August 30, 2011

International Overdose Awareness Day

I wish I could be in Hollywood tomorrow to stand next to some of the women I've met from "Moms United To End The War on Drugs".  They are having a rally on Hollywood Blvd. near the Metro Station.

Here is a recent interview with Julia Negron, she's heading up the rally and has an incredible history with drug addiction that you have to read for yourself:  "Wife of "The Doors" Warns About Drug Overdose".

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

August 29, 2011

An Escape from Life

Something else Nuel's daughter said in her paper (see last post) related to the widespread alcoholism and drug addiction in many of the Native American tribes. The reason many of them start drinking/drugging is to escape the hopelessness, the pain, the poverty, etc. of  LIFE.

That makes me wonder - how many of our loved ones are using heroin as an escape?  Is that the main reason for using it?  One of the reasons?  Or, not related at all?

I know for Anthony its been a huge part of why he's used in the past.  In fact he mentioned it yesterday when he called me.  He referred specifically to a time when life was unbearable so he just stayed high. It was about five years ago and his girlfriend was arrested and serving her time in jail (she was pregnant with his child at the time).  Then his best friend died on an OD, Anthony was with him.  He said he felt so alone and in so much pain he couldn't bear living so he stayed high.

I know its not an excuse, but its an explanation.  Once they experience how good it makes them feel they want to do it again.  Next thing you know they're addicted and....we all know how that story goes.

For Keven, I know he's also had some traumatic events in his life plus some very painful issues to deal with (a father that doesn't seem to care about him at all).

It makes me wonder why some people are better able to cope with the heartaches in life and others aren't.  Did I fail in some way to prepare Keven for dealing with pain?   Is it just genetic that he became so depressed at an early age?  (In fourth grade I was a wreck.  I threw up every time I ate, I had severe headaches and I HATED school.  My parents finally took me to a doctor who told me I had an ulcer and to take these pills and I would be better - well guess what?  The doctor lied, it was not an ulcer it was stress/depression and the pills were placebos, but it did help me, which proves that some things are "all in your head").

Anyhow.  I am rambling AGAIN!  Just stuff I'm thinking about today.  There are no answers, there are no do-overs in parenting, there is no changing the past.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

August 27, 2011

Rambling On

I'm upset right now.  For once not about Keven.  But the reason I'm upset plays into what seems to be a theme that's been going on in my internal life lately.  I've been thinking a lot about Life, what it means, why it is the way it is, and what happened to create the society we live in today.  Questions like

- Is technology really helping us or is it destroying us?

-Were our ancestors better off than us?  Were there more disease or less back then?  Would most of our societal problems be taken care of if we lived as a community that needed each other?  Is the lack of hard work and gratefulness one of the reasons so many people are unhappy with what they don't have and not appreciating what they have?

- What if there were no boundaries drawn on a map to separate us into countries, states, cities?  could we live in peace?  would we help each other?  would there be less violence in the world?  would we live and let live?

- Is all the hunger for power, control and money the cause for so much crime, immorality and hate?

So, yeah, heavy stuff with no real answers.  But I think for me, something is telling me that I need to change my life and my world in order to live the rest of it at peace with myself.  Weird, right?

Then today my friend Nuel stops by, just for ten minutes, to show me two things.  A picture of a huge fish he caught (best catch of his lifetime) and something his daughter wrote about her experience living with a tribe of Native Americans and how it impacted her life view.

First I have to explain Nuel :)  He is one of the closest friends I have.  We've known each other for 34 years.  We were a couple way back when and sometimes I wonder what would have happened if we got married.  He asked me - but he was drunk.  See, that's the thing about Nuel, he was drunk or high on drugs for 28 of our 34 years together.  He's been clean and sober for 6 years and its been awesome, its like getting a new best friend that already knows your entire life history and has a deep bond with you.

This is me with my boyfriend at the time (left) and Nuel.
Every time I got a new boyfriend I would tell them
that my best friend was a guy and if they couldn't
deal with that, too bad.  Most of them dealt with it,
a few were too insecure or jealous.  Their loss :)
Anyhow, Nuel is as down to earth as you get.  He'll never read this because the only technology he has is his cell phone which he was forced to get when payphones went by the wayside.  He's never really stayed in one place for long, he usually travels with the weather, living off the land, staying with friends, and getting by working jobs (he can build anything and does landscaping).  People always hire him or invite him into their homes because he's a lovable and wonderful guy.  He's just not the type to settle down (but he's been in Laguna for years now so maybe the wanderlust had something to do with the drinking?)

He was married for a few years but it didn't work out.  His daughter grew up mostly never seeing him and he always worried that she would never want to be a part of his life.
But, she is a lot like her dad and they are very close now, I think she lives in San Fransisco.

