February 28, 2010

Anthony Update

Today was the first time I was able to see Anthony in two weeks!  We went up to his rehab and sat at a picnic table under a tree and talked.  It was very nice.

How is he doing?  Well, its hard to say.  I felt sick and anxious when we left if that's any indication.  He said all the write things, but .... I don't know.

It was great to see him though!  He's been "bored" so he found a needle and thread and has been stitching a border around the collar of his jacket (its like the jacket to a suit...he loves that thing).  He looked great physically, bright eyes, big smile.  So we'll see what happens.

The place he's at seems nice, but comparing it to Phoenix House it felt more like an "institutionalized" setting than a warm, family setting.  At PH when you walk in the door you are greeted by a person, no matter what the hour of day it is, there is always someone at their little desk.  When you run into a resident in the hall, they ALWAYS smile and say something polite (they are taught to do this, something that is a whole new concept for some of them), there is art work done by the residents, they let someone recently paint a tree on a door and it looks so cool.  There's a positive vibe there that I didn't catch at this other place.  Yet - I think of the two places this is better suited to Anthony, and Phoenix House better suited to Keven.

Right now Kev has one of his friends over.  This is a kid that used to party but got a DUI and has chose not to hang around the old crowd and sees Keven as a safe person.  My son - a safe person!  Plus they both LOVE cars and I know and like his parents.  I hope they hang out more often.  This is one of the kids that came to me once worried about Keven's drug use and slowly stopped hanging out with him.  So its really nice to hear his voice in the other room.

Peace, Hope and Love,

February 27, 2010

Question About 6 Month Chip

Last night Keven was at an AA meeting with his gf.  It was her regular meeting, his first time there.

At the end when they gave out chips, he went up for his 6 months, and they gave him a marble.  Just a regular old marble.  No explanation.  He asked a few people what that meant and no one knew.

Have any of you ever heard of this?  Can you think of why they would give him a marble and not a chip?

P.S.  Other people were getting chips, he was the only one to get a marble.  I am mostly just curious about this, never heard of it before and I've been around AA for 20 or more years (via friends).

Peace, Hope and Love,

February 26, 2010

Comments = Strings

I was just re-reading some old posts and comments.   I was going to link back to old posts from when Kev was deep into his addiction, but I will save that for another day.

Today I just want to quote myself from my music blog and say:

A blog without comments is like a guitar without strings.

The guitar without strings has potential.  They come in all styles and colors and some are works of art and craftsmanship, in other words, they are nice to look at and can easily be appreciated to someone who has never heard a guitar being played.

But add the strings (comments) and the guitar becomes complete.  In the right a guitar can create so many a stirring and unique sounds, its endless!   Comments make a blog come alive with conversation and viewpoints.

So thanks for adding your "strings" to my guitar.  We don't always share the same views (taste in music) but we all want harmony.

Peace, Hope and Love,

February 24, 2010

Depressed and Tired

He's struggling with anxiety. 
It hurts to see it.  He says he's not going to use (crossing my fingers, knocking on wood, praying, hoping), but he's depressed and tired and so am I.
One day at a time.

Peace, Hope and Love,

February 23, 2010

Finally, the Message is Getting Out Around Here

I've known about the "heroin epidemic" in Orange Country for a few years now, before Keven ever took his first syringe full.  I would talk to people about it but unless they were directly affected they looked at me like I was nuts -

"Teen Heroin Addicts?  In upper/middle class "perfect"
Orange County families???  No way!" 

Yes, its sad but true.  Spend a day in Courtroom H-2 at Newport Harbor Superior Court and you'll see kid after kid, mostly from South Orange County (Mission Viejo, Irvine, San Clemente, Lake Forest...)

The Cal State Fullerton newpaper "Titan"  has an excellent article in their newspaper today.  It states the basics, what every parent hear needs to be aware of it they like it or not.

Its not something we want to know about, denial is so much easier than those ugly words, "my kid is a junkie".   I literally felt my heart aching thinking about these young people's lives, their parents, my boys..wondering if it will continue to be a growing problem or if our government would stop turning its back on the fact that all of it is imported and its affecting an entire generation across our country.

