Sunday, February 27, 2011

What might have been...a story of the wrong road being chosen

I moved back to my hometown in 2001 after living in Chicago for five years. I was fleeing a bad marriage and had my two sons in tow. I bought a small house across from the local Catholic school, got a job, and moved on. My oldest son was in 3rd grade and my youngest was only 3. The boys missed their father alot but he had found himself a girlfriend and was struggling with a drug problem. I had stayed for almost twelve years, had put him through numerous rehabs, and had just had enough. If he could not see his way fit to love me and his sons more than he loved the drugs and the women, then I was done. Looking back I should have left sooner, if not for me then for my sons. Looking back I would have done so many things differently. But that is all we can really do in life once a moment has passed...look back and wish.

My oldest son became friends with a group of boys and remained friends with them from age 8 to age 14 or so. They all played traveling basketball together. They all went to catholic school together. They hung out together in their off time. Then, for some reason, when he was 14, my son decided he liked drugs better than friends. Over the ensuing 4 years I have sent him to rehabs, tried tough love, tried understanding, tried ignoring, sent him to live with an uncle and his grandfather so he could have a fresh start. I have tried every single thing I could think of, other than moving to Alaska and living off the land. And yet, just like his father, he seems determined to walk this road. I kicked him out of our main house over a year ago when he turned 17 and kicked him out of the back house three months ago. I'm sure I seem cold and heartless to many but I simply cannot walk this road again, knowing what the end will be. Should he ever decide to change, I will be his biggest cheerleader but I simply do not have it in me to stand by and watch him kill himself. He is a raging alcoholic and has a serious drug problem. He turns 18 next month.

On Friday, my younger son and I went to watch the district championships in basketball. The core of the Mexico team is made up of the boys that were my older sons' first friends when we moved here. They won the championship in double overtime. As I watched those boys out there, struggling and fighting and clawing their way to a goal they had dreamed of, I couldn't help but think what might have been had my son chosen differently. Sitting in the bleachers near us was another boy from that group who has also chosen badly. He got three DWIs last summer and was banned from high school sports. He was crying inconsolably and while I felt awful for him, I also felt good for his parents because at least their son finally "got it". He was crying because he understood the gravity of his mistakes. My son, on the other hand, has yet to make that journey. I only hope that he eventually will. His father never did. I will always wonder if his dad finally realized how badly he had chosen when he took the fatal overdose that killed him. Did he have a moment of clarity when he thought "oh crap" or was he too far gone by then? Will my son wake up one day and realize he is throwing his life away or will he too end up like his father? I am tired of drugs. I have never smoked a cigarette, never tried any drugs, drank 3 times in my life (a single drink each time), never had a beer. And yet drugs have been such a huge part of my life. I am tired of it. I wish...well I wish for so many things for my son. But I also wish for things for me. My heart broke when my husband died. It never really recovered but I went on. I wish for an end to the pain for me and my son. I know better than to wish for him to get better since I don't believe addicts ever really do. And I certainly don't wish for his death. I just wish for a miracle I guess.


  1. I think its impossible to know why a person becomes addicted to either drugs or alcohol, or any number of other things, though I do think genetics does play a part (which scares me since my son's father is an addict). That being said, I also don't think its true that addicts never get better -- I've seen some that do. Granted, the number is low, and I'm not sure what it is that finally gives them the courage to maintain sobriety, but your son is young yet, so hopefully at some point something about how he thinks will change and give him the courage and motivation to overcome his addiction. Also, don't overlook the effects his behavior and actions have on your other kids -- Al-Anon might not be a bad idea for all of you (and I'm offering this advice as someone who is just now, at the age of almost 40, actually dealing with the effects of having grown up in an alcoholic family).

  2. Michelle...I agree in theory that you can beat addiction, I just have never personally seen it happen. I have seen a person trade addiction to drugs for addiction to alcohol. I have seen someone trade addiction to alcohol for an addiction to cigarettes. But all out cured...I've never seen it.

    As for the addictions effecting the rest of us, it definitely does. I have an actual fear of all drugs and alcohol and while I realize that most kids drink a bit in high school, I will probably completely freak if my younger two do it. I have absolutely no tolerance for drugs, alcohol or even cigarettes.