Commitment To Recovery | A Mother’s Story Of Her Son’s Addiction
We took the path leading to what we pray is a lifelong commitment to recovery and service.
Unfortunately, though the actual journey is more like riding Mr. Toads Wild Ride in Disneyland wearing a blindfold. No parent plans for their child to be an addict. I know that after I gave birth to my second son, Aaron. I didn’t snuggle him lovingly and proudly announce that he was going to be an addict – not a doctor or a lawyer or teacher or garbage man.
After being 5150’d, sent to detox twice, numerous trips to the emergency room and several suicide attempts, I was so deep in mourning for the death of my beautiful son’s potential, I did not know what to do. Day by day he lost more of his drive to live. It seemed his only motivation was to ingest drugs – stealing to fund them, stealing my prescriptions and associating with the gangs and the underbelly of Fresno’s drug culture. He truly thought that these “mushroom people” were his friends. They got stoned, sat in the dark and played video games.
And still, I kept trying to fix him by loving him. Now I know I was actually going to love him to death. All of the closeness I thought I could pull him back with was a joke.
We finally gave Aaron a choice: either he take responsibility for his addiction or he was no longer welcome in our home. We would no longer support him in his addiction. It ripped a hole in my heart – it was like handing down the death sentence. And it was all my fault. Moms are supposed to be able to fix EVERYTHING. I just knew I had done something wrong or if I had only done something better, he wouldn’t have this filthy addiction. (The genetic propensity also hit us square in the face.)
My nephew is a graduate of New Life House. 7 years sober and working hard turning other young men’s lives around. He took his Aunt Deborah’s incoherent, blubbering phone calls and somehow put together a way to get Aaron in the house. In order for this to work, we drove from Fresno to Santa Cruz (to pick up Aaron at detox) and then drive to deposit him in Torrance.
Not being able to talk to him without someone else listening in was hard to get used to but full nights of uninterrupted sleep were wonderful! I knew that Aaron was safe, being fed and someone else was working on his body, mind, and soul. Someone who knew what they were doing and exactly what my son needed. When we visited, I was appalled at the way the staff and young men spoke to and about each other. It didn’t seem like a very warm and healing atmosphere. But the young men responded. I felt emotional changes happening all around me – with many of the young men, but not my own. I knew he was still trying to play me and everyone else, only this time it wasn’t working. The growth and behavior of all the other young men helped to pull me out of mourning for what used to be and showed me what could be.
Around 6 months or so into the program, I began to notice small changes in Aaron’s behavior. He seemed more kind with his buddies and a little more open with us. And while he was able to express missing us, I felt a small kernel of independence begin.
As the months rolled by, the faces in the meetings changed for one reason or another. I always prayed that it was a good reason. By the time Aaron celebrated his belly button birthday and taken his one year cake, he began treating me as a person, not just as a means to an end. Aaron opened doors, pulled out chairs, filled my plates with food and took them away when I was done. He not only showed me respect but the beginnings of unconditional love.
And while I pray for his continued sobriety and emotional growth, I know that he is becoming the man I knew he always would.
Thank You for the greatest gift of all!