Mother's Heartbreak

A Story of Addiction & Loss

Category: enabling (page 1 of 5)

Tough Love: Take two

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Matt.   I sit and allow myself the luxury of the dream.    You are that tow-headed boy again.   You are laughing and jumping in the waves.  Your laugh is so precious, like music to my ears.   The innocence of life.   The simple joy of jumping the waves.  Running into the surf, crashing into the waves, now such a treasured memory.   I look back trying to understand what happened.   How did that innocent boy change into the angry man you are today?

I sit watching that boy and his dog and allow the happy memories to wash over me with the surf.   I feel the sun on my battered body.  Feel the healing power of the warmth and light bathing my soul with a peace long forgotten.   Memories of happy times.   Summers by the sea.  Birthday parties and family barbecues.   Bike riding, football games and high school graduation.   Where did it all start to change?   Years of happiness now overshadowed by years of ugliness and pain.   I watch as the surf slams into a sandcastle and wash it away like it never existed.   That sandcastle is our life before your addiction.   So little of it resembles what it used to be.

I sit until the sun goes down and a chill fills the air.   In the past I would have walked back to our precious home.   The dogs would greet me and together we would wait until you joined us.  You would grab a bite and we would grab the leashes.  Soon we would be surrounded by yapping and jumping.  Once again headed to our favorite spot.  The dogs would run free and we would sit and share your day.  A mother and her son sitting by the sea enjoying each other.   The best of friends.  Today the harsh reality of your addiction follows me as I drive by what was once our home.   So filled with happiness, now a casualty of your demons.   I can’t help myself.  I stop my car.  I close my eyes and see you washing your boat.   I see that smile and watch as you climb down to greet me.  I can almost imagine feeling your arms wrapping around me and the whisper of your kiss on my cheek.   I break out of my fantasy and realize what I’m feeling are  tears running down my face.

I drive home leaving a piece of myself behind.   The sea is our connection, our happy place.  The changing current mimics our changing lives.   The riptide constantly pulling us farther and farther from safety.  Your addiction slowly drowning both of us.   I keep throwing the life line and you keep losing your grip.

Returning home is bittersweet.   Reality awaits me and right now I hate reality.   The last time I saw you I was cussing and shaking and spitting mad.   The words spewing out of your mouth were vicious and vulgar.   You and I reached the lowest point of our lives.  A mother and her son being torn apart by your demons.  That day I felt trapped in a hell I never want to visit again.   I’m still embarrassed at how your behavior brought out the ugliness in my soul.  Your demons stealing both my soul and my son.

I knew your call would come.   What I didn’t know was the guttural response it would produce.  The sound of your voice, once so welcome, now caused my heart to race and my throat to close like I’m being slowly strangled.  I am breathless.  Punched in my gut.   I hear the words, “I’m ready to leave, I want to come home”.   “I need a ride”.   I’m torn.   I want to be that Mom.  The one who always runs to your rescue.  Who always picks up the pieces of what you left behind and tries to put them back into a neat little package.   I’m just not that Mom.   You broke me.

“Matt, find a ride yourself, I can’t do it this time”.   “I’m not ready for you to come home”.    Your silence is deafening.   I can feel your disbelief coming through the phone.   “WTF am I supposed to do?”   “You know how far it is from home, you brought me here”.    “Yup, I did.  You cussed me out and snorted drugs off my dashboard”.   “You locked me out of my car as I made an ass out of myself in front of a police officer”.   “Oh yeah, I remember”.    “Call your friends”.

I hang up the phone and immediately feel like a piece of shit.   Addict’s Mom guilt.   It gets me every time.   Here’s my precious boy asking to come home.  I keep seeing that tow-head running toward me with arms extended.   I need to see the man, the addict.   I must find a way to stay strong and save what’s left of me.

I’m on edge.  Pacing.  Once again beating myself up.  How could I be so cold.   I keep reminding myself that you have a disease.   You are battling for your life and here’s you mom acting like some cold bitch.   Oh God, I grab my phone and dial your number.   I’m in tears as it just rings and goes to voicemail.   I leave you a pleading message.  Once again I am a mess.   My job is to save you, it’s what I do.   I’m still on the phone as the dogs start jumping at the door.   I turn to see your face.  Clean shaven.  Bright, clear beautiful eyes pierce my soul.   I am gone.   You drop your bag and I feel your arms circle me.  “God Mom,  I’m so sorry”.   “I can’t believe I treated you like I did, forgive me”.

