Monday, December 28, 2015

Praying for Hard Soil - thoughts from the praying mother of an addict

Hello to my neglected blog.  I have a lot on my mind, and need to write my thoughts down. This blog is my safe place to talk about my son, and his addiction.  I am anonymous. Nobody knows where I live, or what my real name is.  Maybe a praying mom will read this post and understand my words. So, here goes:

The Christmas holidays have passed, and my son has come and gone. He's back in his new state of Texas, and 20% finished with his electrician apprenticeship.

Let's back up to a week before Christmas.  I had arranged for a nice hotel room, with a parking package, so that B could leave work on a Friday evening and catch his Saturday morning flight.  He had a three hour drive to make, and I wanted for him to have plenty of time to get a good night's sleep. The hotel had a shuttle that would take him to the airport. B has never flown by himself, so I made things as easy and comfy as I could. It also cost a pretty penny, but I felt that he was worth it.

Then, his addictive/crisis-driven behavior kicked in.  He procrastinated his leaving, until the very end.  It's not worth my writing out all of the details, but he never left his place on time to enjoy the hotel that I spent money on.  He overslept, instead, and raced to the airport... arriving just minutes before the last boarding call.  In the meantime, I was upset and angry that he had so little regard for my hard-earned money, and careful planning.

I tossed and turned all night long, praying that my son would get to the airport.  I had horrific thoughts of his missing the flight and the expense of rerouting him-- and most of all, that I'd miss at least one day of the precious week I was so looking forward to spending with him.  My husband and I joined hands and prayed that the Good Lord would make this disaster work out in a good way. He did, and I headed for the drive to the airport.  I decided to let go of the wasted hotel room, and my disappointment. I just wanted to see my son, and so I pushed my negative feelings aside.

When B came off the plane, I saw a tall and very thin young man. His cheekbones were prominent.  My first motherly thought was that I had a week to try and feed him, of course!  He was soaking in the beautiful green mountains (we finally got some rain in California), and we fell into comfortable chatter. I was beaming with joy.

Each day flew by. I made dinner, so his best friend could join us.  We laughed, and had a great evening.  I knew that B needed to see his old friends. So, off they went, and I settled back into relaxing at home with my wonderful husband.

The emotions I felt, seeing B back under our roof were all over the place. I could see the addictive behavior in him. Frankly, it worried me.  My son is not  using heroin again, of that I am sure.  The first good sign, is that he has money.  Physically, the ravages of heroin isn't showing.  However, I noticed he's drinking-- and that made me uncomfortable.  Common sense tells me that addicts shouldn't drink.  We don't keep a lot of alcohol in our home, and he wasn't frantically looking for it. Still, he tied one on with his friends a couple of times and I am very concerned that his addictive brain will want alcohol to replace his heroin use.  I had to push back my fears and ask God to take the wheel on that one. My worrying isn't going to solve a thing. Still, old fears started to creep back.  Let go, let God.

It is said that parents of addicts should never blame ourselves for our kid's addictions.  However, I could see negative behaviors in B that made me wonder... "did I teach him that?"  My son is a master procrastinator, and it has led him to have a lot of disappointments in life.  His forgetfulness, and lack of planning skills, leads to a lot of drama in his life.  My husband remarked that my son is "crisis driven", and I hate to admit that it seems that way.

My emotions were all over the place, while he was here.  I was so happy to see my son, and I enjoyed talking to him. We watched a movie together, and explored our beautiful coast of California, along with his best friend (who I like).  I was thrilled to watch him soaking in our local scenic park, and inhaling the scent of the Pacific Ocean. I bought him much needed clothes, and was happy to do so.  The week flew by so fast, and before I knew it, we were taking him back to the airport.

I can tell that B really wants to return to California.  He doesn't want to give up becoming an electrician, either.  My heart would love to have him closer, but I need to let him go-- and pray he finds his way, and that he completes the five-year program.  I am cheering him on, when he feels discouraged.  Five years seems like a long time, but he also knows that this is a career that will pay him well and lead to job security. Plus, he loves it.

