Mother's Heartbreak

A Story of Addiction & Loss

Month: June 2015

Divine Intervention or Bad Luck

We sat and continued our new game until the sky darkened.  The dogs wet and tired kept nudging us with sandy faces letting us know it was time to leave.   We walked back together in uncomfortable silence.  So unlike us.  I felt the loss of our honesty.  We had been through so much together yet I felt like an outsider.  I tried to hide my hurt by suggesting that the wet dogs come home with me.  I knew Lisa wouldn’t want the smelly, sandy girls running through her tidy home.  We parted at the house, you headed to Lisa’s, I headed to the hose with my companions for the weekend.   We hugged and I remember thinking about my cool Mom plan.  It wasn’t working for me.  I cared too much about your life and found it hard to pretend that I didn’t.  Your addiction robbed us of having a healthy relationship.  You were an adult.  You had a life.  I should be able to just relax and enjoy your company.  Our reality was nothing I ever dreamed would happen to us.  You were always a daredevil and never worried about the consequences of your actions.  I thought you would mature and realize that.  You still weren’t too worried about paying your bills on time and would rather buy another toy than put money into your savings.  I remembered all the lectures I’d lay on you when I’d come and find your new Jet ski.  You would have the biggest smile telling me that I worried about bills and life enough for the both of us.  Life’s too short, Mom, was your favorite comeback.  Little did I know that you were wise beyond your years.  God Matt, I’d think.  If you would be more responsible maybe I wouldn’t have to be.  Maybe I could have a little fun if I didn’t have to constantly worry about what you were doing to your life.

I spent that night trying to relax.  The dogs now clean snuggled next to me on the couch.  I ordered a pizza and opened a bottle of red.  I thought about calling to see if you wanted to join me, but I was still playing the cool Mom.  You knew where I was and I figured you would come if you needed something.  This new game was a tough one.  Being this Mom went against who I truly was.  Remember I am the fixer and I didn’t know what to do if you weren’t giving me something to fix.  I started to read books written by parents of addicts.  There were some similarities to our story, but I really couldn’t identify with these tough love parents.  There was no way I could ever turn my back on you and your addiction.  I had myself fooled about your addiction.  You didn’t do street drugs, you had scripts for everything you took.   Sometimes you just overdid it.  That’s what my mind would tell me.  I guess that’s how my brain got me through those times I had to pull you back from your demons.  God, denial is such a beautiful thing.

The night passed with no contact from you.  Ok I thought.  I can do this.  Maybe this is how things should be.  You are a grown man in a live in relationship.  Why should I expect you to want to hang out with your Mom.  This is normal I kept telling myself.  This is how your friends live.  They have their own lives, enjoy their own things.  Not always wrapped up in their adult kids lives.  Maybe you can get used to this.  Maybe this is a good sign.  My mind was in high gear trying to convince me that this was the normal I always wanted.  My gut just wasn’t so quick to buy in to this new theory.  Mothers instinct they call it.  Mine was like a lion always on guard looking for the predator coming for her young.  Your demons would never let you go without a fight,  and we all knew you could not fight.  They brought you the euphoria that you always ran to when life got tough.   Ok, give it a rest I told myself.  Just try to enjoy this peace while it lasted.  Deep down I knew chaos was not far behind.

The weekend passed too quickly.  I was packing my car when you pulled into the driveway.  Hey Mom.  You going back to your rat race.  Yup Matt, gotta pay the bills.  Believe me I wish I could stay and watch what your up to.  See how long you could pretend to be this cool guy.  I had to admit, you did look good.  My checklist starting again.  Speech clear, eyes clear.  I continued to observe you as you walked into the house to get the dogs.  Thanks for washing her Mom.  I ‘m glad you came.  Sorry I didn’t spend more time with you but Lisa starting complaining about me not doing my share around her house.  I thought I better stay and help her out.  It’s hard when I work and have my own place to keep up.  No worries Matt.  The place is clean.  I’ll cut the grass and clean next time I come.  Oh God,  I thought.  Matt, don’t stress.  Please just handle this without your usual escape.  I try to lighten the conversation.  Ray and I go through the same thing too.  House hopping is hard but don’t worry if you’re not here much the place will stay clean.  Good, I have something to fix.  I can feel the game ending.  He needs me again.  I will do anything to keep him from stress.  Stress leads him back to the dark place and the demons.

