‘If I had a do-over, I would have reminded him, ‘I love you,’ just in case he didn’t know. I pray I will see him again.’: Mom urges ‘addiction is a disease, not a disgrace’ after losing son to 10-year battle

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“A year ago yesterday, this box was an empty Amazon delivery box waiting to be recycledA year ago today, we filled it with your favorite shoes and clothes you had recently bought in your next attempt to start fresh, start over.

We filled it with some cherished new and cherished lifetime memory items, in hopes that we could send you off with all the things and surrounded by all the people that you loved. You were loved by all that knew you, but somehow didn’t love yourself. 

Courtesy of Suzanne DeCosta

ten-year battle with addiction was lost. You fought long and hard. Your courage to keep trying is something we will always be proud of and grateful for. We are thankful that you enjoyed many lengthy periods of success and recovery. During those beautiful periods of recovery, we would see the light return to your eyes, the smile return to your face, and your amazing sense of humor entertain everyone around you.

Best of all, those periods of recovery allowed you to look your parents in the eye, and yourself in the mirror with a sense of pride and dignity. 

Things I’ve learned in the last ten years: 

Addiction is a disease, not a disgrace. 

Why you started, and why you can’t stop are two different things. 

It’s a medical condition masquerading as a personal choice. 

It’s physical, spiritual, and mental. 

It’s deceptive and sneaks up on you. 

It’s progressive, when you can stop you won’t want to, when you want to stop you won’t be able to. 

It’s a chronic, long-lasting condition that can’t be cured, but can be successfully treated. 

Addiction does what it takes to survive, and left untreated — is deadly.

Courtesy of Suzanne DeCosta

Things I hope you will learn if you still struggle: 

Sobriety is not a sad consequence, it’s a proud choice. 

All your mistakes can serve as purpose instead of shame. 

You can’t heal if you keep pretending you are not hurt. 

No program is perfect and if you are going to recover, you have to take with you what works and leave the rest behind. 

If there are pieces of your past weighing you down, you decide it’s time to leave them behind. 

You find the answer to what it is you believe about yourself keeping you from your future. 

You realize if you are still breathing you can decide that today starts a do-over. Michael won’t get a do-over. 

If I had a do-over, I would’ve given one last hug and spoke less harsh words. If I had a do-over, I would have pleaded with him to give treatment one more try, and even if he still walked out that door that day, I would have reminded him that I loved him, just in case he didn’t know. 

I spent most of yesterday feeling paralyzed and at a loss for words. These anniversary dates really suck. I miss you, Michael. Your dad misses you, your sisters miss you, and Oliver misses you. I hope your struggle is over, and I pray I will see you again.” 

Courtesy of Suzanne DeCosta
Courtesy of Suzanne DeCosta

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Suzanne DeCosta. You can follow their journey on Facebook.  Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read other stories about recovery here:

‘We were 2 hopeless drug addicts society had written off. We were felons, dealers, thieves. Then, we found each other.’: Couple find hope, sobriety after years of addiction, ‘we are finally free!’

‘This is addiction. This is ‘just one more time.’ ‘Just a little hit.’ It’s a 3 a.m. phone call we knew was coming, but prayed never would.’: Family mourns loved one lost to addiction, ‘drugs don’t love you, your friends and family do’

‘This is addiction. This is ‘just one more time.’ ‘Just a little hit.’ It’s a 3 a.m. phone call we knew was coming, but prayed never would.’: Family mourns loved one lost to addiction, ‘drugs don’t love you, your friends and family do’

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