Ok, this was definitely one of the worst moments of my life.
It’s the holiday season and I have just placed our son in an after school rehab program for three days a week, 4 hours each visit and where parental attendance is mandatory. His father at the time, is convinced that our son does not REALLY have a serious drug problem. As he sees it, I am the one who has forced our son into this program unnecessarily. I am the one who is finding the drugs in our son’s bedroom. I am also the one who looks into my son’s eyes and knows that something is terribly wrong.
My husband on the other hand is our son’s new BFF because he thinks he is just going through an “experimental stage” as he puts it. Naturally, our child has taken advantage of this scenario. As a result, you guessed it, I’m the “Bad Guy.”
So let me paint a visual of this particular rehab session …..they typically spilt the parents and the kids up into separate groups for the first 2 hours. They talk about their personal issues in a therapeutic setting. For the remaining 2 hours they place all of the parents along with all of the children in the same room. Each child has an turn at speaking to the group and or their parents. There are about 60 people in this particular gathering (parents, children and counselors).
When it’s your child’s turn to share their thoughts with the group, if he or she is especially upset, they can make a special request for the parents to move into the center of the 60-person circle.
Our son decides that he needs to do THAT…….OMG!
Let me say one more thing before I continue. If any of you have personally experienced the nightmare of addiction, you will know this already. For those of you who have not, here’s how it goes.When someone is suffering through the disease of addiction and is nowhere near recovery, they are hateful, angry, frightened, in denial and will, at any cost, seek out a scapegoat. (Fast forward 8 years: My son, Sam has been sober for two years. He is a fabulous young man & has much to offer the world. I am incredibly proud of him!!!!!!! ”
I love you Sam.”Thanks for letting me share Sam, Mayo
Ok, back to the session…….
As requested by our child, we drag our chairs across the carpet into the center of the room. For what seems like an eternity, we nervously wait. The other parents, as well as the kid’s, look horrified. They seem to know something that we don’t. They are all smarter and wiser than us because they are not new to rehab, however, this is our first experience.
Since I’m the one who searches our son’s room multiple times a day for illegal substances (evidence that I’m not crazy), sniffs him when he walks past me, stares at his pupils for extended periods of time and makes him pee in a cup, I get to be the recipient of his public rage.
He begins to scream at me and regurgitate a “worst mother in the universe list” that is so horrific, I’m not even sure he’s referring to me. I actually look behind me hoping that he was spitting out this verbal venom at someone else. Unfortunately that was not the case. And although I know it’s the drugs talking, it is still devastating, especially in such a public forum. His father however, goes unscathed.
When my son is done with his maternal revilement, I stagger out of the circle with my metal folding chair in tow.
I can no longer speak nor can I look at anyone else in the room. I stare down at my feet quivering and gasping for air. I am vacant. I am empty.
HOWEVER, in my typical twisted fashion, I ask my self if there is anything funny about what has just occurred ? Please God, help me to find some humor in this horrific nightmare that I can’t seem to wake up from. All the while I’m staring at the floor completely unaware of my surroundings. I am laser focused on counting the soda stains on the carpet where me and my folding chair reside.
Silently, very silently, like quiet angelic ninjas they appear. The mom’s. They have come to console, offer advice, cry with me, hold me and it’s really very beautiful. Of course, what draws my attention first and foremost are the Christmas embroidered theme sweaters that everyone seems to be wearing but me. Did I not get the memo? There are a myriad of 3-d Santa’s, snowmen with black chenille hats, presents that actually open up to be pockets, reindeer with real bells sewn onto the appliqués, matching Christmas Ball dangle earrings and red and green rhinestone pins…..need I go on?
My whole brain begins to chuckle inside my head. What is more silly than Christmas themed sweaters?
As I allow the humor to wash over me, I begin to self-sooth. I am pacifying my soul. I am taking my mind out of this ugly place and setting it down somewhere else. A place where I can have a guilt free mental smile. A place with no malice or ill will. Somewhere for my brain and my heart not to hurt sooooo much… even if it’s only temporarily. This was my place, Christmas Theme Sweaters, USA.
Well, let me tell you one more thing, I love seeing Christmas theme sweaters now! I love remembering how those saintly, tortured moms came to my emotional rescue.
For all of you out there who embrace this special attire, much love and gratitude for comforting me without any hesitation. Much respect for embracing the holiday season as you navigate through very difficult times. How brave you are!
THANK YOU, THANK YOU