I sent a message to a Facebook friend this morning to see how things were going with her and her son, who entered rehab about a week or so ago. She had reached out to me several days ago with some questions and concerns and I was happy to share my thoughts with her.
Being the parent of an addict means you belong to a "club." It's not really a club you want to be in, but you have no choice in the matter. And being in the club means sharing with each other, offering words of encouragement, and helping others cope with what they're going through.
My friend's response to my "How are things going, friend?" question really moved me. So much so that I asked her if it would be alright for me to included an edited version of it here on my blog. She agreed, saying: "If one parent/family member feels supported from those words I would be honored."
Here is her response:
"Life is good. I keep reminding myself that life is good. This is a roadblock. Seeing that sentence 'How are things going, friend?' just made me cry. I'm not really a crier. I'm a private crier. Like I cry in the shower so no one can see. If it's happy tears I'll cry in front of the world but sad/angry/scared tears don't flow readily.
The last week I think I've cried in front of more strangers at Alanon than I care to admit. I cry when someone like you, who I've never met, reaches out to support me. The universe really is so friendly. [The rehab facility] called yesterday to say that [my son] was being moved to the men's house after 6 days in stabilization. I've left 2 VM's for his therapist that haven't been returned yet. I have questions…about his progress and how detox went for him. Not sure how much information they actually share even if [he] put us on the communication update form.
They tell me that phone call days are Saturdays and Wednesdays, so [I'm] hoping that he will be allowed to phone on Saturday. I have so many things to celebrate [with my other kids]. So I find myself on these emotional highs and then processing and grieving so much related to [my son]. I've figured out that for 6 years I've been surviving. Like treading water with my lips just barely out where [my son] is concerned. I was focused moment to moment on every phone ring and text and string of days where I wouldn't hear from him. I was focused and begging for help to anyone that would listen and no one really seemed to know what to do.
Now that he's actually tucked away somewhere where I know where he is and that he is being cared for by professionals 24/7 I'm just having this amazing release of feelings that I've clearly repressed. I also find that I'm feeling very very scared about when he gets out. I've been reading so much about addiction and have immersed myself in the books you spoke of and…his disease will likely relapse after he goes into remission. I don't know how not to be afraid of that. Perhaps I should just allow myself to be afraid of that.
Thank you for checking in. I read your blog posts. I read your FB because it makes me know that you can get to the other side of this and be full of joy and serenity."
Please keep this woman and her son in your thoughts and prayers. Even if you're not a member of our club. While I am pleased to know that my words have helped her, I believe her words may in turn help others.
That's how the club works.
"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another." --Charles Dickens
P.S. Special thanks to my friend for allowing me to publish her very personal feelings here.