A little more than four and a half years have passed since I wrote my first testimonial in late November 2019. My only child was released in April 2019 after spending five months in jail. He had been arrested for a missed court date related to drug paraphernalia charges while being picked up for ‘dumpster diving.’ He spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and his 30th birthday in jail.

As I was writing that testimonial about how well he’d been doing since his release, my son was relapsing.

He had met a fellow user in IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) who offered him heroin. After almost a year of sobriety, he thought, “One won’t hurt.” But it did. For a couple weeks, he was back down the rabbit hole, and almost lost whatever traction he’d gained since getting out of jail, seven months earlier.

We learn in PAL that relapse is part of the addict’s journey, and that it happens to most of them. As a mom, that doesn’t make it any easier to take. Disappointment looms. Dreams still held for the loved one must be abandoned once again. The elevator in the “Hope Hotel” comes crashing to the ground floor. No, to the basement. I watched in dismay. By then, I had been attending PAL for nine months and I knew there was nothing I could say or do that would lead him to sobriety, except to pray.

But he caught himself—or God did! After a couple weeks, he realized he was in trouble again. He researched and found help in early December 2019. His journey led him to choose the path of medicated assistance, and he plans to gradually reduce his medication dosage with each visit.

He had caught himself in time to keep his job and his apartment. His “sober clock” had to start over, but now he’s been off street drugs for over four years. He went through an ugly, painful, “cold turkey” withdrawal in jail, and doesn’t want to do that ever again. In the last few months of his program, he is planning menus of prepared food, time off work, and family support. My prayer now is for his recovery and a life that we all want for him.

I continue to hope and pray. I am in recovery, too, and I know how important my group support in PAL is to me. My hope is that in a couple more years, I can write a third testimonial telling you that my son is now clean and sober, in a support group, and living his best life.  I am learning to find joy in my own life, regardless of my son’s choices and direction in life.

– A PAL Mom