May 31, 2010

Quick Update...

Update - everything is back to the same scary stuff.  I don't know what to do.  I think he needs to be hospitalized.

When all else fails...

adopt a dog.
(details on "Sugar" later).

For the last two days since he used, I have seen my old Keven.  I don't know why, I know it probably won't last, but its there...the old smile, the old smirk, the old sweetness.  He brought his gf's mom over to meet my family today and we all sat in our yard for over an our chatting and laughing and telling fun stories.  It felt like the Twilight Zone to me...not used to such normalcy.  In a few minutes he's joining us at my brother's house for a BBQ of burgers, etc.  Not typical for even my old Keven (unless it was a "real" holiday like Christmas or HIS birthday).

Tom left a comment that is the only possible hint I have at why he may be acting so calm, so nice, so pleasant.  (details later...I'm in a hurry...sorry!).   I also wonder - did he not take his meds the last few days?  Does that make him feel better?  Is he just relieved that he relapsed and confessed?

Also, he's not bitching that I took his car away.  He started to yesterday but gave up.  This is so not like him.  I like this new behavior but I know better than to get used to it.


I will read blogs tonight to catch up with all of you.


May 30, 2010

Was it Dawn or Athena?

About four or five months ago I received an email from either Dawn or Athena.  I apologize for not remembering.  But I have never forgot the email.

It was about the difference between attending Al-Anon and NAMI and how they each pulled you in a different direction when your addict was dually diagnosed with both addiction (Al-Anon) and mental illness (NAMI).  They have almost opposite methods.  Tough love and no enabling or supporting with compassion and trying to help.

Since he seemed to be staying away from drugs, I decided that Keven's mental illness was the big issue.  I poured myself into learning all about it.  I went to the Family to Family classes (which I don't regret at all) and I feel qualified to diagnose mental illness and prescribe meds (not really, but seriously, the info they give you is very in depth).

Its much more difficult to navigate mental illness because its so nebulous, and there are no simple, straight answers.  With addiction its very clear:  stop using drugs and life gets better!

I've been treating my son as a Bipolar 1 with panic disorder, general anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder and possibly OCD.  THINKING HE IS REALLY SICK AND NEEDS HELP.

THEN the addiction rears its ugly head and he uses heroin again at the very first chance he gets to do it without any legal consequences!!!

So now I am back in the "mother of an addict" mode and am ready, willing and able to kick him out if needed (I actually fantasize about how nice it would be for him to be gone for awhile).

Is he ill?  
Is he ill and an addict?  
Is he only an addict?  
How do I treat him if he's both?  
How do I find the truth of which he is?  

Is he faking the illness?  
Is he manipulating us?  
Is it all a big game to him?  
What if its not? 
What if it is?

I wish he would never have been diagnosed.  I would feel a lot better dealing with just a drug addiction.  This is like a double edged sword - pointed at me.

P.S.  All the comments left on the last post were awesome...thank you. Wish I had the energy to answer each one individually.  I am trying to learn I can't always do that even when I want to.  Need to preserve energy for the next few days of "battle".

P.S.S.  You won't even believe what happened with his girlfriend today. Short story - she got busted for shoplifting.  Luckily he was not involved and was not with her when it happened or he'd be in a lovely orange jumpsuit right now.  Hey, that would solve a lot of my problems :)

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

The Morning After...

Last night this an old Duran Duran song kept playing in my mind:

"Don't say a prayer for me now, save it for the morning after...."

BUT, its the morning after and I feel okay BECAUSE you prayed.  Because you CARE.   Because you, the people who read this blog, have never left my side, have continued to support me and encourage me and educate me and hold my hand.


There is no update at this time.  He's sleeping.

I feel a peace at the moment because in a way, its like I was holding my breath for 9 months waiting and wondering if this would happen.

Each of your comments was so helpful.  I don't even know how to express how much this community means to me, but I think many of you understand.

More later :)

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 29, 2010

He Relapsed

"Relapse" sounds so mild.  He used.  He shot up.  He lost his nine months sobriety.  He can barely keep his eyes open.  He looks like hell.  It was painful to see him in that condition.

I guess the positive is that he told me.  He didn't use yesterday when he stole the money.  He used today.  He says he regrets it.  He says he won't do it again.  He says he wants to go into an out-patient program.  He says ....blah blah blah.

His girlfriend broke up with him until he can prove he's not going to use again and just drove him to a meeting.  He can barely keep his eyes open.  I sure as hell hope they aren't pulled over because THIS TIME the cop would have ever right to arrest him.

Am I upset?  Of course.  I am very upset.  I am not surprised at all.  I knew it was coming the second he told me that he had a whole week until drug testing at probation.  I had hope after last night that he got beyond it, but it won.

Two of his friends that are also on probation with him both called and asked him to get hight today.  He went with Gilbert to a shooting gallery in Santa Ana.  I told him Gilbert is never allowed in this house again.  He said "I know".

He called Brad (his mentor) and Andrew (his best friend that has never touched a drug in his life) and told both of them.  He told my sister.  He told me he wants top work the steps and get a sponsor.  He said he has too much to lose, he can't go backwards.

What the hell ever.

