My son grew up with 2 brothers, a dad, a Grandpa, and many cousins and uncles who loved nature; camping, fishing & hunting.
He spent days, weeks and months navigating the trails and roads of the mountain ranges of Idaho.
They sat around the campfire eating hot dutch oven stew and talking about their days adventures.
They forged bonds of comradery & teamwork as they surveyed the land and forged through rough trails.
This was their tribe.
The goal was clear.
Hunting and tracking the deer and elk to provide meat for their families for the winters just like their ancestors before them.
My son was taught to respect the land and use it for the beauty it graciously offered.
He was taught to survive in the cold fall months for sometimes 8 hours a day while they planned endless attempts at tracking the magnificent creatures.
These animals tried to elude them the best they could, not knowing that their short life span would eventually take them with disease or famine.
My son learned that he could do anything if he could successfully track an animal in its home environment.
He learned that a huge mountain is nothing compared to the prize on the other side.
He learned that watching his cold breath in the early morning hours was all part of the game. When his fingers became numb from the cold he figured out how to get the circulation back by jumping in place or blowing his breath into them. He learned to bring hand warmers next time.
Years later this perseverance would benefit his addiction in more ways than I realized.
Thankfully most people couldn’t handle the sheer abuse & chaos that addiction forces a body & mind to endure. But my son learned that his amazing body could handle cold, wet, uncomfortable situations, as long as the goal was in mind.
He learned to be strong, independent, not to whine, and always be focused on the goal.
Even if the goal is now an evil drug who has him captured.
He knows his body is amazingly tough so the drug tells him he’s invincible.
He knows that the goal is more important than anything right now so the drug tells him the goal is to come on over to the smooth side. To be ‘numb’ and content -then everything will be alright.
He knows it takes teamwork to reach a goal so the drug’s evil powers tells him that shady people are his ticket.
He knows that soon he won’t be cold and hungry and tired so he’s willing to wait and do whatever the evil drug tells him to do.
When people say not to coddle the addict, I have to laugh a little because my son was never coddled.
When he became homeless after losing everything he had worked for for 10+ years, he knew he would survive. Tough love didn’t work on him because he was fiercely independent anyway.
When he was fired from his last job, he had no car, no house, no clothes and was in a town he hadn’t lived in for 6 years, yet he still figured out someone to call for a ride, begged for a bed & figured out what to do. He found people he had helped before and they were more than willing to feed him and give him a ride.
I would have collapsed in tears and begged to go to rehab.
But not my son. He’s very resourceful, even though he’s hurting inside. He feels the pain of disappointmeant and judgement enough to cut deeply into his rejected soul yet the drug has enough of a hold on his brain to tell him that’s it’s not his fault.
That he still doesn’t have to quit. All those people just don’t understand.
So he trudges on ….
Through the depths of this madness…
To find some peace, any peace from this battle raging inside his mind.
That’s the goal.
Peace & comfort.
Once he finds that, he will be ok for a minute.
His drug is like the campfire. Now he’s ‘safe’ and warm, he feels ‘ loved’. He’s with people who understand and accept him ….
He’s with his ‘tribe’.
Even if they’re all going down with the ship….