April 30, 2011

He Made His Final Decision

I went to visit Keven Friday, my usual visiting day.  We had a good talk.  Then this morning he called and asked if I'd come to see him again because he had something important to talk about.  I went.

He told me he had decided to stay with the court program and go into a 90 day residential rehab.  He said he based his decision on the fact that he didn't think he was ready, he's afraid he can't stay clean.  He wants help.  Again.

So, I am grateful.  Its sad to think of how badly some of our addicts want sobriety yet feel like they're facing an enemy that is more powerful than they are.  I remember the days when Keven spoke of heroin as if it were his love, his reason for living (sad) and now he hates it, but it still beckons him.

I'm tired.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

April 27, 2011

Waiting for the phone to ring...

Without going into a ton of detail, I am waiting for Keven to call from jail.  At court yesterday he was given yet another week to choose what he wants to do.  After a long talk with our attorney, I've had some difficult introspection and decisions to make.  I'll share more when I know the outcome.

Bottom line:  The addict can suck the life out of the entire family, IF you let him.

Its not fair, but that's how it is.  And the real unfairness of it all is that when you choose not to let them suck the life out of you - that in itself can become all consuming, draining, stressful and emotional.

So its a constant battle of staying on my toes and going against my nature as a mother.

Total bottom line:  I'm drained.  I feel like that apple.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

April 25, 2011

Guest Blogger

I was honored to write a guest post for one of the most prominent and successful drug treatment centers in Southern California, The Pat Moore Foundation.

You can check out their website here and here is a link to the article I wrote.

They said some nice things about me which I appreciate.

Meanwhile, I am not doing well at all today so I hope the article I wrote doesn't make it sound like I have "arrived" and have it all figured out or that it gets easy as time goes by.  As we all know, it doesn't.  It does get easier as we learn how to deal with it, but it never gets easy.

Big day in court tomorrow.  This time we will have some sort of closure one way or the other.  I am nervous.  I'll let you know what happens.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Note to Tina at "Just For Today I Will...."

Tina, I don't have your email so am hoping you see this, or that someone who has your email can let you know.  The middle column of your blog is too narrow to leave a comment, it won't allow us to see the word verification.  Here is what I intended to say to your post of today:

You have every reason and right to be frustrated by this. I am in the same boat and its very discouraging. I can't afford another rehab or a sober living but I don't want my son here or on the street. He's safe in jail today but may be out in as little as a few days or a month and a half. I don't know what the answer is but I feel your frustration and hope we can all find solutions to help our addicts. I think there is a difference between helping and enabling. There are lots of views on how to define both but I think wanting to help someone live in a safe place is not enabling. On the other hand, so many say that when their kid was finally on the street they turned their life around. Like you, I am not ready for that and would suffer a lot if it happened. All of this is hard, confusing and painful :(
April 25, 2011 10:41 AM

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Song of the Day by Whitesnake

Being the Rock and Roll aficionado that I am, I usually have a song going on in my head at all times and can always come up for one that suits my mood or the occasion at hand, often subconsciencely. Today that song is "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake.

Tomorrow Kev has yet another court date and this one will be a big deal (I am 90% sure a decision will be made). The next step of his future will be revealed tomorrow based on what the judge offers and what he is willing to accept. I am prepared for him to opt out of the program and take his time because he's already served over 6 months (in bits and pieces) that he'd probably be out in a little over a month.

I don't know which of us, him or me, is singing this song today but I woke up with it blaring in my brain and can't turn it off:

I don't know where I'm going

But I sure know where I've been
Hanging on the promises and songs of yesterday
And I've made up my mind
I ain't wasting no more time
Here I go again, Here I go again

Though I keep searching for an answer
I never seem to find what I'm looking for
Oh Lord I pray you give me strength to carry on
'Cause I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams

And here I go again on my own
Going down the only road I've ever known
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
But I've made up my mind
I ain't wastin' no more time

I'm just another heart in need of rescue
Waiting on love's sweet charity
And I'm gonna hold on for the rest of my days
'Cause I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams

So, here I go again 

 Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

April 24, 2011

Resurrection of ourselves

My good friend sent this to me this morning. I thought it was a message worth sharing, it certainly spoke to me as I related it to my current life situations.

