We are a family in recovery, almost 2 years. My son is almost 24 and entered treatment that day in 2015 after an intervention I held to save his life. That’s the day I committed myself to sobriety too, to change our family trajectory, our family story, to break the cycle and to devote my life to helping families who have been impacted by addiction on the path of recovery.
We’ve been open with our journey on social media ever since I attended the Facing Addiction Concert. I began with a blog post ending the silence about addiction in our family the day after the concert.
There are many layers to that story that have unfolded over the two years since the first break of silence.
Today we are celebrating the good life in recovery and doing what we can to guide and help others. My prayer is still “May my love and my voice be weapons of mass destruction against addiction.”
The 2015 Story
“What is the story you never tell?” She asks.
I look away. I take a breath.
“It’s a long story.” I say.
In my closet is where my secret story hides. An epic tale of light vs dark. The battle for my voice. The war on my heart.
There is a box that holds my voice that has been silenced. My heart poured out in pencil on paper.
There is the stack of addiction books, the “shelfie” I don’t share on Instagram.
There is my sticky note plan of attack that lines my closet walls.
This is the side of my heart I don’t share on Facebook.
This is my soul mission in development. My own underground movement.
This is my grief.
I granddaughtered in addiction.
I daughtered in it.
I was active in it in college.
I dated it.
I made love to it.
I know it intimately.
I am fluent in it.
I am a loyal friend to it.
I married it.
I divorced it.
Now, I mother it.
It’s a disease that has tried to kill me but what it doesn’t know is that instead of killing me it has made me strong. It has made me powerful.
I fight for my life, my heart, my joy. For Love. For Peace. For Happiness.
For the lives of my children. For the lives of my friends.
I am undergoing aggressive training for battle.
There is a great power on my side.
A great power in my heart.
There is an altar, where hope is born every morning on my knees.
One day at a time.
I light candles to honor the love and the pain that burns my heart.
These are my prayers.
May I be well, happy and peaceful. May no harm come to me….
May they be well happy and peaceful. May no harm come to them…..
Our Father who art in Heaven.
Thy will be done.
Hail Mary full of Grace.
Today, I am battling my son’s addiction.
It’s a daily battle.
Some days he fights for his life and he shines.
Some days he gives into to the demon and I weep.
He is 22.
I still check to see if he is breathing.
I look into his eyes with love and hope and all the tenderness I had when he was a newborn baby, a happy go lucky kid, a boy of promise, heart, sensitivity, big love, of brotherhood and spirit. I know that boy is in there.
I know he is not his addiction.
He is my Golden Boy.
It’s a secret. It’s NOT a secret. No one knows. Everyone knows.
Addiction thrives in silence. In secrecy. In the dark. In the night.
Hidden in the basement, behind closed doors and closed lips.
“Don’t tell. Don’t tell. Don’t tell.” They plead.
“Help me. Help us. Help.” They plead.
“I’m lost.” They whisper in the night.
“I am too.” I whisper back, “you are not alone.”
I love him. My lost, addicted, scary son.
I love them.
These lost, addicted, scary children.
They haunt me the lost children. The eyes and hearts of parents, sisters, brothers, friends of the beautiful, lost, scary children, haunt me too.
Today is the day the silence ends.
I don’t want to wait for a successful recovery story or death to speak up and speak out.
Today is the day the silence ends.
I am unhooking from a pattern of secrecy and silence.
Today is the day the silence ends and I tell the story of a mother’s heart, a daughter’s heart, a woman’s heart, a lover’s heart, the heart of a friend.
Today is the day the silence ends and I tell the Truth.
The Truth is my only Hope.
We have the disease.
My son is a person in recovery from addiction.
In August 2015, I planned a surprise for his 22nd birthday.
I invited his family and friends to write love letters. I invited them to share with him how much he is loved.
This is not my son.
This is not his face.
This is not his heart.
“Tough love,” say the people who have never worn the shoes that I wear.
“Kick him out.” Say the people who don’t understand my mother heart.
“He has to decide for himself,” they say, “or it won’t work.”
He has a disease. A disease that affects his brain.
“How can HE decide?” I wonder.
“He can’t,” I decide. He may not live another day.
And so I throw him an Intervention for his birthday.
This is the story I haven’t told.
This is the day I end my silence.
And With this I pray
“May my love and my voice be weapons of mass destruction against addiction.”