Excerpt From 1000 Last Goodbyes

Messenger Goodbye

On August 20, 2019, this book was born. As I sat alone in my little condo wondering about and fearing for my son’s safety, I wrote from the depths of my heart and from my pain as I felt it. And so my story begins in what I thought would be a short lesson on inconvenience. I was about to find out, in real-time, how daunting a path lay ahead of us all.

“I don’t know if my son is alive tonight. It’s a Friday night. He lives 400 miles away from me. I haven’t heard from him all day after not seeing him online for sixteen hours. I know most people don’t keep track of their grown children for days or maybe even weeks, so why do I? Because with substance use, worry is raised to a whole new level because of the risk factors involved. Every moment, every action could be life-altering. Any minute, like hundreds of other moms, I could receive “THE CALL.” This self-torture is grueling day after day and even year after year, for some families. I know the question of why don’t I just call him? Well, I could. After all, I just ordered him a new phone from Walmart’s pickup service a few weeks ago because his previous one broke. That’s three phones in three months, but that’s a different story that only moms of addiction know.

I don’t call him because, frankly, he probably won’t answer. Worse, the call may go straight to voicemail, meaning the phone is not charged. Then do you know what I’ll do? My resolve that I’ve held onto all day will break and I will lose my mind. Again. I will immediately burst into tears. Then I will check the booking reports for his county to see if he was picked up on one or two current warrants. If I do see him on there, it will ignite the cycle of tears and the fear for his life that I have endured for months.

He has been in the legal system since early this year, 2019. He was pulled over by the drug and task force for reasons he told me developed after he was trying to help a girl whose boyfriend was not treating her well. He said he saved her life. (The ‘boyfriend’ is now serving years for federal drug trafficking.) That’s all I know. I’ve learned that it’s better for me if I don’t get the details. The lifestyle, with all its risk-taking, is foreign to me. I still can’t fully admit that my ambitious and successful son, the hero in the family, the guy everyone could count on, is labeled by society as an addict and now a criminal.

But back to tonight. If Mason actually is in the booking report (which I sadly have bookmarked on my home screen), at least he’s safe, right? As a professional nurse, I know the risks to his health if he’s living on the street, so jail may be the safer option. However, I also know how overcrowded jails are. Many are understaffed. It must be annoying as heck, for guards to hear countless inmates say they are sick and dying from withdrawals. Until one does. Then they must cover their behinds to make sure they weren’t negligent. That is just one of my worst fears these days and I have a lot of them.

The absolute worst fear, and the main reason I cannot call, is what happens when I can’t reach him. I wait and pray and cry and call again—sometimes twenty times—just begging God to make him answer. I send text after text to please be okay because I just cannot bear to have him gone. The thought of it is too painful to bear. Losing a child is tragic enough, but losing a child over and over in your mind is torture also. This ambiguous grief is emotionally exhausting. It’s like a roller coaster whose operator went home and you can’t get off. Should you jump? Just when you see a green grassy spot to land on; up, up, up you go; the anticipation builds to a pleasant crescendo of peace; a feeling that maybe just maybe, this is all a dream and you can go back to your regular life stressors. Alas, the rattly steel and sparks fly off the track and you are tossed and turned as your stomach drops again. This ride is a sure recipe for emotional upheaval. If only you would have been given the deets to all of it when you walked into the park of parenthood.

Sooner or later, the green light of life on messenger will magically appear again. It might be a few days before he reads my many messages and even longer before he replies, but at least I know he’s alive because I can see that he has seen my words. The relief floods through me, and suddenly I can actually get on with my day and maybe smile or laugh at a joke someone tells. Seeing him alive online means that maybe I was overreacting. Seeing him alive online there’s more time to save him.

This scenario has played out over and over since December 2018. Maybe I should have learned to not cry wolf, but any parent, child, sibling, or spouse of a person struggling with addiction understands. We are conditioned to think the worst, especially after reading or hearing about one more (famous or not) overdose death.

