i didn't know it would be the 'last' time. it was a night filled with wine, shots and eventually cocaine. people say you can't smell cocaine. i can. he reached over my body across my face and i grabbed his hand and breathed it in deeply. i know this. i know this. i know this death. although i had drank heavily the 1st year i returned to calgary with ricky i hadn't used. i was laying on a bed trying to get ricky to sleep and he must have sensed the danger and shame around him because he kept crying for me and fighting sleep. i wanted away from him. he was something coming between me and my addiction. i hated him in that moment. i wanted to be free. i wanted only darkness. i took him back to our house and left him, turning on a baby monitor at 3am with him finally asleep after me laying beside him sipping red wine over his head for an hour till he nodded off. heading back next door i drank what was left in the knocked over bottles, the warm half dranken bottles left on counter's, the half smoked butts crumpled alone into ashtrays, the last of the hard liquor tipped over on the table. everyone else passed out on floors and couches. the guy with the coke half out on the couch i tried to wake him and whispered into his ear that i wanted more...he pulled me into his face and kissed me. reeking of booze and sweat and loneliness. he said he felt sick. i said just give me your flap, i'll do a line and come back to you ok. he slurred ok and handed it over to me. the bathroom lights blinding bright. my hand shaking because i had already snorted so much. the shame in knowing i was the last one and not done. why was it so hard for me to die. why couldn't i do it as quick as they could. i turned off the bathroom lights once my line was down and with the moonlight my only witness hung my tired head over the back of the toilet and inhaled the bitter powder off the cold porcelain tank. the glamor is a lie. the rush of a steady full line of cocaine hitting the back of my nose and dripping down my throat was like pulling a trigger. like firing a gun. except the gun is pointed at me. then floating and fighting and high and unstoppable the blood surges and i am alive again. sniffing and twitching and full of fear and self hate. he is passed out and i keep his drugs. i went home but stayed up doing more lines off my kitchen counter until the absolute shame of morning finally came. paranoia completely surrounded me. i stopped snorting at 5am and by 7am i was finally coming down. hard. i chain smoked inside out my bathroom window because i didn't want my neighbours next door to see i was still up.
at 830am Ricky woke up and sleepily stumbled out of the bedroom doorway into the living room where i sat panicked and shaking on the couch. curtains pulled. doors bolted. my head buried into the cushion. he came towards me and tried to crawl up but i shoved him off. he fussed and came at me again wanting to crawl up and nurse. i didn't want to breast-feed him with so much coke in my system so again i shoved him down and yelled for him to leave me alone. i turned on the cartoons. he insistently tried again and this time i shoved him hard knocking him onto the hardwood floor where he fell backwards and cried. i screamed at him to go away. i buried my face and screamed into the pillow that i wanted to die and i wanted god to take him and me and stop all of this pain. i bawled and violently hit the pillows. Ricky rarely looked directly into my eyes and i although many times i had turned his head towards me trying to force him to see me, he would always shift his eyes away. but now not only had he stopped crying, he also sat there looking right at me. right into my eyes. into me. he looked right through me. i looked away not able to face him. i dont know what he saw but it wasn't a mother. it was in this very moment that i experienced what addicts/alcoholics call their 'bottom'. what hurts enough to stop. mine was not being able to be his mother. not being able to look into my own child's eyes.
it separates my heart from my body to remember that morning almost 6 years ago. i have been sober each day since. i found the room's of alcoholics anonymous. i can't express in words the relief i found in knowing there were other people like me and that they had a solution. i had a different reaction to alcohol than normal drinker's. i learned that my body after ingesting the first drink reacts different chemically and produces a craving which makes me physically incapable of stopping. one drink had been too many and hundreds not ever enough. a obsession of my mind and an allergy of my body. the only disease that denies it's own existence must be self diagnosed. horrifying.
one really long, lonely, shaky sober year passes in which i take ricky to meetings with me. he is quiet and plays on the dirty carpets and people give him old candies out of their pockets and tell me it's good i am there. i don't look up for months, i am tired and angry and scared. having to face life sober once you've hidden in shadows so long you've become one yourself feels similar to what i imagine it would feel like having the skin ripped off of my face. but i dont know what else to do. so i keep crying and listening. i keep coming back. my fog lifts somewhat and i finally start to see dim light filter in windows i'd forgotten i'd left open. hope is still out of reach but i dont turn from it anymore. i long for it.
Ricky. maybe i just didn't see it. maybe i just didn't want too. maybe he was my first child and i didn't know any better. maybe i thought it would work itself out. he'd grow out of it. so what if he liked to line things up in rows, stack cans, play for hours with fans watching them spin. didn't boys do strange things. i was so isolated with no help or contact with friends family. how did i know. he didn't want to play with the other kids because they were boring. he was independent. he wasn't talking at 2 because he was a late bloomer. he was deep. maybe i had silenced him by not being available. maybe he would bloom now....maybe he would come back to me. i was too busy trying to stay sober i wasn't able to predict and duck when the world shifted and came barrelling straight at me...what changed us both forever and could not be fixed or taken back. 11 days before i celebrated my 1st year in sobriety my beautiful son Ricky is officially diagnosed with Autism.