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.


Cheri said...


We are praying with you for B's safety, his health, his deliverance from addiction...

I was deeply moved by your heart in what you wrote in your post. Your passion is powerful.

God bless you and your family,

Cheri and Wayne

Sherry said...

Lord: I pray that B is healed!

Amen -


Dad and Mom said...


I believe I communicated poorly. My point is to try to get your son to live a life one day at a time. That must be the start. Just as addicts measure their clean days at an NA meeting.

Setting goals is something I consider successful people do constantly. Whether one day at a time or one decade at a time. With an addict I know we must live in the here and now. Future is too far away to even consider but setting a simple goal and accomplishing it is rewarding. I believe there is nothng rewarding in an addicts life and they know that fact too well. Success is compounded upon successes.

When YOU gave him all those things you gave him tools as you said. Tools are disposable as you saw. I gave my son tons of tools in an effort to help him succeed. None of them worked. I have come to the realization that what he needs are lessons. When I speak to him now about life and moving forward and setting golas I now get a recognition in his face that he has heard it and I think (who knows) there is actually begining to be a connection to all of it and success.

I try to ask questions first. What now? How? Where? and then listen and weave the goal setting and where do we go from here into that conversation.

I borrowed $700 and now they have cut my hours and I have no way to pay it back and I don't know what to do!!! (panic and pleading) How can I help? No I am not loaning you $700. Can we talk about other options? No, end of conversation. Yes, the only way I know how to get money is to work for it, do you know any other way? No. (in reality they are always thinking of stealing) if this job cut your hours is there a chance to get more hours there? Do you need to find a new job or do you need to find a second job? What's it take to to get a new job? Apply at 3 places per day? A GOAL AND ACTION STEPS!!! Getting a second job is the goal but the real work is the action steps. And each DAY the question is Did I apply at 3 places?

I know this is way to simplistic but I am trying hard to communicate better about how much I believe an addict needs to have success in there life and there is nothing rewarding about addiction unless you consider scoring another a hit a reward, like they do.

(continued, see next comment)

Dad and Mom said...

I think an addict lives in a world that the only thing that is real is what they can touch. Tasks become an end unto themselves. Quite frankly I watched my son working at home and with me here at the company. While he was working and actually doing tasks I saw the only measure of satifaction in him that I had seen for years. It hurt me like hell to fire him for violating the rules but I know inside I may have done him the biggest favor he will ever get. (at least I hope so) If not I've been wrong before and will learn my lesson. But what I am trying to say in this rambling comment is, while he was working for me we had many good discussions, I even wrote about them. He was actually accomplishing things and he was smiling again. But one problem was he still was having trouble controlling his actions. His probation violation was not for using, it was for going places he was not suppose to go, he did not fail his UA. His last letter to us from prison he acknowledged that he had heard what I said about goals, without prompting.

I want to relate one story about goals and wishes I have with my son. When I was in my teens I water skied competitively in tournaments. At that time my dad had an old runabout with an outboard motor. Not real good for competitive skiing. When skiing in tournaments in the early '70's the boats were Ski Nautiques or Mastercraft's. I told my dad one day I would have one of those. fast forward to 1998, I bought my first Mastercraft Ski Boat. When I brought it home my mom said you always told your dad you would have one of those. (my dad died in 1982) She said I guess it is never too late. I told her goals never go away, wishes fade away. I set goals. I have told my son this story as an illustration that we can do only what we set ourselves to do. Life is no accident we determiine our path in the actions (steps) we take. This is why I believe so strongly in working with my son on goals and success.

About the fish. i am not a bible scholar and don't plan to become one so maybe I was misquoting but I was using the old parable of give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Sorry fo the long comment, I was not trying disrespect your religon, I was just trying to say I think it takes more.

Madison said...

Debby, B is battling a life threatening illness. Nothing else matters. I will pray for you and your son today.

LisaC said...

