Sunday, October 9, 2011

Whirlwind of positive changes

The last month and a half has been a crazy whirlwind of life changes. All changes for the better. New house, new job and so much more.

My son finally got his bed at the residential recovery program - he is now in rehab for the first time ever. He checked in last Tuesday morning. It is a six to twelve month residential rehab which is exactly what he needs after 2 years of living on the street as an active heroin addict. His girlfriend is also in the same program although not in the same location. She has been there one whole month already and sounding very positive about life and a future.

The month preceding his check in date was..well interesting.

Labor day weekend was my daughter's wedding. After a year of her & I going in circles about what to do about having her brother at the wedding, everything seemed to fall perfectly into place if not a bit bumpy getting to the weekends arrival. My son had come out of detox and we had him come home on Friday of the wedding weekend. It was the first time I'd had him home in over a year.

His girlfriend's parents had brought her home a few weeks before to wait for her date and she was due to go in to her program 2 days after the wedding so we picked her up and brought her to the wedding weekend with us. It warmed my heart to see her looking so much healthier, filling out, healed and healing, smiling, happy.

The wedding was the most wonderful magical weekend was so amazing to be around all of the family and to have both my son and his girlfriend there and a part of it. I believe that weekend was a big turning point for my son. He was very open and honest with everyone at the wedding about what the last couple years has been, openly telling everyone that he is waiting for his bed in rehab and is getting a chance at recovery.

The few weeks following the wedding were less then perfect, but I made a decision with my husbands agreement to bring him home to wait for his bed. That month was filled at times with joy of spending true quality time with my son that I had barely seen only occasionally the last couple of years. At other times filled with the chaos of addiction. There was about two wonderful weeks and I will cherish those. There was some raw honesty from him. Some stories and details I could have lived without knowing. There was some amends. There was a lot of gratitude from him.

He had done everything on his own to get this rehab. Nothing was done by us. He was ready. After six weeks of courts, counselling, case managers, community health center appointments etc, he was finally given the date.

And then he went missing.

The day he was given the date - his date was one week away - he never came home. The week was filled with worry for me but it is what addicts do. He went back to using, back to the street one last run. I knew what happened but I couldn't resist calling jail, calling the hospital to see if he overdosed.

After five days he came back home at 3am last Friday night. Dope sick all weekend we were only 3 days away. We kept him again and counted the days. Monday night I came home from work and he was missing again. He rode up on a bike a while later in the pouring rain and told me he went on a little bike ride. Seriously? He spent that last night here before check in the next morning high as a kite. We were 12 hours away from check in. There didn't seem like much of a point of drug testing him or having a big confrontation about it.

The next morning my husband made me laugh when  he called it "Operation get him the F@%^ in there" .
He was able to take the morning off work to get our son checked in. The rehab he is in caters to homeless addicted people and I know they allow detox there. My son called me on the way, expressed gratitude for us helping him get there - that he would have never made it if we hadn't of helped and he would have had to stay on the street waiting.

The first two weeks is a no contact period of orientation so I don't expect to hear from him for a while. He wanted this, he knows it may be his only way out of the life he has been living. He knows it was over and he couldn't go on. He did all the footwork himself to make it happen.

Today I will hope for the best that he takes what has been given to him and can finally begin recovery. I will also prepare myself for the worst - that he can walk out, that many don't make it on the first try. Today I will be grateful that HE has found HIS way to recovery.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My f'd up roller coaster

Since Monday I have tried my best to let go. I am getting better. Turned him over to my higher power. Focus on my life. I am still riding the roller coaster but the peaks and valleys are not as high and low as they were last year when he attempted recovery.

Yesterday morning I got at text from him. It said - I'm at orientation for the long term rehab, I got in. Call me later, too much to text.

I immediately burst into tears of relief and went straight into my codependency role again. I text back - that's the best news ever..when do you go in? Do you have to wait for a bed? My mind was spinning out of control. Surely they wouldn't send a few day clean homeless heroin addict back to the street to call when a bed is available.

He text back - Whoa mom slow down! Not in yet, just accepted in. I'm eager too. I'll let you know when I know.

And yes - he spent the entire day there doing some orientation and he went back to the streets to wait. I still don't know when he will actually go. He told his sister it could be as soon as Monday next week. He has a case manager that is helping him navigate it all through some behavioral health center that he sought out himself. He was hoping to go to a shelter last night. He hadn't slept and wasn't able to get in a shelter the night before.

My head is still spinning. The mother in me wants to go get him and bring him here to protect him from the streets and the drug dealers until he can check into to the rehab. The recovery in me knows he has to figure it all out. I'm not going to get him. At least not yet.

Today I will wait and hope and do nothing. This is his to figure out. It is not good for me to think I should get involved - and not good for him either.

