How many times a day do we hear “Because of Covid?”
I’ve never wanted to die. But because of Covid, I sometimes do.
No, I don’t have Covid. Nor do I want it. No, I don’t think it’s a fake virus. I think it’s a virus.
A relatively unknown virus. That kills.
Almost everywhere, a million times a day you hear “Because of Covid.”
It seems to be a “reason” for ANY thing that can’t be done due to covid, no matter how trivial; even things which don’t seem to correlate “with Covid”.
Confusing statement? Exactly. Proves my point.
What makes me sad, and angry & shocked, is the power this virus seems to have. It’s like a cancer eating away at everyone’s sense of judgement for freedoms and even affects their relationship with their families, who may disagree.
The seemingly invisible ability to destroy families, businesses, traditions, values, vacations, jobs, housing, decency, human nature, bonds, and holidays feels eerily familiar.
See, there’s another Pandemic that doesn’t get near the attention because of a preconceived judgement that certain humans aren’t worthy of basic needs.
I care about covid, I do. But the lack of attention and empathy for the ongoing opiod epidemic that came crashing into my life two years ago, has me rattled.
I mean, we could compare the two death rates and all, but it would always end with the same statement: “Well, addiction is not contagious, addicts knew the risk, they’re not innocent, they brought this onto theirselves”
Another painful jab to a mother’s hurting heart.
So pain is now judgementized?( I’m aware this may not be a real word- but it fits)
I thought pain was pain. Suffering is suffering.
I was taught as a nurse that pain is what ever the PATIENT said it was….. Not what pain YOU think they have. ( Thanks to studies sponsored by Purdue—which helped contribute to this epidemic in the first place)
How come AIDS was a valid disease even though it usually resulted from a person’s choice? (With no push from drs and pharmaceutical companies that it was ‘harmless’).
So are WE playing God by deciding who’s worthy of treatment or sympathy?
It’s an honest question.
“No we’re not playing God, it’s just that addiction will always be around, this virus NEEDS our attention NOW.”
Do you know what else needs attention? An innocent little kid who needs her daddy back. What else? A man who has lost every single thing he worked for 15 years to get and now he shaking miserably in the bathroom of a speedway not knowing where to get his next fix so he’ll stop vomiting. A mom, who night after night, cries herself to sleep wondering where she went wrong. A mom who begs a God she never quite believed in before, to please save her son.
Maybe that’s all I want. Is sympathy.
I get it.
I haven’t lost anyone to Covid. Close, but not quite.
But I guess I kindof resent the fact that those who have lost relatives to covid are getting the mass media coverage like crazy. Softly dramatized stories about how much their relative suffered in the hospital and the heroes who took care of them.
Let me be clear. I’m not downplaying anyone’s experience. I’m just saying that if their loved one was suffering with a substance abuse disorder, they probly would not be used as a ‘ story’ in order to further the need for a certain point to be made, such as mask wearing or any other pubic service campaign to persuade people to take it “more seriously”.
“We” (mamma’s of addicts) ARE taking it seriously. Like you, every aspect of our lives has changed, how could we not?
But we have been masking up for years. Hiding behind the stigma of Addiction. “We” can now see some of the hidden agendas that are being indirectly and sometimes directly played to families suffering with their grief.
This is done by using that pain as a “message” by having it come from the tear- stained face of a family member pleading with people to Pleeease care!
Do your part!!
“DO YOUR PART! DON’T BE SELFISH”
As they drive by the homeless person in their shiny car.
Look, I KNOW it’s human nature to have a CAUSE or a tribe to further the need of place our pain and blame onto someone or something else when we feel out of control. I mean, you could say I’m doing it now.
I could mention that I’ve been in “isolation” for years with my own mask. Covering up and quarantining our family secret of this addiction.
It’s one of those things normal people don’t understand.
But I attest to you, the pain of this other pandemic, is real. The fear of the unknown Is real. The dread of receiving “the call” is on my mind every single day.
When I see how far people have jumped and caved and twisted and turned for this virus, Yes, I’m jealous. I’ve written letter after letter asking for assistance with the nightmare journey of addiction. Famous people, entertainers, influencers, politicians, netflix documentary lawyers. I rarely get a response.
What did I want them to do? I don’t know. Whisk him away to the indies for a swanky rehab I guess. Who knows? I just want the pain to stop. Mostly for him. But that requires money.
The money thrown at this new powerful virus is hard to watch. 1-2 million for billboards for masks?
