THE ENABLER- guest post by Joan Harvest

Writer Chick has been kind enough to let me post some stuff I have been
holding in a long time about my son. I’ve needed to get it out but I didn’t
want him or the family reading it. I feel I can share all of it with you and
even if no one reads it at least it will have helped me to better understand
what happened and what is still happening.

Even now when my cell phone rings and I see it is him calling, my stomach
feels queasy because most times he is calling to tell me something bad has
happened to him. But I’m his mother. I can’t just ignore the call even
though I know whatever he tells me will worry me and I will have a
stomachache for hours until I can talk myself down.

He’s been in Buffalo since last September. At first he was so happy being
there but as winter set in you could hear the depression in his voice. He
got a job as a valet driver. He loved the job but like every job he ever
had he got fired. Of course, it’s never his fault. He always has some excuse
as to why he got fired. I think it was in March that things started to
really go downhill for him. He managed to find a part time valet job but his
girlfriend was getting tired of paying for everything for him. That’s when
he relapsed and did cocaine. I don’t know how many times he did it. He said
just once but he never tells the truth. I have found that even recovering
drug addicts lie. He’s been lying for so long I don’t think he remembers
how to tell the truth or why people should tell the truth.

There is so much to our story I believe I could write a whole book about it
and someday I may. You remember that book “A Million Little Pieces” by James
Frey? Come to find out it was a book he wrote as non fiction but most of it
turned out to be fiction about his so called drug addiction. Everything I
write here happened for real. It includes his addiction to heroin,
prescription drugs, cocaine, crack, and pot. It includes my enabling him to
do these things. It includes temper tantrums, smashed walls, calls to the
police, threats of suicide, two deaths, almost losing my family because I
couldn’t let him go. It includes our house being broken into 4 times. It
includes my son going outside to get in my car to pick me up at work and
being approached by his ex drug dealer, with a gun, looking for money. It
includes my son going cold turkey from heroin and oxycontin at home and
watching him suffer through the worst withdrawals you could imagine, not
once but twice. It includes coming home and finding him sitting on the
bathroom floor surrounded by a million little pieces of his bedroom door.

And I still blame myself. That’s all I can write at the moment. The
memories are too vivid and frightening. I hope to be able to write more
because there is so much to this story. Maybe it will touch just one person
and help them whether they are an addict or a relative or friend of an
addict.

Note from Writer Chick: I greatly admire Joan’s courage in writing this post and I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to visit her wonderful site here.

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25 thoughts on “THE ENABLER- guest post by Joan Harvest

  1. Joan, my heart goes out to you. What a difficult path your son has fallen onto and how very, very traumatic for you. You are a courageous woman and I salute you for the Goddess strength you carry deep inside you. It’s often said that only the truly strong of heart are given such burdens to carry. Still, that’s small comfort at times like these, I suppose, but please know that I’m sending you love and light from Australia just for you, to bolster that big heart so she may keep going and keep carrying on, or maybe even find that courage from somewhere to stop enabling his life as it is. Love and blessings,
    Simonne

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  2. *sigh* Joan . . Joan Joan Joan .. You know I too have been through this (with a sibling), so Im feeling you, Woman. I’m feeling your hearthache, and it saddens me that you have to go through this. That your boy has to go through this. I’m hoping, and praying, and wishing that he’ll come through and see that life could be so much better sober. I’m sending you heaps of happy thoughts and tons of tight hugs.

    Annie, thank you for allowing her to speak. It’s a wonderful thing.

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  3. I know that it is easier said than done but do not blame yourself. We do the best we can but when it comes right down to it, our children must live their lives on their own terms.

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  4. I think it’s wonderful that you have given Joan a safe place to speak and I do hope it will help others. As for Joan, you know – you can only be responsible for a child’s behavior up until a certain age. Conservatively, I would say that by the age of twelve, most know right from wrong and know there could be repercussions for the actions they decide to take. But as a mom, I’m sure you feel many emotions all balled up about this. Just remember, you don’t need to add guilt to the mix. And there is a reason why they call Tough Love, “Tough.” It sure as hell isn’t easy. My family has gone through some similar stuff. I wish I could make it easier for you.

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  5. hi Joan, hi Annie, what a tremendous resource and friendships and support systems we have made here in blogland. Hugs for you Joan, my GemiNiner-Friend, I know it aint easy, or maybe I don’t, but I do care.

