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.


Dad and Mom said...

Probably if I wasn't involved in The Partnership stuff and talking to kids at schools I'd probably have done a lot less posting now and think of "that" time as long forgettable history.

Anonymous said...

6 weeks that is something to be proud of! He should be adjusted on the suboxone by now. Give it a year or so... No slip ups, change habits, lifestyle, and cut ties. B has to change himself entirely and then it is up to him. Some stay on long term and some titrate down. Keep in mind when you get down to .25mg or lower the drug isn't as effective so the individual feels not right most days. That's when decisions to go back to dosing or to go completely off.

At some point during treatment the person no longer has strong craving and the mind heals itself. B can be his old self again or discover a new one. For me sub took away everything good. I had feelings but they seemed dulled down a bit. Not to where I was totally numb but more like made me this fuctioning robot. Alot of people prefer this feeling. I didn't feel high at all but more like not myself like I was on some psych medication and that's kinda what it is. It keeps your receptors flowing at a steady pace. Not flooding it like full agonist opiates do. Hence why the user feels so good using full agonist. Sub takes that away. Stopping sub isn't as bad just longer. I would say not as long as methadone. Never went that route nor needed to. I heard that one is horrid.... They make these things harder to come off of to keep people on it. Drug companies need to make and keep their money. Everybody is gullible.

Getting off... There is plenty of success and people are living happy sober lives without medication. I feel great just being off that medication. Music sounds so much better, I want to go out and do things. I did before but not to the degree I do now. It seemed routine. I want to try new things. I want to exp life like its meant to be lived. Its amazing. I want everyone to know that. They are missing out. Some stay on the medication for fear or they have underlying issues depression, anxiety, illness. That's when those issues need to be addressed because majority of the time relapse happens.
Will Power.... Hmm it will get you through detox/withdrawal but it will not keep you sober this I learned. Kinda sad you would think the mind overrides our actions right? Nope Dr Junig's vid explains here

You learn that one time will kill you and keep you in the cycle of active addiction.

I hope some benefit from my words. I have been there done that. Not a dr. or professonal. I have studied alot about addiction. Opiates in general, the effects, statistics, and relapse.

Keep goin B it's not a race. One inch at a time and you will get there at your pace. You have plenty of people in your corner and support.

crazymama said...

Have you heard of Vivitrol? Also supposedly there's soon to be a Suboxzone implant. There's nothing funny about heroin, but I have relied on humor to cope. Look at my blog if you wanna maybe also might make you cry. But you are not alone!

crazymama said...

Watch it though. They end up selling those Suboxzone and also using them to get high. That's why the injection (covered by some insurance) is such a better idea. Problem is it''s about $1200 a sot. There's forms online to help pay for it, but as yet we've found no doctor who accepts them. Very frustrating.

Debby of Oxycontin and Opiate Addiction: A Mother's Story said...

Crazy Mama, that is possible. My son used to sell his, to use. HOWEVER, the vivitrol shot isn't the answer to end all, either. My son has done a lot of research. It is Dr. Junig (suboxone talk forum), who gives great advice. The bottom line, my son doesn't want to use any more. He's done. This time, he is using suboxone the way it is meant to be used, and under doctor's care. He says that he sees how stupid his past drug use was. It left him broke and feeling sick all the time. He says he's so thankful to be normal again. I honestly think there isn't ONE true answer that fits all. Bottom line, it's up to the addict-- how much do they really want sobriety? Don't you think?

crazymama said...

I don't mean it's a solution for everyone, but I know a lot of young addicts and they've all taken Suboxzone and it hasn't ever helped any of them. Not one. I pray it will help your boy. I do think it's choices, once they're clean. Have you ever heard of Ibograine? It's not legal here, but is in many other countries. I haven't read your whole story yet, but it sounds as though your son is fortunate. Many addicts end up in prison and once released, there are no programs to help them succeed. So is it always a choice? When they have no job, are perhaps felons, no place to live... ? There are over a million people addicted to opiates in the US. A million. We need more help.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line, it's up to the addict-- how much do they really want sobriety? Don't you think? Debby

Yes that is a huge part.

That Ibogaine stuff are you kidding me? That stuff makes you hallucinate and then majority relapse sorry look up those stats. It does not take away craving nor does it cure the addict.

The only active treatments for drug addictions in this day are meds, abstinence, meetings, rehab or medical detox asleep.

Unfortunately the drug epidemic keeps getting worse not better and theres always newer drugs to keep people hooked and wrapped up in it.

Debby of Oxycontin and Opiate Addiction: A Mother's Story said...

Dear "Are you kidding me?" You base this on what stats? What information?
As I've said-- there is not ONE single "cure" or med, or method that works for every single person.
"The only active treatments for drug addictions in this day are meds, abstinence, meetings, rehab or medical detox asleep.
Suboxone is a med. What meds are you talking about?
abstinence. Yes, that's the one and only perfect solution. Easier said than done, don't you think.
Meetings - I disagree. Doesn't work for everyone. It isn't cookie cutter. If you read my son's interview, he found his best drug connections at NA meetings. They also frown on anything other than abstinence. I'd love for him to have abstinence...but are you a heroin addict in recovery? How hard is that to do?
Rehab-- Do you have tens of thousands of dollars for that? No such thing as free rehab. Oh wait! There's a cheaper rehab where we live. Lots of criminals live there. Not a good place at all.
Sleep therapy? Who can afford that?

