Today started off really good and ended up in a real bad way. I got straight around noon when Joey hooked me with two methadone tabs. That was nice. I sneaked in with Bill and ended up grabbing another one from him. what a nice guy.
I made the miss-step of telling Cindy that I had taken the methadone to keep from getting physically sick on my day off. At first it was just myself and Cindy, and we had a good conversation. Things were going pretty well, until Lennie got home and then, predictably, Cindy changed her tone and rhetoric. She became very heavy-handed, VERY judgmental. It really pissed me off, really badly. She is a total and complete hypocrite, as well as Kelly [they are sisters]. They talk behind my back constantly, and well, I’m f**king through with it. I’m totally done with the hypocritical bullshit. Things are going to change here, right away. I won’t stop hanging with them, but they will not walk on me anymore. No f**king way.
Intake: 50 mg methadone, oral
(I am not standing up for Matt’s addiction or his drug-culture. But, I do need to interject here, as I do know these women and do feel quite perplexed by their dealings, drugs and comments wise. You see, I sent Matt down there as ‘Cindy’ was a confirmed Christian, and she confirmed to me that she was happy to help Matt stay clean; she had been a Coke addict years before, an alcholic in the last several years, and had beat them both. Therefore she was the one for the job. A faithful church goer and an involved community church member, I had faith in her ability. I also had bi-weekly talks with her about Matt. In no way do I hate these women; I am just studying this situation, trying to understand their way of thinking, and trying hard to figure out this life we live. I talked to these women often and feel for their own struggles too. Life is too short for hate, but I do see that they, like many of us, are in certain levels of understanding.
The talks we had were mostly about how lazy Matt was, and how angry she was at Matt. She also complained that he just hung around and didn’t help her much; she wanted more help cleaning the house and all. She was also angry that he didn’t seem to be making any head-way on finances. What exactly was keeping her from telling me that Matt was taking Methadone? Why would she hold that back from me, knowing that he was in treatment, was a risk to re-addict, and was my only son? Not that if I had 10 that would make a difference. But, it wasn’t like I had an overly stretched life!
Well, actually I did have a stretched life at this point. If you read the piece on How to Love the Addict, you may remember that I was married that year. I married Cindy and Kelly’s brother. We met at church two years before the marriage and had a very typical courting period–we didn’t live together and just dated. He and others told me that this man had been a terrible alcoholic, just miserable. However, he hadn’t had a drink for over seven years according to all [not the truth I came to realize], and according to him. One month after our marriage he started going to lunch and having beer. Not being a drinker myself I could tell right away. Well, things went on from there and at this point in time, August 2009, he had dissolved–a complete puddle. So, I was dealing with quite a bit. I tried to tell his sister this. But, I guess I was the problem. According to her I had to put the hammer down and control him. She actually thought the problem was mine as I wasn’t controlling him enough. How can anyone be put in charge of another person? Even if that was possible and it worked, this person would now be the authority figure, the controller, the person that had the responsibility. The addict would have no responsibility for self, no onus. Not only was I not willing to try to control someone else, I knew that it was not possible and ultimately not healthy. Was this what she was doing with Matt?
She did not tell me what was happening at all; she probably felt guilty for promoting the addiction, but addicts do cultivate that in those around them. When I explained what was happening to her brother she stated that I, me, other person than him, ya me, not him, needed to take control of the situation. I was to run roughshod over him and make sure that he didn’t drink. He was over 50! So, he needed a mother not a wife? And, he wanted a wife to control him so that he didn’t need to feel responsible for himself? Is this even reasonable? Is this even healthy? Doesn’t that keep an addict in an immature state? Wouldn’t that just transfer all the inner discomfort with self to someone else to resent? He would have only had someone to blame and someone to hide from–someone to resent as another authority figure. This was not the relationship I had envisioned or even wanted to cultivate.