I soon found the previously unknown world of support groups for moms of those addicted! There are thousands of members. The similarities across the stories are shocking and heartbreaking. Some may wonder what these mothers did wrong. What kind of childhood did they provide? Many will say, “My child had a solid childhood with both parents, safety, nutrition, education, sports, music, play dates, a trampoline, a wooden play set, a dog, etc.” On the other end of the spectrum, parents will admit to broken homes with generations of addicts and some parents went through addiction themselves. It doesn’t matter the background. What matters is the current, daily pain and damage, the churning chaos and disappointment that addiction creates for everyone involved with the person who fights a substance use disorder.

The stigma of addiction is still rampant, as those who have zero experience think it’s just a matter of poor upbringing, weak character, or lack of discipline to “just quit.” The irony amazes me. If people could “just quit” anything, then no one would be obese. Or anorexic. Or dishonest. Or promiscuous. Or obsessed with his/her smartphone. If people could “just quit” there may be no casinos because people would realize their odds. If people could just quit, no one would be murdered because people would understand the consequences. There is no “one reason fits all” explanation.

I believe that those addicted are a unique brand. If you can think of the weakest, most pathetic person you know who is not addicted to drugs, imagine him having a horrible flu, a rumbling stomach-churning garbage out both ends, a spinning head ready to explode, blurred vision, hallucinations, hot flashes followed by freezing, sweating then shivering, and so on. Now imagine him driving, or even walking, miles to find a “doctor.” Your loved one is then told there’s a one-hundred-dollar cash fee and a five-hour wait to be seen. Would he have the strength or fortitude to do it? You may say that would be stupid to do that.

What if the problem is not stupidity? What if it’s actual strength? What if it’s fortitude, persistence, or loyalty (even if it is to an evil substance)? What if it’s actual, raw, will-to-survive strength? How many weak people do you know who couldn’t survive one day of that misery? There are worse things than being a drug addict, but a lot of those things aren’t as blatant. In other words, people with substance use disorder aren’t inherently bad people just because they couldn’t stop at a few beers or they chose a different stress reliever than current laws allow. In fact, Jeff Cloud stated about people society shuns:

They don’t realize that the people they are restricting access to society are those who are:

  • Creatives – willing to find ways to live outside of the box, those who get inspired by challenges to find their own solutions.

  • Rebels – who have been misfits many times in the past so they are immune to being excluded.

  • The Wild Ones – with deep connection and reverence to the land, who know nature has everything they need.

  • Old Souls – who have seen this all before and have been persecuted over lifetimes for doing things differently.

  • Optimists – with an inner knowing of what really matters who can adapt their perspective to see the blessings that difficulties can bring.

  • The Stubborn Ones – who will not bend to coercion no matter how tight you squeeze, who will find ways to adapt to obstacles before going against their truth.

I would never justify chaotic substance abuse, and I will never wish the pain of addiction on anyone. I’m just saying that it takes a combination of strength, personality, bad luck, timing, and a set of circumstances to create a full-blown problem. It also is a problem that can be ‘fixed’ (in my opinion). At least someone on drugs has an excuse for being a jerk. I know guys whose personalities will never be fixed and they are as sober as the morning rooster. As Sam Snodgrass writes in his article “Opioid Addiction and the Myth of Powerlessness,” “We’re not narcissistic hedonists. When we hurt the ones we love, we hurt too. And what is sad is that we don’t understand why we do the things we do … We don’t understand because no one has explained to us that the changes within the brain at a cellular, molecular level, what we call opioid addiction, is an acquired disease of brain structure and, thus, function, which is manifest not as compulsive drug seeking and use but, rather as behavior directed towards the survival of the individual.”

