Monday, December 31, 2012

Another Year, as the Mother of a Drug Addict...Out with Old, In with the New

Today, is the last day of 2012.  It's a quiet morning and I finally have some "me" time to sit, reflect, pray and just "be".  

Gosh, it's been a very long time since I've written a blog post. I must appear to have abandoned my blog. That hasn't been my intention. After all, I've invested a lot of time, and money (having it professionally designed.) I have poured out my heart and soul, and have documented my experience as the mother of a drug addict. So, why am I not blogging much? I have been blessed to receive emails, or posts, from people whose lives are being ripped apart by the scourge of drug addiction. When I read those emails, I feel so bad for them. I want, so much, to have just the right words to say-- to give them comfort and hope. I'm embarrassed to say, that I've gone silent. Again.

I think it's because I have come to peace about my son's situation. It wasn't easy, I can promise you. I try not to do this, very often-- but, if I do allow myself to go back to 2008,  I can almost recreate that feeling of helplessness. I can remember the shock and horror of it all.

My son's drug addiction put a lot of stress in my marriage. I learned things about myself, I didn't realize. My relationship with my son was so fragile, and we were not getting along at all. I felt like I was such a total failure.

For you-- if you have stumbled across  this blog post-- and you are in the throes of it you, or someone you love-- my message to you is that there is hope.  The best advice I can give, to a person who is watching someone's life being destroyed by addiction is this-- take care of you.

When addiction comes into your life,  it can bring out the worst in everyone.  I might upset a few people who read this, but I'm going to make this raw and honest.  I was guilty of this, and it shows in my earliest posts. Ready?

I got caught up in the drama. I became a whiner and complainer. I wanted people to come to my aid, to rescue me, to coddle me, to feel sorry for me. Oh, woe is me!   I finally saw where I was going, and I decided that I needed to find a different way to learn to cope with watching my son's life unravel.

What did I do? I came to understand what codependence is. I began to dig deeper in my relationship with God. My spirituality began to grow stronger and stronger, and I began to find those quiet times of prayer and meditation.

I also began to learn more about addiction, and I learned a lot of addicts, themselves.

I began to admit that I was enabling my son's drug addiction and I began to gather enough courage to understand that saying "no" was helping my son to see where his life was going.

So, how is my son doing?

B is 10 months free and clear from using any kind of street drug-- be it heroin, oxy or smoking weed.  Please note that I didn't say he's 10 months clean and sober.  From an NA point of view, he's not considered clean, since he is on a very low dose of suboxone. He is under the monthly care of a good addiction doctor. (Thank you, President Obama--and my husband's job-- for making my son's health coverage good for two more years. Amen.)

From my point of view, my son is clean. I'll tell you why--
He's held his job for over two years, and still loves it and is well-liked by his co-workers.
B pays $600.00 a month in rent, to us, never once complaining-- and it's always on time.
B has cash on him, all the time. This Christmas, he saved $200.00 to buy gifts. He looked so proud and pleased with himself, as he gave generously to us and to his uncles and cousin.
B has a new set of friends. He calls them "geeks", because they're all online "gamers". 
B has matured into a respectful, and interesting young man. He is no problem  as a roommate. When he isn't working, he's in his room, gaming on his BIG TV that he bought with his own money.

As a mom, I'd love to see him spending far less time with video games. I wish he'd go back to playing golf (that he's so good at), finding a career that will pay him benefits. I wish he didn't smoke. I wish he'd save more of his income, for his future.  He's talking about moving into his own place, this Spring, with a new friend that he works with. I'll miss him, but it's time for him to be completely on his own.

But, that's what moms do. We worry about our kids, because we're nurturers.. and dangerously wired to be enablers and coddlers. 

What's most important, is that I have learned to "let go" of my son's life.  By that, I don't open his mail. I don't snoop in his room. I don't question where he goes and I don't give him advice. I rest, assured, that he's not using drugs.  I know, I know, so many of us "thought" our kids weren't using drugs-- and they were.

The reason I know my son isn't using is simple. Drug addicts (unless they deal drugs) don't have money on them. They struggle with keeping a job. They look gaunt and unhealthy. They're secretive. Things go missing-- money, valuables. 

B looks healthy, and our relationship has been restored. Sometimes, when he gets home from work, I'm still in the living room. He sits and just chats with me. I love those precious moments. We chat about life, work, movies. 

My marriage is intact, and my husband treats my son as an adult. The two of them get along great, which makes my very happy.  It's interesting how our finances are much better, now. I didn't fully realize how my my son's drug addiction cost us.  B never asks us for money, now. Halleluia.

I'm not trying to brag, here. I'm rejoicing. If you're still reading this, I hope that I have shown you that a drug addict can get their life back. It isn't easy, and I'm not fooling myself. I do know that this could all change.

There are "trolls" out there who have written rude comments and emails, telling me that my son's use of suboxone is just temporary. They have told me that he'll go back to using, as soon as he quits using it.  I say to them, you don't know my son. Every person's story is different.

Bottom line, I have come to realize that only the addict can make the choice to get clean and sober. There is nothing in the world that I could do to make my son realize that he didn't want the life of constantly looking for his next fix.   The only help I gave my son, that worked, was to not help him-- and love him.

I'll repeat that. The only help I gave my son, that worked, was to not help him-- and love him..

I am a follower and believer in Jesus Christ. I believe there is a God. I don't worship the Universe, but I worship the creator of the Universe. I study his Word (the Bible) without shame.  Without my spiritual faith in God, I would not have had the strength to get through the five years of hell that B's drug addiction put all of us through.

2012 was a good year.  It wasn't perfect, but nothing and none of us are.

I look forward to seeing what 2013 has in store for us.

May the love and Grace of God, pour upon you.  Whether you know Him or not, he knows you. Be blessed, be loved, love others-- and be filled with peace and hope in your lives.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Long Time Gone

 procrastination meter
 I love you guys! I know that sounds superficial, but how else do I say that I am grateful for the emails and comments that you've left for me to read.  

