Mother's Heartbreak

A Story of Addiction & Loss

Category: Opiates (page 1 of 7)

United By Addiction. Bonded By Grief

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Matt,

I had the amazing experience of attending The Fed Up Rally and the Unite to Face Addiction concert in Washington DC this weekend.   When I was in the midst of the battle to find you help I felt so alone.   I felt isolated.   I felt that no one cared.   I had no idea how many other mother’s knew my heartbreak.

I was having second thoughts about attending.   Every weather report dampened my spirits and made me think of staying home and staying dry.   Then I looked at your picture and felt that gut punch of knowing you were really gone.    The broken system  failed us both and you paid with your life.   As I continued to stare into your  beautiful eyes, I felt a power in my soul like I’d never experienced  before.   I’d walked through hell during your active addiction, why would I let the threat of heavy rain and wind keep me away.

I read about the Rally in the paper.   They were asking for stories of recovery and hope.   I had written a piece telling our story and included your picture.   To my surprise, It was published and I was humbled.   I also sent your picture to be included in The Addicts Mom’s quilt.   There was no way I was going to miss seeing your face being remembered at this amazing event.

I took a bus early Saturday morning with a small group from Delaware.   We knew each other’s grief, each of us losing a child.   Saturday was an emotional day for me.   It was the nine month anniversary of your death and here I was riding a bus in the rain to attend a rally for drug addiction.   My tears fell along  with the rain drops as I remembered the struggle to find you help.    Unfortunately, Delaware had no rehabs.   We have one detox unit that never had any beds when you finally agreed to get clean.    I remembered conversations begging your insurance company to approve treatment only to be told that you had no days left.   How could they treat your disease like you were not worth the time or money spent to save your life?   Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think you would die and I would be on a bus heading to Washington participating in a march to The White House.

The bus dropped our group off at the hotel.   We grabbed our rain gear and headed to the memorial.  The sky was grey with a light rain falling mimicking my mood.   The closer I got the more I could feel the atmosphere changing.   When we reached the mall, I was shocked at the size of the crowd.   People just like me.   Strangers who knew my grief and walked in my shoes.   Strangers whose faces looked just like mine.   Shock and disbelief marked us as those left behind.  Eyes swollen and empty as we wiped tears away with the sleeve of our shirt.

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The stage held a memorial filled with names of those who lost their battle.  I was brought to my knees when I saw your name.  My precious son surrounded by hundreds of those who like you are gone forever.  I felt that too familiar gut punch as my tears started to fall.  I wore your picture on a lanyard around my neck.   I grabbed it and started to sob.     A complete stranger came and wrapped me in her arms.   Whispering that she understood my pain.   Here we were two mothers, strangers, holding each other up as the rain mixed with our tears.    Sharing stories of children lost.   I witnessed the kindness of strangers forever bonded by a common grief.

I was waiting outside The Addicts Mom’s tent.   They were preparing to unveil the quilt.   I remember the wind blowing  and the rain hitting my face.   My eyes searching the many squares until I saw your face.   Your beautiful smile right in the center of this beautiful handmade creation.   The sound of a wounded animal came from my lips as I stood letting the rain mix with my tears hugging myself against the heartbreaking pain.   Arms reached for me.   Another mother who got it.   We rocked each other in the rain and wind as we shared our heart breaking grief.   Another mother living my life, knowing my pain.   Angels walking among the crowd comforting strangers.

We formed groups as we prepared to walk to the White House.   I looked around in awe.   Thousands of people all here for the same reason.   The broken system failed their loved ones.   I was no longer alone.   We marched together.   We hugged each other.   We shed tears together as we shouted out against a system that must be changed.   We were empowered by the numbers.   We were heard.   I walked back to the hotel with a couple who lost their son.   We now call each other friend.   This event formed a bond never to be broken.

Sunday morning came with my familiar face in the mirror.   Puffy eyes staring back at me.   My face changed by grief.   The price of addiction is what I now call my new look.   I have forgotten how to smile.   I attended a breakfast in Arlington hosted by The Addicts Mom group.   A group no mother wants to belong to but the circumstances of life have left us no choice.   It was emotional to meet all the mothers I’ve supported and who have supported me on Facebook.   These women have walked through the same hell and get it.   Again I came face to face with the quilt.   Your smiling face staring back at me and again another mother held me as I shattered into pieces.

