Mother's Heartbreak

A Story of Addiction & Loss

Tag: finding normal in addiction

Heading To the Sea Searching For Me…..

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Matt.   I watch as what’s left of my pen hits the dirt.   It bounces once and disappears.   God how I wish I could just throw your demons away like that dismantled pen.   Just pitch them out the window of our lives and get back to being you and me.   I still can’t believe how ugly we have become.   I don’t recognize these people.  That son cussing at his mother.   The ugly words flowing from your mouth like venom.   The mother cussing and throwing your stuff to the dirt.  Acting like someone who has lost total control of her emotions.  The mother who has suffered from an addiction that is not hers.  The mother trying so desperately to remember that this ugliness is not her son, but the demons who now possess his brain.

I am broken beyond belief.   I think back to that beautiful day when we had a glimpse of how life used to be.   You and me having lunch.  To outsiders we looked normal.   A mother and her grown son enjoying each others company.    Conversation, smiles and hugs.   The mending of hearts.   The beauty of a love that can only be shared by a mother and her son.   Our dirty little secret kept hidden from the eyes of strangers.   No one would ever guess that I just picked you up from a mental hospital.   No one would believe that this mother and her son have fought for his life.   No one could ever tell that you are that man they keep their kids away from.   This handsome man is an addict.  This man uses pills to get high.   This man becomes ugly when his demons take over.   This man lies, steals and breaks the hearts of all those who love him.   No one would ever guess that I’m the mom who fights to keep him alive.   The mom who beat his dealer on her front lawn.   The mom who steals and hides his  poison.   The mom who spends hours begging for safe places to take her addict son.    No one would believe the reality of our lives.   No one would believe you are the addict and I’m the mother who would go to hell and back to save you.

I pull up in the driveway.   Ray is waiting.  “What took you so long?”  “You were supposed to drop him off and just leave”.   “Did something happen?”   Oh Matt, I just don’t have it in me to tell the true story.   I can’t even begin to tell Ray about the ugliness between you and me.   Once again I put on my mask and pretend.  For now I will keep the ugliness between us.  So I make up a fib.  “I got lost, took a wrong turn, you know me and directions”.   I laugh and then start to sob.   Ray grabs my arms.  “He will be ok.  You did the right thing”.    I don’t even know what the right thing is anymore.   I don’t even know who I am anymore.   I feel so physically and emotionally abused.   Your addiction has wrapped itself around my life.   Smothering my soul with lies and chaos.   Who have we become.   A mother and her son, once the best of friends now turned inside out.   I stand in the shower and allow the sobs to return.   The water washing the ugliness from my body.   My mind reliving our journey disbelieving the reality of who we have become.

Another sleepless night comes and goes.   I’m in such a state of anxiety.  Can’t get out of this funk that enveloped me like a straight jacket.   The all too familiar choking sensation, chest tightening and now unable to get deep breath, I pace like a caged animal.   I have to get away from this house.  The ugly memories of the people your addiction transforms us into being follows me from room to room.   I call Ray.   He knows before the words leave my lips.   “Be safe, I hope you find what you’re looking for”.

I feel my body begin to relax as soon as the sea air enters my windows.  Like a salve on my burning body, my soul starting to feel a lightness that I’ve long forgotten.   The cry of the gulls welcome me back to my peaceful place.  I drive to our spot.  I slip past the dunes to our rock and sit.   The beach is empty.   Just me and memories.   I close my eyes and see my towhead boys jumping into the crashing surf.  “Mommy, mommy don’t let go”.   I hold your hand, you scream in delight as the waves crash around your feet.   Everyday it was you, me and Mike running in the surf.   Laughing and chasing each other into the waves.   You always stayed so close.   “Mommy, mommy stay with me, don’t leave me”.   It never mattered how many friends were with you, it was me you clung to.

Our closeness continued into your adulthood.   I remember how handsome you were in a tux.   “Mom,  what do you think?”   “Do I look ok?”   “Mom,  I met a girl”.   “Mom, I think I’m in love”.   “Mom,  this is Nat.”   Memories  of a life so loved.   Our lives always intertwined,  so full of hope for your future.   Memories of you and Nat moving into the beach house.   I remember how proud you were to be making a home for yourself.   Even as you were becoming independent it was always “Mom, what do you think?”

Looking back brings such pain to my heart.   We were that perfect parent-child.   That perfect unbreakable family that is now so broken.   I walk through the surf as the memories bring tears of regret.   Tears of a mother missing  her son and herself.   I know this mother, this woman is not who I am.   I am the fixer, the one in control.  The one who loves her son, but hates what is happening to their lives.   Your addiction has caused me to lose my control.  To lose myself.   It’s turned me into a person I no longer recognize.   Your addiction has made me into this ugly,  angry, hopeless, mother.   The rollercoaster ride of our life has taken its toll on me.   I feel like your addiction has beaten every fiber of my being into the ground. Every time I have any hope of returning to who we used to be it’s shattered over and over again.   I might as well be the addict.   I’m addicted to your addiction.   I’m suffering like someone going through detox.   My body hurts.  My heart hurts and my mind is being destroyed by the constant agony of what’s coming next.   I try to remember you are possessed by your demons.   The real Matt could never be the man you have become.  My Matt could never lie, steal and break my heart like you have on a daily basis.

