Mother's Heartbreak

A Story of Addiction & Loss

Category: Opiates (page 2 of 7)

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.

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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………

 

 

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…..

 

I Spy, You Lie, I Try to Save You…

IMG_0679Matt.   This is exactly what I meant by riding the roller coaster of your addiction.  Here I am thinking we are on the upswing of life.  You are working, being productive and I am out with friends celebrating my birthday.    I promised no Matt talk tonight as I come to realize your addiction monopolizes all my conversations.  My friends actually made me promise No Matt Talk tonight knowing how your addiction has overtaken my life.  We are happy, celebrating life between close friends when my cell rings.  I look and see it is you.  My friends send warning signs with their eyes.  Don’t they tell me,  just this once don’t.  I can’t help myself.  They have no idea what it’s like to have an addicted son.  One phone call can be the difference between life and crisis.  I smile and grab my phone apologizing as I walk outside.  Matt, what’s up.  I’m out for my birthday.  Mom,  oh God, I hear it in your voice.  My throat automatically tightens as I listen to the sadness in your voice.  Mom, I lost my job.  I hear your brokenness and the tears form in my eyes.  I turn away from the window hiding my grief from the group that moments ago was full of laughter.  What happened.  I don’t know.  I thought I was doing good.  My boss came to me when I was leaving and told me not to come back.  He said he was sorry but they have to let me go.  Oh Matt, I’m so sorry.  It will be ok.  We will figure something out.  I will be home soon.

I return to the table.  I try to pretend things are fine.  My eyes tell a different story.  I can’t stop the tears.  My friends try to be supportive but are upset that once again you have interfered with my happiness.  The party is over. Like someone threw a bucket of water on the bride.  I try to say I’m sorry.   I can feel the atmosphere change.  The roller coaster now on it’s downward spiral with me trapped in a seat.  I can’t stop my reaction as I cry all the way home.  Ray is quiet.  I can hear his thoughts.  We told you not to answer.  What were you thinking.  Every call from Matt was usually a problem dumped in your lap.  Just once we wanted a normal night.  Just once.

We are greeted by your glassy eyes.  Sorry Mom, didn’t mean to wreck your birthday.  You hand me a card and give me a hug.  My heart breaks for you.  We both had such high hopes.  Dreaming of you having your own place, meeting someone nice, a normal life.  Now the crash of reality hit again.  We are both reeling from the news.  We sit.  I notice your thoughts are slow, your words carefully chosen.  I observe your addiction and wonder if this was how you presented at work.  Matt, what happened.  I don’t know Mom.  Matt what did you take.  Nothing.  you have my f***ing pills.  You haven’t been to happy about passing them out.  WTH Mom, why do you always start about the pills.   Hey Matt, go look in the mirror.  See what I see.  Hear what I hear.  For God sakes couldn’t you stay clean for eight hours.  WTH is wrong with you.  Hey,  Screw you Mom.  You slam out of the room and go downstairs.  Well, my brain says.  Happy F***ing birthday to you….

I wake the next day.  You won’t talk to me.  Ok buddy,  I’m done asking you.  I grab my keys and leave.  I have your pills in my pocket.  I’m not trusting you alone in an empty house with a bottle of pills.  I drive very carefully.  All I need is to get pulled over with a bottle of drugs, label ripped off.  Bye, bye nursing license.

I pull in the parking lot of your now X employer.  I walk to the customer service desk and ring the bell.  A kid looking like he just got out of diapers answers my call.  Is this who you are replaced with my mind is saying as I try to keep my thought from  flying out of my mouth.  Hi.  I’m looking for Matt.  He was so great in helping me last week I wanted to tell him in person.   Oh, the stoned guy.  What, what do you mean.  Lady, he would come in stoned.  Customers complained everyday.  He had trouble working the computer and would disappear.  You must have caught him on a good day.  He laughed and I muffled a scream.  I will kill you.  Where are you getting the drugs.  I was pissed beyond belief.  In my mind I was strangling you.  Hey Lady.  His voice brought me back to reality.  He got fired.

