The shrill ringing of the phone had me bolting up in bed. My heart is racing. As I reach to pick it up, I remind myself to breathe. I handle the receiver as if it’s a deadly viper. I loathe it. The phone never brings good news. Only bad news and worse. I hope this isn’t worse. I place the phone to my ear, silently praying. Please God, please. I wait with baited breath. My world has just shrunk to me and the phone.
My throat loosens as a whoosh of air escapes me. He’s alive. Tears blur my vision. I angrily swat them away.
Anger replaces fear, as I glance at the clock. 3 am. My heart sinks at yet another sleep deprived night.
“Mom!” My son yells.
“What!” I yell back.
My husbands stirs and sits up. Rubbing his eyes he moans, “not again!”
I push him back down. I got this. Besides, I don’t want him interfering. I know how to handle our son.
“Mom,” Jack sobs. “You’re never gonna believe what just happened.”
My heart sinks. I pull up the bed covers wondering if I should just hang up. Well, I’m not really wondering, I know I should. Jack’s 3 am tales are never a good thing.
“Mom, are you even listening to me?” Jack has morphed back in time. He is six years old and about to have a temper tantrum.
I scrub my eyes, still wondering what to do. There are no good choices. I am dammed if I do, and sick with worry, if I don’t.
“Jesus Mom!” Jack gears up, his tone shrill. “What kind of mother are you?. They’re gonna kill me, I swear! Don’t you even care?”
Jack wanted to pull me back into the – you don’t care about me game – I wasn’t going to play. Instead I said. “Jack, let’s cut to the chase. What do you want?”
Jack snorted. “Wow, Mom! That’s nice. Do you even care they’re gonna kill me?”
Something cold and hard blossoms in the pit of my chest. It might be despair, or exhaustion, or just plain hopelessness. Jack and I have been down this road a thousand times before.
‘You know that guy that I was helping?” Jack is off. He should be an actor. He is believable. I should know, I’ve fallen for his lines a million times.
“What guy?” I ask playing my part, because I don’t know what else to do.
“Jesus Mom! Haven’t you been listening? The guy that was sleeping on my couch! Well he’s gone and he took all my money, with him!”
I bit my tongue. I had too. There was so much I wanted to say. I knew this imaginary character didn’t take my son’s money. My son spent his money. Most likely on drugs.
“So anyway,” Jack rushed on, “I kinda, well, Mom…” He trailed off, waiting. He wanted me to urge him, to finish his sentence.
I didn’t. I stayed silent.
“Yes,” I whispered.
“It’s pretty bad.” He warned me.
“Jack, it’s late. Can this wait til morning?”
“Mom!” Jack screeched. “I’ll be dead by morning!”
I pulled the phone away from my ear. I held it to my pounding chest. I wanted my son to hear it. The distress I was in was unbelievable. Sometimes I thought my heart would explode. BANG! At least it would be over.
A tear slipped down my cheek. Was this ever going to end? A horrible thought entered my mind. Yes, when you or he is dead. Then it will end.
I wondered if other mothers planned their son’s funerals. I did. I looked at caskets and thought about what I would say. I yearned for peace, and I’d know where to visit him. He wouldn’t be suffering any more, and I could finally grieve the loss of my son.
I shook my head. I hated these thoughts.
“I need a hundred bucks!” Jack yelled, bringing me back.
I sighed. I glance over at my husband. He had fallen back to sleep. Something hot and bitter filled my throat. How could he sleep, for Christ’s sake?
With the phone pressed to my ear, I got of of bed. Might as well. I wouldn’t be going back to sleep again.
“Where are you Jack?”
“I’m outside my apartment. I don’t want to go home til I get the money. They know where I live. I promised I would have it for them tonight and if I don’t – Jack stopped abruptly.
“Sshh, Mom.” He warned. “I think they’re here.
Alarm slammed through me. My logical mind knew they was probably someone Jack had made up. But my emotions over rode logic at the thought of my son being harmed, or worse yet, killed.
Holding tightly to the phone – it had gone from being a deadly viper to a life saving ring – I dressed. Grabbing my purse and keys I headed for the door. “Okay Jack,” I soothed. “I’m on my way. Meet me in front of your place.”
“Thanks Mom. You don’t know what this means.” Jack purred. He was such a charmer when he was getting his way.
I think it was his charm, I was addicted to. My exhaustion was gone. I felt like I could fly. I had hope. I was saving my baby!
“And Mom?” Jack asked in that ‘one more thing’ voice, I hated.
“What honey?” I said rather impatiently.
“Could you bring an extra twenty bucks? I’m kinda hungry.”
As if someone had pricked my balloon, all the feel good air disappeared. I was back at angry. How dare he ask me for another twenty bucks! Jack was selfish. Nothing was ever good enough. He always wanted more, more, more! Couldn’t he see what he was doing to me?
Torn between wanting to help him and hating his disease, I stand in a land where no mother should ever dwell.
Hell isn’t a place I’m going to, if I’m bad.
Hell is …loving an addict.

Lorelie Rozzano.

(c) 2014 Jagged Little Edges All Rights Reserved

Leave a Reply


  1. Becky

    Wow! This is my story too and has been for 20+ years. My son is an alcoholic and an addict. So many rehabs, hospitals, jails, and I too jump every time the phone rings. But I will never lose hope and I pray daily for his recovery. One day…..

  2. I am an addict and have done this to my mother countless times and this brought me to tears actually reading this. Reading what I have done to my mom so many times. It disgust me that I’ve done this to the women who loves me more then anybody and I betrayed her. This got to me on a spiritual level.

    • Lorelie

      Hi Tyler, it’s an important part of recovery to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Addiction is a selfish liar and doesn’t want you to see the truth. It whispers… you’re not hurting anyone, it’s okay. I’m glad you could relate. Share this with your Mom and let her know how you feel. It will mean a lot to her.

      Best wishes on your recovery!

  3. Donna Radney

    Just finished reading a letter on Facebook…To Self and the above…A Day in the Life. The letter could have been written by my son and A Day in the Life by me. Thanks for bringing to life the words that I could never put on paper. What does one do? 12 years and counting.

  4. Bobbi

    I have felt that so many times in the past three years. Each rehab and detox I’m uneasily optimistic and yet waiting for the next relapse. Each one is worse than the one before. This time after a six day binge I barely recognized my daughter. Her voice had changed even the look in her eyes, not my daughter anymore. I go threw the motions daily because that’s what I do.

  5. Maria

    I can feel your story… I had 10+ yrs of the nights you write about. Both of my Beautiful Sons. After combined 27 trips to detox/rehabs It has stopped but the fear of it all starting up again lives with me 24hours a day, when my phone rings or vibrates I still go into panic mode. I cannot believe we all survived. A Most Loving Mother of Two Most Loving Sons that were terribly addicted to that demonic substance, Maria

  6. Barbara

    Omg the “stories” are never ending or more extreme than the last?
    I carried my daughters baby teeth around with me, fearing the day I’d get a call or a knock on the door and “they” would need something with her DNA…
    Everyone of those emotions, feelings, thoughts – I’ve been through…
    Thank god she was arrested and after spending some months in jail -she’s now in a 4 month rehab. At least, for now, I can sleep 🙁

    • Lorelie

      I’m so happy for you and your daughter. I’m a big believer if you allow the addict to experience the consequences of their choices, they will learn from them! All the best!

      • Barbara

        You are so right!!! Thank you and the all the best to you and your family.

  7. Rachel

    Is this a book? Am I able to purchase it?