So it begins again.   This life of chaos and helplessness that briefly turns to hope.   The rollercoaster that briefly allows you to think you have the power to get off.   I feel it again as I’m pulled back into your addiction by a mothers love.   Strapped in tightly holding my breath as we are climbing to new heights.   I allow myself to think maybe just maybe this was the “magic time”.   The one referred to in the books I’ve been reading.   Beautiful Boy and Addict in the Family have become my bibles.  My go to reference books that make me feel like I’m not a crazy, horrible mom.   This time I have a twist in the ride.

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“Matt, you can stay here until you find another place”.   The words are out before I even know they are said.   You look at me like my head is spinning.  Your smile gone, your eyes dark.  I see the cloud coming in.   You are not getting your way.  I have to start to save myself.   “It’s too hard on me to watch how you live”.   “I can’t see you day after day doing nothing to better yourself”.    “You need to find a job and a place to live”.   “I will always be here for you just not under the same roof”.

You walk away and I crumble inside.   Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall and no one could put him back together again.   I’ve been Humpty.   My heart broken and shattered.   Now I am responsible for putting my pieces together.   For me to heal you must go.   I’m trying to be that parent.   The tough one who does the right thing.   That tough love, let them hit rock bottom thing that every parent in my books has been able to do.   So now in front of you I am tough.  Behind closed doors I am Humpty.

I watch as you pack.   A friend you met at NA has offered to share a house with you.   I keep telling you how great it will be for you to become independent.  You look at me like I have lost my mind.  “You are welcome here any time”.   I’m trying to stay light and positive.  Pleading for both our lives.   I know I can not continue to be slowly destroyed by your addiction.   I must save myself to continue to save you.   We need a break from the ugly, daily chaos that has slowly wrapped us up.  You are no longer you and I am broken to my core.   Inside I want to wrap my arms around you and protect you from yourself.   I am fighting my internal battle.   Enabling is what I do.  Making life comfortable for you has become second nature for me.  I am a fixer and I have spent years trying to fix you.   I am slowly realizing that the fixing can only be done by you.   At least that’s what I’ve been told.  I tell you Kahlua will be fine with me.  She has become my dog through your addiction.   She is old and needs care I know you will not provide.  She looks at me with pleading eyes.   No worries old girl, you are safe with me.

A few months pass.  Life is starting to find a routine again.   You visit and we are starting to enjoy being together.   I feel like the rollercoaster is on the up swing.   I’m allowing my heart to feel that we have finally found a way out of the grip of your demons.   The fantasy that you are becoming the Matt I so desperately need you to be and I am returning to  the sane version of me plays over and over in my head.   I need this so badly.  I continue to watch closely for signs.   I listen for those words.  I look at your beautiful eyes.   I follow after you leave to assure myself you are safe.   I am so wrapped up in my fantasy I don’t hear the demons beating on your door.

The day is sunny and warm.  No warning of the storm that is about to slam into our lives once again.   You were home.  You were happy and clear.   You walked Kahlua.   It felt like a normal Saturday afternoon in a normal family.  You hugged me as you were leaving.  “Mom, you were right to do this, I need to be a man”.   Oh how my heart soared.   Yes, yes, yes.   My brain is shouting.  I am high-fiving me, myself and I.   We did it.  We did it.   The celebration in my brain is so loud I don’t hear Ray screaming.   “Get in the car”.  “Get in the car”.   He is running to grab the keys, his phone to his ear.   What, what.   My once celebrating brain now confused and frightened.  “It’s Matt, he had a seizure”.

No, no, no!  My mind is screaming.  Disbelief flooding my body as we race to the Emergency Room.   I’m screaming at Ray for details.  He knows nothing more.   Where, when and how are questions whirling in my head.   Never once did your addiction enter my mind.  My heart is in my throat choking the life out of me.  I am shaking so uncontrollably  that Ray puts his arm out as if I’m a child trying to stop me from flying through the windshield.   I remember that sandcastle being slammed over and over again until only pieces remain.  I am that sandcastle.

I jump out of the car and run past the ambulance.   I can feel you there.  The triage nurse looks up and immediately knows I’m your mother.   She calls back.  Before she hangs up the phone a doctor is by my side.   Oh God, Oh God, Oh God.   Flashbacks of another E.D,  Of my colleague, Terry telling me I had to do this.  “Mare, you can do this”.  With me crumbling in her arms.   I can’t breath.  I follow like a lamb being led to a slaughter.  I have no idea what I will find beyond those doors.   The doctor can say very little.  You are an adult and protected by HIPAA.  I overhear seizure than cardiac arrest as I approach your room.   I feel my knees start to buckle as my breath is vaporized out of my lungs.

You are conscious.  Breathing on your own.   My Mom brain leaves as my Nurse brain takes over.   You vital signs are in normal range.  Your cardiac rhythm is slow but steady, no irregular beats for you.  Your color is pale.  You are smiling and looking at me as if this is all just a joke.  The Doctor and Nurse are at your bedside.

