Giving a kid a road map to Rock Bottom isn’t easy and yesterday was one of the hardest days I’ve encountered yet. No matter who takes the trip we all suffer.
After couch surfing among three friends for at least 7 months my son became officially homeless about 7-9 days ago. He said he was fine and had a little secluded spot to sleep that seemed safe. It was near a grocery store and on the bus route to the methadone clinic, which he started 2 weeks ago.
It’s not easy to work and be homeless, but he works 2-3 nights a week and I offered to provide a lunch and take him. I worried that I was enabling him, but I felt that he was giving his new “recovery” plan a go, so I could be supportive and stop short of giving money or a place to stay. It worked great the first week of work and this week was near his bus route so a ride and lunch were not needed. I thought this might be getting easier, but I guess it’s hard to get any sleep when you’re cold, uncomfortable and stressed out.
Yesterday after working 2 nights, I met him to see how it went and how he was doing. With the exception of an occasional bout of withdrawal sickness, I had never seen him looking so sick and miserable, he looked like he hadn’t slept in days. It’s so hard to see my grown son so broken down, crying in my arms and looking so lost. The heartbreak was so deep that I could physically feel it in my chest.
When he realized that I wasn’t going to bring him home with me, his entire being seemed hopeless. A little voice in my head kept telling me that I couldn’t give in, I had to be tough, I had to let him find his own way back. Meanwhile, a different little voice was asking how I could leave a sick kid out in the cold like that. I felt like I was being ripped in two.
My next thought was to give him the tools he needs to survive and I will survive too. I found the nearest NA meeting for that area and drove to the front door; it started in 20 minutes. I got out of the car with him and gave him a hug. I and told him again that only he can fix this, take responsibility for his life and be in charge of the monkey.
I’m not sure how I made it home, sobbing the entire way. I woke up several times and cried to the universe to please protect him. I was so frightened that I had made the wrong decision and guilt ridden about being in a nice warm bed. Only to wake up this morning to his phone being dead.
This evening he called to tell me that he’s considering going off methadone cold turkey before he’s been on it too long. This was coming from a kid who adamantly stated he would never consider going cold turkey ever! He also went to his first meeting in 8 months.
I’m not sure if he spent the night in Rock Bottom, but he was in a town very near there.