There is no reprieve from worry when my son is actively using. Last week he was psychotic. He called and texted nonstop asking for money and rides and food and cigs. When my husband and I said “no” he made threats against us and threatened self-harm. When we offered rehab or detox, he said he’d rather die and explained in graphic terms how he would kill himself. Then, as though realizing what he had said, he would send angry texts telling us not to call the police that he wasn’t going to hurt himself. It was a long chaotic week, until Thursday when he went silent. That was the day he received a check from the sale of his house. With no job and a divorce after his relapse nine months ago, he had no choice but to allow his wife to sell it. So now the constant harassment has stopped, but the worry hasn’t. With over a thousand dollars in his pocket, I wonder exactly what damage he will do to himself and what new crisis he will have created by the time the money runs out. There is no trajectory except a downward spiral when he is actively using meth.
When he is fighting me and harassing me, I worry but I’m strong. I fight for sanity and calm during the chaos, I’m in defensive mode. But this silence makes me worry too. There is nothing to do, nothing to fight against, so my thoughts run rampant. I wonder if there is a way to save him from the complete disaster his life has become. I wonder what he will want from us when the money runs out. I wonder if he will survive this week.
I believe I should help the suffering and give to those who have less than I do. But I must remind myself that this is a situation where my giving and my help won’t save him and will ultimately destroy my son and me. The line I walk, as an addict’s mom, is tenuous and difficult to navigate. I know that sobriety is best accomplished when supported by family and loved ones, but I also know help might allow him to continue his addiction. The money I might be tempted to give could buy the drugs that kill him. So, I worry about how to let him know I’m here when he is ready to really fight for his life, but at the same time not provide help that will enable him to continue his addiction. I also want to protect myself from the emotional abuse I receive when he’s not working on his sobriety. Being available, but not being sucked into the drama is hard.
So, I worry about walking that fine line, to be involved enough to help save his life if he will let me and but not enough to let it destroy me if he chooses not to get sober. To combat the worry, I read Naranon literature and books on detachment. I write and I exercise and plan activities I will enjoy. I fight the sadness and the worry with activity. Some days I win and some days the sadness and worry consume me. On those days I forgive myself and try again the next day. I try, every day, to live my life fully even while my son destroys his.