Please pray for my Prodigal Son

For the story visit: Journeys.dartmouth

I’m asking for prayers tonight. My son is in jail on suicide watch as he is detoxing from very hard drug use. He is very sick and very depressed. He told me is only option is to hang himself.

Please pray for deliverance 🛐

Reposting this for good vibes and to command the fiery darts of the opposition to leave my son alone forever.


I had a dream last night.

I was trapped inside my house with some loud and intimidating people outside trying to get in. My family was there and I kept “trying to convince them”:

“Please don’t go out, please stay inside where it’s safe”.

My pleas landed on seemingly deaf ears, as my two eldest sons kept telling me,

“It’s ok Mom, we can handle it”.

Both of these beautiful boys struggle with SUD: one is functioning well and happy- the other is what this entire blog is based on.

I tried to pull them away from the door, like a worried Mom of curious toddlers who are determined to toddle out into the street. My boys went out anyway. In my dreamlike state, I remember thinking, at least they are together; which sadly, hasn’t happened in a year.

As I woke up from this nightmare, the following story was playing on my phone:

As I listened to the story of the prodigal son, tears stung my eyes. I didn’t put it on there, I didn’t search for it. What I did do- is pray daily – several times a day, for my son to have a spiritual awakening OR for someone to come into his life that could reach him, since I can’t. I pray for my family to come back together, un- fractured, cracking jokes again.

This experience is similar to This dream I had awhile ago.

What is the message?

Faith

Patience

Surrender

Was this God’s way of telling me to BE STILL? God’s word spoken through a dream with my beautiful boys that I miss so dearly.

I suspect I need to stand down.

Allow for the work to be done.

"It's a relief to know I'm not in control anymore.......

The Loneliest Club with Thousands of Members.

Sub·cul·ture

a cultural group within a larger culture, often having beliefs or interests at variance with those of the larger culture

We don’t want to be in the club, yet here we are. It wasn’t planned. We fight it kicking & screaming and it takes up most of our time and emotional – sometimes physical -energy. If it were a “hobby” we would have spent thousands of dollars on it with almost zero return of pleasure- like most hobbies.

We can’t really get out of this group unless we are taken against our will into the bereaved Mom’s groups.

Mom’s of addicts.

Who knew there would be so many different subcultures of a group that NO – ONE wants to be in?

Two years ago, I didn’t have any idea of their existence. One day, while in my lone state of scrolling Facebook for addiction help; I found my first “support” group. What in the world? People who freely talked about what they were going through? No pretending that they didn’t cry every night or wonder what they did wrong?  No embarrassment that their friends and family  might find out? This was wonderful!

I joined a few different groups not knowing how different they were.  I soon discovered that each one had their own culture or vibe making a distinct subculture within this GroupThatNooneWantsToBeIn..There was quite the variety of different groups:

  • Current and Recovering addicts Support group – straight & raw addiction talk.
  • CLEAN and SOBER support- don’t try to mention MAT- I actually like this one, despite who runs it. ( an alleged body broker)
  • One local PUBLIC non-profit with a ‘seemingly” proud to be addicted name- but full of resources.
  • Mom’s thriving together- post upon post of complaining about how rotten their addict is- but lots of ‘support’ that way.
  • Al-anon, Nar-anon- surprisingly the same as above – which is NOT how the virtual meetings are.
  • Prayer group- can’t say damn in your heartfelt rants or you get a nice message from admin.
  • Non- prayer group- can’t use  🙏 these or you get a ‘nice’- (not) message from admin.
  • Hardcore matt advocates and legislation information group.  Don’t say “exchanging one drug for another” or you will be quickly put in your place! Lol, luckily I never did.
  • Craft / thrive support with zero tolerance for shaming or dishonoring addicts.
  • Fukkk fentanyl and other bereaved Mom’s groups.

I have moved in and out of different groups over this last 2 years, due to what I needed at the time. Also being unaware of the “vibe”, I didn’t receive a lot of response to a post I might have made, so I retreated. Even now, when I clearly know what’s expected, and post accordingly, I still may not get what I need.

See, it’s like a twilight zone of sorts. When you’re not used to this world of -all-things-addiction and the pain and suffering it causes; and you scroll your news feed of addiction groups; there are unbelievable wtf moments. Post after post of pain, drama, tears, kids with dfs, kids with grandparents fighting for them. Kicking spouses out, pictures of paraphernalia that a spouse or mom found. A bystander with no ties to “loving an addict” MIGHT think, ” What in the world is going on?”

