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  • We've had a long night. It's been a long for a few weeks actually.

    My son, while still abstaining from drug use still has the manifestations of an active addict. Lying, manipulating, self-centred thinking, and stealing, and then more lying. The only time he appears to be his old self is when he's purposely manipulating me because I have given up believing anything he says.

    So, last night grew from a frustrating afternoon, to a confrontational early evening, to what appeared to be some sanity - later this turned out to be manipulation - to more confrontation, to door slamming, swearing, and then storming out of the house with a promise to cool down and be back by midnight.

    My dog woke me at 330am, and on a whim I checked my son's room. No one there. There's actually a protocol to follow here. First call him, obviously - no answer, check the GPS on his phone - not working, likely phone is off, then come the decision to do something or to go back to bed.

    I think about the devastated parents I know who got the 430am call from the police that their clean and sober son, but obviously still in the grip of addictive thinking, had decided to break into a gun shop. He had just turned 18. He is in prison with 3 felony charges. He is not going to have a high school senior year. He will not be home for a long while. I think about my friend's son, who after one beer dove head first back into active addiction, was lost for 5 days and eventually found nearly dead in a bad neighbourhood in Chicago full of heroin, with multiple organ and brain damage.

    I decide to do something. I call the emergency pager for his rehab group, I call the police, I text his sponsor, I text people that may have seen him. I open the call and text logs for his phone.

    The police officer is very polite - this IS Naperville after all - but not too concerned. I tell him what I know, give him a description, friends' names addresses and phone numbers. It's 4:45am and I have nothing more I can do. I sit on the bed and stare at my hands until 5:30, then start getting ready for work. At 6am, in front of our house is the same police car, same officer and he has my son in the backseat. He had been 'crashed' at the friend's house. He is unrepentant, sulky, and defensive. I can think of nothing to say to him. We stare awkwardly and I thank the police officer and go back inside to get ready for work.

    At 6am the sun was about half up, there was a morning fog not yet burned away by the sun and the dew on the plants was particularly beautiful. It felt like we were in a poignant scene in a movie, there should have been music, or maybe complete silence, and just us, the police car, me in my pjs and a sweatshirt, my son, and the officer, just standing for an eternity in this beautiful foggy sunrise before we turn and walk to the house and the officer sits back in his car.

    The difficult night and morning made this fog and dew somehow more important to me. So, I pulled out a time honoured coping mechanism of mine and started taking photos.

    It seems surreal that after such a difficult night that the world could look so beautiful. That the birds still sing, the fog makes everything seem dreamlike and precious. I'm reminded of Mary Oliver's "Wild Geese" - how,' meanwhile, the world goes on', in spite of your despair, meanwhile it offers itself to you, all its beauty, harshness and excitement. Meanwhile....
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