Recently, I applied to a job opening as an Addiction Recovery Specialist. In South Carolina, there is a certification for this specialty – which I do not have yet. But I thought that my coaching certification combined with my personal experience might make me a good candidate for the job. I’m interested in helping people get healthy. I’m interested in educating the public about drugs and families and recovery. Where do you turn when all those efforts you made as a parent to avoid this experience slip through your fingers and here you are … wanting to wake from what feels like a nightmare?
I want to tell you there is HOPE! As long as there is breath, there is hope! For me, my first focus was the health of my child. And the next focus was education for me and my child. And amidst it all – a constant focus on God and faith.
Every now and then, I spend some time on Google looking for new information or resources. Recently, I came across a recovery center called, “Advanced Health and Education.” Well – isn’t that on target! Advanced Health and Education has a truly holistic approach to recovery which seems to be increasingly popular these days – for good reason. Most of us have learned that recovery is about more than just resisting cravings. It’s about rebuilding and redefining an entire healthy lifestyle for both the addict and the family.
In the west – states like Colorado, Kansas, Texas and Arizona – I have had excellent experiences with the Valley Hope treatment centers. They have gone above and beyond in providing service not only to their patients, but to families as well – on the personal side as well as making treatment financially viable.
Now that I live on the East Coast, I’m snooping into what’s available here. I have a friend who recently went to New Jersey for treatment. New Jersey drug and alcohol treatment centers abound, but I’m interested to know how many have the comprehensive type of program offered by Advanced Health and Education. If you are located in the NY/NJ area – a good resource for New Jersey addiction treatment centers can be found here: http://drugabuse.com/usa/drug-abuse/new-jersey/. For New York (and other states), look here: http://www.recovery.org/browse/new-york/.
I want to follow the lead of Advanced Health and Education by advocating their example of treating the whole person – I’d even say, the whole family. What should our next steps so that all treatment facilities – from California drug treatment centers to NJ drug treatment centers and everything in between, above and below, continually improve and provide excellent healing service to addicts and to us? How can we help? What can I do to make a difference?
In response to the recent death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, there’s been debate over whether addiction is selfish or, perhaps, guiltless. Today I came across a poem I wrote years ago with that title, “Guiltless.” I thought I’d post it. I’m not sure if it’s relevant, but I’ll share and let you decide.
On that night when my heart hurts —
when I can’t think of anything to say,
the world moves forward outside my window
where the mesa stands strong and the people look
content and carefree in my thoughtless and empty sight…
On that night the stars still shine
and the moon still sets its glow over the city
while I worry about the words I said to you.
I wish I was the leaf.
I wish I was the river.
I wish was a field of purple aster
or a dangling bat wrapped safe in the cape
of my own wings.
The fox and the cat wander the same midnight road.
They pounce. They screech.
One eats, lies down and sleeps
full and deep.
Hindsight is always 20/20 – or so they say. But whoever made up that quip … I don’t think they had an addict in the house. Looking back doesn’t really make it any clearer.
Recently, a friend told me that she read this whole blog; so I decided to come back here and read it myself from the start. I has been a few years and I was wondering what I would think. I tried reading as if I was a stranger to the story, which wasn’t very hard to do. I felt like I was a stranger to the story!
Here are some things I noticed:
- The child who was in the most trouble (or causing the most heartache) got all the press – with only a few exceptions.
- Insomnia inspires blogging.
- Drug addiction sucks – for everyone in the family.
- I was in some real denial even when I thought I had stopped being in denial.
- This place and all of you here in blogland helped me preserve some sanity. Thank you.
- My journey really has been God-centered.
- The severity of the crisis made it seem (to me, at the time) like all this addiction stuff had been going on for years, when it was only one year from when I discovered the problem to when I chose to move away. (That left me feeling bad; like I gave up too soon – but I let that go quickly too).
- I have so much to be grateful for.
Another popular saying: “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.” Good advice. There’s nothing I (we) can do about the past. Eyes straight ahead – forward, march!
You’ve heard of “peace and quiet.” I suggest we change the phrase to “peace and now.” Now is quiet – maybe not outside of us, but internally…spiritually. At the core of who we truly are, now is silent and cannot be altered.
Sounds too easy? It is and it’s not. I’m reading Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now,” and I’m in a section toward the back of the book titled, “Give Up the Relationship with Yourself.” What? Isn’t our recovery about RECOVERING our own relationship with ourselves. It’s the same thing. Just roll with it for a minute and I’ll do my best to explain.
