It honestly feels great to be sitting here in bed drinking my coffee and writing a post after a crazy few weeks at work. I looked forward to this scheduled four day weekend and it finally arrived and I intend to enjoy every single moment of it. I love my work but sometimes I need a break from it. When I think about the craziness of some of those days I think to myself "I seriously cannot make up the shit I have seen or heard". Some of the things I was told over the last few weeks whether it was the excuse for leaving treatment against medical advice such as "I only came into treatment because my drug dealer was on vacation" to "I am going to "trick" on the avenue to buy footballs for my son's team" to "We were only fighting" when caught with one's pants off with another on top.
My background is in Human Behavior and that is exactly what I studied in college. Along the way, I gained certifications in Drug & Alcohol, Trauma Informed Care and various other sub-topics not to mention the twenty year background in the medical aspects of the human body. Bottom line is I have always worked in the Health Care Field whether it was addressing the physical or mental health of an individual.
I originally went to college back in 1978 for a degree in medical assistance. Once in the work force, I went back to college to pursue a degree in Laboratory Sciences. I then spent twenty years working in a Lab part time on the 2nd shift while my children were preschoolers and when my youngest child started first grade a position opened up for a first shift Lab Supervisor which I placed a request and was hired. I worked in that position for seven years until I was showing a new Phlebotomist how to do blood cultures on an eighty year old man in the CCU who spiked a fever and when I placed the needle in his arm (the trainee was holding the arm) the trainee let go and the man grabbed my arm and pulled me violently across him as the needle flew up in the air blood went everywhere as the bed rolled across the room because nursing forgot to set the brake on the bed.
The end result was a torn right shoulder (I am right handed) and the beginning of the end of that career. I continued to work but I needed surgery and that one surgery turned into three surgeries and chronic shoulder pain. At the same time I was dealing with one son in addiction. Another son joined the military immediately after the events of 9/11 and went off to war. My marriage of twenty three was ending. I was pretty stressed so I made the decision to do three things to help myself. I went to a therapist who specialized in Addiction. I started attending Al-Anon meetings. I decided to return to college and take an Addiction class to learn everything about what my son was going through. That one college class led into another and another and before I realized it I was on my way to a new degree and a new career. Three degrees later here I am.
I truly believe that "Where we are in life is exactly where we are suppose to be". Of course the unknown is frightening and when we are going through stress and pain, we do not understand or even want to feel those feelings however if I had not experienced all that I experienced in those years I would not be in a career I truly love and believe I am really good at. When you go to work everyday "loving" what you do, the days fly by and there is so much job satisfaction. I never felt that feeling in the twenty years at the Lab.
Some maybe thinking if I still believe that where we are in life is exactly where we are suppose to be after the events of the last four years which to all standards was far more tragic and stressful than anything else one can imagine. My answer is still "Yes". Addiction was not limited to one son and the addiction of another son and his girlfriend led to a tragedy of unbelievable proportions and consequences for all of us. We will never truly know what happened that night though I have my own thoughts on the matter as I reviewed the situation not from a place of emotion but a place of evidence of what I seen and heard. But as the mother of the accused I was never asked and when I tried to offer I was shut down by all parties involved including detectives, lawyers and courts. The point I am trying to make is "Yes" I believe those things happened for a reason though I rather wish the lessons could have been learned in a much different way. As a result a family lives without their son and a daughter lives without her father and her father's family including this grandmother writing this post. You can take the first part of that last statement two different ways.
Today, my sons are sober and have learned some difficult lessons. One son is going off to Villanova this Fall to become a Certified Recovery Specialist. The other son is working as a Peer Specialist helping other addicts whose crimes led to incarceration. Before that son went to prison I told him he had two choices. He can chose to get involved in the chaos of prison life by continuing to do drugs in prison and get into trouble or he can learn from his mistakes and become a better person. I told him that he will always have the love and support of his family. That being said, I told my son that anything we send him, he is to share among those who do not have any outside support. Every book I send him (he is an avid reader so I ship a dozen at a time) he is to pass out to others when he is done reading, He receives money on his books to buy things he needs to pay for medical and dental care and special treats/food and he is expected to share those things as well with others who have no support. Thus far he has chose to stay out of trouble so he resides in a dorm (much like as he did in the military) not a cell, took advantage of classes and is now working as a peer specialist who runs groups and is a mentor to other incarcerated addicts. He reads. Works outs. Plays softball and basketball. Officiates on the softball teams. He looks well. He sounds well. Is this what I wanted for his life? Of course not!. I do not believe any parent wants their child to learn lessons the hard way. My children seen to have to learn lessons the hard way and as a result it impacted the daily living of this mother in many ways. I became a counselor as the result of one son and a better counselor as the result of another son. I no longer take things or people for granted. There is very little that gets me upset these days because when you have experienced the worse nothing can compare to that feeling. I certainly do not care what anyone thinks about me and I do not feel as though I need to prove anything to anyone which is a significant change for a person who was a perfectionist in all things. I lost friends along the way and some family members. However, the true friends remained as well as the true family members. In a sense I am lucky that way because I got to see clearly who are true and loyal. Because I have experienced being in that very dark place, I can truly relate to those who struggle with or had struggled with depression.
Today, I view the world through a new set of lens and for that I am grateful.