Monday, September 28, 2009

Hugs and peace of mind about my son

I am getting ready for work, so I don't have much time. I wanted to say thank you for leaving me such lovely comments, when I posted about not hearing from my son. To "Anonymous", I appreciate your suggestion to drug test my son, before helping him out with rent. The reason that won't work, is that I am in the "disengaging" or "tough love" phase with my son. He has been "helped" for 18 months.  I cannot and I will not give my son money-- to pay off drug debt, rent or any debts he's created. He needs to learn how to manage his money, including not buying drugs. Besides, my son had been lying about his drug tests, cleverly hiding fake urine in ways that a mother shouldn't have to search.

Now, on to the good news. One week later, I asked my husband if I should call B. He thought that there was nothing wrong with it. I admit, that I was afraid to call for fear that I would hear bad news, he'd sound strung out or depressed, or he'd ask me for money.  Taking a deep breath, I called and B sounded happy and said he'd been trying to reach me all day. I had been at a weekend Foodie Festival where I live.

B is still working, and loves his job. He didn't ask me for money, but said he won't get paid till the fifth. Could I buy him a few grocery staples. Yes, I did.  So, he met me at the grocery store and I set him up with a week's worth of food. B says he's been cooking a lot, and getting pretty good at it.  I was happy to hear that.

As we left, B gave me a warm hug and told me that he finally got some methadone. He says the suboxone wasn't helping, and that he's doing much better and feels better.  We locked eyes, and my son said he wanted to hang out with me next week.  He loves me, and that's all that matters.  He did look good, and he sounded good-- no slurred speech, talking a mile a minute and he looked clean. 

I had peace of mine, as I drifted off to sleep. B still remains the last thought in my head as I drift off to sleep-- he is always in my prayer, and I do miss him. I pray he is fighting for sobriety and God's will.

Gotta run-- off to work.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Resisting the urge to "help" my son

The last time I heard from B was on Sunday. He had called the night before,
asking if he could attend church with us. I told him to call us, when he's
awake, and I'd be happy to pick him up. He didn't call until late in the
afternoon, saying he had overslept and he was worried about not having a ride to work.

I'm so used to this. It doesn't mean that I like it, but my son is sorely
lacking much follow-through. I struggle with people who are flakey. I'm trying to let it go, knowing that my expectations of him are far and away from how he really rolls. I was headed into town, anyway, so I agreed to give him a ride to work. It also gives me 10 precious minutes in the car with my son.

By appearances, he seems okay. He looked clean and well-kempt. It's when I see wrinkled and dirty clothes, that I strongly suspect he's been on a binge of using. He says he really likes his job at the golf course. He was stressing, big time, about his upcoming October rent.

This is where my test of faith and letting go of my mother's instinct to "help" my son comes in.

I said nothing.

As B left the car, he said "I guess I'll have to sell my clothes..."

Bait. Guilt. I'm familiar with this.

No. I won't help my son with money. I know that this is counter-productive.

We hugged and each said "I love you."

Monday, when I returned home from work, his car was parked in front of our house. That would mean that he finally had it towed from the dealership. He couldn't afford the $1200.00 to replace the computer system, that has made it shut down.

B has not called me to explain how long the car will be at the house. At times, it makes me worry. I would think that getting his car fixed would be a priority for him. He says he found a lead on someone who could fix it for a lot less. It's now Friday. The car is still there, and no phone call.

I have decided to let it go, for now. Still, my son is my last thought before I drift off to sleep. He is also my first though when I wake up-- praying that he's clean and sober.  When I come home, from work, and I see his car-- I feel pangs of sorrow and missing him. 

In order to keep myself from feeling frantic, this is what I pray:

Dear Father,

I pray that my son's struggles are all part of your divine plan for him. I pray that You are patiently coaxing B to admit to himself that his life is completely out of control. I pray that B will long to find peace in his life, and that you are the answer. I pray that you would not allow my heart to become discouraged or to allow fear to make me try and take my own action. I give this to you, Lord.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, September 21, 2009

My name is Debby. My son is an addict, and I am a co-dependent

I have been reading every comment, very carefully. I cannot say, often enough, now much they mean to me. At times, I might not agree with someone's advice, other times I can totally relate. This particular comment has made me pause to think:
Written to me by Suboxone Mom:
read all your reasons for not attending meetings. What stood out the most was that you were at those meetings for your son.
"Each woman is given as much time as she needs to talk. An hour later, I'd hear all about overeating (something I can relate to, but I'm there for my son) or someone's sexual molestation stories from childhood (which broke my heart)."

But the point of the meetings is for YOU to heal. We are supposed to work a program so that "WE" get better. We are not there to understand the addict, nor are we there to hear their stories. We are there to learn how to live our lives in spite of the addict......

Try going for you, not him. He has his own program, his own higher power. Your going to meetings will not get him better. It will heal you...eventually.
Yesterday, I was (once again) blessed by an excellent message from our pastor. He is teaching a series on "Why Believe in the Bible-- with a little help from C.S. Lewis".  I took lots of notes, because I'm so passionate about this particular issue.  I feel that it is my duty-- as a Christian-- to study the Word. The more I read it, the more I find only Truth.  But that's not what has inspired today's posting--

I picked up a brochure from Celebrate Recover on CODEPENDENCY.  I read it, and I realized something very significant...

I AM A CODEPENDENT.  I have a CODEPENDENT relationship with my son.  As I read the compliance patterns, I could see a lot of myself in these:

Patterns in Co-dependency

What is Co-dependency?

These patterns and characteristics are offered as a tool to aid in self-evaluation. They may be particularly helpful to newcomers as they begin to understand Co-dependency and may aid those who have been in recovery a while to determine what traits still need attention and transformation.

Denial Patterns:

* I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.
* I minimize, alter, or deny how I truly feel.
* I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well being of others.

Low Self Esteem Patterns:

* I have difficulty making decisions.
* I judge everything I think, say, or do harshly, as never "good enough."
* I am embarrassed to receive recognition and praise or gifts.
* I do not ask others to meet my needs or desires.
* I value other's approval of my thinking, feelings, and behaviors over my own.
* I do not perceive myself as a lovable or worthwhile person.

