I believe in the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you. Love they neighbor. Be Jesus to the world. But can I help everyone who asks? Can anyone? The situation in my old neighborhood challenges me – and moreso my ex – to ponder this.
When my boys used heroin, it wasn’t just them. Almost their whole group of friends (not the girls as far as I know, but the guys) became addicts. I can easily name eight of them … maybe ten. And it probably reaches further than that. We’re talking about a middle- to upper-income suburban community; the place where people move to get away from this stuff. But I digress.
Recently, my ex came home from work to hear a phone message from the mother of one of my son’s childhood friends. This young man is now in the court system for charges stemming from his drug use. The mom has seen how well my son, Dan, is doing, and she asked my ex if he would be willing to meet with her to talk about it all.
Here’s the thing: This young man has been trouble with a capital “T” ever since we first met him (which was when the boys started kindergarten). He was in the court system before they were out of middle school … before any of these kids were using drugs of any kind. And the family has always had a reason why the things he did were not his fault. There is a deep root of co-dependency there beyond what either me or my ex feel able to step into.
So my heart aches for these people, but I’m going to be honest: I pray for this young man and his whole family but if I did not ever see them again, and if my boys did not ever know this young man in their lives again, I would be fine with that. I feel heartless! I’m not heartless … I’m just a little bit afraid. I’ve been lied to by this boy way too many times – before heroin and after. And they’d all have to show me that they are honestly and wholeheartedly working a serious recovery before I could reach out in any way. My ex feels the same. And yet we struggle with the decision to stay detached from them because we know how important it’s been for us to have people give Dan a chance, you know? I guess it’s all in God’s hands.
Heroin. Addiction. Lord knows it’s a communty affair.
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
Yes, it’s one day at a time. And I gave much thanks yesterday, when Al called me and said, “I want to detox and get clean!”
I’m far away, but I helped by getting him a few phone numbers and encouraging him to call his dad. His dad agreed to drive him to wherever he wanted to go, but told him that he (Al) had to make the calls and decide where he would be going.
His first choice (the rehab he went through in December) was full, and his second choice didn’t find him eligible for their particular program. His third choice was a publicly funded detox center. Not the nicest place, but he chose it anyway. To me, that was a good sign.
He called and said, “I’m entering the facility, and I love you.” One day at a time. This was a good one!
I am watching the movie “Ghandi.” He is teaching about refusing to participate in that which is wrong, but also not adding to the wrong by attack. Only standing up for right in a nonviolent manner. In this way, those in the wrong are faced with their own brutality.
Is this similar to our role as families of addicts? Is it that, by refusing to accept heroin into our lives and homes, while not behaving toward the addict with anger or shame, but while drawing a clear and firm line against the drug or its use, we put them face to face with their own self-violence, and then the choice is theirs. Just thinking about this …..
Take a look at this story: http://www.opposingviews.com/articles/news-britain-gives-heroin-to-addicts-crime-falls-should-u-s-follow. If a government gives heroin addicts drugs for free, there is less crime. Sometimes the ends don’t justify the means. Wouldn’t the money be better spent on recovery programs? Should the government take the roll of feeding addictions?
As a parent, when you first discover something like your teen using heroin, of course you look for the most immediate solution. The boys said, “Suboxone.” It’s what everyone is taking — a prescription drug that stops the heroin cravings. That was the first thing I knew about it. No more methadone clinics for modern addicts. That rang sweet in my ears, since I have memories of seeing the addicts heading to the methadone clinics in the city where I grew up. Not a pretty picture in my mind.
Early last Easter morning, after visiting the police station and both boys allowed to leave in my custody, we headed to the emergency room. That’s a story in itself; but for this conversation the relevant point is that the psych evaluators gave me a list of doctors who are licensed suboxone prescribers. So we went with it.
Suboxone seems to be a successful alternative for Allen. It did not work for Danny. He took a high level of Subo (I guess that’s the short name) — 16 milligrams a day (in comparison, Allen takes 6 milligrams a day total). Dan relapsed after two months. More recently, he told me that after taking that level of Suboxone, he had built up a tolerance for the heroin. This means that when he went back to heroin, he needed more of it.
What I’m saying is that now, I realize Suboxone is controversial. I’ve visited some online conversations of addicts in recovery and they are divided over whether it makes sense to use this substitute drug. Some like it and say it’s helped them. Some say no, don’t go there; full sobriety is the only way.
I don’t know the answer. But I’m up for hearing from others. What do you think?