Resurrection of ourselves, by Geveryl Robinson 

Posted: April 23, 2011 - 11:18pm

It would seem that on Easter Sunday, the obvious choice for my column would be writing about, well Easter, and what it means to millions of people around the world.
However, I think the millions who celebrate Easter every year are fully aware of its significance, thus my writing about it would seem moot.
However, there is one word associated with Easter that can apply to anyone regardless of religion, race, or gender:
There are many people who are the walking dead. Their careers are dead, their marriages are dead, their hopes and dreams for a better life for their family and themselves are dead.
Many who have been looking for jobs for months — and in some instances, a year or more — may believe the possibility of finding something else is dead. But if you think about it, resurrection can only occur after disaster/tragedy/death.
When someone loses a spouse or a loved one, that person may initially feel dead inside. But as time goes on, slowly, the spirit is revived. The person begins to live again.
There have numerous instances of those who have lost everything, and at the lowest point, when they feel their lives are over, they find a way to push through the pain, push through the disappointment and resurrect themselves and their lives.
Resurrection and self-pity cannot co-exist.
One of the main points of Christ’s resurrection is that of hope. Everyone has a gift; everyone has a talent, something that they can do well.
And it might be just that one thing, in the midst of hopelessness, in the midst of our own self-death that we can bring live back to our situations. Any feelings of despair, fear, doubt and insecurity must be crucified in order for our lives to be resurrected.
There has to be an attitude of resilience in order for lives to change. Too many people have become complacent or feel so disillusioned with their situations/lives that they become immobile. Others are surrounded by people who are so pessimistic that they become pessimists as well.
But in order to rise above their circumstances, their pessimistic minds need to be resurrected as well.
During Easter, people spend hundreds of dollars buying new dresses and suits, Easter baskets and dyeing eggs for Easter egg hunts — all of which have nothing to do with the true significance of Christ’s resurrection.
French poet Victor Hugo once stated, “Nations, like stars, are entitled to eclipse. All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become and endless night. Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.”
Those who are experiencing a “life eclipse” at this time need to understand that their dawn, their resurrection, is closer than they think.
Resurrection is not about Easter eggs, Easter baskets or pretty dresses and suits.
Resurrection is about sacrifice; it’s about going through the pain with the understanding that you can not only endure it, but you can also conquer the pain and victoriously rise again.
Geveryl Robinson, formerly of Savannah, lives and writes in Atlanta. This article was taken from Savannahnow.com.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

April 21, 2011

News and Views...

I can't believe tomorrow is Friday AGAIN.  Time flies.  Busy week for me dealing with car issues, a job interview and a few other things.  I really want this job (I want any job but this one would be perfect for me).

Keven has court again next Tuesday so that will be very interesting.

Bill over at "Dad on Fire" has a good post up.  Here is the first paragraph:

As U.S drug policy struggles with the  reality of a failing drug war,  a dysfunctional drug policy and confusion in moving towards decriminalizing America’s addict population, I would like to acknowledge the real losers here; our addicted population of young addicts.  They are on the road to become old addicts.  Some have a hustle; others are in constant danger of filling our jails.  Many are our children.   They fit somewhere in a population of 25 million alcohol and drug users.   They impact 2/3′s of Americans in some form.  This is not a moral issue.  It is a medical issue, in which treatment and not the least a cure,  is more elusive than cancer.  
You can read the rest of it here.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

April 19, 2011

Missin My Boy - and a rant

Some days I miss him a lot.  Like today.

I'm against locking addicts up in jail, sometimes it does more harm than good (what good does it do????)

What always fails to make sense to me is that the American Medical Association declared addiction to be a disease in 1956 - yet we are treating it as a crime.

The criteria for addiction as a disease:

Primary: The illness exists in and of itself. (But may manifest in addition to other illnesses.)

Chronic: Does not go away, heal spontaneously or remit.
Progressive: Over time it gets worse.

Symptomatic: Can be diagnosed by the way it manifests in a person’s physiology, behavior and lifestyle.
Fatal: If left untreated will result in death.

