Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another mom's story to share with all of you

Today, I am feeling hopeful. B called me, and we spoke for a good length of time. It sounds like he is going to take his counselors suggestion that he check into a Sober Living Environment (SLE). He understands that he would need to pay for this from his trust account. I think it's good that B needs to spend his trust fund (that wouldn't pay out until he turns 25) because this is his chance to accept the responsibility of investing in his own recovery. He needs this to save his not return to using Oxy nor smoking heroin. He sounds good, on the phone. I miss him so much. I knew that the day would come that my son should go out and learn to live on his own. I just didn't think that would happen under these circumstances.

My husband just called to tell me that Blue Shield billed B's stay at his treatment center. Are you ready? $25,576.00. Fortunately, B's insurance pays 90% of this. I cannot imagine how someone can afford to do this, if they didn't have insurance. I am thankful, believe me. I give God all of the glory for every day that my son is alive, and that he is in day #30 of his recovery. I can't but think of those who are living on the streets, or trying to kick their opiate addiction on their own. B is thriving at his treatment center. Even though he is being discharged, today, he will be attending the ongoing classes three nights a week. B wants to do this, so that is giving me a lot of hope.

Yesterday, I read a posting from a mother on the website that I found yesterday. I took a chance, and sent her an email of encouragement. She wrote back to me, and she shared her own story. She has given me permission to share it with you. Please feel free to leave your comments, as they mean a lot to me. Thank you:

Sent: Sun, 20 Apr 2008 11:33 pm
My son is 26 years old. All his life, he's been great looking, popular, extremely personable, and an all around great son. He has a smile that always melted my heart and a sweetness that made him loved by everyone who ever met him. Early childhood wasn't perfect. I was a young mother and his father and I divorced when he and his sister were very young. They had a pretty hard time with a couple of different stepmothers and often had to travel between many states to see both of their parents.

What my son wasn't, was a good student. He always struggled with Attention Deficit Disorder, had trouble concentrating, and never had much interest in school. He did what he had to do to make good enough grades to play basketball, which he loved.

Jeffrey and I were always very close, but he was very protective of me. He often put on a brave face to protect my feelings. I knew that, especially in high school, he battled depression, but I saw it as normal teenage angst. He had tumultuous times with his girlfriend and the usual teenage ups and downs....or so I thought.

It wouldn't be until he was 25 years old that I would have a clue that the problem went deeper. After a breakup with his girlfriend of 4 years and some business problems with his dad, he became withdrawn. My son had lived away from me since graduating from high school, but had always stayed in close touch with me. He called me nearly daily...sometimes more. Even when he felt down, he'd call. But in the fall of 2007, things changed. Once again, I wrote it off to depression. That would be understandable, after all. He had just been through a breakup and the trouble with his dad and the business. When he didn't call as much, I thought he was just trying to protect me from seeing how down he was.

At Christmas, though, it became very clear that my son was very different. He finally made it home on Christmas morning....late. He knew how important Christmas was to us and promised to be her early. When he got here, he was irritable and agitated. Christmas was very uncomfortable. My son had always been very thoughtful and considerate of me and our family, especially his grandmother. But this year he couldn't sit still. Throughout the few days he was home for Christmas, he never stayed home more than a couple of hours without having to "go take a ride". He said all the company was overwhelming him and he just had to get out from time to time. He just wasn't my son. I worried that the breakup had really taken a heavy toll on him.

After Christmas, I began to worry A LOT. Nearly every time I called him, I got his voicemail, which was usually full. He rarely returned my calls. Then when he did, he was very defensive and said that I was the one who was acting differently. I would later learn that this kind of "realtiy switch" is very common with addicts.

In March, our whole family was to meet in Austin, Texas. My daughter is an artist and she and her brother were working together to open a gallery in Austin. As I was driving from Dallas to Austin, I got the call that would turn my world upside down. A girl whom my son had been dating for a short time called and filled me in. My son had a problem....a bad problem. He was addicted to Oxycontin. Worse than that, he had recently started using very dangerous amounts and was also doing cocaine. She actually felt as though his life could be in danger, if something didn't happen soon.

Scared to death, and at a complete loss for how to do it, I knew I had to get him into treatment. Until just a few days before this call, I had NEVER thought that my son had a drug problem....NEVER!

Here's the thing....I'm not a naive, sheltered person. I experimented with drugs when I was young. I'm only 44 years old and am not out of touch with what goes on in the world. I'm a very successful businesswoman with more than 250 employees. Many of them, young people around my kids' ages. I've spent much time mentoring them, as well as my kids' friends. I was involved in my kids' lives and thought that I had a pretty good view of what was going on in their worlds. Boy, was I wrong!

I never doubted the caller's story. I had just started to wonder whether my son might be using drugs. It was the only thing that made any sense. I asked the caller to go online and google "drug treatment in Texas". She called me back with a number. I called and was directed to another number for help with an intervention. I called that number, which was in Minnesota. I don't remember the name of the company, but it is a company that does interventions. They flew someone down that very night and we intervened on my son the next morning.

The night before the intervention, we all went out to dinner. I had to act as though nothing was wrong, knowing all the while that we would abruptly awaken my son in the morning with a stranger present, who was ready to take him directly to treatment. It didn't seem real! How could this be happening to US?? We're a normal, suburban, loving and close knit family. What had gone wrong?? That dinner was very uncomfortable. My son was so loving and sweet and was really holding it together. He was really going out of his way to appear "normal". Honestly, he seemed great! If I hadn't gotten that call, I'd never have known, based on that dinner, that there was a problem. I actually felt guilty for what I was about to do.

The next morning, we did it. His stepfather (whom he loves like a real dad), his sister, me, one of his best friends, and his very best friend on speaker phone, were there. I was so scared. I didn't know how he'd react. After all, this was not my was my son ON DRUGS. Would he storm out? Get violent? Refuse treatment?

The bottom line is this: He voluntarily went into treatment. He had actually told several of his friends that, as soon as the gallery opened, he was going to go. I don't know whether he would've followed through or not, but it comforted me to know that he had wanted help! It was hard for him that it happened this way, but he didn't fight us. He told us he loved us, he was sorry, and he went, willingly, directly into a detox hospital. I've never felt so much relief in my entire life.

The withdrawal period was hard. He was sick, sweating, cold, and very anxious. He threatened many times to leave. But, THANK GOD, he didn't. Watching his withdrawal was scary and sad, but he was safe! They were giving him meds for anxiety and the muscle cramps that go with opiate withdrawal, so it could've been worse. But he was taking a lot of drugs and his withdrawal was hard. I don't think I've ever been more proud of my son than I was of him for staying in that hospital and sticking it out. After 4 days, he was much better and ready to transfer to the treatment center. I drove him, myself and it was an emotional 2 hour ride, but one I will never forget. I was so proud of him for his determination to get better, his openness with our family and his friends, and his humility during this time. I finally was getting my sone back.

He was at La Hacienda in Hunt, Texas for 35 days. I believe these 35 days saved Jeffrey's life. He left La Hacienda and went to a sober living facility in Dallas, where he is today. He will be there for at least 90 days. While there, he attends NA meeting daily, and is in an intensive outpatient program through La Hacienda. He is very dedicated to his recovery. This will be a lifelong journey, but he's working very hard.

HERE'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I WANT TO SAY: My son did drugs to feel "normal". His memory of his first drug experience was that of feeling he fit in, finally! Now remember, this was a beautiful, popular, charismatic kid to everyone else. But to himself, he was so different...a fraud...someone that people wouldn't like if they knew the "real" him. He was very uncomfortable in his own skin. No one would've guessed that he had this emptiness inside. This is why he had been doing drugs off and on for 10 years! At first, it was to feel normal. Eventually, though, it stopped working and he had to use, just to keep from getting sick.

The biggest revelation to my son when he got to treatment was that he wasn't as different from the rest of the world as he thought. All his life, he thought that something was wrong with him...that he was different. But, in listening to the stories of the other patients and alumni, he took great comfort in knowing that he is not alone. Addiction is a disease that is shared by millions....old and young.....male and and poor...every race.



Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The reality and danger of my son's addiction

This morning, I was feeling a sense of joy. I had attended a support group meeting, last night. I chatted with a mom, who has a 22 year old son who was in a 30 day detox/recovery program about an hour away from where we live. This mom was distraught, because she had a feeling that her son was using again. I wanted to hug her, to sit with her and to let her know that I understand her pain and worry. But, we both had to go because it was getting late.

I met her son, briefly. He's a young, good-looking man who has a dazzling smile. He reminds me of my own son, I thought...

I wish I knew her better, but I don't know how to contact her. She is worried sick about her son. I can understand, because he is exhibit signs that my son used to-- before he checked in for detox. This young man was agitated, impatiently wanting his mom's cellphone. All night, I thought of her, and prayed for this young man. I could only feel thankful that my son is wanting to work the program.

I've been keeping myself busy, at work and looking forward to spending my first weekend at home-- after traveling four weeks in a row to see my son and to take classes about addiction and codependency.

My feeling of joy and elation has changed, when I found a new website, this afternoon.

I found the guest book and I began to scan the postings. Oh my! Oh my! I had no idea just how epidemic and dangerous oxycontin really is! There are hundreds and hundreds of postings, and they will tear at your heart.

There is so much that my son has admitted to me in the last four weeks. Much of it I haven't shared, because it's all so much for me to handle. I need to carefully think what I can share, and in such a way that it will bless someone.

I can tell you that B admitted that his addiction to OC moved on to be an addiction to smoking heroin. There, I said it. I can't get into the details, right now. I need to really sit and think all of this through.

I need to remember, that even though my son is detoxed and excited about his recovery he is not out of the woods. Especially, after reading other stories.

I need to focus on my job, right now. I will write more, as the weekend progresses.

I have no further updates on how B is doing. No news is good news, at this time. At least, I know he is living with trusted friends.

If you, or anyone you know, is using Oxy-- I beg you... read this website! Learn and take this drug seriously. I am so angry about how frivolously this drug is being prescribed, when it is highly addictive. Worse, I am angry at B's doctor who so freely prescribed subutex to him for almost a year. I'm angry that his father and I did not understand addiction enough to realize just how dangerous this drug is. I have to do something, but I'm not sure exactly where I need to start. It will come.

I need to focus on the fact that my son is alive. I pray that he will be able to conquer this ugly beast-- oxycontin addiction.

Please, God, help all of B's loved ones to have the wisdom in how we can love, help and encourage him. Thank you for your mercy on him. I pray for those who are needing help, that they will find it.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Waiting and trusting

B is to be discharged as a "client" from the treatment center this Wednesday, April 30. That means that he is moving into the next phase of his recovery.

Simply put, it is now B's decision on what his next move will be. I have presented him with an option that I hope he will choose. B has a trust account (a modest one) that he will inherit at the age of 25. Given that his addiction caused him to spend every penny he ever earned to support his habit, it's a good thing that he didn't get his hands on my mother's money. I have offered to take a small sum of that trust account to pay the first month's rent at a Sober Living Environment (SLE). For those of you who are not familiar with this (as I wasn't) it is a home for people who are making a transition from a treatment center and needing to ease into living on the "outside". The purpose of an SLE is that B will be required to get a job within 2 weeks, or do community service work. He will be required to attend meetings, and there will be someone who is clean and sober who is in charge of the group. The idea is that B can live with people who are detoxed, and hopefully he will find support for the inevitable times that he will relapse.

Yesterday, B rejected my offer saying that he didn't want to touch "his trust account". I didn't say anything because my guess is that he's presuming that someone else (his dad or me) will pay it. That is not an option. Neither his father nor I can afford to support him. Even if we could, it's enabling B.

The only other options I see for B is that his father will allow him to move back home with him. I doubt that option is open, though. I hope that Bill's father will continue to see that he cannot enable B's addiction. He has enabled our son too long-- and I am not saying this to be mean or judgmental. B's father (and B, himself) admits that he's enabled our son. I will write more on this, at a later time. I want to be sure and share this as a way to help other parents who tend to be "enablers". What I don't want to do is to say anything about B's father in a mean-spirited way. No matter what, B's father loves him and B loves his dad. So, I will write about this sometime when I feel relaxed, and I have more privacy.

The option of B moving home with me isn't available. B knows this, and he agrees.

B wants to rent an apartment of his own, but he is slowly realizing it's not that easy. He didn't realize the credit checks involved, and about first and last month's rent. Reality is slowly hitting him, that he doesn't have the money to do this. Plus, this would risk his success in recovery.

B could sleep on someone's couch, but I doubt he'd want that either.

So, I feel hopeful that B will choose the option of an SLE-- and do think he wants this. Of course, I can almost smell his fear. The idea that B will be living in a place 2 hours away from his hometown is going to really hit him in 48 hours. For the last month, he's been living at a treatment center and meeting so many people who have become his new family. His meals have been provided for him. But, as we mature folks know, people begin to move into their own paths-- just like when we graduated from high school. Suddenly, we realize that our school friends have moved all over the globe and started new lives. I have a hunch that many of B's new family from his treatment center will return to their own lives. B might find many of them will disappear from his radar.

I feel a deep sorrow that B's life has come to this. In any other circumstance, I would allow B to live with me-- if he was going to school full-time or had a full-time job. Drugs have taken their toll of how much I can trust B. He is starting from ground zero with me. In a way B knows this, but he's probably not fully realizing how much work we both have to feel trust between us again.

I've had to fight the urge to call him since this morning. I just want to hear his voice, and reassure him how thankful I am that he's detoxed. I won't do it, though. I need to let B break free and I it's time for him to experience life on his own. He can do this, because he's smart. Truthfully, I half expect that whenever B calls me he wants something. I've lived with that for over a year...the "hi, mom". Some small chit-chat...and then the other shoes drops..."so, mom..." He needs money...I just know it. I have to say "no". That's what I am conditioned to think. I hope that this pattern will finally stop between us.

Unfortunately, I don't see B as being as financially savvy as he thinks he is. B knows that I'm a number cruncher and that I've become disciplined at living within my means. I don't buy "things" the way I used to. I've given up designer label clothing, luxury vacations, new cars, and fancy decor for my home. I live a very simple life, cook at home mostly-- and I am very happy where my life is. B thinks I'm poor. I think I'm rich in what matters--I am happy in my marriage and I love my job. I have friends who are financially doing very well, and I am genuinely happy for them. I don't envy them at all. I once had "things", but I wasn't happy. Been there, done that.

I hope that my son will discover this, too. The Lord led me to this scripture, when I was taking a class on how to manage money:

Philippians 4:12 (New International Version)

12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

B is going to, soon, realize that the lifestyle he has been enjoying (at his parent's expense) has come to an end. I hope that he doesn't become discouraged, but that he is motivated to do well in a new job. I pray that he will find joy in life, and that he will realize that material things are not what makes us happy.

I could not feel the kind of joy that I experience, every day, without knowing the love of my Higher Power-- Jesus Christ.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Breaking free

I am sitting in the living room at my BFF's house. DH and I arrived on Friday night, and B had just returned from his recovery center. The three of us sat together and talked-- for this first time, in a very long time, I realized that I was talking to my son... and not his addiction.

I could see that his eyes looked alive again. I kept looking at him, realizing that he had an air of maturity to him that I had not seen before. In some ways, I felt as though I was speaking to a veteran of a war. B talks a lot about his addiction-- he talks about the kind of people he hung out with. He talks about the times he was "jacked" of money when trying to buy the drugs he needed. He talked about the different ways he went about getting the drugs he needed. I kept noticing how animated he was, but I could understand him! For so long, when B would come to my house, he would talk a mile a minute. Often, he spoke so fast that his voice sounded slurred. I think that the biggest difference I can see in my son, is that we can talk without hostility. I was talking to his addiction, before, and now I am talking to B.

I have taken my first baby step in letting go of the umbilical cord between mother and son.