Drugs

That’s what going on.

And be glad you don’t know. As I stated yesterday in this post on overdose awareness day, be very glad you don’t understand.

But for us left in the club, what do we do? I’ll go back to an AA/NA expression:

“Take what you need and leave the rest.”

Which I have finally figured out how to do. Most days I don’t have the emotional energy to argue about what’s clean, who’s clean & who’s business it is. Since I have written over 200 articles about all things addiction, it’s hard to not want to throw out one of my posts from my site to ‘educate’ that person of the day. Since most sites don’t allow links, I was quickly reprimanded, in most cases not nicely. So as my fragile emotions moved onward, some groups were better left unattended.

Even now, as I post a few times a month, I feel like one or paragraphs in a single post, must not tell the whole situation because I get advice that I feel isn’t even applicable. And once again, the emotional energy required to explain just isn’t there, when the story keeps playing out in the background as I navigate my emotions through It.

People in these groups are in such different places that it’s sometimes wise to pause and inquire what it is they need most.

Like the video below, as in any relationship; I think it’s important in social media, to know if someone is just venting and needing emotional support or actually Asking for advice.

It’s like a husband and wife dynamic:

But even if there’s not an obvious solution (in all-things- addiction, there NEVER is);  what advice/ response is truely helpful?

In just the last month, out of 3 posts NOT asking for advice, just venting at how I can’t (or- more like- how hard it is to not have sadness) feel joy for my other kids and their accomplishments when my son is facing prison and is still unhoused, no car- yadayadyada and other deep emotional pain I’m feeling, I still got these responses:

  • Don’t resent your other kids for being happy! – (ummm I don’t- I didn’t say that at all- in fact I said I was happy for them- in the. second sentence)
  • Give it to God, pray for him, live your life- (ok, never thought of that, I do…….doesn’t mean I can’t be sad).
  • Don’t be willing to be an audience to your kids addiction- once I stopped being involved in my sons addiction- he magically got better- ( like really??? You think my 35 year old son gave up a million dollar business, a new house, his family, go to jail 5 times FOR THE ATTENTION???) I can’t  even…..
  • You just need gratitude in your life, stop “stinkin thinkin”  which ironically is a post I made months ago.
  • Let the natural consequences happen- you didn’t cause it..yadayada…(ok, I’ll jump for joy that my son is punished to 10+ years in prison for POSSESSION of the drug of a disease he can’t manage.

It’s not a crime to be sad. I’m MAD & SAD at the system & the irony of the criminalization of this certain disease. I’m mad that I’m powerless, yes. I’m scared of losing my son and the hope that goes along with having him alive, yes. I guess I just want permission to be sad sometimes…….

Yesterday I finally- actually asked- for advice regarding my sons dire situation and I immediately got a CODA meeting group answer saying,

“Live your life – you’re not ok.”

I give up…..

If caring about your sons future and his kids not having a dad, is co-dependent, then so be it. I will not stop caring.

Same with supporting moms

ADD

For every child struggling with this

A.D.H.D.

Take my hand and come with me,
I want to teach you about ADHD.
I need you to know, I want to explain,
I have a very different brain.
Sights, sounds, and thoughts collide.
What to do first? I can’t decide.
Please understand I’m not to blame,
I just can’t process things the same.
Take my hand and walk with me,
Let me show you about ADHD.
I try to behave, I want to be good,
But I sometimes forget to do as I should.
Walk with me and wear my shoes,
You’ll see its not the way I’d choose.
I do know what I’m supposed to do,
But my brain is slow getting the message through.
Take my hand and talk with me,
I want to tell you about ADHD.
I rarely think before I talk,
I often run when I should walk.
It’s hard to get my school work done,
My thoughts are outside having fun.
I never know just where to start,
I think with my feelings and see with my heart.
Take my hand and stand by me,
I need you to know about ADHD.
It’s hard to explain but I want you to know,
I can’t help letting my feelings show.
Sometimes I’m angry, jealous, or sad.
I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and mad.
I can’t concentrate and I lose all my stuff.
I try really hard but it’s never enough.
Take my hand and learn with me,
We need to know more about ADHD.
I worry a lot about getting things wrong,
Everything I do takes twice as long.
Everyday is exhausting for me…
Looking through the fog of ADHD.
I’m often so misunderstood,
I would change in a heartbeat if I could.
Take my hand and listen to me,
I want to share a secret about ADHD.
I want you to know there is more to me.
I’m not defined by it, you see.
I’m sensitive, kind and lots of fun.
I’m blamed for things I haven’t done.
I’m the loyalist friend you’ll ever know,
I just need a chance to let it show.
Take my hand and look at me,
Just forget about the ADHD.
I have real feelings just like you.
The love in my heart is just as true.
I may have a brain that can never rest,
But please understand I’m trying my best.
I want you to know, I need you to see,
I’m more than the label, I am still me!!!!
~Author Unknown

