In 2012, when he was almost 17, Ian spent 4 days in the hospital with pain meds pumping into his body. He needed it, and we didn’t give it another thought.
They sent us home with a prescription for oxycodone for him and we followed the instructions to the letter. The medicine made Ian feel sick to his stomach, and his girlfriend’s mom had a medicine that would help with the nausea.
I didn’t realize then that his girlfriend’s mom had a lot of personal experience with pain meds of this type.
I didn’t realize that after Ian finished his prescription he started talking his girlfriend’s mom into giving him some of her pills.
I didn’t realize that when she wasn’t looking, he also stole them.
I didn’t realize that when Ian quit working with his dad, my husband, and he went to work with his girlfriend’s dad, it was partly because he could be closer to the drugs.
I didn’t realize that his girlfriend’s dad was also stealing his wife’s pills.
And they rode around together in a truck and worked next to each other most every day, installing flooring for a local contractor.
About a year after his accident, when Ian was caught stealing his girlfriend’s mom’s pills, he came to us, sobbing, afraid, desperate, and told us of his addiction. He said he needed help. He said he couldn’t stop.
I honestly can’t remember if we were surprised or not. I know that we were already in the beginning stages of what would become full blown trauma over our years of living with Ian’s addiction.
I began researching rehab facilities but we didn’t understand addictions back then and we hesitated, worrying about connecting him with county detox centers and what that might look like in public records, thinking maybe it was something Ian could get hold of himself with our help. Then the next day, he began to tell us that he was fine and that he wasn’t really struggling and he could quit himself.
I didn’t realize back then that the sobbing desperation meant he needed a fix, and the cool self assurance meant that he had found that fix and he was “OK”. He wasn’t ok by any stretch of the imagination but we were hurting and naive enough to think he was, to hope he was, and to kind of sweep it under the rug.
to be continued.