Any mother who is reading this can understand how difficult this is. I really don't think I'm the kind of mom who wants to meddle in my son's life. I was raised by a mom who wanted me to be independent. My own mother never gave me money. I had to earn my own way, and so I was ready to leave home when I turned 18. My mother brought me a suitcase and said it was time to go. I never looked back, a month after my 18th birthday. While that might sound cruel to some, it was the best thing my mother did for me. She raised me to have good work ethics and how to balance a checkbook. So, while I've given my son $20.00 here and there, or given him a few dollars to buy food-- my closest friends and family know that I'm not one to financially enable my son.

Now-- "Mommy wisdom" is something I have a hard time trying to keep to myself. I know that kids hate lectures! But, if I see my son doing something that I find morally wrong, I can't keep my mouth shut. I have been screaming inside my head since Friday night! I'm still appalled at my son's twisted ethics. Call me a Jesus Freak, I don't care. My son and I are polar opposites on worldly versus Godly living. I keep my mouth shut, though, because he will have to figure this out on his own.

Yesterday (Saturday), DH and I spent 90 minutes attending a class on co-dependency. My son sat right next to me. It would take thousands of words for me to consolidate the kind of knowledge that was given to us. In time, I'll try and share some of what I learned.

I have said this to many people-- I was stuck on the work "dependency" as being a contradiction to the type of person I perceive myself to be. Therefore, I've rejected any thoughts that I have co-dependent behavior. I think I'm highly independent, and that I'm not needy at all. I see myself as a person who is very comfortable being alone with myself. In fact, I cherish "me" time when I'm at home alone.

I am beginning to move past that stumbling block. I am beginning to see certain tendencies of co-dependent behavior with my own son. I have allowed my son's addiction to become a knot in my stomach and a constant state of fear for his health and safety. I try not to worry about him, but I end up doing it anyway.

This weekend, I had plans that my son would be hanging out with us. We'd take him to dinner and go to open meetings with him. That was not B's plan, at all. Instead, he has been attending meetings with his friends from his treatment center. I realize, now, that addicts prefer to attend closed meetings. Having me there, would make him feel uncomfortable.

This morning, the three of us did a lot more talking. Out of the blue, B accused me of sabotaging his recovery. He was angry with me for making a decision that I had nothing to do with (this is too personal to share the details about). He became agitated and said that he shared this with his group, and that they all felt I was wrong. I felt unfairly attacked, and defensive. He calmed down, but I wanted to run away and be alone, because I felt like crying. My past behavior would be to fight back. It's useless, though. So, I sat there feeling hurt and realizing he was completely oblivious to the damage he had done...once again.

So, here is an area of my life that has bled into my relationship with my own son. My childhood was one in which I never felt I could please my mom. I would go on to end up in relationships with men who would belittle me. Looking back, I see that this is all part of low self-esteem-- a sense of unworthiness. I have a hard time, to this day, when I feel that someone is criticizing me. I become deeply hurt if I feel betrayed by a loved one-- I have a hard time letting go of finding out that something I said has been taken out of context.

This is one of the co-dependent tendencies that I have discovered between my relationship with my son. B has a way of saying that "so-and-so" told him that I said "such-and-such". That is where the tension can build up between the two of us. I can barely contain my emotions.

So, today, I am feeling that I am taking the hardest hit of blame from my son. These are moments when I can feel myself fighting back the tears of frustration, betrayal and hurt that are triggered by feeling attacked.

This is a co-dependent cycle that I need to focus on breaking.

I am feeling very hopeful that B has a strong chance of success with his recovery. I truly believe that he is clean. B has made it very clear to me how much he fears withdrawals. For that reason, he says he does not want to use. He's had some moments when he's admitted that he is craving to use opitates, but he finds a way to deal with it-- he calls someone to talk him through it, he exercises, or he drives around in his car.

As for me, I need to find a way to break free of my lack of self-esteem becoming a voice in my head. I need to remind myself that "The Enemy" uses this to try and break me down. My husband is always there to put his arms around me. He is learning to recognize the hurt little girl that resurfaces when I feel that I am being attacked.

It's late morning, now, on Sunday. In a few minutes, I will pack our bags and tidy up the home where we have been staying. My BFF and her family should return in a few hours.

I am looking forward to returning home-- the weekend trips to B's recovery center have been tiring. I want to get my regular life schedule back.

B's desire is to stay in this new area-- 2 hours away from where we live. He is in-love with the excitement of living in a big city. I've even noticed that he is speaking with a lot less "street" language and slangs. The place that B has called home has too much "gang" influence. Where B is now, there is none of that culture.

B has three days to make a decision. We have given him options, but ultimately it is his decision on what path to take.

I pray that he will follow God's path. I pray for strength to not meddle or try to influence B. He needs to take responsibility for his recovery.

I need to work on my own recovery. Addiction hurts a lot of people.



Friday, April 25, 2008

Dirty little secret

What an interesting title today, huh?

I work at a public high school. I love teenagers. I know that sounds strange to parents who are trying to deal with their darling child who is morphing into a creature they no longer recognize. I just find teenagers to be interesting-- they need to know that not all adults consider them to be trouble. They aren't. They need guidance, encouragement and a lot of patience. Humor helps, too. Teenagers can make me laugh, and I get that every single day at my job.

I remember, clearly, when B turned 12. That sweet child of mine began to talk back to me-- at times, with a sassy mouth. It was then, that I realized my mother's curse had come to fruition. I was now the mother of a "tween" and the battle of the wills had just been set. Check. Checkmate.

Because I had a very controlling mom I wanted to be different. I wasn't allowed to have friends over at my house. No sleepovers. No dinner guests. I wanted to be the kind of mom who would keep an eye on B's friends. My secret weapon was my kitchen. I allowed B to have friends over at our humble home, and I would bake cookies and feed these hormonal creatures. Of course, my mommy periscope was fully extended. My ears were fine-tuned to listen to what they were saying. I figured that the best way to keep an eye on my son, was to encourage him to hang out at home with his friends.

I really wanted to be a "cool" mom, but I'm just not. At least, I'm not a "cool mom" in my teenager's eyes. I once remember my son saying how "thin" and "hot" one of his friend's mom is. Self consciously, I could only tug my t-shirt to cover my behind, that suddenly felt like I'd grown an extra one. My hairline was in bad need of touching up the gray hairs that were taking over. I didn't dare try to speak their lingo and my jokes got eyeballs rolling. I had to face reality-- the only thing I had to offer these boys, with big appetites, was what I could bake. I had to settle for being a "June Cleaver" kind of mom. I wasn't pretty, I wasn't thin, and I wasn't a spring chicken.

I sometimes miss the activity of coming home, only to find sets of huge sneakers and skateboards at my front door. When B turned 16, he bought a starter car from a small sum of money his grandmother left him when she passed away. Everything changed when he got the freedom of a car. I found less sneakers at my front door, and less of B's physical presence. Instead, I'd see traces of his tornado presence with evidence of B's raiding the refrigerator, wet bath towels and unfinished laundry in the washer. I should have bought a dairy cow to keep up with how fast the gallons of milk would disappear. He was home(a lot)less, but he always checked in and kept his curfews. To this day, he reminds me how ridiculous my curfews were. I'm hoping that when he is a parent-- 20 years from now-- that he will see that I was trying to be a responsible mom.

By the time B turned 17...and then 18, B would occasionally ask if a friend could stay at our house as a "safe house". B would tell me that his friend got kicked out of his mom or dad's house. I always suspected that there were three sides to the story-- the kids', the parent and the Truth". As long as the parent talked to me, I would allow a one-night stay. While I couldn't be a "cool" mom, I hoped that I would be a Godly mom who would try to listen to these kids. I would pray for that kid, though they never knew it.

