Category Archives: Recovery

Letting It All Out

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!

Prayers Tonight (this morning)

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.

The Circle Game

Anyone remember this song that Joni Mitchell sang?  “Years spin by and now the boy is twenty. though his dreams have lost some gradeur coming true…There’ll be new dreams – there’ll be better dreams, and plenty, before his last revolving year is through.”

Yes, the years are spinning by.  And I’m so grateful!  One boy is 19 and one boy is 21.  And while their dreams might have lost some grandeur compared to those earlier, more innocent years of their lives, they are dreaming still.  So grateful.

Since I’ve neglected this page for awhile, here’s an update:  Dan is a manager now with the food chain he’s been working for.  He works too many hours, and contemplates backing out of the job for that reason, but he’s not rushing his decision about it (which in itself is a major sign of maturity).  He looks so great and I wish I could post his picture here because he’s such a strong and handsome young man! 

Al is doing well too.  He’s out of his halfway house and he’s living with a girl.  I guess they’re not supposed to enter relationships so quickly (especially with someone else in recovery) but the two of them have made this decision.  They attend meetings together and he helps her family with various chores and child care, and they’re helping him find work in the town he’s settled into.  He’s very active in the recovery community and contacts me regularly.  So…while I still have those occasional nights when I wake up with a heart of worry about him, I think he’s doing well.

My daughter has friends now, and a car, and we’re going to visit colleges this summer!  Wow…my youngest has only one more year in high school.

I’m enjoying my nonprofit job, and getting along much better with my boss.  So gratitude is the attitude of the day.  And here’s the best thing:  “Addict” is not the first thing I think of when I think of my boys now.  I never thought this day would come.  I know that we could find ourselves back in that someday.  But right now, “there are new dreams, there are better dreams – and plenty…”  God bless you all.

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, Pt. II

Update:  Al is hoping to be accepted into a sober living facility in either Kansas or Nebraska!  He is choosing not to try to come here or go back to Colorado.  If he accomplishes this, I will call it Check Mate and declare him a winner in this round.  God opens the doors, but we each have to walk through onto new paths.  And the boy is walking.  Amen!

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.

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.

“Normal Teen Behavior”

I bring my daughter to a counselor awhile back, and we all talk together, and the counselor says, “It sounds like she’s exhibiting normal teen behavior.  She just wants to be treated like a normal teen.”  I say, “Her two older siblings both exhibited what I thought was ‘normal teen behavior’ — they both tried heroin and one is an addict.  How am I supposed to have a clue about what is ‘normal’?”  The counselor paused.  She looked at me and nodded.  

 
Technology alone has made my kids’ teen years very different from mine.  But let’s think about it.  Some level of isolation is normal for a teen.  Moodiness, wanting to sleep late, wanting a lot of time with friends, becoming more private, less social with family … all “normal teen behavior.”

Honestly, at some point I knew my boys’ behaviors had breached the “normal” boundary.  But I didn’t know when it happened.  It snuck up on me.  I don’t want that to happen with my daughter.  

I’m moving her across the country to be near my family.  Four weeks from now we hit the road.  She wants this.  She cried out for this.  Her dad is furious.  He says I’m ending his relationship with her.  I said he had fifteen years to create a relationship with her.  I’m trying to give her a couple of “normal teenage years” before it’s too late.  It’s the best choice I see right now.  And that’s all I can do — make the best choice that I see right now. 

God Bless.

Moving Forward/Letting Go

Maybe this is it.  Dan came over last night.  He looked good.  i didn’t see any marks on his arms.  (I know  you can smoke heroin but I also know that his preferred method of use is the needle).   I gave him his Christmas gifts. 

It was an awkward visit.  We’re both trying not to have his addiction be the center of every conversation.  And yet, until he gets his life going, there’s not much else to say.   So we talked about his recovery: he is wondering what to do with himself since he cannot go back to his old circle of friends; he will start job searching; he is still journaling about his experience; he hopes to get an apartment in a few months — ready to move forward away from his parents at this point.

Positive:  I told him I was trying to get through to a program where they’d give him suboxone (a drug that settles the cravings).  He asked me to give him the number, and said he would make the calls.  That’s a big step in my mind — that he is ready to take the responsibility for his own recovery to that extent.  Heck.  He’ll be 20 in a couple of months.  Mama is learning to let go.