Mother's Heartbreak

A Story of Addiction & Loss

Category: Opiates (page 2 of 10)

Navigating My Way Through The Turbulence Of Reality

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Matt.   The day is finally here.   The day I looked forward to for months.  The day I’d be able to hug you again.  To visit your new life.  To see your handsome face and see that famous grin.  I counted down the days for months.  The tickets were bought before you left me behind.  This trip we planned and I looked so forward to now filled with agony and despair.

Counting down the days until February 10th.  You remember.   Ray and I were flying down to Boca to spend the week with you before heading to The Keys.   You and I would walk on your beach.  I planned on stocking you up before we left.  Going to the grocery store and buying all your favorites.   Plans forming in my mind.  Lunches and dinners together.   Seeing where you called home.  Meeting your friends.  You were going to take us to meet your boss.   You were going to show us around Boca.  I felt like a kid on Christmas morning.   Anticipating how I would feel seeing you in person after six long months.

Now, I’m dreading this trip.   I will be going to Boca, but not to see you.   This trip has turned into a nightmare.  You are no longer there.  Your cold body flew home on a snowy January night.  Your urn sits on my mantel along with every picture I could copy off your Facebook page.  My joy shattered.   My original  plans blown away on that cold January day.

Ray and I head to the airport.   The silence is deafening.   There are no words.  Nothing can be said to erase this ache in my heart.   Tears flow as I try to tell myself to be strong.   I need to do this for you.   One final act of love.  I must retrace your steps.   I must hear your story.   I must bring home whatever you left behind.   It’s all I have left of you.   The remnants of your life cut short by the disease that killed us both.

The airport is crowded with smiling faces.   Families waiting to fly off to warmer climates.   I watch and have to fight the screams trying to escape my soul.   My brain replaying your flight home.   The cancelations, the delays, the endless wait to see if that body was really you.   Denial was my savior until I saw you with my own eyes.  Your still, cold body.   Until I touched your face and ran my fingers through your hair my fantasy of a mistake allowed me to function.

Our flight is called.   We stand in line waiting to board.   I feel like I’m being led to a slaughter.   People rush past.   I’m struggling through the quicksand that surrounds my body.   Fighting to put one foot in front of the other to board the flight into the nightmare that has become my life.

We are seated.   I’m struggling for air.   Ray senses my distress and grabs my hand.   In my mind I’m running up the aisle.   Screaming to be let off this flight.   This is not the way things were supposed to be.   Suddenly we are airborne.   My throat is closing.   My heart is racing.   Ray adjusts the air above my head.   Sobs are escaping.   Racking my body.   I dream of disappearing.

Landing in Ft. Lauderdale we are met by friends.   They supported you on your journey and were the first ones who came running when the news of your death spread.   A cloudless, blue sky greets us.  The day is sunny and warm.   My body is  freezing.   My swollen eyes are hidden behind dark glasses.   Even the warmth of the sun can not penetrate the ice that surrounds my soul.

Foolishly, I allow myself the fantasy.   You are waiting for us.   I imagine how you would look.   I scan the crowd for you.   I imagine your face, your smile, the sound of your voice.   I crave being wrapped in your hug.   Oh God,  please help me walk through this hell that has become my life.  Tears run down my face as the over whelming waves of reality hit me in my gut.   You are not here.

The Boca Raton Police Station is located in the heart of Boca.   We pull into the parking lot.   I feel the grief grabbing my throat.   I am silently being strangled.  I am telling myself to get out of the car.  My legs have turned to rubber as I struggle to move toward the door.   The door that will lead me to the truth.  The door that contains the information that will yield the final blow to my heart.

We are met by the detective assigned to your case.  I find it hard to make eye contact.   His eyes are full of pity.   His eyes were the last ones to see your lifeless body.  His eyes and hands touched you before I knew you were gone.  I want to reach out and touch his hand to my face.  I want to connect to this man who covered your handsome face in that hotel room.

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He shares the facts of your last hours on earth.   He tells of your relapse.   Your distress.   Your being dumped at a hotel by the man who cashed my checks and lied to me about keeping you safe.   I sit there listening and feel a power come into my being.   The more I hear, the more I want to know.   Grief is replaced with anger.   I want to hear the ugly, dirty details of how you were tossed away like a piece of garbage.   How instead of getting you to safety,  this man disregarded your distress and left you to die.   I feel you there.   Giving me strength.   Pointing me to this new journey.   My wingman,  now my angel guiding me along this unfamiliar,  jagged, ugly path.

Your possessions are now brought into the room.   Paper bags marked evidence hold the last of you.   My hand shakes violently as I try to sign the release form.  My signature unrecognizable and damp with my tears.   There is nothing left to tell.

The sun blinds my swollen eyes.   I get into the backseat and hug your clothing to my heart.   Sobs come as my dam breaks.  My anger replaced with overwhelming pain.

Our next stop is Deerfield Beach.   Crossing the bridge from Boca to Deerfield,  I hear your voice.   You could not hide your excitement.  “Mom,  I found a job”.   “I’m going to be welding”.   “Got hired on the spot.”    I could see your smile over the phone.   The pride returning to your voice.   Your excitement found it’s way to my heart.   Oh God,  thank you.   My prayers answered.

