Monday, November 30, 2009

The patience of Job

One of my favorite books in the Old Testament is Job. It's a long one, but I read it at a time in my life when I felt nothing was going right.
  • My business was drying up.
  • The man I married (before I met my wonderful husband that I'm not married to) turned out to be an alcoholic and a thief, who couldn't hold a job and I was working to support him and my son.
  • The IRS was adding penalties to back taxes I couldn't pay.
  • Debt was piling up, and I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • My car transmission blew, and I had to borrow money to get it fixed.
  • My son was acting like a typical 13 year old, and I was at wit's end.

So, I read Job.  What I got from studying that book is complex. In short, I learned to have faith in God. I learned to not blame God for my troubles.   For those of you who have read/studied the book of Job, you know what I mean when I say that I also learned not to listen to my friends-- those who don't understand our faith or values. Job's friends kept saying "curse God and die".  I believe that God answers prays His way. Not my way.  So, when B's roommate split (for rehab) just like that-- I think that's God's work all the way! I have come to realize, that the more I read God's Holy World, the more I  realize that if I continued to praise God in all things, he would restore my life and bless it more.

He has! God has blessed me.  I'm married to a wonderful man. Amen. I am debt-free, not because my husband paid my debts. He didn't. I worked two jobs, sacrificed and learned a simple theory-- be thankful for  what I have. Give money for God's work-- yes, I tithe. I tithe in faith and to give back what I've been give. I learned to want less things, and to live on what I could afford-- that is, I went with cash. Credit cards are paid in full each month. No payments allowed.

It took eleven years to reach this point.

My son's life is not in a good place, but I can see the potential blessings.

He hasn't had a car in five months. Why? I wouldn't pay for the repairs nor the insurance.

The blessing-- it's not as easy for him to drive around to buy or even think about dealing drugs.

My son has a boss who has broken more labor laws than you can imagine.

The blessing-- B is learning to humble himself. He gets to work early, and stays later to make sure his work is finished. He's learning that there will always be a co-worker or boss who can make your life miserable. Still, he goes to work and is learning to shut up and do his work. This is character building.

B can't afford to buy "things".

The blessing-- he's admitted that he's no longer into status clothes. He's happy to receive a shirt that was on clearance at a non shi-shi store.  He needs to learn how to buy the things he needs. The rest will come.

It is also a blessing, how close my son and I have grown, since he had to move out of our home.  I see my son appreciating the wisdom that I've learned over the years...decades. As I've shared before-- I'm learning to listen and to keep my lecturing to a minimum. I try to be encouraging to my son.

Next-- my son speaks from the heart about his fear of withdrawals.

Another day, I will share that.

I'm trying to limit my length of my posts to not be so lengthy.

My name is Debby. My son is a heroin addict, I struggle with codependency and I'm a believer in Jesus Christ. I need to remind myself of that.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

God's magnificent work and one of many lovely email of encouragment

I'm feeling better. Much better. So much better, that I'm feeling the despair being snuffed out, and am able to laugh again and feel thankful.

I am going to try and keep things brief, tonight.  I'm going to be a little cryptic.  I will divulge more details when it feels right to do so. You see, I think I had to step back from the way I blog. I admit, that I had fallen into my old ways-- part of my insecurities-- a need to feel "accepted".  I invested too much value in wanting to please everyone who is reading my blog. If someone left a comment that might be contrary to my values--  I took it far too personally.

I thank Madison and Fractal Mom-- I truly do.  These are two women who come from the voice of wisdom. They wrote lovely emails to me, to help me understand that I people don't mean to hurt my feelings. They care. I understand them.They are right.

Tonight, I want to share things that I see as a blessing-- completely and totally God's work.  B called me, yesterday, He was upset. Really upset. His roommate "M" called to say he was going into a five month rehab, his parents paid one month's rent and he was gone. Literally, M is gone from the apartment. Of course, the two of them are on the lease-- and I will investigate the legalities of this...but he's gone. Halleluia!

B was freaking out-- "what am I going to do"? "How will I pay the rent?"

All I could do was smile, over the phone. I felt such joy!  I've been praying that God would sever that dysfunctional friendship. You see, "M" had just starting shooting heroin-- about a week ago. He was stealing my son's insulin pens and was totally strung out. That's why B was asking to hang out at our house, because he didn't want to go to the apartment.  We didn't let him stay with us, of course.  B was distraught, because he says he doesn't want to use. He's supposed to have his intake on Monday morning, for methadone. I have nothing to say about this. My son is 21, and that's the way it is.

I think this is wonderful! M is going to rehab, and I will pray for him.  My son is free from living with someone who is bipolar, an alcoholic, a thief, violent and now-- a heroin addict.

I decided to pull some money from B's trust account to buy groceries for him.  B has been hungry for almost two weeks.  I made this decision, now that M is gone-- who was eating all of B's food, and hanging out at home using drugs and making B's life miserable.  My son has the essentials he needs to eat, pack a lunch and that gives me some comfort.  I thought of my son, finally sleeping without M being drunk or keeping B up all night long.

This morning, I talked to B. He had gone from despair to hope.  He said he cleaned out the filth and drug paraphernalia-- the foil, the pipes, the needles.... he scrubbed and disinfected the toilet and scrubbed the bathroom.  I told my son that living alone is a good thing-- it will give B time to think. Quiet is wonderful for our souls-- we need to learn to be alone with ourselves. I've grown to appreciate my quiet times. They're sacred, for me.

My crisis a few days ago, was my son's horrible situation with his roommate and his boss.  His boss said some horrible things to him, and B had a fight with his roommate (over the drug use). B was sobbing, saying he felt like his life was a failure. He said he couldn't do anything to please his boss, withing being called a p***sy, or a f***king a**hole.  My son sounded so despondent. His sobs were so gut-wrenching that I wanted to hold my baby. But, he was not with me. It broke my heart, and that's when I wrote the 911 post for prayers. Thank you.

I think B is beginning to think in a direction of sobriety.  I say this cautiously.  B will see if he can get a studio apartment.  However, B said that if he gets fired-- and he's convinced his boss is setting him up to quit or to find a reason to fire him-- he would rather "go into a rehab" than live on the streets.


I've asked B to give me space for a while. I told him that his drama is overwhelming my sense of peace. He agrees. I don't want a codependent relationship to start up-- and that's how I was starting to feel, again. Yesterday, my husband and I spent a wonderful afternoon driving to the downtown tourist area where we live-- a famous city on the coast of California.  We dined on a lovely lunch and talked. My cellphone was turned off.  We sat, at the ocean, and listened to the ocean-- smelling the sea salt, holding hands and kissing.   It was something that we haven't done in a while. 

Unfortunately, when we got home I heard Brian's despondent message and called him. B has sucked so much of my mental time away from being a wife.

All of last night, I kept smiling, because M is out of my son's life. This is important.  Now, the next steps my son takes is entirely up to him.

I'm sorry-- I haven't visited your blogs, dear followers and friends. I'd like to read what everyone's been up to. I will. I've spent this weekend with my husband, relaxing and going to church.

I'll try and reply to each email that I've received, over the week. Tomorrow, I will go to my first Nar-Anon meeting with Chai Latte'.

I'm feeling hopeful today.  Your prayers are definitely working. Thank you, and bless you.

I want to say that I'm deeply touched by the private emails I've received.  I can't say "thank you" enough.  I received one email, in particular, that really helped me to see that there are "faceless" people who read my blog...who say I've touched their lives. It made me cry, but they were tears of gratitude. I truly had no idea.

Here's one email that really lifted my spirits, that I'd like to share. I will keep the writer anonymous.

Hi Debby,

I'm sorry you are feeling hurt and judged. I read your last night's post, as I do every night. I feel disappointed when you haven't posted. I realized today that reading your posts has been my own personal therapy.