Monday, August 22, 2011

to be continued..

Yesterday afternoon my son called his little sister with the same resolve and determination he'd been expressing for the last few days. We have all been feeling so hopeful. He sounded really sick she said..this is a good thing as heroin withdrawal is horrible and being sick is the first miserable step to getting healthy.

Our family spent the afternoon gathering his personal mementos from our previous residence - something I had previously firmly decided I would not do, that it was his stuff and he needed to handle it. In light of the recent developments we all felt compelled to handle this for him.

We got home from another day of moving things (mostly his things), ate dinner and I decided I would call him at the detox and see how he is feeling, full of this renewed hope.

The call went like this - Me:  "Hi, may I speak to J please?" Voice on phone: "He left."

Shock, (why?) silence (speechless) Me: "huh?" Voice on phone: "He left"

Stunned I hung up. I called back again to find out what happened, my denial voice telling me it must be a mistake, he must be talking about the wrong person or something. No details - just "Yeah he left an hour ago. His time was up tomorrow anyway." My mind was reeling - his time was up tomorrow? what about that extension? The streets are no place for a 4 day clean heroin addict.

I called his phone - no answer. I text - you left? He called me back to explain in that familiar addict kind of way - there was someone saying her things were stolen so our whole block got kicked out. Huh? They told me you just left? blah blah blah addict speak blah a shelter, still going to intake for long term program tomorrow  blah blah, detox gave him certificate of completion so he's good to go for the other program, addict ramble, addict ramble.

He did not sound sick, he sounded...happy.

I hung up and pondered the day - how we all jumped into to help again with something we had decided we weren't going to do - moving his stuff that had been at my house for 2 years while he had little concern for any of it. At times I feel like I am like a little puppet on a string - how quickly I relapse into my codependent behaviour without even recognizing it for what it is.

I am disappointed in myself for allowing myself to go to such high levels of hope again. That I got back on that roller coaster of emotion of hope and disappointment. That I spent my afternoon doing for him what he should have been doing for himself when what I had wanted to do yesterday was drop a fishing pole off the dock in my backyard and relax after two straight weekends of moving.

I'm moving on and letting go again. Still harboring hope (denial?) that somehow this may all still work out. That they will miraculously take him in the program (if he used last night I doubt it), that maybe he was telling the truth (unlikely), that maybe he just wanted one last time before that long term commitment and today he will be ready.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What a difference a year can make

One year of homelessness, running the streets, stealing for a living, being arrested constantly, getting the cops called on him daily when the daily hotel rent is due and having to relocate every day.

My son called yesterday us from detox. He is doing this. He is sick, he is tired and he is ready for recovery. He has been in for only two days and has arranged a van ride to a rehab for an intake appointment to a long term residential program on Monday. This would be a great time for his higher power to make that bed available!! Please God - a begging mom here : ) This is the first time he wants to go to rehab. He is at a detox ran by St. Vincent De Paul and is utilizing all the help they are providing.

He sounded humble. He sounded sick. He sounded confused but determined. He said he is too sick to figure it all out right now but the place he is in is helping him put a plan together.

We asked him how the food is there and he replied its a lot better then jail food.

He explained that one year ago, when he checked in this very same detox, everything seemed awful, dirty and it was a culture shock to be in a place like this. Today he is grateful for a bed, food and help after a year of hard living on the streets how he fits in there now. He laughed about scheduled smoke breaks and said last year he was annoyed that he couldn't smoke when he wanted, now he is glad he can smoke at all. Last year he argued he didn't want to be at any recovery center that is religious based - yesterday he sounded so grateful for their services.

He said he was so relieved that his girlfriend is going into inpatient, that they were so stuck together. If one of them wanted to stop using, and go for help, they felt they were abandoning the other - a cycle they couldn't figure out how to stop. He said they got very serious about making a change over the last weeks and knew they both had to do it. When she called her parents and he assured her he would get help too.

Unfortunately he found out this detox is only a 4 day detox and he thought it was 7 (I found that out myself when I looked it up online so I know he is being truthful) and he is already set to be released on Monday. His counselor or case manager is trying to get him an additional 4 day extension. He is due to be in court Friday and he is hoping to courts will let him go to rehab and that the residential program will have a spot for him.

I am asking myself if I should step in and "help" navigate all of this, or go to court with him etc, but I know this will work out best if HE figures it all out with the help of the people at the programs. I don't know what the next days will bring.

He did bring up the wedding and was so sorry that he probably will miss his little sisters wedding but he knows he has to get in the residential program - that is the way to a life of recovery. I quickly reminded him that his life and future is much more important and lets just not think about it today - one day at a time. His dad told him that him being in rehab is the best wedding gift he could give his sister.

