May 31, 2011

As the World Turns....All of My Children...The Young and Addicted

First, I should have updated my last post sooner.  Keven called me at 10 pm that night and apologized and accepted my apology and all is well again.

In the meantime...Anthony is going through another dramatic drug infused crisis.  The gist of it is he got stabbed in a drug deal gone bad and was also ripped off of over $300 (all the money he has in the world).  I listened without being sympathetic.  You don't sell drugs to make money whether you are an addict or not.  Its illegal, stupid and dangerous.  The "stab wound" was superficial.  Again, no sympathy, I just looked at it and said "don't let it get infected".

Some may say I didn't do enough, some may say I did too much, I say:  I did what felt right to me.  I am staying on the outskirts of it, but am "here" for him to say things like "keep putting one foot in front of the other"  "one moment at a time" etc.  I gave him one of my old cell phones to use temporarily.

I'm tired but doing good.

Kelly is off using somewhere and I have pretty much let go of her completely.

I feel SO MUCH better than back in the days that this kind of thing was NORMAL!!!

May 29, 2011

Disappointed in Myself

I feel bad.  Went to visit Keven today, my mother and sister went with me.  When I saw him he was with a girl that he knew when he was at Cornerstone (she was obsessed with him and he was avoiding her).  I was very upset about this and verbalized my disappointment that he was with her.

That was stupid of me.

Why?  Because I didn't ASK him about it, I just ASSUMED and was WRONG.  She was there visiting someone else and just happened to be talking to Keven when we walked up.

So I put him on the defensive and basically ruined the visit.

I apologized but the visit was strained and I left feeling like crap.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

New Guest Post at Pat Moore Foundation

Part Two of my last post is now up, you can read it here:  The Disease Aspect of Addiction and Alcoholism.

If you read it, please leave a comment on their site to let them know.  You can comment anonymously if you prefer.

May 28, 2011

In Response to Comments....

I want to make sure that anyone reading this can "hear" the tone of what I am writing, that's one thing the written word loses - you can't necessarily tell if the writer is being defensive, and I want to make sure this doesn't come across that way.

Comments are the heart and soul of our blog community - without them we never would have found each other.  Two comments left on my last post inspired me to write this one so I could clarify my "behind the scene thoughts" that were not included when I said I was glad Jon and Ant were not at the same place as Keven.

First, I realize that Keven will always have other addicts in his life and negative influence to contend with.  I also know that he needs to learn to say no on his own two feet regardless of who is tempting him.  But, in the entire planet of human beings, Ant and Jon are the two that have had the most influence on him.  The ones that he used with the most, the one (Jon) that got him started and the one (Ant) that he frequently relapses with.  If I am starting out on a diet, I want to stay away from my friend who will shove chocolate cake in my face and tell me "one bit won't matter".   There will be others offering me cake, but its easier to say no to them.  When I feel more confident in my ability to say no to her, I will hang around her again - or maybe realize she was not the right friend for me all along.

My main concern is my son's recovery, so yes, I am glad those two are not in close proximity to him right now.

Second, and more importantly, I love Anthony.  I still do, I always will.  Aside from Kev, he is someone I've shed the most tears over, and spent the most time and energy (and money) trying to help (not enable, support).  So of course I feel bad for him.  As naive as it sounds - I had a lot of hope for him this time.  He's been in and out of rehabs and prison for years, always funded by the state, and now that our state is so financially f'd up, his funding was cut.  Its just a fact of life and he's going to have to find a plan "B".

And I care about Jon too.  But, Jon has been kicked out of every rehab he's been in.  Usually for using drugs or "fraternizing" with female residents.  This time he was kicked out for using Bath Salts.  Jon was also being paid for by the State, and that money could have went to someone who was more serious about recovery.  Jon was there because he had to be, he has never seriously followed a program, never humbled himself and is apparently not ready.  I feel bad for his parents who, like the rest of us, are in a lot of pain.   I want him to get better, but I want to do it far away from Keven.