Debby, your strength in your belief in God is amazing to me. I have come a long way in letting God in my life the last two years, but I know that sometimes I make it hard for God to speak to me and show me the way.

B has a life threatening illness and I don't believe it is being codependent to provide whatever assistance you can. He can't ask for help or take responsibility for his addiction if his diabetes kills him.

I know that we are supposed to let them do everything on their own. I get it. But I also understand that our sons and daughters that started seriously using drugs at 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, etc., also stopped maturing. So the calendar says they are 19, 20 or 21, but inside, they are more likely to be 14 or 15 or 16. I think you have to keep that in mind.

I am praying for you today, for B, for all of us that struggle with addiction in our lives. We simply want our loved ones to move forward and leave the drug behind (we are not asking them to be doctors and lawyers). Everyone in this community helps me. I hope that you are feeling our love and support today.

Fractalmom said...

wow. I'm really sorry your son is having a rough time of it.

While I am very religious, I won't bring that into this conversation.

what I do keep hearing, is EXCUSES.

and, they are VERY dangerous.

See, the bottom line is it doesn't really MATTER at what age your child starting using drugs, or what emotional age your child is at now, or what led them to use in the first place. Not to US, the parents.

Rationalizing all of that is nothing more than excusing their behavior.

I'm sorry your son is a diabetic and too involved with heroin to take his insulin. but that is NOT a reason to enable his behavior.

I know that sounds harsh. I am, at times, a harsh woman now.

My daughter has a bleeding disease similar to hemophilia. Obviously, it was very dangerous for her to be an IV drug user.

Not the same as a diabetic, I know, I know.


you cannot say "oh, well, since he was only 16 when he started using, then he doesn't have the emotional maturity to quit...."

you cannot say "oh, since he is a diabetic I have to make sure that he gets his insulin shots or he will die...."

Every single one of us lives with the fear that the next hit will be the LAST hit for our children. Every single one of us dreads that phone call in the middle of the night.

But, if it were as easy as US wanting them to stop, they all would have wouldn't they?

Addicts will tell you that they only stopped when they hit the bottom. Everyone's bottom is different. For some, it's losing their children, for others, even that isn't enough. For some, it's losing their self respect.

Locking them up doesn't work, they get heroin in prison, and do terrible things to get it. Letting them out doesn't work, they continue to use. Rehabs don't work, they stay clean for awhile, and then use again.

The ONLY thing that works is for the addict to decide to quit. And NO ONE can make that happen.

There are only three outcomes for heroin addiction. Life in prison, death or abstinence.

And only the addict can choose.

Dad of Dad & Mom is right. You can help by showing by example. If asked you can give goal oriented advice. But, you cannot enable.

Goal oriented advice is like Dad says about finding a job and taking the steps to get one.

enabling is driving the kid around to do that.

you did not put your son where he is. You can not get him out.

God can, yes. But the child has to get there himself. you can pray that he find's God. but you cannot help him to do it.

Sorry, I am rambling a bit too.

Midnitefyrfly said...

I cannot totally agree with fractalmom. I know that her situation has led her to a place of being harsh at times and I don't blame her. Every addiction and every family is different.

Everyone has a system of values that determines what is important to them. Your goals, your daily actions, your accomplishments in life are all based on your values- what is valuable to you.

It is very difficult for me to see how you could NOT help him with the necessities for his health.

fractalmom said,
'you cannot say "oh, well, since he was only 16 when he started using, then he doesn't have the emotional maturity to quit...."

you cannot say "oh, since he is a diabetic I have to make sure that he gets his insulin shots or he will die...." '

Well actually you can say whatever you want and if you believe those things are true then that is your right and I believe they actually are valid statements.

Nothing you are doing is enabling his drug use. I suppose he could maybe sell his insuling for heroin (who buys insulin on the street?).

Our kids will always be our children. Lives we created with hopes and dreams of fulfilling life journeys ahead of them. Even when they are addicts we can never stop hoping that they will recover and go on to have a beautiful life experience.

