Matt, I remember sitting in my car watching Mike’s tail lights fade away. I sat and let the tears flow. I had no control, I gave up trying to pretend that things were going to be ok. The sobs came in waves and as so many times before I felt that familiar throat tightening making me feel like your demons were slowly strangling the life out of me. I had no idea how much time had passed. A knock on my window startled me, bringing me back to my brutal reality. Hey lady, are you ok? What, what, A security guard knocking on my window. Am I ok, really, do I look like I’m ok. I’m sitting in the parking lot of a psychiatric facility sobbing my brains out and this idiot wants to know if I’m ok. Sure, I’m just peachy. My youngest son is a patient in this wonderful place. An addict. His addiction is killing my family. My oldest son just ripped him a new one and scared the hell out of the child who works here as a counselor. Sure, I’m just great.
I drive home in silence. Still stunned at your behavior. I realize that you are sly, but I would hope someone who professes to be a professional in their field would see right through your facade. Mike was right. These so-called experts were putty in your hands. We were so screwed. Ray is waiting for me. He looks at my face and doesn’t even have to ask. I pour a glass of red and sit. Slowly trying to calm myself as I tell the story of our first disaster of a family meeting. Saying it out loud, I start to hysterically laugh. The look on the baby counselor’s face was priceless. I have no control. My tears have turned into gulping laughter. Ok, my mind is thinking. This is it, she is having her much earned nervous breakdown. Oh God, how I would love to get my hands on the notes from this session. Crazy, psychotic, dysfunctional family. No wonder the younger one takes drugs. Oh God. I am so totally hysterically out of control. Ray is looking at me like I’ve lost my mind. Telling the story was such a release of pent-up emotions. I finally calm down. Ray and I sit in silence. I am spent and he is thinking he’s married a nutcase.
I’m off the next day and planned on just staying put. My eyes are showing the signs of tears and stress. These days I don’t recognize the person staring back at me. She is a ghost of who she was. Addiction was a family disease. I saw the poster but never truly understood until I lived it. I remembered the good times. Before your addiction made us crazy. Happy times, God, what I wouldn’t give to go back in time. The ringing phone brings me back. I don’t recognize the number. Hello. Mom. Matt. Mom, I just wanted to let you know I’m getting out on Friday. What. Matt, you’re not ready to get out. It’s only been ten days. Who thinks you’re ready. I talked with the shrink twice. He thinks I’m ready. WTH. A real shrink thinks that after ten days you are ready. I’m ready to scream.. Matt, you are no way ready to come home and face the world. What follow-up plans do they have for you. Mom. I’m leaving. Are you picking me up or not? I hang up. I can’t breathe. What the hell is going on here. How can anyone think that ten days is enough when you’ve been an addict for years. Stupid people, stupid system. I talk myself down and grab my phone. My heart is beating in my ears. The receptionist puts me on hold. The child counselor answers. I try to remain calm. I try to come across as a sane person. I tell her I disagree with their plan. Matt is not ready to come home. He needs to stay in a place away from drugs. He lies. He knows what to say and how to say it. How can you be so gullible. Of course I know about the Hippa Law, I’m a nurse and I’m his mom and you are just plain stupid.
My next call is to Mike. WTH are the first words I hear when I tell him the news. He agrees with me. Mike, what are we going to do? He can’t leave there. I can’t keep running on this hamster wheel. Running in circles and getting no where. Mom, take a break. I’ll get him. I’ll talk to him. Mike and I run different scenarios back and forth. Both of us reeling from the news. Both of us pissed that you have managed to get your way. Do I let you come home. Do I give you an ultimatum. Stay in or stay away. Tough love was something I read about. Letting your kid hit rock bottom. The streets or rehab. Oh God. Was I strong enough?
Discharge day. My nerves are shot. Mike is picking you up. I try to eat and vomit into the trash. The dogs follow me as I pace. They know something is off. I don’t have a clue of what to say to you. In the past I always had my speech prepared. Today I am a shaking mess. I am at a loss for words or ideas. I know you need intense help to beat your demons. This is a sad joke.
The dogs run to the door letting me know you have arrived. They greet you with happy barks and tail wagging kisses. They have no clue as to where you have been. They have no idea that you coming home is not a good thing. They are just happy to see you. For a second I want to be like them. Just happy, greeting my pack member. Pure blissful happiness. Mike walks in behind you. I give you a hug and tell you we need to talk. A plan needs to be made. We can’t keep riding this roller coaster. I can’t do this anymore. We sit. Mike and I tell you that you need to be serious about your addiction. Mike and I talking while you shake your head and agree. I look at you and know that your mind is not here. You, my sly fox, are playing us like you play everyone. Mike. Stop. He’s not listening. Forget it. You get up and go downstairs. Mike and I sit dumfounded. We are crazy and you are just as cool as you can be. Mike shakes his head, I start to cry……