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??