So all that to say - what she wrote really inspired me.  It fit in with all the questions I've been asking lately.  She talked about how "we" came in and mined the coal right out from under this tribe and therefore destroyed their water supply which affected their crops and killed off their animals.  She talked about how simply they lived and how everything was fine for the Native Americans until we started fucking with everything that had been theirs before we even got here.  We outnumbered them.  We thought we knew better and were smarter and more advanced.

It started way back then and it keeps going on today.  Some tribes make money now from Casinos.  Gambling, selling alcohol, etc.  Not something they would choose based on their life philosophies but pretty much the only thing that was a sure thing for making them tons of money to support themselves.  Then there are the tribes like the Lakotas in South Dakota.  If you want to know all about what true poverty in America looks like, visit my friend Amber's blog, here's just a small look at some of the issues they face do to poverty and lack of health care:

  • Some figures state that the life expectancy on the Reservation is 48 years old for men and 52 for women. Other reports state that the average life expectancy on the Reservation is 45 years old.  These statistics are far from the 77.5 years of age life expectancy average found in the United States as a whole.  According to current USDA Rural Development documents, the Lakota have the lowest life expectancy of any group in America.
  • Teenage suicide rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation is 150% higher than the U.S. national average for this age group.
  • The infant mortality rate is the highest on this continent and is about 300% higher than the U.S. national average.
  • More than half the Reservation's adults battle addiction and disease.  Alcoholism, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and malnutrition are pervasive.

Here are some more statistics that might make you cry or at least, I hope, understand what NATIVE Americans are going through.

If you'd like to help them you can donate through Amber's non-profit "Backpacks for Pine Ridge" that does way more than provide school supplies (she is one of my all time most admired heroes, this woman is amazing, and she would hate to hear me say that, but she is).

So, since there aren't that many Ambers in the world, what is going to change for these people?

I've run out of energy to write anymore.  Part of me wonders if Nuel and I are meant to fall back in love and live the simple life together.  But, realistically, I don't think it will happen.  I think he's far too independent and I'm not quite adventurous enough.  We had some crazy times together.  C R A Z Y.  Stuff I can't even talk about.

I lived with him and his buddy Jason in a van for a few months just for the fun of it.  We'd go to the beach during the day, or hiking and then party all night.  Somehow we always managed to have money (Jason was an artist, he must have been selling his stuff).  We always had a friend willing to let us use their shower.  It was exhilarating and felt so carefree.  Eventually I had to get back to "real life" and got a job.

Then Nuel left.  He left and came back so many times.  We had many long distant fights about his drinking.  I think we went a year without talking once and I thought he was dead so tracked down his (famous) father who somehow located him.  Then his father and I became close and would keep each other informed of his whereabouts.  One night I got a call from his dad saying that Nuel was dying of some sort of pancreatic disease.  His pancreas had completely shut down, his liver was all messed up, he wasn't going to make it.  He'd been really sick several times so we thought this was it.  He offered to pay my way to Montana to see him one last time but a few days after he got there, Nuel improved so I never went.

I'm really done writing now.

P.S.  Saw both my boys today and they both are doing good.  Ant is still in jail with a great attitude (please, please mean it this time) and Kev is at Unidos re-adjusting to his meds.  He's been very, very tired so I hope he starts feeling better soon (and that he doesn't have Hep C - one of my fears)

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

August 26, 2011

How Well Does Your Postal Carrier Know You?

Yesterday I just happened to outside when our postal guy drove up.  He's a nice young man and we've talked a few times.  Here was our conversation yesterday which kind of blew my mind and made me wonder if he was so "in tune" with all the people on his mail route:

Him:  "Hey, can I ask you something?"

Me: "Sure"

Him:  "Why is it that Keven is in and out of jail so often?"

Me: (a bit stunned that he mentioned Keven by name and asked this question) "Well, he's usually in and out for probation violations."

Him: "Oh, can't stay out of trouble, huh?"

Me:  "No, actually he's a heroin addict and can't stay clean."

Him: (looking sorry to hear that) "Wow, I'm sorry to hear that.  That's really rough.  I met a lot of them when I was going to AA."

Me: (knowing he had had a DUI a few years ago) "Do you still go to meetings?"

Him: "No, it was the only time I ever got a DUI and I rarely even drink, it was just one of those things.  So, I saw Keven here about 4 months ago.  When he's in, how long does he usually stay?"

Me:  "He must have been home on a pass that day, he's been either in jail or in a rehab for the last year.  Depending on the situation he can stay in there for a few days, a week, a month or more."

Him: "This must be really hard on you." (look of concern)

Me: "Yes, it is" (sad smile)

Him:  "Well, Barbara, my hat is off to you." (he literally takes his hat off for a second)

Me:  "Thanks."

And then we went our separate ways.  I wasn't sure how to take this conversation.  On one hand I could be offended or resentful that he pays such close attention to my mail, but I didn't take it that way.  I decided he was just curious and concerned.  Mostly curious.

