Parents: Always Trust Your Gut

I call it my Mom Radar.  You might call it your gut or guidance from God.  Whatever it is, it’s that little voice that parents of young addicts must always listen to.  Over the past few days – from our Sunday session with our son and his counselor at treatment to arriving yesterday at the halfway house, I sensed something was amiss.  My husband sensed it too, all along, while I tried to maintain positive and see baby steps of progress.

My son called yesterday afternoon.  He sounded down and asked again when I’d have his new phone and new number for him, oh and could I please bring him his backpack too.  On the phone subject, he had gotten rid of his old SIM card, so getting a new one required me to go into the phone store and it was more convenient for me to do this later in the week.  (The reason for the new number and SIM card was so that old friends, dealers, users, etc. couldn’t reach him – it was to give him a fresh start.)  The backpack request really made me uneasy.  There was really no reason for it unless he was planning to bolt.  He’s done that before.  It’s his coping mechanism.

Either way, I said I’d get the phone and backpack to him over the weekend.

This morning, the phone rang.  It was the halfway house.  Bad news they said.  I knew what they would say next.  He’d left.  Evidently just slipped out after dinner last night and hadn’t come back.  Left his belongings.  They said he hadn’t really engaged in any conversations or participated in any of the group activities yesterday; he was really keeping to himself.  Pretty typical, actually.

From their perspective, this seemed like a thought out, well executed plan.  I believe it was too.

He can’t go back now — other than to get his things.  He would have to go back to treatment, start over.  That’s just how the rules and laws go.  Once a client leaves the halfway house, and probably uses drugs (relapse), they are not eligible for that level of care and must take the higher level care.

This all points to the deepness and seriousness of our son’s addiction.  We’ve never been in denial.  Never.  But we have been hopeful, and this time, he got further along the road to recovery than ever before.  (OK that’s my positivity coming through again.)

I am worried.  He does not have his meds with him.  The antidepressant should not be skipped or stopped cold turkey.  The naltrexone is ok to go off, however, it’s purpose is to block the effects of Herioin and opioids like Oxycontin, Vicoden, etc.  Without taking naltrexone, he can feel those effect.

Heroin has one of the highest risks of relapse.  Another scary statistic about heroin relapse is that when a person has gone without using (in my son’s case about 45 days now), their tolerance is lowered and so if they use again at the same level as before they will likely overdose.  Many initial Heroin relapses result in overdoses and often death.

OK, I’ve said it.

We want to find him.  We hope he is not suicidal.  We hope he is safe (relatively speaking).  We hope he will realize this wasn’t what he wanted to do.

I know he must be feeling low (or high – pun intended).  I know he is hurting.  I know he feels unsupported.  I am sorry he has these feelings – it’s not what a loving parent wants.

Just to be clear, let me reiterate:  Always trust your gut.

Midwestern Mama




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