Sunday, March 18, 2012

1st Visit yesterday

We got to go see my son on a first visit yesterday. It was a wonderful afternoon and so great to see him clean! Both off drugs and literally clean, clean hair and clothes.  His attitude is great. He is all about following the rules of the program with the utmost respect for why the rules are in place. He was appreciative of us visiting and for the things we brought him. He has gained 20lbs already in 3 weeks - he was very underweight upon entering and already looking so much healthier. My hope for him grows stronger every day he stays there.

Myself, dad, girlfriend and sister all went for the visit. Eventually we will be allowed to take him out for a few hours but for now he still isn't allowed to leave yet. We packed up a picnic lunch and all ate in the dining room at the house together. My son toured us all around the areas of the house we were allowed to go in. It was so great to see this amazing house and program in action.

I was awed by the house and program. It houses around 100 men and is a 6 month program. They are helping my son with all areas of his life and it is about rebuilding lives destroyed by addiction and helping them re-enter society as productive individuals upon completion. The entire program is possible by donations. Donated money, donated clothing, donated food. It amazing to know there are so many businesses, individuals and organizations providing those donations that care about those suffering from addiction. The house itself is amazing - a huge beautiful old mansion. It was great for me to see where he is. My son is already getting medical attention for his Hep C which made me happy to hear. They take him to any needed appointments to help rebuild his life. He has an in house job of cleaning bathrooms. The daily schedule is full of groups and meetings. They are busy from sunrise to sleep.

He told us how when he left there in October after his 4 day stint,  he left all his things behind. When he came this time there are random guys wearing his clothes! That cracked me up as really funny as he described walking down the hall and here comes some guy in your t-shirt. What gets left behind gets put right back into the donated clothes. He was able to retrieve a few of his things but he was laughing telling us the story and that was nice.

He also told us a story about a new guy that came and how he only had one pair of shoes. My son wanted to help him out so he gave him a pair of boots he had gotten out of the donation bin. He started to get attached to the guy, thought he was someone he could be friends with. He joked that if he left to not take the boots with him and they better be outside his door. The guy left, with the boots. He said he understands now  why some of the guys who have been there a while don't get too close to the new ones coming in.

I just can't get over how amazing the program is and how fortunate he is to be there. The turnover is shocking how many run after waiting months and months to get in. A board by the entrance showed around 10 names of residents that had just left in the last couple of days. I felt sad for them. I know his name was there back in October and am so grateful he wants to be there today. He told us over and over he wants to stay this time and he is really glad he is there. I feel so grateful today his name was not on that board.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

An Addict In Our Son’s Bedroom: Parents and Recovery

While reading some of my other parents blog sites this morning I came across Dad & Mom's post that seems very important for me to keep in mind with my son in early recovery!! Thank you Ron!! I am re-posting here I hope you don't mind. I particularly love the "Believe" point.

An Addict In Our Son’s Bedroom: Parents and Recovery:

Here is the bullet points for us parents to keep in mind.

  • Recovery is hard. Sometimes they need a hand, make sure your hand is out for them to grasp when needed. But, don’t hold on too long.
  • Addicts dig deep holes for themselves. Contrary to what you may think filling the hole is faster when only one person has a shovel. If you help to shovel it will take longer to fill the hole.
  • Forgiveness is for me. The sooner I understand the faster I heal.
  • “Believe” or “doubt”. I choose believe. Have you ever had someone tell you that they believe in you?
  • Normal is right. “Fragile, Handle with Care” is not stamped in big red letters on a child in recovery. To stop using means they want a normal life again.
  • I love you. That is a reassurance we ALL need.
  • Nagging, suspicious looks and reminders of past mistakes really irritate me. Addicts in recovery probably don’t need them either.
  • His recovery is his to manage. I know that for the last seven years he hasn’t been able to manage ANYTHING. But, we all have to learn and begin someplace.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Excited! However...

