I contemplated whether or not I wanted to write about a personal issue involving opiate addiction. Thinking about disclosing to not only my friends but the world how devasted and helpless I felt the day my son told me he struggled with addiction. I stopped breathing for a split second although it felt like a lifetime. What did I just hear him say? How could it be? How didn’t I see this?
I felt like a lightbulb just turned on in my head. All the times, I had a sense that something was wrong. He was sleeping too long. His skin looked yellow. He was not motivated to pursue any form of employment or activity. I would ask him over and over again if everything was okay, he
So once my son finally broke through his shame and told me, a roller coaster ride began. Each day was filled with fear, anger, sadness, guilt. I walked on egg shells in my house. He was never violent or abusive towards me. If he was, it would have been easier to be tougher on him. My son has a heart of gold. If you meet him once, he will remember you and greet you with a smile and handshake or a hug if you are a female (a friend of mine). He is sensitive and loves his dog like a newborn loves his mommy.
My son has suffered many traumas. At the age of 14 his little friend died unexpectedly. Before, I go on, I will mention that at the age of 16, his Dad and I separated. His best friend was killed in a boating accident at the young age of 21. According to my son, this is where his story began. I will not provide details of his journey as that is his story to share.
The purpose of this topic is to let parents know that there is no research that will provide the most successful way to parent a child with an addiction. As a parent, you may have kicked your child out of the home, that is okay. I kicked my child out as well. That lasted about 2 weeks, he asked to stay over on the weekend. I said yes, he later told me that he had a bad feeling of something happening if he had stayed where he was. I took him back, I didn’t want the addiction to get a complete hold on him. Living with me, held him somewhat accountable for his whereabouts, etc. So whatever decision you make is the right decision for you and no one else.
The roller coaster ride has slowed down. Sometimes, I ride it and other times I get off. We are on a path moving forward, it is not easy. I need to stay in the moment and trust that my son is on the right path. I get triggered each day by something that relates to him and the past floods to the present. I feel guilty at these times. As a parent I should trust my child; however, this has been the most challenging time of my life. As a cancer survivor, I would rather undergo chemo therapy again rather than watch my child suffer from an addiction.
The best compliment from my son most recently was, “thanks Mom for never giving up on me”.
© Maria DeRubeis 2019