Christmas has come and gone, and with it, my balloon-like joy. It popped the minute everyone left my house.
Oh, we had lovely memories and lots of gift exchanging. Lots of hugs and oohs and aahhs. But the elephant in the room, the one sibling/adult child that didn’t make it for Christmas because he was in rehab (again) sat in the room (virtually) and glared at us as if his disability was our fault. As if being excluded from our Christmas celebration was an abuse of his familial privilege.
To all parents of drug addicts, a select club of which I am reluctantly a member, I salute
you. I’m in my eleventh year of this stuff, and I can’t even feel my fingers anymore, where the addict is concerned. NarAnon has taught me to take one day at a time, to do the tough love thing, to distance myself from the addiction but love the addict.
And it is working, kind of.
But the emotional pain, the offense, the expense! The wondering if I should pay his bills, as if I, somehow, caused this and should suck it up. If I should be the one to tell his roommate sorry, buddy, for my child causing you such financial hardship, here’s a few thousand bucks to make up for it
Such insanity! That in no way, shape or form, did I cause. At NarAnon meetings it is common to recite “I didn’t cause it, I can’t cure it, I can’t control it.”
But believing it, trusting it, stiff-arming the addict’s onslaught of unpaid bills and possible jail time . . . well, that’s a different matter altogether. We parents want to rescue. And so we do, over and over until we realize it does no good. It delays their sobriety, actually.
On the bright side, I got a book contract about the same time that Christmas came around and I have many, many books in me that need writing. I have many stories to tell, not the least of which include a postscript of addiction in there somewhere. Too many people can relate. Way too many. It is an onslaught that needs curtailing, but how?
Don’t get me started.
So I fall to my knees, recite the same prayers over my son, try to carry on as if ‘normal’ is a thing I can do in spite of.
But it never leaves, you know, the weight of a child that still struggles to be born.
Since he is in rehab, an inpatient, four-month program, I sleep better. The nightmares lessen. In this facility, he cannot call often, a good thing since the sound of his voice still brings tension and fear. It is a good thing not to hear it sometimes. A four-month program that is voluntary, I pray that he will stay, not run; that he will finally understand that his life is at stake, and not only his, but mine. His father too, his sisters and his brother.
The hard thing to internalize is that nothing matters to the addict but the next high.
We are all praying that this time, he will stay long enough that things matter. That his life matters. His family matters. His friends matter.
That we can finally love him the way he is meant to be loved, in spite of everything.
We cling to hope. As long as he is breathing, there is hope.