Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm still here...

Dear Followers, Friends, Family and New Guests,

I have taken a two month hiatus from this blog. I really needed it.  Thank you for the sporadic emails I've been sent-- many of you have done so anonymously, so I couldn't answer back.  I'm gearing up to continue on sharing my story. But, not today.

I just wanted everyone to know that my son is still living with me.  He is beginning to try to detox from methadone.  I won't get into the details for now.

I will say that I am praying for him, that he can be free from methadone... free from using heroin again. He is fighting a huge battle, but he really wants to find a way to grow up and be clean and sober.

I've gone through some major job changes, too.  I've also been on vacation with my husband, and we needed it. I've also met a lovely woman, at my new job, who shares my story. She's lovely. We speak the same language. She understands. She doesn't judge me. I don't judge her. She doesn't tell me what I'm doing wrong, or what I should do. I do the same for her.

I do know this.   Being the parent of a drug addict is a long and arduous journey.  It is filled with a lot of pain.  Seeing my son showing the symptoms of withdrawal breaks my heart. In my own case-- and nobody's story is alike... similar, but never alike-- there have been hurdles that have been climbed and small victories.

My son is still living with us, and he's been no problem. He's been respectful and nothing has gone missing. He never was a thief. A manipulator, yes. Thief, no.

He has kept his job for over a year. Amen. For a drug addict, that's huge. He's also been at a second job, in the restaurant business, since May. He loves it. They love him.

He's had one hospital emergency for his diabetes.  I hope it woke him up to take care of himself.

By the Grace of God, my son and I have healed in our relationship.  He will turn 22 years old, in two weeks. I have finally learned to let go and let God. I really mean it.

That is most likely why I haven't been blogging much.  I don't feel a need to vent via this blog, any longer.  When I see my son's habitual procrastination, I have learned to just let him suffer his own consequences.  I've finally realized that my son thrives on drama. He thrives on the thrill of waiting to do something until the very last second.  Somehow, in a strange way, he seems to learn from his own consequences.

What a concept.

I have also come to better understand the difference between "co-dependence" and just being a good and loving mom.  I have finally learned that I cannot be responsible for my son's own happiness. I need to let him dig his own holes, and climb out of them on his own. 

I see promise in my son.  My son is finally maturing into a young man. Yes, he is still a drug addict. He always will be. Sometimes, the mom in me feel sad at how lonely he must feel at times. He works 7 days a week. When he's not working, he's a home. He watches TV and reads.  He can't afford to go out and do much. He pays us rent, for his car insurance and a portion of his methadone treatment.

And that brings us back to why he feels motivated to get off methadone. He can't afford it. It's a stretch for us, too. My son also realizes that he will be chained to the methadone clinic, and that limits where he can move. Move out, he will. He has been given until after the holidays. He knows that, and he agrees that it's time. We will have given him nine months to save money (we are holding it for him) towards future rentals. It won't be easy. He knows it. We know it.

But I won't stress about that. I have no control over the future. I live in the NOW. I live in faith in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

I am doing okay, overall.  I have days when I feel deep sadness for my son. But I rejoice in his baby steps. Above everything else, I rejoice in the healing that has gone on between my son and me. I thank God for his Grace and Mercy. 

I continue to praise Him. My Creator, my God of Hope.

I pray that those of you who read this, will feel my own hope. Maybe I can touch someone else's heart and live them up.

Until later,

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Digging Deeper

Wow! It's been almost a month since I last posted.  Life has truly gotten in the way of this blog. That, and a few other things. 

Today, our pastor gave an excellent message based on 2 Corinthians: 12.  This is where the Apostle, Paul writes:

7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

For those of you who don't read the bible-- perhaps even don't believe in it-- you might not understand the power in the words above.  For me, this scriptures speaks as to why I am able to cope with the difficult life that I've had.  Before I became a Christian-- 14 years ago-- I was a bitter, and angry woman.  My ongoing transformation as a follower of Jesus, has proven over and over again that God gets me through the hard times.

It is largely for this reason, that I haven't been blogging as often as I once did.  My son isn't out of the woods, by any means.  I am beginning to learn my own healing that comes with detaching from trying to micromanage my son's addiction.  For my own sanity, I assume he's chipping.  I don't see my son working any kind of program that will help him get through temptations.

On the other hand, he's about to have his one year anniversary at the golf course.  It's a job he doesn't like, because of the terrible management.  But he's still there. He's also working his second job at a restaurant. He likes it.  He makes tips-- enough to pay for gas, cigarettes, some fast food.  If he uses it for drugs, it's not my problem. 

What I am thankful for is that B and I have a very close relationship.  His living with us is my opportunity to learn how to listen to him. It is hard for me to keep my mouth shut at his procrastination.  He frustrates me, at times.  I have to remind myself that my wisdom came from years of experience. I have to remember that it is not my job to put my own expectations on him.

B's time of living here is coming close to an end.  My husband agreed to six months, max.  I see his point.
I have a compromise that I hope will spark a fire under my son to try and find a better job.  I have to pray about it, mull it over more and then approach my husband about it.  If it is agreed on, and my son doesn't blow it, he should he enough of a nest egg to try living on his own again.

My husband is right. Sober or not... B is too comfortable living with us.  He needs to have that urgency to be on his own. Whether he relapses again is something I truly understand is entirely up to him.

For me, I know I need to dig much deeper into my relationship with God.  How I wish my son would, too. The other day he said he wanted to be sober long enough before he comes back to his relationship with Jesus.

That makes me sad.  Jesus is a friend to sinners.  I wish my son could understand that the Lord wants us as we are-- sinful, selfish, broken.  He wants to clean us up and renew our lives. 


The Lord did that for me 12 years ago.  I'm no longer the woman I was then.  I'm still a work in progress, but I know where my strength comes from when the hard times hit. I love my friends and family. Ultimately, God's strength outweighs all of them combined. 

I will try and write more often.  I've received lovely private emails and comments (some anonymously).  I am so sorry I haven't written to all of you.  I so want to.  Right now, I'm working ridiculously long hours.

I will say that there are days when I still cry over my son.  I never imagined that my precious boy would be a drug addict. Never.  There are times when I wish it would all stop.  No methadone. No drugs.  I wish he was just a young man, thinking about college and not addicted to drugs and cigarettes.

I do know this. God's Grace on my son was been so good.  I believe in miracles. My son is one of them.

No matter what, I love him with all of my heart.  I also know he loves me.

If only my son could see that Satan is the destroyer and that he needs to find spiritual strength for the times when the temptation comes. I keep praying for me, for him, for you.


Monday, July 19, 2010

The viscious cycle of being the mom of a drug addict

I feel as thought I'm having deja vu of almost two years ago. That's when I started this blog.  For so long, this blog was my way of venting my frustrations, crying my tears, praising my son's days of true sobriety.  Eventually, this blog became my family.  At one time, I had high hopes that this blog would be a resource for people who were just beginning the journey that I have been on for two plus years.

Then, I fell away from coming here on a regular basis. I watched others, whom I had gotten to know, fall away from their own blogs. Some people went private on their blogs, while some went to Facebook.

Me. I'd pop in at least twice a month. 

This weekend has been a big wake up call for me.  I wonder. Did I fall away, because I had tried to fool myself that my son was doing great?

I've been reading other blogs. I'm guilty for not always leaving a comment. Sometimes, when I read a post that says that they can tell if their addict is using... I suck my breath in.

That's where I am, today.

My son can fake his sobriety, better than I ever imagined.  Today, I was asked why I don't drug test him.  I'm going to share my feelings, in the raw. Are you ready?

My son is 21 years old, now. He'll be 22 in November.  He's a clean cut, charming and very polite young man.    My son does not fit the profile of a "stero type" drug addict. 

For those of you who are new to my story-- my son was 100% clean and sober when he left his treatment center. He was in for 30 days. He went to an SLE. He got a job. He was doing great.  The problem happened when he met someone in an SLE, and they decided they could work their own program.  In essence, they thought they could be their own SLE. Big mistake, but what could I do.

My son relapsed after six months. He quit going to meetings.  He was hanging around with addicts.  Ya think?

From there, he started chipping.

I have helped my son to start on suboxone.  He chipped with it.
I have put my son into treatment center #2. He met drug addicts and began to sell drugs to pay for his own. This proves that you can put an addict into a treatment center, but you can't guarantee they won't use. For the record, I don't blame treatment centers.

I blame my son.

My son has come home twice. He lied both times.  I drug tested him more times than you know. We've kept the door open. We've made him strip down to his tighty whities.  I'll be dipped, if my son hadn't figured out how to hide urine in a place I would have never looked.
He fooled me.

My son is taking 50mg of methadone.  He goes into a clinic, every morning.  It costs $450.00 a month.  My son pays a portion, his father pays a portion, and I pick up the rest. Why?

Well, let's see-- would I rather have my son taking legal methadone so that he doesn't buy opiates on the street?

What do you think?

What are the other options?

