I listened to my son give his testimony to a group of recovering addicts/alcoholics. He was in town for a hearing and attended a recovery group led by a mentor that he met in jail. I am glad I was able to hear it, but it was very painful to listen to. I was filled with immense pride, and immense sadness all at the same time. Pride about the fact that he is trying so hard to turn his life around, and sadness about the toll it has taken on his life. Sadness over the years his addiction has stolen. He spoke of how he started using when he was 16 (I had no idea the depth of his addiction), and that it seemed to be the answer to all of his teenage problems. It seemed to magically cure his shyness, and give him confidence to socialize and meet girls. I guess if I would have found a magic powder to cure my 16 year old insecurities I probably would have fallen victim too. He said he became hooked the first time he used it, and that he had been using until his arrest in May. He went from smoking to injecting, and when he lost job after job, and could no longer buy it, he started making his own. He didn’t sell it, he made it only for his own use. His addiction grew and worsened until he was convinced that he would die with a needle in his arm, and he didn’t care. Death would be a release. He no longer used the drug to get high, he used the drug to feel normal. He couldn’t feel normal without the drug in his system. I was struck, once again, by what an insidious and evil affliction addiction is. So often, it claims its victims when they are young and still believe they are invincible, and won’t become addicted. I’m sure all the forces of evil must take great delight in the lives it has been able to destroy through addiction.
My son confided in me that he has to fight temptation almost every day. Temptation to use again and go back to the living hell that nearly destroyed him. I’m glad that he was open with me about it, because honesty and openness is something I haven’t had from him for a very long time. Addiction is all about secrecy and lies, and he at least is being honest with me now. But it scared the hell out of me to hear him say that he was having to fight so hard against what would surely be a path to his destruction. He is fighting back. Going to 12 step groups almost every evening, and talking to his sponsor. He’s going to church and praying for help to fight his demons. Oh, how I hate addiction. I hate that he will have to fight this every day for the rest of his life. I hate that addiction takes so many promising young lives and destroys them. I mostly hate the fact that I am powerless over its control over my son’s life.
I will not let the fear overtake me. I will continue to hang onto my faith and believe. I’ve seen enough miracles in my son’s life to know that God is helping him fight this battle. He is not alone, and neither am I.