A Story of Addiction & Loss

Month: August 2015

Shit Happens Again!




Matt,  I couldn’t believe the turn of events.  One minute I’m on cloud nine the next I’m sitting in the hospital waiting for word on Ray’s Mom.  My mind is racing.  Thinking about you , thinking about her.  Life just wasn’t fair.  Just when I thought it would be all smooth sailing another wrench gets thrown in my face.  It felt like forever and my mind kept drifting back to you.  Were you playing me again.  Were you really being honest or just being the Matt I needed you to be to keep me off your back.  I wanted to call you to let you know what was happening or maybe it was just to ease my mind.  To push away those nagging doubts that kept creeping into my brain.   Your addiction always had a way of holding me captive no matter what situation I was going through. I Felt guilty sitting there thinking about you when Ray and his Dad were so worried about someone else.  I tried to pay attention to their questions.  Trying to keep them calm, but the longer we waited the more my nursing gut was telling me something was terribly wrong.  I’d only known Ray’s Mom for a short period of time but loved the way they cared so much for each other.  It was something I ‘d come to hope for our future.  You getting and staying clean and us having a normal mother and son relationship, not the love me, hate me, save me, one we had going on for years.

So once again here I am making deals with God.  Ok God, you let her be ok and I’ll tell the truth about Matt.  Ok God, you keep Matt clean and I’ll never lie about him again.  Ok God, before I could list my next deal the doors to the waiting room open.  My heart sinks as I look at the Cardiologists face.  Oh God, I know that look, I’ve seen it too many times only I’ve always been on the other side, the side walking with the doctor to support the family.  I wasn’t liking this side as my nursing gut was silently screaming.  A CABG, your wife, mom needs bypass surgery.  She needs it tomorrow.  Holy shit.  my brain is screaming.  Holy shit, holy shit.  This is the worst news.  I look at Ray and his Dad.  They look shell shocked. Both asking questions not really understanding what just happened.  I start questioning the doctor.  He looks at me like hey, you are educated.  You know what I’m saying and how serious this is.  Our eyes meet silently communicating.  When can we see her I ask.  Let’s get her settled in the ICU.  Wait and I’ll send someone to get you.

So we wait.  I’m trying very hard to be optimistic.  All eyes are watching my face. I can feel my throat getting  tighter and tighter.  Ok God, exactly what are you doing.  Are you postponing the wedding for a reason.  I just don’t get it.  Can’t I ever catch a break.  Now is the perfect time.  Matt is ok, he’s on board to stay clean.  He wants me to be happy, to have a life and now you have to let this happen.  You could have waited, this could have happened later.  Oh my God, listen to me.  Listen to the selfish person I’ve become.  Matt’s addiction has screwed my brain turning me into this horrible person.  This isn’t who I am.  I care about people.  I love Ray and his family.  Matt’s addiction has become mine.  I’m constantly hiding and planning, trying desperately to have a little piece of normal when I can.  Before the demons come again and drag me down with Matt.  Oh God, please let this all work out.  Let Rays Mom get well.  Help Matt to stay clean.   I will be better.  No more hiding and lying to cover for Matt.  If he uses again I’ll come clean.  I’ll tell the truth and if I end up alone so be it.

I’m so lost in my thoughts that I don’t hear the doors open.  I don’t hear Ray say we can see her now.  He grabs my arm.  Are you ok he asks.  I smile the smile that has become my mask.  I’m great, let’s go see your mom.  I’m recognized by the nurses as we walk to her bedside.  I’m trying just to say hi, but I’m looking at the monitor, BP, her color and movement.  Once a nurse always a nurse.  She opens her eyes and smiles.  Ray and his Dad are both so relieved to see her.  She grabs my hand.  I’m so glad you and Ray are getting married.  You are so good together.  I try to keep the tears from showing.  I’m supposed to be the strong one here.  The tough girl, the nurse who saves everyone.  The wedding will wait until you can dance with your son.   The wedding.  Oh God, please I’m begging now.  Let this woman be there to dance with her son and let my son be there to dance with this mother.   I stand there looking around at my familiar territory.  It hits me then just how in the blink of an eye life can change.  Illness, addiction throwing you into a spin.  Never knowing how you will land or what you will face when the spinning stops.  Plans made, promises made, lies told, secrets kept.   No demons tonight just the soft laughter of God.

