I lay awake, heart racing. Resting my hand upon my chest, I struggle to take a deep breath and remind myself to stay calm. I sit up and push away thoughts that only stoke the fire of my anxiety. I stand beside my bed in the darkness, arms above my head, stretching in half moon pose. Please, please don’t have an anxiety attack, please be calm, please go back to sleep, please, please feel sleepy. I pick up my phone 2:19, damn it. I am so tired . . . and sad. For the past several weeks I have allowed myself to ride the roller coaster of my son’s addiction, first jail, then his release, and endless texts . . . pleas for help, half-truths and bold faced lies.
I torture myself by rehashing the night’s events in my head. I believed him, trusted that he would honor my boundaries, and I was wrong, again. Through texts, I tell him no, over and over again. NO, NO, NO. I won’t talk to him or look at him. I tell him to leave, he does; he has no choice. I am doing the right thing, I know I am. So why is my stomach sick and hollow? I call my sister Mary, and then my girlfriend Michele. I need someone on my side, someone to tell me I’m not crazy, and that I have done all I can. They do exactly that. And now in the quiet still of bedroom, I want to disappear, sleep and never wakeup. I doze off forty-five minutes before my alarm jars me awake. Exhausted, I want to stay in my bed all day.
I arrive to school early, we start with a meeting and I marvel at my ability to be cheery, greeting everyone with a smile. It’s really not hard; I work with good people, great families and kids. My job is a cinch in comparison to the shit show that I call my personal life. Some of my colleagues know of my struggles. We have a quiet understanding, no judgement, only loving support and I am grateful. Kept busy all day, my anxiety is a million miles away.
As the day comes to an end, the text and calls begin. My son tells me his girlfriend in back in rehab, and that he is close to getting into sober living, stories I have heard more times than I can count in the last two months. He needs a place to shower, do some laundry and crash. I say no . . .
More calls, more texts, more begging, please, please, please. I do not reply. I tell myself, even if he is telling the truth he has other options, other places to go, it doesn’t have to be me. My gut burns and churns, and I struggle to take a deep breath. Thank God I have yoga tonight.
Sitting on my mat in the dimly lit room, waiting for class to begin; tears stream down my face. Am I sad? Or am I releasing the hidden tension of the day? I am not sure. I take the tears as a good sign; I have not gone completely numb to feeling compassion toward my son.
I regulate my breathing and as class ends, I feel brand new, calm. I wish to sleep on the floor, right there. I don’t want to break the spell. Still, I am hopeful for a good night’s sleep. Back in my car I look for my phone, missed call from my son, and a text asking me to call him. I send a quick text, telling him I’m available to talk.
He calls me, breathless he says, mom, I gotta spot. I can’t believe it. I’m in sober living. I have a bed tonight and I’ll be here for sixty days. I had to test as soon as I got here and I wasn’t worried because I’ve been clean since August 25. He told me of curfews and rules, excited as if he were going to summer camp. I guess once you’ve experienced jail, homelessness and hunger, sober living must feel pretty good. His voice cracked a little, I think I heard relief. I told him it was great news. He invited me to come see him tomorrow. He had to go, told me he loved me and said good night. I cried all the way home.
In a million years, I would have never guessed that on this day my son finally heard enough NO’s to seek a different path. Who knew that today would be the day that hope showed up, shiny and bright? I could have never imagined that today, the day after I called out to the Universe for help, the day all of you answered with words of support, encouragement and love, that this would be the day my boy found hope too.
My gratitude is beyond measure, my hope stronger than ever.
Ps thank you my peeps, a million times thank you, you remind me that I am never alone . . . and either is my boy.