Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saying Goodbye to 2011 --- and what I learned, this year

To those of you who leave comments and write private emails to me-- thank you.  It seems that I only write an average of one post a month, but that doesn't mean I'm not reading comments.  I try to respond to you, if you have an email.  My son has been telling me that I should leave feedback, on the post.  I've thought about it, but I'm not sure if someone-- especially an "anonymous" checks back.

Do you?

My blog has taken on a whole new direction, and I feel as though it's a good fit for me.  The direction my blog appears to be headed is that I am speaking to the hearts of parents/loved ones who are very new to this world of addiction. 

Over the last few weeks, I've received private emails from parents just like me.  They have poured out their hearts, and shared stories that leave me feeling that I can relate to their sorrow and pain.  If they have an email, I write back.  Sometimes, they don't.

As for my son, he's still on suboxone, and I pretty much leave him alone to deal with it. He's got is own forums he goes to, and I don't read his posts. Overall, he says that he is feeling great.  But, there are some mornings, when I can tell that he isn't.  Sometimes he's lethargic. He admits that he gets cravings, every so often.  What I do see is that he has an appetite, and that's a good thing.  (We're trying to coordinate a time when he will sit down, so I can interview him.  During the holidays, he's working six days a week at the restaurant.  B wants to share his thoughts with my readers, so it will happen.)

I am very thankful that my son is no longer going to the methadone clinic.  This is $350.00 a month that his father doesn't have to pay-- since he can't afford it.  B is no longer a slave to having to wake up by a certain time, to get his daily dose.  My observation is that B looks better on suboxone than he did on methadone.  If B missed a dose of his methadone, I would see him fly into a full-blown panic.  He'd buy it on the street, or ... well, I really don't want to think of what he bought to get through.

2011 was a year where I learned to detach. That's why I don't blog as often as I once did.  For me, I found myself feeding off sharing my personal drama.  I admit, that I began to need the sympathy and support from my readers a little too much.  That's not to say that I didn't appreciate it. I just realized that I was rehearsing my anger, fear, pain, frustration and heartbreak.  I began to learn to give all of it to God, first.   As I began to detach from feeding into my son's drama, I began to allow more joy to come in to my heart.

Throughout my son's story of his addiction-- which isn't over-- I learned that life had to go on.  I could choose to drown in my own self-pity, or I could look ahead, and to trust that God would give me the strength and courage that I needed.

I had to disengage from letting my son's drama affect my own marriage  I had to learn to understand that my husband needed to be recognized for his value and contribution through all of this. 

Whenever I felt afraid or anger, towards B, I began to pray more fervently. 

I could feel the change within me.  I began to feel a sense of peace-- and I realized that I had finally crossed over into Acceptance.

I have finally accepted that my son is a drug addict. He always will be.    I have accepted that there is nothing I can do to control his addiction. I have accepted my son for who he is-- right now, at this moment, on this day. 

Most importantly, I know that I love him for who he is. Despite his struggles with honesty, I can see that he is really trying. I cannot truly know what it's like to be in his skin.  I can only feel empathy for that beast that is within him, that wants to take over his struggle for sobriety.

Life isn't easy.  Even for me, despite my feelings of being in a good place, I have my moments when life throws me a curve ball.  For addicts, it saddens me how they cannot find a way of coping with those curve balls, and that's when the need to use overtakes them.

Whenever I read an email, from a parent who is just beginning the journey of having an addict in the family-- I pray that you will find that ability to detach from the drama that addiction brings in to your life.  You do need a support system-- be in Nar-Anon, Al-Anon, Celebrate Recovery or the blogs on my side bar.  The support that you need is from parents who have gone through this.  Friends and family, who are not living this nightmare, cannot offer the kind of support that you need.  They cannot understand the three C's-- You didn't cause it. You can't control it. You cannot cure it.  They mean well, but they will most likely make you doubt your ability as a parent.  Unless you did drugs with your kids, you can't be blamed.

I pray that 2012 will be a fresh beginning for each of you.  I don't make New Year's Resolutions.  Instead, I look at the New Year as a time to start over-- to make new memories. 

Thank you for your support and friendship.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hope for the Holidays-- and Every Day, One Day At A Time

Our family celebrates the Christmas holiday on Christmas Eve.  It's only one week away, and I can't seem to get into the Spirit of the holiday.  Being a Christian, I'm celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ-- God's gift to the World.     It's also a time of the year for those who are of other faiths, be it Hannukah, Kwaanza. Then there is the Secular Christmas of  Christmas being a holiday of shopping, baking, parties and family gatherings, Santa and Frosty the Snowman.

No matter what this time of year is to you, it can be a very difficult time of year, too.  For me, it's the time of year when I miss my mother. My Mutti would make a big deal out of Christmas.  I still carry those traditions of German cooking and music, to this day. It is the time of year when I realize how much our family has whittled down to just my two brothers, one niece and my son.  I have a scattering of cousins, but we just don't seem to keep in touch anymore. Most of my older relatives are now gone, from this Earth.

So, yes, sometimes I feel a sense of melancholy at this time of year.  I also find that I don't like what Christmas has become.  Like I said, I'm a Christian, and I'm sad to see that the "Christ" in Christmas has become politically incorrect.  I cringe when I hear "Happy Holidays".  I still smile, when sometime says that.  But I always say, "Merry Christmas".

No, I don't mean to start a politics vs. religious rant.  It's not what my blog is about.  This blog is about my story.  It's about my nearly four-year experience as the mother of a drug addict.

I haven't read my blog, in it's entirety in a very long while.  It's a little strange, knowing that my son is reading it now.  B has been reading the comments that are left, and he's been urging me to respond to them.  So, now my son's my writing agent?  Yes, son. I will.

Sometimes it's hard to respond, because the comments are written anonymously.  Sometimes, people email me, and ask that I respect their privacy.  I always do that.

I digress.  My inspiration to write, today, is that this morning I just can't muster the child-like anticipation that I once had, as I counted the days until Christmas.  My son, being in the restaurant business, will not be with our small family gathering on Christmas Eve. He's also working, all day, on Christmas Eve.  Sigh.

However, I can count a very special blessing in all of this.  My son is home.  He's got a job, and it's one that he really likes.  Right now, my #1 thing I am grateful for-- my son is free from methadone. Amen.

Right now, there are parents who have no idea where their addict son or daughter is.  The family has been torn apart, by addiction.  Or, there are families whose addicts are living in their home, but it has become a place that isn't a sanctuary.  Parents have to lock up their valuables, lest their addict steals it. Christmas gifts can't be placed, under the tree, for fear those will be pawned somewhere.

So, when that melancholy hits me, I have to pause and thank God for where my son is today.  I can hand him my credit card, to run an errand for me.  I don't have to worry that he'll abuse that kind of trust. I don't have to hide my wallet.  My camera and laptops are safe.

Most importantly, I have my son back.  There was a time, when I used to toss and turn at night. Just writing these words, makes the tears well up again.  I can recall a time, while my son wasn't living with us, that I dreaded phone calls late at night.  I can recall the terror in my heart, picking up the phone, and praying it wouldn't be the County Jail or Coroner.