I’ve resigned to the fact that “because of Covid,” No one can really help. Especially when people are in constant chaos about the state of the world and the safety and future of themselves and their families. So I trudge through each day on a wing and a prayer. ?
Praying that “Because of Covid”, or AFTER covid, some miracle may happen to bring my son back to life.
Life before Covid.
Life before addiction.
I just hope that AFTER covid , it won’t be too late.
Had covid not happened, today probably wouldn’t have happened. And like most things covid, I wish today hadn’t NEEDED to happen.
But it did.
And I did.
It wasn’t really my choice. I mean not technically. It was my son’s choice. Long ago my son’s choices forced today to happen.
I zoomed into my first nar-anon meeting. For the lucky ones who don’t know what nar- anon is, it’s the equivalent of al-anon, which is for families of alcoholics. Nar-anon is for families of narcotics users who became addicted and found themselves “powerless over their life.”
Luckily though, I am not powerless. I chose to get myself some help from the maddening rollercoaster which loving an addict brings on.
What a weird club to be in. Little squares of faces in the zoom boxes on my screen. People from all over.
People from all walks of life. I see in the backgrounds of some, the old wood paneling from my childhood. Others are seemingly lying on a beach? A few men, but mostly ladies. A few young, most old.
Ladies that have been secretaries and treasurer’s in the organization for sometimes 20 years! God help me if I have to talk addiction for that long!
I mean, can’t my son just get better? Can’t we just go back to our previously scheduled lives before addiction took hold? Can we kayak on Dr Seuss’s La Jolla beach in San Diego again? Can my adult silly son yell “Mom! Mom!” In his annoying loud voice with a smirky smile even when I’m answering him from 10 feet away.”What son?” “Watch what I can do!” In his best Stewart impression.
Can’t we go camping again with his favorite Grandpa, his hero, who just passed on? Can’t we go scouting for deer, or look for deer sheds, roaming the mountains for hours, listening to my son’s endless stories of chasing a deer on this mountain or that mountain?
Hey, I know. Isn’t there lots of movies about time travel? So if they can dream it up in a movie then it HAS to BE possible right? Ok. I pick 1988. My now addicted son was 2. His little toe headed hair bouncing over his forehead. His head looked huge compared to his body. He stood up in the 1984 Ford Bronco 2 & pointed to a truck, “Dum bum!” He said. “What? ” “DUM BUM, I WANT A DUM BUM!” We looked at the big dump truck out the window. We laughed. He laughed, smiling at a little boys hopes and dreams of driving a truck full of dirt. This little boy ended up owning a company with dump trucks & an excavation company!
Or how bout time travel to 5 yrs old? He was riding in the seat behind me in the driver’s seat on the interstate as we headed home from shopping. Suddenly, I heard a swish of air blowing in. He had managed to open the door handle and the door was open a few inches with a semi-truck barreling up beside us!!! I yelled, “BRAXTON! Lean towards your sister!” I couldn’t do anything but pray that the door closed enough and he was leaning the other direction in the back seat, as I maneuvered to the side of the road. My heart was pounding a million miles an hour as I pulled over and proceeded to yell at my child for his actions. “Why did you do that? How did you do that? What’s wrong with you?”
In my defense, I probably didn’t say THAT last line, but I’m sure my anger took over in fear and shock.
But in my time travel moment, I can have a do-over, see? I can take that little boy in my arms; I can say “honey, I’m soooo glad you’re safe, I’m glad we’re all ok. You were led by some unknown reason to pull on that door, and you were very lucky and were saved from a lot of pain or even death. Do you know, my sweet little boy, that you will face many big semis like that one? Do you know how they can overtake you and make you think you’re safe when really they want to hurt you? They can even transform themselves into other things like an ice cream truck to get your attention. There’s a secret though. The ice cream is poisonous. 🍦🐍
Soon, though, you will want nothing else but that ice cream. And we will all miss you terribly. You will have a little boy who’s just your age now who won’t know his daddy.
But do you know how strong you are? Do you know that you can get through anything? It’s going to seem like you’re lost sometimes, But I have faith in you son. I know you will always figure out a way to live your dreams and stop the enemy from overtaking you when you are tempted or have gone down a wayward path.
Oh my sweet strong little boy, let’s go have some ice cream- err I mean some chicken nuggets- and you can tell me everything about today that made you happy or sad or scared.”
” Hi, I’m Samantha & I’m the mother of an addict”.
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. Usually I resist putting it back on, because of breathing, claustrophobic & dizziness issues. This time however, I welcomed it. 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 seemed to make it worse in the sense that it gave him the impression that all rehabs were scammy like that one.
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 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