Let’s talk about Matt

I’ve been somewhat detached from Mychildtheaddict for too long. I’m not even sure where I left off with talking about Matt. There have been so many changes! Ups and downs. He’s been on my mind a lot lately though and I thought it might be cathartic to put pen to paper, or, how I really do it, text it all out on my phone.

When Matt went to prison it was scary. At the same time, it was such a relief. For a period of time I didn’t have to worry about him. He was being protected from himself. He had people watching over him and I didn’t need to wonder if I’d wake up the next day to find out he’d overdosed. He’d probably be angry if he heard me say I was happy that he was there but honestly, I was. It gave me hope that maybe he had reached his rock bottom and maybe prison would be the catalyst for change. Now, looking back, I’ll say that prison was not what changed him (not completely anyway) it was being released from prison that really made the difference. That’s when he felt at his lowest.

We stayed in touch with Matt while he was incarcerated. We made sure he always had money in his account to call us and he did call us often. We let him know what we were willing to do to help him and what we were not willing to do. We lovingly explained to him that the only way we would help him when he was released was to help him get into either rehab or a halfway house. He seemed ok with that until a couple of weeks before his release date. When the time got close we heard “I talked to someone who talked to my old boss who said I can get my job back and I’m sure he’ll give me an advance of pay because he’s done it before so I’m just going to do that.” I’ll tell you, this made my heart sink. I know enough about recovery to know that going back to the same life you had before is not going to keep you clean. It’s definitely not what I wanted for him.

When Matt was released he called his Dad. David asked him what he was doing. I’ll never forget his response. He sullenly said “sitting on a log”. Apparently his old roommate came and picked him up, gave him his wallet and phone and one set of clothes and then dropped him off with nowhere to go. He called the old boss who said “Well… I might have some work for you but it’ll be less hours than you had before and at a lesser pay rate.” Finding out that the old “friends” were not there for him anymore… I think that was Matt’s bottom.

Poor Matt had the clothes on his back, no money, and nowhere to go. When he called us we again offered to help him in OUR way and, at this point, he agreed to take us up on that offer. David drove 4 hours to pick him up, took him to see his probation officer and get everything arranged, and brought him home. I frantically made phone calls trying to find a bed for him.

I was very fortunate to find a men’s sober living home that had one bed available and, after a house discussion and vote, they decided to take a chance on Matt. The man who runs the home explained to us that they had reservations because Matt was so young and often times people that age are not really ready to commit to recovery. Matt only stayed with us for one night before we were able to move him in. We had to pay the intake fee, his first month’s rent and buy him clothes and work boots and groceries and everything else he needed. From there, the men in that home helped him get a job and learn to take care of himself. He went to AA meetings 5 times a week, had house chores to do, and was held accountable for his actions. It was really good for him. They showed him a different way of living. I am such an advocate for sober living homes and what they do!

Matt stayed in the home for several months. He was given permission to visit his Mother (I’m technically the step-mom) and older brother out of state. After that visit, he decided he wanted to move there so he put in a request to transfer probation. It took a couple of months but the state did accept his transfer request and he moved. He lived with his brother for a short time before renting a room from someone else. He got work through a temp agency and started providing for himself.

For Thanksgiving we bought Matt a plane ticket and had him come visit us for a couple of weeks. We were not really sure what to expect from him as we had talked on the phone but hadn’t really had any face to face time with him in quite a while. As we waited in baggage claim, we watched passengers coming down the corridor, everyone masked up (Covid), and we waited for Matt. I saw this scruffy looking guy with long shaggy hair and thought “That kind of looks like Matt”. David and I both watched him. Finally David walked up close enough to see his eyes. That shaggy looking guy in the baggy clothes was our boy! When I hugged him, he hugged me back…. for a long time. It was so nice.

The majority of our visit was great. Matt brought his guitar, which he’s been teaching himself to play (and I can see he uses as a way to keep his hands and his mind occupied). We’d sit around in the evenings and he’d put his hair up into a man-bun (which David doesn’t care for but I think really suits him) and he’d strum on the guitar. He was so much more relaxed than I’d seen him in a long time. The visit wasn’t perfect, we definitely can’t talk politics with him, but it was good and left me with positive feelings about the direction he’s headed.

Recently we’ve been calling and texting Matt with no response. I hate that, even with the progress he’s made, my mind starts doubting. I start wondering if he’s using again. I can’t help it… it’s just where my brain goes. We heard from him a couple of days ago and he said his phone broke and he had to get it fixed. I can’t help but wonder if he’s telling the truth. It seems plausible but, without face to face interaction, I can’t help but wonder if he could be lying. I love him dearly and I’m proud of his progress but I guess I don’t trust him yet. I wonder how long it will take, what events it will take, to earn my trust.

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