When B told me he read my blog, he said that he  had forgotten some of the things he put me through-- until he spent a few hours reading my posts. I don't want to forget those times. Neither does my son.  He said, to me, that reading my blog is a good reminder why he never wants to back to those dark times.

Today, what I want to say to anyone who is reading this post--  if your loved one is not with you at this time, please know that I am truly sorry.  I think the greatest pain that any parent can feel, is the loss of their child.  Death is the ultimate pain, because it's so final.  Yet, knowing that your addict child is out there-- somewhere-- and you cannot contact them, or they won't contact you...  it is a very deep pain.  I have been praying for you, especially this week.

Support is our best friend, at a time like this.  Support can be found at Al-Anon or Nar-Anon.  It can be found in your own home, via the internet.  B has recently discovered that.  When B read my blog, he started clicking on my blogroll-- which led him to "Suboxone Talk".  He's been participating in his own addict forums, and he's very excited about it  He's been posting and finding support from addicts who have years of experience with suboxone therapy.  I'm watching B, as he's making informed decisions on how to correctly take his medications.  I'm seeing a more positive son, who is gaining weight again and wanting to take better care of his health.  B is understand, more clearly, how my own blog has helped me get through some really dark times.

I cannot tell you how many times I've had non-believers attack my Christian faith.  Know what?  I don't take offense anymore.  My faith is deeply rooted, because I have taken time to build a relationship with Jesus Christ.  I love to read and hear messages about the Word of God.  I'm not disillusioned about my son's addiction, and I don't blame God for things that have gone wrong in my life.  If anything, I found strength and courage by prayer and faith.

My story is not over.  If anything, it's just taken a new chapter.  B wants me to keep on blogging.   He wants me to share my story, to help those of you who feel discouraged.

I will interview my son.  But, today, I have Christmas chores to do. I'm baking my gifts.  I just can't understand why Christmas has become a financial spending spree.  Instead, I'm giving money to help those in need.  I don't care about receiving gifts, either.  Just being with my family is truly what matters to me.

On Christmas Eve, I'm headed to church. I will sing Christian Christmas Carols and be thankful that I'm still alive and well.  I will think of my deceased mother and father.  Most importantly, I will give thanks to God that I am forgiven for my sinful ways.

May each of you find peace and joy in your hearts. May the Christmas Season be a time of hope for you.   With my son, I celebrate his sobriety, one day at a time.  May each day become one of encouragement for you. One Day At A Time.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Well, the Cat's out of the Bag-- My son has read my blog

Dear Readers & Friends:

The moment has finally come.  In April 2008, I started this blog out of desperation and fear.  I had just dropped my son off at a Rehab Center, in Northern California.  I was spinning around, feeling a mixture of fear, confusion, anger, hurt -- and I could not believe that my son was a heroin addict.

I think the catalyst to start my blog, was when I read the book "My Beautiful Boy".  It's a poignant story, and yet it gave me hope.  My own thought was that I wanted to journal my thoughts, and one day-- when my son was ready (and I prayed when he was sober), that he would be able to read it.  I wanted my son to try and understand a mom's point of view.

Well, that day has finally come.   When B asked me if he could read my blog, over a week ago, I have to admit it made me a little nervous and a bit self-conscious.  In a way, it felt as though I would be letting him read my personal diary.  But, I did tell my son that I had a blog and that, when he was ready, he could read it.  Being the kind of person who tries to keep true to her word, I told him "yes".

I explained to my son that I hoped he would understand that some of my posts were very raw-- these were feelings that I wrote when I was feeling anger or fear.

I'm feeling tremendous relief, to be honest.  First, that my son hasn't been to the methadone clinic in five weeks. B has found, what he says, is a LOT of very useful information from Dr. Junig's blog, Suboxone Talk Zone.  B was reading his blog, and emailed Dr. Junig.  B was both relieved and surprised that Dr. Junig took the time to answer him.  B says that he has a much better understanding about suboxone. He also says that, until he read his blog, he realized he was taking suboxone incorrectly.  In fact, he's talking 75% less of a daily dose, and I can hear a different tone in my son's way of talking. I think that tone is "hope".

As his mom, I can only pray with both gratitude and supplication that the God I believe in will continue to pour his Grace upon B.   Considering the stories I've read on other blogs, I know that I am very fortunate that my son is where he is today-- he is working, he is a good roommate, and he is a good person.  Sure, he's done some things that weren't honest-- at the time he was using.  But, that's in the past.  I have forgiven him, and I believe that this has helped me to not become bitter and angry towards him.

B told me that he read my blog, last night-- for several hours. He was very nice about it, which is a relief.  In fact, my son said he went blog hopping from my blog roll.  He found Ron's blog "An Addict in Our Son's Bedroom", and liked it.  While I've never met Ron, I feel as though we are friends.  B also went to his son, Alex's, blog.  B's comment was that he could tell that Alex was in a really dark place.  He also said he completely understood where Alex was coming from.

B says he most enjoyed reading the comments.  He said that he really wanted to help that young girl who wrote to me and asked if she was an addict.  I get that, and I can only hope that she has gotten the help that she needs.

B also says that reading back to my accounting of events that happened-- from my point of view-- makes him realize that he doesn't want to go back to that lifestyle (when he was using).  

My son and I both know that his addiction will be with him for the rest of his life. He is very honest and tells me that there are days when he feels as though he wants to use-- but he doesn't.  Lately, he's been going to Dr. Junig's blog and is beginning to find that the internet is full of places where he can read and find support.

Yes, my son-- my fellow bloggers, and commentators, helped me through some really hard times.  Even Fractal Mom didn't mince words with me. While, at times, it stung-- I appreciate her candor.  I did have issues discerning the difference between enabling and helping and co-dependence. When I do go way back to ready my posts, I can see how my journey has become less arduous and that I've come a long way.  So has my son.  I do believe that he has an excellent chance of turning his life around.  I've seen him let go of the friends who needed to be out of his life.

My faith in God got me through the pain, and continues to be a very important to me.

I am always humbled and appreciative of the anonymous emails/comments I get, from people who tell me how much my blog has helped them.   You are welcome. It is why I continue to post, whenever I can.  I have no intention of abandoning this blog.

I hope that my son will take his own experience and use it to help those who are just starting, where he was five years ago.  I asked B if he would let me interview him.  Without hesitation, he said yes.

The next post, I hope, will be my son's own words to all of you.  As parents and loved ones of addicts, it is hard to understand the addict's side of the story.  Especially, if we aren't addicts ourselves-- which I am not.  I never grew up with alcoholic parents. Other than smoking weed, in high school, I wasn't into drugs.

If there is anything that you would like to ask my son-- please leave a comment.  My son is now reading my blog.  I'll get used to it.  I won't hold back, myself.  I will write from the heart, as I always have.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Mom's Sad Heart - Yeah, that's me

Sometimes, when life seems like sunshine and rainbows, that dark storm comes out of nowhere.  I'm having a hard day.  Of course, it's my son.   No, B isn't using heroin.  But, he's sick. Very sick. He has that methadone poison that is still in his body.  He is going through ups and downs.  It's been 22 days since he left the methadone clinic.  B was using 80 mgs. of liquid methadone a day.  He tried to taper off many times, but would get really, really sick.  So, the clinic would yo-yo his dose.  For two years, he used methadone-- and I so wished he wouldn't have to go that route.  When B left the clinic, he was down to 50mg.  That's not the ideal way to do it but the $450.00 a month was no longer affordable for me, his father nor him.  They wanted $10.00 a day to do a taper... forgive me, but they're just legal pushers, in my opinion.

