Then: A was still living at home. Hubby's job took him out of town during the work week, and was not around to see A's constant, erratic behavior. I suspected drug use well before it was actually out in the open. I vividly remember questioning him about it one night, and he spat in my face - "What kind of fucking bitch mother are you to even THINK such a thing!?" Hubby sided with A saying "Yeah, WTF??" When I went on to list the string of events that led to my question, I was told in no uncertain terms that these were just normal teenage boy things. I should not bring my clinical nursing judgements into our home. He was almost 17 at the time. It would be another full and horrendous year later before the truth finally tumbled out. I will never forget that phone call at work from my distraught hubby. I remember being totally blown away that it was heroin that had claimed my son. I knew drugs were involved, but had no idea it was something so sinister, so evil.
Now: I never saw the signs leading up to his relapse, though I can clearly see them now. I kick myself for this. I have not had to endure A's erratic behavior - that has been thrust upon K and her family, who have treated A as their own son, for 6 years. They are all devastated. I understand their devastation. My heart cries for K - not only has she had to deal with A the addict, but she has also lost the love of her life, just as I lost my son all those years ago. When news of his relapse started arriving in our in-box a week ago today, I was wondering if this would be as bad as the last time. I have cried mountains of tears. But I feel safe. I am stronger now. I know I cannot fix this for A. He needs to fix this for himself. We will be there when he is ready. I don't believe he is ready yet. We will all climb many more mountains I'm sure.
Then: There was very little help for parents. We were assigned a counselor from the local health agency. This counselor appeared to have more problems than we did. She was fired two weeks later for sleeping with her boss. There was very little information available on the internet. I had very supportive friends, but they could not begin to understand the tortures that I was enduring. None of them had had to travel this road for themselves. I felt very much alone.
Now: My counselor is an old colleague who is now the local detox nurse. She has also traveled this road. Several of my friends, are now also traveling this road as well. It is going to be hard telling them about A's relapse, as he has been the person who had held their hope. I am able to write about my experiences, and read about others' experiences. There are many of us traveling this road. I am not alone.
A is still not communicating with me, or his little sister D, with whom he has always been extremely close. Here is his last communication with his dad, via FB on May 25, 2012 -
I know dad I know I have been in and out of places for the last three days I know what is available .. Thanks for everythin I appreciate it ... I don't know how this happened again I was going so good and it just fell apart I still can't understand how - I'm better than this ... I truly am ... Anyhow, I am going to detox next week at a center and have been offered a job ... I am going to save up as much ad I can and go overseas for awhile - I don't know were yet maybe Thailand were drugs are just plain illegal and life is cheap ... Anyhow I love you xx
I think these words ring hollow. I think it was his trip to Thailand last year that started him on his downhill slide. Drugs may be illegal in Thailand, but they are still there, and from my understanding, easily obtainable. He needs to face up to his problems, and not run away from them.
I will stay strong. I will climb every mountain. I will ford every stream. I'm not sure I will follow every rainbow in search of the impossible.