“What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the pasture and go after the one that is lost,until he finds it? ”
I’ve heard this phrase my entire life. Always thought I knew what it meant. I have 4 kids. Ages 20-30. Funny, all adults but they are all still my kids. They still need me in some capacity or another, sometimes to help with FAFSA paperwork, sometimes to babysit. Sometimes to be an ear because work, school and relationships get tough. Basically though, 3 of them are self sufficient and contributing members of society.
Then, there’s the one. The one I have dropped everything to help. The one I cry over and pray over and agonize over. Addiction is a weird and cruel thing. There is the argument that it is a disease. There is the argument that it is addictive. To me, it’s all semantics. I know personally that the brain changes. I know personally that it takes a lot of work to overcome addiction. I know personally that we can recover.
I knew my son experimented with drugs. Who hasn’t? I wasn’t wild about it, but I hoped it was a phase and he would get through it. His brother did, his friends did. He did not. He came to us at the age of 20 and told us he was scared and he needed help. My world stopped. Heroin happened to the bad kids. To the bad families. That was what I always thought. I didn’t realize heroin happened and then you became the bad family. Suddenly that was the only thing I focused on. Helping that one son get clean. And he did. He would be clean for months. Then he would use. Not show up for family functions. We knew when he was using because he didn’t show up. I had to explain to my daughters to not expect him but be glad if he was there. They would still get disappointed. He missed big things. Graduation parties, monumental birthdays. Then he would be back. And clean. And we would be hopeful.
He was having a baby and he went to rehab. He wanted so badly to be a good dad. He came home. Stayed clean for maybe her first month. He wasn’t ready for life. He didn’t know how to deal with feelings or life if he wasn’t messed up. He spiraled out of control. Lost 2 good jobs, got kicked out of both homes (his father’s and mine) and was homeless. Living in his car I would meet him a couple of times a week for lunch. I’d take him to buy food that he could keep in his car. He was stealing to survive and he was stealing to use. I took him to a drug treatment facility 2 times, they kept him for a few hours and let him go. He had no insurance and no job and no way to pay. He got arrested and that probably saved his life. Then he went to mandatory state paid rehab. For 3 weeks. He came home, attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings and out-patient rehab. He was doing great. He was seeing his daughter and was actually happy. Then he started working at nights which took him away from his meetings. Then he started using again.
So, right now, he sits in jail. I visit. I talk to him on the phone. I tell him I love him and I know he can get this all behind him. and I pray.
I get the phrase, leave the 99 to find the 1. My heart hurts so bad for the 1. I just want him safe and I want him home. I want him to have peace and I want him whole. I get it. I wish I didn’t.