Category Archives: Recovering Child

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!

Preventing Relapse | Addiction Management

“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.

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?

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.

Thank God!

Oh yes, I mean this literally and figuratively.  Not meaning to take His name in vein or anything but My Son Dan Starts Training For His New Job Today and all I can say is “THANK GOD!!”   Seriously, I am truly grateful.  This is an important step for my son in his recovery.  It will (a) give him something to do with his days, (b) provide him with money so he can do other things he’s interested in and/or go back to school, (c) build his self-esteem as he succeeds in his tasks.  It’s a starter job, no doubt  —  that’s just fine.  He was afraid that he would not be hired since he is dealing with some legal issues.  But apparently he passed his drug test (YAY) and now he is employed!

And while I’m on the subject of thankfulness, if you’re ever feeling down, just do a google search for “Thankful” — either a site search or images.  There are many blogs and websites dedicated to gratitude and they are all quite cheery.

“Stuck in the Middle with You” or “Walking a Codependent Path”

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  Do you ever get tired of decisionmaking?  Sheesh.  

This is a heavy topic for me right now because I’m stuck in a state of indecision … because I feel like this particular decision holds heavy weight for many people.  I expect the truth is that it holds heavy weight for me.  I don’t have a clear perspective.  I’m a recovering codependent — used to thinking that my decisions have the ability to keep things together…or break them apart not only for me, but for those close to me as well.

What’s this all about?  A move.  I want to move.  We’re not talking two towns over or even to a neighboring state.  I want to move almost 2000 miles from my current location back to where my mom and dad and sister and cousins and other friends live.  I want to be on the coast, at the ocean’s edge.  The place on this earth that my heart cries for.  I want to move there with my daughter, who wants to be near the women in the family and who yearns for a new beginning after a couple of very difficult years.  I want this.

I want to be near my mother as she ages but while she’s still vibrantly alive.  I don’t want to wait until the doctor calls and suggests I come take care of my mother on her deathbed.  I don’t want to wait for that.

And yet … my boys are 18 and 20 — not so independent yet.  Especially Dan, who is doing great in recovery so far.  Three weeks out of rehab and still clean.  A job pending.  Court appearances still to come.  Al, 18, his life on solid ground for the first time in a long time.  He could actually join in the move or not, but Dan has no choice because of court.  He cannot move, probably for a year or two.  He would have to stay back with this dad.  And when I talked with him he said, “Don’t move away!  I already have no friends…” (He can’t socialize with his old friends due to their partying and his addiction).  “I can’t imagine you not being close by!”

And on top of that my job — where I finally have a boss who is teaching me and encouraging me and helping me to grow in our business and become more of the leader I want to be.

Here I am.  Stuck.  Trying to think of a way to make everybody happy and to move forward without any negative consequence.  Or to stay put … again … so that I will not bear the responsibility of initiating potentially hurtful change.  But in that, sacrificing my own yearning.  And my mother’s.  And my daughter’s.

Ah yes — awake at 4AM and singing, “Clowns to the left of me.  Jokers to the right.  Here I am: Stuck in the middle with you.”

The Tell Tale Test

AKA, “UA’s are our friend.” 

But waiting for the results, that’s a challenge.  My son took his first UA (urine analysis) since being out of rehab.  I think it was two days ago.  He has given permission for his case worker to give results to his dad.  No word yet. 

 Tick… Tock… Tick… Tock…

NIMBY

Or in this case “NIMFY” (Not in my front yard) or “NOMS” (Not on my street)! 

I got home from choir practice tonight to find Dan’s car parked out in front of my house with him and five of his “old” friends sitting in it.  I recognized those faces.  And the scene seriously triggered panic in my soul.  I texted him “I thought you weren’t going to hang out with those people anymore and WHY ARE YOU SITTING IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE?”  Anyway, he went back to his dad’s and called me (at my request) to talk about it.

I said, “You might not remember much about the last six months but I remember everything.  I love you and I want you to be well.  If you are going to break your own rule and associate with those people, do not do it in front of my house please.”  He apologized.  Said he is fine.  My stomach is nauseous and I’m still awake at 11:45PM.  So easily disturbed, I am.

(I wish I was the ocean.)