Keven has grown a lot in the last few years and no longer idolizes these two as much as he once did.   But Kev is the guy that would do anything to save a friend no matter what the cost to himself.  In fact, a couple years ago Jon OD'd when he was with Keven.  Keven was on probation at the time and knew he'd go to jail but didn't care, he called 911 and kept Jon breathing with CPR until they go there.  Jon spent a few days in the hospital.  The cops did NOT take Keven in.  When he told them straight up that he was on probation they said, "okay, you did what most friends wouldn't do for this guy, just leave now".

And the cop was right, just a month or so ago Jon OD'd when he was with Anthony.  Ant pulled his body out of the car, left him on the sidewalk, drove away and called 911 hoping they'd get there before it was too late.

This is the life and death stuff our addicts deal with.  Scary and sad.

So, this big long post was to say, I get it, I know Keven has to learn to say no and that there will always be influences in his life.  And, I'm disappointed for Ant and Jon (although, I do have anger toward him cause he's the one that got Keven to use when he was 17....).

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 27, 2011

I Did Some Detective Work....

This is related to my last post where I said Jon got kicked out of rehab.  Keven was unable to tell me why over the phone, but Kelly called me and guess who she was with?  Jon.  I asked her why he got kicked out and she said he was using Bath Salts.  I don't know a lot about this latest "legal" way of getting high, but when she said that I immediately rememberd the charges on Keven's cash card a few weeks ago.  I knew he had lent the card to someone and that the person had visited a head shop.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Interesting Development....

Hmmm.  Yesterday I shared my concern that both Jon and Ant (the two main using friends Keven has, the ones that got him started 3 years ago, the ones he feels are like his "bros") were both at the adjoining rehab where Kev is.

Well, Kev called this morning to let me know something and mentioned that they had kicked Jon out.  Yay!

Then Anthony called and told me there was not funding available for him to go there, (not yay cause he needs this program, but yay that I don't have to worry about him and Keven being at the same place at the same time.)

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 24, 2011

Spent Some Time With My Boy Today

Keven had a doctor apt. today and I drove him.  "United" has strict rules and does not budge an inch on enforcing them (a good thing!!!) so even though Keven was with his me, he had to bring an escort along.  An escort is anyone who's been there longer than 60 days.  He asked a guy named Anthony and the three of us went to the dr. and the pharmacy.

Both of them really like it there.  Keven seemed so, so....good.  I don't know how else to describe it.  His eyes were bright, he was smiling, he was funny and sweet and didn't ask for anything.

He looked good too - he's gotten super dark from being in the sun (of course I lectured him on sunscreen, but that's not enabling, that's being a mother!)  He didn't stand out in the crowd anymore because when he arrived there from jail his skin was so pale he stuck out in a room of mostly darker skinned people.  Apparently they have some meetings outside and he works out outside.

It was only a short time together, but it was good for me to see him like this.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 20, 2011

A Year Ago....Underlying Mental Health Issues

Wordle: hallucinations

I was just reminiscing about last year at this time and wanted to share this for anyone feeling absolutely scared to death, confused, and possibly hopeless.

That's where I was last year at this time.  Looking back over some old blog posts I can recall feeling so lost, so confused, and not knowing what was going on with my son.

He was experiencing some pretty heavy delusions/hallucinations.  At the time I never described it because it seemed so personal, and so awful.  But since those are a thing of the past (I'll tell you why in a minute) I'll give you some examples of what it was like for us back then....

- he often saw a dead man hanging in his closet
- while driving, sometimes when he looked in the rear view mirror he saw someone in the backseat that was not there
- he saw and FELT people walking by him that no one else could see but he swore were real
- he felt that there was someone following him that wanted to kill him

Wow, no wonder I was a total wreck, and just imagine how horrible he felt.  Just for the record - he was not actively using at that time but may have been using in between drug testing which he means once a week he could get away with it since he was tested twice a week.

I had him seeing what I felt at the time was an excellent psychiatrist who also counceled Keven.  He spent a long time talking to him (at no extra charge) each week.  His diagnosis was extreme, he started out saying he was bo-polar and then switched that to schizo-affective disorder (similar to schizophrenia).

