Sunday, February 12, 2017

Living with Allen, addiction a mom's perspective

Let me start with this is my perspective, experiences and view, in no way am I speaking for all or even a few, for I cannot speak to anyone's experience with addiction.  As time has forced me to live this life where addiction is part of  daily conversation, I have learned that no two stories are the same, and that it is staggering the number of people who share in the addiction world, let me explain.

Most of you have read and followed my blog about Allen and what life is like with a child who is brain injured, homeless and a challenge to say the least. What you may not realize is that Allen is a drug addict this is how it all started, a girl saying try this.  I for the longest time hated that young lady who started my son down the path of destruction, I have since forgiven her, and I now pray for her.  I do not know if she is still alive or healthy or happy, I simply pray she found release to her struggles that lead her to drugs, for I believe she used drugs to escape something I will never understand.

Allen was 17 when he first choose to use the evil mistress, he fell hard and he fell fast, drugs are such a seductress it took no time for Allen to be lying, stealing, he dropped out of school 3 weeks before graduation and disappeared into the world of drugs, dreams, no responsibility, freedom, and wandering as he describes it.  It took almost 3 years before I heard from, well of, him again.  I stalked Myspace (Facebook did not exist) he would surface with some poem or picture or such, the evil mistress played to his creative side at first. 3 short years that seemed like a lifetime and his accident happened, the accident that took my son from me, that was 10 long hard emotional and frustrating years.

Allen was clean for the first few years after his accident, well he did spend a year in the hospital, so lets say the first 3 years after coming home, then a neighbor boy said here try this, and the world I dreamed for crashed..  Most moms want college, marriage, grand kids, successes and bragging rights for their kids, well I was no different until 10 years ago, those dreams were left on an interstate in California.  My dreams became, let him walk, let him not hurt, let him make it one day without a seizure, let him potty train (he was 20-23 years old), let me handle what is given me this hour, day, week, let me have strength today.

After he was reintroduced to drugs all was lost well in a sense, my beautiful boy is alive he is not the boy I raised, he is not the boy I dreamt he would be, he is not a functioning member of society, he is amazing, he is polite, he is kind, he is respectful, (I guess I did something right),  I know this from the police who arrest him, the doctors that treat him, the social workers who try to help him, from the Judges who sentence him, I also know since having lunch with him in December he will never be my boy again, he is his own lost soul, he will never function in society he will never come home "Normal" at some level I have accepted this at some level I grieve the loss of my boy, the dreams, the possibilities, at some level I want it all over and an end to the roller coaster.

As I write in this blog the new chapters I will share my heart and feelings, some of this will be difficult to write and share, some will be difficult to read, none of it is meant to hurt, shame, or offend anyone, it is one mom's view of life with the evil mistress living in your nightmares waking hours, hiding in your closets, and ever present in your home.

This year I start with acceptance of my sons' life where he is and wherever he ends up, it has taken me a long time to get to this acceptance,  I have looked in so many places to find the answers and how to accept when it was actually simple I opened my eyes and saw my son for who he is, I did this in December when I saw him in person for the first time in over 3 years.  I knew when I saw him sat next to him and listened with my heart I could not save him.  In trying I was killing myself, with wasted energy, wasted dreams, and never ending faith and love,  and it in no way effected Allen or his choices.  I was luck enough to receive a picture of Allen on his 29th birthday. 

I was shocked and upset when I received it I cried and cried I hid it from those around me I would look at it and cry, then I accepted it was what it was it spoke volumes to me.  Then around his birthday this year 30 years old I received another picture of him from a friend who responded to a medical in which Allen was in need of help,  this friend had not seen Allen since he was about 12 years old, but knew the sweet kid now a broken man.  Again the picture ripped at me and hurt so bad, where did I fail, for weeks all the bad choices, all the arguments, fights, nights with no money to feed us, missed events because I worked, all the bad mommy minutes and days haunted me ( don't get me wrong I know I did what had to happen, I made the best decisions I could under the circumstances, and I am in no way directly to blame for this, at times of pain doubt follows closely behind).