The stopping car brings me back to reality.   I take a deep breath and walk into the door of Precision Aluminum.   We are greeted by your boss who’s face says it all.   Still shocked that you are gone.   He walks us through the shop and shows us where you spent your days.   He tells us what a great guy you were.   How you fit right in and felt like one of the family.   He tells us how your death has deeply affected your co-workers.   I am numb.   I picture you sitting on your bench.   You posted pics of you wearing your welding mask that proud smile spreading across your face.   Your head wrapped in your trademark bandana.   My fantasy interrupted by his voice.   He takes us outside and shows us your car.    He tells us he admired you riding your bike miles to get to work.   After riding through several soaking rainstorms he offered you a car.   I remember seeing your first post.   You standing in front of this beautiful Camaro.   You called her your baby.   A sob escapes as I open the door and see your shirt hanging over the back seat.   Your bandana tied around the mirror.   I am no longer in control.   The sobs of a wounded animal escape my soul.    My brain losing the fight to keep me sane.

Ray leads me to the car.   I am gone.    I hold your bandana to my face.   Steel and sweat fill my senses.   Your smell finds its way to my shattered soul.   Your scent so welcome,  I clutch all I have left to my heart and try to silence my screams.

We head to the beach you loved.   The one you told me so much about.   Spending weekends hanging out with friends.   Swimming in the warm surf.   I picture you walking toward me as I walk alone.   I need to be where you were.   I need to feel the sand that you felt and walk into the surf where you played.   I need to feel you.  My grief, now as powerful as the surf begins to pound my brain and is slowly transforming into anger.

I google the address where you lived.   I picture myself walking up to the man who tossed you away like a piece of trash.   I want him to see my face.   I want him to meet your mother in the flesh.   The women who believed his lies and signed the checks.  I want to dare him to say the ugly  words he spoke as I sobbed.   I want him to repeat what he told me when he finally had the balls to respond to my screaming messages.   I want him to look at your broken mom and tell me that “People die here everyday”.    Those words forever branded in my brain.   People like you.   Those he vowed to help.    His so called clients not worthy of saving.   I picture myself squeezing his throat.   I want him to know how I feel everyday.   I want him to experience the terror of not being able to catch your breath.   I want to watch the color drain from his face.   I want my face to be the last thing he sees as I say your name.

I am out of control.   Ray has called ahead knowing that I am breaking.   We are leaving Boca ahead of schedule.   I can take no more.

We hit the seven mile bridge.   I open my eyes.   I’m surrounded by a turquoise sea.   I hold tight to your shirt, roll down my window and drink in the sea air.   I am physically broken, mentally spent.    I look ahead at the vastness surrounding me and feel you with me.   “Hey Mom, are we there yet?”   You were always in such a hurry to reach our next destination.   “Mom,  how much longer?”   I see you as a little boy always curious.  Your little tow head in my rearview mirror.   Oh Matt,  I am so lost.   I have no idea where I am going.   Where my next journey will lead.    Right now I need to learn to breath.   To learn to accept the ending to your journey. I close my eyes and hear the gulls crying.    I listen and hear your name.

 

 

The Final Goodbye

 

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Matt,  It’s been four days since you died and my world spun off its axis.  I’m unbalanced now.  Walking around in a fog.  Disbelief and reality take turns playing games with my heart.  Trying to bring you home has been a challenge.  I was told it would be easier to cremate you in Florida.  Quicker and cheaper.  This mother needs to see you again.  A part of me remains in denial.  This is a horrific mix up.  You are alive and this is the son of another mother.

They tell me your flight finally arrived in Philly late last night.  The last time you were in Philly it was to fly into a new life.  You were so full of hope and dreams.  I never expected you to return home in a box.   Flights have been off schedule due to back to back snowstorms.  Was that you Matt?  You always loved the snow.

I’m told I can see you today just for a bit as we now have a schedule to keep.  I need to see your handsome face.  A face that is now frozen in time.  There will be no wrinkles or gray hair for you my beautiful boy.  We will never dance together as you wed the love of your life.  I will never hold your child in my arms.  My dreams about your future torn to shreds, blowing away in the January wind.

I feel like an actress in a role I never wanted to play.  What does a mother wear to go view the body of her son.  My mind is foggy and my body feels like I’m walking through quick sand.  Eyes swollen beyond help.  Face puffy and red.  I can’t even look at my reflection.  I don’t care anymore.  I don’t talk to Jesus.  There is nothing to talk about.  He didn’t protect you and neither did I.  I’ve read that Jesus only gives you what you can handle.  He doesn’t know me like I thought he did.  I always told him I could never survive losing you.  You are gone.

I was able to spend two hours with you.  It was the shortest two hours my life.  I needed to see you alone before anyone else.  I needed it to be just you and me.  Like it used to be.  A mother and her son hanging out sharing life except now your life was gone and I was left behind.  Ray dropped me off and went to park his car.  I walked inside and tried to catch my breath.  I asked you to give me strength to see you today.  To walk into a funeral home and say goodbye to my beautiful son.

