Mother's Heartbreak

A Story of Addiction & Loss

Category: working with addiction (page 1 of 2)

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.

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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…

 

 

 

 

 

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…….

 

 

 

Surviving The Slippery Slope: Hanging On By A Thread

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Matt.   The wait felt endless.  The four of us sitting together.  The silence is deafening.  I am praying that you will survive.  I hate being a nurse.  My knowledge is killing me.   We wait for hours.  I watch the sun go down from the window and pray this will not be your last day on earth.  I relive every moment.  I hate myself for telling you to leave.  I hate the fighting, the chaos, the destruction your addiction has thrust on our lives.  I want you to be that little towhead boy again.  The one who holds my hand and gives me hugs and kisses.  I want to close my eyes and go back in time.  Where are my ruby red slippers when I need them.

So once again I wait.  I tell everyone to go.  I will stay and call if anything changes.  Ray, Mike and Heather need to get some rest.  Everyone having to work in the morning but me.   Terri brings a pillow and blanket.  I camp out in the ICU waiting room.  My body shaking uncontrollably as I try to settle in for the night.   I curl up in a chair and let the tears come.  How many times will we go through this until you realize your demons are killing you.  Little by little, piece by piece, your body and mind are leaving me.    I try to calm my mind.  I jump with every noise.  Fearing the worst.  I give up on sleep and pace the room.  I talk to God.

The girls in the NICU have heard.  The hospital grapevine.  They come bringing coffee and soup.  They sit and let me sob covering me in their hugs.  They are mother’s and can’t believe this has happened again.   Your surgeon finds me.  You are being moved to the ICU.  No surgery for now.  Heavily drugged, your battered body covered in warm blankets.  I watch you being wheeled behind those doors.  The doors where I know you will get the best of care.  The doors that will separate us for now.  I’m told your nurse will come after you are settled.   Time is standing still.  I need to see you.  To tell you I am here.  To tell you I love you.  To let you know that no matter what I will never give up this fight.  You have taken my world and spun it out of control.  Shattering my peaceful life into a million pieces.   People tell me to walk away to save myself.  You are not worth the pain you put me through.  I remember you before the demons.  My beautiful boy.  My go to guy.  My baby.  I find a strength in my soul I never felt before.  I know that I will stand by you until I can stand no more.

Matt, your recovery is slow and steady.  I become a fixture in the waiting room.  Visiting you for 15 minutes every hour.  I obey the rules, not wanting to cause conflict with your nurses’ or the other anxious waiting parents.  I sit in scrubs or street clothes depending on my purpose for that day.  Back to saving Matt or saving babies.  I spend every free minute waiting to see your face.  To watch your reaction to your pain.  I wonder if you realize how close you came to death.   I wonder if this will be your so called rock bottom or if the pull from your demons will drag you back to the hell that landed you in this ICU.

Mike and Ray are in and out.  Both offering food and coffee.  Both knowing I can barely eat and am going nowhere until you are out of the woods.  When I visit you are quiet.  An IV hanging, giving you monitored doses of your favorite cocktail.  Your breathing is comfortable.  Your body looks like a giant eggplant with a human head sitting on top.  I sit on your bed and hold your hand.  Tears run down my face.  I can’t allow myself to think of what could have happened.  The nightmare that haunts my daily thoughts.  Losing you.  You open your eyes and smile.  I squeeze your hand and kiss your cheek.  “I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck” you say and give me a little laugh.   I allow myself a laugh, a deep breath.  You are back.

The next days are one of laughing, crying and biting my tongue.  You are moved to a step down unit and are expected to get up and move.  Yup, my spoiled boy, this party is over.   Your drugs are being weaned and you are being pushed.  I hear you before I find your room.   Your flirty eyes and sweet smile are getting you nowhere as the nurses are onto you.   I hear their whispers, drug seeker, addict.  I cringe inside when I remember being one of them.  Making judgements about people and their pain without knowing their story.  I remember and feel shame.  I continue our charade of nurse/mother to a man who survived a horrible accident.   I visit with my painted smile as you cuss and threaten when your demons are not delivered at your request.  I remain calm when inside I am dying.  You behave like an addict.  A stranger.  You scream at me and tell me I don’t understand your pain.  I don’t live in your body.  I try to reason with your abuse.   The nurse’s look at me with pity in their eyes.  They feel my pain.