Compliance Patterns:

* I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or others' anger.
* I am very sensitive to how others are feeling and feel the same.
* I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
* I value others' opinions and feelings more than my own and am often afraid to express differing opinions and feelings of my own.

* I put aside my own interests and hobbies in order to do what others want.
* I accept sex when I want love.

Control Patterns:
* I believe most other people are incapable of taking care of themselves.
* I attempt to convince others of what they "should" think and how they "truly" feel.
* I become resentful when others will not let me help them.
* I freely offer others advice and directions without being asked.
* I lavish gifts and favors on those I care about.
* I use sex to gain approval and acceptance.
* I have to be "needed" in order to have a relationship with others.

Compliance Patterns (FROM Celebrate Recovery)

_____ I (not we) declared I was in complete control of my addiction/compulsion, that my life was fine and dandy - thank you very much.

_____ I feel guilty about others' feelings and behaviors.

_____ I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.

_____ I am afraid of my anger, yet sometimes erupt in a rage.

_____ I worry how others may respond to my feelings, opinions and behavior.

_____ I have difficulty making decisions.

_____ I am afraid of being hurt and/or rejected by others.

_____ I minimize, alter, or deny how I truly feel.

_____ I am very sensitive to how others are feeling and feel the same.

_____ I am afraid to express differing opinions or feelings.

_____ I values others' opinions and feelings more than my own.

_____ I put other people's needs and desires before mine.

_____ I am embarrassed to receive recognition and praise, or gifts.

_____ I judge everything I think, say or do harshly as never "good enough."

_____ I am a perfectionist.

_____ I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.

_____ I do not ask others to meet my needs or desires.

_____ I do not perceive myself as a lovable and worthwhile person.

The statements that I strongly agree with I have highlited in red. Those that I "somewhat" agree with are in green.

I struggle, most, with saying :"no" to my son, when he is in trouble. I'm getting better, but I struggle:

I do NOT want to enable my son:
Enabling is defined as reacting to a person in such a way as to shield him or her from experiencing the full impact of the harmful consequences of behavior. Enabling behavior differs from helping in that it permits or allows the person to be irresponsible.

* PROTECTION from natural consequences of behavior.
* KEEPING SECRETS about behavior from others in order to keep peace.
* MAKING EXCUSES for the behavior. (School, friends, legal authorities, work, other family members)
* BAILING OUT of trouble. (Debts, fixing tickets, paying lawyers, providing jobs)
* BLAMING OTHERS for the dependent person's behavior. (Friends, teachers, employers, family, SELF)
* SEEING THE PROBLEM AS THE RESULT OF SOMETHING ELSE. (Shyness, adolescence, loneliness, child, broken home)
* AVOIDING the chemically dependent person in order to keep the peace. (out-of-sight, out-of-mind)
* ATTEMPTING TO CONTROL. (Planning activities, choosing friends, getting jobs)
* MAKING THREATS that have no follow-through or consistency.
* TAKING CARE of the chemically dependent person. Doing what they should be expected to do for themselves.
It is so easy for me to recognize others who are enabling their addicts/loved ones. But, for me to self-evaluate where I am weak is another story-- it is hard for me to see my son struggle. I'm so much better at it, but I can still see where my instinct to protect my son is so strong!
I am going to try, my hardest, to return to Celebrate Recovery.  Suboxone Mom, you are right. I need to do this for me. I have identified what it is I need to work on.

Please pray for me, that I'll make this a priority in my life.

Thank you,

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A message of hope from an addict

Good morning to my support family and friends,

I'm having a good week, and I'm thankful for it. Last night, I went back to my former Friday tradition of making a Happy Hour treat for my husband (C) and me to celebrate our weekend off. I start emptying out the fridge by making antipasti, cold cuts, fruit & cheese and a glass of white wine or a cold beer. We eat in the living room and talk about our week. We haven't done this in many months. We finished off the evening by watching an independent movie DVD and cuddling on the couch.

Do I miss my son? No. I'm enjoying a more tranquil home and bonding with my husband. I think of my son, all the time.

I received this email, and the author said it was okay to share this on my blog. Her words gave me hope, and I am happy that she has been able to regain a life of sobriety. I feel that her letter deserves to be shared with you, my friends:

Hi Debby:
My name is "c"; No one but a very small handful of people know this and it is still hard to speak about it yet I was a heroin addict for about 10 years in my late 20's to almost 40. I am 60 now and clean for over 20 years.
It seems like a lifetime ago. It is.
The reason I am writing is my heart cracked reading your blog. Addicts/users/dopers whatever the label is forget that family is affected more than anyone knows.
My comment to you is never give up on him. He is unique as his story is only his. I did not do AA/NA or any of the 12 step programs as I had an issue with giving myself up to others and since I started this journey by self I wanted to end it the same way. I felt (still do) feel they brain wash you; I know people who were clean for 17 and 19 years and missed meetings and got back into it. Yes, it does work for lots of people yet he is is unique.
I do not have a "birthday" and I do not remember the exact time I first stuck a needle into my arm; so I could not give it power and have a birthday for quitting.
i know for a fact that the time will come that he will be well and your sane son again. There will come a time that he will not think about what it felt like and there will come a time he will not remember that it was anything!!!
I almost lost the love of my 3 daughters; now I am a Grandma of 4 and they all love me.
My Mom (she is 100) forgave me and that was sooooooooooooo important to me.
Please know he is first your son and he will be okay when it is his time!!!
I read some of the comments; everyone, including me, have an opinion and believe me, he is lying to you and himself. He is not wanting to get caught; heroin addicts think they are slick.
Looks are just looks; an addict is an addict; preppy/homeless/surfer/skate border/waitress/comic/actress/girl next door are still addicts; if he thinks he is different or a free rehab will not work, it won't BECAUSE he is NOT ready!!!
I sold heroin and cocaine to support my habit and I had famous singers, musicians and actors as customers.
I take it you are a Californian as you spoke of him going to the Bay area; Northern Californian's say Bay area. I use to live in San Francisco (during the later part of being hooked) and what an easy place to be an addict.
I now live in Southern California and yes, I was hooked down here in the beginning. You take your addiction with you. It is NOT the city, the friends or a way of living. It is you (B).
These are my thoughts; I am a survivor of my own self made hell.
Yes, I o'd many times; emergency rooms, stomach pumped and so much that you do not need to hear.
Never give up; and do not loose yourself or your husband trying to save your son.
Yes, I am anonymous as I have a decent life with people that might just not like me if they knew of my past so I remain anonymous.
Take care

Thank you, C, for sharing this.

