Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Necessary Course

Digging into the world of drug addiction was not something that came naturally to me. But digging into something that was hurting my son was.

It had taken me another precious year to realize that my son had a life threatening disease.

I had to go through the motions that most parents or people go through before the "reality slap" cracks you across your face and sends you reeling. Accepting that your child or loved one is an addict is something that takes way too long.

While in the hospital the second time when Robby was going through the detox, doctors had talked to us and highly recommended that my son seek professional help. I did not hear their words because I did not want to believe that my son was addicted to pills. Who gets addicted to percocets? I had taken them before.... they just make you go to sleep.. what fun could that possibly be? He's not addicted to could someone become addicted to percocets.....if they had told me crack cocaine..... well, this was his fathers drug of choice.
I was so stupid.

When I finally allowed myself to look back even further, all the warning signs were there. I could see them now... bright as a full moon on a streaker. It was all so "in my face". The moodiness, the bad grades, quitting sports, different 'new' friends, wrecking his car..... falling out of his friends car and landing on his head.... drunk. When this incident occurred, the doctors who examined him told me then that he had drugs in his system along with marijuana, and alcohol. They told me to seek counseling for him.

This was maybe the beginning of Robby's "road trip" into hell. I wanted to stab myself in the heart for not taking these teenage boy 'incidents' seriously and doing something about it sooner. I just kept telling myself that he was just doing what all kids do. Especially all boys. His words would soothe my worries... always telling me he was fine.. just having fun with the guys. Telling me his school sucked and he hated the kids there and that's why he was having so much trouble with his classes. He even told me that other kids were interrupting the class and he could not pay attention. I was angry with the teacher for allowing such unruly behavior to disrupt Robby's concentration. After many meetings with teachers and staff at his high school, I knew he was riding on thin ice. If he missed seven more days of school he would fail. He assured me he would graduate. The day I found out he had not been in school for the last two weeks I felt completely defeated. Again, I blamed the school. Why had they not contacted me until now! Apparently they were not in 'denial'....there was no intercepting Robby's mission to self destruct. He had given up long before this. He only had 3 months left when he officially dropped out, unfortunately it seemed to him that it would last a lifetime.

What does it take for the addict and those who love them to understand that he (or she) is an addict? There is really no way around this process. You beat yourself up when you look back and ask yourself why you did not do something sooner, why you did not know it or see it sooner. Does "catching it" sooner make a difference? I believe that it might. But the bottom line is that an addict does not think he or she is an addict, until... they are an addict. So they will fight you. They will reassure you, they will reassure themselves. They wont even question how strong (or weak) they are. Unfortunately, from all I have learned and all I have researched and all the recovering addicts I have talked to...... It is a process that will not be hurried along. NOTHING makes it come and go faster. A series of necessary events that lead you to your destiny. It is a course that sadly must be taken.

Robby had professed his innocence. All the words he spoke were the ones I wanted to hear.
"This was an isolated incident." "He would never do it again." "He had learned his lesson." I was so grateful that he was alive that these words were good enough for me. Robby was a smart kid. He knew he did not want to live the life his father did. He was weepy and remorseful. He had scared the shit out of himself and it was over. But Robby was on the 'road' that needed to be traveled.

With all that I know and all that I understand now, I still blame myself sometimes. In my case I think..... it was my maternal instinct that would not except that I could not save my child from anything and everything that was threatening him.

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