Monday, June 30, 2008

90 Days of Sobriety-- I sure hope so

The last timed that I blogged, I said that my son is using again. I might have been too hasty-- and I sure hope so.

"Heresay" is an interesting thing. I heard this from someone who heard it from another person, who heard it from someone else. Three tiers of people who all know and love my son, but I fell for "heresay". The information didn't have any proof...just suspicion. But, how well does this person know my son. Not that well, I found out.

Is my son using? I can only pray that he isn't. I did see B on Saturday night. He arrived at my house, late at night, with a big smile on his face and a warm hug for me. We chatted for a while, though my eyes were getting very heavy with sleep. I'm just not used to staying up so late!

I told B that many of us were worried that he's relapsed. He explained that it wasn' t possible for two reasons-- he says that he doesn't have the money to buy the drugs (and that's true, because we're looking at $100-$200 a day to support his habit) ...and that is he was using, he'd be so loaded that he'd be completely out of it.

Now that he mentioned that, I remember seeing him the day before we took him into treatment. His eyes were half closed and he was as lethargic as you can get. If he held something in his hand, his fingers would become limp and it would fall to the ground. He really was a walking zombie.

So, here sat my son with a big smile, bright eyes and speaking very coherently. As far as I can tell, he's the son I knew before the drugs took over his life.

Addicts lie. It's just something they have learned in order to get whatever drug or drink that they need. Addicts become so good at lying, that I believe they start to believe their very own lies.

Is my son lying? I have no idea. I can only hope and pray that he is on the road to a successful recovery. My son did thank me for all that I've done for him. He did tell me, several times, that he loves me-- and I do believe he means it.

While B was sleeping in his old room, I could not help but peek through the door. There was my precious boy, with his long legs and mouth wide open snoring in a deep sleep. For a brief moment, I remembered those precious days of watching my little baby sleeping to peacefully in his crib.

He's going to be 20 years old in just a few months. His life has been a very happy one, until oxycontin nearly killed him. It will be 90 days, tomorrow, since B was admitted into a treatment center for detox. So much has happened since then-- he moved into a Sober Living Environment and made fast friends with his roommate (who is old enough to be his dad). The two of them moved into a house with a third friend and that didn't work out. The guy turned out to be a raging drunk, who had relapsed. He's moved into an apartment with his friend/roommate and he totaled his car.

That is a lot for a 19 year old boy to go through, let along any adult.

I continue to try to be supportive to him. I'm trying to encourage him, yet I'm still trying to prod him into finding a full-time job. Still, he's just a kid and it's a tough world out there. I worry that he doesn't have the lifeskills that my mother taught me at an early stage.

I will travel to see B in the next couple of weeks, because my 30-day vacation is about to begin in 30 minutes.

I'm tired. I am looking forward to some R&R and to restore my heart of worship to my Lord.



Friday, June 27, 2008

Worse case scenario has happened/Feeling down and needing a lift up

This blog is to be read backwards. As I was blogging, I received a call from my best friend.
B's sponsor believes that B is using again. B has lied to me that he has no money. He has earned $200.00 since the weekend and his money is gone. He has not shown up for work, and that's why he hasn't answered his phone.

Dear God, let his not be true. Please give me wisdom on what I can do. Please, be merciful on my son and give me the strength that I need to make wise decisions.

Please, pray for my son.
This is what I started to blog before I got this devastating call:

When my mom was alive, she used to call me and ask if I was okay. I'd ask her "why are you asking me that"? She'd respond that she had a "feeling" that something was wrong-- and she was usually spot on.

I've been feeling uneasy about B for the last two days. I've been praying that God would forgive my worry, because I know that He is aware of all things that concern us. Last night, I was laying in bed feeling deeply sad for the situation my son is in-- and how it has affected everyone who loves him.

I started to think about my precious baby boy, who was such a delightful and happy boy. He was such a loving son, and we had a lot of good times as mother and son. As in my first blog I wrote, I asked myself again "how did he get to be here"?

My hopes and dreams for my son would be that he is living with me, going to college and having fun with his youth. Instead, he is living 2 hours away in an apartment he can't afford with no job.

This morning, I prayed that God would prompt my son to call me, and that I would hear good news from him. So, my phone rang 30 minutes ago, at my desk. It was my son. Immediately, my heart felt a weight lifted just to hear his voice.

My son is feeling very down in the dumps, as I suspected. One of his friends, that he met in treatment, has relapsed back into drinking. His wife told my son that her husband disappeared for hours. He had recently lost his job and it threw him over the deep end. B was feeling really upset that his friend had relapsed.

Oh, my son is calling....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Roller Coast Ride of Motherly Emotions

I'm frustrated and I'm disappointed. That's why I am struggling to blog my feelings on a daily basis.

B is approaching 90 days of sobriety. Or, so I hope. It's hard for me to gauge how he's really doing, when he's two hours away from me. I hope he's clean, and if he's using I have no idea how he'd pay for the drugs.

Therein lies why I am feeling frustrated. Why doesn't he have a job by now? I can't understand this kind of laziness at all. I have worked since I was ten years old (for my mom). I got my first job at the age of 16. I've worked ever since-- with the exception of the first 3 years of my son's life. I got to be a stay-at-home mom, and for that I am truly grateful.

I spoke to B two days ago, and asked how his new janitorial job went. It didn't. He had some story how the job didn't pan out. Next, I asked what he's doing to apply for jobs. He had excuses and stories that didn't add up. He says he's been busy. Doing what?