There really are no words to describe Sunday’s event.   The crowd tripled from Saturday.  The weather cold, and dreary.   I stood on the hill by The Monument.   In awe at the number of people from all parts of the country coming together to demand better care for the disease of addiction.   Many holding pictures and banners with names and dates.   All here to honor the ones they loved and lost.  Those in recovery were celebrating  a new sober life.   Everyone had a story to tell.   Strangers sharing their souls with strangers.  Sharing the bonds of love, loss and hope.

Sunday evening Joe Walsh and his fellow musicians held a concert to honor those lost and those struggling to survive.   A tribute to this deadly disease.   The crowd came alive.  When the music started the atmosphere became one of happiness and hope.   Rich and famous artists coming out and admitting they were once addicts.  Speeches by people who care and will fight to make changes.  Hope.   I could feel it in the air, at last there was hope.   Our new Surgeon General gets it.   Lawmakers now ready to join our fight  providing equal treatment for the disease of addiction.  Hope.   I stood with a crowd of strangers and danced to the music.  Joy I hadn’t felt for so long coursed through my soul.  We held onto each other when a  song hit a nerve and tears returned.   We sang out loud.  We were empowered.   Too many people fighting for the same cause.   Everyone remembering loved ones.   Honoring them by speaking out against the stigma.

I still get chills when I look at my pictures of all the faces lost.   Pictures of people coming together and lifting each other up in spirit.   Strangers becoming friends.   Promises of keeping in touch.  Of working together for the greater good.   I’m humbled by this experience and I know I will never be the same.   I no longer feel alone as I remember the beauty of seeing thousands of people coming together demanding change.

There is a saying, If God closes one door he opens another.   My new door has opened and I know I have thousands of people fighting the same fight.   I will be your voice.   I will remember your smiling face on that quilt surrounded by a hundred others.    No longer alone but humbled by the compassion of strangers.

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…

 

 

 

 

 

My Son Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest….

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Matt,   You really did it this time.  You had the balls to have your pill boy knock on my door.   What were you thinking, or not thinking I should say.   I still remember the shocked look spreading across his face as my punches kept coming.  I’ve never felt so out of control in my life.  Beating the person who brings you poison.  God, what a release.  It felt so good to punch and kick your demons.  Show him who’s boss, who’s in charge.   He’s the next best thing to punching the crap out of you.   That’s what I really want to do.  To duke it out with your demons.  An exorcism, like in the movies.  I want to wave a cross in your face.  Keep you tied up and safe.   I want you to stop destroying your life and dragging me down that black hole.   Dear God,  I can only hope no one saw my craziness.   Your addiction is turning me into someone I don’t recognize.   Never would I ever picture myself being the out of control mother that would be capable of physical violence.   Me, the nurse.  The care giver turned into a cussing, fist flying defender of you.   Oh Dear God what is happening to our lives.

Ok, so now how do we get past this?   How do we act like this never happened?  You are pissed.  Not talking.  Punishing me with your silence.   I tell you I did it to save you.  That one day we will look back on this and laugh.  One day when you are in recovery we will have a rip roaring belly laugh until tears flow and hugs are shared.  Forgiveness flowing from our hearts.  Me, forgiving you for the years of ugly chaos and you, forgiving me for pill destroying and running interference.   My dream of peace gets me through the next weeks of your healing.

You’re getting stronger and meaner every day.   You remind me of that caged tiger. Pacing from one end of his cage to the other.   Our home has become your cage, your prison.   I foolishly try to reason with you.  To get you to see my side.  I feel like I’m selling my soul to the devil.  I try to set boundaries.  To live here you must follow rules.   No pill deliveries.  No abusing.  You look at me with a piercing stare.  Your beautiful eyes, now cold.  Shark eyes, looking past my face into my soul.  I feel like I’ve been assaulted.   I look away.  A coldness settles in my soul.

