I am ashamed to admit that I knew Shane* was using drugs (he rarely drank) for years before I ever took any action or got honest with myself about his addiction to drugs. I recall Shane smoking pot around 13 years old and I specifically remember telling myself that at least he is only smoking pot, which I convinced myself at the time was the LESSER OF THE EVILS. It seemed to me that all young people were smoking pot, therefore I justified it in my mind that there was no harm in it, as long as it was pot and nothing else.
Within a short amount of time, I tripped over various drugs while playing housekeeper to Shane, cleaning his room. Although I was clueless to what it was, I KNEW IT WAS DRUGS. So…I confiscated everything I found and flushed it down the toilet or threw away the paraphernalia. This became my typical routine. This was my way of managing Shane’s drug use. He would bring his DRUGS into his room and I would be a good mom and CLEAN OUT HIS ROOM. Of course I would ask him “ARE YOU USING DRUGS?” and of course he would reply “NO!” I would continue to probe him and ask him whose drugs were they then? He would have a multitude of excuses, including that they belonged to one of his friends or one of the boys that lived with us. Pathetically, I would buy into the bullshit he was selling and once again believe what he was saying, and once again I would TURN A BLIND EYE.
This became a vicious cycle for many years. I can recall Shane FLYING UNDER THE RADAR because my God Son was the focus of my attention and energy since he was in a bad way, spiraling out of control, plummeting to the ground. Little did I know, although the facts were right in front of me, that my son was also spiraling out of control and well on his way to a deep dark black abyss filled with drug addiction and total despair. There were so many signs which I should have paid attention to, but once again I turned a blind eye. I WAS IN TOTAL DENIAL.
There were new kids in our home whom I had never heard of before or ever seen. My son no longer had any of his TRUE friends over, nor did he keep in touch with them. He was irritable, moody and melancholy. He would rarely eat and when he did, he would binge eat everything in sight until he was sick to his stomach. He would sleep all day and be up all night. Of course I justified him being up all night because he took Adderall for ADD and had a sleeping disorder, or he was playing his music.
Then there was the multitude of commitments, obligations or family gatherings where he always seemed to have an excuse why it wasn’t going to work out or why he couldn’t be there. So of course I would apologize for Shane, making a plethora of excuses for him and defending him relentlessly. This would create total chaos and tension within our home with my other children and husband, but it didn’t matter because I was Shane’s advocate. I would beg teachers to accept late work, make numerous idol threats to Shane, of course never enforcing what I would stipulate. I would pay the court fines as opposed to him going to juvenile hall. I would even go as far as to securing an attorney for him, after all, he was in hot water. I would pay for Shane’s tickets, car accidents and reimburse him the cash (that was stolen from his car or his wallet).
In short, I did whatever I could to make Shane’s life easier so he would not have to endure the hardships and consequences of being a teenager. I had become the ULTIMATE CODEPENDANT MOTHER. Truth be known, I was just as sick as my son.
I am eternally grateful for AA and Al Anon. Without either of them, neither Shane nor I would be where we are today in our recovery. I can honestly say that I am much better about not organizing other people’s lives, co-signing their chaos, cleaning up their messes, trying to control an outcome or interfere with their journey. I am learning that I cannot control people, places or things, that I can only control my thoughts and my actions.
I am so grateful to be able to share my experience regarding my son’s addiction. By writing it down on paper, (which I have never done), it became much more real to me and has enabled me to see my part in Shane’s addiction as well as the complete insanity and dysfunction we were living in. I had become so accustomed to this way of living that I was complacent and OKAY with the craziness and insanity.
*The names were changed to keep in alignment with the principle of anonymity.