Introspect: Heroin addiction sweeping through Orange County
by Jennifer Karmarkar

February 22, 2010


Update:  Thanks for the comments :)

The issue was not really the shirt, it was the fact that something was not "as it should be" and it was causing stress and anxiety.  I helped him look not because I didn't think he couldn't find it without my help, but because I just wanted to lend a hand.  Someday the shirt will show up, but in the meantime he learned:

1) he was capable of getting through a difficult situation and

2) his mom was willing to join in the search rather than thinking it was just some silly old shirt.  I've had to learn that his panic disorder is caused not by major life events (going to jail - no big deal, he can handle that) but by little everyday things "what if I'm late to meeting?  where is my shirt?  etc."

His new "Rage Against the Machine" t-shirt is missing.

This doesn't sound like a big deal, but he's obsessed with finding it and I just helped him look everywhere and can't find it either.  He keeps saying "its not that big of a deal" but I can tell its one of those small things that feels huge to him.

Back when he was getting high I would never have helped him look for a shirt.  I would have been mad that he was acting obsessed over it.  I would have blamed it on the drugs and been disgusted.  I would have been cold and indifferent and blamed him for losing something while under the influence.

But tonight watching him try so hard NOT to care about where the shirt is really got to me.  I told him it was normal to get frustrated and not be able to find something, but I think he knows and I know that his "normal" is a bit different.  He looked very concerned, yet remained totally calm.  That in itself was unnerving, I am not used to this mellow, balanced Keven.  It almost creeps me out, yet its so pleasant.

I find myself really, really wanting to find that shirt just to give him a little peace of mind.  He's doing so well.  I am proud of him.  But its hard to see some of the things that are surfacing.  This shirt issue seems so trivial, but I felt like sharing about it anyhow.

Updates & Trigger of the Day

The reason I have to drive him around is that his appointments are mostly about 25 - 30 miles from home, then immediately following one of those, he may need to be back down here.  Things are pretty spread out in California and unless you live in a big city with public transportation, you are forced to have a car to get around.  A bike would be great for the gym and back, we also have HUGE hills around here, it would be a good workout.  But for the most part, it requires a car.  His judge was not in today so we won't know about his license for another week or two.

he first official chat over at "junkjunk!" went really well!  There was a variety of people and the conversation was relaxed, helpful and fun. We are going to meet on Mondays and whoever can make it is welcome.  

I find myself amazed at all the triggers that surround an addict.  I will share some Keven's since he usually points them out to me.  He says it helps him.  He just tossed me a pen, smiled and said "this brand is a trigger".  I wanted to run around and throw out all the "Foray Medium Point" pens - but I won't.

Talked to Ant's girlfriend today and she reported that he LIKES it at The Rocque Center and is doing well.

Kev has court tomorrow and I am HOPING he gets his driver's license back.  It will add a layer of concern since it will make it that much easier if he wants to use, but I know that if he wants to use he will, not having a license is not going to stop him.  Plus, I don't think he's going to.  Call me optimistic, but I have a good feeling.

The reason I want him to be able to drive himself is because I am getting worn out taking him everywhere he needs to be!  We don't have public transportation here.   I am driving up to Santa Ana four to five times a week, or more,  now that he's home, and sometimes twice in one day! 

Monday:  Probation
Tuesday:  Court (every other week)
Tuesday night: Meeting at PH
Wednesday: I drive myself to Huntington Beach for a temp job for a few months
Wednesday night: possibly drive him to PH for a Meeting
Thursday: Probation, Dr. Apt.
Friday: Nothing
Saturday: PH Meeting
Sunday:  Nothing

This does not include driving him to school, the gym and to look for a job or to any social activity he does AND to four NA meetings per week!  (he can get rides for some of this).

But, you know what, he's staying busy, he's doing all the things he needs to do, and he's not using.  So I'm doing it all with joy and a smile (but I'm tired). 

What Are You Doing Tonight?