I’m so worried about saving you that I forget about me.  I have a professional license.   All I need is for the cops to get wind of your activities and follow your supplier to my front door.   Those pills he tried to deliver where much stronger than those prescribed.   Your choice’s have once again threatened my sanity.  Now you’ve put my career in jeopardy.   The possibility of losing my nursing license is just too much to chance.   I tell you we must talk.  You sit and at least look at me.  I feel like I’m begging for my life.   “Matt,  if you stay there can be no more buying drugs”.   I hold my breath and wait.  You get up.   “No problem,  I’m going back to my friends”.   Just like that you pack.   I’m holding back my tears.  “Matt, please stop”.   I love you and want you to get well, please”.    I reach out for your arm.   You look back and tell me, “I’m not your little boy,  I’m not being told what to do by my mommy”.    Your words are like a slap.  I watch you walk out the door.   What’s left of my heart breaks again.   I close the door watching you pull away.   The pain of all these years hit.   I sit in the dark, alone with my memories.   My little boy.  My Matt. My tow headed shadow.   People would joke.   The doctor forgot to cut your cord they would say as you followed me every where.   What the hell happened to that boy.   Where did he go.  I listen and hear the laughter of your demons..

So now my sleepless nights return.  At least having you here allowed me to sleep.  Knowing you were under my roof and supposedly my control.   How stupid to think I controlled anything.   Now I lay in fear.   Fear of that phone call.  Fear of the police knocking on my door.   Fear gripping my heart as darkness settled.   My mind spinning with all the what if scenario’s dancing in my brain.  Why wasn’t there an off switch.   At least I could turn off for a few hours, but no, night after night your demons dance in my head.

You’ve been gone for two weeks.  It’s 2am I’m fighting the urge to just get up.  Stop the madness, knowing sleep will not come.   The headlights pierce the darkness of our bedroom.   My heart is in my throat.  Oh God,  my brain is getting ready.  This is it.  I leap out of bed jumping over Ray and run to the window.   You are in the driveway.  Stoned and screaming.  I fly downstairs and out the door.  You are waving a bottle.  I try to grab you.  Once again we are struggling for your survival.  I am on your back.  You have taken so many pills.   You tell me you want to die.  You can live like this no more.  Now, I’m screaming.  I don’t give a damn if the neighbors hear.  I’m sticking my fingers in your throat.  Puke Matt.  Just puke.  You are gagging as I see pills hitting the driveway.   More headlights.  Mike jumps out of his truck.   Oh God, how?   “Matts friend called, said Matt was threatening to end it tonight”.   Mike takes over restraining you.   His medical training  kicks in and his fingers replace mine.

I run into a startled Ray.  I’m screaming and violently shaking.  He doesn’t understand my craziness.  Seeing  you and Mike struggling in the driveway he runs outside.   So now at 2am your demons are making your family crazy.  We are battling for your life.  Mike and Ray finally calming you down while I’m calling for medical backup.  Calling all angels, my friend at Rockford.   I’m babbling.  “Help, help, help,”  She knows about your demons, she understands the distress call without any explanation.  “Get him here,  I’ll call ahead and meet you”.

I run back outside.  Neighbors lights are on and doors open.  I want to scream to leave us alone.  To scream into the darkness of night until I can scream no more.  We are struggling to get you into Mike’s truck.   You give up fighting and settle in.  I buckle you in and have a flashback of you sitting in your carseat and fighting being restrained and safe.  Have you always been this way?  Never wanting to be safe.  Fighting my attempts to restrain you.   I look into your eyes.  My tears falling onto your hands.  “Matt, we love you,  we will take care of this,  get you to safety”.   You look at me as a tear runs down your face.   “Mom, let go of him”,  I hear Mike’s voice as his engine roars to life.  “Let go, shut the door”.    “Mom,  I’ve got him, let go”.   You are no longer my babe sitting in a carseat.   You are a grown man  fighting for your life, fighting those who love you, fighting demons that have been unbeatable.   I stand in the driveway as Mike backs away.   Sobs wracking my body.  My two boys, now men.  I catch a last glimpse of your faces.   Matt, your eyes are closed.   Mike,  forever the big brother.   Determined to get you to safety.   Let go.   How does a mother let go?   Matt you are me and I am you.    I stand alone in the darkness.   Numb to the cold November night.   I look to the sky.   The night is clear, the sky full of stars.   Dear God, do you see what is happening?   Do you even care?   My son, on his way to a mental hospital.   Did you see him taking those pills?   Where are you?   I feel alone and abandoned.   I sit in the dark and google Rockford.   And so it begins.  Another ride on the roller coaster of addiction.   Chaos and craziness have become a way of life.   Hey Rockford,  do you have a bed for me?    This addict’s mom wants to be admitted.  Taken away.  No visitors.  No idea of what is happening in her world.   I want to be sedated.  I want Lala land.  I want to disappear into the sunset.  I want to be Alice.   I want my rabbit hole to be an endless ride through Wonderland.   I want to be The Mad Hatter.  To just be crazy or maybe The Queen of Hearts chopping off the head of whoever pisses me off.  I want to be anyone but   me,  the mother of an addict……..

