I am ashamed of many things in my past and there are so many things that I regret. But nothing comes close to the pain I feel when I think about losing my son.
Actually, it would be more accurate to say I left him. It would be even more honest to say I let him go. What kind of mother would let anybody or anything separate her from her child?
A mother addicted to drugs. I was that mother.
And I knew that I was a drug addict the moment I looked into my sons eyes and realized that my love for him was not enough to make me get clean.
That is the terrifying and dark reality of addiction. Love isn’t enough to make anybody stop using drugs. Ask any mother of an addict. If it was, there wouldn’t be an epidemic sweeping our country and taking the lives of nearly 200 people a day.
Early on in my addiction, Child Protective Services were called and I lost my son. I tried to figure out how in the world I could ever have let this happen? I understood that he was removed from my care because I was on drugs, however, I couldn’t accept that the drugs were actually the problem.
Then I went to great lengths to try and get him back. I did everything I could think of. Everything except get clean. I spent hours trying to figure out how to pass a drug test while still getting high. I looked for loop holes in the system. I lied to everybody and said that I was clean. I begged to see him and I raged at the family that was protecting him from me.
But then one day I watched a woman walk into the dope house where I was living, dragging three small children behind her. It was the middle of the night and their eyes were gritty from lack of sleep. She arranged them on the floor with a blanket and told them to close their eyes and go to sleep. She asked our dealer for dope, pulled out her works and loaded up a shot. And got high. Right there in front of her kids.
It should have shocked me. It didn’t. But I remember thinking, “Is this what you are fighting for? For the ability to bring your kid into this madness? Into a place that was filled with the worst life had to offer?”
No, I would do anything to keep him safe. Even if it meant keeping him safe from myself.
So I walked away from that fight. And started a new one. I began to fight for my life. I asked for help, got into treatment, and started a new life without the use of drugs.
And then I got my son back by staying clean and doing the next right thing. One day at a time.
I know I won’t be a perfect mom, but I will be a present one. I’m already making mistakes, but they are forgivable ones. I let him sleep with me at night so I can watch him while he sleeps, and feel his heartbeat when I put my hand on his chest. I love the way he smells. Still like the baby I used to hold and never put down, but now it’s mixed with little boy sweat. I have a hard time telling him no because I just want him to be happy.
It’s strange, he seems to have forgotten that I was once gone from him life. Children, I suppose, are quick to forgive those things we as parents have a hard time forgiving in ourselves.
Love wasn’t enough to get me clean. But the love I have for my child gives gives me the strength I need to make it through today. Everyday. Even when he drives me crazy.
Written by Amanda Daniels