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.