Seeing B, this time, and saying goodbye made me face something that I have been in denial of for a long time.   I truly have to let my son go. As I washed his bed linens, and returned his former bedroom into the guest room it has now become-- I need to accept that he will never live here again. He knows it, and I know it.  My heart hasn't quite accepted it, yet. I'm working on it.

My son is now a man.  He is an addict, and he will always have to fight the urge to not self-medicate himself.  I am a God-loving mom, who has changed my own life because of my faith in Him.  To me, it seems that my son's millennial generation is moving away from Christianity more than ever before.  With all the gay marriage controversy-- and even traditional marriage values seeming less important-- it seems (to me) that Christians are under attack now more than ever.  My own son labeled me as intolerant, last week.  My answer to that is that I am living my life according to God's written word. It is not for me to rewrite what the bible says.  If am intolerant to how the world is moving away from biblical truths-- then he is intolerant for condemning me for wanting to live my life to please God.  I think he got my point, as he never said that to me again.

I also said that it is my belief that so many people condemn biblical truth, because they don't want to give up the things that they want to do.  I should know, because I lived a life so far from God, for so many years.  Now, the things I once thought made me happy no longer matter to me.  Yes, I'm still a sinner and I make mistakes all the time. Only, now, I know it and I feel shame. I am a much more forgiving person than I once was, and have more peace in my life because of it.

The first night that B was back in Texas, my heart grieved for his presence all over again. But that voice inside me reminded me-- God blessed me with my son.  I need to let him go, and trust that God  has a plan for him.  I cannot force my son to renew his faith in God.  I can, however, pray for him every single day. That is exactly what I do.

In closing, with this journal entry, below is the scripture that our pastor spoke about yesterday.  He, himself, has a daughter that hit rock bottom with alcohol and drug addiction. She is now clean and sober, and has returned to having a relationship with Jesus Christ. She is currently serving as a missionary in Mexico.  I don't see my son going that route. What I pray for my son, is that he would see he doesn't need anxiety medication, weed or drugs to make him feel happy.  I've never shared my personal testimony as to why I gave my heart and soul to God.  I will say that because of my faith, I have found peace in my life.

I pray that for son, and anyone who might read these thoughts that come from my heart. This parable reminds me to pray that my son's "hard soil" would be softened and that his faith would take root and grow.

Mark 4:

3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,
“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
    and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’[a]
13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”


Anonymous said...

Ahhh, it is so hard to let go. My son is still weaning himself off methadone, but he is off heroin and says he no longer feels the urge to use. He has been living at home - mostly - there is a girlfriend now. I have already let go of my first son, the non-addict. So, maybe this will be easier, but my heart does twinge when I don't agree/approve of his choices. I will be praying for you and your journey, he will always be your son, but be encouraged that he is working to be independent. The relationship changes, but not the love.

Anonymous said...

Hello Debby,
I have written before; I am the mother of a woman who is an addict and who recently AGAIN relapsed and is still using. How I share your pain and fears. But like you wrote regarding your son, I know now my precious daughter is an adult. I must let her go; it is her life and she must be free to live that life. It is all I can do to hold myself together and have my own simple life. I just have one observation; I know the problem of opiate/opioid addiction is of epidemic proportions. New treatment options are coming and in my cynicism I know this is because now the wealthy are being affected by addiction and so pharma is realizing the ka-ching ($$) of developing medicinal treatments that may put an end to this horror in our lifetime. Still today, I listened to another dumb doctor on NPR protest restraints being put on doctors regarding limits to prescribing opiates....There are medical doctors who don't want that kind of oversight - it's more important to those same doctors to have that power than to realize how entire communities have been affected by grief and loss. Let it not be their sons and daughters who go down that path....or maybe it should be their experience!!!! At any rate Debby, I send you support and understanding.

Dad and Mom said...

One of the hard things for us to learn is to allow our children to become what they are to be in life. No matter if they suffered from addiction or not.