Oh, yes. NA meetings.  Guess what?  It doesn't work for everybody.  The NA meetings where we live (very rural area), he knows most of the people.  These are people he used with. He's also been asked if he can help NA people buy drugs.

NA is good, don't get me wrong. But, it's not perfect, either.

Sober Living Environment?
I can't afford $800.00 a month, plus living expenses.  If anyone wants to sponsor it, I'll take it.

My son is uninsured.  Because he's a diabetic, and isn't going to college, we can't get insurance for him. We've tried and tried.  Those who are willing to insure my son want $800.00 a month with an astronomical deductible.


Saturday night, my son was admitted to the hospital. He is uninsured.  By a miracle only, this most excellent hospital admitted him.  My son told them he could not stay, because he had no money.  They will give him financial assistance for the stay.

Amen.

My son was so sick, because he is not managing his Type I diabetes.  He could have died. It was that bad.  By God's Grace, my son did not have cardiac arrest, nor did he go into a coma.  I have limited knowledge about his health, because I did not see his doctor. Besides my son is an adult, so I have no legal access to his medical records.

I went to get his car to bring to the hospital. I found two foils.

Crap.

He says they're old.

Uh-huh.

There is not concret, fool-proof answer to this dilemma.  I'm going to be vulnerable and share where I am at this very moment.

My son has not given me a reason that would make me strong enough to throw him out of the house.  It would be easier for me if he was a jerk...if he'd been in and out of jail... if I found things missing... if money disappeared from my purse.  My son has been nothing but courteous in the house. He works two jobs and pays us rent. He's paying for his car insurance and a portion of his methadone.

So, here I sit.  I have much to contemplate.

I do know this. My son needs professsional help.  He is trying to work his own program. It's not working.  I believe my son is finding a way to chip in between taking methadone.

I believe my son will be on methadone for the rest of his life-- unless he, himself, alone wants sobriety enough to find the tools he can use to say "no" to use.

My son, I believe, is suffering from depression. I believe he has a spiritual void in his life.  There is a deep-rooted pain in his life, and he relies on drugs to fix it.

That is not working.

I feel sorrow for my son. I am afraid that my son will die from his diabetes, unless he begins to take care of it.

When people say that they can't change, I think that's BS.  People can change.  It takes work.

I do not know how it is to be addicted to opiates.  I know that my son has a 97% chance of fail. These are not good odds.

I can only be a prayer warrior for my son.  I can't yell at my son. 

I had a conversation with my son, when he returned home from the hospital.

When I am ready, I will share it.

My son has never read my blog.  The reason I haven't asked him to, is that he is not ready.

My son is still in denial about his recovery.  He says he's coming a long way. OK, I'll give him that. He's not strung out.  But, I think he's chipping.  If you use "once" you're not sober.

Period.

That's all I can share, tonight.

One last thing--  I don't write for advice.  I write to share my honest feelings.  I hope that my story will touch others.  I know I am not alone. 

God is with me. 

That's plenty for me.

My name is Debby. My son is a drug addict. I love him so much.  I want my son to live and to be happy.

In Jesus Name,

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A visit to the Emergency Room - Another Guardian Angel Moment

Happy Summer Everyone,

I've been keeping a very low profile, mainly because I have an entirely new job position in my school district. I'm working a split shift-- that means I'm up at 6:30am, out the door at 8:15 am.  Most nights, I don't return home until 9:45am, because I live 52 miles round-trip from work.  So, I have four hours to "kill" during the day. I schedule doctor appointments, run errands, go to a matinee.  I might take on a second job, but that's not decided yet.  I've been really praying for my son that God would give my son the hope and desire to want to take better care of himself. He doesn't manage his diabetes very well. He still smokes (I hate smoking anyway).  He's working two jobs, and he's paying his rent, car insurance and a portion of his methadone. We are subsidizing the expensive. 

My son called me at 6:30pm.  He was in the Emergency Room.  Apparently, he was feeling very ill.  His heart was beating out of his chest and he was having trouble breathing. Thankfully, his boss insisted he go to the fire department (next door).  The paramedics wanted to rush him, by ambulance. My son got a ride, instead, from a coworker.   The timing was lousy when he called, only because I had made a big dinner and had a guest. We had each enjoyed two cocktails.  There was no way we could drive, for fear of a DUI.  No, we weren't intoxicated in anyway, but I NEVER drink and drive.  We had to wait for a couple hours, but my son was speaking coherently.

When we got to the hospital, my son was admitted.  His blood sugars were off the charts and he was in ketoacidosis.  He was a very lucky young man, that he didn't go into cardiac arrest. I worried that my son doesn't have insurance. Fortunately, there is financial aid. This is a beautiful and award winning hospital.
I can only hope and pray that this is God's answer to prayer... that my son will tap into the system that will provide his needed insulin. He is almost out of what we stockpiled.  I also pray that my son will receive how important it is to manage his diabetes. He is lazy about testing, taking his insulin and eating healthier.  He will also get methadone from the hospital, so he won't miss his dose.

God has my son's back.  Thank you, Father!

Hopefully, B will be discharged in the morning.  How I pray he will make the choice to honor his body, and take care of it. 

How is my son?  I bite my tongue, as much as I can.  I can only hope and pray he will stop saying "you know how I roll..." and instead decided to step up and make changes.  I think he suffers from depression.  

There is nothing I can say or do that will make my son change.  It is all for him to do.  As a mom, it's hard to hold back with my bits of wisdom. Sometimes, I slip and criticize how much he procrastinates.

I have to remember...he's an immature 21. He's a drug addict. He's a diabetic. 

Is he clean?  My husband doesn't think so.  As a mom, I can only hope so.

Only my son and his dad knows for sure.

Thank you Father, for your Grace and Mercy on my son.  I pray that my son will know that you have spared him time and time again, because you love him and you have a plan for him.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Two of my most disliked labels - "Enabling" and "Codependency"

For the last three days, I've been meaning to sit down and blog about my son. Actually, I wanted to blog about a Dr. Phil Episode that I happened to catch, while on vacation. Honestly, I rarely watch his show. This one was about a 19 year old boy and his parents.  The son is hooked on oxycontin.  I quickly grabbed the remote and recorded the show. When B came home, from work, we sat and watched the show together.

I don't have much time to write, as I'm expecting a dinner guest at any moment. Please excuse any grammatical or spelling errors. I'm typing as fast as I can, because I just got a call from my son. There is more drama. When that happens, I need to blog.  On with it--

I could relate to the parents so much.  Mom has done the same things I've done.  When B would tell me he was in trouble because he owed money for drugs... what did I do?  I went into panic mode.  I could not bear the thought of my son being shot, stabbed or beaten by a drug dealer. 

According to the Book of Rules for Parents of Addicts, I did exactly what I should not do.  I paid the money.
Essentially, I was labeled as an enabler.

When my son misses his methadone dose, and he's sick and puking, I have been known to pay for methadone from the street. Why? I can't bear to see my son suffer.  I'm an enabler.

If my son has a doctor appointment, or needs to wake up on time...I've been known to remind him.

I've been labeled codependent on my son. He has drama, mom soothes him.

I've been labeled a "coddler".

The classic Dr. Phil question that he posed to the distraught parents was, 'How's the working?"

Of course it's not!

I'm speaking from a woman's point of view.  I have such a fierce protection over my son, that doing what is deemed "right" is like asking me to walk in public stark naked.   I consider myself to be an intelligent woman, with common sense.  But, when I see my son in a dangerous situation, my resolve and common sense falls apart.

I give myself props that many times I've said "no".  I've learned to set boundaries.  Surprisingly, my son still loves me.  He is testing me, I've come to realize.

Drug addicts are master manipulators. My son admits it.  In order to get the drugs they so desperately need, they learn how to manipulate.  I am thankful that my son doesn't steal.  But, he's a clever one!

I wish I had more time, but I wanted to give food for thought.  When I remind myself that my son needs to work his own program, and that there is nothing in the world I can do to make it happen... I believe I'm breaking my codependence on my son.  I cannot cure him.  I could pay for rehabs, shrinks, pills and beg him to go to meetings.

It's a waste of time. My son has to work his own program.  I can only hope he's truly clean.  I've drug tested him, and he has found ways to fool me. I think I can tell when he's high. I've been wrong.

I don't trust my son, completely. It insults my son, but that's the way it is.

As for Dr. Phil and that family-- I wish that young boy all the best. He's going on an all-expense paid trip to The Hacienda, in Texas. What a lucky boy he is, to be given this gift.

I pray for that family. 

As B and I sat and watched that show, my son's eyes grew full of tears. So did mine. We exchanged looks that said so much. My husband didn't see it.

My eyes were saying, "I feel their pain and anguish".

His eyes were saying "I'm sorry, mom". "I hurt you."

I have learned to not say that my son is clean. I can only pray that he is. He's working. He's paying his rent. He's respectful to us.

He's still a drug addict.  He has a long road ahead of him. I have no idea how long he's been clean. Only B and God can answer that one.