I grab your hand.   “Tell me what you did”.   You look away.  Ray and Mike have walked into your room together and stand beside me.   I grab your face in my hands and start to sob.  “Do you think this is a game?”   “Do you see what you are doing to me?”   “How many more times do you need to almost die before you kill me?’  You are getting red.   The embarrassment of my behavior making you uncomfortable.   “Tell them to tell me or I will walk out and never look back”

Cocaine.   I’ve just been shot in the head.   I close my eyes and see it explode into a million pieces.   Blood is everywhere.   I can’t speak or breathe.  I see myself slap your face and walk out of your room.  I leave you with Ray and Mike.   I am drowning in your addiction.  I hang onto the wall as I walk out.  My sobs are like that of a wounded animal.   The nurses look at me as I sit outside holding the pieces of my heart in my hand.   All at once it hit me.   You have crossed that line.   Being a nurse and seeing your battered body, knowing you had rods and screws holding your spine in place gave me the excuse to believe you weren’t that addict.  You were just abusing pills to combat your pain.  How naive I have become.  My love for you placed blinders over my eyes.   Denial has been my survival until this moment.   My theory now shattered at my feet along with my dream of ever returning to who we used to be.

I sit alone as the sun goes down on another day robbed of joy by your addiction.  I wonder how much more my heart can take before it stops wanting to beat.  I hear the rumble of the wheels as the roller coaster pulls up along side my bench.  I feel the pull of a force begging me to ride again.   The harness secures my place as the engine slowly starts to move.   I close my eyes.   We are on the beach.   You are laughing and jumping into the surf.   “Mommy, mommy please stay with me”.   “Don’t let me go”.   A mothers love has no boundaries.  My heart will not give up.  I say a silent prayer to Jesus for sparing your life.  I grab the bars and am whipped away once again.

Tough Love From A Tender Hearted Mother

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Matt.   You really did it this time.  It takes a lot to upset Ray and he is pissed.   The fact that you were going to let me go to jail and risk my nursing career just about blew his mind.  I keep telling Ray you are sick.  That you need help but your actions and attitude really aren’t helping my case.   I planned to spend this week relaxing in my garden, but now I have to put the fires caused by your addiction out and try to keep this family together.

I’m in the kitchen drinking coffee staring out the window.  I’m so lost in my thoughts that I don’t realize you are up.  I can’t even bring myself to look at your face.  I’m still having a hard time believing that after all we have been through together and everything I’ve done to help keep you safe that you would throw me to the wolves.  I’ve read about  tough love.  How parent’s throw their addicts out.  Turn their backs.  No home, no food, having nothing to do with their once loved kids.   I’ve read that the only way to save an addict is to let them hit rock bottom.   The problem with tough love is I’m not tough.  I loved you and all I cared about was getting you straight and keeping you that way.   I knew my back was against the wall.  I never though Ray would say those words.  I just didn’t know if I was strong enough to kick you out and your rock bottom scared me to death.

You brush past me without a word.  My heart is breaking.  Where are you? What happened to my funny, loving son?  Who is this stranger living in your skin?  My mind asking questions as my lips remain silent.  I’m trying not to cry.  I’m so emotionally beat up.  All I want is my son and my life to be normal.  I’ve forgotten what those days were like.  The days before the demons became your love.  When life was full of joy, before the chaos and drama starting chipping away at our lives.  I wanted it all back.  I wanted to grab you and shake you and rid your body of the poison slowly killing us all.

“Hey Matt, we need to talk”.   I wait for your response.  Nothing.  You are ignoring me.  Your demons have control.  I say it again, “Matt, we need to talk”.  You look at me with glassy eyes.  My heart sinks.  “Matt, this has to stop”.  “You need to get into a rehab or find another place to live”.   There, I’ve said it.  Those words I never thought I’d say.   Out of my mouth and floating between us like poison gas.  I hold my breath and wait for your reaction.  You look at me and smile.  “You can’t throw me out,  you have to evict me”.   “I looked it up”.   You continue to gloat as you make a cup of coffee and float downstairs.   I’m sitting there in shock.  I grab my laptop and google eviction.  I’ll be damn, you were right.  Holy shit.  How can this be.  I own this house.  You’ve never paid a dime to live here.  Just do your drugs and eat the food.  This is crazy.  Now I have to pay court costs to get you to leave.  My brain is reeling while my heart is relieved.  The perfect excuse.  No tough love.  I can’t be blamed by anyone.  For me it’s a win/win situation.  I did what Ray wanted.  Told you to leave.