It has been two-and-a-half months since I've logged on to this blog. Whoa! I had some comments to approve and post.

Where have I been?

Home. Surfing the next. Cooking. Baking. Resting.  Really, I've become such a homebody and rarely venture out.  My job drains me of my energy, plus I get up before dawn.

My son is okay.  Truly, he is.  Oh, I've received "hate mail" that my son isn't sober, because he's using suboxone.  Who wants to split hairs about this?

The way I see it-- my son isn't buying heroin.  He is thinking clearly, now.  He is still working at the same place-- almost three years, now.  He is paying rent. He has a small savings. He hasn't sold his big Plasma TV (that he bought himself), nor his video games.

I'll take my son, on suboxone, thank you very much.  He says he has no desire to use.

I have my son back.

I have been procrastinating writing to all of you who still read my blog.  I have so much to say! I've received emails and comments from parents of addicts and from addicts.

I think I find it hard to log on to this blog, because it sometimes feels as though I'm ripping off a scab, from a wound that has taken a very long time to heal.

Last weekend, I took my son with me for a weekend in San Francisco.  We stayed at a nice hotel.  He said it was weird to be so close to the Tenderloin District, where he used to score drugs. For a quick moment, he said, he had thoughts of using-- and just as quickly, he said it was gone.

He made me very happy, dressed nicely, as my guest at a very swanky dinner.  The women loved him! He was polite, well-spoken and absolutely nobody would ever guess that he was once addicted to oxy-contin and heroin.  They don't need to know, either.

I wish I could write more, and I so hope to write again-- very soon.  I received a comment from a drug addict who had an ax to grind about his lot in life.  He didn't sugar-coat words with me.

I'll share it next time.

You know, when people attack my faith in God...or attack how I handled my son's addiction-- I try to let it roll off my back.  I cannot allow them to steal my joy.

You see, I realized something really important, today.

The key to my joy-- despite all that I've been through-- is that I maintain an attitude of gratitude. I have stopped being a victim.  I complain, still-- but I catch myself doing it.

I remind myself of the things that are so important to me.  While my son will always be a drug addict-- he alive, and living at home with us. He is polite and respectful.  We have healed our rifts and I have forgiven him.

I am married to a wonderful man, who is kind and loving.  We are thankful for our house, jobs, finances, family and friends.

I no longer worry about what people think of me being the parent of a drug addict.  I will take what's happened as life experience-- and if I can encourage anyone, then none of this was in vain.

I will never apologize, nor feel intimidated that I love the Lord with all my heart, mind and strength. I do not want to be judgmental of others (though, I battle with that often).   I wish I had the gift of ministry, but I have so much to learn.

My stomach is rumbling, and that means I need to cook dinner.

I'll try not to stay away so long.  I pray for so many of you.

If I have not responded to your email or comments-- please forgive me.  I mean to, but time seems to have kept me from doing so.   Time flies too fast for me!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Pain in her eyes...

For those of you who are new to my blog, I work at a public high school. No, I'm not a teacher.  I work with parents and students, in the business/counseling office--and I love my job.

I once shared a story, about a student who opened up to me. (You can read it here.)  Sadly, a couple years later, that student died in a car crash. He had been drinking and was high on drugs. I was deeply saddened to hear of his death, and yet I wasn't completely surprised.

This week, a mother came into the office.  I asked her how her daughter was doing-- "A" had graduated in 2008.   "Mom" shook her head and my heart sank.

I clearly remember "A", because she was a beautiful girl... a cheerleader and a great student. She was one of our TA's (teacher's aides) and so I got to know her.  Something happened, towards the end of her senior year. I could see it.  It was the same time that my son was going through his rehab.  In fact, I was very open to "A" about my son's addiction to oxy and heroin.  I remember "A" listening to me, and sense she was reaaaaaaally listening to what I had to say. 

Fast forward.  "A" is now living in another state.  I had seen her a couple of years ago, and she looked completely different.  Really different.  She had lots of tattoos, and she remarked to me that her "mother was going to kill her" when she saw it. Yep, I thought-- this won't go over well with her mom.  Her mom, in fact, is a beautiful woman-- classy. Dresses very nicely.  I knew her since she, herself, was a little girl.  I don't know her well, now, but she's always been friendly towards me.

When "J" shook her head, I could see the pain in her eyes.  It made me so very, very sad. I wanted to hug her, but I didn't.  I didn't want to draw attention to her. She knew.... she understood that I understood.

I remember that same bravado I had to keep... when my throat would constrict, and the tears felt like they were going to explode.   I'd shake my head, and compose myself.

I can't cry. No, I cannot break down.

It's bad.  "A" is in jail, as is her boyfriend.  It doesn't look good. Dealing drugs and fire arms. Ouch.

It's so hard to believe that this gorgeous young woman, in the cheerleader's uniform is facing felonies.

Her mom said she's had to let go.  But, I could see the pain...

"Let go".  Can we really do this?  How can a mother, who gave birth to this baby, let go?

I gave "J" my blog address.  I hope she comes here to read.  She's a smart woman, and in talking with her I can tell that she's pretty much up-to-date on what's involved in being the parent of a drug addict.

If you are reading this, "J", I want you to know that I have been praying for you and "A".   As I was praying for you, I got to thinking that addiction has long tentacles.  When a loved one is an addict, it affects everyone in it's path.  It's like finding out that someone you love has an incurable disease.   It's like a cancer-- you can only hope and pray that the treatment will stop it, and it will save their life.

Yet, we must prepare ourselves that we could lose our loved one.  Oh, how I remember that pain and terror myself.  There was a point, where I feared for my son's life.  He was hanging out with some pretty shady people, and I was so afraid he'd end up being shot and left for dead.

I could not fathom the possibility that my son would end up in jail.  That never happened-- and, believe me, I thank God for that more than you could ever know.  According to my son, he had many very close calls, but he got lucky... they didn't find the "stuff".