It is so easy for people to label us as Enablers and Codependent.  Unless you've walked a mile in our moccasins,  you cannot understand our desperation to save our kids. 

I'm trying to let go and let God.

My son just called. There's been a terrible drama with his past.  I'll blog when it's panned out.

I'm praying. I'm thankful he's alive.

Being the parent of a drug addict is one more label I wish I didn't have. It is what it is.

I have to go. Thank you for reading. Thank you for your support and comments.

Thank you for your kind words as I grieved over my horse. I'm better about that now. I can talk about her, and visualize her without crying. 


Thursday, June 24, 2010

On the loss of a beloved family member and an short update on my son

Ever since I was a little girl, who read "Black Beauty", I longed to have a horse.  I still have a plastic "Black Beauty" horse neatly tucked in a box, that I used to play with and pretend it was real.  At the age of 24, I got my first horse. I finally got one, then another and then Savannah Sue came into my life, at her tender age of one. I loved all of my horses, but Savvy has a special place in my heart. When my son was born, I had fantasies of him riding her in horse shows. I used to clean her stall, with B tucked into his stroller in the breezeway... he'd watch in fascination but he never really bonded with wanting to be an equestrian.   Because of my divorce from B's dad, I lost our horse property.  Long story short, boarding her was a financial burden for me, but I loved this horse.  Working two jobs, I managed to support myself, my son and provided my horse with the quality of life that this loyal horse deserved.  She had earned her share of trophies and ribbons, as a stock horse and she was an excellent trail horse.  I could not bear to sell her, for fear she would not be treated with the kindness she deserved.  I had moved her 120 miles away, two years ago, on a friend's ranch.  The board was affordable and I wanted her to finish her years in retirement.  Her saddle was put away, as she had earned her miles as a trail horse. She was retired.  Fast forwarding past all my sentimental thoughts-- I had a deep longing in my heart to bring Savannah home. The Lord made it all happen, with the right ranch, the right price and 10 miles from my house.  Savvy came home on May 31st of this year. I could finally go see her on a daily basis, brush her, bring her carrots and appreciate the magnificent beauty of an Arabian horse.

I took this shot of her about 2 weeks ago, on a windy afternoon. I noticed how wrinkled her muzzle was, and that her lip had become loser. Savvy had finally grown old. She was 27 years old.  I owned her for almost half of my life.  Just this last Saturday, June 29th,  Savvy colicked so severely that I had to put her down.  While a part of me knew her days were numbered, I was dreading this moment.  She is buried on the ranch where I moved her just three weeks ago. Writing this today, I'm finally able to share about her without crying. I cried for two days.  I'm sharing this with all of you, because of my grief.  I wanted to blog sooner, but was unable to. Now, I can.  My son shares my sorrow, because he knew her all of his life.  He rode her a few times, but he much preferred skate boarding.  Thanks for reading this. I just wanted to share her with you.  She is still in my daily thoughts, and always will be.  I was there (with my husband) to help her take her last breath, and to slowly lay down that 900 pound body into a peaceful sleep.  It made us both realize how life can so quickly slip away.


I am reminded to love and appreciate those who are around me, because we never know when our days on Earth are finished.  I've never found anything in the bible that says where animals go, when they die.  I cannot imagine that God's creatures can leave such a profound impact in our hearts and lives, that we will never see them again. It is my deepest hope that when I pass from this life, that Savannah will be on the "other side", waiting to carry me home to my Heavenly Father's promised home for me.  I long to be free of the arthritis that prevented me from climbing on to Savvy's back, one more time. How I long to feel her powerful legs running and carrying me, with the wind blowing in my hair.  Horses are amazing creatures.  She is the last horse I will ever own, though.  She was the best of the best.

I just had to write this, as it's also very healing for me. There's no smooth transition from talking about a horse to my son.  So, how is he?  I will not say that he's clean.  How can I really know?  Unless I have my son take a drug test, at a hospital, that is closely monitored and testing for every drug on the planet, I cannot say with 100% conviction that he is clean.  He admitted that he started to chip, in May, when his methadone dose was cut way back.  He's on 40mg of methadone now. 

I am reading about methadone, and I'm sad to say that my son is dependent on it.  I had a fear this would happen, but I just kept hoping that it wouldn't.  My son says he needs methadone to help him feel "normal".   What a classic question this is-- what is really normal? 

My husband accepts my son's honest answer. He was withdrawing and feeling sick.  He couldn't find methadone on the street, so he bought heroin. He says he stretched it out, smoking just enough to feel "normal" so he could work. He's working two jobs, seven days a week.  We didn't throw him out, but we altered the rules a bit.  He's week-by-week staying with us.  My son's relapse is a reminder how fragile sobriety can be. 

I just looked at the time, and I need to go.  I debated deleting about my horse, but I'm leaving it. I hope I didn't bore anyone, and I'm not asking for sympathy.  I've had so much support from people. I wrote a more extensive eulogy for her on my other food blog. The outpouring of love was so comforting.  I'm better now, and I'm healing with my grief.  Seeing her photos and writing about her makes me feel a sense of gratitude. I'll miss her "horse medicine", though. Sometimes, when I felt angry or hurting, I'd go to her barn and hug her and talk to her. She was a good listener. The pain is easing.   I'll try to share more on my thoughts of methadone when I blog tomorrow. I'm on vacation.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thoughts on being the Mother of a Drug Addict

Dear Son,

I loved you from the moment I knew I would become a mom. The stretch marks, the flabby stomach , the pain of childbirth, and sleepless nights was so worth having you as my precious Baby Boy. I have never lost that feeling for you, my son—even when you first began to show the signs of trying to break free of “Mommy”.  The middle school years were some of my toughest, and I admit that there were times when I struggled to like being around you. Our battle of the wills led to some rough times—a lot of my own tears, anger and frustration. I wondered how I could handle the financial challenges in supporting the two of us, on my own meager salary. By the Grace of God, we made it. Amen.

In your high school years, I felt as though I’d lost you. I didn’t know the Baby Boy I once had.  Then, my entire world as a mom changed—

My precious boy, with that innocent heart and who couldn’t bear to be away from my protective arms had grown up—and had become addicted to opiates.   A new world opened up to me, and it’s a very dark one.  I think the hardest thing that the mother of a drug addict has to do is to balance our unconditional love for you, while having to break our heart’s desire to protect you in all things.  We find ourselves having to learni two words that were alien to us—“codependency” and “enabling”. 

Being the mother of a drug addict is a pain worse than childbirth, in my honest opinion. I love you, son, so much that sometimes my heart feels as though it will burst with strength of it all.  When I find out that you have lied to me, the pain cuts very deep.  I have always been there for you, always wanted to support, protect and nurture you… so I struggle with how the power of your addiction overrules being untruthful to me.  I know that the power of the drugs can take over what you know is wrong and right. 

Still, I count my blessings that you are my son.  My heart breaks for the moms who cannot physically hold or touch their child—because they are either incarcerated or they have died of an overdose.  I have so much hope in you, son!  I see so much potential in you.  I only wish you could see that in yourself.  I pray, every single day, that you will find true joy in your life.  I’m not talking the joy of suddenly coming into some money to buy something you’ve always wanted. I’m talking about joy that stays within you, even in the midst of trouble.  How I wish that you could experience that!  My words sound too cornball for you, at this time. One day, I hope you receive them and understand.

I have come to accept that your life has been irreversibly changed, because there is no cure for addiction.  My hope comes from my faith in God and fervent prayer that you will find the strength and courage it takes to resist the temptation to use.  You will always be tempted, for the rest of your life.  That breaks my heart even more.

Relapse is a word that scares me to no end, my son.  It means that you failed to resist the overpowering need to use.  Will the rest of your life be spent needing a synthetic opiate to keep you from using?  I pray not.  I see the fear in you at the thought of withdrawals.  I cannot understand it, because I’ve never experienced it.  I keep praying that you will make it through some rough times to get past the withdrawals—and that you will have someone in your life that you can trust to help you get through the times that you will want to use.  Medication isn’t the only way, and how I long for you to be free of that!

While I cannot understand what if feels like to have an overwhelming need to use—you cannot understand my own feeling of disappointment…despair…sadness…fear… that comes from being the mother of a drug addict.

I can forgive you for the relapse. but I cannot forgive the powers of addiction.  How I long for you to find true joy in your heart.  How I long for you to want to enjoy your life, and to have a foundation that will hold you up when times are tough. 

Look up to God in heaven.  He sees you. He knows your heart.  He grieves along with me.  He loves you more than you love yourself.  He has a plan and purpose for you, but you will never know what it is if you try to make that journey all by yourself.

Walk with Jesus, my son, and let go of the hands of the Dark One that you are holding.

No matter what you’ve lied about, or mistakes you’ve made, I love you so much.  Hurtful things you say to me do just that—but it never stops the abundant love I have for you!  

I wait…I pray… I hope… that you will desire to know God so that He will fill that void in your life with His love.