I return home and start putting my plan together.  I’ll go down on my day off and keep the grass cut and place clean.  No problem I think.  It will take time away from me but that’s ok.  I love it there and this is a great excuse to keep an eye on Matt.  Smiling I think thanks Lisa, you just gave me the perfect excuse for checking up.  Smiling to myself I foolishly think I’m in control.

They say Man makes plans and God laughs.  Well he was laughing all right.  He laughed and laughed.  You see I still thought I was in charge.  Me,  the type A,  fix everybody person was about to get a lesson on control.  I just didn’t know it at the time.

I had to work July 4th.  You see babies don’t know it’s a holiday when they come into the world sick or too early.   Ok, I thought I’ll go down tomorrow night.  Ray and I had plans to go mountain biking and then to have crabs on the 5th.  He was finally getting used to dating a nurse and understood about working when everyone else in the real world had off.  He picked me up and we headed to Fairhill.   It was a beautiful day and the trails were perfect.  We were about two miles into the woods enjoying a great workout and each other’s company.   We were in the middle of a steep climb when my front tire hit a rock.  Holy shit.  I was dead stopped in the middle of this steep hill.   Shit, shit, shit.  My bike started going backwards picking up speed.  Shit, I tried to get my foot down to stop this backward spiral.  I remember falling with such force.  I saw my right wrist slam into the ground.  I remember laying there trying to catch my breath.  Ray was by my side.  I sat up.  My wrist was hanging off my arm sideways.   I remember looking at Ray as the color drained from his face.  It’s bad I thought.  Ok, my nurse brain kicked in.  No exposed bones, just a hanging hand in the middle of the woods.

The only way out is to walk.  I was leaning on my bike trying to stabilize my wrist with my shirt.   I was in survival mode.  I Just kept walking and tried not to think about the pain now wracking my body..  I knew if I stopped I was passing out.  Ray in all his medical brilliance kept telling me that it wasn’t broken.  Shut up Ray,  It’s broken. it’s more than broken.   We walked about a mile.  I couldn’t walk anymore.  I told Ray to leave me and ride to the car.   I remember laying on the ground taking deep breaths trying to stay conscious.    I remembered thinking I was leaving for the beach tonight.  I remember thinking about Matt.  I could feel the fear building.  My plan like my wrist shattered.  I prayed for Ray to get back, I prayed for the pain to let up.  I asked God for help.  I remember hearing a voice in my head,  Let Go, Let God.   Ok God.  Did you really have to let this happen.  You know I have to fix Matt.  Fix yourself first my new little voice said.   Ok God I get it.  I’m not in charge, you are.  I know I’m hardheaded but really was breaking my wrist necessary.  I hear the car in the distance.  I get myself up and start to cry.  Ok God,  stop laughing…….

 

 