But, wow!  Have you ever stopped to think about how much your mail can reveal about your life?  I guess those letters stamped "CORRESPONDENCE FROM AN INMATE AT ORANGE COUNTY JAIL" in red letters is kind of a giveaway.

Do you know your postal carrier?  How would you feel if this happened to you?

P.S.  I have no problem telling people about Keven because
a) its the truth
b) I am not ashamed
c) almost every time I share, the other person is very eager to tell me about someone they know in the same situation
d) its another opportunity to spread awareness (I usually give my little speech about how its an epidemic and ask them if they read the article in our county newspaper about it).

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

August 25, 2011

One Week Later...

I guess I am back from my blog vacation.  I still feel kind of "blah" but not as bad.  Sometimes I just get depressed, and this is a lifelong issue for me, not just related to the "unpleasant events" of the last three years.  Three years - that probably sounds like a short amount of time to some of you veteran parents who have been dealing with this issue for two, three maybe even four times longer.  That reminds me, I was talking to Ant's Grandmother and she mentioned she's been dealing with it for 37 years!

I've been doing my best to keep up with blogs.  As for Keven - he's doing "good" right now according to his counselor.  I have to drive up there this afternoon to get his meds to him.  Its very hard to schedule all his meds to be ready at the same time (he takes several).  OH SH*T.  I just realized there was one she didn't mention when I just called to check on them.

Why am I sharing all this on a blog post?  I feel like I am talking out loud to myself.  Hmmm.  I guess I will get back on the phone.  I do things for him that he can not do himself and at this point, this is too complex, I obviously can't even do it right, this will be the THIRD time I've called them today.

Cal-Med Pharmacy Plus Home Healthcare Supplies
I LOVE my pharmacy, its not a chain, its family owned and I can't even begin to say what a difference that makes!  They know us and care about us :)

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Will You Sponsor Me?

NAMIWALKS for the Mind of America

Hi everyone.  Guess what?  I am going to be walking to raise awareness and funding for NAMI.   The walk is at the Huntington Beach Pier on October 1st.  My a team called "Brainwaves".

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

August 17, 2011


I think I need a vacation from blogging.

I will write again soon and keep up with your blogs.  If anything big happens I will let you know.  Just feel like taking a mental vacation. Or, maybe Sugar and I will book a cruise on the Pugboat :)

ASAM's Definition of Addiction

I was reading the blog "Addiction and Recovery" this morning and they pointed out the ASAM's definition of addiction which was adapted earlier this year.  Here is the short version:

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.
Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.

The long version can be found here.  I print out their PDF of the long version, its 6 pages and, imo, worth reading.  In some ways reading this is helpful because it means there are doctors out there studying addiction which in turn will hopefully find more successful treatments, educate people about it to relieve some of the stigma and help all of us understand why its so damn hard for an addict to stop.

Of course that last point can also be very discouraging.  Keven is proclaiming that "THIS IS IT", this is the real deal, the final chapter, the turning point, the end of the journey.....and of course by doing that he's also adding an enormous amount of pressure on himself which is a trigger for using.  BTW, he's still in jail waiting for the paperwork to catch up to him so he can get back to the rehab.

There are no easy answers to any of this.  What happened to addicts and alcoholics prior to the time that there was AA and treatment centers?  Does anyone know?  Did they just end up homeless and die?  Were they locked away in prison or an "insane asylum"?

I can hear someone reminding me not to spend so much time focused on this topic.  I guess I am very interested in it because the one person in my life that matters most is my son, and like it or not, it defines his life right now.  I have no husband, boyfriend or life partner to think or care about, I have a job that requires me to "keep myself from getting bored" while waiting for the phone to ring so that's 21 hours a week sitting on my ass in front of this computer screen; I don't have a whole lot going on in my life.  Oh yeah, I have no other children either.

I am not complaining or looking for sympathy or making excuses for myself, but I've been told so many times to not focus so much on this topic....and I'm defending my reasons why it matters so much to me.  Because my son is the most important thing in the world to me.  And even though he's technically an adult we all know our addicted children have a very delayed maturity rate - he still needs his mom, and I plan to be here for him as long as he's moving in the right direction.

I guess I got off my original topic of the definition of addiction.  :)

 In other news:  I am having a really good salad for lunch, Anthony has court today, I had my hair weaved and trimmed last night, tomorrow is a day off so I can stay up super late reading if I want. 

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

August 15, 2011

Here We Go Again

Expectations are dangerous for me, so I am trying hard to be rational and realistic about the next step in Keven's recovery.

Its been decided that he will return to residential treatment this week and pick up where he left off.

He has a new determination based on a new motivation and a new fear.  I can only stand by the sidelines and cheer him on.