I'm still keeping myself in today as best as I can, trying not to project and worry if it will all work out. Today I do have a renewed hope for my son and a situation that had felt so hopeless.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

He is IN, and my far fetched fantasy

I'm not sure my son ever actually went into detox after he called me Sunday evening - however he is IN detox at the moment. He called his sister and asked her to bring him ciggs to the detox, which she did last night. He is sick and making his attempt at getting clean. I know he has a rough road ahead if he stays and follows through. I cringe at the thought of him dope sick and know how hard it will be for him for the next few days. there is nothing nice about heroin withdrawal but if he really wants this he will make it through.

I am taking this one hour at a time, hopeful he makes it this time. I know he can walk out and go right back to the streets with one single desperate addict thought and just like that it can be over. A mothers heart never stops hoping and I do believe he can do this. And circumstances have changed with the separation from his girlfriend. I'm still staying out of it.

Girlfriend called me to tell me he is in two nights ago- she is waiting for her spot in a long term residential inpatient facility referred by the courts. She is safe at home with her parents, sounded determined to do this. She is dope sick but she says it's starting to get better. She will wait possibly a few days to a month for her spot - she really hopes its days and not a month but she sounded like she really wants this and wants recovery. She hopes they allow her a very long term residential program because she knows that what she needs. I love her and hope so much this all works out for her and she gets the help she needs.

Now here is my fantasy dream outcome - (I am trying not to want as bad as I do because I am so afraid I'm setting myself up for disappointment)  -That he makes it the full 10 days with a true desire for recovery - this would be 3 days from the wedding, Then I bring him home for the first time in 2 years, clean, sober, and have my son back for the wedding. That's as far as I'm letting my mind go and perhaps I shouldn't be going there at all but I can't stop it.

Please don't beat me up for my hopes and dreams - I know it may be unrealistic but it a dream I so desperately desire that I want to believe it is at least possible. This is the first time in a full year that anything is finally moving in the right direction.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


For the few of you wondering where I've been, my personal life has been filled with crazy major life changes over the last month. I have moved from my home and town of 15 years, my husband started a new job and I have been offered a new job. In addition, my daughter is getting married in two short weeks so I have tried to keep her wedding at the center of my thoughts and attention regardless of everything else going on. This has all kept me very distracted from what is happening with my addicted son. Anytime I am dealing with my own life and not obsessed with his is a good thing for me.

However there has been some waters being stirred with my son and his addicted girlfriend. Sunday evening my son called me from outside of a detox. I have waited over a year for this phone call. He informed me that he is done, can't do it anymore etc etc. He informed me he was checking in. He and girlfriend agreed it was time. She called her parents, who have been totally absent from her life, and they picked her up from the city. She has options through the court and they are trying to get her to inpatient treatment. The courts referred her yesterday and she has an intake appointment Friday. Pray for her that she will be getting the help she so desperately needs. The simple fact that she has now been removed from their situation and will be in rehab is huge! I know that together they are a lethal toxic combination of addiction and codependency. Also this is the first time detox was initiated by him - not us urging him, directing him and driving him there.

When he called, I wanted to cry this huge sobbing relief - this is it, it's over, I'm going to have my son back. I know through my recovery to stay in the moment. I was so afraid to hope to much - he never has made it past a few days in detox - they are typically 7-10 days and his pattern has been to walk out after 2-3. Because it has been a full year since his last attempt, and the girlfriend is out of the picture I hoped this time he would make it. Monday evening he called again and started rambling that he never got in last night but he checked in at 6am Monday morning. I could tell he was high and not sick at all but I figured he probably used heroin up until the moment he checked in. Red flags were flying everywhere in my mind. I only have a minute because I'm not supposed to have this phone. (breaking the rules the first day?) He wants to try to go to a different detox in the county where I live because he thinks the treatment options are better. (uh oh - the treatment options are abundant in the city he is in -not so much out here - and does this mean he is trying to rope me in somehow?? Please don't ask to stay with me while you wait for a bed!!)

My personal recovery around his addiction also has taught me this is his problem - he needs to figure it out. I can't dictate where he goes or what he does. I can only keep my boundaries in tact so I don't get sucked into addiction chaos and manipulation. So I listened to the addiction ramble of the addicted messed up mind of my son, and just said things like - oh, ok, good luck, I love you, keep me posted. I didn't tell him what to do, I didn't offer to do anything. I am letting him figure it out - if he really wants this he will and him wanting it is the only way it is going to happen anyway. I wanted to say call me in 7 days when the drugs are out of your body and your mind is clearer but I didn't. If he needs helps finding a bed at long term treatment at that point I will be here to help him if he asks for my help but I am not volunteering it and he isn't asking - yet.

