As the mother of a recovering addict, one thing is clear. There is always the chance for a relapse. I can never allow myself to believe that this is over and she will never relapse. I can hope for that. I can pray for that. Yet to internalize it and believe it is not what the parent of an addict can do. Addicts are very honest about this whether they have thirty days, thirty months, or thirty years. There is always that chance.
My visit to California was treasured mother/daughter bonding time. We rented a small cottage set in the midst of beautiful landscaping, koi ponds, and scattered seating areas around the property. Our days were spent talking, watching a couple of movies, cooking dinner together, attending an AA meeting, and playing mini golf in 100 degree heat. Anything to make us feel somewhat normal.
Ash had asked me if I wanted to meet a guy she had been seeing for about two months. She had been very secretive about him as she tried to figure out if it was going anywhere. Ash had shared with me what he had been telling her and it was obvious she was feeling adored and loved. I always am game for meeting anyone in Ashley’s life and he seemed to be on board with their relationship. We had a nice dinner together. Later, he texted her that he now had two favorite women in his life.
We talked about it over my remaining days and I was holding back any type of judgment. Yes, he was newly in recovery and that was not the best sign. One of Ashley’s past relationships was with a young man she had met during her first trip to rehab. They did well in group meetings together and their talking eventually spilled over into a relationship that lasted for about seven years, off and on. I met him a few times and did like him. My biggest fear was they both entangled themselves without having at least a year clean. I read quite a bit about addicts in relationships together and had no idea how this would end. Some find that they keep each other sober, others use together. As I told them once, they could support each other or kill each other. And kill each other with their addiction is what they almost did. He introduced her to heroin. I am not exactly happy about that but I don’t blame him. That is what addicts do. She made the decision to do it and if it had not been him, it most likely would have been someone else. I am thankful that he has about four years clean at present and I will always wish him well.
I do remember having dinner with them both one night and stated that I would hope if one of them used, the other would leave. I was so far away that it was hard to know what was going on. Days would go by and I would barely hear from Ashley. When I did, she was on her way to work or she had to talk quickly because she was doing something else. Not hearing much from her had always been a warning sign.
I mention this because I saw how this relationship had affected her. One night I had a call from her and instantly knew she was not doing well. She and the guy had broken up and she said, “I just want to kill myself.” I was on a plane the next day.
So, when Ashley called and started telling me the story of what had happened with this guy, you may guess my reaction. Nausea, heart pounding, staying as calm as I could while attempting to get a read on how she was.
She was hurt…again. It made me sick when she explained what happened and how he treated the woman he had been living with and how he reacted when confronted. I was worried for my daughter and the other young woman. I could relate to it because something like this had happened to me. It is extremely difficult to understand how someone a person loves and trusts can be so deceitful. Believe me, there are human beings who are very capable of that and no, a person does not always see through it. It is not even in our being to treat another that way, how can we see such ugliness?
I knew after talking for awhile that Ashley was okay. I felt 99% confident she would not go out and get high or drunk. She was angry as well as hurt. I heard a strength coming from her that I had not heard before. I am encouraged by the Warrior she has become and the way she and the other woman have bonded. They are going to wear t-shirts, one saying Team Ashley and the other saying Team__.
I hate it when she is hurt. I think she has had enough hurt. I am so proud she can see he was not worthy of her.
I also was able to hear Ashley be the keynote speaker at an AA meeting. I am always humbled at these meetings and do enjoy going and meeting her people. She was humorous and so very very honest in her talk. (I am glad I was aware of almost all she said. It would have been difficult to listen to otherwise and it still made me cry.) She wanted to give hope to those listening to her.
Ash is still processing all that happened. I am seeing a young woman who has learned much about taking care of herself and what she needs to do when confronted with a situation that could put her back on the streets again.
We all have our struggles. Many of you are dealing with the hurricanes, a loved one with cancer, Parkinsons, or any number of diseases, death, divorce, so many trials and we are all in this together. No one person’s struggle is to be taken lightly or dismissed. I see the love and support Ash receives from her postings and that shows me that she is indeed the beautiful soul I know. She will give that love and support right back to you, no matter what. She may be a recovering addict but recovering addicts are absolutely beautiful human beings.
Love my recovering addict. She is here today and there continues to be hope.