I'm glad he's getting out of jail, they have not given him his meds in five days and I can hear it in his voice - don't they know how important it is to keep inmates with mental health issues on their meds??!!!  I would think in that environment it would be to their advantage.  Our attorney has called the jail twice but it didn't help.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

August 14, 2011

Song Memories

Music is powerful.  It can take you back to another time and place.  I have hundreds of memories that come flooding back when I hear certain songs.  I'm going to share two of mine (both G-Rated!) and would love to hear some of yours if you want to share.

Both these songs are by The Doors and both involve bicycles:

1)  It was 1971.  I was 12 years old and madly in love with Jim Morrison (even though he was dead).  This was long before Sony created the Walkman so I had to rely on the repertoire of music in my own mind when I wanted to hear a song (I started listening to rock and roll at age 4, with my dad :)

So there I was riding my bike - no hands - listening to "Riders on the Storm" in my head, thinking about Jim Morrison.  I didn't see a rock on the street and down I went!  I broke my elbow!

2) Keven and I used to love bike rides.  I rode him on the back of mine up to the time he was big enough for a two-wheeler.  There was a cool bike trail not far from out house.  When he was older, we'd pull off the trail and go "snake hunting" (until the day we actually saw one and both freaked out!).  Anyhow, when it was time to take his training wheels off he was nervous so I made up a song based on "Roadhouse Blues" and I would sing it to him as I jogged along side him, and I like to believe, it helped.  It seems silly now, but I LOVE this memory of the determination on his sweet little boy face.  Sometimes he'd beg me to stop singing**cause the song was "dumb" but I refused :)

Kev, keep your eyes on the trail, your hands upon the handlebars
Keep your eyes on the trail, your hands upon the handlebars
Yeah, we're ridin' a two-wheeler, we're gonna have a real
Good time
Let it roll, baby, roll
Let it roll, baby, roll
Let it roll, baby, roll
Let it roll, all down the trail

**He still begs me to stop singing when we are driving in the car.  Again I refuse and he has to live in embarrassment of what the other drivers must think of his Mom.  (I did, however, stop singing in the car when his friends were present once he got into Jr. High.  Most of the time.  Ha.)

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

August 13, 2011

My Cute and Happy SItes

Someone suggested the other day that I read some more uplifting blogs in addition to the ones on the topic of addiction.  I have several sites I visit for that purpose so I thought I'd share them, maybe one will suit your fancy too :)

I LOVE animals and there is nothing cuter than a baby giraffe, tiger, warthog....etc.

Happy Dog DNA
If you open this link you will see my precious little stinker :)  I don't know if I believe in the accuracy of these DNA tests, but we did it for kicks and got a huge surprise to see her results and to look at the other dogs on the site!  (I tell people I have a Boxer mix).

This is a great site if you're interested in other people's opinions of why a song was written or what the song means.  Also great to look up lyrics, etc.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

August 12, 2011

Addicts Are All The Same....But Different

I feel much more peaceful today.  Yesterday was awful, Thursday night was horrible, but today, he's in jail and I have a new perspective and a new plan.  Thanks for all the helpful comments and thanks for being straight up with me.  I rather have someone tell me the truth even if it hurts or humiliates me than to hold back.  (wow maybe I should not have shared

I was just sitting here at work bored to pieces thinking about how addicts have so many similarities with one another.  I'm sure any of us that have been around awhile could compile a list, I think I have one somewhere on this blog.

But when it comes to what motivated them to finally stop using, the similarities end.  And some never stop.

I had a good talk with Anthony's grandmother last night.  She brings up her daughter (Ant's mother) every now and then so I knew it didn't bother her to talk about her.  I got brave and asked her "how did you survive losing her?"  I've always heard that losing a child is the most painful thing a person can experience (and I don't doubt it for a second).

She said, "Honestly, I don't know.  I had to hold it together for the boys (age 14 & 12 at the time) so I put one foot in front of the other and did what I had to do.  Anthony and I cried a lot together, he was very open about his grief, but his brother to this day won't talk about it."

Then she kind of got a faraway sound in her voice.  "Sometimes there is nothing that will stop an addict.  Losing her children didn't stop her, being burned over 80% of her body didn't stop her....Losing his mother didn't stop Anthony, losing his best friend didn't stop him, losing his son didn't stop him, being of life support didn't stop him....I don't know if he will ever stop".

Then I had a similar conversation, via text, with Keven's gf, she eventually she did stop.  She said she'd been using since she was 12 years old, all kinds of drugs. She went to prison for 3 years and that didn't stop her.  She got pregnant and that stopped her for several years.  When she started using again CPS took her son away and that stopped her for good (so far).  Today she's clean and is a good mother to her son 6 year old son (who is named after a rocker from the 80's....anyone want to guess which one?).

So we may think our loved one has reached that ONE THING that will stop them in their tracks (no pun intended) but it means nothing unless its the thing that matters to them.  And even then, when the desire is so great to stop using, so many just can't seem to do it - or is they won't do it?  This is what bothers me the most, is wondering, will it ever happen or do I need to accept that this could be his lifestyle forever.