Ray comes home expecting you to be gone.  I decide to play my I don’t know what you’re talking about game.  To slip into my pretend world.  I pretend we are just like any other family.  We had a misunderstanding and need to work it out.  Ray starts to question me.  I tell him we talked.  I share the information about kicking someone out that has lived at the residence for years.  I tell him this is your home.  You hear him come in and stupidly decide to come and challenge him.  Oh God, I’m looking at you willing you to shut your mouth.  My eyes pleading for your silence.  This is not the time to be cocky.   I feel the anger building.  You are high and mighty, untouchable.  Your words are ugly.  “F*** you, you can’t make me leave.  I live here”.   I hear the words and start to slowly die inside.  You are out of control and Ray is done.  I’ve never seen Ray so angry.  He pushes past you,  grabs a backpack filled with your stuff.  “Get the hell out”.  He is screaming, you are screaming and I am disappearing.   I watch in horror, tears flowing as Ray grabs you and throws you out the door.  Oh God,  I can’t do this.  You are my baby.  I have to save you.  I grab Ray and his eyes tell me to back off.   This is between you and him.  I’m sobbing and pleading for us to calm down and take a breath.  These ugly people are not who we are. Dear God, you look at me hate spewing from your eyes.  Ray slams the door and pushes past me.  I hold myself,  sobbing as you get into your truck, give me the finger and leave.

I continue looking out the window tears streaming down my face.  My mind is reeling.  How do you choose between two men you love.  One is your child.  You’ve loved him from the first moment the stick turned positive.  Dreamed of his life.  What he would look like and who he would be.  Never once did I think my beautiful boy would turn into a man capable of such turmoil.  Never did I dream that my son would grow up to be an addict.   Ray comes to me.  I cannot speak.  Just shake with the sobs racking my body.   He sits and tells me he’s sorry.  He’s trying to do the right thing.  He’s trying to save me.  “You can’t see what he is doing to you”.  “You are consumed by his addiction”.   “You aren’t tough enough, you still see the little boy,  not the grown man who is slowly killing you”.   “Let’s see what happens, Maybe this will open his eyes”.   I still can’t respond.  I need every ounce of energy to breathe.  I know Ray is trying.  I know he’s supported every decision.   Put up with Matt’s chaos and always tried to help.  Right now none of that matters.  My heart is broken.  I feel dirty and hateful.  I know I will not survive.

The first night I am once again on the couch.  Me and the pups.  A bottle of red and bones.  I try to call you.  I need to know you are alive.  Need to hear your voice.  To tell you I’m sorry and thinking of you.  And once again, your voicemail is all I get.  Hopelessness wraps me up.  In all the years of our struggle I never felt so defeated.

I am a mess.  I haven’t slept in weeks.  Laying there night after night wondering where you are.  If you’re still alive.  What have I done.  I hate myself.  I call Mike.  Ask him if he’s heard from you.  Nothing.  He’s trying to be strong, but I know he is thinking the same thing.  He will drive around and look for you.   I try to stay busy.  I check my phone constantly.  Every call sets my heart racing.   I go through your stuff.  Same old game. Searching for poison.  Hoping you have left some behind.  A reason to contact me.  Nothing.  Your demons have full control.  I sit and smell your clothes and cry.  “Mom,  Matt slept in his car last night”.   “At least he’s alive”.  “Ok Mike,  I’m going to make some calls.  Let’s put him in a motel until I can find a place”.    So Mike and I team up to find you a place to put your head.  I keep thinking about this tough love bullshit.  Well, I just can’t do.  Let them say what they want.  I don’t give a damn.  Everyone telling me to throw you out has never lived my life.   How do you handle not knowing where you’re son is.  Yes, he’s an addict.  He’s done terrible things.  He’s still my son.   All the tough hearted parents writing the advice books, well good for them I think.  Good for them.  They’re not Matt’s mom.  They haven’t watched his struggle.  They haven’t seen the glimpses of my Matt that sneak out and touch my heart.

Weeks go by.  You are now staying with a friend.  Of course I am paying rent to keep you safe.  I can finally sleep knowing you are not on the streets, cold and hungry.   People have told me I did it all wrong.  Just enabling from afar.  I say addiction is not a black and white disease.  What works for one addict doesn’t work for another.  Tough love is not all it’s cracked up to be.  It was tougher on me than you.  But you already knew that.  You played the game.  Acting hurt and hateful, killing me with your eyes as you left.   Knowing my heart was putty in your hands.   Knowing I loved you too much to be tough.  Knowing I would find a way to keep you safe.  My sweet boy knew he was loved too much by a mother who was too soft for tough love…..

