Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My own denial

Somehow, I've managed to shove my son's addiction under a rug of denial.

I can't seem to blog about my son. It seems that I have found every excuse to stay busy doing "me time". I spent most of my summer vacation, lost in working on my food blog, photography, swimming, reading, cooking, baking, running errands-- anything to keep me from having think about my son's addiction.

I'm back at work, trying to readjust to getting up early, the commute to work-- and realizing that I have drifted away from my spiritual self.

How is my son? Unfocused. But, is this his youth or the drugs?

I need to get back to reading everyone's blogs. It helps me so much to read other people's updates and feelings.

It's like I'm frozen in denial. I can't deal with my feeling of discouragement.

I need to rely on prayer, because I'm feeling so discouraged. I haven't felt this way in a very long time. I am definitely under spiritual attack!

1 Peter 5:8

8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Numbing the pain and dreading the weekend

Well, here's a "first". I'm going to be very brief. Yeah, me... the 90WPM typist who unloads her entire life into an arena, before faceless parents and addicts. Me-- the mom who loves the Lord and who has been able to survive a lot of pain in my life.

I've shut down, for a while. I am trying to process my son's inability to manage his own life.

B lost his wallet. Again. For the third time in three months. It had his paycheck in it. It also had the store key to where he works. At first, I thought he was making it up. He's not lying about the wallet or key.

Did he lose the money or spend it all?

I don't know and I'm not going to make myself crazy.

I feel good that I processed the anger very well. I just put in my iPod and immersed myself into a book that has me totally captivted (Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, if you are curious). I prayed and I just shut down.

It's Friday and my summer vacation has ended. I picked up B from work. He's already fallen into a depression. He hates the weekend, and so do I.

Dad & Mom have echoed my sentiments. The son represents a time when my son is most prone to wanting to use. He is broke and his car is in the repair shop. This is not a good thing.

I said to my son, that I've decided that he still owes us $50.00 for the week's rent. I don't think he liked that, but he said nothing. I told him I was sorry he lost his money and then my voice trailed off.

I said what I had to. My son needs to learn than when you are so irresponsible that you lose a wallet three times, in three months, a landlord isn't going to waive the rent. I made him a lunch, though.

I have made a special "tapas" meal for my husband. I have a bottle of wine chilled. B is in his room, with the door shut and I can hear faint sounds of the television.

I've decided to put "it" away, and to turn off my laptop and to clink a glass of chilled Italian Prosecco (that was meant for our wedding anniversary, until my husband became very ill).

I am totally numb. However, I thank each and every one of you for your comments and support.

My husband is home now... time to focus on my marriage.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What difference does it make?

I keep thinking about this posting. Whenever I'm feeling frustrated with my son, I find that reading these words helps me to not overreact to my son.

How is B?

He's struggling. He admits that he's relapsed, here and there. He even admitted, in desperation, that he used OxyContin-- once. A week ago.


As a non-addict, the solution seems so clear? Go to meetings. Call your sponsor. Fight it! Addicts don't have that kind of logic when they need to use.

As an addict, I am told I cannot understand how "un-simple" this is. My son was on the verge of tears when he told me that there are days when he hears "voices". Hold on.

He says it's like a demonic voice telling him "Use. Use. Use." B says it gets so bad that he can't shake off the need to get high.

So, he chips. That is, he buys $10.00 worth of heroin for a quick buzz. He says that the need to use is to overwhelming. Then he feels guilt and shame. He also says that the drug he is buying is highly concentrated and that his withdrawals become worse than ever. He says the the suboxone doesn't even help. I notice how sick he looks. His lack of appetite. His lethargic way of hanging out in his room just staring at the television.

My son is in hell.

This morning, I was praying to God for wisdom. My thoughts were only for my son. I kept praying that my son would believe that he is worthy of being loved by God. I kept praying that my son would so desperately want sobriety that he would find a way-- his way-- to resist the urge to use.

My son says he is afraid I will throw him out of the house at the end of this month.

Then, I think of that posting... the one dated Saturday, July 18th.

I'm praying that God will fill me with wisdom. I cannot control my son. I can only love him, and feel deep pain and sorrow that he is struggling against the need to use heroin.

I have an idea. But, I'm in prayer about.

Throwing my son out isn't a clear-cut answer. I need to wait. I need to pray. I need to love my son in such a way that I don't allow him to manipulate me.

I pray that my son would feel peace and joy in his life. How can he feel happy right now? Other than work, he thinks of drugs.

My heart aches for him.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Making Compromises and taking a break

I love my blog! I don't say this as me tooting my own horn. I say this because I'm so deeply touched by many of the comments that are left for me. So many of you have become people who speak from the side of being an addict, or who are also living with a drug addict.

I received a comment, over a week ago, that came at a time when I was feeling fed up with my son's addiction. Many of you know that feeling. I'm going to post this, so that I can share it with some of you who might have missed it:

Recovery isn't perfect, when we expect too much, we always get too little.
Just look at what he's accomplished...and concentrate on that, rather than his slips. It is a very rare addict that stops their first time out and never relapses. Relapse is not the end of the's also not the end of recovery. Recovery doesn't start, stop and start all over with each is a continuum.

But relapses don't have to be the end of the world...he's jumping right back in after he slips, right? Instead of wallowing and continuing to use?

PROGRESS, not perfection. You have your son back in your life, he's not risking life, limb and freedom every day to get high. HUGE progress!

Try to focus on improving his quality of life, rather than focusing on ending his drug use completely....this really isn't about the drugs. The fact that he's still using tells me not that he's not ready to be well or that he's not trying hard enough--but that his symptoms aren't being supressed enough. It show huge commitment that he keeps trying.

If you shift your focus to ending his suffering, rather than ending his drug use, things will become clearer and his relapses will be much less devasting TO BOTH OF YOU.

