Friday, July 16, 2010

Used, Abused, Exhausted

I am exhausted.
The ruthless truth slapped me in the face once again.
This time, it was a series of blows that left me wondering if I have any reason to hope.

My son read a letter to Michael and me at a "fish bowl" family activity within a group-therapy setting at his extended rehab clinic. For him, it was a chance to come clean and own up to everything he has done to manipulate, lie, steal in support of his habit (summary: history of his use, how he used and abused us to fund his habit and keep us thinking that all was well so we would continue supporting him). For us, it was a brutal session of discovering that Daniel has traveled deeper into the darkness of addiction that we ever realized..

When he was done, I was so angry. He stood up and wrapped his arms around to hug me (thinking I would surely appreciate that he has finally been honest). It was all I could do to not push him away from me. I believe the only reason I didn't is that we were in the company of others and I didn't want to humiliate him. The last thing I wanted was a hug from the one who just admitted to deceiving me over the past 10 years (not 5 as I had been previously led to believe). It was the last thing I wanted to receive and the last thing I wanted to give. I just stood there, awkardly, as the attempt at affection traveled only one way.

Ten years of use and abuse (6 years under my roof) and I did not see it. Apparently, my home was also a marketplace, as users knocked on our front door during the hours I was at work, my son proudly supplying the neighborhood and his classmates with all kinds of pills and pot hidden secretly in our garage.

And I was enlighted as to the real nature of this "methadone detox". He had led us to believe that for the past two years, he was detoxing off methadone and working a recovery program. The facts: as the methadone got uncomfortably low, he started injecting it, buying additional supply off the street, and supplementing it with benzos. There we were, cheering him on and celebrating his progress, all the while he is living a lie.

Additional confessions of stealing money and prescription meds from our home, robbing others, extensive dealing, exerting violence that landed his dealer in the hospital, and dodging drug enforcement officers.

I walked away with two conclusions:
  1. My son is most certainly a drug addict, and any remaining denial has been put to death.
  2. I need to start focusing on myself and get my life back.
My life has been consumed with Daniel. I cannot even get out of bed in the morning without him being the only thing on my mind and in my prayers. I worry about him day and night. Well, the truth is, I really don't know if he is going to make it (to sobriety, that is). But my life has become hopelessly obsessed with this young man that has only used and abused me. It is time I start taking care of myself.

God, help me.


  1. As hard as these revelations are to see and hear, it is a good thing. Once everything is out in the open, all the cards are laid on the table, that is when healing can begin. YOUR healing. He will be in charge of pursuing and nurturing his own and you will be in charge of your own.

    Grieve, find your way through the anger, work through your resentments, begin to let go of any expectations that you have your boy and give him the freedom to live the life that he feels is right and best for himself...whatever that may be. Even if you don't agree or like his choices. Then get on with your life. You are the only one you have any control over changing.

    Tough stuff. It is so hard....but your health and happiness can not be dependent on your son's health and happiness. You are two individual people who deserve to have the dignity and the freedom to live according to your own convictions.

    ((HUG)) I am here if you need anything.

  2. Ouch. This was hard to read, but Annette is right, its better to get it all out once and for all and know the reality. I have been where you are, and then progressed, and then slid back. Sometimes I can live my life, sometimes he consumes it (since he's still here in my home). Sometimes I am so angry at all the using, lying, dealing, etc (Daniel and Keven sound a lot alike in their sordid drug life).

    You are very wise to see that you need to get your life back. You're not alone. Keep writing. We care.

  3. I can no add a thing to what Annette said. Keep the focus on you.

  4. My heart goes out to you...I can so sympathise with were you are at this moment. It was such a crushing blow when I was where you are now...Jacob was just 15 at that time. What made me crazy was that he seemed to romantisize all of it, almost bragging in a sense. I had a substance abuse counselor tell me that addicts maximise and alcoholics minimise...of course I think the depth of the addict's addiction might change that game. I hard a time getting beyond that idea that my son was doing this to me...when in reality it wasn't about me at all, it's about him. It rocks our world when we think we know the degree of what we're dealing with only to find out that there is so much more. It's all part of addiction, it's never pretty. Take care of you, it can get better. Holding you both in my prayers...(((HUGS))) from Texas!

  5. My son refuses to go in to any recovering, meetings, etc. but he has always glorified drug selling and use. He is 19 now but at 18 he proudly announced to my Husband and I that he was going to be a drug dealer. Really, he was serious. He was already but he was going to go big time. Who announces to their Parents such a thing? Like hey Mom I think I am going to be a Lawyer? He is over that for now thank goodness. From your post I can tell how difficult that was for you. My son has told me other things but what I realized is that I was more mad because it was right under me and I was too stupid to see it. Every time my son tells me something I try to remember he is taking some form of responsibilty. I am new to this also, but I wonder if someone who has more experience would think that is actually a positive thing. The fact that he is sharing with you things that he knows are not good.

  6. When we did the fishbowl family therapy thing, the little bombs that were dropped were relentless and almost proudly delivered. My daughter was almost trying to top everyone else's story, it seemed.

    I had a conversation not long after that session with the counselor who led the session. In an unguarded moment, she said "some of these exercises are for the addicts, but others are really for the families." She told me that this particular exercised served to give a safe place for the addict to dump, where literally, when we had the truth shovelled on us, we could not (as you experienced) really react badly to the addict. It was a mindblowing information fest, all directed at us, and the addict could deliver it with not much fear of repercussions. They got to go back to their rooms on their locked wards. We got to go home, reeling, and deal with the truths that had been dished out. And not everything had been told to us, even then.

    But her implication was that though the addict got to safely dump information, it really was for us, the families. We were given some grim truths that hopefully set us on the path of realizing just how bad it was, that we couldn't fix it, and that the only life we could impact really, was our own.

    Our dear Annette nailed it above - I read that three times and it's just perfect! I can't think of a thing to add!

    Hugs and prayers!

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  8. I agree with everything everyone said above. It is so painful to hear the truth (whatever part they share in this setting) because it that timeframe we spend a lot of time in denial, not wanting to believe the worst of our sons and daughters.

    Now is the time to start moving on and taking care of yourself. Believe it or not the anger will diminish and remember, it is addict behavior, not your son. Each and every one of us have lived through the manipulation, the lies, stealing, horrible horrible things that I struggle to steal articulate. And eventually even that recedes to the very back of the mind.

    Take care of you. Hugs and prayers your direction.

  9. I agree, I think Annette hit this one out of the park. It is tough, but it sounds as though your healing is about to begin. (((HUGS)))

  10. I wrote a post on my blog a while ago entitled "The Coin". I have been in your place and in your shoes and all I can tell you is that it will get better for you if you give it a chance. You can heal and be whole again, regardless of what your son does. You are in my thought and prayers.