Back to the topic of raising perfect children who would never do anything to ruin their lives. Frankly, I thought my family was in the clear. All five kids came from the same dad. We raised them in the open country, surrounded by mountains, rivers, and trees, with lots of room to explore and play and develop self-confidence, pride, and curiosity. There, they could imagine for themselves lives beyond their wildest dreams. We provided sports out the wazoo in hopes of keeping them busy as far into their teenage years as possible. I repeatedly told them of my brother’s death by suicide after he was involved with drugs in 1981 and said so many times, “Addiction runs in the family, so make sure you watch that.” Other than the devastating effect my brother’s death had on me for decades to come, the only other “substance issue” experience I had was my paternal grandpa being an alcoholic. I warned my kids. That was enough, right? They could just ‘choose’ moderation in all things, or better yet, abstain. Case closed. Right?…

Not My Child

Overdose Awareness Day

For all those who see all the purple banners today representing overdose awareness day and you scroll on by thinking:

“I’m glad that doesn’t affect me, I’m glad I taught my kids better” or “Someone should have got them help”.

I applaud you. I do.

I am sooo glad that you have never had to watch your beautiful child turn into someone you didn’t know,
I’m sooo glad you’ve never had to get a call from the inmate phone system asking if you’ll accept the charges as you swallow the lump in your throat.

I’m soooo glad you’ve never had the experience of watching your 28-year-old, Once 220 lb- now 160 lb son, thrash around in the back seat, sweating, then freezing, begging his own mother to please take him to get drugs to stop this sickness, as you’re trying to take him to detox.

I’m sooo glad you’ve never had to see a dad in a restaurant with his kids & have your heart ache so deeply that your son isn’t with his kids.

I’m so glad you don’t have to sit down at a delicious meal & feel a twinge of guilt knowing your child hasn’t eaten for days & wondering where he is at.

I’m so glad you’ve never had to see your precious grandkids celebrate a birthday & not knowing the words to tell them that their dad has a chronic, progressive, fatal illness that teaches him lies & makes him do crazy things but he’s NOT crazy & this IS NOT happening because they are unworthy of love or did something wrong.

I’m glad that you would never tell a dying lung cancer patient that they shouldn’t have started smoking. I’m glad you would never tell a diabetic patient that they only get ONE chance to get their blood sugars under control, and then they’re on their own.

Or they should just get over this pesky illness that’s inconveniencing everyone.

I truly am.

Because I wouldn’t wish this nightmare on anyone. I would never want anyone else to lay awake at night, unable to stop the tears, wondering what they could have done differently.

I wouldn’t want anyone else to wonder if today is the day that THEY get the call.

I’m very glad that you taught your kids to make better choices, & that you’ve never broken the speed limit or took a drink or had something so traumatic in your life that you just needed to get through the pain for a minute- And if you did, luckily you were able to stop or walk away without any devastating effects.

Great genes, or coping skills! I wonder if you could help teach those to others? Obedience to life and all the rules, like you have done your whole life, must feel great. I’m sure you love your wonderful life.

What say you? Oh, your life isn’t perfect? I must have missed that part when you were shaking your head in disgust, or when you were rapidly typing with your two thumbs on the Narcan post that your tax dollars shouldn’t have to pay for others’ dumb choices.

In that case, we should start looking at ALL the programs funded by taxpayer money AND also the local hospital programs for heart disease and diabetes, HIV, many of which are the result of personal choices and they DO affect others in their own way.

I’m sure you’re normally a compassionate person. I used to be you. I was compassionate AND caring! I donated to the local children hospital fund. I ran in the race-for-cancer cure fun run. I donated coats for the homeless drive every winter when my kids were little. I left cans on my front door for the boy scout food drive.

But when driving by the guy on the corner, avoiding eye contact with him; I just KNEW that he was only supporting his habit and I had all I could do to not say out loud, “Just GET A JOB!

I understand, I do.

Never, ever, did it cross my mind that I would be walking into a police station to pick up leftover evidence that they had from a drug bust. Never, ever did I think I would be watching a nurse drain a cyst off my sons arm and watching him scream in pain. Never, ever did I worry every single day that my sons life would end, except maybe when he was a baby and had a high fever and was vomiting all night.