If you're not busy at 6:00 pm PST (9:00 EST), come check out the discussion at "junkjunk!".  We're having our first official on-line meet and greet. I think you have to be a member to join but its fast and easy.  I've had some great conversations with some of you in the chat room there in the last few weeks, its fun to talk in "real time".

junkjunk! is an online social support network for people who are living with and seeking to overcome opiate dependence --and their families and friends.

Opiates include heroin and pain pills like oxycontin, vicodin and percocet.

Recovery is a process. It takes place over time. It includes periods of use and non-use. It effects family and friends too.

And it sure helps to get some support and give some support along the way.

February 21, 2010

Which Came First?

Kev told me today that he feels most comfortable hanging out with other "dual diagnosis" people because they understand each other better.  They may have quirks, or odd reasonsing or fears and they just accept those things in each other without question.  Other friends may say "but WHY?"  when he has an odd reaction to something (i.e. not wanting to go certain places).  Dual diagnosis friends will just nod with understanding and say "no prob, bro".

I get it.  Its sad, but I get it.

What came first?  The addiction or the mental illness?  Is my son doing better than some recovering addicts because he's being treated for the core issue behind his drug use?  Will he go back to drugs if he stops his meds?  Will he ever live without irrational fears, phobias and anxiety?

Some studies in the US have reported that more than 50% of the people with any mental disorder also suffer from substance dependence compared to 6% of the general population; and the odds of exhibiting substance dependence are 4.5 times higher for people with any mental disorder than for people without mental disorder. Clearly, there is a substantial overlap in these disorders.

Peace, Hope and Love,

Mothers of Sons Worry About Pregnancy Too

Geez.  I am doing good at not worrying about my son using drugs.  So of course, I need SOMETHING serious to worry about right?  Without going into too much detail, I'll just say there is a woman that has been "after" my son for a few months.  She is older and has three kids.  I would love to forbid him from seeing her, but he's 19, he's doing everything that's excpected of him at the moment, how can I?

I've reminded him how easy it is for a girl (she's 26, he's 19) to get pregnant and the repercussions of being a father at this age.  He says "I KNOW, MOM!".

I believe its a woman's responsibility to keep herself from getting pregnant - you can't rely on the man for something that importnat, if you want to be sure, take the pill (or something).

I also believe its a man's responsibility to keep himself from getting a woman pregnant.  If you don't want to get a girl pregnant, don't count on her, YOU need to wear a condom etc.

In other words - its personal responsibility on both sides.  I don't know why I am sharing this, but they are HERE, I can here them talking and giggling and although I love the sound of my son's laugh, I am not comfortable with this older WOMAN taking such an interest in him.

Peace, Hope and Love,

February 19, 2010

Climbing Toward "Normal"

As I observe my son getting back into life outside of jail and rehab, I see him trying to find his bearings.  I think he's nervous but in a good way.  He's been very open with me, telling me what's going on in his mind, things he's discovering that are triggers, how important it is for him to keep busy.

I never thought much about this before, but the last couple of years has been very demoralizing for him, as a direct result of his own choices. 

No one trusted him, his friends started avoiding him, he lied, he stole, he was dirty and scary and unpleasant.  He was incarcerated three times.  He spent a total of four months in jail.  He had to register as a drug offender, give up his DNA, walk around in shackles and handcuffs.  He lost his freedom, his license and his self respect.

Now he's home.  He's wearing his own clothes.  He has freedom to do pretty much as he pleases within probation guidelines.  He can eat what he wants, sleep in a comfy bed in a quiet room, make calls, go online, hang with friends. 

Yet, it will take time for him to feel "normal" again.  Having a job will help.  Working out daily is also good.  Helping around the house.  Re-earning trust and respect.  Its not easy, but I think he's determined.  I see it in his eyes.

I've never been in his shoes so I don't know how it feels, but looking at him now I have a glimpse of how awful it must have felt while he was still using, living for the next fix, not caring about anyone but himself.  In the rare moments of not being high he must have felt very low, very ugly.  I wonder how long would it have taken for him to chose to start the climbing the path back to "normal"?

