I often wonder how my kids see/feel about my drug problem. I often wonder that now, now that I am in recovery and no longer able to completely deny the fact that they are at least on some level, whether it be conscious or sub-conscious, aware of my drug problem. The fact that drugs took me away from them. The fact that drugs were hugely, life threateningly, a part of my life.
Daughter is 19 now and she is fully aware that I have been to detox and am in treatment for opiate addiction. Son is only 9 and while he knows I go to meetings and appointments, he doesn’t really know the depth of why, but hasn’t really ever expressed a desire to know. If he had, we would tell him.
Daughter has told me how angry and scared my using made her. How she hated watching me nod after I got loaded. How she hated being lied to and knowing it when she asked me point blank if I took too much medicine. It hurts like hell to hear these things but I count my blessings that we are still close enough for her to tell me them. We watched Season 5 of Nurse Jackie together and she told me about her fears of me relapsing. But she also told me how proud she was of me for detoxing and staying in treatment since then.
Son has told me when he has nightmares. He dreamed that I said I would hug him, reached out my arms and instead “shoved him into a sad and lonely place and drove away”.
Another time, there was a “Mom and Me Reading Day” at his school. The featured book was Arnold Lobel’s “Frog and Toad Together.” As Frog and Toad is a huge family favorite I was surprised when multiple notices came home for this day without him mentioning it to me. When I asked him whether he was interested in the day and if so why he hadn’t asked me about it, he said, ” I knew you’d be sick.” Puzzled, I asked him to clarify how he could predict that I’d be sick on that particular day. He said, ” It’s a mommy thing and whenever I want you to do mommy things, you’re always too sick.”
Ouch! That stung like hell, because whether he was consciously aware or not that in the past, too sick to do mommy things was actually too high or too withdrawing to do mommy things, I KNEW that that’s what it meant. I told him, tears in my eyes, that I wasn’t too sick to do “Mommy and Me Reading Day.” I also apologized for being too sick when he wanted me to do mommy things before and encouraged him to always ask me from now on when he wanted mommy things from me. That was in second grade. We did the Frog and Toad Day and quite a few other activities since then.
He is now preparing to enter 4th grade and while I feel that his confidence in my ability/willingness to do mommy things has increased greatly, I still wonder what he sees when he looks at his disabled addict of a mother. On nights when I am consumed by regrets at the wreckage I wreaked in my past, I wonder a lot.