A Story of Addiction & Loss

Tag: enabling (Page 2 of 2)

Drugs, Jobs and Roller Coaster Rides

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Matt,  Holy shit, holy shit, I am doing the happy dance.  Hugging you and jumping for joy.  I get a grip and look at your face.  Matt, what’s wrong, this is the best news ever.  You will be doing the work you love, making real money and having a sense of pride.  I’m still not getting it.  You look like you just received the worst news instead of this great news.  You grab my shoulders holding me still.  Your eyes bore into mine.  Mom, I have to take a drug test…Ok, so take it.  Oh God Matt, I still lived in my little world of denial.  I figured that since I was handling your pills and being very stingy with  how many you got that our problem was under control.  I foolishly thought I’d fixed you again.  I had no clue as to the many sources you had and believed that because you weren’t bugging me for them that you realized you really didn’t need them.  Stupid, stupid me.

Days go by and your still evasive when I ask you about the job.  Mom, I’m waiting.  Waiting for what.  It was then that it struck me.  You were lying again.  I’d overheard you on the phone asking about passing a piss test.  Yes Matt, I did pretend to not notice you on the phone but my ears were on high alert as I tried to learn as much about who you were hanging with while pretending to be looking for my phone or whatever would pop into my mind when I saw you sneaking around talking in whispers.  Passing a piss test.  Ugh, so gross your slang.  Couldn’t you just say drug or pee test, nope had to use words that conjured up images in my mind that I’d rather not think about.  I guess my education regarding the slang used by addicts was in full swing.  Thank you Google.  I was educating myself and was amazed at the stuff posted on the internet.  I guess if you could learn how to build a bomb you could certainly find out how to pass a piss test.

So you could pick up a detox kit from GNC.  Well, I’ll be damn.  I foolishly thought they were a health food store.  The jokes on me.  Addicts are beyond smart.  I saw this sitting on your dresser when I was snooping or working out in your space.  However you want to look at it you left it out and I found it.  I, your naive mom just couldn’t believe what you were going to do.  Take a chance on this stupid kit instead of not using.  So it’s the big day.  You leave the house with this big grin, like you were the cat that swallowed the canary.  I decided to play along.  Good luck.  you got this, giving you a hug and letting you go.  Oh God,  wouldn’t it be easier to just stop then to play all these games.

I watch your car leave the neighborhood before I begin my daily search.  Hoping to find your source of these demon pills.  You were fox sly and tore the labels so I had no idea where your pill pushers were located.   You are back way too quick and way too happy.   Hey, how did it go.  No worries Mom.  I’ll start as soon as my results are back.  A week passes, nothing.  No call, nothing.  I’m in a panic and you don’t care.  Matt, call. You should be starting by now.  Have you heard anything.  I come home from work everyday and find you way too comfortable sitting in front of the TV.  Matt,  WTH.  What is going on.  Mom, get off my back.  I grab your phone and look up the number.  I call.  You failed and you knew.  I am ready to explode.  Matt, why. I can’t even talk as I feel my body fall apart.  The aftershock of your addiction once again kicking me in my gut.  My high hopes for you shot out of the sky and all you can say is get off your back.  I’ve always compared being your mom to riding a very fast, very high roller coaster.  The ride left me breathless, heart pounding and feeling very unsettled.  Never knowing from one day to the next where we were heading and how we would land.  Once again, my hopes for a normal life shattered while you look at me with disgust.

