Yesterday, I came within feet of my boy yet couldn’t hug him.
Yesterday I missed a call from my boy where I could have heard his voice for the first time in months.
How many moms would give anything to be able to do that?
When you are the mom of a substance user, these things are important because of the risk of premature or unwarranted death.
Yesterday, I still thought my boy could be gone, until I saw him alive and breathing in an almost interactive picture.
But I had to leave him again in the hands of faith and God.
Because of the way addiction weaves its tentacles into the crevices of people's minds, some things just can't be done the way you would if your loved one had cancer
With Cancer, you would enjoy every last minute and second with your loved one because hope is pretty much gone.
Addiction is more like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s together but with a cure out there leading you around like a dangling carrot.
The mind is under some sort of control, with moments of clarity. The body seems to be unable to stop certain behavior and actions. The mind then over- justifies the behaviors and downplays them. It might even lie about them.
Pride and shame work hand in hand when it comes to feeling like a failure. Pride says: “I can handle it, I don’t need any help, NO MATTER what evidence is presented.”
Shame says: “I’ve lost my hero/dad/husband/son/ uncle/entrepreneur status and the pain cuts so deep that I want to isolate and hurt myself worse.
People/society verify that feeling by treating me as a second class citizen, which then propels me to act worse and take riskier behavior just to survive”.
I used to think Cancer was the worst thing that could happen to a body and mind.
But I now know that cancer is usually temporary- sad & painful- but has a verifiable ending.
Addiction has brought me things that I may never have discovered.
I have crept into places and feelings that may not have existed. Because, you see, as long as my kids were doing well, and what society respected and expected; I could be proud.
But the minute the stigma of addiction hit my family, I had to hide my pain and shame. After all, how do you post the small success of improvement next to the graduations and promotions of others kids?
But addiction also has made me grateful.
Grateful for Hope. For Faith. For the possibilities of recovery and connection.
Grateful for my other kids, that despite all that’s happened, they have proven they can rise above the pain and thrive, possibly in the example and footsteps and honor of their brother, to make a life of joy for their families. After all, what speaks hope and healing better than by example.
I may not have been able hug my boy yesterday but he lies in my heart constantly, whether a few feet away or 400 miles away.