The rooms eerily quiet.  I walked through my fog and felt that familiar throat tightening, heart racing envelope my body.  I closed my eyes and prayed it would not be your face my eyes would see.  I would shout for joy, it’s not Matt, it’s not Matt.   My fantasy was short lived.  You looked like you were sleeping.  Quiet but so cold.  I could see the bluish color under the layer of makeup applied to your face.  I grabbed your hand and ran my fingers through your hair.  I lay my head on your chest praying to hear the beat of your heart.  Oh God this can not be.  My brain is silently screaming.  Slowly Ray and Mike approach.  I will not move from holding you.  My body frozen with yours.  They ask why you were wet.  I didn’t realize that my flood of tears was falling onto you face.  I wondered if you were looking down on your broken family.  Your brother once so strong crying like a baby.  Our time is up.  I want to stay forever.  I want to sit with you until I am no more.  In my fog there are voices.  Mom, we need to go.  Mom, please let go.  I’m surrounded by what’s left of us.  Mike and Ray giving me their strength to walk away.  The slap of reality hits my face.  A blast of icy wind on this most brutal of days.

I spend the next days planning your memorial.  Denial is a wonderful thing.  In all the years we battled your addiction I never thought I would be planning your funeral.   I felt betrayed.   In all the books I read written by parents like me the addict lived.  Everyone had a happy ending.  Beautiful Boy,  An Addict In The Family, and Stay Close all gave me the misconception that no matter how sick the addict was they lived.  Those books would be burned with the next fire.  Where were the books to shatter my illusion?  Where were the books to let parents know that addicts die?  Addiction is no fairy tale.  There is no happy ending.

Writing your obituary was brutal.  I remember pacing around the kitchen while Ray sat at the computer.  I was sobbing and shaking as I tried to find the words to honor your life.  A life cut too short by your demons.  We kept the service private.  Family and close friends would be the only one’s sharing my grief.  I feared your drug buddies would come and I couldn’t risk the reaction of your brother.  I lost one son, I could not lose another.

The day I foolishly thought would never be part of our journey is here.  I always thought it would be you and Mike saying a final goodbye to me.  Never the other way around.   It’s snowing.  I run outside and look at the sky.  Is that you, Matt?  I want to grab each falling flake and hold it to my heart.  Matt, Matt, how will I survive this day?   I stand outside closing my eyes and remember coming home one night crying after losing a baby in the NICU.  “Mom, I don’t know how you do that”.   You gave me a hug and said,”It must be so hard when a baby dies”.   Now it’s my baby who died.  My soul is broken and I want to stay here watching the flakes fall from the sky not go to say goodbye.

The day was cloudy and dark.  The weather mimicking my soul.  The snow continued to fall.  I stood in my bedroom staring at the borrowed black dress.  My brain not able to allow my heart to feel.  I am numb.  My body in survival mode.  I will need the strength of an army of angels to get through this day.  There is nothing that can be done to ease my pain.  I am weighted down by grief.  My limbs have turned to lead.  My movements slow.  I remember once again feeling like an actress.  Getting ready to play a role she didn’t want to win.  My face shows years of stress and days of profound grief.  My eyes have no shine.  Shark eyes.  No life.  I am the walking dead.  I don’t waste time with makeup.  My tears continue to fall.  I remember being in Ray’s car.  He is driving to our church.  The same church we attended together will be the place we will say our last goodbye.

I walk in alone.  I need to prepare myself for this moment.  Picture boards are placed next to your urn.  I can not look.  I walk to your urn and give you a hug.  Sobs are racking my body.  This is what’s left of you my precious child.  Once again it’s just you and me.  My brain screaming, this can’t be.  My heart breaking as the reality of our life washes over me like the waves we used to run through.  I close my eyes and we are laughing and running.  So full of joy and life.  I’m so lost in my fantasy that I don’t realize that friends have lined up to pay their respects.

I am hugged over and over.  Boys you grew up with, now men telling me how much you were loved.  Their parents shocked faces afraid to look me in the eye.  How does a mother bury her child.  The line seemed to go on forever.  Muffled voices mixed with tears all coming to show support.  I feel like a robot.  Shaking hands and allowing people to hug me.  The only hug I want to feel is from you.  I have put on my mask.  Pretending to listen to words when all I hear is the roar of the ocean.  I’ve been offered pills to help me get through this.  I am angry.  I felt the pain of giving you life.  I need to feel this pain of saying goodbye.  Finally the line is over.  The service is starting.  I hear the songs I chose fill the church with beautiful music.  Songs you started to listen to by Casting Crowns and Mercy Me.  The words gave you hope and increased your faith in Jesus.  I sit between Mike and Ray.  Holding on for dear life as Mike, our minister tearfully talks about your life.  He became your friend and tried so hard to help during your dark days.  He is overcome with emotion.  Your brother is shaking as tears spill down his face.  Oh God, my boys were supposed to grow old together. To hang onto each other when I was gone.  Your brother struggling so hard to be strong has become a sobbing little boy.  His only brother, his partner in crime now gone forever.

I don’t know how I did it.  I’d written another letter to you and wanted it read at your service.  It was my final tribute to my son, my hero.  You struggled for so long to get clean.  Your struggle now over, mine was just beginning.

I took a deep breath and stood up.  I walked to the podium where minutes before our Pastor was speaking.  My vision blurry and my voice cracking with emotion.  I held on for dear life as I started to share our story with those who loved you the most.

Dear Matt,

You said this day would never come.  You told me you loved me too much and could never hurt me this bad.  Yet here we are gathered today to honor your life.  A life cut too short by your demons.

Now I stand here sharing my last words about you with the people who loved you so much.

My son was an addict.  I am not ashamed.  I will shout it from the rooftops, my son was an addict.