Choose Your Own Story

“Every journey is different.. trust me, I know how unbearably hard this evil is.

I pray for all who struggle and those who love you.

What I have learned there is no one size fits all solutions, no magic wands, no “if you do it this way, or that way” you will save them. It’s a crap shoot.
I have learned my life, the lives of my loved ones have crashed and burned, and will never ever be the same.

I have learned that despite everything “I thought I knew” about this disease I couldn’t stop it from happening to my son.

I have learned that no matter how your child was raised… single parent, two parents, sports, no sports, money, no money, black, white, asian, hispanic etc…. this disease does not discriminate.

I have learned the phrase “unconditional love” are the two most important words a parent can know.
I have learned “not my kid” are the three most dangerous words a parent can utter.
I have learned to get used to isolation, and judgment… and to not care what others think anyway.

I have learned that a parent fighting for the life of their child does better research than a rocket scientist.

I have learned that even through the tears, frustration and anger, hug your child tight, kiss them and tell them how much you love them… they truly hate who they have become, and desperately need to hear this A LOT!!! They don’t hate us.

I have learned even if you see they are high, sit and talk with them about everything and anything anyway.
I have learned that with the introduction of fentanyl, carfentanl, and other poisons the definition of rock bottom has changed. Rock bottom is now death.

I have learned that tough love is not for everyone. Each person has a different journey. What works for one, doesn’t mean it works for all.
I have learned so called “experts” who advise you to do tough love, never ever prepare you, if that doesn’t work.

I have learned that the word “Hope” is no longer a part of my vocabulary.
I have learned to live in the moment (30 seconds at a time, usually less) that’s all I’m capable of.

I have learned that every loved one who has the job of trying to save their child from themself should go with their HEARTS, because at the end of this journey, that is what you will answer to. There are no do-overs.

I have learned that no one can tell you how or what to do when dealing with your loved one. We know what we can handle, and time will tell us, when we need to step away. This is where your heart comes in.

I learned if you do make that decision, for whatever reason, to ask them to leave… that your heart is breaking in a million pieces, your worry is 24/7. That tears and prayers go hand in hand.

I have learned if you want to help them, feed them, give them a bed…. Just do it…
I have learned it is a disease, they are sick, and they need help… and we are their last line of defense.

I have learned that those that struggle are smart, funny, intelligent, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, moms, dads, uncles, cousins, friends and beautiful human beings with beautiful hearts….

I have learned that their hearts ache knowing the pain they have caused, even as they are yelling obscenities at their loved ones. It is not them, it is the drugs.

I learned that contrary to those who are uneducated about this disease (and it is a disease), they don’t do this for fun. They hate this disease. No one ever said, I want to be an addict.

I have learned people can be extremely judgmental… and we have two choices… ignore them or educate them.
I have learned there is plenty of blame to go around…. Pharma Co, FDA who approved, politicians who had their hands in those pockets, and turned a blind eye, open borders for the drugs to flood this country, and dealers/distributors who capitalize on all of it… and knowing this doesn’t change what is happening.

I have learned that knowing the possibility of losing them is real, but it actually happening are two different worlds!

I have learned that those that struggle are broken, and need so much love… they are worth it!!! Love and compassion go a long way in the life of those that struggle.

I have learned the compassion, love, and support of total strangers have humbled me beyond words. God puts angels in our path for a reason. Thank YOU….”

– unknown, but so many of my catch phrases are in here, maybe I wrote it in another life.

The Black Bag

The bag.

That blasted black bag.

It sits there in all its lonely glory, awaiting to be carried, slung, moved & re-arranged. Hoping for a final home that seems only a dream.

The bag has been drug around for months. Every holiday – in fact- for the last 10 months. Transplanted from it’s temporary base in a cold garage only to be reduced to the seat of a car, then many a cold tile hotel floor.

