Ryan Donnelly's Blog

Kenny’s Mother

September 24, 2011
We all have a story and within that story there are numerous chapters from the beginning of our story till the end.  This is one chapter in my story.  This chapter begins on May 25, 1983, Kenny.  7lbs 14 oz 22 inches of perfection, remarkable to me and his family. Kenny’s first 18 years were as normal as possible.  He had a loving family, Christian background, very popular, handsome, funny, played high end sports, above b student, worked since he was 14, bought his own 1st car. Rich no, poor absolutely not, just your average hard working family.    He had a brother for whom they were both crazy about each other, a step dad who loved him and four step siblings that over time all grew into a family. Four Grandparents that showed up for everything along with plenty of aunts, uncles and cousins, so many friends, countless friends, really good friends.  He and his friends put the F in Fun! He never had trouble with girls, dated the best looking girl in the entire HS North senior class, all if his coaches, teachers & other parents liked him.  He was respectful, charismatic, fun (so much fun), what one would deem a really nice kid.
Now let’s talk about after 18.  Once High School ended and all the glories of being a quarterback, captain of the basketball team, prom king etc ended, slowly but surely life for Kenny began to change.  He began to smoke weed on a regular basis.  He also was involved with alcohol, no different from most of his contemporaries, except his introduction to drugs created something in him that most of his friends were not experiencing.   He lost his ability to be productive.  Kenny loved the club scene; he chooses not to go the college route except he would go up to the college on Thursday nights for the party scene He had a massive amount a friends in the clubs, the connections.  Chicks as they say were all over his all the time.  He did not even have to buy a girl a drink, they flocked to Kenny like flies on sh*t!   He eventually got in the plumbers union and a coveted  bartending position in Seaside; it looked like in spite of his hard partying ways, grown up life was in full motion.  NOT SO & I his MOTHER knew, from 18!
After some serious troubles (testing positive for pot in the air national guard reserve which led to discharge), a brush with law for which he was not involved but came very close & his attitude in general I decided to take Kenny for a drug evaluation at the Ocean County Health Department.  By the end of the meeting the counselor wanted to adopt him!  But I knew, as all mothers know innately that our children are in trouble.  The difference between one mother versus the other comes down to this – do you have the strength to face down the truth about your child or is it just too painful to let in. DENIAL!  Unfortunately I was not blessed or cursed depending on how you look at it with the denial gene. The irony is no matter which road you take as a parent garners the same result; the pain and fears are palpable, all consuming (I’ll get to that later).    
Through his early 20’s Kenny’s addictions were living large.  He had moved into a friend’s house that I use to call “Sodom and Gomorrah”!  This house was the scene.  Pre-Game & Post-Game (you all know what that means); Booze, chicks, drugs, dancing, sex and occasional sleep.  Kenny’s personal space was a hell hole.  He did not care for his room, his car, nothing.  All Kenny cared about was Kenny getting high and laid, oh and the Mets & Jets.  I began to notice a new crop of friends.  The original bunch seemed to splinter away and this new bunch had taken over.  As always I knew they were troubled also, like to like.  
Anyone who knows me would never say that I enabled Kenny’s addictions; well that’s not necessarily true.    I confronted Kenny a million times; I chased him down at work, at Sodom and Gomorrah etc.  I smacked him, I cursed him, I cried, I screamed, I prayed and I loved him. But I also paid his bills, bailed him out of financial trouble to the extent that I am now in financial trouble, I tried to protect his credit for the future.  If he got sick I took him in and mothered him to health.  I never let anyone in the family talk bad about my son to my face even though they had plenty of justifiable things to say; I paid back certain friends that I felt should not have to reap what Kenny sowed.   This went on for many years, about 8 years. About $30,000.00.   In the process of his degeneration to the dark side, I began to degenerate to my own dark side.  I began loosing sleep, ability to concentrate, ability to have any joy; stopped exercising,  I was faking my way through my life. I was developing tons of isms of my own to counter the pain of dealing with Kenny’s drug addiction.  For example I completely stopped answering my home phone because it was and is usually collection agencies looking for Kenny, the mail at my house builds up for a week or two before I collect it because again, bill collectors, motor vehicles notices all sorts of things that hurt my heart.  I than began not answering my phone at all, not attending family Christmas or birthdays.  Avoided anything that would have included Kenny.  It was like my right arm had been brutally severed off my body.   I myself became so depressed I became a minimalist, do what I had to do just to get through the day, nothing more.  One thing that I did not do was wallow in any guilt.  I knew that I raised him right, in spite of some blips on the screen of life he was raised with love and value.  People would say “don’t be guilty you did a great job with your boys etc, etc,;  I was not guilty, not for one split second I know I did the best a mother can do, that was never a problem for me.    
