When the Person in Recovery is the Frog in the Pot

One year ago today, my son, Caleb realized he was the frog in the pot.

Apparently, if you put a frog in a pot of cool water, and set it on the stove and slowly turn up the heat, the frog will not try to jump out, it does not realize he is in danger, until the water is nearly boiling, then it’s too late, the frog is boiled to death and can’t jump to freedom.

One year ago today, after a time of contemplation at his accident site, my son, Caleb, realized he was in trouble; he felt the heat of the flame under the pot increasing; He had relapsed after five months of clean time. What began as medicinal use of weed during his last month of recovery, under the guise of keeping him from using his previous drugs of choice, in reality, led him directly back to old friends and old ways — and he knew it.

He knew he was in trouble; he wanted to change.

  • Earlier that day, Caleb met up with his brother and they made plans together to get back on track at the gym; previous to addiction, Caleb was an exceptional athlete.
  • Later that day, He met up with his friend from the Sober house and admitted his relapse, shared his feelings, and wept at his predicament – the water was getting hot and he was scared!
  • And yet, at 8:21 pm, he was frantically looking for his jar of weed.

A person in recovery, who is scared, is in a very precarious and potentially dangerous position. Emotions can be triggers for people in recovery – hard emotions can be the impetus for whole hearted change, or they can be the thing that drives them back to using cuz it hurts too much to make the change – fear, false confidence, and pain are a lethal mix; addictions’ claws grip deep and the power overwhelms. Helplessness and hopelessness are double whammy accomplices alongside addiction.

Deep inside, I knew my son had the heart desire to change his course and the ability to jump out of the pot… and I believe he thought he could too. Every person in recovery has a deep desire to be free of addiction and stay clean… no addict wants to be an addict.

Do you know someone in recovery who is relapsing and not listening, not acknowledging, or too afraid and is paralyzed in the moment and feeling the heat of the water increasing?

Stay close, if they will let you…

Do what you can to encourage them and take the time to meet them where they are at and do what you can to keep them out of the pot.

Are you in recovery?

Do whatever it takes to jump out of the pot – please!  Seek out a supportive family member or friend, go to a meeting… run, hike, bike, … take a long hot shower… eat spicy taco’s(!)… do anything to get out of the pot… just,

Don’t be the Frog in the Pot!

 

 

 

 

Not Talking about Plums, Just Drugs

Have you ever heard of William Carlos Williams?
I mean what kind of a name is that anyway?
A fun one I suppose…

red plum fruits on round brown wooden plate

I had not heard about him until his poem became a prompt for the writing group I attend. The assignment was to mimic his style and write a This is Just to Say poem; Here is what I wrote, but I warn you, it is not very fun.

This is just to say…
I went in your room while you were gone and I cleared up all the dirty dishes and moldy food scraps, I gathered your smelly clothes, and made your bed ‘just so’ because I was searching for whatever it is you were hiding and I found it and I threw it out.
You know what it was I am sure,
…Forgive me, but I love you too much and hate what you are doing.

Yup.
Here I am to talk about something not very fun: being the parent of a child who became addicted to drugs, right under my nose. TODAY, marks 9 months since my son died of an overdose.

Practically speaking, this is my creative hook to share with you fellow-parents some items you might be seeing, or items to look for, if you suspect at all that your son or daughter may be into stuff he/she should not be into. I list them in a rough order of how I found these things in my son’s bedroom and in my home, honestly, the timeline is now blurred.

  • Lighters and matches
  • Little plastic Baggies, in pockets, in the laundry, crumpled on the floor
  • Razor blades
  • Pens, with the innards taken out of them
  • Straws cut short
  • Cigar innards
  • Weed seeds, weed leaf flakes – it’s not oregano
  • small butt ends of joints
  • Glass or metal pipes, bowls, and contraptions in parts
  • My kitchen box of Baking soda
  • Ziplocs with white residue
  • Foil scraps, and even my foil tube
  • A large propane lighter
  • Sticky-gummy stuff on the night stand
  • Burn marks on the quilt
  • Funny looking tiny papers w/ little cartoon prints
  • Spoons gone missing, found in the bedroom with soot and burn marks on the backside
  • Random colored pills with random letters and numbers, in a Ziploc baggie
  • Tiny vile bottles, unlabeled, with some kind of oil in them
  • Stuff on wax or parchment paper that looks like someone melted a lollipop on it – only it’s a golden brown color and smells bad

809

I did not find them all at once…
It was one item here and there, at weeks or month intervals between times at first…
I dismissed the oddity and believed the excuses from my son, when I asked him about the items:

we use the lighters at work”… “it’s my buddy’s, not mine”….

Repetitive finds began building and then multiple items were found at a time as I went in to clean his room A.K.A. –  compulsively and obsessively search his room, daily after he left the house for work.
Suspicions became confrontations….but by then, it was too late, because I had been too naïve and too afraid to bring it out into the open much sooner; Ignorance never pays.
So…
Once again -the purpose of this post is to alert you and other fellow parents what to look out for – and if you spot one or two of these items – do not think:

Oh, not my child…”
“Every kid experiments, it’s not that bad, I know his friends…”

Remember Parents: Knowledge is Power.

And that doesn’t just apply to our kids.

 

“But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,….” Ephesians 5:13

When it becomes visible and known, then a parent can deal with it and perhaps save their kid before it’s too late. Don’t be afraid to look…