Tuesday, March 18, 2014

In life and death you've always stole my heart...

On the Saturday evening before your release from treatment, the center where I stayed held a "candle lighting" ceremony.  The "Mayor" of the current group of addicts and alcoholics, stands at the podium, introduces you, and if you are so inclined, you are given a few minutes to address the group, and you have an opportunity to light three different shaped candles: a square, a circle and a heart.  Each client on the evening of their "candle lighting" is encouraged to assign something meaningful from their personal journey that brought us to treatment;or our feelings about our recovery at the moment to each of the shaped candles, and to share their thoughts.  The following were my thoughts as I lit my candles:

Earnest Hemingway, my favorite author, and fellow alcoholic, was well known in literature for his use of symbolism.  In his literary novella, "The Old Man and the Sea", the battle between the ocean and the old man is symbolic in that a man can be destroyed, but not defeated.  I am lighting the square candle as a symbol of the strength I have witnessed here at Happy Turtle Treatment Center*, and from all of the knowledge I have gained from all of the incredible people I have spent the last 20-something days with.  Drugs and Alcohol may have tried to break and destroy us, but it does not HAVE to defeat us. We are all strong enough to beat this disease. 
My youngest son, my little prince, also struggles with addiction.  When I called him and told him my plans to check myself into rehab for my drinking, he asked me, in all seriousness, "On your own??".  He truly could not fathom the concept of seeking treatment with out being court mandated, or it not being conditional of anything else. So, that being said, in his honor, I am opting NOT to light the circle candle, in hopes of breaking the cycle of addiction in my world by embracing sobriety,  As I begin my journey into recovery by finally setting the right example.  No longer expecting him to "Do as I say, and not as I do".  
Most, if not all of you may already know this, but for those who don't, four years ago, my 20 year old son died from a heroin overdose.  Or, as the certified certificate of death states, "Acute accidental opiate intoxication" as his cause of death.  Burying my son, my firstborn, was without a doubt, the single most sad, difficult, miserable, painful and surreal day of my life.  A close second was possibly choosing the words to put on his stone.  These words would be my final tribute to him, and will also someday mark my final resting place as well.  I was barely functioning at the time, rarely, if ever, taking a sober breath, let alone being capable of forming a cohesive thought.  Yet for reasons I still can not explain, this was profoundly important to me. I wanted his grave to be marked and I wanted, I needed it to reflect the love in my heart for him.  Ultimately, I chose, "All my Love, All my Life", and I light this heart candle in memory of my beautiful Prince, my baby boy, who has held my heart for all of my life. May he and all of the others lost to this Beast, may he rest peacefully.  

(you can click on the picture to enlarge)
*The Happy Turtle Treatment Center is not the real name of the treatment center.


Annette said...

Kel, I am so glad you are back here writing and sharing your journey with all of us. <3 Beautiful post.

Tori said...

Your posts always touch me. I started my blog just a couple months after you lost your son. I remember like it was yesterday reading through all of your posts and hanging on every word. My heart breaking because so many of those posts were what I was at that moment going through or had gone through.

My older son is now 23 and just a little younger than your son at the time. I also have one younger son who is now 15 and I remember reading your fears that he could also start using. I have always had the same fear with my younger one. Losing a sibling to this sickness doesn't always make the younger one stay away from it.

I am so sorry for all you have been through and continue to go through with you little Prince.

I admire you for all the work you are doing for yourself to get better. Setting this example for your younger son it an amazing gift. You are always in my thoughts.

Syd said...

Such a moving post, Kel. I am glad too that you are back writing. You are a special person.

Beth said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. I am elated that you are in recovery. I am no longer writing my previous blog. I have an invite only one now, leave a comment on my previous blog and I'll shoot you an invite.