See, I’m not really that much different than you. The difference is, I’ve had the humbleness bug forced upon me for a few years now. I don’t hold it against you that you have missed that bug.

We need to create practical affordable solutions for all- while eliminating the waste & fraud in treatment.

Shame and embarrassment are keeping people from seeking treatment.

Even if that means opening our mind up to alternative treatments such as Harm reduction.

The death rate is frightening and it IS AN EPIDEMIC as it affects the core of the family structure, jobs, crime, the jail system, and little kids who grow up with the stigma of a parent in jail or who has died from overdose or poisoning.

Addiction affects every aspect of society whether directly or indirectly. If you don’t have anything to offer to help stop this nightmare, then please please offer your compassion and time. Even if you don’t understand how it gets to this point, you can still give
HOPE to a suffering addict or a kind word to the family of a person with a substance use disorder.

Or what about not arguing about insulin needing to be free. Maintenance meds are not usually free to anyone, but AED paddles and Narcan to revive-not treat, are free to EMTS.

Other people in pain are NOT the enemy.

See, I don't want one more parent to have to bury a child due to drugs or alcohol, but the only way that's going to happen is if we ALL take on a little part of this ongoing and progressive epidemic to get rid of judgements and stigmas so we can forge practical, affordable solutions for all. 
This IS everyone's problem...

It’s ok to NOT understand the complexities of this disease and to not have a solution!

You can still give that person holding a sign on the corner, a $5 McDonald’s card to let him know that yes, someone does give a damn today- no matter what their motives.

Without hope, everyone suffers.

The Magazine Rack

Over the last decade or so, we’ve heard all the things the smartphone has replaced.

  • Calculator
  • Camera
  • Rolodex
  • Pager
  • Mp3 player
  • Boom box
  • Computer
  • Typewriter

But what you never hear about is the bathroom magazine holder. For as long as I’ve “played house” which is about 38 years now; I’ve had a basket 🧺 of ‘reading material’ by each toilet.

I can almost say with complete certainty that in the last 10 years, not one book or magazine has been pulled out and looked at except by me to clean the greasy dust of them.

So why do we hold onto completely useless things? Because of tradition? Or habit. I heard an organizer on the l radio say that you don’t need a pile of washcloths in your bathroom by the shower if you never use one.

That was HUGE for me!

I tend to keep things- just in case someone needs them.

Although I rarely have house guests, there’s always that ‘chance’.

As I looked around at what my attempt of ‘just in case’ was costing me, I noticed the endless half (or less) empty shampoo bottles that I keep because I don’t want to “waste the money”, yet I’ve outgrown the desire to use that brand.

How much is your time/space/clarity/simplification/order/dust-free items/TIME? Worth?

Amazon has it all figured out in this article. But im more interested in what psychological effect the clutter of these items has on a day-to-day basis. Every single thing in our houses has to be

*Looked at*




And before all these things- the mental energy has to be conjured up to do each one. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but we really do only have so much mental energy and time. If there is one stressful thing sucking up that time and energy, it pulls it in even tighter.

I guess you could call it Fall cleaning instead of spring cleaning. Practical Perfection has a great fall cleaning checklist.


So today is purge day. I got rid of my toilet 🧺 basket! Now I’m working on unused washcloths.

My Blog

Thank you to those who follow and read my blog. 💯☘💯

I started it last September as an outlet for my struggle with my son’s addiction. I thought it would take me away from the need to “fix” him. The “experts” said to learn all about addiction and how it works on the brain. So I did. I still thought I could pass that knowledge on to others and especially to my family members to encourage more compassion and ideas on how to help.