Matt 1 Mom 0

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Ok Matt, we can play this new game. No more Hey Mamas for you. Even in your blissful state you were as smart as a fox. So I made a plan to out fox you. No more Mom police. Just going to be as cool as a cucumber. No more twenty questions, no more trying to catch you in a lie. Just going to sit back and watch you unravel. Then I swoop in and save the day. That’s what I did, always saving you from bad choices, bad people and bad situations. At least you had Lisa in your life and I hoped she would alert me as things starting to get out of control. Maybe I was putting too much faith in a relationship you built still keeping your dirty little secret. I just couldn’t imagine that you could pull off your act twenty four hours a day. There would come a point where even she would start to see changes and hopefully realize you were stoned. So I wait for the call I know will come, either from you or Lisa. It didn’t really matter to me who called, I knew the call was coming.
Friday came and so did my craving for the sea. Ok, I tell myself, you can go and just enjoy the weekend. It’s part your house and you deserve to get away. I talk myself into thinking I’m going down and will be able to continue being this new cool Mom. I talked to myself a lot since your demons came into our lives. Most times there was no one else I could talk to honestly about the nightmare that kept finding us again. No one wants to hear about my son, the addict. So I became the best talker and listener all wrapped up in one. I would catch myself having conversations while driving. I would be so involved that I never realized that I was actually talking out loud. This all started before the wonderful Bluetooth was invented so I couldn’t even pretend I was talking to someone other than myself. Cars would pull up and
The drivers would look at me like I was crazy. I would look over and read their thoughts. Oh Yes, You are right I am just about as crazy as I can get away with being. My son’s an addict and this craziness is my normal. I didn’t bother to call to tell you I was on my way. I still had my key and thought I would just act like my coming was the most normal thing in the world. Just a Mom coming to the place she loved.
The closer I got, the less cool Mom I became. That familiar throat tightening, the feeling of panic started to grip my body. The what if’s started playing with my mind. What if he’s high. What if his bills aren’t paid, what if I see all the signs showing me the demons have landed. Could I just keep my cool and wait for the cry for help.
I pull up in the driveway. My checklist starts. Wow, the grass is cut. The house looks like somebody lives here. I start to shake as I put my key in the door. Please God, let this be ok. Please no dirty dishes or dog hair everywhere. Let me walk in and find normal. Let this house look like it is lived in even if he spends most of his time at Lisa’s. I hold my breath. Holy crap. No dishes, no dog hair, no clutter. My mind races. There is no way he knew I was coming. Does he have ESP or is he just playing another game. I take a breath and feel myself relax. Maybe, just maybe I over reacted. Maybe he is not abusing like I’m used to. What a great feeling. Relax I tell myself. It’s all ok.
I settle in. I walk to the bay and let the salt air fill my lungs. Thank you God. I really needed this. My happy place is happy once again. My mind starts. Should I call and let him know I’m here or should I just enjoy the peace of the sea. Am I being selfish to just want calm, to not second guess every word or action. Being the Mom of an addict is the toughest job in the world. I want to hide out but that little voice keeps telling me to just touch base. Before I decide I hear that familiar voice, Hey Mom. I turn and see that handsome face. That smile. I take a deep breath and try to stop the checklist from hitting my brain. Matt, how are you. You look great. How did you know I was here. Mom, I know you. I know you can’t stay away. I made sure the house was ready for your surprise visit. That smurk spreads across your face. Dam Matt.
Ok, I will play. Remember I’m a cool Mom now. So we sit and try our hand at small talk. I must admit, if I didn’t know you I would swear you were the straightest guy I ever met. A true saint. You didn’t even light a cigarette the whole time we sat on the rocks. I tried to think of things to say. Watching the dogs run in the surf was a great distraction. Sitting side by side looking like a normal family. Looking at us no one would believe the hell we’ve endured at the hands of your demons. No one would believe the chaos that has become part of our lives. No one would believe that we have started this new game. On the outside we look just like any other mother and son. Sitting side by side watching the dogs play in the surf. Addiction is like that. Sly like a fox. It let’s you think you can have normal. It fools you into letting your guard down. Giving you just a little tease of what life could be like. Over the surf I hear it. That voice of caution. Careful cool Mom. This battle is far from over. We are just playing our game. I swear I could feel their presence hovering above us as we sat and tried to be just us. Go to Hell, Demons…Game on…….

Demons 1 Mom 0

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Matt,  I was trained just like Pavlov’s dog.  Hearing you say Hey Mama caused such a physical reaction.  My throat tightening, heart racing, wanting to vomit reaction hit me like that wave you didn’t see knocking you to your knees.  I tried to compose myself not wanting to scream at you for your return to euphoria.   Matt, what’s going on.  What are you doing.  Relax, you tell me it’s no big deal.  I was in pain so I took some Perc’s.  I’m fine.  Matt, you’re not fine, you have a problem and you need help.  You need to find another way to manage whatever pain you have.  You keep telling me you have it all under control, that you can handle this.  You are in such denial.  You are in trouble.  Please let’s get you into rehab and finally get you to a safe place.  You pop those pills like they are candy.  You’re going to lose everything again.  Please Matt, let me help you.