This year I joined an amazing group for addicts moms' I found it nice to know I was not alone in this journey, as I read their stories and worries and experience's I quickly discovered, that I did not belong with those amazing women,  I do not know if I am deluding myself in thinking I am in a better place where Allen's choices are concerned, or if I am just naive in believing I am, overall I found I was becoming more depressed and hopeless as I read the thousands of posts from mothers all over the world with kids who are addicts. I admire these ladies, and pray for them and their kids but for now at least in this battle I am going it alone in a sense perhaps I will heal enough to join this group again perhaps I will never be where they are in the world of addiction

When I visited with Allen a few short months ago I saw so much in his eyes, in his speech, in his mannerisms, and I saw how much he has lost, declined and how much more of my son has disappeared even since the last picture I was sent.  I did not get a picture of him that day, part of me wishes I had gotten one last picture of us but part of me wants to remember the boy that resembles the picture in my heart.

The life of an addicts mom is an odd and unusual one, the things that become normal if you shared with anyone would make you shake your head, I am in no way an expert in being the mom of a addict for me it has been easier to deny it and hide away from it, mostly because I have been separated from it and my son for so long.  I admire all the thousands of parents both moms and dads who walk this path.  I will continue to share my experiences and thoughts with you in this blog, I do so not for sympathy but to simply share and allow myself to heal at some level.
thank you for reading

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Living with Allen, Lunch Date

 Another year, it is hard to say that well I guess if I were to be honest I would have to say it is hard to accept.  In my life so much has happened in that year, so much I want to share with Allen my best friend and yet it is not possible.  I accept that at some level now (well most days I do) on another level I have to accept it or it will consume me. 
Last year Allen started the year in Jail, he had over 10,000 dollars in fines that makes a total of over 50,000 he owes someone somehow, he spent 6 months in jail, (Six glorious amazing calm and rewarding months) how you might think, they were glorious for me not him.  A mom's heart did not have to worry have to cry did not have to anything.  The day he got out it all started again,  while in jail I tried once again to reach him I sent him mail, and the ability to contact me back but no answer no acknowledgement.  The day he got out I received a call from the jail telling me he is being released and I should come get him, after they took him to the hospital for a psych evaluation.  Well after multiple calls and many conversations and even more tears, Allen was sent home from the hospital only to be brought back 45 minutes later in full seizure activity.  More conversations and more tears, once again he was discharged this time to the streets.  You might ask why did I not go get him bring him home, because he is a grown man and choose not to have anything to do with me.  When asked in the hospital can I call your mom he said NO, she wants to talk to you NO, she will come be with you NO, she cares I know but NO.  So after 6 amazing months my heart breaks again.

I watch Allen from a far, there is not much to say to anyone on a daily basis or even a monthly basis, the word seem to have been said time and again and again.  Yet the roller-coaster continues every day every month every thought.  I start everyday with a prayer for acceptance of what is to come, I then thank the powers that be for not receiving a phone call containing bad news, then check the news for dead bodies, then the hospitals for John Doe's, then the Jail rosters (I save the best for last), then I wipe a tear out of my eye and put my feet on the ground and a smile on my face, "today is a great day, he is alive and not hurt" I can deal with whatever comes my way. Crazy Right.

So from January till July Allen was in jail, from July till December I had no idea where he was, (I loved the rare post on facebook). then near the end of December I took a shot, I suggested we meet for lunch at a place that in his childhood we loved to go together, back when money was short but memories were great.  He agreed, I was shocked so the day of the fateful lunch came, I drove the 40 miles terrified, excited, nervous, and at the same time saying don't count on him being there.  He did not show up, I drove around looking at the possible spots no luck.  So I went back to the sandwich shop and ordered lunch (No need to waste a trip and the food is still a favorite).  Allen logged onto Facebook as I was there I messaged him (A long shot) and he answered, he agreed to come to lunch.

  I had not heard my son's voice in three years, I had not seen him in the same, the last time I saw him was broken in the hospital him telling me to leave he wanted to live in the streets, I have cried more tears then I knew possible I have spent hours on my knees praying for understanding and acceptance. I have come to a place in my life where I accept the choice and the strength it takes each day to live as you choose this holds true for my son first and foremost. the meeting was a long time coming and difficult and rewarding. I have asked many times for Allen to meet me and spend a few minutes.  lunch came to pass by the grace of God it happened my prayers were answered. it was difficult seeing my only child as he lives but rewarding that he is alive. he was clean by definition he looked good well better than I expected we talked it was awkward for both of us there was some tender times and some stressed times we did not know what to say, I got a hug well a few we both shed a few tears while together I shed a gallon on the way home. he said  he has a place to call home, he is managing to care for himself it is not ideal but not bad he wants no real help from mom but has agreed to have another visit and lunch date in the near future. there is much I need to share with him and tell him about family and struggles but this was not the day. I was blessed beyond words to be  able to crack open a door with my child and with continued prayers and blessing develop a relationship of sorts again. 