The most painful thing that any mother can be asked to do, is to "let go".  To be told that we must hang up the phone, when they call for money... or refuse to bail them from jail... or to not allow them to stay with us-- as long as they are strung out and using-- well, I remember that it felt as thought I had to watch my son drowning in a stormy sea, and I could only watch from the bow of the ship-- and I was not allowed to send him a life raft.

Today, my son is not using drugs. The storm has subsided, and I can exhale and move forward with my life. My marriage has never been better. My son and I have restored our relationship.  Amen.

I would be lying if I said that I believe "it's over".  I'm terrified, sometimes, at the possibility that my son could relapse.  It's a possibility, but I choose to live each day with gratitude that today is not the day. Isn't that what they teach addicts?  One day at a time...

I do not want to become apathetic towards other people's plight with addiction. I do not want to forget the pain that I felt, because I want to bless someone with compassion and comfort.  I wish I could say or write something that would be the "all knowing answer"-- but I'm just a mom, who loves her son and doesn't have any kind of counseling degree.

I saw the pain in "J's" eyes, and for a moment-- I was right there with her.  I remembered the fear and pain I felt not even a year ago.

I pray that "A" will beat that demon. I pray to see her looking healthy, with her beautiful face and smile restored.  I pray for her to break free of those who are holding her in bondage, and to start her life over again.  I have no doubt that her mother wants her back.  "J" has let go, to save her.  She loves her. I saw it in her eyes.

I don't want to forget.  I want to rejoice in today, and thank God for blessing our home.

Today, I received another email from a mom who is in pain.  Thank you for writing to me.  I feel your pain, too.

May you find comfort from those who truly understand your plight.  May you find strength and wisdom in what you should, or shouldn't do, with the addict that you love.  May you find comfort from our Abba Father, our God in heaven.  Please don't blame him, because this is not his doing.  We are living in a sinful world. It's so hard to live a life that is free of sin, because temptation is everywhere.  I need my faith in God to help me be strong when temptation comes-- and it does. Because of what I went through, my faith grew ever stronger, as I cried out to the Lord. He comforted me, and restored so many things in my life.

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Too many random thoughts, along the bumpy road. How is my son?

It has taken me a few weeks to sit down, log in to this blog and write. That's unusual for me, because writing is my comfort.  I do a lot of self-reflection and praying, every day.  I listen to inspirational podcasts, like Pastor Greg Laurie.  I go to a weekly women's Bible Study, to study God's Word, and for fellowship. I go to church, every Sunday, to hear the Word of God being taught in such a way that I walk away feeling inspired and re-energized.  I willingly give my tithes and offerings to help organizations, and my church, to help others. 

This blog has helped me to journal, from the very beginning, about how I had to cope with my son's addiction to opiates.  For a long while, so many fellow bloggers left a lot of comments to support me... to help me wipe my offer cyber hugs and to offer their advice and support.

It helped me a lot. Many of them have gone away, or stopped reading my blog.

I keep writing.  (Not as often as I used to, but I won't go away.)

I have also read my fair share of anonymous comments who had no problem condemning me, or attacking my faith in God. I've read comments that, pretty much, labeled me an enabler-- or who offered harsh criticism about what I wrote about.

It made me stronger.

In the last few weeks, I've received comments and emails that have made my heart grieve.  I receive emails, on a weekly basis, sharing a parent's grief over their arduous journey as they watch their loved one go through drug addiction and/or withdrawals.

They paralyze me.

For the last few weeks, I have flagged those comments and emails-- and I haven't approved them, so that they'd publish on my blog.  Yes, I do have blog moderation turned on-- because I got tired of the SPAM comments from gambling sites and drug treatment centers.  Sometimes, the words that I read makes me feel so sad. It brings e back to a painful time in my life, when my son was so sick.

This morning, I need to write. The urgency is strong.  I've just published those comments.  I'm back. For today.

Where do I start? What do I address first?

Please know, that I read every single comment.  Thank you, to those of you, who pour out your hearts to me.  I really and truly do care. I pray for you. Believe me, I do.

I just received an anonymous comment from someone who said this, "Your son is not clean, he is still using suboxone (optiates) every single day. It is not a miracle, its switching one addicting drug for another...Try stopping suboxone and you will see this 'miracle' unveil its true self. Your son is still a drug addict, just a more manageable one. praise jesus right?"


I guess I'll start here--

Dear Anonymous person--

My son is technically not "clean".  That is, if your definition of "clean" means that he doesn't use any kind of drugs-- this includes opiates, weed or speed.  So, you win on that count.
But, you see, you don't know my son's story. It's a very long road that he has been on.  It started 11 years ago, with smoking weed.  It progressed to pills, then oxycontin, then heroin.  It progressed to my son being so strung-out, that he came close to death.

My son's addiction became a cancer in our home.  His addiction caused so much drama in our lives. It opened up a very Dark World that I was totally unfamiliar with-- the lies, his constant scamming for money for his next fix. It began to erode on my very happy marriage.  It began to cost me money that I could ill afford.

I helplessly watched my son try to kick his habit.   I watched my son try everything he could think of to break his addiction.    I was judged, criticized and attacked, by people who either thought they were experts and knew it all--or by people who didn't understand one thing about addiction -- and I began to second-guess my abilities as a mother.   

I was forced to do the unthinkable-- to learn how to detach from my son's addiction. I had to throw my son out of my home. I had to learn how to say "no" to helping him with money, and I had to watch my son suffer from withdrawals. I watched his body waste away, and worry that a call would come-- in the middle of the night-- with bad news...that my son was either in jail or at the coroner's office.

So, when my son finally got off the methadone (and I think that stuff is poison, and have nothing good to say about the clinic)-- and went on suboxone, I had to do what works for me. I sat back, and let my son deal with his own addiction.