The next day I began to have some very cautious and guarded hope - is he really doing this? Is there a chance he will make it and come out clean and begin a new life of recovery? I wonder if he could get a one day pass from rehab and make it to the wedding? Will I get to re-unite with the son I know is in there that I have been grieving for the last 2 years?

.... by 3pm my daughter saw him posting things on Facebook. Instantly we knew he was already out of detox..ugh. Did he even ever check in? She messaged him and asked him why is he on Facebook when he was just in detox. He informed her he had been kicked out because of having the phone. He is supposedly now waiting for a bed to open at the one in my county. He says went to a counseling resource center yesterday and they may be providing a bed while he waits for a detox bed to open in the other county. I am wondering if he is waiting for his girlfriend to be settled in for treatment before he gets serious himself. Addicts are so hard to figure out.

Time will tell...keep him in your thoughts that he navigates he way to treatment..and that I stay sane and out of day at a time, one hour at a time. Thanks for all of your support..prayers for all of our addicted children.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hopeful..perhaps the tides are changing

Just a quick update this morning as I am feeling hopeful that things may be changing soon for my son and his girlfriend. After J's few days in jail a couple of weeks ago, his girlfriend was arrested for the first time and also just spent a few days in jail last weekend. Her case is being handled by an alternative court that deals mostly with homeless addicted souls. This court is apparently offering her inpatient rehab and for the first time in a long time I am feeling some hope for them.

I spoke with my son yesterday and he is encouraging her to go and take the help available to her. In the meantime he is trying to get all his court stuff sent to drug court and looking at an option to get help himself. Instead of trying to beat the system it sounds like he is much more humble now. They are so stuck and dependent on each other for survival. He has been much more in contact with us and his sister these last couple of weeks.

He continuously says he knows things have to change, they can't keep doing what they are doing - in fact he can't believe they have made it this long. He is going to be on some kind of drug probation and he knows he can't do it himself now and is hoping they both have a court ordered way to go to treatment at the same time.

If there was ever the time for doors to open in that direction - this may be it.

Please keep them in your prayers. I don't want to get ahead of myself but hope is a great thing.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Some peace, serenity and calmness has been how I'm feeling lately. I got to see my son on Father's day and all in all it felt so great to hug him and hug him and hug him - and watch him eat french fries.

My husband decided for Father's day he wanted to go in to the city and try to meet up with our son. I was cautious about the idea after the no show on mother's day but have missed him so much. I agreed that it was his day and if that's what he wanted to do we would go. I hoped that we could let go of expectations and just go plan a great day in the city whether the meeting up with our son happened or not.

Our daughter had invited her dad out fishing but he was determined to try to see our son, so we all headed to the city. Hubby insisted we pick up our son & his girlfriend at a designated corner of the horrid neighborhood they are staying in a hotel there. When we got to the corner, it was the only really disturbing trauma part of the day for me. Just driving into the area, the streets lined with homeless people in line at a food bank/church, laying on the sidewalks etc was a lot to process. As we sat waiting I scanned the street looking at one seedy horrid hotel after another and wondered which was the one my son is currently residing in, and it was hard not to feel a bit sick. Then, in typical addict fashion, a crisis ensued with a frantic call to my daughter's phone -he can't meet us now, there is a problem with hotel manager. He insisted we leave, that he didn't want us waiting there and he would meet up with us later.

So off we went to the tourist part of the city and tried to make the best of it and I wondered if we would see him at all. We wondered, we waited and to my surprise, son & girlfriend arrived about an hour later. Hugging my boy was an amazing feeling - regardless of the events of the last two years I love him and miss him so much. To my surprise, he looked - well - good. His face was shaved, his clothes were clean. It was hard not to notice the hole in his shoe with his toe poking out but I didn't let it bother me too much. His long hair was tucked under a beanie but when he took it off his hair was clean and maybe even trimmed? His girlfriend on the other hand looked worse then I've ever seen her and it made me sad for her. This girl has my heart and it is hard to imagine this is where her life has taken her as well. She was very very thin, her eyes seemed sunken in and what little was showing of her arms were scarred, bruised and scabbed with little sores. My sons arms were covered to his wrists so I can only imagine what his looked like under his sleeves.

We spent what felt like a "normal" family day being tourists. We laughed, we joked and we just spent time together. I didn't beg and plead for him to find recovery. We didn't even mention the circumstances we find ourselves in. We did let them know they are loved and we will be there to support them when they want to make a change. I was able to let him live his own life that day and it felt great. I did give him a packet with resources to find free healthcare, free meals etc in the city. As a mother, knowing he can find food or get medical assistance for an infected injection site makes ME feel better.

Harm reduction, accepting that it is what it is.