They say you have to be ready for recovery, but he was actually forced into it and has responded really well (so far).  I'm not sure the point of this post, just sharing today's thougths.

Peace, Hope and Love,

February 18, 2010

So Far So Good!

Kev managed to stay very busy today:

Hung out with a guy that he was in PHouse with, worked out at the gym, did his laundry, called school and got re-registered to finish up the one class he needs to get a high school diploma and now is out to dinner with his two childhood friends that are  GOOD KIDS.

Tomorrow he plans to go to a meeting.

Saturday he is going to PHouse for the day.  He's on "Live-Out" so apparently he will be hanging out at PHouse a few times a week.

As for me....I am exhausted.  Not sure why.  I am trying to catch up on all your blogs, I am reading but may not leave a very coherent comment :)

Haven't heard from Anthony, but I don't think he can make calls yet.

Peace, Hope and Love,

February 17, 2010

I Have to Say This

Sometimes as I read the blogs out there I feel bad that things are going good for us right now.  You know what I mean?  Its like how can I report such positive news about my son when there are parents in agony over their addicted children?

I am aware that things could change any minute.  That Keven (or more likely, Anthony, again) could pick up a needle.  I am prepared to deal with that if it happens.  But for today I can't hide my joy, my relief, my HOPE.

Please, if you read here and you are going through hell with your loved one, I want you to know I care, I cry almost every day (today over DD2 from Her Big Sad).  

If Keven, who was totally out of control, using daily, stealing, lying, hanging out in motels using for days as people OD'd around him, etc., has hope - then there is hope for your addict too.  It took jail and mental health evaluation and Phoenix House to reach Keven, and as I said before, he could relapse at any moment.  

Please know - it is possible to see that person inside your addict that you thought was gone.  I see my son again...the good person, not the abusive, selfish, wild addict whose life revolved around heroin.

I care and no matter what I will always be praying.

Peace, Hope and Love,

Update on Today and News Story

So far so good.  Picked him up at 8 am.  When we got home at 9 his probation officer was here talking to my mom!  That was a surprise but we knew she'd be here sometime this week.  Keven likes her a lot, I like her too.  She reminded him of the rules, that he needs to see her twice a week and that he needs to attend 4 NA meetings per week.

Kev and I were together running errands most of the day.  He just left with a friend (female) so I get to practice not worrying, letting go, not being nervous.  I've known this girl for years, as far as I know, she doesn't use drugs or alcohol.  Still, it makes me nervous!  This is the first time he's got in a car with a friend in 6 months!


I've added a link to my sidebar called "News Stories" where I am posting articles I run across or have sent to me that relate to heroin addiction.  Here is a quote from the one called "City Declares Heroin Epidemic":

“The problem with the younger heroin addicts is that they don’t understand how addictive it is and how fast you go downhill when you start using, Florek said. “They start using heroin for recreation and can be addicted in a week or two.

In 2009, Dane County reported 125 cases of heroin- or opiate-related overdoses and 18 confirmed deaths. Already in 2010 there have been 14 overdoses and 5 deaths, according to Sgt. Gordon Disch of the Dane County Sheriff’s Office. "
I hesitate to share grim statistics that seem so negative, but solutions starts with understanding the problem, so the first step has to be RECOGNITION that there IS a problem ALL ACROSS OUR COUNTRY.

Peace, Hope and Love,

February 16, 2010

My Ships Crossed in the Night!

Check out this timing!!!

Keven comes home tomorrow, Anthony got in today!

Peace, Hope and Love,

February 14, 2010

Discussing the Disease

The other day, Peggy, over at Helplessly Hoping shared about a friend that has cancer and is writing a book on "how to be a friend to a friend who's sick". (if you have not read her post I highly recommend it). Peggy is asking readers to suggest ways people can be supportive to friends and family of addicts.

It got me to thinking - how do people react to the addict themselves? How do you be a friend to someone that's using or in in recovery?

I think with most diseases, the ill person receives a lot of support, encouragement, understanding, even pity. With addiction the opposite seems to be true. Addicts are often looked down upon, judged, avoided.

