Sunday, July 29, 2012

"The Man Before Me" by Ray

Ray and Jason last 4th of July

I felt I had lost my son and desired desperately to get him back from the addiction which had taken him from me. An addiction to meth had stolen the life, happiness and exuberance from the youthful boy I remembered. At one point during a time of serious lament my wife graciously suggested I learn to accept who he is. I did not want who he is, I wanted my son back. What would it take to get him back, what kind of man was hidden in this mask of drugs?  

The battle began not long after his graduation from high school. He would come to visit us, most times under the influence, sometimes not, I never knew what to expect. Today he admits to not remembering some of those visits, but I do, they were the memorable because of the heartache I felt.

  Then my father came to live with us because his health was failing and he needed constant care. This stretched my emotions even further, dealing with his needs and worrying about my son.

 I had to decide how to approach my son about his addiction, there needed to be a confrontation. That same week there were floods in the area and his trailer was washed away. He asked to come home, I only had one condition, no drugs allowed on the property He hesitated but he came home, our confrontation had been provided for us.

 Jason was a blessing in disguise. He would be all night with his grandpa, who suffered from sundowners, a form of Alzheimer’s. They would talk all night allowing my wife and me to sleep. It also gave my Dad a chance to have an influence on his grandson. I had installed an intercom system in the room to monitor dad at night before we knew Jay was coming home, consequently I was privileged to hear most of their conversations. The topics surprised to me, the depth and compassionate wisdom from this man who suffered dementia and the coherence of a young man fighting drugs was amazing. His grandpa was able to say things to him and have an impact; if I said the same thing it would be an instant fight. I so desired to have that influence and not start arguments.

 After his grandpa’s funeral Jay disappeared for a week, where I did not know. I found out later he had gone to a friend’s house where he quit drugs, including meth, cold turkey. He did not want me to see him go through that, feeling I had dealt with too much already. My wife and I had been praying for him continually. Thankfully things began to change as the effects of the drugs wore off, his attitude slowly changed to that of a sober person. As the process continued I began to notice he was changing into the person I remembered. As the weeks wore on he continued to heal, I began to notice a definite change in attitude.

 Would I get my son back? I was learning to accept who he had become, but longed for the boy that was easy to love. Then standing in the kitchen one day, talking about what the next step in his rehab, I realized we were having a conversation that I had desired. And as I realized this, there in this man before me was the son I remembered. He had grown into a man to be proud of. I had to break away and give thanks to God for answered prayers.
July 21, 2012 "After" the Warrior Dash

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