January 31, 2011

Saying NO

I try to find the positive in everything.  With addiction its very difficult to find anything remotely positive, but with Anthony's meltdown and addict behaviors over the last week the positive is that Keven and Kesly get to see what its like to deal with an addict.

They see what their addiction has put their family through.  Its a good lesson, but still hard to watch them learn this the hard way.

Anthony needs to be hospitalized.  He is not sane, he is not safe.  He has been threatening suicide for days and just called and told me if I did not let him spend the night here he would kill himself.

I said NO.

I offered to take him to the hospital but he said he doesn't want to go.  I just hope and pray that his grandparents are safe with him in the house.  I told his grandma today that they should call the police the moment they felt threatened or scared or if he got too wild and out of control.

Keven is not taking his calls.

If he calls me again I might drive over there but call the police and have them meet me at his house.  Shit...that would be ballsy of me but I don't know what else to do - - - he is a danger to himself and others and I want him locked up.

Do I ignore his calls or do I intervene?  He hung up on me when I said no to him so maybe he won't call me back.  Its not my problem...
but it sort of is.  I've come this far with him, the least I could do is have him tossed back in prison, right?  For his own safety.

It hurts to know he's suffering, but he's also very mean and nasty about it, Keven would internalize most of his agony - Ant does the opposite and is BLAMING all of us for his problems.

Addiction is ugly.

I guess I will try to sleep and hope that he stays home and doesn't do anything stupid or dangerous.

Thanks for all of your care and concern.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

January 30, 2011

Read Between The Lines

I can't say why I am so upset.  But maybe you can guess.  I've written about Anthony because I have nothing to lose in writing about his actions on my blog.  My son is very depressed, anxious and, well, basically a wreck.  Yet I see him trying so hard to keep it together.  Let's just say he has disowned his "brother" and I have also disowned my "other son".

I am more angry than sad.

I've asked myself - was is worth it investing so much of my love, time, money, energy and constant encouragement into Anthony's life for the last two and a half years????  I would have to say NO.  It was not.  Because the times I believed in him, I always had a huge doubt inside because of his history.  He has never been able to stay off drugs or our of prison/jail/juvenile hall.

I chose to look at his positive side but now I wonder - did he ever really care, did anything I say mattered or was I just a great person to have on his side because I was so kind and generous?

I insisted that if someone gave him a chance, some unconditional love, some hope - he could do it.  He could overcome.

Well, go ahead and I say it, because I agree completely:  I was naive, arrogant to think I would make a different, fooled, used, and mostly STUPID.  I admit all this - its obvious and I KNEW BETTER but still forged ahead thinking the best of him.

I am just done with him completely and he is done with me too.  He is mad at ME because of something I said to him related to who he used drugs with the other day.  He is not a nice person, and sadly, I think it goes beyond his addiction.  He grew up with parents that did drugs in front of him and were in and out of jail and I think the combination of his genetics and environment left him with some very serious issues.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

January 28, 2011

Deep, Gut-Wrenching Pain, Disappointment, Anger and Stress

In my last post I said that Anthony is using again.  This doesn't come as a shock or a surprise, but that doesn't make it any easier to accept.  I am done with him.  I am not just saying that, I truly am.

Unfortunately I still have to live with the effects of his using because of how torn up Keven is over this.  He asked if he could come over and talk to me today and said "don't worry, its not about me, I'm fine."  Well I already knew in my gut what it was about.  Seeing Keven's face, the stress, the fear, the anger, disappointment and concern....all of it, even stronger than how I am feeling it - - - makes me hope and pray that Anthony gets thrown back in prison immediately.

He tried to get Keven to use with him.  Keven refused but DAMN HIM, how dare him?  I know, I know, he's an addict and that's what they do - they don't give a shit about anyone else as long as they can get high.

I overheard Keven telling him he could talk to him on the phone but not see him in person.  I'm thankful for that but I hope he gets to the point where he doesn't even talk to him on the phone.

Kev is spending the day with an older friend that's in the program and they are going to meetings, etc.  Keven told him what's going on and this man said "you can't be alone today".  I feel fairly confident that Keven will not use, but there are no guarantees.  Maybe he did.

I am so pissed off right now. I am sick.  I have not felt sick like this in a long time.

He still has not fessed up to me - I texted him and asked how he was today and he said "most excellent, how are you".  I didn't even respond.  He told Keven I was the one person he didn't want to find out.

I wish I could get him arrested.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

January 27, 2011

I Knew It

Anthony is using again.

