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:


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...


LisaC said...

Debby, I think you should rejoice and feel good about the progress B is making. Every step without shooting heroin into his veins is a step in the right direction. I understand he concern about methodone, but it is a tool and if it helps, praise the Lord. Anyway, that is the way I feel about it.

I am a envious of your relationship with my husband moved out last month after notifying me our marriage was more or less over in January (23 1/2 years married). I miss the companionship because I thought we had a good relationship and were a good couple together. Life will go on, however.

Never apologize for not blogging. Life takes our time and our energy; and you will blog when you need to. Have a wonderful weekend and I continue to keep you and B in my prayers.

Tom at Recovery Helpdesk said...

Glad to get the update and that it is a good one. I don't mind the long posts at all...they are worth reading.

Glenda T. said...

I'm so happy that things are looking up for your son, it gives me hope.

Heather's Mom said...

It is great to hear that B is doing well and things are going well with him living with you. I do not know enough about methadone to comment there.
I do feel that any sobriety program needs to encompass three things: physical, spiritual and emotional.
I will pray that somehow God puts any of these that B needs in his path.
God bless. Thanks for the update!

Erin said...

I understand about the methadone, some need that help I am taking my 22 year old son to the dr tomorrow to be put on suboxone. Iam praying to God that this helps his addiction to opiates.So glad I found your blog I feel so very alone at times dealing with this so many years of heartache.

Cheri said...


Rejoicing with you, praying with you, and standing in faith for you. You are all in God's capable hands.

So much of what you share I can relate to.

Hugs, prayers, and blessings,

Anonymous said...

God led me to your blog today when I googled suggested reading for family of opiate addict. I found some comfort in your heartfelt expression. When you consider that we comfort others from the comfort with which we personally have been comforted by God, it was the perfect resting place for me today. When my son comes home, I want to welcome the recovering addict and I want to learn how I can help him and not enable him.

A Mom's Serious Blunder said...

I also find it hard to embrace a 12 step program that does not recognize alternative treatments like Suboxone and Methedone. I do try to live my life with some of those same 12 step principals and I am still able to take comfort from the few meetings I have attended but it is a process and a journey that I can see I am JUST beginning.

A Mom' Serious Blunder said...

Happy Mother's Day! I am going to assume no news is good news!

Anonymous said...

I am the mother of an opiate addicted daighter that has been on Suboxone now for 70 days . I too am of the thought regarding NA as well as my daughter has informed me as to the types of people at these meetings. Who has the right to judge her sobriety? Who has the right to judge her way of choosing a tool to help her? I see those that do so as hypocrites. I will spend each & every day thankful to God that my daughter is not putting a needle in her arm as well as is working hard to resolve what led her to this destructive world of addiction. I am thankful I too have my daughter back in my life & our relationship is as strong if not stronger than ever.