Treatable: Proven medication, therapies, and lifestyle changes do result in the ability to live without the abused substance
But we keep stuffing our jails and prisons with more and more drug addicts.  Sure, the commit crimes related to drug use (mostly theft to get money for their drugs) but what if we treated them instead of locking them up again and again.  Instead of all the money taxpayers spend on housing, feeding and guarding over these prisoners - how about it we spend it on some TREATMENT OF THE DISEASE instead?  Only the very wealthy (or the very willing to go deep into debt) can afford the outrageous cost of in-patient drug treatment (and that's with insurance).  Its not right.

Wow.  This was going to be a simple post about missing Keven, but it kind of got me going on one of my many pet peeves...

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

April 18, 2011

dangerous people

One of the most important aspects of recovery is Staying Away From Dangerous People !

And, one of the ways you become an addict is to hang around one.

This is what's happened in the case of A and his new girlfriend. (I can't even stand to write his name here anymore, but I do still care even though I wish I didn't).

A few posts back vented about how I want to blame A for Kelly and Keven's relapses because they were just fine till he was out of prison.  I know...its their own choice.  It was not A's fault, but he did play a role.

Now I am struggling again with the blame game because He got his new gf is addicted.  She'd never even seen heroin before he entered her life.  Now she's hooked, he's on Prop 36 and trying to stay clean and he calls me complaining how hard it is to deal with an addict!

(Insert mean laughter here along with "HA!  NOW YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL!")

Actually, its way too sad to  laugh about.  I would never laugh at something like this.  I don't even feel like saying "I told you so, or now you know how it feels".  I just feel totally sad that another person (she's 18) has fallen into the deep dark hole.  I hope she can crawl her way out.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

April 17, 2011

What A Heroin Addict Looks Like:

This video won't allow me to embed it but you can watch it by clicking this link.  This is important to share with anyone you know that needs a better understanding of what's going on with our youth, in all parts of the USA.  I know I've seen this before but felt like sharing it again.


April 16, 2011

A Topic That Won't Seem To Go Away (UPDATE!)

Update: If you don't have time to read this post, no biggie. BUT PLEASE do NOT MISS the comment left by Bmelon because she is an addict that found lasting sobriety and knows what she's talking about. She has a great message for us parents!

As parents of addicts, I think the majority of us struggle with the question:

What did I do to contribute to him/her becoming an addict?

Then we hear our peers, and most of our addiction specialists assure us again and again:  It was not your fault.  There is research and evidence that shows addicts come from all types of families.  It doesn't matter if they were loved or if they had obvious trauma in their childhoods - the disease of addiction was pre-existing in them and there was nothing we could have done to stop it.

But....its still nags at many of us.  Maybe we could have stopped them from tying it the first time, maybe we really did do something to mess them up to the point that they sought out an escape.

Last night the speaker said that 80% of addicts have had abuse, neglect or trauma in their past (verbal, emotional, physical or sexual).  That's a lot.   I don't doubt that statistic, but if its true then wouldn't that also mean that some of us played a role in it?  It was disturbing to hear that ugly statement coming from a professional in the field since I've worked so hard to not believe any of it was my fault.

I've come to the conclusion that if I did something - or did not do something - it was not intentional and it was done in love.  I refuse to waste time and energy feeling bad about something that is in the past and can't be changed.  I've apologized to Keven for the things I know I did wrong as a parent.  He tells me over and over that it was NOTHING I did.

So if you start to go town that road, stop yourself.  Blog about it or call a friend or email another parent.  Don't let it rob you of the present moment because all parents make mistakes and addicts come from loving homes as well as unhealthy homes.

If you know your child had an unhealthy upbringing in your home, then you probably did too.  Really, its a cycle that goes through many families but can be stopped.  The last need we need is GUILT.

QUOTE From Kansas Bob's Comment (this really sums up this whole post!!!!)

"Years ago a friend told me that if I took the blame for my addicts failures then I would also be tempted to take credit for his success as well. It helped me. 
My failures and successes belong to me. 
His belong to him."