For one week, his doctor put him on dilaudid, because he could not start on suboxone right away. Why? Because the doctor said he'd go into full-blown withdrawals if he had methadone in his system.

Nice, huh?

B took two weeks of work to try and detox.  Only our insurance screwed us around, big time. They wouldn't pay for the suboxone ($300.00). It took a lot of phone calls (which my son did himself) and waiting for the appeals process, but that took 11 days to finally go through.  In the meantime, we paid $10.00 per daily dose, waiting for the red tape to be cleared.   It was a rough ride, which B supplemented with marijuana (which is legal in California, with a "license").

My son was in good spirits, feeling happy to be free of the methadone clinic.  I was feeling thankful (still am) that he was getting that poison out of his body.  Ironically, his insurance has approved him for the vivitrol shot.  B found where the co-pay (up to $500.00) will be covered.  Prices, I hear, are  about $800-$1000.00 per shot, per month.   B won't get the shot, just yet.  Right now, he's using subutex which he says helps a little bit.  But, he still has traces of methadone in his body (I've been reading how it builds up in bones), and so withdrawals simply aren't out of the question.

So, why am I so sad?  I'm that way, because my baby boy is sick.  I want to cry.  This is my precious boy, who was born with a good and healthy body.  It breaks my heart to know that his body is ravaged from five years of drug use.   Our relationship has been repaired.  But his body hasn't.

I try not to "fear" what I cannot control, predict nor fix.

But, today, I'm feeling deeply concerned for my son.  I am concerned that he is relying on weed to help him get through this phase.  I hate it.  Sure, I smoked weed in high school, so I would be a hypocrite to say that he can't.  In some ways, I get that marijuana has it's health benefits for certain medical conditions.  As I've said before, if my son smoked only weed-- it would be far better than going backwards with heroin.  Heroin is a disgusting drug. So is methamphetamine.  So is crack.  Let's face it.  Drug addiction and alcohol addiction devastates everything it touches-- isn't that why you're reading my blog?

I've done a brave job of keeping it real with my son's addiction, and struggle to stay sober.  But, today, I'm feeling like I'm teetering on fear.   I'm feeding off my own son's fear--

I think my son fears withdrawals more than anything.   From my own perspective, I feel as though he goes into a panic when the signs of withdrawals hit-- and he has to race out and buy weed.

But, here's the problem.  My. Son. Cannot. Afford. To. Buy. Drugs. Legal. Or. Illegal.

Here's my struggle.  I. Don't. Want. To. Buy. My. Son. Drugs. To. Keep. Him. From. Fear. Of. Withdrawal.

This is where my heart is so torn.  How easy would it be for me to buy his weed?  I'm not rich, but I could sacrifice my own needs to help my son feel better.

But, what good would that do?   My son is selling off his video games, to buy weed.  How do I know he's not using heroin?  I know. I just know.  I truly believe that my son doesn't want to use heroin. Ever. Again.

But, he's an addict.   He is struggling to get off the methadone that helped him to get off heroin that helped him to get off oxycontin, that started with cocaine, that goes back to smoking weed in Middle School that goes back to....

I know that it wouldn't be right for me to buy his weed. So, I won't.  But a mother's instinct is to protect her child.

My son is stuck in a viscous cycle.   I don't want to even entertain the thought of him relapsing.  I only wish he would work harder at finding a sponsor-- someone he can talk to.  B's argument is that meetings won't help with the physical withdrawals he's going through.  He says he doesn't want to use. But, he's sick and cannot function at his job in that condition.

I talked to my husband about how I'm feeling. He did exactly what I had hoped he would do.  He listened.  B isn't his own flesh and blood, so he can be pragmatic with his advice.  I'm B's mom.  He's my one and only child.  He is not a thief. He is never rude to me. In fact, he's downright respectful and helpful.

This is so hard, because it's easy for me to enable.

Having a child who is a drug addict is something I don't wish on anyone.  How I pray that my son will be set free of the bonds of addiction.  I pray he will grow to me a man who is clean and sober, and who will use his charisma and beautiful personality to help others.

But, right now, my son needs help.  I need to hang on, and be strong in my faith.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Long Road to Recovery & Methadone Recovery & Rehab Centers (Give me a Break)

 I've been writing a post for this blog, in my head, for many weeks. I apologize, in advance, for the length of this one.  I have a lot stored up, that I want to share. Unfortunately, my life has become a very busy routine.  I have a 5:00am wakeup and a 6:15am commute to work.  By the time I get home, cook dinner and try to unwind-- well, I'm lucky enough to read emails.  The good news is that I got my job back.  I've been very MIA, here, so to refresh anyone's memory (or introduce my job life to a new reader), I work at a high school.   I was transferred to another school, in the interim.  I liked working at the adult school, but my heart is with high school kids.  There is something about the daily drama, in the life of high school kids, that makes my job challenging, interesting and entertaining.  (I work as an Administrative Assistant to high school counselors.)

In many ways, my son's drug addiction has given me a heightened sense of awareness towards the kids I see at work on a daily basis.  I deal with parents whose kids are failing classes, or are facing disciplinary action for cutting classes.  My heart goes out to the parents, because I've been there. I know that feeling of helplessness-- of thinking my kid is just being a difficult teenager.  Little did I know that my son was using hard core drugs.  But, I digress.  My son....

On November 1st (also, his 23rd birthday), my son stopped going to the methadone clinic.  Amen.  Before I write any further, I've received a few private emails from methadone users who are not happy with me.  Somehow, they feel I am condemning methadone therapy.  For the record, I am not.  Methadone is something that should be used on a case-by-case basis.  I do believe that, for many addicts, that methadone is the only course of action they can take.  On occasion, I've driven my son to the methadone clinic and have sat, parked, outside.  There are no words to express the sorrow I felt, as I surreptitiously watched methadone patients walking in and out of that clinic door.  What stood out to me, is how old and haggard many of the patients looked like.   Some of the women looked, to me, to be in their 50's.  I was off by as much as 15 years.  Their skin and expressions looked like their body had been ravaged by addiction.  Rather than being repelled by it, I was deeply sad to see it.  Then, I'd see a young woman walk out, who looked like she could work as a bank teller.  Drug addiction has no economic, racial nor gender bias.

On the other hand, as with my son, I feel as though methadone simply kept my son from buying heroin off the street.  Methadone simply bought time, to keep my son from going through withdrawals.  Methadone made it possible for my son to look "normal" again.  It returned that sparkle in his eyes, and he could eat again. Most importantly, it helped him to function at his job-- which he loves, and has kept for 1 1/2 years.  When my son was using, he got fired from three jobs.  So, yes, methadone had it's benefits. However, my son could not accurately claim that he is sober.

