1. repeated or habitual relapse

I remember the first time he overdosed. I was using too.

He took to long in the bathroom. We were all sitting around laughing. Someone called out, “Hey, where’s Matthew at?” We couldn’t get the door open. His body was laid in front of it. Brother ran and threw his body into the door almost cracking it in half. He moved his lifeless body enough to slide in. Frantically he screamed, “Jovis no! Brother no!” and started CPR. I ran and grabbed the phone. I had 911 dialed in. All I had to do was hit send. Fear. Would they take Eli away? Eli was on the couch with me. He was sitting in my shaky arms. “Mommy what is wrong with Daddy?” I couldn’t hit send. They couldn’t take my Eli. The tears started, but I laughed so Eli would laugh. “Daddy will be ok. He is playing with uncle.” The phone still shaking in my hand. Do I call? Just hit send. My heart racing. They can’t take my Eli. I didn’t call. Somehow breath was given. His blue lips regained their color. He came back.

I remember the second time he overdosed. I was getting clean.

I had a little sobriety time and life was coming together. I came home from work. It was midnight. He wasn’t home. I assumed he tried to get to 7/11 for a cheap half pint of Gilby’s gin. It was $1.78. We would walk the streets looking for change and bottles for our daily dose of that poison. I called. No answer. I left a message and another and another, “Where the fuck are you? How do you leave Eli here!?” Hours later he returns my call. “I’m in the hospital. I overdosed.” He pulled out of Kroger’s parking lot. An ambulance “coincidently” was behind him as the car coasted graciously into the median. They pulled him out and started CPR. He was wearing a cross his grandmother had just given him, a family heirloom. The cross was under his shirt, under the paramedics hands. It left a bruise, an imprint of the cross for the days to come. He came back, again…

It’s been years.  The guilt and shame pushed him away. It built a wall. Sometimes he would peak his head over and check in, but he would quickly scramble back to the other side. This time he didn’t come back. This time I wasn’t there.

Addiction is over powering. Addiction cannot be broken. You cannot free yourself from it. You cannot run. It will find you. It will stalk you. It will over power you. It will pull you in. You cannot save yourself.

To break free you need a higher power. You need a savior and even then, your free will that was freely given to you will keep you walking on a strand of hair. Any moment you can fall. You can fail.

But I have learned that although failure is an option, it is never final. God will catch you in His mercy. He will stand you up with His grace. He will not forsake you or abandon you. Time and time again, He will save you.

This time you didn’t come back, you went home. It is there I find my comfort. You are saved. You are saved and forgiven. You are loved.


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