Mother’s pain, laced with love, vs. addiction

mother-sonLove the child, hate the addiction. This is something I’ve heard for several years as I try to cope with being the mother of a struggling drug addict. It all started the day my father passed away. He was my son’s father figure and it came down on him with such crashing force that he refused to grieve.

At the time, he was a junior in high school and sports were his mainstay. He threw himself into football and basketball and for the next year and a half, surprisingly, it did keep him busy.

A few weeks after graduation he left for college, where he was introduced to drugs. They grabbed onto him and never let go.

At home after his freshman year he went from job to job, community college to community college and rehab stint to rehab stint.

We experienced emergency room visits. Some were due to overdoses and some were suicide attempts as a result of severe depression.

The worst was when he ended up in a coma on life support, which he prayerfully came out of after a week. I can remember it like it was yesterday, walking into the emergency room while the nurse stood over him, hand pumping his lungs to keep him breathing until transferring him to ICU.

As soon as he was dismissed from the hospital, he was arrested for possession of a controlled substance. Although you might think visiting your child behind bars is one of the worst things for a parent, visiting him in jail was far better than the morgue. This is the perfect example of how the head and the heart have a hard time matching up, especially when it comes to your children.

He attended long term treatment and he seemed to have a handle on recovery. He opted for independent living as opposed to a halfway house (big mistake), attended outpatient services and went to AA meetings, both in his community and then at home when he visited on weekends.

But it wasn’t long before some of his old “playmates,” as they call them in recovery, would visit and offer him just a taste of his old lifestyle. And that’s all it took.

He ended up in two more residential treatment centers over the last four years, this time by choice, which gave me a new spark of hope that he might stay clean and sober. But again, we seemed to want it more than he did. By we I mean, his family — both traditional and Alcoholics Anonymous, the professional team (psych staff and substance abuse counselors) and usually a case manager from one of the facilities working with him.

And then we ended up at a place we never thought we’d be: emotional appeals to a county attorney to have him committed by the mental health board. It takes what it takes.

For the past two weeks I have screamed, cried and begged those who could and would listen. Those who were a part of the process, a part of the system that is supposed to help people like my son. After exhausting my resources and my energy, it was all in God’s hands.

A day before the hearing was to take place, I received a call from my son’s psychologist. He said since my son did not contest the professional recommendations, there wouldn’t be any need for a hearing.

There you are. It’s a done deal. Tough love in a way I had never imagined.

And now we wait for the healing to start, for the acknowledgment he is powerless over alcohol and drugs and that his life has become unmanageable. I need to focus on positive, on healing myself and finding a place where I’m no longer physically, emotionally and mentally drained. I look forward to finding that place. Article Link…

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