It’s contents of candy & shoes sit willingly and patiently awaiting their owner to adore them with greatfulness.

Doesn’t seem like much. But it makes this momma feel better. That is, if it’s ever delivered. I haven’t seen my boy for 10 months.

The future recipient of this bag, is a little boy who once spent days digging a moar- a canal really- to bypass the spring flooding that, in his mind, threatened his childhood home.

In reality, it was just mild spring run-off from the small fishing pond above our house.

He would rush through the back door of the house like a whirlwind, a muddy wind-of -whirl that is; looking for a treat or a drink or another tool to make his project more efficient. He would leave as fast as he came, leaving you perplexed but with a certain envy at his vigor and vivaciousness & curiosity at what drives them both.

The future recipient of this bag, once as a 23 year old hard-working construction foreman was driving home through a dark deep canyon over a rural mountain range. The work week of 60 hours was complete and he had a wad of cash in the front seat with him. He then rolled his huge $50k truck into a ravine where he had no service. He actually walked away from it without a scratch, up to the road where miraculously his electric personality drew in a morsel of service long enough to make a call to get help.

This would be the first of many appointments his guardian angels would make with him. And the first of many “wads of cash” that tumbled over the dark edge in his grasp.

This boy-turned-man-turned entrepreneur-turned-dad-turned substance use dependant; now owns no truck, no cash, no home and hasn’t seen his kids in over a year. The deals he once maneuvered with crane companies, inspectors, pipelines, & electricians are now replaced with deals for hits or points or whatever else will fulfill his audacious cravings that this monster has made him a slave of.

My little boy is lost.

I’m bringing him his favorite candy. The candy he always asks for when he detoxes or is clean. I want weight on him. I want the big brawny son I remember being proud of. I can’t even look at the pictures of him now. The ravages of drugs are not just some picture in a Don’t Do Drugs pamphlet. These ravages are visible front and center on the sunken-in skin and pale eyes of my beautiful first born son.

My strong, funny, determined warrior of a son.

My son who loves fully & completely. My son who feels deep shame. My son who is so embarrassed of the mess he made of his life that he stays locked in this self- determined prison. The ligitimity of his devotion to this disease is evidenced by the rough corrosive steel chains that bind him to the day to day depravity of that lifestyle.

Hence the black bag.

The bag that this mom hopes will breathe a wisp of life back into a boy who has lost his sense of everything good and healthy.

This cloth & leatherish vinyl bag, stitched together with my last threads of life strung with hope for my boy.

In it, some simple candy, his favorite, to remind him of the sheer taste of joy & pleasure of life outside of drugs.

A new pair of shoes for him to remember the privilege of a regular life, working a”regular” job and the wonderful places they can take him.

Further in the bag of hope, is a pair of gloves. New, stiff faux leather. The droopy finger spaces longing for human hands to fill up space and mold them to what they were designed to do. To remind him of his incredible talent. Of how his hands have not lost that talent and how they can make his dreams come true again.

I will find my boy. I dream of him running to the bag. His face full of adventure like that muddy little boy running in the house looking for treats.

My dream is he will accept the gifts offered as a hope that he is still worthy of a life of joy and self-respect again. That he will go back out into the world and take that shovel back. Take it and dig his way out of this darkness into the light of true joy and happiness. 

Beligerence

bel·lig·er·ent/bəˈlijərənt/adjective

Hostile and aggressive.”a bull-necked, belligerent old man”

He (or she) doesn’t have to be old though. Or Green. Or Lou Ferrigno.

It can be anyone who verbally attacks us. Those of us who love a person with a substance use problem, know all too well the turmoil and drama of an angry, frustrated person.

If you’ve ever been the recipient of anger AND you are over 40, you will understand this meme.

The Incredible Hulk

Chris Snoe on Quora, explained the Hulk’s anger like this:

“Essentially the state of rage the Hulk requires at first initializes his transformation. But as he’s in combat or a situation of sorts rather than thinking of ‘anger’ as a quantity think of it as a psychological by-product.

So to dumb it down Hulk MAD!! Anger is turned on and the engine is running.

So the limit to a beings/persons/creatures rage are in fact the ‘reasons’ they are angry… The causes of your emotional turmoil or pain. Think of these reasons as multipliers magnifying the Hulks anger. So consider his power is constantly produced naturally but these sparks or rage simply ramp up the speed in which this energy is produced.

