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Is it getting worse again?

Posted by Alison on 21 June 2013.

My son started using drugs in his early teens.  I suspected it was going on and asked him about it.  He told me how the group he'd started spending time with had a lot of bullying in it, and how unhappy he was but that he couldn't face being on his own without friends.  Writing this now in the same room we sat in, and remembering that conversation, myself and my boy all those years ago - 10 years ago - I'm full of pain, sorrow and regret but also of deep gratitude that my son, my beloved son, is alive still.  

Whereas all but two of the others parents involved had the attitude of 'of it's just teenagers' and ignored what was happening (I found out from one years later that she feared her son's scorn because he'd seen her smoking dope throughout his life; another was a heavy drinker....).  I knew right away it was a problem for us: a single parent since his father died - same year as my mother and 2 uncles and my father father had another stroke and then pneumonia, when my son was just 5 years old.  Three years earlier, not long after moving to this area, my best friend and my father died.  Someone once said grief ages children.  It does, but worse it isolates them.  I knew my boy was at risk yet everywhere I looked for help whilst he was struggling, using increasing amounts and varieties of drugs, dealing with bullying within his own group and from the local 'bad' families, and vulnerable to crime (I was struggling to pay the rent let alone dress him the way the other kids parents' afforded).  Our lives turned into a nightmare.   

The shortened version is that I lost everything that I valued, that made my life rich and meaningful: my son, who just before his 15th birthday was arrested for possession of ecstasy tablets and when I told the police he was out of my control and I was at my wits end and all but having a breakdown - I couldn't sleep, was terrified by what was happening to my boy, terrified by his behaviour, they found a place for him in an adolescant's care home and I was relieved.  I thought he'd be safe and I'd get 2 or 3 nights sleep, then he'll come home feeling sheepish and having had time away from where we life and the friends/problems here.  I was glad he'd been arrested - he was going more and more wrong and this would surely wake him up to what he was doing and turn out to be a blessing in disguise. 

My son never came back home to live.  In fact in the intervening years I can count the number of nights he's slept in his own bed.   In time he became what he genuinely thought he'd never be: a heroin addict.  They were nightmare years, and I lost my business, my physical health and peace of mind, my sense of who I was, of which way was up.  The only reason I'm alive is because I made a committment to god/dess not to commit suicide, a committment I've clung to many times.  

My son chose to take Subutex rather than going to prison after being arrested a few years ago.  He began pulling his life together by working, got into a new relationship.....he's now got a family of his own and things seem better.  But there are problems there I know, and I'm now included in his life beyond brief, occasional 'phone calls.  I've been pushed further out of his life than ever and so I don't actually know how he actually is.  Better than he was - still alive, still alive - yet things aren't right.  And when things aren't right they're wrong.  

I've got by through my yoga practice which is spiritually, physically, philisophically, emotionally and socially practical.   I've been working again the last few years, and have begun building my business back up again but it's hard. I'm finding it hard.  It really takes it out of me not to give up.  I lost all that I valued in my life and so far I've regained precious little of it.  My son rang last night out of the blue, baby and partner in the background.  It's always good to hear his voice, always.  But was that truly just tiredness in his voice or what I feared it might be?  

The biggest losses are of trust, truth, easy love, seeing and enjoying my son thrive, feeling myself thrive in my own life, simply enjoying life in the easy freedom of knowing life is good.  It isn't, but it's been worse and I'm grateful for and make the best of what I've got cradelling the embers and blowing on them with my prayers each day.


21 Jun 2013

Alison here - typo above, it should read:  
  "....and I'm not included in his life...."

A Parent with hope
23 Jun 2013

Hi Alison

This is my first ever response or post. I was surfing the web looking for any help I could get with my son & now possibly my daughter!. 

I have been going threw tough times too since with my son since he was 15, his now 20. 

I have a little understanding where you are coming from, the only thing I can say to you is listen to your instincts. You are not mad, or just distrusting; as parents we have that special connection, gut feelings. 

Maybe, try & include yourself a little more into his life or are you scared on knowing?

12 Jul 2013

thanks for your response.  
Well, of course I'm scared of knowing but I'd rather know the truth even so.  I agree with your 'trust in your instincts' - I always seem to know when things are getting worse even when he denies the truth himself - and I'd much rather he was able to bear the truth himself (and his partner) as that's the only opening for help, support, improvement and a better life.  
I try to be included in his/their lives, but I'm always told "of I'm too busy this weekend/not free that day/ etc."  
I don't let this stop me trying, and look on it as a good sign that my son stays in touch at all, however tenuously.  
Good luck with your children - we keep on keeping on because where there's life there's hope.

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