Smart Moms Do Stupid Things

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Matt,  I was a whole lot of stupid and a whole lot of smart all rolled up into one out of control mess.  So now I had everything I needed in my hot little hands.  The names and address of the poison pushers and all I can do is sob.  The image of your face, the hate in your eyes is branded in my brain.  You love your demons more than the mom who has loved you in all your ugliness.  The mom who will do anything to save you.  Who will fight you in a public parking lot, who will risk life and limb for her son.  Oh God, what got into me.  I am a desperate, crazed person.  Your addiction has changed me from a rational adult to this desperate nut case.  I look at myself in the mirror.  I take off the hat and let my hair fall, I stare at my reflection and I don’t recognize the person staring back at me.  Your addiction has taken it’s toll.  Baggy eyes from tears and lack of sleep.  Cheek bones sticking out, pain etched into my once happy face.  Eyes that no longer shine, a mouth that has forgotten how to smile.  The face of an addicts loving mother, full of pain and grief for something she can’t fix.  My heart is broken by the people we have become.  Our hugs have become punches, our laughter changed to shouting, pointing ugly fingers and saying ugly things.  I hate what we have allowed your demons to do.

Barking dogs bring me back to reality.  I see the scripts on my printer.  I grab them as I see you coming up the stairs.  Matt, I had to do it.  Matt, I love you and can’t sit back and allow you to destroy yourself.  Matt, let me help you.  Matt, I know you have back pain, but you are hooked.  Nobody needs this dose and volume of drugs.  They don’t care about your life.  You are nothing more than an income for them.  They are not doctors they are killers.  I realize I am screaming.  I hear my voice as I am becoming out of control.  I’m pleading for your life and you are staring at me with hate in your eyes.  I try to regain control, I need to get through to you, to break through the demon built walls and get into your drug damaged brain.  I have to reach you.  You continue to stare at me with that f**k you gaze.  Give me my scripts.  Matt, please I will give you a little more than I have been let me keep managing them.  I will be better.  Give me my scripts.  You come closer, the dogs stand between us.  They sense what I feel.  I am afraid.  My brain is screaming.  My son, I am afraid.  Your eyes are dead, shark eyes.  Looking right through me.  I feel like my soul has been stepped on.  I am sobbing as I give you those pieces of paper that are killing us.  You turn.  I am left in darkness.  The dogs comforting me.  I sob into their fur and pray.

I allow myself time.  I allow myself tears.  I allow myself anger.  Ok, now I’m pissed.  I grab the copies of your scripts.  Ok you f***ing doctor imposters.  You’ve pissed off the wrong mother.  I’m coming after you.  Ha, I’m a nurse.  I will do it the right way…I grab my laptop.  Delaware Board of Medicine.  I hit the file a complaint tab and feel such power and relief completing the form that will start the process of an investigation into the practice of these pill pushing pieces of s**t.  If I can’t go in there and beat the crap out of them for making you an addict then I’ll do the next best thing.  I will report their overprescribing to the doctors that oversee physicians in this state.  I hold back nothing.  I tell them how it’s a cash practice.  I send copies of the massive volume of pills you are given each month.  I report that there have been no scripts for physical therapy or any other means of pain control than the opiates you now live for.  I point out that Percocet and Methadone should not be prescribed together.  I report how they included a muscle relaxer into your mix of deadly drugs.  I am on a roll.  I feel my spirit lift.  The dread lifting.  I will do whatever I have to if it means saving you.  I hit the send button and do the happy dance.  The dogs wake as I am jumping around.  I have won the lottery.  The killers will be investigated and shut down.  Your monthly visits will stop.  I have saved us.  I am so happy I don’t realize how naive I was about the power of addiction.

Once again I am that cat.  The one that got the canary.  I can’t stop smiling.  I have a secret.  I tell no one. I am stupid with cockiness.  I have done it.  I don’t say a word to you as I continue to observe your behavior.  Now unemployed you spend most of your time underfoot.  I force you to walk the dogs with me.  I force conversation all the while knowing that your supply will soon disappear.  I suggest physical therapy,  acupuncture anything but drugs.  I sneak down when I hear you in the shower and search.  Pills, pills, pills, finding your supply and controlling is all I can focus on.

An unrecognized number appears on my phone.  I cautiously answer.  Yes, this is she.  Hello Detective.  You’ve received my complaint.  Hallelujah, my brain is singing as you watch from afar.  I walk outside to finish what I have to say.  Would I be willing to testify,  Holy Hell, Absolutely.  I will stand on the roof and scream about the no good pill pushers.  I am flying.  I am supermom.  I have pulled it off.  I saved you and all the lost souls who have become victims of this practice.

