I had just rested my head down on the soft freshly laundered pillowcases, after a long day of what seemed like a failure to accomplish anything. My dad, rest his soul, would have said:
Didn’t accomplish SQUAT.
Whatever that means….
I was feeling it.
Lack of progress.
The drought of summer.
Thirsty for more.....
Where's the water? Where's the hope?
As I laid there in my own self-inflicted pity party-powerless mode; I kept hearing noises. Things clanging. A whoosh. Hurried Activity.
“This is strange”, I thought.
Is it really comng from outside?
I couldn’t be sure.
The neighborhood was usually very quiet.
See, when you live in a heightened state of anxiety every day; wrought with dips of depression, and moments of sheer panic; your sympathetic nervous system is always heightened. So it gets confused as to what’s a real threat.
Research suggests that chronic stress contributes to high blood pressure, promotes the formation of artery-clogging deposits, and causes brain changes that may contribute to anxiety, depression, and addiction..Harvard health
Even though it usually takes more than this to get me to care about anything; I drug my exhausted mind with my body lagging behind, to the window. I see the trees violently waving their leaves in fury at an unknown enemy.
A Storm! Well that’s nice. We need it. We had been in a summer drought with 3 digit temperatures for weeks.
As I settled back into my comfy bed, my thoughts turned to my son who was stranded again, in Las Vegas. He doesn’t live in Vegas, or even in Nevada. Yet there he was; in full- on addiction like behavior- even though he insists he’s ‘not using’. This also happened back in February when he called me after 2 days of wandering through the casinos scrounging for food and water after his “friends” got arrested. He had no ID and one shoe, because they were in the truck that was impounded with the arrest.
You may ask:
“Arrested for what?”
Well I didn’t ask.
Because, as a mom of an addicted loved one, we learn to not ask questions. Partly because we don’t want to know the answers and mostly because we won’t get a straight answer anyway.
How do I not grab the rope this time?
How do I put down the shovel? And any other catchphrases that admonish us to not get caught up in the chaos that addiction loves to hand out in droves.
This time I will lie my unbothered head down without a worry in the world and sleep like a baby.
This time will be different.
I won’t worry about him being stabbed or jumped in the night. I won’t worry about him dehydrating in the 110-degree heat. I won’t worry about him getting so desperate for money that he steals something.
Last time I bought him a hamburger and then breakfast after 8 hours of trying to get him someplace safe; along with 3 Uber rides and a bus ticket home.
This time I tried to order him food but after 45 minutes on hold and then a failed attempt online because he wasn’t sitting in the sportsman’s seats, he couldn’t pick it up. It was a $45 pizza anyway. So hopefully he found some food in the trash.
Oh, this life.
The Mom’s groups say: “Give it to God.”
I mean, yes, whatever’s gonna happen is going to happen, I get it. That doesn’t mean I can just turn my feelings off.
“Do something for yourself- live your life”.
You mean other than work 5-6 days a week, camping, rock collecting, travel, reading, cleaning, grandkids baseball games, swimming, gardening, writing a blog, and writing a book?”
Even while keeping busy and “living my life;” my sons’ problems are always on my mind. In drought or in storm, I feel the sting of his struggles and and the scope of damage his addiction is doing. I’m either thirsting for him to seek recovery, or wrought in gut- wrenching anxiety of him overdosing. (Or writing an article on his unsafe, ridiculous release from jail on a Saturday afternoon)
But this time will be different.
I won’t fall into the trap of enmeshment.
As I check my phone one more time to see if he’s online, I hear the storm start to pick up outside. It’s going to be a long night. Whether the storm is raging outside, or ravaging inside of me; I know tomorrow will be a new day, probably back to drought conditions. I will be calm again, I will be grateful again.
I guess the key is keeping my health at top priority, and keeping my nervous system regulated so as to not fall ill with stress and worry.
Knowing that my emotions will come and go, as the storms and droughts do. Being ok with whatever I’m feeling at the moment, and letting them pass through me without settling in. For I know if I let them stay rent free in my head, I am subject to a permanent storm of misery.
I drift off to sleep, imagining myself as one with the leaves and branches. Fighting the fury, yet remaining intact. Swaying with the wind yet not letting it damage me. It can’t hurt me anymore. Like a cactus standing strong in the heat of the desert, I can withstand the storms and droughts, as I make peace with my heart.