So again he’s angry -the engines on Hulks ready to fight

  • someone shot Banner x2 multiplier
  • monster punched hulk ×1.5
  • army blew up hulk with missiles that hurt! x3
  • monster wont DIE and keeps punching back! x4

“As you can see these reasons keep adding up even if they’re minor annoyances they keep adding up. And Hulks anger grows as long as these reasons remain and the more of them there are the more quickly his rage grows
It’s like playing a video game. All the little things that go wrong aren’t so bad but as more happen slowly but surely you rage out at the game and you either walk away or throw your controller through a wall. Your choice, no judgment.

But think Hulk can’t just walk away. He has only one way to go, “Punch it until its gone.” And most of those things that cause Hulk to rage out don’t go away easily and the mere tact that “IT JUST WONT DIE!!” is anger inducing.

Hulk doesnt have the luxury of walking away and practicing mindul breathing. He must deal with it.”

Quora– in answer to the question “Does the Incredible Hulk get stronger with more anger?”

We can think The Incredible Hulk’s reasons for getting angry are silly, just as the addicts reasons seem ridiculous; but they are still stressors & traumas inflicted on a ‘human’ causing an emotion resulting in anger.

We all get frustrated of course. Usually it’s temporary and we can re-set ourselves fairly quickly.

Photo by author-Look closely inside their faces. People are made up of their experiences that cause their actions…..

Have you ever been in a hurry, stressed out to get somewhere, or hungry and tired, like when trying to catch a plane? Out of the blue, someone tries to get you to stop and care about something such as signing a petition and you say “no thank you” and hurry away. They follow you and plead with you telling you how good it would be for the environment, and how you. REALLY. SHOULD. CARE. and that it will only take a minute.

But you just CAN’T CARE because your soo thirsty and tired and nauseated yet sooo hungry! They persist until finally, you snap at them and tell them to leave you the hell alone!

Now imagine being like that 24 /7 while you search out your “water” just to feel better for a minute, and that search becomes your life day after day, same habits, the same people.

That’s how powerful these drugs are on the brain.
N.o.t.h.i.n.g. else matters. Anything that gets in the way of this intense drive, is argued with, lied to, manipulated, pushed aside- sometimes literally.

When our addicted loved ones get feisty and sometimes belligerent with us, we are deeply hurt and feel it’s unjustified.

We, with our mostly healthy brains just can’t imagine it, because we’ve learned to self-regulate and we’ve learned to balance our lives between stress and healthy coping skills as I listed in this article.

Lorelie Rozzano stated in this Facebook post:

“So why do people struggling with addiction have such a difficult time with emotional pain? One theory is that addiction is genetic. Although it can skip a generation, it runs in families the same way blue eyes do. This is why it’s called an ‘environmental’ (meaning home) illness. When you grow up in an addicted home, you learn to walk on eggshells and stuff your feelings (expressing feelings in addicted families can create division and hostility). Keeping the peace means avoiding confrontation, resulting in emotional immaturity. Although your physical body ages, you feel like a child on the inside and may struggle with feelings of inferiority. When you lack self-worth, you don’t ask for what you want or need. Instead, you suffer in silence or resentment. To compensate, you look to people/places and things to bridge the gap. The first time you get high or rescue someone who does, you fall in love with the feeling. No more pain. No more anxiety. No more inferiority. Getting high and enabling are Band-Aids for emotional distress. Although they numb the sting temporarily, they create deeper wounds. So the cycle begins. Pain, numb, pain, numb… soon, your disordered brain is looking for things to feel pain over, to reward its pleasure circuit. It tricks you by telling you there’s hurt where there is none”.

One thing they don’t learn to cover up is anger. ANY frustration, perceived pain, loss, problem-too-big-to-fix, or even reminders of their life “before drugs” can set them off on a tangent of rage.

It’s their coping skill until they can numb it. And ANYTHING getting between them and the source to numb it, is going to be a casualty. As Brandon Novak started in his video:

It’s not personal, it’s just business.

How to protect yourself from their rage?

Boundaries.

You are not their counselor or mentor or even their parole officer. Your job is to LOVE with boundaries and show what (& how) normal healthy people face challenges. That means not stooping to their level of anger with screeching or rude comments attacking their character.

The following list isn’t specifically geared toward addiction but it is a general overview of boundaries.