My son is 28 and in a methadone program. He's been taking methadone for 2.5 years, and he no longer uses heroin. He has earned 5 take-home bottles a week, so he has to go to the clinic only twice a week. It has been wonderful to see him slowly work on no longer lying, getting up just a bit earlier, moving away from the people, places, and things that were associated with his old life. But he still lives at home, and he hasn't yet looked for a job. You could say I'm enabling him. I am enjoying his sobriety and his gentle, intelligent company. When he was 5, he repeated kindergarten because we'd been living in another country and he wasn't ready. His teachers called it "the gift of time". That is what he is receiving again.

I think the bloggers who responded to you last night all hold you in high regard. I did not read the comments as judgmental, but just as the "from the heart" comments of people who are doing their best to live with the challenges that both addict and family members face.

I have read your blog every night for a year. It is the first thing I do after dinner. It has given us all strength. I know I could do things differently, but I have no doubt that seeing my son healthy (he has just given up smoking) and hopeful is worth it. Just go on being who you are.

Warm regards,


I had no idea, my blog made that kind of impact. Thank you, K.  It made me cry, but it was one of appreciation for your kind words. Bless you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A feeling of helplessness and prayer needed

This is not one of my happy thanksgivings at all. My heart isn't into it. Something happened, today. I can't share it, right now. My son's life is unraveling, and my heart is breaking.

I feel a need to just break down and cry-- to cleanse all the bottled up worry and stress from deep within me.

My son's life is is a very deep pit of despair, failures and unhappiness.

There is absolutely nothing I can do. But pray. Hear his tears... and try to find joy in today.

My name is Debby. My son is a drug addict.  I am unraveling myself, today.  I've hit a wall.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Looking at it all...

I ended up deleting my last post. I wrote a very long post, last night. I was filled with a combination of hurt, feeling misunderstood, criticized and judged. I had to empty my feelings out, which manifested into a very long post. Each comment remarked that I had "said a lot".  So, I read it again. Yes, it's was long, because I think some comments hit a nerve with me. So, I deleted it. I realized I was highly emotional when I wrote what I did.

I feel as though my blog is headed in a direction that isn't working for me, at this time. I read  the six comments from the post that I just deleted (and from a few previous posts as well), and it gave me pause to realize some important things.
  • I'm discovering that I'm starting to take comments too personally.
  • I'm feeling as though I need to defend my faith, to those who are not familiar with Christian beliefs.
  • Sometimes, I read comments and I feel as though I'm being judged. I hurts, dammit. (Pardon my "French".)
I've come to realize that, yes, we parents of addicts are all at different points in our journey. Many of you are miles-- years ahead of me.Some of you are just beginning your journey, feeling lost and confused. Me. I feel as though I am in the middle of my journey.Maybe I have much to learn, but I'm blogging from my heart.  It's a vulnerable feeling.

I, sometimes, feel as though some commentators don't give me credit for being pretty aware of what co-dependence is. I pretty much understand what enabling is.I'm not perfect. I make mistakes based on a mother's heart. Sometimes I am weak, and can't say no. Other times, I'm strong and say no.

So, I wonder. Is this really the direction I want my blog to be?  To feel as though I need to defend my beliefs in God?  I think what hurts me the most is when I read comments that I interpret that I'm being advised that I cannot force my son to follow God.I hurts, because I don't do that.  I pray for my son.  But, I have never forced my son to go to church. Never. See? That hits a nerve with me. I get these ideas that people, who don't know me, must perceive me as some religious zealout? My blog is faith-based. I've never sugar-coated that.  Somehow, last night, I felt ... it's hard to describe. It was a combination of feeling weary about defending my faith... feeling as though I'm doing it all wrong. Then, when I read a comment that I read on another blog-- someone who made a very snippy comment that I interpreted as-- well, if you're not following the Al-Anon way, then you're basically an idiot. That's how I interpreted it.

Bottom line-- there is not just one way to deal with being the parent of a drug addict. There isn't a steadfast rule we must follow.  Those of you who are miles....days...years ahead of me... please try to remember what it was like for you when you first found out your daughter/son/husband/wife became an addict.  Maybe my path of learning is by making mistakes. Maybe I need to find out what does or doesn't work, on my own. Al-Anon has worked wonders for many folks. It hasn't for me.  I don't judge those who swear  it's "the only way". Please don't judge me for not feelin' it. Maybe it's where I live, and I'm not fortunate to have found the right Al-Anon group.  I'm still searching. 

While I welcome helpful advice, I'm  finding myself taken aback at comments that point out what I should have done "their way" or differently.  Now, my defense mechanisms are turning on and my insecurities and doubts are starting to resurface. I think what hurts most, is when I feel as though I must defend my faith and beliefs about God.  My blog was originally  supposed to be my way of letting my friends and loved ones know how much son is doing. At times, my blog been a wonderful way to learn new perspectives or resources. I have always hoped that my blog would touch someone else's heart.

But, last night, something snapped in me. I just felt-- out of sorts.I have some thinking to do again.  Suddenly, I'm not enjoying my own blog the way that I once did.  I almost wonder if  I should  go private, so that I can journal without feeling judged. I guess I'm more of an "encourager" to people. Today,  I'm feeling discouraged ...or misunderstood...or unfairly judged. Maybe I'm just tired and stressed.

It's how I'm feeling right now. This, too, shall pass. When I feel this way, this is when I back away and sort things through.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

An update with some encouragement and hope, sprinkled with a little worry

Dear Friends, Family, Followers and First Time Visitors to my blog:

I haven't written in a while. In my head, I've been blogging, but I haven't really sat down to compose something to share.

The words from Lou still haunt me-- and I am paraphrasing-- that it would be nice to share something positive. I took that to heart, because I need to focus on the joyous moments so that I don't continue to sit in a room filled with worry and despair.

How is my son?  Oh, it's all so complicated. I'm not ready to share all of it, because I need a quiet time to really compose a synopsis.  My son is convinced that a methadone clinic is the way to go. I have my reservations on that, and am open to feedback from addicts who are well-versed in this.

Positive things-- My son and I have grown so close, since he's moved out.  I sense he is truly listening to me. He is asking me for advice and feedback. I've learned to not lecture. I feel as though we are have "real" conversations-- almost "adult" conversations. I think he still lies, but I keep my guard up and my options "open". I accept and understand that addicts lie so easily. It's all part of how they find a way to buy drugs and to use.  There are times, though, when B really pours his heart out to me.  For that reason, I don't share it on my blog. I feel this is between the two of us.  It's a victory, I feel, when my son trusts me enough to say anything-- and, painful as it might be, he wants me to know. He has let me into his world of addiction, trying to help me to understand how and why addicts can't stay clean.  Me, being sober and mature, sees the answers right before me. But, my son, is blinded by the bondage of addiction and the evil that surrounds it.

My sense is that B is realizing that as long as he is in the world of not actively being in a recovery program, that his life will always be one crisis over another. He has made some desperate choices that has caused him to always be broke. He is struggling at his job, saying he's on the verge of being fired.  His hours have been cut back so much, that he barely makes enough money to pay his rent-- let alone, buy drugs. My observations-- my son is known to be a good and hard worker.  He's forgetful, though, at times. He's dependable, though, coming to work on time. On my advice, I told him to come in at least 10 minutes early, stay at least 10 minutes late. Do his work, and a little extra that nobody asked him to do.  I have heard that his current boss is a very shady character, who is under indictment for embezzling $200,000.00 from his former employer. He's a sex addict, coke addict and not the most stellar person to work for.  More drama, huh? We shall see...'nuff said.

B still hasn't handled getting his car fixed. He's walking, bicycling and getting rides from various people.

According to B, he is 12 days clean, only because he's buying methadone from a "friend".  He has an intake scheduled sometime this week at a local methadone clinic.  I went in there, with my son.  It costs $375.00 a month, cash. No insurance. No credit cards.  I've decided to take the money from his dwindling trust fund for a 30-day detox program. We shall see...

B has gone to a few NA meetings and two Celebrate Recovery meetings with me. (More on that on another day.)

This Sunday,  B called and asked if we'd pick him up and take him to church. It was one of the most moving and well done services ever. It was all about testimonies.  Two people shared their story on addiction, and how they're lives were changed by their faith. I could see my son, totally engrossed, in the entire message. He didn't move or fidget.  Afterwards, B said how moved he was. His eyes were moist.