Think about this: when he has a slip is he suffering because of the effects of the drugs themselves, or because of the shame and guilt he has from not being able to fight his cravings, live up to the "ideal" recovery and make everyone else happy?

He's doing everything he can to get and stay well and live a good life....would we expect anymore from someone suffering from any other disease? Would you blame HIM if he were suffering from some other mental illness and had a relapse?

For instance: if he had OCD and had, because of medication, so far been able to fight the urge to wash his hands more than nessecary MOST of the time.....would you think he wasn't "ready" to be well if he slipped and had a day where he just couldn't fight the urge and went on a hand washing spree? Or would you consider one day out of many a huge huge improvement considering how many days used to be wasted on this activity?

It's the same idea: a voluntary behavior (using drugs) that is used to cope with the symptoms of a physical illness/mental illness(addiction).

This isn't a war your son fights with himself, it's a war he fights with his illness....and from what I can tell he seems to be winning.

You posted that he gave you a warm smile on his way out the door to work recently......your sons personality, ability to love and care about his life are coming back. Isn't that what you really wanted>?

Considering how many mothers are not so lucky and how many have lost their children forever to addiction (either because they are beyond reach or have died) you truly need to be grateful for how lucky you have been, rather than focus on how much better you want it.

"Armme", thank you for a reality check that came at the perfect time.

I have been silent, on this blog, for many days. That's because I'm on vacation and I want to take a break from things that can cause stress in my life. My husband and I refer to B's battle to find sobriety as "it". We are trying to live our lives without constantly worrying about "it". Since my vacation began on July 1st, my husband and I have reconnected as a couple. We have taken day trips, holding hands and enjoying leisurely meals in new restaurants in various parts of California. We have not spoke of "it". Instead we talk about our dreams for the future, laughing with each other and appreciating how much we love one another. Still, I know that we both care about our son's future, and we still worry about him. We just try not to over think about "it".

An update on my son:

I have put any guesses on hold regarding his sobriety. My son is a functioning drug addict, so I cannot tell if he's using or not. Actually, when my son was full-blown using, I could tell by his erratic behavior. If B is using, he's "chipping". I have not drug-tested him in two weeks. I've decided to put all of that on hold.

I've put a lot of things on hold.

The comment that I've posted, today, made me ask myself-- if B is being respectful in my home and I am not finding heroin paraphernalia, then is that enough-- for now?

If my son is doing a good job at work, paying his rent, and talking to me very openly-- is that enough?

I have a tendency to be judgmental. I don't like it, but I learned that from my mother. It's a trait that I don't like in me at all. Who am I to judge ANYONE when I have my own weaknesses and faults?

With that said, I'm working on being aware that I cannot impose my own expectations on my son. It took me DECADES to learn financial responsibility. Some people never learn that.

For now, I am focusing on rebuilding my relationship with my son. I have to bury my lack of trust in what he says, and I have a heightened sense of awareness that I cannot set my son up for failure. In essence, I have lowered my expectations on my son. He's forgetful and sometimes he acts irresponsibly. But his sobriety is what I care most about. The rest, I pray, will come with maturity in age.

B has had a rough week, so say the least. Once again, his car isn't running. He cannot afford the car repair. So, I'm driving him to work. Right now, I don't mind, because I'm on vacation for one more week. It gets me up early, so that I don't lounge in bed till late. It gives us time to chat. For the first time in years, I don't feel like I'm talking to a stranger! When B was full-blown using, I felt like I didn't know the young man who resembled my son.

I have also softened my heart in helping my son with his basic needs. I bought him a new pair of good work shoes, and some new clothes. I don't think that's enabling my son. He doesn't earn enough money to do this. He was so appreciative of it! It made me happy. As long as he's doing a good job at work, I will help him to keep the job-- with transportation and basic needs. The job gives him structure in his life, and he's paying weekly rent to us. He has almost $600.00 saved as a portion of rent he pays us--which is earmarked for rent on the day he finally moves out of here. For a drug addict, that is huge. I also think it makes him feel that his hard, physical, work is not in vain.

He still owes me money, but he's making payments. It's not a huge amount, but he doesn't complain. He says he has no more debts and isn't borrowing money. I hope that's true.

I have a renewed heart of compassion for my son. He is battling daunting odds that heroin is stronger than him. I can see that my son has not found a strength, from within, to deal with stress. When his car broke down, he sucked on cigarettes and I could feel his strength and depression. This is the perfect set-up to want to use. I just swallow hard and pray that he won't. But, I say nothing.

His sponsor is out of jail. I don't ask why he was arrested (his sponsor), because I know my son doesn't want to tell me. I have learned to stop asking my son specific questions, which seems to make him open up more to be. I'm getting better at listening. I think that B is realizing that his sponsor has too much drama in his own life. B says he might have a new sponsor. I hope so!

I cannot say, honestly, what my next move will be. I gave my son until the end of July to test through a laboratory. But then again-- if he is chipping, what would I really do?

I don't know. I honestly don't. For now, I keep praying for my son and for me to be a Godly mom.

I'm struggling, spiritually. My faith isn't weak. I'm not spending daily time with God. It's as though I've numbing myself from all of "this". "It" has drained me emotionally, and I just need to take a break from it all.

Last, I want to share a link to a story that was sent to me today from TWO different people-- just minutes apart.

It's called "A Mother's Story of Her Son's Addiction". I feel it is very worthy to be shared with other folks, just like me.

I continue to thank each of you who reads my blog. I value your comments, and I really do think about them.



Friday, July 10, 2009

Top 100 Overcoming Addiction Blog


Who knew, when I started journaling my feelings about my son's addiction to OxyContin and heroin, that my blog would be listed by the Online Nurse Practitioner Schools website? This is the heading?

Top 100 Overcoming Addiction Blogs

By L. Fabry

As more addictions come into our lives, more addicts are created. It can go far beyond substance abuse and wreck families, as well as lives. Below are the best 100 blogs from addicts, for addicts, and for the families of addicts.