Always,

Mom

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dawn's Early Light and Quiet Thoughts

I am married to a remarkable man.  C has borrowed one of my own Golden Rules that I've practiced for several years. That is, I have a 24-hour rule that I practice when I am feeling angry, upset or afraid. I do this, to avoid knee jerk reactions.  It works quite well, actually.  Many times, I find that I come up with a solution... a compromise... or just peace.  That, I believe, is the voice of God answering my prayers. This morning, I noticed that my husband seemed distant.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"I need 24 hours", he responded.

Yikes. Of course, I immediately did a mental inventory on what I might have said or done wrong.  I prayed about it, this morning.  Then, I came home from work. C was ready to talk...

It wasn't me at all.  C had found my missing kitchen paring knife and a foil.  The knife had residue on it. He didn't know how to tell me, he said-- or if he even wanted to tell me.

Tonight, I asked him to talk to me.  I was not expecting to see the drug paraphernalia.  I was devastated. I got that tight and sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I could feel bile. I could feel tears welling way in the back of my eyes, but never quite spilling out. You know what I'm talking about, parents of addicts, don't you?

I sat there, numb.

Then, I ran to you-- my friends, family and bloggers. You were there for me.  I began to do something I've procrastinated doing-- and set up my Google Reader with all the RSS feeds, so I could catch up on many of you. My heart ached for your pain.  I read of your loved one's setbacks. I scrolled and read....

Then I felt I wasn't alone. YOU understand. YOU know what it's like. 

So, what happened?

B came home and he began with an explanation.  My amazing husband looked right at him and said, "that doesn't add up. Tell us the truth".

I could see my son's throat swallowing hard.  His eyes were downcast.  He stuttered. He hesitated. His eyes welled up for a brief moment.

He admitted, to us,  he'd been chipping. 

My non-Christian, immediate gut reaction was "how in the hell is that possible?!"  But, I didn't say it. I only thought it.

Here's B's explanation:

He says that in May, the tapering down of methadone began. He was only on 28mg a day and was down to 8 mg. He was feeling lousy.  Remember that we live in California, and methadone laws vary by state.  B says that there are laws on not being able to just jump the dose up. He couldn't take the withdrawals, he says. So, be bought  a bag, and stretched it out....that is, he didn't smoke it all at once.  He says he's been doing it just the last two weeks, and not a whole lot. He said he couldn't afford it. He was buying methadone, off the street, but that cost more than heroin. He swears that's true. If he couldn't find pills, he bought "black".

I believe that part.  He is now up to 40mg of methadone and he plans to stay on it for at least six more months. He says his counselor knows he used and that they are proud of him going back on methadone. His father will help pay half the $450.00 a month and B plans to pay the other.

So, where do we go from here?  I have to say that I am amazed at how calm my husband was.  He told my son that we would have respected his honesty with us-- that he should have told us how sick he felt and that he needed help.  But, I understand why my son didn't.  I get it. I've talked to enough addicts who say that's the last thing they can do.

I should make my son leave. Now. It's what we agreed on.  So, here I am in the same situation as Barbara and her son Keven.  Or Ron and his son Alex.  Did my son "f" up this once?  Do I give him another chance?
Has he stolen from us? No.  He is working two jobs. He is paying rent to us.

So, I need my 24-hours.  I need to pray. As of late, I haven't done my ASAP yet. That is "Always Say A Prayer".  Me, the God loving, Jesus following Christian.  I've been spiritually paralyzed for too many weeks. I think I've become overwhelmed with stress from work, my son, his health, his dental work that is costing me a fortune.  Instead of running to the throne, I've been running to the kitchen.  I've been eating and I don't feel good about my weight nor how I feel overall.  I need to go back to God's throne.

Just this morning, I was talking to God as I drove to work. I was telling Him that I am so distracted, and I feel as though I'm heading into some sort of depression.  That's not me, typically.  I also know these thoughts are not coming from Heaven.  I feel as though I am under spiritual attack.

So, how am I feeling at this very moment?  Sad. Disappointed.  I told my son that my concern is what is his Plan B when he comes off methadone-- whether it's due to lack of funds or the end of his program?  What will he do when the temptation comes to use? It will come. It's guaranteed.  How will he find support when he has an overwhelming urge to use.

Oh. One more thing.  He bought the heroin from someone at the methadone clinic-- a patient. The very woman who used to deal to him but cut him off.

How I pray that woman will be busted. But that's only scratching the surface.

My son will always be a drug addict-- until the day he dies.  What he can be is a drug addict, who is clean and sober-- and who has a support system and  sponsor that he can go to when he feels the need to use.

If anything-- I ask that prayers for my family would be for Wisdom.  We shall see what the Dawn of Morning brings.  May God give me wisdom in my sleep tonight.  I pray that I will be given restful sleep and clarity in the morning.

Thank you for your support and comments.  I can feel the love and support.


My worst nightmare is back

We found foil.

Here we go.

Again.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Poison in my son's body and a close call with the police

Dear Readers, Friends & Family,

Honestly, I pray for and think of so many of you-- Ron (Mom & Dad), Barbara, Cheri... many more of you.  I was just saying prayers of thanks, this morning, for my son's six months of sobriety.  That's definitely debatable, because some people believe that if you are using methadone then you are not sober. As far as I am concerned, my son is not buying heroin. He's using methadone at a clinic that has a good reputation for dispensing this, in liquid form, and adhering to the state of California's very strict guidelines.

Work has been rough for me, so I came home and promptly fell asleep. I awoke, hearing my son puking his guts out in his bathroom.  B was supposed to taper off methadone this month.  However, he talked to the clinic director, and they have mutually decided to postpone this decision. B was feeling ill, and he's not ready.   B ran out of gas, today, so his missed his appointment to meet with the doctor (at the methadone clinic). They were going to bump up his dose a bit and then come up with a new plan.   It broke my heart, to see him this way.  I hate that poison that's in his body. I am reminded of my son's days of withdrawals, he was so sick.  Basically, he was in withdrawals today-- not horrible. B will be at the clinic at 6:00am, but he's not feeling well tonight.

Damn.

So, last weekend, B went into town for an errand. He was supposed to return with something for me. He never did. I was not happy. I called him a few times. No answer. Finally, he called me and I picked up the phone and said "this better be good".

It turns out my son got pulled over by the police. There had been a robbery and his car (my former car that I gave to him) matched the description. B said the police had the loudspeaker going and all... handcuffed him and threw him in the back of the police car. They had the drug dogs, too.  B told them to search the car, because he was innocent. They tore the car up and found nothing.  Finally, they got a radio call that the robber had been caught, they apologized to my son and let him go.

All I can say is, that this validates my son isn't using.  There wasn't a foil to be found. B was furious at the way he was treated.   He was smart enough to ask the cop to give him a business card and to write down the time, to show his boss.  That cleared him for being late to work.

My son has more drama in his life!

B just bought some methadone from a friend. I don't like it, but I understand that he would have a tough night trying to get through this.  B said he had to do it, otherwise he might be tempted to use.

Frickin' poison.  How I pray that my son will finally be able to purge that crap out of his body.  Synthetic opiate or not, how I long for my son to be free of drugs of any kind.  I can only watch, and feel sorrow for what he's going through.

He's trying so hard, and I have to say that he's been great ever since we allowed him to move home six weeks ago. He's working two jobs. He's paying us rent (savings).  For that, I am thankful.

Off to sleep.  I hope my son's vomiting stops.  This is not good for a diabetic.

I miss many of you. I know I've been scarce.  I just had to blog about this.  I'm thankful my son will extend his methadone use, for now. I can't believe I'm saying that, but his body isn't ready yet.

Night,

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Keeping it Real with my Son

 No, this is not my home! But, I wish it was!
Carmel, California

Memorial Weekend... I hope that everyone, including myself, will be flying the American flag on Monday.  My father, who has passed, served in WWII and in the Korean War for our country. He was a veteran, and not a casualty of war.  I am thinking of our fallen men and women in Afghanistan and Iran.  They deserve a moment of silence and appreciation.

After weeks of unusually cold weather and late rains, it's a beautiful day and I am off for the next three days.  I feel so blessed to have a community pool where I can swim early in the morning, and then relax in a jacuzzi.  Trust me, there is never a time that goes by that I don't stop and thank God for where I live.  Just twelve years ago, I was a divorced mom of a ten year old boy-- deep in debt, scraping by to make ends meet.  Today, I'm happily remarried to a wonderful man.  My son is almost 22 years old. He's also an addict. He will be, until the day he takes his last breath.

