I'm past being embarrassed. My sons were addicts. I can blame the Army. I can blame society. I can blame their friends. I can blame their dad. I can blame them. I can even blame myself. "If only I had done this, or if I hadn't done that." I had no fucking clue what to do half the time.
BUT No, there's no more blaming because none of it would have changed the outcome. They are gone.
They were my children, but they weren't children. They were grown ass men, and made their own grown up decisions. No matter how much I begged, bribed, or cried, they did what the fuck they wanted to do. They always did.
For over ten years I dealt with their addictions, PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, broken back, Rehab, police, jail, money issues, homelessness, joblessness, getting lost in the woods, hallucinations, and seeing them cry, angry, and being scared. And Losing a truck? How the fuck do you lose your truck??
Drug induced mental health issues ripped away any chance for joy, for any of us.
And still, I'm clueless what more I could have done, or not done to save them. Trust me, tough love doesn't work for addicts. Or least not in their case.
I was riddled with fear, guilt, and worrying constantly where they were when they'd fall off the grid for days, or weeks at a time. AND Omg when they didn't answer their phones. And scared shitless to answer the phone when they did call. And even more afraid to not answer the call. Where your asshole bites the seat everytime your heard their ring tones.
The anxiety I endured was like hitting the brakes as the car in front of you stopped suddenly, all.. the.. fucking.. time..
I am no longer covering up for them. Their choice to take their lives was no longer "if" it was going to happen. It was only a matter of "when."
Years of abusing their minds with drugs rendered them incapable of making smart choices, they weren't able to think clearly, they had horrible judgment. They were at the point of no return. They felt they had no way to make "it" stop. They wanted to end their battles, their confusion and their pain. Suicide: the only thing they had left to control in their lives, was to take their lives.
It's wasn't meant to hurt me or any one they loved. I can't imagine how hard it was for them, to do what they did. What must have gone through their minds. How frightened they must have been. Suicide is not for the weak. Regardless what you may feel about it. And no, they're not rotting in some fictitious Hell. Their Hell was living in this life. Not ever knowing what was "normal."
Their idea of normal wasn't mine. I, like every parent, so wanted to see them with good wives, good jobs and saving up for a nice house, and a couple kids. But that wasn't even a thought in their minds. Their goals were empty, as addiction robbed of them of desiring anything I thought would make them happy. They were happiest, high. I have to respect that. But I don't have to like it.
Yes, there were many good times. And it's those memories I must force myself to focus on. Trust me, it's a battle I'm not always prepared to fight. If I choose, I could allow myself to slip away into that dark hole of depression. But I hate it there. It's cold, a filthy feeling of loss, pain, unbearable grief and hate. It taunts me though, it wants to cause me more anguish. So I choose to fight it, daily.
No, I must continually think how fucking kewl they were. My sons were the bravest, most courageous people I've ever known. They were comical, kind, generous, compassionate, and take no shit kind of kids! In spite of their choices they were amazing human beings.
My sons. My people....
So, I'm not embarrassed anymore. Instead, I am eternally grateful for the time I got to spend with these two incredible kids!! Until we meet again Jeremy Appleton and Jesse Appleton , I will forever love you both so much!
*This blog is inspired by a woman whose writings have strengthened me in many ways. We are Warriors! I can't thank you enough Susan Sek.
If you have lost a child or someone you love to addiction, just remember it is a disease. It's not like they can just stop. The only advice I can give, is to remind yourself of who they are underneath the cloak of their addiction. And to NEVER stop loving them. ❤ And at the end of the day, they make their own choices. And you will have to learn to live with that.