Don't most of us (including our government) agree that addiction is a disease? If someone starts using a drug (including alcohol) and uses/drinks to the point that their health and/or life is at risk, then that person is considered to have the disease of addiction, right?

But still, the stigma persists. Nowadays, I feel defensive more than ashamed when discussing my son's addiction. I want people to understand its not a choice. Yes, it was a choice to use the drug in the first place (how many of us haven't made very poor choices in our lives?) but becoming an addict was not the desired outcome of that choice.

Here is a definition I just found while cruising around the Web:

Back to the disease concept. Addiction is classified as a disease because it meets the criteria of all other terminal diseases:

- It has pattern of symptoms which are similar across all types of substance abuse

- It is a chronic condition. It doesn't go away.

- It is progressive. Addiction only gets worse with continued use, and ends with death.

- The person is subject to relapse. In Australia, 66% of addicts who are lucky to live long enough to make it to detox will eventually die as a direct result of the disease.

- It is treatable. Here's the good news, while substance addiction is a terminal illness, its progression can be arrested at almost any stage. But if you are seeking treatment, it is of the utmost importance that you gain medical advice. Sudden withdrawal, even from "socially acceptable" drugs such as alcohol, can cause death through seizures and coma.

I hid Keven's addiction from a few family members for months and then just spit it out one day at a family gathering. I don't know what certain family and friends think of it, I imagine some people are judging my son for being so "weak" and me for "raising an addict". Those reactions no longer anger me In a convoluted sort of way its actually good that some people think that - it means they have no personal experience of it and therefore have not had to endure the heartache many of us know intimately.

But I do hope that things change, that people would understand that no one would choose this as their life. It chooses them. Just like cancer or diabetes or heart disease. There are things we can do to prevent those diseases, but that is no guarantee against them, some people will get cancer no matter how well they care for their health.

I'll end with something else I read on the same site quoted above:

When world governments begin to understand that the cost in providing this care (detox and recovery) free of charge is far outweighed by the benefits to society, we will begin to see an incredible drop in poverty, violence and divorce. The cost in providing this care will also be offset by the decrease in need of other hospitalization. 1 in 3 hospital beds in Australia are taken up by people with conditions that can be directly linked to drug abuse. At best, the world health systems overall are only currently providing band-aid solutions to one of the greatest scourges of mankind.

You can check out what he wrote in full here (he's in Australia and wrote this a few years ago but it still applies today...unfortunately).

P.S. My friends and family, especially blog friends, have been very supportive and non-judgmental, the occasional ignorant and/or insensitive questions is asked, I try not to punch the person in the nose when that happens.

Peace, Hope and Love,


Final Prep for His Arrival Home:

1.   Get rid of beer in the house (used it for a hair rinse, makes hair shiny)
2.   Get rid of other alcohol (hide the cooking Brandy, drink the Baileys)
3.   Lock up Daisy's syringes in box and hide key (Daisy is one of our dog's)
4.   Make small welcome home sign for his bedroom door
5.   Continue loving support
6.   Apply knowledge, intuition and boundaries
7.   Acknowledge fear and worry - then drop like a hot potato
8.   Accept words of wisdom and support
9.   Remember difference between "helping, fixing and serving"
10. Never give up hope and believing in him

Peace, Hope and Love,

February 13, 2010

I said no...

Ant came over today.  He asked if he could stay here a few days (his grandparents kicked him out again).  I said no.

I saw bruises on his arm.  He admitted he'd used.

He cried in my arms and said he didn't want to use anymore.

If Keven wasn't coming home in a few days I would have let him stay here, right or wrong.  But no way can he stay.  Just seeing those bruises would send Keven into a horrible place.  

Ant has two weeks till there's a bed open.  Two weeks is a long time when you have nothing to do and be in constant temptation.  No where to sleep, no friends to hang out with.  I am not blaming the system for his problems, I am just saying that the system is broken.  He's a wreck.  He looks bad.  I am scared.  There is nothing I can do.  I hate this.

