A Day in the life of the Mom of anAddict

The Night after Christmas

нow was your Cнrιѕтмαѕ?

The words echoed into my ears even before they left my co-workers mouth.

I instinctively have enough experience with avoidance and deflection to get a jump on her question.

By appearing busy and having enough ‘questions’ and data of my own; I was able to layer my question on top of hers seemingly without a noticeable pause.

I understand that I could just answer like everyone else does, with the obligatory, “Fine, thanks how was yours?”

However,  being the Infp personality type that I am, mixed in with the now
Mom of a substance use disorder adult child -that I must keep hidden in order to avoid the sigma of judgement- I just can’t seem to gloss over small talk with fake clichë answers.

It doesn’t help that I work in a culture of very religious young adults who mostly all meet the criteria for (our) societal expectation of school, college, church missions, marraige, & service;  leaving zero time for sinning, let alone drug use.

I’m not saying everyone else has perfect lives, I’m not that naive. I know they don’t, but in my world of constant daily strife and worry, it’s so incredibly hard to think any differently.

When I hear their stories of how their weekends went, I have to inwardly laugh at the comparison of my akward -seemingly co- dependant- obsession with whether my son is alive one more day.

“I went on a fun first date, I really like him, but I’m trying not to show it, ya know?”

“Oh really? Well I spent all night Saturday worrying that my 34 yr old son had overdosed by sticking a needle in his cyst- filled arm, while being homeless with no where to go.”

Do you see my hesitation in engaging in ANY personal small talk? It’s like a Friday night sitcom that’s so true it isn’t even funny.

I mean the average person wouldn’t get it, let alone a twenty- something giddy, college and love focused zoobie. Yes that’s what we used to call the locals who were hard core religious worshippers.

I’m NOT bashing my religion. I still draw great comfort in my relationship with my higher power. I just don’t go to church and temple and abstain from ALL alcohol etc. The demographic I work with are very limited in their views and tolerance if you will.

So I go about my day, in a sortof secrecy. Truthfully, almost no one, except my bosses, know anything about my personal life.

I’ve always been a little quiet in that regard. Loyal, private, not engaging in office gossip. But the last 2 years have pushed me further into that lonely hole. The space that a select few – growing by the day, I think- unwillingly are members of.

So, Christmas. What does one do for Christmas, when everyone is actively planning family parties and gifts to each other?

You do what you can to feel a sense of normalcy. You try to not let the other kids feel slighted. You fake it until you make it and by making it I mean to FIND something, anything to be grateful for.

I have started to realize how detrimental to my health and even my appearance, my constant worrying is causing. Recently I actually started combing my hair and find the oh so familiar knot- yes KNOT!!! In the same spot. I realized that I ALWAYS end up putting my hair in a braid because I don’t have the endorphins/ dopamine / whatever you want to call it to give a damn.

To think I haven’t even combed completely through my hair in who knows how long, is very telling.

Gʀᴇᴀᴛғᴜʟʟɴᴇꜱꜱ ꜱʜᴀᴛᴛᴇʀꜱ ᴇxᴘᴇᴄᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴꜱ.

My new years resolution is to find something every day, every hour if I have to, to be grateful for. And when someone asks me how my holidays went, I’m going to smile and say, “Better than I deserve,” just like Dave Ramsey does.

Home Base

A Simple Driveway

ᎳhᎽ ᏆhᎥs ᏢᎥᏟᏆuᏒᎬ mᎪᎠᎬ ᏆhᎥs mᎪmᎪ ᏟᏒᎽ

It looks like just a house.

Some cement.

A fence

A few trees

But it’s more than that to me.

To me, this house represents success. It’s represents hope. It represents forward motion. It gives hope to a sense of normalcy again. It screams “Please validate me even while I’m in this darkness!”

Specifically, I’m talking about the driveway made of brand new cement. This represents the seemingly long lost talent and grit of my entrepreneur son who did a downhill slide into addiction in 2019. And I don’t just mean bunny hill slide. I mean Matterhorn, Revelstoke, and Whistler- Blackcomb kind of slide.