Smile, We’re All On Candid Camera

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Matt,  having you home was like living in hell.  I thought I saw all your ugliness spew from you before the accident.  Never realizing how much control your demon’s had over your brain.   I walked on eggshells holding my breath.  Choosing my words carefully.  Trying not to piss off the sleeping dragon.   I stayed home for a week.  I was emotionally battered.  I never remember feeling such joy knowing that in a few days I would be returning to saving the babies.   A touch of normal that I needed so badly.

So here we were stuck in another of you’re addiction dilemma’s.   Was it safe to leave you unsupervised.   You were instructed not to drive, but you never were one to follow instructions.  Especially  when the demons were calling.   You’re cravings were in control and there was no stopping you from leaving the house to find the love’s of your life.   I had no choice.  I had to return to work and to be honest with you, I needed to get away from your ugliness.  I called Mike to give him a head’s up. “Mom, you know he can’t be trusted.”   “Yeah Mike, I know.”  It broke my heart that after this brush with death you still thought you were invincible.  Taking your keys was a joke.  I knew you were sly like a fox and probably had another set hidden somewhere in the house.  Plus, you’re a mechanic.  I’ve heard your stories of hot wiring cars.  That familiar feeling of helplessness grabbed my heart again as we brainstormed on how to once again save you from yourself.

Your addiction was seeping through the fabric of our family.   Turning what should have been a joyous occasion into a problem that would keep us in a constant state of stress.  All the reasoning with you about being given a second chance fell on deaf ears.  You looked at me like I was the enemy, not you’re mom who once again was trying to save you.

Our house became a revolving door.  Who ever was free the day’s I worked would arrive with the pretense of “hanging out with Matt”.   At first you thought it was great.  You thought you could batter your  friends into taking you to get some extra poison.   Believe me I heard how manipulative you were becoming, but your friends were my army, the Queen’s men cutting the head off your plan of self destruction.

I guess I forget just how sly you could be when pushed to the limit.  You played the game to perfection.  I would come home to my daily verbal assaults.  Thinking my plan was working.  Little did I know you had found an old contact and now had a delivery service right to the front door.  Better than UPS or Amazon, you were the biggest shit with the perfect smile.   I knew something was up.  You were just too happy.  Back to the old Matt.   Mom’s intuition.  Ok Matt let’s dance.

The camera’s were installed in every room.  Yup even the bedrooms.  Hidden behind pictures and in plants.  I felt like James Bond.  Little devices that allowed us to watch and hear your every move.  Spying on my son.  Dear God, what I wouldn’t do to save you from yourself.  At first I felt guilty when I snuck upstairs to watch the new reality TV show that’d become my life.   I named it, “Find Matt and Guess What He’s Up To.”   I honestly had no idea what I would see.  I was scared to death.

This took the place of our old game.  You hide, I seek.  With you underfoot all day I just couldn’t picture myself carrying down my ladder and going through the ceiling tiles like the old days.  Shit, that was so much easier than playing I spy.   I soon got over my guilt as I watched your hands explore places I would have bet my life you would never go near.  Soon things began disappearing.  Little things.  Things I never would have missed had I not seen it attached to your hand.

You were right back to that Matt.  Your supply coming right to our door.  Being financed by me, Mike and Ray.  WTH was I going to do.  Stealing to buy your perc’s. My heart broke every time I saw what you were up to.   My Matt once again under the control of the devil.  There’s a saying that “An addict will steal your wallet then help you look for it”.   Well holy shit I was living that life.

I remember the day the shit hit the big ugly addiction fan.  You borrowed a Dremel kit from Mike.   You would spent your days making jewelry or so you said.  I use the word borrowed, but in reality you sold it right out from under him.  “Hey Mom, does Matt have my Dremel set?”   That question was the opening of Pandora’s box. You are both downstairs.  I hear your voices.  Louder and louder.  Brother fighting brother as the addict helps  look for something he can’t even remember selling.   In the midst of the screaming, I hear the doorbell.   A delivery for Matt.