I have no faith or trust in him right now.  He told me not to give him cash only visa gift cards for gas.  He asked me to buy "piss tests" (drug tests) to use on him whenever I wanted.  He is saying all this...but how will he feel about it tomorrow remembering the high?

Oh well.  As I was thinking earlier:  I don't have my son anymore.  I have this person that is really messed up.  If he leaves (to jail, a hospital, the streets) it won't be that difficult for me because the person that lives here in this house in my son's body is not my son.  He hasn't been for over a year.  I still love him just as much...but its like he's a shell for who Keven used to be.

One last thing:  he said he's glad I have this blog and all of you to listen to me talk about him and support me.  I am glad for that too.

For old time's sake, some of you will remember this photo from my first blog:

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Is Bipolar Contagious?

The title is just me being facetious.  But, seriously, I feel like I am on a roller coaster myself and need to get off.  I feel like my last post was really bizarre.  What happened was really bizarre.  All the details I left out were really bizarre.

So the conclusion is living with Bipolar is really bizarre.  Yet at this moment I have hope again.  I also have to remember that this is a lifelong illness that is not going to go away so I need to accept that instead of getting so upset when he has an episode, because unfortunately these episodes can last for weeks at at time.  Learning to manage it is all we can do.

The good news is I picked up a book I got at the library the other day called "Loving Someone With Bipolar" by Julie Fast.  I had seen her website and to be honest, once I saw she was selling something I lost interest.  I assumed it was another person trying to make a buck by getting you to buy an e-book or something that was really nothing more than info they cut and paste from somewhere else that you could have found for free.

But she's very legit and has an excellent reputation.

So I open the book and read the chapter describing all the symptoms of Bipolar.  Yes - it takes an entire chapter, which she titles "Multi-polar" because the name Bipolar is very misleading.  Most people think its means "highs and lows" or "manic depressive" but its so much more than that.

I had learned the basics of Bipolar in the NAMI course but this book goes into great detail and I am wondering why I didn't recognize sooner that Keven has all the symptoms (which is good news considering it seems like there is something mysteriously horrible wrong with him - but apparently a lot of what he's going through is typical).

Here is an outline of what I learned, I have seen every single thing described here in Keven (they think he has BP1)

  • Bipolar I disorder is characterized by one or more manic episodes or mixed episodes (symptoms of both a mania and a depression occurring nearly every day for at least 1 week) and one or more major depressive episodes. Bipolar I disorder is the most severe form of the illness marked by extreme manic 

  • Depression
  • Mania
  • Psychotic symptoms (delusions and hallucinations)
  • Paranoid symptoms
  • Intense anger and irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Self harm
What really got me was that she used two illustrations that happened to her and Keven has had the EXACT same things happen to him:  1) looking down at his wrists and seeing them bleeding (a hallucination) and 2) feeling so angry that you have to hit something, yell or start a fight to get relief.

I don't know why this makes me feel better but I do.  Knowing that she has this disease and is successful and relatively happy gives me hope.  She was also 19 when she first started having symptoms.  Its very common for mental illness to show up in young adults.

I love my son so much.  I hate to see him suffer.  I hate to suffer along with him.  For years he's been telling me he won't live to his 21st birthday.  What if that's true?  I don't want to regret not having done everything I possibly can to help him while I have the chance.  I need to convince him that he his symptoms are "normal" because right now he thinks he's going off the deep end and is afraid of what he might do.  I need to calm him down so that he can gain more control (hopefully).

I don't know what I'm talking about but it sounds good...

I am going to bed now.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 28, 2010

Waiting for an explanation....


He came home and (are you sitting down?) gave the $60 back and apologized.  I honestly don't know if he was high or not.  His pupils were slightly constricted and his girlfriends were slightly in other words that was no help.  They just left to go to a 10 pm NA mtg. and sure enough there is one where they said it would be (I checked).

10:00 PM LAVA LAMP, 929 Calle Negocio, Ste H @ Calle Amanecer

He then proceeded to tell me that he took the money for the same reason he broke the glass yesterday.  We have been seeking help for him since January (with the mental illness aspect of things) and no one can help him. He's getting worse.  He says he feels like he's living the life of an addict without getting high and he feels like he's not inside his own body but he's watching himself live from a distance.  This scares the shit out of me and I am at the point where I feel desperate to get him help but have no idea where to turn since he's already seeing two psychiatrists.  I can't force him into the hospital unless he's a danger to himself or others.  I don't know what to do.

Got a text from my sister on my way home from work today.

Kev had taken money out of her wallet.

Why does an addict steal money?

I called him, he said "don't worry, I'm not doing anything, I know we have to talk about this when I get home, I have an explanation".

There is no excuse, absolutely none, for stealing.  Of course my stomach has been in knots and I have been fighting back tears because I am not stupid.

Yet, part of me wants to believe there is a reason (not an excuse but a reason) he took the money.  Part of me still believes that he would not lose his 9 months of sobriety.

I don't think this way because I think my son is "strong" or incapable or anything like that - its because of his extreme paranoia and obsession of getting caught.  His fears and anxiety have been the main motivators in his sobriety.  I know that.  He admits that.  We all agree on that.