This isn’t about me, but I bring this in to try to understand why these two women would berate Matt yet support his addiction? The one person that would have run down there and offered some help was not even notified–me. Why would she tell me to control my husband and not even bother to tell me that my son needed controlling? [Honestly, I still have no idea why. If anyone has an idea, please post. I am just newly out of the ‘durrrr’ stage of life.] Not that I would have controlled Matt. As you can see from his comments, he was happy to tell someone about his problem but angered when given the ‘talk’. Really, it is quite fruitless to condemn an addict for using. Does anyone think that nagging will really help? If so, that person must enjoy nagging, or he has not yet figured out that it is absolutely a waste of time. They were just wasting their time.
So, let’s just pretend that this journal entry went a bit differently. Pretend that Matt came to ‘Cindy’s, talked about being in withdrawals and getting methadone. Cindy was very understanding. Good so far. No controlling just two individuals exchanging deeply personal issues. Then she talked about what he wanted, how she and others could help, offered help. They hugged and promised to talk again the next day as he left. I wonder what would have came out of that.
Okay, new story out of the blue, your story or someone you know well: This person giving the ‘talk’ to the addict is a) extremely overweight, b) extremely concerned about body size, c) drinks too much, d) is so much into money that family is unimportant, e) buys stuff constantly and is way in debt, f) smokes, g) is into porn, way into porn, h) fill in the blank with an addiction. This person, you, knows this drug addict who has hinted, or maybe told you outright that he is experiencing withdrawals from his addiction. So, after the addict divulges his problem even only slightly you go off, cut him down, give him the ‘straighten up’ talk. I am certain the only thing he wants is to feel better about himself and you just totally downed him. You have become part of the reason to hide it even more. For one, you think you are so much better. You had better not be anything from a) to h) if you are going to preach, because I will tell you the addict will see you as a complete hypocrite. So, only perfect people can even attempt this tactic. However, if you are perfect you have most likely dealt with conquering your own tendencies and have some understanding of human fallibleness, so you wouldn’t do that. Possibly you are thinking you are perfect but in reality are one of those babies of life not yet having experienced your true nature, your weaknesses, your humanness. [God isn’t done with you yet, so just wait and remember that pride comes before a fall.] If you are this last type you will not understand that this person is in need of hugs, love, understanding, and then, only then, some real problem solving on how to get out of the trap. Consider why this addict is telling you they have a problem–they need empathy, they need ideas, they need to feel real and not hide anymore. Consider if you told your friend you were having an affair on your spouse (drugs is a love affair). Would you tell someone and then expect to be lectured? OF COURSE THIS PERSON KNOWS THAT HAVING AN AFFAIR IS WRONG. WHY DO YOU THINK THEY ARE TELLING YOU? They need a shoulder, and they need some ideas that do not remove their autonomy.
Autonomy is so important to an addict. This could be a part of why they have turned to a substance, a feeling of no control. So, trying to take that away will only produce the same scenario you see in Matt’s journal entry for this day–anger, retreat, walls. These two women had an opportunity to talk candidly to Matt. Offering some alternatives, asking for permission to tell mom as she may be willing to help find the needed drugs if she understood the pain…would have been such a welcome response. Certainly the wrong thing to do is give an addict ‘the talk’. Certainly the wrong thing to do to anyone is put them down, make them feel inadequate, tell them that their problems are so easy to solve, and then go back to your own sordid life.
Anyone who is in need of a real shoulder, an empathetic ear, and some sensitive problem solving feel free to post below. Others wander by this site often, not too many post, but many and most who do are quite understanding. They may give you some ideas on what to do if you just tell and ask. Too bad I learned this lesson too late for Matt, too bad that I also gave him the talk way too many times in the past. I truly believe he didn’t tell me these things until the end was due to a fear of losing control; after rehab and moving to Madison, he felt in control. He just wanted me to know that he was then in control. Hindsight is 100% though. Shoulda’s can only be passed on. So here’s the 2 cents worth of this blog post: let others be in control and let others cry while offering comfort.
Just in case you may not believe that Matt wanted to be in control of his life you should read his tattoo: Invictus. It’s a poem.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Matt’s mom )