While I have been scarce on this blog, it's only because my son's dramas have (thankfully) come to a dull roar. Amen and thank you, God.  He is still living with us and has kept his job, at the golf course, for nine months. Considering that he was using for the first three months, that's a miracle. B is also working at the restaurant, and he likes it a lot.  Still, he doesn't make enough money to live on his own.  I've been on this blog long enough, that I'm going to reveal the general area of where I live.  I live on the Central Coast of California-- close to Big Sur, Carmel and Pebble Beach. Ever been there?  It's a very expensive to live.  My home is inland, where the real estate prices are substantially less from the million dollar-- and even multi-million dollars homes where I commute to work each workday.  To live here, one must make at least $20.00 an hour.  My son, who doesn't have a college education-- or even a trade-- makes half that.  He works six days a week...sometimes seven but still doesn't make more than $800.00 a month, after gas expenses.  I hope that he can live with us long enough to save some money.  He's been paying us "rent savings" but he's eeking by.

B's methadone is tapering down, and he's beginning to feel "off".  I'm not going to buy into the scare tactics. With all due respect to my regular blog visitor, Angelo, I'm not going to buy into the panic.  I've had people tell me that they've taken three times my son's dose and they don't understand why my son is only at 23mg per day.  I can't answer that, because I'm not a methadone expert.  I can only tell you that California has very strict guidelines...far stricter than most states.  I was told that because of my son's youth, that they don't want him to be on methadone for more than six months. 

So, while I'm feeling thankful that my son has alienated himself from the friends he once used with-- and that his work keeps him busy and distracted-- I am not feeling a sense that my son's chances of not relapsing are 100%.  I ever heard my son say that if he feels "sick" from not using methadone, that he's going back on it. He said, just today, that he doesn't want to use. 

What I see in my son is a lack of motivation.  I see him lacking any kind of organization skills. His procrastination in taking care of things is enough to frustrate me.  I don't say much. Sure, I mention things or I write things down on our family calendar. Still, he doesn't feel any sense of urgency to take care of things-- like taking care of his health or dental work he needs.  He doesn't manage his diabetes very well.  Sometimes I think he just doesn't value himself.  I take into consideration his immaturity and youth, sure. 

Just when I find myself wanting to have "the talk" with him (about my frustrations) he greets me with a warm smile and I find him to be that son that I so love and adore. 

I'm trying to keep it all real, with my son.  For the record, I do believe that addiction is a disease.  I don't think it's a choice. What I do believe is that there is a battle between Dark and Light. The darkness knows my son's weakness and wants to tempt him back into full-blow addiction. The Light-- which is God-- is my son's best and only defense against the spiritual attacks on him.  I think my son is walking in the middle-- like a tightrope.
I pray for him every single day.  I also think of my Blogger Friends, and I pray for so many of you who are going through even worse than I have. I do thank God for the reprieve we've been given. I can only pray that my son will embrace sobriety, so matter what temptations and spiritual attacks that come at him.

Thanks to Barbara, she led me to visit "Mother of a Beautiful Boy".   I understand her cry to find other Christian parents of addicts.  I've been unabashed in sharing my faith, eventhough there must be people who are non-believers who have stumbled onto my blog. No matter what, we all share the same grief. If you haven't already, please pay her a visit. She's beginning a journey that many of us know all too well...

Blessings,

Saturday, May 22, 2010

May Blessings and an update


My husband and I took a nice drive 120 miles south of where we live to see the purple lupines and other wildflowers in full bloom.  That was in early April, but I can remember the sense of peace I felt-- knowing that my son was at work and that he would be moving back to our house in just a few days.  B has been living with us for a little over a month now.  It's been an interesting May, to say the least.  After eleven years of renting my home from a distant cousin, then remarrying to C... we finally bought the house!  It's been a huge decision to make, given that the economy hasn't been officially pronounced to be recession free.  We took advantage of the big tax credits, and we also thanked the Lord that we didn't buy the house during that crazy real estate frenzy.  The sale price of the house was HALF of what it was at the time people were pushing us to buy it.   We feel very blessed, though cash poor for a while-- and we'll certainly have to live frugally, until next tax year.  Thank you God!

The day after we closed escrow, I lost my job.  (Do I hear an "awwwwwww").  It's interesting how I took it all in.  The story is that I got "bumped".  It's a union term where someone with seniority can take someone's job if they are laid off or get their hours cut.  This person got cut from 40 to 36 hours, and thought they are 66 years old, they decided my job would be "fun".  I was devastated, mainly because I've grown so attached to the high school kids.  That night, I prayed that God would help me see the blessing in all of this. I cried, but C said we would move forward with the house.  The next day, I decided to take that person's job. Ultimately, I'm cut down to 36 hours per week.  The bummer is that I have to work a split shift-- 9am - 1pm, then 5pm till 9pm.

It took a few days to move from resentment to acceptance and then I found peace with it all.  My co-workers tell me that the person will last a month, at best. I'm saying it will last a year, and then they will retire.  Hopefully, I can come back.  'Nuff about me.

My son...  the last time I wrote was on Mother's Day, just two days before my job change happened.  B said something that was one of the biggest compliments he could have given me.  He said that he was so proud of me on how I handled what happened.  He said that he could see how much faith I have in God, and that I handled it so well.  That means a lot to me.  I'm so glad that he sees that.

Because of some connections I have, my son will be starting a second job tomorrow. He will return to the restaurant industry as a "busser".  Given that's in a part of town that is very affluent, with a lot of tourists, he should make really good money.  He is still working at the golf course, and he hopes to keep both jobs.

Is he using?  No, I don't think so. He is in the fifth month of methadone, but his blind taper has begun.  The plan is that by the end of June, he will no longer be using methadone.  FYI to those of you who are familiar with methadone treatment (I don't know all the "lingo"), he has always been on a very low dose, to begin with. I was told about 25mg a day. That's low, right?

B will have maintenance care for a month, which involves seeing the doctor and some blood work.

For the first time in two years, I really do believe that B has a very good chance of staying sober.  He has cut off ties with the friends he uses with.  He is home every night. His cellphone rarely rings.  Most importantly, the drama has ceased!  He's eating again and this is the best part-- he has become a loving son, and we are getting along.

He's still disorganized and procrastinates.  He's forgetful.  He can't manage money well, and I'm trying to teach him skills.  He's paying us rent, of which 75% goes into a rent savings for when he moves.  He still smokes, though he's cut back.

Oh, and I finally helped him get rid of that stupid car that kept breaking down.  I found a great deal on a almost brand new Hybrid vehicle, since I will have a longer commute. I traded in my son's car and gave him my old one.  Everybody won!

B and I both know that when the MMR treatment ends-- at the end of June-- that my son is now treading in dangerous waters.  Somehow, I have a feeling that he's a little wiser about staying away from those who will want to lead him down the path of temptation. I also believe that B doesn't want to pay the price of getting high.  He's so afraid of withdrawals that I think he's wants to steer clear of opiates.

Hopefully, B will quit the golf course and do well at the restaurant, which is 20 miles from where we live.  Then, he can rent a room in that area and really break free of this city where he knows too many people. Besides, I have no respect for his current boss. He's broken so many labor laws, not to mention that he's just highly unethical.
Please know, that I remember all of you so well in my thoughts and prayers.  I received a lovely email from A Mom's Serious Blunder thanking me "for my introduction to these kind people that offer support here in blog land. I will never forget that."  What a very kind thing to say!  I feel that way about many of you, who were always there to encourage me when I was feeling so afraid or angry about my son's relapsed.


I am thankful for all the support that I received on this blog and the friendships I've made.  I hope you know that my long stretches of not blogging is a good thing.  It means that the storms of life have receded for now. Another one will come, and I pray that I will make it through because of my deep faith in God.



Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thinking of all Mom's on Mother's Day


Hello to my friends, followers, family and Anonymous Readers--

My posts are becoming fewer and far between, only because so much has been going on-- unrelated to my son.  But today, I was not going to skip the making of time to acknowledge the women who are Mother's of Drug Addicts. I was laying in bed, in the early hours of the morning, feeling so thankful that my son is sleeping in his bed in our own home.  The church that I attend has a 25 minute television show that comes on 1/2 hour before we leave to attend it.  I had the show turned on, while I was getting dressed and ready for church. Our Pastor (who wears Dockers and Hawaiian shirts) was sharing the message of Jesus and his Mother Mary.  I began to think about how painful that must have been for Mary to see her own son, being crucified on the cross.  Then all kinds of thoughts began on my own journey as the Mother of a Drug Addict:

Two years ago, at this time, my son was living in a Sober Living Environment in Oakland, California. He was about 125 miles away from home.  B had been out of his first detox/rehab for a little over a week. Today, my son is reaching five months of not using illegal street drugs.  I hesitate to say that he is "clean and sober".  That my son no longer wants to use drugs, because of the Methadone Clinic he goes to is highly controversial. As far as I am concerned, my son isn't using.  I digress--

The foremost thought that was on my mind, before leaving to church, was to tell any mom of a drug addict--- "Do not blame yourself"!  The only exception to that rule, is if a mom is also a drug addict and is using with or in the presence of their own children-- otherwise, it is not your fault.