I've had my son over several nights, last week, to join us at dinner.  There are so many things going on in B's life-- and I will share them, when I am ready.  I feel such sorrow for my son's lack of peace in his life. We talk, at the dinner table. It's sacred time. He helps to clean up the kitchen, and asks to take a shower. Then, I take him home. B knows he can't come home again. He says he wants to be on his own. But, I can sense he misses the peace in our house. My home is my sanctuary and it's I'm happiest hanging out right there-- even in my kitchen.

My prayer, today, is that B's roommate will be put into a situation that he will go into a rehab.  M is spiraling back into such a deep addiction, that he is either going to overdose or end up in jail.  B says it's so hard to resist using, when his roommate is stealing his diabetes needles and is now injecting heroin. My son has always said that, despite his being a diabetic, he cannot fathom, sticking a needle into his vein.B has one good friend, who is clean. I hope that C will move in with my son so that they can share expenses and ...well... I can only hope. M needs to be out of my son's life. M needs help.

I am also praying for the mother, whose son was arrested for drug paraphernalia. I did build up the courage to tell her my story. I invited her to our new Nar-Anon meeting on Monday-- which, I just found out, our fellow blogger "Chai Latte" from "Hurting Parents/Addicted Son" has started! I will be there, on Monday! I can't wait to meet you and to hug you!

I need to make the time to read the blogs on my blog roll-- to see how the rest of your are doing.  I haven't been blogging on my food blog, either.  I'm trying to make time, at night, to talk to my husband... maybe watch a TV program I've recorded, and to go to sleep early enough to stay rested.

If I don't post anything on Thanksgiving Day-- I pray for the families of "lost" addicts-- that they would be gathered together to reconnect again. I pray for healing for families who lives have been shattered apart by addiction.

I am cooking dinner for four people-- my son being one of them.  Despite an unexpected journey as the mother of a drug addict, I still feel that my life is so blessed.  I am happily married. I love my job. I have wonderful friends, who are dearly treasured by me-- my BFF, Pat being #1 "sister" in my life. I love my church. I feel a bond with my fellow bloggers, and anonymous commenters in this blog. You have given me so much support, and I thank you.

I should stop for now. As usual, I was only going to write a paragraph and now I've written a novel. I type at least 80 WPM, so my fingers can fly on a keyboard. Sorry if I'm rambling too much--

Above all-- I am thankful that I am a believer in Jesus Christ.  He is my rock and my foundation, and I have been filled with strength and courage from his promise that he will never leave me or forsake me.

May your lives be filled with the power and presence of His everlasting love!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One more "new" mom of a drug addict, and a brief check-in and thank you

I was thinking about Lou's comment, that she'd like to see me share something about me-- something positive and encouraging.
I agree, so I wanted to wait until I had something to share.

Actually, in a way, I had two good day's news from my son. I gave him a ride to work on Saturday and Sunday. We didn't talk about drugs. B seemed happy, mentioned he's slowly getting more work hours back. He talked about the meals he's learning to cook, and it almost felt "normal". He never, once, asked me for money.

Monday, B asked if I'd please give him a ride home. I was tired, and had decided to grab food to eat. This is highly unusual for me, since I'm Martha Stewart in the kitchen, and enjoy homecooking over any kind of fast food joint. This time, I told B I'd take him to his favorite fast food place. He was so excited to eat a good meal, that he can't afford to buy. He was sweet and loving, and very appreciative.

Today, I lost it. I lost it over something unrelated to my son. There is a student who was caught stealing liquor from a grocery store. He was busted with stolen contraband, on campus, and foils with heroin residue were found. This kid has always flown under the radar with me. He's a nice kid.

The Police were here, the mother was here, and I am to begin processing this student's paperwork to check out of our school. I know the story, but I am bound to confidentiality. I locked eyes with that mother, and she reminded me of myself. She looked like a typical mom, professionally dressed, poised...and we locked eyes. I wanted to run up to her and hug her. I wanted to tell her that I am one of "them"-- the heartbroken mom of a heroin addict. I wanted to tell her that I have walked that road, 18 months ago-- a journey that she is just now beginning.

I was frozen in time-- looking at this woman, who was waiting for a teacher to come and have a conference with her. I had to walk away, because I didn't want to risk being disciplined for talking about a matter that is highly confidential.

I broke down crying, alone, in my break room. My heart broke for all the mothers who have to deal with this pain. It's hard to explain to anyone, who hasn't been there, what it's like to see your child in full withdrawals. I saw it, this morning. You see, my son is trying to not use. He has been going to meetings. He is out of methadone, and must wait until Thursday for his first intake. He's made the decision to do a 30-day methadone outpatient clinic.Suboxone, he says, doesn't help anymore. My son has freebased "black" for five years. His brain is pretty messed up from the level that he was using. It was said, at my son's treatment clinic, that when an addict relapses, their brain picks up where it left off. A little heroin won't work. It's a sad and cruel price to pay.

But, this morning, he called me because he was scared and hurting. He said he hasn't used and he doesn't want to, but the withdrawals are getting worse. I believe him. I bought him a breakfast meal, and I drove off to work in prayer for my son. He is trying and I pray that he gets the help that he needs.

I thought I was handling things fine, until I saw that mom.
She doesn't know why I was looking at her. Maybe she thought I was judging her.

Lord, how I pray for the moms in this world who have children who are addicted to drugs. We try to be strong, Father. But, sometimes, we can't hold ourselves up anymore. I pray for that mother, Heavenly Father. I pray for the student. May they find the right path to sobriety, understanding and redemption.

That's all I have to say, for now. Thank you, for your private emails and comments. I didn't mean to ignore any of you. I'm not the least bit upset by all the comments. Not at all. I just need to digest things and sort through them. Ultimately, I trust my own common sense to do what is right-- and my faith.

I am longing to find one weekend, where there isn't a crisis that forces me to make choices that hurt.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Coasting,thinking, pausing

My son just called. I'm at the point where I'm waiting for him to ask for help.
He did. I said no. He hung up. This is all emotional blackmail and I hate it.

I'm trying, but I feel my stomach tightening.

I might take a break from blogging, for a bit. I need to digest so much of what's been said here. I'm researching meetings I could go to. We just got a nar-anon where I live, which is very new.

I need to take a hard look at balancing my life. What meeting(s) will I go to?

My husband and I are okay. We talked things through. He talked to my son. 

Things are so uncertain. I'm definitely feeling stressed. I'll be spending more time visiting other blogs. Yeah, I should take a break from here.  Just for a bit.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My name is Debby, and I struggle with codepedency, anger and being the mother of a drug addict

My son called and said he was ready to go to a meeting with me. We wen tto our Celebrate Recovery at our church.  Several women remembered me, from a year ago. B didn't know anyone, but I noticed that he easily walks up to strangers, gives his name and chats with them. He's just like his mom...

It's a long meeting, though.  6:30pm worship and a testimony. 7:30-8:30, open groups, b gender. Then, coffee and dessert afterwards.

The header today is how I introduced myself.  I left, wondering if I could handl sitting and listening to people talk about their problems. Many talked about their victories. One thing that really stuck out for me, is when the person who gave her testimonial on anger and control said that she has finally learned to let someone else's anger be their own.  Yes, I have a tendency to do that. My husband is angry at my son, and I'm upset about it. That's codependent behavior. Textbook. I'm a people pleaser, and I hurt when I've offended someone.

B said he liked the meeting, but he was anxious to leave at 8:30pm. I wasn't sure if I could do this every Wednesday night. This morning, I've decided to give this a few more meetings. I need to see if I can handle getting home 30 minute before my bedtime. That's also two nights in a row of racing home from work, going to a meeting and then coming home.

Madison, I want you to know that what you wrote yesterday has really spoken to my heart.  I am having to reexamine why I feel compelled to help my son.  I would hope that nobody attacks you for what you've said.  I'm a codepedent, who is struggling with knowing the difference between warranted help and enabling. I need to hear these things, because I have never heard any of what you say at an Al-Anon meeting.