So if he gets high its because he knows he has one week till his next drug test.  That just kills me.  His sobriety is not what's vaulabel to him - its not getting caught.  And since Monday is a holiday, he can get away with it.

I'll report back after we have our talk.  If I had an extra $25  I'd run down the street and buy a drug test.

In the words of Lennon and McCartney:

Obla-di, obla-da, life goes on, la la la la life goes on.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 27, 2010

A New Blog to Embrace

Jake's Mom left a link to a new blogger, Mother of a Beautiful Boy.
Reading her latest post was like a step back to last year for me.  I can remember feeling the exact same way.  So many mixed feelings.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

A New Blogger to Welcome

Jake's Mom left a link to this new blogger:  A B

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Craving Heroin, or Crack, or Coke or all three...

I was very happy this morning (if you want to know why you can check my other blog, too hard to explain here).

Then when I got home Keven was having a hard day.  He went to probation today as (he goes every Mon. and Thurs.) and they were all told that there would be no probation on Monday due to Memorial Day.

Because of this "everyone" was offering him drugs since suddenly they had an entire WEEK before the next drug test and "they" offered him whatever he wanted.  One guy said he had a rig and heroin waiting at home.

Keven was tempted to the point that he was sick, literally.  He told me how much he loved the high.  He described it in detail.

I said "but is a 30 second high worth losing everything over?"

He said "yes, its that good."  He reminded me that people who have 20 years or more sometimes relapse.  He feels like he will never win this battle.

He's also upset that he has not been diagnosed and therefore has not been helped.  He feels like he will never be normal nor be in control of his impulses, horrible thoughts and the feelings of paranoia.

He still feels that something "bad" is going to happen but he's not sure if he will be doing something or if it will be done to him.

It feels like things go forward one step and then backwards two.  I feel helpless.  I don't know what to do.  Some doctor must be able to correctly diagnose him.


P.S.  On a positive note:  he is super close to getting his high school diploma.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 25, 2010

A Special Guy in My Life :)

I wrote about it on my other blog:

Writing from the Inside Out

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Cop Magnet

My son is a cop magnet.

It doesn't matter what car he's in, what city he's in, if he's minding his own business or acting suspicious.  He attracts cops.

Today he was in the next city over, Irvine.  One of the "top ten safest cities in the USA".

To  be honest, it gets a bit annoying at times.  Today he was going to teach his girlfriend how to drive a stick shift.  They were on their way to a parking lot that is empty this time of year (Wild Rivers) but got pulled over before they even got there.

The cop said Keven was high when he found his meds in the car... prescribed legal meds!  He threatened to take him in and tow the car and violate his probation.  He called other cops to the scene.  The other cops said "this kid is not high and is not breaking the law."  But the original cop had to be "right" so he said "if you have someone come drive this car I won't arrest you".

Keven called me, I drove his car, his gf drove my car.

I want the cops to pull him over if he's doing something wrong but this kind of thing just feeds his dislike and distrust (that's putting it nicely) of law enforcement.  He was not doing anything wrong....if he was, you KNOW he'd be in jail right now.  There's not enough crime around here to keep them busy so they harass young people.

Ironically, Keven speaks tonight at the Irvine Police Department to a group of teens in their drug diversion program.  Maybe he'll run into the guy that pulled him over today.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 23, 2010

Ant Update

Anthony's gf, "Kelly" got to visit him for the first time (this stay) yesterday.  It was a full contact visit so they got to hug and hold hands.  She said he's doing great and has a job two days a week.  The rest of the week he stays busy doing tattoos and practicing guitar.  Doesn't sound too bad for being in prison!

I know for a fact that Kelly relapsed but didn't ask her if she mentioned it to Ant.  I'm staying out of their business.  I write him about once a week to remind him I am here and that I love him.  I'm glad he's doing so well.

Thanks for all the comments...Keven is about the same, I am doing better.  Taking a lot of deep breaths and reminding myself to take it one hour at a time

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 22, 2010

Bad, by U2

I had breakfast with two good friends this morning.  One asked "so how are you doing musically?"  This sounds odd, but I know what she meant.  She knows that my passion is music.  Music makes me come alive.  When talking about my favoirte bands my eyes light up, I become animated and excited; the inrtoverted me takes a back seat when it comes to music.

So when I mentioned that I may not go see U2 this summer (not because of Bono's recent injury, because I just don't feel like it), she was worried about me.

Its true.  I haven't been myself.  I usually LIVE for the summer concerts and there's a few good ones coming up.  I have no desire to go.  But hopefully that will change.

I came home and put on some U2, and it helped.  I listened to a song Bono wrote when his good friend Phil Lynott from the band Thin Lizzy, died. (check him out on my GBNF blog*)

Phil died from years of abusing drugs.  It reminded me that addicts have a disease.  A disease that is not easily treated.  A disease that controls their every thought and action.  I can't imagine trying to fight a disease with no cure that had the potential of ruining every aspect of my life, and, to top it off, left me being looked down upon as "weak" with little compassion and understanding from society and sometimes friends and family.

Phil never recovered from the disease.  His drug of choice:  Heroin.

The song is called "Bad".

