A Mom AddictedAdd Comment
:: Send to a Friend
:: View Comments
The moment I pulled into the school’s parking lot I realized that I’d left my English paper on the kitchen table.Add Comment
Oh, rats! I quickly dialed Mom to see if she could drive it over. She didn’t pick up. I tried again on my lunch break, and, not getting through, I decided to zip home to grab the paper myself. When I got there, the house was eerily silent.
“Mom?” I called. “Mom!”
I headed upstairs and knocked on her bedroom door. I got no response, so I slowly opened it. The shades were drawn and the room was pitch-black. I walked toward the bed and poked on the mound of covers.
“Is it 3:30 already?” Mom asked groggily.
“No,” I responded. “Are you sick?”
Mom rubbed her eyes and yawned.
“No,” she said. “Just really tired.”
Not quite right
On the drive back to school I started thinking about Mom’s unusual behavior. For instance, my typically responsible mom had recently become flighty and absent, missing several of my cross-country meets and dance performances. She had also stopped cleaning the house and cooking meals, which was strange because she had always taken such pride in her domestic and culinary skills. The biggest change was that lately she was always tired.
I tried to push my concerns aside, but when I continued to come home from school and find Mom buried beneath her covers, I knew that Dad and I needed to take action.
“I think you should see a doctor,” I told Mom one day.
“I’m fine!” she insisted. “I just haven’t been sleeping well lately.”
“What do you mean? All you do is sleep!”
“That’s not true!” Mom retorted.
“Mom—we don’t do anything together anymore,” I said. “We don’t shop or cook. We barely even talk, because you’re always in bed hibernating.”
Mom shook her head.
“It’s true, Mom,” I said. “You don’t even smile anymore.”
That evening I asked Dad what he thought was going on.
“A few months ago your mom was having trouble sleeping because of my snoring,” Dad said. “So the doctor gave her a prescription for sleeping pills.”
“So Mom’s been taking these pills during the day, too?” I asked.
“I think so,” Dad said. “And I checked with the doctor. He said the pills can become highly addictive if used improperly.”
The next day Dad and I told Mom that we wanted her to quit popping pills. She promised that she would. She also promised to toss the remainder of her prescription. Hearing those words brought me such relief.
Finally, I’m going to get my mom back!
A failed promise
A few days later, however, when Mom didn’t show up for my halftime dance performance at the basketball game, I knew something was wrong. After the game, the same dark, silent house that I had grown accustomed to over the past several months greeted me again.
Finally, I’d had enough. I called Dad at work and asked him to come home. When he got there, we barged into the bedroom and told Mom it was time for her to seek professional help.
“I don’t need help,” Mom mumbled.
“You haven’t stopped taking the pills,” Dad said bluntly.
“Yes, I have,” Mom replied quietly, looking down at the floor like a scolded child.
Dad headed toward the bathroom and started rummaging through the cabinets and drawers.
“What are you doing?” Mom asked in a panicked tone as she sprang out of bed faster than I’d seen her move in months.
“Looking for your stash,” Dad said.
I joined in the search, checking around stacks of towels and toiletries.
“I don’t have any more!” Mom insisted, desperately grabbing onto Dad’s hands. “I told you I got rid of them.”
I could see the pain on my dad’s face as he locked eyes with Mom and said, “I don’t believe you.”
Tears welled up in Mom’s weary eyes.
“Please, stop!” she begged.
“No,” Dad insisted. “Those pills are wrecking our family!”
Just then I saw a plastic bag stuffed up behind some lotion bottles in the cabinet above the toilet.
“Dad,” I said. “Right there.”
He reached up and grabbed the bag, unzipped it, and dumped the pills into the toilet.
“No!” Mom shouted as Dad flushed them. “I need those!”
Dad pulled her close, laid his hands gently on her cheeks, and looked into her bloodshot eyes.
“No, honey,” he said. “I need you. Christy needs you. And we’re going to help you.”
Mom sank to her knees.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered as salty tears streamed down her face.
The adrenaline pulsing through my body made me shake as I watched Dad comfort my trembling mother, who was curled into a ball on the bathroom floor.
Giving it over to God
Over the next several months I spent a lot of time in prayer. I asked God for the courage to stand by my mom the way she had always stood by me. I prayed for the Lord to guide my dad to seek the best treatment possible for Mom. I also asked for peace and healing for our family. Still, peace never found its way into my heart.
One day my friend Melissa asked me what was bothering me.
“Is it your mom?” she asked. “Isn’t she getting better?”
“I think so,” I said. “She’s seeing a therapist, and she has more energy.”
“Then what is it?”
“I’m worried that she’ll relapse, and we’ll be back to square one,” I said.
“You can’t think that way,” Melissa said. “Trust that everything will be OK.”
I didn’t know if I could trust, because my family had been a mess for so long.
“You’ve done what you can, Christy. Now it’s time to let God handle it.”
Let God handle it.
Something clicked in my mind when I heard those words. For weeks I had been paralyzed by fear. Fear that Mom would slip back into her dark oblivion. Fear that she would lose herself in her addiction. Fear that maybe I would never get my “old mom” back. But Melissa was right. Worrying did me no good. I needed to give my anxieties over to God.
Through time, prayer, and medical intervention Mom kicked her sleeping pill addiction, and life around our home started to feel familiar again. The shades remained up all day. The smell of yummy food permeated the house. I started seeing Mom’s face at my school events again. Best of all, my mom’s big, beautiful smile was back.
My mom’s addiction really tested our family’s faith, but through that ordeal the Lord showed us that we could trust in Him completely. As a result, my faith grew exponentially. And now each day I strive to live and breathe Proverbs 3:5—“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”
Christy Heitger-Ewing writes from the Hoosier State.
:: Send to a Friend
:: view comments