I walk by the sea breathing the air.   I can finally get that deep breath.  The spray from the surf makes me feel alive.   The vastness of the ocean restores my faith in God.   My hopelessness is washing out with the receding tide.  I feel the weight lifting off my heart.  In the distance a boy and his dog are running into the water.   I close my eyes and allow myself the fantasy that we are back.   You are that boy and I am the mom keeping you in my sight.   I close my eyes, mommy, mommy stay close.    Yes Matt,   I will stay close.   This time I will remember to save me so I can save you.

My Son Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey Mom, What’s Up With Matt….

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Matt,  in my mind you are safe.  Just for this night I can close my exhausted eyes and let sleep take over my brain.  I tell myself this is a start.  You were willing to finally go.  After all the screaming matches we had about you needing rehab it took your peers to convince you how messed up you really were.  At this point it really didn’t matter how you got there,  just that you were there and for tonight my heart and mind would find peace in beautiful sleep.  No laying awake worrying or constantly checking my phone.  No more jumping out of bed when I hear a car pass by.  Just for tonight I kept telling myself,  just for tonight sleep…

I woke to the phone ringing.  I couldn’t believe the time.  Almost noon.  I couldn’t believe I’d slept that long.  Ray was long gone and I never heard a sound.  Even the pups still lay beside me in lazy slumber.  Looking at the phone as if to say how dare anyone wake us.  I didn’t remember ever sleeping that deep.  Not since you came home and your addiction took over my life.   I answer.  A voice I don’t recognize introduces herself as your counselor.  Would I be interested in a family meeting.  Absolutely.  She tells me you are being detoxed and I can not visit or speak to you until the day of the meeting.  She gives me the date and I tell her I will be there.  I hang up feeling relief.  My mind once again reliving the day.  The hell you put me through.  I really didn’t want to talk to you yet.  I still had to calm myself down.  I still could not believe the ugliness that took over my sweet boy when you didn’t have your pills.  I was getting an education in addiction that I really didn’t sign up for.  I wanted my normal son.  I wanted my normal life.  My mind and body still feeling the aftermath of your fury.  I needed a mental health break.  Just a few days not consumed by your addiction was all I could think about.  You were where you needed to be and for once I could just relax and enjoy being home.

I tried to be normal.  To do normal things.  The laundry, grocery shopping,  walking the dogs, but that little voice kept breaking thru.  Go look, go look.  You don’t have to worry about him finding you in his stuff.  Go look.  Ok, so now here I am.  I want and need a break from your addiction, but with you away the time for my searching is just perfect.  Don’t have to calm my racing heart.  Don’t have to depend on the dogs barking to alert me to your return.  It’s just me, myself and I plus your demon pills.

So much for normal I tell myself as I carry the ladder and a flashlight to your space.  How convenient for me that you lived in my finished basement.  I didn’t even have to leave the house to play spy mom.  So now I take my time.  Lifting ceiling tiles and looking.  Dumping drawers and emptying boxes.  Taking my time and finding pieces of a life I had no idea you lived.  The more I searched, the more I found.  My shocked brain kept saying WTH you weren’t raised to be this kind of person.  To hang with these kind of people.  Oh my God.  I sat and realized I was pretending all along that you weren’t one of them.  The addict who hung out with the bad boys.  The addict who lied and fought for your demons.  I felt like I’d been slapped in the face.  Reality.  Addiction the four letter word.  My son is an addict.  I never found your pills but I found so much more.

I sit in stunned silence.  Finally seeing you and your addiction for what is was.  Dirty, ugly, deceitful.  My little sweet boy had grown into a man with a horrible disease that made him do horrible things.  I felt the tears and the tightness taking hold of my body.  Damn you,  my mind is screaming.  The phone startles me.  Hey Mom,  I can’t get Matt.  What’s up with him.  Something isn’t right.  Do you know where he is.   Oh God, Mike.  My mind is saying,  while you’ve been away serving our country busting the drug cartel your brother has been giving them business.  My mouth doesn’t move.  Now the all familiar heart racing, throat tightening that has become my bodies automatic response takes over.  Mike,  we need to talk.

I will never forget the look on your face.  I could feel your anger as I told you about the dirty little secret.   WTF Mom.  Why didn’t you tell me.  WTH were you doing.  I had a right to know.  Mike, my eyes are pleading with you.  I couldn’t put you at risk.  You were gone.  Out to sea dealing with your own life.  What could you have done.  I try to defend my decision.  Please Mike,  I can’t battle both my boys.  I did what I thought was the right thing to keep you safe.  You could not be worrying about your brother and do your job.  You needed a clear head.   I was pleading for my life.  Once again your addiction was the poison hurting our once close family.   Where is he Mom.  Is that why the beach house is gone.  Is that why he lives with you.  All these questions deserved answers.  I felt so guilty for keeping our secret.  No more Matt.  No more secrets in our family.  I needed all the help I could get.  Maybe your brother could get through to you.  Maybe just maybe we could work together to save you.

Mike knows everything.  No more dirty secrets.  He knows you have an addiction to pills.  He knows all the horror we have lived through these last years while he was away.  He is both shocked and saddened that you have lost so much and still use.  He knows about the family meeting.  He is coming.

Your big brother wraps me in a hug as I cry letting the years of grief, worry and uncertainty rush from my body like wave after wave hitting the sandy shore.  The release of loving a son with a horrible disease.  The relief of having someone who loves you as much as I do know our journey.  I pray you will understand my need to come clean.  The burden of your addiction has broken both my spirit and my heart.  I need backup.  I need help.  Forgive me Matt.  I need all hands on deck.  Your demons must be stopped and I’m tired.  Your brother will step up and join the fight.  He never had a fear of rollercoasters….

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