My son is being seen by a physician who has very strict rules about being on suboxone.  B has been tapered down, to where he is on a very, very low dose.  He is nearing the end of using suboxone, and he feel confident that he'll be okay with that. He says he has no desire to use, any longer. Before you judge about suboxone, I suggest that you do research.  Dr. Junig ( is a medical doctor, and former drug addict.  He offers some interesting perspectives on this.  

So, is it a miracle that my son is on suboxone?

Yes. I have written, multiple times, that I pray for my son to be completely drug-free.  I wish that the only pills my son has to take would be an aspirin, on occasion, vitamins and an antibiotic (if he has some kind of infection).  Yes, my son is a drug addict. He always will be-- whether he is 100% free of suboxone-- or any kind of opiate blocker.   The suboxone treatment seems to have done the trick for my son.  He says that all cravings are gone.   He has money, at all times. He willingly pays us rent, and he pays his own car insurance, gas and all living expenses. He hasn't asked me for a dime, for six months.  Can a drug addict, who is using, do that?

What I do see is that my son lives a much more normal life than he's had in many years. 

My son said something, last week, that made me smile.  He was getting ready for his job (that he has held for two years), and said to me:

"Mom, you know what's great about being normal?"  "I earned $130.00 in tips the other night, and I still have it!  I'm going to put this in the bank.  When I was using, this would already be gone."

So, yes, Praise Jesus.

Oooops, you were using sarcasm when you wrote, "Praise Jesus, right?"

In this blog, I often talk about my faith in Christ.  I don't have the gift of evangelism (which Pastor Greg Laurie does.... and he's worth having a listen to).  I started to share my own personal testimony, on this blog-- months ago...but I never finished it.  That's because someone who knows us, personally, found my blog and was using it to hurt my son.  I stopped, because I don't want my personal story to be used against me, where I live.   If I ever do finish my personal testimony, you would better understand how God saved me from my sinful nature.

My point about Jesus Christ is this-- I don't blame God or Jesus Christ for the sorrows in my life. The sorrows in our lives are brought upon us, because there is evil and sin in this world.  Those of us who believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, believe that he died for us-- on the cross-- for our own personal redemption.  Because he loved us first.  Those of us who have accepted the gift of redemption are now adopted into the family of Christ, and we know that we will be in heaven.  In the meantime, we are here, on earth-- to learn, to share the love and to "believe" with all of our hearts.  

A world that is free of suffering is not guaranteed.  It is my faith in Christ that gives me the strength and courage that I desperately need-- because I am sinful, by nature.   I have become a much better person, since I became a believer.  I'm a work in progress.

So, did I feel offended by your anonymous comment?

Yes, for about five seconds.  

Guess what? I prayed for you.  I prayed that you would understand who the real Christ is.

I do not condemn you, either. Because God loved you first.

What do you know? My writer's block just went away.  Praising God does that to me.  When I'm feeling down, or under attack, I look up-- and I feel joy.

I'll try to write more often.  

Thank you, to all of you who write to me.  That this humble little blog has touched so many of you-- it makes me thankful.

I give all the Glory to God, for He has been good to me.  My son is alive. He is happy. The dark grip of illegal drugs has lost it's strength on my son.

I live each day in faith and gratitude.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Evil people doing evil things-- like stealing my blog

The horrific event in Aurora Colorado is a very painful reminder that there is so much evil in this world.  Now, my own birthday will be linked to our first landing on the Moon (July 20, 1969) and the massacre at a premiere showing of "Batman, the Dark Knight Rises". Who knows why a 24 year old boy/man snapped?  Why people had to die so tragically-- so young.  A community is shaken to it's core, and parents, siblings and friends are left to grieve the loss of their loved ones.

While the news is filled with the horror of this tragic day, it is my birthday.  I wake up feeling grateful to find birthday cards from my husband, my son, and my Facebook is filled with dozens of birthday wishes. I take a drive, on a beautiful sunny morning, to meet friends for brunch.  I spend the rest of the day buying a few things for me-- things that I find "pretty".  I can pay for them.

Later, that afternoon, my husband comes home from work and greets with me warm hugs and kisses-- tells me how lucky he is that I was born, so that I would come into his life. I tell him the same.  He takes me to dinner for a prime rib dinner.  He looks at me so lovingly, and I know that I am blessed.

Before we leave for dinner, my son comes out of his room, handsome and dressed in his freshly pressed white shirt, tie and black slacks. He's carefully polished his work shoes.  He says "love you, mom" and grabs his car keys. He's headed to his job, that he really likes.

Life, in my corner of the world, goes on as normal. I forget about the tragedy in Aurora, because my own little world is filled with much happiness.  I say a quiet prayer to God, thanking Him for all my blessings.

This morning, I receive an email from Ron, telling me that my blog was hijacked. What?  Sure enough, my blog was redirected to some evil people. I won't even share their link, but it's a drug rehab site.  Ah, but they don't know that I have a very smart husband.  He's in the computer security field.  I'm flapping around, with the veins in my neck bulging-- feeling completely violated.

We google and find out that other people are experiencing this. It's a "widget" that was installed long ago.  But evil hackers know how to get into the widgets that are stored somewhere on a computer cloud. Behind the scenes, they sneakily add a redirect code-- and just like that, your blog is gone.

One by one, we look at the HTML code to each of my widgets. There it is.  The evil culprit's code, that steals my blog address as soon as anyone lands on it.  We delete the entire widget.

Well, I'm back.  I received a few private emails telling me that they still read my blog, and I have helped to encourage them.

Thank you.  Thank you for allowing me to bless your lives.  I'm back. I'm not going anywhere.

Life throws us hurdles, and I am thankful to have the love of Jesus to help me dust myself off and go on.  I pray for the people of Aurora, Colorado.  I pray for the young man who did this evil stuff.  I pray for the man's own parents, who must be devastated to know that their son turned people's lives apart with his unspeakable act.

This was not God's plan.  There is so much evil in this world.  People forget that this is where the Dark One dwells. His plan is to devour and destroy people.  This is where those who are true believers in Christ knows, that there is a better place for us.  I will get there when I leave this life.  Until then, I'm a prayer warrior.