August 11, 2011

I'm So Angry

First of all, thanks for all the comments.  I mean it, I needed another wake-up call (as usual).

I am angry at myself because I should have said no to our attorney when she asked me to pick up Keven and bring him home.  It was my first time of denying him a place to stay and it got ruined.  I am also angry at her for even suggesting it because she praised me for telling him that he couldn't come home.

I am angry that his PO is too "swamped" to come by our house and take him into custody (she lives not far from us) and now I am stuck driving him to Santa Ana in rush hour traffic on my day off.

I am angry most of all at Keven for lying, manipulating, etc.  And on top of all that I am infuriated that I woke up at 2 am and noticed his light was on and guess what he was doing in his room?  UNDER MY ROOF!

All of you who left comments were so right.  I do need to re-read Co-dependent No More.  I am so frigging mad at myself for being so stupid and so naive and so willing to "pretend" that he's not a conniving, dishonest, addict.  I'm embarrassed and ashamed because I KNOW BETTER.

Oh - and I can't remember who asked why I needed Keven's sponsors phone number - I don't need it and didn't ask for it, he just offered.  At the time I was too busy checking out his black eyeliner and blue eyes to really think about how odd it was for him to offer that.  I don't have the number, I don't want the number.

QUESTION:  How do you balance the anger, disgust and disappointment with the compassion, understanding and support?  If its a disease, than these behaviors are all symptoms.  Only he can choose to get well, but how do you do that when you're so sick you can't seem to do what it takes to get there.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

P.S.  I am going to drop him off at somewhere that is convenient to me and give him the choice to walk 6 blocks to be arrested or choose to walk the other direction to buy drugs.  Where the hell he gets money, I have no idea and I don't even want to know.

P.S.S. There is no public transportation to Santa Ana this time of day so the bus is not an option.  He has no friends he can call because he's pretty much lost them all, even his childhood buddies who have been by his side (since age 5!) are not interested in seeing him anymore.  So that is why I am driving him, that and because I want him in jail and I want to see if he passes the test of choosing to walk toward custody or to walk toward drugs.

August 10, 2011


Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Heroin Sucks

Got a call from Keven today.  He tested dirty at "United".

He'd been there for 11 days.

They are letting him come back on Monday which is good.

He begged me to come home and you all would have been so proud of me, I was infuriated when he first told me and I said NO WAY ON EARTH.

So the plan was for his PO to pick him up and take him into custody.  She wasn't able to do that.

Our attorney called and said that since Keven did the right thing - confessed, is remorseful and knows how desperately he needs help - that I could pick him up an let him stay here the night and then bring him to court in the morning and they would take him into custody from there.

So he's home.  He's still high (he used late this afternoon and was immediately caught, someone told the director that they should test him).

Its very sad.  My anger has dissipated and now I'm just plain sad.  You see, I learned something new tonight.  Something I had never known before.  And it felt like a kick in the gut.

He admitted to me that he's never gone longer than a month without using.

A month.

He has a six month chip, I asked him what that was about and he says he was pretending so as not to get in trouble or upset us more than we already are.

He was very disappointed in himself, and he seemed kind of scared.  But, on the brighter side he has a sponsor again for the first time in a long time and he said he thinks with this new sponsor he's going to be able to really work the program.  Lets hope so.  I met the sponsor, I liked him a lot, he gave me his number.

So here we are again.

Ha, it would be "funny" if he and Anthony end up in the same cell.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

August 8, 2011

Freedom and Justice for All?

There is a lesson in this for me:  Just wait out the storm, and it will pass.

Keven has calmed down and is once again "doing well" at his rehab.  The first few days there were horrible because his PO put him on a 90 day lock-down because she was angry at him and that was her punishment.  The rules of the rehab are 30 days, but she has the final authority over almost everything in his life.

He ranted and raved and threatened, and as usual I got sucked into it and was very upset.  I have gotten better, I didn't fret as much or as for long as usual and I made myself less available to him.  But still, I went through a few hellish days of worry, anger and concern.

Because of our awesome attorney and the counselors at "United", he finally settled down.  I know my son and he was reacting to the "unfairness" of the situation.  From a very early age I have taught him that life is not fair and told him that people who didn't accept that fact were miserable at times.  Its not easy to accept when you have a strong sense of justice and want things to be equal for everyone.  I'm an idealist at heart, but some things require me to be realistic (I hate that!)

Life doesn't operate on fairness or justice.  When a drunk driver kills your daughter as she walks to school and then gets a light sentence for it, where is the fairness?  If the parent wants justice for the child, he/she can murder the drunk driver but then they lose their freedom.  No one ever wins, you just have to accept the things your can't change and move forward the best you can.

