Mother's Heartbreak

A Story of Addiction & Loss

Tag: the truth about your brother

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.

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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…….

 

 

 

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.

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………

 

 

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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