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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