A few lyrics that stand out to me:

If I could, 
you know I would
if I could, 
I would let it go
this desperation
in temptation

*Ironically, when I started "Gone But Not Forgotten" over five years ago it was alarming to see how many of the rock n roll deaths were attributed to heroin.  Little did I know then its evil grasp would someday snare my own son.  Last night he said "I will use it again someday."  God help us all...

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 20, 2010

What do you do?

Update:  I feel a bit better.  Wrote this a couple of hours ago.  Sat outside under the stars in the cool night air and told myself I had to get a grip on myself.  Prayed.  Felt a bit better.  I know better than to ask why, but I am asking "how"?  

What do you do when your child is living in torment and the only peace he has is telling himself he could end it at any moment with suicide?

That's where we are at.  How did we get here?  He was doing so well for so long and then this HUGE downward spiral.  He agreed to go into the hospital this weekend if his new meds have not pulled him out of this by then.  I don't know if I can last that long.  My chest is burning, my stomach is in knots and I am afraid of what he might do.

This is no way to live.
Why the downward spiral?
Everyone keeps telling me I have to take care of myself but I can't.  What do I do - just let get to the point that he kills himself?

I hate the way my life feels right now.  I don't even know if I can write here anymore.  This is like the bottom for me - I am completely lost.  I wish a man lived in our home, at least I'd feel safe.  I don't even know who my son is right now, its like having a wild stranger in the house that I love with all my heart.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Horrible Night

I have to go to work now so can't say much but please pray for Keven today.  He's struggling big time with his illness.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 19, 2010

Thank you very much

Thanks for all the comments I appreciate each and every word.  I feel like we are all in such a similar "boat" and luckily when someone's boat starts to feel like its sinking, there are others around to keep it afloat.  I have no clue it that analogy makes sense (Syd - is it possible to save a sinking boat?), but I know you get what I mean.

Keven went to visit "L" and said to me before he left (in these exact words) "I am not going to enable her or help her, I am just going to be there for her".  I think he's better at this than I am :)

Then he called lost after driving around for over an hour and I could hear the panic in his voice.  I had given him the wrong directions because I trusted Google Maps.  I will NEVER trust them again, this is not the first time this has happened.

He finally found the hospital.  He said he was felt that ominous feeling that something bad was going to happen soon.  Shit.  That's all I can say.  I said "no, it won't" but how do I know.

I am sooooooooooooooooo tired tonight.  I need to rest but first, I'm going to catch up with some of you!

P.S.  He's home and struggling really bad and just told me he can't eat anymore...he's only had a few bites here and there in the last few days.
I keep waiting, waiting...for something to make him feel BETTER.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Update on "L"

Keven drove her to the ER yesterday.  She got stitches in her wrist and was admitted to a juvenile psychiatric hospital about 45 minutes from here.  She's on a 72 hour hold and hopefully this will be helpful.  I hope they don't give her any drugs that trigger her addiction (Xanax is her drug of choice).

Keven had a really good talk with  her mom last night and tried to help her mom see that this was not an act of manipulation (the mother showed up yelling at L for doing this) but a cry for help.  Apparently her got through to her in some way because she changed her tune after their talk.

Someone said in the comments that this is not my problem, I don't need to be involved.  A young girl is sitting on me bed with her wrist bleeding - I don't see an alternative.  I got involved as much as I needed to be (I put a new, tighter bandage on it) and waited with her for my son to come home and take her to the hospital.

I do care about these kids.  And I am handling it okay...I am less worried about my son today because I saw how he stepped up and did all the right things yesterday and was even able to have a very serious and helpful talk with L's mom.

So today...all is well so far.  I have to go to work now.  I'll be thinking about all of you (us) and will catch up on blogs tonight.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 18, 2010

Today's Episode of the Soap Opera of My Life

Just got off the phone with a cop.  Keven's gf. "L" left school today and the school called and reported her as a runaway.  She goes to a special school for addicts.

Anyhow, the cop wanted all my info and to know if she was safe.  He said he'd call her mom to ask if it was okay for her to be here, if not he'd call me back and she'd have to go back to school or home.  She only lives a few blocks from us so I would just take her home.

Keven is not even here.  He's at the appointment with the new doctor.  He would not allow me to I didn't.

Oh, and did I mention that "L" slit her wrist?  I just un-bandaged it and re-wrapped it with clean gauze.  Its fairly deep and the bleeding doesn't seem to be stopping.  She is trying to decide if she should go to the doctor or not and wondering if they will report it as a suicide attempt.  She said it wasn't, it was just something she did when she was having a panic attack and "snapped".  I am staying out of it.  She's certainly not bleeding to death of anything or I would take action.  I just rather have her go tell her mom about it.

It concerns me to learn that she is just as unstable as Keven.  Speaking of him, he just got home.  I hope he tells me what the dr. said.  

it never ends


Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 17, 2010

Parking Ticket Fiasco

This is getting ridiculous.

A few weeks ago Keven got a parking ticket and apparently said some smart-ass remark to the guy that works for the parking company.  But, he did learn his lesson and made sure to put money in the parking box thing from that point on.  He has to use this parking lot twice a week for probation.