I see that several of the blogs that I visit on a regular basis-- Subdural Flow, An Addict in Our Son's Bedroom, Mother of a Drug Addict and my neighbor (same town) Hurting Parents - Addicted Son are several who are listed.

I am off to visit some new blogs that I see listed here. I especially want to read from the addict's point of view.

For those of you, who are addicts-- and who leave anonymous comments on my blog--


I, so much, want to try and understand. I don't judge any of you as unworthy of compassion, nor do I think of addicts as derelicts who rob people to buy drugs. I think of you as human beings-- someone's son or daughter... someone's husband or wife... or, even someone's mom or dad.

Please be a voice, and know that my blog is a safe place to vent-- as long as there is no profanity-- that is, a lot of "F" bombs. I can handle a small amount of cursing, because I'm weak and can do that, when I'm feeling worked up about something. "PG" is about all I can handle.

This morning, my son woke up early and greeted me with a warm and loving smile. He is off to work.

It's the weekends that are hardest for him-- when he has idle time on his hands, and no money.

Here's the link:


Thursday, July 9, 2009

No cookie cutter answers or decisions...

How is my son?

I honestly don't know. It depends on the moment.

My son is opening up to me, a lot more. I can honestly say that my son is not an emotional burden to live with. He is respectful. He is thankful. Sometimes he sits in the living room and chats with us. We eat dinner together-- though, this week, my husband and I are taking day trips to enjoy our vacation together.

B still has his job. I have, successfully, quit waking him up. He's doing it by himself.

Just the other day, B told me that it's helping to meet with his MFT (marriage-family therapist). "M" and B going back a few years. He says that he needs to work his own program. I agreed to honor that. I will no longer watch him take his suboxone. I won't ask if he's gone to a meeting. I won't remind him to go to a meeting. "M" says that parents need to let go of trying to "control". It doesn't work.

He says he's struggling. He's trying to get into an outpatient program, but he's run into two brick walls:
  • One program, requires him to quit his job. He can't afford to. Jobs are scarce, as you know.
  • The other program will allow him to come eves (drug testing and classes) but it's $800.00 a month. They don't take our insurance.
I'm seriously considering using the last of his inheritance (with his permission) to pay for this. If this is what will help him. His savings is building up, little by little. I can see that makes him feel a sense of accomplishment. This money will pay his rent, wherever he chooses to go.

B says it's so hard. He cannot find the strength to resist "chipping". He says he's down from 5 days a week, to once or twice. He says it's been a week, but he struggles NOT to use.

Don't get me wrong. I don't condone this!

He has until the end of this month to test clean, or he's gone.

But, this is my dilemma.

How can I help my son without enabling him? He pays his rent, faithfully. He does it with a smile, and no resentment.

There are no drugs in the house, when we do a sweep. He doesn't appear to be using-- at least, not to the degree he once was. His withdrawals are gone.

If I throw him out, what will happen to him?

Living in our area is far beyond what his $800.00 can afford. Does his being allowed to stay help him to get help?

I am filled with such a deep love for my son. He is struggling, but he wants to stay clean. He says I cannot understand how hard it is to say "no" to heroin. He says it consumes his thoughts, every day.

Yes, I know the drill. I also know that meetings are no guarantee for success. I know addicts who go to meetings and then use right afterward.

Suboxone has helped my son immensely. He is not 100% free of using drugs. However, B says that without suboxone, he doubts he could have gotten this far.

I feel a small victory in our relationship as mother and son. He talks to me. It pains me to see the agony on his face.

How I long for my son to find peace in his life. He is tormented by the call of heroin. I have printed some of the comments I've received from addicts. He reads them, and we talk about it.

My son says that subuxone is different for everyone. He says he doesn't really feel the high when he chips. He says, for a brief moment, he has tamed the monster within. Then, he is filled with guilt and shame.

He is fighting to be free. He keeps saying how much he wants to be free.

He is home every night. He's not running around. He is going to meetings.

I don't know what my decision will be at the end of July. For now, I have told my son to look for a place to live.

I told him I don't want to throw him out, but we agreed...

He looked at me and said, "I understand".

Does anyone understand the torment that does to my heart.

I love my son so much. I want him back.

He is trying. I am trying. My husband is being understanding, but he is saying it is my decision to make. He doesn't want to live with the guilt of throwing my son out, and something bad should happen to him.

I take each day, waking up and thanking God for another day. I always thank God that my son is safe and sound.

I pray. I wait. I try to be understanding, with my eyes wide open.

I don't think that there is a standard answer on what to do. It's easy to judge others, when it's not your own child. Each addict is so unique.

My son has a good heart. He is trying, but he is hanging on at the end of the rope.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Dear Angelo ...

Angelo has left a new comment on your post "My response to Anonymous #1":