Keven and Kels are not, but Keven seemed very uptight tonight as he told me about Ant.

I felt it in my gut the other day.

He usually calls daily and didn't for two days.

I text him "I love you last night" at 9

He did not text back till this morning.

This may not sound like a lot of evidence.  But I KNEW.

Damn it.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Parent Project? Will It Help?

Just read about this on my cities local blog.  What do you think?  I have mixed feelings.

   Police Services is offering parents methods to deal with difficult or destructive behaviors in their children.  The Parent Project has been developed over 20 years to help kids develop into safe and responsible adults.
   Parents are invited to take part in 10-sessions designed to help children grow into safe and capable adults. The 10-week program helps parents learn and practice specific prevention strategies for defiant actions or destructive behaviors such as truancy, alcohol and drug use, gangs, running away, violence and suicide. Parents will learn to deal with poor grades and online gaming addictions.  They will also learn to understand teens and their use of technology.
   MV Deputies, including several of the School Resource Officers, receive 40 hours of training for the Projects, which assists parents with kids ages 11-19. 
   The $20 training includes the workbook and begins next Tuesday, February 1, at 6:30 p.m. in the Murray Center. Parents can  register with Carla Kerr weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 949-470-8433.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

January 25, 2011

The COST of Recovery


Its really insane how much drug treatment costs.  For the first 90 days of his stay at Cornerstone we paid a huge, huge amount of money.  Basically it was money I would have inherited but given to me early.

Now that he is done with that 90 days, the judge told us today that he has to stay at Cornerstone another 90 days, but in the next level down, which they call Monitored Living (a step above Sober Living).  It is going to cost us $1,800 per month plus food plus $100 in drug tests per month.

He has done so well there she wants it to continue.

All I can say is:  I am thankful for credit cards and if I have a lifetime of debt to pay along with a clean and sober and happy son, so be it.

My gratitude goes out to VISA, Mastercard and Discover.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

January 21, 2011

Last Family Group and THANK YOU

Thanks for the comments left on my last post.  I was in such a horrible place when I wrote that but the comments and talking to Keven helped.

I wish all of you could've been at Family Group tonight, there was a bit of tension in the room (and by a bit, I mean A LOT).  It was a lot of new people in the group and one woman was there in support of her father.  She didn't say much until near the end when she spoke up after someone shared something about their mother.  With an indignant tone in her voice she had the audacity to say (in a room full of addicts and their parents) that if the mother would have done somethinig earlier she could have stopped her son from becoming an addict.

Well.  The room started buzzing and our fearless leader then gave his (long and boring because we'd heard it so many times in the last three months) spiel on how addiction is a disease, etc. etc. etc.

After this we all assumed the woman would realize that
a) she didn't know what she was talking about
b) that she had insulted every parent in the room and caused most of the children to be very angry because they knew it was not their parents fault

But no....she said, "I disagree.  If that mom would have done x, y & z things would have turned out different".  I think I saw steam coming out of the ears of the guy who's mom she was talking about (the mom was not there).

So then all the addicts stared to speak up to defend their parents saying things like "there was nothing my parents could have done to change the outcome...."  Keven added his two cents too.

But she still insisted that parents are responsible for how their kids turn out and that HER three children (teens/20's) were fine because she was strict with them and would not let them get away with using drugs.

At this point we all gave up and I silently prayed that her kids would never be addicted because she would blame herself.

After group I had to say goodbye to a few people I'd never see again, it  was a bit sad.  I've seen quite a few come and go over the last three months and you get attached to some people after hearing such intimate details of their life, such raw emotions shared in our groups.

I overheard one mother telling Keven she was glad she had met him because he had totally changed her view of tattoos and plugs and would never judge a guy by his earrings again :)  Then she told me how impressed she was with him.  Needless to say, that meant a lot.

I said goodbye to a cute young girl that was my personal favorite of the group.  I say young - she's 29.  Anyhow I will miss her honesty and her enthusiasm.  I hope she makes it this time.

Keven moves out of his house on Tuesday.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

January 20, 2011

Sick Feeling in Pit of My Stomach

UPDATE:  He called and said everything was fine, etc.  He seemed fine. He reminded me that its Family Group night (last one!) and that he is not going to "blow it" this close to his next step in recovery.  I still feel sick, but a tiny bit better.

My mother's instinct is in overdrive and I feel like throwing up.

Today he and Anthony went to Anthony's parole appointment.