Well, he's gotten three more parking tickets and he PAID EACH TIME.  He told me if I didn't believe him I could ask (he named two of his friends) because they saw him pay, and today his buddy put the money in since Keven drove.

I think this parking dude is targeting Keven's car.  Its a very small lot, only 20 spaces, so it would not be hard for him to remember the car of the kid that made the rude remark.

So what are our chances of getting these tickets dropped?  Somehow I doubt they will believe him if he calls, or probably even believe me.  But I believe him because he has witnesses AND he would not intentionally not pay three weeks in a row.  He has issues, but I believe him in this situation.

Ugh.  It makes me mad.

Enjoy the Good Moments While They Last

The last two weeks have been exceptionally tumultuous.   The calm moments are few and far between so its hard to really enjoy them because I know another upset is always right around the corner.  Within one day I can watch him go through several mood changes, almost before my eyes.  Its unnerving.

I am still happy about yesterday but today he pierced his face.  His cheek, under his eye.  Its not the first time he's done what I call self mutilation and he calls body piercing.  And I'm not talking about the "normal" piercings he's had those (tongue, snakebites, HUGE plugs).  He had two metal studs embedded in his arm at one point.  Then he had metal bars going up his other arm.  It was hideous and became infected and he has scars.  Now his face is pierced.  His handsome face.  His friend did it right here in his bedroom.

I know it seems minor compared to a lot of other things he's done, but to me its a bad sign that he's again looking for ways to FEEL something and to stand out as different and to prove something....what I don't know.

Today I am scared again.  Nervous.  I want to crawl in bed and never get out.  I'm having a hard time doing anything.

I feel like I need to be alert and on guard every minute of every day waiting and watching for the enemy to show his face but then not knowing how to fight the battle once he arrives.  We see the new doctor tomorrow.  I hope he knows something the other one didn't.

Sorry to be such a downer, but I need to write what I am feeling or there's no point in having this blog.  I know these days will happen, I just didn't think they'd happen so damn frequently.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 16, 2010

Belated Mother's Day from My Son!

Wow.  I wasn't expecting this, and yes, I LOVE it.  He told me once he would never get anyone's name on his body.  Ever.  He didn't like that.  But I think he wanted to say, in a big way, how much he loves me.  I'm sitting here crying happy tears.  Its been a rough weekend but this is the perfect way to end it.

Oh, and my gut instinct was wrong:  he has NOT used.  Thank God!  But there is still a lot to be concerned about.  Thanks for caring about us.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 15, 2010

Blog Award :) UPDATED

Syd pointed out that I didn't answer the first question! That was not intentional, I was going to do it last and then...forgot. Not unusual for me these days! I answered it.

Thanks to my blog friends that passed this on to me.  Its popping up everywhere so I will just pass it on to whoever has not got it yet and wants to do it.  I need a diversion so here's my answers:

1. What would your perfect day consist of?
Lets see, my perfect day would be waking up next to the man that I love (he's out there somewhere I hope) then having coffee together at our side by side laptops and discussing the latest news, emails, blogs.  Then we'd go for a drive to our favorite place, with our dogs,  to hike and spend most of the day hiking and enjoying nature.  We'd go home, shower, make love, and take a nap.  Then in the evening we'd go out to a local place to listen to some rockin' blues type music.  Go home fall asleep in his arms.  No worries all day.

2. How would you describe yourself if you were an article of clothing?
A well worn pair of jeans that fit just right, soft but strong

3. What hobbies are you currently working on? 
Hmmm.  Does trying not to worry count as a hobby?  

4. Walking in the woods in wellies or barefoot on the beach? 
The woods!  I live near the beach but would prefer the woods.

5. Have you ever hugged or sang to a tree? 
My friend and I strapped ourselves to a tree when bulldozers came to tear it down.  So...yes.

6. Growing your own veggies or nipping to the supermarket? supermarket?
A little of both.

7. Have you found anyone exciting in your family tree? 
No.  I have relatives in Ireland and Canada.  I like to think I may be related to Bono.

8. Slap up meal in a posh restaurant or fish 'n' chips from the wrapper? 
Depends on my mood.
9. Which element do you most resonate with: Earth, Air, Fire or Water?

10. Do you believe in fairies? 

Update on Ant

Its been awhile since I've mentioned Anthony.  Here's the latest:

I got a Mother's Day letter from him yesterday.  He told me what he would have done for Mother's Day if he'd been out, which was sweet.

He's been transfered to the minimum security and said it was like a "boy's camp".  He likes it except for the fact that people are slamming dope all around him.  He says its much easier to get in there than on the streets - but way more expensive.  He told me he is staying away from it and I choose to believe that, I hope its true.

Get this:  he spends his time doing tattoos (he made a gun to use in there), playing guitar (they provide guitars) and singing.  He sounds like quite a celebrity!  Everyone is telling him "what are you doing in here, you have so much talent!"  I hope that makes him think.  He DOES have so much talent --- ugh.

Going to try to catch up on blogs this weekend.  Am NOT going to write about Keven.  I'm working hard at not even thinking about him...right now he's upstairs asleep, his new friend is over.

