At a Crossroads

Just yesterday I watched a great Video by Kay Arthur on the “Life of David”. Her teaching was on David and Bathsheba and even if you aren’t religious you most likely know the story, Strong Handsome King David is out on his Palace Balcony in the late evening and he sees Bathsheba bathing… he calls one of his attendants to find out who she is, the attendant comes back telling King David “she is the wife of Uriah the Hittite (one of David’s long time loyal men). David chooses to have her brought to him… and the rest is history.

There were a lot of good “Life Lessons” in this video. At several points in the story David was at a crossroads… he had a choice to make. And each time he chose poorly, from adultery to deception to murder in the blink of an eye and in the end because of those choices there was a price to pay.

I share this with you not to give you a bible lesson but to point to the truth of ‘Crossroads’. Our addicts come to them all the time. Choices… Crossroads… For some the choice began the first time they partied and the momentary choice of what they thought was “a bit of fun” turned into a life of addiction. For others there was no choice at all, they followed their Doctors advice and filled the prescription for pain.

No matter what got them to where they are now, at some point they will come to a Crossroads.( A place where a choice is to be made.) When they get there will they be able to make a good choice? Whether they do or not it is their crossroad to come to. As parents we try to get them there quicker by raising their bottom; removing them from our homes, cutting off any financial support ect. We put them right there in the face of a crossroads.

My son has asked me if I think it’s a good idea for him to head to Florida and start a new life, in a trade he loves. To leave with a friend who is 5 ½ years clean and sober. Leaving behind all the triggers that are here, old girlfriends, old friends, a town that every time he goes there it’s bad news. HE is standing at a crossroads…

My advice was simple; I told him what I thought was best, but in the end it is his choice. It is he that stands there at this crossroad trying to determine which way he will go.

I said

I will not tell you what to do here, you and only you can own your Recovery. If you go and you succeed, the sweet victory will be yours to hold onto. If you go and fail, it will be you that has to pick up the pieces and try again.

But know that with every choice there is a price to pay. Hard work for the victory or Hard work after a Relapse.

Crossroads; we all stand at them, our addicts will face them everyday… Will I use today Or will I walk hard in my Recovery?

If I Can’t Fix my addict…

Each of us comes to the place when we realize we can do nothing to fix our addicted loved one. There is no amount of love that we can pour over them or into them that will magically take away the addiction. If there was our loved ones would all be healed from this maddening disease in very short order.

I know I certainly tried and lost precious time, sleep, joy, peace, and belongings. Never mind emptying myself of energy and love. Once the light dawned on my ‘marble –head’ I was able to see why I was so full of despair all the time. When you are giving all you got to another human being who does not have the capability to receive it, because addiction renders them unable to, it will exhaust you, depress you, and has the potential to drain you mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

It’s bad enough that my addicted love one is bankrupt in each of those areas… I cannot allow myself to be as well.

So that’s the big question here… I’m a parent, a mother; I’m a nurturer by heart.

How do I let go of my NEED to fix?

One of the first things I did was to recognize that my God loves my son more than I do. And I literally “lifted my son up to Him”.

Imagine if you will the moment in the movie “The Lion King”, when Rafiki raised Simba to the sky…

well that’s what I basically had to do with my son. I prayerfully every morning do that. Knowing that God has a plan for my son keeps me sane, and fills me with peace.

The peace is awesome, but what about the energy, the drive I am still filled with to do something about this…

I use that energy to write, to fight and to bring Awareness to my Community about what this disease is doing to our loved ones. By fighting I mean doing what I can to help keep funding for treatment centers, emailing my Senators and Representatives making them aware at all times what this epidemic is doing to the people they represent. In order for them to Vote wisely we need to let them know. Being willing to be a voice in our Communities, having the courage to step out in the light and say:

“Hi my name is Susan and I am the mother of an addict” .

I am willing to be a face and a voice to help remove the stigma, bring awareness, and most importantly to share a way to peace out of the pain and shame. I can’t fix my son, but I just might be able to fix something about addiction.

How am I doing?

I have been asked that question alot lately…

As the parent of an Addict, I too must submit to the need of Recovery in my own life. I cannot get through this alone. Nor can I continue to do things as I have always done them. In my 4 part post on Freedom in Saying No I dealt with a lot of my own enabling. What my part in all of this was and could be again if I’m not careful.

I can certainly look back and see just how far I’ve come. I know that for me a line in concrete has been drawn when it comes to understanding that I CAN NOT fix my son.

That one is firmly instilled in my heart.

Yet it hasn’t removed the desire to do so. I believe as a mom that will be something I will have to keep right in front of me at all times, always keeping that in check. Just like my son I too can relapse. I can go back to relying on feelings instead of fact and loose an immense amount of ground that I have gained.

Yesterday as I was speaking to him, he was telling me his plans for the near future. At this moment he is in a locked down facility for up to 30 days after nearly taking his life. He sang a good song telling me how he just wanted to leave the life of addiction behind him, that when he gets out of there on July 5th he just wants to get an apartment and get a job and move on. ~

Last year had I heard those words I would have been so elated ~ but the truth is he has yet to stay clean for more than 3 months, never mind walking out of every program he’s gotten into or being kicked out. And when life through him a curve ball 3 weeks ago his answer was to nearly kill himself with a very bad mix of drugs. If I was not where I am today in my Recovery I very well may have fallen for his song. And even helped to find him what he wanted.

Instead I told him I cannot support that. That until he had a good year or better of being clean I cannot believe that he can make it on his own. His past inability to deal with life and its hardship without falling headlong into drug use certainly spoke loudly to that. That I support his getting into a long term program and nothing more, when he protested I said when you’re ready for that call me and I hung up.