Matt,  this was the start of our ride.  You finally got a job as a service writer.  A job using your brain and not your back.  Only by the grace of God passing the infamous piss test.   You smelled a lot like vinegar for days but by now I didn’t care if you had to eat dog crap.  Anything that worked to get you a job.  I remember making your lunch, yeah I know, just like when you were in school.  That’s how it felt.  My boy getting back into the world.  Having a purpose instead of planting yourself on the couch for the day.  I was as happy as I could be.  Pretending that we were finally on the road to normal.  I allowed myself to ignore the slowness in your speech.  You glazed eyes.  Your excuse that you were just getting used to working again.  Matt, are you stoned.  Really Mom.  You would look at me with such hate.  I chose to stay in my little world slapping away those doubts that surfaced.  Stop, I would tell my brain.  He’s just tired.  He’s been sleeping in and hanging out and now he has a time clock.  Eight hour days.  Cut him a break my heart would cry.  My brain would send out warnings.  Matt, Mom.  Stop.  I’m tired.  My back hurts.  I can’t sleep. I’m being watched.  Matt. Please stop.  Mom, get off my back.  Matt, we are going out for my birthday.  I’ve left dinner in the oven.  We won’t be long.  Mom, I got fired.

Adjusting To The New Normal

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Matt,  I must say having you living under the same roof again just killed the spontaneity in my life.  Before you I could walk around bra less in sweats and not worry about anyone taking a peak.  I could turn up the music and sing and dance with only the dogs as my audience.  I was so used to my privacy on my days off that it took a while for me to realize another grown man was in the house.  This man wasn’t my husband, he was my unemployed son who also happened to have a problem with pills.  I remember the morning I rolled out of bed and grabbed a tank top, braless of course,  just wanted to grab a cup of coffee before I got dressed.  Never thinking that you would be standing right in the middle of the kitchen as I half awake smacked right into you.  Crap, Mom, really.  The look on your face was priceless.  Hey if you don’t like it get a job.  Great, my adult son just got a look at the boobs.  Boy this was going to be such fun…Not.

Talk about you getting a job became our daily conversation.  I’d start with hey Matt, what ya going to do today.  Hey Mom,  what do you want me to do today.  Oh wait, it’s the same thing you wanted me to do yesterday, get a job.  How about you get off my back.  How about you let me handle it.  So now instead of my mornings being peaceful and quiet they were becoming a battle ground between you and me.  Hey Matt, we had a deal.  You come live here, you find work.  Work isn’t sitting on your butt watching bullshit TV all day.  Drinking coffee and living in lala land.  Remember the deal Matt.  I do.  I’m not going to watch you sit around and waste your life.  Get moving.  Out.  Go to Unemployment and look for jobs.  Oh boy, the looks I got from you.  Memories of your teen years came flooding back.  Now here we were at it again except now you were years older but no more mature.  I truly believe that your maturity level was stunted when you first started using.  Now the wingmen were becoming warriors.

Ok, so now on my days off I was on the hunt.  Finding you a job became my new obsession.  I became a mom on a mission. I would scour the want ads with my black sharpie in hand circling anything I though you might qualify for.   Every weekend Ray would find me hunched over the want ads.  Hey, you looking for a new job.  Nah,  I’m looking for Matt.  Don’t you think he should be doing that himself.  Well, hell yeah, but he’s just a little too comfortable living in luxury and collecting a check in the mail.

I was relentless.  The more I pushed, the more you fought.  Mom, lay off.  I just got here and you’re constantly on my back.  Matt, you got here months ago and nothing has changed.   I come home from a twelve hour shift and here you are all day.  Must be nice to be retired at thirty.  My peaceful home was becoming a battle ground.  You were acting like you owned the place.  Like you didn’t have to be responsible for anything.   Holy shit, then it hit me like a slap.  This was you. The product of my enabling all those years.  I took care of everything for you.  Never stepped back and let you fall.  My God, I never let you feel consequences for your behavior.  I fixed everything.  Now we were both paying the price.  Ok Matt, now I get it.  I’m as responsible for your behavior as you are.  Well my little buddy, things are going to change.  Rules will be followed.  You looked at me like I had two heads, you started to snicker and I could feel the crazy mom coming alive.  Ugly started pouring out of my mouth.  All the years of cleaning up your crap finally surfacing as we stood nose to nose in the kitchen.  Even the dogs were on high alert.  Fur standing straight, ready to pounce on you to protect me.   We screamed pointing fingers at each other, throwing blame in the air.  Oh God, this really isn’t who we are.  Matt, STOP.  I will not live like this.  My heart racing, that familiar feeling of wanting to puke in my throat.  You slam out the door and I sit in silence, once again ashamed of who we are becoming.  Your addiction was changing how I lived and who I was.  Having it in my face 24/7 was becoming unbearable.  Something had to change before we killed each other.   I sit and once again formulate a plan in my mind.  I can’t help myself.  I am a fixer.