In the theme of Mother's Day, I want to lift up in prayer:
  • I pray for mothers whose drug addicts are nowhere to be found. May God give your heart strength and may He fill your pain with his loving presence and that you will hear from your child-- and that he/she is safe.
  • I pray for mothers whose child is incarcerated.  I know someone like that, and it breaks my heart just knowing the pain that has caused. 
  • I pray for moms whose child is in jail, and you are rejoicing because of it. I understand it. I pray that your child will find the desire and means to change their ways, because of it.
  • I pray for single moms, who are struggling to make ends meet. May God fill your hearts with encouragement, financial blessings and windfalls, courage and strength. I have walked that path, and it is a very difficult one.
  • I pray for step moms, who have/are raising drug addicts.  I believe that a child doesn't have to come from your own womb. to be worthy of a mother's love. I pray that you will be a positive influence on the children who come into your life, through marriage.
  • I pray for mothers, whose hearts are broken. God sees your pain, and he grieves with you.  I pray that you will find comfort, strength, and friendships and support groups that will help you to find the strength and hope to deal with the sad and tragic stories of addicts who are out of control.
  • I pray for moms whose drug addicts have found sobriety. I pray that you will turn your own story into one that will encourage moms who are just beginning this journey.
  • I pray for moms, who have lost their own children, because they are drug addicts themselves. I pray that your life is changing into a life of sobriety, and that you will find reconciliation with your children.
  • I pray for children, who have been alienated by their own mother because of their choices. If you are one of them, and are reading this-- I pray that God will fill your heart with the strength and courage to call her...right now, today...and to say "I'm sorry" and to ask for her forgiveness. 

I thank God, for giving me the gift of Motherhood. No matter what choices my son has made... no matter what lies he has told me... no matter how many tears I've cried and no matter how much anger and frustration he has put me through-- he is my precious son.  I have never regretted that B was my chosen gift from God.  I would give my life for him, I know it. All the sacrifices I've made for him came naturally-- out of a deep love for him.

With the help of God, I have learned to accept my son, just as he is. I am the Mother of a Drug Addict, yes. But he is still that 9 pound, 12 ounce boy who came into the world 21 1/2 years ago.  He might be 6'3 tall, but he will always be MY child.  I am not ashamed of him.  I am very open to people if the situation comes up about my son's drug addiction.  I want God to turn my pain into my testimony.

There is a front page story, in today's local newspaper, about a father of two children.  This  man became addicted to Oxycontin when he suffered from a degenerative disease of his hips. He's had two surgery, and was said to be in excruciating pain.  This men robbed several local pharmacies for Oxycontin. He was finally caught and was sentenced to four years in prison. He had no prior criminal history. He was so desperate for the drug, The article quoted, ""Sixty milligrams, every eight hours, month after month, year after year," is what he took. 

I thought of my own son-- it is truly a miracle of God's grace on my own son, that my son is not in a jail cell or prison.  I believe that with all of my heart--  for whatever reason, God protected my son from all the dangers of the people who hung out with, places he went to score drugs, and from a period selling drugs to feed his addiction. 

My story about my son's drug addiction hasn't ended.  For now, I can rejoice that he has lived with us for four weeks. He has paid his rent. He has few friends, as has severed most of his ties with those he used with.  He goes to work, six days a week. But, he is the boy that I once knew. I see his loneliness, and I pray that my son will meet someone that God will send into his life. For now, my son says I am his best friend. That's a touching thought, but I am his Mother first and foremost.

I  remain, guardedly optimistic.  B is supposed to wean off the methadone in one more month.    

While my son has failed (again) to buy a Mother's Day Card for me-- I have let go of my pity party over that. What I realized today, in church, is this:

I am absolutely positive that my son loves me. I have no doubt that he sees all that I've done to help him, and he is grateful-- though me might take some things for granted.

I am also thinking of my own mother, who has been gone for 8 years. While our relationship was never the loving friendship that I hope I have with my own son-- she taught me important life skills. I thank her for teaching me all the business skills I have. I thank her for teaching me how to cook, bake and take care of my house. I thank her for raising me with good morals (thought I took a 20 year detour from them) and to be an independent woman.  She was a good mom, thought not perfect, and I'm glad I finally told her that I loved her-- and that I apologized for my disrespectful attitude as a teenager.  I have peace in that.

Through all the pain and anger B's  drug use has brought into our lives, I believe that he regrets it. He tells me all the time.  My prayer for B is that he will find ways to deal with the storms of life. I pray that he will become a man of integrity and honor.  Whether he embraces the love of Jesus in his life is his choice. Ultimately, I pray that my son will come to know the love of God that our Heavenly Father has for him.  God has been so good to us.

I pray that for those who don't know it, yet.

With all of my heart-- Happy Mother's Day.  I pray for miracles in your life. 

 

Deuteronomy 6

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

So far, so good and updates on B's addiction

Dear Readers, Family & Friends,

I'm sorry for my silence.  I hardly have time to post on my food blog, let alone here. Still, I think it's worthwhile to update those of you who read my blog (thank you) on how my son is doing. Since I haven't blogged in close to two weeks, I'll do my best to share things I hope will help others-- hopefully to give hope and to share what I am learning during this process:

B moved in two weeks ago, today.  My husband and I had a meltdown over it.  "C" had his share of worries and not wanting my son to come home...all perfectly understandable. His fear was that B would come here and pull the same crap that he had before. C said that he didn't want an addict in the house, because he didn't want the addict behavior that goes with it.  I've never heard my husband hiss such anger at me before, so I was really taken aback.  Fortunately, I kept my short-temper in check.  I gritted my teeth, and as I headed to work I did what helps me the most-- I talked to God in fervent prayer. I prayed that God would soften my husband's heart so that C could find forgiveness for my son.

I have blogged plenty of my son's lies, manipulations and relapses on this blog. Those of us who are experienced parents of drug addicts know that addicts are master manipulators. They lie so easily that they actually believe what they say to be the truth.  Despite the heartache my son has put me through, I still love him. My son has his mother's unconditional love.  However, I've come a very long way in the last two years.  I have learned that for me to say "no" to my son comes easier.

While praying, I was filled with such love for my husband. He is a wonderful person, with a kind spirit and I am very lucky to be his wife.  I realized that the root of the problem is that my son isn't his own flesh and blood. C didn't know my son, until he was almost sixteen years old.  At that time, neither one of us knew my son had an addiction to opiates. Neither one of us had even heard of oxycontin.  My son was also a typical teenager-- rebellious, disrespectful... added to the fact he was a drug dealer, my relationship with him wasn't the best. I was very frustrated with my son, and he went to live with his father.

For those of you who are new to my blog-- my son was living in a very dark world.  He was involved with very dangerous people, who have ties with local gangs. No, my son never joined a gang. But, he was dealing drugs in their turf.   I thank God, every day, for his mercy on my son. It is truly a miracle that my son never got arrested. It is equally a miracle that he didn't get shot or stabbed.  Sometimes my son tells me horror stories of close calls, and I can't bear to hear it.

I tell you this, because I can understand why my husband had a meltdown about letting my son come home.  By the Grace of God, C and I had a heart-to-heart talk-- I explained that I understood why it's so easy for him to dismiss my son. B isn't his own child, and he never played a role in raising him.  On the other hand, I explained to him my heartache and love for my son-- and why I can't give up on him. I listened to C's side of the story, and I can understand his frustration about addictive behavior. Both C and I came out of relationships with alcoholics, so we've had our own personal war stories that have left us both with war wounds.

C agreed to allow B to stay with us for one month.  That night, I sat quietly, while C told my son his honest doubts and fears about him coming to our house.  C's final words to B were "let's give it a month, and see what happens from there."

B hasn't been a problem, so far. His work hours differ from ours, so we only see him for an hour or two, before we retire to bed. What is different, this time, is that B is home. His cellphone barely rings at all. When he comes straight home, from work, he stays in his room.  When B was using, he was always leaving the house or sitting in his car (to smoke heroin).  His cellphone was constantly going off.

As for B's behavior-- he is, once again,  the kid I know. His speech is normal and articulate. He's in a good mood and has not been disrespectful at all. His hygiene is much better.  His diabetes is better, in that he doesn't have high blood sugars as much.  For a Type I diabetic, stress can make blood sugars soar to dangerous levels.

Money-- this is my son's greatest challenge. The good news is, I'm confident he isn't buying illegal drugs, because he would not have been able to pay his rent etc. B lived in poverty, though.  After paying his rent, he could barely afford to buy food and he had to pay gas money to people to drive him around. His clothes are looking worn-out, as are his shoes. I can see why the temptation to deal drugs is hard to give up, because back in those days, my son had all kinds of expensive shoes and electronic toys.  It's been a real eye-opener to him, but B says he is glad to be away from "the game".  Still, I see that my son borrows money to get by until his next paycheck. The problem is, something unexpected happens, and he finds himself broke on payday-- after paying back his cash advance places and friends. I find some comfort in knowing that my son pays back his debts. Still, I wish my son would understand the concept that if you have to borrow money, that you are living beyond your own means.

