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Parenting Tight Rope...

I have a friend who I have known for the last twelve years. We met when our sons were in preschool together. We had no idea then that we were being introduced because we were going to have some pretty hard roads to walk down together. We didn’t know it then but both of our boys had issues. Maybe we might have had an inkling, I know that I did, but we still had the delusion of youth on our side, theirs and ours. They were only four. I mean how much can really be known about a four year old? And today, I am super grateful that I didn’t know what the next twelve years would hold for either of us. Seriously, I think I would have just killed myself then.


So we have trudged a very hard parenting path that has been really a parallel life of tight rope walking...daily. We have weathered school and medication issues, IEP nightmares, psych hospitals, short term residential treatment centers, therapists, treatments, parenting groups, and so, so many sleepless nights. You name it we have been through it. Oddly enough both of our son’s landed in long term treatment at about the same time. It is like the universe knew in 2008, “hey these two women are really going to need each other...let’s make this friendship stick.” And it has. We have called each other crying, hysterical, numb, angry, despondent and at the end of our tethers so many fucking times.


She is the best mom I know. There is no one that has done more research, has dedicated her life to getting her son help, who has given, set boundaries, come up with strategies and plans and ideas. I know of no one else, to include myself that has done more. No one.


After sixteen months in a pretty locked down residential facility, her son was stepped down to a less restrictive place because he was doing so well. She and her husband visited him in his new “home” and had a great time. And then after they left, her son went AWOL and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. That was last Monday. There have been a few sightings and reports but they really have no information, other than he is in the wind and not reachable.


My heart is breaking. I love this kid. I have known him since he was four. He knows my kids. He has slept at my house, I have camped with him, hiked with him, been to the beach with him. He is not my son, but he kind of feels like it. He is one of the most creative and funny kids. He is smart and a little eccentric. He is just amazing and very sick.


I want to help but there is nothing I can do but pray. Pray that he hit a bottom and find something inside himself that is worth saving. Pray that his parents are not destroyed in the process. Pray for God’s will to be done and the courage to live with whatever that is. To show up for my friends and love them through this most difficult time.


Addiction is fucking awful. It grips the addicted from the inside and holds them hostage in their own bodies, a slave to their addled and confused minds. They are alway so sure that this time it will be different, and they are right. It just keeps getting worse and worse until they are locked away - be it jail, a psych hospital or the morgue. This is the end for all addicts who cannot or will not get sober. And it hurts for all who witness their demise.


Why can’t we love them into loving themselves? Why isn’t our love enough? Seems like as a parent you should be afforded an opportunity, or ability anyway, to love your child enough to save their life. But we aren’t. We can only love ourselves enough to know when it is time to let go. To let the person that we love more than anything, go do what they need to do to be done. Knowing that there is nothing you can do to stop them, reason with them or change their self destructive downward spiral. I cannot stress how much this sucks.


The feeling of this kind of powerlessness is overwhelming. It threatens to take you under. It is something that feels like it is going to choke the life out of you, it sits on your heart and stabs it repeatedly, each blow almost stopping your breath, but then hope rushing in to ensure that you give it one more go, yourself falling prey to the addict’s mantra: “this time it will be different.”


I can do nothing to save her son anymore than I can save my own. Both boys are going to have to find a way out of their own best ideas and there are no guarantees. I am powerless over alcohol and drugs regardless of who is taking it.


So all I can do is pray for God’s grace and will to be done. To align myself and my will with whatever that is and trust that all of this is happening for a reason. And it is never the reason I think it is.


I do know, because I have experienced first hand, the power of collective prayer, so I am asking all of you to say a prayer for my friend and her son. Pray that God’s will will not make too hard of terms. That her son can find a way to get out of his way and begin to live this most amazing life he has been given. And that his parents be given strength as they walk the very treacherous parenting tight rope between hope and fear.




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