Discharge day arrives.  I brace myself.  Your surgeon is taking over your pain control.  You see Matt, I have another dirty little secret.  Your surgeon and I go way back.  He has my back.  Joined my team to save Matt.  So now the fun begins.   I pick you up at the front door.  You are wheeled out by one of your nurses.  She hugs me and whispers good luck.  You see Matt, nurses have an unspoken bond.  They had my back too.  I was the one calling the shots during your recovery.  I spilled my guts the night I thought you were leaving me.  Your surgeon held me as I cried and together we formed a plan.   Detox during recovery.  I know if you ever find out I am done.    I will once again be the bitch.  The mother fu**** that gets into your business.  The enemy trying to save your life so she can save hers.  I hear your grunt as I hand you the bottle that you love more than life.  I brace myself for the reaction I have come to fear.  Your first words to me “What the F***”, when you see the dose prescribed.   Your eyes bore into my soul.  You turn your back as you say the words I pray you don’t mean.  Matt, how can you hate me when I am the one picking up your pieces.  The one who loves you more than her life.  The one slowly dying inside with you.  Your addiction no longer  belongs to you.  It has become who I am.  I’m disappearing with you.  Your demons are taking me along for the ride.  It’s not all about you.  It’s about a mother who will never give up.  A mother who will kick, scream and claw our way out of your addiction.  A mother who would rather die than see you continue to destroy her precious boy.

The house is silent.  I offer you food.  I try to let you know how blessed we are that you lived.  I wait for a response.  I get nothing.  You are in that world.  You have chosen sides.   The battle begins again.  I pray for strength.  I close my eyes and dream that I am Alice floating down the rabbit hole.  Leaving all this shit behind.   I am slowly losing myself.  Pieces of me are floating away.  I imagine myself disappearing.   Then I hear the laughter.  Your demons.  I become the Queen of Hearts.  My army chopping off their heads…….

Biting The Hand That Feeds You And So Much More….

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Matt.  I must say you did give us a short break after you got home.  Either that or you weren’t able to get your hands on any pills.  You did the all the things I asked.  Went to meetings, cleaned the house when I was working.  You passed all my spot checks.  No swaying walk or sloppy speech.  No stupid laugh or glassy eyes.  For a brief moment I let myself believe that maybe, just maybe you were on the right path.  Even Mike thought we might be heading in the right direction.    It was so nice to have a little touch of normal.   I still looked through your stuff when you weren’t around.  I still went through your text messages when you showered.  Old habits that become a way of life when your son is an addict.  The weather was breaking and I foolishly thought that the spring would be a new beginning for us.   That was until I came home early.

The NICU was slow that day and I was the first to get PTO.  I jumped at the chance.  Working only four hours when I was scheduled to work twelve.  What a gift.  It was Friday and the start of a week off.  I floated out the door and into the sunshine.  I was still under the illusion that you were on the road to recovery and that was definitely something to celebrate.  I stopped by the store to get your favorite Bubba Burgers and other junk you loved.  I envisioned all of us eating, talking, being normal.  I hadn’t felt such joy for so long, I  let it fill my battered mind.   Turning into our development, I see a car leaving.  A car and driver that I’d seen before but just couldn’t put my finger on where.  My senses now on alert.  My heart starting to speed up.  My breath coming from my tightening chest.  Palms sweaty.  WTH was going on.  My gut reaction, my fight or flight in full force.  I pull into the garage and forget about the groceries that minutes ago gave me such happiness picking out.   Something is not right…