About three years ago I discovered not only was he smoking weed everyday, drinking, doing club drugs on occasion (coke, ecstasy, special K) he had developed a pill habit.  I found out by someone who loves me and Kenny in the Stop & Shop that Kenny had graduated to Roxies/the Blue Pills.  But unlike most of the people using these drugs today that go to the Dr., lie about back pain and get in the “system” of monthly pain management, my dumb son was buying them full market value from the “smart” guy who went to the drug dealing Dr. Every penny he made went to buying these drugs.  Than he would chase his friends (the old one’s) and borrow money that he could never pay back because he was living in this vicious cycle.  So I gathered the troops, his entire family on both my and his father’s side; everyone came running and we did an intervention.  Painful for all, mostly for Kenny.  Kenny loves us and wants to please us so he agreed to go away to rehab, for all the wrong reason, mostly for me, his mother that he loved with all his heart.  
Three months away and within a few weeks of being home he was using again.  This time I cut him off almost completely.  I say almost because I made a very conscious decision as Kenny’s mother to not house him, not help him in anyway until he surrendered to what he needed to surrender to and became part of a recovery program.  I did still include him in anything that had to do with our family as a whole.  Christmas you come get a gift, your birthday we sing the song, your uncles wedding you attend, your cousin’s funeral you be there.  Addict or not he is a part of something bigger than his addiction; our family.  
Things continued for a while & than my mother became ill.  That is when I recognized that the only chance my son had to recover was for me to give him up to God.  Whatever God’s plan for Kenny was/is I had to honor and not interfere.  That included accepting that he just may die, so many sons and daughters have.   I stuck to my guns as hard as it was/is I stuck to them.  I had many people around me judging my hard-line but that did not matter to me.  You see I knew that when this took him out completely and he was on the path to death that it was going to be me they were calling first.   I knew that I had become more addicted to Kenny’s addictions than he was and that I had to let go & let God.  I knew that as his mother I was instrumental in his possible recovery if I stopped feeding the addiction.  Once I stopped feeding Kenny’s addiction it was rapid.  His downward spiral became faster and faster.  He was beginning to feel the pain of his disease for the first time.  More pain than pleasure.  I just had to stay the course; staying the course was so very painful but I did not do this alone.  God and some very wonderful people helped me to survive.  There were moments…………………..
Ryan plays into this story.  He was Kenny’s best childhood friend, they began there lives together since kindergarten.   I am one of the families Ryan stole from.  I forgave Ryan immediately and not because I am this great person.  I had no choice.  How could I possibly pray for my own son’s salvation when someone else son was suffering so.  I knew his mother’s pain; I am his mother’s pain.  Yet I also understood the betrayal of the other family, I am them too!!  I am so grateful that Ryan is doing better.  I take no credit in his journey; I believe God has his hand on this one, which includes Ryan & me.
On Sat September 17, 2011 Kenny came to me and his brother and said he had enough.  He wanted to get help; no he needed to get help.  He has been trying within the content of his own very limited ability to change his course.  He now knows that he can’t do this alone.  He knew Ryan was doing well but there had been no contact since Ryan came into our home two years ago.  He called Ryan on the way to the hospital and Ryan immediately showed up with the offer of anything he can do.  But this is different, this is a full circle, two beautiful young boys that were almost eaten alive by this; and two families dying very slow spiritual and emotional deaths. Ryan had to face down a monkey on his back which was coming in my home last week and speaking to my husband and he did it with dignity and respect.   Ryan housed Kenny for the last 5 nights, they talked about things that I am sure only the two of them can intimately understand; Ryan helped get him into the Salvation Army Rehab in NYC and as of yesterday Kenny is safe on his way back to health.  This time is different, HE wants it.  
Mothers (& fathers of course) don’t ever give up and don’t give in to the beast anymore.  Find yourself a recovery program for families, go to God, and utilize your network of friends and family, DON’T HIDE THE BEAST.  Forget embarrassment; forget saving face, who cares about face when your child is dying.  All of those things feed the beast and will assist your child to their death.  This horrible disease does not discriminate.  If you have a feeling, follow your gut!!!  My son never in his addiction bullied me or disrespected me, never.  I know many parents that struggle with addicts that curse them, punch walls, threaten suicide, manipulate in thousands of different ways.  We have to stop being the resource for the beast.  Stop being afraid that something you may or may not do will send your child to his death.  They are working on that all by themselves.  Go to a higher power parents, surrender, and follow the rules that need to be followed even though it hurts.  Either way it hurts.  Tuff love hurts.  It hurts way more than enabling.  Believe me, I know.  
My cell # is 848-448-1325. Call, Ill answer.
Diane Mesanko  

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