Friday, March 19, 2010

Barely Titled, Like A Life Barely Lived

Note: If you read this earlier today, I added an addendum this afternoon.

On the last day of this second most difficult winter in my life, I discovered that my son is on crack.

It happened after midnight today that I stumbled upon his stash. I had taken a nap earlier and had a lot of physical energy to burn. I decided to wash the blankets and put many of them away since the days have been warming up. I grabbed the ones in his room, along with several bath towels. One was on an open shelf.

Under it was a little container shaped like a vampire's casket. I remembered seeing it last Halloween when it had held a pair of costume vampire teeth.

The last time I saw it, it was empty and on his floor. Thinking it was now trash, I reached for it to throw it away. I shook it first and heard it rattle. I opened it.

Inside was a small amount of drugs and paraphernalia, but probably enough to get him ten years in a federal prison. There were little amber-colored, pebble-shaped crack rocks. Several white miniature things that looked like funnels. A round thingy that is small enough to hide in your hand, and when opened revealed a wax-like substance that smelled horrible.

Initially I wasn't sure of what I was seeing because I thought crack rocks were white. I googled. No, they're more often amber in color. I googled more to figure out what the other stuff was for. The picture revealed those things could be related to meth.

I returned to my laundry, then sat in the living room a long time, thinking a mother's thoughts. Meanwhile, my son watched mixed martial art videos on the computer, clueless that I had discovered his secret life and the probable source of his off 'n on batshit crazy behavior since November.

If I flushed them, I thought, and he's only selling it, he wouldn't be able to pay his dealer and could or would likely end up getting shot or killed.

If I called the police, with even what looked to my eyes like a small amount of drugs and paraphernalia, he'd likely end up getting sentenced five to ten years in prison.

Damn. If only the laws were designed to treat, not punish, individuals with non-violent and otherwise non-criminal histories, I'd have called the police nine hours ago and happily watched him escorted to a long term rehab. I mean, wouldn't it be cheaper (and better for society) to keep people like him in rehab for 18 months rather than jail for five or ten years? Well, not for the privatized, corporate, neo-slave plantations that get free labor.

I kept thinking. Memories less than a month old filled my mind of him putting a loaded gun to his head and daring me to dare him to pull the trigger when I told him he needed to look for a job. Damn, talk about a missed opportunity!

As I sat after midnight, I worried that he'd flip out again if I now confronted him with threats of kicking him out or demands he go into rehab. The gun is gone, but he's not above deliberately walking into a fast moving car on a busy street; done that, been there.

Rehab is iffy anyway; he has no health insurance, and there's always a waiting list for the few free ones. Knowing him like I do, he'd be lying that he was "only selling" and not using, and if a bed became available in a week, by that time he'd be claiming he was cured, and frankly I don't think I could deal with his hostility if I pushed the issue. On the other hand, I wonder if I could deal with his funeral, but then I wouldn't have a choice.

It's been a really long winter.

My last post of substance was two weeks ago. I've written two since then but published neither. The first was good but too long, and despite it's length, something is still missing from it. The other topic was passionate, but maybe too opinionated. I hate being preachy.

I've toyed with both posts when not job searching, but I've had little ability to concentrate on writing. I'm constantly wondering if one of the last two jobs I interviewed for will come through - so that I can have enough money to move the heck out of here with my 14 year old daughter. A full time job will be our escape hatch, but it pains me that my son refuses to find or accept one for himself.

And finally, the symbolism of what he hid his drugs in is not lost on me: a Halloween toy casket. This is an intersection of childhood playfulness and death, with nothing in between except vampirism. The undead. The not alive. No wonder he begged me for permission to kill himself.

The thing is, I'm not even angry with my son. I am profoundly sad for him. If he's smoking crack, that's horrible enough, but if he's also using meth, he is done. Finished.

And only 21 years old.


Addendum, 1:40 pm

He awakened at noon and approached me where I sat in the living room chair. It is green leather and a hand me down from my late mother.

"Ma, lemme use your computer," he said.

"Sit down first, please, we need to talk."

"About what?!"

Men must learn as boys that when a woman says this, the shit is serious and all about them. Face in a frown, he sat.

"I found the crack."

"What crack?"

I told him where and when, and lil' nigga went off.

"I am not a crackhead!", he yelled.

"I also saw the meth paraphernalia."

"Meth? I am so tired of you thinking I'm a drug addict! I AM NOT LIKE MY BIRTH MOTHER!"

"I saw, Xavier."

"Show me!", he screamed.

His fists were clenched and he looked sooo angry.

"Uh, I don't know if it's safe right now," I said. "You look pretty mad."

"Arrrgh!" he replied, and stormed into my daughter's bedroom to keep a distance between us.

"Go ahead," he screamed, "Get it! Show it to me!"

I went to his room, but then he came in, shadowing me. I looked on the shelf where I left it. He pointed. "There it is! Open it!"

