What It Takes


I have a propensity for following bloggers who make me think and feel as much as they make me laugh. This isn’t an easy combo, as most of you know. It takes a willingness to be vulnerable, the courage to be honest, and the ability to make typed words drip with sarcasm. It’s a delicate trifecta that not everyone can pull off, which is why I jumped at the chance to introduce our guest writer today. She happens to have perfected this trifecta. In fact, it comes so naturally to her I suspect she invented it. Please welcome Michelle, whose blog – Rubber Shoes In Hell – is the cool place to be. Her writing has earned our respect and admiration, and we’re incredibly honored to have her words here. In fact, we are featuring her all week. Be sure to check back Thursday for another powerful post by Michelle.  –Beth


I have written about highly personal shit on my blog. I have blogged about my insecurities and my anxiety and depression. I have blogged about my shitty father and my son’s drug addiction. If it’s part of my life, I blog about it.

Except this.

My older son doesn’t read my blog, but it doesn’t mean he couldn’t read it. Apparently, I have no problem discussing his heroin addiction and him possibly seeing it, but I can’t risk him seeing how afraid I am to say goodbye to him.

I don’t want my sadness and fear to color his decisions in any way.

My son was a heroin addict from age 19 to 25. For 6 years I lived with a continuous scream in my head. I learned to fight tears so well that I wasn’t even aware I was doing it anymore. I learned what it was like to live with mind numbing, heart pounding terror during every waking hour and in my dreams.

I learned what a heroin addict looks like. I could tell the difference between him just taking a nap on the couch or sleeping the sleep of someone who just used. It was subtle, but I could see it. The slackness of his face was off when he used. I watched the barely noticeable body and facial tics that opiate addicts have.

I watched him withdraw. Oh my god, the worst thing I have ever watched in my life was watching my son withdraw.

He’s been clean for two years now and that is awesome, but two years clean is still in the infancy stage. Shit, look at Phillip Seymour Hoffman. He was clean for 23 years.

I am terrified that he will relapse. He’s been in a relationship with a lovely girl for nearly two years now. What if she leaves him? Will the emotional pain drive him back to heroin? What if he injures himself or needs surgery and has to take opiates to manage the pain? How will he be able to let go of the painkillers when it’s time?

I hate that I make his addiction about me. I feel selfish. But the truth is, I can’t imagine going back to living with that breath-taking fear every day. I know I would find the strength because I wouldn’t have a choice, but even thinking about it makes me so tired and sad that I feel everything in my brain shutting down.

I have a strong marriage, but living through this shook my marriage like a nightmarish snow globe. I don’t want to go through that again.

The truth is, during his addiction, my actions didn’t help him. I tried to fix it. I moved motherfucking mountains to try to MAKE him be okay. What I realized was that all the money I spent and all the times that I jumped in to help only allowed him to keep using. It wasn’t until I made him leave home that he was able to find his way.

I am beyond proud of the mountains my son has been able to move since he started living his very own adult life at age 25.

He called me yesterday.

He has an option to transfer with his work. He said that he’s putting in a transfer to Portland, OR.

We live in Ohio. Portland, OR might as well be in another solar system.

What I said was “How exciting for you! This will be such a good experience”.

What I wanted to say was “Please, no. Oh, Zach. No. Don’t leave me”.

If he leaves, how will I protect him? How will I move mountains for him? How can I learn to live without my child close by?

I’m afraid that he wants to go because he’s trying to run from his past. There isn’t a place to go that is far enough away. I’ve ran from my past as well and what I found is that it stays attached to you and no matter how fast or far you go, your past has all the stamina it needs to keep up. Nothing changes until you slow down, turn around and face that motherfucker.

I want to tell him this…but I know my son. He won’t listen.

And I could be wrong. Maybe he’s not running. Maybe he needs a change of scenery. Perhaps he wants to see something new. These are wonderful reasons for packing up and leaving. I’m actually kind of jealous. I want to see some new things as well.

If it makes him happy, then I am happy.

Except for when I’m not.

I don’t want to let go. I don’t want to say goodbye.

But I will.



My brain is having a very hard time writing words that will make up an ‘Author Bio’. It’s very busy right now screaming at me that I am not an author. I am a mediocre computer programmer who happens to vomit up (almost) every thought in my head on a blog called Rubber Shoes In Hell.

I am a mother and a grandmother.

I think most things would look a little better with some paint on it.

I value contentment over happiness.

I am not finished yet and I have no idea who I will be when I am.

I can dance and I make really good French toast.

I am kind, but it’s hard to see my kindness through the sarcasm.

The sarcasm is necessary.

I am anxious but learning how to stop fighting it.

I have no idea how write an author bio.

***You can also follow Michelle on Twitter and Facebook.***

Image credit: photo credit: Riebart via photopin cc