Luckily I had just completed NAMI's 12 week course for families of the mentally ill.  It was an intense course and I learned a lot.  I didn't accept either of these diagnosis because it didn't add up for me.  About that same time his psychiatrist retired and we were recommended to someone new.

I shared with his new doctor that I thought Keven was on all the wrong meds (I can't remember all of them, but one was Lithium).  He slowly took him off to get an idea of who the "real Keven" was.  After some trial and error he finally found the right combination of drugs and diagnosed him with what I knew was wrong all along:  panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and depression.  It was the wrong meds that were making him have delusions in the first place because he was not bi-polar or schizo-affective).

And guess what people with those disorders (or a combination of them) often do to feel better?  Right - they get high!

So the point of this post is two things:

1)  ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR OWN GUT INSTICTS ABOUT YOUR LOVED ONES!  You may not be en expert in mental illness, but you are an expert on your family.

2)  Many, many addicts are considered "dually diagnosed" meaning they have an underlying mental illness that contributes to their choice to use drugs in the first place.  One of the qualifications to be eligible for the court program that Keven is part of is to be dually diagnosed.  His judge believes that if both issues are treated, the addiction and the mental illness (which could be anything from depression - schizophrenia), the addict has a better chance of recovery.  Court monitors both.  Keven's PO used to come over when he lived here and literally pour out all his meds to count and make sure he was taking them every day.

3) Being on the right meds does not guarantee that the addict will stop using, but it sure makes it easier than if they are on the wrong meds or no meds when they need some. (the ones he's on now are all very common meds with little or no side effects).

4) No matter where you are today - things change.  I hope and pray that things change for the better for all of us.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

End of the World as We Know It, etc.

I just realized something....if the Rapture really does happen tomorrow I will lose a lot of blog readers AND I will lose my son!  He's a Christian (I used to be).

I know its not going to happen, but if by some chance it did, that would be very depressing, especially in light of the upcoming U2 concert.  I think Adam would be the only one left on the stage, and although he's an awesome bass player, it wouldn't be much of a show with our Larry, The Edge and that other dude.

I'm sorry, I hope I didn't offend anyone.  Its just kind of hard not to make fun of something like this since its clear in the Bible that no one will KNOW when Jesus is coming back.

Today is Kev's 14th day at "United" and he should be allowed to call me.  I spoke with his counselor yesterday regarding an issue with his meds (he ran out) and used the opportunity to ask how he was doing.  He said, "Excellent.  He has a great attitude, participates in groups and asks good questions.  He seems to be embracing the concepts of the program.  But, he's young".

It was nice to hear those words.  I took them with a grain of salt because he just described "Keven at Rehab".  That's his MO every time, but what you see is not always what you get.  I will remain hopeful but realistic.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Should We Get Wild and Crazy Just in Case???

Some people believe that tomorrow is the "Rapture" when all the Christians will disappear off the face of the earth and those of us who are not Christian will be LEFT BEHIND.  Hmmm, if that's the case I think I'd like to do something really fun today since after tomorrow about half the people I know will be gone for good.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 18, 2011


I just feel numb today, and yesterday.  I can't explain why.

I think it was more like I was depressed but refused to acknowledge it because I "shouldn't" be depressed (I think it was Louise Hay who said "don't should on yourself!").

I have a long searched for job (part time), my son is in residential treatment, I have tons of stuff to be grateful for....but there's something inside me that wants to crawl in bed and not get up till "its over".  I don't even know what "it" is.

One thing I have to be excited about it that I will be seeing U2 one month from today.  Last time they toured (prior to the tour in '09 when Bono hurt his back and had to reschedule Anaheim till NOW) was 2005.  I'm going with a friend who's never seen them in concert, he'll be blown away.

