The one-year anniversary of my son’s sobriety is approaching and my heart is filled with joy and gratitude. I have remained by his side through the many ups and downs of his addiction and never imagined my life would be filled with such despair and darkness as it was during those years. I have learned a multitude of knowledge of the do’s and don’ts in the world of addiction. I understand I did not cause it, I could not change it, nor could I have cured it. My son’s drug addiction became a family’s journey; we were all powerless. I held onto hope as much as I held onto fear. My world was overwhelmed but I never gave up on him. With that said, I was by his side with each and every attempt to detox and there were several. One relapse led into another. During his detox, he was restless and agitated, sweaty with chills, and trembled with nausea. He expressed that his bones and muscles ached with pain. I encouraged him to be strong and courageous and that it would get better. Little did I know, and only because he shared them, did I hear of the mental demons of drug addition. I knew he wanted this more than he wanted to live. For one afternoon, he came home from a physically hard day of work, and expressed he could no longer go on like this. I was not surprised, and for a moment I felt relief, yet deep inside I was overwhelmed with anxiety for I knew it was going to be a battle. A challenging battle greater than being bullied by his high school peers, or failing out of college. Perhaps an even greater challenge than dealing with his mom’s breast cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy, or dealing with the death of a dear friend 6 months later. As for me, I became a sponge that wanted to learn as much as I could in the hopes I could help my son. On the other hand, I was filled with a scary notion of what others would think of my family and if they would judge us. I observed his life spiraling out of control, as we all lived in the chaos of drug addiction. I realized it was a beast that was beyond anyone’s control.
Cognitively, I understood I was powerless over the situation; however, my motherly instincts continued to prompt me to find a way through this chaos. There had to be a solution, how was I ever going to fix it. I felt alone and continued to explore options to help in his battle against this deadly disease. I was losing my son, how did this happen? I wanted to take on the challenge myself and I desperately wanted my kind and spirited boy back in my life not this monster that lived in his body. Although I was filled with fear and anxiety, I had no choice but to jump into a journey I knew very little about. Talk about fear? It’s a difficult task to let go of this kind of fear. Through experience, I have learned “fear” is a dangerous and crippling emotion and choices based on fear are deceptive. How often are one’s choices made out of “fear” and anxiety of the unknown? What are their outcomes? Needless to say, there were arrests, followed by late night police call’s, a multitude of lies followed by denial. The chaos prevailed and spread like an infection spreads throughout your body, until March 22, 2014, he had an awakening.
As parents, we feel the desire to fix, change, take on, and control as part of our responsibility in raising our children. Although we have these undeniable feelings, the bottom line is we don’t have power over the choices our young adults find themselves making. We simply don’t. We do however, have the responsibility to teach and guide them values and morals appropriate in living a true and honest life. We can only hope those values will impact and influence their choices.
So on this day, I wish him one more day of sobriety followed by one more day of sobriety, followed by one more day of sobriety. May his life be filled day by day with a sense of peace and solitude, and an inner calmness that brings clarity. He has taught me many things, one of which is fearlessness. I am fearless. “God help me be fearless”, continues to be a favorite mantra. I have learned to leave the old worn out stories behind and have developed an awareness that is indescribable in living life. I have strengthened my ability to forgive and accept, to love unconditionally and to live an authentic life, honest and true. Now on this day, he celebrates one year and his desire to change his life one day at a time. I am very proud of the person he has become; a man of integrity, responsibility and commitment, and someone who is kind and loving and who thinks of others before himself.
From my heart to yours.
By: Janet Muller