I never imagined that some of these boys, who once traded Pokemon cards with B would eventually become addicted to drugs-- cocaine and mainly oxycontin. Sadly, several of these kids have since been through rehabs, are homeless and addicted to heroin. One of them is in prison for home invasion, directly linked to drugs. Most of these kids come from affluent homes. Many come from two-parent homes-- so that breaks the stigma that single parents breed troubled kids. No matter what, these kids helped me to discover how much I hoped to be a safe place for them to talk to. My heart goes out to them. The pressure of being a teenager, today, is even tougher than my generation...or the generation before. The June Cleaver family values are declining in our country. I see it happening at my school job, on TV, music and movies. B eventually bought into that whole "gangsta" culture that are connected with glorifying drugs and crime. But, that's another topic for a later time...

So, here I am-- the mother of a 19 1/2 year old son. He has not lived with me for almost a year, now. I never imagined that my son would relapse, secretly, into using opiates again. I believed B was doing okay, because he told me so. I was deceived, because his addiction was lying to him. I did not know the depth of B's addiction until he hit "bottom", just 25 days ago.

This time, I'm going to meetings for friends and family of addiction, at least twice a week. I am becoming stronger, and feeling no shame that my son is in this situation. Those who really care about me feel concern. Those who judge me...well, that's their own ignorant right. I am taking Bs addiction to opiates very seriously, this time. I can no longer numb my fear and look away, hoping that B will do this on his own. He can't. He had to say "yes" to checking in to a treatment center. I am now 110% convinced, that an addict cannot heal themselves. Addicts must accept the first step-- that they are powerless over their addiction. They cannot keep this a secret. They need love, support, encouragement and help. We need to educate ourselves on how to help them, without enabling them.

Addiction is a dirty little secret-- from the addict's sneaky ways of feeding the addiction-- to a loved ones shame that they feel. Addiction is a fact-- it's that 1000 pound gorilla that was always with my son and me, whenever we were in a room together. We couldn't talk about it. During the time he was lying to me about his problem, I felt as though we were completely disconnected, as mother and son. Now I know, that B had a dirty little secret he couldn't talk to me about. I didn't know just how far he had spiraled--to the point that he was pawning his personal items to afford the drugs his brain craved. I didn't understand how afraid he was of the pain of withdrawal. I though the the prescribed drugs he was taking was going to help B to stop using oxycontin. The dirty truth has come out, now that he has confessed a lot of things to me in recent counseling sessions at the treatment center.

I wish that I had known then, what I know now. Now that I've sat through three group classes-- with family and the addicts, I am hearing the raw truth about withdrawals. I finally understand how dangerous withdrawals can be-- and potentially fatal. I am told, by the addicts, that the pain can be son excrutiating that they fear withdrawal more than anything else.

I truly believe, that the only way an addict can begin to find a way out of this terrible cycle is to detox, and then begin to learn how to deal with the cravings that are inevitable. They need to do this with the help of the 12-steps and professionals who specialize in addiction.

Now that this dirty little secret is out in the open, that 1000 pound gorilla is gone between us. B and I are beginning a new path together. I am there, to encourage him, but I remain an imperfect human being. I might blow it and say something wrong, but I am trying to understand him. He has a lot of habits that go with addiction-- mostly lies and not keeping promises. I love him, and that will never change. I have good days and I have bad days. Today, I'm happy to see him tonight...but I am ready for battle stations. It won't be easy to stand up against manipulation. It's all part of the territory.



Thursday, April 24, 2008

Today, I feel excited and joyful

Colossians 3:16 (The Message)

15-17Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

Last night, I received several encouraging phone calls about B. First, I spoke with his father. B's dad delivered B's car to him. It's not a bad thing, because B understands that the car is only to be used to travel back and forth to his treatment center. His father sounds relieved because he can see how much better B looks.

Next, I received a call from "C" (where B is staying) who said that B, his dad and "C" had a nice visit. B's dad said to his son "you're an addict" and then told him that he cannot come back to his home. Halleluia! B took it really well-- in fact, he expressed that he does not want to return to his hometown. He knows that this is not a good idea.

The last call of the evening was from my BFF. She was telling me how excited B is to be in a big city. She's amused at how enthralled he is with sky scrapers, and riding the high speed train system. I couldn't help but feel excited for him! She told me that there are several opportunities that B is very open to-- there is a strong chance that he can get into a "halfway house". The rent would be affordable (we parents will pay it). My BFF sent a few links to me, and we both got really excited. B will live in a house with other people who are in recovery. He will be monitored, attend daily meetings and be able to work part-time. I cannot think of a better way for B to make a transition from a "using" addict to a recovering addict.

My excitement soared, thinking "God really has a plan for him!" The area where he is presently living has so much to offer young people. B lives to play golf, and there are plenty of places he can apply to work.

I struggled to fall asleep-- feeling very thankful and hopeful. I feel so blessed by God's answers to so many prayers.

Thank you-- every one of you who care about my son, how I am doing and for your prayers. They are working! God is listening! Thank you, Heavenly Father for you grace and mercy and that you love us.



Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Update on B's situation

To my family, friends and loved ones:

As of yesterday, I heard that Blue Shield has authorized B's outpatient program until April 30. That will be 30 days of treatment. For that I am grateful. Thank you, Jesus. B has a long way to go. By that, I mean that we (those who are closest to Brian, right now) agree that he needs at least 90 days of treatment.

I was talking with my BFF last night--where B is staying. My BFF and I have remained loyal friends to one another for over 30 years. I have to say, that she has a gift of making me laugh--even at this difficult time. I needed to feel like that young girl of 21, when we first met. I'm grateful that she speaks of B with fondness. He's hard not to like. Her SO (significant other) has taken B into his care, because he sponsors other people who are involved with NA. "C" knows what it means to be an addict, so B cannot get away with the kind of lies that fooled mom and dad. "C" calls my son on any "fishy" story that just doesn't add up. If you knew "C", you could not help but like him.

But, on to my point-- my BFF is adamant that unless B agrees to go to the recovery center that they have made possible-- my son will not make it. You would think that I should cry, at this point. I can't. I think that I am clinging to hope and trust that B will make the decision that he is not ready to be in the "real world" for at least 60 more days.

The opportunity is there, but we have a spiritual battle going on. B is listening to the wrong people-- who think that all he has to do is attend meetings 3 days a week and get a job.
"We" know that he is not ready. He's already showed signs of weakness. Already, he's bought bags of sugar candy and tobacco chew. These are all things he has been told that addicts should not use. His legs are restless. These are all signs of withdrawal. He thinks that he is cured, but his brain is not ready to stop the craving for opiates.

We have seven more days of prayer, and "C" talking to my son. We hope that B's father will be strong enough to tell B that he cannot come home to live with him.

I am concerned if B's dad can say "no" in a loving way. I am learning that the best thing a parent can do to help their child with addiction is to keep things "open". By that, I mean that I need to be a safe place where B can talk to me without me flying off the handle.

I am hoping that B's father will say "Son, I cannot let you come home to me because you are not well". Let's talk about this in 60 days, and see how you are doing." I know that I can say "no", because I want to save my son's life. If B was to refuse further professional treatment, he could very well overdose, go into seizures or end up... I don't even want to think of what.

It will be tough for B to see that he needs to accept this place that is being offered to him for FREE-- and a waiting list isn't an issue. By the grace of God and "C"'s connections, my son has been accepted into this program... if B is willing to go. He can start on April 30th and he can stay as long as 14 months. It isn't posh, but this center has a high ratio of success with addiction.

This Friday, my husband and I are headed to my BFF's home, through Sunday. They have a trip planned, but we all agree that B does not need to be left alone. DH and I will take B to open NA meetings. I want my son to know that I am there to learn and support him.

I pray that he will not be angry with me, and think that I am trying to control him. Addiction is a demon that is very strong. For me, though, I know that there is no demon stronger than my Lord, Jesus. That is the "Higher Power" of the 12-step program, and I am calling on the power in that name.

Please keep my son, and those who are battling addiction in prayer. I feel blessed that we have insurance that is helping B get the help he needs. I pray for those who are homeless, or struggling to do this on their own.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Three C's

The Three C's
You did not cause it.
You cannot control it.
You cannot cure it.