I'm off to enjoy the day, with my husband, after tidying up my house a bit. We are expecting an unprecedented heat wave. We live in an area where air-conditioning is non-existent. I don't do well in heat! Yikes. While I don't miss my son living with us, I think of him constantly. When that pang of sorrow hits me, I practice "giving it to God".  I do not have the power to change my son's situation... but I have the power, through God's love, to find peace in my life-- even when the storms of life hit.

Praying for families of addicts, and for addicts who are struggling to find sobriety-- ONE DAY AT A TIME.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Just a quick update on me-- not my son

I wanted to quickly post that today I am feeling hopeful (for my son) and I am adjusting to my son no longer living with me.  I can walk past his room and not feel a longing for him.

I am beginning to let go of my anxiety and fear-- and this morning, I had an overwhelming longing to hold my husband. My son has sucked the life out of my marriage. I'm blessed that C has been so patient with me, through all of this.  My marriage hasn't suffered collateral damage, but I have been remiss in being a wife. I've been the mom of a drug addict for so many months, that my husband has patiently stood by the sidelines.

I feel as though I can laugh again. I think of my son, often, of course. When I do, I literally say a silent prayer to God, telling Him that I cannot live in fear. If I live in fear, then I am telling God that I don't trust him.

Barbara-- I pray that you will receive this message, today. Trust God.

Tuesday night, I attended the first meeting for a Women's Bible Study. I absolutely loved it. I need to connect with more Christian women.  There is such power and healing in group prayer.  I have daily readings and studies to do, and I need that kind of accountability. Today, I will drive 3 miles to the ocean (I can't walk it due to my bad knee).  Overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean, with a view of one of the most famous golf courses in the world-- I will read God's Word and reflect on it.

I am going to focus on keeping myself spiritually, maritally and physically fit.

My son called me two days ago, asking if he could have my old lap top. I will give it to him, this weekend. C fears that my son will sell it. I don't-- it's old, slow and freezes often.  He is working at golf course, and he says he loves it.  I am happy for him, because he's a good golfer and he can play golf for free.

That's all I have heard from my son, since Sunday. He is alive. I am thankful that he isn't calling me. At this time, no calls is good news to me.

The first chance I get, I want to post some comments that have touched my heart. I've received some private emails, too-- and I will post them, hoping they will touch your hearts, too.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Special Delivery and reconnecting

I finally went back to bed at 3:30am and I got a little bit of sleep-- like 3 hours worth.  I am really struggling with this inexplicable back spasm/pinched nerve thing.  Tomorrow, I have an appointment with my chiropractor. Unlike my son, I will do anything to not take any kind of pain medicine.  Codeine makes me sick to my stomach, and I much prefer holistic approaches for pain. I've been alternating ice and heat and massage, but I'm still not 100%

I decided I needed to go to church, today.  Though it hurts to sit still for long, I love my church and I always walk away with an encouraging message.  I made two important decisions, today, but first--

My son. 

B called me after we have left church and had gone grocery shopping.  He sounded really depressed, and asked for me to look for his phone charger. His phone had been dead since last night. I had plans to do some cooking for the week, but my muscle spasms were rendering me pretty useless.  I decided to have my husband load up my son's box of clean clothes he left behind, some sugar-free sodas he loves (I rarely drink sodas) and I gathered up a few grocery items that I forgot to bring him. I headed back into town, which is only ten minutes away.

Let's pause  a moment-- I received a comment from someone who doesn't list an email, so I need to make a general response to the gist of it.  This is the part of the comment I want to address:

He's hungry because he lost his job and spent all his money. This is a magical moment in the life of a drug addict. Time to reflect on what drugs have done. Ah, wait, here comes mom to the rescue with milk, bread and supplies. Maybe next time B will learn what it's like to be hungry and not take responsibility for providing his own food.

I admit that I was, at first, a bit put off by the harshness of this comment. But, that's my ego speaking. I thought about it, and I can see that person's viewpoint. However, I want to say that I do not necessarily think it's enabling to provide food staples to someone who is broke (for whatever reason), and is a Type I diabetic.  Maybe that commenter doesn't understand the full impact of my son's tragic dilemma.  B is addicted to opiates and he is insulin dependent because his pancreas doesn't work. I've had people try to peddle miracle vitamins to us that will "cure" his diabetes. Sadly, many people don't realize that my would die without insulin. At this time, there is no cure for Juvenile Diabetes.

I did not deliver gourmet food, chips and junk food to my son. I could not, in good conscience, allow my son to be without any kind of juice-- in the event he hits a low blood sugar.  I do not give my son cash. Period. My son has a very modest trust fund that my mother left him. I am the trustee. I have made sure that this money will not be fully available to him until he turns 25. It isn't much, but it will be a little something. It's a good thing, or he would have smoked every penny of my mother's hard earned life savings.  Sometimes, I will use that cash to benefit my son-- like his rehab, his Sober Living Enviroment home and to repair his car so that he could get to and from his job...since it was too far to walk or there wasn't bus service. Unfortunately 75% of that trust fund is now gone... all for medical bills and rehab related costs that our insurance did not cover.

I own up to being co-dependent with my son, but I think I have made leaps and strides in saying "no" to my son. I doubt there isn't a loving mom on this planet who isn't co-dependent or who becomes "soft". However, I think I'm doing a pretty good job at setting boundaries. That is why my son no longer lives in our home.  Please, give me some credit!

