- Friends & Family
My life changed in 2004 when my partner and father of my children started drinking and abusing drugs. He also had an affair. At the same time, my father had a massive stroke and died in matter of three months. My children were ages 9 and 2.
We went several years struggling back and forth, with me leaving with the kids or throwing him out. There was lots of emotional, financial and physical abuse — all to deflect the real issue of his using. Five years passed, with several retraining orders, but he always wound up back. Whether it was because of the kids or me trying to save him or my family I don’t know, but by this time our 14-year-old son had smoked pot for the first time. I did not know this until much, much later.
From 2012 into 2013, that was a turning point year. I didn’t want to believe my son would go down that road after everything we had witnessed with his father, but by the time he was 17, I had two addicts competing with each for who was going to cause the most chaos. Our son graduated high school and spiraled down from there.
The chaos of trying to save my son from himself was made worse because he had insurance no one would take. We were told he was approved for 28 days only to be called five days later to come get him because he was detoxed. I asked, “What about the 23 other days?” Denied!
Then there was the funding game: there this morning and gone before noon! I made thousands of calls begging, arguing, demanding, pleading. I drove thousands of miles looking for him, getting him in or out of somewhere. I was turned away from the promise of funding that was gone before we entered his name in the computer. He wanted help and just couldn’t get it.
After that happened he went for broke. He had pretty much emptied our house and stole my car, not once, not twice, but three times. It was probably more than that. I was just too exhausted to hear the car leaving. Anyway, he wound up in jail. I was still calling rehabs and local government agencies. I spoke to a women who was finally able to secure him funding simply because I said the magic words: “He’s being released from jail.”
He got an unheard-of-to-my-ears 90 days at the Post House in Pemberton, New Jersey on a funding program for inmates. He stayed 75 days, did great, looked great, and then walked out with four others after he reported to staff that someone had brought drugs in. He was told “those that want to be here will do the work. Let the chips fall where they may!” Well, fall they did, right back to Camden, New Jersey!
The lesson is to know your insurance policy, what’s covered or not covered, and pay for the best that you can afford. But don’t stop there. Fight with them to get what you paid for. Don’t ever say or think, not my kid! because peer pressure is a deadly thing and kids think their invincible and it won’t happen to them. Don’t just say, “Don’t do drugs,” tell them side effects, the pitfalls , the dirty, ugly side of addiction and what it does to them and their families, who it turns them into. Be real, be honest, be as graphic as possible. But above all, continue to love them, Speak life into them, and hold on to your faith no matter how many times your tested. You will hate them and love them at the same time. Hold on to the love.
He is working his program and taking care of things from the past four years that may affect his future for years to come. I just tell him, “take it one thing at a time.” As long as he has a goal he can work toward and stays focused.
Dad is no longer in my picture and continues to deflect and shift blame for his addictions. I try not to focus on what could have been or should have been, and I am thankful for today. Sometimes it gets the best of me, and I just weep for all that is gone. Then I dust myself off and keep moving forward.
The longer the secret lies in the dark, the longer the chaos will continue. Speak life and keep your faith. Make sure everything you do is about the business of bringing light into the dark.