Oh Matt, we were both so foolish to think you had the power to keep that promise.  The demons were stronger than both of us.  Now you are gone and I am forever broken.  These last seven years have been a horrific struggle.  Ray, Mike and I watched you slowly destroy yourself day by day.  There were endless night of worry and torment, not knowing where you were or if you were alive or dead.  Nights when I would call out for help and your brother would drop everything and come.  Together Mike, Ray and I would devise our next plan and get you to safety.

I thought bringing you home would save you.  There I could watch you and protect you from your demons.  I am your mother and that’s what mothers do.  Oh Matt, we tried so hard to get you to see that drugs were not the answer.  So many rehabs, programs and counselors.  We thought we were on the right track.  Now I stand here and look at your brothers face and realize how foolish we were to think we could outwit the demons.

There were so many times we had hope.  Spring came and the old Matt was coming back.  You told me you wanted that monkey off your back.  A new rehab, the start of a new life.  Mike, Ray and I could only see you on Sunday for one hour due to the rules.  I remember us sitting together looking out over the water thinking we finally did it, we beat your demons.

You looked so good.  Your face and eyes so clear.  You said you were done with drugs and looked so forward to a new life.  Now where to go as the demons lived in Delaware.

Your new life in Florida was supposed to be a fresh start from the demons that followed you most of your life. You and I are beach people.  We shared a feeling of peace with God by the sea.  We talked everyday.  You told me you loved it near the ocean.  You felt so blessed at the chance for a new life.  Finally there was joy, hope, peace and sleep for Mike, Ray and I.  I deceived myself into thinking our nightmare was finally over.   Little did I know it was just getting ready to destroy us.

The last time we spoke was Friday night, January 2nd at 6:23 p.m.  You sounded normal.  My trained ears hearing nothing to prepare me for what was to come.  We ended our call as we always did.  I love you, Matt.  I love you, Mom.  I’ll talk to you soon.   That next call never came.

For reasons I will never understand.  Reasons that will haunt my heart for the rest of my life you used and overdosed, being left in a motel room by the man I trusted with your life.  You died at 4:50 a.m. Saturday morning.  I remember waking at that exact moment feeling like something was horribly wrong.  A cool breath surrounded my body at the same time your spirit was leaving yours.  Was that you Matt giving me one last hug?

I am so proud of the man you were.  You were loving and giving.  You who had nothing would give it away to someone in need.  If you could only read what your friends are posting on your Facebook page.  How much you were loved.  How you were looked up to and how devastated everyone is by your death.  I wish you had loved yourself enough.

I’ve read that losing a child doesn’t just change you it destroys you.  Matt I am destroyed.  Pieces of my shattered heart still beat in my chest. I have become the walking dead.  Feeling nothing but the  profound sadness that has taken up residence in my soul.  I would gladly ride the rollercoaster of chaos with you again.  I would gladly exchange my life for yours.  I will never understand.

Your nightmare is over while mine has just begun.    I am going through a withdraw from your addiction.  You see, Matt you were not the only addict in our family.  I was addicted to saving you.  Now I must find a way to make it through the rest of my life.  I’m told I must go on.  My toughest struggles are ahead of me as I navigate this life.  Knowing that I will never hear your voice or look into your beautiful eyes again is just too much to bear.  There will be no more birthdays, no wedding, no children.  Everything is gone with you.

There is a saying that ‘Life’s a Beach’.   I pray heaven is your beach and you are free.  Playing in the ocean like you did as a boy.  When I can breathe again I will free you and your beloved Kahlua into the sea you both loved so much. Until then you are coming home with me.  Even though you were a man you will always be my tow-headed beautiful boy.  I will love you forever.  I pray you will meet me when I take my last breath.   Wait for me by the sea we both love.  I want to open my eyes and see your handsome face.  I want to look into your eyes and know that I am home.  I want to grab your hand and run laughing into the surf that we both so love.

Godspeed my precious son.  My wingman. Until we meet again.

Love Mom

 

 

The Witch and the Warlock Head to Warwick

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Matt.   As pissed as I am that you have been released,  I am amazed at how great you look.   The old Matt is back.   Clear eyes and speech.   Your handsome face showing no signs of the horror that unfolded in my driveway so few nights ago.    Still I’m pissed.  I want my life back.  I want my son back.  I’m so sick of what your addiction has done to our family.   I’m so sick of the so called professionals thinking they know what you need.   My letter fell on deaf ears.  Told your addiction story and no one cared.   You are not safe.   I can feel it.  I know you better than you know yourself.   I have lived this nightmare way too long to think that a few nights in a mental hospital is just what the doctor ordered to fix you.   I’m so tired, so  disappointed and so pissed at this stupid broken system.

So now we begin again.   I choose my words carefully.   Your anger is seeping from your pores.   I hold my breath as I ask you about your plans.   I know you are not strong enough to fight the constant cravings for the poison that rules your life.   I know you need to get into rehab and I can’t believe you were released to the streets.   WTH is wrong with this picture.   How many times do we do this same dance.   Round and round we go.   Let’s not speak the word.. REHAB.  Let’s not say the word ADDICT.   I try to keep my cool.   Try to be the mother I want to be but cannot.  You know, the one who wears the rose colored glasses and lives in denial.   Or maybe the one who is strong enough to play the tough love game.   Dropping you off, driving away and never looking back.  But we both know I am neither.  As much as I hate this world that has become ours, I’m in it as deep as you are.   This chaos has become my way of life.   Your addiction has become mine.