Mom, all you ever do is lecture me.  Get off my back.  I’m so tired of your opinions on how I live.  I know what I’m doing and I know what I take.  I’m working, paying my bills.  Lisa doesn’t care, she understands that I need relief after working all day.  You just like to cause trouble.  Just let me be.  I’m not a little kid stop treating me like one.

You know what Matt, you’re right.  You are a grown man and if this is how you choose to live then so be it.  I’m really so tired of worrying about you every day.  Your addiction has wiped me out.  I’ve spent so much time saving you I forgot who I am.  I just really don’t get how easily you forget the nightmare we survived getting you clean.  The medical horror show as your body got rid of the poison.  How in the hell can you put that poison back into your body is beyond me.  I’m so glad Lisa understands and doesn’t mind the slurred speech and laziness that comes along with your drug use.  Maybe you two are the perfect match. 

You know what, I’m going back into my life.  I’m going to spend time with me and try to remember who I am and what I like.  I won’t be coming down this weekend.  I can’t just sit back and watch you self destruct.  It’s too painful for me when I try to help and you push me away.  You are so twisted in thinking you have control of this way of life.  Matt, you will spiral down again and maybe I won’t be there to catch you. 

I ended the conversation telling you I loved you.  I felt so defeated.  Knowing it was only a matter of time before your addiction would suck you so far away from everything you loved.  My heart was breaking not knowing what else I could or should do.  Your demons always made you a mister know it all until the shit hit the fan and you called for help.  Dear God, this is an endless battle.

The week  lasted forever.  I tried not to consume myself with worry over you.  Ray and I starting hanging out every night.  We were getting serious and it was so nice to have some normal in my life.  The weekend came and my internal struggle began.  Waking up Saturday and fighting the urge to get in my car and become the Mom police.  Breaking that pattern was difficult.  I still foolishly thought I could save you from the hell you were about to enter.  How foolish I was. 

I convinced myself that things would be ok.  I would check in with you later.  I called Ray.  I needed normal and he was just that.  We biked through the woods, enjoyed cold beers and laughed.  This is good I kept telling myself, you can do this.  You can have a life outside of Matt’s addiction.  Night fell and my panic set in.  I didn’t call, you didn’t call.  Oh God.  Did I abandon Matt.  I just need him to realize how serious his problem is.  I need him to be ok whatever that means.  I need the pills to go away.  What would happen if I pretended he wasn’t addicted.  How long would that fantasy last.  Why can’t he just stop.  Why doesn’t he see what his addiction is doing.  He lives in his chaotic, deceptive world.  I live in constant fear of what we are heading for.  On this roller coaster from hell.  Ups then downs, never knowing what ‘s coming around the next bend. 

I broke down and called.  I needed to know good or bad.  This time when you answered there was no Hey Mama. You were getting smart.  Catching on to my cues.  My checklist.  Your speech not quite clear,  just tired Mom.  Polite, too polite.  You were on guard.  Oh God,  we are going to start playing a new game.   Matt, where are you going.  I want you back.  My Matt before the pills, before the demons found your soul and starting pulling you away from me.  I just wanted to say goodnight I tell you.  I don’t let on that I know how sly your addiction has made you.  Love you Matt.  Love you, Mom.  We hang up.  Tears start falling from my eyes.  The dogs come.  We curl up and sit in the dark.  My mind wanders to happier days.  My boys playing in the surf laughing as we run down the beach together.  Matt hold on, I’m right behind you.  I can play your game.  I’m your Mom.  You’re my Matt.  I got this.  I closed my eyes.  Go to hell demons. 

 

 

So This Is What They Call Normal

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Matt,  I must say I really enjoyed just being able to have fun and not constantly watching and worrying about what you were up to.  I kept thinking this is how everyone else lives.  No constant worry, no chaos, no addiction sucking the fun out of life.   Wow, I could get used to this.  I did think about you at times, but I did not obsess about you like I normally did.  I never realized just how much your addiction had taken over my life too.   The chaos that consumed your life had seeped into mine.  This weekend was a much needed break.  I actually surprised myself at times when I realized that I hadn’t thought about you for hours.  Holy crap, I really can do this.  Laugh and feel joy.  I had so forgotten how life could be.  I was so used to being consumed with fear about where your addiction would take us next that I forgot how to live with pure joy.  Oh don’t be fooled I told myself, this is just a break.  Your life will never be normal.  Your son is an addict.

