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,

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Debby,

I feel your frustration and pain. I have been lurking and reading your blog for several weeks now, but your posting tonite called out to me. My 23 yr-old son is a heroin addict also. He has been thru 5 or 6 detoxs, but will not stay for rehab, even tho he has insurance. He tried rehab a few months ago and the ins. co. only allowed 10 days - why did they even bother? He still lives at home, even tho he has stolen almost $5000 from us (he learned to forge checks in detox). Like you I love my son, and while I know I am enabling him, I just cannot throw him out. I do get strength and perspective from reading your blog and the comments, so I hope you do continue, but I would understand if you stopped out of pain and frustration. But God is good, and while I frequently do not understand His ways, I do know that He wants the best for us. It's just that sometimes, some of us (like my son) do not want the best for ourselves.

A CT heroin addict mom

clean and crazy said...

i am so sorry for your pain, i know i caused my mother a ton of heartache during my using. i am grateful she was alive to seem e get my three year coin. i only tried to quit once. i was hooked on meth. i shot up meth and ice and it was not easy for me, my saving grace was i could not hit my own veins.

i never used heroin, i don't think at one point i was shooting anything up my arms, i was at the mercy of whoever could hit my veins and by the grace of god go i. narcotics anonymous has worked for me for almost 6 years now, but i am not safe it is a constant fight and i always know i am one hit or drink or drug away from a relapse. the great thing is today it is my choice, today i choose to live. today i pray for you and yours because you are so loving and you deserve peace and serenity in your life and that is what i pray for for you.

Kristi said...

Debbie, my prayers are with you and your son. I get where your at because I've been there and still go there sometimes. My husbands dear grandmother once said, "tell me how to stop loving them and I'll stop worrying about them.". True words have never been spoken. (((hugs)))

LisaC said...

Debby, I've been reading your blog for a long time, and I've never questioned your love for your son; or your faith in God.

My therapist (specializing in drug addiction and the impact on family) once said, "If our addicts behavior was appropriate, we wouldn't care if they used. It is their behaviors that make us crazy." You and B represent that thought. "He is working two jobs, he is paying us rent, etc. etc. etc." You are accepting his behavior as something that you can live with knowing in your heart and mind that he is still active in addiction and not active in recovery. I know you've had such faith and hope in B; and I can only say to you, don't give up your faith and hope in him and his recovery.

All I can say about your blog is I hoped it helped you to put it "on paper," and say it out loud. I know it does for me.

By the way, "Anonymous," my heart goes out to you because I have been exactly where you are, and I was also in denial...I didn't want to believe my son would steal from us, etc. Please know it won't stop at $5,000...just try to be protective with possessions and money. It will make you feel a little better as you work your way through these issues.

I have never stopped praying for you and B; and I will add "anonymous" and her son to my list.

And I guess, without being harsh, I will gently remind you that you don't have to stop loving your sons in order to change your behavior and what you are willing to put up with. Maybe, just maybe, you will be demonstrating even greater love for them, by giving them the freedom to face recovery on their own. After all, we all know that they have to want it, or it won't ever happen...no matter how much we love them. We can't love them into sobriety, as much as we want to.

LisaC said...

Debby, I've been reading your blog for a long time, and I've never questioned your love for your son; or your faith in God.

My therapist (specializing in drug addiction and the impact on family) once said, "If our addicts behavior was appropriate, we wouldn't care if they used. It is their behaviors that make us crazy." You and B represent that thought. "He is working two jobs, he is paying us rent, etc. etc. etc." You are accepting his behavior as something that you can live with knowing in your heart and mind that he is still active in addiction and not active in recovery. I know you've had such faith and hope in B; and I can only say to you, don't give up your faith and hope in him and his recovery.

All I can say about your blog is I hoped it helped you to put it "on paper," and say it out loud. I know it does for me.

By the way, "Anonymous," my heart goes out to you because I have been exactly where you are, and I was also in denial...I didn't want to believe my son would steal from us, etc. Please know it won't stop at $5,000...just try to be protective with possessions and money. It will make you feel a little better as you work your way through these issues.

I have never stopped praying for you and B; and I will add "anonymous" and her son to my list.

And I guess, without being harsh, I will gently remind you that you don't have to stop loving your sons in order to change your behavior and what you are willing to put up with. Maybe, just maybe, you will be demonstrating even greater love for them, by giving them the freedom to face recovery on their own. After all, we all know that they have to want it, or it won't ever happen...no matter how much we love them. We can't love them into sobriety, as much as we want to.

