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.


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.


He says they're old.


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.


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.