We ended the day with a meal at a fast food burger place and it sounds silly but it felt so great to watch them eat! We each ordered meals and he asked if it was ok if they got milkshakes too. They ate their burgers, milkshakes and fries and then he asked me if I wasn't eating my fries and could he have some. I gave him my fries and he ate those too. Then my husbands fries, then my daughters fries. 4 trays of empty french fry trays stacked in front of him later it felt so damn great to feed him those french fries.

He has expressed repeatedly that he knows he will be going to jail soon. I now know that he was arrested on possession of heroin charges a couple months ago and was just arrested and put in jail again for two days last week for a warrant on the possession charge. When I heard it was for possession my reaction was YAY! That's great news!! Crazy to be excited about my son being arrested for possession but it gives me hope that he will have a choice of finally maybe getting to rehab paid for by our state! Thanks to prop 36 I hope he is given that option over jail. My son has never been clean more then 10 days in his entire adult hope is for some mandated treatment of an extended length of time to clear some of the cobwebs from that addicted brain. I don't want to get ahead of myself because the last possession of heroin charge was just dropped for no reason but each one maybe gets him closer to the help he needs!

And for now - I am feeling peace today.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Time to save myself

This last couple weeks I have taken some important steps in my own recovery. I have spent so much energy worrying myself sick over what my addicted son is doing, how he is destroying his life and fearing for his death.

It suddenly hit me that his addiction could actually end up killing ME.

I have done all the right things in action in the past 18 months- stopped enabling, establishing boundaries, keeping very little contact etc, think before reacting etc but inside my head and my heart the obsession with his addiction continues to wreck me to my soul.

So I am taking some very real steps to save myself instead of him. I met with a doctor on got on anti-anxiety medication (It's not working yet!!!). I found a therapist and met with her this week as well. She has a major background in addiction and I think she will be very good for me and my recovery. She wants me to dive into my own recovery in some extreme ways that I am not sure I want to do  - 90 meetings in 90 days and even look into in patient co-dependent recovery - really?? I didn't even know there was such a thing! Rehab for codependents - who'd have thought?  Apparently my one Nar-anon meeting a week isn't enough to solve all my problems! So I guess I'll have to get myself to some Ala-non meetings too and she says online meetings count so it really is possible if I want to get better. It's clear she is going to make this about me and not my addicted son.

The thought of it is exhausting - I can make all kinds of excuses why I shouldn't do any of that but I keep asking myself if I really want to get better why not at least give some of her suggestions a try?

Last weekend I wrote about the potential silence from my son and dealing with the not knowing what he is doing or where he is. Since then both my husband and daughter have spoken to him and his addiction continues to drag him down to a such horrid self destructing life.

So now I know where he is. He is has been in the big city again for the last few months, living in the worst drug addicted crime ridden neighborhood where he fits right in and has access to all the drug dealers he needs. Him and his addicted codependent girlfriend are staying in a motel there. I have no idea how they get money to pay for motel rooms but chances are it is not through any legal means. It seems they no longer have her car - what a shock! I mentioned to my counselor that I suspected thats where they are and she seems to think it is a very comfy place to be a heroin addict. Between the needle exchange programs and the free meals at shelters and churches, I guess if you are going to be a homeless heroin addict this is the place to do it. She also stressed there is outreach on practically every corner there when he is ready for help it is readily available. This news also means he is not in the town I am working in now so that is somewhat of a relief. I wasn't sure how long it would be until I had a weak moment and would be tempted to go find him after work. On the flip side this is the same city my daughter works in and I hope she can stay strong and not get sucked into the chaos of his addiction again. It hurts me so much to see her hurt by her brothers addiction.

He told his sister he can't think past hour to hour, that he is just living in each day with no plans to end it. He doesn't want to see any of us because there is nothing to say and he is totally unable to follow through with any plans. He feels horrible about mothers day. He doesn't want to be a burden. He loathes what he is doing and feels guilt over all the hurt he has caused us - but he isn't ready to change it - this is what he wants to do. He said that he knows it is coming to an end soon that his choices are going to be taken away by his legal and criminal problems that are continuing to get worse. I could speculate that he continues to get arrested for petty thefts or worse and is failing to make any court appearances or following through with his current diversion program in criminal court in another county. Reading between the lines as they say, I would venture to guess there are warrants for his arrest.  I suppose it is only a matter of time before he is in jail soon. I pray next time it is longer then a few days.