Have A Heart


Matt,  I think I floated home that night.  My heart so happy believing I finally had you back.  Instead of me, myself and I rehearsing the speech I prepared to deliver we were singing.  Oh how we were singing.  I felt so light, so happy like I’d just been handed a million dollars.  I just couldn’t believe how things worked out when we talked.  I’d come prepared for battle.  Had all the reasons ready to shoot out of my mouth and then I see you by the sea with your dogs and all the anger and frustration were washed away with the out going  tide.  I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my weary shoulders.  You were finally getting it.  I didn’t have to yell or threaten, you were on board to get your life back on track.  Now I could plan for my future without that constant nagging feeling that something would blow up in my face.  What a gift to give to your exhausted mother.

Now that I was free to focus on something other than you I started to plan my wedding.  I’d gotten used to the laughs when I told people that yes it’s this September not next and I was definitely  serious.  It turned into a game for me to find anyone who was as reckless as I was and willing to go out on a limb to help pull off my dream.  I am a beach person so of course the first place I thought about was the beach.  That was until both sets of parents looked like I’d said the F word. Yes I know.  Ray and I were both adults, but we both wanted our parents to enjoy the day so now I had to find a church.  Well how do two divorced people find a church to marry them.  We were both raised as Catholic so that was like asking a priest to shake hands with the devil.  I though for sure the church would be struck by lightning if we dare think we could set foot in the door and ask to be married.

We both loved mountain biking, yeah remember the mangled wrist that led us to this point.  Well we always passed this adorable tiny church hidden in the woods when we biked in Fairhill.  Perfect I thought.  This would satisfy the Catholic parents.  Unfortunately it was always closed whenever we passed by.  One day on a whim I stopped and looked in the windows.  It was perfect.  Just what the doctor ordered.  I took pictures and showed Ray.  He really didn’t care where we were married so off I went on my quest  to get into this church.  It just so happened that a fellow biker knew the minister.  So now we have our church.  Big enough for 70 people.  Absolutely adorable.  Plans were progressing.  You and I kept in touch and you sounded fantastic.  No sign that the demons had returned.   We made plans for you to come and stay the weekend.  We needed to get my mechanic son a suit.

Ray has been amazing.  Giving me full control over the planning.  I think he knew it would keep me busy and out of trouble.  I kept threatening to get back on my bike and conquer the hill that took me down.  He’s a smart guy.  You show up on a Friday night.  I, out of habit go through my checklist.  You pass with flying colors.  Oh God,  this is so wonderful.  We beat the demons, Matt’s back.  We shop and find you the perfect suit.  It is so wonderful to have you back.  To be able to have a conversation without your glazed eyes looking back at me.  Your head not bobbing like a broken toy.  I am flying.  On cloud nine.  I’m marrying the man of my dreams and Matt is back.  It doesn’t  get any better than this.  We spent the weekend together,  just you and me.  It felt like the old days before the demons turned our lives upside down.  I kept pinching myself.  This was truly amazing.  Once again I fought to keep the little warning voices out of my head.  Too good to be true.  He’s saying everything you need to hear.  Little voices of warning trying to steal my peace.  I beat them back and continued to believe we were the normal, happy family I so needed us to be.   Sunday came and you headed back to the sea.  I remember watching you leave, my heart begging for this new you to be the true you.  Your addiction had made you the best at pretending to be who I needed you to be.  I just couldn’t let myself believe you would do it to me again.