I expected the drugs to be gone. They weren't.

"They're all here," I said, looking at him apprehensively.

"Those aren't drugs," he said with clenched teeth. "Damn you make me crazy!"

"It's looks just like the pictures of crack."

The word made him flinch.

"Crack doesn't look like that. See? This is kind of transparent."

My father was from Show Me state, so I went to the computer. The stuff does look an awful lot like crack, but not 100%.

He lit his lighter to a booger-sized "rock". It stank.

"Well what the hell is it?"

"Glue, like in the little container," he answered. "It's from where it got too hard when I was applying it to the [vampire] teeth and I rolled it up into little balls 'cause I didn't want to throw them on the floor... no trashcan."

"Can I take this to the police?"

"Be my guest."

I smiled my first smile of today. The only reason I didn't feel stupid is because I felt relieved.

"Xavier, I'm sorry."

"Ma, I keep telling you, I'll NEVER get on hard drugs. Weed and booze is bad enough. I've tried cocaine and you know this, but that was a long time ago and I'll never go back to that or mess with crack, meth, heroin, any of that..."

Then his face looked sad. He said, "You keep thinking I'll end up like my mother but I won't."

"That's not true. She has nothing to do with my worrying about you. Hell, three weeks ago you had a gun to your head. In December you were raising hell and overdosed on your meds when I got mad at you. I still haven't recovered from any of that."

"Ma, I wouldn't have shot myself," he said. His voice and face had some uncertainty. This was the first time he talked - really talked - about that day with me.

"Mom," he continued, "I thought about that. My blood all over the walls and floors and me dead. Your brain would have been fried. I couldn't do that to you. You'd have never recovered if I did."

"That's true," I said.

"I'm sorry I put you through that, but please, know that I'll never get into that hard shit. Guys get so bad they end up loosing their teeth, sucking dick for drugs or doing hard time. That's not the life for me. I know this, and you taught me better than that. So trust me, please."

And with those words on this last day of this season, I am freeing my mind and our relationship of the chains of the past... the baggage from his birth family, his hell-raising, gang-banging, and drinking and drug abuse, off and on for the past eight years.

"Spring will be here tomorrow," I said, looking out the window. "With it, you and I are starting over fresh. It's very hard to not judge someone by their many past actions, and just as hard being judged, but I am going to let it go and trust you to be a man, and do the things a man has to do."

Xavier looked so relieved.

"Thank you," he said.

For him, like me, it's been long, hard winter. I think we are both ready for the spring.

For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven...


  1. Hi Kit, I'm so sorry to hear this. It’s a shocking thing to discover, unfortunately the only thing we can do for our kids is to try to keep on helping them as long as we can. Even if it breaks our backs, which in some cases it does!

    My thoughts are that you should immediately initiate a dialogue with him, but not in an accusatory or angry manner, that will alienate him, give him a reason to justify the drug usage, and get you nowhere, and he needs to let you help him.

    You could say to him, matter of factly, like a friend would, son, you and I both know that you have an addiction,(which of course he will immediately deny), and this is a terrible addiction because crack is relatively cheap and mind bogglingly addictive and you need help, and I’m willing to help you.
    Also if you have the extra cash on hand you can throw the drugs away and tell him you will pay his creditors! That’s what I would do, even if I didn't have money for food, he must understand that bringing drugs into the home and putting you and your daughter at risk of being arrested, is absolutely unacceptable!

    You have to try and get him to some sort of rehab. Talk to him coolly, with the facts, and offer him your help. I don't know what your options are as far as rehab, but if he doesn't see things your way, and he may not...then you should make it clear and offer him an ultimatum, either rehab or the cold mean streets. Give him a week or so, see how he reacts, God willing he'll come around.

    Kit, I'm sorry to say I’m afraid I don't think people are able to leave crack on their own without some sort of outside help.

    Rest assured that I am elevating prayers for you and us all! God be with you and bless your home and family.

  2. This is gut wrenching.

    I'm so sorry that you will have to deal with this horrible situation.

  3. Oh, no :(

    I certainly have no advice to offer, as I have never been in this position and don't have children. So all I have is *hugs*

  4. Thank you, Cactus Rose, Big Man, and La. I added an update/ addendum just now.

  5. OH Thank God! Little balls of glue! Oh my goodness!LOL!

    I'm so glad for you and him, it sounds like he's maturing and is on the way to adulthood and that's a very good thing.

    Best wishes, and again, so happy for you!!!

  6. Cactus Rose, The best thing about this incident is it was a catalyst for him to talk about that awful day when almost shot himself, and his feelings about his birth mom using crack. He is far more judgmental of her than I've ever been, and angry, but he projects those feelings of shame and fear onto me.

    He owned up to what he put himself and me through on that day, but he isn't out of the woods yet. This lil' manchild has many challenges ahead - but at least he appears to be firm with one of his limits: not succumbing to the generational curse by using hard drugs.