May God bring healing to those who need it most. Today. Now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hanging on to this blog-- for you

 ****THANK YOU RON, FROM "AN ADDICT IN MY BEDROOM" FOR ADVISING ME THAT MY BLOG GOT HIJACKED.  These people are evil. It turns out that a widget got modified from some mystery planet. I am back!***

I have such a hard time to find the will to log on to this blog to write.  It's like I'm paralyzed, and unable think of what I want to write about.  Have I run out of things to say?  Am I helping anyone?

My son's addiction is in "limbo".  It's like, I'm holding my breath.  It's been five months, now, that B isn't using.  To say that I'm relieved, is an understatement.

I try to remain optimistic, and my son is a completely different person.  I try not to "what if" my thoughts.  I am living in the moment.  My son is "normal".  The friends he once used with are out of his life.  When he isn't working, he's on his X-Box with his online gaming.   He is on a very low dose of suboxone, and seeing his doctor on a regular basis.  He says he has absolutely no thoughts or desire to use.


What prompted me to write is a comment that I received today:

I found your blog today. I'm 22 my story is very similar to your sons. Your blog is probably my moms thoughts. My mother and stepfather recently discovered my use. I've been addicted to opiates for 7 years, and I've hid it from most of my friends and family when they found out I said I was commited to quiting, but I wasnt. I quit for a couple days and relapsed. I relate to your sons lies and escapades. I just am having trouble seeing a life after this monster. I feel so empty and broken. I feel so bad for my mother and everything she goes through because of me. I dont know where to start but thanks to your blog I know I definetely want to start. I know I am not the daughter my parents dreamed of but maybe one day I can be

This knocked the emotional wind right out of me.  How I wish I could give this young woman a warm and loving hug.  How I wish my son could sit down, with her, and tell her what did and did not work for him.

I still receive private emails from parents whose hearts are breaking.  It brings up feelings of sadness that I thought I had healed from.

I feel so helpless.  I wish I had the gift of writing in such a way that I could give someone solid advice, or answers.

I'm just the mother of a drug addict.  I'm a woman who leans on my faith in God, to give me the strength I need, when times are tough.

I used to blog here, several times a week.  I had blogs I'd visit, and bloggers who would visit me to encourage me.  Many of those bloggers are gone. I often wonder what happened.

Once in a while, I wonder-- is anyone reading this?

Then, I get a reader who leaves a comment about how I've touched them.

I'm here.  I won't abandon my blog.  I just don't have a whole lot to write about, because our life is "normal" and peaceful. Amen.  I pray that I will never have to come here because I am afraid for my son-- because he has returned to his former life.

I think the reason that I avoid coming here, is fear of dredging up painful memories.    I have forgiven my son, and I rejoice in where he is today.  But the pain is there-- enough for me to continue to have compassion for those of you who are addicts-- and those of you who are the loved ones of addicts.

Hang on to hope.  My son beat the odds, and we are closer than ever.  I give the Glory to God, and His Mercy.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Time Thoughts

 It's not officially summer, but I'm ready.  The school year has ended, and in one week I will be on my four week summer break. Amen.

Every day I pray with thanks that my son is doing so well.  His life is "steady".  He still has the same job (two years), and really likes it.  He has entirely new friends.  B keeps things really simple. He sleeps in, plays his X-Box online, gets ready for work right as I'm headed home from work.  He comes home, repeats cycle.

B is no trouble at all.  He pretty much lives in his room, with the big Plasma TV that he saved his money to buy.  He's respectful and I believe he's not using. #1 Sign - he has money. All the time. He doesn't ask me, or his father, for a penny.  He pays the rent on time, and never complains.  His car always has gas.

I'm not bragging at all. I'm rejoicing.  Sometimes, I allow myself to go back in time-- as little as six months ago.  B was always broke.  I try not to do this, very often, but if I really go back in time-- like five years ago-- I don't think I've ever felt so afraid of anything in my life.

These were dark times.

For anyone who is reading my blog... those of you who have emailed me... I hope that I never, EVER forget those times.  I hope that my son never does.

There is hope.

Though those Dark Times, my faith grew even stronger. I learned to cry out to God, and to learn what it means to talk to God.  I learned how to draw closer to Him.  I learned how to really pray.  I mean, get down on my knees and pray.  I learned how to close my eyes and tell God how afraid I was.  I learned how to trust Him.

Every so often, I get anonymous comments telling me what a fool I am to believe in Jesus/God.  It doesn't offend me at all.  If anything, I pray for that person.

A while back ago, I started to share my very personal past, that would lead up to my own testimony as to why I believe in a God that I cannot see. I believe in a God, whose audible voice I've never heard. I have discovered the treasures in God's Word, and yes-- I believe in all those "Fairy Tales" in the bible.

I was once an Agnostic.  I once thought that God was all a hoax.  I had resigned my life to be one where I would do what I want, when I want. I convinced myself that when I die, I die. End of the line.

But God had plans. I've been through a lot of personal pain and betrayal in my life.  It prepared me for the day I found out that my son was addicted to drugs.

My son's addiction gave me deep roots in my faith.   My son has been spared from a certain death or incarceration, and I give all the glory to God.

So, if you're an Atheist, and you want to attack my faith-- go ahead!  Hit me with your best punch.  It won't change who I am.   I take that back...

God has changed who I was.

I pray that those of you who are feeling so lost... who feel that there is no hope-- that you would know that I was once there.

God is my rock, my fortress, my hope.

I pray that for each of you.  Every day.

I'm sorry I haven't been blogging much. I'm still here.

Hopefully, this summer break, I will have more time to write.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

To All Mother's of Drug Addicts...

To all you Mothers of Addicts,

I sincerely hope that you family is honoring Mother's Day by  giving you praises, tokens of appreciation-- flowers, brunch or a bauble or two.  No matter what our addict children are going through, we still love them. Unconditionally.