I drive home in a fury.  Trying to remember the pills in my pocket.  Hell officer arrest me.  Going to jail would be better than living my life.  I’m almost home when I see you drive past me.  You are looking straight ahead.  You look right past me.  Well I’ll be damn.  I turn my car around and start to follow.  I grab a ball cap from my back seat and pull my hair up.  I stay two cars behind.  I scoot down so if by any chance you look you will not see me.  I’m a mom on a mission.  A spy guy.  I’ve watched enough TV to know how to follow somebody.  I am laughing to myself.  Dear God, this is what my life has come to, spying on my adult addict.

You turn into a small parking lot.  I go straight.  I give you time to go wherever you are going before I pounce.   I find your truck and park in the next lot.  Cute little townhouses.  The Perfect hiding place for pill pushers.  I pull my hat down and start looking at the brightly colored doors.  Ahhh, I think I found a winner.  Delaware Pain Management right there on the sweet little door.  My heart is pounding.  My brain is screaming.  It’s now or never.  I open the door.  I am greeted by glassy eyes.  All shapes and sizes.  All waiting for their fix.  Holy sh** my heart is so loud I can count my pulse in my ears.  I grab an empty seat and sit.  Trying to slow my breathing, stop the squeezing in my throat and the pounding of my broken heart.  This room is full of you.  Addicts.  All waiting for their monthly supply of demons.  How can this be.  Pill pushers in white coats making a living off people in pain.  I try not to look suspicious.  I’m the only one in the room not slouched in my seat.  I observe their behavior and try to fit in.  The woman next to me gives me a broken tooth smile.  Honey, what ya here for.  I hurt my back and these docs make me feel wonderful.  I come as soon as my welfare check comes.  She leans on me and tells me a secret.  Cash only she says.  I am trying to swallow the bile that is building in my throat.  My plan was to confront you but now I need to get out to get air.  I’m so lost in my own sorrow I don’t hear the door open.  You are standing there staring at me with such disbelief, such hate that I want to dissolve into the air.  You run out the door.  I see the scripts.  I follow you.  We struggle.  I’m jumping in the air trying to get those scripts away from you.  I want names and drug amounts.  I will fight you to the death.  I punch you in the face.  I grab the scripts and run to my car.  I’m breathless, sweating and ready to puke.  My doors lock as I peel out of the lot.  You give me the finger as I speed by.  I roll down my window.  I Love you Matt.

I’m driving and sobbing and laughing all at once.  Holy sh**,  Here we were two adults duking it out in the parking lot of drug pushing doctors.  Dear God, don’t let me show up on Action News or in a U Tube video.  What a mother will do to save her son.   I can’t stop the hysterical laughter.  I am out of control.  Grief, stress, anger and frustration all wrapped up in loud uncontrolled sobs.  I love you Matt.  I will fight you to save you.  I will never give up the fight.  You can hate me forever as long as you live.

I get home.  You aren’t here.  I run upstairs and copy your scripts.  Names and prescriber numbers.  Drugs and doses.  Everything I need to report the devils who dole out the demons.  I feel like the cat who stole the canary.  I was the coolest chick.  The slick mom, the sleuth.  I was so busy thinking about how smart I was that I forgot how smart you were.  I didn’t allow myself to hear the laughter.  Good try Mom.  You won this time but he is ours.  We will be back and you will be beat.  The sun went down, the room grew dark, my laughing turned to sobbing….

Drugs, Jobs and Roller Coaster Rides

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Matt,  Holy shit, holy shit, I am doing the happy dance.  Hugging you and jumping for joy.  I get a grip and look at your face.  Matt, what’s wrong, this is the best news ever.  You will be doing the work you love, making real money and having a sense of pride.  I’m still not getting it.  You look like you just received the worst news instead of this great news.  You grab my shoulders holding me still.  Your eyes bore into mine.  Mom, I have to take a drug test…Ok, so take it.  Oh God Matt, I still lived in my little world of denial.  I figured that since I was handling your pills and being very stingy with  how many you got that our problem was under control.  I foolishly thought I’d fixed you again.  I had no clue as to the many sources you had and believed that because you weren’t bugging me for them that you realized you really didn’t need them.  Stupid, stupid me.