However, the downsides of methadone are serious. Methadone, in my opinion, is poison to the body.  It builds up, in the bones.  For one, there are only two methadone clinics within a 40 mile radius of where we live.  Our home is 3 miles from the closest one.  My son could not move anywhere closer to his job (25 miles away), lest he have a 30 minute commute for his daily methadone dose.  Should he oversleep, which he did many times, he'd miss his dose. Then, he'd panic and he'd start to feel very sick by the end of the day.  He had liquid handcuffs to his methadone clinic. What kind of life is that?   The cost of methadone is expensive. Unless you qualify for Medi-Cal (state funded for low-income families) insurance, it's $450.00 a month.  Private insurance doesn't pay for methadone. That's a lot of money-- my son could rent a room in a nice home for that.

B's father has been funding his methadone for the last year , because my husband and I could not and would no longer underwrite that expense-- which we did for the first year.  B's father has experienced a financial crisis, and the funding came to an end.  My son knew that would happen, in early October.  B had a panicked look on his face, but he also said that he wanted to be set free of methadone. Halleluia.

It is now Day #11 that my son has not taken methadone.  I'm proud of my son, for taking my advice, and telling his boss the truth.   I knew that his boss would be receptive, because I know her own son-- who has his own history of addiction.  Sure enough, his boss told him to take a week off work to detox.  But, wait!  Why isn't my son in rehab?


I had to laugh, when Madyson left a comment "go suck an egg".  Dear Rehab Centers.  You do offer a valuable service.  However, do you think that most of us can afford you?  Seriously?  My son's first rehab experience cost $72,000 for 45 days.  Yes, we had insurance, but it was a big battle to get the insurance to okay more than 10 days of rehab.  We could not afford the Sober Living Environment for more than two months afterwards. Insurance doesn't pay for that.  So, if you want to self-promote on my blog, please don't. I'll throw eggs at you, myself.  We cannot afford rehab. Period. However, if you want to offer a complimentary rehab and would like for me to blog about it, please contact me.

My son is doing his own detox, at home, under the supervision of a doctor who specializes in addiction.   In a perfect world, I wish he could have gone into rehab.  However, my son did not want to lose his job and so he opted for taking medication from the doctor. I forget the name of the drug, but it's an opiate of some sort.  The doctor says it will help my son get through the methadone withdrawals.  Once the methadone is out of his body, he will be put on subutex.

B has been going through withdrawals, for certain.  He gets the chills, and has been vomiting.  He buys medical marijuana (legal in California).  Yes, weed is a gateway drug.  However, I think he's walked through that gate long ago.  I have mixed feelings about it, but my son is now 23 years old.  He buys "cookies" and he eats them to help him get through withdrawals.  He tells me that each "cookie" is stretched out over 2-3 days. He doesn't want to smoke weed, because he doesn't like the high.  He says that marijuana helps with the nausea and helps him to sleep.  He's been sleeping a lot, at home, and when he's not sleeping then he is playing online video games.  I'd rather he do that, than go out to buy heroin.

By the way, B's heroin dealer finally got arrested and is in jail. Amen. Sadly, her young children are now in foster care and her husband will be deported to Mexico, once he serves his sentence. 

Last night, I asked my son why he thinks he's going to "make it" this time.  He answer was, that he was more than ready to get off methadone.  He says that being set free from having to get a daily dose is a huge load lifted off his shoulders. Most importantly, he says that his new friends don't use.  All those dark friends of his are out of his life. Yes!  It's true.

For the last year, my son has been a model roommate.  He is courteous and respectful.  He goes to work early, and never misses a day. He takes on double shifts, when he can.  He pays us rent, keeps his car insurance as paid and he is a joy to be around.

I'm keeping it real.  Getting off methadone is a huge step, but it's not the end of the road to recovery.  Once he's off the methadone, he will need to find ways to resist the cravings that are going to come.  I've read plenty of articles, on the web, that says kicking methadone is harder than kicking heroin. My son knows that, too.

But, for today, my thoughts are with my son. He is at the doctor, right now, finding out what the next step is.  I am paying his medical bills for this doctor.  It is my way of supporting him. Thanks to President Obama, my son has insurance again, but his deductible is quite high.

Above all, through all I've gone through with my son, our relationship has been healed and restored.  I know that my son both loves me and appreciates how I have never given up on him.  His relationship with his stepfather is good. He has grown to like "C", and for that I am thankful.  My husband has been a pillar of support to me.  Our marriage has survived this, and I am so thankful for that.  "C"  expresses, to me, what he's thinking and I have learned to listen without being defensive towards my son.

For me, I have learned how co dependence and addiction go hand-in-hand.  I'm much better at learning when to say "no".  My son has stopped trying to manipulate me.  He accepts "no".  He asks how he can earn financial help with things like gas money for work.  He has apologized for what he's put us through, and I have forgiven him.

I think my son has a good chance of moving forward in his life and towards true sobriety.  He knows he could slip.  I do believe that my son wants sobriety, more than anything else.

I am a God-loving, prayerful mom.  I give thanks to my Lord and Savior, each and every day for His grace and mercy on my son.  Miracles happen on a regular basis, that have helped my son to be where he is today.

I know I am luckier than some other family stories.  There are sad stories out there. I read them, when I visit other blogs.  I pray for them.

Never lose hope. Never.  The power of faith and love is getting me through this.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Trading One Addiction for we go again

Hello.  I'm back.  I might be back more often.

My son is addicted to methadone.  Somehow, I had a feeling this would happen.  I know, I know... when my son started on this synthetic opiate, I heard all sides of this spectrum.  I heard from addicts who said that methadone is the only way they've been able to function in some sort of "normal".

I had high hopes that methadone would be a bridge to help my son from using heroin, to finding sobriety.

It didn't happen.  My son isn't using heroin. This is a good thing. But, he has to have methadone. He's been tapering down, but now he's about 2/3 down from his dose...and he's hurting.  He wakes up withdrawing.  He's losing weight again.

My son has liquid handcuffs.  Every single morning, he has to drive to the clinic for his dose. The cost is $350.00 per month. My son doesn't make enough money to afford that, so his father pays it. His dad really can't afford it. We stopped paying for it about 9 months ago.

So, my son is at the point where he realizes he wants to go back into rehab.  I need to spend some time doing research, just so I know how to support my son.

From what my son says, methadone is very dangerous to come off. In fact, I've been told it can kill you if it's not done right.  B says he's afraid, yet he wants to be off it.  I've had someone, who went through this, recommend suboxone.  We've already been through that. It didn't work for my son.

What my son really needs is at least 30-days of rehab.  He needs to immerse himself into the program.  B is finally at that point where he is saying that he wants to be truly clean.

I am feeling hopeful, because B and I are very close, now.  We have very deep talks. He doesn't withhold from me.  I've learned to listen a lot more. I try not to give him advice, unless he asks for it.  Most importantly, I'm trying to understand the addict's point of view.  Wow, is that ever complicated!

I feel very thankful that, at my job, I have met a few young adults who have walked in my son's moccasins.  Right now, I'm talking to a mature male who has been through a lot worse than my son-- and he's going to meet with B to explain what's ahead. This person has come off methadone, and he's told me it's really, really hard to do.   I feel that he's a God Send, and may be able to mentor my son.

I wish I could write more-- like the things I've learned about living with an addict. But, I'm on a short break, at work.  I'll write more, later. I've also begun to better understand their behavior, their manipulations.  I'm not expert, by any stretch.

