Taking the Bullet

Why do these 20 something boy addicts have to say such hurtful things? Why can’t they see that they are talking to the one person in the world who would stand in front of a train for them. Who would cut off her arm? Take a bullet? All of the clichés apply. I love my son more than life, and-but-and he says things to me that break my heart.

“Don’t take it personally. It’s the disease talking. He doesn’t know what he’s saying.” Yes, I try to abide by that sage wisdom, but still, standing a foot away from him, looking into his deep blue eyes (was his right pupil bigger his left? Something looked strange…) I can’t help but long to throw my arms around him and hold him through the storm. My love for this boy feels unlike any other love in the Universe. And it stuns me that that love doesn’t make anything better. In fact, that love can make things worse.

Facts I’ve learned about addiction: Addiction is a disease of denial. Addiction makes their thoughts all jumbled and confused. They do wrong despite their best intentions. Forgive them they know not what they do. Yes yes YES, I do forgive him. Nothing to forgive, even.

BUT, still. KIDS KEEP DYING.

HOW CAN A PARENT SIT BY, LOVE HER SON, KNOW HE’S TAKING SUBSTANCES THAT CAN KILL HIM…. (remember that 7, count ‘em 7, friends of his died in the past 2 years) …..HOW CAN A PARENT SIT BY AND WAIT FOR THE SHOE TO DROP? WAIT FOR HIM TO “HIT BOTTOM. WAIT FOR HIM TO COME AROUND AND SAY, OH YEAH, YOU WERE RIGHT MOM, I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS THING THAT RELIEVES MY STRESS, THAT MAKES ME FEEL GREAT, AND THAT GIVES ME SUPER HUMAN STRENGTH?

From where I stand right now, there are no good options. No realistic scenarios. I don’t know what to do. Standby? Move in? Love Tough? Love Soft? So many voices telling me this and that. Do this, don't do that. But I'm just me. Right here. Feeling so small, like a tiny dot at my desk, surrounded by all of the suffering in the world. Wrapped in my boy's suffering. He knows he's in pain, deep down. He knows what's going on, deep down. He's calling out for help, somewhere in there. And I can hear his faint cries, but he can't hear himself because there's too much noise.

AND these kids, they keep on dying. And my boy is taking the same drugs that they do. And he wants to be like them. Not the dead ones, but the alive ones who can use all they want and who don't have a selfish crazy parent "controlling their lives."

Can’t I just take that bullet for one of us?

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