At church, today, the message was focused on being a mom. Of course, it would be! It's Mother's Day.

Matthew 15: 21-28

The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

If you don't read the bible-- or don't believe in it-- the Reader's Digest Condensed version of what this scripture means is that the "dogs" is referring to the "Gentiles".  This scripture really touched my heart and soul.  What I got from this, is that I do believe that my faith (and I am a Jesus Loving, Bible Believing Christian) and my persistent prayers for my son have been answered.  More importantly, this scripture reminds me that even just a crumb of faith-- and you don't necessarily have to be a devout church-going Christian-- but to just believe and trust and pray-- prayers can be answered.  All we need to do is "ask".  We cannot receive what we don't ask for.

As Pastor reminded us-- being a young person, today, is more difficult than ever.  My son has so many bad influences all around him. Come to think of it, so do I!  Today's generation is so desensitized by profanity, sex and drug use on television, in movies, books and magazines.  As Christians, we are under attack.   Without my faith, I would be weak against all the temptations that surround me, every day.

As I bowed my head, in prayer, I gave a heartfelt thank you to God for all that He has done for my son.  Sometimes, when I reflect back on the last few years, I know that I could not have endured the heartache and fear without my faith in Jesus Christ.

My blog has been such a comfort to me-- it became a place where I could vent, cry, complain and share my deepest and most personal feelings.  I met some wonderful people, who supported me through all of this.

Today, my son is clean and he is employed.  I received a beautiful bouquet of roses and my favorite chocolates from B.  That means more to me than I had imagine.

It means that my son is alive.
It means that my son has money to buy things--and it's not drugs-- and that he earned that money with hard work, and honesty.
It means that my son took the time to buy something for his mom.

Today-- this Mother's Day-- I feel an emptiness and sorrow that my mother has been gone for ten years.  I no longer have a mother to call, and invite to brunch.  Now, I am a mom, and it's my turn.  I have to take all that my mother taught me, pick what's best and let go of what isn't-- and try to be a positive influence on my son.

I will continue to be a praying mom.  I'm so thankful that I never gave up on my son.  He's made mistakes, and he will always fight that demon of drug addiction.  I do believe that he has found happiness and has surrounded himself with new friends, who aren't addicts. Amen.

Today, I lift up in prayer, those of you moms whose children can't call you-- be it from jail, or that they are no longer with us.  I pray for you moms, whose kids are somewhere, and you cannot call them.  I pray for you moms, who are just beginning my journey-- for your fears, pain and anguish.  I know it well.

May God give each of you the strength, courage and wisdom that you need to find serenity in acceptance.  May your addict come home to you-- and be free of those demons that destroy our joy.

Never give up. Pray. Believe. Hope.

God does answer prayers.  I know this. I am living it.

Happy Mother's Day

Friday, April 27, 2012

Waiting.... processing... transcending

I apologize, deeply, that I have not responded to emails in the last few weeks.  This blog is very important to me.  The beginning chronicles my very personal story about coming to terms with the fact that my son is an addict.  Over the last four years, I have shared my very raw, honest and open feelings about being the mother of a drug addict.

Please know that I do read every single email that comes to me.  I try to answer back, as quickly as I can.  I've heard such sad stories from so many of you faceless people.  You say you are so relieved to know that you are not alone.  I feel the same.

Something has changed, recently, and I need to come to terms with it.  It's not a bad thing about my son-- who continues to do very well in his recovery.

One thing that has changed, a lot, is that my son is now reading my blog.  I knew, all along, that one day he would read it.  I hoped that by his reading my own personal feelings, that he would better understand what it was like for me-- the hurt, fear and pain. I'm okay with him reading it, but it does make me think twice about what I should or should not write.

I will continue to update this blog, because I truly hope to be a place where addicts-- and loved ones of addicts-- can read my story.  I'm not an expert, but I am a mother who can finally exhale.  My son is alive and well, employed, sober and our relationship has been healed.  I absolutely love my son with all of my heart.

So, what has happened?  Someone who knows us is also reading this blog.  Sadly, that person has their own pain (as I see it) and has been using what I've written to try and hurt my son.  I don't have all the details, and my son doesn't really want to talk about it.   The emotions I am feeling will take some time to sort out.   I have been very open in sharing my blog to people in my community-- only because both my son and I want to share our story, to HELP people who are going through this.

At this moment, I'm feeling like this person cannot have enough respect to just let us be.  Our story isn't to be mocked or used against us.

I won't let this person cause me to abandon my blog, nor am I angry with that person.  I actually feel sorry for them-- that they are so callous and behave like a "bully".  Sadly, this person is a grown adult, who cannot see that my son has worked so hard to overcome something that so many other have failed to do-- change their lives, their friends and find sobriety.   All those old friends, who dragged him down, are out of his life.  He has new friends, a job he likes and he's becoming a responsible young man.

I will write again, but I just have to process the new revelation.  If "you" are reading this blog, I hope that you will find enough respect to give us the privacy that we need.   What I have to say comes out of a caring heart, who wants to help someone.   Please don't come here, anymore, if your intentions are to be cruel.

'Nuff said.

That is why I haven't blogged in a while. I'll get over it, but I need time to process and to feel uninhibited about sharing some very personal thing about me, and my family-- like I've said-- to "help other".

Again, I have saved emails I've received in the last few weeks. I'm so sorry I haven't answered or responded online.  Please, do not think it's because I don't care.  I do.  That's why I write.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Looking Back in the Rear View Mirror as the Mother of a Drug Addict

April Fool's Day came and went-- and that day will always hold a bittersweet memory in my life. It was on April Fool's Day, 2008 that my son climbed into the backseat of our Jeep, before the sun came up. We were headed north, for a two-hour drive on California Highway 101, to a rehab center.