So… how am I doing?

Today I am walking firmly in my Recovery, taking purposeful steps to stay that way and doing my best to stay one… maybe even two steps ahead of my addict. Today is a good day!

Somehow there’s Peace

After a three week run of using drugs hard, watching my son slip further and further away I seized an opportunity to raise his bottom and force his hand into recovery. Day after day last week I asked him;

“Are you ready to go to the Hospital? I’ll take you

Each request was met with a “no mom I’m fine, I’ll call a Detox tomorrow

Tomorrow wasn’t coming… and if he continued down the path he was on, I’m afraid I’d be writing on a whole different topic today.

Over the weekend my son was arrested for B&E in an abandoned house, looking for a place to crash out with a few of his addict buddies. So Monday morning he needed to head to court to answer for those charges. After numerous calls to me that he just “had to have $50” I told him, ok come down to my office. I had no intention of giving him the money, but if he thought I was going to give it to him I knew he would show up.

He was a bit upset when I told him no money, but I would get him a bite to eat on our way to the court.

Unbeknown to him I had already called the Court house to ask if they did Section 35’s, they did and I was going to

He seemed pleased at first that I was going into Court with him, as he turned to head toward Probation he asked if I was coming in with him.

I said “No, I’m heading for the Clerk’s Office”

He seemed a bit puzzled and asked me “why

I kept walking and said “I’m going to Section you today

I took my seat in the Court room after filling out all the paper work; it wasn’t long before he joined me. Continually whispering to me “mom, really you don’t need to do this, you just need to bail me out today and I promise I’ll go to Detox” he persisted with this and I told him to hush because I wasn’t changing my mind.

I was focused; I could feel strength in the very marrow of my bones that would not let me vacillate to the left or to the right. I could hear the whisper of God in my heart telling me “hold tight to My hand, you are doing the right thing, we’re saving his life”…

I will spare you all the unfolding details, but know that as I stood before that judge and pleaded for my sons life tears ran down my face and the brevity of his addiction spilled from my heart.

The Section 35 was granted,

and a chance at Recovery can take place. As I left that court room I felt a surge of power running through me, a huge weight had been lifted from my soul and I knew I had done the right thing.

Isaiah 41: 10 Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

He’s Someone’s Son

There are times when the words that come out of your mouth come back to bite you.

And they did.

For months I have been actively working toward Awareness, that addiction can hit any family, at any time, and any child can be caught in this mess. When it’s your son, your daughter you want people to have compassion, to extend grace, to find understanding. Over and over in your heart you hear yourself saying

“if you only understood addiction… if you just knew him before all this hit… you’d know the sweet boy I knew, the one whose laugh lit up your world, the one who loved playing baseball and riding quads, the one who cried when he saw a homeless man on the street… that’s my addict, that’s my son”.

The pain a mother carries in her heart when her son or daughter is rejected and looked upon as a looser because of addiction is at times unbearable and I know it well.

Just two days ago I saw my son with a long time friend, one who he has used with on countless occasions. A young man I know well, and loved like a son. He has supplied my son on several occasions with drugs. As the two walked toward me, he knew to separate from my son and walked away as I spoke to him. As we parted I said

“I can’t believe you’re with that looser”.

By the time I got in the car my stomach was turning… not because he was with him, but because of what just came out of my mouth… he is someone’s son, just like my son is.

His mother is in just as much pain over the road her son has chosen as I am. Tears streamed down my face as I was confronted with my two-faced heart. Oh how I prayed that I would have the opportunity to make amends.

This morning I received a text from that young man… he was seeking to make amends for the hurt he had caused our family.

The tears flowed…

I immediately called him and I was able to tell him I forgive him and ask his forgiveness for my callous words.

He said “Susan I forgive you, and I completely understand, if I had a son I wouldn’t want him with me either”.

He went on to tell me of where he was in his recovery, and I was able to offer words of encouragement and understanding. Oh how I pray they replaced the callous ones.

I must always remember… he’s someone’s son…

When the Truth is a Lie

I have a very dear friend who has often reminded me “if his lips are moving he’s lying”. Keeping that phrase in the forefront of my mind got me through some of the most difficult moments of my son’s addiction while he lived with us. It was those lies, coupled with the stealing and of course the drug use that forced me to tell him he could no longer live in our home.

This August 2nd it will be a year that he moved out. I immediately transformed his room into my office. No bed for him to come back to. It made it more final for me. Removing the bed and dresser made it so I could not have a weak moment and say “ok… you can come back” The fresh paint and office furniture took it right off the radar from ever happening.

But… it didn’t prevent him from visiting or calling.

While he lived with us I KNEW what was happening. There was no hiding it. His lies were easily exposed because the truth was just right out there in front of me. But when he’s not right there in front of me everyday living out his addiction or his recovery… lies can very easily become his truth. A truth that he sells me, a truth that seemed convincing.

Numbers 32:23 the second half of that verse says …“be sure your sins will find you out”. Isn’t it funny how true that statement can be. None of us can live a lie for too long before the truth is exposed. And that was true for my son.
One after another the ‘truths” he’s been selling have been exposed as lies, as manipulations. When I confronted him he said he did it all to “make me happy”. He wanted me to think he was something or somewhere he wasn’t.

I must admit I liked thinking he was doing well, I liked telling people he was doing well. But the fall from that false place to the real place he is at hurt way too much. As much as I didn’t like the roller-coaster of his living with us “truth” was always more evident… and I can live in truth, I can feel safe with truth even if the truth is harsh.

The office furniture will stay… but I need to find a way to paint my heart before I can deal with the calls and visits.