So, back to my day.  I bought some basics so that my son can eat-- milk, bread, eggs and juice. I will take the money spent (under $50) out of his trust fund. He knows it, and he's thankful.

B looked better than I expected. He looked clean-shaven but very tired.  He's detoxing, he says, Day #3. That sounds about right. That would be the day after his Pay Day (his pattern).  He is very shook up about his friends' overdose. I will share more on that, at a later time. Not now.

He was thankful for the food and I handed him my letter.  He looked sad. He says that he can't read my letters, because they hurt too much.

I told him to do what he wants with the letter, but that I needed to share my honest feelings with him.

My son said to me, "I'm really trying, mom" (to quit using).

I looked at him, and I didn't know what to say.

Finally, I said that I had to go.  I asked him to call me, next time, with good news. I told him that I could not sleep after what he told me yesterday.

"Why?" he asked, incredulously...

He doesn't understand the impact his addiction has on our lives.  I hear that from addicts who leave comments-- like Angelo.  I hear that from Barbara, who faithfully leaves comments to me.

Addiction is so selfish, isn't it? 

Tonight, I'm feeling better that I saw my son. He's a good looking young man, I have to say. Behind those beautiful green eyes, and those thick long lashes of his, I see such sadness.  His beautiful and infectious laugh isn't there.

My son is detoxing on his own... again.  I can already see it-- his insomnia, lack of appetite and restlessness.

My two decisions I've made-- I am going to return to the Women's Bible Study Group at my church.  To most people, I seem as though I'm a confident and outgoing person-- on my own turf. Truth be told, I am a nervous wreck when I am put into a room full of strangers.  I fear rejection, you see. It's all about my insecurities from my childhood. I've blogged about this early on, when I started this blog. But, I will do this to work on my own self.

I also decided that I will try and return to Celebrate Recovery. 

I have blogged about why support groups, in my area, haven't work for me. I'm in a small town, folks. I've done Al-Anon and I walked away with an empty feeling. I cannot relate to alcoholism.  I cannot find an open meeting for NA that I can go to, where I live.  I have also blogged about the excellent classes that my husband and I attended at my son's treatment center. Yes, I know all about how important support groups and counseling are. I've logged my fair share of hours seeking professional counseling and I have attended support groups.  I think they work, if you can find a good group.

But, I will try Celebrate Recovery again.  Maybe, this time, I will find support in my own backyard.

I really need to reconnect with the Lord, and to build my spiritual faith.  I have a feeling that the Dark One is going to attack my family. My son is under spiritual attack.  I need to stay strong and to continue to trust God.

This week, I'm going to gear up to start blogging in more of a story line. I have not told my son's story, about how he even got started using drugs.

It's time that I do that.  I hope that my son's story will help others.  We need to stick together-- we parents of drug addicts. 

Please don't hesitate to leave comments for me. Even if they might sound harsh, I carefully consider what is said.   I just wish that some of you, at least, had an email where I could write back to you privately. I understand, though.  Many of us need to remain anonymous.

May the Lord bless you, and keep you-- and encourage your hearts.  I pray for all the addicts who are out there-- untreated and unable to find help.  I pray for a miracle for them.

In Jesus' Powerful and Holy Name.

Middle of the night, A Letter to my Son

Dear B,

I am deeply disappointed to hear that you lost your job. I pray that your new job will work out for you. Somehow, I am not surprised to hear that you were asked to resign, because you refused to take a drug test. You were giving me hints that there was something going on at work.

I have written numerous letters to you-- many were never given to you. They were my way of putting my thoughts and feelings down in writing. I was trying to free myself of what I was holding inside. I have also given you several of the letters I've written. At times, I found them in places that made me realize you never read them. I know that I write lengthy letters. It's my curse, in a way. I try to be articulate-- hoping that you will understand what I am trying to say. I have a need to feel understood and writing my feeings has always been my venue. With that said, let me do my best to get to the point in a lot less words. At least, I'll try:

I wish that you could see yourself, from my point of view.  You were saying to me that when you were loaded at work, that nobody could tell. You also said that people think you're loaded, but it's really that you were withdrawing and that you weren't loaded at all. Forgive me, but I think you are sadly mistaken.

The dichotomy in your explanation is that either way-- loaded or coming down, you are using drugs. Period.
You are right, in that I couldn't exactly tell when you were using. What I could detect, without a doubt, is that you were not the B that I know. I am your mother, and I have a six sense when something isn't right with you.

The changes that your stepdad and I noticed were:
•    Constant chattering, and repeating the same things.
•    "Hyperness"-- bursts of energy AND nonstop chattering.
•    Hooded eyes, slurred speech and slow comprehension. If I brought any of these to your attention, you always said you were tired.
•    Personal hygiene- lack of taking care of your clothes and showering.
•    Flaky lifestyle-- standing people up, and being late for everything.
•    Procrastination-- not handling your obligations and ignoring phone calls.
•    Your cellphone began to ring non-stop. I suspect you were reconnecting with friends from your drug past.

The obvious signs of withdrawal:
•    Lethargic attitude-- sleeping for hours on end.
•    Lack of appetite.
•    Irritability.
I have to be honest with you and tell you that you are not hiding your drug use the way that you think you are. I suspect that your co-workers and/or supervisors noticed it, too.

Until a few days before you moved out, I never suspected you of stealing money from anyone. I pray that you will never become desperate enough to become a thief.  I still cannot understand why you needed to take $40.00 from me, two days after your payday. I can only assume that it's drug-related-- whether it's a debt you owed someone, or a need to buy drugs. You never offered me an explanation.  Your lack of silence confirmed that it's something that would upset me.

I have to be completely honest with you about your current situation. I, sadly, must assume that you are using drugs.  Whether you are using 3 times a week, or 3 times a day, you are using. Period.