I ask if your hungry.   You are.  So it’s off to lunch.   It’s a beautiful day and we pick a seat outside.   Your favorite burger joint.   I’m hoping this will help lighten the funk surrounding us.   I look at you as you scour the menu.   You are so handsome.   Your eyes are bright and clear.   Your face with no signs of puffiness.   No head bobbing today,  no dosing off while we eat.   My heart is afraid to love this Matt.   I fear he will be gone soon and my heart will break again.   I decide to enjoy this moment.   This gift of normal.   Just a mother and her son enjoying a beautiful afternoon.   You start to lighten up.   You tell me how great it is to be aware.   To taste, to smell, to be here and feel everything.   Oh God, I bust out in tears.   Holy shit, my dam has broken and the tears are running down my face.   You grab my hand.   “I’m so sorry Mom”,    I’m sobbing into my napkin making a fool of myself.   The waitress comes quickly.   Oh God, I’m so embarrassed.    No, no, the food is great.  Everything is great.   My son is here.  Today, this very moment Matt is here.   My heart is gone.  Forget trying to save it,  I have prayed for this for so long.   My brain knows we are on that slippery slope.  We are still in the woods.   We are no where near being finished with this disease, but my heart is soaring with the clouds.   Just today  Dear God,  just today, Matt is here.

I decide to bring you home.   I will once again be the mom police.   I will save you from yourself.   Watch you like a hawk.   I’m off and I will follow you like a dog.   No car, no leaving the house without me as your wing man.   Once again,  I allow myself to enter my disillusional world.   I will put on my supermom suit and save the day.   I will be The Queen of Hearts and slay your demons.   No one will get close enough to drag you back into your darkness.   How hopeful and  foolish.   I allow myself the fantasy of normal.

My plan is working.   Everyday you are clean.  You are far from being happy, but you are clean.   Everywhere you go I go.   Wawa for smokes, ok let’s go.   If looks could kill I’d be dead, but the longer you are clean the more hopeful I become.   Fantasy land is beautiful.   I’m Alice and we are living in Wonderland.      My anxiety of returning to work after my week of supermom duty was through the roof.   Heavy heart, tight chest, closing throat all my familiar reactions to the impending storm rolling into my fantasy.   Addicts mother’s intuition.

I could feel it from the distance.   The return of the demons.   “Please Matt,  stay home,  stay clean”.   “Remember how great it feels to smell and taste and be here in the moment”.   I’m begging you for your life and you are pushing me out the door.   Your truck is in the driveway just like we left it or so you thought.   My chalk mark confirms my angst.   You left the house.   I put on my happy face and pretend.   You are asleep, slumped over on your couch.   Pill residue on your nose.   I scream silently and hear my heart crash into land.   I quietly search and find a tissue in your bathroom holding the pills I’ve come to know so well.   Noooooooooo.   I’m holding the evidence but my mind still screaming doesn’t understand.   Why? why? why?   How could you do this again?  How could you do this to me?   I quietly watch your breathing.   Tears running down my face.   Ok Supermom,  whats the plan now?

You come upstairs.   You know I know.  “Mom, where are they?”   “They?,  you mean the bastard pills that keep finding their way back into our lives”.   “Don’t know Matt, I just don’t know”.   You turn on me like a snake.   I look at you with a feeling over overwhelming sadness.  “WTF Mom”.   “I’m not playing this game, give me my f…… pills”.    I walk away as you punch the wall.   I am broken, numb.   I tell you the only way to get your pills is to get into my car.   There is a bed waiting for you at Warwick.   I have packed a suitcase and have it by the door.   You walk out and drive away.

I sit alone and wait.   There are no  tears.  I am numb.   I’m dead inside.   My heart still beats but I feel nothing.   Hours pass and I wonder where you are.   I wonder if you have more pills.  I wonder if I will ever see you again.   This time it’s me sleeping when you come back.   You are agitated, sweaty and pissed.   It’s early morning and you are desperate.    “Mom please”.    I throw on clothes and come downstairs.   “Mom please”.    “Get in my car”.    “WTF mom, WTF”.   “Get in my car and you get the pills”.    “Bitch”.    Yes Matt,  Supermom is now Super bitch.

The drive to Warwick was like being trapped in a burning building.   Like slowly having the air replaced with soot that burned your lungs and turned everything it touched into black slime.   You were withdrawing from whatever and I was driving like a mother on a mission.   The words coming out of your mouth stung my ears and I tried to block you  out.   LALALALA,  I tried to remember this voice was not yours but the demons who now controlled your mind.   Your filthy mouth, your ugly words,  “You F…….Bitch, who do you think you are,  give me my f…. pills”.    “Who the F…. do you think you are bitch, you don’t own me”.    The louder you got the higher I turned up the radio.   Trying to stay calm and not become as ugly as you.   You push my buttons.   You light up in my car and blow the smoke in my face.    I snap.

The dirt road is empty except for my car.   I pull over in a cloud of dust and hit my brakes hard.   I tell you to get the hell out.   I jump out my door and run to open my hatch.   I am cussing and shaking and spitting mad.    I grab your luggage and throw it to the ground.   My adrenalin  is pumping.   I am throwing your bags as far as I can into the dirt and stomping the shit out of them.   I have officially lost my mind.   I walk to your door and hear the click.   Your smiling face greets me through your window.   I am beating on your window screaming at you to open the Fu….. door.   I watch in horror as you pull pills from your shoes,  grab a pen from my console and dismantle it.   I know what’s coming as I’m pulling on the door handle and screaming Noooooooo.   I throwing my body into the door beating the glass with my fists.   You crush the pills on my dashboard and bend your head toward the dirty powder.   I’m kicking in the door as my hands are numb and bleeding from beating the car.   I’m screaming and completely unaware that we are no longer alone.

