Lucky star

So I guess I should explain why, in my previous entry, I said I am very fucking lucky.

Kim (again, bless her sweet soul) excused my behavior after Sprog’s birth, due to me being in the throes of active addiction at the time. I don’t know. I do not think I can excuse myself on that basis anymore than Kim excuses her daughter’s birth father on that same basis (ie, she does not excuse him at all). So I guess, rather than being excused, I count it as being forgiven. Because what I did was inexcusable, no doubts there.

So… I am lucky to have extremely forgiving people in my life, people who are kinder to me than I am to myself.

The girlfriend I abused and walked out on is now my wife. When I finally stepped out of denial and into the horror of what I had done to my son, she was there. And, like Kim, she forgave me because active addicts do terrible things to the people who love them, and to her, Sober Brad is not the same person as Addict Brad. Out in the real world, she is pretty much the only person (besides Sprog’s family) that I talk to about Sprog.

I am lucky to be in recovery. I am lucky that I hit rock bottom before the drugs killed me. They did try. In September of 2005 after a couple months clean, I relapsed. As I jumped off the wagon, I misjudged quite horribly, and I overdosed. I woke up in the hospital, found my high was gone, and I was unimaginably ticked off. From there I went directly into a rehab program. Within one week of release, I was using again. Nope, amazingly, almost killing myself was not my rock bottom.

Rock bottom happened in March of 2006. We were all lined up to visit with Sprog and in the weeks leading up to it, I was trying desperately to get and stay clean. Unfortunately I was failing miserably, constantly strung out and borderline suicidal. I was not using enough to get high, just enough to keep myself from getting sick, and I caught myself thinking “This is my normal. If I show up like this, it is normal and I bet they will never even realize I am using. If I am normal-for-me, that should be enough.” Yes, I really did consider spending an entire week with my son while in active addiction. I actually did consider bringing needles and drugs into his home. I truly thought it would be better than showing up the way I eventually did show up – strung out and dope sick, sweating and shivering, puking out the car window on the way from the airport to his family’s house.

So this is my Lucky again. Sprog’s family. Imagine for a moment that you are an adoptive parent, and your son’s birth father has just shown up at your front door looking like an extra from Shaun of the Dead. Imagine that your one stipulation for visits has always been “You will be sober when visiting with Sprog”. And this foul creature from the depths of hell is standing there, begging for entry. You would be perfectly within your rights to tell him to fuck off. But they did not. They felt it would do more damage to Sprog if he did not see me at all after he had been told I was coming, than to see his genetic ancestry in all its glory of heroin withdrawal. They compassionately gave me the benefit of the doubt, opened their home and their hearts to me… and I totally fucked them over. We had rented a car at the airport, because I had every intention of attending an NA meeting every single day. For three days, I religiously drove to those meetings. Just as I was starting to feel human, four days into the visit, I left around lunch time for my meeting. And I never returned, because instead of driving to the meeting, my brain switched off and drove me to an old friend’s house and we sat at his kitchen table and got high together and talked about old times. My cellphone rang, many hours later, and I could see it was a call from Sprog’s house. “Fuck”, I thought, “I have been here for hours. I should get back”. Uh… no… you can’t show up high. I did not answer the phone. I stayed with my friend until the flight home.

My wife was the ice queen. She came home to get some stuff and then she went to stay with a friend. I spent a couple weeks so wasted that I cannot remember a thing about them, other than I completely failed to go back to work. I had no communication with Sprog’s family and I knew I must have blown the whole deal. Father’s Day rolled around. They always send me a card on Father’s Day. Not this year. I was certain I would never get to see Sprog again, they had cast me out and that was it. I sank into depression. Lost my job because I was never there and never offered any explanation for my absence. In desperation, I wrote a letter to Sprog’s parents apologizing for what had happened. Their response seemed cryptic to me at the time.

A few weeks went by, and Sprog’s father called. He wanted to take me on a camping trip so that we could talk. I was terrified. Normally I am a reasonably confident person, but Sprog’s parents are incredibly intimidating because they are Sprog’s parents. My self esteem plummets as I start comparing myself to them and I forget they are just people like me. So this camping trip was the most horrific way I could think of to spend a weekend, but somehow my mouth said “OK” despite the screaming in my brain. That trip changed my life. Finally, something clicked inside my head when Sprog’s dad said to me “It is OK to be sober. You screwing up your life makes no difference to where Sprog is now. No matter what you do, he is still going to have the life he has now. The only difference is: do you want to be someone he is proud of when he gets older, or someone he pities?” Proud. I want him to be proud of where he came from.

I stopped fucking up my life to prove to myself that he is better off where he is. His life is not better, just different.

I am lucky to have these people in my life. I am lucky to be in recovery. I am lucky that I get to see my son. I am so fucking lucky.


6 Responses to “Lucky star”

  1. This post just made me cry. For so many reasons. For your pain and despair. For Sprog’s parents and their wanting good things for him and their disappointment. For them not giving up, for reaching and for you taking that reach-out. It’s all so human and painful and beautiful.

    And: I am lucky to be able to read this post. It’s a huge lesson in so many ways. Thank you.

  2. made me cry too.
    and we are lucky to have you.
    keep on keepin on

  3. Christine Says:

    Well… sometimes it takes drastic things to happen for important issues to be clarified.

    We are all a work in progress….

  4. Man, even though I knew, there’s something about seeing it all written out… Gut wrenching. I’m glad that things are better and I’m glad that when I don’t hear from you for awhile I don’t have to worry about whether you’re okay. I hope you’re giving yourself credit for all the work you’ve done.


  5. Teary here, too.

    I, too, am motivated by the desire to be someone my daughter can be proud of. Different issues, but just as damaging. Sprog’s dad is a wise man.

    Still rooting for you.

  6. Interesting…that which has caused you so much (the most?) pain is that which has transformed you…

    If not for Sprog, and if not for the sacrifice of (parenting) Sprog, would you still be a junkie?



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