I went to a Christian-based recovery meeting, last night. When I returned home, I found these words printed on a piece of paper--sitting on the ottoman in our entry way. My husband had typed this, because he read it in one (of several) articles I forwarded to him. I need to remember this, for the moments that I begin to feel guilt that I could not help my son stay away from drugs.

Note to self: I cannot let my son's addiction, the choices he makes become an obsession in my thoughts and my life. It's okay for me to go on living my life, being a loving wife and to take care of myself.

I am struggling with my thoughts constantly rewinding the last few years of B's spiral into his addiction to oxycontin. I can't help but ask myself "why didn't I research just how addictive and dangerous this drug is?" Why didn't I find support groups, sooner? At least, now, I'm doing that and it's helping me a lot.

Even yesterday, I've heard "people" say that addicts made their choice. I can't help but respond (in my head), "who would choose to be addicted to alcohol and/or drugs?" I don't think that B chose oxycontin-- I think that he has a lot of pain inside (is it his parent's divorce? his diabetes? peer pressure, a need to feel popular, girl issues...) Whatever troubled my son enough, he found that oxycontin helped him to dull the pain. Therein lies the problem-- the addiction is lying to him that "oxy" will make him feel better.

I could see the stress in my husband's face, this morning. He looks tired and worried. Though B isn't his biological son, he cares about his chances of a successful recovery. I tend to internalize things, so I feel guilty about how B's addiction is affecting my husband. All I can do is hug him, and remind him that God is in control of all of this. We need to let go, and let God, I remind him.
So far, God has opened up so many doors-- his treatment center, the insurance (grudgingly) authorizing more time (thought the clock is ticking), my friends opening up their home... I don't want to dishonor what God is doing by stressing out. I trust my Heavenly Father.

What's hardest for B's loved ones to understand are the lies that come of out B's mouth. Too many things that B has said, turned out to not be true. The story changes. Or, the stories doesn't make sense. He says he doesn't remember things...

Last night, I heard another mom/friend say to me that she is "grieving". I know how she feels. I'm grieving, too. I can't pinpoint the strongest point of my grief. I think it's that I am grieving for my son's innocence that has been robbed by addiction. I am grieving for my precious boy, who brought so much joy into my life. B was such an easy baby. I am thankful that I got to spend the first four years of his life as a stay-at-home mom. He became the center of my Universe, my joy, my blessing. I keep remembering those precious moments, and then my heart aches to have them back.

There is nothing I want more for my son than for him to be set free of the dark voices that are lying to him. My heart is filled with grief at how easily B's addiction has trained him to lie. I pray that the Holy Spirit will fill my son's heart with grief, so that he will be made aware how his lies are hurting everyone around him-- and how it grieves God's heart.

1 Peter 5:8 (New International Version)

8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Tomorrow (Wednesday), his father will deliver B's car to the home where he is staying. It has become necessary for this to happen. B needs to get to his treatment center and to NA meetings. I don't want to burden the family, who has graciously been driving out of their way.

I have to trust that B will not abuse this privilege.

We are hearing that Blue Shield may not authorize for B to stay in outpatient at this recovery center, beyond next Monday. I am praying that this will change, because B needs to stay in the program as long as possible.

Father, I pray that you will quiet the voices of darkness in his head. I pray that the power of the Holy Spirit will intercede for him. Amen.

In Jesus' Name.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Releasing the boy and seeing the man

This Monday morning, I kept looking at my phone. Several times, I had a strong desire to call my friend and ask, "Did B get to the recovery center today?" But, I need to remind myself that I need to let my son learn how to become a man-- that he needs to learn to manage his life on his own.Today's devotional, led me to this verse:

1 Corinthians 13:11 (New International Version)

11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

Now that I understand that B's addiction is a genetic "flaw", I need to focus on how my son's addiction has been "enabled". I'm guilty of this, as is his father.

It's easy for someone to look from the outside of our family dynamics and to judge how B has been coddled, spoiled, enabled and a multitude of labels I've had thrown at me. One time, someone I thought was my friend, decided that it was her divine duty to tell me all that I had done wrong in raising my son. It was hard for me to find value in her wisdom, since she's never been a parent. I was both hurt and offended. She has her own issues, so I couldn't help thinking:

Matthew 7:3 (New International Version)

3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

It is very hard to distinguish between a mother's need to love, nurture and protect our children--versus stepping back and letting our kids suffer their own consequences for the choices they've made. God wired moms to have a natural need to soothe our child's hurts. We don't want out kids to suffer, in any way. There have been times when my son's pleading and guilty buttons he's pushed made me cave in and do my son's will.

During a counseling session with my son, B angrily said to me "a year ago, you stopped being a mom". I was taken aback-- speechless, actually. My first reaction was "I could never stop being a mom!" Later, that day... the lightbulb went on. Aha! I think he meant that I stopped spending money on him. Yes, I did. My son had reached the age of 19, had dropped out of college and didn't have a job. Just this weekend, B finally confirmed, that this is the time he started using again, after being clean for 8 months. I suspected that drugs were the reason that he wasn't motivated. Finally, I told him that he could not longer live in my home, under those circumstances. It was hard for me to tell my son to move out. He moved in with his father, almost a year ago. I missed him, terribly--and, at times, I still do.

It's painful to say no. My head knows that "no" is my first babystep to helping my son to grow up and learn to be a man. But my heart tugs at me that "no" is rejection to my son. It's a vicious cycle that can play out in my head and my heart. I realize that part of my co-dependent relationship my son is this loop that leads nowhere. I have to work on this and to be prepared that my son might lash out at this. It's part of my wanting to help him. I know that I'm doing what's best, but it's not easy.

It's hard enough for our teenage/young adult kids to afford to live in this country. We, as adults with regular jobs, are struggling to keep up with the price of gas, groceries and housing. I fear for my son who has this challenge, plus being able to deal with the possibility that neither one of his parents can or will take him in to live with us.

I need prayer and wisdom on this. This is weighing heavily on my heart, today.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

B's progress for the weekend

This weekend has been a hectic one, for sure. Yesterday morning, DH and I arrived early at B's treatment center. B was there, all smiles and looking good. Just like his mom, he doesn't have a problem meeting people. I can tell that he's made a lot of "friends". He's really enjoying being named "Peer Captain". If there is one thing I can say about my son-- and those of you who know him-- he is not shy about tooting his own horn!

On a more serious note-- I learned a lot, today. The class was about PAWS "Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome".

This topic really hit me between the eyes as a HUGE reality check. B nudged me a few times, nodding his head that he has experienced this. Oversimplified, B can be hit at any time with the feeling of withdrawal. That means, even though his insurance company considers him to be "detoxed", his disease isn't finished trying to get the fix that it wants. That's very sobering (no pun intended).

What we also learned about addiction gave me a sense of peace-- the entire 90 minute class had a major theme for loved ones to understand... addiction is a disease. It is not caused by bad parenting. The disease can be triggered by a traumatic event-- such as an injury that required painkillers to be described. I had to really digest this news, but I get it now.

I need to accept that it is not my fault, his father's fault, nor anybody else's fault that my son is an addict. It's genetic. If I shake my family tree hard enough, a few nuts would hit the ground. But, there is a history if alcoholism in my family. I have a first cousin who died just a few years ago, from alcoholism and crack cocaine addiction. His father (my maternal uncle) was an alcoholic. Neither of my parents were.

I finally understand that addicts don't have the switch that we do-- whether it's alcohol, substance abuse, sex, or food... addicts can't can't find the off switch. They are powerless over their addiction and they must learn to accept that. I finally understand that will power is not going to help an addict. They don't have willpower. Their brain can't do it.

Now that I understand this, I am feeling deep sorrow that my son is an addict. I realize, now, that he did not become an addict because he toyed with smoking marijuana, at the age of 12. My son is an addict, because once he found the high that gave him the sense of escape and "well-being" that his brain wanted (for him it was Oxycontin), he doesn't have a switch to turn it off. His brain likes oxycontin.

