Our Son’s Story

I feel like I’m stuck in the middle of a nightmare that doesn’t end and I can’t wake up and I feel unable to direct how it plays out. I’m the parent of a drug addict. An addict that has messed up his life so badly that I fear he could decide that suicide is the best answer. He has been in and out of jail, stolen from people he would have never stolen from before. His addiction has taken a hold on him and caused him to do things that ‘normal thinking’ people can’t believe someone would do. My son hit a huge low/rock bottom a couple of weeks ago, which in turn, has caused me to hit my huge low/rock bottom. I can’t control when the tears come and they always come when I talk about what happened.

Two weeks ago my son, who was out on Day Parole and living at a Rehab center, decided to accept free drugs from a so-called friend. He overdosed as a result. His friend gave him Meth and Heroin and even though he was doing well in his rehab program, he still choose to do it… He almost died.

I asked him in the hospital, where he lay handcuffed to the bed, “Why would you do this?”

He said, “I just wanted to get high…I didn’t think this would happen.”

I asked him, “Do you think you’re special? Why would hundreds of others die from overdoses, but you’re immune to it?” He had no answer.

He is currently back in prison, hoping to God that he can get out of jail and back into his rehab program. I don’t know what his rehab center will say to him, but it looks pretty bad when you almost die in your bed, while others around you are fighting daily to stay sober. The drugs my son took were laced with fentanyl, the exact same drug that has claimed the lives of 241 people in Alberta this year so far. I know you hear these numbers in the news, but what you don’t hear is that these “people” are someone’s son or daughter, brother or sister, mother or father. These people belong to families. Families that love the addicted family member furiously and would do anything to stop all this. Unfortunately, we can’t do anything to help them, we are completely powerless.

My heart just breaks knowing I can’t do anything. I picked up my sons belongings from his rehab center last week and this week I went through it all. I felt so helpless of the situation that I washed and organized everything so I felt like I was helping him somehow. Maybe for me, it was a form of control or maybe what I did was unhealthy, but I had to do it for me. All the other times he’s gotten into a mess, he’s lost all his belongs, so this was the first time he’s had anything left to show for.

I cried over the half empty cardboard box, with a pathetic amount of clothing and personal belongings in it, but I had to remind myself that he was still alive! That was what counted the most. In his box of belongings, he still has his suit. He told me once that he had received this suit from his rehab, and that someone donated it… I suppose for job interviews?

My husband asked, “Is it for his funeral?”

Every time I look at the suit now, or even think about it, I break down. No one should have to start planning a child’s funeral when they are only 23. I suppose lots of parents have, but how many parents plan for a death before it has actually happened?

How many have to plan for a death that could easily be prevented, if they would just stop doing drugs?

How long will I have to walk around in fear that it could happen today, or tomorrow? Maybe the next day… you just don’t know!

He’s in prison right now, so you think that would help leave me at ease, because at least he is safe in there. It doesn’t help and he’s not safe. There are as many drugs in prison as there is on the street. In fact, it’s almost easier for him, because he doesn’t have to walk as far to find it or be accountable to his family for taking them. I could cut off giving him money in prison, but then I get no phone calls. If he has no money, he will find other ways to get drugs, so I suppose that’s why most of his “pen pack” that I sent him is gone. It’s been used in trade for drugs. (A pen pack is a one-time-only package of clothing, books, radio, tv, etc. that an inmate gets in prison from their family if they choose).

My husband told me the other day he understands why some couples break up when their child dies because ours isn’t even gone and our marriage is under so much pressure he fears that we could split up. I’m so preoccupied I don’t even notice… I’m stuck in this foggy nightmare.

I can’t even imagine what the pain would be like if he dies, because we are “lucky” enough that he is still with us, still in this nightmare, but still have our son alive.

-A Parent

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