter what, my heart truly feels your pain and agony.  I have lived it. I have cried. I have whined. I have been angry. I have failed. I have enabled.

I have learned.

If any of my blog posts gives hope to anyone who reads them, then this blog is accomplishing it's purpose. 

I will try to post more often.  I'm here, and I read every single comment. I truly do. If I don't respond back, please forgive me.  Sometimes, I just can't deal with the emotions that they stir in me.

May God bless you and give you comfort, whether you or not you do or don't believe in Him. He believes in you, and loves you.