U2 just happens to have a song titled "Numb" sang (well if you can call it singing) by The Edge.  Here are the lyrics.  For some reason, I like the monotone/industrial sound of it:

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 16, 2011

Guest Post on Pat Moore Foundation

I have another guest post up at The Pat Moore Foundation.  This one is called "The Disease Aspect of Addiction and Alcoholism, Part One."  If you check it out, please leave comments over there.

In personal news:  Had my first day of on the new job today.  I like it, once I learn "who's who" I think I'll be able to do a good job.  I work M/W/F so have tomorrow off to catch up on all your blogs ... I hate getting behind!

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 15, 2011


I'm sitting here alone in the house, gentle rain outside, hot coffee, reading blogs.  I only got to one so far, and realized there were tears rolling down my cheeks!  I wasn't crying, I was just moved, touched, happy and I didn't even realize the tears were there at first.  So, being me, I had to analyze why they were there.

The tears were joy for Alex (Ron's son).  I know I am not the only one that rejoices in another's success and good news.  I need and want to hear how well some of out loved one's are doing.

Hearing about someone that makes it 6 months, a year, a year and a half or more, makes me believe that my son is capable too.  It also helps to know that it RARELY, if ever, happens quickly and NEVER happens without a lot of _____________ (so many adjectives I could use here, pain, failure, bullshit, disappointment, regret, hard work, fear, etc. etc.)

I haven't been able to talk to Keven, so he doesn't know I am very upset with him.  But today I am going to focus on successes.  I am going to have a positive attitude.

And - tomorrow I start training at my new job!  Yikes!  I am excited but of course have a bit of the first-day jitters.  I know I will do fine, its not rocket science.  Its just a matter of getting used to a new environment (very corporate, 9th floor of a high rise, TRAFFIC!) and new co-workers and a new routine.
I am soooooooooooooooooooo jazzed that I will be earning a paycheck!  Its not enough to pay the bills but I am working on finding some ways to supplement my income.

Hope everyone is having a nice Sunday and a good week ahead.  Back to reading blogs....

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 13, 2011

So Much for Being Grateful....

Today I am angry, disappointed, hurt, worried and ANGRY.

I've come to find out that Keven is not taking his recovery as seriously as he should if he truly wants to get better.  He's not using but he's walking a fine line.  I can't help but wonder how much this has to do with him being so close to his buddy Jon who is the person who got him started on this in the first place.  I'm not saying Keven is incapable of making bad choices on his own - he's a pro at that.  But when two addicts are together you know how much easier it is to fall.  I was told that although the two rehabs share a building the residents don't interact much, but my source tells me they do.

I am really upset.

But....I am going out tonight to hear music for the first time in a long time.  I rather crawl in bed and watch mindless TV till I pass out but this is the only life I have, so I better start living it rather than allowing his disease to make me sick too.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 12, 2011

Gratitude List

I have a lot to be thankful for, but depression has a way of seeping into my life even when I try to shut the door on it.  It always finds the cracks in the door.  So, time to plaster up the leaks with GRATITUDE.

I am grateful:

1.  I got A JOB!  I have a new job!  I'll be the receptionist for a law firm.  Its part time, M/W/F and I am allowed to be online while the phones aren't busy.  How cool is that?  So anyhow I am very grateful for the job and...

2.  I got the job via someone I met right here on this blog!  Her Big Sad lives near me and her daughter is the one that made me aware of the job because she works there!  So very thankful for FRIENDS.

3.  Keven has been at "United" for a week.  I got to visit him Sunday and it was wonderful.  He has a friend in the adjoining Rehab so we hung out with him, his parents, and dog.  Kelly went with me.  Its a nice atmosphere for visiting.  I won't see him again for a month.  I'm fine with that.

4.  Safe and sound and relatively healthy.  Wow.  So many tragic natural disasters happening around the world and here at home.  My heart aches for all the people in the South that have lost their homes to tornadoes and floods.  And of course, Japan.

5.  My pets.  They bring joy and laughter.

6.  My mother and sister - I could be living on the street right now if not for their financial support.

7.  U2 concert to look forward to (June 18, baby!)

8.  Special friends who listen to me complain about my aches and pains and issues and depression, one in particular, we've never met face to face but I love her like a sister.