As a sidenote, my son says he is in Day #4 of detox. He is using methadone. How he got it, I would imagine is off the streets.  How he paid for it...

I need to work on not allowing my son to put fear into me to bail him out of any debts for street drugs.

My name is Debby, and I am a codependent.  I need to get to work, now. I don't want to hear from my son for a while. I need to take another look at my boundaries. I have a  lot of thinking to do.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day at Home and the continuing saga....

Thank you! Yes, thank you to every single person who has left comments.  Fractal Mom-- I get you. You are blunt, but I get you and I hope you don't run away.  Madison, thank you for your candid comments. I know your story, because you were kind enough to share it with me.  "Dad", I am surprised that you support my decision to rescue my son from potential harm.  Yes, another drug dealer down. Amen to that.

B went to another NA meeting last night. His roommate "M" didn't go. "M" didn't like it. "B" sounds animated when he speaks of the meetings.  That's encouraging. 

My husband is mad at my son. He says he is angry that my son put me into that situation (having to bail my son out of debt to his dealer).  I understand his anger, but I'm not angry with my son.  I'm angry at the drugs, and I am disappointed in my son. Like Josh and Ryan have said-- I don't think my son wants to hurt me. The drugs are overpowering my son's ability to make stupid decisions. I'm not excusing it. From a sober mom's point of view, it's wrong what he's doing. From an addicts point of view, he needs to see the consequences before he chooses to buy dope. Right now, he's blinded by addiction.

Someone left a comment that mirrors how I feel-- I thank God for the fear he put into my son.  I'm thankful that my son had a frightening confrontation from his dealer...and that his good friend witnessed it.  It scared both of them.  I pray that the fear my son felt will not dissipate and he feels invincible enough to start buying dope again.

Today, I am off from work.  I am going to help my son get his car towed to the dealership, to get it fixed.  There is a Catch-22 in this-- the car could be a means to buy dope or to sell it.  It could also be a means for B to get the hours back that his boss cut until "he got a car, as promised when he was hired".

I'm taking my son to get his eyes examined and for the glasses he needs. His insurance will expire at the end of this year, and these are benefits I don't want to see wasted. 

Most importantly, I will be attending a meeting with my son tonight-- at our church. Yes, "our" church-- the church that my son begged me to try out. I was a member of  a different church. This is a church that has become my "home".  It's an amazing church that my husband and I look forward to coming to every Sunday.
Tonight, we will attend a Celebrate Recovery meeting. I haven't been to one in over a year.

My prayers have been that God will anoint that meeting with a great speaker. There is a young woman I've met at my ladies bible study group. I'm not sure of her age, because her face looks like it's been weathered and see hard time. She could be anywhere from her 30's to her early 50's.  As I suspected, she told me that she's three years clean from meth. She told our group that she lost everything to meth-- her home, her son, and that she is estranged from her family. She began to weep.  Our bible study group is more than answering questions about scripture. It's a prayer group, where we share our struggles and victories in life.

"K" will be at Celebrate Recovery tonight. She beamed when I told her I was coming with my son.  The format of the group is just like Al-Anon, AA or NA.  We begin with worship-- my son's least favorite part. I admit, when I'm tired it's a struggle to feel like singing worship songs.  But worship is an important part of the meeting. We read the 12-steps, as outlined at the bottom of my blog. (Has anyone every read them, I wonder?)  We have a speaker and I've gotten up, once, to share something.  Then, we break up into separate groups, by gender. 

I pray that my son will be blessed by someone tonight. I pray that the presence of God will be in that room.
Most importantly, I pray that my son will keep his promise to come.  If he doesn't, I will go anyway.

Yes, Madison, meetings are important.  My only frustration with group meetings is that we can unload by speaking in group-- but we cannot address anyone.  This is  an exercise in my learning how to listen and not speak. I admit, that I can be impatient when someone drones on and on....but I have to learn to stop focusing only on me.  So, I am going and I hope to go every Wednesday night.

I hope that this blog of mine will become a meeting place for so many of us.  It's important, to me, that people share their thoughts in the comment section. I don't want anyone to feel attacked for what they write. It's okay to agree to disagree, but there really isn't a one size fits all answer to how we deal with addiction in our family. Some people have been brutally hurt by their addict. Others are so desperately hopeful that their loved one will find sobriety the first time they try to 'quit'.   I've learned a lot from all of you.  I do pray for those of you who have written to me, every single morning. 

We are fighting a battle against a powerful and evil force.  I will never lose hope.

In closing, last night's bible study was on the book of Habakkuk (Old Testament). I have never really studied that chapter before.  It was so appropriate for my present situation.  Habakkuk was a prophet. This is his story of how he complained to God that so much injustice was happening around him. He complained that so much evil was going unpunished. God responded back to Habakkuk and let him know that while he would use the Babylonians to destroy Judah (for their wickedness against God), that ultimately the Babylonians would be destroyed and that God would punish those who deserved it.  History shows that this really happened.  The speaker pointed out to us that in Habakkuk, we are taught to live in faith, no matter what our circumstance are. God will, ultimately, deal with those who do evil unto others.  I know that the drug dealers will, at some point, be punished.

I loved the scripture I found in this chapter on living in faith.

Habakkuk 3:17
A Hymn of Faith
    17 Though the fig tree may not blossom,
      Nor fruit be on the vines;
      Though the labor of the olive may fail,
      And the fields yield no food;
      Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
      And there be no herd in the stalls—
       18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
      I will joy in the God of my salvation.
       19 The LORD God [c] is my strength;
      He will make my feet like deer’s
      And He will make me walk on my high hills.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A mother's reaction to a dangerous situation

A mother's instinct to protect her child can sometimes become so overpowering, that nothing else matters.

I have been so good about setting and keeping boundaries with my son. But there comes a time, when everything I learned flies right out the window.

I debated on sharing with all of you what has happened within the last 48 hours. Undoubtedly, once I post this, there will be parents of addicts who will shake their heads at me. There are parents who have been ripped off by their addict children, and who have become hardened against addicts ploys for money. I can understand why so many parents have pretty much flipped on the "I'm not enabling my addict's addiction anymore" switch. They do this, to preserve their own sanity. I understand this, completely.

My story is the truth:

My name is Debby, and my son is an addict. My son has been addicted to smoking heroin since, at least, April 2008. He started with oxycontin in 2005, and his brain finally morphed into liking "black". My son is an addict. He doesn't deny it.

OK, I'll cut to the chase--

My son admits that he is "chipping". He smokes some "black" and then uses suboxone to help curb the withdrawals.

Once again, my son got himself into another mess. This is round #3. A mother knows these things. The last few weekends, I have picked up B from his job. We swing by his apartment so that he can gather his laundry. He comes to my house, and does his own laundry. He eats dinner with us. It's an opportunity for my son to visit with us, and it's good.

Saturday, I could tell that my son was really wound up tight. His cellphone kept buzzing. He'd go outside and (this time) I didn't try to snoop. B doesn't live with me, so I figure he needs to deal with his own stuff.

B looked pale and very distracted. I asked him "what's wrong", when my husband wasn't in the room. B didn't want to tell me. I kept urging him to tell me. He wouldn't.

Finally, he told me that his roommate called and that there was a car outside the apartment. It was my son's dealer.
B let me listen to a voice mail. They were threatening my son.

Many parents, at this point, would think "Too bad. He got himself into this mess, and that's the way it is.

I can't do that. Maybe I haven't grown a thick enough skin. My son hasn't been in jail. Except for $40.00, just recently, he has never stolen from me.

B asked me to drop him off away from his apartment. He didn't want me to be in any danger. B called the dealer on speaker phone, and I could hear the conversation.

"Tomorrow, a very heavy Mexican accent said". The call ended.

I dropped off B, where his roommate waited to escort him back to the apartment.

I didn't sleep well. I kept waking and praying for my son. Stress makes his blood sugars soar, which is dangerous for a diabetic.

Monday afternoon, B called me very distraught. He was sobbing.

"Pray for me, mom. Please!"

We prayed together, and my son asked God to forgive him and to help him.