You return, we both apologize.  This has become our new habit.  Tear each other up, take a breather, apologize.  Matt, this has to stop.  You need to stop taking the pills.  I want all your bottles.  I will give them to you but not to the point to make you high.  You look at me like I’ve lost my mind.  Meetings Matt.  Here is the list of NA meetings.  You must go and start working the program.  Your staring at me, piercing my soul with the hate in your beautiful eyes.  Matt, you have a job interview tomorrow.  I made some calls.  Matt, this is how our life must be.  You don’t say a word.  Killing me with those eyes.  You go to your room in silence.  I follow.  You are pissed, damn Mom, can’t I have my privacy.  Nope, you can’t.  I want to watch you get your pills.  You have no idea how many times I’ve searched your living area.  You have no idea that I’ve been on a ladder pushing up ceiling tiles in my finished basement that has now become your home.   You have no idea how I’ve gone through you things, picked up your mattress in my search.  You are sly.  You hide those demons like they are gold.   I fool myself into thinking if I have control you will be normal.  That life will return to the way it should be.  Stupid me thinking I could outsmart the demons.

I watch, you try to hide from me.  Blocking my view with your back.  Matt give me the damn pills.  I see you scrambling.  I grab your arm and we struggle.  The bottles fall to the floor and I am on them.  I grab them and stuff them in my bra.  Go ahead tough guy, I dare you.  I leave you cussing me out with the  grin of the Cheshire cat spreading across my face.  HaHa.  Got them.  A moms got to do what a moms got to do.

Tomorrow comes and I am on you.  Get up, clean up, eat and out the door you go.  You are still looking at me with daggers but I am on cloud nine.  My addict has a job interview and I have his pills.  You leave and I turn into the Mom police.  Flashlight in hand I start my search.  Every nook and cranny is inspected.  Once again I depend on the dogs to alert me to your return.  I am crazy, relentless.  Think like an addict I tell myself.  Where would you hide your stash. Think, think.  Every drawer has been  pulled completely out checking the underside for your stash.  Damn,  I know you are slick.  I know you have some reserve or you would have fought harder.  Your hunting boots.  Stinky, sweaty, muddy hunting boots.  I reach in, turning my head against the smell of years of use.   Ah ha.  All the way in the toes I feel a bag.  Yes, my brain is screaming. Yes. I pull hard and a bag of loose pills pops into my hand.  Holy shit.  Percocet, Methadone, Xanax and Vicodin all  staring me in the face.  I am stunned.  You are sick, very sick.  I hear the door, the dogs quietly let you in.  Shit, shit, shit.  I grab the bag and start to dance.  Mom, WTH are you doing down here.  This is my space.  Hey Matt, this is my house.  I work out here and just finished.  My heart is pounding.  You are staring me dead in the eye.   We are like two wild animals sizing each other up.  Do we pounce or pass.  I pray things are as you left them.  I pray you won’t know.  The dogs start barking.  Thank God.  Gotta walk these guys.  You want to come.  You look at me still unsure, hey Mom.  I got the job….