9.  I have to make this list go to ten because that's just how I am.

10.  MUSIC, nature, art, books --- so many wonderful things to focus on instead of the dark, sad and tragic.

***For those of you who've been reading here for at least a year or so, guess what song just came on the radio?  Hint, its by Neil Young.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 8, 2011

Guess What!?!

Because its Mother's Day they are allowing me to visit Keven!  I'm very happy about that!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there.

Several people commented to the last post that Mother's Day is not that meaningful to them because its a "forced holiday" and I agree with that.  Its kind of like Valentine's Day, I rather have someone surprise me with a card or a gift any day of the year than feeling obligated because its a commercial holiday.

BUT - there are perks, and I'll take em!

This was my gift from Keven last year  :)

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

P.S.  Anthony is going to stop by to give me a Mother's Day hug today.

May 6, 2011

Will it be a "Happy" Mother's Day for you?

I celebrate with all the moms who's addicted child has sobriety time - especially some of the long term successes.

I hurt for moms who are new to this, who are entering the nightmare and don't know where to turn.

I empathize with the moms who's child is in jail or rehab and can't be with them.

I pray for the moms who's child is actively using, knowing the heartbreak, fear and stress.

I encourage the moms who live in fear each day for their child's life - as long as he/she is breathing there is hope.

I grieve with tears for the moms who have lost a child - fully aware that it could happen to me, in awe that anyone could possibly survive it, wishing there were words to ease the pain, wondering if "Happy" will every be completely experienced by you again.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 5, 2011

letter to my son

Dear Keven,

I saw you today, got to hug you.  I believe in you.  I will never lose hope.


Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

I have a good feeling...

All of my hopes and optimism are underlined in reality, but I can't help but feel good about "United Recovery Home".  They picked him up from jail today and he's there!  I got to see and HUG him when I dropped of his stuff.

The difference between this place and CS (the last place) is like the difference between the Hyatt Regency and a Motel 6.

At the last place, he was in a private home with a pool, shared a room with one other guy, and slept on a bed with a TEMPURPEDIC mattress!  They had a private bath, a maid that did the cleaning, and planned what they wanted to eat each week.  I could do on...but you get the idea.  The residents were mostly young white males with rich families or damn good insurance, there were a few other ethnicities and some females  as well.

This place is 6 men to a room - two sets of three high bunk beds.  Community showers and bathrooms.  One room with old couches and chairs for meetings, a couple of offices, a kitchen.   The residents are mostly lower income, a lot of older guys (like over 40), 80% Hispanic (its designed for Hispanic males but they decided to let others in too if they could pay, it is a fraction of what CS cost*), no females.

It reminds me of a hardcore, down and dirty recovery home where they don't mess around coddling the residents, they do what needs to be done.  But they also go to the beach, the movies, and the park so there is a balance of having some recreation too.

I am not knocking either place, I am glad he went to CS, the staff was phenomenal, the one on one attention was great.  He had "fun" because he was among his peers and everyone thought he was cool.  This place, I doubt anyone is going to be thinking of him as cool!  The guy in charge looks like Joe Average but has prison tats, which means the residents respect him cause he's one of them.

He was happy to be there and told me he loved me and would see me again in a month.  I feel hopeful.

*I just did the math, its 5 times less expensive per day!  Less than it would cost me to support him myself if he lived at home!

I don't regret sending him to CS,  he benefited a lot from it and made a very good (safe, older, mature) friend there.  But  a note to other parents contemplating spending their inheritance, their 401K or their child's college fund for Residential Rehab - you don't have to.  There are alternatives.  I guess we'll see how it goes.

May 4, 2011

He's Going into 90 Day Residential (again)


You know that they say:  The third time's the charm!  Yesterday Kev asked to stay in Recovery Court and go to another 90 day program, followed by sober living.  Part of me is very pleased that he made this decision and part of me is nervous because I know it means that he is seriously worried about his sobriety (which he admits).  So lets hope this experience is positive and puts him closer down the path to true recovery.