Ray was great.  I think he knew that something was up between you and me.  I did call you to do my checks especially knowing you were having a party on Saturday.  You did a great job keeping my worries at bay.  Every time we spoke you sounded clear, normal, like it should be. A friendly conversation between a mother and her son.  Not the Mom police going through her mental check list while listening to your voice and scrutinizing your choice of words.  I know Ray was probably wondering why I had to check in with my grown son everyday. Our secret was still ours.  I didn’t trust him enough to spill the beans on our real struggle.  We still had a separation to our lives giving me the luxury of keeping our dirty little secret just between us.  I often wondered how you did it.  Living with Lisa.  I often wondered how you kept your addiction under wraps.   Then I remembered how sly you had become with your behavior.  You would become so mellow and loving when you were living in that happy place you craved.  She probably though you were just such a mellow guy.  Happy and carefree as the pills took you away from reality and kept you  from everything that made you uncomfortable.   No arguments or anxiety as long as you were floating in your blissful place.

Ok, stop my brain would tell me.  Stay where you are. This is your break.  What happens with Matt and Lisa is between them.  I had to keep bringing my drifting brain back to the present to what I was doing.  I really had forgotten how to enjoy the moment.  Your addiction kept me from smelling the roses.  I was trained to be on constant watch, trying to control what was to come.   I put you out of my mind and concentrated on how great this new normal could be.  I wondered what life would be like if your demons would let you go.   I allowed myself to dream of the life I wanted for us both.  Peace and happiness.  A normal relationship that didn’t include detox and drugs.  Just a mother and her son enjoying normal.

Before I knew it Sunday was here.  The weekend of peace coming to an end.  I felt saddened and a little guilty.  I really enjoyed just being me and not having to fix anything you might have broken.   Ray wanting to spend more time together.  Getting close, letting him in and wondering if he could handle what I knew would come again.  This normal would be washed away by that crashing wave when you lost control again and I would run to catch you before you were sucked away by the currant you could no longer control throwing you the rope, praying you would hold on long enough for me to pull you back to safety.   Oh God, Matt.  I really liked normal.  Maybe we could try harder.  Maybe together we could have more normal.  You and me, just a mother and her son living life replacing the demons with peace and beauty.

I called you late Sunday night,  holding my breath and silently praying.  Please sound like I need you to sound.  This weekend gave me a tease at a life I so badly craved.  I needed your demons to give us both a break.    Your addiction had taken away so much from both of us.  Being with Ray gave me a taste of having someone else to think about.  Feelings I had no time for were pushing me to take a chance at a life that was not constantly about saving you.  The phone rang several times before you answered.   Hey Mama.   I felt my heart brake in my chest.  No, No, No,  Matt.  I closed my eyes and felt my breath being sucked out of my body.  The wave crashed and pushed me to my knees.  No normal for you shouted your demons.  Hey Mama , are you there.  Yes Matt, I replied as my mind started putting together my plan to save you again.  Normal once again replaced with chaos, your demons laughing.

Just Once Let It Be All About Me

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Matt,  That was the longest week of my life.  Having no contact with you was killing me.  I was so used to talking to you at least everyday sometimes when I was really worried I’d  call you twice.   But after you took off like you did taking the pills I’d hidden from you for your own good, I was really hurt and pissed.  Your addiction had taken over my life more than I ever realized.  I should just become an addict, I’d tell myself some days.  I’m so caught up in addiction what difference would it make.   Except  I like to control.  I’ve seen you out of control on your pills.  I could never be that person.  Remember, my biggest problem is thinking I can control every aspect of your life, including your addiction.  That’s what’s so frustrating for me.  You weren’t raised to be an addict.  You lived in a great neighborhood, went to a private Catholic school, for God’s sake, how in the hell did you become this person.  When my mind gets quiet I’d go through my review of our lives to try to make some sense of this self destructive path you kept finding for yourself.   OK, I was divorced from the asshole, sperm donor who was supposed to be a father and a husband.  I know they say childhood trauma is linked to drug addiction, but I really tried to give us a good life.  You had men in your life growing up to give you guidance and support.  You had a great brother and of course you had me wrapped around your finger thanks to the monster called guilt.  Believe me Matt I beat myself up on a daily basis for your choices and would have given anything for a do over, but this was our reality and you chose to mask your pain with euphoria only pills could give you.  Me and Mike did the physical stuff, running and biking.  You chose to zone out and let the world go by with me solving all your problems.  Well,  maybe just once I can have a little piece of time that doesn’t involve saving you.