I went into a private room at work, and called B right back.
He told me that the dealer found B, as his friend was giving him a ride to work. The car cut in front of them, and the dealer pointed his hand as though it was a gun. He threatened to show up at B's work if he didn't pay up. Today.

I called B's friend. The story matched. This is the one friend that B has, who doesn't use.

I picked B up at his job, all the while I prayed and asked God for wisdom.

I made up my mind. I gave Brian the money. It wasn't a lot. I listened to the dealer say $150.00.

B pleaded that he only owed $100.00. The dealer said "we want interest." Finally, the dealer say, $120.00 and we are cutting you off.

Thank you, Jesus.

Before anyone judges or criticizes me, please know that I had some important dialog with my son, in the parking lot of his job. I asked my son, why?

B tells me-- and I believe him-- that he doesn't want to use to get high. He says he can't take the withdrawals.

We talked about so much, that I can't blog it all. In a way I don't want to. Not now. Our talk was deep. My son has BS'd me many times. I knew, deep in my soul, that my son is desperately wanting to find sobriety. My son said that he has reached bottom, at last.

Has he?

My son called the dealer and arranged a meeting. I went home to change clothes and to eat a fast bite of dinner. B called and said he wanted to go to an NA meeting. I picked him up.

"Mom, I need to stand up tonight. I want to say, I'm B and I'm an addict. I can't stay clean. I'm desperate. I need a sponsor".

Both B and his roommate were waiting for me. "M" has been sober for a week. He has never been to an NA meeting and wants to support my son.

I said to "M, "I want you to know that I have never hated you "M". Like it or not, I have been praying for you like crazy."

"It's working", he said. I'm sober. I want to clean up my life.

My son will pay me back. He is writing a life plan for me, as part of the deal for my helping him. We are not done. Tomorrow night, B will go with me to a Celebrate Recovery meeting. B wants to return to church. He says he wants to reconnect with Jesus.

I spoke with B right before I went to bed. He said he feels better, having gone to a meeting. He apologized over and over again, to me.  

The hardest part for me was telling my husband what I had done. C wasn't happy with me. He reminded me that I promised I'd never help him get out of his mess.

I did just that. I broke that promise. I was afraid my husband couldn't forgive me.
He was upset, but I had to tell him what I had done. I can't lie to him. I love him too much.

I still feel that I did what a mother has to do. If anyone wants to tell me that I'm a fool, then I will take it. I cannot live with myself, knowing that my son could have been beaten, stabbed or shot over $120.00. I believe that B will pay it back.

My husband hugged me this morning. I think he understands that I love him too much to lie to him. I didn't ask my husband for permission, but I was purely in mother protective mode. I was scared for my son. He was sobbing at a level that tore my heart. My son isn't evil. He's an addict.

For the love of God, please understand that I know that my son needs a one-year program. It isn't in the cards, right now. I'm too weary to list them, because if you've been following my blog I've written about them over and over again.

So, you see-- I'm as human as everyone else. The strength I've been told I have only goes so far. If my son was to end up in jail, or dead-- well, it's something I hope I never have to experience.  I reacted to pure panic over my son's safety.

Today is a new day. I have searched my soul and I feel that what I did carries no guilt in me. I can only pray that my son will remember the fear and that he will finally make the phone calls, today, that we talked about.

I welcome any and all comments about this. Be honest, because I want this blog to be a place where we can share our true thoughts.  My feelings get hurt, but it makes me stronger. I chose to share this moment in my life with you, because maybe there's another mother just like me-- who reacts this way.

Thank you for your prayers. Please pray that my son will stay with NA, that he will get a good sponsor and that he will finally work hard-- the odds are not in his favor-- to find sobriety and keep it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Today's meeting is a response to this comment

I think I might possibly be on to something-- it seems that when I post a specific comment (or comments) that this blog explodes with people voicing their opinions...or two cents. I love it!  I hope that this format-- totally unplanned or pre-thought-- will invite more people to join in our my "virtual" meeting.  We need a forum, where we can come together and talk-- and share-- and cry-- and encourage parents, wives, husbands, kids about the world of addiction.

So, today, I want to address one of the blogs that I value, highly. It's from "Dad" of the blog "Dad & Mom".  I value what Dad has to say. He has a son who is an opiate addict. His son has put them through far more than my own has.  From what I gather, this is a two-parent family who is successful. Dad is a smart business person. He writes well.  So, here's what he wrote, in case you missed it. It's from my post dated November 7th, titled "Robbing Peter to Pay Paul":

I agree that $700 turns into $1000 and then to $10,000 and will not end. However I have one thing to add other than to just pray about it.
I have found my son is sorely missing problem solving skills. I believe those skills really begin to develop at the age when he was heavily into drugs. When he comes to me asking questions such as your son was asking he may have been asking for help but only knew how to ask for money.
We take for granted our problem solving because it was learned so long ago. We are able to see OPTIONS. We are able to recognize helpless and hopeless and know the difference. My suggestion to you next time instead of responding with pray about it try to see if your son is receptive to teaching in a soft manner.
Our son's must learn to problem solve without the only answer to them being "oh well nothing is ever going to work so I might as well get high." Teach about goal setting, teach about developing action plans, teach about measuring progress. Isn't there something in the bible about giving a fish or teaching to fish?
I agree with this, "Dad".  I recognize that, though my son has above average intelligence, he has no organizational skills. I see a lot of attention deficit disorder characteristics in B.  He is always late for appointments, or forgets them altogether.  He procrastinates. He loses things.  B has been this way since junior high school. Is it drug-related? I think his drug use has made his lack of focus even worse. 

The last time that B lived with us, I bought hima really nice leather-bound organizer. I gave him a palm pilot which he lost (it was a cheap one I got as a free gift from a bank, so I don't think he sold it). We have a large calendar where I write down appointments and reminders-- they have colored stickers.  I even designed a user-friendly work sheet for my son-- for him to calculate his monthly expenses.  It's so simple to use, that all he has to do is write down how much his paycheck is.  There are columns where he tracks his rent, gas, food, insurance.  I even designed it where he can list his debts, and watch the balance owed decrease. He really liked it!  He said it made him feel hope, when he could see that he could pay off a debt in "x" amount of paychecks.  I even taught my son how to use Quicken and set up his checking account for him to download his transactions-- still, he kept overdrawing his account.

But, B tends to get excited about things...and then his interest wavers. Then, we're back to square one.  He gives up using the tools I've taught him or given him.

Sometimes I  see behavior in my son, that is just like his father. I know, I sounds like I'm pointing fingers. Hold on-- please keep reading.  B's father is 63 years old.  He had two inheritances that came into his life-- significant amounts of money.  Every penny is gone, from bad business decisions and extravagant spending.  His father has no retirement savings.  He is over $150,000 in debt, with no chance of being financially sound again.  His father cannot get a job.  His father is suffering from near-blindness from his diabetes. His father smokes 2 packs of cigarettes-- a day, against doctor orders, and he cannot quit.  His father has always suffered from depression.  Sadly, I don't think B's father has many more years to live.  In fact, B's father hit such a low blood sugar, this weekend,  that the paramedics were called in. He almost died.

This was the demise of our marriage-- financial problems.  My husband hid our debt from me, until it was too late. I'm the polar opposite in how I handle/honor money.  I seem to have inherited my mother's organizational skills.  I'm married to a man who is one of those employees that are worth their weight in gold.  We are not rich, but we are not in debt. We figured out how to do it. Want to know how?  We spend less money then we earn!  We pay our credit cards, in full, every month. 

My son has wasted thousands of dollars with is inability to manage money. Even when B was dealing drugs, he spent all of his money. He sold everything he ever owned, to drug debt. Had I not charged my son rent, while living with us, and put half into a savings for B to move into his own place...he would be on the streets right now.

But, there is hope.  B is paying his rent.  He's eeking by. My husband and I do believe that B doesn't want to use.  We see his shame and desperation -- and maybe he's close to finally accepting the help that is there for him.