I feel that Anthony's brother is going to get a very stiff sentence for a very minor violation, and Anthony may be walking out of jail in a month or two after all the shit he's done in the last few months.  NOT FAIR.  Ant wants to take his brother's sentence but I don't think that's an option (but it would be fair!).

I always think I am going to write a short post, but then I go on and on.  I will end  here with these words:

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.

     --Abraham Lincoln

It is essential that justice be done, and it is equally vital that justice not be confused with revenge, for the two are wholly different.

     --Oscar Aria

The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be.

     --Raymond Chandler

A court is a place where what was confused before becomes more unsettled than ever.

     --Henry Waldorf Francis

Many things in life are not fair but all things should be.

     -- Michael Josephson

It is much more difficult to know what is fair than what is unfair.

     -- Michael Josephson

When circumstances are unfair, you can show good character by continuing to do the best you can do. 

     --Donna Forrest

Never let bitterness follow unfairness. Bitterness only hurts you. 

     -- Donna Forrest

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

A Calmer Keven

I shared last week that Keven was not doing well at all with his attitude even though he got what he wanted - back to his rehab, "United".  He

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

August 7, 2011

"Her Air is a Drug"

When I come across something like this, I wonder if sharing it is the right thing to do.  I think its a good explanation of how addiction works, and gives another reason to see addiction as a disease, but....It can also be discouraging.

It makes me even more passionate about STOPPING kids from using before they fall into this pit of endless struggle to walk away from what their body wants more than anything.  I've heard more than one heroin addict say that the high they get is better than sex.  (which makes me  want to try it, but of course I know better).  But the point is, its something they crave, something they feel so such a strong craving for that it destroys their life, but they keep going.

"If you never find your drug of choice, a dirty band-aid to the gaping wound of neurochemical imbalance, then perhaps you’ll never find addiction.
For most of us, it isn’t worth the experiment to know. For others, it starts out innocently, by becoming too reliant on pain pills prescribed by a doctor after an accident. Would you be “better” with a neurochemical enhancement?
I’ve been to rehab facilities and have seen good people lose their livelihoods, children and everything they hold dear. And thus, I ask: how could you say it’s not chemistry? How could you say it’s choice? Choice to feel robbed of free will? Choice to be dependent?
For addicts, it’s never over. A structure in the reptilian or old brain, the amygdala, causes the addict to crave a drug when she recognizes people, places, situations or patterns with which she’s previously used. It’s instinct, without conscious thought.
Consider this: if you’re drowning, you’ll push up for air. So will an addict, only her air is a drug."  from Addiction and Recovery
Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

August 5, 2011


I was reading Gledwood's blog yesterday and at the very end he had posted what he calls a "LITTLE RANT TO ANYBODY CONSIDERING EXPERIMENTING WITH HEROIN OR ANY SIMILAR DRUG".  Gledwood is a long time heroin addict that is now on methadone.  He's over in the UK and is a very unique person with a big heart and a talent for writing.

I highlighted the parts that really spoke to me.  I read this to my sister this morning and afterwards, we both felt sad at the truth of it, but once again more understanding toward Keven and Anthony.  Speaking of Anthony...I have something to say about him at the end of this:

Heroin is evil. It does no good to anyone to abuses it. Take heroin and you lose. Every time. Not everybody loses the same way or to the same degree. But I have never known a case where a person is truly better off for being on heroin. If you do know a person you believe has made heroin addiction somehow "work" I would urge you to look closer and to bear in mind that you don't know somebody's life until you've walked a good mile in their shoes. A mile is a good deal longer than any junkie would ever walk without a pressing reason. Example: a lack of heroin. Because no amount of heroin is ever enough for long enough. 

Heroin addicts just want to keep the world at bay. To float in that primordial amniotic wonderland that is called the Opiate High. Junkies aren't afraid of dying: they're afraid of living. The longer you indulge in heroin, the more worthless life seems, and the more frightening, until ~ if you're like me ~ you just can't cope. I know I am an extreme case. Not everybody has the psychopathology I have. But everybody who plays with heroin suffers for it. Heroin is a painkiller. If you make it your life's ambition to escape pain, the laws of nature decree you'll suffer for your folly. My one word of advice to anybody considering experimentation with any kind of strong opiates is just don't. You have survived an entire lifetime up to this point without heroin or oxy or Dilaudid or whatever else is gnawing at your soul before you even took it. Because I know you have mixed feelings and I know you feel confused. The reason is very simple: 

you know that taking opiates is playing with fire. Somehow you reason you'll get high like every other junkie, yet you won't get burned like every other junkie. It doesn't matter whether or not you use a needle. Opiates get under the skin like you wouldn't believe. Eventually they become your skin, like a luxury coccoon. And life without them becomes not merely unbearable, but unthinkable. You may reason that you'll only use once a week, once a month, once a year, once in a lifetime. Every addict I've met, with the exception of those lost souls who deliberately got addicted, only ever intended to try heroin once. But heroin doesn't work like that. You do not get the full effects until your body is already well on the way to becoming habituated. Then it's already too late. If you want to be happy, want to be free, you must piece together your opiate-free time into one continuous stream of drug-free existence. That's the only way to do it. Take it from someone who didn't do it, who nearly died doing it all wrong, who lost all semblance of a life. So much so that at my lowest points, even the other junkies didn't want to know me. Heroin only kills the lucky few. Chances are you won't die. Chances are you'll live in pain. There is nothing more painful than learning to live without the strongest painkiller in the world.