Last-- my son's sobriety.  This is one of the biggest debates between my husband and me.  C thinks that as long as my son is methadone, that he isn't clean.  C is frustrated that my son isn't going to a 12-step program.
Let me reiterate my feelings on methadone and sobriety-- which is subject to change:

Sobriety

First, I think that the 12-Step program is brilliant.  The 12-steps do make total sense to me. I like that it is a  Higher Power based program.  Spirituality is good. I believe in the God of the Holy Bible, so I know the power that comes from my faith.  I have been to 12-step meetings, about a dozen times.  However, the 12-step program doesn't have 100% success with addiction, of any kind.  I've been to some meetings that were quite good, and to other meetings where I couldn't leave quick enough-- maybe it was disorganized, or the leadership wasn't very good. I struggle with listening to people whining and complaining, as I've blogged about before. If this format works for you, I'm truly happy for you! It didn't help me at all. In fact, my blog and other blogs like mine are where I've gotten the best support-- and that's a fact. That is not to say that I will never try a 12-step again.  We shall see..

The 12-Step program folks do not condone the use of methadone.  Many of you have left comments that say methadone was equally addicting as the heroin you were addicted to.  I don't disagree. For that reason, B says he doesn't want to go to a 12-step while he is using methadone. He fears being criticized if he lets that fact slip out. This is what I told my husband:

Finding sobriety is, in many ways, similar to my struggle to control my own weight.  I am an emotional eater, and always have been-- I know that my weight struggles stem from my childhood abuse.  My perfectionism, to be the best at baking and cooking, comes from self-esteem issues. Consequently, my weight has yo-yo'd for most of my adult life.  I have a sugar addiction-- which is similar to what drugs to the brain.  Sugar gets the endorphins going, and that is why sugar was forbidden in my son's rehab program.  I digress.  People who have a severe weight problem have, most likely, tried many kinds of diets, starvation, gyms and such-- have lost weight and then gained it all back. In essence, I've done that and relapsed back into my old habits. I've lost and gained weight many times over.  Fortunately, I'm not dangerously obese. My point is that there are some people who are so desperately to lose weight, that they have to resort to having gastric bypass surgery.  Their lives will forever change, after this drastic surgery.

Methadone, to me, is that drastic last resort for opiate addicts. Unfortunately, my son feels that the 12-step programs (in our small community) don't work for him. Unlike large cities, B has a small and limited choice of meetings. He knows many of the people who go-- and, he says, many of them are still using. They are there because of a court order. B says he doesn't want to see his former  "homies".  Okay, I can see his point.

The way I see it is-- my son isn't buying illegal drugs.  Methadone costs $350.00 at his clinic.  The counseling services aren't stellar, though.  B's counselor just left the area, and B doesn't like his new one.  The good thing is, this clinic has B on a very low dose of methadone... very low.  The goal is to begin tapering him off in two months.  It's what B says he wants.

The reality is-- I am concerned if this is really going to happen, as B plans. Will  my son be able to quit using methadone and not go back to using heroin?  God only knows. 

I do wish that my son would have a positive experience at an NA meeting.  I pray that he will find a sponsor so that my son will go into a true full sobriety status.  Ideally, I would hope to see my son find the skills and support to say "no" to someone tempting him to use-- or when life gets tough, that my son won't resort to getting high to take life's pains away.  

For now, I see that methadone has helped my son to function as an employee. He has worked for seven months, barely missing any work at all. This is huge!  

I am not rejoicing in my son's sobriety 100%.  I know that the methadone is what is keeping him from buying heroin.  For now, I continue to keep the communication open with my son.  I am happy that our relationship is calmer and closer.  I can see that my son is lonely for friendship, but he says he finally sees that having drug addicts as roommates doesn't work.

As for my marriage-- C and I are doing well.  We don't fight. C apologized for his anger, and I apologized for my reaction.  My son gives us privacy and respects our home, by staying in his room most of the time. I see my husband's heart growing more compassionate. This is God's work, I know it.

Sorry I wrote such a long post. I really do need to make time to post more often, and not so lengthy. There is so much I want to journal about. I really want to reach people who are looking for hope and for answers. I'm not an expert at all.  I'm just a mom who loves her Lord and Savior...who draws on her faith...and who has learned the power of forgiveness.  Because of these things, I have never given up hope on my son.

One day at a time...


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sleeping on it...


These are my son's eyelashes.  It's not fair that I haven't been able to find mascara-- at any price-- that would make my own lashes this big!  I took this photo of my son, yesterday, while he was napping on the couch.

Just a few quick comments, after reading many of yours:
  • While it might seem that I could be "controlling" when I say my son needs to pay rent...and that I'd be upset if I see him buying electronic toys while he lives with us-- this is what I asked my son-- "B, is it fair that you stepdad and I are paying 2/3 of your methadone treatment and you go out and buy an X-Box?"  My son paused...and quietly said, "you're right".  We are allowing B to move back home to give him a hand UP... to help him get financially on his feet so that he can go out and rent a room somewhere.  He will have money to spend, but it won't be a lot. He has debt to take care of, and he wants that.
  • To "Anonymous", who said that methadone was far worse than suboxone... I appreciate your candor.  However, if you read more of my blog, you would know that my son tried it and it didn't work. The level of opiates he used, and for the length of time didn't work.  Bottom line-- I have come to believe that there is no cookie cutter solution to help addicts stay in recover.  It is up to each individual.  I can only say that methadone is working for my son-- and I am fully aware that he could very well become dependent on methadone for the rest of his life. I hope not, but this is my son's own battle.
  • I can't remember who suggested this, but it's a brilliant idea-- my son will pay rent money to his step dad That way, he can't manipulate mom.  My husband thought that was terrific!
For those of you who are just jumping on to my blog, my two year anniversary was on April 7th, when I first started to journal my journey as the mother of a Drug Addict.  The last two posts discuss my son's latest drama, and that he needs to come home. I am responding back to some comments (above).
So, here we are-- my son will move in on Tuesday.  I am very proud of how well my husband handled the talk with my son.  I didn't interrupt, and let my husband say what was on his mind.  B listened. I could see the tears welling in his eyes-- and they are the kind of tears that he couldn't stop. 

I can only hope and pray, that my son has learned how hard life is on it's own.  He's had roommates rip him off, he's been robbed. He's had a roommate commit suicide (one year ago).  He's been fired from a job, gotten another, been rehired and has been there for six months. He's gone without much food, no cable TV and he sorely could use some new work clothes. He's had dirty laundry, he couldn't afford to clean. He's very lonely and has no friends-- because he's distanced himself from the circle of friends he used with.

My attitude is that my son has a new beginning with us. I told him that it's up to him to prove to his step dad that he isn't using illegal drugs.  He's been given a thorough discussion on what the house rules are.  My husband said he'd give him one month and then "we'll see what happens".

It's up to my son, as to what happens next. 

As to why I published this photo of my son-- I never tire of watching him sleep. It's what moms do. I still see that sweet little boy, and I pray he has come home to mature and to start over with us.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sleeping on it, and fine-tuning decisions...

Thank you, everyone, for your comments, suggestions and advice.

First, a few more vital details to help all of you understand how I will base my final decisions on my son:

The amount owed to my son's apartment management is $4,000.  Yes, that's right!  $2K is back rent, with HUGE fines added to it. My son paid his share of the rent, and I know this-- because I was the one who bought the money when my son would give me the cash.  The remaining $2K is the penalty for breaking his lease.  B's ex-roommate is legally responsible, too. But, it will be a matter of tracking him down and if my son will actually go through the process of suing him.  My son can look forward to having 25% of his wages garnished.  Tom suggested what I already had-- and that's what my son went in to do, yesterday. He went in to ask if he could make payments on the back rent.  The answer was "no".  This complex is corporate business.

The free advice that my son was given, by his family attorney, was good-- the attorney said "the next time you rent a place, don't sign a lease unless you can afford to pay all of the rent yourself".  Amen.  My son, hopefully, will take this valuable advice to heart. Actually, his credit is ruined for many years, so he won't be able to rent from a place like that for a very long time.

My son's car-- my son could sell the car for $3500.00, easily.  I am picking B up in 45 minutes to take the car into the repair shop, again.  From what the mechanic says, it's the oil cooler.  He's a family friend and he is trustworthy. If it's less than $200.00 to fix, then his dad is going to pay it.  We'll slap a FOR SALE sign on it, and B will pay his dad back, from the money he gets for it. If the car costs more than that to fix, then it's time to junk it. It's ironic that his father is such an expert with cars-- he restores CanAm race cars and knows a lot about mechanics.  Why his dad picked this particular model of car, puzzles me.  I hoped my son would, instead, by an inexpensive and dependable car like a Toyota. I think B is over wanting a sporty looking car, now. This one has been a real pain.

Now then-- C and I talked about my son coming back to our home. Actually, C started the conversation, and I listened.  C is afraid that B will get too comfortable, here, and overstay his welcome. He wants him to be here for a "couple of weeks".  I listened, though my son needs more than 2 weeks to get back on his feet.