I get a sinking feeling that my son is living in La-La Land. Somehow, I think he has no sense of urgency to get a stinkin' job! As I write this, my emotions are starting to stir again.

Why does he have such a sense of entitlement? I hate to say this, but I think my kid is going to have a reality check on August 1st, when he no longer gets a weekly stipend for his basic needs. I'm very serious about this!

I was going to see him on Saturday, but I've changed my mind. Now that I think of the cost of gas, and that I'd inevitably buy him some groceries (it's a mom instinct) and the price of eating out... I'm not going to do it. I see $200.00 being spent, easily. I can't afford that.

I've lost my inspiration, at this point, to help him out. It's hard, because I so want to talk to hear his hear good news from him. My best friend called him yesterday, and he never returned her call. Her husband called him (he has a one day job offer for Saturday) and B didn't answer his cellphone and hasn't returned his call. He sure seems to have time to drive all over the place. I think he's having a party visiting new friends.

What the @#%#$%@ is my son doing all day long? Why is he too busy to go to meetings? Why is he too busy to take his resume and apply for a job? He won't buy a newspaper...he hasn't gone to my friend's house to surf for jobs on her computer...

I don't get it!

I am so frustrated, that I want to scream. But, what good will that do?

So, I have to wait and try to put this worry in the back of my mind. Fortunately, I'm busy at my job and I'm blessed to have a loving and supportive husband to come home to.

No word on B's car, yet. The last I heard, the insurance company offered a settlement but I have no idea what kind of car he'll get to replace it.

So, I guess I'm feeling helpless today.

Being a mom has been my greatest joy. But, being the mom to an addict has been my greatest heartache. Sometimes, all I want to do is cry. Today is one of those...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

We all have to start somewhere...

I'm so happy that it's Saturday. My job has kept me really busy, and we've been battling a heat wave that my area simply isn't equipped to handle. Air-conditioning is something only found in movie theaters and restaurants. For the most part, the homes in my area rely on fans, because we have the luxury of beautiful coastal breezes and the evening fog that cools down the Monterey Peninsula. Last night, there was no wind and our house was a scorching 87 degrees at 10:30, at night.

I called B to ask how he is faring in the Benicia area. He said that the weather was 105 degrees. Youch! He did give me an update on what's going on with him, so I'll post this for those of you who are asking:

B has been working for his sponsor. For those of you who aren't sure what a sponsor is-- this is someone who has been in recovery, has and continue work the 12-step program and who is to be my son's mentor. B's sponsor is a drug addict who has been in recovery for more than 10 years. He owns a janitorial company. B's sponsor has a booth at the fairgrounds, so B has been working with him. He also said that, on Monday, he starts a part time job working as a janitor. My eyebrows went up..."a in cleaning toilets and mopping floors?" "Yes", he replied.

With all due respect for people who are janitors, my first impression was-- wow, my son who has so much potential is working for a janitorial company? Wow.

Then again, I remember that when I was 16 years old my first job was working at a bed & breakfast in Carmel. This was not a fancy place, by any stretch of the imagination. Fortunately, my mother (being German and a neat freak) taught me how to clean a toilet properly. She came from the "old school" in that I would asked to repeat my task if it was not done properly. She was a Task Master, so I learned to work pretty hard.

No, my son is a pretty tidy teenager. Now, tidy isn't the same as organized-- but that's another story! People would remark that his bedroom didn't look like a teenager lived in it! However, if you opened up his closet or looked under his bedroom you would need a Hazmat suit to escape the fumes of abandoned socks that were stiff from crying out to be washed. So, I find his new job to be something I will observe with keen interest.

The upside to this, is that B will be with his sponsor a lot more. This man is my age, so I am hoping that my son will receive wisdom from an elder, who knows all about addiction. I have yet to meet him, but my best friend says the he is a "tall, big, black man with the happiest and funniest disposition". She says that he should be a stand up comedian. That's good, because anyone who knows my son delights in his own sense of humor. My son loves to laugh, and he has a beautiful smile. Of course, this is my unbiased opinion.

He says that he just about has a second job "in the bag" working at a golf course.

So, today, I am feeling encouraged. Maybe the fact that I have reminded him that as of August 1st, I'm not paying his rent from his trust fund that he has stepped into high gear. I sure hope so! Manual labor is good character building. Hopefully, B will strive to work his way "up".

Ultimately, it is my prayer that he will get a job doing what he is most passionate about-- playing golf. He's good at it and he loves it.

I'm still very concerned that B is not going to meetings. The job of his sponsor is to keep on B's tail to go to meetings, if not take him to one himself.

I'm feeling more at peace about B's addiction, lately. I think it's because I'm praying for him constantly and I am trust God to handle all of this. I'd be foolish to think that God's way of handling this is to "cure" my son. But, I do believe that God has been so merciful to my son. I still count our blessings for the treatment center, his sponsor and making the finances all fall into place. That B was not injured in last week's accident is one more reminder how blessed my son is.

No word on a new car for B, either. He has a car rental for now. Given that his father pays for his car insurance, I am letting him handle the whole thing. I would handle things differently, but that's how it is. (For those of you who have missed last week's blog-- he was in a car accident and totalled his car).

Till the next posting-- please lift in prayer those people who are dealing with addiction. In particular, please pray for those addicts who are in denial. Please remember to pray for the loved ones who are dealing with the hurt, worry and financial strain that the addict can burden them with.