In the meantime, I am going to do my best to continue to work on me. To free myself from the bondage of my obsessive worrying thoughts, the remove the overwhelming stress I carry around 24/7. I think I am ready to get myself well and learn how to live my life again and to experience the little joys life still offers instead of being consumed by darkness.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The silence and hope

Last summer my son made his only real attempt at sobriety and sadly it lasted only about a week or two. During the time I thought he was clean, I volunteered to go to court with him. He was facing a felony grand theft charge and still wanting to protect him from his own destruction and the consequences of his actions, I went to court with him to support him. I believed he was clean at the time. I let him spend the night at our home for the first time in many months so we could go to court together early the next morning. He had just moved into a sober living environment. It was very shortly after that we got the call from the house manager to tell us they found needles in his room and he was being kicked out. He tried to deny everything with conspiracy theories in typical addict bullshit. Part of me actually wanted to believe him but all the red flags were there even before that call. Right or wrong to go snooping,  I needed proof. I went into the room he had spent the night in at my house. I found a cigar box with needles. Were they left there from months before we kicked him out? No - that room had been cleared out of all drug paraphernalia. Did he really just shoot up heroin in my house the night before we went to court? The shock of it all sent me reeling again. Any denial I was trying to hold on to was swept away.

I picked up his journal - the one he has carried through it all, so dirty, even with blood stains on wore out dirty pages and a sticky note that said read at your own risk - and it was all right there. He had been lying and using again and even wrote about how he stole something from another department store the day before we were headed to court on the other charge. In all his crazy drug rambling writings there was this one little poem that said it all. I took a picture of it on my phone. From time to time I read it. It gives me hope. It says it all.

Tons of remorse
Yet I don't repent
With fleeting curiosity
Wonder what it meant

Another day
Another lie
Another sorrow
Tomorrow I hope to try

It is the last line he wrote that gives me hope. In the midst of his addicted insanity, somewhere in there he too hopes.

I did finally get a text from him about a week and a half ago - it was 10 days after I sent him one saying simply that I love him and know he can get better after the no show on mothers day. It said "I just wanted to tell you I love you too mom". Okay good, relief, he's alive and I can go about my life.

So now we have entered that period of silence again where I wonder when I will next hear from my son. Since the beginning of this year there has been little contact from him at all. When I am in my crazy mode, I obsess with what he may be doing out there, addicted and suffering, homeless, cold, hungry. I worry endlessly about the what ifs. On my crazy days,  I have to fight an internal battle to go pick him up off the streets and talk sense into him.

Today, feeling so much healthier, I am calm and at peace for the silence of no contact as it means my life is addiction chaos free for now. I stop the obsessive thoughts when they start and don't let them continue on.

This week brought a major change for the better in my career and I was able to really focus on my job. It felt great to go to work each day and throw myself into something I love and am good at. I actually transferred locations to the same town my son has been hanging out in last I knew of his whereabouts anyways, and so far I have been able to resist any temptation to go looking for him. I hope I can stay strong and my crazy days will continue to happen less and less and the healthier ones come more. This plan for me with my company had been in the works long before my son was roaming the streets homeless there and is an amazing opportunity for me. I was able to make this last week about a wonderful career opportunity and stay focused on that - not my son. It felt great.

Instead of helplessness, today I am hopeful.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Letting go & feeling better

Just wanted to write a quick update this morning. I am doing sooooo much better then I was the week following the no show on Mother's day.

Sometimes I just feel hopelessly helplessly addicted to my drug addicted son. At least for now I am not acting on my irrational thoughts of saving him.

After my daughter's words - he knows where all the help is if he wants it - I started being able to let go again. I still haven't heard anything from J or J2, although a few days after the no show I did text an old friend of his and his friend let me know he had received a text from him. Relief then turned to anger and sadness but at least I do know he is alive, and not in jail. I began to let go at that very moment and stopped my frantic calls to jails and interventionists.

Last weekend I finished the book Beautiful Boy, written by the father of an addict is so comforting to know that I am not alone in my craziness. And at the same time so sorry for so many other parents of addicted kids out there and the hell we all go through.

This weekend I also read about half of "Tweak" by Nic Sheff - the son of the author of Beautiful Boy. It is giving me perspective of how sick our addicted kids are. When Nic is on his drug runs, he barely gives a moments thought to his family or the destruction he is causing to his own life - he just didn't care.

And that is helping me let go.

I can detach knowing my son does know what to do. I brace myself for what will perhaps be the longest period of no contact. I wonder if the not knowing, not hearing or seeing him is actually better for me anyways as our lives get to stay free of chaos. I am trying not to live in fear of waiting for the next crisis.

Thank you to all that are reading and commenting..I read your blogs and am reaching out in internet land with a cyber hug to all of you.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Emotional turmoil

In the last year of this craziness, I have managed my best to detach with love and live my life despite what is or isn't happening with my addicted son. I have been learning everyday how to let go and some days or months I do it better then others. This week I'm not doing it well at all.