The kind of slide that takes everything you own away. New house, huge business, over 20 vehicles, 2 campers, and last but certainly not least, a 12 year marraige and 2 precious kids.

Why?” You ask? “ Why would anyone ‘choose’ to lose everything?

Of course they don’t.

They only chose the first part. The part about having a drink to take the edge off the day. Ya- know? Like you and I can.

They only chose to lessen some back pain from working 60 hours a week.

They chose to take a pill to finally be able to sleep the whole night through. It was slowly, gradually, until they realized they became sick without it. Until they realized that they were spending more time trying to not be sick than living life. They were telling more lies than they’d ever told in their life, just to avoid being sick.

By the time they started having the negative consequences of their substance use, their brain was so hijacked to get more and more that they couldn’t care. Not didn’t care- Couldn’t care.

As Gabor Mate stated in this article: …The addicted person

“ suffers negative consequences as a result of, and yet has difficulty giving up”.

Dr. Gabor Matè

He won’t even argue the disease versus choice because he believes

Addiction is neither a choice nor a disease, but originates in a human being’s desperate attempt to solve a problem: the problem of emotional pain, of overwhelming stress, of lost connection, of loss of control, of a deep discomfort with the self.

All I know is the devastating effects of this ‘condition’ because my family has experienced them daily. The deep pain, anger and confusion permeats everyone around the addicted loved one. So any, I mean- any -progress, to get back into being a functional member of society, is celebrated with a big sigh of relief.

This driveway and the work involved in prepping it, forming it, pouring and leveling it, is an amazing accomplishment.

Today, I choose to be extremely grateful for this picture of this simple driveway.

It represents HOPE.

Hope for more driveways. More work. More contracts. Less court, less drugs, less shady friends.

Hope to climb out of the darkness of addiction and back to the amazing dad, husband, sun, brother, uncle and friend my son IS!

As this Christmas Day comes to a close, I’m now filled with my usual sense of melancholy and sadness.

I’m so happy my son is alive today. I did NOT want to lose him on Christmas. Yes, there was an empty chair at our parties as I wrote in my blog this week. All in all, it’s another day in the life of a Mother of an Addicted Loved One.

This same Article is on medium with a few minor changes.

A Day in the life of the Mom of anAddict

Hi Santa

Hi Santa

Hi Santa,

Nice to see you again.

Have you been quarantined?

Oh you are always quarantined? For 11 months?

Well I’m glad you decided to show up this crazy year.

Have I been a good girl?

Well, that’s debatable. What do I want for Christmas you say?

I thought you’d never ask.

I want to wake up with anticipation in my loins.

I want to be excited about something again.

I don’t want to dread turning on the news. Or getting on social media. All those motivating quotes I usually see–only turn to arguing in the comments.

I had someone block me today because of my political beliefs. Even though we had a connection in the unfortunate club of moms of addicts; our love for recovery didn’t matter in the face of hate for a political party.

I don’t want that anymore Santa 🎅

Peace on earth is pretty cliche’ to say but we need it desperately right now.

Oh and while you’re sprinkling that pixie peace dust all over -could you just go ahead and take every craving for drugs and alcohol out of every cell in my sons body? And every other suffering addict right now too. That’s what I want.

Should I do what Burt Reynolds did in the 1978 movie The ENd?

“If only you’ll grant me this one wish…….”

But really, let’s do this.

I’m glad we had this talk Santa.

Safe travels!

ƛ͙ Ɗ͙ƛ͙Ƴ͙ Ɩ͙Ɲ͙ Ƭ͙Ӈ͙Є͙ LƖ͙Ƒ͙Є͙ Oᖴ ᗩ ᗰOᗰ Oᖴ ᗩ ᑭEᖇSOᑎ ᗯITᕼ ᗩ SᑌᗷSTᗩᑎᑕE ᑌSE ᗪISOᖇᗪEᖇ