Category Archives: The Ongoing Story

One mom talking it out.

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.

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!

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?

“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.

“Hello. Please arrest my son”

This is the phone call I have to make.  And yet I am hesitant.

Dan broke into my house again.  What we think he does is, he comes in the house when i’m not home (but his younger siblings are) and he says he needs to quickly use the bathroom or make a phone call.  When in that part of the house, he quickly unlocks a window.  Then, when no one is home, he comes in the window.  We could have sworn that everything was locked.  But today, during a two-hour window when no one was home, Dan got in our house and stole his brother’s ipod touch — the gift I bought Al for all his hard work staying clean, going to school, and holding a steady job.  THEN, Dan called a mutual friend and said, “Call Al and find out his password for his ipod.”  We found out that you can’t pawn an I-Touch without the password to unlock it.

How did he get in?  We were so confused.  We had checked every window a couple of days before and none of us had opened any since.  Then Al checked the bathroom.  Despite the fact that his razor was on the window and several items looked undisturbed on the windowsill, the window was unlocked.  That must have been his route.  CRAP.

I cannot take it anymore.  I have to report him.  I have not wanted to.  You might recall Dan is in a diversion program through the court because of a felony charge for giving heroin to his brother.  So turning him in puts that charge on his record permanently.  I know, I know that he has to face his own consequences.  It is very hard, though, as a mom to set this all into play.  I will.  But I might do it tomorrow.  I feel so scared for him.  I wish it didn’t have to be me.

God bless you all and your families and your children.    ~Kay

I Hugged My Boy Today!

Well, “Boy” of course is a relative term. He’s so tall. But I was at a local shopping center and there was Dan. Gosh, he was filthy. But he smiled and gave me a great big hug. That made me very glad. I told him that I would be home tomorrow, and that if he wanted to come by the house to take a shower, I’d run his clothes through the washing machine and make him a meal. He said yes, he’d like that (we’ll see). He asked if his friend could come but I had to say no. I’ve known that particular friend for a long time and don’t trust him for a minute. (I love him, but I don’t trust him, you know?)

That was a gift. It’s funny because I ran into all kinds of interruptions trying to get to the store. Perhaps there was a reason. A little Angel bringing me and Dan together for a few good moments between mother and son. Thanks, God!

One Man’s Journey

So my son’s life is his journey.  In don’t know his purpose.  I don’t know God’s plan for him — the details I mean.  Here I am awake at almost 1AM.  Can’t help it.  Can’t sleep.  He’s out there somewhere.   But I’m praying to let it go.  Because I don’t know his journey, his purpose, God’s plan.  There are so many possibilities.  Just as Jesus went to his death to give us life, so perhaps my son walks a death path to provide something that I cannot imagine … somehow.  If he comes out of it, he might save others with his testimony.  Or, among his drug-user friends, he might say something that turns someone else around.  Or his example stops others from going to drugs.  I have to find meaning in what feels meaningless.  And only God can provide that.

I have so much to say and yet so little.  My heart is breaking and I’m numb.  I know what’s right and think that nothing is right.  I miss my son and hope he stays away and I want him home.  Yep.  One big bundle of everything. 

Tomorrow, I will take a walk in the sun and live fully.  It’s the only real choice.

God bless.