Things seem to be going well with my son in his program...really well. He seems to be grateful to be there, he is following all the rules and truly beginning his recovery. YYYYEEAAAHHH!!!

Phone privileges are very limited..he can only call long distance twice a week which means he has called his girlfriend. I get that! As long as someone is hearing from him that means he is there. He gets visitors this weekend and told his girlfriend he knows we want to come and hope we will bring her. So we are planning a visit. Myself, Dad, sister & his girlfriend.

I have dreamed of visiting my son in rehab for years...I am so excited! The hopelessness I have felt over the last couple years has begun to be replaced with real hope for my sons recovery. Is this really happening!?!

However, I am being careful in all my new-found hope not to set myself up for disappointment and devastation. I know he has a long road ahead. I know we all do. I know this is his journey. I also know that it is also the journey of the family as addiction has engulfed us all in it's evil ways and addiction really is a family disease. Now we enter a new phase of learning this is his recovery and to let him learn how to do this on his own as well. We also have new things to learn.

Today I am going to feel the joy of a son in recovery instead of addicted and homeless on the street.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Birthday Friday

Friday was my son's Birthday so I called the rehab in the morning and left a message just saying tell him Happy Birthday knowing I couldn't actually talk to him. To my surprise my son called me about an hour later. He still doesn't have phone privileges but they bent the rules since it was his Birthday. It was soooo great to talk to him! He said he is happy and doing great and so glad he is there. I asked him if I could drop a few things off for him and he said ciggs and candy bars would be great. They give them 3 ciggs a day and he would love more - if it wasn't too much trouble otherwise no problem waiting until we can visit in a couple of weeks. He said he got a few clothing items from a donation bin so he has some shoes and shirts and was really excited about that. He virtually went in with the clothes on his back. He said they took him to the DMV to get an ID again as he hasn't had one in probably over a year and they even paid the $10 DMV fee for him. He told me checked in at 161lbs and already weighs 173lbs! He was very skinny and malnourished upon check in day.

He sounded so grateful for everything about the program. That chip that addict used to carry around on his shoulder is gone..what a pleasure it was to hear this new found attitude!!! To have a peek into of who he is, shine through after years of a crappy attitude when using, when the whole world was out to get him, was wonderful thing for this mom.

Dad and I decided we would get him some new socks, underwear, smokes & candy and I would drop them off. Although it was completely out of the way,  I am so glad I did it myself as I got to see the place he is in. Wow - it's pretty amazing. It's a state/city/donation funded program in an old mansion with an amazing staff. No wonder the waiting list is so long. I felt so grateful that he was given a spot there - twice. As I walked up the first thing I noticed was a sign saying "Today is the first day of the rest of your life". Nice!!

I was fully prepared to just drop off the bag when a counselor came down to get it and decided since it was his Birthday he would call him down real quick. They called him over a PA system and pulled him right out of a meeting and next thing I knew my boy was in my arms. That hug felt so great. He already looks so much better. Healthier, clean and filling out and in his donated clothes. He was very grateful, humble and I could tell he is all about following all the rules and really invested in his recovery.

He was a bit startled by being pulled out of his meeting as I couldn't tell him I was coming but he was smiling and very happy to see me. He did seem tired or a bit spacey or something I can't adequetly describe (not high!), but it gave me a stupid scary thought that somehow he has just destroyed his mind with all the years of drug use and he may not ever be the same again, ugh. I felt a little pit in my stomach and thought he is ruined. He may not ever recover to a healthy mind again. I need to not over-think it - this is very early - only 11 days clean after years of substance abuse and 3 years of hardcore heroin addiction and and I guess it will take time. More then likely it is the Methadone and as they adjust and plan for the proper dose early on, he may just seem a bit spacey and that's okay too. I believe in my heart that the Methadone is what is enabling him to stay this time and begin recovery so I am in full support of it and glad his recovery house supports it.

I was very happy to hug my boy on his Birthday and get to see where he is.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


A huge victory to report..

