Story 23/25 Survivor: Todd Ware
My name is Todd, my clean date is June 17, 1997. I am very grateful for the love of family and friends that I have had well into my twentieth year of recovery.
My journey and my story is only of value if it impacts those who are in need, just like I was some years ago. I was saved and I will always remember and treasure this…
My story of survival through the eyes of My Mom …
Todd came into my life in the spring of 1972. He was an underfed, underweight 2 month old with liquid brown eyes, a mass of black curly hair and dark skin. The minute the social worker placed Todd in my arms it was instant love. I knew in a heartbeat that he was my son.
I already had a blue eyed, blond headed biological son but I have always felt strongly that every child born into this world has a right to be loved. So rather than conceiving another child I convinced my husband to support my desire to bring into our home a child who would be difficult to adopt. In Nova Scotia, during the 70’s, few white families were willing to adopt a child of colour. As a result, most of these children either ended up in foster care or being raised by elderly relatives.
To say Todd was the sweetest little guy around would be an understatement. Besides trucks and teddies his favourite activities were snuggling and being read to. Those first 10 years Todd spent in Nova Scotia were a happy, active time with little if any racial prejudice. He played soccer, skated, took lessons in piano, and swimming and went to cubs. In the summers he camped and canoed with his family.
It wasn’t until 1981 when we returned to B.C. and settled in Nanaimo that others began to notice and to comment on on his colour. By grade 7 things began to really break down for Todd. He became angry and withdrawn and even defiant. To make matters worse that was the time his Dad and I decided to divorce. My sweet little boy was acting in ways I felt helpless to change.
By age 16 Todd was into drugs and spending time with kids who were a bad influence on him. I was at my wits end and like many loving parents who grieve for their child’s bad decisions I thought that I could reclaim my son by helping lessen consequences of his “bad” decisions. I started paying his over due phone and power bills, gave him money to pay off his drug debts, bought him food and clothes etc. all the while thinking my enabling behaviour was love.
It wasn’t until Todd was so ill from drugs and creeping ever closer to death that I met Gordie Rider, a recovered addict, that I learned how my co-dependent, enmeshed love was allowing, even encouraging, Todd to continue his life threating behaviour and if I were to continue I would only hasten his downfall.
From Gordie I learned to set good boundaries and to allow Todd to to feel the full impact of this negative choices. Thanks to Gordie I was no longer a rescuer but a loving mom who had learned how to say NO.
Once I gave up my enabling ways it only took Todd 3 weeks before he was in rehab. That was 19 years ago and Todd has never looked back. He is now a grown man with 2 beautiful daughters, a good job, a heart that is always open to helping those in need and a Mom who is so very proud of him.
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