I have been waiting for his "bottom" to come before it's too late. I have been obsessing again on my biggest fear of all - If they day ever comes that he overdoses and dies out there - it will be too late for me to say I should have done something, I should have tried, I should have intervened. He has been running the streets, homeless for over a year. He has no car (sold the one I gave him for drugs, motels), no phone (I think I have bought 5), little to no contact with family or friends. If that isn't a bottom I don't know what is. He steals to survive and is cycling through the revolving door we call the courts. From one county to the next and has never spent more then 5 days in jail as far as I know yet. The first time he was arrested and had to kick in jail, the dope sickness was horrendous and he swore off heroin, was never going to go through that hell again. But it was fleeting and he was soon to be right back to it.  I used to hope for mandated treatment through the courts but they just drop the possession charges and send him on his way. The arrests for petty theft etc turn into diversion programs that don't include any drug tests. I am tired of waiting and putting my hopes in the system.

This week I have gone off the deep end again and become an emotional wreck. Perhaps starting this blog sent me there, I don't know. What I know is I am wrecked with emotional turmoil over wanting to do something to save my son again and a head full of Nar-non telling me he can only save himself.

It had been a really really long time since I had even cried. This week I have had multiple crying meltdowns as I have tried to implement and force my family on board with some sort of intervention. I know that this idea is fear driven. They say fear is the flip side of faith so I must be losing faith.

My husband is trying to ground me back to reality and my daughter is so afraid of my being hurt. I know I shouldn't be making an emotional decision when I am in this mind set. I am taking the steps to get myself out of it. I went to a meeting & I made an appointment with my shrink to get on anti-anxiety meds again.

Every fiber of my being tells me I have to do something. I have to feel like I have TRIED EVERYTHING to help him even if it gets me nowhere...I know this is a dangerous road to go down and I can't stop myself from wanting to do something. It's that dark time when I feel like my little boy is drowning in a lake and I am supposed to sit back and let him. Then I have to remind myself he is not that little boy.

Like so many other normal American families, ours too has suffered great economic hardship these last few years. In reality, there really is no money for a professional interventionist, much less any private paid rehab and this is all some convoluted dream that will never be. Conversations with my husband this week have not gone well in this regards with him trying to be rational and me being in an emotional rage - I have argued I should sell my car and drive a beater to pay for it. I argued that we would do it without hesitation if our son were dying of cancer and it was the only hope of saving him. When I brought it up to my daughter, she reminded me that he knows where all the free detoxes and treatment options are (we have personally given him the numbers and driven him there ourselves) and he had made it clear he doesn't want the help. She is angry at him for the basket-case I am sounding like again and wants to protect me from being hurt and disappointed. I get it, but it is so emotionally painful.

We agreed that I will continue to do some research..if I can find low/no cost help my family may get on board. (Am I dreaming?) My goal for today is to keep my emotions in check so I can make rational decisions, not desperate ones.

To the other families of addicted loved ones or kids out there? What are your experiences or thoughts on interventions? Or do I sound like a crazed desperate mother trapped in emotional turmoil?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The empty chairs across the table

When I started this blog on Sunday, I thought I would be seeing my son that evening. He had text me from J2's phone Saturday evening and confirmed the time and place we would all be meeting for a mothers day dinner. No matter how hard it is to see him, I still want to hug him and always let him know he is loved.

Our family all met at restaurant at the planned time. They (J - addicted son & J2 addicted codependent girlfriend) were not there. We decided to be seated and began the evening of texts - where are you guys?

We decided to order - still no J & J2.

We sat and ate, tried to laugh and smile. We looked like the perfect family..except for the empty chairs at our table. I wondered how many times I could casually glance over at the enterance to the resturant without looking like I was obsessing on their absense and the hopeful moment they would walk through the door.

We finished the meal - still no J & J2

My daughter told me she was sorry that I was hurt on another mothers day..I told her it is not the hurt - the hurt is forgiven. My son is sick. It's the worry that eats me alive inside.

48 hours have passed - still no word from him. These are the things families of drug addicts have to learn to deal with. I realized of course that any expectation from a heroin addict (like thinking he would be there) is a disappointment waiting to happen.

I miss him, I want to hug him. I want to save him. I can't help wanting to - I have a mothers heart.

This morning I called jails. This afternoon I text an old friend of his. I still am left not knowing what happened. He hasn't had a phone since March, also the last time I saw him - when we met at a restaurant for his 28th Birthday. I rely on J2s phone (the only phone still in their possession after multiple phones and minute plans purchased by me, his sister etc, all to be sold, pawned, lost) Not buying another phone was a big step in trying to let go for me.

Today I text the phone to tell him no matter what - he is loved. That I am never giving up on him, that there is always hope and its never too late. When I text "the phone", I think of it that way because at any given day I don't even know if they are together. To say this relationship is turbulent would be a severe understatement. They are both so sick, and even sicker together.

Then I spent the day obsessing on doing an intervention. We however do not have the financial means to pay for rehab or a professional interventionist.  Sometimes I am oddly grateful for that when I hear other families spend so much and the addict isn't ready or willing. I am going to do some research. I have to do something - to at least feel like I tried even if nothing becomes of it.