He is still there!

One day at a time - I know!

Why is 10 days huge? He's only ever stayed 4 days. So one day at a time, I am going to enjoy the fact that my son is clean today and each day that passes is another victory.

He is not past his orientation period and still doesn't have phone privileges..soooo he had a new friend from there call me to tell me he is there, doing well and he loves us.

His friend told me he is ready, he isn't going anywhere..and added some humor to tell me he'd put him in a headlock if he tries to leave.

The whole conversation had me grinning ear to ear.

I can't wait to be able to talk to him and get a first visit in...I have dreamed for so long what it will be like to see my son clean, healthy and well.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

He made it to rehab emotionally exhausting day

My son entered the 6 month residential rehab yesterday. Yeah. Whew. I drove him. Then I spent the day crying. I don't even know why.

I invited him home Sunday and decided to let him stay the night to take him to check in in the morning, he was grateful. I cooked a nice meal and our immediate family was there to support him. His clean and sober girlfriend joined us as well and I let her stay the night. It all went very well. He was somber. It wasn't some joyous celebration. Just some close time together to let my son know he is loved and supported when it comes to recovery.

His clothes were so dirty and yet he didn't wash them - he just didn't care. As if the filth would remind him of his nightmare as he entered rehab. His dad had me give him a few pairs of his clean socks to take and I gave him a few packs of smokes. He was appreciative. His hand was swollen from an injection site gone wrong. He looked bad. He smelled really bad. Even after a shower the smell wouldn't go away. I drove him to the city with the windows down for 2 hours. I reminded him he promised to give consent for me to get information this time and again how hard it was for me last time went he went missing. He agreed again and assured me he would. He also assured me he wasn't leaving this time. We said little on the way. I mentioned his 29th Birthday would be next week before his 14 day no contact period is up and I guess I wouldn't get to call him on his bday. He responded so down that - yeap 29 years old and look where he is. Heroin has him so beaten down.

I walked him in, hugged him goodbye and he reassured me again he would be calling me in 14 days when he has earned his phone privileges and he is not leaving, he is ready. I choked out the words - I never stopped believing in you. I got in my car and drove away and that is when the tears started.

I cried for the relief I wanted so bad to feel - yet wouldn't let myself feel it completely.

I cried for the hope I want to feel - yet I'm so afraid to hope.

I cried for how bad he smelled, how bad he looks. I cried for the loss of the son I had imagined he'd grow up to be. I cried for the hope that maybe he could still be that son.

All day images were flashing through my mind endlessly..back and forth. The little boy on the skateboard. The junkie on the street. Back and forth. The little boy in the little league uniform. The long stringy hair. The little boy with the Lego cities, the swollen hand.

It's been a long time since I have had a day like that. I came home from work and lay down on my bed exhausted and cried some more. I don't think I'm done yet. I can still feel the choking of the tears as if the past 24 hours has created some sort of post traumatic stress disorder.

Maybe it was time I let the tears come. And today I think I will allow myself to hope a little. After all - my son has entered rehab yesterday and that is an amazing thing to be hopeful for. And maybe there is a chance he will make it this time...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hope without insanity

I'm not sure it's possible for me but I'm going to give it my best shot!

The long term (6 months) residential rehab bed came through!
(Thank you God and all my readers for your prayers).

His date is Monday..4 days to go.

He is going to come out Sunday to hang with us, BBQ and visit before he goes in. I invited his clean and sober girlfriend over to visit as well. She is doing great, at home with her parents, going to meetings and hoping my son finds his way while not being with him.

I am wrestling with keeping him Sunday night and driving him there Monday morning..I may need to do it to keep myself sane. I feel a renewed hope but don't want to make myself crazy EXPECTING him to actually do this. Praying it is really time. Praying he is really ready. Trying not to get caught on that roller coaster of hope and tragic disappointment.

His past record for detoxes and his one attempt at this same rehab is only 4 short days. I am hopeful he makes it this time.