In Jesus' Name,


Thursday, June 19, 2008

How do I do it?

Recently, I was told by someone that they've been following my blog. That person remarked to me "how do you do it"?

How do I do it? Now there's a question that I can answer-- I am coping with the stress of raising a teenage son who has an addiction to oxycontin only because I have faith and trust in my Higher Power-- my God, my Lord-- Jesus.

I have not blogged many things about my life, for the simple reason that this blog is really meant to be my way of journaling my son's battle to resist the temptation of drug addiction. If I did share my life, it could be a soap opera. I have not forgotten the terror of witnessing the brutality of my father's anger problem being doled out to my mother, and my oldest brother. I have been thrown against walls, beaten with a thick leather belt and punched to the point that I wet my pants. I have experienced a lot of heartache and pain in relationships with men that did not work out. I have experienced being swindled out of money, a divorce that left me almost penniless.

I have struggled with the collateral damage from these experiences as a woman with a very low self-esteem and a lot of anger. The turning point in my life was when I realized that I still matter to God. It has taken a lot of years to understand how much I am loved by God and how much he wants to bless me. It has, also, taken many years to forgive myself for the things I've done to hurt other people. That epiphany came when I realized that God promises that he forgives our sins-- never to be remembered again. For that reason, I strive to have more compassion and forgiveness towards others.

In short, my faith in God has taken my mess and turned it into my message. As Christians, we are called upon to share the truth of the gospel, but that's easier said than done. I don't have the gift of evangelism as far as "preaching". Instead, I try to live my life as an example of how God changed my heart. It is my hope that if someone reads how I have found healing from my past, that I would inspire them.

Each day, I feel strength when I pray. I could write a whole chapter on how I've learned to pray FOR others-- and I try to lift up my prayers for those people who are struggling with addiction...and for their loved ones. I know that I have people reading this blog who are struggling along with me. I can get long-winded, so I will focus on an update about my son and how I'm doing.

As for B-- he continues to be "high maintenance". He is still unemployed and I have no idea just how much time he's devoting into finding a job. My gut feeling is that it's "not much".

On Monday, B discovered that he'd left his insulin in the trunk of his car, in sweltering heat. Naturally, the insulin was ruined. So, B had to race back to Salinas to the diabetes center for a prescription. Evidentially, B stopped at his dad's house on the way home (for gas money, most likely). His father suspected that B was using when he saw him on Monday. His father says that B was speaking a mile a minute and his eyes look dilated. I'm not sure how much credibility his suspicions have-- given that he didn't take any of the four week series of 4 hour classes that were offered at B's treatment center. He's never attended any kind of 12-step meetings. I'm not an expert, but I understand addiction a lot more than he does.

If B is using, I have no idea where he's getting the money for it. He's only getting enough money out of his trust fund to pay for one weekly tank of gas, and groceries. I told my son, directly, that his father was concerned. I told my son that I am concerned that he could relapse, but ultimately the burden of responsibility for his recovery is himself. He swears he's not using, but I cannot worry about what I have no control over. If he's going to use, then there is nothing anyone can do to stop him.

Yes, my son is high maintenance-- he does not seem to feel an urgency to get a job. I'm sticking with my deadline on financial help. I never know what each day will bring-- so far I've had to deal with his drunken first roommate taking rent and throwing him out, to his car accident. What's next?

So, how do I cope with all of this? Suffice it to say that I've been in the trenches of life's battle enough times that I'm pretty thick skinned. Every single day, I need to remind myself that God has a purpose and a plan for each and every one of us. I can either choose to spend each day with my own agenda, or I can talk to God in prayer-- ASKING Him to give me his Godly wisdom and that I would follow His will. I believe that our God is an omnipotent God and that there is nothing about my thoughts, my life and my future that he does not know.

I feel blessed, despite all that I've been through. I would not choose to become younger again if I had to regress in my life's experiences and wisdom. That's why it's painful for me to watch my son making choices that are not obedient to God's word.

But...that's another message. I can only say that my strength comes from God's promise and love for me-- and that is all that I need when I feel troubled and afraid.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Who's your higher power?

This morning, as I was saying my morning prayers, I admitted to God that I am paralyzed with frustration with my son.

B's situation is so complicated. I am faced with trying to sort his behavior and personalities into different piles. What part of his behavior is because of his drug use? His immaturity?

What I see in my son is that when he feels overwhelmed with his "to do" list, he shuts down. He runs in a direction where he can feel immediately gratification and relief from the stress of daily life. We all do this, but with him I see him ignoring the responsibilities that could lead to serious consequences.

Take his accident, for example. I observed that my son became the victim again. He had every excuse in the book as to why he could not be without a car. Public transportation wasn't an option, in his book. B loves to drive, so the thought of using a bus, walking or bicycling is a fate worse than death to him. So his excuse to spend $40.00 to play golf was that he needed stress relief. That's just another band aid, in my eyes.

How about applying for a job? It's not easy to do, but it is something that MUST be done. B isn't trying hard at all. He's relying in friends to give him job leads. I suggested that he buy a newspaper, every day. That went over like a lead balloon. So, he's still unemployed. Any job leads he's had, he's shot down because it doesn't pay enough. I don't agree with that, but I can say nothing. He won't listen.

Traffic tickets-- yesterday, I received THREE separate tickets because B had crossed through a fast track lane at a toll bridge, and he didn't pay the toll. Hello? There are laws, and I was fuming when the tickets were mailed to my address. He's been told that there are fines for not paying tolls-- but he did it once, twice and three times. How many more of these is he going to rack up before he realizes that he needs to set aside $4.00 every time he leaves Benicia. There's a toll bridge, and it's not going away! I'm paying them, out of his weekly allowance (which is coming to an end, per our agreement).