I so very sorry to caused you to be upset. I really didn't mean to bash your faith. Yesterday was my first day clean and started suboxone again. I did like your son. I stop taking it so I can go on a nice little run until the money runs out and go back on again. I feel better today and need to feel a whole lot better tomorrow since I go back to work. I will never bring up your faith again. A promise. I grew up a alter in a catholic grammer school and became the very first Eucharistic Minister in New Jersey. About 10 of us. I went on to a all boys Catholic high school and my fathers twin brother is a Catholic priest. I was turned on to God my whole life. In high school I had to do a paper and I did it on the role of the Pope in the church. Well I came to find out in research how corupt the whole organization is. And it is a organization. Then I got locked up in around 1993 for 17 months and pretty much dedicated my like to "HIM". Must have read the bible twice and memorized half the book. I even swear it was "HIM" who got me off the charges after sitting in jail 17 months. As soon as I got out I was gonna join a church speak to the youth about the dangers of drugs and gangs and that never happpened. I got high withen 24 hours of getting out. Went back to jain in 1995 and got out did the drug thing and was homeless on the streets of Newark, New Jersey for all of 1998, 1999 and 2000. me an Italian running the streets of Newark which is 85% black. Got into a shelter and went on methadone and it was at this time I started questioning God. I started going to a library in Elizabeth , New Jersey and back then it was the first one on the computers you can stay on as long as you like and I was there till they opened until they closed. That's where I learned how to use a computer. . Well I did that for months. Researching the hell out of "Is there a God". I kept notebooks of research and basically science told it's all crap. The bible is a story book. Jesus may have existed but was just another prophet. Even mother Theresa questioned her faith greatly. She never had a happy moment. It was all suffereing and that's all she so.
Look, I just wanted to tell you why I lost my faith and could go on but just will say I care about you and what happens to your son. I will never talk about any realigious things again and will be reading and giving you my opinion that's all. I'll sign as my name as Angelo so you know its me in case anyone talks badly of your faith I don't want you to think it's me. Good luck and I guess I should say God Bless but how sincere can it be coming from me.



Thank you for your comment. Was it you who is Anonymous #1? If so, please know that I was not upset about your prior comment. If anything, I was deeply touched and saddened. I am so sorry that you relapsed. I will pray for you, Angelo, that you can conquer the demon of addiction. It's hard. I pray for your strength and success in this.

What did upset me are comments I received and deleted. It made me change my comment settings to "prior approval". The comments were laced with profanity, and they were completely unrelated to drug addiction. They were political and insensitive. Yours weren't. You shared your feelings so openly and so well. I had hoped to reach out to you, since I cannot see you. In some way, I hope that I gave you encouragement and God's love.

As I've written recently, the true purpose of my blog is to share about my son's addiction. It is my way of communicating with my friends, and it is also my way to vent my feelings. When I speak of God, or quote scripture-- it is because I am also reaching out to Him. Sometimes, I become weak in my faith. Sometimes, I feel compelled to share scripture that has spoken to my heart. I figure if someone resents reading it, then can keep scrolling or leave my blog. I'm not going for readership numbers, nor am I competing for high numbers of followers.

Those of you who are following me-- thank you so much. During these tough few days, you have each sent me comments of encouragement. It helps me so much!

Thank you, so much, for all the support.

I'm off to a sad morning. B slept all day yesterday. This morning, he said he's upset with me but "doesn't want to talk about it". He refused the lunch I packed for him, and I see his suboxone is still sitting where I put it each morning (and watch him take it).

I'm going to spend the day with my husband, traveling north for a vacation day. My son and I have a code word now-- we are not going to talk about "it". I'm going to put this in God's hands, and I'm going to live, laugh, love and pray for my son. Which I do everyday, throughout the day.

Angelo-- I'm so sorry for the reasons you have given up on God being true. Catholicism did that to me (with all due respect to true Catholics). I'm not religious. I'm spiritual. But, I won't get into the theology part of this.

I still believe.



Sunday, July 5, 2009

My name is Debby...and my son is a drug addict

Today, I am feeling... sorrow.

When my husband and I attended our weekly drug classes, at my son's treatment center, each attendee was asked to introduce themselves (first name only, of course) and then we had to choose one word to describe how we are feeling. We were then give a minute or two to share why we were feeling that way.

I am beginning to accept that my son is headed into a full-blown relapse. I don't want to feel this way, but I am seeing signs in my son that I can only describe as "hopeless".

I'm beginning to come to grips with the fact that I will, most likely, have to help my son pack his things and to move out at the end of this month. Since I'm being so honest, today, I will go as far as describing how I feel about this as being similar to when my mother was within her last days of her life.

That is, I took care of my mother. Though she had a full-time caregiver, at her home, I stopped in several times a day to make sure she was being fed and taken care of properly. I was mentally exhausted from trying to balance my work and home life, to make time to take care of her. There were days when I'd pray that God would call her home. Yet, I'd feel guilty, because I wasn't ready to accept that I would never see her again-- until I die.

I don't want my son to die! What I am saying is that I have mixed emotions on accepting that my son is heading towards losing the privilege of living with me. I will miss him terribly, and I will probably worry more about him. Yet, my son's constant up and downs with his sobriety is the only thing that tends to rob me of my joy. I can handle the stresses of life pretty well-- having a close call with losing my job... unexpected financial costs... getting sick... a difficult co-worker.

But, seeing my son looking as sad and lost as he does this morning brings such sorrow to me. I would not want to be inside his head. I cannot imagine that my son has any sense of peace. He says he was up all night long stressing--

Stressing about what? That he owes someone money? That he's holding more secrets within himself? That the demon of addiction has my son's soul?

He got up, saying he wants to go to church. I sensed he was doing it for me. I told him to, please, not come to church for me. Go, only if it is what he wants to do.

I keep reminding myself that I have no say in how my son is doing. Yesterday, my son and I had another deep talk. He admitted to me that he is struggling so hard not to use. He kept saying to me, "you don't know how hard this is".

No, I don't. The common sense in me thinks "Just quit. Say no."

But addiction is powerful. It's why gambling addicts need to roll the dice "one more time" again and again. It's why alcoholics want just "one more drink" again and again. It's why sex addicts risk their marriage by looking at pornography one more time... or have meaningless affairs, just one more time.

I feel so helpless to help my son.

My name is Debby, and my son is a drug addict.

I am feeling sad.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Freedom in the U.S.A. and how is my son...

Today, being the 4th of July, I'm so thankful to be an American. Though our country is currently in a financial mess, we Americans are truly blessed with freedom and civil rights. Amen.

Today, also being Saturday, B is sound asleep. He works very hard at his job, so I leave him alone. He's earned his rest.

How is my son? From what I can see, I believe that he really wants to stay clean and sober. I've helped him along with that by trying to be supportive, but keeping my eyes wide open.