LisaC said...

Sorry, Debby, there was no hidden message in posting my comment twice! I just hit the wrong button on the computer! (Prays and hugs your direction)

Fractalmom said...

oh Debby. I'm really sorry. a few things.

it's actually 87%, not 97. that probably doesn't make you feel one bit better.

Neither ONE of you can control his using. YOU cannot, and shouldn't try.

HE can't CONTROL his using, he can only control his NOT USING.

Therein lies the problem. He THINKS he can use while on methadone (because it does, in fact, lessen the withdrawals). So HE feels like he can have his cake and eat it too.

therein lies the problem with methadone for the addict which is not totally behind getting/staying sober.

Your son is now what is loosely referred to as a 'functional junkie'.

It will progress. Slowly perhaps. But it WILL progress.

King Heroin works that way you see. It is the epitome of evil.

You can't lead him any closer to God either. That is also a road we have to walk alone.

Right now, your son may be praying that God will take this burden from him, only God doesn't work that way. God may HELP your son resist, but He won't take away our tribulations. He expects US to do a good bit of the work ourselves. That's where your son is falling short on the whole God thing.

Your son is controlling HIS usage and HIS life.

And, by your love, and your support, and you giving him a safe place to live, YOU are enabling him to do so.

Check and see with the Social Security Administration. I believe, but could be wrong, that Type I diabetics are eligible for Medicare Parts A & B both.

Talk to your pastor about grieving for the dreams you had for your son, because they are now a thing of the past.

Most of us keep trying because of what we WANTED our kids to be. When they turn out to NOT be that, it's hard. Doubly so when they turn out to be junkies.

Some of us older members also have upper middle class kids who graduated high school at the top of their class, went on to college, did everything according to plan, then went on to become heroin addicts. Actually, MOST of us older members have that story.

Fact is, we all grew up expecting that heroin addicts were mostly inner city gang members and poor kids.

So when heroin invaded the upper classes, we didn't know. OUR kids were the future of the country. They were the nerds, the clean cut ones, the football stars, the good grade kids, the boy/girl scouts who showed leadership potential early on. They excelled since pre-school. They were almost ALL gifted. Many were homeschooled (another inaccurate fallacy).

Yet, they still became heroin addicts.

It is heartwrenching, devestating and horrible.

But, it still exists and trying to believe in your son, when he does not believe in himself, is futile.

right now, your son believes he can control his addiction. He can't. But you cannot explain it to him. HE is in heavy denial.

YOU are knee deep in the river deNILE and need to look around for pyramids.

As hard as it is, you need to get him out of your house, and let him go. You are providing him with safety, and he will continue to use as long as he has that safety net that you as his mother, lovingly provides.

It's backwards, convoluted and against everything we were brought up to believe in.

But, it's true.

You have to take back your life, turn to other things besides living for your son. You will waste away, your marriage may not survive, and honestly, your sanity is at stake as well.

He is an adult. He probably qualifies for subsidized housing for the elderly/disabled as well. And, if he gets on Medicare, the insurance problem is solved. If not Medicare, then Medicaid through the State you live in.

Let him go and continue to pray for him.

that's really all you can do.

God's Peace be upon you.

Fractalmom said...
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Fractalmom said...
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Dad and Mom said...

Debby,

I'm sorry I can't think of anything to say, maybe it has all been said or I'm just brain fried from our stuff this last week.

I am thinking of you and B along with so many others.

CC (Mumsicles) said...

Debby, I am so sorry. This cycle is truly vicious, wickedly so.

My son was on "methadone maintenance/detox" for 2 years. Last week, I would have told you it worked for him. But after our family session last Friday I learned that he used throughout his "methadone treatment". He cheated on his urine analysis, bringing in someone else's urine. He earned enough points with the clinics system to get "take homes" which allowed him to start injecting it, because you can get high that way.

Maybe it works for some, but I am beginning to conclude that drug use in any form is abuse (unless for a medical reason of course).

Hang in there. Don't be afraid to reexamine your boundaries, and tighten them where you think you're vulnerable.

Just a few things to thing about. I am no expert. Just another hurting and grieving mama.

love n hugs,
Carolyn

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel said...

I'm so sorry that you're hurting. You are a wonderful mom.

Heather's Mom said...