What I'm seeing in B is that his Higher Power is not spiritual. His higher power are distractions-- golf, rented DVD's, eating out, driving around to socialize with friends. Just like drugs, these are all things that cost money and the buzz doesn't last very long.

I was deeply troubled when I asked B if he had been going to meetings. His answer was "no". I asked him "why"? His answer was that he was just settling down from the accident.

Here is more Stinkin' Thinkin' at work. In a spiritual sense, the Enemy works just this way. He cleverly disguises temptation and keeps us busy and distracted so that we cannot focus on God-- so that we are led to think that "things" will bring us joy. If I had a better car... a better job...a bigger apartment... more clothes...a vacation.

Addicts are setting themselves up to fail when they lose sight that their Higher Power is the difference between having the strength to stay sober and clean. I see my son slipping into thinking he's safe-- he won't "use". His roommate hasn't been to a meeting in over a week, either. B says it's because he's been "busy". "Doing what?" is all I can wonder. Neither of them are working...

What keeps us busy? Do we focus our time and attention on our work? computers? shopping?
The danger in keeping us busy in things that are not important keeps us from focusing on our spiritual health.

I am opening myself up to temptation, when I do too many things in my life. I need to pare down my time to be sure that I have a daily time to pray, to mediate on God's word and to admit to God how I am feeling. Today, I'm disgusted with my son. That sounds harsh, but these are my true feelings. My love for him is no less today, than it was before I learned of his addiction.

But I am disgusted with his lies. I am so tired of hearing his excuses, and catching his lies.
The Enemy is nothing but a wicked and deceiving evil force, who lies to us so that we will succumb to the temptation of sin.

My son is in huge denial about life-- his addiction and that laws are made for a specific person. He does not see how much money he is costing his father. On one hand, B tells me how hard his father is struggling with his finances. On the other hand, B has no problem asking his dad to bail him out of hundreds of dollars in parking tickets and fines. His dad does it, and that disgusts me.

How much of this behavior-- this selfish, ungrateful behavior-- is part of teenage behavior?
I never had the option of my parents bailing me out of my own stupid behavior. My son always has his dad to fall back on. I feel pity for his dad. He loves his son, I do not doubt. But this problem goes back far too many years, that I fear my son may never be free of his codependent behavior with his dad.

I need to work on my own healing in this situation. I need to trust God to give me wisdom with this. I don't want to resort to anger or resentment. I need to find peace with this.

I pray, each and every day, for my son-- that he will not believe the lie that he is safe from not wanting to use. Life's pressures are enough to make any addict want to use. One hit of a joint, one pain pill... the lie can multiply and sneak up on them. And then, they are back to square one.

Dear Lord, I pray that my son will see how he is being deceived. I pray that he will find the healing that comes when we admit to you-- our God, our higher power, that we will only stumble and fall on our faces unless we admit that you are our strength.

In Jesus' Name,


Thursday, June 12, 2008

When it rains, it pours, and thunders...and lightning

This is a quick addendum to B's day.
He totaled his car at 4:30pm. He was on the 680 Freeway, and he rear-ended a car, that turned into a three car collision. He says his brakes failed.

He's okay, but shaken. His car has been towed to a garage. His father will drive to Walnut Creek, tomorrow, to see what's up. His car just had brake work done.

That is all I know. My poor son...he's had a really BAD day. Was he driving too fast? I don't know. I won't speculate. I'm just thankful that he's okay.

More as I know what happens to come...

A Mother's Love isn't always Tough Love

B called me during my lunch break. He sounded really sad and stressed out.

As I anticipated, his roommate gave my son a bill for the cost of moving into their new apartment and it's about $1100.00. B was most upset that his roommate "blew up" at him and then he stormed out. As tough as my son talks, he has a sensitive heart and I could tell that he was upset.

My son is getting his first lesson in living with another person-- be it someone's wife, relative or friend, cohabitation can either be blissful or stressful.

I'm not surprised that this has happened. I also believe that the best thing B can do is to call his sponsor and talk about it. B needs to go to a meeting, because they can help. I also know my son very well-- and it's very hard for him to tell the truth. By that, I think it's very hard for him to understand that admitting to someone that you need help is not a bad thing. Instead, my son has an excuse for everything. I guess this is a "macho" thing.

I did the best that I could, though. "See, I told you so" was not in my vocabulary. I do, however, think that B's roommate jumped into too fast in co-signing a lease with a 19 year old boy who didn't have a full-time job. Signing a 15-month lease for a $1500.00 apartment was a very hasty decision that the two of them made together. I was not consulted in making this decision, or I would've pointed out to each of them that they were making a commitment that was highly risky.

I don't want to see B's roommate get the short end of the stick in this situation. I wonder if his roommate assumed that B's parents would pay the rent... if he did, he make a presumption that couldn't be farther from the truth.

So, all I could do was to suggest that the two of them need to have a good talk, later on today. It's better that B's roommate left, so that anger would not lead to hard feelings. I hope that, once they both calm down, the two of them could work things out. This was very painful for me, because my mother's instinct is to want to hold my son, kiss his forehead and give him the nurturing that God created me to have in my heart. Once again, I am worried for him.