On Wednesday, I took B to my chiropractor. For those of you who think chiro's are "quacks", I understand that. This one is amazing. I won't get into the technical reasons why, but she has helped my husband to be virtually migraine free for five years. I suffer from osteo-arthritis in both knees, so my hip and low back can go out. Dr. "L" puts me back together, so I believe in her. I don't need any kind of pain meds.

B's back was pretty messed up, as a result of his car accident last year. He lifts heavy things, and he recently took a hard spill and twisted his ankle. Dr. B set things back in place. My purpose on paying for this is my attempt to eradicate my son's "need" to use because of his back pain. Evidently, B has been very happy with how he is feeling-- physically.

Yes, my son has been smoking heroin. According to him, the last time he used was just this Monday-- the day that his father returned to Oregon from a visit here. B says he skipped his suboxone dose in the morning, then smoked a $10.00 "bag" (or whatever you call it), which is just enough to take the "edge" off what his brain wants.

Why, you must wonder, do I not just throw him out in the streets?

I've had to wait, think, pray and listen to what my gut feeling says (that would be God):

B is definitely going through withdrawals. He is being 100% honest about what they are, and I can see them. His appetite has been poor. He gets the chills, and I can see the goose bumps. He suffers from insomnia, and his eyes look exhausted. He's not full-blown withdrawing, which many of you know is awful to witness-- let alone exprience. It's painful physically and emotionally. He's withdrawing just enough that I hope he remembers how bad it could get, if he falls back into the pit of using all the time.

This might sound strange, but my seeing these milder symptoms of withdrawal tells me that he's trying to quit. He doesn't have the money to buy drugs, and he doesn't own a thing (except for his car) to sell. He's also been coming home and staying at home. We watch television together, and talk. I've grown to appreciate those times, because one day he will truly leave the nest.

On Wednesday, B did laundry-- which he, typically, piles up for more than a week. I found a foil in the washing machine. Something inside me snapped. That was "it". When B came home, I waited for him to settle in. I looked him in the eyes and (calmly) said:

"I have to tell you that I found drug paraphernalia, once again. I'm taking into account that this could be more than a week old, and you've admitted to me that you've been chipping. However, I've had enough. I'm sick of it. I don't want to see anymore drug paraphanalia and I've reached my limit. This is it."

B looked at me, and softly said, "I understand". "I will do whatever you want".

"No, YOU need to do whatever it takes to admit you are an addict and that you cannot use-- just a little, no matter what. "

Then, I gave him my decision/ultimatum:

"I am giving you 30-days to find a new place to live".

My son's mouth literally dropped and his eyes grew huge.

He got the message. Loud and clear. I could see his physical shock.

I also said, "I know that I've given you several breaks when I should have kept to my promise to throw you out the first time we found evidence of drugs in our house."

"Yes, I know, mom. Thanks."

"However, I really mean it, this time. Please believe me, that I'm not joking this time. I'm very serious."

Very quietly, and with a look of remorse he answered "I believe you and I'm sorry. I don't want to lose what I have here."

I told my son, that he has 30 days to literally clean up his act. While he is working full-time, and faithfully paying us rent, giving us a percentage for his savings and making weekly payments on money I've paid out to consolidate his debts he still must remain clean.

The reason I am not throwing my son out, today, is because he's really trying. I know that it's tough. He's a good employee, he's respectful at home and he's willingly handing over his paycheck and keeping a small stipend...not enough to buy the kind of drugs he'd need if he was full-blown using. Still, he's an addict and I'm not condoning his "chipping". Read on...

I have given my son 30 days to redeem himself. Here's what he has to do, to be allowed to stay past the end of July:

Though the medical insurance (we pay for) and the co-pay from me, he is seeing his MFT (licensed therapist). He says he's happy to talk to "M" again and that she's helping him to understand the consequences of his addiction.

B told me about a woman who owns a drug testing business in town. I stopped by to see her, on my first day of vacation. She's a hoot! She clearly remembers my son talking to her. She made a phone call to her lab (located in Kansas). I learned two new things-- the UA home tests that I am giving my son can definitely show a "positive" if there is suboxone in his system. I also learned that she can give my son a test and if it comes up positive, her lab can distinguish if it's opiates, suboxone or a combination of both. It will cost $50.00 and I am going to pay it!

Next week, my son agrees to take the test through her. If he comes up clean, then we are back on a week-to-week basis; same rules. He continues to pay rent $50.00 a week (which is a bargain, because it includes food and medical expenses which is far more than that). $50.00 a week goes into rent savings, for the day my son moves out. I'll pay that to his landlord, directly. $50.00 a week pays off loans from me, and he gets his golf clubs back.

B closed his checking account, because he can't manage it. He also can't go to Cash Advance places anymore, without a checking account.

I also decided that the day B gets tested, from the lab, that I will bring one of my home tests. I want to test the theory on the results. Call this an "experiment" of my own.

So, there is what's going on with B living with us.

There's a lot more, but I'm reluctant to become too long-winded. I want to address my last posting that I wrote to Anonymous #1. It was long, yes. It was filled with a lot of spiritual views and biblical principles, yes.

I am not going to apologize for what I wrote. I got two comments that were hurtful to me. They were offensive, and one was filled with profanity-- rambling on about Michael Jackson and saying very rude things about Christians. I've also received comforting emails and comments, and thank you so much for that.

Because I am a Christian, I will not hide my personal feelings in my faith, so I am prepared to have my believes challenged. Religion and politics are fodder for arguments, . That's not what my blog is meant to be. The purpose of my blog is not to become a pulpit to preach to folks that you MUST become a Christian! The purpose of my blog is exactly what my header says-- this journey began as my way to let my loved ones know how my son was doing, when we first learned of his dark secret of addiction in April 2008.