My son asks me for advice.  I offer it, if asked.  I make sure to watch how lengthy my answers are.  I am careful to not sound condescending.  Sometimes, my son receives it. Sometimes, I think I'm talking to an invisible spirit.

Yes, I can see the answers. I know exactly what my son needs to have a chance of finding sobriety. My son is so young, at 21. He is beginning to value my wisdom but comprehending it all is another matter.

I'm not sure what part of the bible that Dad is referring to. Is it the sermon on the Mount, where Jesus fed the crowds with a few loaves of bread and a few fish? Or, is it when Jesus says to  his disciples, "Come and be fishers of men."? 

The best self-help book that I own is my bible.  I own a study bible-- New King James Version, to be exact.  It has study notes on the bottom, to help me understand the Greek translations and to give me clarity on what some of the (sometime) confusing scriptures.  When I read scripture, I find wisdom and God's promises to us.  There are exactly 365 "Fear nots" written in the bible. It's true!

Prayer-- to me-- is my conversation to God.  Many times, the bible says to "pray and ask" God.  When I say that I am praying about something-- it is not my last resort. It is my first conversation.  Prayer calms me down, when I am angry or afraid. Prayers gives me strength, because I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.  This is a concept that non-believers don't understand.

I will never abandon prayer in all that I do.  When I pray, the answers come.  It's hard to explain, to non-believers. There is a book out called "A Case for Christ". It is written by Lee Strobel. He was a reporter for the Chicago Times and he was an atheist. He set out to disprove the bible-- that's it's all a fairy tale.  In the end, he became a Christian.  It's interesting how many people dismiss the significance of the bible.  I often wonder why they dismiss it, having never read it!  Have you?   C.S. Lewis was an atheist.  He went on to become a believer in Jesus Christ.   The bible, to me, is God's story.  I find it to be one of the most fascinating books ever written. It's rich in history and it is accurate.  Predictions have been made, that are indisputably correct. Read Isaiah 53... what are the odds that Jesus's crucifixion was so accurately written long, long LONG before it happened.

I digress.  I'm getting carried away. I can't help myself.  I'm passionate about this topic, can you tell?

Things are bad with my son, today.  He is refusing to take insulin and his blood sugars have soared into the 800's.  His AIC (if you are in the medical field, you know what this is) is at 17.  A normal one averages at a "7".  My son could go blind, soon. His kidneys are in danger of being irreversably destroyed.

My son doesn't love himself.  He is spiraling into a dangerous place.

I will blog about that another day.  Right now, I am praying for my son with such a strength and conviction-- that I feel so close to God at this very moment.  My son is in danger.

My name is Debby and my son is a Type I diabetic who is addiction to heroin. 

God  help us, please.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

It's Saturday morning. I have finished cleaning up the kitchen, started a load of laundry and I'm already planning out how to balance my chore list with some personal time doing things I enjoy most-- reading and maybe watching a TV show I've recorded.  I am thinking of my son.  

The last time I saw him was on Thursday night. I took him to our favorite Italian restaurant, sat at a bar (which I haven't done in years) and bought him his first "Cadillac Margarita".  I remember studying his face-- a face that I find to be so beautiful. I'm looking at his thick dark lashes, and studying his big blue-green eyes. I find myself looking at his beautiful nose. It's long and perfectly shaped. I never liked my nose. I still don't...just random thoughts from a mom who adores her son.  I am looking at my beautiful baby boy, who was born 21 years ago. I'm still amazed how the DNA from his father and from me, has been woven to create this 6'3 young man-- my son.  We enjoy our time at the bar. We laugh. We chat with the bartender. I order small food items from the dinner menu. I explain to my son  how important it is to eat with alcohol-- it seems so weird, I realize, to be having this conversation with my son.  I decline an offer for a second beer. I need to drive home, and I want to be responsible. I'm relieved to see that my son stops at one cocktail.  B isn't much into drinking alcohol. "Thank God", I think. That's all my son needs-- to be addicted to opiates and alcohol.

My thoughts return back to the present. I look at the clock and it's time to pick B up to drive him to his job. It's my opportunity to see my son. As I park in front of B's apartment building, I stop and say a prayer:

Heavenly Father, I pray that you will help me to not to lose patience with my son. Please help me to not put my own expectations of how I think my son should live his life onto him. I pray, that no matter what happens, that you will help me to lift my son up and to not tear him down. Help me, Father, to be the Godly mother than I have asked you to help me be. I pray this in Jesus' Name. Amen.

I glance at my watch, and my son is cutting it close to be at work on time. Then, I remember my prayer. Let go, let God.  I spot my son, walking towards me, looking like someone just died. 

B gets into the car and sighs, deeply.

"Good morning", I cheerily say. What I really want to say is "what's wrong?"

My son reclines the car seat and says "I'm deep in debt, mom".  "I don't see how I can pay it." "I owe $700.00".  My stomach ties up into knots.

It's early November of 1999.  I am at the horse stables, with my son, who has started hanging out at the barn with me. I am going to teach my son how to clip a horse's bridle path (mane).  I have my horse on a halter, and the clippers are plugged in. My horse is acting a little jittery, so I'm talking to her in a soothing voice.  I tell my son to hold the horse by the halter, I've got the rope in one hand. I've turned on the clippers, that are buzzing lightly.  Suddenly, I see my ex-husband "S" (the alcoholic  that I blogged about last week who was B's stepdad) who gets his foot caught in the plastic tarp that covers the hay bales.  S begins to shake his foot that is entangled in the tarp and the sound of it spooks my horse... she bolts forward and knocks me off my feet. In a split second, I am flying through the air and I instinctively put my hand out to brace the fall. I am on the ground and my hand hurts like hell. I look at the hand and it's at an odd angle. It's broken and I go into shock.  People are scurrying around me, and someone grabs my horse for me. The clippers are on the ground, buzzing away....

I am rushed to the hospital and the endorphins that block pain have quit working. I'm now in excruciating pain.  My son is in the backseat while S is driving me to the emergency room.  A emergency room doctor greases my swollen fingers  and pulls off my wedding ring, just in time. I am giving a morphine drip and I begin to relax and the pain ebbs away.  I am told that I have a compound fracture and that I will need surgery-- it's a severe break of my left hand and I will not be able to work for six weeks.  

I remember my son saying "there goes Thanksgiving Dinner!".  Funny, that my son values that my cooking so much, I think to myself-- I remember this vividly.

I remember telling my son that "God will provide".  I didn't know how, at the time. B's stepdad was unemployed. I was self-employed. I was fortunate that I had Blue Cross, and while the premiums were killing me I was thankful that I was responsible enough to have medical insurance.

I prayed and prayed, and my faith in God was at a full test at this chapter in my life.  Miracles happened. My (now ex) sister-in-law kept my business going. Bless her heart, she took on my clients and hers (I was an esthetician and my hands were my living... miracle after miracle happened-- maybe I'll blog about it someday. From that point in my life, I fully commited my life to being a Christian. Before then, I was only dabbling in seeking to know God.

I got through it. God had pulled the cosmic carpet right out from under me, at this time in my life. I had just made a lot of money on a succesful business promotion.   I had all kinds of business ideas on what I was going to do with my financial windfall.  And then, life happened.  It was not to be... but, God had finally gotten my attention.
B went on to say that he had borrowed money from a Cash Advance place...again. He said he had it all figured out and then his hours got cut in half. His voice trails off and he mutters that he just wants to die.  Yes, life happens, I think to myself.

So, I prayed out loud for my son. He interrupted me and said he didn't want to hear it. I trailed off with "amen".

We were quiet for a few minutes, and I was getting close to his job. Finally, I said with a soft voice:

"B, I'm sorry that you are feeling such despair.  I do understand that feeling, because at the time that I broke my wrist I had no idea how I was going to pay house rent, business rent and how I was going to manage. I cried out to God, and I prayed and prayed...and I asked God to show me the way out.  I can only hope that you will take a look at what got you into debt. Drugs do that, as you know. Drugs rob you of everything-- integrity, money and hope.  There is a way out and I am going to pray that you will ask God to show you the way."

I handed my son a bottle of water and some snacks that I packed for him. I gave him $5.00 to buy some lunch.