Days go by and your still evasive when I ask you about the job.  Mom, I’m waiting.  Waiting for what.  It was then that it struck me.  You were lying again.  I’d overheard you on the phone asking about passing a piss test.  Yes Matt, I did pretend to not notice you on the phone but my ears were on high alert as I tried to learn as much about who you were hanging with while pretending to be looking for my phone or whatever would pop into my mind when I saw you sneaking around talking in whispers.  Passing a piss test.  Ugh, so gross your slang.  Couldn’t you just say drug or pee test, nope had to use words that conjured up images in my mind that I’d rather not think about.  I guess my education regarding the slang used by addicts was in full swing.  Thank you Google.  I was educating myself and was amazed at the stuff posted on the internet.  I guess if you could learn how to build a bomb you could certainly find out how to pass a piss test.

So you could pick up a detox kit from GNC.  Well, I’ll be damn.  I foolishly thought they were a health food store.  The jokes on me.  Addicts are beyond smart.  I saw this sitting on your dresser when I was snooping or working out in your space.  However you want to look at it you left it out and I found it.  I, your naive mom just couldn’t believe what you were going to do.  Take a chance on this stupid kit instead of not using.  So it’s the big day.  You leave the house with this big grin, like you were the cat that swallowed the canary.  I decided to play along.  Good luck.  you got this, giving you a hug and letting you go.  Oh God,  wouldn’t it be easier to just stop then to play all these games.

I watch your car leave the neighborhood before I begin my daily search.  Hoping to find your source of these demon pills.  You were fox sly and tore the labels so I had no idea where your pill pushers were located.   You are back way too quick and way too happy.   Hey, how did it go.  No worries Mom.  I’ll start as soon as my results are back.  A week passes, nothing.  No call, nothing.  I’m in a panic and you don’t care.  Matt, call. You should be starting by now.  Have you heard anything.  I come home from work everyday and find you way too comfortable sitting in front of the TV.  Matt,  WTH.  What is going on.  Mom, get off my back.  I grab your phone and look up the number.  I call.  You failed and you knew.  I am ready to explode.  Matt, why. I can’t even talk as I feel my body fall apart.  The aftershock of your addiction once again kicking me in my gut.  My high hopes for you shot out of the sky and all you can say is get off your back.  I’ve always compared being your mom to riding a very fast, very high roller coaster.  The ride left me breathless, heart pounding and feeling very unsettled.  Never knowing from one day to the next where we were heading and how we would land.  Once again, my hopes for a normal life shattered while you look at me with disgust.

Matt,  this was the start of our ride.  You finally got a job as a service writer.  A job using your brain and not your back.  Only by the grace of God passing the infamous piss test.   You smelled a lot like vinegar for days but by now I didn’t care if you had to eat dog crap.  Anything that worked to get you a job.  I remember making your lunch, yeah I know, just like when you were in school.  That’s how it felt.  My boy getting back into the world.  Having a purpose instead of planting yourself on the couch for the day.  I was as happy as I could be.  Pretending that we were finally on the road to normal.  I allowed myself to ignore the slowness in your speech.  You glazed eyes.  Your excuse that you were just getting used to working again.  Matt, are you stoned.  Really Mom.  You would look at me with such hate.  I chose to stay in my little world slapping away those doubts that surfaced.  Stop, I would tell my brain.  He’s just tired.  He’s been sleeping in and hanging out and now he has a time clock.  Eight hour days.  Cut him a break my heart would cry.  My brain would send out warnings.  Matt, Mom.  Stop.  I’m tired.  My back hurts.  I can’t sleep. I’m being watched.  Matt. Please stop.  Mom, get off my back.  Matt, we are going out for my birthday.  I’ve left dinner in the oven.  We won’t be long.  Mom, I got fired.

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….

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