Eventually, I learned that there are so many families who are blogging about their experiences. Several, whom I often visit, are listed on my blog. Like people who go to AA, NA, Al-Anon, Teen-Anon and Naranon... it helps to be surrounded by people who can fully relate to what we are going through.

The design of my blog has always had Christian info-- i.e. daily scriptures, links to Christian sites. This reflects who I am. If you are a non-Christian, atheist or belong to other faiths/religions, I hope that we can have in common is that we are part of the world of addiction... be it as a parent, sibling, spouse or someone who is fighting to stay clean and sober.

My very long diatribe, that addressed "Anonymous #1" came from my heart. It took a few days for me to address the comments. In my heart, I felt that Anonymous #1 was sharing his/her heart. For some reason, I get the feeling that Anonymous #1 is a male. I felt God prompting me to be His voice.

There is more to share-- but I want to end with positive things. My son and I are growing much closer. He is helping me to break away from the the tyrannical parenting that I learned from my mother. He is teaching me to not overreact. I'm learning to pick my battles very carefully.
When I see my son heading into a direction that I can clearly see is the wrong path-- I'm carefully weighing what I should or should not say.

My son is teaching me about addiction. One day, I hope that I can serve with some kind of organization that supports parents just like me. I'm try to learn what I can about opiate addiction and recovery. I'm no expert-- just a mother who's been there and done that, and is still doing it.

For those of you who are addicts, but are staying clean and sober-- I pray that you will consider sponsoring someone who is struggling with their addiction. My son's sponsor just got arrested and is in jail (details are sketchy at this time). I feel very sorry for "D" and yet, I pray that my son will find a new sponsor. I felt that "D" had too much drama in his own life and lived too far away to be available for my son. He was hard to reach by phone, sometimes taking days to return his calls.

My son needs a sponsor who lives close by and who checks on my son-- and encourages him to attend meetings and to work the steps. B needs someone, who understands exactly what his brain is doing to him...someone he can call when he feel stressed or the need to use.

Sorry, I got long-winded again. B just walked in, to tell me that he's going to have coffee with his sponsor's girlfriend. She's totally distraught.

Addiction brings so much drama into one's life, doesn't it?

As for my husband and me-- we're off to a BBQ at my brother's home, by the ocean. We are one vacation, together, through next week. I plan to laugh, relax and appreciate living in America.



Thursday, July 2, 2009

My response to Anonymous #1

Well, here we go...I'm receiving not-so-nice email and comments from people who feel they need to attack my faith. I do believe that I tried to be kind, compassionate and non-judgmental. I did not use profanity. If you feel a need to bash me, or to use profanity of any kind, please don't do it here. If you don't agree with my beliefs (which I don't think I'm shoving down anyone's throat), I'm happy to address them, if you are courteous. Otherwise, I will have to delete the comments.
Thank you.

Dear "Doomed" (Anonymous):

I want to address your very moving comment to the best of my ability. First, let me say that I feel your pain. While I do not know what it is like to be an addict, I am living with one and I love him very, very much. As you know, my son is the addict. He has vented at me and to me, often enough. Sometimes his feelings are very raw, and he has tears in his eyes.

So, while I do not know what it feels like to have an addict's brain, I am one of those folks who believes that addiction is a switch that has been flipped in the brain. I do believe that there is a D.N.A. correlation and I do not believe that addiction is a choice. I feel that way about alcoholism. This, by the way, contradicts what one of my favorite pastors preaches. I love you, Greg Laurie, and I know you were raised by an alcoholic mom. But, I do not believe that addiction is a choice someone makes.

So, let me try my best to address your pain and honesty about how you feel about. I am going to try my very best to not preach to you!

You wrote:
I adore your blog but my question to you is what will you think of your God if your son relapses and just decides to go on a all out rampage. Does that mean God stoped answereing your prayers?

Me: Thank you for the praise. I pray that my blog can be a ministry to others. If I have touched you in any way, I am thankful. To answer what I would think of God if my son relapses... My son has relapsed three times in one year! He went on an all out rampage last November. While he was in rehab, it seems, his roommates were using OxyContin in the room! These young men were there because their parents "made" them go. All the while, these two guys and my son planned to leave before they were completely detoxed. My son, who did not know San Francisco, learned all the connections to buy Oxycontin and black tar heroin. The three of them got my son's roommate hooked on it. She was a mother one a young adult woman, an alcoholic who had been clean and sober for six months.

I did not find this out until right after Christmas, when my son moved back with us.
Did I blame God? No, not one little bit. I blame addiction. I blame evil. I blame the Dark One's sly and dirty ways. I blame my son-- who returned to rehab "for me". He didn't go for himself.

You wrote:
Why would God let my kid die of a overdose but let another kid get his or her life together and they prayed even harder then you.

You ask a very logical question. I once felt that way, too. The thing is, it doesn't matter how hard you pray. Now, I'm going to try and explain this in a very oversimplified way. I hope I do okay-- you see, prayer is both talking to God and allowing God to talk to you. It's a two way deal. By the way, I don't hear God's voice audibly, like some people say. When I feel God speaking to me, it's more of a strong urge to say or do something. I cannot tell you how many times I've thought of someone I haven't spoken to in ages-- and that very day, they will either call me or I'll bump into them! Sometimes, I get a "brain storm" epiphany... a sudden sense of knowing what I should do or say. I give that glory to God. I think that is how He speaks to me. He gives me wisdom and encouragement. Sometimes, I have vivid dreams-- almost prophetic dreams, like when I dreamt my son was using. I was 100% right, and I saw it in a dream (like the story of Joseph, in the Old Testment). Some people mistake prayer as a list of things they want God to do. God doesn't need our lists. He needs our faith and trust in Him. People do, mistakingly, assume that God will answer prayers right away. I prayed to God about a particular issue for ten long years, before it was answered! In the meantime, God made me wait. I wasn't ready. I had a lot to learn, and I had to forgive myself for somethings and let go of others. Once I reached that point, he set me free from that issue.