I suggested to my son that he needs to give a weekly amount of money "in good faith" to his roommate. If the roommate can wait until August 15th, when the trust account CD matures, the first month's rent can be reimbursed to him.

I reminded my son, however, that there was still next month's rent to think about-- and that he absolutely, positively had to get a job. NOW!

My son sounded so despondent, that it tore at my heart. No matter what any book, psychologist or well-meaning friend or relative says-- it breaks my heart to hear my son feeling so genuinely down. He is feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders and he's in high risk of needing drugs to deal with the stress of it. Yes, B brought a lot of this onto himself. But, still, he's that precious boy that I grew inside my stomach, gave birthday and raised with more love than I thought was possible.

Yes, I know that I am powerless to help him. I also know that giving him money isn't the answer, either.

All I could do was offer compassion and I tried to encourage him. I reminded him to turn to God, first. I think that we (Christians) often overlook the fact that the "Destroyer's" deception is very strong-- robbing us of our hope, our joy and convincing us that everything we do is wrong can lead us into depression and into making choices that are not part of God's plan for us.

When I am feeling really down, I have learned to look UP and to tell God how I feel. I can't tell you how many times that I have blessed with a strong sense of His presence. I do believe that our Lord feels our pain, he sees our tears and wants to bless us. But, sometimes, God has to let us suffer through out struggles as a way to get our attention. Sometimes our suffering is His way of teaching us strength and how to grow even closer to Him.

I know this, because I have spent plenty of times on my knees, crying and praying because I felt that the burdens in my life were more than I could bear. But, each time, God gave me a way out and he has restored my life. Until we are willing to be honest with God-- who already knows everything we say or do-- he cannot heal us. Surrendering to God's will opens us up to receiving his blessings.

It makes me so sad to hear my son's despair in his voice. But, I can only pray that my son will cry out to God and that he will have the courage to face his problems, and that he will do something about it.

He needs to spend every single day looking for a job. He will find one. Please, B, turned to our Lord for wisdom and strength.

Dear Jesus, you know how afraid my son is. I pray that my son will pick up his bible, and read the "911" Psalm 91:1 that I turn to when I feel lost. I pray that B will find strength in your promise that you will never leave us nor forsake us. Thank you for all that you have done to help my son with his addiction. Please, keep him from temptation and be his armor and shield against the attacks of the Destroyer.

In Jesus' Name,


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Stinkin' Thinkin'

While my son was in treatment for his drug addiction, he gave me an article he wanted me to read. It was called "Stinkin' Thinkin".

I've been thinking about that article, and how my own Stinkin' Thinkin' has been affecting me.
I have allowed my son's addiction to take up too much of my thought processes. How can I put aside the fact that I have my one and only child living 2 hours away from me? How can I not slip into worrying about him. I catch myself wondering if he's going to meetings, or has he allowed his own Stinkin' Thinkin' to convince himself that meetings aren't important.

My son has only had a tad over 60 days of not using oxycontin, or any other kind of opiates. That is not long, at all. He has a lot of financial pressure, and he is feeling the need to find a job very soon. He has already seen some of his new "friends" from his recovery center go into relapse. It is understandable how drugs became my son's outlet in dealing with the struggles in life.

I have my own Stinkin' Thinkin' to take a look at. I've noticed that I have missed two recovery group meetings, and I missed going to church last Sunday-- I was so wiped out, that I needed to sleep in late.

That's not a good idea, for me. If I don't stay committed in my prayer and spiritual life, I find that my own negative thoughts begin to take over. I really do need to get back into working my own 12-Step program.

I'm also experiencing writer's block, and that's not me at all. With that said, that is all I can think of to write today.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What does "not meddling" include?

If my son was sitting before me, in his 19 year old body with the maturity of a man in his mid-thirties, then maybe what I need to unload would make sense. But, here it is, in the raw:

Dear Son,

I am utterly disappointed in what I am seeing in you, right now. I'm not talking about the young boy who is funny, charming and intelligent. I'm talking about what I am seeing in your character-- what defines who we most are, and what is in our true heart.

I'm frustrated with why you don't have, and can't keep a job:

I have, repeatedly, heard you say that you need to focus on your sobriety. So, if I'm right, what you are saying is that the stress of having a job would take your focus off your sobriety?

If that is true, then I can only assume that your mom or dad is going to pay for your "keep" so that you can focus on your sobriety? Have you considered how that is possible? I don't know your father's financial situation-- except that he is constantly telling me that he has no money. Then again, he has paid your parking ticketrs (all six of them), fixed your car, paid your car insurance and who knows what else...?

As for me, I work a full-time job. My husband and I pool our income and we pay our rent, renter's insurance, car insurances, medical insurance (including yours), groceries, gas, utilities and we spend a very modest monthly discretionary fund for entertainment, books or just a few things we'd like to have. On top of that, we save money. Yes-- what a concept... we actually spend less money than we make!

Last weekend, I spent $70.00 in gas to drive to your new apartment. You were given furniture, I spent $70.00 buying miscellaneous items for your new home-- things I knew would come in hand for you. At the end of the day, I spent $150.00 in groceries to make sure you had staples so that you could make breakfast, lunch and dinner.

In return, you drove down to Salinas the following day-- and you didn't tell me until late into the night. You spent the same amount in gas money that I did, and you played golf with a friend-- the same "friend" who is a known user of oxycontin. You say that he is now taking subutex, but I don't know how true that is. According to Nar-Anon, and the 12-steps, what are you doing hanging out with someone who uses? He isn't even in a program!!

All told, I figure that you spend at least $150.00 for your day of "fun" playing golf. Again, you say that you haven't played golf in a while, and you needed to do something fun. Let's see now... you have no worked in over two weeks. That's because you lost your minimum wage job, by not showing up for two weeks. Of course, your excuse was that you were stressed over the ordeal with your former house in Benicia-- where your "friend" turned out to be a raging drunk.

Yes, son, life can be stressful-- there isn't a person on this planet who doesn't agree with that. It doesn't help that you have to focus on your sobriety, but life goes on. You have been enabled far too long, and you will continue to take all the freebies your father has to offer you. It's so much easier to play the victim, knowing that your father will bail you out-- and that frustrates me to no end.

I recently heard that you made a negative comment to someone close to both of us-- you said that I still continue to meddle in your life. You have no idea how much that hurts me. I leave you alone, except when I get collection notices for you in my mail. I feel as though the only purpose I serve to you is the person who is the trustee of your money that was left by MY mother. I know how hard my mother worked for her money, and I also know that my mother was never someone to throw away money. She was a hard-working woman, who taught me the value of hard work and frugality. For that reason, I will not allow you to squander this money as your father has squandered any inheritance he's ever come into.

Your father was raised with a silver spoon in his mouth. He never knew what it meant to struggle, because his father who write a check to pay for anything that would get your dad out of a financial bind. I can certainly see why you love your dad so much, and why you side with him. He's the highest bidder, so I'm the jerk who is too cheap to give you everything you ask for.
I've lost track on how many times I've learned how you and your father have back-stabbed me as being some sort of crazy woman who can't get along with her son. What you cannot understand-- and I wonder if you will ever-- is that I am frustrated with the helplessness of sticking to my morals and values that are a total contrast to your father's. God help me that I should say this to you, because your father is a Saint. Me... I'm, well... I can't repeat the various words your dad has said to me and to others about me.

I am afraid for you, son. Today's economy is a bleak one and you are already deep in debt. You owe hundreds of dollars in parking tickets, bank overdrafts, and you owe rent to your new roommate. You have not bothered to find a doctor to take care of your diabetes.

Instead, you manage to find time to hang out at your new friend's homes, buy a laptop from one of them (on credit) and spend money driving all over the place, playing golf and buying video games and eating at fast food places. Why aren't you going to meetings? Why aren't you applying for jobs?

What's going to happen when your roommate realizes that you can't come up with your rent-- I told you I'd only help you out for 90 days-- you are 2/3 there, and you have spent every penny of your weekly allowance on golf and restaurants.

Yes, I'm frustrated and I'm hurt.

So, you may have your wish. I will not meddle in your life. I won't call you, and I'm not going to take your calls. It's not because I don't love you, it's because I do love you. I'm so used to hearing that your father thinks I won't help you-- and I can't stop the way your father doesn't like me. I cannot change that you think it is my duty to support you, so that you can stay sober.

That, son, is your decision. I have helped you more than you know-- in ways that mattered most. You have medical insurance, I found your treatment center, and you've received help from a lot of loving people. Those of us feel disappointed how you are taking us for granted.

I cannot become addicted to your addiction. I want to sleep, at night. I think about you all the time, worry about you, pray for you and long to see you finally stop playing the victim.

You can do this. Just get a job, and stop nitpicking that it doesn't pay enough!

I love you,


Monday, June 9, 2008

So tired, too tired to post

I have a lot to blog about, and to unload. I'm frustrated, once again.

But, I can't find the energy to do so. Work has been hectic and I didn't sleep well, last night.
Yep, my son has me worried all over again.

In short, I'm seeing him believing that mom and dad should pay all of his expenses, while he plays golf, sleeps in late and drives all over the Bay Area as though money is no problem.

I also heard that my son has made some remarks about me, that really hurt.

I need 24 hours to digest it all.

I will blog about this tomorrow.

Sad Mom

Friday, June 6, 2008

Home Sweet Home, again and again...

I have been taking an inventory of my son's short life, and all that he has been through. I wonder-- is it in my D.N.A. for my son to be exposed to so much trauma so early in life?

B's life started out as a very happy and worry-free life for him. When he came into the world, November 1988, I felt that I had been given the most precious gift of my life. My anticipation of the miracle of birth was filled with me reading books on gestation, delivery and child-rearing. B's father wasn't as excited as I was, however. He felt that we could not afford to have a child, but me-- the hopeless optimist-- was not going to do anything to endanger the child that was growing inside me. I gave up riding my horses, so that I would not risk harm to my child.

When B was born, I became a stay-at-home mom. I immersed myself into taking him to "Mommy & Me" classes with his cousin, who is 3 months older than him. I joined "Gymboree" and I delighted in dressing my son is "Osh Kosh" outfits-- matching socks, his beautiful head of hair combed in a cute boy's cut. B and I went everywhere, and he was the perfect child. I mean that. He skated right through the Terrible Two's without the tantrums I was forewarned would hit. He was a picky eater, but we managed to find a compromise in that he'd eat his pureed carrots along with a few bites of his favorite apple sauce, in between.

The first trauma to hit my son was the day I returned from a weekend trip to Disneyland-- December 16, 1995. I had taken my son, my brother and his daughter on a vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth. When we returned, the house was emptied of all the furniture-- except for a sectional couch, the Christmas Tree, one television and the bed. My clothing was in cardboard boxes on the floor. The dining room was empty-- the antique furniture I had lovingly restored (it had belonged to B's father's mom) was gone. My husband wasn't home, either.

As I the reality that my house had been robbed, I reached for the phone to call 9-1-1. I remember my brother gently holding my arm and handing me a letter.

B's father had left us. While we were gone, he had packed up the house and moved to an apartment. He left a book "Baby Dino Gets A Divorce" and a letter to my son-- who was 7 years old at the time. That was, obviously, very tragic for my son.

The divorce ended with me losing any interest in the house completely. I received no alimony and no child support. After I was ordered to leave the house, B's father and his new girlfriend (who was my former girlfriend and employee) moved back into the house. They married a year later. What happened between then and now is something I might share in this blog-- but not now.

So, Custody was split between B's father and me. That was the beginning of our son living in two different homes, with different sets of rules.

By the age of 12, the sweet innocent boy who made me feel like I was the center of his universe morphed into being a sassy tween who figured he was the center of MY universe. Recently, my son revealed to me that is when he began to smoke weed. B focuses on this period of his life, as though this is where our mother/son relationship first began. I say that, because in therapy sessions (with me) he'd say "you and I never got along". It's painful and frustrating to hear these words come out of his mouth. Does he even remember all the wonderful times we spent together, I often wonder...

It was also at the age of 12, that B was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. He had to learn how to inject himself with the insulin that would keep him alive. He inherited this from his father, who also has the disease.

A big moment that affect my son, and his family, was the night he was carjacked. I remember that night well-- February 17, 2005.

B had left my house after eating dinner with us-- he was living with his father after one of many "fights" we had. He was headed to "the lake" to fish for the weekend with some friends. Off he went, with a plate of food to give to his friend. About an hour later, I received a phone call from B's father who blurted out "B has been carjacked" and he was injured. I was horrified and in shock. I was reassured that B was okay, but that his truck was gone.

A short while later, my son was driven to my home by his dad. My son's face was swollen, he had cuts and his new shirt was torn--he refused to go to the hospital. The story I got was that he was waiting in the parking lot of the grocery store where his friend worked. B was on his cellphone, when his door was jerked open and he was yanked out of his truck. He was attacked by three boys (two of whom he recognized as students from his school). That was a very long night for all of us-- dealing with a police department that made no effort to look for his truck, and who did not consider these crime a priority. My numerous phone calls resulted in finding that his truck was abandoned 30 miles away and had been towed to an impound area. I remember my tall, 16 year old son, holding my hand at the police station because he was in shock. Late into the night, B's injuries were photographed and statements were taken.

Two of the boys were arrested-- one was 17 and the other 18, at the time. The third one was never identified. The whole trial is a long and interesting story. I'll share that later.

I want to tie up the purpose of today's posting and why I chose the title that I did.

My son's life was consisted of a traumatic divorce, a diagnosis of diabetes, a carjacking-- and now, he has revealed to me his adventures of dealing and buying drugs in a very scary area of East Salinas. He has told me how he's been robbed, threatened with guns, attacked, and been threatened by the local gang members who wanted a percentage of what he was selling on "their turf". How much of this is completely true and accurate is questionable. Then again, Salinas has 15 murders since January...all of it is gang related.

And now... B has made it past his 60 days of sobriety. He lived for 3 1/2 weeks in a Sober Living Environment until he moved to a new home in Benicia. I was so excited for him. But, it turned out that his new "landlord" was a violent and angry drunk. So, B had to flee with is roommate from his first SLE.

I continue to marvel at how God works in his power and omnipotent wisdom. I received a phone call from my son, last night. He shared with me the horror of watching a person he thought was a new "friend" turn on him, his roommate and the person who came to clean the carpets. My son was afraid for his safety, and his roommate did not want to be anywhere near someone who is drinking. Because they did not want to risk their sobriety by being anywhere near alcohol or drugs, they bailed and lost the rent money they had given him.

B is so excited about his new apartment. I viewed the website, and I have to say-- God has moved B and "A" into a really nice place. They have very little furniture, but I have stored some furniture for the day I anticipated B moving into his own place.

To add to my joy, a check arrived from the 18 year old who attacked my son. This kid served one year in jail for his crime against my son. He owes $7000.00 in restitution payments, but he has three years to pay it. A small check arrived. Today, I will deposit it into a special account that I use for my son's needs. I can't think of a better need for him right now. I continue to praise God for the many miracles he has done to help my son.

As a mom, I wish my son's young life was not filled with so much trauma. However, I believe that God uses our struggles to draw us nearer to Him and to help us learn and grow.

I am proud of my son's progress and his success in staying away from drugs and alcohol. I pray that B's new home will be one that will last a long time-- and that God will bless the friendship he has formed with "A".

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (New King James Version)

The Value of a Friend

Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

I am thankful to my gracious God, who hears and answers prayers on behalf of B.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Heartbreaking development

I just talked to my son. I'm still shaking and feeling very shocked, so I am going to keep this blog short and to the point:

B's sponsor owns a carpet cleaning business, so he came to shampoo the carpets at B's new home. The lease holder of the house, I will call "L" got mad at B's sponsor over something really stupid (not the sponsor's fault) and "L" went off at him. From what I heard, it got ugly.

The next day, "L" got mad at my son and the nice other roommate-- Allen. "L" told my son and his friend to get the F--- out of his g--d--- house. This was because my son moved "L"s laundry out of the way so he could use the washer. My son found "L" beer bottles, and it appears that he's gone back to being a mean drunk.