I remember grabbing the guy by his shirt.  Words unknown to mankind fly out of my mouth.   I slap him and push him off the porch.  He was expecting Matt.  I am in such a rage I don’t hear or see anything.  I am punching and kicking and screaming at your buddy.  All the years of pent up rage flying out of my arms and fists.  Beating your demon with everything in my soul.   I am pushed aside.  Your brother shoving me to safety.    Mike is bigger.  Your demon runs dropping his delivery.   I throw myself on the bottle before he can grab his loss.   He is gone.   The pills are mine.

I am shaking, bruised and bleeding.   Mike is trying to calm me as the sobs come.   You appear.  “WTF” are the words we hear.  You’re face says it all.   Your eyes hate me.    You see the bottle.   “WTF did you do?”   I run to the bathroom.   Mike grabs you as I throw your poison away.   Your words cut my heart.   Mike is threatening to punch your face if you don’t shut your mouth.

You and Mike now going at each other.  Like panthers coming in for the kill.  Sizing each other up.   I close my eyes and remember my two little boys.   Loving, happy, the best of friends.   Addiction has changed the fabric of our family.   What started as a small tear has now ripped us wide open.   I try to come between you but I get the look to keep my distance.   This battle is between you and Mike.   I go upstairs.  I throw the camera shattering it into pieces.   Broken pieces like our family.   I see myself in the mirror.  My swollen eyes, bruised  arms.   I grab a towel cover my mouth and scream…….

 

 

 

A Matt With Nine Lives

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Matt.   So this tender love seemed to be working.  You would stop by to visit Kahlua.  You looked reasonably straight.  We were trying to work on getting back to you and me.  I couldn’t stay mad forever.  I was becoming cautiously optimistic that Ray and I did the right thing.  I was okay knowing you had a roof over your head and food that of course I’d send with you each visit.  You blew my mind during one visit when you thanked me for kicking you out.  I’ll never forget your smile as you said, “Mom,  I’m really glad you kicked me out”.  “It’s about time I figure out how to take care of myself”.  You gave me one of those bear hugs as you left.  I watched you walk to your car with a mixed feeling of joy and sadness.  This was never what I wanted.  I wanted you living at the beach.  I wanted you to be successful.  I wanted our life back.  I wanted you back and I wanted me back.

You shocked me when you came home one day and announced you found a job.  Working at the same auto parts store you did in high school.  You were so proud.   I was so sad.  I smiled and hugged you, all the time thinking how much your demons cost you.  Prior to the pills,  you owned a very successful business.  Living my dream life by the sea.  Now here you were working for minimum wage exactly where you started a million years ago.  I wondered if you actually passed the drug test or if you were able to sweet talk your way back in.   I guess I couldn’t be too picky.  Wanting you to be who you no longer were.  At least you had a place to be and responsibility.  I prayed this was a step in the right direction.  That if you started to feel useful and were surrounded by clean people maybe just maybe normal would find us again.

Matt, I remember the call like it was yesterday.  It was a beautiful summer day.  Ray and I were tag teaming the housework so we could head out to mountain bike.  Ray was happier knowing I was fine with you not living here as long as I controlled where you lived. We were finding a new rhythm, finally having the house to ourselves.  I never realized the enormous chaos you created until it was gone.   I was learning how to focus on something other than saving you.  A little piece of the way life could be.

Ray was vacuuming,  I was in the kitchen.  My cell rang.  Surprisingly, I heard it.  A number I didn’t recognize.  Any other time I would not have answered.  That little voice and a chill had me grabbing my phone.  “Hello”.  I hear a voice asking if I am MaryBeth.  Dear God, do I want to be?  Yes, I can feel my body starting to react.  My soul knew it was you.  “Yes, who is this?”   The next words brought me to my knees and had Ray at my side.  “Oh God,  is he alive,  please tell me the truth”.  You’re a nurse, so am I.  “Please stay with him, tell him I love him, please keep him alive for me”.  “Yes, Christiana, I work there, please tell them to get him to Christiana.”  I’m sobbing trying to talk to you as this nurse holds the phone to your ear.  She tells me you are still breathing but the accident was a head on and you are in very bad shape.  I stay on the phone until I hear the medics arrive.  She again reassures me you are still alive.  I hear the medics muffled words.  Calling ahead to alert the E.D a trauma is coming.  I don’t want to hang up.  I can’t lose our connection.  I want to keep telling you that I love you.  That I will be there.  Please don’t leave me.  Please fight, breathe, stay alive.