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

April 15, 2011

When Being Loved is Painful....

Tonight was a great night because....(drum roll) I got to meet one of the special friends I've made on these blogs!  Her Big Sad (I don't think she ever used her real name on her blog so I won't use it here) and I met at a very cool recovery group at her church.  I also got to meet her wonderful daughter and "Le Boyfriend".  It was wonderful.  I knew HBS would be easy to be around, she's down to earth, fun and sweet and of course we have lots in common (including Chiweenies).  She's someone I could talk with for hours.   And her daughter, who'd I "met" via letters and emails, is precious, beautiful and fun.  I can't wait to see them both again.

Now for something more personal.  Sadly this tattoo on Keven's chest makes the perfect illustration for what I am going to share.

Tonight we heard  a speaker, a therapist who specializes in addiction, and he was interesting.  One thing he said kind of punched me in the stomach because I related to it so well.  Its something I was aware of about myself, but had never really heard anyone describe as he did.  Its probably the biggest area of pain in my life, aside from the pain of watching my son struggle with addiction.

He was talking about how sometimes receiving love is painful.  I knew exactly what he meant.  He used an example of a friend coming up to you when you're going through a rough time, putting their hand on your shoulder and saying "I love you".  Rather than feeling comforted or loved, you feel like you have to change the subject, diffuse the moment, ignore what the person just said.

But why?  Because it hurts to be loved unconditionally when you are unfamiliar with it, when it feels "too good to be true" or if you believe its undeserved.  I have struggled with that all my life but didn't know WHY until tonight.

He said for him, its because its a reminder of all the times in life when we weren't unconditionally loved by the people in our lives that were "suppose" to love us that way, such as parents and/or partners.  So when someone says "I love you", even if we believe they are sincere, it feels painful, its not natural for us to so easily accept it and it hurts to remember all the times we DIDN'T hear it.

One incident in my life came to mind as he shared that.  It was such a simple thing but had such a profound affect on me.  I was at a work function, an outdoor BBQ at the beach, lots of fun, games, laughter.  When it was time to leave one of my close work friends hugged me and said "I love you so much!" and she walked away.  I went to my car and broke down crying and had a mini panic attack!  I was shocked by my own reaction to her words, I was seriously upset and found myself wishing she wouldn't have said it.

I then realized that the problem was, I loved her too, and I valued her love - and the fact that she said she loved me scared the hell out of me because suddenly I felt like surely any day now she would realize how unlovable I was and that would be the end of our friendship.  I have tears in my eyes just remembering it.  How crazy is that?  (btw, this happened over ten years ago and we are closer than ever even though we don't work together anymore).

I grew up feeling unlovable.  I felt that one of my parents didn't love me, the other did but was not around much to show me any love.  I can remember so many times hearing things or having things said to my face that said to my young ears "you're not the daughter I want, you're a burden, I wish I could get rid of you and just keep your younger brother and sister".  Of course those words were never said, but they were felt by me.

The experiences I had growing up were so different from my siblings.  It was as if we had different families.  I think part of my problem was being super intuitive and sensitive from a very young age.  Anyhow...

When I search my relationship with Keven for clues as to where I went wrong with him - what I may have done to contribute to some of his issues, I know for a fact that he KNEW for a fact that I LOVED him unconditionally and relentlessly from the second he was born.  I love him more now than ever (which I could not have said a year and a half ago!).  I know he loves me too.  Yet, he has a heart on his chest that has been ripped open and is now held together by thick chains embedded in his chest....why?  Exactly where does that hurt come from?

So many of us grow up feeling unwanted and unloved and then wonder why we have addictions or issues.  I'm not a drug addict or alcoholic, but I have a very similar mindset and have the messed up life to prove it.  Why am I still single after all these years, longing for that special relationship?  Because every man that has ever loved me was pushed away before the actual wedding bells rang.  Because I never trusted that anyone could really love me.  And God bless 'em - I tested some to the limits!  I did everything I could (including cheating on some of them) to prove to them I was unlovable and to prove to myself they would leave.  None of them left.**  They really did love me.  But I couldn't accept it.  I always said I was waiting for the "right one" to come along but how many good men have I let slip by?

