That’s gonna leave a scar

“This is Harris County Correctional Facility” said the automated voice.

It was 5 am. I’d been awakened by the thunderstorm, and after a brief text to a teammate reminding him that swim was canceled, I saw the 877 number coming in on my phone.

“I should probably answer that” I said to myself.

The millisecond of uncertainty between those initial words and the ones that followed about killed me.

His third stint with jail, twice in Austin and now Houston, I’d received the phone call three times. Number one, pulling into my driveway, number two, gold-leafing cabinets at a house in Hyde Park, and number three, welcoming my day.

You’d think I’d learn.

He’d left rehab with another dude, Caleb, and after walking 13 miles, they hitchhiked, setting up camp at a Motel 6 outside Houston. Missing Christmas for the first time, ordering pizza and watching movies, Noah said it was the saddest day of his life.

Randy called, “Rehab said to bail him out.”

“Noah’s really vulnerable right now. He was progressing well before he left. If he stays in jail, there’s a risk insurance won’t pay again.”

Still in running clothes, I threw myself, my makeup, and the dog into my truck.

Smack downtown Houston, I found the jail, kudos to Siri. Resembling an old bank, the police officer sat behind bars, protecting himself.

There’s no map to navigate addiction. One day you think you’re doing the right thing, and the next day everything’s wrong. Everyone’s different. It’s impossible to tell someone how they should run their life, let alone how they should parent their addict.

“Hi officer,” I said. I’m here to get my son.”



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Shelley Steinley

My mission is to give love, hope and beauty to the world in my art and writing. I believe that anyone can achieve their dreams and that all things are possible. I create art to inspire and write books to build confidence and hope. Creating laughter, fun and happiness on a level higher than most people thought possible, I want others to experience true joy in living.

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