(artwork by Nico)

P.S.  Now he's out in our driveway washing his gf's car listening to Pink Floyd:

Come in here, Dear boy, have a cigar.
You're gonna go far,
You're gonna fly high,
You're never gonna die,
You're gonna make it, if you try;
They're gonna love you.
Well I've always had a deep respect,
And I mean that most sincere.
The band is just fantastic,
that is really what I think.
Oh by the way, which one's Pink?

Peace, Hope and Love,

February 12, 2010

February 11, 2010

Proud and Grateful

The "send off" for Keven tonight was very special.  I felt like the message that was chosen for the entire family group was especially for us, it was about the difference between HELPING and SERVING.   I'll share about that later, it was really good.

I have to admit, I felt very proud of my son tonight.   Hearing what his peers and the staff had to say about him touched my heart because it reinforced to me what I've seen with my own eyes:  He's grown a lot in this program, he's learned powerful tools to help him, he's found support and friendship, he's gained confidence, he's faced reality.

They opened up the group for questions and he was very honest.  He said he didn't know for sure if he'd use again or not but that he was working hard to maintain his sobriety (6 months) and was determined not to use, but the urge was still there.  He said the urge to use has lessened a lot since he first go there.  He said he only had two of his old friends that didn't party, friends from second grade that live on our street (they were the three musketeers growing up).

The most important aspects of this entire program for him has been a) the therapeutic community environment b) the counseling he got there and c) the dual diagnosis support group.  Understanding his underlying mental health issues has been a huge part of his recovery.  The guys he's bonded with most are also in that group and he will continue going to it every Wed. night.

One of the staff asked  permission to talk about his panic disorder and she told the group that in all her years in counseling she had never seen anyone with panic attacks as severe as Keven's.  (She was the one that called me to come take him to the hospital one night when he was off the charts and had passed out from an attack). 

I am proud of Keven for recognizing that his meds were all jacked up and that he could not stand it...he was literally ready to either run away (or worse) but he didn't want to - so he had himself committed to the mental health ward at the hospital for three days.  That was the BEST thing for him because they took him off ALL his meds and finally got him on the correct combination. 

Its like everything is falling into place.  There's a couple of guys that live in our area, around his age that left Phoenix House last week, he will stay in touch with them (one of them cracks me up and he's a musician, I really like that kid and hope they stay friends).

I feel so hopeful.  So many people said things about his character, his kindness, great talks they'd had, his sense of humor.  He SMILED a million times tonight.  When he smiles, I swear my heart smiles inside me.  He really is a special person.  I've always known that, but don't all mothers think that about their kids :)

I'm ready for him to come home, but part of me will miss going to Phoenix House and seeing the other residents and staff I've gotten to know and care about.  

Peace, Hope and Love,

Final Family Group Tonight!

For the last three months I've spent every Thursday night at Phoenix House for Family Group/Visiting.  Tonight will be our last time there!  Keven comes home in FIVE DAYS.

Last week when it was someone's final night the resident and his mother had to sit in front of the whole group and answer questions.  Then they had whoever wanted to line up and tell the person what they liked about them and what they were going to miss.

Phoenix House has been an incredible experience for Kev.  I am cautiously optimistic about his recovery.  Actually that's not true:  I am hopefully optimistic.  I think the biggest strike against his recovery will be boredom and not being able to find a job.

Both those topics were covered by other bloggers today so be sure to check these out:

Addict in Our Son's Bedroom


Awakening in Love

Peace, Hope and Love,

Thinking of You

Many of you are on my heart today - heroin is so ugly, so evil, so devastating.  I hate what I see it doing to so many families.  Like it or not if your life has an addict in it, suddenly your life has changed forever.  Even when you learn (if you learn) not to let the addict take over your life...it never really leaves.  Its always in the back of your mind.

Peace, Hope and Love,

February 9, 2010

Smiley Pic

Lou at Subdural Flow asked people to post a pic that makes them smile.  He didn't want to be in my friend's wedding but he took it very seriously and did a good job.  I was so proud of him that day.  He was only 4.

Peace, Hope and Love,

February 8, 2010

I Don't Want to, But I Have to....

Tattoo by Ant
He's 22.