I realize this post is jumbled and extremely personal, but I wanted to get it out.  I wanted to be open.  I know I am not the only person who deals with this.

Its still painful to this day to hear the words "I love you".  Even from my closest friends and family, it feels too good to be true.  I know I am loved, I have no doubt about it.  But that little girl in me is still unsure, still unwilling to believe its possible.  She still has such a hold on my heart, all her hurt and fears have lingered on, never allowing me to experience acceptance.

I guess its time to work on this issue once and for all.  Some day I may meet another wonderful man, and some day I may actually be able to allow myself to be loved.  I hope so because I have a lifetime's worth of love to give him.

**I should probably mention something else.  At least 50% of the men I have been involved with in my life (from age 13 - 30) were alcoholics or addicts (including Kev's bio dad).  When I mentioned earlier that no man every left me, that's not true.  ONE did.  I loved him so damn much.  Get this:  he left me because he went into rehab and met a chick in there that had a great connection for his drug of choice (cocaine) so they left rehab together and shacked up.  I was 25 at the time.  It was the worst breakup I ever had - and the worse man I ever dated (but he was so hot).  Another example of how healthy I am when I comes to men.

So, ironically, I have never been dumped by a guy except for the one that left me for DRUGS.  I was a co-dependent enabler with him BIG TIME.  Have I mentioned I've had years of therapy?  Its helped but obviously not enough.

Thanks for reading this.  I feel safe sharing in public in front of the world even though it would be hard to share this with certain people I am close to.

NOTE TO DAN D. - you still owe me $500 for that motorcycle I bought you, and I hope your finally got your shit together, if not, you're probably dead by now.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

April 12, 2011

Court Doesn't Want to Give Up On Him

I'm kind of teary eyed as I write this.  Just got off the phone with his attorney.  When she brought up Keven's case today the judge said she did not want to make a ruling yet, she doesn't want him to opt out, she believes that this program could save his life.  Our attorney actually got choked up when she told Judge L. what Keven was thinking.  These people care about my son.  They care about all the addicts in their program.

So nothing was decided today.  Our attorney spoke with Keven and pleaded with him to THINK HARD these next two weeks about his decision.  Kev admitted to her that he could not stay clean on his own.  She said "then imagine your mother at your funeral looking at you in your coffin" and he started crying.

It may seem harsh, but its a reality for all of us parents who's children choose to keep getting high.  It only takes ONE TIME.  And Keven often uses alone so if he OD'd there would be no one there to call 911 or initiate CPR.  I've imagined his funeral in my mind so many times....I don't want him to die before me.

So he will sit in jail for the next two weeks deciding if he's willing to do WHATEVER it takes, or if he wants to opt out.  He can't say "I will stay IF you put me in xyz rehab and not abc rehab, he has to go wherever they say.

This is what I want.  This is what I believe he needs.  He sees jail time and coming home as the "easy way" out but he's only looking at the immediate future, not the long term affects on his life.

The judge even lifted a no contact order with one of his buddies in the program who is doing really good so he can encourage Keven.

Once again, I am blown away that there are parts of the judicial system that truly care about and have a passion for addicts and sobriety.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

April 11, 2011

Facing His Sentence

The other day I wrote about how I'm doing all the right things - taking one day at a time, accepting the things I can't change, yada yada yada.  Although all of that is true, its in my HEAD.  My HEART is a different story.  I am a bit emotional at the thought of him locked up for an extended period of time.

Tomorrow Keven faces Judge L. one last time (unless she wants him to think even longer about his decision).  I will not be there.  Its not that I don't support him in this, he just wants to be there on his own two feet (which will be shackled, but that's beside the point, right?).

His decision is to "opt out" of the wonderful, awesome court program he's been in for the last year and a half.  When I share about this court program (Opportunity Court/Recovery Court) the response I most often hear is "I wish my son, daughter, loved one could be in a court like that".

The prerequisite to be assigned to this court is that a) you must be an alcoholic/addict, b) you must be under psychiatric care for your mental health issues (bipolar is common among addicts, as are depression and anxiety); you must have a drug felony, you must NOT have any violent offenses.