Four years ago, I was so naive about drug addiction.  I had all kinds of preconceived notions about drug addicts.  I tried to bubble wrap my son, the best that I could, as every good parent does.  I wanted my son to grow up as happy as possible (which was short-circuited by my divorce from his dad).  I had hopes and dreams that B would graduate from high school, and be the first member of our family tree, who would go on to college and graduate with a degree.

Raising my son, as a divorced mother, was one of the most difficult times of my life.  I had just started my own business.  I did not receive alimony nor child support.  Every day, I prayed to God that I would earn enough money to pay the rent for our home, and my business.

As my son grew into adolescence, I did all the things that a good mother should do. I wanted to know my son's friends and their families. My son had curfews and chores to help around the house. Though I dated ( a little) I never introduced my son to the men in my life.  I vowed that I would never bring a man into my bed, as I wanted to set a good Christian mom example for him (and I did keep that vow).

Middle School was a tough time for me.  B was beginning to show signs of rebellion. That sweet child was becoming bolder with his back-talk.  As I look back, I realize that my strict childhood would begin to haunt me.  Because I was a battered child, there were times that the overwhelming desire to slap my son was something I had to fight against.  I had also made a vow to my brother that we would never hurt out children the way we had been hurt.   Disciplining my son grew harder and harder. B tested me to the limits--

Unfortunately, as I look back, my son would move out of my house when things became too tense. He'd move in with his father, who B perceived to be easier to live with.  In some ways, I felt it was best for my son to be with his father-- only because I wanted his father to be that male influence in his life.

It was during this time that I feel I lost the ability to see the Darkness that was beginning to come into B's life.  B tells me that he started to smoke weed, and then eventually used cocaine, in middle school.  I had absolutely no idea.   It pains me, at times, when I see how I missed these important clues.

So, high school is when it all began.  The pills from a girl.  Oxycontin became the first step that spiraled into my son's addiction to heroin.  All the while, I had no idea. I knew that something wasn't right, but my son was living with his father-- most of the time.  I was so happy to have my son come back to my home, that I think I was living in denial.  A drug problem? Never entered my mind.

Four years later, my son is living with us again.  "Us" would be the wonderful man that I met eight years ago, and married in 2006.  Only, this time, my son is 23 years old.

I mentioned to B that the four-year anniversary of my blog was coming near.  His response was interesting.  "What's to celebrate"?  I looked puzzled, at first.  Then I realized that he isn't proud of what's happened over the last few years.  B stayed clean and sober for about six months, when he left his rehab.  Then, he relapsed.  That cycle was to continue off and on, until now.

As of now, B says he has not used drugs for about six weeks.   That seems so short a time, and yet it is something to be thankful for.  Addiction to opiates is not easy to get a grip on.   I knew that my son's odds were not in his favor.  He's tried suboxone, and then methadone.  I think they helped to curb his relapses, but didn't work 100% of the time.  B found ways to "chip".

I want to apologize for not writing, much, since my son's last interview.  I have received a few private emails, and I have not responded.  My job is very demanding, so I'm pretty well drained by the time I get home.  My son's job schedule has him passing mine, like two ships in the night.

I can tell you that I am so thankful for the positive changes I see in my son, today.  He has held his job for close to two years, now.  He seems very happy, where he works.  He is paying rent to us, faithfully. He pays for his car insurance.  Best of all, he has money in his pocket! Amen.

So, here goes another clue that totally went over my head.  Call it denial, call it what you will-- but my son hasn't asked me to help him with gas money, and he is never broke.  What a concept! Drugs robs an addict of every penny they make.  Now that B isn't using, he is becoming financially independent.  He is proud of the fact that he buys his own haircuts, etc.

I also know that suboxone isn't a forever kind of thing. The doctor wants to wean him down.  But, I cannot try to forecast any kind of "what if"?   I cannot predict the future.  I can only continue to pray for my son, and so many of you who have shared your story.

I'll try to grab B for another interview-- if our hours can coincide to do so.

Many of you want to know more about suboxone.  I have a link to Suboxone Talk Zone on the sidebar of my blog.  I find that Dr. Junig has helpful information to make an informed decision.

My pain goes to those of you who do NOT have insurance, nor the financial means, to help your loved get the rehab help that they need.  It is disgusting what rehabs charge.  My son's 30-day stint cost over $36,000.00.  That was four years ago. The ONLY reason we could do this is because we had insurance that covered 90% of the cost. The rest came out of my son's inheritance from his grandmother.

Suboxone is expensive.  I think it's about $400.00 a month, without insurance. Maybe more. Again, thanks to President Obama, my son has medical insurance through my husband.  For that reason, his suboxone is "free"; that doesn't include the monthly premiums.

I hope to find more time to blog more often.  It's so hard, because of my busy schedule.  My son reads this blog, and reads the comments.  I read them, too, and save them.

Thank you to those of you who send emails to me.   I only wish I could hug each of you, and comfort you. I do feel your pain. I've been there, and know that at any time-- my son could relapse.  So does B.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Candid Interview in my Son's Own Words About Suboxone, Relapse and Sobriety

My son is sitting across from me, and I am going to type his own words.He just returned, home, from work and he handed me a cash receipt for gas that he put into his car. He says he wants to be accountable for where his money goes.  He has $5.00 left.  He says he is feeling better, and had a good day at work. Here is my son:

Mom: Can you briefly explain why you feel suboxone is going to help you with your sobriety?

Son: The main reason, #1, it fills that void...that craving. It stops the craving. It makes me function, just as I would on opiates or as you (mom) would.

#2. It's a "leash" with a blocker in it. It gives me a minimum 12-hour window to consider whether to use or  not.

Mom: So, what happened? Why do you think you relapsed?

Son: There are multiple reasons. First, plain boredom. I had lost my X-box. I hadn't worked in a while. I had too much time on my hands and I hadn't taken my sub for over 12 hours. Just being in a dark place, at the time, just added up.

Mom: Why hadn't you taken your sub?

Son: That was accidental. I just fell asleep and I normally take my sub before bed.