Tonight I am headed to a Nar-anon meeting where I will sit amongst the other broken hearted moms of addicted children and try to learn how to let go. But right now, I still want to save him.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The moment it happened - the begining

It was just about eighteen months ago that my adult son J sat across the kitchen from me and said the word that changed my life. Heroin. My mind was reeling with panic and at that moment, he could have said anything else, in that moment anything else would have been ok, but all I could think was don't say that one word. Not that, please anything but that. The moment it came out all I wanted was for it to go away. Take it back, change it to anything else. I knew it could never be undone. He is a heroin addict.

In penetrated my heart like a dagger..I think at that very moment in time I knew I was about to embark on a long and painful journey. In actuality I didn't have a clue what was coming. It felt as someone had kicked me so hard in the stomach, I couldn't breathe. I think I cried for 3 straight days as I grieved for the little boy he was, and the man he may never become.

Him & his girlfriend had to move from their wonderful little apartment where they had been living their dreams in the city - or so I thought. He had been doing very well with his career, he was blessed with bountiful brains and personality for days. He was always the life of the party. It was not surprising that he was gifted with natural sales ability and had a successful career.  We adored her (i'll call her J2) and offered for them to stay at our home until they could find somewhere to go. It was within days of their arrival that the truth came out - he had been fired from his job, evicted from the apartment. It was that conversation in the kitchen, that moment (one of few to come) that he told me the truth. They had become heroin addicts. Some pieces of raw honesty from that conversation that stick with me today, included that everything he owned, everything of value, no longer were what they appeared - they became little bags of heroin. Everything had been pawned for the drug. I was so angry that someone as smart as him could be so damn stupid to put that needle in his arm the first time. I kept thinking why!?!!? How many recreational heroin addicts have you met in your life? Apparently, like so many others it began with Oxycontin. Once he was addicted, he figured out that heroin is cheaper. It was that simple.

Little League dreams to heroin nightmares..that is how it felt in the beginning. How did this happen to him? Why my smart, talented, amazing little boy? I believe I still grieve for the dreams I had for him. Now I pray daily for him to be arrested so I can have a little peace. Jail is better then dead.

I sit here this Mother's day deciding to begin this blog and joining the other moms and dads out there that know what I feel..reading your blogs has helped me feel not so alone, perhaps to help some other mom who has just heard those words. This blog will be about my journey, to find a light in the dark, to find peace in the chaos that is addiction. One year ago this very weekend, he stole money from his sister's bank account and left a suicide note on her car. It was the Saturday night before mothers day Sunday that my daughter burst through the front door sobbing hysterical to tell us what had just occurred.

Zooming ahead to today, this mothers day one year later, I reflect on what has transpired over these months. Three unsuccessful trips to detox, a few jail stints later, stealing from his family and pawning treasured irreplaceable family items, the hope and the sorrow. My son is now 28, he is homeless and I have very little contact with him. Through lots of online and in person support, Naranon, Alanon etc I am learning how to live again. My heart is still broken and I feel like it holds a black spot that will never heal until he someday finds his way to recovery. I stopped enabling him finally and at least for today! The last time I tried to help was August 2010 after paying for a months rent on a sober living house, when he made what I thought was a real attempt to get clean. He was promptly kicked out when the found needles in his room and has been homeless ever since.

Today I wrestle only with contact or no contact and can't decide which causes me less pain. In the no contact times my mind still runs away with me. I wait for that knock on the door, the ring of the phone - is he in jail? Did they find his overdosed body in an alley? A simple unknown number on the caller id will send the adrenalin racing through my body. The not knowing is as painful as the knowing. Seeing him, gaunt, face drawn and eyes hollow and sucked in, unshaven, long scraggly hair, thin body frame covered in long sleeves is very difficult as well. I hardly recognize the man he once was. Hearing him speak is always about trying to make me think he is ok as if he could convince me it will manifest in reality. Except almost every word that comes out of his mouth now is a lie or underlying manipulation.

This Mother's day, I am choosing to see him tonight and include him in our family plans. Nothing is a simple as it seems when it comes to an addicted adult child. I am subjecting his siblings to seeing him as well and this journey has been very difficult on them as well. I will write more about them later but my daughter N had stepped in to continue enabling for a long time until she was burned badly enough that she no longer has contact with him. My youngest son A is has been shocked into reality of what addiction is and is angry at his big bro for all the times he has seen me cry.

I have had to set many boundaries to keep our family safe and the chaos to a minimum. Included is that I don't allow him in our home..I don't trust him not to steal from us and worse yet - it seems the few times he has visited I can hardly get him to leave.

I wait and hope daily for his bottom to come..a mothers heart never stops hoping.