Debby, Just wanted to comment to say I pray for you and B daily. My heart hurts for you both when I read what is going on. Sending love, hugs and prayers. HM

Jan said...

I read you every chance I get. I feel your pain and frustration. WE are all in the same cycle. We are all here together. And we want our sons to live a normal drug free life. But we can not lose ourselves in the process. I admire your ability to stand strong. Thanks for the example.

A Mom's Serious Blunder said...

I read your blog faithfully and I hope you took no offense to my question. It was a question from the gut that I deal with. Thank you for answering so honestly and I am so sorry.

beachteacher said...

perhaps Fractalmom should be our leader.....many of us could use that. And believe me, I say that with respect of her, and empathy for her journey. Thank you all for your comments....they are what I'm hanging onto right now. Debby,..you're a wonderful mom, and I'm so sorry for your pain...you certainly don't deserve it. Addiction strikes far and wide upon those who never had it coming to them.

kimtmeyer1 said...

I'm so sorry for your pain. I feel it deeply as I just told my son to leave our home. After almost 16 months sobriety (13 months in a residential living/working/AA program + 3 months at home) he relapsed again. It started with gambling, then drinking and pot, then finally back to his drug of choice- snorting oxycontin. He has lost everything now by stealing from his friends and family, lying, and commiting fraud. He will eventually go to jail or die. He is 22 years old. I pray for him and all our addicted children. Thank you for sharing your story; it helps to know we are not alone.

Erin said...

Debby, I am in the exact same position as you are with your son, with the exception that he does have insurance through me, thank God for that. He too has been on suboxone for several months, I also believe he has used here and there, although he denies that. I too found an empty needle package in his car which he also said was old. He also lives with me, I too have not seen a reason to remove him as he also works full time and is actually a pleasant young man. You would never know he was an addict, he is Mr. Ralph Lauren and Mr. Lacoste. I have found that there really isn't a typical stereotype the doctor told me this is a problem for all different people, professionals included. I also have to keep giving him to God and praying that he deliver him from this hell. He has been in programs that well I really wasn't all that happy with. It seems that there really isn't the care needed out there even with insurance, the private in house rehabs usually don't take insurance and I certainly cannot afford that. Oh God please lead our children towards righteousness and light and seek them out like that lost coin, you are the only answer in all of this God.

Barbara said...

Hi Debby. I care. I understand. I am just tired of it.

Her Big Sad said...

Debby, I'm so sorry. And I do indeed understand exactly where you are. I will pray that God gives you extraordinary strength and clarity of mind as you determine what the best course for YOU to take is at this point. Not the course for your son... though I pray for him daily too. I will pray for wisdom and acceptance and a sense of a clear indication that you are doing the right thing. Although I suspect it may be the hardest thing you've ever done.

I echo everyone's thoughts here. You are such a loving Mom and I agree that it's harder to feel the need for certain boundaries with a functioning addict... Please, please take care of YOU. And your marriage. Your son is an adult and you have done your job one way up to this point (meaning hands-on, actively involved) and it may be time for another way (demonstrating by example a strong Christian faith-filled life in which you take care of YOU, and boundaries you enforce about what you will or will not live with, and also letting him be entirely responsible for his life). So awfully hard.

I hope you will keep writing. Just as I mentioned to someone else today, your decisions are YOURS. We can't judge. The beauty of this community is that we can offer suggestions, offer an objective outside viewpoint, and offer support no matter WHAT decision you make. We care Debby and we continue praying for you and your son.

God bless you and today touch your heart in a special way, reminding you of his deep love for you and your dear son. Hugs and sorry I rambled so long!

Anonymous said...

Debby,
Really appreciated your blog today. The insanity of not knowing when our children are using is something that I am struggling with. I want to support the positive steps of recovery, but I have been lied to so much I don't know that I will ever be able to believe anything my son says. His lies are so believable, but twisted.

bb said...

Debby: Thank you for sharing this. By reading your blogs, I know I'm not alone, although it feels most of the time like I am. My 23 year old son is in active opiate addiction, and I have chosen to not have any type relationship with him. I can't watch him kill himself. I haven't had any contact with him for several months, until yesterday, I texted him and just said "just want you to know I love you." He responded with the same, and then "how are you?" I didn't respond. I'm not trying to be mean; I'm just trying to take care of me. Thanks again for sharing!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm newbie and a new user in this forum, but I hope to help and be helped by others. :)