I also understand, now, that no matter how much I threaten my son, use "tough love", enable him, try to shelter him from drugs-- it doesn't cure his addiction. It just can't.

Ultimately, my son is the only person who can help himself. B realizes that he will be an addict for the rest of his life. He cannot be cured.

I can see why the 12-Steps is the ONLY way for an addict to cope with PAWS. It's going to happen-- tomorrow, in a week, in five years. Without having a sponsor, and people who he can trust and turn to, when his addiction tries to make him use-- he is a sitting duck. Above all, I believe that if an addict has a faith in God-- then the addict has a stronger chance of getting help to get through an inevitable episode of PAWS. The reality is, addicts must learn to cope with the temptations that cannot be hidden-- alcohol and drugs are too easy to get.

B has a long way to go-- my feelings are always changing. At one moment, I am so thankful for the program he is in. I'm so thankful for the people who have taken my son into their home. B seems highly appreciative for the help he's received from the treatment center, us, and his "foster home".

At times, I feel we are climbing Mt. Everest with flip-flops and a 500 pound backpack named "addiction".

Sometimes, my heart just grieves for the little boy who was so full of joy and innocence.

I have so much to learn about addiction. I have only scratched the surface. I'm so thankful that I have found two Christian based support groups that I plan to attend, faithfully. Even going to church, this morning, felt much different. With my eyes closed, I listened to the worship songs that were being sung. I found strength, peace and hope, because God promises me that he will never leave nor forsake me.

Deuteronomy 31:6 (New King James Version)

6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

On the way home, from church, I prayed for my marriage. My husband has been so supportive of me, and his stepson. It's important for us to make time for conversations other than just talking about B. We need to take care of ourselves, and to find time to enjoy and love each other. Otherwise, I'm going to grieve for B to the point that I will become addicted to the addict. I can't let B's addiction paralyze my life. I want to continue to enjoy my life, which I am.

I'm feeling very blessed right now, because I feel loved... by God, my husband, my son and my wonderful friends.

Philippians 4:12-13 (New International Version)

12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.



Friday, April 18, 2008

My son's next phase

Tomorrow, I will see my son. I am very excited to see him, and to drive him to a place where I know he will be safe. I know this, because he will be with two people whom I trust. I know that both of these people have integrity, and that they care about me and my son.

I am so blessed to have friends, like these. I am at a loss at how I can show them my deep appreciation for opening up their home for B.

B will be required to keep rules.
  • He will be required to commute to his recovery center five days a week.
  • He will also be required to attend meetings, that need to be documented.
  • He will also be drug-tested.
  • If he is "dirty" or refuses to test, he will be considered "dirty". He is fully aware that if he has a "dirty" drug test, that he will lose the privilege of living with these wonderful people.
  • He will have a choice of returning as an "inpatient" and beginning the detox all over again. Or...

I don't want to think of the or...

I was thinking back to the day when B came to me in the throes of his withdrawal. That was on Saturday, March 29th, 2008. He looked exhausted. His skin was in bad shape, and he had dark circles under his eyes. He was slurring, and emotionally, he was crying. He looked broken and defeated. I wonder how much of this he remembers, today...

B looked so depressed and despondent. I could see that the "accuser" had made my son believe that his life was not worth living. I was both angry and hurt, that my son could even think that. My son is worth living! He is a joy to know, and he is my gift from God. B has a smile that will melt your heart. He's a tall and beautiful boy. He is an intelligent young man, who relates with people of all ages. He has a good heart. That is why it broke my heart to see my son, collapsed on my living room chair, his chest heaving with tears of pain and defeat. I desperately wanted him to know that this was not a hopeless situation.

I remember B saying to me that he was worthless. I remember grabbing his long and slender hands, relieved that he wasn't rejecting my touch. I reminded him how much God loves him, and that he is forgiven. I don't think that B could understand the depth of God's love for us, at that time. I pray that he feels that now.

Today, this was my daily devotional, from Our Daily Bread. I wanted to share this because I'm thankful to be reminded:
READ: Psalm 103:1-12
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. —Psalm 32:1

A little boy had just been tucked into bed by his mother, who was waiting to hear his prayers. But he had been naughty that day, and now it was bothering him. So he said, "Mama, I wish you'd go now and leave me alone. I want to pray by myself."

Sensing that something was wrong, she asked, "Bobby, is there anything you ought to tell me?" "No, Mommy," he replied. "You would just scold me, but God will forgive me and forget about it."

That little boy understood one of the greatest salvation benefits of all—the reality of sins forgiven. The Bible indicates that in Christ "we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins" (Col. 1:14). We who have received the Lord Jesus as Savior enjoy freedom from sin's eternal condemnation (Rom. 8:1), and we can also have daily forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9).

The apostle Paul said that salvation provides these added benefits: we are justified (Rom. 3:24), and we are at peace with God (5:1).

We should never get the idea that our sins are taken lightly by the Lord. But when we acknowledge our guilt with true repentance, God is ready to forgive because of what Jesus did on the cross. It's up to us to accept it. — Richard De Haan

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all. —Watts

When God forgives a sin, He never brings it up again.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

When God speaks through His Word.

James 1:2-18 (New International Version)

Trials and Temptations
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

I am very moved by today's devotional reading. I feel as though this scripture speaks volumes about what is happening in B's situation. I feel as though this passage is speaking to me, as a mom-- and to B as my son.

I am so thankful to you, Lord. You have worked, yet, another miracle in helping my son to be healed from addiction.

I am so thankful for answered prayers-- that my son will be with two people who are very special to me.

Please, bless them, Lord.



A mom's exhale...praise God!

I can only spend a few minutes to share news that is making me feel so thankful.

My BFF and her DH went to see my son and his counselor at his treatment center. She says that he looks GREAT. Take a deep breath of relief, Mom.

They spoke at great length, about many things-- including their rules if he lives with them.
They say that my son came "clean" about important situations and choices that he has made.
So, B will move in to their beautiful home, in a really nice city.

B will commute, every weekday, to his treatment facility to spend 8 hours in outpatient care-- classes and regular drug-testing. As far as I know, this will be for 28 more days. Praise God!

I am so happy! I am so hopeful!

I am so thankful that I have two friends who are intelligent, honest and loving people. My son will be living in a positive environment.

I pray that this is a new place where my son can potentially move-- and pursue his love of golf.

I have to go, now. I will share more later.

The knots in my stomach and shoulders are starting to unwind.



Wednesday, April 16, 2008

No word from my son

As of this morning, I haven't heard from my son. He has been in touch with a really good friend of mine. Things are sounding promising, but ultimately it will be B's decision on what the next move will be.

As of yesterday, I heard (second hand) that it was unlikely his insurance will approve him staying beyond yesterday.

I've lost count on how many times I've wanted to call his treatment center. But, I made a promise to myself, to my son and to his counselors-- I will not call and "meddle". They promised that they would call me if there is a problem. So, I have to assume that no news is good news.

I will update this post if I hear anything new.



It is now late afternoon, and I am taking a quick break from my desk. I have not heard a thing from my son, his recovery center, nor anyone else. I am starting to feel myself becoming tense, because I want to know where he is. I just need to know that he is safe.

My friends have an appointment to meet with my son and his counselors tomorrow (Thursday) at his recovery center. Their goal is to sit with my son and to discuss what his next move will be-- of course, this all depends on if B is still at the recovery center.

I have been looking at my phone, coming very close to calling the recovery center. I want to ask the person who has been trying to get Blue Shield to approve a longer stay.

But... I need to learn how to wait, and trust. This is not easy for me.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

An open letter to my precious boy

Dear Son,

I don't know if you are thinking of me, today. I want you to know that you are constantly in my thoughts and my prayers. Today, I have spoken with two people who truly care about you. One, in particular, has spoken with you a few times today. My heart is filled with joy and hope that you will accept the help that have to offer to you.

It is very hard for me to resist the urge to call you. I need to let you find your own way down the path that you believe will help your recovery. I am praying, constantly, that you will feel the presence of God prompting you to seek His perfect will. I am reminded at how often we do forget to come before God, first, and to pray for His perfect wisdom.