The  week goes by and my phone rings.  Holy S.. my boss.  Yes, I still want to come back to work.  Really, a per diem position.  Yes, I’ll take it.  Oh My Gosh.  Everything is beautiful.  I have a job,  I can save the beach house.  I am floating on air when Ray walks in.  Hey, guess what.  I’m going back to work.  Yes, as soon as I’m released from P.T.  So if you want to back out of this proposal now’s the time.  You look at me and laugh.  I wouldn’t miss this for the world, you say.   I feel like finally the planets have aligned, they are all spinning in my direction.  Life is good.  My son is good so I am absolutely wonderful.  I am laughing and dancing and you are looking at me like I’m crazy.  It’s all ok, no more dirty little secret to hide.  We are free.

In the midst of my joy your phone rings.  I stop and look at your face.  Oh God, what.  Now it is you that needs holding.  We race to the hospital, my joy with Matt forgotten.  The ED is busy.  I rush in ahead and find your Dad.  He is scared and shaky.  I brought Mom in.  She’s been sick all day and has just gotten worse.  I walk into her room and see what no nurse ever wants to see.  You bring Dad in the room.  Ray,  do you see those waves on the monitor.  Yes, they are what we refer to as Firemen.  Your Mom is having a heart attack. I ring her bell and call for help.  Ray, grab your Dad,  this room is about to go crazy.  Doctors and nurses rush in.  Papers are signed.  I grab you both and hit the hallway as your Mom is rushed to the cath lab.  Now we sit, the three of us lost in our own thoughts.  You Dad sits so still, looking so frail.  You are asking questions I really don’t want to answer.  I hate being a nurse.  I want to fix everything.  My addict son and now your ailing mother.  Ok God I think.  What are you doing.  I’m not trying to be selfish but WTH are you doing.  This is crazy.  Just when life was settling down,  just when a little piece of happy and normal came my way.  I look at you and grab your hand.  The wedding will wait.  Your eyes break my heart.  Another mother and son depending on luck and faith to keep them together.  My heart is breaking.  I remember all the times I almost lost Matt.  Ok God,  you win.  I couldn’t stop the chill that gripped my heart.  The demons were laughing as we were praying to save a mother for her son.



A Tease of Normal




Matt,  I’m still shaking after hanging up.  I can’t believe I was begging for my life.  How did we get to this ugly place.   There is no way I’m going to accept this as our last conversation before I make one of the biggest decisions of my life.  I have to see your face.  I have to look into your eyes and know that you understand that this is no joke.   Lucky for me Ray is traveling on business and will be out of town for a week.  With no job to worry about I can make a quick trip between PT appointments.  I plan my strategy  before heading to the beach.  I go back and forth trying to decide if I call and give you a heads up or just show up like I used to  when I was the Mom police.  I’ve been trying to play the cool Mom, but after finding out that our little piece of heaven in now in jeopardy  I’m not quite sure which Mom I need to be.

Ray leaves for the airport and I grab my bag telling myself that everything will be just fine.  It’s feels like it’s been forever since I made this trip alone.  Memories of my last visit with your grandmother flood my brain and that familiar sensation of choking begins again.   How did we ever get to this place.  How foolish I was to think that your back surgery was the answer to our prayers.  That once you healed, the pain would magically disappear along with the poison pills.   Never thinking those little white demons would lead you on this path of self destruction dragging me along for this ugly ride.   That poison flowing from you to me like a river that could not be stopped.  How would we ever survive the constant assault on our relationship.  You and I become ugly when we fight about your demons.  Now here I am coming to you to plead my case.  To beg my adult, addict son to please allow his mother a little piece of normal, a little slice of happiness in this oh so ugly, unpredictable world  that your addiction has pulled us both into.

As I get closer I feel that familiar tightness starting to strangle my chest.  I roll down the windows to allow the sea air a chance to ease my fear of what I will find when I reach you.  Once again I start talking to myself,  my traveling companions me, myself, and I think about and practice our little speech.  I no longer care what passing cars think when they look over and see me talking to no one.  I just smile and let them pass, thinking how great it would be to be someone else doing something else instead of being me having to face and fix my addict son.

