It seems the Prince and I are, (or really more the Prince) are about to enter a new, and very exciting and frightening stage in our lives. Tomorrow, he is exiting his program. He leaves there on a fairly positive note. Although he was unable to achieve many of the goals the program sets for the kids, he did manage to stay in there, and follow the rules. His classes are over tomorrow and he will turn 18 next Saturday. He has gone as far as he can go there and it is time he enters the real world.
When we started this phase of his recovery more than 15 months ago, I was scared, broken and hopeless. With each passing day of his recovery I looked forward to a time that my Prince would be well again. Not fully understanding this disease and the true depths of how immersed my eldest son was entrenched in it. Or perhaps I did fully understand the disease, and maybe needed to kid myself to get through those long painful first weeks.
As each week of his sobriety passed I gained strength and began to feel hopeful for the first time in a very long time. While I do not know what it feels like to be addicted to drugs and alcohol, I can not begin to explain to you how deeply, profoundly painful it is to be the mother of a child who is. When he first began his program, he was tasked with writing an essay describing his tenure with drug and alcohol use and abuse. He "accidentally" left it where I could find and of course I read it. It was a disturbing piece of literature, beginning with his abuse of the Ritalin he took to treat his attention deficit. Cigarette smoking, followed by marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, vicodin, inhalants, robotripping, triple cs, and crack cocaine (He also relapsed on heroin once). His spiral was fast and furious.
I am not a buzz kill or a hypocrite. I remember how much fun it was on a Friday night to drink with your friends, and how it felt to loose your inhibitions and laugh and have a good time. I never much cared for pot. I smoked it a bit in High School, but honestly it was peer pressure that sucked me in. By the time I was a senior I had already been over the pot smoking phase. I tried cocaine for the first time later that year, I liked it, but not enough to make a habit of. I dabbled with it socially for the next year or two, but again, I didn't like the way it made me feel and the sensation of wanting more when I did it. I started dating a guy who abused it. He used to ask me to drive him to some pretty shady neighborhoods to procure it, and I didn't like that scene one bit. More than one time he was ripped off, sold baby powder or baking soda instead of the real thing and our lives starting revolving around him buying coke. This was just not what I signed up for and I broke up with him. Somehow I am digressing here, as I tend to do when I am feeling too much stress. I guess what I am trying to say is that I was young and wild once too, but somehow, there but for the grace of G*d, I was not an addict.
During those early weeks of his recovery, I barely ate or slept. He would go to his program, come home, curl up in his bed and sleep for hours each day. His depression was palpable. Although he never showed any suicidal tendencies, I lived in fear each day of discovering him in that room dead. Then the self-mutilation started, intensified, and passed. Yet, slowly, he was coming back to us. He was spending more time with us. He was smiling and laughing and his eyes! Those beautiful eyes were clear again. My little Prince Charming was back again. And I cherished every moment as though it were the last, because I knew in my heart, that when it comes to addiction, any moment could be the last.
One of the biggest difficulties I faced was the pulling of my two sons. I am somewhat proud to say that I have raised two mommas boys. Or maybe this was my downfall. Neither of them have ever been close to their father, they both come to me for everything. They both share everything with me. They both command and demand my attention. The Prince was so fragile then, that he took up so much of my time. Looking back now, his behavior was manipulative and unacceptable. My behavior was overbearing and enabling. He used his sobriety as a weapon against me. Making statements such as if I didn't let him do this or that, he would get high. Look, if he wants to get high, he is going to get high. My actions or reactions do not cause it or control it, I know this now. But the fear. That, and my willingness to do anything to keep him sober.
I have come to count on his program as his lifeline. He hates it there, does nothing but bitch about the counselors, the program, the place itself, but he goes. But he followed the rules, he has maintained some short term sobriety, with a few slips, but he keeps getting back up. It worked for us.
We are now trying to figure out his aftercare plans. He has agreed to return to seeing his old shrink for his therapy. He will attend NA meetings to help maintain sobriety, he will work full time and finish his last two classes needed for graduation over the summer. He will reestablish a social life. Herein lies my concerns.
He talks the talk, but he doesn't walk the walk. He has been in enough programs to know importance of People Places and Things. I have gone to enough NA meetings with him to see there are plenty of younger guys working the program, staying clean. There are new kids he is meeting at his new job. People he has met without any association to his drug use. But he stills insists on maintaining a friendship with a kid he used to use with. He says it will not effect his sobriety, and he can handle it. Mind you, this man-boy has not been out of the house on his own for over a year, save the short few days he was on modified curfew and during those few brief hours, he managed to steal dust off to huff, and smoked pot. A week later he relapsed on cocaine. I just do not feel secure in his ability to stay sober, or his desire to really. I know this is my problem. I know I need to trust him and pray for strength and hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Really, I know these things. I just cant go through it all again. It just hurts too damn much to watch him unravel and self destruct again.
Ok, so fifteen months into his recovery and I am still scared and maybe a little less broken, but my hope is quickly fading. We went together to a meeting last night. Before it started we spoke a bit about the rooms and what it means and he got a little indignant as he usually does, and I asked him if he plans on getting a sponsor and he said No. He said he had people to talk, I tried to explain that sponsorship was more than that. I was grateful at the meeting more than one person shared on the importance of having a sponsor and working the steps. But I could see in his eyes that he really doesn't think he is like "these" people. He refused to share, he refused to participate in the reading, he declined my offer to buy him some literature to maybe read on his own. He said he doesn't "do" the reading out loud thing. I asked him why exactly he was going to the meetings, if he was going simply to appease me then he shouldn't bother, that my time would be better spent at meetings of my own, working at healing myself.
We both have our crosses to bear. I hate this F-ing disease.