It’s this idea: “If you develop a sense of identity based on your [victimhood, loss, recovering-parenthood, etc.] you have escaped one trap only to fall into another.” (That’s a direct quote from the book except for the parens). This is because any identity other than your pure essence (some might say “God”) is frought with some earthly or ego-centered frailty at one point or another.
Here’s the peace in NOW: Right now I am this breathing body filled with the spirit of life. If, tomorrow, I experience a trauma and my mind/body experiences intense pain of some sort or another, at any given moment I am still this breathing body filled with the spirit of life. What I’m trying to get to is this question (which we’ve discussed before in a different context): How do you identify yourself? I’m thinking that the answer to this question begins any person’s true recovery.
I’m really just thinking through this “out loud” here on this screen. But I’m experiencing access to an always-accessible quiet of “Peace and Now” lately. And this time it’s not just because my boys are in full recovery – because one of them had a relapse recently. He had a relapse and I started to re-identify with my “parent-of-addict-filled-with-fear-and-worry” self again. But I was reading this book, and I find I’m changing a bit in my ability to … as A Course in Miracles says … “See things differently.”
Please know I’m not lecturing or making light of where you are, what you’ve been through, or what you’re feeling. I’m just sharing an idea that might help others as it’s helping me today. Right now. God bless you.
Posted in Addict Child, Addiction, Codependency, Healing, Hope, Parent of addict, Recovering Child, Recovery, Relapse, Spiritual Growth, Support Community, The Ongoing Story, Uncategorized, Women
So my last post was a mournful one. Self-pity. Whaddya gonna do?
This post is rejoiceful! My son, Dan, now 21 years old, completed his 1.5 year program in Recovery Court! Yesterday they had a court hearing for all the Recovery Court people. And when it was Dan’s turn, lo and behold, he was greeted by: his current judge, his original judge, his parole officer, his counselor, his NarAnon sponsor, the people who worked in the jail when he was there, even the prosecuting attorney. Even the judge’s clerk … and it was her day off. They all came to congratulate Dan on a job well done and to give testimony, on the record, of what an inspiration it has been to watch him grow and heal.
I wish I could have been there. But his dad was there, which is good. I’m tearing up just writing it.
In this case, for my boy, “The System” worked. The system I often railed against came through, partly because the program is a good one – a real example of the “it takes a village” philosophy. So I hope that program continues to be supported. But the program only works because of the people who run it. They did their jobs with heart, and they — plus the hand of God — saved my son’s life. And he has touched theirs as well.
I’ll write an official letter to someone there to express this, but I want to say it here: Thanks to all public officials who are in their positions for the right reasons, doing the best they can for everyday citizens. Whatever I end up owing the IRS…it’s nothing compared to the gratitude I owe to all the people who walked beside my son at a time when I had to walk away.
God bless us all.
I only have a few minutes, but I did want to write about this: I had a knock-down, drag-’em-out, screamfest with my daughter two nights ago. I mean a cussing, yelling, door slamming, and crying kind of thing.
Finally, she opened up a bit. It hurt, but it was healthy. She told me, point blank, how I dropped the parenting-ball during the years when my boys were starting to party. She said that me and her dad both turned a blind eye to what was happening in our own homes – and in doing so, we failed her as parents. And we failed the boys too. She said that she raised herself during the years when it was worse. And then she said, “So check it out, Mom — this is me leaving the nest!!”
In the end though – like the story of grief I posted a couple of days ago – when it was all said and heard and understood – things were a little better. She gave me a real hug for the first time in a year. And we both agreed that if this type of interaction is necessary now and then for us to communicate honestly with each other about hard things, then it is. And we’ll get through it.
I’m sad for her, and for me, and for us. We’ve all lost a lot. And the truth is, she is right about what she’s saying. But she also has things to learn … about forgiveness, and the choice of love, and how families can heal. So we keep on walking.
One Mom Talking – signing off for today. Make it a good one!
I suppose 4AM is “this morning” (even though it still feels like night). Either way, here I am writing prayers. I received a call an hour ago from Mike – my Ex – that he received a call that Al is in the hospital – possible overdose. So much for my cell-phone-detachment bragging rights. We’ve had about four months of clean living in our family and I’m grateful for that. And we’ve done this drill before. Maybe I can approach it with some sense of serenity.