Shattered Dreams, Broken Hearts, Altered Lives

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Matt,  It felt like we sat there forever.  My body too numb to move.  I was still in shock at how ugly we became, I could hear the demons laughing as they tore us apart.   I got up but still couldn’t look at you.  I needed to feel the sea air.  I walked out the door not looking back.  I could only imagine how bad I looked.  I could feel the swelling left behind by my flood of tears.  I was back in survival mode, not interested in talking just needing the rhythmic sound of the waves to calm my battered soul.  I sat on the damp sand and relived every moment of your addiction.  The roller coaster of emotions I lived with for years.  I felt physically beat up and emotionally drained.  I knew we could not go on like this.  In the past I always had a plan B but now my mind was numb.  No plan forming in my brain.  Just a feeling of hopelessness washing over me like the waves I loved watching.  I sat until the rain started and my belly hurt from lack of food.  I looked around at the vastness of the ocean and knew Jesus was there.  I prayed for strength and asked for forgiveness.  The ugly person screaming at her son was not me, she was a byproduct of his disease.  The saying, hate the disease, love the addict kept bouncing around my brain.  God, how I hated this disease.  I would rather you had cancer than be an addict.  Cancer got treatment and sympathy.  Addiction got hate and blame and isolation.

I found you sitting on the deck, cigarette in hand.  Ok, Matt.  We have no choice.  I can’t keep living like this.  I can’t count on you, it’s not your fault.  Your disease is worse than I knew.  You can’t stay here alone.  I am calling a realtor.  I’m going to sell and try to salvage what I put into this house.  You look at me like you’ve been slapped.  Mom, I love it here.  I don’t want to leave.  Matt, I love it here too but we had a deal and I finally get that your not capable of handling your part.   We go back and forth as my heart slowly continues to break.  I want to blame you. I want to point my finger in your face and say, This Is Your Fault.  You and you’re damn addiction.  How can you keep falling back into it’s trap.  How much do you have to lose before you stop…I bite my tongue thinking of the boat that some other family was now enjoying, the jet skis, my jewelry, all the possessions lost to pay for your disease.  God, how I wanted to grab you and shake the life out of you.

I spent the next hours going through what I was taking and what could stay.  I felt like a robot, pulling pictures off walls, packing boxes, but not allowing myself to feel.  If I felt I knew I would break.  I needed to stay focused and not allow my heart to reach my brain.  You sat and looked at me with the eyes of hate.  Mom, how can you do this to me.  You’re overreacting.  Your out of control.  Really, how can I do this to you…I could feel the crazy, ugly mom coming from my soul.  Matt, don’t say another word or I will walk out and never return.  You have killed me but I’m still here.  My soul has been battered, my heart broken over and over again.  Yet, I’m still here.  If I were you I’d just shut up and start packing..It’s the least you can do.  I choked back sobs as I remembered a different time of unpacking, of hanging pictures of moving furniture and the joy of having a place by the sea.  Me, you and Natt, laughing and setting up a home with such hope and joy.  Excited for your new life and knowing that my piece heaven would be looked after with love.  Planting the garden, laying the walking path, putting up the fence while the dogs ran around with smiles coming from the beach.  Loving life as it was supposed to be.  Now this ugly reality of a disease I could not fix and you could not control was slowly destroying every bit of happiness in life.

The realtor arrived, papers were signed, the For Sale sign in place and all I could do was cry.   Neighbors coming shocked as they realize that we are leaving.  I try to make up another lie, I’ve become such a great liar.  Yes, Matt has a great opportunity up north.  No, I won’t be able to get here enough.  Oh dear God, leave me alone.  My son is an addict, I lost the house, happy now…My mind is getting ugly I want to scream, to punch and throw a tantrum at life.  Instead I walk to the sea.  I sit and release the sobs.  I am alone and so broken.  Dear God, do you not listen when I pray.  Where are you, why are you allowing this to happen.  I look at the vastness of the sea you created and cry until there are no more tears.