At age 12 he started getting high with his dad, weed and speed.

He was first incarcerated at age 14 for grand theft (his dad let him take the rap for a stolen car).   

When he was 10, his mom was in a meth lab explosion, 80% of her body was burned, she spent months recovering...but it still didn't stop her from using.

When he was 13, his mom took her motorcycle for a ride while under the influence of meth and crashed into a truck, dying instantly.

I know the belief is that we don't cause our children to become addicts.  I agree with that - but I also agree that some parents DO influence their children's choices.  Anthony never really had a chance.

He came over today.  He was high (weed) but that's just one step closer to using heroin again.

I can't sit by and watch him kill himself or end up in prison like his mom and dad.  I want to protect him, love him into recovery, build up his self worth, show him how valuable he is, give him confidence and hope...but  I can't.  I know that.

I have to tell him not to come over anymore.  I don't know how I am going to say the words.  I can barely type them.  Its heartbreaking.

My son understands and agrees with this decision, its his decision as well.  He can't be around his "brother" if he's using or wanting to use.  He (K) is determined to stay clean.  I see the disappointment and sadness in his eyes when we talk about Ant.  He knows.  He knows better than I know.

I think the saddest part to me is that Ant has a 2 year old son.  We talked a lot about him recently and he felt like he was ready to be a "good father".   That was only a few weeks ago.  And now...he's heading back down the path of self destruction.

February 7, 2010

Methadone Clinic

An article from a Spokane newspaper about how the methadone clinic there is making a difference in the lives of many addicts:
"Amanda Colin didn’t hesitate when Spokane County threatened to cut its methadone treatment program last summer.
She and a group of other patients met with county commissioners to tell them just how desperately they need the steadying routines of that program, with its affirming counselors, its regular urine tests and its daily doses of that cranberry-pink liquid. For Colin, a 29-year-old mother, the Spokane Regional Health District’s methadone program improves every aspect of life". full article here

Peace, Hope and Love,

Simple Things for Haiti

This weekend, Chris, over at Enchanted Oak has issued a challenge to all bloggers. For every blogger who posts a list of the simple things that make them happy, she will donate $2.00 to Heartline Ministriesin Haiti.

Here's the rules...copied directly from her blog:

Post your piece this weekend and include a link to my blog. Then pop in here to say you’ve posted your “Simple Things.” Post by midnight, Pacific time, Sunday, and don’t forget to link with me and notify me that you’ve posted. You can borrow the “Simple Things” photo. If you don’t have a blog, a comment on my blog will count too if you tell me so.

Simple things that make me happy:

- my son's smile
- Friday lunches with Lauren and Virginia
- my pets
- hot shower with black currant and vanilla body wash
- the birds that gather in my back yard
- my warm fuzzy blanket
- memories of my son's childhood
- my great-nephew Wyatt

Peace, Hope and Love,

February 6, 2010

Kudos to Michelle Hines of Lake Zurich, Illinois

They say if you look hard enough you can find the positive in any situation.  I don't know if I agree with that statement, especially when it comes to a drug overdose resulting in the death of a young person.  Yet, sometimes its the most tragic events that spur someone into action.  

I just read about this mom who is having a forum to educate other parents in her community about the dangers and prevalence of heroin use among high school students there.  There were THREE heroin ODs in Lake Zurich in the last 14 months (population aprox. 20,000).

Everything I've been learning and experiencing over the last few years has prompted me to take some action too.  Mostly just little things, like this blog, but maybe some bigger things coming up soon.  I'll keep you posted.

Here is an excerpt from the article about Michelle Hines and the work she's doing to spread the word, the full article is here.

A big part of the problem is the prevalent "not my kid" attitude, Hines said.
"There have been so many parents who believe this would not happen to their kids. Their kids are in sports. Their kids are in every activity, and there's no sign of foul play," she said. "The signs aren't the same anymore."
Needle marks on the arms used to be an indication of heroin use. But now, heroin's high purity means it can be smoked or snorted. A single dose can kill, or start a life-destroying addiction.

Peace, Hope and Love,

If I Was an Addict...

...I'd probably use today.