I feel his hands on my shoulders before I see the uniform.    He tells me to back away from the car.   My mind is still screaming.   “Are you Fu….. kidding me officer.   Get the F…..  away from me”.   “I’m trying to break into my car,  yes, you heard me,  my car,  my son snorting drugs”.   My sobs are making it difficult to speak.    He tells me to stand back as he approaches your window.   I follow standing right behind him.    I want to get my hands around your throat and squeeze the shit out of you.   Let me at him, my mind screams, let me at him!   You are so polite as you roll down your window and smile at the officer.   My dashboard wiped clean and the dismantled pen no where in site.   I hear your words,  “Yes officer, I’m ok”.    “My mother has the problem”.    You lying shit.   I have the problem.    The officer looks at me like I’m the crazy one.   “Sir why don’t you step out of the car and help me load your bags.   “Officer, are you F….. kidding me”.    “Are you stupid?”   “Don’t you see past this BS?”    He just snorted whatever and he’s happy as a clam soon to be in La La land.   The officer helps reload the bags and walks to the driver side where I’ve buckled myself in for the rest of the ride from hell.   “Where you headed?”   “I’m headed to Warwick, you know the drug rehab to drop off my precious cargo”.    I try to stay calm but in my mind I’m going to kill you as soon as I see his tail lights in the distance.   I’m going to throw you and your f….. shit out of my car, out of my life and drive off never looking back.   As if reading my mind,  “You’re almost there, I’ll escort you the rest of the way”.    He walks to his car and I grab your smiling face.   You are gone,  your eyes glazed over and drooping.   I drop your face and listen to your breathing.   I’m shaking and sobbing.   My hands throbbing as I grab the wheel and follow the yellow brick road.

There are no more words as you sleep the rest of the way.   I’m so ready to get rid of you.   I’m shocked at my behavior, ashamed at who I’ve become.   Your demons take control of my soul.   Your addiction makes me ugly.

Warwick is beautiful.   The perfect setting.   Situated on the Chesapeake Bay, I felt like I’d pulled into our vacation spot.   I hit the brakes hard and startle you awake.   Ok shit head, get out.   Once again I’m throwing your bags out the door into the dirt.   You get out and I get in.   “See ya,  Matt, I’m out of here”.    A man walks to my car.   “You can’t just leave”.    “WHAT,  you are expecting him, I called and he already has a bed”.    “Sorry, you have to wait until he is evaluated by a counselor”.    Ok, now I’m gonna start punching people in their smug little faces.   “No one shared that little bit of information with me on the phone, I’ve got news for you buddy, he’s staying”.   “No Ma’am,  he’s not.  Not unless you obey the rules and let us talk to him first”.    You are taking this all in,  my sly fox sitting on the porch like I’m the big bad wolf and you are the innocent.   “How long?”   “I’ve spent two and a half hours in my car.  I have had nothing to eat or drink and I’m ready to scream”.    “Don’t know,  these things take time”.   Just as I’m ready to scream I see a man approach you, shake hands and take you to another building.   Thank God.   I start to walk toward the water.   Just what I need, to sit in those beautiful chairs and stare into the water.  Ok, I’m thinking.   I can do this.   I start to walk toward the beautiful blue of the bay. “Ma’am,  you have to wait in your car.  The grounds are for patients only”.    I turn on him like a cobra ready to strike.   “Listen to me A.H.   I’ve been stuck in that car with my withdrawing, ugly addict son.   I’ve been cussed at,  called MFer and other lovely words that are music to my ears.   If I don’t get to sit by that water you’re going have to call my patrol car buddy and have me taken away”.   “You got that, buddy”.

I don’t even give him a chance to respond.   I break out into a run toward the water.   F.U, F.U,  my mind is going crazy,  I’m breathless as I make it to the chairs.   My tears flow, mixed with hysterical laughter.   Well Matt,  I’ve made a complete ass out of myself today.   All in the name of saving you.  How in the hell did this happen.   If anyone saw me today.   Oh God, what am I turning into.   I’m so lost in my thoughts that I don’t hear the approaching footsteps.   It’s the man who took you away.   He tells me you are permitted to stay.   I jump out of my chair and practically run to my car.   You are there sitting on the same porch surrounded by your bags.   I approach with caution.   “Matt, do what you need to do”.   “You better get it right this time, I don’t know how much more I can take”.    You take a drag of your smoke and look at me with those beautiful eyes.   Those eyes I fell in love with when I first held you.   Those eyes that always told me you loved me.   Those eyes that melt my heart no matter how ugly we become.   Today I must not let you get to my heart.   Today I must protect myself.   Today I almost lost my mind.   Your demons hiding behind those beautiful eyes.   I turn as my tears come.