Sometimes we only come to God when all else has failed-- God is a patient and loving God. But sometime, God allows us to stumble enough times until we look UP, at Him. I know, because God had to bring me down to my knees eleven years ago-- when your father walked out on our marriage that had been slowly dying. That chapter in my life humbled me and I had to take my own personal inventory. I had to confess to God all that I had to done to hurt your father, and other people. God got my attention, and my life has been changed for the better.

I am praying that the terrible state that you were in, just over two weeks ago, was the Lord's way of bringing you down to your knees. Do you remember that? Do you remember how we both prayed together, and how we both cried?

I give all the glory to God, because so many miracles have happened since March 31, 2008. I was led from one person to another.... from one phone call to another. Within two hours, my son, I had found a place that would accept you and our insurance. I was led to the counselor that you really connected with! You said "yes" to checking in to a detox center, Praise God!

So far, son, only good things have been coming together for you. Your treatment center has wonderful counselors. I can tell that you are liked by the other clients and the staff. You seem to be thinking clearer.

But, son, you are still in danger. It is so important that you remain into a recovery center for at least 3 months. I am aware of four places where you can be accepted, at no cost! One place is willing to accept you for FREE!

I have heard your own ideas on how you believe you can help your own recovery. I will be honest with you-- I'm not sure that this is the right direction for you to go.

I cannot say anything to you, son. I have to let you figure this out, for yourself.

My precious son-- I wonder if you can remember some of the lies you've told to me. Your mind is not clear, because I don't think you fully know how much money you have cost your father and me.

I am praying that you are really working the 12-steps. Because, if you do, then you will begin to take your personal inventory.

One last thought, for today, that I have of you-- my love for you is so deep, that I need to be strong. I hurts me to say to you that I don't trust you right now. Many times, you have been upset with me that I question how truthful you are being to me.

This is all part of addiction, my son. I love you, but right now I don't trust your addiction. Your disease is lying to you. Sometimes I think you don't even realize that.

I pray that you will begin to be honest with God. Start with Him, my son. I pray that you will confess to him all that you have done to hurt him.

You will find healing in that. The bible promises us that when we confess our sins, with a repentant heart-- we are forgiven. Our slate is wiped clean...God will remember them no more.

God will remember them no more...

As for me, son-- God has given me a merciful heart. I will not hold your past against you, my son. Just as God is merciful, so must I be.

I love you.


1 John 1:8-10 (Amplified Bible)

9If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].

How am I feeling today?

This morning, I am feeling "anxious" and "peaceful". Those two words are contadictions, aren't they?

Proverbs 12:25 (New International Version)
25 An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
I am feeling anxious, wondering if I'm going to receive a phone call from my son or his father.

Psalm 91:1 (Amplified Bible)
1HE WHO [a]dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand].
The peaceful feeling comes from, constantly and prayerfully, reminding myself that God is with me.

I can see why the 12-Step program is centered on a Higher Power. There are so many books available for me to read and it is somewhat daunting. That is why I still lean on the bible to give me the answers, comfort, guidance and wisdom that I need.

The two scriptures that I have listed, above are what I need to focus on.

It is my hope and prayer that my son will be blessed with one more week at this recovery center. However, I need to be reminded that God is in control of this.

So, I will wait and focus my energy on Him, my Higher Power-- God. When I am feeling anxious, I will remember to encourage others and to be cheerful. It is true, I have learned-- when we are feeling "down" then we need to lift others up. It will cheer our hearts.

I know. I've put this into practice countless times. If I lift someone up, and encourage them it makes me feel much better.

That's my thought for today, for now.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Will B be checked out tomorrow?

Well, here comes my first challenge.

I got a call from my son, that he would most likely have to leave the medical facility tomorow (Tuesday). It doesn't look like Blue Shield is going to pay for the additional recovery treatment that he needs.

My son wants to return home (his dad's house) to pick up his car. He needs a ride home. He says that he has places to stay where he has been in treatment. His plan is to return back to the area he's been in and then to come in to the facility for outpatient care. That means that he will come to the facility from 8:30am till 4:30pm.

My dear friends have an option available for him, that would mean he goes to another place. It will be free, and it's a live-in recovery center. My son doesn't want to consider it. He's been told it's in a bad area. My friends don't understand that, because they know the facility. I am helpless to know what's best for my son. I need to stay calm and to pray and wait...

B's father has been calling me, but I won't answer the phone. I have my reasons, but they are mainly because I think B's father has been enabling him far too long. I think that B's father wants me to come and pick up our son (his father is in another state, at this time). I don't want to play a role in this, as I think it's not a good decision.

I have thought long and hard, and I don't want to pick him up. I can't take time off work, and I am hoping that B will not return here (his home and the same city where I live). It's what his counselors don't think he should, do either.

It's my bedtime, so I hope that I don't get a late night call that will wake me up.

I need to take care of my health.

My automatic mom's tendency is to try and figure out a solution. I need to remember that B is now a legal adult. I need to let him make his own choice for his recovery. If it's wrong, then I cannot interfere.

Heavenly Father, I trust that you have a plan for my son. I pray that B will follow your will.
Thank you for your mercy on him. Please keep my son from harm.

In Jesus' Name

The early stages of Bs addiction and a WARNING LABEL

I am hoping that what I'm about to write will reach very deep into the heart and soul of any parent who suspects, or knows that they're child/teenager is "using". I want this statement to jump out of this page, grab your attention and I am, I am PLEADING, with you to listen!

Here is what I have finally come to learn about addicts. Are you ready?
They are master manipulators. They lie. They will look at you, deep into your eyes and they will work right to your heart-- they will tell you whatever it is that they know you want to hear.

Are you with me?

I clearly remember the day that my son first admitted, to me, that he had a "problem" and that he had been using Oxy-Contin. That was January of 2006, just a few day after I returned from my honeymoon. I can still remember that moment-- seeing my son looking at me nervously. My heart just reached out to him. I deperately wanted to be "cool" about it. I did not want to yell and scream at him. So, I listened to his story. It wasn't pretty, I can tell you.

All that my mind could hear was that my son was in trouble. He owed money to someone, and I was afraid for his safety. So, I made a decision that was one of many-- do I give my son "dirty money" to pay his "dirty debt" so that I don't have to lay awake at night? He took the money, and I made him pay it back. I was in my early stages of denial-- denial of how serious a problem he had.

B professed that he was through. He was not going to use anymore.

In the meantime, his step-father and I "googled" to read about the drug, Oxy-Contin. No matter what we read, I had no idea just how addictive and dangerous this drug is. Parents BEWARE:
Oxy-Contin is highly addictive! There is one more warning that I never saw on the internet-- please stop and think about this... how is your child/teenager/family member/loved one getting this drug? Unless they have a trust account or they have won the lottery, these pills cost as much as $50.00 each. As my memory serves me, B was taking several of these a day. Do the math...

I don't want to scare you, and yet I need to make you very aware of something I never considered. An oxy-contin addict can resort to stealing, pawning and selling everything that has any kind of cash value. I began to realize the depth of Bs addiction when he sold the $1000.00 laptop that his father helped him to buy. BIG, big, BIG warning sign!
NOTE: By this time, B was not living at home with me.

I take a small comfort in that B never stole from me. I would know, because I count my last penny! No valuables ever went missing from my home.

But there is one more thing for you to realize-- this is huge. In order to afford this addiction, the addict will probably need to resort to dealing the drug. If your child/loved one resorts to dealing, try to visualize the chain of command. Small time dealer, bigger dealer and then you can place your bet that it will lead to gangs. It's that dark and ugly of a world. Because street drugs are big money, illegal and a greedy profit.

With that said, I have much to share with you in future blogs. I've had two years of believing that B was doing much better. I kept looking for a glimmer of improvement in him. He was enrolled in college (dropped out, though). He was getting out of bed early. He was playing golf (and he's good at it). He was talking "down" about people who "used".