I walk in quietly.  The dogs run to greet me.  No barking, tails down.  They lead me to you.  Slumped over on the couch.  Coffee spilled on the floor.  A bottle of opened pills scattered on your lap.  Shit…..Now I know.   Your buddy from the beach making a drop off.  I grab you and start slapping.  You open your glassy eyes.  Hey Mama.  I want to scream, to kill you with my bare hands.   Matt, Matt get up.  I grab the bottle and gather the fallen pills.  I pray the dogs have not eaten any of your poison.  I drag you by your shirt and throw you fully clothed into the cold shower.  Your cussing screams let me know that the cold water is hitting you like my fists want to.   I run upstairs clutching your pills.  Breathless and wet I hide them.  Your favorite demons, Percocet and Xanax have entered my fantasy world  once again blowing it to pieces.  I’m so angry I’m shaking.  Heart pounding.  I want to grab you and scream in your face.  I want to punch you until I can punch no more.  Instead I put on my “I don’t know what you’re talking about face” and head back downstairs.  You are out of the shower and pissed as hell.  WTF Mom.   What did you do that for.  Ok, my fox, you treat me like I’m dumb so I’m playing dumb.  Matt,  I just got so scared.  You were laying there just like the old days.  You know, the days I’d come home and find you stoned on the couch.  Coffee spilled on the floor.  You remember, right, I say through my smile.  I’m so sorry.  Guess I over reacted.   Mom, I just fell asleep, that’s all.

I remember the groceries and walk out to my car still trying to calm my pounding heart.  I return to find you bent over searching the floor.  “What ya looking for”, I ask.  Nothing, you answer.  “Hey, clean up that coffee stain while you’re down there”.  I go about my business trying not to think of the pills I’ve hidden.  I wonder how many you took and if you will start to withdraw.  I wonder how long this has been going on.  God, I wonder how I could have been so gullible.  I wonder lots of things but mostly I wonder if our lives will ever be normal.

Saturday morning is sunny and warm.  You are dark and nasty.  You are sneaking around looking.  Thinking I don’t know what you’re up to.  I continue to play dumb.  “Mom, did you find anything when you woke me up yesterday?”  “What would I find”, I ask.  Trying to contain my smile.  It’s almost sick, but I feel like I’m giving you a dose of your own medicine.  You lie to me, I lie to you.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Matt”.  I go through my day, cleaning, laundry and continuing to play our game.  You are getting restless.  Pacing, some sweating, a little itching all subtle signs I’m watching for.   Finally you get angry.  “Mom, you took my pills.  Stop your shit and give them back.  They are my pills. You have no right”.  “Matt, I love you.  I’ll be out in the garden”.

I open the shed and grab everything I need to play in the dirt.  Garden therapy I call it.  Pulling and planting.  I lose myself in the dirt and allow myself to relax.  I Pod playing thru my new ear buds taking me away from the chaos playing out in the house.   Ray breaks my peace.  “Hey, did you take Matt’s pills?”   “What if I did? ” I’m not saying one way or another.  “”Well, he’s in there raising hell.  He’s tearing his place up, cussing and threatening”.  Ok,  I’ll handle it.  I brush off the dirt and walk right into you as you are flying out onto the deck.   “Mom, I know you have them. Give them to me”.  “Matt, I love you and yes I have them”.  “No, I’m not giving them back”.  “You need help and I’m helping you”.  “I’m off all week.  If you go through withdraw I will help you.  But no pills”.  You turn ugly like a cobra ready to strike.  You punch the air and start cussing me out.  “I love you Matt”.  I put my ear buds back in place and walk back to the dirt.   Ray follows.  “You can’t do this.  He will go crazy”.  “Ray, I’ve done this before.  He won’t hurt me.  You need to leave.  This is between me and Matt”.  You look at me like I’ve got two heads.  “Are you out of your mind?  I’m not leaving you alone with him”.   “No really, I want you too.  I don’t want you to see the ugliness that will spew from him.  It’s not who he is”.  I start to cry as you bust through the door and start cussing to my face.  “Matt, I’m doing this because I love you”.  I walk inside to get away.  My phone rings,  “Mom, what is going on over there?”  “Matt called.  He’s accusing you of taking his pills”.  “Mike, I took his pills and I’m not giving them back”.  “Mom, is that Matt screaming at you?”  “Yes Mike,  It’s ok.  I’ve been through this before it’s nothing new.  I told Ray to leave, this is between me and Matt”.  I hang up and go back outside.  Every time you attack I tell you that I love you.  My tears are now mixing with the dirt.  My quiet place invaded by your demons.