Sometimes I feel like I’m doing it wrong, or I’m too early in the process OR I’ve just come to realize that this disease is the absolute most cunning, insidious, unforgiving, unmanageable thing of all time. ☢

I have received a lot of support. I appreciate so many new friends. Despite not feeling like I quite fit in to each group, we all have something in common: Pain…..& The daily journey to move past it. Some do it with hobbies and careers, others are hard core activists and some have committed to a deeply devoted spiritual practice to lean on.🛐

I still struggle with finding my peace. Despite meetings, counseling, and so many books read- I still feel lost & heart broken as he continues to make poor choices & spiral further into the correctional system.

Despite what pain I’m still experiencing, there is someone else who is hurting worse. It’s my little granddaughter. I don’t get to see her because the gate keeper doesn’t approve of me; so I am working on a children’s book for kids of addicts. I’ve written the story as if im talking to her and it’s being illustrated in her image. I hope it’s the right thing to do considering all the ripples that addiction has destroyed.

If you would like a copy let me know. Of course all proceeds of it will go to her to help make up for not having her Dad in her life. He loved her so very much, & talks about her often; it just seems impossible to him to comply with all the requirements due to his hijacked brain being a slave to it’s master.

Please join my book club to share resources with each other.


If you are in another country, or even USA, please share your favorite addiction post of mine.. I would love other country’s perspectives and experiences. Thank you🇹🇼🇹🇿🇺🇦🇺🇬🇺🇲🇻🇨🇻🇦🇺🇿🇻🇪🇻🇬🇿🇦🇾🇹🇾🇪🇽🇰🇼🇸🇼🇫

Thank for listening and most of all sorry we’re in this together but there is strength in numbers 💪🔢👭

Why Don’t They Just Quit?

Aww yes, the million dollar question.

Many many studies and opinions around this question of course.

One of the most long standing resources with the same name is from Joe Herzanek of The changing lives foundation.

Here’s some other Interesting facts that help us to understand why they don’t want to quit.

I didn’t write this but I actually have my son on audio saying this exact same premise.

It’s one of many audio recordings I have of him, that I put in my upcoming book 1000 Last Goodbyes.

“If you can think of the happiest days of your life, i.e. wedding day, birth of your firstborn, landing your dream job, etc. your dopamine level rises to about 200 units.
Methamphetamine’s powerful effects come from its impact on the brain’s reward, or pleasure, center. Meth does not directly release dopamine. It attaches itself to dopamine receptor sites and fools neurons into releasing large quantities of dopamine. This accounts for the intense rush a user experiences from meth.

“In addition, meth prevents dopamine from being recycled. Instead, dopamine is active in the body for much longer, explaining the extra long duration of the meth high. The drug does this by blocking (inhibiting) the dopamine transporter involved in its reabsorption (reuptake) into the original neuron that sent it. Transporters are places on neurons that reabsorb the dopamine after it has completed its job. As a result, more dopamine becomes available to the brain. This extra dopamine, in turn, activates an even greater number of dopamine receptors. This increased release of dopamine is primarily responsible for the intensity and duration of meth-amphetamine’s effects.

“In lab animal experiments conducted by UCLA’s Integrated Substance Abuse Program, sex caused dopamine levels to increase to 200 units and cocaine caused levels to rise to 350 units. With meth-amphetamine, dopamine levels jumped to about 1,250 units. Overall, this study showed that meth causes about 12 times as much feelings of pleasure as sex, food, and other activities, including the use of other illegal stimulant drugs. All illegal drugs of abuse release dopamine, but that methamphetamine “produces the mother of all dopamine releases.” So, when an addict stops using nothing seems right, life seems dull and gray. Meth is a beast but I do know addicts who fought hard and got free of it”.

I wrote about Dopamine in This post last year and The tempest explains it well in this article.

Until they are ready to get help, we also have to be open to new thoughts of saving their life, such a harm reduction.Believe me, I never thought I would be saying those words until the last 6 months when I was met with the immensely stubborn, deeply hijacked version of my brilliant, driven entrepreneur son.

