A recovering addict wrote to me: I was a good friend and fellow drug user with your son. I’ve been clean for three years. Your son was one of the few truly decent addicts I ever met, meaning that he had a kind side that most addicts had already destroyed within themselves. He actually CARED about what his drug use was doing to you, his brother, and his dad. I remember when your father died and you had cancer. He drove over to my apartment and we talked late into the night. But after that, we went out and copped more drugs, came back, used, and he called into work and faked sick.

My reflection: This message above didn’t surprise me, but what did surprise me is that I didn’t see my son’s kind side – not in the moment. I knew his true, good nature was under the heroin use, but my anger, disappointment, and deep sadness blunted my vision. It was hard for me to set my own feelings aside long enough to see his anguish and humanity.

Today’s Promise to consider: Addiction is a confounding illness. The family lives a tortured existence; the addict lives a tortured existence. My son told me that he was filled with guilt, regret, and self-blame. He says that addicts hate themselves for what they are doing to the people around them, despise the destruction they are causing, but they simply can’t imagine a life without drugs. “I never wanted to hurt you, Mom. I love you. But I’m an addict.” Today, I will keep my heart open and know my son is alive, under the drugs.

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4 years ago

It is hard to remember they have a good side because it completely disappears when they are using. My boyfriend was sober when I met him at the end of his IOP. Stayed clean for four years and decided to start smoking weed that led to benzos that the only reason he stopped is the dealer couldn’t get them. $1,000 a week habit because he had anxiety. Then he tried to detox on his own which didn’t go well. I forced him into detox. He got his 30 day chip this week. I love him but I think he relapsed because he wanted too. I’m pissed.

4 years ago

Not sure what to think when they end up in jail. At that point, it isn’t just my “anger, disappointment and deep sadness “ that blunted my vision of my child. Did they loose their humanity or not have it to begin with? It is the criminal behavior that disturbs me greatly and my mind can’t make excuses for the unspeakable immoral behavior. I am glad that your son’s soul was left intact. With our child, I don’t know if the drugs destroyed or simply exposed her broken soul.