My car is packed with boxes full of broken dreams.  The house is as clean as I can get it for now.  You are standing in the doorway.  I can not look at you.  I can’t let you see my face. I can no longer control my emotions.  I’ve left you enough food for the week knowing that your unemployment check will most likely be used for smokes and the white demons.   Mom,  you don’t need to do this, this is crazy.  No Matt, what is crazy is that I’m killing myself for nothing.  I trusted you that’s crazy, trusting an addict.  Yup Matt, I’m not killing myself pulling extra shifts while you sit back and live in lala land.  No more I’m done.  My heart just can’t take this anymore.  I’m picking me.  I’m saving me.  Don’t say another word.  I will be back with a U Haul Saturday.  I better walk into boxes and a clean house.  Pick the furniture you want.  I will store it and pray that someday you will use it again.  Got it Matt, yeah, sure mom…..

I remember driving home in silence.  No radio, no me, myself and I trying to come up with plans to get Matt out of whatever mess his addiction created.  Just silence and tears and prayers.  Ok God, now that I’ve lost everything I love whats next.  Are you going to take my marriage too.  How do I tell my husband of less than a year that my adult, addict son must come home.  Home is with me.  I’ve told so many stories, so many lies right to his face trying to protect Matt. Now what.  Just walk in and say hey, look who I found wondering around homeless.  Oh by the way, I’m selling the beach house cause Matt didn’t pay the mortgage he bought pills and told lies.   Oh did I forget to mention he’s an addict and now I’m bringing the demons to our home.  You’re ok with that right…. Holy Crap, Matt, what are you doing to me.

I pull up to a quiet house.  The dogs out back.  Ray on the deck.  Hey, welcome home I say without letting him see my face.  Swollen eyes will give me away.  Hey, whats wrong.  Ray grabs my arm as I try to walk past.  Hey, you’ve been crying. Talk to me.  Oh God, I have something to tell you.  Something I’ve been hiding for years.  I can’t do this anymore, live with this lie.  We sit.  You are silent as my dirty little secret flows from my mouth as the tears flow from my eyes.  I am a mess.  I can’t look at you.  I’m too ashamed and afraid of your reaction.  I stare into space and tell you it’s ok to leave.  I will understand.  I laugh and say I would leave if I could but he is my son and he is sick.  I could not live with myself if I abandoned him.  He makes me crazy and ugly at times but I love him.  There is no choice.  I close my eyes and feel the sun on my swollen face.  You get up and I’m bracing myself for goodbye when I feel your arms around me.  Do what you have to do, I know you will fight forever I would be shocked if you didn’t.  I am sobbing again.  You let me cry.  We unload my car together, the boxes of broken dreams now with me.  Life now uncertain.  The addict son coming home.  I pray for help, I pray for guidance, I pray that Ray will stay.   Addiction robs everyone of everything until there is nothing left to take but your soul……..

 

 

Truth and Lies

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Matt, I lay on the couch all night willing my mind to be quiet.  To stop replaying the scenes over and over again.  Its always the same.  You using, me finding and fixing.  I just didn’t get how you could keep slipping back into the grip of the demons.  I remembered the week of detox.  Sitting on this very couch trying to calm your tremors, blankets off and on as your body rebelled against not getting what it now required to live.  The vomiting until there was nothing left, screaming and ripping the skin off your arms as you fought the imaginary bugs crawling over your body.  My wound, now healed but leaving a scar as a reminder of your anger.   I could not imagine wanting to go through that again.  I did not want to watch you go through it again but had the sinking feeling I would.  I felt so defeated.  I didn’t even have the energy to move.  My eyes still swollen from my night of crying greeted me in the mirror.  You look just great I thought.  The toll of your addiction showing on my face.  My body stiff from staying curled up, like I was trying to return to that fetal position where nothing could hurt me.  God Matt, how this hurt me.  Knowing that all this time you were just letting me believe you were clean.  I was so blinded by my own need for us to be normal that I felt this betrayal like a hard slap in the face.

The dogs raise their heads, listening.  I pray it is not you.  I am in no mood for you.  I make coffee, God, how I needed  that.  I grab the leashes and head to the sea.  I disguise myself in your hoodie. I’m in shut down mode and want no conversation with anyone except God.

