Before Addiction






We just got back from a much needed vacation, a vacation that took us to our Happy Place, the State of Maine.  We have vacationed there now for 9 consecutive years.  This year would be a bit different.  We wouldn’t be going with our family, but with a group of friends we go camping with, and we would be going to a place I hadn’t been since 1997.  Long before addiction.

Memorial Day weekend 1997 and the place was Bar Harbor Maine, my older children were then 16, 14 and 10.  This was way before addiction struck our family.  When he was still young, silly and loved being a kid.  We took in all the sites, drove the loop of Acadia National Park, and stopped at all the tourist spots.  Ran around the top of Cadillac Mountain, walked Downtown Bar Harbor, visited the shops.

Fast forwarded 15 years, and there we are, my man, my little man (nearly 10 himself) myself (and 14 of our friends) doing the very same thing.  We drove the loop, ran around the top of Cadillac Mountain…

I was doing just fine.  This was a NEW experience.

Until we hit Sand Beach.

For those of you who have yet to visit Acadia National Park, Sand Beach (the picture in this post) is not like any other beach.  It’s a beach where the Mountain’s covered in Christmas trees meet the Ocean.  (I think the only other place you can find this in the states would be the State of Washington).  It was nearly 90 degrees last Saturday and as we walked toward the water, just as we got past the large rocks you could feel the temperature drop 20 maybe even 25 degrees.  And as the water rushed over my feet I had to jump back.  It was freezing cold.  (I’ve been told the ocean water there never gets over 55 degrees).

It was then that I saw it; it brought back those memories, of a time and a place when my son was free and far from the grip of addiction.

Coming up out of the sand are little springs, that as the water hits the sand it branches off into little streams that carry the water to the ocean.  It was there in those streams that my son played for hours that Memorial Day weekend some 15 years ago.  He made trenches for the streams, and dug deeper into the spring and made the water flow faster.  As I gazed at those springs, I felt my throat tighten, and out of nowhere I began to sob.

I wanted so badly to hold onto that time in my heart and mind, that time before addiction.  Those memories are still there, sweet, innocent and part of our history.  And they are part of his as well.  One day… yes one day when he is long down the road of Recovery they will be again a part of him.  When the addiction fog has lifted, and his brain has had time to heal that young man who dug trenches at Sand Beach will reemerge as a strong man, with a new normal.  A life affected by addiction, yet with a new path to take.

I will  hold onto those sweet times before addiction, yet know after can and will be just as sweet one day.


6 comments on “Before Addiction

  1. Lee Gomes says:

    Hi Susan, I was reading your article, and I could sooooooo relate to what you were saying, then I got to the part where you were thinking back and your throat tightened. I began to sob. I hadn’t even read yet that you began to sob. But………as any parent knows that has an addicted child, we always think back to when things were good, and wonderful, and happy. As I read those words my throat tightened also. It’s such a distinct feeling that happens often. You can continue to have hope, and pray that all this mess WILL be behind him someday I believe that he will be enjoying these vacatins with you in the near future.

    • susanjsilva says:

      I was so surprised when the emotion hit, it literally came out of nowhere. But I have learned to let them hit, to experience them when they come. For grieving is so part of the process. It has helped me let go of who I think he should have been by now, and learn to accept him for where he is right now a this moment. Loving him as he is, and keeping the hope alive that one day he will walk strong in Recovery.

    • Lisa L says:

      Lee, it is true grieving don’t you think? I tried to explain this to my husband so many times. He is my sons step father. But, he just couldn’t console me in these times. My son is over 70 days clean, but I still have these moments just out of the clear blue. My son is working his recovery, and I have hope again. thanks,

  2. Rhonda says:

    You have a great way with your words Susan! I am sure the emotion will hit off and on through out our own lives. I have experienced the same! I only know when I stopped asking and letting him live his own life. I have seen his Recovery become stronger. I am a proud mom of my son who has been clean for 20months and I can only support and love him for who he is today not for what he was….. Oh what a wonderful freeing feeling this is for the both of us ❤ I enjoy him more today than I have ever~

    I can only PRAY you can experience the same feelings I have in my heart for your son !!!It is in GOD'S time not our's

    • Lisa L says:

      Rhonda, I find myself having a hard time letting go and letting my son live his own life. But, I am doing better. 20 months for your son, how wonderful. Mine is about 70 days clean, and I have watched him go from being so sick, to what seems like a healthier, happier, young man. Yes, I love the man he is becoming. Easier to let go of the little boy he was. God bless, what a great story.

  3. Lisa L says:

    I grieved for the loss of my little boy, but he is now 26yr. I found myself wanting to go back to the those times. This is such a great article and again I can relate to you story.

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