I Lost Him

Getting another call from the school to find out that Cliff wasn't in class that day had me reeling by the time I got home. Being a single parent, I often had to work or try to work through the increasingly many phone calls that came my way through the course of a day, week or month. I didn't have a job with flexibility that allowed me to bolt when I wanted to go on a hunt.

Never knowing, absolutely never knowing what I was going to walk into often had my teeth on edge and my blood boiling overtime. That day was no different. Finally getting home my eye glanced quickly around the house and I knew Cliff hadn't yet been home.

Speed walking to the park located behind our complex I had a feeling I might find him there. Lo and behold, I could see him across the way talking to a couple of guys on bicycles. Suddenly hauling my full-figured arse across the park, I was determined to catch up to all of them. I thought I was running like the wind and looked like O.J. Simpson in the car rental commercial when, in fact, I probably sounded and looked like Refrigerator Perry (football ladies, football) herding across the field. No matter which, I was determined to get my hands on someone today. It felt like Cliff was slipping through my fingers like liquid jello and I was trying so hard to hold it all in my cupped hands.

Once the bike riders saw me approaching, they took off FAST. When I reached Cliff it was clear that he was on something; I just didn't know what it was and he wasn't talking. I became more angry and enraged as he didn't divulge any information. Cliff was still, in some ways, my son. He didn't argue back and he didn't take off when I told him we were getting in the car and going to the police station. Maybe he couldn't argue back or take off. Maybe whatever he was on had him so disconnected that he didn't give two cents about what I was "waaa, waaa, waaaing" about at the time. I still felt though, that I had a little bit of a chance with Cliff. At home he didn't always argue, and he was somewhat cooperative at times but his toes were on the edge of the world looking down into the ravine.

Dragging him with me into the police station, we were escorted into a detective's office and asked to wait a few minutes. About three minutes later a sergeant came in and asked how he could help me. I said, "I brought my son here because I just caught him in the park and he's been using something. He's skipping school, doesn't come home when he should and most of the time I can't tell you where he is." Silence for a full thirty seconds. Then the bomb dropped.

"What do you want me to do, lady?"

I want you to tear my heart out now and feed it to a bear. I want you to pull my fingernails out one by one and let me scream forever. I want you to put me out of my misery, please!

"Can't you put him in community service or something? Can't we do something??"

"Sorry, lady. If he hasn't been court ordered, we don't have any program or right to require him or force him to do anything."

Feeling so utterly frustrated that day, we went home. Cliff began to go further and further out, with less and less regard for me, for the rules of our house and most importantly less regard for his own life.

I lost him that day. Shortly after that encounter, we began our trip of being court ordered for many things that never seemed to really be enforced. The system tells you what you must do and what the repercussions will be but it seems that even those consequences are rarely backed up until you step over the line to the point of incarceration.

It's the criminal behavior that gets noticed and managed. Not the addiction. He's free to continue in his addiction as long as he does it without getting noticed.

Have we made any progress in treating this sickness??


Lou said...

You touched a nerve..I remember the day I knew I had lost Andrew. It's bittersweet now, because the road has stretched so far.We still have those days..no moments..when your kid says something to you and you see he is still in there.
Savor one of those moments today, and praise God they are alive.

Trailboss said...

My son was very much like yours. He never argued with me, never talked back but now he is 'out there.' I hear from time to time and lately he "says" he is not taking anything. When he was 15 he too was starting to go the wrong way w/his choice of friends, etc. I was able to quit my job and stay home w/him for about a year. The first thing I did was take him to a place in town to talk to someone. He was put on 'probation' by this place after he signed an agreement between him and my husband and myself. The agreement was that he would not skip school, use drugs, etc. If he did and was caught he would have to do quite a bit of community service. It worked but just for the time we had control over him. He is now 26 and as far as I know still out of control. He seems to be coming back to us some, maybe having the shit beat out of him last week and the possibility of a felony hanging over his head will help. Time will tell. I do feel you pain. I hate it with you.

Barbara B. said...

How incredibly frustrating. The 'system' is definitely broken and in need of fixing. I guess the first step is people like you raising awareness...

Pam said...

Hi Laura, I'm always so glad when you come by my blog. I never ask people if I can put them on my blog roll, if I read 'em I link 'em. You're just polite ;)
By all means...link away.

Heather said...

Laura, you've struck a nerve. (Not in a bad way.) We addicts are viewed as losers by the majority of society. Most perceive that we have no self-control, we're reckless, uncaring, lower functioning, not worth the effort to save.....you get the picture. I cannot imagine how painful it must be as a parent to deal with a child that's an addict. I only know what it's like to hate myself for my inability to graduate from addiction. Try to always remember that addiction is an illness. If I could control my desire to use, I wouldn't be sick anymore. I never needed anyone to tell me how lost I was...I was painfully aware everytime I looked into my own vacant eyes in the mirror.

Praise the Lord for His infinite grace and mercy! I no longer see that stranger in the mirror. I see myself now. Maybe with a lot of prayer, Cliff can find himself, too.

In the meanwhile, try to hold onto the happier memories and let those with the weight of guilt, regret and pain go. {{{Hugs to you}}} If I could, I would so pinch a piece of this joy out of my heart and lend it to Cliff. Since I can't, I'll just continue to pray.

indistinct said...

At one point, we had our addicted child committed into a psych ward, after a suicide attempt. They let him go after two day, back into our home. We were so scared. We didn't know what to do.

Like you, we looked around, who can help us? There was no one there. Can't force the addict into anything.

But I can place this child into God's hands. Trusting in my Higher Power, letting go of my expectations. I have to practice this each day.

As I read your entries, I resonate with you. Your pain, your frustration, your trust in God.