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.


Isle Dance said...

I have a problem with the tone of that anonymous writer. Because their tone is cruel. As the sister of someone who cannot care for himself, for various health and mental health reasons, those with sarcastic tones will never, ever know the harm they do to those struggling to barely survive through their challenges. That kind of sarcastic cruelty is the equivalent of taunting someone in a wheelchair, someone walking with a cane, someone who is blind.

Mom of Opiate Addict said...

I think you are detaching with love and from experience in dealing with an opiate addicted adult son, I know that you have come a long way to get to the point to have your son move from your home. I don't let a hungry person on the street go hungry if I can help it, so I certainly will see to it that my son has food and especially if he was a diabetic. From my past 8 years of dealing with the addict in my family and my enabling ways, I know that circumstances change daily and therefore our responses and actions and even boundaires are subject to change. None of us are at the same place at the same time in the process, but we have all been or will be at the places that other parents post. You are doing a fantastic job of setting the limits you are capable of setting and being comfortable with, and that is all you need to focus on. I love reading your blog, along with Barbara's, it helps me immensely, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.

ChaiLatte said...

You are a great mom, Debby. We all do what we have to do to survive in this chaos of addiction. While we all have things in common, we are still on our own journeys. If changes are meant to occur in how you respond to B- they will. Keep seeking God's guidance. For me, I have to be able to lay my head down at night knowing that I did all I could and the rest is up to God- but that can mean many different things for different people. Praying for all of you! Also praying for your nerve pain- hope you get relief soon. Love, C

Dad and Mom said...


We do what we do to survive in our own world. Your addict does what he must you do what you must. There have been people that have walked our shoes before. There are tried and true methods. However we all learn at our own pace and in our own circumstances. It is not wrong to do what you have to do, just as I have done.

If good comes from actions all is well. If the worst happens for your son, that is what to be too. I always think of the worst and what I must do to be able to carry on with myself. There truly is only 4 possible outcomes to your sons addiction, clean, incarcerated, institutionalized, or death. In my selfesh way I consider 3 out 4 outcomes more than possible for all addicts. In that event I chose not to live a life of second guessing, although I know that will happen anyways.

Like you I blog for myself. I have listened to many wise people. I have chosen not to follow some very good advice. Ultimately it is your choice. Do not take comments you may consider harsh to heart. I really honestly believe every person that reads my blog and takes he time to comment has my best interest at heart and is doing this out of love for humanity.

Madison said...

Debby, I do understand exactly how you feel. Addiction is the cruelest disease on the planet. It leaves loved ones caught in the middle - if you help your son even a little, you may be stopping him from becoming desperate enough to hit bottom. If you don't help him a little, you feel horrible and think he may die. For a loved one to live with that dilemna is unbearable. I am you. Your son is my daughter, my mother, my brother. But, addiction is another matter altogether. The truth is, it doesn't matter if someone writes sweetly or someone writes harshly, if the comment is that not providing Addiction with food might be a good idea, it can throw everyone into a tailspin. I know this. I literally spent weeks of my life talking to my husband about someone's 'tone' when there was a suggestion that we should trust God and give our daughter the gift of desperation. We talked about the harshness of that until we were blue in the face. What if she dies? What if my brother dies? What if my mother dies? It's inconceivable. But then, on the other side, you are dealing with that merciless cockroach of a disease that is looking for one more day. I am only anonymous because of the feelings of the people in my family. I will be more than happy to email you contact information tonight, my email and a cell phone number. You contact me any time you want, day or night. I will pray for you and with you, my friend. You do what you think is best. Each blogger provides their own heartbreaking perspective. I have read all your blogs and believe you realize that we are not a good basis for you to change your behavior. Meeting a counselor or doctor face to face, or reading materials written by addiction specialists, and finding a support group to help you is a much more reliable resource than any of us. I'll pray for you today. Please pray for me. Sorry for the long response. One more thing, I promise you this. There is hope for a bright future for your son.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe how parallel our lives are with our sons. I too have a son that is addicted to opiates. He has been in rehab twice (still hasn't completed his second stint, he has one more class and I've stopped trying to get him to finish). I believe he is using again and fearful to attend his final class. My husband and I have been going through this for 12 months.

The day "B" took $40.00 from you, my son took $75.00 - although he wouldn't admit it. It's so hard not to believe him, addicts are such good liars. My son is fortunate (I think), as he has a great job and makes good money. I'm not sure if this is good or bad. I bet he has spent $25,000 on drugs this past year. While he was living at home I monitored his money. Once he started giving me a hard time about it I let him know that I think he's a "big boy" now and he should monitor his own money, with that I told him he would need to move out on his own. Hoping this would make him become more responsible.