And if you do have a problem, my advice is contact Narcotics Anonymous. They're not the only way out of addiction, but their programme most definitely does work "if you work it". I advise it because it's run by addicts for addicts, and it's free. Be very very cautious about shelling out money you can't afford to cure an addiction that might only be in it's earliest stages. It took me ten years to go from intending to stop heroin tomorrow to being able to survive on methadone day in day out without constantly using heroin on top. I'm still addicted to methadone. I don't know when I will ever get off the stuff. I'm "dual diagnosis" because I have mood swings of psychotic proportions on top of my drug problem. I can't advise anyone anything except to stay away from hard drugs, from mind-bending drugs... from all drugs. No drug has ever benefited me. I hope someone somewhere reads this someday and hears me. As the old saying goes: if one person stays clean due to what I say, it's all worthwhile... Maybe that would make my mess seem somehow worthwhile. Because I can tell you, it certainly doesn't feel worthwhile from where I'm stuck. Still addicted. Stuck on methadone and hating it.


2009 & 2011

I felt like I should share this, even though many of you will roll your eyes and think that I'm a fool.  I have said many times I was done with Anthony.  I even meant it a few times.  But I'm not, nor will I every be.  I can't say I love him as much as I love Keven, but I love him as if he were my son.  I've tried to escape from this feeling, to justify all the reasons why I shouldn't feel this way or have no obligation to love him.  But that's not how love works.
When h e came into my life in 2008 a door to my heart opened.  That door was labeled "Mom" even though I am not his mother.  You just can't shut that door once its opened.

If the tables were turned and Keven was the one without a mother, I would hope that someone like me would come into his life.  Its as simple as and as complicated as that.  I agree 100% that K and A should NEVER associate with each other again, but what is the harm to me?  The pain, the agony, the worry, the anger....all the same stuff I feel toward Keven, but I am not going to stop being a part of Keven's life, so why Anthony's?  Keven has actually done far worse things to me than Ant (stuff I never shared here).

Plus, I have grown to care very much for his grandmother and I can tell that it means a lot to her that he has me.  She lost a daughter to meth, is losing a grandson to heroin and may be losing her other grandson to it as well (Ants brother is in jail now, he was arrested with H on him). She and her husband are in their 70's and not healthy and she

So when Ant called me from jail yesterday, I took the call.  When he cried to me saying "I can't stop using, I will never be able to stop using, I'm a dead man!" I comforted him.  The sad thing is, I believe him.  I believe there are some people who just can't stop for whatever reason.

These two photos say a lot to me.  He's always thought of himself as a tough guy, but inside he's a little boy hiding in a tree house, protecting his little brother from their abusive dad.  He's the little boy who saw his mother after she'd been burned over 80% of her body from a meth lab explosion.  He's the little boy that never experienced the feeling of safety and continuity and unconditional love.

He's changed a lot in the last two years.  He spent 2010 in prison and when he came out he was even bigger than he was in '09.  But quickly started to age, lose his muscles and fall apart.  For however long he has to live, I am going to love him unconditionally.  Its really not an option not to.  

August 4, 2011

How "Normies" Live

Have you ever heard your addicted loved one refer to non-addicts as a "normie", implying that everyone in the world is normal but they are set apart because of their drug use.

I've heard it used a lot over the last few years and I think its actually a valid choice of words to describe life without drugs.

I thought of this because in the last few weeks there have been some huge events that Keven would have loved to attend, back in the normie days.  There was the X Games, several concerts and this week The US Open.  Oh well.

MY FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH!  At one point in this video Kelly Slater decides to spontaneously catch a few, watch how the crowd surrounds him when he gets out.  Gotta Love Kelly!!!!!  (I realize this video is too wide for the page but I don't care :)

Anyhow back to Keven, Instead of enjoying these type of events, hanging with good friends, working, etc., he's back to being manipulative, angry and acting like a full blown addict. Something I have not seen in him for a long time.  He's trying every way possible to "escape" his reality and leave the rehab that he so desperately wanted to return to.

Sometimes I wish I had more than one child so I could experience a "normie" too.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

August 3, 2011

Tips for Dealing with Heroin Addiction

I have a new guest post up Pat Moore Foundation.  If you read it, could you please leave comments on their site. Thank you.

Nothing much else to say.  I'm working on not worrying and finding my own life again.