I just feel as though I'd like to be a part of a support group for drug addiction. In particular, I'd like to be someone that a parent can talk to.  I know the pain.  I know the fear.  I also know that, at any time, my son could potentially go right back to that dark place he was once in.

For now, B continues to love his job (though he doesn't make a lot of money).  He is liked at his job, and he always shows up on time. He pays us rent. He's respectful to me, and his step dad.  He's using medical marijuana.  I'm not crazy about it, but at this point I'd rather he's doing that than buying heroin on the street.

If anyone wishes to share their opinion, or even suggestions, about methadone-- please do.

So, I continue to pray for my son.  What B needs to find out is if his insurance will cover the rehab.  This place is EXCELLENT, and he wants to go back there.  B also needs to find out if they rehab center will waive the deductible. My son barely makes enough money to pay rent (and believe me, we charge him a bargain price), his gas money, and car insurance.  He's always broke.

Bottom line-- I am disappointed that the methadone didn't help my son find sobriety.  The clinic said 3-6 months... well over a year later, they keeping increasing and decreasing his doses.   It's a money maker.

'Nuff said.  For now.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Reflections

Hello Old Friend (I am speaking of this Blog)--

I'm going to be very frank.  In some ways, I've forgotten about this blog.  This blog has reminds me of a childhood friendship.  That young girl, who lived a couple of blocks away.  We were inseparable.  We told each other secrets. We did everything together. We got in trouble together.  We thought we'd always be there for one another.  Then, time changed everything. We grew up. One of us moved away.  I will always remember her, and often reflect on how much we depended on one another.  But, the memory of what she looked like, then, has faded.  I have no idea what she looks like now.

I bumped into an old friend, last week.  We hadn't spoken to one another in several years.  When she asked me "how's B"?   Well, I hesitated.  What do I say?

I started off with telling her that B is doing great.  That's truthful.  He's still working (as a busser) at the same restaurant, for the last 14 months.

Then, on impulse, I told her "B has been through a lot. He got addicted to oxycontin.

There it was.  Her face sank.  Then it came-- that "I'm so sorry".

She has a son who is 18.  She began to share with me that she suspects her son smokes weed.  I, unabashedly, told her that if you suspect so-- it's probably true.

My friend listened, as I carefully gave her my Reader's Digest Condensed version about B's struggle for sobriety.  Somehow, I couldn't add the chapter in my son's life about his progression from oxycontin to smoking heroin.  The word "heroin" sends shivers down anyone's spine.  It's such an evil word. Almost as bad as murder, incest, rape.  Other than methamphetamine, I can't think of a worse drug. It's like the end-of-the-road tale.  It's such a hopeless drug, when you talk about it.

Then, I told my friend about my blog. I didn't give her the name of it.  My son used to babysit her two boys, so I didn't want her to read the horror of what my son's addiction put him-- and the rest of his family-- through.  But, as I spoke to her about my blog, I could feel tears coming. I could hear my voice begin to quaver.

Damn.  The pain is still lurking.  I suppose I will always have a fear of my son returning back to three-plus years ago. I realized that it's time for me to revisit my blog and write an update:

B is still living at home with us.  He is twenty-two years old, now.  In November, he will turn 23.  I thank God, every single day, that in the early hours of the morning (as I'd heading out to work), I can see his sleeping body in his room.  B works hard, as a busser.  He's eeking by, because the restaurant business hasn't fully recovered from economic hard times. Tourism is down.  Sometimes, he works double shifts.  He works five to six days a week.  His commute is 50 miles round trip, which is hard to afford while driving a V-8 engine that has 240,000 miles on it.  He gives us money for rent, his car insurance and a loan to buy new tires.  Living here (California) is very expensive.  B makes barely enough money to make ends meet.  I find it miraculous that my son has kept this job for 14 months-- and he loves it, and management likes him.  For a drug addict, that is huge!

He's a very quiet roommate.  He gets up every morning to get his dose of methadone.  His dose has been tapering down for the last few months.  He desperately wants to get off methadone. The cost is $350.00 per month.  We aren't paying for it. As it is, we paid for my son's medical insurance (thank you, President Obama), his diabetes meds and a dental bill for an emergency root canal. Between his dad, and himself, the cost is handled.  I call methadone his "liquid leash", as he cannot move closer to his job.  There are only two methadone clinics on the entire Peninsula of where we live.  For now, B has to stay living with us.   There are days when B feels the withdrawals, though. He says he gets really cold. His nose runs. He feels sick.  Synthetic heroin, I tell you.  It breaks my heart.  On the weekends, he gets to "take home" his methadone. He has earned that by having clean UA's.  Thank God!

My husband has been a Saint about this whole thing.  He hasn't complained. Fortunately B isn't a problem or burden.  He eats most of his meals at work. When he's home, he's got an X-Box headset on and is playing games online. B says that keeps his mind busy, so he doesn't think about using.  He says that he actually doesn't want to use, anymore. 

All of B's friends, that once used with, are out of his life. Some are in rehab. Some are in jail. Some have written B out of their lives.  I pray for them, too.  One particular "friend" caused so much trouble in my son's life. He's the former roommate who screwed my son out of rent, was involved with setting up a robbery at B's friend's home... someone who had a home invasion setup at their apartment... he got his girlfriend pregnant and has been in and out of rehab.  "M"'s life is a mess.  My son finally cut off ties with him. Amen. I feel for "M"s dysfunctional life, that unborn baby and for his parents.

The rent that my son pays-- 3/4's of it is in an interest bearing account. When B moves out, HALF of his rent will be paid from it.  I don't want B to think that he'll have several months of rent prepaid.  My logic is that he still needs to come up with half of his rent-- he needs "ownership" of what it costs to live. Once that savings is gone, then he's completely on his own.  He's fine with that. My husband is fine with that.

So, there's an update.

I don't want to abandon this blog.  It is my deepest hope that I won't need to start blogging again, because my son has relapsed.  Instead, I hope to be that blog that parents/wives/loved ones will stumble across-- and find hope.

I don't know why my son has been spared from jail.  I count my blessings that I don't have horror stories to share-- like some of the blogs that I subscribe to. I read their posts, and it breaks my heart. One blog, in particular, is a mom who is married to an alcoholic and her son is constantly relapsing. I read her posts, venting anger and outrage when her son is arrested...again...or steals from her...again.  So much drama... so much much pain.  I can't leave her a comment. I want to, but I don't.  Why? Because I feel as though she's being driven by the drama.  I feel as though her posts are a cry out for people to jump to her aid-- to offer her sympathy and comfort.   I couldn't leave a comment, because I noticed that if someone called her on her drama...or enabling, she'd go ballistic!  Don't get me wrong.  I'm a very compassionate woman. I used to do the same thing.  I knew that if I wrote a blog post, that sounded desperate and heart-broken, that I would get a lot of comments.  It helped me to get through the pain and agony.  For me, it finally dawned on me that I was relying on the drama of my son's situation, to get readership.   I realized I had begun to become "oh, woe is me".  But, my prayers for her is that she would see she is simply complaining about the same thing over and over again.   She is in serious denial, and she's enabling her son and her husband's alcoholism.  So very sad...