This is a great video on Harm reduction with Dee Dee Stout who wrote a book Coming to Harm Reduction Kicking and Screaming- which I can relate! She also writes a blog for Families for Sensible Drug Policies an organization with tons of resources.

Harm reduction is an entire blog in itself so I’ll save that for later but the important thing is it BUYS TIME until they can decide to seek recovery. My bottom line that helped me see harm reduction as a necessity is when I witnessed my son in full withdrawals thrashing around in the back seat of my car. He was begging me to take him to get drugs just to stop him from this torture. I said ( yelled) to him “Good hell xxxx, is this not enough to get you to stop? How can you be this sick & not want to ever experience it again?”. He told me, “Mom, this is nothing- try lying in a drug house so sick you can’t move or walk and begging people there to help you- either with drugs or take you to the hospital while they laugh saying -no way dude, we’re not getting arrested”……

I realized in that moment that if he had a needle covered in swamp water or ‘anything’ it would NOT HAVE STOPPED him from plunging it into his arm for relief.

An addict is NOT going to suddenly stop using because they don’t have clean needles. Clean needles WILL however prevent further pain & suffering by avoiding the added disease of hepatitis and Aids.

We have to keep pointing them to recovery! A whole new life is right there waiting for them”.

I have a large collection of recovery quotes (over 200) on my Facebook profile under photos- We Do Recover album . I love to share.

Hope Floats- in The Desert

Photo by author

I squeezed the foam earplugs between my fingers and stuffed them into my ear, leaning my flushed, tired face against the cool airplane window in relief.

As the foam expanded, the sounds of the chattering women behind me slowly faded- thankfully. I wanted silence.

I watched the snow-covered tips of the Oquirrh Mountains get smaller and smaller.

I was headed to Phoenix for a much-needed reprieve/retreat with a group of Moms of children with substance use disorders.

The thought crossed my mind of what I would say if someone asked me where I was headed.

I mean it’s not exactly a proud moment like it would be if I said, “Oh, I’m going to an event for Moms of sterling scholar students.”

If I were going to a childhood cancer retreat, it would likely be met with support and sympathy.

As it is, I usually just say “vacation” if I’m doing anything substance use-related.
Of course, times are changing a little. When vulnerability is exposed in the right circumstances, you will immediately find “someone who knows someone” with substance use disorder.

Some social media recovery Influencers -who reach a lot of people, are helping with their memes on understanding addiction; but the service they deliver is misleading at times.

What others think is not my concern right now. I am in survival mode, hoping to advance to Thrive-mode soon.

Photo by author

As I landed at the Pheonix airport, I was met with several flashing billboards advertising a casino or similar:

Reclaim what is rightfully yours-You do you!” 

Wow, YES!!

That’s what I needed!
I needed to reclaim my peace, my sanity, my sense of direction!

I wanted to feel empowered in my co-dependency so that it turned to healthy pro- dependence, just like the book of a similar name.

I wanted relief from my emotions being based on someone else’s actions that I obviously couldn’t control.

I wanted to feel joy again even as my son is still deep in his addiction having lost everything he worked so hard for.

I wanted to stop this suffocating feeling of disappointment and pain that HE must be feeling.

I wanted to not care so much, or at least act like I didn’t care so much.

I wanted my little family back. I wanted my youngest son to UN- Disown me for “helping the tweaker”. I wanted our family to go on trips and have loud funny parties without there being an elephant in the room. I wanted to be able to talk about my oldest son without tip-toeing on eggshells.

To say his name again.

To say it with relief and admiration at what he’s overcome. 
To just be free of the chains of addiction that not only grab the victim but also everyone who loves and knows them.

Yes, I know that’s a lot to expect from one conference or one weekend.

But it’s a start. It’s moving forward.

It’s meeting women that all have something in common. People who you don’t have to hide your situation from. People who you don’t have to bite your lip or hold back your tears when they talk about how well their kids are doing.

Ah yes.
Sun, water, fresh air, bunnies, quails, even cacti were my heaven this weekend.