Ok God,  It’s me again.  Yeah, you know Matt’s mom.  I just gonna put it out there.  What the hell is going on. Why do you keep letting this happen to us.  Why can’t you just answer my prayers and fix Matt.  You teach us that you can do anything so why not this.  Just put your hand on Matt and heal him from this horror that has become our life.  You who created the sea I love, please help now.  I’m so beat, so broken.  I need help.  I’m so lost in my thoughts I don’t see the dogs as they take off after a figure I know too well.  Even from the  distance I can identify your walk.  I tell God, ok you need to hold my tongue cause I’m ready to shoot some ugly out of my mouth.

The dogs reach me first as if to say take it easy on him Mom, he’s sorry.  Yeah, he’s always sorry.  He’s only sorry cause he got caught.  Ok Matt, I suggest that if you can’t tell the truth you keep your mouth shut.  I’m this close to punching you square in the face, and you know what I might like it and not be able to stop!  You look at me with that dam grin, you know the grin that always melts my heart.  You start to laugh.  Mom, I’d bet you’d do it too. I start to laugh as the image of 125lbs of me beating up on 230lbs of you forms in my brain.  Somehow we both end up hysterical at the very thought.  I guess the laughter was a release for me as I felt the anger I carried to the beach wash away with the tide.  Matt, you always got to me.  You my beautiful man with such a horrible, insidious disease.

We sit.  Ok Matt, it’s truth or dare time.  I will only accept the truth.  I really don’t care how ugly or hurtful I need you to tell me the truth.  I can’t stand a liar and after everything we have been through together you owe me the truth.  Geez Matt, I’ve seen you naked vomiting your guts out, you’ve puked on and punched at me so really how bad can telling the truth be.   You look away as if concocting a story.  I grab your arm to bring you back.  Matt, the truth.

I sit and will both my face and my tongue to not reveal or say what I’m thinking as you finally pour out your guts.  I watch the waves hit the shore and take little bits of sand back to the sea.  I feel like this is my life.  Your addiction keeps pounding at my heart and soul breaking little pieces off and washing me away.  Oh God, I asked for the truth now I’m sitting here listening and trying to make a plan to fix it again.  I will never learn.

So once again, I have my fix it plan.  I drag you to Charlie’s.  We talk.  He will not take you back but will let you collect unemployment until you can find work.  Thank you God,  He tells me how many chances he gave and how many times despite his warnings you showed up unable to function.  I thank him for caring enough.  He hugs us both as we leave and wishes us both luck.  Ok Matt.  Now you will not take advantage, you will find work. Right Matt, sure Mom.  Oh God,  why did I just get a very sick feeling in my gut.  Stop, stop I tell myself.  It will be ok.  He will get work and find a meeting for help and support.  Right Matt.  Right Mom.  You will pay your bills.  Right Matt. Right Mom.  You will stay straight. Right Matt.  Right Mom.

We walk back to the house.  We sit and open the neglected pile of bills.  I set up a payment schedule.  I balance your checkbook  Holy Shit, I take your debit card and cut it up.  Now you are getting ticked.  I shoot you my look and you calm down.  Ok Matt.  Here’s the deal.  I help with the mortgage.  Thank God, the lender still thinks you’re sick.  Yes, I know but I have to play that card until the mortgage is caught up.  Yes, I feel guilty but what else can I do.  I write everything down.  I’m thinking really, you are a grown man and I’m treating you like a teenager and you are letting me.  I try to keep the enabler thought out of my mind.  Helping or guiding fits what I’m doing better.  Yup, not enabling.  Guiding you in bill paying and helping you get on your feet so I can stay on mine.  Ok Matt.  Everything is set up.  You understand how important it is.  I can’t lose this place.  I love this place.  You understand, right Matt.  Right Mom.

Driving home I couldn’t shake the feeling of doom.  I kept remembering how you looked.  Your beautiful lying eyes.  Right mom, slipping out of your mouth like honey from a pot.  Honey in all it’s sweetness,  just what I needed to hear.  Right Matt. Right Mom……

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