I think the hardest thing about being the parent of a child who is a drug addict, is that we are being asked (by the rehab experts) to do the hardest thing we've ever been asked to do.  It is a mother's instinct to protect our children. We women are wired to be the emotional comfort for our children. We want to shield them from pain.  When our child becomes addicted to drugs/alcohol, we are told we must not enable it. We must recognize the signs of codependency. We are told we must say "no".

This is the most difficult thing I've ever been asked to do.  Tough Love rips a mother's heart out.  I've enabled my son. I've been codependent in many ways.  I've come a long, long way.  But, the experts are right.

What has been a very good thing, about my son's struggle to find sobriety has been our own relationship.  My son's addiction has taught me to understand an addict's world.  It has given me a heart for "At Risk" teenagers and young adults.  My son and I have restored our relationship, and I feel it is a very strong bond.

Of course, I wish B would be more motivated, and would start taking some college classes. I'd love to see him purse a trade or career, that is better than bussing tables.  I've encouraged him to learn about wine, so he can work his way up to being a waiter (my son doesn't have an alcohol addiction...he rarely drinks).  For now, he simply eeks by on his meager earnings and plays video games.  Does that disappoint me? Sure, it does. At times.

When I start to feel that way, though, I remind myself-- my son is struggling to be free of his addiction to heroin.  His is fighting a battle, where the odds are not in his favor.   His true sobriety has been less than a year-- as he has admitted to "chipping" even though he was on methadone.   So, while some parents can boast that their child has graduated from college, or has high paying job at some corporation... well, I can rejoice in the fact that my son has a job, and isn't buying heroin.

It's not quite what a parent wants to rejoice in, but you know what?  I do.  I love my son with all of my heart.  He is a young man, who has so much ahead of him.  I can only pray that he will slowly, but surely, be free of methadone and that no matter what he does in his future-- he will never go back to that dark life that he once lived in.

As for me-- I continue to live each day as a believer in Jesus Christ.  I thank God for his grace and mercy on my son, and on me.  For now, the storms of life have subsided.  I feel a sense of calm, and trust the Lord that He has a plan for my son.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Three Year Blogoversary and My Best Advice

 Work is very busy, and I have only a few minutes to write. Today, is my three year anniversary since I've started this blog. This blog of mine feels like I'm visiting an old neighborhood. The surroundings have changed a lot. Familiar neighbors have moved out and left (bloggers from my past) and new ones have moved in.

My old home looks familiar, and yet I don't come here often any more. The memories are of what feels a lifetime ago. So much has happened in three years.

I have moved into a new life-- one filled with a lot more wisdom. I have found more compassion and understanding about how the addict's mind works. I learned it from my son. We have reconnected as mother and son, and he is very open with me. I barely hang out with my old friends, addiction, codependency, and enabling. I have new friends, Hope, Prayer, Compassion, and Strength, who help me through tough times.

My marriage is good, and has weathered one of the biggest storms that has hit our life. Still, I know that another storm of life could hit me at any time. I have moved into a new life, built on the foundation of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is my Rock. Without my faith in God, I seriously doubt I could have come through this painful time in my life as well as I have. I give ALL the Glory to God. I cannot doubt his existence, as He has protected my son is ways that are nothing short of miraculous.

Today, I received this anonymous comment:
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Three Years Later...":

I am sitting here crying because I don't know what to do. Every day just gets worse. Where do I go for help? My son just lies and steals and ruins every moment of peace in my home.

To those of you who do read my blog, I invite you to leave your own advice. Hopefully, "Anonymous" will check back.

My advice to you, Anonymous-- find out where the closest Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meeting is.  Find out if you have a support group in your area for those who have addicts in their lives.  Please try to learn as much about addiction as you can, and you need support.  I highly recommend reading the "An Addict in my Son's Bedroom" blog-- Ron's link is on my blogroll on the right side bar.  Ron is a brilliant writer, great parent and can help you with advice and direction.  There are other bloggers I have found, listed. Please pay them a visit. You may write to me, at any time, too.

"My Beautiful Boy" is a book that I began to read about a week after my son went into rehab.

Learn. Pray. Hope.  Please learn about codependency and addiction.  You need to quickly learn that you cannot "save" your son.  You cannot "cure" your son.  The process will be hard and painful, Dear Parent, but you are fighting to put your son into a position where he has to realize he needs to seek help.  You need to take care of yourself.  You will cry a lot of tears, I am sorry to say.  That is why you need support.  If you have a spiritual foundation, and have a church group you can go to-- please do.  "Celebrate Recovery" is a great program for people like you.

Like me... you can consider starting a blog. Just like I did, three years ago today.  It helped me a LOT to know that there are people out there, walking the same road that I have.  You need support.

You need to educate yourself, because an addict's addiction can destroy families.  You have the power to stop that, but it will take work.   There is hope. Please know that. Three years ago, today, I was a puddle of tears.  I was a hurting mom.  Today, I have wisdom, and I hope someday to pay it forward and help someone in my situation. Could it be you? 

May you feel the power and presence of God's love right now,

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Three Years Later...

April Fool’s Day, 2008:  My husband and I drove my son for a two-hour trip to a Medical Treatment Facility.  My son was strung out on drugs.  At the time, I thought it was Oxy-Contin.  Later, I was to find out that my son’s drug addiction had progressed to free-basing black tar heroin.  

I started my blog on April 13, 2008--  within days of my son’s beginning journey into detox.  Never, did I imagine that I would connect with so many other parents who share my story.  I don’t know what I would have done without all of you.  I desperately needed to find someone who could help me make sense of my son’s dilemma.  I tried going to Al-Anon meetings.  I recall sitting there, like a zombie, so dazed and confused.  How could I relate to people talking about alcohol, while my son was puking and shaking in a hospital room because he body was filled with opiod poison?

It took WEEKS before I finally connected to someone who had a blog.  From there, I was plugged into to many other blogger who shared my story.  I had finally found a resource where I could cry, vent and share my (short-lived) joy in believing that my son was cured.

How na├»ve I was…

In looking back at the first year of my blog, I had so many ups and downs. It shows  in the ways that I wrote.  I have entries where I’m angry. I have entries where I’m hopeful.  I shared stories of my son’s deceits.  I was broken-hearted, and then I’d turn around and feel as though my son was going to be okay.  I notice that I would write posts that had a LOT of supports and comments from so many of you. Thank you.

But, I also see that I began to write posts that I knew would receive a lot of sympathy.  I wanted sympathy... I wanted attention... I was so confused! There’s nothing wrong with that, but in retrospect, I think I became a “victim” far too many times.  The reason I pulled back from blogging as much as I once did, is that I no longer wanted to post when I was in that drama mode.  I didn’t want to become the drama queen.   I also decided to focus more of my time on my marriage and career.  I began to disconnect from all the drama, and I’ve felt much better about it, ever since.

It’s a roller-coaster ride.   There’s so much drama, living with an addict!   
So, where is my son today?

