When an Addict Shows Up at Your Door

My heart sank even as my face lit up when my son burst through my front door this evening. I surely wasn’t expecting him. He was in jail this morning and was supposed to stay there for the foreseeable future. What is early release anyway? How do they decide who to give that to? Why doesn’t the judge get to keep someone from being released early?

I was in the process of putting Kepler to bed, and we happened to be in the middle of a stare-down about whether or not he was going to brush with toothpaste tonight. I was determined he was. He was determined he wasn’t. The usual type of thing, but I knew I would win this one. What I didn’t expect was having to abandon the duel at fifty paces to deal with my addict son arriving.

I saw an unfamiliar car in the driveway, driven by an unfamiliar person. By virtue of the fact that my son gave this guy his name and number, that made me very suspicious about who this person might be, and why he was driving my son out to the suburbs from the downtown jail.

The thing is, as I told my mother the other day, i think my brain is made up of 75% gorilla glue, so when a thought gets in there, it gets stuck pretty quickly. After talking to my son this morning, I was basically depending on the conversation we had had, thinking that I could count on the facts as I knew them. He was in jail. He was going to call me at 6pm. He was going to be transferred to another facility when a bed became available so that he could be assessed for suitability for in-patient rehab. (I can tell them, if they want to know, that he is definitely a good candidate for in-patient). And then, and then, and then, I spend time this afternoon thinking about what book would be good to send him from Amazon, and how we might continue to work on some of the thinking processes we had been talking about.

And then he shows up.

I confess my first response was not “Perfect, what’s next?” or even, “Yes, and,” which are my two favorite responses to unexpected events. Applying them now, I discover the following: Perfect, what’s next? He will see his probation officer in the morning. I will drive him. He may appear before the judge again. She may send him back to jail. If she does, he may be extremely distressed. I will respond to whatever happens with as much grace and wisdom as I can access. Yes, he is out of jail, and that means he has access to drugs and there is nothing I can do to prevent that. I can drive him downtown tomorrow, support him through the process, and feel what I feel throughout.

I don’t have to control this. I can allow the process to unfold.

As the last two paragraphs of the Desiderata poem say,

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

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