My son is unwell. His mind and heart are reeling from childhood trauma and I have never felt so helpless. He is a young adult now, and this can be a vulnerable time, particularly for young men dealing with trauma. It is my experience that they drink and drug their way through their late teens and early twenties only to prolong the inevitable pain, or they stand and face their demons. My son has chosen to not drink and drug. He quit substances altogether a few years back. He said he hates what they do to him and who he becomes while under the influence, so he stopped. I’m in awe of him. He is twenty one years old and already making good decisions for himself. He has chosen a life for himself that isolates him pretty much from his peers and as a result he has few friends, if any. He is fit and healthy and does all the right things, yet, trauma has it’s icy hand around his neck.
Pain can be healed
From his choices, I can see the dark and powerful result of using substances. It allows us to numb, distract and become completely unaware of the erosion of our inner selves from the pain we have endured in our past. My motto used to be “drink it away.” Eventually though the pain will win. You will look back on your life and see a landscape of chaos with each moment of destruction tied to the one before by a thick and obvious rope. I didn’t even know I could heal my pain. It lived in me since I was little and I eventually defined myself as a mess. Lack of understanding prevented me from having any empathy for myself. I was just a misfit, a shameful creature unworthy of love or good things. Unfortunately my children got caught up in my destruction and as a result must heal now also. My son however, will not need to look back on his life and see a chaotic jungle of loss and regret – hopefully. He has been given options and is fully aware that pain can be healed. He is doing all the hard work and I wish I had taken a similar road, or knew I could. Imagine a life where you never need a drink or a drug!
Letting go of the outcome
I’m on tender hooks all the time. I’m dreaming at night that people I know are missing. I know when I wake in the morning, it’s my subconscious skirting on the edge of fear of loosing my beloved son. My brain is preparing me for the worst. I call him several times a day and if he doesn’t answer after three rings I panic. If he’s out too long I panic. If he’s home alone I panic. My job right now is to remain grounded and know, that my co-dependency could also kill him. There is no place for my need to control outcomes in this situation. I have asked him to let the sun rise each day and let that light help heal him. I have to trust the process and respect his path. But my god is this hard to do. I’m putting all my recovery tools into overdrive and I’m clinging to the subsequent lessons for living that those tools support. I am powerless but hopeful.