Until you finally admit to yourself that you are powerless against your addiction, you will live a life that will never give you peace of mind.  It is sad that you are addicted to a drug that has one of the lowest recovery statistics.  That does not mean that you cannot be victorious over this.

I love you with all of my heart, son. But you are in a total state of denial. You are lying to yourself, thinking that suboxone or a shot of whatever-that-is, or smoking weed, is going to save you.

The "if only's" aren't going to help you, either-- X-boxes, a new car, a new job, a new roommate... none of those things will help you to stop using opiates.  In fact, those "things" will be lost to your addiction, if  you don't do something about it.  You will lose job after job. You will sell those "things" that you think will help you with your addiction, in order to satisfy the need to use.  You could end up couch surfing and eventually being homeless. You know I'm telling you the truth-- you've sold everything you ever owned for opiates. You've been fired from several jobs.

I applaud you for the way you handled your current job for the first five months. You were well liked and you paid your rent to us, responsibly. I think that within the last month of your living with us, you were using a lot more than you wanted me to know.  I do think you began to miss work because of withdrawals towards the end.  Somehow, I think that's when your supervisors began to give you a hard time.We found foils tucked inside new magazines, and pants you had worn to work, you know. Those weren't old foils, no matter what excuses you made to us.

Son, it is 2:00am, and I cannot sleep.  I am, helplessly, watching your life spiral out of control again.  I cannot be the person to bail you out of trouble. You know that.  You and I have talked that the greatest fear is incarceration. Being locked up in a jail full of notorious gang members scares the hell out of you and me-- not to mention your diabetes and need for insulin injections.  Then what?  I am in no financial position to bail you out-- nor should I.  You have been blessed, so far, to have escaped being arrested for buying or selling drugs. Please, don't push your luck.

I've written more words than I meant to. I could write pages and pages to you, pleading with you to understand that you are so deeply loved by me, your father and God.  I am deeply saddened, knowing that your life must be hell. How can you feel joy, when you have so much unfinished business?  I'm saddened to see that you are unable to manage your life, because opiates are controlling you. Why are you hanging out with the same people you used with? I cannot understand that at all. 

When you finally make that decision that you no longer want to use drugs-- and you stop playing the victim and blaming everyone else for your own troubles, you will begin to find peace again.  You are too deeply addicted to opiates to do this on your own. You have tried to do this for 18 months, and have relapsed more times than I can count.

I think you need a professional treatment center.  If anything, I believe that if you work the NA program and find a sponsor that has been sober for a long time-- and doesn't have the kind of drama that your current sponsor has-- that you stand a good chance of finding sobriety and peace in your life.

I pray that this job will be a good outlet for you, son.  If you balance work and your sobriety (with the help of NA) you might begin to experience peace in your soul. It will be hard, though, because when you're tired you think of reasons not to go to a meeting.

I will never leave you, or forsake you, B-- as your mother. Neither will the Lord.  However, I have to let you reach your bottom.  I will support you, morally (not financially) should you go into a treatment center. If I keep bailing you out of trouble, you will never want sobriety enough to really seek it.  Every time I have helped you to pay off your debts, I have delayed any chance of your making the decision to end the crazy cycle of using drugs.

You know that.  Please, get professional help.  I am going to back to the Women’s Bible Studies on Tuesday nights at our church  and Celebrate Recovery on as many Wednesday nights as I can. Your sobriety will save your life. I want you to find peace in your life—joy, honor, integrity and to reconnect with God’s perfect light—so that the darkness can’t lie to you anymore.

I love you,


NOTE: I will deliver this letter to my son. I pray he will receive my words.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

B's first call to me in six days...

NOTE: Three hours later, I am updating the "news" the bottom of this post:

I'm having some sort of pinched nerve pain in my upper back area. It's totally random, and I don't know why. I worked a 14 hour day, between my job at the high school and selling football tickets at the high school. It's fun, because I know most of the kids and it's a little extra pocket money. It was 10pm, by the time I got home, and I was hurtin'.  I took an Aleve and slept on ice (not fun) and woke up at 10am...actually, I was jarred awake by my husband calling to remind me to take another Aleve.

As I write this, I'm still feeling very groggy. It's 10:30am.

The phone rang, and it was B.

"Mom!" (loud, and excited voice).  "You won't believe what just happened to me!! It's totally craaaaaaaaazy!"" Oh, my God...!"

My heart leaps and adrenalin really jolts me to an awakened state.

"What??!!" I quickly ask.

(Background noise and muffled voice ).... my son is saying something like, "no, I don't have change for a $20.

I realize it's his roommate's voice, MA.   I hear them talking back and forth, and it sounds like it's over money.

"Let me call you right back, B" says and he hangs up.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

So far, the phone hasn't rung.

I picked it up to call back, and put it down.

No, this is B's constant drama.  I have to preoccupy myself with other things.

What happened to him?  Lord, I pray it's good news. Please, let it be good news.

It's a crazy life, isn't it, having a drug addict for a son?

Stay tuned...

It's 1:30pm. I want to throw up, I'm so heart sick.

I can't really talk about it, in depth.
#1 - a "friend" spent the night at their apartment and overdosed, snorting oxycontin and cocaine. B says he wasn't using, and didn't know the friend had it on him. An ambulance took him away at 7:30am, and he's alive.
#2 B was given the option to either quit or be fired from his grocery store job. They suspect he was high, some days, and so he is unemployed
#3 B starts his new job on the 15th. He's broke and hungry.

I'm going to bring him so milk, bread and juice (for his low blood sugars). He did not ask me for money.

Dear God, please give me strength.  I feel sick to my stomach...

To my loved ones-- please don't call me right now. I'm becoming an introvert, at this time. I need to process all of this. I have my Heavenly Father, my loving husband and wonderful friends and bloggers who are praying for us.

Thank you. Please pray for all of us.  It helps.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My first pangs of missing my son

It is Wednesday night. Today is my son's weekly payday. This time, he won't be paying rent to us. Instead, he is on his own.

Tonight, I am longing for my son. I'm wondering-- is he being wise and setting aside 1/4 of his paycheck so he has rent for next month? Or, is he getting loaded?