We fly to the E.D.  Ray has already called Mike.  Ray pulls up and slows down as I leap out.  I see the ambulance and know you were it’s patient.  A nurse/mother’s instinct.  I run in and am ignored by the unit clerk sitting in triage behind the plexiglass screen on her phone.  I am ready to punch the window to get her attention.  I look up and Terry, a nurse I worked with during my E.D days smiles.  Hey, what are you doing here.  My son is your trauma.  He was just brought in.  She asks for your name.  “Matt”.  Her smile disappears. She walks toward me and wraps an arm around me.  “You need to come with me”, she says.  Ray runs in the door and sees us.  Terry tells him to stay back and wait.  She continues to guide me toward those doors.  Oh God,  “Terry, I can’t do this.  I remember being the nurse and taking parents like you are taking me”.  ” I can’t do this”.  My body is racked with sobs.  I’m shaking so badly I can barely think or walk.   “Mare, you can do this, you must do this”.   She tightens her grip as we walk into the trauma room.  All eyes turn toward me.   “Hey, what are you doing here?”  I’m surrounded by a sea of familiar faces.  “That’s my Matt”.  I walk to the table.  You’re body is broken.  Purple bruising covers your chest.  The doc is scanning your abdomen.  I tell you I’m here and squeeze your hand.  You are alive.  I stifle a sob and try to calm my trembling body.  Terry remains by my side.  I don’t know why but my nurse mode turned on.  I’m looking at the scans asking about your liver and spleen pointing out things I don’t want to see.  I’m asking which Trauma Surgeon is coming.  I’m relieved when one of the best will be arriving shortly.  I’m asking about pain control and my mind is running down the trauma protocol when I hear this young nurse cop an attitude.  “Who does she think she is?”  I’m ready to scream, “I’ll tell you who I am smart ass, snot nosed, don’t know nothing little shit”.   Terry saves me from my tirade.  “Shut up, you have no idea who she is, she was our trauma coordinator,  She was here when you were being potty trained”.   We exchange a glance.  The trauma surgeon takes his place by my side.  He gives me a hug.  “Hey, we got this. You try to be the mom, we will do everything, you know we love you and he is one of our’s.  Go take a break.  I’ll see you soon”.

Terry walks me to that room.  The one we always deliver bad news in.  I tell her I can’t wait there.  Too many memories of families I’ve stayed with.  The mother’s and father’s I held as the news of loss was delivered.  I’m shaking again.  Ray opens the door.  He’s been waiting for me.  I collapse in his arms.  I tell him you are alive and to pray.  The door swings open.  Mike walks in with Heather.  His face says it all.  I tell him you are alive.  He needs to see you.  I call Terry.  Yes, Mike go.  Terry meets him and takes him to see your battered body.   I’m pacing as Mike returns with an officer.  He sits and tells me he was at the scene.  Witnesses say you crossed the center line.  He apologizes as he hands me your ticket.   He tells me how sorry he is.   They have drawn a drug screen.  The results are pending.  He leaves us in silence.  Each one of us lost in our thoughts.  I’m giving thanks that you are alive.  I’m praying you will recover.  The sadness surrounding your family  binds us.  Your addiction is killing us.

What started out as a day of happiness has turned into one of fear.  Once again not knowing where we were headed.  The normal I was starting to feel shattered.  The chaos of your demons never letting up.  I thought I had regained some control of my life.  How foolish to think after all we survived that normal would ever find us again.   Mike goes for coffee.  He needs to cry for his broken brother.  His only sibling.  Matt, your tough as nails brother is sobbing.  I wonder how much more we will survive.  How many more insults your body can take.  I wonder how to fix this.  The door opens again.  Our surgeon.  My heart stops.  He sits.  Your spleen is torn, several vertebra are fractured.  They are keeping you heavily sedated.  Watching closely for changes that will buy you a trip to the O.R.  He hands me a small bag, his eyes full of pity.  Matt our dirty little secret is out.  “He’s an addict”.  Those ugly words flying around the room.  Your demons laughing.  My heart breaking.  They will pump you full of drugs.  They have no choice.   I hear the roller coaster pulling up.  I see myself getting on.  The bar locking firmly in place.  I have no control.  I sob as if the world is ending.  My fantasy over.  The ride will start again………

 

 

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