Thursday, June 26, 2008
Tough Love!....I think..
Over the next year I remained blind. Robby worked here and there, but would always lose his job within a couple weeks. I can guess now, but at the time I could not understand why he kept losing all those jobs. I never once questioned what he was telling me..... "They did not have enough work for him"... "The pay sucked and they were taking advantage of him so he quit."...... "He could not stand the guys he worked with" (that one pissed me off) But I actually found myself feeling bad for him and mad at the company that let him go. I continued to convince myself that he was just going through bad times.
He had a new girlfriend and they spent a lot of time together. They seemed like a good fit. I was real happy for him. She was the only thing right now that he felt good about. I let them spend as much time together thinking he really needed someone to lift his spirits.
As the months passed, I was starting to get irritated. I would hear Robby and his girlfriend into the wee hours of the night talking, laughing, watching TV. Going up and down the stairs constantly. Opening cabinets, cooking food..... It would be close to 3am before things would quiet down. The next day, I would open his bedroom door and his room was a mess and smelled like dirty laundry and stale ashtrays. In my frustration, I would try to get him up. His girlfriend had left for work, it was time for him to start looking for a job. He would just role over and tell me to leave him alone, he had not gotten much sleep. Around 4pm he would get out of bed and start this routine all over again. He was grumpy and miserable looking. He would lay on the sofa watching TV until his girlfriend got off work. I tried to talk to him but this would just set him off. I knew he was frustrated with losing his jobs and I tried real hard to be sympathetic. But things were not getting any better. As long as I let him alone, things were quiet. But I was losing my patience. I had no idea how to handle this. We were fighting out of my frustrations and his lack of ambition to do ANYTHING at all. He was 18 years old now and was doing nothing. Sleep all day, up all night. It was now the norm. The more I tried to talk to him, the nastier he got. The things he started to say to me would crush me. He was becoming hateful and verbally abusive. I would just cry now out of pure desperation. Sleeping all day, up all night.....
One night, something woke me out of a dead sleep. I made my way downstairs and heard Robby moaning and groaning in the bathroom He was sitting on the toilet while vomiting in the trash can. Worried, I waited outside the bathroom door. He told me he just had a stomach bug. I went back to bed after getting him some water and doing what I could for him. But something made me get back up again. I sat on the edge of his bed watching him writhe in pain. I suspected something more then the 'bug' and he finally admitted it too me. He was having severe withdrawal from painkillers...... We spent the rest of the night and into the morning at the ER. They let him detox while checking his vitals and we were sent home.... He promised it was over. He had gone through the worst of it and he was not going to do it again....
Painkillers? Oxycontin..... Percocets.....? Why would he be taking pain pills? They make you sleep. I was not educated in any of this. I thought people got hooked on things like cocaine... or crack...Where did the pain pills fall into play? I just did not get it....But he said he was done... he went through the withdrawal thing. It was all out of his system, it was over now.
More months passed..... nothing changed. Up all night, sleeping all day. He was mean, nasty, disrespectful and didn't seem to care about anything. His room even had an odor coming out of it. He was verbally abusive to the point that I would burst into tears and he would laugh at me...he attacked every decision I had ever made in my life. He put down my career choices telling me I did not make any money and was at a dead end in my life. I fought back,.. defending myself. I reminded him that my career choice had supported both of us for the last 10 years with no child support. He told me I should never have had a child if I could not support him. Insane arguments that ended with me crying and him storming out of the house. We tried counseling.... he snickered and sneered at me when I poured my heart out to him hoping the counselor could shed some light on what was happening to us. My heart was breaking. Why was he being so mean? This was not my Robby... what had I done to him to make him feel so volatile towards me? The counselors told me they could not help him. He was an addict and needed professionals that specialized in addiction. I was angry with the counselors. I did not understand what was happening. When did this all go wrong? Obviously, I know now, I was still in denial. How could my son be an addict. He was not an addict, he was just going through 'something' that would pass. The word "addict" was just too harsh. I kept pushing him to try. Encouraging him....helping him get through this rut he was stuck in. Anything I could do to help I did. Anything positive that I saw, even the slightest thing, would thrill me. My hope was not lost. I relished in these moments. But that is all they were...... moments, then my hopes were smashed once more. I wanted to do it for him, I wanted to force him to do it. I ran circles around myself trying to make him better. I was becoming mentally and emotionally exhausted.
Then the inevitable happened. I finally cracked. I could not watch him continue to be this way. The fight happened between us that I never in my wildest dreams thought would happen. Things were being thrown, words cut like knives, I exploded..... and he exploded right back. He left in a heated rage... I told him not to come back. It took me 4 hours to clean up the mess we had made during our fight.
So this is what "tough love" is? I sobbed for days.... I needed someone to talk to... I did not know who. Nobody I knew had been through this. Nobody. I was so blown away by what was happening. I was embarrassed of what my son had become. I was scared to death for him. What had I done? I threw him out! What had done?!! I felt so alone.... Who could I turn to? I walked around in circles I'm pretty sure, for days. No answers... no comfort. I did not feel good at all about my decision. I acted to hasty. Where was he? I made it worse! Had I destroyed what little hope he had? Had I sent him into a frenzy of despair... Had I kicked him when he was already down? ....The doubt in my mind was excruciatingly painful. I replayed the fight over and over in my head. I think Robby was right! I WAS a crazy lunatic! But this had been going on for almost a year.... What other choice did I have? I could not control myself, my thoughts, my grief, I was losing it. I turned to my computer..... I needed answers. I needed to ask questions.... I sobbed as I typed in random words..... I did not even know where to start.
I soon found and joined a forum and started to talking to others going through similar problems. "Troubled Teens" is where I started. Knowing now the word 'troubled' didn't even begin to scratch the surface of what I was up against. But I had to start somewhere and the final stage of denial that I was in led me to believe that my son was just 'troubled'.
I found a small amount of comfort... it was the only thing I had. I typed and sobbed out my story to complete strangers....
These strangers saved my sanity.
And so began my journey into reality. I was not prepared at all to hear the answers to my questions. It was a jarring reality that would bring me to my knees.