I digress...because I want to stick to your question, though. Sorry. In order to have God hear our prayers-- and answer our prayers-- we need to be right with Him. You see, sin separates us from God. Until we confess our sins, to God (I don't believe in confessing to a priest, like my former Catholic ways taught me) we are not right with Him. Here's a bitter pill to swallow though...and this one took me a long time to understand...

Let's say that my son dies of an overdose. "It's God's will" sounds pretty heartless, doesn't it? No doubt, I'd be devastated. I might even be tempted to blame God. But, you see, if my son died of an overdose it is because he chose to use drugs. I would not blame this on God at all. My son's need to use was totally driven by his brain calling out to him. That comes from the Dark Side. This does not come from God. Sometimes, it is a tragedy in our lives that is God's opportunity to use us to help others. Take Adam Walsh, for instance. He took the tragic kidnapping and senseless murder of his son, to start "America's Most Wanted". How did MADD (Mothers against drunk drivers) get started? The tragic death of a child.

You wrote:
The big problem with opiate addiction is when he is doing well. When he does find that dream job and starts looking good from going to the gym and has a car money in the bank and the shit starts calling his name in his sleep. The problem with opiates is it's a brain disease. Unless he goes to meetings every day of his life or goes on suboxone or even methadone the chances of him relapses somewhere down the line in the next three years are extremely against him.

Me: Yes, my friend. How right you are. I thought my son was doing well, just last month. He had a job. He is well liked by his peers. He is loved by me and he has all of his needs met for him-- food, shelter, medical needs, clothing and some pocket money to have some fun. Our home is peaceful, drug-free and a place that I have worked to create as a sanctuary. Still, my son could not resist the need to use. He blames it on his injured back, from his car accident last year. As you know, my son cannot use prescription pain killers. Hello? He used OxyContin for years. So, he chipped by skipping his suboxone for a day so he could smoke heroin-- just to take the "edge" off. In between, he'd use suboxone to help with the withdrawals. I call that "the crazy cycle". The Dark One (Evil) fooled my son, and he fell for it. We know that my son's odds are only a 3% success rate to get off heroin. He has a 97% chance that he will not succeed. It sucks. He has been using Suboxone, on and off, for a year. This time, he's been legally using it since January-- when I found a doctor that takes his insurance. We pay $400.00 out of our pocket to make sure my son has medical insurance to buy his diabetes insulin and suboxone. Ouch.

You wrote: I'm on suboxone now and will never get off. I know if I do I'm doomed. I just got a settlement from a car accident that should last a lifetime. Can you imagine I start useing again. I'll be dead.

Me: I cannot begin to tell you how sad this statement made me. I feel such hopelessness in this. I am so sorry. This statement, of yours, is why I have addressed you as "Doomed". I wish I knew your first name, so I could call you by that. This is your own perception-- not mine. I pray that your heart will be filled with hope.

You wrote: I love the way you write and your love for your son is so uncondiditional and I so hope he is going to be the few that makes it.

Me: Thank you. I do too.

You wrote: God has no say in this. It's your soon that will be this by his wanting to not by any ones prayers hopes dreams. I really can't stand when people say "thanks to God I'm clean etc. I'm sure the million others said that at one time or another before they were found in a ally somewhere purple.

Ah, He does. In my son's case, I believe that God has played a huge part in protecting my son. My son was yanked out of his truck, beaten and carjacked. The perpetrators were caught and I stood in court while the 18 year old was sentenced. He got 10 months in jail. He will forever have that on his record. Another tinme, my son was mugged at gunpoint. The robber pulled the trigger-- and by some miracle, the gun didn't go off. The robber ran away with my son's wallet...and his friend's. My son has told me times when he was in bad sections of town, buying drugs. He's had guns pulled on him. By some miracle, he didn't get shot and killed. The area where my son was hanging out is averaging 1-3 kills a week. Shall I go on?

I believe where God plays a part in this, is He is waiting for my son to come to Him. Nothing is impossible for God. BUT, like any loving and good parent, He allows us to stumble and fall when we think we can do things on our own. When we do not come to God for wisdom and guidance and we live our lives totally opposite from what God tells us is not acceptable-- He steps back and watches. The bible says the He sees our every tear. I don't know how old you are... or if you're a parent. But I can tell you that I have had to let my son walk into his own disasters, hoping that he'd learn from his poor choices.

The bottom line is-- when we, as Christians, surrender our lives to live according to God's Word (that would be the bible), we become fully aware of evil and good. Jesus is the shining light on a dark world. Our values change. I can attest to that. I did things in my past, that today I am fully aware were wrong. I hurt a lot of people and I degraded myself by my past behavior. Now, I know better. I would never do these things, today!

That is what God does--hoping that we will finally humble ourselves before him. Otherwise, the Devil (and he is real) will lead us down the pathway to hell. I'm talking earthly hell-- misery.

Many people do not understand-- or they forget-- that God has given us "free will". He wants us to love him because we choose to. He will never force Himself upon us. It would be like an arranged marriage! But, sometimes, God will set us up to fail hoping that we will finally admit that we cannot live a happy and fulfilling life, unless we submit to Him. That's what God did to me. He took away my marriage, my home, my money and I lived in poverty for some time. I made bad choices in men-- and then I found God. He wiped away my tears and taught me to forgive myself and to love myself. I am a much different person, now.

This, I feel, is one of the top reasons why people shun Christianity, or are unwilling to accept this. We do not want to submit ourselves to our Higher Power-- and for me, it is Jesus Christ-- God-- our savior. We blame God for the suffering in this world, when it is evil that has caused it. Until the prophecy that Jesus will come again happens-- evil is alive and well in our hearts and in our world.

