I have heard stories now, through this blog and the various communities around addiction and mental illness on Google+, where parents have lost their children to suicide or overdoses. I have heard stories in which families are permanently torn apart and those broken relationships are never repaired. People who have lived on the streets for years and living horrendous lives because of their addiction, sometimes suffering from mental health issues as well. Also as I am attending more and more training sessions for my mentoring, and I hear stories of people who lived the life of an addict for 10 or even 20 years before getting and staying in recovery. And I am feeling helpless, drained, guilty, worried, frustrated, ashamed, devastated, parentally unfit, disgusted, distrusting, depressed, scared....because my son has been using drugs since he was 13 and has been an addict for about 3-4 years!? He is still alive, he is still at home, I still have my daughters, I still have our house, we still have options and possibilities...it seems wrong to be so deep into my feelings of despair when all around I know so much worse has happened to others and is going on all around us.
Now as I said, it is all relative. I have no experience of addiction before. I have had many issues in my own life around poor health and times of depression and anxiety. I have watched both my parents die. I have uprooted myself from my country and started a very different life and a life very different to what I imagined. I lived in a very bad marriage for many years, in a home environment that was very tense and controlling and at times emotionally abusive for the children. But before all that, when I look back into my childhood, though I battled with my illness from the age of 7, I was HAPPY. We lived in a nice home, in a nice area with nice people. It was all very nice. I loved my parents and they loved me. I had an exceptionally good and kind and loving and supportive mother. My father always provided for us and was there when we needed him. Even after my parents divorced, they remained friends and he would spend the majority of his weekends with all of us in our family home. There was never an issue if my mother needed help whether financially or otherwise, he would help his family, because we were still a family even after the divorce.
I was educated and enthusiastic and open, hoping for a wonderful life ahead of my and with all my dreams, my biggest dream was always to be a mother! That is another time I can remember being HAPPY, when I learned that I was pregnant with my first child. I remember repeating the pregnancy test, and again, and then looking in the bathroom mirror, and with tears in my eyes saying aloud to myself, "You are going to be a mommy". It brings tears to my eyes now as I remember.
I am so very sensitive and feel things so profoundly and my son is the same. Are relationship could not have been more perfect and more loving. Despite everything else that was wrong, having him was right! Having him all to myself for his first 5 years was wonderful and I was so confidant that we successfully created a firm foundation for our son and that he will have that foundation to build himself on. So child psychology would like us to believe, but that proved to be anything but the case for us!
Each time I fell pregnant, if everything else was wrong, being pregnant was always right and in a perfect world I would have had more children because to me nothing surpasses that joy.
With that joy comes responsibility and sometimes anguish as well, as I now know.
My pain to me is very real, even when I know it could be worse, as it has been for others. My son's life is difficult for me to observe helplessly. The pain and sadness I see in my daughters faces are not illusions, they are real as well. The years of their precious childhood lost. So this is my reality and my experience and to me it is dreadful.
Today as I wake up to my son more or less passed out on the sofa, with all his messes around him and the mess he has left for me everywhere, I feel empty. I feel life is wrong and I want to make it right. I feel we are approaching the end of the line soon. The drugs will have to end, the stealing will have to end, the abuse will have to end and ultimately for my son, his denial will have to end and he will need to face up to his demons.
I hope he will and I know that the road ahead, if he chooses a path to recovery, will be even harder than this life with drugs, and I hope he will come out of it a survivor. I do not want us to be saying these same things 10 or 20 years down the line. I do not want to loose my son to homelessness or suicide or an overdose.
My heart goes out to all those people out there whose reality is darker than mine, I admire your strength, courage and resiliency. I do not know if I could survive what you have endured. I hope other people out there will not have to either. I hope we all have brighter and happier days ahead of us!