As I left work and headed to run errands amid the Covid pandemic, I slowly put my mask back on that I had been wearing all day as a nurse and threw onto my passenger seat. Usually I am so relieved to take it off because of breathing, claustrophobic & dizziness issues. This time however, I welcomed it, to cover my saddened face. Because today was another highly emotional day in the life of a mom of an addict.
My son is an adult, but the devastation on our family the last two years has been palpable: His two little kids abandoned from their daddy, his ex-wife forced to sell their beautiful new home, and his business that most of the family worked at- was gone. He had one attempt at rehab and it only seemed to make it worse in the sense that it gave him the impression that all rehabs were scammy.
Today, though was another rough one for this mama. He had sent pictures of himself to me after not seeing him for 5 months. To say I was shocked is an understatement. My once buff, stocky, six foot 240 lb. son looked like a little old man who hadn’t eaten in a month. I, of course, had to torture myself all the more by pulling up his old pictures and making a split screen to show the drastic difference that the toll of drugs has had on his body.
As I walked into the grocery store, the images of these pictures pierced my mama heart so deeply, my eyes stung with tears. I felt my face scrunch up and my body become weak. But I still was able to push my cart around with my mask pulled up to under my eyes, and no one knew the difference. I can mourn my son while he is still alive, amidst other shoppers who wouldn’t have a clue what I am dealing with. I can walk around and grab the milk and eggs and wonder if my son is eating today. I can basically buy anything I want while he struggles to get a few dollars. I can feel guilty for not paying his phone bill this month, even though it seems to not do any good because he doesn’t call in for his court hearings anyway.
Nothing with addiction makes sense. You're either tough loving them or your enabling them. They're either going to die, or they're going to recover. You feel powerless for the outcome, paralyzed in fear and confused as to what is the right thing to do. Most of all, you have deep sense of sadness for your child that you once knew, is gone.
My struggle with my son’s addiction is mostly a secret anyway except to immediate family, so I literally wear a mask a 24/7. But now, with the current covid precautions and the masks, I can still have my complete daily or weekly meltdown while doing errands and no one is the wiser. I arrive home with my tears dried, my eyes just a little red and my mood lifted just enough to get on with my nightly tasks. This is a day in the life of an addict’s mom. – Samantha Waters