Weeks pass.  I hear nothing.  Your appointment coincides with your unemployment check.  Hey Matt, what are you doing today.  You look at me, I’m going out.  I’m an adult, get off my back.  Ok, now I know where your headed.  I wonder how much longer this will go on.  You are leaving as the mail is arriving.  Oh God, in my hand is a letter from The Delaware Board of Medicine.  My heart is pounding.  I run into the house ripping into the  envelope.  My eyes see the words but my brain is not comprehending.  What, are they F***ing kidding me.  We find no fault with the prescribing methods of this practice.  I am silently screaming.  Did you not see the dose and amount of killer drugs they were prescribing.  Did you not get the fact that it is a cash only business.  No paper trail of income, WTF…Are you in on the deal.  Do you f***ers get a kick back.  I hear you pull into the driveway.  You come at me like I am your prey.  WTF did you do Mom.  Who the F**K do you think you are .. They kicked me out.  You reported them.  Are you out of your mind you crazy bitch.  Now you are the one screaming and I am the one staring.   Matt, please I was trying to help.  You don’t need that poison, please I didn’t know what else to do.  Well you did it alright.  You push me out of your way.  I hear you throwing stuff, Matt please can we talk.  Get out of my way, get out of my life.  Hate pours out of you and onto me.  Matt.  I run after your car as you speed away.  Oh God, what have I done.  Why don’t I learn.  Please keep him safe.  this is all my fault.  I thought I was so smart and all I did was screw everything up.  I call your cell.  It goes directly to voice mail.  I leave you a pleading message.  Matt, I will fix this.  I will find you a real doctor.  I will find you real help.  Oh God, Matt if I didn’t love you I wouldn’t care about what you did.  Please Matt, please.  I hear the beep.  Time up.  Voice mail over.  I was pleading to a dead phone.  Oh God, what did I do.  I walk inside and see myself in the hall mirror.  My eyes are empty, my face full of sadness.  I stare at a woman I no longer recognize.   Oh God, Help…..

 

Adjusting To The New Normal

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Matt,  I must say having you living under the same roof again just killed the spontaneity in my life.  Before you I could walk around bra less in sweats and not worry about anyone taking a peak.  I could turn up the music and sing and dance with only the dogs as my audience.  I was so used to my privacy on my days off that it took a while for me to realize another grown man was in the house.  This man wasn’t my husband, he was my unemployed son who also happened to have a problem with pills.  I remember the morning I rolled out of bed and grabbed a tank top, braless of course,  just wanted to grab a cup of coffee before I got dressed.  Never thinking that you would be standing right in the middle of the kitchen as I half awake smacked right into you.  Crap, Mom, really.  The look on your face was priceless.  Hey if you don’t like it get a job.  Great, my adult son just got a look at the boobs.  Boy this was going to be such fun…Not.

Talk about you getting a job became our daily conversation.  I’d start with hey Matt, what ya going to do today.  Hey Mom,  what do you want me to do today.  Oh wait, it’s the same thing you wanted me to do yesterday, get a job.  How about you get off my back.  How about you let me handle it.  So now instead of my mornings being peaceful and quiet they were becoming a battle ground between you and me.  Hey Matt, we had a deal.  You come live here, you find work.  Work isn’t sitting on your butt watching bullshit TV all day.  Drinking coffee and living in lala land.  Remember the deal Matt.  I do.  I’m not going to watch you sit around and waste your life.  Get moving.  Out.  Go to Unemployment and look for jobs.  Oh boy, the looks I got from you.  Memories of your teen years came flooding back.  Now here we were at it again except now you were years older but no more mature.  I truly believe that your maturity level was stunted when you first started using.  Now the wingmen were becoming warriors.

Ok, so now on my days off I was on the hunt.  Finding you a job became my new obsession.  I became a mom on a mission. I would scour the want ads with my black sharpie in hand circling anything I though you might qualify for.   Every weekend Ray would find me hunched over the want ads.  Hey, you looking for a new job.  Nah,  I’m looking for Matt.  Don’t you think he should be doing that himself.  Well, hell yeah, but he’s just a little too comfortable living in luxury and collecting a check in the mail.

