Category Archives: Parent of addict

Mother’s Day 2011

This Blogger makes a very important point.   If your child is active in their addiction today, this might help you keep perspective:  Mother’s Day 2011.

A Mother’s Day Update

First things first:  I want to wish all you Moms out there a wonderful, restful, peaceful, loving Mother’s Day!  Even when I’m not showing up here on the Blogs, I keep you all in my prayers. 

Update:  Life has been busy, that’s for sure.  And things are looking up these days for my family…

  • DAN is doing GREAT!  Last month I went to visit Colorado, saw the judge, got the restraining order lifted and, for the first time in eight months, got to spend time with Dan.  I gave him so many hugs!  He’s being promoted in his job and planning to apply to college for the fall.  I know that an addict can slip at any time, but I’ve allowed myself to fully accept Dan’s recovery right now.  He looks fantastic,  has a great outlook on life, and is succeeding in all his programs.  It’s amazing how a life can turn around in God’s hands.  Amen.
  • AL has 80 days clean!  He is still looking for work, but he has also managed to stay in his sober living home and manage his life.  He’s had some bumps in the road, but as far as I know they’ve not included using.  I still worry about him a little … but each time we talk my worry lessens.  It almost seems too good to be true that both boys are in recovery mode and staying there.
  • LYNN is starting to open up.  She asked me if she could go to church with me tomorrow — first time since we moved last July!  I’m so happy.  We’ve been getting along better.  And she did really well on her ACT exam for college. 

What else can I say?  I’m working two jobs – which is a little nutsy – but I’m also getting back on my financial feet somewhat.  I’m doing a 13-week program at my church “Financial Peace University.”  It’s time to put that piece of my life in place.  In the meantime, the warm weather is settling in here in South Carolina, and an hour on the beach today did a lot to calm my over-active brain.  Now prayer and sleep, and a new day tomorrow.

God bless your Mother’s Day!

His Next Move

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.

Wherever You Go…

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!

One Mom Talking 2011

I’m making a new commitment to this blog for 2011.  It’s not a resolution exactly.  Let’s call it a “Plan of Good Intention.”  Here ‘s what you can expect from One Mom Talking over the coming months:

  • Signs and Symptoms of heroin (and other drug) use by young people
  • A parent’s plan of action (what to do once you know)
  • Keeping siblings safe
  • Hope for healing: A Spiritual Perspective
  • Rehab options (private and public)
  • Addiction and the Department of Corrections
  • Speaking Engagements (I might develop a presentation to take to schools and parent groups)
  • Getting us together (reponses to my initial survey showed that parents of addicts yearn for a chance to meet each other in an organized setting)

This year, you will be able to easily share your favorite OMT posts on facebook, twitter or by email (buttons should be easily visible with each post).   One Mom Talking will be on facebook soon as well.  Reaching in and reaching out.   God bless!

Every Day = New Years Day

Happy New Year, everyone.  I sincerely hope that 2011 brings healing, spiritual renewal, and a deep sense of serenity into your lives and the lives of those you love.

As much as I want to detest 2010 (as if a time period has meaning and character all its own), today I gratefully report that 2010 ends (and 2011 begins) with both of my boys in recovery.  I do feel deeply grateful.  I’d like to say that I feel Joyful — but that would be dishonest. 

My melancholy comes partly from needing more time to trust the recovery my sons have committed to, and partly from my own continued need to heal from the addiction that turned our family upside down … and moreso, my daughter’s need to heal, which she has yet to acknowledge.  We have an appointment for a mental health evaluation on January 4.  I am grateful for that.  I’ve been out of work since July and we have no insurance.  Luckily the county we are in has this program for high school students, and so we are getting hooked in. 

All this to say that this year, I take “New Years Day” with a grain of salt.  I’ve returned to Al Anon (which I didn’t do much of last year) and what I’m learning is that every day is New Years Day.  Every day is an opportunity to accomplish whatever we can, to be the best we can be, to encourage those we love, to start over if we’ve erred, to find gratitude, to love ourselves, to pray for a new start. 

During 2010, I spent a lot of time trying to decide who is sick and who is well and who is responsible for what … I’ve let that all go.  On this fun date of 1/1/11, for today, I’m not playing the blame game.  I’m not going to try to analyze my daughter.  I’m not going to try to analyze myself.  I’m going to tell all my children I love them, bake some corn bread, take down the Christmas decorations, and rest.  

One of my Al Anon friends gave me this prayer:  “God, bless [him, her, them] and change me.”   I’m going to stop being like Calvin in this comic, and admit my need for change.  This is my prayer today.

Every day is New Years Day.  Thanks for being here, everyone.  You true blessings in my life, whatever the date may be.

Sibling Struggles

This week I’ve been pondering an import topic that doesn’t get enough attention:  the struggles of siblings of addicts.  There has been some research, and I started to look up a few things, but I think it will take awhile to put a decent article together.  I do recall learning that the siblings – especially (but not exclusively) younger siblings – often enter adulthood with lasting trauma because they do not get the help and attention they need to deal with their issues in relation to the addiction.

This is playing out in my house now.  My daughter, Lynn (I think that’s the name I’m using for her – I’ve changed everyone’s names here) … anyway, Lynn has been having a very hard time.  As some of you know, we moved 1800 miles away from her brothers to give her a chance to finish high school away from the addiction chaos.  Since we’ve moved, she’s become more withdrawn, angry, doesn’t sleep, doesn’t eat well, and missed four days of school because I couldn’t get her out of bed. 