Anonymous said...

Today I was told "I take Oxys and smoke a little weed" As a mother my heart brain is what said NO! As I am sitting at my desk I was brought to this website. I am lost and dont know what to do.
What did or didnt I do
Help me God! Help my son.

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

I am so very, very sorry. Taking oxys is not good at all. It led to my son eventually buying heroin, because it's cheaper and easier to get than oxys.
I can understand your confusion and anger. You feel helpless, right? Please, take care of YOU. Find a support group, that can help you get through this nightmare. Please do not blame yourself, unless YOU use drugs and gave it to him. I don't think that's the case at all.
Educate yourself. Be prepared that people might judge you and your son, because they don't understand addiction.
If you are a praying mom, then that will help you get through this. It took several years for me to find peace with my son's addiction. I don't wish this on anyone.
My son is free of heroin, but he will always be an addiction.
Please, Lord, comfort this parent. Lead him/her to where they can receive support and knowledge. I pray for their son to find sobriety.

Anonymous said...

I am so scared and lost. I dont know what to do. Where do I start? He is 300 + miles away at college a 20 year old young man. Where do I start? I need help.

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

I don't know if you are the same anonymous who wrote earlier or a new one. Where do you start? If you read my very first blog post, then you might better understand that I had the same fears. I am not an addict. I was not raised by parents with addiction. I had no idea what oxycontin was. I had no idea my son was an addict. I was blind-sided, and had no idea what to do. Educating myself about addiction was the best move that I made. I don't know where your spiritual life is, but it made mine much stronger. So prayer, and knowledge, helped to calm my soul. I cried a lot, and made plenty of mistakes (enabling, for one). It was the community of people I met, through this blog, who helped me to get through this. Please find a Nar-Anon, if you can... they have groups for loved ones of addicts. Or, Al-Anon. Read. Learn. Pray. I'm so sorry.

Anonymous said...

Yes...I am the same anonymous person. I havent slept all I think about is him doing this. I am so dissapointed in him and the path that he is taking. My son is a junior/athlete at a division 1 college. His grades are decent. I help financially with tuition I pay his rent and I give him 300 a month for groceries/gas/spending money. I am just scared. I appreciate your advise. I am just so lost and scared. I told him I will not enable this. I just dont know how deep he is into this...he looks healthy and like I said his grades are decent.

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

Dear Anonymous mom,

Facing the fact that your son is using is one of the most difficult situations that any mom can face. On one hand, you say that your son is an athlete with decent grades. You are paying his tuition, rent and give him spending money. That's great. But, if he is using, then this takes precedence over anything. My son always had excuses like "he's not addicted. He can stop anytime." If he's using a LOT then $300 a month won't scratch the surface of what it costs to buy drugs. With him being 300 miles away, how do you know he's using? These aren't questions that I personally need the answers to. Please. Get counseling. Try to find someone who specializes in addiction, to help you understand what you should and should not do. Oxycontin is highly addictive. My son started snorting it. Eventually, he said the buzz didn't happen, so he graduated to heroin. I'm not trying to scare you. Educate yourself. Fear will paralyze you. Knowledge will give you strength and a plan. As far as looking healthy-- my son did, too. That's why I never knew he was an addict. He was dealing drugs to afford them. It was heroin that took it's toll on my son. He smoked it, didn't inject it. So, there were no track marks. But, he began to look dirty and unkempt. I'm not trying to scare you. You really need support, from someone/people who know what you are going through. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

Thank you....I intend on seeking help this coming Monday. I will not be an enabler nor will I will be blind to this. I just pray for strength and knowlege to get through this.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous, Debby's comments are right on the mark and speak of her's (and my own struggles as mother to a very beloved daughter who is an addict.) Arm yourself with knowledge, don't enable your son at all (this does NOT mean for one second you don't love him when you tell him NO re extra money, etc.) trust your motherly instincts, and take care of yourself!!! You did nothing wrong.....clearly your love for your son is apparent.