Photo by author

The logistics of traveling and inconveniences of housing with no hot water didn’t stop me from sucking in every ounce of strength and wisdom from these women.

Don’t be fooled by broken hearts and contrite spirits. They can do wonders with grief and pain. These women taught me perseverance, grace, love, and faith in the unknown.

Women from all areas of America, from different faiths-and at least ONE with no faith- came together and worshipped in their way, to thank God and accept and honor his will with grace.
Women who have lost a child to substance use, taught ME about hope. How could that be? How could someone who has experienced every mom’s worst nightmare teach about HOPE?

With grace and God’s help, that’s how.
People who have the worst pasts often end up with the greatest futures.

As my weekend ended and I said goodbye to these ladies, the most often phrase was “Let’s keep in touch”.
With social media these days, that’s easy to do. But the reality is, we will all go home to our situations. We will cry and yell and dream and hope. We will feel alone and forsaken at times.

It’s up to each person to find their peace, no matter what they are facing.

As I was leaving, one of the younger ladies, who I felt such a pull to- for her faith and talent; pulled me aside with a piece of paper and said, “I’ve been praying for you and I came up with the color green and the flower lily because I think your heart is PURE and I love you.”

I rushed away, through the  5 hours of security, flying, ubering, and made it to my neighborhood. As I trudged up the driveway, tired and worn out, I looked down at my flower beds lying bare in the cold dirt. There amid such brown barrenness, I see the Green tips of my spring Lilys and tulips braving through the frozen ground.

Hope eternal.

Blessed are the pure in heart. (& we ALL are pure on heart).
Thank you, Brianna.
And God.

Photo by Tonyevans.org

The Dream

“What exactly seems to be the problem????”

I could hear the words echo like a child’s faraway pleading…

“Why, God?? Why can you part an entire sea of water but you can’t seem to fix my “little” problem.”

I spouted the accusations into the air like a thick plume of smog…

I felt the searing pain and confusion deep in my heart.

Why wasn’t I worthy enough for God’s attention?

Why did others have these spiritual experiences, yet my little family is still fractured seemingly beyond repair with what my eldest son’s addiction had caused?

I had prayed. Oh, how I had prayed.
Oh, I’ve always been a believer that there was a power greater than myself who was directing this harrowing game of life. But I had never truly NEEDED there to be one as much as I had the last 2-3 years.

That was about the time I started the wrenching conundrum of wanting more than anything to believe that there is SOMEONE who is listening and can take a look at my problems and put them on the “to be solved list”.

On this particular day, I wasn’t feeling my list was even visible, let alone being checked off.

My son was still deep in addiction, with no signs of wanting help. He had legal warrants for his arrest for many felonies for possession while trying to feed the cravings of his disease. He had abandoned his family; including his kids, lost his million-dollar business & had zero possessions or money to his name.

I had been praying to my God, with some anger and disappointment, that no mountains were being moved on my behalf. I had inquired fervently why I wasn’t good enough to receive all the spiritual blessings that “others” seem to get, with a very quick disclaimer of “not that I’m not appreciative of everything I have sir. “
So I drifted off to sleep with the compromise of “ok then, please just show me, my son, in the future with his kids & a house & a real job again…”
By dang it, I had not been awake the next morning for more than 30 seconds when I realized that my God had done it.

My dream…..

I was in some sort of open mall. I was with his ex-wife and his kids. Suddenly I see my son out of the corner of my eye. He’s strolling down the center like nothing!
I freeze!  It had been a year at least since they had seen each other but more than that, I KNEW she would think that I set her up just for him to see his kids.
I panicked, as she hurried to block her kids from seeing him, but it was too late. I was trying to reassure her that I didn’t know he was here….but it didn’t matter, his beautiful Daughter had seen him. She yelled, “Daddy!”
He took her in his arms.