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  6. Joan,
    I know this post was hard for you to write and I applaud your willingness to air something so difficult and obviously painful. Sometimes letting it all out, is good for the soul.

    And as a heads up to everyone else – I’m leaving the comments to Joan on this post, to respond to in whatever way she prefers.
    Annie

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  7. @ Annie

    First I want to thank you for giving me this outlet to write about such a difficult subject. I really needed to let it out for my self and for you all to really know the real me. I’ve made great strides in the past year and I really feel blogging has helped me a lot because I’ve met so many kind and understanding people

    @ Simonne
    Thank you so much for the kind words. Australia may seem far away in miles but your thoughts are right here with me.

    @ Red

    Thanks, Red. I can feel your happy thoughts coming my way. I also appreciate your prayers and hugs.

    @ Pure Evyl
    With therapy I am doing my best to let him go and live his own life the way he sees fit what ever that may be. It’s just so hard to watch him make so many mistakes and not learn from them. The blame I always end up feeling is that I didn’t use tough love on him sooner. Thank goodness my family stepped in to help me. I moved in with my daughter and son-law-law and they make the rules of the house to make it easier for me. He can’t live with me anymore because of this and that is the best thing for both of us.

    @ teeni
    Thanks teeni, Tough love is definitely tough. It’s so hard to watch your child suffer knowing that there is nothing you can do but watch. Even knowing it is the right thing doesn’t make it any easier.

    @CuriousC
    Oh, I know you care, that’s for sure. I have more real friends here in blogland than I do here at home.

    Joanie,
    I was happy to give you the space – and you’re quite welcome. My blog door is always open.
    Hugs,
    Annie

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  8. Dearest Joan,

    i respect you a whole lot. Just know, as we know, that you did, that you are doing, the best you know how. You obviously love your children very much. Being able to see how you enabled your son is a huge step in helping him. And it isn’t easy to acknowledge such a thing, but when you love someone so much, so very, very much, it is hard to be hard when they are hurting. You know it’s not them- not the person you know- but what is being ravaged by the addiction.

    i’ve gone through something similar- a bunch of times, only my mom had the addiction, as well as two of my sisters. They are all better now, thank God! but it took a lot to get there. A lot of anger and guilt and disappointment and hope…

    Anyway, i will be keeping you and your son in my prayers.

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  9. Joan,

    I’ve watched several people struggle with addiction and the heartbreak it brings to their loved ones. (((Hugs))) I’m glad you were able to write how you feel here. Keep writing, keep talking, and I pray that it helps your heart heal.

    Mrs. V

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  10. @c

    It must have been hard for you to go through that with three members of your family. My brother is an alcoholic but has been sober for many years. Thank you for sharing that about your family and for your prayers.

    @ Mark

    I suppose it is hard to imagine if you haven’t been there. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. The sad thing is it’s happening too often. These kids are getting into these prescription drugs way too much. They give them out for getting a tooth pulled. My son started to see a psychiatrist and she was handing him Xanax like candy.

    @ Darla

    Thank you so much. All I want is to see my son stay off the drugs and be healthy. I appreciate your kind thoughts.

    @ Michael

    Thank you so much Michael. I might take you up on the e-mail. Isn’t blogland wonderful? I’ll bet you are a wonderful dad. I know you are a wonderful son. I’m fortunate with my daughter who always does the right thing.
    The young girl in the bottom photo was my son’s girlfriend. They broke up and a year later, last September, she died from a heroin overdose. There was an article about it in our local newspaper. People could make comments on the article online. Some people said she deserved to be dead, she was white trash etc. I had to put my two cents in because I know how hard she tried to stop but got no support from her family. You can give support without enabling. It’s a fine line. She died on her birthday. She hadn’t done heroin in a few months. She was planning to back to college. On her birthday she went to a party and everyone was handing the junk. Some present. I don’t want to see my son end up that way. Thanks for caring.

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  11. @ Mrs. V

    Thanks, Mrs. V. I appreciate your hugs and prayers. It’s a hard thing to watch and not be able to do anything.

    @ Annie
    Thanks again Annie. I feel very at home here and very welcome.

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  12. Joan,
    Thank you so much for sharing this. I cried just thinking of you and your son, and what you’ve been through. You are an amazing and beautiful person, and obviously an angel. Much love and peace!