If you ever find yourself in prison and want to pass some time giving your cellies tattoos, its easy to make a "gun".  All you need is:
  • bic pen (this is your tube that houses the needle)
  • 4 or 5" section of guitar string ,second one from the smallest. ( this is your needle)
  • tooth brush ( this gets bent like a "7" and joins the pen to the motor)
  • an eraser from a pencil (this joins the shaft of the motor to the needle/guitar string)
  • small battery operated motor (from a "walkman" or a hand held fan)
  • some tape (to join everything together)

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 13, 2010

Gut Instincts

First of all, THANK YOU for all the comments on the last two posts.  I think most of you know how valuable support, concern and feedback can be.  I treasure every thought, every insight.

Tonight he went with me to the party for our NAMI class.  He and his gf both enjoyed it.  I think it gave him a glimpse into the other side - what I feel and experience related to his illness.  And I think he appreciates my efforts to learn as much as I can. gut is twisted in knots.  I have no evidence other than his behavior yesterday that he may be using but I did see a bruise on his arm and grabbed it and looked at it.  He was upset and I wish I wouldn't have done it because it was on the outside of his arm no where there are no veins.  Oh well, old habits die hard.

I've been reading blogs but not commenting on all of them because I am worn out (also have a project at work that is driving me nuts).  

I will catch up this weekend.

Thanks again.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara
The things is - how much should he be held accountable for if he responsible for if he can't control himself?

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 12, 2010

Calm after the storm?

Things got worse, then they got better.

I'm just at a loss for what more to do for him to help him fight these demons.  Its not drugs.  My deep gut instincts is telling me that's not it.  It's what goes on in his mind.  The anxiety, the thoughts, the fears.

I know it COULD be drugs, I am not naive.  I just don't think it is.

Its hard to see him suffer.  I hate this.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Something Bad is Going to Happen

I am very upset.

Keven is acting the same way he used to act - full of anger, punching holes in doors, etc.  He is NOT using drugs.  He gets drug tested twice a week by his PO.

He says he is still seeing things, hates his life, hates the way the meds make him feel, will not go see his dr. to talk about it again and that "something bad is going to happen soon."  He hinted at some ugly things, I asked "what do you think will happen?" he said he doesn't know we'll have to wait and see.

I am a wreck.  I can't kick him out, part of his probation is to live here in this "stable residence".

I am afraid for him and of him.  I feel the walls closing in on me again and like I will know a moment's peace until he's back to "normal"

He says he hates his life and doesn't want to live like this.  Then he left for an NA mtg. with his gf.

I don't know what to do.  I am so messed up.  I feel like all the progress we've made over the last 8 months vanished into thin air and he's that evil, mean person again.

P.S.  I have considered taking Kev off all his meds.  Its hard to know if they are making him better or worse.  I can't ask his psychiatrist this since its his job to prescribe drugs.  Do you know anyone who has ever done this in a 19 year old?  He's on a bunch of stuff....

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 10, 2010

Helplessly Hoping ~ Let Go Hang On

I just finished reading Peggy's blog, Helplessly Hoping, where she shares the details of getting her daughter Hayley into Detox to be followed by Rehab.

It's quite a story!  It seems like just yesterday that her daughter wanted nothing to do with recovery or getting better and now she's in the process.  The long, difficult, process has begun so we can hope and pray she sticks with it.  Peggy is relieved to have her there but it brings a new concern "will she stay?".

Do we ever stop wondering if they will stay on the right path?  Even after three years of staying clean someone I know and love dearly relapsed recently and it was devastating because I had not expected it.

Anna's daughter, Let Go Hang On, is also staying clean right now and is at home with her family.  Its been wonderful to read about her the last week or so - how she's been working in the yard with her dad, playing tennis with her sister, visiting her grandmother.  It sounds so healthy....yet she still has demons to battle.  Such a sweet girl.

Both these young women have loving families and so much to live for, so much potential (don't all our kids?)

Its funny, I see a bit of my son in almost all the addicts I know.  That makes me wonder if its they type of personality that becomes an addict or if its the type of personality you develop because you're an addict?

As for my son - he just left for probation.  I LOVE probation : )  I wish he could stay on it forever...just kidding...sort of.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 8, 2010

A Different Focus

When I started this blog it was called "The Needle and the Damage Done".  At that time my son was active in his addiction to heroin and I was living the nightmare that is familiar to many parents who read here.  Since August 20, 2009 the focus has slowly changed, and although my son still thinks about and talks about heroin every day, its no longer the number one issue we are dealing with.

I changed the name to "Recovery Happens" when my son entered into a rehab after three months in jail.  I felt hopeful.  I wanted my blog to reflect that.

In January 2010 while living in a rehab, my son admitted himself to the psychiatric unit of a hospital.  He had five months clean from drug use but was experiencing intense panic attacks and thoughts of suicide to the point that he knew he needed to be "locked up" for a few days.

At that time they took him off all his medication and diagnosed him with Bipolar Disorder.  Part of me was relieved because it sounded like he only had "one thing wrong" now, but the truth is all the other things he experienced are part of Bipolar!  (panic attacks, severe depression, obsessive thinking, paranoia, general anxiety and mood swings).