Like I said, I have to let my son work his own sobriety. If Dr. Phil wants to see my blog, and pick up the tab, then I am sure my son would go.

But, for today, he is "normal". He's holding a job, hasn't used at all, has no cravings, all new friends and is a very respectful and nice young man. Is suboxone the perfect answer? It depends.
Have you read Dr. Junig's website that I've listed? You might learn some new things?

crazymama said...

I absolutely looked up the stats on Ibograine. You have to look up more than one site. I am dealing a with over a dozen addicts. And Ibograine does help some. Said it already it is about choices, but NOT when theyare using they have to get clean first. Annonomous: I've been dealing with this for 15 years. Don't need you talking down to me like you are some more of an expert. These kids need all the choices they can get!!! IT ABSOLUTELY takes away cravings for some addicts. It's been used for alcohol dependence for years!!!! There is also a combo of meds including anti nausea, blood pressure, sleeping pills and one other that worked to get 2 addicts through withdrawls this past Christmas. Does one thing work for anyone, no, and that;s true for everything, but we need all the options we can get.

Debby of Oxycontin and Opiate Addiction: A Mother's Story said...

Dear Crazy Mama,
I was replying to "anonymous". (Unless that's you.) I'm far from being an expert. I'm just a mom, who has watched my son find sobriety, then relapse, again and again. I am all for abstinence. I wish it was so, and I continue to pray for him and hold on to hope that it will be so. My son is 23 years old, and I have to let him find his way. Nothing I say or do will be his solution. For now, he is doing fine. Like my post says, I can't "what if" myself to death. I need to move forward in my life, which is finally in a good place.

B said...

Crazymama, I know all about vivitrol aka naloxone injection. I'm not sure why yiu would even concider it an option as you need a minimum of 7-10 days clean of all opiates before your first injection. I don't know how many addicts could do that, as I know i wouldn't make it 48 hours! As for ibogaine, its basically LCD therapy. Its usually run out of Mexico, because of legal issues with it. There was a well publicized story about a man that left treatment early and killed another driver on the road, thus ibogaine has a lot of controversy now, even in Mexico. I have almost 8 weeks clean now and give all the credit to the suboxone. Yes, there are other ways to get clean, but I never could find them. Methadone, rehab, sleeping, cold turkey, benzos, you name it I tried it. Suboxone is a miracle. Plain and simple. There is some withdrawal towards the end like the earlier poster stated, but as addicts we gotta "pay the piper", kind of reap what we sew. Withdrawal is a good reminder sometimes for addicts to allow us to remember the pain of addiction, and why we chose to get clean in the first place.


Swirling Regret said...

Bryan Chambers said...

Great post!  I look forward to reading more of your writing in the future. said...

Hello, I just found your blog. If your son is under the care of a responsible physician, he is a very blessed and lucky soul. I do not know much about suboxone, but I have been in a death trap known as methadone maintenance (MTT)for some years now. I am slowly detoxing myself without the help of the clinic that deals this death. Anyway, I wish your son all the success in the world because I know of the battle he fights-it is a dark and lonely place. I will be following your blog and it would be nice if you would have a look at mine too. Maybe even show it to your son. We opiate addicts have something to gain by sharing each other's story. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this blog. I am positive you are helping many more than you know.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Bottom line, it's up to the addict-- how much do they really want sobriety? Don't you think? Debby

Yes that is a huge part.

That Ibogaine stuff are you kidding me? That stuff makes you hallucinate and then majority relapse sorry look up those stats. It does not take away craving nor does it cure the addict.

The only active treatments for drug addictions in this day are meds, abstinence, meetings, rehab or medical detox asleep.

Unfortunately the drug epidemic keeps getting worse not better and theres always newer drugs to keep people hooked and wrapped up in it.

Anonymous replies:
I wasn't saying all of those things work but rather what works for the individual. It's a disease and your dealing with recovery.

I was labeling those treatments as our options that we have available in this day and age. We should have better ideas and alternatives but we don't there's some people that don't even get that. Given their status or geographical location.

The Ibogaine stats I have researched several sites and watched videos and documentaries and the majority do relapse its not a cure all. Everybody here is right and at the end of the day it's all about choices.

Sweets11 said...

Glad to hear you are doing well B. 6 weeks is most definitely something to be proud of. One day at a time is all you can do. Hang in there, and don't forget to take your medicine.
Debby, WOW. This helped me a lot to read this actually. Knowing someone else is going through something similar makes me feel like I'm not alone. This isn't a subject you can just discuss over coffee. My boyfriend is in B's position. He's been an addict for a long time. He was clean for years and just relapsed again..the first time a few weeks ago. He was using again for approx a month. He went to a 5 day detox in the hospital. He's been back home nearly 2 weeks now and just relapsed again this morning. He used, crashed our car due to OD, and was actually dead for a couple of minutes. He is ok after all. This has been by far the scariest day of my life. I've never felt such a rush of so many emotions all at once. Like you, I want to do EVERYTHING I can to help him but I know there isn't anything I can do but be supportive of him getting help. I'm scared & reaching out...

Anonymous said...

I have a blog also if you have the time to read it.