Wednesday, July 6, 2011

We are total wusses

Over the last several hours, the text messages between my son, my wife, and I have been flying back and forth. I know. That sounds strange. I can hear people asking, "Why don't they talk to each other?" And other people are saying, "Hey, you don't even have a cell phone. How are you texting your son?" Well, in answer to the first question, texting is just how my son prefers to communicate. (Maybe it's his anxiety disorder.) And in answer to the second question, I can send and receive text messages using my laptop. So, now that that's out of the way...

My son was digging his heels in for hours, saying he wasn't going to a shelter. He wanted a ride to his friend's apartment. We said no to the ride to his friend's, but said we'd consider giving him a ride to a shelter. So he continued texting us about how miserable he was. How he had this huge pile of stuff and was sitting in a park and had nowhere to go and couldn't even go to the bathroom because he couldn't leave his stuff to find somewhere to go. And how he had called a bunch of people, but no one could give him a ride. Etc.

After hours of this, he finally called at around 10:30pm and asked if we could come and get him. We could take him wherever we wanted to take him, he said, but he didn't want to spend the night in the park. At this point my wife called the homeless shelter in Ann Arbor that the program director had recommended. Unfortunately, the intake person at the shelter said they couldn't accept our son because he isn't a resident of Washtenaw County (where Ann Arbor is located). The person on the phone was very apologetic, but explained that recent budget cuts prevent them from taking in non-residents.

We did a quick Internet search for homeless shelters in Wayne County--where we live and where the three-quarter house is--but most shelters we came up with were located in Detroit. Now, no offense to the city of Detroit, but the three-quarter house program director cautioned us against sending our son to any shelter in Detroit. "He won't make it there," he told us.

Out of options, my wife and I caved. We decided we'd go get our kid and his stuff, bring him back home for tonight, and start looking for somewhere else for him to go tomorrow. He only needs to be somewhere else until Monday, assuming he refrains from using drugs or alcohol for the next four days. The program director said that if our son comes back on Monday and his drug levels have decreased--meaning he hasn't used again--that they would take him back, although he would be put in a different house than he was in before.

So, right now my wife is on her way to the other side of town to pick our son up. I'm home, feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, defeated, and physically ill. In fact, I've felt like throwing up for the last five hours or so. This situation is something no parents should have to go through. As much as we wanted to stick to our guns and be hard-asses about what happened today, we ended up wussing out yet again. I guess the thought of our kid sleeping in a park with most of his possessions, nowhere to piss or shit, no money, and no food to eat was too much for us to handle. Maybe we're just not strong enough. We have a lot of will power when it comes to certain things, but it turns out we couldn't do what we said we were going to do this time. For better or worse, the fear of what could've happened to our son got the best of us.

It's so fucking hard being the parent of an addict. Seriously. I do not recommend it if you want to keep your sanity. Please go easy on us.


  1. You love him. You're not wusses. This has to be damn hard.

    I wouldn't point him toward Detroit either. I'd have brought him home.

    No money, though. Not a dollar for a vending machine; I'd feed it in myself.

    That's bizarre about the shelters. They're for people who don't have a residence, right? So how can they have a residency requirement? Hmph.

    A LOT of parents I know find it easier to text than talk! Even in the same house! Shoot, *I* find it easier to text than talk. Whatever, it's communication.

    Be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with yourself.


  2. Tough love and compassion can be practiced at times together, but often blur our future decisions. I hope you and your family the best as they assist Sam on his road to lasting recovery. peace and hugs, bob grimmer

  3. You are doing the best you can with what you know right now.

    I had a similar experience, tried to get our son into Dawn Farm, an excellent program, but you have to be in Washtenaw county.

    In retrospect, nothing would have stopped our son from his 10 year heroin run. Not tough love, not compassion, not unconditional love. He had to get himself.

    Do your best, support your spouse, pray, don't dwell on the past, find joy in your life. That's my best advice. It's a long haul, but my "hopeless" kid finally made it. Don't give up.


  4. Sorry I didn't see this till today, I've been too busy feeling like I am going to throw up! It is the toughest battle of life. It sucks. Its horrible. As always, I like what Lou said. My heart is with you and your wife. Post an update soon ok?