That's just the kind of day it is.


February 5, 2010

Who Is He?

I was talking to my ex-boyfriend on the phone earlier and he asked how K was.  He made a remark about how poorly K had treated me in the past, the mean and hurtful things he had said to me at times.  I was taken aback for a moment because I have not thought about that at all recently.  

K has been polite, considerate, slightly affectionate, agreeable.  I blame it on the drugs!  (the medications he's on not the illegal kind).  But seriously, he is not the same young man who was so angry and prone to outbursts of rage.

Who is this young man?  What is my son really like?  

I'd say the last two years have been so drug-infused that its impossible to separate who he really is from who the drugs created him to be.  During the time he should have been maturing and developing into an adult, he was numbing himself and running from reality.

The last six months have been drug free.  90 days in jail.  90 days in rehab, the last 45 days seeing a GOOD doctor that is monitoring his medications closely and actually spends time talking to him instead of pushing pills at him like the last one.  

I don't know if K knows himself right now.  I think he's gained confidence, has some hope, has learned tools for recovery and has a calmness he's never had before.  I guess I'll have to patiently wait and see who emerges as time goes on.  I know the meds are keeping his true self to emerge,  but, without them, he would not even have the opportunity to get this far.  I believe he would not have been around much longer living in his previous state of mind and living that lifestyle.

No matter what, I could not possibly love him any more, or any less, than I always have and always will.

Peace, Hope and Love,

(Painting by Jim Dandy)

Mice on Drugs - what happens to your brain on specific drugs?

Today at lunch* one of my friends mentioned this video, she had seen it in a class.  I just randomly stumbled upon it, not even knowing it was on line.  Its very interesting, educational and creatively done.

(*I think it was one of my friends at lunch that mentioned this...I swear my own short term memory is so bad sometimes, it scares me).

Peace, Hope and Love,

Update - Good Stuff

I've been so happy all day!  I've been very aware of the feeling since its not something I experience all that often lately.  And physically it was a rough day (tinnitus really flared up LOUD).

I can't pinpoint the exact reason for the happy, light mood but I am grateful for it.  Its sort of a sense that good things are happening, that there is promise in the future, that for today all is well with my world.

Anthony stopped by today and relieved my fear that he'd been out using (I sneaked a look at his arms and hands, they looked good).  I think he may be up to something (drinking?) but didn't go there.  It was just nice that he showed his face and let me see that's he's fine.

Saw K at Family Group tonight.  It was one of  his friend's last night and so the young man and his mom sat in front of the room and shared and answered questions.  That will be me and K NEXT THURSDAY NIGHT!  I can't believe he only has a little over a week left!  I'm going to miss it there,  but he will be "Living Out" which means he will still go to meetings etc. a few times per week.

ENJOY the good moments.  
Don't question them, just take 'em when they come and savor them.

Peace, Hope and Love,

February 2, 2010

Two Weeks from Today (Wed.) He Will Be HOME!

In a way, it doesn't seem like he's been gone for six entire months...but he has. 

It was August 20th when he got taken into custody right there in the courtroom for being under the influence.

I'll never forget that phone call from him as I was boarding a plane:

"mom, I'm in jail."

I got mad:

"That is NOT funny, don't mess around with me like that."

He said:

"I'm serious, they arrested me in court.  I fell asleep.  They said I was under the influence and they busted me.  I'm in a holding cell, they let me call you."



So that was the beginning of 3 months spent in jail.
Then he got into PH, which been the BEST THING THAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED TO HIM!

I'm sure I'll write more about it as the time gets closer.   I am cautiously optimist, a bit nervous and very happy.

Anthony Update:  Not sure what to say.  His grandma called me tonight worried about him, luckily she talked a lot so I didn't have to say too much because I didnt' want to worry her more by adding my own concerns.  He's suppose to show up at the rehab tomorrow for assesment.  We'll see what happens.

QUESTION:  what do you think of young men wearing eye make-up?  Is it weird?  Does it mean something?  I know it was popular a few years ago.  Is it a trend again?

Peace, Hope and Love,
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