       He is living at home with us.
       I can’t tell you if he’s clean or not.  I’ve stopped asking him, and I’ve accepted that answer is between B and God.  
       What I can tell you is that he look 110% better.  He looks “normal”. 
       His “gangsta” street lingo is gone. 
       His “homies” are out of his life—some are in jail, or have died of an overdose. 
       He is respectful to me and to his stepfather. 
       He has kept his job for almost a year—having lost another job that he kept for almost two years.
       He’s still on methadone, but his dose is slowly coming down.  He wants to be off it, and I wish him well.  It’s not easy.  I have mixed feelings about methadone.  Personally, I think it’s trading one illegal addiction for a legal one.  ‘Nuff said.
       My son, I am thankful to say, is not a thief. Nothing has gone missing from our home.  I can leave my wallet around, and all the cash will still be in there.  Amen.
       My son still lies very easily.  He lies when he has forgotten to take care of something, because he doesn’t want me to be upset.  That’s very much addict behavior, and he admits that lying is something that they do very well.

What have I learned in the last three years?

I’ve learn to let go of putting my own expectations on my son, regarding how he should be living his life.  I’ve had 30 plus years of life experiences, and that’s called maturity.  My son is only 22 years old, and I have to let him make his own mistakes.  That was a huge learning curve for me. It has brought peace into our relationship.  Do I still get frustrated over his lack of motivation of follow-through? Yes.  I have to keep saying to myself "let go".  It's hard, but I think it's the right thing to do. 

My son has a strict set of boundaries in his living with us.  He has a chore list, that he does.   He pays rent.  A portion of that rent goes into a savings account.  That money will be used to pay rent for wherever he moves.  When my son will move out is uncertain—it depends on us not finding drugs (which we haven’t) and whether or not he goes back to college; he’s been talking about that.  I just know he won't live here forever... hopefully no more than a few more months. We shall see.

What happens next?

Being a mom, it’s in my DNA to worry about my son.  When I catch myself going down that train of thought, I say out loud “Let Go, Let God”.  I thank God every single day, for his Grace and Mercy on my son.  It’s is truly a miracle that my son never got arrested and that he’s alive.  He’s shared enough horror stories with me, that I know God was watching over him.

My son has a very long road ahead of him.  I know, that at any time, he could go back to using drugs again.  I can’t bubble wrap him, and I can only pray that my son will work hard to remain sober.  I give him  kudos that he is either at work or playing on his X-Box.  I’m not thrilled about it, but then again—what are the other alternatives?  B says that his gaming keeps his mind occupied, and he doesn’t think about using.  I wish he could channel his time and energy into other things…but then, it’s his life.  He doesn't really have any friends to hang out with, and I wish he could have a fun social life. But, he knows that the friends he hung out with need to be kept very far away from him.

My marriage is doing very well.  My son and my husband have found a relationship that is beginning to blossom into C being a male role model for my son.  I am a very lucky wife to have such a kind and compassionate husband.  I’m very lucky that my husband has not left me, or forced me to choose between my son or him.  I can tell that B truly likes, and respects, my husband.  

I look forward to the day, when my son can pack his bags and move into his own place.  I want this, most, for my son.  He needs to learn how take care of himself, and to become a man who has a job and will take care of responsibilities.  I hope that he will meet a good woman—but, more than anything, I pray that he will find a good friendship with someone who is not an addict…and who would be a friend of integrity.

Once my son moves out, I will miss him very much. I do love having him at home. He’s really not a problem.   Even my husband says so.

But, our children must leave the nest and learn how to spread their wings and fly.

I pray that the bonds of addiction will be broken, so that he can soar high and that he will experience true freedom and joy.

Thank you, everyone, for your friendship and support.

Thank you, God, for being my Abba Father.  I praise your Holy Name and give you all the Glory for where we are today.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

A letter from a 17 year old girl, seeking advice - will you help?

I received an email, this morning.  It's from "Kelsey" who says she is 17 years old.  I admit that, at first, I wondered if this email is legit.  But, I don't want to take that kind of gamble.  The purpose of my blog began as a way to find my own advice, encouragement and support as I grappled with the fact that my son is a drug addict.  My blog cultivated a lot of wonderful people who understood me, because they had similar problems.  There are times when I received comments from people who are, themselves, drug addicts.  They have helped me, tremendously, to try and better understand my son's perspective on his battle of addiction. For that reason, I have decided to post Kelsey's email (without her email address, to protect her privacy).  I'm going to email her and ask her to check my blog, because I'm going to ask my readers/followers to leave comments for her to read.

Before I do, please know that my son appears to be staying clean, though he is still on methadone. I'll update more of that, but I'm giving Kelsey a spot on my blog. Kelsey, I pray that you will find guidance from those who will comment. I'll write to you when I have a chance to come up with my own response.

Hi, I came across your blog when I googled early signs of addiction. I googled that because I wanted to know if I would fall under the "addict" catergory. I don't really think I do, but my one sober friend thinks I need help. I'm not sure if she's the right person to go off of, but then I feel she might be because I'm so used to all of my other friends using more drugs than I do. When I say I use drugs I mean I only use like, coke, subs, acid, weed, and then these precription pills are the love of my life: adderall, xanax, ativan, percs, oxys. I don't use any of these daily, with the exception of weed, but I use one or more at least 4 times a week. When I'm not using I'm thinking of how I can get it, what I can get, etc. I just think about being high non stop.

I didn't really email you so you can tell me if I'm a drug addict or not. I feel like it's not that simple when I am only text on a web page to you. I emailed you because I want help before it gets to the point where I'm having bad withdrawls and can't stop. I mean, I want that help, but then I don't because I'm not convinced it's a problem. I just don't know how to tell my Mom, and that is where I come to you for advice. Please excuse me if I'm not making sense, it's 7:11 in the morning, and I haven't slept in over a day. I think I may be delirius to everyone but myself.

So here is my story, and I hope you can give me some insight on what I can do:

I'm Kelsey. I'm a 17-year-old junior in highschool. I'm screwing up my life. I'm practically failing out of school, and I want to fix that but I don't care enough to. I'm scared to tell my mom because she is already going through a hard enough time, I don't want her to have to deal with my problems. That is, if she believes me. I have a feeling she'd tell me I just want attention. Or she'd just try to ground me or something like that. She's an alcoholic that is dealing with the death of my older brother and her husband is divorcing her. She's not very stable and she has no self-confidence.

I also can't tell her because I am supposed to be the "good one", the one with "promise" in my family. You see, I come from a long line of alcoholics and drug addicts. I'm the only one of my cousins that actually has is together. I don't want her to be embarrassed because I know she's proud that I'm not a screw-up like her brother's daughter and her sister's son. We're all very similar in age, the girl is 19 and the boy is going to be 17 in a few months.

I honestly don't even know if this little "addiction" that I may or may not have is even serious enough to tell anyone.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


God bless you, Kelsey!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Mother's Compassion

I'm home, nursing a winter cold.  In a rare moment, I have the quiet of the house to sit down and write...and pray...and to ground myself.  I ended my last post so abruptly, because my son walked into the room.  In the last few months, I have learned to turn off my laptop when my husband or son is in the mood to have "dialogue" with me. It's so easy to become immersed into being on the web, where I visit my cooking sites and chat on Facebook with friends.   I had every intention of picking up where I signed off, but I didn't.  So, here I am.