Mike arrives.  I’m out in the garden.  “Mom, Matt called the police.  They are coming”.  ” What are you talking about?  He’s downstairs.  He settled down” .

Mom, he called the police.  Now I’m the one who’s pissed.  “Are you shitting me?  That b…..  Good, let them come.  Maybe we can get him real help”.   I walk into the house as the first police car pulls up.  Followed by two more.

Really.  Are you Fuc*** kidding me.  You appear with a cocky smile all over your face.  I want to smack the hell out of you.  I open the door and see my neighbors running and walking dogs all craning their necks to see.  I want to shout.  Mind your business.  This is not who I am.  I have done nothing wrong except try to save my son.  Jesus, I want to dig a hole and climb in never to return to this living hell my life has become.  So much for the neighborhood.  Yup, the property values just plummeted.  Sell now before this becomes a daily occurrence.

So here we are.  Mike, Ray and me standing in my driveway talking to two police officers while you are on the porch talking to another.  You have called in a domestic dispute.  These poor cops had no idea what they were walking into hence the backup.  “Hello officer,  I’m Marybeth, Matt’s mom.  He called you to come.  Exactly what was his complaint.  Pills, yes officer I took them.  I’m a nurse trying to save my addict’s life.  No, no one else knows where they are”.  I look at you, now pacing like a caged animal.  Domestic dispute  I’m thinking.  My mind is saying, “officers please close your eyes”.  I just need ten minutes with this conniving  little shit.  Then we can call it a domestic dispute.  Call it assault by a mother who is going out of her mind.  A mother who has spent years living with the chaos of her son’s addiction.  A mother that had suffered mentally and physically.  A mother who would give her life to save her son.

The officers begin to get the picture.  You are getting mouthy.  Your officer is trying to calm you down.  My brain is praying that you become aggressive and I can watch you be carted off to rehab.  Your officer is calling the Psyche Crisis Line.  My heart is souring.  Yes, yes, finally we will get help.  Thank you God.  Ha Ha, my little monster, you did this to yourself.  I’m so happy in my fantasy I don’t hear what is being said.   “What, are you crazy.. Sorry officer but I’m not giving his pills back”.  “Do you not see the shape he is in.  I have fought this battle for years.  I need your help.  You see what he is.  No way, sorry.  It ain’t happening.  We are detoxing today and hopefully you can take him to rehab”.  Now both Mike and Ray are telling me it’s not worth it.  “Mom, just give him his damn pills.  He called the cops on you”.  WTF.  Your yelling grabs everyone’s attention.  You are on the phone with the psyche crisis evaluator.  I hear your lies, “yes, I’m fine, just need my pain meds”.   “No, I’m not abusing them, no I’m not suicidal, I just need my pills”.  I bolt up to the porch.  “Give me that phone” I yell as I grab it out of your hand.  Hello, I try to remain calm but I’m quickly losing it.  “Yes, I’m his mother, he’s an addict and I took his pills to save his life”.  “He will kill himself if he doesn’t stop”.  “Please help me, he needs rehab, please”.  I am begging for our lives.  The officers are looking at me with such pity.  I have no pride as I continue to beg for help.  “What, seriously, you think he’s stable”.  Now I’m screaming.  “You asshole, do you have to hear the gun cock before you realize that someone is unstable?”  “Do you not hear the desperation in his voice, the speech, WTH, you are no professional, go to hell”.  Great, now I look like the crazy mom I’ve become, but tried to keep hidden from the world.