1)  Why does Keven need to drive him?  Anthony is responsible for himself
2)  Why is Keven taking care of someone else's business when he has  his own things to do today
3)  Why do I feel like this?

Would they really use?  Would they really throw it all away?  Would Keven risk going back to jail, losing his families support and possibly living on the street?  Would Anthony/Keven allow the other to fuck up so soon after committing to each other that they were going to support each other's sobriety?

I don't know the answers to these questions but they could easily be yes, yes, yes......

I texted him and said get home and leave him there you have an eye dr. appt.  He text back ok.  We'll see what happens.

Dear Parents that are New to This,

I used to hate reading blog posts like the one I just wrote.  I felt so hopeless like this awful lifestyle never ends.  Eventually I accepted that it may not end as soon as I'd like.  If your child has not relapsed yet, they may be one of the very rare exceptions.  Its part of recovery - relapsing happens.

I hope with all my heart that my gut feelings are wrong and that Keven and Anthony are just enjoying each other's company.

I feel like cussing, crying and curling up in a ball.  I will update later when I know whats going on.

QUESTION:  Do you think its common for someone to relapse when they are getting close to a milestone, in this case moving to sober living?  It seems like a way of putting a hold on life rather than facing the unknown or the fear of moving forward.

PLEASE let me be wrong....please, please, please

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

January 19, 2011

Paranoia? No, Real Thinking

I'm glad this situation solved itself before I wrote about it.  The short story is something out of the ordinary happened today with Keven and my first reaction was:  he's using!  he's lying to me!  he's being irresponsible!

Immediately the pit in my stomach started to ache and churn, my heart hurt, my anger was rising, I was a mess!

All this was before I had a chance to hear the whole story.  I may have over-reacted a bit, but my thoughts were based in past experience.

Everything is fine, there was a logical explanation (he has a special meeting he has to attend) and I apologized to him for my suspicions.  The real shocker, when I apologized his response was:

"its alright, Mom, I understand"

WOW.  Wherever my defensive, angry son ran off to, I hope he stays missing, this new kid is so much easier to get along with :)

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

January 15, 2011

Maturity, Honesty and Humility

Not three words I would have chosen to describe either Keven or Anthony in the past, but (dare I even say it?) I see those things in BOTH of them right now.  I definitely have that "this is too good to be true, it won't last" feeling but I am pushing those thoughts out of my head.  I will enjoy this, I will be proud of it, I will praise them for it (but not too much) and expect it to continue.  Then, if it doesn't, I will deal with it.  Actually what I mean is - if either of them uses again.

Its such a bittersweet feeling.

You would not believe how these two have been lately (together and apart) and some of the conversations I've had with them.  Anthony has grown up alot, has faced some things, humbly admitted some faults and is determined to be a good father and a good human being.  He's given Keven some excellent words of wisdom that Keven would not "hear" from anyone else.  Its so hard not to be hopeful, but always, always in the back of my mind is the big WHAT IF.

The fall hurts more the higher up you are, so I don't want to allow my expectations get too high.

I wasn't sure what it would be like when Ant got out - he's been calling me "Mama B" for a long time now, would that carry over?  Would he still think of me as his "mom"?  So far he's called every day to let me know what he's up to.  I've seen him almost every day as well.  He went to Family Group with us the other night and was a "big hit".  He's the type of person that everyone likes, everyone flocks to, everyone thinks is "cool" (by everyone I mean most people in that age group).  So Keven was beaming with pride to show off his "brother" and I had both my boys with me, it was a trip.

Hopefully things will continue to go well.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

January 11, 2011

The Problem With Anti-Drug Ads

WARNING:  Trigger alert for people sensitive to graphic photos related to drugs.

Bill Ford over at Dad on Fire (one of my favorite blogs for the latest information on this topic) has posted about a new anti-drug campaign aimed at youth.  I watched each of the video clips really wanting to see something that would impact our current generation of kids.

The video clips were creative, thoughtful...and I mean no disrespect to whoever put them together, but they are weak.  They will appeal to a certain type of kid.  A kid who sees himself in these videos, who may have already decided drugs are stupid and following the crowd is lame.

I know I am going out on a limb by making this generalization, but its based on my observation of Keven, Anthony, Kels, Jon, Gilbert, Matt, Ross, Andrew, Lauren, Lauren 2, Anthony 2, Mikey, Christian, Brian, Jesse, Justin, Brian, Chad, and Ryan 1 and 2.