The ride home is peaceful.   I keep my window down.   I need to feel air and hear nature.   No music just the sounds of life.   I stop to get gas and a drink.   Buckling up I feel something sharp.   I wrap my fingers around the tube and pull it out from my seat.   The dismantled pen.   Your demons hitching a ride home.   I want to scream.  To throw them to the ground and stomp the life out of them.   I feel the ugliness that has taken over my being surfacing.   I can not let them steal my soul, they already have my son.   I throw the tube out my window as far as I can.     F.U, I shout. F.U.   My soul belongs to me.  My son belongs to me.  I’m no longer the Mad Hatter, just the mad mother of a man suffering from the ugly disease of addiction…

 

 

 

 

 

The Ugly Reality Of Rehab…

 

 

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Matt,  I remember sitting in my car watching Mike’s tail lights fade away.  I sat and let the tears flow.  I had no control, I gave up trying to pretend that things were going to be ok.  The sobs came in waves and as so many times before I felt that familiar throat tightening making me feel like your demons were slowly strangling the life out of me.  I had no idea how much time had passed.  A knock on my window startled me, bringing me back to my brutal reality.  Hey lady, are you ok?   What, what,  A security guard knocking on my window.  Am I ok, really, do I look like I’m ok.  I’m sitting in the parking lot of a psychiatric facility sobbing my brains out and this idiot wants to know if I’m ok.  Sure, I’m just peachy.  My youngest son is a patient in this wonderful place.  An addict.  His addiction is killing my family.  My oldest son just ripped him a new one and scared the hell out of the child who works here as a counselor.   Sure, I’m just great.

I drive home in silence.  Still stunned at your behavior. I realize that you are sly, but I would hope someone who professes to be a professional in their field would see right through your facade.   Mike was right.  These so-called experts were putty in your hands.  We were so screwed.    Ray is waiting for me.  He looks at my face and doesn’t even have to ask.  I pour a glass of red and sit.  Slowly trying to calm myself as I tell the story of our first disaster  of a family meeting.  Saying it out loud, I start to hysterically laugh.  The look on the baby counselor’s face was priceless.  I have no control.  My tears have turned into gulping laughter.  Ok, my mind is thinking.  This is it, she is having her much earned nervous breakdown.  Oh God, how I would love to get my hands on the notes from this session.   Crazy, psychotic, dysfunctional family.   No wonder the younger one takes drugs.  Oh God.  I am so totally hysterically out of control.   Ray is looking at me like I’ve lost my mind.  Telling the story was such a release of pent-up emotions.  I finally calm down.  Ray and I sit in silence.  I am spent and he is thinking he’s married a nutcase.

I’m off the next day and planned on just staying put.  My eyes are showing the signs of tears and stress.  These days I don’t recognize the person staring back at me.  She is a ghost of who she was.  Addiction was a family disease.  I saw the poster but never truly understood until I lived it.   I remembered the good times.  Before your addiction made us crazy.   Happy times, God, what I wouldn’t give to go back in time.   The ringing phone brings me back.  I don’t recognize the number.  Hello.  Mom.  Matt.  Mom, I just wanted to let you know I’m getting out on Friday.  What.  Matt, you’re not ready to get out.  It’s only been ten days.  Who thinks you’re ready.  I talked with the shrink twice.  He thinks I’m ready.  WTH.  A real shrink thinks that after ten days you are ready.  I’m ready to scream.. Matt,  you are no way ready to come home and face the world.  What follow-up plans do they have for you.  Mom.  I’m leaving.  Are you picking me up or not?   I hang up.  I can’t breathe.  What the hell is going on here.  How can anyone think that ten days is enough when you’ve been an addict for years.  Stupid people, stupid system.  I talk myself down and grab my phone.  My heart is beating in my ears.   The receptionist puts me on hold.  The child counselor answers.  I try to remain calm.  I try to come across as a sane person.  I tell her I disagree with their plan.  Matt is not ready to come home.  He needs to stay in a place away from drugs.  He lies.  He knows what to say and how to say it.   How can you be so gullible.   Of course I know about the Hippa Law, I’m a nurse and I’m his mom and you are just plain stupid.

My next call is to Mike.   WTH are the first words I hear when I tell him the news.  He agrees with me.   Mike, what are we going to do? He can’t leave there.  I can’t keep running on this hamster wheel.   Running in circles and getting no where.   Mom, take a break.  I’ll get him.  I’ll talk to him.   Mike and I run different scenarios back and forth.  Both of us reeling from the news.  Both of us pissed that you have managed to get your way.  Do I let you come home.  Do I give you an ultimatum.  Stay in or stay away.  Tough love was something I read about.   Letting your kid hit rock bottom.   The streets or rehab.  Oh God.  Was I strong enough?

Discharge day.  My nerves are shot.  Mike is picking you up.  I try to eat and vomit into the trash.  The dogs follow me as I pace.  They know something is off.  I don’t have a clue of what to say to you.  In the past I always had my speech prepared.  Today I am a shaking mess.  I am at a loss for words or ideas.  I know you need intense help to beat your demons.  This is a sad joke.

The dogs run to the door letting me know you have arrived.   They greet you with happy barks and tail wagging kisses.   They have no clue as to where you have been.  They have no idea that you coming home is not a good thing.  They are just happy to see you.  For a second I want to be like them.   Just happy, greeting my pack member.  Pure blissful happiness.   Mike walks in behind you.  I give you a hug and tell you we need to talk.  A plan needs to be made.  We can’t keep riding this roller coaster.  I can’t do this anymore.  We sit. Mike and I tell you that you need to be serious about your addiction.  Mike and I talking while you shake your head and agree.   I look at you and know that your mind is not here.  You, my sly fox, are playing us like you play everyone.   Mike.  Stop.  He’s not listening.  Forget it.  You get up and go downstairs.  Mike and I sit dumfounded.   We are crazy and you are just as cool as you can be.  Mike shakes his head, I start to cry……

 

Hey Mom, What’s Up With Matt….