I personally could never be as harsh as fractalmom. One of my values IS my children and I do not think I could live with myself if my son died from complications of diabetes at such a young age, and I had allowed myself to believe that helping him with his health somehow meant I was enabling his addiction.

Like I said, everyone is different and each story of addiction is personal and individual. Not just one thing can work for everyone.

Family members should be able to look in the mirror and know they have done everything possible to help. Helping is not always enabling. Most times it is.

As you continue to educate yourself about this process and continue to draw strength, you continue your own life journey, and find ways to provide non-enabling support. You create an environment where hope lives.

I believe your son sees that and NEEDS it. These are the little things that he will look back on when he is recovered and kind of like in "footprints" even though you had to let him do this alone, he will see you were with him all along. If he dies from diabetes

I am not religious, I had no family to enable or support me, I didn't work the 12 steps and I still recovered. It is different for everyone.

I agree with LisaC- he cannot ever recover if he succumbs to his diabetes first. I believe there is a difference between making his life comfortable enough to continue using and helping him with his physical condition.

((HUGS)) to you. I really like the place you have created for people to come share and learn and grow on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Wow Fractal Mom... I know you have probably been through a horrible time with your addict and I can feel your pain throughout your posts. You make some very valid points but I must digress. While you keep hearing EXCUSES in Debby's post, I feel the bitterness throughtout yours are blinding you from some important truth. Have you ever been an addict before? It is not a matter of excusing our behavior. It is a matter of getting to the bottom of our behavior to fix it. Im not saying the parent is responsible for doing that, but please don't neglect the truth. If you stopped going to school 2nd -12th grade would you have been able to write these comments? Probably not. Fact of the matter is it does effect our growth whether you like it or not. I hope Debby realizes it is ok to make sure her son gets his insulin. That is not enabling. That is simply choosing life over death and being a good MOTHER when her son needs her most. You come across being very judgemental towards us "ADDICTS". Almost like a Nazi speaking of the Jews. I understand your military like tactics of parenting but did that sober your kid up? We are people with souls too you know. We are not constantly trying to hurt and screw everyone around us over. Not all addicts are as you make us out to be. If you think you must wait for the addict to hit his/her complete bottom to sober up then go watch Ben: Diary of a Heroin Addict on YOUTUBE and then tell me how low we must go. Debby continue to love your son and do the best you can without enabling him before the slippery slope gets steeper

Angelo said...

B's life is unmanageable because of one reason only. His obsession to use. Until that leaves him he will stay in the miserable place of a unmanagiable life. He is not stupid. He knows exactly what needs to be done and how to do it. He just does not want to stop using right now. Why do you think he borrowed that money from that loan place. Then he says his roomate stole his suboxones. He most likely sold them. He can not get clean in that place he stays at. He needs to make a commitment to himself and get back on the suboxone at a 8mg or 12mg dose so he knows it will block any heroin if he decides to use. When he borrowed that money he wasn't worried about paying it back. He wanted to get high. This is my opinion of what I see. I relapsed myself and will try again this weekend to get on the suboxone. I have to do it because like B my health is getting effected. My biggest worry now is B not taking the insulin. I'm wondering why. It is simple to do. How can he forget since he does it everyday. Is he looking to hurt himself? I don't know what's going on with that and that is the major issue right now.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mom, I am also the mother of an addict. First it was heroin- up to 22 bags a day, and later it was crack. I am ashamed to admit that I made some of the same journey as my son...not the quantities or length of use...but I have been there.

After my parents died, both of us became depressed and started "using"...out of curiosity. At this point I have not seen my son in 3 years and he has utilized the entire inheritance and home left to me by my father. While I am angry(he has taked 400,000) and is now bereft of funds....he also saved my life during a bizarre set up by my late parents' probate attorney.
I have no "advice"- just understanding.