Anyway, over these months I’ve been writing Scripture-based prayers for all of my children, and in support of Al, I’m posting a couple of his here:
Psalm 42:5 “God, sometimes Al is discouraged. Sometimes he is sad. I pray that you guide him so that he puts his trust in you. So that he knows that you are his Savior and his God!”
Psalm 25:4-5 “Dear Lord, show Al the right path. Point out the right road for him to follow. Lead Al by your truth and teach him; for you are the God who saves him. All day long, may he put his trust in You.”
I join in prayer for all of you and your children. I’m going to try to go back to sleep, since right now, the best thing I can do is stay rested and well. May God’s peace be with you all.
Al has only ten days left in rehab. At least that’s how it looks right now. So he is deciding what to do next. His counselor recommends that he not go back to his hometown since all his connections are there. He wants to come to a halfway house about an hour away from me. I don’t know what to say.
First, I said yes. Then, I talked to his counselor and raised some serious concerns about it. Could he go somewhere in Colorado that’s not near his friends? But after that conversation, I felt terrible stress in the pit of my stomach. It doesn’t feel right.
Maybe he could come here. An hour away. Far enough that, without a car, he can’t just pop over to the house. Close enough that I could pick him up and take him to church and to the house for Sunday dinner once a week. A place where his only acquaintences would be family and the people he meets in his program. It feels right to me but I don’t know if I’m trying to control or if I’m trying to aid recovery. Once again, I’m clueless. The people in my Alanon group listen to me and nod, but give no advice.
I’m calling his counselor today to talk about it again. I feel unrest in my spirit. I have prayed that God would let things fall in place in such a way as to direct him to where he needs to go. I guess that’s the real answer. Trust God. Let go. Trust God some more. I’ve never been good at chess – and life really is not a chess game. If it is, it’s God’s move.
Posted in Addict Child, Addiction, Faith, God, Heroin, Parent of addict, Recovering Child, Recovery, The Ongoing Story
Tagged Addiction, Heroin, Recovery, Rehab
My daughter is still struggling with our move. When we lived in Colorado, she had reasons why she wanted to leave that place and those circumstance. Now that we are in South Carolina, she has reasons why she believes Colorado was better, or why South Carolina is not the best place, or whatever. You get the idea.
I figure it’s time for her to learn something we all learn at some point or another: “Wherever you go, there you are.” Perhaps addicts learn this more clearly than the rest of us. Whether in our homes, motel rooms, or on the streets, they still are who they are. And sometimes the only way for them to learn that is for us to take that hard stand and draw those firm boundaries.
One blog friend has had to do this recently. It’s painful to read the stories from those who are just getting to that point with their addicts. I’m grateful to be past that right now; and yet clearly aware that I might end up there again someday. Relapse is the unforgiven friend you hope never shows up on caller i.d.
One of my favorite poets, Pablo Neruda, says it this way: “Someday, somewhere – anywhere, unfailingly, you’ll find yourself, and that, and only that, can be the happiest or bitterest hour of your life.” Dr. Wayne Dyer reminds us: “Heaven on Earth is a choice you must make, not a place we must find.”
It’s all about the journey. Wherever you go, there you are. My daughter will learn in her own time; as we all do. So be the blessing you want to see in the world. I love you all – God bless!
Posted in Addict Child, Addiction, addiction daughter, Healing, Heroin, Parent of addict, Parenting, Recovering Child, Siblings, Spiritual Growth, The Ongoing Story
“The successful person has the habit of doing things failures don’t like to do, they don’t like doing them either necessarily. But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.” – E.M. Gray
Interesting. I have just entered the field of real estate sales in South Carolina. My sales coach used this quote at the very beginning of training session #1 as he explained the difference between the 10% of salespeople who make 90% of the sales – and everybody else.
Today, I found this same quote opening an article on addiction management. This confirms for me something I’ve become to realize: the formula for success is very much the same, whatever your goal, and whatever your psychological condition. Overweight due to inactivity? Get up and exercise. Lonely due to shyness? Go out to social events. Not making enough sales? Call that list of contacts you feel too nervous to call. Experienced an addiction relapse? [fill in the blank]
This is not to make light of any of these things. Some surely are easier than others. But the underlying theory is the same — hence the quote showing up in my life in two very different contexts.
Below is a link to an article that helped me frame my thinking about relapse. This article, and the site overall, is worth your time. Please take a look and tell me what you think! God bless!
Preventing Relapse | Addiction Management.