I had every intention of coming to the beach on Friday night and of course I had a plan for anything I would find on my surprise arrival.  You had me well trained and nothing you did could shock me anymore.  So I’m mentally making my what to bring in the event another crisis needs to be resolved list when my phone rang.  Maybe it was God intervening to give me a much needed normal in the form of Ray.  Hey Ray, how are you.  Hey,  do you have plans for this weekend.   Crap,  on one hand this is great.  my weekend off is when he has his girls so we rarely have a weekend just for us.  So here it is, the weekend!  He’s free, and  I have the choice to be free like I said, crap!   How do you date and control your addict son’s addiction.  I really wanted to see for myself just how Matt was handling not having the Mom police hovering and watching his every move.  On the other hand, having a weekend just to relax and have some time to enjoy Ray would be amazing.  My mind racing trying to come up with an answer that would determine how my weekend would play out.  Well, I’m thinking we could go to the beach.  That would give me the best of both worlds.  Could enjoy the beach with Ray and check up on Matt at the same time.  Do I take the chance of finding Matt in bad shape and knowing I could not ignore the problem and walk away without pulling out my magic fix it wand.   Would Ray realize what I have been dealing with for so long.  Do I always have to be the fixer of Matt’s situation.

 Do I ever get to think just about what I want to do with my free time.  How much time do I give to chasing Matts demons away when he always seems to invite them back.  Being the mother of an addict is like being given a life sentence for a crime you didn’t commit.   Was God trying to open my eyes to the fact that Matt was not mine to fix and control.  Ray,  yes I’m going to be around this weekend.  Yes, I’d love to go biking and relax by the bonfire.  Yes, all weekend, no not heading to the beach this time.  I could feel the panic building as I made plans that didn’t include my raid on the beach house.  Oh God,  please let this be the right decision.  I’m really excited to spend time with the person who makes me happy and gives me a slice of normal in my oh so crazy world.  Please keep an eye on Matt.  Keep him safe.  

I hung up with Ray and immediately the guilt hit me in the face.  What the hell was I thinking taking time to play when I had no idea what was going on with Matt.  I made a point of not calling to show him he couldn’t just use me when he needed something and blow me off when he didn’t.  Yeah, big tough Mom I was.  Now I’m in a panic.  All the what if’s that we Moms of addicts go through bouncing around my brain.  What if he’s using too much, what if he’s sick and needs me, what if he’s fighting with Lisa, what if he’s not taking care of his dogs.  I’m what ifing myself to death when I decide to just make the call.  Knowing that until I did I might as well just go to the beach cause my body might be home but my brain would be thinking about Matt.

Ok, suck it up.  He knows your pissed.  You silence spoke volumes, but so did his.  I’m nervous as I dial the number and hear it ring.  Oh God, please let him answer.  I’m just getting ready to leave a message when I hear hey Mom what’s up.   My automatic checklist starts.  Speech clear, no hey Mama, sounds happy, making sense.  Sorry I didn’t call I thought you were mad at me and didn’t want to bother you.  Yeah, I’m still having pain, trying not to take too many, relax Mom enjoy your weekend.  Lisa and I are having a party Saturday.   I know Mom, please trust me….Sure Matt , I’ll give you your chance and pray your demons aren’t on the invite list.   Matt, I’ll be there next weekend.  I miss you and the peace that I only find by the sea.  Hanging up feeling a mix of relief and fear, love you yes,  support you yes, try to fix you yes.   Trust you, NEVER…..

 

  

 

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