Excuse me,  The young officer approaches carefully.  Oh boy, probably thinking he’s got a loony lady to deal with.  I’m really sorry.  I understand what you are doing, but if you don’t give him back his pills I will have to arrest you.  Now both Ray and Mike are at my side.  “There is no way you are arresting my mom, what is wrong with you”.  Ray is getting pissed.  “Where are the pills, I’ll give them back, this is crazy”.  Nope.  I look up at you and see the hate pouring out of you toward me.  “Matt, I love you but I’m not giving you the pills”.  “Ok officer, I’ll go to jail.  It’s going to be a relief to be away from here.  It’s about to get real ugly and I’d rather miss the whole BS”.   “Actually officer,  jail would be like heaven right now.  Calm and quiet.  Can I grab a book?”  Ray and Mike are screaming at me but I’ve made up my mind.  “Just don’t cuff me, ok”.  The officer looks at me with such sadness.  The other officer is doing his best to calm Ray and Mike.  You remain on the porch killing me with your eyes.  I look away.  I can’t look at the man you have become.  My heart is breaking.  I walk toward the police car and feel a hand on my shoulder.  The young officer stops me.  “Please think this through, you are a nurse.  You will be charged with stealing narcotics, that’s a felony “.  “You will go before a judge today.  I can’t guarantee the outcome”.  “You will lose your nursing license and spend time in jail.  “Please, I see what you are doing, but Mike and Ray are right, you are too kind to suffer like this”.   Now Mike is on the porch.  Both my boys going head to head.  One defending his mother the other defending his demons.  My boys once so close are now close to killing each other.  Ray grabs my arm.  “I will not let you do this, get the f***ing pills or I will tear this house apart until I find them”.

I am shaking.  I’m sick inside.  I’m defeated by your demons.  I go inside as the officers stay with you and Mike.  Ray follows me inside.  “His addiction is going to kill you”, he says as I hand him the pills.  He leaves and I watch from the window as he walks up to you and hands you the bottle of poison.  The sobs catch in my throat.  I hold myself as I fall apart.  Barely able to breathe.  Two officers pull away.  The young one stays behind.  I hear him talking to you.  He is telling you how lucky you are to have a mom who loves you enough to risk everything to save you.  He tells you to get help.  He tells you how blessed you are to live in this beautiful home with a family that cares so much.  I hear his words and let the sobs rack my body.  Yes, my beautiful son.  I would go to jail to save you.  I would walk through hell and take on the devil if it meant getting you away from the demons that are killing our family.  I watch the last officer walk to his car.  He looks up at the window and tips his hat to me.

Ray and Mike find me upstairs. ” Mom, I can’t believe he called the police on you.  He is such a prick”.  I hear the words I’ve been dreading.  “He can’t stay here.  I’ve had enough.  This was the last straw.  After everything you’ve done for him.  All the years of  taking care of his problems and this is what he does”.  Oh God Matt.  I know you are very sick.  You have really done it this time.  I hear you come in.  You immediately go downstairs to your hideaway.  I can only imagine what you are doing.  I’m so beat down.  I just sit and cry.  Mike hugs me before he leaves.  I tell him you are sick.  I tell him not to judge or hate you.  This family has to stick together.  He looks back with tears in his eyes.  “Yeah Mom”.  Ray sits next to me.  I have no words.  I am numb.  I hear the words again.   “Figure out what you need to do, but he can’t stay here, not after this”.

Matt, I sit alone in my room.  I thought this was finally a way to get you help.  I was happy you called the police.  Overjoyed.  I was ready for them to take you away to a safe place.  Psyche Crisis.  What a joke.  Everything working against a mom trying to save her son.  I can’t even pray anymore.  Nobody listens.  I curl up on my bed.  The pups find me.  They jump up and curl their bodies next to mine.  I feel their breathing.  It calms me.  I think of the nightmare this day had become.  The peace of the garden long forgotten.  I close my eyes and will myself to disappear.  I want to be Alice or Dorothy.  Clicking my red slippers or falling down my rabbit hole.  Dear God, anyone but the mother of an addict………

 

 

 

The Ugly Reality Of Rehab…

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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