Last time I was in a bit of a panic because my son Ryan was imminently being released from prison and I didn’t know whether or not to impose the biggest boundary: Total Withdrawal. Support group helped at that point when our counsellor, Bee, advised me to wait and see how things unfold; not to pressure myself into any particular reaction. So, doing just that, I was a bit shocked when a message popped up from Ryan on the Thursday night of his release. I had completely forgotten that I’d unblocked him on Messenger at the beginning of lockdown! I felt a bit panicky but took some deep breaths and messaged back saying, ‘it’s my birthday in a couple of days and I’ve got plans so I’ll contact you next week’. That put me back in control, considering at one time I would have arranged to see him the next day, ruining my birthday in the process.

We spoke on the Monday and I took some food down to the canal as he was having problems sorting out his benefits. We had a nice walk down to his boat, having a pretty normal conversation for the first time in ages. I offered to do his dirty washing which I delivered back the following week with a bit more food. A few days later Ryan messaged to say his benefits were sorted and he seemed in a good place. He asked if he could take me out for lunch as a belated birthday treat. Ignoring my gut feeling, I accepted so we arranged to meet at a local restaurant.

The day came, I arrived on time, went in to get the table and waited. Eventually, Ryan got there 20 minutes late (no big deal) but I immediately saw he was agitated. His pupils were dilated and I just knew he’d been using. Before he’d even sat down, he complained that he didn’t like the table. I immediately went into placating mood as I didn’t want him kicking off, so I said I’d ask to be moved. But he still went on and on about the fact we shouldn’t have to ask as we were the customer, we could do as we liked. I now had a really bad feeling. He then started swearing about somebody who had made him late. This was my cue to end the lunch date so I told him I was leaving. He shot up and headed for the toilets, at which point I paid for my drink and left. When I got home, I had a couple of messages from him, followed by an angry phone call blaming me for leaving, in which he said ‘no wonder I take drugs’.  I hung up, blocked him on Messenger and made myself some lunch.

I know Ryan loves me and, at some point, he’ll regret what happened at the restaurant. But at the moment I’ve realised that I don’t yet want Total Withdrawal. I messaged him the next day, saying I’ll be in contact next week when, hopefully, we can have a chat and get back on an amicable footing. However, I won’t hesitate to block him again if necessary and I definitely won’t be arranging another lunch date with him any time soon!!

Has your addict ever embarrassed you in public? How did you deal with it? Let me know.