He still has one year to finish the four phases of Recovery Court which, if you don't mess up, takes 18 months.  He's already been it for 17 months and never made it past phase two.

I don't want to give the name of the new place on my blog but its the Spanish word for "united" so I will call it United.  It will be very different from the cushy environment he had at the last place.  United has 15 beds and caters mostly to Hispanic or homeless men.  Its located in "Little Saigon" so it will also be a cultural experience (instead of walking down the street to McDonald's, there will Vietnamese food).

Its further for me to drive and visit, but that's okay.  He's not allowed visitors for the first 30 days.

Now here's the DOWNSIDE:  United shares a building with another rehab, a much  bigger one that has about 75 people.  Guess who called me last night and told me he's going there for 90 days?  ANTHONY.  And there's another old drug friend who is already there.  They will only see each other when both facilities have a break at the same time and they are all outside smoking.  But --- its a bit of a concern to me.

In other news:  I haven't done anything creative lately so I am going to get out my paints and my pens today and see what happens.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 3, 2011

My Sacred Insanity

My friend, Shawna, has been away from her blog for some time, but she's writing again!

Shawna is a recovered addict who's been through soooo much in her life, more tragedies than most of us will know in a lifetime.  She's a talented writer, a committed mother and wife and has a ton of wisdom and compassion.  She managed to overcome a lot and shares her strength with others.

Her son is a young teen and I know a lot of us can look back to those days and remember what it was like entering those years with concerns of drugs, etc.

Shawna is going to be advocating for mental health care in teens to help prevent self medicating and suicide.  I wish I could have been more pro-active when Keven was younger in helping him deal with some issues so that self-medicating didn't become his way of coping.

Check her out at "My Sacred Inanity"

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

May 2, 2011

Justice for John Ueltzhoeffer

Naturally the talk of the day is the death of Osama Bin Laden.  As I watched one news show this evening I realized I was getting very emotional - they were talking to the families of those who violently lost their lives that day.  I immediately thought of John.

I didn't know John in life, but I "met" him one year when a Blogger decided it would be a good idea to honor each and every victim on the ___ anniversary of 9/11 (can't remember what year, and the blog I wrote then is long gone).

The idea was to sign up to write about someone.  We were randomly assigned a name.  Then it was up to us to research the person and share about him/her on our blogs on 9/11 of that year.

I was given the name of John Ueltzhoeffer.  I was passionate about learning everything I could about John and by the time I was done, I felt like I had known him.  I found his sister, Helen, and she was willing to talk to me.  I emailed several of his co-workers, I got information off of memorial sites.  John was a good man whose life was stolen by him.

John worked on the 95th floor of Tower One.  Many of his co-workers survived, but he did not.  He was above all, a man who loved God and his family.  He had immigrated here from Poland with his wife Uschi and started a family.  They had three young children at the time of his death.

Here is a portion of what I orignially wrote about him that, to me, says the most about what kind of person her was.
Each day John would take an eight-minute train ride to his job at Marsh & McLennan. During this short ride he took the time to befriend fellow passengers on the commuter train each day. He was known for his warmth. Many of those who knew him from the train attended his memorial service in late October. Can you imagine? That’s the kind of impact he had on those around him. That really spoke to me.

Sadly the train is also a reminder to his children, Sarah, 7, Jacob, 4, and Becky, 3; would wait to hear the rumble of the train that was bringing their daddy home to them. They often drew pictures for him and would pile them on his desk for him to find when he got home. When he walked into the house they would run to greet him. Now the sound of the train passing by their home is a reminder that their daddy will never walk through the door again.

How does a family cope with such a loss? In the case of the Ueltzhoeffer family, their faith in God and their church community have made all the difference. The family attends Christ Fellowship Church in Elizabeth, where John taught classes in the men's ministry. "He was very devoted to God," Uschi, his wife said, my kids say, 'Daddy is in heaven and one day we'll be there.'"
 Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara
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