I was relentless.  The more I pushed, the more you fought.  Mom, lay off.  I just got here and you’re constantly on my back.  Matt, you got here months ago and nothing has changed.   I come home from a twelve hour shift and here you are all day.  Must be nice to be retired at thirty.  My peaceful home was becoming a battle ground.  You were acting like you owned the place.  Like you didn’t have to be responsible for anything.   Holy shit, then it hit me like a slap.  This was you. The product of my enabling all those years.  I took care of everything for you.  Never stepped back and let you fall.  My God, I never let you feel consequences for your behavior.  I fixed everything.  Now we were both paying the price.  Ok Matt, now I get it.  I’m as responsible for your behavior as you are.  Well my little buddy, things are going to change.  Rules will be followed.  You looked at me like I had two heads, you started to snicker and I could feel the crazy mom coming alive.  Ugly started pouring out of my mouth.  All the years of cleaning up your crap finally surfacing as we stood nose to nose in the kitchen.  Even the dogs were on high alert.  Fur standing straight, ready to pounce on you to protect me.   We screamed pointing fingers at each other, throwing blame in the air.  Oh God, this really isn’t who we are.  Matt, STOP.  I will not live like this.  My heart racing, that familiar feeling of wanting to puke in my throat.  You slam out the door and I sit in silence, once again ashamed of who we are becoming.  Your addiction was changing how I lived and who I was.  Having it in my face 24/7 was becoming unbearable.  Something had to change before we killed each other.   I sit and once again formulate a plan in my mind.  I can’t help myself.  I am a fixer.

You return, we both apologize.  This has become our new habit.  Tear each other up, take a breather, apologize.  Matt, this has to stop.  You need to stop taking the pills.  I want all your bottles.  I will give them to you but not to the point to make you high.  You look at me like I’ve lost my mind.  Meetings Matt.  Here is the list of NA meetings.  You must go and start working the program.  Your staring at me, piercing my soul with the hate in your beautiful eyes.  Matt, you have a job interview tomorrow.  I made some calls.  Matt, this is how our life must be.  You don’t say a word.  Killing me with those eyes.  You go to your room in silence.  I follow.  You are pissed, damn Mom, can’t I have my privacy.  Nope, you can’t.  I want to watch you get your pills.  You have no idea how many times I’ve searched your living area.  You have no idea that I’ve been on a ladder pushing up ceiling tiles in my finished basement that has now become your home.   You have no idea how I’ve gone through you things, picked up your mattress in my search.  You are sly.  You hide those demons like they are gold.   I fool myself into thinking if I have control you will be normal.  That life will return to the way it should be.  Stupid me thinking I could outsmart the demons.

I watch, you try to hide from me.  Blocking my view with your back.  Matt give me the damn pills.  I see you scrambling.  I grab your arm and we struggle.  The bottles fall to the floor and I am on them.  I grab them and stuff them in my bra.  Go ahead tough guy, I dare you.  I leave you cussing me out with the  grin of the Cheshire cat spreading across my face.  HaHa.  Got them.  A moms got to do what a moms got to do.

Tomorrow comes and I am on you.  Get up, clean up, eat and out the door you go.  You are still looking at me with daggers but I am on cloud nine.  My addict has a job interview and I have his pills.  You leave and I turn into the Mom police.  Flashlight in hand I start my search.  Every nook and cranny is inspected.  Once again I depend on the dogs to alert me to your return.  I am crazy, relentless.  Think like an addict I tell myself.  Where would you hide your stash. Think, think.  Every drawer has been  pulled completely out checking the underside for your stash.  Damn,  I know you are slick.  I know you have some reserve or you would have fought harder.  Your hunting boots.  Stinky, sweaty, muddy hunting boots.  I reach in, turning my head against the smell of years of use.   Ah ha.  All the way in the toes I feel a bag.  Yes, my brain is screaming. Yes. I pull hard and a bag of loose pills pops into my hand.  Holy shit.  Percocet, Methadone, Xanax and Vicodin all  staring me in the face.  I am stunned.  You are sick, very sick.  I hear the door, the dogs quietly let you in.  Shit, shit, shit.  I grab the bag and start to dance.  Mom, WTH are you doing down here.  This is my space.  Hey Matt, this is my house.  I work out here and just finished.  My heart is pounding.  You are staring me dead in the eye.   We are like two wild animals sizing each other up.  Do we pounce or pass.  I pray things are as you left them.  I pray you won’t know.  The dogs start barking.  Thank God.  Gotta walk these guys.  You want to come.  You look at me still unsure, hey Mom.  I got the job….

Bye Bye Beach House My Son’s Coming Home

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Matt, I remember going to the U Haul dealer and ordering the truck.  I just couldn’t believe this was truly happening.  The guy kept asking what I was moving and every time I tried to tell him I would start to cry.   He probably thought I was getting divorced, not losing my beach house and bringing my addict son home.   I couldn’t even believe it myself.  I made plans to come back on Saturday to start the saddest ride of my life.   My next stop was to rent a storage unit.  Once again I couldn’t let myself even think about why this was happening.   The lady behind the counter was full of smiles when I walked it.  She started a conversation by asking what I was storing.  I’d become such a great liar always covering up your addiction I just whipped out my answer without blinking an eye.  Oh, my son lost his job.  It’s tough finding employment at the beach so he’s moving home until he finds something here.  He’s a great mechanic, I’m sure he’ll find a job soon and we’ll be back moving stuff out.  Great, end of story.  I signed the lease and took the contract, once again disbelieving this was truly happening.

