When my son was little, we were inseparable. He was silly, soulful and had such a loving spirit. We were always together and hated to be apart. As he developed into a young man and into his teenage years, I slowly saw that fading. It was still there, but it was different; he was distant and not always present when he was with me.
In seventh grade, I found marijuana in his room. I remember thinking this was just what teenagers do; he is experimenting. I didn’t tell anyone, even his dad. My heart was broken, and I thought, “how could my sweet boy do that?” He always said he hated drugs!! I didn’t want anyone thinking he was a ‘bad kid’ so I kept that secret to myself.
That was my first mistake, and just one of many I had made.
As a teenager, my son would call me into his room at night and cry saying he hated life and didn’t want to be here anymore. I couldn’t understand what was happening. What did that even mean? Life without my son? I couldn’t comprehend that. I would cry with him trying to figure out how to fix this. We talked about drugs, but he would deny it. So I concluded that must mean he needed medical help. We went to the doctor, and he was diagnosed bi-polar. The doctor nor I had any idea what kind of drugs he was doing, so he was misdiagnosed and put on medications which were one of the first major manipulations in getting the doctor and me to give him the drugs he so badly wanted. The day he got those meds, he came home and took too many. I found him slumped behind his bedroom door. I couldn’t wake him, and I was terrified; I thought he was dead but then I heard him breathing. I counted his pills and realized what he had done. I got him up and put him in bed battling with what I should do and afraid of someone finding out.
This was the turning point for me. I had gone from being a protective mom to an enabler.
I allowed myself to be manipulated by him. Any time we could spend together was good enough for me, even though I knew he was using me to get what he wanted. My heart was breaking!! But what could I do? No one could know this ‘secret’ of mine. I didn’t want them thinking bad things or talking crap about my sweet son!! This secret was affecting my marriage; my daughter wouldn’t come home to visit because she couldn’t stand to see her brother manipulating me and killing himself. I didn’t want family or friends coming over because I never knew just how high he would be if he came home.
I couldn’t stop this hellish roller coaster, despite how hard I tried!!
Finally realizing that I couldn’t change ANY of this, I turned to God. This was to be my son’s journey; he will be ok. I didn’t understand how but I finally felt a wave of peace. Two days later my son was arrested for his second DUI and in jail overnight. I had finally accepted that my son had an addiction and nothing I did or said and no matter how many times I cried would change that.My son needed help!!!
The next morning, we were headed to New Life House.
This incredible program provided my son with mentors, a community, and tools to build a path to a New Life!! My son now has 16 months sobriety. He is the silly, soulful and loving spirit I always knew he was in my heart. When we spend time together now, it’s genuine!! I will FOREVER be grateful to the staff and all of those involved in New Life House!! Without all of you, I am not sure where my son would be today. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!