While making dinner, and walking through the house, I feel the silence. My son's boisterous laugh...the noise of his television, playing in his former bedroom ... his incessant chatter. It's so quiet.

My son and I have not called each other since Sunday morning-- except for B's quick emergency call to deliver insulin (which I didn't have).

I am thinking of my son, whom I delighted so much in watching him sleep-- as a baby, and even as a grown young man. He looks so peaceful.

I pray that my son is resting, tonight, because his job starts early and it's physically demanding.

I pray, Lord, that my son is wanting sobriety. 

I miss my son. It hurts.  But, I have to let him grow up and I can only pray that he is making smart choices.

Tonight, I am missing him.  Is he thinking of me in a loving way?  Tonight, there are lots of parents who are feeling my pain.  I am thinking and praying for you.

Never lose hope.  God is in control.

When a teenager allows you to enter their world...

For three years, I have been working at a public high school. No, I'm not a teacher and I'm not a high school counselor.  I work in the counseling office as an Administrative Assistant. That is, I register new families with students, cover for the Attendance office and I utilize my keyboard and computer skills to help run my department. I have a busy and demanding job.

I love my job.

What gives me the greatest joy is my interaction with the students.  It took a while for me to get used to being called "Mrs. ---", instead of Debby.  For the most part, the kids are great.  They are my daily reminder that much of my son's behavior is typical-- procrastination, drama, laziness and working the system.  I see it with students who are "At Risk",  to students who are college-bound.  They are young adults, whose brains haven't fully matured. Some of the boys have heavy beards and deep voices. Some of the freshmen boys look like little kids-- wide-eyed and timid, around me. It's exciting that the class of 2010 are kids I've known since their freshmen year.

I have a heart for the kids who are invisble-- the ones who dress to fit in to certain groups-- the "Emos", the "Vampires" (yep, we have them...and they cut themselves and drink each other's blood), and other groups who stand out because they look and dress differently.  These are the kids that I pay particular attention to look right into their eyes and to give them the kind of smile that says "I see you, and I care about you."

I also know many of their family stories-- I see their records and I meet their parents. Surprisingly, some of the kids who wear bright orange hair and have pierced lips have parents that look the stereo type "normal". Working in a high school has broken many of my (incorrect) perceptions that kids who get into trouble are a result of lousy parenting.

It's so not true.  Yes, I see dysfunctional families, and there are some parents I wish I could grab and drag into an addiction treatment center-- to see a young person in the throes of detox and writhing in pain. I want to scream at them that they are in denial and to LISTEN to the counselors, when we see the signs that their child is failing school...and falling in with the wrong crowd. That's another story I have been writing in my head for some time...

My point, today (during my lunch break) is that I had an interaction with a student I have known for three years. I will call him "KOP" ( for kid on probation).  KOP comes from parents who appear like "normal" and educated people. Both work, and the mom and I have always had pleasant interactions. Just recently the parents separated and are headed into a divorce. I've told KOP's mom my son's story, hoping she might want to open up to me. So far, she hasn't.

Her son, however, "KOP" opened up to me, today-- hence, the title of this blog.  KOP is being drug-tested because he was expelled from our school, last year, for having alcohol in his locker, for trying to sell it to a minor and for shoplifting.  I had prayed that this was his cry for help.

He is back, this year, having appealed to the school board. He has a list of things he must comply with, including random drug testing.  Last week, he got upset with a teacher and left the classroom. In frustration, he punched  his fist through a glass window. I heard it, and saw the look on his face. He was horrified at what happened -- and then he broke down a cried like a young boy-- not the 16 year old boy he is now. He wasn't injured, and luckily, nobody else was. I think it scared him that it happened.

Today, he had a hall pass and asked if he could hang out in my office to "cool off".

I've been praying that God would give me opportunities like this--  in a 45 minutes time frame, we talked (in between my answering phones and handling the Attendance Office). 

KOP shared stories with me that would make most mom's toes curl. Strange, my son has de-sensitized me to these stories.

I listened to him. We connected. He admitted to me that he drinks every single day, because that doesn't show up in a drug test.  Since I'm not a counselor, I must choose my words very carefully. It was my heart of a "mom" that listened and gave him a little bit of lectures, though.

My heart aches for him. I looked in his eyes and told him that I care about him. He smiled, and said thanks...

The lunch bell rang, so I signed his pass and off he went.

NOTE:  Sadly, in 2011, this student-- who I called "KOP" died in a car accident. He was behind the wheel, and one of his friends who survived has said that they were both using, at the time. May he rest in peace-- a very sad ending to such a young life, at the age of 18.

The youth pastor, at my church, once said that it takes a lot of time investment to get kids to trust you. Once they open up to you, it's a gift.  He is right. KOP opened up to me. I will not betray his confidence. I am not legally obligated to report what he said to me. Besides, his counselor already knows.

What did KOP share with me? I will blog about it, once I digest it. I can't fix this kid. I can't fix my own son.

KOP is just like my son. There is a pain in his soul that he cannot heal.

This is when I am thankful that I love and believe in Jesus Christ, my Savior. Jesus has healed my heart and soul from all the bad things that have happened in my past.  I don't need drugs or alcohol to dull the pain. I have peace in my life. I have forgiven every single person who has betrayed or hurt me. I have made amends with every person I treated wrong-- including my own mother, before she passed away.

I have worked Steps 1-8, with the help of my Higher Power-- my God, Yahweh.

As I write this, I feel hot of tears, that are building up in my eyes, that want to be released-- for my son and for KOP-- and the kids of the parents who have their own blogs, or who read my blog.

Lord, I lift up to you, your child-- KOP.  I pray that he will admit to himself that he is powerless over his addiction. I pray that he will find his Higher, who loves him unconditionally.  I pray that he will surrender to his addiction and that he will admits that he has a drinking problem, and that he wants to be sober. Father, please give me more moments with him, and fill me with the words or actions that will glorify You.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day and How is My son today?