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  13. @ 2lazydogs
    I didn’t want anyone to cry because I’ve already shed enough tears for a life time but I am finally, little by little learning to let him go. I’m glad I got to share it with you and everyone else. I think you guys are the angels. Thanks for caring

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  14. @ The Girl From the Ghetto

    I guess we all have our problems to deal with and this happens to be mine. I would trade my life to know that he would be clean and sober for the rest of his.

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  15. Anything you did was out of love, not trying to keep him addicted. I feel bad when you call yourself an enabler. You were trying to enable him to become of healthy mind and body. Mom’s are not perfect. I know I’m not. My nephew is currently going through the same thing but his drug of choice is prescription (including some of mine that he stole). His lies make me sad, because they are so pointless… I see his mother (my sister) crumble under his “control”. He’s breaking her heart. If you ever need to talk or need a shoulder to lean on, it’s pretty safe to say we all have come to love you so much and we’re all here for you Joan!

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  16. @ JavaQueen

    Oh, You are so wonderful and just know how to say the right things. He just called me a few minutes ago to tell me he just got fired from the part time job he had as a valet driver. Not much I could say to that but look for another job. His lease is up next month and everyone is moving out. His girlfriend is going to Alaska so he’s back to square one with nowhere to live, no money, no job, no girlfriend, and a van that barely runs. He wants no money from me but wants me to somehow solve his problems. He’s almost 27 years old. He’s got to solve his own problems but he just doesn’t get that. Thanks so much for the offer of the shoulder. I think I will be needing one soon.

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  17. My mom felt the same way as you while I was addicted to cocaine. She suffered with stomach ulcers and terrible headaches the entire time I was abusing drugs. Now that I have been clean for 7 years we have a wonderful relationship and have been able to move past my many mistakes. It took a lot of hard work but she has forgiven me for my poor choices and actions and we are actually best friends = ) I’ve been doing a lot of research on the internet and found that http://www.addictionca.com is a very helpful site when it comes to drug addiction and recovery.

    I’ve forwarded this comment to Joan, I’m sure she’ll respond to it soon.
    WC

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  18. @yummy mummy
    That is so nice to hear about you and your mom. It is so hard to watch your child suffer with their choices and not be able to do anything about it. At the end of this month my son is going to be homeless again and it makes me sick thinking about it.

    Your story gives me hope that one day my son will see the light and do the right thing. I also appreciate the link to the website. Thanks so much for the comment.

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  19. Joan,

    Just saw this now and had to comment. To put it succinctly: been there, done that. No, scratch that. Make that: am there, doing that. I know exactly what you’re going through.

    My son was a slightly toned down version of yours. The only thing that saved him was joining the army. In some ways they straightened him out, but after a year in Iraq, he’s now struggling with different issues, and I’m not sure which is worse.

    But as Evyl said, you really can’t blame yourself. Were you a perfect parent? Probably not, none of us is. Did you enable him? Probably, we all do, to one extent or another. We’re all tempted by the idea that if we give them their own way just one more time, things will change. Things don’t change, at least not that way.

    Does this mean you’re a bad mother? No, of course not. Sure, there’s things you might do differently if given the chance–again, we’re all in that boat–but all in all it sounds like you are a loving mother who was just overwhelmed by someone who was bound and determined to learn all of life’s lessons the hard way (or perhaps not at all.)

    You have to remember that he is not a child anymore. You can’t make him stand in the corner anymore. All you can do for him now is listen if he wants to talk, and encourage him to get into counseling (if he’s not there already)and turn his life around. Try to get him to see that being employed, in a loving relationship, and drug free is better for HIM than being homeless, alone, and drug addicted. Hopefully he can learn this lesson before he hits bottom. Sadly, many like your son really do have to hit bottom before they learn.

    As I said, I’ve been there, and I know what you’re going through. You have to stop blaming yourself for your son’s shortcomings. He’s a man now, and as such has to take responsibility for his life and his actions. I know this may sound a little harsh, but it’s reality, and it’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way.

    Feel free to email about this if you so desire.

    -smith

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  20. @ smith

    No you didn’t sound harsh at all. You sound like someone who’s been there and has learned from experience. What I do now when he calls me is start talking about what his plans are and getting a job and as soon as I start doing that he always seems to have to hang up because he has another call. He just doesn’t want to hear it but it’s a good way for me to get him off the phone so I don’t have to hear it either. One thing you said “He’s a man now” hits home because I still look at him as a little boy which I know I shouldn’t be doing. I really appreciate the offer of e-mail and I might just take you up on that because he’s going to be homeless again at the end of this month. Thanks so much for the comment.

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