I do continue to read some of the addiction blogs that I subscribe to.  I don't mean to ignore the plight of the person's writings by not leaving a comment. It's just that I used to do that a lot.  What did I do a lot, you are wondering?  I used to log on and write every single thing that happened. I'd vent. I'd cry. I'd express my fears.  At the time, the many comments of encouragement (and some were critical) helped me.  I was a mom whose heart was so broken by my son's addiction.  I was giving so much of my time and energy into my son's addiction, that I wasn't paying attention to much of anything else.

Today, I continue to say that I am the mother of a drug addict.  I have to get used to it, and I need to accept that.  I've been able to move past the fear of judgment from parents who have "good kids".   I know that I was-- and still am-- a good mother.  Today, I focus on today. I'm living in the moment.  That sounds carefree and footloose, but it's healthier for me.  The turning point for me was when I realized that I had a model in my head of how I wanted my son to find sobriety.  I wanted my son to get clean. Then, I wanted him to go to college and get a good job.  As a bonus, I've been praying that a good woman would come into his life.  Sounds good, right?

Then it hit me-- these are my expectations.  B and I have had many frank talks about his drug addiction.  He's helped me to understand that, for now, he can only focus on not wanting to use.  B can't go to college, because he's not ready to focus on studying.  It would be a waste of money.  Again, my problem solving says that he needs to leave the area. He needs to get away from those who he used with, in the past. He needs to find a sponsor.  But, unless my son has that own vision for himself, I am only setting myself up for frustration that he isn't meeting my expectations.

Does that make sense?

My son turned 22 in November. He has lived with us since March. He has paid us rent, and he has a small nest egg that I've set aside for the day he moves out.  Still, he doesn't earn enough money to make it on his own. Being in the restaurant business (as a busser) is a minimum wage job.   His last two months earnings have been eager, as this is the time of year when business is really slow.  We've adjusted his rent during lean times, but that's about to end. He's been applying for jobs, though I don't think as hard as he could. Whoops, see? There I go, with my own expectations!

He is still chained to his methadone clinic.  I have come to the conclusion that my son is only buying a temporary fix from using heroin, with his use of methadone.  I'm also not impressed with the methadone clinic, as I once was.   All that counseling I was told was available....yeah, right.  The counselors come and go.  I've stopped paying for his methadone many months ago. For a while, we paid a portion of it.  Two months ago, we cut that help off. B says he'll be off by March.  I can only hope so.  In the meantime, he must drive to the clinic every single morning for his dose. If he misses one, he goes into withdrawals.

It's a sad life. 

Sadder still, what I see in my son is a lack of self-esteem.  I see him not taking care of his health, eating properly and he has no perseverance.  I've had to let go of that.  As a roommate, there aren't any problems.  He keeps the house tidy, nothing has gone missing and he is respectful to us.  I am watching my son as he begins to ask my husband questions. I am seeing in my son that he recognizes that my husband is a good person. 

What makes me very sad is that my son doesn't have any friends-- that is, friend who don't want to use with him.  Every so often, he mentions seeing someone from his past.... and that makes me uncomfortable. B knows they are not welcome in our home.  That's when I kick up my prayers that God would sever those relationships.   His friends have been in and out of rehab. 

My prayer continues that someone will come into his life who is clean and sober. Someone who can be a good role model and mentor to him.  

In the meantime, the time is drawing near when my son has to leave our nest.  When he does, I will miss his presence in our home.  I enjoy the talks that we have, though we work different schedules.  When he moves out, I think I've detached myself enough that I won't fret and worry at night.  That's the peace I've found, and I give the glory to my faith in God.  I hang on to God's promise that he will always be there for us.   When I find myself worrying, I find a quiet place to pray and to thank God for his grace and mercy on my son.

God has looked after my son, and it's a miracle that my son has been spared a criminal record or worse. 

My son's story isn't over, of course.   I have learned to have compassion for my son, yet I have become less prone to trying to fix everything for him.  How I long for my son to find peace in his life.  He must feel lonely and overwhelmed in life.  If only he'd find his way back in his own walk with God.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Breaking My Silence

With the coming of the New Year, I'm finding my way in a new direction that I have prayed God will guide me through. 2010 was a year that was certainly not devoid of many trials and tribulations.  Since this is a blog that I first started because my son finally admitted to me that he was a drug addict-- I'll start with him.

My son is still living with us.  I thank God every single day for what he has done for B.  My son has a legion of angels, I feel, who have saved his neck from some very close calls with his health.  Now that I begin typing, I realize that I could write a novella on what I mean by this. Alas, time doesn't allow for this.  I will say that my son's diabetes got out of control for him.  As the mother of a drug addict, I still see in my own son a lack of love for himself.  Many of you parents will nod in agreement when I describe how I see B lacking the perseverance to make a decision if he'll go back to school.... get a better paying job (in this terrible economy)... better.  With that I've found an understanding that, as an addict, he is focusing all of his energy of sobriety.  (Before anyone writes the ubiquitous comment that my son should go to meetings-- I get it.  He won't. He will, when he is ready.)

For weeks, my husband and I were concerned that he might be using again.  He'd sleep for long hours and his appetite was gone.  He looked gaunt, and yet he'd go to his job and work hard.  He's paying his rent and car insurance, and all is well.  A few weeks ago, my son left for his methadone dose and we headed to church.  A mother has an instinct when her cubs are in trouble, and I had an uneasy feeling. When we arrived home, B wasn't there. His bed was unmade, which is unusual.  For four hours, I prayed and worried and called a couple of times.

B finally called. He was in the emergency room. He had all the symptoms of a heart attack.  It turns out that was not taking the proper insulin, which he had run out of and not told us.  His blood sugars were through the roof.  He was okay, but shaken and he spent two nights in the hospital.  When he was discharged, it was like I had my son back.  He was energetic and ravenous.  He's taking better care of his diabetes and-- thanks to President Obama-- my son has health insurance again. Amen.

My absence from this blog, I believe, has been my disconnection from my son's addiction.  I have had three years to learn how to adjust and accept that my son is a drug addict.  I have whined, cried, complained, vented and prayed on this blog.  Now, I feel a transition has slowly happened for me. 

I am going to try and write more often on my blog.  The key word is "try".  However, my job has changed and my hours are ridiculously long.  I now work a split shift, and stay in "town" for three hours. I'm using that time to work out at the pool at our gym to lose weight and deal with my new diagnosis of diabetes.  In a strange way, I thank God for my diagnosis.  Because I understand the disease, I know what to do. I managed to get my son's doctor-- who is one of the best in the country-- to take my son back as his patient.  B and I laughed at both of us sitting in the waiting room.  It's weird, to be talking the same language. Yet, it's brought us closer.

I've made progress in detaching from my son's neediness.  He rarely asks me for things. Nothing has gone missing.  Is he using?  Maybe.  My son is fighting a disease where the odds are stacked against him.

The clock tells me I have to go.  I'll wind this up for now--

I thank those of you who still visit my blog and who leave comments. I'm sorry I haven't responded.  I needed to take a break from focusing so much energy on worrying about him.  It is my hope that I can use this blog to write from my heart, and for ME.  By that, I'm not looking for compassion, sympathy nor advice.  I am recommitting my life to follow my love of my Lord and Savior, Jesus.  I'm getting up earlier, to read scripture and to pray and sit quietly.  Today I broke that to blog.  I felt as though I needed to let people know I'm still here. Alive and well.

I'll try to continue my story later. B just got up.