Today, my husband and I are enjoying a paid holiday. We are truly blessed. Today, my son is working. He is truly blessed to be employed. All over our country, there are countless people who have lost their jobs-- even lost their homes. I am thinking and praying for you.

B has been offered a second job! It's working at a golf course, doing cart maintenance and general work. His friend quit that job to, ironically, take the job that B had at an exclusive and private golf course. B got fired from that job for reasons that remain cryptic, from what my son has said. I have no doubt he was fired because he was using, and pretty much messed up in the head. That was in March of 2008, right before my son hit bottom enough to reach out and ask for help.

If my son truly gets this job-- and his present job will compromise on his hours-- B plans to work two jobs. Essentially, he will work Mon-Fri from 8:00am till 3:00pm and then at the golf course almost every day from 3:00pm till just after dark-- when the golf course closes.

B and I agree that this is either a wonderful blessing-- in that the long hours will keep my son occupied, and hopefully too busy to think about using. He can better afford to support himself.

Or, the extra money will enable my son to buy drugs and fall into a pit of full-blown addiction, again.

Either way, it's in God's hands.

My son called me about 2:00. It was a fast conversation, since he cannot use his cellphone during work hours, or risk being fired. His job is very strict, and B fears being fired. Anyway, he forgot insulin and his blood sugar was at 600. This is very dangerous. He frantically asked me to bring insulin, and then he hung up the phone. I don't have insulin at our home, because I packed it all and delivered it to my son the day he left here.

My head was spinning with fear and panic. But, my husband is right-- we need to let go and let B figure out what to do on his own. B got off work 30 minutes ago, and no phone call. I assume that he got my voice mail that I had no insulin to bring-- I didn't mention this to him, but I do not want to enter his apartment. I was B's new place to be his sanctuary.

I'm enjoying time with my husband. He is so much more relaxed and he's laughing again.

I have 30 days of detox from my son-- that's when the rent is due, and I pray he will have it together. I won't help him, if he doesn't. I promise every single person that I know that I won't do that.

Back to frosting a cake and enjoying a quiet day at home.

Peace. It's wonderful.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Peace, in small doses and an important announcement

As I am typing, B is sprawled out on the couch, next to me. He has been here since 12:30 and he has packed up 95% of his things. At last, the garage is beginning to show hope of having room to move and reorganize. There will be a huge community garage sale, next month, so I plan to sell anything he didn't take. As soon as B's last load of laundry is finished, we will drop him off at his apartment with the last load of boxes. This is the last time! I mean it!!!

I slept very well, last night. So did my husband ("C"). It was nice to have our bedroom door wide open, and to walk around the house without having to reach for a bathrobe.


C and I went to church, and I always receive a great message that grounds me for the week.
Afterward, C and I went to "Big Lots!" and I found some real bargains-- A new toaster/oven for $19, a coffee maker for $19 and a set of non-stock pots and pans and kitchen utensils for $34. A bonus find was a set of silverware and an organizer for $10!! I paid for it, and took the money out of B's trust account. My mother would have approved of that, I think.

B's trust account isn't huge, by the way. I have doled it out for my son to buy his first starter truck (since carjacked but insured) and to pay for his rehab (that insurance didn't cover) and basic living expenses while my son was (supposedly) living in a Sober Living Environment. There isn't much, left, but I will not let my son touch it. I want him to have a tiny/modest nest egg when he turns 25.

Anyway, I kept my promise to my son and bought pantry staples for bachelor meals. Me, the aspiring gourmet scratch cooking mom, found it so weird to be buying boxed mac 'n cheese, hot pockets and spaghetti sauce mix. In a way, it was fun for me to take my time buying just enough pantry staples that my son can use to cook basic bachelor food.

I got the tour of B's new apartment. It's fine. It's nothing fancy but it's so overpriced, because of where we live. It's not a dump, and the kitchen is decent. B set up his bed in the living room area. They have very sparse furniture, but I remember that my first place was very sparse at first.

B's friends helped to unload the groceries and some things we delivered for him. They were very appreciative of what had done for was he. I have to tell you that I have grave reservations about his roommate. I will call him "M". For today, I won't go into why. All I can say is that my son and M look, speak and act like total opposites. Think "jock" vs. "gangsta wannabe". B's other friend, "C" gave me a warm hug. They all used together, at one time. They say they are clean. 'Nuff said.

When I left, I told my son I would not be visiting his apartment anytime in the near future. I really feel ready to let go, this time. My son has food to eat for at least a week. He has all the tools he needs to make meals. The rest is up to him.

Before falling asleep, I felt a sense of relief. I visualized B's apartment and that the boys were probably video gaming and talking all through the night. I pray, that this is part of God's plan for my son to "man up" and learn how to survive without me enabling him.

B says they stayed up until 5am. It's a right of passage, in many ways. I figured as much, and I think that freshmen college kids are doing that right about now!

Now, I want to rediscover being a wife and not having to keep tabs on my son. I thought I'd be sad, but I'm not. I am, in fact, totally relieved to have the drama out of our home. I can focus on my marriage, which has survived some rough times. C has been wonderful and supportive throughout this entire ordeal. I love him, very much, and I am so thankful that he is my soul mate.

For those of you who are new to my blog-- and those of you who have faithfully been following my blog-- I want to recommit myself to making this blog my ministry. I hope that you will notice:
  • I hope that my story reaches many more parents who are in the early stages of what I have gone through. I pray that this blog will continue to be a place where I can give support and receive it.
  • You will notice a new change in this blog very soon. It's going to have a new look, to symbolize a new beginning where I am the mom of a drug addict, who no longer lives at my home.
  • You will also see that I will have a new email address and a new profile ID. I finally figured out how to separate this blog from my other blog-- which is my food photography and recipe blog.
  • As always, I wish to remain anonymous. To those of you who comment anonymously-- I thank you for your comments and stories. I wish I could write to each of you, but without an email that isn't possible. So, please check the blog for the next few days. I just might be addressing what you shared.
  • My new email is:

May the Peace of Christ be with all of you.

