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The start of my son’s addiction
Many of you have read my blogs about my older son’s addiction and how it has been a battle for him before he was in middle school. He will be 41 this year.
I divorced his dad when he was 3 and moved in with the man I am now married to. This was not an easy transition and there was tension between my husband and my son for years. I discovered and noticed his change in behavior and found out from our neighbors that he was playing with fire in the yard when I was at work. I decided to get him in counseling at a young age to see what could be causing the negative behavior.
It became a roller coaster ride for years
Since he started at a young age and had two grandfathers who were alcoholics, the counselors said this could possibly double his chances of becoming an addict. As he got older he went between alcohol and marijuana and later to heroin and meth.
It seemed like his cravings were not satisfied and so he always wanted more. As time went on depression, paranoia and anxiety became a major part of his life, making it harder for him to find sobriety.
As a mom, I prayed for his safety as he lived on the streets for years and I did not want to get that phone call that parents worry about. It was so hard to let go and not enable him. Being co-dependent I want to fix people and things that are out of my control.
He overdosed several times and with the grace of God, he was brought back to life. It felt like a part of me was dying and it is up to THEM to admit they have a problem and that they truly want the help they need. Many have to hit rock bottom, in order to realize that. As I mentioned he was in and out of rehab for YEARS!
He was doing fine and had even purchased a car, and then a lady truck driver ran him off of the freeway and his car rolled over into the bushes. He had some back problems and did not tell the doctor he was an addict, so he became addicted to the painkillers. He received a good-sized settlement from the accident that he was able to live on for almost a year.
Admitting he was an addict and did not want to live that way anymore
This is the 3rd part of my son’s final journey to recovery. In part 2, I mentioned that he was admitted to St. Joseph’s Behavioral Center in Manteca, CA., as paranoia was consuming his life, and he was feeling suicidal. God saved him again and put him in a safe place where they tested him for numerous behavioral evaluations and put him on appropriate medications and continued to evaluate and adjust the medication to what would work for him.
This is what I prayed for when I decided to do the “tough love” approach. I told him he needed to get counseling, find a sponsor, and be checked for conditions he might need medication for.
He seemed like my old son who when he is clean and sober, is a very caring and giving person, who would give you the shirt off his back. He loved the facility and people there, and had not seemed that positive and hopeful in YEARS! He took some classes for the next few weeks, and then they would find him a facility to go to that was open, in order to finish his road to recovery!
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Luckily, they found him an opening in Valley Recovery Center in Fair Oaks, California, which is a suburb of Sacramento where we live. Since the pandemic, I found out it is permanently closed, which is so sad! He was lucky that he had good insurance now to be able to get the care he needed.
He was here for several months and then they moved him with 3 other men to an apartment complex, next to the facility. He was living off of the money he received from the accident settlement.
“I am not defined by my relapses, but by my decision to remain in recovery despite them.” – Anonymous
Moving on from rehab back into society again
He was in the apartment for several months and then the money was running out as it was quite expensive. He did not want to go back on the streets, and so I mentioned Loaves and Fishes, as it had a great reputation.
He liked being there for a while and then said it was too crowded, so went to Volunteers of America. I was afraid he would be tempted to go back to his old ways and was relieved when Governor Newsome provided housing for the homeless for FREE.
He purchased a bike to ride and enjoyed living by himself. They did move him around alot and then the one he is in now is the longest, and the owner was happy to keep him as a tenant as he didn’t cause problems, and continued to stay clean and sober. The medication had taken away the paranoia and urges.
He continues to go to AA, still has a sponsor, and at the end of last year found a job, and was able to make enough money to pay off most of his DUI fines. The job was temporary and due to COVID, he decided to take a few months off, as he had saved enough money to live on for a while.
My other son and I visit him and since I am fully vaccinated, we hope to be able to let him visit at our home again, and come over for the Holidays.
Learning the ups and downs of life and how to deal with it
I love him and am so proud of him and with God’s guidance, I hope he finds peace and the strength to stay clean and sober. He now says he looks forward to getting up each day and doing things that are productive and he feels he has a purpose in life and serves God any way he can.
I decided to share my son’s story and write a book. He will co-author with me to give his story as he saw it and then my story as a daughter of an alcoholic, being co-dependent, and how I dealt with my son’s addictions through the years.
I am including a Goodbye Letter ( To Addiction) that he just wrote while in the Evaluation Center:
“Dearly departed; (drugs & alcohol) – The time has come to say to you. The damage is done through and through. In the beginning, you lured me in, and I usually gave in, time and time again. We’ve shared many good and bad times together, and no matter what, I still thought you’d make life better. However, you led me astray more often than not. In your deceptive web of lies, I was caught. You attempted to keep me down…made me feel hopeless, lost, and bound. From the start, your intention was to steal, kill and destroy… my health, ambition, purpose, and joy. You make me think you were here to help, but you made me lose my entire sense of self. Even though you think you’re really smooth, I have come to realize how you’ve distorted the truth. From here on now, when you plan your sneak attack, you won’t take me down again, for the Lord has my back. Goodby dearly departed, I must bid you adieu…we’ve had quite an experience together, but now we’re through! Signing off unregretfully, a new creation in Christ Jesus!”
Signs to look for if you think a friend or loved one has an addiction
- Changes in behavior or personality
- Being irritable
- Lack of motivation
- Lose concern over their personal hygiene
- Slurred speech
- Change in their daily routine
- Financial problems, the need for money, or stealing from people they know
- Eyes that are bloodshot
- Change in their activities and friends
- Calling in sick at work or school
- Sleeping more than usual
- Depression and anxiety
- Constantly caught lying
- Loss of appetite
If we can help other people who have addictions and give them hope and ways to have the strength to get through this, and most of all DO NOT GIVE UP ON THEM, I see it as a purpose in life. It takes a lot of “tough love”, patience, lots of LOVE, and the strength to not enable them, and understand that they have to want to get sober and admit they are an addict before they will move forward in a positive direction.
There will be many times they will relapse which in our case, took years not months, and in and out of many rehab centers. It also takes good insurance, which he had eventually to get the care and help he needed.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline – SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
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Here are 2 other posts to see my son’s full story –
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See you soon! Denise
Posts may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases and collect a small commission at no cost to you. This helps my blog to keep going. Thank you! For more info, read my disclosure policy.
Here are some books that might be helpful from Amazon: