Saturday, January 31, 2009

Give your addict a test...not a pop quiz

I could hardly wait for this Saturday morning so that I could sleep in, enjoy my morning cup of coffee and to catch up on email. This has been a very hectic week at my job and in dealing with B's recent discovery that he has been using since his return from rehab #2 in October.

I'm feeling less pensive today-- I give credit to the weather being sunny and glorious, a good night's rest and a therapy session with my husband last night. On the way home, alone in my car, I felt as though God had given me wisdom. So, I'll jump right into it:

B has his car back. It's semi-fixed, but he says that it's just not quite right. He cannot afford to have the axle repaired to good-as-new condition. He's been home and he has moments of being in good spirits and moments of having chills (chattering teeth and all). His appetite varies. These are all stages of detox from opiates.

Yesterday, B came to my job to deliver my forgotten cellphone and I had a chance to meet his sponsor, "D". We chatted for about five minutes. I noticed that B's eye were dilated. From what I understand, and B acknowledges, this is a sign of withdrawal. He appeared anxious-- either signs of withdrawal of using. He was headed to our local college, with his sponsor, to try and get his paperwork in for financial aid. My impression of his sponsor was that he was a nice looking young man. I invited him to our home, for Super Bowl, so that we could all talk. "D" is willing to share his story. He seems to care about my son, and so I left with a hopeful impression of "D".

Our therapy session-- we told "J" about B's newest episode. She looked so disappointed, since she's had two private sessions with him. Basically, she said that the odds of my son's success in an outpatient program are very grim. She believes that B should be in a one year in-patient program. I agree-- but I can also tell you that it's easier said than done.

She asked how often we had tested B, and we realized that it was only once.
"Why?" she asked. C and I both paused...and he answered, "Because we thought that he was doing so well".

Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

First, B has to be willing to go. He isn't. I believe that B's reluctance is that he is deathly afraid of detox-- true detox... dry detox. From what addicts tell me, it is worse than natural childbirth. They say that the physical pain of withdrawal from opioids is so frightening that it is usually why they continue to use. I have been told that, unless you experience it, it's hard to explain the agony of it all. Is this a good excuse? Yes and No.

B went through dry detox in April. He was an in-patient for 30 days at a top-rated facility. It cost $36,000.

So, there is problem #2 - In-patient treatment is costly. I am still making arranged payments for my share of what the insurance did not cover. I cannot afford another round, and as long as B has medical insurance, they will not give a waiver on the balance due. This seems to be a universal law.

There are in-patient facilities and I have spoken to a few. They can be "free" but they are all dry detox. You get a bed, and you go through the agony of physical withdrawal. Last night, B said that he can't do it. He won't. He's scared to death, and I can see it.

My husband and I sat close together, and he was supportive and loving. I feel confident, that our marriage is growing closer because of this. As I've said before, he is a man with a good heart. I'm blessed to be loved by him. He understands my love for my son, and he says he will never put me into a position to make a choice.

That gave me a sense of peace and comfort. As I listened to "J" saying that she doubts my son will succeed in his idea of getting into an outpatient facility (I called, and got the info...and B did go for an intake on Thursday), I was hit with a big dose of fear.

Towards the end of the session, I concluded that I was going to give my son the LAST AND FINAL CHANCE. I mean it-- this is it. The Last Stand.

"J" said that it is vitally important that I mean this. I know. Should my son fail to stay clean, then I have to be strong to let him go. I have always known this. Even if it means that he will use to the point of being caught and arrested, overdosing, or killing himself-- I know that this is the ugly path that untreated addiction will lead to.

I know that if, and when, the time comes, that I have to be strong and to let my son go.

There was a palpable sense of acceptance-- from my husband, that the decision is to allow B one last and final chance...from our therapist that this is my decision, from a mother's compassionate heart... that this was a decision I must stick with and follow through.

"C" and I were in separate cars, which gave me the time to think alone. That's when I felt a strong presence of God. It was as though God gave me the strength and a clear understanding of what I must say and do.

First, I decided to test B. I knew that this test would be my "baseline". That is, I figured that he'd test positive. He has only been clean (in theory) for less than five days).

I felt a strong conviction that I cannot give my son a penny. Not for snack food, gas or even special grocery requests. B should be thankful to be staying in our home. He can eat what we have. Period. That should be MORE than enough luxuries and it is certainly a better alternative to living on a friend's couch or sleeping on a kitchen floor.

When I got home, B was waiting for me and C was a few minutes behind. C offered to stop and buy Crystal Lite drink mix, since it's sugar free and B does drink a lot of fluid (part of his diabetes). B would rather drink sugar sodas, but I don't buy them-- ever.

I felt a renewed sense of confidence. I picked out a coffee mug and handed it to B.
"Here. Go pee in our bathroom.".
B said he couldn't, so he drank water.

"Let's talk", I said, as C walked into the door.

B's demeanor seemed calm and accepting.

I began to talk to B and I told him about our session. I told him that I agreed with out therapist that I felt B was taking a huge risk in thinking an outpatient program would be his answer to sobriety.

I told him that I had made my decision-- that he was living in our home for the LAST AND FINAL TIME. I reminded him that if he uses drugs, and I get a positive drug test that he would have to pack what he could, I would drop him off someplace and we would change the locks. I told him that if he called me, I'd hang up. He would have to find a third party if he needed to communicate to me.

I told him that Tough Love, Phase I begins--
  • Expect random drugs tests often and randomly
  • I will not give him money. No gas money. No fast food money. Nothing. If he needs money, get a job.
  • I told him that his car insurance is cancelled as of March 9th. His premium is paid through February 15th. I would not pay anything to insure his car.
  • He either goes to school and/or has a job. No laying around the house.
He readily agreed to all of it. He says he is already thinking of how to ride the bus. I will buy him a bus pass, but no cash.

Tough Love, Phase II begins when he gets thrown out of the house.

B took his drug test and it came out positive for opiates. I expected this. He is still detoxing. I will test often and he gets a few more days. Five more...tops. It better come out clean.

B and talked later on. He appears to be remorseful and he admitted he is afraid of being thrown out. I can only pray that his fear of my random tests will be enough to keep him from wanting to use.

B went on to explain to me how horrible his addiction is... he needs help. Professional help. He needs prayer, love and to earn back our trust.

We need God in our lives.

If you have a child who you suspect is using-- don't ask them if they are. They will lie.
Test them. Do it! I wish I had done that a long time ago. Had I known how easy they are to buy, I would have known sooner how deep in trouble my son was.

Please- test your child, if you suspect odd behavior. If only I had known...

I promised myself to go and exercise at 9:30 and it's past that. I'm going to quit for now.

I'll post again later. I'll post the links to where I buy my online drug tests. They are the same ones that doctors use. They cost about $5.00 each. They work.

I want to enjoy the weekend. I have no time to proof read or spell check.



Athena said...

Glad to meet you - will add a link on my blog :-)

We do what we can - no "one way" or "right way" - and often, it hurts


Fractalmom said...

oxys and heroin only stay in the urine 72 hours. just thought you should know that :)

oh. can you put a FOLLOW ME widget on your blog? it makes it much easier for us to follow you **smile**

Dad and Mom said...


It is nice to read of your strength, stay strong. I am understanding what tough love means. Unfortunately my wife still sees it as being mean. It has become a balancing act.

I have bookmarked your blog, our 20 year old addicts may now face the wisdom of 2 instead of us struggling alone.

Dad of Dad and Mom

Athena said...

I now am convinced that the "Tough" in "Tough Love" is more descriptive of how hard it is on the parents than the addicts