Mom: What happens if you don't take your sub?

Son: By that morning, it had been over 24 hours, so I was feeling withdrawals and cravings and knew that I could technically use.

Mom: Can you describe that deciding moment to use.

Son: Two Words. F**k it.

Mom:  What did you use?

Son: Oxy.

Mom: How did you feel?

Son: About the same. I had enough of the suboxone left in me, that it didn't really have much effect at all.

Mom: So, why not stop right then and there?

Son: I guess since I had already messed up, I wanted to get loaded one more time and then stop.

Mom: How long did you use?

Son: A good month, off and on. I kept trying to get back on to suboxone, but could not wait the 36 hours induction period. I kept getting precipitated withdrawals and would immediately run for an opiate to counter-act it.

Mom: What are precipitated withdrawals?

Son: It's when you still have an opiate agonist in your system... I guess that's what you call it. And, the active drug in suboxone basically boots out and empties out all the opiate receptors, which puts you into maximum withdrawal, times 10. Absolute hell.  You won't die from it, but you wish you had.

Mom: What did it feel like when you took a sub too early?

Son:  Imagine ice water being poured over your head...your entire body...frozen. All the hairs on your arms, legs, neck standing on end. Your muscles in your legs and arms start....just.... like creepy you have bugs under your skin. You cannot sit still. You vomit, uncontrollably. Shivering, shaking, panic. The panic is the worst part, by far. Knowing you can't do a damn thing about it. Then you (mom) would come home, and I'd have to put on a facade that everything was okay, or go to work.

Mom:   So, what was the turning point to come clean again?

Son: I was burning through my cash, with no explanation. My lies were getting...just, I couldn't keep track of the lies. I could see it in your (mom) eyes. I was really getting dark. My mood was getting very dark, every day. And... you confronted me. And, I saw my chance.

Mom:  How are you feeling right now?

Son: Optimistic. Hopeful. Ashamed. Scared. But, I feel normal again.

Mom:  What did you learn from this?

Son: I learned that I got no enjoyment from using, like I thought I would. I romanticized it so much, thinking it would know.... help me work better, give me confidence like it used to when I was younger...but, the truth is, it did nothing. Subs are the way to go. I wish I had never done them (oxy). They say you learn from your relapses, and I've had a few, but this one was profound for much work it was to be in that lifestyle. It took everything from me, in a manner of weeks. Money, friends, trust and for what?

I used to function. I lived to use and used to live. Subs negate the living to use and using to live, and instead give me back a normal functioning life.

Mom:  How long do you plan to use suboxone?

Son:  Honestly, I'll stay on suboxone as long as I need to. There is no downside to long-term. Like Dr. Junig says, if it ain't broke, why fix it?  If these work, then why not?  You know...

Mom:  What do you say to people who believe you should just quit everything, tough it out and go completely clean and sober without suboxone, methadone...or any kind of medication?

Son: I'd say hold your breath and see how long before you have to inhale and that panic sensation kicks in, fight or flight.  That's what it feels like when that craving is gnawing at your brain.  That's what I feel every day-- and if all it takes is a suboxone to stop that, why wouldn't you? It's either that or risking jails, institution and death everyday.  Or, how about a diabetic? Could a diabetic keep the sugars down without insulin? Could they just do it with diet and exercise? Back in the day, that's how they did it. Now there's insulin which takes away all that hardship. The point is, is it wrong for the diabetic to take the insulin because it's the easy way out? There's no side effects, is there? Suboxone is the same thing-- it's insulin for opiate addicts. Why wouldn't I take my medicine?

I guess if you've never been there, you just don't know-- especially opiate addiction. It's a 24/7 nagging at your mind...consciousness and for me subs turn that off and give me a chance at a normal life.
(Mom's note: My son has Type 1 Diabetes and is insulin dependent. What an ironic analogy)

Mom:  Those are the only questions I can think of, for now.  Is there anything else you want to say to this reader audience? Or to me?

Son:  I'm sorry for all the lies. All the Bull Sh**. But... I hope I can learn from this and do it right. Thank you for all the support you give my mom. I know how much you all mean to her, and for helping her through this and in turn helping me.

Mom: Thanks, son.

Mom: I just thought of one more question.  What advice would you give a parent who is going through this, at the beginning of this horrific journey?

Son: It depends on the addict, obviously, if it's a long-term addict... I think suboxone is the answer. To do an induction at a doctor's office. To at least give them a shot at it. I think that everybody deserves a chance. I know I've had more than one.

Mom:  I just thought of something else? Why didn't methadone work?

Son:  Because you can still use on methadone, and most people do. The problem with methadone's a drug that allows you to continue using, care-free. In the end, it's near impossible to kick. Harder than the drug you were trying to get clean from in the first place. I met more drug connections at my methadone clinic, than I did anywhere else.

Mom:  What do you say to those who believe that NA (12-steps)  is the answer to sobriety?

Son: I say that I met my best drug connect, ever, an NA meeting during my first stint at sobriety. It can work for some. Most, even. But, it's not a one size fits all program.

Mom:  Would you ever try NA again?

Son: Probably not. Honesty has always been a huge struggle of mine. I need to learn to be honest with myself, before being honest with another-- sponsor and such. NA is the program that demands brutal honesty.

Mom: What's wrong with brutal honesty?

Son: I've been an addict since I was 11 years old. Lying, manipulating...something I was good at. I did it for half my life and it's something that's not easy to break.

Mom:  How can you learn to be honest?

Son: With practice, I guess. They say "one day at at time". I gotta realize that you aren't my enemy.

Mom: Anything else?

Son: I want to thank Dr. Junig and Subox Forum for their support, without which I would not be here right now. Clean and sober. Again.

Thank you, son, for your candid answers.  I hope that this interview will touch people's hearts, and educate them from an opiate addict's point-of-view.  Your comments/feed back are appreciated, and my son will read them.

Coming up next, articles from Dr. Junig, of Suboxone Talk.