"At times like this, be thankful that you paid your rent".  "Look for blessings in all of this." I said.

"But, I won't be able to pay rent next month!", he said.  He is feeling such despair and he's hating his life right now.

"Yes, you can.  You have to want it enough, and to prioritize what you need to do. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way".

B gave me a weak smile and walked off to work. As I drove home, I prayed out loud to God and I laid all of this before the throne of heaven.

We forget that when what seems our darkest hours, that sometimes God has allowed this to happen to us for a reason. He doesn't rescue us, but allows us to suffer the consequences from the choices that we make that are in direct disobedience to Him.

Does this sound familiar?  God is our Heavenly Father. Just as we parents of addicts must allow our children to suffer the consequences of their choice to use drugs-- to beg, borrow and steal-- God is waiting for us to realize that the only way out is to look UP to Him.

My son is robbing Peter to pay Paul. He got himself into a financial mess. I won't even focus on whether or not his debt is from buying drugs or on the expenses his listed out to me. It doesn't matter.  Only God knows the truth.  My son is learning what happens when we borrow money. It's a dangerous game and it has backfired on him, again. No, I won't bail him out. He needs to feel the pain, and I hope that he will finally learn from it.

I do believe in God's miracles. My story of my broken wrist is woven with so many turns and twists that would take thousands of words to tell.  I was so immersed in finding hope, strength and encouragement by reading the bible every single day.  I read the story of King David, while he was being chased by Saul-- and how David cried out to God when he was trapped in a cave.  I read Proverbs and Psalms and underlined them in bright yellow.  I would rock back and forth and cry tears, wondering if God would ever bail me out.

He did. I had to wait for ten years before I was free of debt.  Many times, I felt despair and then I cried out to God.  I never stopped seeking to know God through his word. I fell in-love with reading the bible. I joined a bible study group. I was finally walking with the Lord, and clinging to Him for dear life.  I found strength, hope and courage even when I felt afraid.

Yes, I know how suffocating the burden of debt is.  I know the feeling of hopelessness, as though I could never be free of worrying about next month's rent payment.  I also became keenly aware of how the Dark One will never stop at trying to rob us of hope. He breathes lies into our thoughts-- that we are useless, we are failures. The Dark One shows us the easy way out-- but it's never legal.

My son is under spiritual attack.  I am praying for him-- that God will send him a messenger, today. I am praying that my son will see a way out-- God's way...that my son wll learn the value of integrity and patience.

My son is in that cave.  His enemies are chasing him.

Cry out to God, my son.  He is waiting for you... he loves you. Return to Him, for he is greater than any enemy.  Nothing is too big for God.

I am thankful that God put me in the cave, all those years ago.  My faith grew, that fateful day. When I look back at my prayer journal I used to keep (I need to start doing that again), I can clearly see the blessings that have come out of some of those darkest times in my life.  When life is good, I need to be reminded how Jesus was my rock in the storms of life.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

More comments from anonymous folks

Dear Ryan,

I truly hope that you were not offended by the comments that were posted in the last few days. I hope you know that I posted your comment because I felt it had value-- it was worth reading. Listening to addicts speak is something I rarely get to do. I want to understand you. For those of you who missed Ryan's follow-up comment, please scroll down to find it. Ryan, you have been through so much! I appreciate your candor, and I read the pain in what you write.  I hope that you have/start a blog. I would love to continue hearing from you.

I received a private email from someone who said it's okay for me to share it. Here is her story"

My husband is a recovered addict his drug of choice was crack cocaine. For years I along with his mother and father tried to help him stop using. I controlled all of the money, hid the car keys, and watched him like a hawk. In the end if he wanted to use he would no matter what i or his parents did to help or stop him. Finally i was tired and afraid for myself and our children so i left. His addiction continued until he lost his home he than moved in with his parents claiming that he was done of course he wasn't. My husbands parents also were afraid and didn't see any change. In over a year they told him he had to go. Struggling with addiction on his own and no where to go brought him to his knees with his hands in the air surrendering there was only one person who would except him and it was a complete stranger that showed him the way but only if he wanted it under any and all conditions willing to do anything to stay clean.

See it's when we're stripped of everything with NO WHERE TO GO will we get help on our own. And our family and friends can't help us.

We find NA ON OUR OWN when we are brought to our knees not because a family member or probation officer told us to. We find it because in our hearts we are done and can't go another day in this life.

My husband will be seven years clean in February and are family is together and safe thanks to NA and helping other fellow addicts.

It's there if he wants it, but HE has to want it completely!

I am returning to work, after battling a cold so I don't have time to write much.   Your comments mean the world to me. That is why I post some of them so that nobody misses them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More food for thought from a comment from "our" side

I am starting to really appreciate  the lively comments that happen when I post a comment that I've received.  I posted Ryan's comment, because I appreciated what he had to say. I would like to post a comment to that comment-- one that was sent from Fractal Mom.  Ryan-- and anyone else who is an addict-- I mean no disrespect or offense.  In all fairness I wanted to post a very thoughtful comment from a parent who has been on my side.

Before I post the comment, I want to share my view from those of you who are encouraging me to help my son get out of his dangerous situation.  Angelo, this is also a time I want to say how much I feel that you have become a caring "friend" on my blog, and I thank you. You don't have an email address, and that's okay. I'm anonymous, and I certainly can understand why others remain anonymous. Isn't that part of the "program"?

Anyway-- when you read Fractal mom's comment, she reflects much of how I feel. My son has lived with us twice. We allowed him back into his childhood home to help him go to college and to find sobriety.  My son never completed one college course. Not one.  Expensive books were lost, and our money thrown away with it. Unfortunately, my son has relapsed multiple times-- despite the love and encouragement we (his step dad and I) gave him. Multiple times, we found the telltale foils hidden in his room. Multiple times, my son had stories on how they were old. We did the drug testing, and my son cleverly hid stored urine in a body cavity that he shrewdly switched in the bathroom--though my husband stood outside an open door. I felt so deceived when I found out that all the "negative" results were a lie. My son knew that he would have to move out, if we found drugs in the house. After several "second chances", this move is final. I cannot allow my son to move back. The only way I would change my mind is that my son has been clean and sober for one year, has a job and wants to go to college. That's it.

As far as my son's trust fund goes-- what's left of it (most went to pay for his rehab), there is only enough to pay for a sober living environment for 2-3 months. Tops. I won't allow it, anymore. My mother worked hard, her entire life, to save this small token of her love for her grandson. That money was intended for my son's college, or for something that would be a good thing.  My mother's heart would break if she knew that her grandson was a drug addict.  I can't throw the money away for drug addiction, anymore.  I am the trustee of this money for four more years. I pray that my son will find sobriety, by the age of 25, and that this money will be a precious gift from his grandmother...who loved him very much.

My son's dangerous living situation is a direct result of his own choices. My son chose to lie to us, and he brought drugs into the house. My son chose to buy drugs, on credit, and then found that he works and works, only to pay off drug debt.  While my son is a sweetheart, when he is sober, he has to make a decision on what to do. All the options and tools are before him. I ahave empathy for his addiction, but there are countless folks who are working a program, and who are staying clean. I have reached the point that I cannot be the person who enables his inability to learn to think for himself. I must distance myself, as much as I can. I could help my son, in a heartbeat, to move out of his apartment.  But, once again, I would be the person who enables B's inability to figure things out on his own.  My son needs to learn to take care of his own messes. I believe that my son wants sobriety, but I don't think it's top on his list.

So, without further adieu, I want to share what Fractal Mom had to say.  It's raw, and it's obvious that she's been through so much heartache.  She speaks words of wisdom that parents who struggle with codependence and enabling their addict children to take a look at the results:

well. I have the following to say to any parent of an addict who is entertaining the idea of letting the addict live in their home while they attempt sobriety.

any other kids in the home? (bad move)

do you work or can you devote your entire life to 'assisting' the addict in his/her quest.

can you sleep with your purse and all your valuables?

can you provide 24 hour eagle eye watching?

can you use every single iota of your energy on the addict and leave nothing for yourself?