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Matt,  in my mind you are safe.  Just for this night I can close my exhausted eyes and let sleep take over my brain.  I tell myself this is a start.  You were willing to finally go.  After all the screaming matches we had about you needing rehab it took your peers to convince you how messed up you really were.  At this point it really didn’t matter how you got there,  just that you were there and for tonight my heart and mind would find peace in beautiful sleep.  No laying awake worrying or constantly checking my phone.  No more jumping out of bed when I hear a car pass by.  Just for tonight I kept telling myself,  just for tonight sleep…

I woke to the phone ringing.  I couldn’t believe the time.  Almost noon.  I couldn’t believe I’d slept that long.  Ray was long gone and I never heard a sound.  Even the pups still lay beside me in lazy slumber.  Looking at the phone as if to say how dare anyone wake us.  I didn’t remember ever sleeping that deep.  Not since you came home and your addiction took over my life.   I answer.  A voice I don’t recognize introduces herself as your counselor.  Would I be interested in a family meeting.  Absolutely.  She tells me you are being detoxed and I can not visit or speak to you until the day of the meeting.  She gives me the date and I tell her I will be there.  I hang up feeling relief.  My mind once again reliving the day.  The hell you put me through.  I really didn’t want to talk to you yet.  I still had to calm myself down.  I still could not believe the ugliness that took over my sweet boy when you didn’t have your pills.  I was getting an education in addiction that I really didn’t sign up for.  I wanted my normal son.  I wanted my normal life.  My mind and body still feeling the aftermath of your fury.  I needed a mental health break.  Just a few days not consumed by your addiction was all I could think about.  You were where you needed to be and for once I could just relax and enjoy being home.

I tried to be normal.  To do normal things.  The laundry, grocery shopping,  walking the dogs, but that little voice kept breaking thru.  Go look, go look.  You don’t have to worry about him finding you in his stuff.  Go look.  Ok, so now here I am.  I want and need a break from your addiction, but with you away the time for my searching is just perfect.  Don’t have to calm my racing heart.  Don’t have to depend on the dogs barking to alert me to your return.  It’s just me, myself and I plus your demon pills.

So much for normal I tell myself as I carry the ladder and a flashlight to your space.  How convenient for me that you lived in my finished basement.  I didn’t even have to leave the house to play spy mom.  So now I take my time.  Lifting ceiling tiles and looking.  Dumping drawers and emptying boxes.  Taking my time and finding pieces of a life I had no idea you lived.  The more I searched, the more I found.  My shocked brain kept saying WTH you weren’t raised to be this kind of person.  To hang with these kind of people.  Oh my God.  I sat and realized I was pretending all along that you weren’t one of them.  The addict who hung out with the bad boys.  The addict who lied and fought for your demons.  I felt like I’d been slapped in the face.  Reality.  Addiction the four letter word.  My son is an addict.  I never found your pills but I found so much more.

I sit in stunned silence.  Finally seeing you and your addiction for what is was.  Dirty, ugly, deceitful.  My little sweet boy had grown into a man with a horrible disease that made him do horrible things.  I felt the tears and the tightness taking hold of my body.  Damn you,  my mind is screaming.  The phone startles me.  Hey Mom,  I can’t get Matt.  What’s up with him.  Something isn’t right.  Do you know where he is.   Oh God, Mike.  My mind is saying,  while you’ve been away serving our country busting the drug cartel your brother has been giving them business.  My mouth doesn’t move.  Now the all familiar heart racing, throat tightening that has become my bodies automatic response takes over.  Mike,  we need to talk.

I will never forget the look on your face.  I could feel your anger as I told you about the dirty little secret.   WTF Mom.  Why didn’t you tell me.  WTH were you doing.  I had a right to know.  Mike, my eyes are pleading with you.  I couldn’t put you at risk.  You were gone.  Out to sea dealing with your own life.  What could you have done.  I try to defend my decision.  Please Mike,  I can’t battle both my boys.  I did what I thought was the right thing to keep you safe.  You could not be worrying about your brother and do your job.  You needed a clear head.   I was pleading for my life.  Once again your addiction was the poison hurting our once close family.   Where is he Mom.  Is that why the beach house is gone.  Is that why he lives with you.  All these questions deserved answers.  I felt so guilty for keeping our secret.  No more Matt.  No more secrets in our family.  I needed all the help I could get.  Maybe your brother could get through to you.  Maybe just maybe we could work together to save you.

Mike knows everything.  No more dirty secrets.  He knows you have an addiction to pills.  He knows all the horror we have lived through these last years while he was away.  He is both shocked and saddened that you have lost so much and still use.  He knows about the family meeting.  He is coming.

Your big brother wraps me in a hug as I cry letting the years of grief, worry and uncertainty rush from my body like wave after wave hitting the sandy shore.  The release of loving a son with a horrible disease.  The relief of having someone who loves you as much as I do know our journey.  I pray you will understand my need to come clean.  The burden of your addiction has broken both my spirit and my heart.  I need backup.  I need help.  Forgive me Matt.  I need all hands on deck.  Your demons must be stopped and I’m tired.  Your brother will step up and join the fight.  He never had a fear of rollercoasters….

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