With our loved ones in addiction it’s easy to say “If Only they would get better”, then surely all of our problems would be solved. No more anger, fear, rollercoaster emotions etc. But we all know that’s not true. Problems, emotions, tough situations come and go- addiction or not. The best way to combat them is to get ourselves stronger in order to facilitate a better reaction from us when someone pushes our buttons.

With addicted loved ones it’s easy to offer the advice to stay in your lane in regards to telling them how to live their life. That’s often difficult when we see a complete shizzshow unfolding before us.

A more realistic approach, is to stay in our lane but with compassion to their struggles. Having compassion to their frustrations yet holding the line with our boundaries is a delicate balance. It is heartbreaking to see them “go without” when we have so much, but by “giving them what they need” we are robbing them the dignity- if you can call it that- of experiencing pain & discomfort in order to motivate change.

We have to be their hope. Not their enemy. Instead of being drawn into their anger and pain, we can hold the space for them to bridge the gap between their chaotic life and and a life of joy and without substances.

I understand that’s the theory behind “rock bottom” but to most addicts, rock bottom is death, because they become so acclimated to living that life. The suffering and scavenging becomes their identity in order to feed their disease.

The list below can help you start deciding your boundaries and expectations. And remember, keep expectations LOW. It’s un -realistic to ask a person with a hijacked brain to suddenly become responsible and honest when their choices and actions have been completely opposite of that for months or even years.

Most of all, treat them like a human, with respect.

When they are in their anger, say calmly:

“I understand you have unresolved emotions that you are in the midst of, so I’m going to back away and give you space so that I’m not the target of your experience”.

This shows them respect and acknowledgement for what they’re going through but keeps the door open for future conversation and healing.

And that’s what we all want…. Connection. Healing connection.

To The Addict I Love

I know you’re there.
I know you’re listening.
I know you read my messages.

My very first article….published on Elephant journal

I also know that it’s almost impossible for you to see the ripple effect you’ve had on the lives of others, especially since you are trying so hard to just survive hour to hour, day to day.

But if you could see it…

You would see people who are hurting because of your struggles, hurting because of your pain. You would see people who long for your happiness again, who want to hear your laugh and your stupid jokes.

If you could see and feel these things, then that would mean you could feel the pain of a little girl who doesn’t know where you went. One minute you were there, making up funny names with her and riding on scary carnival rides, trying to not be terrified while she was squealing with joy.

You would see the future of a little boy who will have to tell his friends and his future kids that he never knew you, that he never learned how to hunt and fish from you. He will say to his girlfriend on their first date that the only memory he has is of the two of you together on a backhoe, smiling brightly. He will sit in anticipation, wondering how fun you could have been.

If you could see this, you would also see people who take time and effort to reach you, only to be ignored. You would see confused moms and dads and brothers and sisters, who can’t get past their own pain to know how to help.

These people long for the past. They relive stories of camping and vacations. They think of all the things you taught them in your unique, funny way.

Hell, they would even love to hear what these last few years have taught you.

But you won’t tell them.
Because you’re enslaved.
To this thing.
This monster thing that came into your life.
Slowly, but progressively, he told you lies.
So many lies.
That just one wouldn’t hurt.
That just one more wouldn’t hurt.
That you needed the break.
That you could handle it.
That you weren’t addicted.
That even if you’re were a little addicted, you’d stop tomorrow.

It told you to spend more and more time with it. And more and more money. Until you had no more time and no more money for anything else.

But it told you that was okay, because all you needed was one more time. All you needed was him—it. The demon disguised as pleasure.

You hate yourself for believing it. You hate yourself for needing it to get through the day, even the hour, without being sicker than a dog.

You hate yourself for not being able to quit.
You hate yourself for not being smarter and stronger.
And all that willpower you used to have, to work and take chances and convince people of anything?
You were power. You were a warrior.
Where is that guy?
You hate that you can’t find him.
You hate that you can’t admit you don’t know how to find him.

But I know one thing:

You are still needed.
Your presence.
Your love.
Your vitality.
Your wisdom.

Your unique, loving, bigger-than-life heart is your greatest investment. Jobs and money come and go. But people who truly love you don’t.

You’re a warrior—a loving warrior.

And I can hardly wait to see you move past this time in your life.

I honor your struggles and your journey.
I’m willing to go through all my emotions, all my pain to wait out what you need to do to get through this.

