Monthly Archives: February 2011

Yes He Can

Everyone was very helpful in responding to my last comment.  Thanks!  Someone posed the ever-present question, “Don’t you think he can handle it himself?”  I always thought my answer was yes.  But I realize that, no, I wasn’t so sure he could handle anything himself.  Al’s always been a bit dependent on me.  And I am just now realizing how much I fed that dependence. 

When I called him to discuss his legal issues, I was all geared up to give him the bad news that I would not take care of this for him.  I never had the chance!  Because he took responsibility right away!  “I talked to my counselor about that this afternoon,” he said. “He’s going to help me contact the courts and set a new date so I don’t have to interrupt my rehab.” 

Every now and then I realize just how codependent I have been…and how much I enable and don’t even realize it!  We’re all learning.  And my most important lesson this week is: “Yes He Can!”

Enabling Addiction v. Supporting Recovery

Sometimes the line between these two is very vague.  And sometimes it’s just me and my denial sitting down for afternoon tea.  I don’t know – so I’m asking your opinion.  Here’s the scenario:

Back in October, before Al’s first rehab stint, he shoplifted a $50 item from a store.  He got caught.  He went to court.  He was sentenced to one 8-hour class and told if he stays out of trouble for a year the charge would go away.  Also, the store sent him a fine for $250.  The class is in a week and the fine is coming due soon.  But, Al is in rehab in another state, and he cannot make long-distance calls for more than a few minutes.  (He can receive them, but not make them).

I want to (a) call the court and defer the class until after his rehab is over and (b) contact the store’s legal department and defer the paying of the fine until he can get out and talk to them himself and perhaps set up a payment plan.  I would make these initial calls for him.  I’m not trying to get him out of these things, but I want him to have a full rehab experience without having to leave rehab for three days to go back to colorado, take the class, and be driven back to Kansas.  Plus I don’t want him to be back in the old neighborhood any sooner than necessary.  That was part of the point of sending him so far away.

His dad says I’m enabling if I make these calls for him.  He says the addict has to handle all consequences himself … and if he gets in more trouble because he can’t make the appropriate calls from where he is, so be it.

We have about a week to decide our strategy.  So — opinions?  I’m polling the crowd!. (have a blessed day!)

Rehab and Hope

If anyone is in the western or midwestern U.S. and needs a rehab for a loved one, one place you might try is one of the Valley Hope facilities.  With locations in Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska, the Valley Hope Association offers residential rehab for alcoholics and addicts, including medically monitored detox, full-time and part-time care, aftercare, etc.  Here’s the link to their map of locations:

Many of us have talked about rehabs and hope – sometimes saying they offer hope, sometimes saying they offer false hope.  Today I’m thinking, maybe it’s our expectations – and/or the expectations of the addicts – that need adjusting.  Both of my boys have been to Valley Hope facilities, and our experience there has been a good one.  But we all need to understand something that every rehab we’ve experienced has taught us:  The 30-day stint is just the beginning.  It is “hope” in that it gives us a glimpse of the possible.  But they tell us that this really just sets the stage for the truly difficult long-term work of the addict to maintain sobriety.

I’m not sure of my main point here.  I guess I want to publicly express thanks to the Valley Hope Association for helping me and my family in many ways; to say that I have no idea what Al’s latest round of 30-day rehab will do for him or not do for him, but I’m hopeful.  I’m hopeful that these 30 days will be a good experience…will maybe plant 30 more days of good life in his heart and brain.  I know he might come out and go right back to the street.  And that he might come out and do okay.  This time, I am putting aside expectations and just doing what I think is right today.

I’m glad he’s there.  And I’m glad those caring people are there to be with him.  And I really need to go to sleep!  Goodnight all, have a good weekend.  I wish us all rest.

The Road to Kansas…

A dear friend of mine is driving Al to a rehab in Kansas tomorrow. I might be crazy to support another rehab attempt. But my gut says I need to try. God bless my friend for his willingness to make the 5-hour drive each way. Al is ready and excited.

Now I need sleep. God bless.

The Addict’s Choice

Yes, it’s one day at a time. And I gave much thanks yesterday, when Al called me and said, “I want to detox and get clean!”

