Looking at Instagram last night, it occurred to me that 52 weeks ago, life changed. The pictures I posted showed my son and two daughters, smiling against the backdrop of nesting birds on Avery Island, Louisiana. That night, I would receive a phone call from my then 20-year old son, telling me that he was getting arrested for drugs. I felt the blood drain out of my body.
My son was home for spring break from school in Orlando. After our day together, he had gotten high and intoxicated. He was driving his grandmother’s car and wrecked it. He hit head-on with a prisoner transport van that was being driven by a sheriff’s deputy. Thankfully, she was driving an empty vehicle or many other lives could have been impacted. My son was arrested on a Wednesday night. At 4:30 Thursday morning, my husband had to fly to Nashville. He called me when he landed and said, “You won’t believe who I sat next to.”
As it turned out, he sat next to an interventionist from Taos, New Mexico, who was in town to meet with a fellow interventionist. My husband told me that my son would most likely need to go to rehab. “He needs to not come home,” was my head-in-the-sand answer to what my addicted son needed. In my mind, he was fine and the problem was that he came home on spring break.
Over a day later, my son was out of jail. After a couple of days of trying to corral him, I finally picked him up early one morning after he had spent the night at his best friend’s house. As he sat in the passenger’s seat of my car, he said to me, “Mom, I need help.” Those four small words would become beautiful restoration. “Then you will get it,” I responded.
After that conversation, I was ready to look at things differently. I met with the interventionist who my husband put me in touch with. She was in recovery herself and as we often say, “If you want to know the way up the mountain…” So, we arranged for my son to fly to Utah to begin his stay at Legacy Outdoor Adventures. It was strangely wonderful knowing my son was safe. The sirens that blared didn’t scare me anymore. I slept like I hadn’t slept in years.
Fast forward to the end of July. My husband and I flew to Utah to see my son for the first time for a family gathering. I still get teary when I think of seeing him. The parents were gathered on the lawn, each of us so excited to see our boys. A door opened and out came these young men, all dressed in khaki clothing, long hair, and beards. I couldn’t contain myself and ran to meet my son.
He was as beautiful and pure as the day he was born. The light in his eyes blue eyes was something I hadn’t seen for years. He smiled from his heart and I knew he had gotten in touch with his true self. We gathered into a circle and everyone began introducing themselves. When it came to my son’s turn, he said his name and “I’m an addict.” Just like that. He owned it and he was doing something about it.
When my son left for Utah, I stopped drinking to be in solidarity with my son. I was attending Al Anon meetings as prescribed by our interventionist. I read “The Anatomy of Peace” and “The Four Agreements”. I was receiving counseling. I was doing everything that people successful in their recovery told me to do. Our interventionist said to me, “Addiction is a family disease.” I immediately thought she was wrong, but came to realize how right she was.
The next step on our journey involved choosing an after-care place. There were three or four choices on the table and I immediately knew I wanted my son to be at New Life House. He chose New Life as well, after calling and interviewing all of his choices.
I was really curious about what life would be like for him. I personally wanted him to stay in Utah indefinitely because it was safe and isolated. But that’s not real life. The boys are instructed to take what they learn and go into the world. So, at the end of July, my son flew to Lost Angeles. I was so proud of him for taking the pieces of his life and putting them back together.
I flew out to see my son in September. He asked me to go with him to an AA meeting. “Of course!” I couldn’t wait. I sat next to him and his support at 4th & Wilshire. I had never been to an AA meeting and was immediately drawn to the energy I felt. It was a very healing, positive experience.
As the meeting got started and the preliminary parts were recited, I answered in my head, “Yes, I want what they have. I’m willing to go to any length to get it.” I was abstaining from drinking. Up until this moment, I wasn’t sure what was next, but then I knew. As we left the meeting, I told my son, “I think I’ve been going to the wrong meetings.” We had a conversation and I realized that I, too, was an alcoholic.
That night, I went to bed and asked God that if my feelings were accurate, could He please give me a sign? I’m into signs. So, the next morning, as I stood in line to pay for my coffee at Starbucks, the cashier put the change in my hand and said, “Keep coming back!” I had chills. That is an AA phrase right there! “Keep coming back!”
So, let’s fast forward again. In two weeks, both my son and I celebrate a year of sobriety. The journey has been amazingly life changing so far. My son is working. He is accountable. I am so proud of the man he has become. He has inspired me in ways he will never know. I have worked through the 12 Steps with a sponsor and I’m getting ready to start being a sponsor to others. I received my certification for Health Coaching and I am a Beachbody coach.
A year ago, my codependency was raging. I was a quietly seething alcoholic. My life was a mess. Those days are over. And to think this all started from those small words, “Mom, I need help.”
This has been a very difficult year that I would not change for the world. It sounds strange, right? Having awareness and knowledge of the disease of alcoholism and codependency has unleashed endless possibilities. Every day, I ask God to let me be of service to Him. He continually provides me with opportunities to share our experiences.