Dark Tunnels

This is a link to a post I wrote to my son 3  1/2 years ago.  It was his birthday and I was so happy to see him happy because over the past 10 years his life has led him down very dark tunnels. There was no light at the end of the tunnels he traveled.  Sometimes I was so afraid  that at the end of one of those tunnels he wouldn’t be able to find his way back.

You see, my son is a heroin addict.  Through his addiction I learned a lot about myself.   Therapy helped me with that.  I learned that I was his #1 enabler.  I learned that I used his addiction as an excuse for all my problems.  I learned that there was nothing I could do to save him and I learned how horrible addiction is.   Unfortunately it took many years for me to learn these things.

In the mean time I helped fuel his addiction.  I know that some people will tell me that it was his choice to be an addict.  That it wasn’t my fault.  Maybe so but all the help I thought I was giving him was partly for myself.  It was easier to give him a $20 bill than to have him beg for it.  It was easier to give him what he wanted than to face the fact that he was an addict.   It was just easier to withdraw into myself and just pretend the whole thing wasn’t happening.

I remember when the book “A Million Little Pieces”  was published. It became a best seller recommended by Oprah. ” A Million Little Pieces   is a memoir by James Frey. It tells the story of a 23-year-old alcoholic and drug abuser and how he copes with rehabilitation in a Twelve steps oriented treatment center. While initially promoted as a memoir, it was later discovered that many of the events described in the book never happened”.

I could have written that book because all those events happened to my son and our family.  Maybe not the exact same ones but still, the last 10 years was very similar to what happened to James Frey and very similar to what happens in the families of most drug addicts. If I told the story of my son’s addiction you might not believe it.  You would wonder “How could those things happen to a family?’.  The horrible part is that those terrible things happen to all addicts AND their families.

Right now my son is in a halfway house and has been clean for almost 6 months.  He has been and is still going through a very intensive 12 Step Program.  He has been in detox and some short-term programs but nothing like what he is doing now.  My heart still stops for a second when the phone rings and I see that it’s him.  I am still afraid that I will answer and he will be at the other end crying and telling me he wished he were dead, or worse, it will be the police telling me he IS dead but thankfully for the last 6 months he tells me he is doing well and he is working hard to become a better man and for the first time I believe him.






17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Peter Parkour
    Jan 22, 2012 @ 16:08:34

    I love you, Joan. (((((HUGS)))))

    I know, you know, I know. 😉


  2. Doraz
    Jan 22, 2012 @ 23:01:38

    I have two boys..22 and 18. There is not a day that goes by that I do not get more grey hairs!! I am always telling myself that things will be fine. I need to rely on the way that they were raised, and just smile for whatever comes next. Being involved in your children’s life is what a mom is destined to strive for. You are right up there with the best. 🙂


    • joanharvest
      Jan 23, 2012 @ 13:32:28

      You are right Doraz, you have to be involved in your children’s lives. The problem with my son is I got too involved and I should have let him go when I first discovered his drug problem. Live and learn. Now he and I both know with the help of AA and NA and AlAnon what to do.


  3. Just a Mom
    Jan 22, 2012 @ 23:32:46

    ((((HUGS)))) I am so glad Damon is still on his road to recovery. He should be very proud of himself. And Joan, you should be very proud of yourself for being in recovery as well! I think the family members, and I know this first hand, are sometimes crazier in their disease then the addict is. I hope that made sense.


  4. Claire
    Jan 23, 2012 @ 12:12:14

    Ok, this made me cry. This and the post you linked to, which I’d read before but had forgotten. I know you know why I cried. My heart goes out to you and I know the feelings you are feeling. I know too well the fear of the phone call. I have watched TV news reports of accidents and paused the TV to look at the car, making sure it wasn’t my daughter’s car. God, that fear is a soul-killer. I am so happy for Damon. He, you, your family, are always in my prayers.


  5. joanharvest
    Jan 23, 2012 @ 13:38:55

    I have done the same thing when there was a TV report about an accident. Yes, that fear is definitely a soul killer. Sometimes I wonder how I survived, never mind how Damon survived. You and your family are in my prayers too, Claire.


  6. Joie Lake
    Jan 23, 2012 @ 14:12:18

    I was looking to see if I’d written this tale, as the time frame and stories are so similar. However, seeing that your son has gotten into a good position gives me hope as mine is still in “time out” and waiting to go to a worse one. I’ve finally come to realize it’s his problem and mine is to take back my power and balance. Thanks for sharing yours.


    • joanharvest
      Jan 23, 2012 @ 15:48:37

      Joie, It took me most of that 10 years to realize I had to let him go. Once your son is out in the cold with no food, no way to get drugs and no one to help him hopefully he will seek help for himself. I’ll say a prayer for you and your family.


  7. starlaschat
    Jan 26, 2012 @ 09:53:37

    This post brought tears to my eyes and my heart. Thank You for sharing your experience with us. I will add your Son to my prayers. i do believe in miriacles I can’t spell but now would be a fine time for one. It takes my breath away to think of the pain on all sides its amazing what can be endured in Life.


  8. Care
    Jan 28, 2012 @ 17:59:45

    Joan, I think you are swell and I’m glad you are learning through this and Damon is on the path towards managing his addiction. Is managing the right word? It sounds wrong but I hope it is accurate? Card coming in February!! and it might have a word or two about a beach visit. If I don’t come by MY boat this year, I will come by the New Bedford ferry. 🙂


    • joanharvest
      Jan 29, 2012 @ 23:30:24

      Care, managing is right because he will always be a drug addict, Hopefully he will stay a drug addict in recovery. That would be great to see you this summer. Hopefully you will make it.


  9. Joy
    Jan 29, 2012 @ 21:02:08

    I think of him so often and really hope he stays on this good path,


  10. duskydi
    Mar 04, 2012 @ 15:10:56

    Love you Joan. xx


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