It took three months, but I finally got her to agree to counseling.  After two sessions, I already see an improvement.  She really needed someone outside the family to help her sort things out.  I doubt if they’ve gotten close to the deeper issues, but I’m confident that this will bring her to a better place in herself, where she can begin to deal with the deep stress that comes with having brothers who are addicts.  She loves them deeply, and is afraid of losing them, and yet is angry as well, at them, at me and her dad … it’s a lot for a young girl in the prime of adolescence!

The other reason I write this is that there’s another blogger who’s sister is a heroin addict (http://worksaside.com).  It’s difficult to comprehend the sadness of a sister who has to accept her sister’s addiction.  I’m going to visit my sister for Thanksgiving and I know how grateful I am for her.  And so I’m just caught up today in the emotional journey that siblings have to take as a result of  this tragic twist of fate.

I have no conclusion right now.  I just wanted to share the thoughts.  Thanks for being here.

Rebirth

 This is a photo I took here in South Carolina.  My new home.  It is a symbol, though, of all rebirth for me and my family.  Especially for Dan.

The bigget news:  Dan gave his life to Christ after being ministered to in jail by a visiting Bible Study leader.  Now, he is out on probation living with his dad.  He’s been clean (except for one slip) since May.  But clean now for 28 days outside of jail, by his own choice and because – he will tell you – of the power of God that lives in him.  He reads the bible daily, goes to church, meets weekly with the pastor, and has met a group of students from a local college who meet for study and fellowship together.  PRAISE GOD!! 

I am not allowed to talk to Dan on the phone, or to visit him in person.  The restraining order set in place back in May is still in effect.  The judge won’t lift it until I am able to go to Colorado and meet with her in court.  I don’t know when that will happen.  But I am sure it will happen exactly when it’s supposed to.  In the meantime, Dan and I write letters to each other.  It’s a wonderful, underused way of communication.  He can tell me about his life, uninterrupted, and I can do the same.  We are getting to know each other in a way we might not have otherwise. 

He says, “Mom, I am growing up now.  And you have your own journey.  Do what you need to do.  I love you!”  What more could a mother ask for?

Heroin Addiction: Symptoms

I was reading something on a website today about how to know if your child is a heroin addict.  It was asking:  does your child need to do heroin every day?  Do they carry a constant supply?  do you see track marks in their arms?

I get the point but…these aren’t the items I would list.  First off — if they’re doing it, they’re probably addicted.  Period.  Second, you probably aren’t going to know if they have a supply, and tracks, sure, that’s an obvious one.  But what about the less obvious, beginning signs?  Here’s my list (in no particular order) (note:  no one symptom means your child is a heroin addict, but they are strong clues, especially if you can say yes to two or three at a time):

  1. You can’t figure out where all your spoons went.  Didn’t you have eight teaspoons in your set?  Maybe one went missing but five?  “Kids — have you seen our spoons?”
  2. Almost all teens sleep late.  But your teen stays in bed until 3PM and now hangs blankets over his/her bedroom windows to keep out every trace of sunlight.  When you complain they slur, “Jeez mom…it’s nothing…I just need to sleep.  Crap.  Leave me alone, it’s not a big deal.” 
  3. Two hours later they are up, awake, full of energy, happy, chatty, cleaning their room, and asking if they can run errands, (complete mood change).  And if you mention the blanket on the window thing, they’ll say yes, sure, okay … but they won’t actually take them down.
  4. Day one: “Mom, can I have money for cigarettes and gas?  I know you gave me some yesterday, but Joe’s mom needed some groceries so I lent him some money to pick them up for her.”  Day two: “Mom, can I have ten dollars for gas?  I know you gave me some yesterday but …”  Day three:  [you know the drill]
  5. I could swear I threw this belt away last week because it’s way to small for him.  What’s it doing on my son’s floor again?  Oh, and here’s the belt his brother was looking for the other day too.  And yet he never wears a belt when he needs to.  Darn kids.
  6. What’s with the little pieces of tin foil laying around these days?  Kids?  What are you doing??
  7. Their friends are just walking in the house without even knocking or saying hello to me.  When did I lose control of this household?
  8. He comes in at midnight like he said he would.  But then you hear the door open again at 2AM and again at 4AM … always another excuse.
  9. A needle in his bathroom cabinet.  Clearly.
  10. The once intelligent, loving boy is now a rebellious, lazy young man.  Face it.  Time to get help.

Long Term Rehab

The opportunity has arised.  Dan’s dad bonded him out of jail yesterday after getting a call from a local, highly reputable nonprofit organization that has a long-term rehab program.  They had a bed available for this morning.  So Dad got Dan out of jail.  Watched over him for 24 hours.  And took him in this morning.

I am hopeful.  I am fearful but I push the fear aside and I am hopeful.  The minimum stay in this program is 18 months.  I think the maximum is three years.  They serve addicts, alcoholics and the chronic homeless.  It is a Biblically based program.  They give rehab, counseling, education and work.  They help the client work their way back into the community.  And if Dan successfully completes the program and graduates, they will provide a health and dental insurance plan for the rest of his life (when he needs it), and they will give him a car.  Wow.  Seems too good.

This morning Dan stopped by.  My mother is visiting from the East Coast and they had a nice talk.  I gave him a big hug, told him I believe in him, and then I broke down.  Couldn’t help it.  The tears just flowed. 

His dad took him to the store for a few things, drove to the center, and dropped him off.  I will go to see him once or twice before the move.  And, of course, pray … long and hard.

One day at a time.  As always.  Keeping it simple.  Typing it here.  Giving it to God. 

Amen.