I’m rooting for you—my warrior hidden under that addict.
Come out soon.
Come back.
Please.

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Samantha Waters  |  Contribution: 705

Samantha Waters steps out from small-town America and plunges into the creative world of writing, painting rocks, hunting rocks, forging new mountain trails, and going to her … Read full bio

AUTHOR: SAMANTHA WATERS

IMAGE: @LAURAKLINKE_ART/INSTAGRAM

EDITOR: NICOLE CAMERON

RELEPHANT READS:

The Journey from Childhood Trauma to Addiction.I Still Miss Meth (& Other Confessions of an Addict).9 Things Nobody Tells You about Recreational Drug Use in Your Youth.SEE RELEVANT ELEPHANT VIDEO

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You Forgot to Tell Me, Mama

Photo courtesy of author

Mama you forgot to tell me how hard it was.

You forgot to mention how those sweet little sticky faces grow up to get in sticky situations.

You forgot to tell me the battles they will face.

You didn’t mention how far my heart would drop when I heard my child was struggling.

You failed to tell me
about the lump in my throat when I heard my child was getting divorced.

You didn’t even mention my eyes; that they would cry a thousand tears when I didn’t know where my son was.

You didn’t tell me Mama.

You didn’t tell me what to do when I’m in my warm bed at night, my belly full, wondering how much weight my boy has lost this week or when he last ate a meal.

You must have missed the part when the phone call from the jail came. You didn’t tell me what to say to this:

"Incoming call from a facility to house your child that obviously can't control himself- do you accept the charges?"

No I don’t accept!!

I don’t accept that my little blonde haired boy who loved dump trucks, and dirt bikes and playing tricks on his sister; who loved to go fishing and camping and finding little baby frogs in the pond; is now locked up in a freezing cold cement cell.

I don’t accept that he says they only turn on the heat every few hours when a visitor or vendor comes by.

I don’t accept it because I don’t even know what’s real anymore.

I don’t even know if that God you talked about so much exists Mama. Because it seems like HE has forsaken me.

When I’m driving to work, I cry out to Him, the tears so thick, I can’t even see anymore. I beg and beg for this pain to stop. For my little family to be healed again. You didn’t tell me what to do then.

You didn’t tell me what to say when people ask “How are you?” “Fine” seems so ridiculously false.

Mama, I don’t know what to do anymore.

I’m trying so hard to remember those simpler times.

The carefree days you told me about. The cotton candy at the fair and taffy down at the 5 and dime store.

You playing “kick the can” and swimming in the creek.

Photo by Shorpy.com

I’ll bet you never thought that sixty years later your youngest daughter would be asking you for answers to an unknown problem.

You loved my boy. The night he came home from the hospital you stayed up with him so I could rest & so he “wouldn’t choke”. If he did, you would always ” raise his left arm”. An old wives tale I suppose.

But it worked.
Maybe I could try something like that now.

Anything.

Anything you tell me to do Mama, I’ll try.

I know you did the best you could, I only wish you were here to help me again.

Maybe you could do something from heaven.
Can you start a prayer circle there? Do you guys pray?

Oh Mama.

I wish you would have told me that my heart never seems to heal. I wish I would have known the pain you felt when you lost your boy.

I wish I could have comforted you more.

Sometimes I get a whiff of your hair spray. Or Wrigley’s spearmint gum. Or the lilac bush we had in the yard.

It sends me back.
To when I thought my worst day was not getting a part in the school play.

Oh how life changes Mama.

Come to think of it, you did teach me how to deal with life. You made soup out of nothing, and mended clothes over and over. You put bread wraps inside my boots to keep the snow out. You marched to the school to stand up for me when I couldn’t.

You cleaned my house when I had my babies. You watched them so I could work night after night even as you were getting old.

You fixed cuts with that stingy red medicine.
You told me to stop yelling at my kids so much.

I realize now that you had the answers all along Mama!

It’s LOVE!

You did LOVE.💛 
You did it right.💛
You were LOVE.💛
And you taught me how to Love.

Thank you Mama.
Rest in paradise…..I’ll carry on from here.

Stinkin-Thinkin

& Money Woes of addiction- with guest post by Andi Miana of Romania

I saw a post recently about the effect the pandemic has had on people with substance use disorder.

If it’s not the isolation and disconnection from services as shown here in this article, then it’s the wave of free money that has followed.