I finally arrive and try to get myself to breathe.  Your truck is in the driveway.  I knock to show you some respect.  I don’t want you to come out fighting about my lack of respecting your privacy by using my key.   I wait and knock again, finally realizing it is quiet.  The dogs aren’t carrying on letting the world know someone has disturbed their quiet day.   Putting my bag back in my car I head for the bay.  I see you in the distance playing with the dogs in the surf.  How handsome you are.  Looking at you from afar my heart feels such joy, such hope that maybe you meant what you said.  Maybe just once you would really try to get clean.  To rid your body of the poison that was killing us both.   I close my eyes and allow myself to remember happier times before the demons found you.  Allow a bit of hope and joy to soothe my anxious soul.  I stop not wanting to disturb you.  I want to remember this moment forever.  To have it burned into my brain.  My son and his dogs playing in the surf.  A moment of normal, a glimpse of happiness in the chaos of our world.  Oh God, please let this be a sign of things to come.  Let me have Matt back.  Let us be that happy, healthy family that my heart so needs us to be.  Please give him the strength to want freedom from the hell that comes at the bottom of his bottle.  I start to walk, the dogs catch my movement and come bounding to me.  Wet sloppy kisses and sandy paws greet me like the old days.  Happy pups spending time with the master they love.  Hey Mom,  I didn’t know you were coming.  You wrap me in that hug and tell me how good it is to finally see me.  You examine my wrist and laugh.  Only you Mom, as that smile once again melts my heart and dissolves  the anger and anxiety I felt thinking about what I might find by the sea.  Oh Matt,  I’ve missed you so much.

We sit and talk about life.  Ray and the wedding.  We laugh as I tell you the reaction I’ve gotten from florists and bakeries when I say yup, you got it, the wedding is in six weeks, yup this September.  We are absolutely cracking up when I tell you that my cake and flowers will be coming from Costco and our reception will be in a tent and catered by Famous Dave’s.  God, it felt so good to be talking about normal life and not your addiction.  Just us laughing like we had no cares in the world.  Like we weren’t hiding our dirty little secret, like we were just a mother and son sharing the funniest of stories.  This shared laughter was just what my broken spirit needed.  Me and you once again just being us, in our favorite place by the sea.  Hey Mom,  I’m walking you down that aisle.  Hey Matt, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We walk to the house, we are both happy and relaxed.  Oh God, how we needed this little piece of normal to get us back on track.  We order dinner and make plans to get your life in order.  The mortgage, your bills all need tending to but for now I bask in how it feels to make plans with my sober son.  For now you are here, a part of this planning to save both of us from further damage.  A mother and her son planning for the future.  My heart so full of joy, ignored the warning my mind was screaming.  Too good to be true.  Be alert, Don’t let your guard down.  You promise me things will be ok, you promise to stay clean.  You tell me you and Lisa are working it out.   Foolishly, I forget I’ve heard those promises before.  I forget that addiction  tricks you into thinking you have control.  Let’s you think you are safe before it rears its ugly head and drags you back into the abyss.  Shattering hopes and dreams and destroying whoever dare stand in its path.   Just this once I allow myself this fantasy of you and me survivors of hell on earth looking forward to a beautiful future.  Please God, please…….

A Ray of Hope




Matt,  Ray just proposed and I accepted.  I should be jumping for joy, on cloud nine, dancing on air.  Instead all I’m thinking about is our dirty little secret.   How can I bring this great guy into my life of chaos.  You aren’t a child, yet I feel such a responsibility for your life.  You always count on me to bail you out, to fix your screw ups and I somehow always do.  How long would Ray find that acceptable.  How would he feel about me working extra shifts to pay your bills.  How long would it take him to figure it all out.  That I am the best enabler a grown man could ever have.  How would he feel about me then.  More importantly how would he feel about you.