You wrote: I been shot ( twice) stabbed (3 times) homeless, prison (3 times) county jsil (15 times) and I use every time I felt better or got released. That's the insanity of addiction. I got sober because I was ready.

Me:I am sorry that this has happened. Addiction is a crazy cycle. I have watched my son go through this for a year. I read blogs from parents who have gone through this for years. I don't want this to be me! I pray that you are still sober-- but most importantly, I pray for you to find joy in your life.

You wrote: Knowing that money was coming was my chance to enjoy life then to be constantly chaseing something that I had a love hate relationship with. I haven't been high in years because I was doing the shit just not to get sick. I'm sorry for rambling and do not mean to demean your faith in God but it irks me that people think he has a hand in this and I seen so much suffering to people who had such crazy faith in 'HIM" and they suffered beyond any words can describe. Mainly me

I'm sad to read this. However, I don't think you are rambling. You are sharing honest feelings. You are not demeaning my faith. I once felt the same way that you did. I'm sorry that you have suffered. I think of Christ-- the son of God-- who suffered a horrifying death on the cross. Why? Because he took on all of our sins, and became the sacrificial lamb. He did this so that we may be forgiven of our sins-- to be right with God-- and to know that when we die...and we all will... that we will go on to a better place. A place where there will be no more suffering, sorrow, pain or death.

Until then, sometimes we must suffer in our life on earth. Sometimes, others suffer more than we do. Others are blessed with a wonderful life on earth.

Look at Michael Jackson. He was famous, successful and filthy rich. Yet, I believe, he was a sad and tormented person. His mega millions could not bring him happiness; ultimately he spent more money than he made and that left him broke. What was Michael Jackson seeking? I don't think he found it. I know people who are lovely human beings. They are kind. They are generous. They cannot fathom that they will not go to heaven, unless they are followers of Jesus. They believe that they are "good" people, and that should be enough.

Sadly, "good" isn't good enough. By that, I believe that no matter how nice or good we think we are-- we are all sinners. Even nice people fall short of how God wants us to live our lives. That's why He sent us his one and only begotten Son to redeem us of our sins.

What separates Christians from any other religion, is accepting that we can have a direct relationship with God only through Jesus. Period. This is where Christianity and Judaism part ways. There are many different sects of Christianity, too. My faith is non-denominational. I stick to what God's Word says. I learned how to read and study the bible by finding a small group. I knew zip-- nothing, about the bible for most of my life. In fact, I found reading the bible totally boring and hard to understand-- until I found a church with a pastor who could break it all down to a language I could understand. Now, I find that I enjoy the bible and I relate to so many of the key people-- King David, King Solomon, Ruth, Joseph and all the disciples. I find wisdom in reading Psalms and Proverbs. Now, I find the bible to be a fascinating book in history and prophecy that nobody can disprove!

I know heroin addicts who have been saved by Jesus. I have heard their testimony. These are people who have been in prison, stabbed and overdosed. These are folks who've lost everything. These people make my heart feel hope. I can see that they have found strength, peace and love in knowing God.

I highly recommend the book by Rick Warren, "A Purpose Driven Life" (see my Shelfari icon on this blog). It's an easy read, and can explain a lot of what you've expressed far better than I can.

Thank you, for your candor. Thank you, for giving me thought provoking questions for me to answer. I hope that I have helped you to see my perspective on things.

Now, my friend, I pray that you will feel the love of God in your heart, right now. I pray that you will come to really know who God is. He is a God of Love. May God be your sword and your shield against the forces of evil that call your name.

If there is a "Celebrate Recovery" in your area (check their website) in your area, maybe you can check it out.

In Christ's Love,

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Two thought and prayer provoking Anonymous Comments

I haven't blogged for a while, obviously. I am thinking. I am sorting out my thoughts. I am also fighting the symptoms of a cold.

Fortunately, I am on Day One of a 27 day (unpaid) vacation from my school district.

I received two very heartfelt "anonymous" comments from my posting on June 25, 2009.

I want each of you "Anonymous" folks to know that I am not offended by your honesty. Not one tiny bit. If anything, my heart has been deeply touched.

I want to address these comments, but I am thinking this through very carefully. I am not a theologist, a pastor nor a Bible Banging Christian.

I love God. I know God, because I seek to know Him. I do not "humanize" Him, because He is God. I believe that God is all knowing, all seeing-- "omnipotent".

I also know the Dark One.

Before I log off, because I have things I need to do, I want to address a few things:

I do not preach or impose Godly guilt on my son.
My son is a believer in Jesus Christ, by his own choice.
I do not blame God for my son's troubles, nor my own.
I do not think that God is the only answer for addicts to find healing in their need to use drugs.

I do believe that God loves each and every one of us.
I do believe that God gives us strength, because the Dark One is always waiting to pounce on us, and to lure us into the devil's snare.

I believe that my son believes in God. But, I think my son does not believe in himself.

I will address these comments as soon as I have a quiet morning, without pressing business.

My son is struggling. I think he wants to stay clean, but he is hanging over a raging river perched on a thin branch.

I am trying, very hard, to be careful about what I say. My son is opening up to me, and admitting things that are breaking my heart. I am filled with pain and worry....disappointment and anger... and fear for my son.

I am not ready to share what's been going on in my home, because I have a lot of sorting out to do.

In the meantime, God is giving me so much strength and courage to keep my hope up for my son.

There are so many miracles that I know have come from God. I haven't share them, but there are many...

I do believe that only because of God's mercy that my son is not in prison and that he is alive.

Trust me. My son has had many close brushes with the law and with death. Many.

God is good. Though we might think God is not answering our prayers, He is.

God just answers them His way. Not the way we want Him to.

Please remember that. Trust in Him.

Until later, please know how much I appreciate your candor. I understand why you choose to remain anonymous. To me, you are a real person. To God, you are not anonymous. He knows you.