Back home I was free to let my emotions loose.  I cleaned out closets and moved furniture to make room for you.  I talked to myself through my tears.  It will be ok, my brain kept repeating over and over again.  He will be here and you can watch him.  You will have more control over how he lives.  You will set boundaries and make rules.  These is the best solution for now.  Somehow I kept trying to convince myself that this arrangement wouldn’t kill me or get me arrested for killing you.

Talk about killing.  Just how great was this arrangement going to be on a new marriage.  Ray and I were just finding our rhythm and now here comes my unemployed, addicted, adult son.  Oh boy,  where’s the reality TV when you need it.  Well this would be the true test of that vow for better or worse, cause I could just feel in my gut that we were signing up for a whole lot of worse.

Driving down I kept asking Ray if he was really ok with this.  Hey, it’s too late now.  You put this in motion we can’t stop now.   Two friends volunteered to help.  Of course, I once again told the poor Matt story.  Can’t find a job at the beach, yada, yada and shot Ray a warning look to keep his mouth shut.  He was now in training on how to hide the truth about your addict.  This was a secret club.  A need to know basis only.  After all, Ray was now part of the dirty little secret club so he better know how to play.

We all arrived at the same time.  I was panicked.  I wanted to get there first and scope out the place and you.   No such luck.   I knocked and waited.  Dog barking but nothing else.  Oh God, please just today can you spare me this crap.  I use my key and am greeted by balls of black fur that caught a ride on the breeze from the door.  I will kill you.  I can feel the crazy mom starting to surface.  There you are on the couch looking like you’ve got no cares in the world.  I want to scream.  At least you have the decency to get up and realize I am not alone.  You flash that smile but I’m unaffected, I am going to kill you.   Ray can see what is going on and diverts our friends into another room to discuss where to start.  Matt,  thanks so much for doing what I asked.  I scan the room and see boxes half full, the kitchen full of dirty dishes.  I grab your arm and drag you into the kitchen.  I fill the sink and tell you to start washing.  My head is ready to explode.   Go ahead, say one word and I don’t care who sees it, I am so done with your BS.  You look at me and know we are on that slippery slope.  I can see you behind the mask of your demons.  I want to reach in and grab you but know the demons have control.

We are down to three.  All of us struggle to move the pieces into the truck.  You are oblivious to everything except the menial tasks I have demanded you do.   As each room is emptied another piece of me is broken.  I try to hide my tears, taking breaks outside to smell the sea air.  My mind is flooded with memories of happy times before  your demons came.  I question every decision, everything I did to save my piece of heaven.  Everything sold, all lost to your addiction.  Now the final straw.  Your disease has robbed you of love, your business, your health, now it’s robbed me of my dream.

I am openly sobbing as we close up the truck.  The dam broken and years of pent up anguish flood my being. You sit in the truck staring ahead.  I can’t look at or talk to you.  You have robbed me of the son I used to know.  The Matt you used to be.  My wing man, my partner in crime.  I walk inside and hold myself as I say goodbye to my paradise.  I close my eyes and can see the memories that are burned into my brain.  Parties, crabs and beer.  Coming home with a fresh catch.  You gutting the fish and throwing pieces at me as I ran screaming.  Both of us laughing.   I want you back.  Ray comes to me as I close the door for the last time.   It will be ok,  we will get through this.

We pull away and I turn to take one last look.  You are staring at me. You are back.  A tear is running down your face.  You reach for me and I grab your hand.   We lock eyes.  It will be ok,  you are coming home.  You will be safe.  I will help you get you back.  We will be wingmen, partners in crime, fighting the demons together.  That’s what families do.  Stick together.  We are both quiet on the ride home, no need to talk.  We’ve had years of reading each others eyes.   You fall asleep and memories of you being young flood my mind.  Sleeping in the backseat with your head on the window.  Nothing has changed.  You are now a man, but always my boy.

I look at Ray.  He grabs my hand.  You ok.  Yeah, I will be.  Just gotta get him help.  We ride home in silence.  Ok God,  I need a real wingman.  Someone with super human powers.  You up for this.   I’m hanging with my son.  I will not give up.  I remember looking at the sky.  The sun broke out from behind a dark cloud.  Ok God, I’m taking that as a yes.  I felt a peace fill my heart.  I looked back at my sleeping adult child.  Yes everything would be ok…….

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