The pay off is that after completing the program (which could take anywhere from 18 months to 3 years) your felony is dropped as if it never existed AND you are drug free and correctly medicated.

I've watched many graduate from this program.  The least likely to get through it are the young males.  Keven has some peers that are making it, and some that dropped out, and one that died while in the program (OD, his friend Gilberto).

Each individual is different.  For some the accountability, structure and penalties are very motivating and just what the person needs to get them going in the right direction.  I wish Keven were like that.  He's not.

If you've read this blog long you will know that he has panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.  Because of that he will wake up filled with worry that is not based on reality.  Even if there is nothing to provoke his anxiety, most days he senses pending doom.  His biggest and constant worry during the last year and a half is that he is going to do something wrong to get himself kicked out of the program.

Those of you who read here probably also know that he has done PLENTY wrong!  But, if you take all the days counted that he did something wrong (curfew, drinking, using, driving) and all the days he did everything right - the good days far outweigh the bad.  Yet internally he lived each day waiting to be caught for something even when he did NOTHING wrong that day.

That's why they call it mental illness, his mind is ill and doesn't work like a healthy mind.

So if he opts out he's looking at jail and/or prison time and a felony on his record for life.  He will no longer have a program to be accountable to.  He will no longer have the threat of jail if he fails a drug test because there will be no more drug tests.

All of this scares me, but its not my problem.  My only part in this is to stand firm if he uses again and kick his ass out immediately.  I will call the cops if I have to, I have no fear of that, done it before will do it again.

He wants to get a job, go to school and go to an outpatient program three days a week, plus meetings, plus individual counseling plus get a sponsor.

If he does all that, he has a good chance. IF he does ALL of that.  We'll see.

In the meantime I am trying not to think of how hard it will be not to be able to hug him for a really long time.

(PS just a reminder, he knows about this blog and is okay with me airing his issues in public.  He says if its helping people he's all for it).

April 9, 2011

Tangled, Flowing Emotions and What Its Been Like For Me So Far

I got caught up on all the addiction/recovery related blogs that I read.  Wow.

So much pain, so many questions, joy, sadness, hope, defeat, fear, uncertainty, confusion...the list could go on and on.

The common thread among the parents of addicts that I know, is that we all love our children and want to do what we personally believe is best.  In some cases a parent has had to completely distance themselves from the "child" (all of these children are adults).  In some cases a parent's involvement has brought about a year anniversary of sobriety to celebrate.  Most of us are somewhere in between on the roller coaster of wondering what will happen next on this crazy ride.

For me, I am in a good place right now.  Keven is in jail waiting to see what his future holds.  I have absolutely no control over that situation so I am not fretting over it.  Whatever the outcome is, I will deal with it day by day.  A year ago if we were in this exact place, I would be a wreck worrying about all the implications, trying to figure out a way to persuade the judge to do what I thought was best (hey, I think I did do that a year ago!)

But now, there's much more peace in it.  Its sort of a cross between resignation and surrender, but I will call it "peace" cause that sounds more positive.

I've learned SO MUCH.  I've learned that there is no "one size fits all" way to deal with our addicted child.  I think there's a balance that has to be found for each individual parent/child.  This is what it looks like for me:

Year One:  I was in denial for the first three months, if I ignored it it would go away, right?  Then I got a devastating wake-up call and had to face the truth.  Following that were many desperate attempts to help him, even though he did not want help at that time.  It was a year of complete and utter devastation.  I was a wreck.  Pain, frustration, confusion, guilt, guilt, guilt, fear, anger.  Every negative emotion known to mankind was churning inside me that year.
Year Two:  I took all that I had learned in year one and started to sort it out.  I became stable enough myself to see that I was doing more harm than good for Keven.  I sought out answers but still lived in fear of doing it wrong.  I finally realized that there was no right or wrong, just what was right or wrong for him and me.  I trusted my maternal instincts.  I relied on the intense amount of knowledge I had gained through listening to others, reading, research, talking to addicts and observing things in meetings/groups.  I felt like I had become an expert on heroin and on opiate addiction.  Not the kind of thing that comes in  handy for most, but indispensable information for someone who loves an opiate addict.
Year Three and beyond:  I've accepted things as they are at the moment.  I do all I can to support my son with love and compassion.  I am constantly aware of my motives and base many decisions on two questions, 1) am I doing something for him that he can do for himself? and 2) is this going to help or hinder his recovery?  Nothing is black and white.  Every decision, conversation, etc. has to be taken in the present moment based on what is best for each circumstance.  I no longer care if someone disagrees with my way of doing things.  I respect others for doing it their way even though it may not be the way for me.  I am aware that my son may never fully recover and that I may lose him, but I will never, ever give up hope for the opposite.  I understand that there are two parts to Keven.  And although I don't love the behavior of the addict, I love both parts of him because they have melded into who he is as a whole, if I like it or not.   
Through it all I have learned that tragedy does indeed bring people closer.  I have met some people that I have a strong bond with, unlike any bond I've experienced before.  I have learned that the Recovery Community of AA is awesome and that the people in those rooms are some of the most healthy people I know in spite of their disease.  AA is not just a plan to get well, its a plan to live with integrity, openness and compassion.

One last thing to any parents who are New To This.  When your child is in their first rehab and you are sitting in a family group meeting and realize that the majority of the addicts are there for the second, third or more time - don't despair.  That's normal.  Its not a one time deal, its a process.  One step forward two steps back is typical.  Also - above all else:  its NOT your fault.  It is never the family's fault and run from anyone who dares to think that or has the audacity to say it to your face.  They are ignorant and dangerous.

As many have said:  as long as they are breathing, there is hope.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

April 8, 2011

Today's Visit

You never know how a jail visit will go, but so far this time around they have all been "good".  Its hard to believe there was a time when he was rude to me or unappreciative or even hostile.  He hasn't been that way in a long time.  I really like my son.  He's a good person.

So today's visit went fast.  Only had to wait for 30 minutes and there was a "newbie" there so I talked to her while we waited.  Its easy to spot a newbie and I will never forget my first time.  It felt so foreign to me, being in that environment.

Anyhow, he's still not sure what he wants to do but I can tell he's leaning toward taking his time, especially since they are doing "half time" right now (the jails get so crowded sometimes that they allow non-violent offenders to only serve half their time).

I am okay with this decision because one of the biggest hurdles Keven faced during his time at

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

April 7, 2011

Does Anyone Know What a "Happy Card" Is?

Has anyone heard this term in relation to jail?

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Unreturned Phone Calls

You know that saying "no news is good news"?  It doesn't apply in the world of addiction.  Raise your hand if you "know" your addict is using by the LACK of communication?


Keven hasn't called in two days which is very unlike him...but I know where he is so I am not worried.  (update - he called.  the reception is so bad i could barely hear him but I will visit him tomorrow).

Kelly has not called or returned my texts.

Anthony has not responded to my text.

I still care about Ant but am totally detached from his issues.  Last time I talked to him he told me he was going on methadone, the 90 day type.  Whatever it takes.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara
Figure 1. Primary Heroin Admissions, by Race/Ethnicity and Route of Administration: 1995 and 2005
This figure is a stacked bar graph comparing primary heroin admissions, by race/ethnicity and route of administration: 1995 and 2005.  Accessible table located below this figure.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

April 5, 2011

Employers Taking Advantage of Desperate Times

I want one of these shirts!

I am searching and apply for jobs daily.  Seven days a week.  Looking at every job site out there.

Positions that were once paying 16 - 18 are now paying 10 - 12.  I wish I was kidding.  Its freaking me out because I can't even get a job that pays half of what I was making before?  Just a few bucks over minimum wage?

I have over 20 years experience and am considered to be a kick-ass administrative assistant but....no one seems to care.  I don't speak Spanish, I am Old, My skills are becoming obsolete because of technology.

I feel so tired when I think of going back to school - plus can't afford that.  This is not fun.