I read many of your comments to my husband.  He listened.  Two phrases, that really stood out (thank you Ron and Lisa) is that we need to decide if we are giving B a hand OUT or a hand UP.  My son is also in his RECOVERY stage, and not ADDICTION.  I reminded my husband that B  it is apparent that he is no longer using drugs. If he was, he would NOT have paid any rent, and been evicted long ago. Plus, C has bought his own groceries and paid friends gas money to get him to work.  The methadone is working for him, Amen.

Plus, I give kudos for my son for putting up with an abusive and unethical boss. B goes to work, on time, rain or shine. He works hard.

My husband has very valid concerns, and the three of us need to sit and talk about it, today.  Some of C's concerns, as I understand them are:
  • Manipulative behavior - mainly over money.
  • Manipulating his mom into doing this for him.
  • Laziness - my husband is a hard worker. 
  • Lies - obviously, this comes easily for drug addicts.
He is also concerned that I give in too easily to my son, though he understands why-- that I love my son unconditionally. NOTE: Our pastor recently said "the definition of loving someone unconditionally means that you can love them, despite their own dysfunction".  Amen.

C has agreed that my son needs help.  It looks like we are going to allow B to come home, but we need to come to some very specific guidelines. I'm the kind of person who writes things down, and my son will read it and sign it.

The reason I WILL charge my son rent is this--  he needs to have "ownership" of the cost of living.  HOWEVER,  3/4 of the rent will go into a savings account. That money will be paid towards the next room he rents.  1/4 of it, will (barely) cover the cost of his living here.  B will have to buy some of his own groceries-- like his sodas that he is addicted to and he drinks enough milk to support a dairy farm.

He will now be able to pay for his car insurance and gas, with what he makes.
He will pay a certain amount of his paycheck back to reduce his debt. I will make sure that happens, because he will give the money to me.

I will also tell him that since we are helping him get back on his feet, that I don't want to see a new X-Box or new "toys" with the money he is saving, by living with us. Yes, he should be able to go to a movie, or buy a new pair of shoes etc.  Everyone should have a reward for their hard work and honest money. I told my son that I would resent it if my son lived off us to indulge in "things". He needs to save money and become debt-free.

There will be a cap on how long he can stay with us, though.  Of course, if we find any signs of drug use, he leaves immediately.

B says he is 110% willing to comply.  Of course, C is wary that my son will do that.

I understand. There is always a "honeymoon" period, when a kid returns home.  Let's hope that my son has really changed enough to learn the value of integrity.

I feel bad, though, that I heard my husband get up at 4:30am.  He got dressed and went into the living room to watch TV.  I knew he was worried/upset about my son coming back.  God help us!

I'd better get ready to pick him up.  I value your feedback, advice, support and comments. Thank you.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My son's second bottom

Oh, boy. Here we go. My son's life has definitely hit an all-time low. I feel so bad for him, and yet I still see this had to happen.

My son is getting kicked out of his apartment.  He got served ten days ago, but didn't take seriously that he had five days in which to respond. We kept telling him to handle it, but he didn't.  That's how my son rolls-- what I see in him is that when life gets really hard, he curls up into a ball.  He can't face it.  Oh, he talks tough, but he's not a violent person in any way.  It's what one of his traits that I know and love.

He finally caught the apartment manager (and the office is rarely open, as it should be).  He explained his situation, and he has paid his share of the rent. Bottom line, he has until the 14th to get out of his apartment...maybe less. My son was told that the sheriff would come to remove him.   He finally went to see an attorney, who is a good friend of his dad's.  The attorney told me that since he missed the five day window to respond, he has no defense.  His roommate-- who split on him, and is on the lease-- basically gets away with it.  His former roommate is nowhere to be found  So my son is left holding the $2000.00 debt, and his credit is ruined for seven years.  He won't be able to rent from any kind of apartment or house landlord for quite some time. Worse, there is a law-- and I think it's all wrong-- that people are being denied a job, when a credit check is done and it comes up bad. Employers think you might steal...Don't even get me started on that one!  My son can pay the apartment manager $2000.00, and all is forgiven.  He doesn't have it, and neither do I. Besides, I have no intention of paying his former friend/roommate's share of back rent. No way!

In some ways, I see this as a good thing. I know this sounds weird, because my son is sitting in his car and he is crying.  His car-- $2,000 later-- still doesn't run. It's spewing oil and overheating. It just might be dead, and now he's really screwed. No home. No transportation.  But sometimes, it is through our pain that we can learn.  Maybe my son will understand that when you ignore the responsibilities of life, that this is what happens. Life is very real, and the law is the law.

What is there to do?

I told my husband, and I know he's not happy about having my son come home. I understand that, given all that he put us through.

But what should I do?  He's sober, because of methadone.  Living here, without a car, will be a major problem for my son.  We live in the suburbs-- no city buses, no taxis and definitely not walking distance. Bicycle would be like the Tour de France, where we live.

I need to pray and think....

I feel so bad for my son. But, if we backtrack, he had to leave because of drugs.  He moved in with someone he used with....who made B's life a living hell. Ultimately, that drug addict/alcoholic left my son holding the bag.  There ya go.

I'm on hold-- I have to think.  I need to figure out what defines helping and enabling. I do feel bad for him, because he really is trying.

Bottom sucks.  Been there, years ago-- different circumstances, but I do know that feeling of despair.  My protectiveness is coming out... so I need to go, and think and pray.  Letting my son move back in will start a whole new chapter-- and it will definitely compromise my tranquil marriage to his stepdad. I need wisdom... God's wisdom.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter and more relfections on my son's journey

Easter is the most important Christian holiday, second only to Christmas.  It is a time to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  It is a day to remember that Christ suffered and died for the sins of the world.  It is a very humbling day for me.

I made an Easter breakfast for my husband.  B has his car fixed, so he joined us.  Later on, I'll bake a glazed ham, and a couple of simple side dishes.  By choice, I wanted this Easter to be a quiet one.  I've been over committed with projects, a busy and stressful week of work and my son's constant up and downs in his life. I am on vacation all of next week, hoping to use this time to relax, face some projects I've been procrastinating about... and to enjoy some quiet time with my husband.

B will join us for dinner, again.  I still marvel at how much better my son looks.   I didn't fully realize just how much opiates change my son, until he began to get better-- with the help of methadone.  Physically, he looks much better.  He smiles a lot more.  He has more energy.  He doesn't talk so fast, that you cannot understand him.

I know he's not completely out of the woods, yet.  Two years ago, at this time, my son was writhing in pain from detox. My husband and I had attended our first four-hour long class in addiction. My son's rehab did an excellent job with that.  We watched movies to better understand how the human brain is affected by drugs and alcohol.  Parents, children, and loved ones, crowed into a meeting room to learn and to share our feelings with one another.  I remember looking at patients who I would have never guessed had an alcohol and/or drug problem.  Some patients were visibly shaking...others were nodding off.  I watched loved ones interact with one another, and I felt so sad for many of them.

My son thrived in the rehab, where he stayed for 30 days.  He quickly charmed the leaders, and made many friends.  He was very sick for about 10 days.  He almost walked out, because the detox put him into a panic. But, he made it-- and he stayed clean and sober for six months.

I have to say that my son was blessed in every way-- from him getting the last bed that was available...to his insurance agreeing to keep him there for 30 days. Typically, his insurance would only authorize 7-10 days, but because of his diabetes they were able to keep him in longer.

I feel bad for families who cannot afford rehab.  The cost was $36,000.  Our share to pay was $3,600.00.  I give God all the glory and gratitude for making it all happen.

Though my son relapsed six months later, he eventually returned to the same rehab.  He met two drug dealers, used while in it and sold drugs as soon as he got out.  This goes to show that even the best rehab center isn't a guarantee that it will "cure" them.  The bottom line, I have finally accepted, is that is my son's choice to fight for sobriety or to live a cycle of relapses that can eventually lead to jail and/or death.  Pun intended, it's a very sobering reality.  I do believe that the 12-step program is the best support any addict can choose to follow.

For my son, he still doesn't see the value in it.  For now, the methadone keeps him from wanting to use.  I have finally surrendered to my not wanting him to use methadone as a crutch. I have to say, that it has been the only treatment that has kept my son clean for longer than five day stretches. 

As for me, I continue to find support in my faith and the power of prayer.  My son surprised me, by showing up for Easter service last night!  It was such a powerful moment while we were singing "Amazing Grace" that nobody came forward to accept Jesus in their life... the pastor asked to sing one more verse, saying that a war is waged inside us when a person wants to become a Christian.  Finally, people began to come forward.  I could hardly sing, because I was choked up with emotional tears.

I thank God, that I heard that calling twelve years ago.  I am thankful that I finally wanted to receive the salvation of Christ, to be cleansed anew and to begin to take my first steps alongside Christ Jesus.

Blessed Easter