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Sunday, May 1, 2011


At the risk of sounding like I'm whining, I am publishing this post because I need to.

Why is it that the things we least want to write about are some of the most important? It happens to me often, and I have to force myself, push myself hard, to write down my truths. This post is one I have been putting off for two weeks.

Why must a mother endure the loss of a son who is still alive? Can anyone answer that question? No. There is no answer, just the fact that it is true.

Once again, my son Parrish has dropped off the wagon and gone underground. When he stops contacting me, it is never good. Understand that I know where he is, at least I think I do, but I have chosen to distance myself from him because his behavior is self-destructive and too painful for me to watch. I wrote him a letter to that effect.

During his years in Atlanta, Parrish lived in a number of places - under bridges, in parks, at one of his girlfriends’ apartments. These “girlfriends” were drinking and drugging buddies, and they floated in and out of his life, always ready to get high. There were the inevitable break ups, but they always managed to find Parrish, or he them, and the cycle began again. He subsisted on whatever he could get by selling items he shoplifted and was arrested a number of times. The only time he contacted me was when he was in jail. He always wanted me to send money to bail him out. I steadfastly refused, but he never stopped trying. Since his crimes were petty, he was inevitably released on probation, which he consistently violated.

These women, Lisa and Angela, were, and still are, poison for Parrish. They are emotional black holes who sucked him into their lives, manipulated him, then kicked him out when they had no more use for him. He was a willing participant in these cycles of toxic behavior; something always made him go back.

For the last six weeks or so, I have known that things are not what they seem to be. Before Parrish went missing in late March, (The 48 Hour Day) I was concerned about his tone of voice, his slurred speech, his constant phone calls (four or five a day) to say how much he loved me and how lonely he was and how he couldn’t wait to meet me in Atlanta for the weekend of April 16. When I challenged him on his slurred speech, he blew it off by saying he had just taken his Ativan and was sleepy from it. Now I wonder if he landed in hospital for his stated reason - lithium toxicity. I don’t know what to believe.

Two days before he was to fly to Atlanta and spend the weekend with me, he backed out, saying he had a relapse, was back in outpatient rehab. That’s when the red flags popped up. Parrish not wanting to come to Atlanta, the place he insists he wants to eventually make his home again, where his best friend lives, where the two of us have found a neutral ground where we can actually enjoy each other? Given his recent phone behavior, I had my doubts but didn’t question. Honestly, if he relapsed, I didn’t want to hear about it. I am so utterly tired of him, I could scream.

There. I said it. I’m exhausted from his neediness, his duplicity, his lies.

This time it is Angela. They have been in touch via phone and facebook. How do I know this? Parrish’s best friend, Michael, called and told me. He is the essence of a good friend. Michael loves Parrish, wants him to be clean, behave, stay away from toxic situations. He loves him enough to tell on him, even if it means making Parrish mad.

My son knows I will not support his “friendship” with this dangerous woman. I have made that clear since he landed in Miami, over 650 miles from her. He has assured me all along that he wants nothing to do with her or Lisa.

So, what is going on? My guess is that he has been drinking and drugging for at least the last six weeks, and he must have called Angela because she had no way to contact him. (Or maybe she did). I feel as though he just spit in my face. Really. I do.

Parrish cannot use his mental illness to excuse this behavior. He made a choice when he called Angela. He made a choice to start drinking and using again. And I made a choice to distance myself from him because he did.

© cj Schlottman


Laoch of Chicago said...

It is a sorrowful thing that in the end you really can not save someone else. Good wishes to you and your family.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

My brother is an alcoholic and I know the pain of the continued poor choices and refusal to take responsibility for his actions. My sister in law has stayed with him over 30 years and has been the sole support for over 11 years. How she has done it I'm not sure but I think she is about to walk away. It has affected her physical and mental health. I do not blame her one bit. I will not be his caretaker. I know he might end up under a bridge or die, I can not save him. I have tried, others have tried....he has not. I am so sorry for your pain. This is your child and the hurt must be so painful...I know my Mother has been very hurt! You must do what you must!

Sue said...

Painful as it is, I think you are doing the healthy thing for both of you. It won't help him a bit for you to even tacitly condone the self-destructive behavior he's engaged in.

I know it isn't easy, and I'm so, so sorry you are going through this. Again.


Viki said...

I'm so sorry. I have a brother who is an alcoholic. He was in prison off and on for years. We tried to help him and finally, he went too far and hit my mother and she prosecuted him. He was gone for 8 years. I had some minimal contact with him when he first got out only through letters but I told him I didn't want to talk to him. No one in the family talks to him. He stopped writing so I don't know if he's back to the bottle or just honoring the families wishes. Either way it's a terrible situation but stick to your guns on what you will put up with or not. Hang in there.

Martha Mawson said...

You are doing all you can in this impossible situation. My mother always said you love your children unconditionally, but that doesn't mean you love what they do or how they behave. If your son makes choices that ultimately hurt him, he can blame no one but himself. And by showing him that you will not stand by and watch him destroy himself, you are showing a strength that he needs to find within himself.

I wish I could hug you.