Sobriety Navigator: How could this happen?
Here's a story of love, joy, commitment, desire and persistence. All of this falling to addiction, pain, loss, agony and lost dreams.
When my son was just a little over three years old, I decided to go to court to fight for his custody. It wasn't much of a fight. I was able to persuade his mother to sign over full custody. I was very happy. It was just the two of us and it was terrific!
For all you parents out there, you know what it is like to watch your child grow and learn and succeed and fail. To imagine your child’s future is a thing of beauty. You begin to think he or she is the greatest human ever born. Ha! I know… We all think our kid is the best looking, or the fastest, or smartest. They are our little blank slates.
From T-ball to roller hockey to Little League to pop Warner and vacations and holidays… Christmases… Pictures… The TV tray made as a father's gift in seventh grade. These and thousands and thousands of all the memories are what I cling to, now.
My son began his run with drugs as a 16-year-old. He was introduced to them from an older friend and I only found out years later.
In one of his efforts to get clean and sober, we had left one of his meetings and were driving down the coast highway on our way home. We passed a hotel and he told me that he had spent time there cooking meth with his drug friends. As we continued driving, he would point out another hotel and another. Where he would act out criminal behaviors. Associated with the underground drug world. I began to realize how little I really knew about my son world. It was clear he had been living a double life. Being one person in front of me. And quite another person when he was around his drug addled friends and dealers.
I realized he had never told me the truth about his excessive use. And that one time he stayed up for seven days and began hallucinating. I read that the excessive use of meth creates serious brain dysfunctions. This poison is easy to make and is extremely insidious.
I began spending my hard earned money and future retirement on bailing him out of jail. Not to mention attorney’s fees. I would pay off his fines. Only to have him fined again. I literally paid for his mistakes. At the time looking back. I believe on some unconscious level. His mistakes were really my mistakes. I would mentally and emotionally beat myself up. I would ponder where did I go wrong. I realize now. The only wrong I was committing was enabling. There were times I just didn't know what else to do.
He ended up spending seven weeks in a jail, and was offered to either do eight more months or go to drug court. He wisely chose drug court. It was a year program and 80 miles away from our home.
While incarcerated I drove to see him religiously. Once out of this awful environment, I drove to his meetings every week to support him. He was in a sober living house for a year, found gainful employment, and was riding his bicycle everywhere. His efforts to get clean and sober were fantastic. His ability to make these changes gave me hope.
It lasted for four years or so. I can’t really say. But as time went by. He gradually stopped functioning at full capacity. Soon he kept losing jobs and kept running out of money and places to stay. I suggested he live with me for a while and I wanted to give him a helping hand. Little did I know I was enabling him again!
I helped him purchase another car, and insisted he paid me back. Which he did! That, in and of itself, gave me a shred of hope.
As usual, he would find himself stranded with a broken down car. And I would pay out-of-pocket again.
He would sleep excessively and I didn't understand then what I do now. He was just coming down off of his high and I wasn't aware.
After a time, I suggested he move out. He did with reluctance. His living situation was tenuous at best.
Soon afterwards, I met his new girlfriend. She seemed sweet and smart and very pretty. Soon afterwards, I found out she was a heroin addict and had been using for many years. This was disastrous. And soon after this, I discovered he was living with her out of his car. This would happen whenever they couldn’t fine a drug friend to allow them to crash on their floor. continued...
Of course the decline didn't stop there. His irresponsibility's caught up with him and law-enforcement impounded his car. Now they were homeless. And there was little I could do and little I wanted to do. Then things got worse! She was now pregnant.
A practicing meth addict and a practicing heroin addict homeless. And she's going to have a baby. What next!
I did not know until about a week after the baby was born that she was born addicted to heroin! I saw my son shortly after this revelation and told him to take the few things he had at my place and go. I told him I was so angry I could tear his face off!! I gave him an ultimatum. I told him that if he turned his back on this precious little girl there were two things I expected from him. Move out of the state and change your last name!
There have been many time over the years when I’ve been disappointed and ashamed of my son but not like this. As I heard my son’s mother describe the way our new granddaughter came into this world. Shaking from heroin withdrawals. This information pierced my heart in unimaginable ways.
I told him I did not want to see him until he was clean and sober for at least 18 months. And I realize now that may never happen. Which means I may never see my son again. This just breaks my heart. I have shed a lake of tears over all of this.
I have prayed to my Lord and Savior for answers. I have begged and pleaded with god to save these two human beings from themselves and their addictions.
I found out recently that my son is back in jail. God works in mysterious ways. At least I know my son is alive, eating three meals a day and reasonably safe from harm.
But mostly now my prayers are for my beautiful granddaughter. My son will never have Christmases with his baby girl. They will not laugh and joke and play together. They will not go to the beach and make sandcastles. He will not comfort her in her time of need. No graduation ceremonies together. No watching his baby girl in a dance class. He will not walk her down the aisle when she gets married. All of these things will be done with adoptive parents.
And selfishly, I will never vacation with my son again. No road trips. No sporting events. My future will be with my granddaughter.
I was driving down the road one day and imagined Jesus sitting next to me talking and sharing. I asked him to simply reach out and touch my son to heal him from his addiction.
This is my prayer:
I weep and pray for my son.
I anticipate joy with my granddaughter!
She is my centerpiece!
And the family adopting her is extended family!
Thank you God.