This day and the lunch holds mixed emotions in my heart there is so much I feel I need to share with Allen so much of life and family is happening and time seems to be passing him by, yet I don't know if it is more for me or him. I don't know if he cares or even could comprehend so as it stands right now I have a treasured memory a mixture of good and bad but a memory.  As for what I need I think I am going to continue this blog and write a bit more the context is going to change because I am now and will continue to be an addicts mom, my addict is a bit different than some but not all, my addict has a mixed bag of struggles, first and foremost his addiction, his brain injury, his physical challenges, and his mental illness.  in this moms heart and soul I can say I am proud of the battle he fights everyday, I may not accept it, understand it, but I will forever be proud of his fight for life.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

life with Allen, Throwaway people

Those we throw away.

I have a child who is a drug addict, it has taken me a decade to be able to say that, and not cry, I still get tears in my eyes, when I say it, and my heart hurts, why you might ask, because my only child is one of the those who get thrown away, and I am right there standing beside him in societies eyes.
As a mother we take pride in saying my child has done, they have accomplished, the have become an amazing adult, look at them shine, you pray for pictures of school, graduation, college, girlfriends, grandkids.  As a mother of an addict I will never be able to say those prayers.  My Prayers are keep him warm, keep him alive, let him find food, is he sick, is that dead body him?   As the mother of an addict I start my day with let him be alive, let him have a safe warm place to rest today, I check the police records for those found dead, I check the jail records for hope he got arrested, I check the hospitals for john doe’s, I do all this before breakfast, 7 days a week 365 days a year. 

As the mother of an addict, special days come and go, holidays are for empty stockings, baskets, and empty wishes, and an empty heart.  As the mother of an addict you spend those “Family days” alone, often times by choice because you don’t want to be a downer, you don’t want to cry, you want to scream REMEMBER my child I miss him, I want him here, I want to celebrate with my child.  But you don’t say anything, because it causes that look from family, the look of what do we say, do we ask, will she cry, will it hurt.  Yes, it hurts yes I cry, Yes I love you and want to be part of the “Family” but sometimes I just cannot put on the smile and pretend, some days I just want to cry.
Right after your child becomes an addict, made the first round of poor choices, the first we identified your child, the first can you come, there is tons of support, but then as the choices become many, and the calls become routine, when your child becomes one of the throwaway’s the support is gone, you also become one of the throwaway’s right beside your child.  This is not intentional well mostly it is not, it is not because people do not care, it is simple actually, you are the mother of an addict and it is not okay, it is not okay for someone to choose drugs over food, over shelter, over family, it is not okay to support and love an addict, you hear “how can you let him do that” “How can you be okay with his choices” “Why don’t you stop him” “Why don’t you go get him and bring him home where he won’t use anymore” “why don’t you get him help”.  The answer is simple because I can’t, because I have, because it does not work, because he is an adult and has free will, because it is his choice not mine.  Do you really think I want to live this life, do you think I want to see my child waste away, to forget what he was taught, to be look at like a bum, a worthless soul, a street person, do you think I like being afraid of my child, do you think I want to have the strain on my family and friends, who don’t know if they ask, or if they pretend my child does not exist?
I have been told “get over it” why do you always focus on your child it is not like he is here or is involved in your life.  I can’t get over it, I will never get over it, I deal with it, no the pain does not get better, I just have gotten better and pretending, and smiling, and I only cry when I am alone.   I hate part of myself for the choices I made, for the times I was not there, for the missed conversations, for not going and picking him up the 14th time, for not spending another 50 thousand for another rehab.  I hate when my phone rings, from an unknown number “It is never good” I hate the Mommy Guilt that is ever present, I will never get over it, he is my only child, my only wish every day is that he is okay, and that he makes a good choice and comes home.

The Mother of an addict is in a sense standing next to her child as one of the throwaway’s and yet we are no different than any other mother out there, I want what you do, I want family pictures, I want celebrations, I want holidays, I want hugs, I want grand-kids, I want to hear MOM I LOVE YOU, I don’t want to be forgotten like my child has been I don’t want to be a throwaway, I don’t want a drug addict as a child.  It is what was given me, I did not choose this, I did not cause this, I do not support this, I do not accept this, I simply love my child, I hurt for my child, and I believe in my child I pray every day for my child just like you do.