Yes, I believed it all. I listened to my son talk about how much he hated drugs. I believed that he does (and I still do). He was spiraling towards a relapse that I didn't see coming soon enough.

And here we are. Day #13 that my son is in a detox/recovery center.

I did not take his addiction seriously enough. I knew that my son needed professional help. But I kept hoping that he was doing this on his own will power.

He can't. It is not possible.

If anyone, who is reading this post, has someone in their life who is using drugs-- I beg you! Out-patient doesn't work. It just doesn't. Take them far away. Pray a lot, and never give up.

But, please... go to any or all of these resources for meetings-- Al-Anon, Nar-Anon or Celebrate Recovery. Educate yourself. Learn about co-dependency.

Because we love our kids so much, we tend to blame ourselves. We need to learn how to be strong and to see how we are enabling their addiction.

I have a long and difficulty process ahead of me. I think the hard times will happen the day that B leaves this medical facility. I need to be strong and able to say "no" to enabling B's addiction.

I could not do this without my faith in God, my husband and my precious friends.

I already know of a few parents who are thinking that they can help their addict with their recovery. That's where his father and I failed him. We did not use "tough love" until it was too late.

Be strong. Pray for our kids, please. They need intervention.

In Jesus' Name,


How am I feeling today?

Part of B's recovery process are classes each Saturday. At that time, friends and family can attend. It give me a chance to see my son, but it has also become a part of the learning process that I must go through. We are each asked to introduce ourselves by our first name, and to give a word that describes how we are feeling? After our intro, we are given a round of applause.

So, today, I am Debby-- and my son is an addict. I am feeling fearful and hopeful (yes, those are two words).

I don't have any updates since I last saw B on Saturday. When I left, he was feeling ill. We both agreed that I need to not call the recovery center at all. I was assured, by his counselor, that if something "bad" happens to B that I would be contacted.

Now, how do I take that? Is that a relief, that when my phone rings I don't see the caller ID for where he is? Or, should my heart leap that my son is calling me?

So, there is the fear factor that I know I shouldn't have.
Scripture reminds me, "fear not". I was once reminded that to be afraid is telling God that you don't trust him. Honestly, I flip back and forth with God's promise. I can see why people question how a loving God can allow bad things to happen.

I once asked myself this question, but now understand-- He does not allow this to happen. We bring this on ourselves because He gave us free will. I learned this, by taking the time to really read scripture. We tend to dismiss the evil that is in this world. Drug addiction a part of evil that all parents and loved ones need to recognize as very, very real.

So, today, I need to remind myself that I have no control over B's outcome. I need to remind myself that it is the addict's who needs to take responsibility for his/her addiction.

So, that is why I feel hopeful. I am not giving up on my son at all. I am angry at the addiction.
I am hopeful that B really wants to change his life-- and to cut off the ties to anybody and everybody who "uses". He needs to surround himself with people who will encourage and support him. He does not need to have his addiction enabled.

So, for this part of the day-- I don't have a new update on B.

I have given this to God, because he is an Omnipotent, loving and merciful God. Right now, B has many people who are praying for him. I completely believe that God hears prayers that are spoken from the heart and in faith.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Insurance Woes

Health Care is an issue that all of us are frustrated with. That's where we (hubby and me) are at with my son's insurance.

I don't wish on ANY parent, that they need to put their child into a detox/recovery center. It's astronomically expensive! The cost of "detox" that I was quoted was between $15-20K for a 30-day program.

Thankfully, my husband has a good insurance policy through his job. B stopped going to college, so the cost of his insurance soared from $130.00 a month, to $374.00 a month. We (husband, ex-husband and I) agreed that we needed to keep him on his insurance. He is a Type-1 diabetic, and we didn't want to leave him uninsured.

It's a good thing that we did, because Blue Shield has agreed to pay for his detox-- but therein lies the problem.

  • Blue Shield considers "detox" to be finished as soon as B is off his meds. He was given meds for five days. Therefore, Blue Shield crossed their arms and said "no" to paying for another day.
  • Thankfully, the medical center has good people. "Chuck" found a clause in that B could get more time (covered by Blue Shield) if there is a risk to either the pancreas or the liver. Bingo! B is a diabetic. He has until this Tuesday, April 15th that has been approved.
  • "Chuck" will try to get 7 more days approved from Blue Shield. However, he says it's 50/50 that he can get this done.
  • It's frustrating that Blue Shield thinks 5 days is enough detox to come off opiate addition. It isn't. B has been off meds for six days, and he is struggling with side effects-- vomiting, insomnia, diarrhea and nervousness. I have been told that it takes an average of 3 months for his brain to begin to settle down from oxy-contin.
The share of expense for B's stay at this medical center will cost about $130.00 a day. How that will be paid is being prayed about. I can't worry about it, because B needed medical intervention -- and not a moment too soon.

Stay tuned-- I won't have an answer until this Tuesday, at the latest.


How did I get to be here?

How did I get to be here? How did my life get to this point, mom?

Those were the words spoken to me by my son, the day he was accepted into a medical clinic on April Fool's Day, 2008.

How did my son get to be at this point in his life? That's the million dollar question.

Just yesterday, I was visiting "B" on day #11 since he said "yes" to going in for his first detox. I remember thinking to myself "He's so tall!" I was looking at his hands, with his long fingers. For a moment, I was brought back to a time where he was my precious young boy-- no older than 3 years of age. He was so innocent, full of life and love for his mom. He loved to give and receive butterfly kisses. I was so filled with a hope that he would grow up to have a happy childhood. I can remember how much I wanted my son to be raised without the violence and dysfunction that I had known.

So, how did he get to be where he is today? On April Fool's Day, he was obviously sick-- his body filled with poison. His body is shaking, he feels ill and his beautiful eyes are half closed. I would not know, until the next day, just how loaded he really was. I did not find out, until yesterday, how little he remembers of his two hour drive to a place I had placed my hope in that it would get him well.

It has been eleven days, and I am filled with both hope and fear. In eleven days, I have just scratched the surface to understanding addiction. I am accepting the fact that B has a long a hard journey ahead.

I have attended 3 Al-Anon meetings, so far. It's hard for me to move past the Al-Anon books and pamphlets. Why? Because B's is not an alcoholic. That's a small mercy, but he is still an addict.

So, I have learned to become used to saying "Hi, I'm Debby...and my son is an addict".
I have accepted the fact that there is healing in acknowledging that my son is ill. He is addicted to opiates and he wants to be well.

I am feeling frustrated, fearful and very certain that addicts cannot find recovery unless they are working the program-- I absolutely believe that addicts need to be working the 12-Step program. They need to be in meetings every single day, until they have found a sponsor.

The question is-- will he do this? I know that I will do this. I will work the 12-Steps to help myself and to learn what I can and cannot do to help B. And that is why I have started this blog, TODAY. It is both painful and exhausting to try to explain what's going on. It is my hope that I can direct my friends and loved ones to read and follow along as I share details on my long and difficult journey that I did not buy a ticket to board-- a journey in wanting to support my son's fight to be clean and to stay clean from using drugs.

My son bought this ticket, the first time he was given oxycontin to take. Until two years ago, I had never even heard of this drug. It's evil. It's powerful. It is everywhere-- and it is stealing the souls of our young children.

For two years, I could not tell that my son was using drugs to the depth that he was in. Yesterday, my son confessed all-- it was a lot for me to digest. I hope that my blog will help me process what the two of us spoke about. So, now I know, that addicts will tell their loved ones exactly what they want to hear.

My heart and mind is open, now. I need to try and understand this dark world the my son has entered. I don't want to explore this darkness, but I pray that the light of Jesus will expose this miserable and evil world of drugs. I can't ignore nor deny that I need to support my son, but I might have to say "no" to him. It won't be easy, I know.

My Higher Power of the 12-Steps is the God of the Bible. My Abba Father, My Creator.

How did my son get here, Father? He could, very well, be shot in the head, badly beaten, missing, in an ICU ward or in prison. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your mercy on him.

You have a plan for him.

In Jesus' Name,