Tuesday, May 15, 2012

my child's an addict and all I got was this lousy t-shirt

Another night, another parent group.

I sit and listen, while three mothers talk about their sons, all who are using heroin, all who are in various stages of living on the street. One is missing completely, three days after his mom picked him up from rehab, three days after he was coming home hopeful. One day after a misguided friend offered him a beer and he dropped straight down in active addiction and likely heroin use within 6 hours. Now he is missing, one of the last thing he said to his mom was that he wanted to kill himself. Here she sits, still trying to do the right thing. Still wondering if she could have done better. A common concern. No, an almost required concern. Was it the divorce? The move? Should I have home schooled? Round and round we go.

The stories this week are bad. I sit quietly. Eventually they ask me, and I have to say my son, for today (and the last week) has done well. He goes to meetings, he has not relapsed. He still lives in my home, still has a bedroom, we have had reasonable talks. I had a wonderful Mother's Day. I feel guilty, like I don't meet membership requirements.

Then, because I'm already talking, I tell them about my mother.

You cannot talk about my mother without a large dose of humour, otherwise it would be sad and tragic and tonight we don't need any more of that. So I tell them about my mother, my evil step-father, my alcoholic father (dead), my alcoholic brother (alive) and my alcoholic self. I give them a glimpse into the alcoholic mind, mine mostly, in the only way I know how, to laugh about it. About the hamster wheel section of my brain that I've surrounded in Police yellow caution tape, the section of my brain where I can generate absolutely crazy thinking with only the tiniest bit of initial effort, the section I am not allowed to go to by myself.

Then something crazy happens. We are all laughing. Moms with lives that would send the uninitiated running screaming from the room, fingers jammed in their ears, chanting "la la la la I can't HEAR you". These moms are laughing, and it feels, good. It feels good to get a break from holding our worlds up, from juggling other people's lives, from putting on the fucking brave face when we are in "public" when we would really like just to sit on the floor pound fists and scream - wait, I think that last bit is just me, but you never know....

They tell me I should do stand up - and maybe I will. If I can make a mom who's son is missing laugh, how hard could people with 'normal' lives be? Scratch that. I don't know anyone with a 'normal' life, and if they seem normal, it's just because we don't know each other well. I think I can make people laugh because I pull up what is crazy in my life, what I wouldn't talk about in 'polite company' and give it a good poke. I would fall apart, I think, if I couldn't laugh at this life of mine.

So there it is - I could not get through this life without poking at things and laughing. I may be irreverent, and I'm certain my mother would be appalled, but it beats crying and feeling sorry for myself, because when I really do take a look at myself, I am blessed in ways I would have missed if my life were 'normal'. "Normal", over-rated if you ask me.

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