This is getting scarier every day.  I keep reading that things are getting better but I don't see it happening here.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

April 2, 2011

Blogging Has Changed for Me

This morning I'm trying to catch up on blogs.  Its amazing to me that I used to keep up with over 100 blogs.  Now I read only the addiction related blogs plus a few that are very special to me for one reason or another (Erin, Bob, Joey, Linda, Iris, Shawna, Seano and Nikole).  Occasionally I get to read some of my other favorites (Max, Joe, Amber, Lilo, Dana, Deb) and a few music blogs, but I don't even comment most of the time.

I just don't have the emotional energy I used to.  Sad, but true.  I'm not the person I was once and that person is gone forever.  At least a part of her is.  As I said in a comment to "There is No Hero in Heroin":

I try to fool myself sometimes thinking there is an end in site…I’ve witnessed a few success stories and know that its possible. But like my son always reminds me – he meets lots of “old addicts” in jail and rehab and at meetings, but there are few old heroin addicts. My boy is in jail right now too. I am enjoying the peace and wondering what will happen next. I sat across from him yesterday, he looked so healthy, clean, handsome and hopeful. My boy. My only child. He’s never made it longer than three months in the last three years (I thought he made it nine months once but found out that was a lie). Part of me died when all this began. It was the part that held hope, experienced pure joy, and felt real peace at times. It will never come back and I’ve accepted that. I will settle for occasional hope filtered through reality, joyful moments and peace when I know for a fact he’s safe and clean (which as you know is rare).

Also, I've noticed that a lot of people that used to blog have quit. I think blogging has become less popular since the immense rise in FB users. Those of us who still blog seem to do so for one of two (or both of these) reasons:

- writing is in our soul
- we are passionate about something, so we write about it

I guess I fall into both categories.
What is my point? I don't know, this is just what came out when I sat down in front of the keyboard. I suppose my point is that addiction infiltrated my life and everything has been affected, my health, my peace of mind, my relationships, my finances, my social life and even my writing.

Two AA Slogans for today:

"We aren't bad people trying to get good.
We're sick people trying to get well."

"The disease is progressive.
So is recovery. "

I need to remember that Keven has a disease, a disease without a cure. He can control his disease but it will never go away completely. Accepting that is the hardest part of all this. Even after all the knowledge I've gained on this topic - I still want to BELIEVE that some day he will just be "all better". But like cancer, it can come back at any time. Recovery is a PROCESS not a one time (or two, tree, ten....) time incident. 
 Progress - not perfection. Right.  I'll take what I can get and keep hoping for the best.  Deep sigh.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

April 1, 2011

An Addict in Our Son's Bedroom

I'm sure most of you who read here have already visited Ron's blog, "An Addict in Our Son's Bedroom" in the last two days but IF NOT - don't miss it.  Yesterday he wrote a very poignant post about what its life being the parent of an addict.

I've often struggled to find the words to describe to certain people in my life what its like, but to truly understand it, you have to live it.  Yet Ron managed to paint a very accurate picture with his words.

Reading his post also made me thing that those of us that are in this situation have a bond to one another because we feel each other's pain.  Its why cancer survivors have a bond, or on the other side of the coin, why fans have a bond with other fans of their favorite sports team or musician, etc.  (whenever I meet someone who has seen Bruce as many times as I have, we're immediately bonded!).

Then today's post he wrote was about  a play put on by a local high school.  Its a POWERFUL performance called "Under the Influence".  Check out his blog to get the details.  It would be incredible to somehow have that performance available to ALL high school students all over the USA.  To me, its the kind of thing that will actually speak to a teen that is contemplating using.  I have to wonder - if my son would have saw something like that would he have still gone ahead and picked up his first needle KNOWING it would devastate his family?  I doubt that crossed his mind, and it may not have mattered.  But believe it or not, I think he would have thought about it more.  There is no way an addict can know beforehand how their disease spreads to the entire family, but this play demonstrates how that happens.  I want to see it!

Oh, and speaking of cancer, my mother celebrated 10 years cancer free today.  When she had colon-cancer surgery ten years ago the doctor told her it would most likely return in five years.  HA!  She's the healthiest, strongest, most energetic (and stubborn) old lady (86) I've ever met!!!

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara
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