I could never let anyone put you down.  I have seen you battle your demons and have fought by your side.  I don’t know what to do.  I really said yes,  holy crap, what was I thinking.  How could I start a marriage with a lie.  You and I have been thick as thieves keeping your addiction from everyone.  My God, your brother Mike  had no clue.  Thankfully he was stationed in Florida a very safe distance from us.  Busy battling the very people you were buying drugs from.  Not one person in our entire family knew anything about your addiction.  How could I think we were gonna continue to hide when Ray would be under the same roof.  I carried the burden of having a son who was an addict alone and didn’t know if I was ready to share.

Oh God Matt, once again your addiction was casting shadows in my life.  This should be a happy time.  I should be making wedding plans not planning a conversation about how to tell the man I love that if he marries me he will be joining the wild ride that comes with the chaos of addiction.  Hold on to your hat Ray, you are signing up for the ride of your life.  The roller coaster that twists and turns then drops you ten feet sucking the breath out of your lungs and leaving you feeling shocked and pissed all at once.  Welcome to my world you lucky, lucky man.

I call, you answer.  Hey Matt we need to talk.  You sound ok,  just quiet.  Mom, I hate that you are stuck paying the mortgage.  I thought I could pick up side jobs and make up the money.  I thought I could,  Matt, save it I say.  You let this go on for months without even thinking about what would happen.  It’s a mortgage not a credit card bill.  A mortgage, like a big people bill that if you don’t pay you get to leave.  Matt, I’m still trying to figure out how to dig us out of this mess that I had no idea was even being created.  You continue to lie and hide what you are doing and now I am selling my stuff and haven’t even been able to come close to catching us up, and guess what.  I lost my job. Yup, you heard right.  I had to get back two weeks ago to have that wonderful place hold my position.  Guess what Matt, we are so screwed.   So this is the new plan.  Those jet skis gone.  Sell them now and every penny goes to catching up this mortgage.  WTH Mom,  I love those things.  I can’t sell them, that’s so not fair.  Ok, now my heart starts racing and I’m getting pissed.  So let me get this right, I’m trying to remain calm as my brain is screaming selfish brat.  It’s perfectly fine that I sell my stuff but you get to keep your precious toys.  Well I’ll be isn’t that just peachy.  Sell them or I sink them.   BS you scream.  Yup that right Matt.  It is BS that I have picked up the pieces of your mess and now when I ask you to be unselfish and help clean up the mess you created you tell me BS.

Now I’m crying and shouting about how selfish you are, how I hate what your addiction has done to my life, those feelings of helplessness and hopelessness flooding my body as I hate this person I become.  I finally stop sobbing and hear, Your Right Mom.  It’s my fault and I will sell them.  Please don’t cry I hate when we fight.  God Matt, you could always wrap me around your finger.  Just sell one I say.  We’ll start with one and see how much we get.  Once again I go into my protect Matt mode.  Don’t stress him out.  You’ll push him straight to the pills.  Oh and Matt,  I think I’m going to marry Ray.  He asked and I said yes.  Hey Mom, that’s great.  He’s a great guy and you deserve a great guy. You sound just a little too happy.  Almost making me think that you think if I get married  I won’t have time to keep an eye on you and your lifestyle.  That the Mom police will disappear.   Really Matt, you think we can make this work.  He knows nothing about our dirty little secret.  Can I trust you to stay straight.  I need you to be good.  No pills or whatever it is you do when you think I won’t find out.  Please Matt.  I have always been there for you.  Now I need you to do this one thing for me.  I can’t marry him if you’re going to keep screwing up and expecting me to fix it.  Ray deserves better and I won’t bring him into this family if you can’t start to act like a responsible adult.  I really want to be happy Matt.  To have a normal life with the man I love.   Sure Mom, whatever you want.  I’ll do whatever you want.  Matt, somehow those words should have eased my worried mind,  Instead I felt an uneasiness creeping into my bones.  Like a chill warning me to be very careful,  addicts lie my little voice was saying.  They say just what you need to hear pretending to care about you, saying they want you to be happy.  To have a normal life.  To be just one big happy family.  I could almost see the smirk on your face as you said the words I so needed to hear.  Anything for you Mom.  Oh God,  I think I’m going to puke.

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