I joined NAMI and began learning all I could about Bipolar and continue to learn and find resources.  Although there doesn't seem to be a support network of blogs out there, I've found blogs written by people diagnosed with it, but not many by family members (if you run across any let me know!)

This is really hard to say, to admit.  I feel ashamed and naive but I want to be honest:  When I first heard Keven was Bipolar I was relieved.  I thought it was the answer to all his problems.  He would take some meds, feel normal and be able to avoid heroin.  Life could resume as planned and he would have a productive future and supply me with plenty of grandkids.

I wish.

Bipolar, as I'm seeing firsthand, is very serious and very complicated and he may or may not be able to function in the world like most people do.  I am still in denial about that possibility, I mean - he seems fine most of the time!  He looks so normal!  He has friends, drives, has a girlfriend, talks to groups, meets all his legal obligations...Surely he's going to be JUST FINE.

I am hoping for that.  I want to believe it.  It IS possible.  But in the meantime each day is a new adventure in "how he will feel".  I can almost sense an aura around him of constant discontent.  Its like he's always fighting it, always one step away from something negative.  When he's with his friends he seems distracted, that's the only time I hear him laugh.  Around the house he shows little emotion or is grouchy.  Last week was hallucinations and fear, who knows what next week will be like.

So, all this to say, I may be focusing on talking more about Bipolar here.  I still have my "other boy" who battles addiction to heroin, but for now, he's nice and safe in prison.  I feel kind of lonely in this Bipolar stuff.  I don't even know how I would encourage a parent of a young adult that's been diagnosed.  But I do know all about drug addiction so there is no way I am going to stop reading, caring about and praying for all the people that are still in the thick of that evil battle.  I am well aware that Keven is always one step away from picking up a needle again.

Thanks to all of you who read here and care about my boy and me.  I appreciate you beyond what words can convey.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Another Blog About Heroin Addiction

A friend of mine pointed out this blog to me, I had not seen it before.  Its really well written and many of you will relate to this mom as she shares her son's story.  I have to admit it was hard to see photos of needles and spoons....its been 9 months since I have to deal with those ugly items in my home, but the memories will never leave me.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 6, 2010

NAMI Class 10

Tonight was my last official class, next week we have a pizza party and can bring our family members, Keven said he'd go so I hope he follows through I really want him to be there.

I have learned so much from this class, and the support and hope I've got has been wonderful.  Luckily our group can stay together and meet once a month in someone's home, I really want to stay in touch with everyone.

So much of the information I've gained has been helpful and hopeful.  I think I've mentioned that two of the young women that help lead the class are both "diagnosed" and you would never know in a million years, they are both intelligent, sweet, attractive, confident, ambitious, I could go on and on, they are my favorite part of the class and I will miss them tremendously.

One thing I learned from one of them tonight (I swear she is like an encyclopedia of knowledge - with first hand experience of bi-polar!)

I told her that Kev's doctor said he was having delusions, not hallucinations.  Now, I heard this second hand via Keven.  He does not allow me to talk to his doctor (which irks me that I support him yet legally the dr. doesn't have to talk to me).

My question was:  What is the difference between hallucinations and delusions and are they part of bi-polar or do they always indicate schizophrenia?

She explained it really well.  Delusions are thoughts, hallucinations are the senses reacting to the thoughts.  Hallucinations can be visual, audible or even a sense of smell or hot or cold or whatever.  For example if you thought someone was hiding in your house to "get you" you could see them even if they weren't there.  Its not uncommon for someone in the manic stage of Bi-Polar to have them.

We just happened to have a guest speaker tonight who has worked in the mental health field for 24 years.  She shared her story.  She is schizophrenic.  HER STORY WAS INSANE (oops, no pun intended).  She is writing a book and I would not be surprised if its a movie someday similar to "A Beautiful Mind".  She lived with imaginary friends, super powers, paranoid ideas, etc. for YEARS all alone and undiagnosed.   Yet there she was:  a wife, mother and long term worker in the field, devoting her life to helping others.  Dang.  I hope she writes the book soon so everyone can read it!

Bottom line:  Mental Illness is SO COMMON and can be treated.  A large percentage of addicts either use drugs to medicate a mental illness OR their drug use induces a mental illness.  It depresses me to put a label on my son and it kills me to see him suffer, but at least we are getting some help.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 5, 2010

Motherless Day

Father's Day is hard for me.  My father died when I was 15.  My son's father is not really much of a father.

Mother's Day must be hard for a lot of people.  I know it is for Anthony.  I miss that kid a lot.  Prison is a lot different than jail.  No weekly visits, no phone calls.  Just letters.  And my letters to him have been less and less, I need to write him.  I need to remind him how much he's loved.

Anthony's mom grew up around here, went to high school with my sister.  She was a nice quiet girl that got mixed up with a tough guy drug user.  They got married and had Anthony and his brother but both parents were wild partiers, heavy drug users and in and out of jail.

Ant was sent to live with his grandparents till his mom could get it together.  At one point she was in a meth lab explosion and 80% of her was burned.  I think Anthony was around 10 at that time and it was frightening to see her after all the surgery's and skin graphs.

Then one night, while under the influence, she went out on her motorcycle and ran into a truck.  Dead on impact.  He was 14.

