"I am so very proud of the fight he carries on daily."

I panicked at work today. After at least 12 years of loving my youngest son through substance use disorder, I thought I had this down. I usually have my emotions under control and have a realistic yet positive attitude. I am cautiously optimistic each time we get past a year clean. Getting close to two years clean scares me, because we’ve never reached that milestone. I’ve learned that no matter how much I love him and want what is best for him, he will make his own choices. That no matter how much he wants to beat this monster inside of him, sometimes the constant craving inside of him just beats him down. I am so very proud of the fight he carries on daily. Yet I am also constantly waiting for the Sword of Damocles to fall and take my son from me permanently. I over analyze his actions and red flags fly easily. Lies, unreliability, broken promises, and unanswered phone calls or text messages are the major ones. I’m so happy when he has a job, yet I fear him having money.  

This last month has been full of red flags. Saturday evening he went to his grandmother’s house with the intent of mowing her grass and picking blueberries. She is away on a trip. The last text I got from him was that night showing a picture of the grass that needed mowing. Sunday afternoon I sent a text asking if he got many berries. No response. I asked again Sunday evening. No response. This morning I sent another text asking if he is still planning to come cook me dinner this week and introduce me to his girlfriend. No response. I called. The phone rang so I knew it wasn’t dead, but still no response. The horrible feeling of dread was building in my stomach, and I tried to talk myself down. I prayed for him and for me. It wasn’t working this time. I sent a text to my mom’s neighbor, asking her to look and see if the motorcycle was in the driveway or garage. She got back to me and said yes, it’s in the garage. If it wasn’t there, I could have thought he was working and couldn’t answer me, but it was there.  That’s when my fear grabbed me in the gut, and I couldn’t function.  

I broke down at work and a co-worker drove me the 45 minutes to the house to check on him. I was scared to death to walk into that house convinced that I was going to find my son dead from an overdose. He was on the couch barely awake, but not high. I yelled that he needs to answer his phone, and then broke into sobs. I’ve never done that in front of him. I try to stay positive and to not make him feel guiltier than he does. I reached my breaking point today. Today, I feel like it’s never going to end. No matter how long he stays clean, I will always be waiting for the failure. For the call of the drug to be stronger than his will to live.  

This is why I am sharing my story. Some days I can be strong and think positive that he can be one of the thousands who have fought this monster and beat it. Today was not that day.

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