He is very lucky to have us as parents. We have saved every bit of his rent money so we could return it to him when he moved out. We were hoping it would be put towards "buying" something, but renting will hopefully prove if he can be responsible enough to buy a home in the future. With the money we have saved, I have taken his girlfriend (who moved in with him) shopping to buy the essentials. I will not hand money to him, but I will help him get started. He was able to qualify on his own income for the rent and utilities. I hope he understands that if he blows it, it will show on his credit not ours.

His girlfriend is wonderful and knows his issues. I have told her more than once that she should run far and fast. She is used to "drama" in her life from her own family. She has a good head on her shoulders and I appreciate her keeping an eye on him. I hope she doesn't feel like we have dumped him on her.

She found out yesterday that he smoked pot and she was upset. I have to say, I was almost relieved that it was "only" pot. I know he should practice absolute abstinence, but compared to the opiates............

I too have had the same experience with the N/A and A/A meetings I have attended. I have not found one where I am comfortable, so I have stopped going.

We are not a religious family, but I do believe I need to give it up to a higher power to help him.

I have so much more to say to you, but I will write more later.

My thoughts are with you and your son. I know how much you love him and want to see him better as I do too.

One more thing, my son is also on suboxine. How does your son use while he's on it? I have heard it will send them into detox, which we all know is miserable. If you can give me more information on this I would appreciate it.

Take care of yourself, and I hope you back gets better soon (probably stress related).


Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Just read your post and all the wonderful comments. I love what each person said, there is so much wisdom and commonality here. We all have unique circumstances but share the same emotions and questions and fears. UGH. Pardon my language, but it just sucks.

I am glad you are taking care of YOU and doing things for YOU. I hear that all the time and its easier said than done. I would feed my son matter what. Like Renee said, I would not let a homeless person go hungry so why would I let my son?

Debby of Oxycontin and Opiate Addiction: A Mother's Story said...

I am on my morning break, and I am so deeply touched by all of your comments. I feel this tingle of excitement-- that God using my story and my blog to connect "us"-- addicts, parents of addicts, wifes/husbands of addicts.
The more comments that are left, the more we are helping one another.

Something happened today-- which could be very exciting. We shall see... and I will blog it.

Sending group hugs,

Anonymous said...

I think you do what you have to do to get by.
I do understand why that anonymous commenter said what they said. He should take responsibility of his own life. If he goes hungry because he smoked all his money away then that should be his own fault. But you are his mother. In good conscience you can not let your diabletic son go hungry. And I get that.

My brother is an alcoholic and he is living with us momentarily. He still drinks with his friends on the weekend then comes home to saty with us because he's not working and has no money. I feed him because I worry he'll go hungry otherwise.

I've even been known to give him beer just so he'll stay home and not drink and drive and do drugs with his friends. Does that make me a bad person for aiding him in his addiction?

In my mind I at least know I am keeping him home- with a full belly, a bed to sleep in and a roof over his head. I can sleep at night because of it.


Prayer Girl said...

I used to think I knew everything and could advise everyone on what to do. Then I discovered I knew nothing. Then I learned so much in AA and Al-Anon.

Today I also know that unless I have walked in someone else's shoes myself, I don't REALLY know what someone else is going through or what exactly they should do.

I try to give advise based on my own experience, strength, and hope and say - take what you like and leave the rest.


Dad and Mom said...

Anonymous reminded me of something.

Our son nearly died from dirty needles. Got staph infection in both arms. The doctors give him a 50/50 chance of living. He was in the hospital for 15 days. Had surgery on both arms to remove the infection.

When he got out of the hospital our oldest daughter is a registered nurse and the manger of a pedeatric unit a at a hospital. Took our son aside and instructed him how to shoot up safely. Why you use alcohol swabs, the importance of clean needles.

If his is going to shoot up, at least now he knows how to do it safely.

Cheri said...

Praying that your back feels better soon. And I want to leave a word of encouragement: You acknowledge that you are part of your son's codependency, but that you are getting better at telling him no. And you give valid reasons for providing food, since he's diabetic. You are making progress, and I applaud you. You and your son didn't get "codependent" overnight, and you won't get completely healthy overnight. But you are both taking steps in the right direction. Keep moving forward, and keep your eye on the prize ~ a healthy, drug-free relationship!