We have three children. Our oldest two – a daughter, 37, and a son, 35 – are college graduates and excelled in sports and academics. Our youngest son, Jason, is 26. He came along much later after the first two and it was like raising an only child. He always had a big heart and wanted to help those in need. We didn’t realize at the time he was ADD, so he was not medicated. And he was definitely a risk taker.
When we noticed he was gravitating toward a different crowd, we moved him from the public school (where I have worked for 28 years) to the local private Christian school. They had smaller classes, and we were hoping to get him more involved with sports and different friends. We know now he probably started using pot around the age of 14 or 15 but he wasn’t caught until he was 17. When he graduated in 2013 at 18 years old, we thought he was “just” smoking pot, which was bad enough.
The following August we found out he was using IV heroin. My husband and I naively had no idea you could even buy heroin in our small town. We immediately took him to a place to be evaluated but because he was 18, we were not allowed in. He managed to convince them he didn’t really have a problem. But he did.
A few months later he was arrested for possession which began his journey to rehabs. He has been to rehab around 10 times, a couple of detoxes, and sober living a few times. One time while in rehab he discovered that his girlfriend – who he had planned on marrying once he completed the program – had overdosed and died. He found out too late to attend her service.
In mid-March of this year, he was scheduled to enter sober living but never made it. He was stopped by police who discovered he was using, so he’s back in rehab. Again. We have literally given him to God and trust God to intervene when necessary. So far, he has not found sobriety for any length of time, but we still have hope.
We were at a Hope over Heroin event in a neighboring county and a PAL facilitator was there selling The Four Seasons of Recovery. Another mom and I started talking with her we invited her to come to our county to conduct our first PAL meeting. That was September 15, 2015.
My husband and I seldom miss a meeting, regardless of where our son is in his journey. Our son even refers other parents to us for information on PAL. We are very involved in helping people in addiction seek help in our community. We encourage their parents to come to PAL. It has brought us much peace. We love the fellowship with other parents. We continually go each week, in hopes that we can offer hope to other parents and maybe gain something new ourselves.
Our son has not been sober long enough to live on his own. He can get jobs but cannot keep them because of his chronic relapse but we still have hope. When we took our son back to rehab this past Saturday, he seemed to be done with heroin but is now using meth. He says he is so tired of the rehab life, but until he gets sick and tired enough to give up the drugs, he has no choice but to go back.
We have followed PAL’s suggestions. He is not allowed to live at our house while using drugs and if he does, he knows he has to go back to rehab or move in with a drug-using buddy. He doesn’t seem to want that life and we encourage sober living instead of coming home, as this town was his using ground. Although nothing has clicked yet, he is a model student in rehab and a great son, until he starts using again and then the drugs take over his brain. It takes him no time at all to be back in the throes of addiction. It’s all or nothing for him. But we haven’t given up!
We love our PAL family. My husband and I recently became co-facilitators, and “The Four Seasons of Recovery” has been a life saver. I keep it on our coffee table and refer to it often.
Although our son’s story is usually colorful, we know God has him, and while He’s got him, we can help others. It makes all the difference just knowing that we are not alone and that no matter where our son is in his recovery, we are going to be okay.
A PAL mom