Saturday, June 13, 2009

How I found joy for free

Dear B:

Your step dad and I have taken into consideration the recent events of finding drug paraphernalia in your room. We have listened to your explanations on how these are all old things.

OK, some of this adds up.

Still, there are too many mysteries that can only leave us to conclude that you are not being 100% honest with us.

Yes, some of the foils we found didn't have the tell tale black line of heroin. Sure, some of the foil might have had hash in it.

Still, these are drugs.

You looked 100% sincere when you said you had no idea what the smelly bottle of what appeared to be old urine was found in your golf bag. The tell tale residue of what appeared to be burns on the lid could only make us ask a simply "why"?

You have passed your last two UA's, except you are testing positive for THC. Breathing in weed, while someone else is smoking it doesn't wash with us as a viable explanation. Even if this is true, why be in the cab of a truck with a friend while they are smoking weed?

You're an addict. You should not be around any kind of drugs. Period.

I have to inform you that the way your UA's are going to be done will be stepped up a notch. Your stepdad will have to monitor the way you provide a urine specimen. We are all to savvy to know that you could water it down, switch a sample -- and a multitude of ways you can fake your UA's.

I just had to let you know that we have saliva tests, now. We don't want to make you paranoid-- the two of us are worried enough about you.

There are other big red lights that make me wary of you sobriety. Opiate addiction is a very strong demon. You have only been clean for five months, as far as I know. Again, I have a lot of doubt that you haven't slipped and been chipping.

Why did your suboxone fall out of your pocket? I am a math whiz, and it makes me wonder if you're skipping your soboxone to get loaded on heroin.

I see other signs, B. You are always in debt. If we hadn't taken your golf clubs away, and locked them up, they would be sold.

Let's assume I am wrong-- and I would gladly get down on my knees and apologize if you could prove me wrong. But, let's say that I'm wrong and you are staying clean...

I see that you are completely incapable of staying out of debt.

It's time to surrender to not having a bank account. You just can't seem to find a way to write down what you take out of the bank. Don't you know that banks charge huge fees for overdrafts? You are overdrawn again. Why? You forgot you had written a check to the IRS. Checking your balance and taking out money doesn't work-- unless you have excess money and can afford the risk.

I see other traps that you fall into, and dig a bigger hole of debt:

Getting up too late to pack a lunch or eat breakfast-- you borrow money to buy fast food.
Smoking - Addicts typically use cigarettes as a crutch. You're trying to quit smoking, and I commend you for it...but every time you feel stressed, you desperately need a cigarette. I quit smoking 11 years ago. It's hard, but I'm glad that I did.

The biggest trap you fall into is equating happiness with money. When you are broke, you fall into an emotional despair.

I understand that, B. Welcome to the real world. Life sucks, sometimes. It's a matter of how you look at life's twists and turns. It's in the serenity prayer... accept the things I cannot change.

My point is that I know, first hand, what it's like to be in debt. We're talking tens of thousands of dollars in debt. I know what it's like to work a full-time and a part-time job, just to pay off debt.

I know the mental hardship of worrying about collection agencies. Being in, over your head, in debt can feel like you're being choked to death.

Remember, I was a divorced mom who had to provide for you and me. I prayed, on my knees, for God to do miracles and help me out.

God helped me, but not as fast as I wanted. You see, B, I had to learn how to view the world according to God's will.

I had to learn how to humble myself. I had to learn how to count my blessings.

I owed a lot of money in tax debts. I was looking at climbing Mt. Everest. Did I give up? No.

I started, one step at a time.

God didn't give me patience. He taught me patience, by letting me make a lot of mistakes. I finally got it!

Happiness is short-lived, is what I had to learn. Whatever I bought gave me happiness, but it was short-lived. I was still haunted by knowing I had debt haunting me.

Finally, I learned to be thankful each time I paid off a debt. I learned to wait to buy something I really wanted.

I learned the difference between WANT and NEED.

For ten long years, I had to make a list of what I dreamed of doing or buying. For ten long years, I climbed Mt. Everest. I got knocked down along the way, too. I cried. I got angry. I felt that life wasn't fair.

But I continued to climb that mountain. Sometimes I felt God had abandoned me. Sometimes I felt hopeless and I'd start to backslide. But I was determined to get out of the mess that life had created. A lot of my debt wasn't my fault. I had to accept it and move forward.

Ten long years later, I could see the summit. I stopped creating debt, because I learned to accept that I could no longer afford the lifestyle I once had. I found ways to save money, cut corners and I made it my personal challenge.

I began to feel happy, even when I could not afford to buy things in catalogs. I learned to toss out the catalogs, without even looking at them. Why tempt myself with things that were out of my financial reach?

One day, I realized that I no longer felt that burden of weight on my shoulders. I no longer feared collection letters. I was making regular payments and I would look at the debt total going down.

I had found joy!

God led me to find that joy surpasses "happiness". Joy is that wonderful feeling that comes from integrity. I felt joy in being honest with myself and with God. It felt good to pay back debt.

I understand your feelings of discouragement-- that as soon as a paycheck comes, it's gone to pay off debt.

Once you learn how to stop spending more money than you make, you are on the road to financial peace.

You are so young, that you have plenty of time to learn how to live within your means. Count your blessings, son.

You live in a home that is clean and cozy. You don't have to worry about paying rent, utilities, phone, cable, internet. You don't have to go to a have just to walk into the garage and clean your clothes to your heart's content.

You have medical insurance. How else could you afford rehab or suboxone, or insulin to keep you alive?

You live in a safe neighborhood and sleep in a comfortable bed.

You have a job, while thousands of people wish they did.

You are alive, and not waking up in a jail cell.

You are no longer a slave to having to buy drugs, on a daily basis, just to keep from going into withdrawals.

Most importantly, you are loved by your parents and by God.

Think about these things, when you feel that life isn't fair.

You are a drug addict. I don't know why some people are, and others aren't. It's the way it is.

I have made many mistakes, in my lifetime. I have learned from them. I still struggle with personality traits in me. I still struggle with procrastination issues if I don't enjoy doing something. I hang on to knowing that God loves me, no matter what.

If I was given $1,000,000 to spend I would certainly find happiness in that. But life would still have it's way of turning on me, and the happiness would be replaced with worry on how to invest or spend it. I'd probably worry about blowing it all. The money would not solve my life problems. If it did, I would cure you of diabetes and drug addiction.

What I have learned by my years of financial struggles is to feel joy in my life, no matter what my circumstances are.

You are living under our roof to try and help you learn life skills, and to help you work on your sobriety.

Please don't blow this opportunity. I might be old, compared to your years. But my wisdom helps me to listen to what you are really saying. I'm a lot smarter than you might realize.

A lot of things you say don't always add up. I'm learning to listen and not say anything. But I do remember.

You are a joy to see when you're awake and talking to me. I adore your company, when you appear sober. You make me laugh. I want to do so much for you.

Still, there are times when your behavior makes me worry. I'm watching you, son.

Most importantly, God is watching you. I pray that you are being honest with yourself and God.

I love you so much. I so want for you to find peace and joy in your life-- no matter what circumstances you are going through.


1 comment:

Barbara(aka Layla) said...


i needed your words tonight. i needed to hear you talking to your son and saying things i want to say to mine...but mine is not listening.

the lies, the answer tonight to why there's a burnt can in his room...its hard to fathom that someone who has so much could choose to keep using.

I wonder where my son's suboxone is going...I thought he was taking it...I guess I need to watch him take it.

I fear he will die...he seemed dead today.

thanks. im crying as i type this and I don't really even know what i just said, but thanks