I’m far away, but I helped by getting him a few phone numbers and encouraging him to call his dad. His dad agreed to drive him to wherever he wanted to go, but told him that he (Al) had to make the calls and decide where he would be going.

His first choice (the rehab he went through in December) was full, and his second choice didn’t find him eligible for their particular program. His third choice was a publicly funded detox center. Not the nicest place, but he chose it anyway. To me, that was a good sign.

He called and said, “I’m entering the facility, and I love you.” One day at a time. This was a good one!

Peaceful Resistance

I am watching the movie “Ghandi.” He is teaching about refusing to participate in that which is wrong, but also not adding to the wrong by attack. Only standing up for right in a nonviolent manner. In this way, those in the wrong are faced with their own brutality.

Is this similar to our role as families of addicts? Is it that, by refusing to accept heroin into our lives and homes, while not behaving toward the addict with anger or shame, but while drawing a clear and firm line against the drug or its use, we put them face to face with their own self-violence, and then the choice is theirs. Just thinking about this …..

Choosing God

People have commented lately about my faith.  It’s both a gift and an ongoing choice.  It’s a gift you have to choose to unwrap every day – sometimes every hour.  Will you leave it sitting on the table looking pretty? Or open it up – knowing you’ll likely spill something on it or lose it in the laundry or leave it in the car… But also knowing that the next time you turn around, there it will be, brand new, sitting on the table again, wrapped and waiting for you to discover what’s inside. 

I had a long post sitting in my head today and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to articulate it well.  Then I stopped by another blog and there it was, waiting for me.  So instead of reinventing this particular wheel, I’ll just pass you on to a friend.  Please visit this post by another parent of another addict, walking our walk and talking our talk:  Mom Letting Go and Letting God. 

The Ongoing Story

Update on the family:

  • Al is either out on the street or in jail. Stole from his dad and his brother and took off. It was nice to have him back for awhile but so sad to watch him fall. Prayers for him please. Jail would be a saving grace for him right now.
  • Dan is still doing well – probably close to 120 days clean out of jail. But he’s experiencing intense cravings. The old-timers in his groups tell him this is normal, that he just needs to push through them, which he is doing. He’s doing great at work and they are going to send him to management training! Praises for the miracles in his life!
  • Lynn is up and down with her moods and anxiety. Part being a 16 year old girl, part living with the strain of heroin-addicted brothers. But she’s doing well in school and is relatively polite to me these days, so I’ll take it!
  • Mike, the kids’ dad, is really stepping up to the plate. Have to give him credit. He has started a new Naranon group (right now there’s only one in their area). I’m so grateful for this.
  • Me – I’m really doing ok. Surrounded by wonderful community in my church and here and my supportive family, and the strength of an omnipotent God. Amen!

That’s the update. More to come I’m sure. One mom talking. God bless.

I’ll Praise You in the Storm

Love this song by Casting Crowns.  My faith surely must be bigger than my circumstances.  The Bible tells us not to despair, but in all things give praise.  If we give in to despair, we are giving focus and energy to the thing that we despise.  Instead, in praise, we build up all that is good, healing, and comforting. 

We all have times of grieving.  Don’t get me wrong.  But the more we practice praise in the midst of grief, the more we are able to receive help, and to help ourselves and others.  Just a thought from me on this February morning as I pray for my son, my family, and all of you.

Untitled Lament

It’s late and I’m going to try to sleep now.  The news of the day is that my middle boy, Al – 18 y.o. – is using again.  His dad found evidence in his room and confronted him with it.  His dad asked him to come up with a plan of action.  Later, his dad found a note: “I don’t want to cause the family any more pain.  I’m taking off for a couple of days.  Don’t worry, I have someplace warm to sleep.  I’ll call you in a day or two.”   He took some clothes, a blanket, and $100.  It’s very cold and very snowy in Colorado right now. 

Yup.  I’m going to try to get some sleep.  I’m not ready to feel the fear.  Either that or I’m growing numb.  Because all i feel is tired.

But don’t despair.  God is bigger than my worries and bigger than Al’s addiction.  one day…one night at a time.  God bless.