This moment.
This moment that every child of an addict must feel.
To be abandoned-no-more. To be loved and cared for by the most important people in their life.
To feel validated.
In that moment, the drugs, a disease, work, or whatever else the reason was told for the disappearance from their life, didn’t matter.

Life was complete.

All the dots were connected.
They could now color in the black and white picture of the happy family & turn the page……

I somehow disappeared in typical dream fashion…

Only to reappear in chapter 3 or so. Where I visualized them talking and the kids playing together.


God had done it again…

Now I’m wondering what to ask for tonight….

I Don’t Want to Sit by a Heroin Addict

These are the words I heard echo from a co-worker during a meeting today.  She was talking about a client who didn’t want to go to a place of business in case he had to sit by a heroin addict.

If I was financially independent, I would have stood up and said: (well- yelled, “There are worse things than being  a heroin addict, like being intolerant of humans who’s sins show on the outside!”

But I’m not, so I didn’t.

As it is, I sat there in my silence of suffering as usual.

Michael J Wilson in his book Loving Lions describes the impact as this

“I watch the impact that my addiction has, and it’s like watching a horror movie. You know something bad is going to happen and you want to yell at the person onscreen to not go into that basement, not to open that door, but they never hear you. The movie goes on and I am forced to watch, trapped within myself, unable to stop it. I feel helpless, I feel useless, and I feel worthless.”

Page 81, Loving Lions

Yes that. All of that.

I keep my struggle with my Lion seperate than other areas of my life. Or, I at least try.

Later on that day I was sending another patient to see a medical provider as scheduled, and she yells out, “I’ll be back, I’m going to see the drug dealer!” Haha, everyone laughs, while my insides fall the 1000 feet that it took me to build them up again after the comment earlier this morning.

Drinking or joking about “needing” a glass of wine, is all fun and games until you see the first phone call from the jail knowing it’s your beloved child who not only had that glass of wine, but couldn’t stop at one.

Loving lions also describes their (the person with a substance use disorder) ( in-)ability to fix that problem too:

“I do not have the ability to fix a problem that has me convinced it does not exist. I am not capable of putting myself into the challenging recovery process that is required to get well. I am not capable of coming up with a plan to fix a problem I cannot see clearly. I am not capable of fixing this without help. I am not capable of pulling myself out of this hole. “

Which brings us to a crossroads and to the normal model of “a disease”. How do you help someone who’s very disease won’t let them believe they need help?

It’s like a pimp. Convinces his girls that they can’t live without him, even though HE is the problem, engaging them in illegal activities, lowering their quality of life, risking their health, their freedom etc.

Drugs are the biggest pimpmobile ever and I wish that caravan hadn’t stopped in my town.

Just to top my day off, this Day in The Life of a Mom of a person with a Substance Use Disorder; I see a “Story” pop up on my son’s Facebook. He is quite new at Facebook, having only had it the last year or two when his addiction seared to new “heights” so to speak; so I was curious that he figured out that feature.

Much to my shock, I saw a conversation that he accidently posted on there, which was “seemingly like a drug deal”. Unbelievable. I frantically tried to message him to delete it. No answer. I knew there were people on his Facebook that were not “real” friends and would look at that as “ah ha see? He’s still at it, what a loser” or whatever people think of addicts. No, I’m not trying to cushion his fall. He’s fell so hard the last 2 years there’s no cushion left. I guess I’m just still a bit embarrassed of it all.

Shame and blame go right along with the agenda of addiction. For not only the addict, but the family.

My son finally answered my frantic messages. He said he doesn’t know how  that conversation got on a story or how to get it off. I hurriedly explained with detailed screenshots how to get it off. 

Then in true Nar-anon cringe worth fashion, I gave unsolicited advice & told him since he has warrants out, he probably should be more careful. He still insisted it wasn’t a drug deal.

Ok son.  Over and out. 10-4 to this day.  Another Day in the Life of a Mother of a person with a Substance Use Disorder.

How was your day?