Mother's Heartbreak

A Story of Addiction & Loss

Tag: family meeting

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.

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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……

 

A Meeting Of The Minds

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Matt, there was really no way to give you a heads up that your brother was now in on our dirty little secret.  I just couldn’t keep up the lies anymore.  I was so beat down by your behavior that I told him for me.  I am not a liar and it was very hard for me to continue to make up stories to your brother.  He’s a very smart man and it was only a matter of time before he figured it out.  I felt he needed the whole truth before he signed up for the ride of his life.  I witnessed your ugliness when it came to your precious pills but he still thought you were his charming little brother.

The meeting was days away.  I went from being excited at the thought of seeing you clean to being a shaking mess at the thought of your reaction to both me and your brother showing up.  I had no experience in the world of rehabs and had no idea if you were even aware of this upcoming event.  No communication was their rule and I wasn’t about to stir the pot if it meant getting you healthy.

Mike and I talked several times before the meeting trying to come up with our plan on how to approach your situation.  We were going to present a united front.  I tried to prepare him for the Matt that took up residence in your body, but until you witnessed the behavior first hand it was hard to imagine.  I knew the power of the demons, he was about to find out.

Meadow Wood presents itself as a Behavioral Health System.  Like I said, I had no idea what to expect.  I spent my years in the NICU and had no idea how they would treat addiction.  I tried to educate myself about the services they offered.  Qualified clinicians providing services 24/7.   Psychotherapies both individual and group were offered.   Family education, after care and discharge planning.  The more I read the more upbeat I became.  Finally there was hope that you would get and stay clean.  I prayed you would be there until you were strong enough physically and mentally to fight the poison your body craved to live.

Matt, the day is finally here.  I am shaking and sweating.  It’s a crisp, sunny perfect fall day.  I took that as a sign today would go as I planned.  You, me and Mike all united in the fight.  Supporting you in your recovery. Mike was meeting me in the parking lot.  I arrive and he’s waiting in his truck.  Hey Mom, you ready for this.  I’m as ready as I’m going to be.  Hey Mike,  be kind.  He’s been through so much already.  He’s probably going to be embarrassed that you know what’s been going on.   Mom, I’ll handle it, don’t tell me how to feel. Sorry, you’re right.  This is between you and Matt.  I felt a cold chill run through my body.  My mind warning me to hold on.  The roller coaster was just getting ready to take off.

Matt, the look on your face sucked the breath out of my lungs.  I don’t know what I expected but the look that greeted me was full of hate.  First, you see me, then Mike.  The tension in the room is stifling.  Your counselor looks like she just finished preschool.   She had no clue as to how manipulative you have become.   She has no clue that you have learned how to play this game.  You know what to say and how to say it.   I sit and listen to how you have been the victim.  How hard I’ve made your life.  I can’t even look at your face.  I want to click my magic heels and return to Kansas.  Any where but here.   I can feel the anger building in Mike.  I keep giving him the look.  Oh God, please this room is about to explode.

Your brother has heard enough.  I close my eyes and will myself to disappear.  I listen as he retells our story and calls you out on everything you have put me through.  Your counselor looks like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, looking for the magic hole to slide down.  I want to follow and never return.  You sit in your chair.  Squirming like you did in school when I had to meet you in the principal’s office.   Oh God, I am silent as you and Mike go head to head.  I can’t even speak.  My mind is saying get up and run for your life.  Your counselor is no way prepared for the wrath of your older brother.   I wasn’t prepared for the anger spewing from Mike.  I try to speak but can’t find the words to fix this.  My boys at each other.  Your addiction has taken another victim.   You have learned nothing in the week you have spent away.  Your cockiness shining through with every word you speak.  It’s your life.  Your responses blow my mind.  Never in a million years did I ever expect this.  The meeting full of ugliness and accusations.  How do we go on from here.

Mike and I walk out together.  I try to stop the sobs that are forming in my throat.  I feel so defeated.  Mike,  I try to talk but the words won’t come.  Mom, I just can’t believe he sat there like he’s the victim.  Like he’s done nothing wrong.  Who the hell does he think he is.   I try to explain that it’s not you.  It’s the disease.  I tell Mike that I know his anger.  I lived with anger blaming you for this chaos that took over our lives.   Until I saw first hand the horror of detox.   I’ve had glimpses of the old Matt before the demons.  My education in addiction has been ongoing.  Mike is new to the craziness that has become a way of life for me.  Mike, we have to work together, we can’t tear each other apart.  Matt is sick.  He needs help.  I didn’t bring you on board to fight.   Mom, I’m sorry.  I just couldn’t believe how he sat there and played that girl.  If these people are the experts then we are in for a hell of a ride.

We hug as you walk me to my car.  I watch you pull away.  I sit in the dark and let my emotions loose.  The sobs rack my body.  I try to get control but have no power over the tears.  That familiar feeling of hopelessness returns.  I can’t believe a family meeting tore our family apart.  My two boys, once so close now so far apart.  I closed my eyes and relived the destruction of our lives.   I wondered how these so called professionals could be so blind to your cleverness.  Your demons outwitting the people I counted on for help.   I didn’t realize it that night but your brothers words rang true.  The experts were blind and we were in for one hell of a ride.

 

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