He went downhill fast after that, started using drugs and getting in trouble with the law.  For the first year I knew him everyone said "don't mention his mom" so I didn't.  But then one day I thought "I am not going to pretend this didn't happen...he needs to talk about it".  He cried and cried and thanked me for letting him get it out.

God I miss his hugs.  I love being his adopted mom, "Mamma B".  Drugs take the most wonderful people and turn them into something so sad, desperate, ruthless.  I know Anthony is GOOD.  He is good but his actions and decisions are horrible.

This little bundle of joy is Joshua Havoc P., Anthony's son.  He's two now and running around with a curly head of hair causing havoc.

May 4, 2010

GOOD NEWS and a Description


Someone asked what the difference between a halucinationand a delusion is, this is what his doctor said (not in these exact words)

A hallucination just comes out of no where for no apparent reason, a delusion is usually something you have seen at one time the appear for a variety of reasons. 

Hallucinations last for more than a moment, delusions usually appear and disappear quickly.

Hallucinations are very often associated with schizophrenia but delusions can be a combination of things:  meds, past drug use, stress, anxiety, etc.

(I updated this cause I was in a hurry the first time I wrote it and got some of it wrong...)

I really, really, really needed this good news today:

Kev had his apt. with his dr. and was told his hallucinations are actually "delusions" which are different than hallucinations and NOT necessarily a sign of a serious mental illness but can be part of bi-polar, stress or a number of other things.

Just seeing his face when he walked out of the dr.'s office was a huge relief.  I personally feel like a weight has been lifted.  I can only handle so much.

I should not have jumped to conclusions - but when your child sees a dead person hanging in the closet (and that's just one of many examples) its very scary for both of you.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Never In My Wildest Dreams....

I remember finding out I was pregnant.  I actually screamed into the phone at the nurse who called with the news:  "No!  NO!!!!"  Obviously it was an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy.  I cried for weeks, mostly because I was grieving the loss of my life as I knew it, as a carefree single woman free to live life as she pleased, responsible only for herself.

But as the weeks turned into months and I felt my baby move inside me, I fell in love.  Madly in love.  I had no idea if it was a boy or a girl, but I loved him/her with all my heart before he/she was even born.  That love exploded when I gave birth to a perfect little boy.  I had never knew love like that existed, that it was possible, it was all new to me and being a mom was the Best Thing That Ever Happened.

Years went by.  There was always something unique about my son.  He was a lot like I was growing up - often withdrawn and depressed but still had fun and enjoyed life for the most part.  There were struggles but we got through them and as far as I knew Everything Was Fine.

I was wrong.  The drug years started.  Arrests.  Drug diversion programs.  Suicide Attempt.  Rehab.  In patient, Out patient.  More Arrests....well you know the story if you read here.  And for the last 8 months He Has Not Used Drugs.

I thought maybe life would take a turn for the "normal".  Sure, there was a diagnosis for Bi-Polar that was very serious, but it could be treated with the right meds.  He had plans for the future.  He's dating a nice girl.  He is doing things to help others and staying out of trouble.  But now it looks like Things Are More Serious Than We Thought.

We don't have a diagnosis yet but I can't find anything anywhere that is giving me hope.  His symptoms are worsening.  This is the age when "it" usually manifests itself.  He has all the signs of "it".  We go to his psychiatrist again today (I'm going broke paying for him).  Even if Keven is doing all the right things to care for himself there is still No Guarantees in Life.

Never in my wildest dreams would I be thinking about my son's future in terms of whether or not he will be able to function like a normal adult, if he will be able to live alone, hold a job, have friends.  I don't want him to have "it".  Sure, there are meds to control it - but do you know what those meds do to a person?  I do.  I've learned all about it in my NAMI classes because many of the people in the class have schizophrenics in their lives.  Even with meds, life will never be "normal".

My own life did not turn out as planned.  I accepted that and changed course and have no regrets at choosing to have my son.  But now it looks like his life will not turn out as planned either.  I may not even get grandkids.

They say it takes six months of symptoms to diagnose "it" but I can't wait that long.  He is in danger.  He needs some sort of help now.  I don't know what will happen today at the Dr. visit.  I will keep you posted.

Still don't know if I am making this blog private or not.  I want to protect him.  Yet on the other hand, I want to fight against the stigma mental illness carries so running off and hiding because of it is the opposite of the message I want to send.  Its very complicated.

Thanks for reading this....

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 2, 2010


Its hard to write here these days.  Kev is going through a very difficult time.  He's been off drugs for 8 months.  He's on medication for bi-polar, but his symptoms are getting worse.  He's intelligent and articulate enough to describe to me in full detail exactly what's going on and we both know what it means.  We finally said the word out loud tonight.  He has an apt. to see his dr. on Tuesday.  He hasn't told his dr. about the symptoms because he doesn't want the diagnosis of what he thinks it is (denial) but he said he's ready to tell him because he can't live like this anymore.  Yes, there are meds for it, with really negative side effects.  Its like a no win in his mind.  I just got my son back, I don't want to lose him again.

I'm thinking of making this blog private (invite only) so if you are a regular reader I will be sending you an invite.  If you are not sure if I have your email please leave me a comment or email me.
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