I’m not saying that substance use people shouldn’t have basic needs; in fact I adamantly believe they are human whether they are doing what WE think they should or not.

They should not be denied access to services, as we would never deny insulin to a diabetic, whether they caused the disease themselves, either through their behaviors or genes. It shouldn’t matter. As a health care worker (& a human) it’s NOT MY JOB to play God or Judge nor Jury.

What I want to address is how hard it is to deliver these services to people who’s brain is the organ affected with their disease.

If you were speaking to a pancreas, and trying to tell them:

“Look dude, you NEED this insulin cause you’re just not cuttin it yourself. For whatever reason, your slacking on the job, & other things are starting to suffer and affect everything else needed to function effectively!”

It would probably shiver and sigh and wiggle its pink body and give in….

But since it’s the brain that is affected in addiction and is basically hijacked in the pleasure center to be BRAINWASHED into believing that DRUGS are ALL it needs; we have a problem convincing it.

Any money that’s presented, it only sees drugs. An unlocked car, a speaker, a gift card, all are magically morphed in to drugs. Because drugs represent relief. Freedom from the sickness that they are starting to feel every 8-12 hours. Sickness so horrible that the person swears to never experience it again, if only they can have one more hit. But that cycle is difficult to break out of day to day with no support or services.

Shadow the rat- You Tube

It’s hard for us to imagine because we have a balance with our pleasures and pain. We can adjust and handle them. With addiction, they have lost that ability. Rational thinking, long term thinking, and dangerous consequences are temporarily wiped from the equation.

If you need more info on that process visit my page Here. I’ve combined my favorite brain videos in one place.

So here we are. Stimulus checks coming out. Parents everywhere are in fear of what their loved one will do with them. Personally, I’m in quite the quandary. My son is hurting. Starving, having lost over 100 lbs in the last 9 months. But he doesn’t want food. His brain only sees the next hour at a time. He has lost his vehicles and tools which was his ability to make money. He has warrants and mandatory sentencing awaiting him if he applies for anything including a job or services to live. A healthy brain would choose to turn itself in, like the pancreas, but the brain is a different animal.

My son needs money. He has burned every bridge to obtain that money. Technically the checks are his money. He paid into the system for 17 years, working his tail off since he was 15. He built the American dream until heroin stole it all.

Or he gave it away to heroin. But again, I’m not the judge & jury of another persons life.

I loved the following response to the stimulus money post.

This recovering addict states that we can’t blame the stimulus checks or anyone else really, on furthering an addiction. It’s ultimately up to the individual, which (to me) is why tough love & rock bottom are not blanket solutions for everyone. People recover when they decide not, it’s not really in anyone else power to make them sit in a corner until they do….But that’s another story.

I am Andi,  from Romania. I know from my ”addict status” that I was prone to find anyone and anything else guilty for my consuming, but my own illness and choice of not healing what I need to heal in a healthy way.

So…in recovery, I’ve learned that this is what we call ”stinking-thinking”. We can blame …as you say, even the government, but we addicts know very well that with or without this money I would find a way to consume when I crave. Sorry… it’s the reality of this disease.

Addiction is in the world since forever and there were times…not when no government gave no money, even more…they would take money from people, and addiction somehow was still preserved… So…I am sorry but at a time it will be important to admit step 1.. and to emotionally grow up, and admit that it’s actually nobody’s fault, nobody is creating this disease for someone else, we addict embrace it, it’s like a natural drive to which we respond, but it is my-as a sick person-responsibility to do something about it. Especially if I am an adult myself.

Nobody can do this path for me. Well yes, it was convenient for me to find excuses: I consume because my friends do because the neighbor’s cat died, because at work my boss, my mom isn’t loving to me, I am fat…because women suffer in Irakc or the ozone layer is thinning.

The reality is that I consume no matter what is going on in the world – you guys from outside can find me any excuses ever I’ll be content cause its giving me more time to consume, actually, it because I have this awful disease that does not help me control my compulsions and progress of it, is because I’m not doing anything to stop the behavior and do things for my spirit and soul. I hope my sharing would help me understand, the topic certainly helped me remember those times when I was thinking this way and it stopped me big time from doing anything good for myself.-Andi Miana

I have no answers as of now. I can only keep praying and hoping that somewhere, sometime, some person or entity can reach my son before it’s too late. Until then, I will do my best to treat him with dignity and respect that he deserves a healthy, safe, productive life again. 💚

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