    Readers, I showed the stuff to my daughter when she got home from school. She confirmed it was all part of the original vampire teeth kit - and laughed, saying "I know you felt stupid."

    Yes and no. I thought of removing this post a little earlier, but I won't, I think it has value in *seeing how dumb Kit is* ... no, in seeing some of the difficulty and heartbreak in caring about and trying to help a child or loved one with these kinds of issues.

  7. Thank God!!!

    I read that feeling your pain at the end of a long f'd up day at work. I'm so very happy to read that it wasn't as bad as it seemed. My son will be 21 in November and I read this wondering what I would say to him under similar circumstances.....and I honestly don't know what I'd do besides be angry as hell!!!

  8. Kit, I am so glad this situation wasn't as it originally appeared. Lost for a thankful way.

  9. Reggie & Curvy Girl, Thank you, and I too am thankful; Lord knows he has enough problems with his mood disorder and ADHD and just being young and too slick for his own good.

    My greatest fear has been regressing (and he did, through the winter) and that when I move and he begins to live as an independent adult, he'll utterly self-destruct.

    Today he showed that 1) he's been thinking about all the shit we've been through, and 2) he's made of tougher stuff.

    Perhaps love, and self-love, does conquer all.

  10. Hello Kit, you know I had to comment.

    I spent 30 minutes writing a long comment. Unfortunately OR fortunately, it was lost. Maybe it wasn't for everyones "ears".

    In short, after reading the first part, I waited. After reading the addendum I didn't have the same feelings of relief that's been the prevalent voice/comments.

    Side note: Alcohol is the most damaging drug 50-1 (easy)(total deaths, money, physical & mental damage, family destruction)it's KING! Can we talk about "hard drugs"

    This Monday I am addressing a group of graduating college students. I was invited to speak because although these would-be professionals will walk out with a sheep-skin, they are woefully ignorant (professor's words).

    Sorry for dampening the spirit, but this subject is my passion and I smelled fresh meat. And, this story has been written, BUT the outcome doesn't have to be the same. Imo, the odds are stacked against you (big time!) but there's still hope.

  11. The way things worked out is a true blessing. Thank the maker this situation turned out innocent.

    Stay strong/loving and keep on him about getting full time work.

  12. Carey, I agree. Alcohol is a monster for a small number of the population, and Xavier turns mean when he drinks. He does fine on weed - except the laws are the monster.

    You said you smell fresh meat... yeah, it's still scary and I know he ain't out of the woods yet. You've been in that forest, seen the light that I talked about in another post, and made it out. Now you're helping others. Feel free to email me about the odds if you want.

  13. "Carey, I agree. Alcohol is a monster for a small number of the population"

    Kit, I had to come back (because it is my passion, and day job).

    One small note/clarification: Yes, alcohol is a monster (the biggest) but "small population" is a misnomer. The number of people that drink Alcohol (because it's "legal")dwarfts that of those that use "illegal drugs". Consequently, the word "small" is misleading. More so, (because it's legal) many people do not see it as a problem. But ultimately, it's simply a slower death, and the scab (symptoms) shows itself in different ways.

    YES! The laws are the monster. And, money is it's pimp.

    Yep, I'll hit your e-mail if you promise not to keep embarrassing me @ my blog *lol*

    But (again, following your lead) there will be a charge for my services... $19.95 a minute *wink*

  14. For those who don't know, Carey currently has a funny but serious post titled God Told You What? Give Me That Phone, I Need His Private Line. The jokester in me replied that for $9.95 per minute, I'd facilitate a 3-way conversation. I was just having fun; hope it wasn't truly embarrassing and if so I'll stop.

    Anyhoo, Carey, when I said a small number of the population has a serious problem with alcohol, I was comparing them to the overall population where half of all adults report having a drink in the past 30 days without becoming alcoholics, binge drinkers, drunk drivers, or committing a crime while under the influence.

    In a town of 100 adults, that's not many, but in a nation of nearly 100 million adults - you're absolutely right - it adds up to an awful lot of people and a huge social problem.

  15. Well Kit, this ended well. And to be honest, it sounded even better than The Cosby Show. Lemme ask: has Xavier ever considered going into the military? Have you ever thought of suggesting it to him?

  16. Rippa, Thanks. Xavier has always wanted to join the military, and I've always thought he'd be a helluva soldier. Problem is, when he tried to enlist several times, he was always told he had to get a GED first. Well, things change. If so, I just hope he comes back fine.

  17. I have a family member who had the opposite experience: swearing her son wasn't using when he was. I can tell you that you are happy you're in your position rather than hers. I'm so glad it was just the glue. I hope though that this will actually cause your relationship to improve. You had a legitimate suspicion and you talked to him about it. you gave him the chance to show you that you were mistaken. In short, you treated him as an adult.


Hi, this is Kit.

I haven't posted since summer 2010, and comment moderation has been on for a very long time.

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