These are all of Keven's friends.  The ones that are not addicts have very different personalities from each others, but they all have passions they have been following for years and are well adjusted emotionally with a relatively, healthy self esteem.

The others are either bad ass guys who think they are tough and indestructible, emotionally hurt, suffering from a past trauma (abuse most likely) or lonely.  They see drugs as not only a means to an end, but a lifestyle that appeals to them.  They would never relate to the kids on the videos I just watched.

Drugs and the drug culture provide a place to belong where you fit in no matter what, druggies watch out for each other - unless of course they are desperate for drugs then they will steal from their best friend.  But usually the people who choose to try heroin (specifically) are looking to take a risk, try something exciting and in the process discover that it delivers the most incredible feeling in the world, a feeling that becomes the new focus of life.  Within the first few uses they are hooked and then begins the uphill battle that typically lasts for years and destroys everyone and everything in its path.  The lucky ones get out alive.

So all this to say - even looking back on a young Keven from years ago, he would have laughed at these videos and said they were stupid.  Some of the kids I listed above would agree with him but inwardly would take the message seriously, and others would go out of their way to use drugs just because of their rebellious nature.

Its really sad but I think showing real junkies, crackheads and tweakers would make more of an impact.  Showing girls that were once real cute and popular in school looking haggard at 17 and trading sexual favors for a hit of heroin, showing the "tough guys" begging and crying for more drugs, showing the ugliness, the filth, the crime, the violence, the jail beatings, the FUTURE of what happens to addicts....that MAY get through to a few more kids.  They need graphic images like this:

Amy Pickard before and after the heroin overdose

Heroin Overdose

Unfortunately, this new ad campaign seems like maybe a step or two above "just say no".  Maybe.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

January 9, 2011

Mission Accomplished - He's Home!

After ten months, the trio is together once again.

Kev and Kels are both working their program.  Ant says he wants to.  Lets hope and pray that he doesn't go out again and if he does, he doesn't take either of them with him.

Got the best hug ever and a gorgeous hand drawn card that I will scan and share later.  I am exhausted.  Left the house at 7am, just got home.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

January 7, 2011

Accepting the Things We Can Not Change....

Anthony did not get out today.  But, all parties (him, Kels, Kev) are handling it with maturity by accepting the things they can not change.  I am impressed.

After getting up at 5:00 am and getting out to Norco, we got a call from him saying that they just told him (as in this morning!) that he can't get out till Sunday because he's on "high control probation" and has to see his PO within a certain amount of hours after leaving prison.  So that means I will drive out on Sunday to pick him up but Kels will not be able to go with me.

She had an elaborate day planned, had her hair and nails done, got a sexy new outfit, several surprises for him and got the day off work.  So she was disappointed but going with the flow.

It seems a bit ridiculous to me that prison waited till literally the last minute to say "guess what, you don't get to go home today after all!".  I will stop here so I am not tempted to say anything mean about our prison system.

Check out my other blog for something I am putting over there related to prisons, I was going to put it here but want more people to see it.

Thanks for caring about Ant.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

January 5, 2011


(photo from last January during one of the brief moments they had together before Ant was back in prison)

Anthony has served a ten month sentence so we (his grandparents, brother, girlfriend, Keven and me) are very excited for the big day.  FRIDAY!

Kels and I will drive down to Norco and arrive by 7:30 am, wait two hours and then get to hug him for as long as we want.

First stop after that is a noon NA mtg. for the two of them (his request) at which time I will drive to get Keven and then see a HUGE reunion of "the brothers".  They have been like two ships* in the night for the last two years.  Then off to Grandma's house to surprise her (she doesn't except him till Saturday) and then all of us will go to lunch which my generous sister offered to pay for.

I think this warm welcome will get him off to a good start.  Mail has been slow in prison the last month and he thinks we are all mad at him and wasn't sure who was coming to get him.  Ha.  I will drive the "good car" and he will have a huge birthday gift waiting for him and I will chauffeur them to the meeting.

I am looking forward to it - but mostly to seeing Keven and Anthony reunite.  Kev and Kels are both going to tell him straight up - one word, or even "that look" about drugs and we are out of here.

*drug addicts in the system would be more appropriate

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

January 2, 2011

I can't deny it...I have hope

I am afraid I will jinx it by saying it outloud but that's silly.
Last year when he had 9 months I was hopefull too.

But, I swear there is something different this time and I am going to go with my hopefulness and enjoy it.

Kelly is doing excellent (Ant's gf)



Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara
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