I just read a great book called, The Girl in The Red Coat, by Kate Hamer - it was about a girl who was abducted. The author talked about both the mother's journey and the child's journey (if you're looking for a good read, I recommend it, it was an interesting twist an abduction theme). What struck me is I really understood what the mom was feeling. I think as moms we all feel this at times, those times in our kids' lives when they move toward independence. I think that is one of the reasons why these stories are so frightening, not only are we all terrified of losing our children, we see the reality that we will indeed lose our children. That's where I am. I lost my child for a year to drugs. One of the things I was so scared about, happened (not the drugs - didn't see that coming, but about my kiddo disappearing).
It was when I read this book that it hit me. The year he was doing drugs, selling drugs, stealing -- doing all the stuff that drug addicts do to keep themselves in drugs, he was not my son. He looked like my son, he was still living in my house, but he wasn't that sweet boy we raised. That boy that loved baseball, who would sit and put his head on my shoulder just to be near me, the kid who would talk to me (granted about baseball, and I learned how to talk that language for him). That boy was gone for a year. And my heart was broken. He was essentially abducted from our lives by drugs.
We couldn't find him.
Drugs wouldn't, couldn't stop their hold on him.
He had no power to leave this stronger, meaner, horrible captor.
He was lost to us.
He was lost to himself.
We did all the things we thought to do to find him again. Private school, drug tests, give him a car, take the car away, ground him, stop giving him money, keep him from his friends.
But the drugs always won.
We didn't give up. At times, I admit I wanted to. It was too painful to care when he did not.
Thankfully, we found an enthusiastic sobriety program. Thankfully Jake has embraced it. Thankfully he's been sober for almost 8 months now.
Even though it's been 8 months, it's only been in the last month or so I've seen glimpses of the 'real' Jake, not that drug ladened impostor. Every time I see the 'real' Jake, my Jake, my heart soars. For my birthday, he asked with that charming half crooked smile if I could take him to lunch so we could spend time together, he had the grace to say that if he had some money, he'd take me. But, while this might seem like a sucky present, he knew that really time with him was all I needed to make my birthday special (yes time with my other son too -- but these posts lately have been about our journey with addiction). We went out, we talked, we actually talked about some of his experiences with drugs, I talked about my sadness - it wasn't upsetting to either of us, just honest discussion. We also talked about silly things. It was lovely.
I know I will lose him again to adulthood. and that's coming sooner than later. That feels less gut wrenching. It feels right, because he will come to visit, he will grow, he will be the strong independent charming leader that was his original destiny, because he is no longer doing drugs.
That is, if the menacing black monster of drugs doesn't get hold on him again. This terrifies me more than Jake flying into adulthood (mistakes and all). For now I will take the gift of our precious Jake's return to our lives. Each day I'm given this gift, I am thankful.