I don't hate addicts. I hate what they and the addiction do to the real victims, the families of addicts.

we spent almost 8 years trying to be supportive and allowing our addict to be surrounded by loving family members to help her find sobriety. She went on to have two children, steal us blind, and screw up my relationship with her three siblings who ended up hating her for taking their mom away from them because all of my energy ended up going to 'being supportive' and also taking care of her children while she was still using over and over.

Yah, if you are single, have a good income, work from home and have lots of time and energy to devote to your son, maybe it's a good idea.

but truthfully, an addict who WANTS to get clean will find a way.

anything else is just plain old enabling. Not supportive.

Ask anyone who has been there for over 10 years with a heroin addict child, male or female. Living in the home DOES NOT WORK.

And, it puts you at risk of losing your home in a drug bust.

just my opinion.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

An Anonymous Comment from "the other side"

This comment was left on my blog yesterday. Ryan-- whomever you are, thank you for your honest feelings and suggestions. I wanted to post this, today, to share this with other moms. I have to remember that my son doesn't measure time the same way that I do-- because I am sober and he's not. I think my son wants to be sober, but he is trying to do this alone. He can't. I hope that you will continue to visit me, and talk to me. I respect your anonymity.

Anonymous said...

Hello.. My name is Ryan and I have been reading your blog for about 3 months now. I am 23 and an opiate addict myself. I initially started reading your blog to gain perspective on how it must be for my mother dealing with an addict. I feel horrible for all mothers in this situation but I feel just as horrible for the addict whose parents make getting sober that much more difficult. I am not at all insinuating you are making things difficult for your son as you are doing the best you can. But take what I say with a grain of salt... I am sure by now you have figured out an addict doesnt just get sober over night. It is a battle everyday. A day in the life of an addict feels like a solid week compared to that of a sober person. A week feels like a month and a month feels like a year. You may not understand why your son cant make it more than 5 days. Hopefully that gives you a little insight. I know you feel he needs to be on his own as most parents do at our age. That is perfectly fine, but as long as he is in the situation he is in there is no hope of him getting sober unless he has the will of GOD. You shouldn't feel guilty for helping him get into a situation that allows him the best possiblity for sobriety. Whether that be at your home or a sober roomate. They tell us in rehab that our odds are 1/20 of getting sober. Help create the best possible odds for him assuming he really does want to get sober. Everyone is different but for me I had to move back home. I love my mother very much just as he does you. Being around her daily and having that responsibilty to her helps me tremendously. Yes it sucks if I want to get high but her presence humbles me. She always knows when I am high. You should too. All you have to do is look for the pinpoint pupils in your sons eyes. I am by no means in recovery yet as I just recently relapsed from a 34 day sobriety streak. But I know what doesn't help me and a roomate situation like that would eventually take me off the deep end. Get him out of there ASAP. Maybe I am wrong but thats just my 2 cents. On a positive note, I enjoy reading your blogs and they have definately been of help to me as it helps me feel the pain I cause to my own mother. I hope all works out for your son as this is a miserable existence. But remember we will be better people because of it in the end

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy 21st Birthday, Baby Boy!

Yesterday, November 1st was my son's 21st birthday. It is so true when people say that the years slip by fast.  I woke up extra early, because of the time change. I immediately thought of B-- recollecting the day that I went into labor, and the joy of being a stay-at-home mom.  Presently, when I think of B, I feel more a sense of sadness for HIM. Still, I have no regrets on being a mom. I loved it then, and I still love it now.

I wish I had positive things to blog about, though. It seems that my son's life is a magnet for drama. Right now, my son's biggest source of anxiety is with his roommate-- "M".  M is an ugly drunk. I don't like being around drunks at all.

Pause a moment.

I've never admitted this on my blog, before, but I had what I call a "drive by" marriage in between my divorce from B's dad (a 17 year marriage) and my marriage to my best friend an husband-- "C".  B was 11 years old, at the time. I met "S" and he courted me very aggressively. I married him less than a year after we met.  Cutting to the chase, the reason that I married "S" (against the advice of my BFF) were several:
1.  He was nice to my son, and B didn't get very much attention from his dad.
2.  I was a single wife while I was married to B's dad. I was starved for affection and attention, and "S" provided plenty of that.
3.  "S" was a Christian-- or so I thought.
4.  "S" wanted to move in with me, and I would not live with someone I wasn't married to.

What I did not know-- until I said, "I do" was that "S" was an alcholic. He was a "mean" alcoholic, too.  S stole money from me. S couldn't keep a job. In the end, I finally found out the truth of S's alcoholism when he got arrested.  At that time, I discovered the ugly truth about the man I had married:
1.  He had two social security numbers.
2.  He had been fired from his last job and lied to me about it. When I found out, he said he was ashamed to tell me.
3.  He was selling house loans on a suspended realtor's license.
4.  I was wife #5.
5.  He had a warrant out for his arrest for a DUI.

It wasn't until I went to the jail to see about bailing him out that I learned he had $7000.00 CASH in his wallet (I was struggling to support the three of us), and that his driver's licensed was a California ID Card.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.  I divorced him a few months later and it's a chapter in my life that I don't like to talk about. I have no idea where he is. I only know that he remarried less than a year later. I pity the woman.

As for my marriage to C-- he is a God send. I adore my husband. He is kind, honest, thoughtful and I admire how his faith in Christ is growing. I told him everything when we first started dating-- and he accepted it without judgment. I am blessed to be his wife.

Why am I telling you this? Because it's why I have no patience with drunks. I lived with one, and it was my first eye-opening experience.  I have struggled to find forgiveness for what he put me through. I still struggle with it, because he never said he was sorry and he left me in debt-- which I finally paid off after years of working two jobs.

Saturday night, I picked up B from his job. B was dressed clean and looked good. (He had eaten dinner at my house on Friday and washed all of his clothes.)  We had a nice visit, too. At a stop light, I noticed a taxi. There was B's roommate, waving at us.  I waved back and look straight ahead. I told B that I was not going to pull over and offer M a free ride home. That's not very Christian, but now can you understand my anger trigger about alcoholics?  B's cellphone rang and it was M, saying that I looked like I "hate" him.  I don't. I just don't want anything to do with someone who is in such a dark place. I pray for M. He needs helps.

Back to my son's birthday-- I called my son to wish him a Happy Birthday.  We decided that we'd take him out to dinner tonight (Monday) because he had plans to party with M and friends. 

This is getting too long of a story- and I apologize for that. Bottom line, I gave B a ride to work.  I saw M walking behind him, and I noticed a big scab on M's face. I asked B what happened?

"Oh, you noticed that?", he asked.

How could I miss it, I thought.

B proceeded to tell me that at midnight, November 1, M and B walked to a local restaurant/cocktail lounge so that he could have his first legal drink. He said that M was already drunk and he noticed a car that he thought were "friends" of his. According to B, M stepped on one of the guy's "Jordan's" (shoes) and the scrap (unkind term for Mexican) got mad and beat him up. B said he walked away, but in the distance he saw M getting jumped and then the guys ran away when M pulled a knife.

Nice, huh? This is who my son lives with.

B says he's working on finding a new place to live. I hope so.

I felt sad that my son's birthday was so eventful with such evil things.

The only "nice" memory I have of this weekend with B was when he told me that he has saved all the letters I've written to him-- several which I have posted on this blog. He said they make him cry, but that he realizes how much he loves me.

I can only pray that, one day, my son will want to walk out of the dark world he is in-- and  back into God's perfect light.

I will never lose hope.  I told my son, on his birthday, that despite all we've been through that I have no regrets that he was born. I don't. He is a gift from God, and I was entrusted to raise my son to know the ways of the Lord. I got a late start in that, but I am committed to not keep my love of God ad my faith under wraps. Though I sometimes feel that non-believers click off my blog because I praise God's name, it won't stop me.

So, we shall see if dinner happens tonight.  I'm fighting a cold, and I'd rather be in bed right now. For now, when I think of my son I think of God-- and pray that the prayers being said for him are being answered.

Thank you for your prayers.