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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Words to a Tweaker on Mother's Day

I live in The Valley of the Spun. For those of you who may have never heard this, Phoenix, The Valley of the Sun , is the Meth capital of the world. The statistic is that one in every four meth addicts gets clean. The rest of them use the drug until they're in prison or dead.

Since I have lived here, I have had the privilege of knowing four meth addicts. I call it a privilege because of what they've allowed me to see: the will of the soul, driving a human to live ; the haze of the soul, dragging a human way past the gutter, into the sewer, where no one ever dreams to go.

I have seen two of these four get clean (for two years now) and I shared in the joy of their success. One is now enrolled in college and the other is working toward a black belt in the Martial Arts. I have seen my cousin complete six months of rehab and return to the real world to find his way. Seeing three out of four meth addicts walk the road to recovery is already beating the statistic... But... recently I have seen, through the eyes of a mother, what it's like to watch a meth addict bottom out.

I have recently become close friends with a mother whose son has been living a life of addiction for fifteen years. There have been moments of hope, moments in time where he worked to recover his life, but there are far more moments of discouragement and despair. As of right now, her son has been gone for six nights, most likely within the den of tweakers. I have walked along side her, as best as I could, during this phase. I have listened to her anger, I have listened to her fear, I have listened to her hopes, and I have held her while she cried. As a mother myself, my heart breaks for her.

She was on my mind throughout most of the day. As I gave gifts to my mother and received gifts from my daughter, I began to wonder how I would feel if my little daughter grew up and ultimately chose drugs over a relationship with me. As I drove home from my visit with my mother, I pondered this further.

I thought about my daughter and what she means to me. I considered my role as protector and teacher and my responsibility to equip her with the skills necessary to survive. If she were to fall into the death trap of meth addiction, I would constantly question where I went wrong.

I thought about my daughter's mind, her intellect. I thought about how much I enjoy watching her grow and develop into an amazing being. I thought about all of the potential joy and success she will have in her life. And then I imagined a pipe in her hand. Then I imagined her dropping out of school. Then I imagined her trodding a careless path, with this guy or that guy, this small crime or that bigger crime, because her mind is completely possessed by a drug. I imagined her pretty little face scabbed over with sores she created herself through nervous twitching, I imagined her gray and gaunt, I imagined her dirty hair and dirty clothes... I went as far as watching her hit the pipe just one too many times, over dose and die in the company of people who will spend more time hiding their shit from the cops then trying to save her life. And as I considered this, my heart sank into my stomach and tears welled behind my eyes.

This can't possibly happen to this beautiful little soul sitting next to me. And if this were to happen, how could I possibly feel it was not somehow my fault? Did I miss something? Did I not teach her self respect? Did I not teach her to value her mind and her life? Why won't she come home? Why doesn't she know I want what's best for her? Why do those that love her mean nothing to her? Why do I mean nothing to her? Why does she mean nothing to herself?

These same questions, I imagine, are questions my friend is constantly rolling over in her mind regarding her lost son. I am watching this woman prepare herself for her son to either land in prison or die, all because he's lost himself to a drug. If there is a demon lurking in the real world, I call it Meth. Complete possession by a drug of any kind is demonic control -- end of story. And this poor woman loses sleep every night because she never knows whether he's coming home or turning up dead somewhere. How far down is bottom? If you're walking around with nothing but the clothes on your back, no money, and no real place to live, is that not bottom already?

My heart breaks for her. Today was Mother's Day and she received no word from her son ...yet again. She talked to me tonight and cried -- the first Mother's Day he has ever forgotten her.

I don't know how to console her. This is a window of life that I've never looked through before. I don't know how to tell her "it will be all right," when there is really nothing indicating that it will be. I don't know how to assure her he'll be ready to change his life, when, again, there's no clear indication he'll want to. I've quit telling her he'll be home soon, because, so far, he never is. My only prayer for her at this point is this:

Please give your mother a belated Mother's Day gift: help the others beat the statistic and be four out of four to get clean. Find a reason to live, go home, get sober, and begin to live.

1 comment:

  1. For a moment there I thought you were writing about me. I also have been dealing with my son's meth addiction for 15 years now. But I don't have friends here in Phoenix yet. I moved here several months ago when my son entered Arizona's state prison system. He will serve a 3.5 year sentence. Without his support, his wife and 20-month old daughter cannot survive on her limited income. As his mother, all I can do is pray for him and hope that this will be the last time. His final bottom. I hope your friend has a good support group around her, because it's a painful process to go through. I need to get back to my blogging for families of addicts. Thank you for the nudge.