My story will continue. Thank you, one and all, for you prayers, love, support and friendship.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

In the blink of an eye...

My son is nothing but drama. Really.

He literally moved out 15 minutes ago. If you want to call pulling up with a friend and his truck, loading up his bed and throwing in a few things.

He was off all day, yesterday, and didn't wash laundry. Had I not boxed up his bathroom (more in an effort to clean it up and making it look nice again), his insulin, and my old dishes, he would have nothing but a bed.

My son is so disorganized.

I also found $40.00 missing, this morning. I asked my son, and before I could finish my sentence, he said "yes, I took it".

He says he was out of money and hoped to replace it before I noticed. He averted his eyes, and he appeared ashamed.

You know what? I'm not even going to make myself crazy wondering why he's out of money, and where it went.

My son moved out 15 minutes ago.

It's time to cut the apron strings.

Right now....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

48 hours

The craziness at my job, and life in general, has made it hard for me to sit down and blog about my son. It's my lunch break, so I will try and give an update.

Cut to the chase-- my son is moving out on Friday. B seems very excited about living in his own place. The two of us are getting along great. I decided to drop the whole matter of finding evidence of drug use in his bedroom because it's moot point. He's leaving so what's the point?

Yesterday, my son kept saying how much he's going to miss me. I think the reality that he is really going to be on his own is beginning to sink in. Last night, I paid for his suboxone for the last time. I did not pay for his Ambien prescription. I told my son that, from now on, I would pay for his diabetes supplies and his step dad and I would pay the $395.00 a month for his medical, dental and vision insurance. We figure that next year he will, most likely, be dropped since he is 21 and not going to college. Hopefully, my son will find a job that offers medical insurance. I asked B to see if his current employer would let us pay the fee foro their insurance-- no cost to them, because it might be cheaper than what we are paying. He says he'll ask.

My son and I both got a little emtional, last night. The two of us talked about how much closer we have become. When B moved in with us, last December, I felt that I really didn't know him. He had been living with his father for almost a year, and I felt we were disconnected.

Now, we have had long talks. I've truly learned to back off with the nagging, because it's pointless. B has not been disrespectful to me, either. He really is maturing in some ways!

Is B using? I don't know. I stopped looking for evidence.

In 48 hours, my son is moving out and he cannot return. He will be 21 years old in two months. It is time for Mama Bird to nudge him out of the nest. Drugs or not, I don't think adult kids should be living at home-- unless, they are going to college and cannot afford to live on their own. Or, if unforeseen circumstances happen-- a loss of a job or some medical catastrophe. Other than that, I'm not one to condone adult children living at home, at the expense of their parents. My mother packed my bags when I was 18. Well, in truth, she brought me a suitcase and said "it's time"-- about a week after my 18th birthday. I never looked back and I made it.

Time are tougher, now, I realize. Jobs are harder to find and employers are less willing to provide benefits. My son's employer gives him just enough hours so that he doesn't qualify for paid vacation or insurance benefits.

The way I see it, my son will have $300.00 a month to survive on, after paying rent. That's not much money at all. His car is still not operational, because he can't afford to repair it. I wont' pay for it, and he hasn't asked me to. He's walking or getting rides from people. At least his apartment will be right across the street from his job.

My last thought I will share today-- I am feeling a sense of sorrow and concern for my son. To the men who are reading this blog-- you are wired to view life in a more pragmatic way. I say that, because I believe that women (in general) are wired to be nurturers. Men fix things. Women want to make our kids feel better. I think we hurt, deeply, when our kids are in trouble or injured. I'm not saying that men don't have feelings!Please don't take it that way. My husband is a very caring person. It's just... as a mom, I fight the compulsion to want to "save" my son. I know that, in the end, I have en0ugh common sense to understand that enabling my son isn't going to help him at all. It's so hard, though.

I know this. Still, I will miss my son. My husband and I had a misunderstanding this morning. I was saying that I will miss B when he's gone. I think he interpreted that to mean that I was being silly, since B is only moving 4 miles away. It upset me, that he cannot understand. He's not B's biological father and he's only know B for 6 years. As a mom, I was trying to say I will miss seeing B's body curled up and sleeping on his bed. I will miss hearing his snoring in the middle of the night, when I'm padding down the hallway. I will miss his "what's for dinner, mom?". I will miss his compliments on what I cook or bake. I will miss our watching television together. I will miss my son's presence. I will miss my child, who I gave birth to and I've watched grow up to be a tall and beautiful boy-- in my eyes.

I won't miss the drama, though. I certainly won't miss the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when a dirty foil or straw is found-- clear evidence of smoking heroin. No, I won't miss that at all. But, I'll still worry and pray and pray.

I guess I'm coming to realize that my job of raising my son is finished. He's a grown young man. I will never stop being his mom, of course. I've done the best I could do-- mistakes and all.

When I look at my son, I don't see a drug addict. I see B. His smile still melts my heart.

I have been hit with a double whammy. I need to say goodbye to my adult son, hoping that he will never return home to stay. He needs to fly away and be a grownup.

I also need to say goodbye to my son, the drug addict. I can only pray, each day, that he will not relapse into full blown addiction.

I also know that I need to let go of my son. I cannot call him or check in on him. He can call me, but I need to help my son to think and survive on his own. I pray that I have taught him enough skills that he will use to live a good life. Of course, he can come and have Sunday dinner with us and we'll have holidays. Of course, I am willing to take him out to dinner once in a while, to talk and visit. Yet, I really have to let me son figure things out on his own. I absolutely will not give him money. He knows that. In fact, he hasn't asked me for any in quite some time.

Last night, we hugged. He held my face in his hands and kissed the top of my head. I'm 5'7, he's 6'3. I used to do that 15 years ago. How time flies.

I will not stop blogging. The story is not over. A new chapter is beginning.

End of lunch break.

Father, thank you for bring my son and I closer together. Thank you, God,
for the miracles you've done for us. I give my son to you, each day, praying
that B will follow the path you have set before him. Please keep him from the
Evil One and thank you for loving us.