Earlier this week I posted on facebook, nothing unusual about that except this post at the last count had 477 likes and 338 comments. A couple of days later and I continue to feel overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, connection and comments shared. I’ve never been one to measure by numbers, as Mother Teresa famously said “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”
Yet this post touched so many and is an integral piece to this Year of my Soul that I decided to share it here in the hope that you too will find the courage to speak up and share your truth.
Prayers for my son
You may not know him, not many people do. For several years he has pretty much secluded himself following the deaths of his grandparents – my parents.
My son never really grieved the loss, instead turned first to drink, then drugs and self harm to mask his deep pain.
These loses were purely the trigger that took him over the edge. He’d lost faith, in himself and in life.
I rarely talk about addiction because of the immense amount of stigma, judgement and ignorance that’s attached to it and so generously handed out. Instead I quietly chose to learn about what leads someone to walk this path.
As children we were often judged by family, teachers and other figures of authority, often to the extent that we takke these opinions into ourselves, leaving us feeling shameful, robbing us of fully owning those aspects of our soul.
Caitlin Matthews says
“One of the problematic aspects of soul loss is that when human beings lose a vital part of themselves, they resort to substitutes to ‘fill the gap.’ This often leads to addictions”.
And so the downward spiral commences……… just over 2 years ago my son tried to take his own life. A cry for help and when the (professional) help wasn’t readily available in his desperate time of need the only thing he could think to do to soften his pain was to self medicate.
Without personal experience, very few of us can imagine the extent of the pain and anguish this causes for parents watching their child abuse themselves in this way.
And so the downward spiral continues………yet if you were to meet my son, you would never know the extent of his pain or the severity of his addiction. He is a high functioning addict – a far cry from the stereotypical image the media typically portrays of druggies living rough on the streets, thieving and turning to crime to feed their habit.
According to Dr Gabor Mate, ’emotional loss and trauma is at the core of addiction’, many addicts are from decent, loving families.
But even high functioning addicts slowly decline.
And herein lies the massive challenge as a parent of an adult child, I cannot live his life for him. I cannot make him better.
And so the downward spiral contracts……….until one day, your son says ‘I need help’. You’ve heard it before and you taken them to appointments, wanting the bloody nightmare to go away. But nothing really changes because you can’t help them, they have to help themselves. And that place is when the downward spiral gets so tight, there is nowhere else to go.
This time last week when I heard him utter those three words ‘I need help’ I knew something was different. His voice quivered. He had chosen a new path.
Today, anxious and afraid I took him to the airport, it’s the first day of the rest of his life. A fresh start, to reconnect and restore that beautiful lost soul. This step has taken enormous amounts of courage on his part and he has had to face the ultimate surrender in giving up his home, his income, his car and other possessions as he moves away to begin this healing process in a safe and caring environment.
You may not know him but please hold him in your thoughts and prayers.
Gratitude, love and thanks to Richard Wilkins and Brett Moran for your gentle support.