The rent check was cashed on Monday. Obviously, I will seek reimbursement through small claims. In the meantime, my son and Allen are trying to figure out what to do.

I will try and update as I learn things.

I'm so bummed for my son. I had such high hopes. But, in all ways of life, there is a lesson in this. My son has learned how fragile sobriety is. He is really bummed, but I'm glad that he has Allen with him. The two of them are trying to figure something out. B has been offered to stay at his sponsor's house, until they figure it out.

May God please send all of us wisdom. I pray for "L" that he will go back into detox for his alcohol addiction.

I'm bummed for my son, but this shall pass.


Monday, June 2, 2008

A reply to Suboxone Mom who left a comment to me

I am an opiate addict who began my recovery with Suboxone.Your words have
especially touched me because when in our addiction "mode", an addict doesn't
think they are hurting anyone except themselves.........To know that we have
broken hearts when we broke our promises to those who stood by us allows me to
realize that I hurt far more people than just myself.And don't be too hard on
Dad. Yes, he does enable. I am assuming he doesn't go with you for support.

(snipped... the rest of this comment is on my May 30th posting)

Dear Suboxone Mom--

Thank YOU for taking the time to leave a thought-provoking comment on my blog. I had hoped that my blog would reach people I don't know (though I'm happy that friends and family are keeping up with this, too).

Yes, addiction hurts the loved ones who are not using drugs, themselves. Beyond the financial burden it has placed on both is father and me (and my new husband-- B's stepdad), the great damage that addiction does is to break the "trust bank" to a zero balance, or below.

I haven't posted in three days, once again. I hope that doesn't mean I'm becoming complacent in B's sobriety. Yesterday was his 60 day anniversay, and so far I do not think he is using. I am guardedly optimistic that B is doing well. I also know that the odds are not FOR him that he will not relapse.

Suboxone Mom, I read your comment and I have to say that I am not 100% convinced that providing an addict, who is using, with any kind of help-- money, food, shelter, clothes or paying traffic fines is the right thing to do. My son's father and I have been divorced for 11 years. His father does NOT attend meetings, and I doubt he has read any of the material I have given him.
DENIAL is a part of both co-dependency and addiction.

B's father continues to pay the expenses that my son cannot afford. I do not support his reasons for paying my son's debts. I truly believe, with all of my heart, that an addict will not begin to seek professional help until they have run out of options. Addicts will say and do anything to not only get the money they need to buy their fix, but they are so used to being takers-- free rent, food and anything else you are willing to pay for.

I ask anyone this? Why should I-- a hard-working woman who works full-time have to provide for all of my son's needs? He is perfectly capable of getting a job. His father and I paid THREE TIMES for him to enroll in our local college and for books. And all THREE times, he dropped out.
I won't do that anymore.

I will split the $375.00 cost of his medical insurance with is father-- only because our son is a Type I diabetic, and he would die without his insulin. He is on COBRA rates, because he dropped out of school.

His father paid a LOT of money to repair our son's car. His father has paid his car insurance for 3 years, now. I won't participate. Why? I believe that our son should learn to use public transportation until he realizes he has to work full-time to pay for maintenance and car insurance. But, his father doesn't see it. His view is that B needs a way to get to his part-time job and he needs insurance.

I call this "enabling". I know I sound harsh, and that's because I've done my own share of enabling my son. I have lost count of how many times my son would bat his long lashes at me, and give me that sweet smile of his... and my heart would melt...and my wallet would open. I can't tell you how many times I gave my son $20.00 here and there... for a bucket of golf balls at the driving range... to buy some lunch, knowing I'd never see the change... to help him buy a prescription pill from the "street" because B ran out of them. Not till later, did I learn my son was buying drugs and selling his suboxone.

B has gotten six parking tickets at $48.00 each, since he moved to the Oakland area. His father decided to pay them so that "he wouldn't get arrested". First, I know he won't get arrested! He just won't be able to register his car if he has outstanding tickets. Again, his father paid the money-- and I wonder if our son really used that money to pay the tickets.

I have decided that I need to step back, and let those two continue their untreated codependent behavior on each other.

Do you see why my trust in him is shattered? He's an addict, and he's too new into his recovery process. It's not hopeless, though. I just wish my son would find a full-time job--ideally working at a golf course. Should he decide to really go back to college-- 21 units-- and stick to it, then I would be more apt to help him with his expenses.

With all due respect, someone who is a meth user needs professional help for their addiction. My son was on the same drug to help with his addiction to opiates. He failed, because he felt he could do this on "will power". He said he did not need to go to meetings and he didn't need the 12-steps. He was clean for 8 months, and then he started using again and upped his addiction to include smoking heroin.

The only reason my son is clean, is that he hit rock bottom. His father and I did an intervention, and told him he could no longer live with us. We offered him a treatment program...and I absolutely believe that God set everything up to where my son agreed to go into treatment. He said he'd only for for 2-3 days-- it was awful, the withdrawal. For a while, I didn't think B would make it, but he did...for 30 full days.

I wish I could write more, but my lunch break is finished and I must return to my desk.

Thank you for triggering my need to share more about addiction. Though B is living in a new home, and I feel less worried-- I must not forget that 60 days is not a long time to be clean.

I pray, every single day and multiple times for my son and for people I personally know, who are going through this.

I will try to blog everyday. I hope that you, and other people, will share your stories.

Thank you for your candor. I do not pass judgment on anyone. But, I try to encourage people with my story that is still in progress.