August 2, 2011

A Parent Is Asking for Help ---

Someone in my area contacted me today seeking some answers to a legal issue, and also wondering if anyone has ever used an employer based legal plan.  Please leave a comment.

What I don't understand in this situation is why her son was every considered an unsafe driver!!!!  (this young man seems to be doing well and has a good driving record, car insurance and no felonies!  So this seems really bizarre.  Please leave comments if you have any insight to help her out.

Here is the situation:

"My son has recently been notified that his drivers license has been suspended. He has requested an administrative hearing to try to appeal and it is scheduled on 8/22/11.
He was not arrested. He was living in his car back in Feb and every few days he was being searched by the police. They submitted a notice to the DMV about him potentially being an unsafe driver. He appeared for a reexamination and they interviewed him about 6 weeks ago. He admitted to his past Heroin use but has been clean for about 90 days.
I am looking for some legal advice for him. I have a legal plan at my work that I have access to. I am wondering if anyone knows first hand about their process.
I know that the ruling will be final from this hearing. The suspension order just says that his license may be reinstated after a significant period of sobriety. I would like to know what that means in length of time and any other advice anyone can give us.
My son has a good drivng record, is insured, does not have a felony and is doing very well right now.
Thank you."
P.S. I have a question of my own, does anyone know what a "health and safety code violation warrant" could be about?  Anthony has one of those in addiction to his warrants and his new charges (evading an officer and resisting arrest).
Never mind - I found out this is possession for intent to sell


Just got a call from Anthony's gf, he was arrested this morning.
He's been running from his warrants for awhile, I knew they'd catch up to him.
I'm relieved, but have to say, also sad.  Sad for his life, sad for his grandmother.
Now both her grandson's are in jail together.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

I posted something up here yesterday afternoon but took it down.  It was just more of the saga of Keven's depression and circumstances, blah, blah, blah.  So many others are going through much more serious stuff right now...I mean really, my post seemed petty and I felt embarrassed to be complaining.

Mostly I am just sick and tired of all of it.  Its like, we're suppose to be detaching with love, but how do you stop yourself from worrying and hurting?  Is that part of it?  Just turning off the worry?  Its not that simple.

I suffer from pretty serious depression myself.  I take meds and they help but I still get very down quite often.  I have been fighting a major episode all summer but keep pushing through, numbing myself and sleeping a lot to avoid thinking or feeling (sometimes my dreams are worse than reality so that's not good).

But really my thoughts for today are what the fortune cookie says above.  Many of us  inhabiting this planet is dealing with something.  Kindness really goes a long way. I don't want to be the person complaining more than encouraging, but sometimes that's all I have in me.  It sucks to live like this, doesn't it?  I want to get to the point where I can live without stressful thoughts of Keven in the background of of my mind all day.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

August 1, 2011

Once again I have chest pains and tears

I am sick of this shit!

I know that's not a nice thing to say but that's how I feel.  I was just getting to the point where I felt like I had my life back and then Keven calls severely depressed and anxious and tells me he is not allowed out of "United" for 90 days even for a home pass or a dr. visit with me with him every second.  (His po's idea, not the rehabs).  He was so down and I could hear that old defeated keven that used to have major panic attacks and delusions and all that stuff.  So I called his psych who is calling him up there.  It sucks.  I guess I am mad at his PO for being so harsh, but that's her job, right?

Why am I so upset over this?  Much, much worse has happened.  Maybe I'm just more frail than strong today.  I just burst out crying when I was talking to his psych (he's mine too) and although he can't discuss Keven's case with me he did bring up his girlfriend (she sees him too!) and I can tell he has serious concerns about her.  She is 31 years old, Keven is 20!  Maybe that's the underlying cause of this feeling...

Yeah, we're not suppose to let all this get to us, but it DOES.  It gets to me.  I can't help it.  I just want it all to end.  Then I read VJ's blog, and Dee's and Tori's and my heart breaks.  There are parents out there with much bigger concerns than me being upset cause my poor little baby is anxious and depressed and in an unhealthy relationship, but he's MY baby.

That reminds me, I can't remember where but recently I read something where the author was saying how ignorant and wrong it was for parents to refer as their grown addicted children as their "babies".  All mothers (that I know) still think of their children as their babies because they once were their babies.  That doesn't mean we think of them AS BABIES, just as the person we gave birth to, the person that is part of us that developed inside of us that owns a piece of our heart.  So yeah, I call him my baby even though he's 20, 6'1 and not a baby.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

More Germs to Deal With

Addiction is like an infection that spreads from the addict to everyone they have close contact with. 

I've decided that every time I experience this phenomenon I will use this phrase.  Lets hope you don't see it on here to often.  

Yesterday at 4 I got a text from Anthony.  

But, the text was not about him, it was about his brother, "T" being arrested and taken to jail.  The only reason this matters to me AT ALL is because I have become close to Ant's grandmother.  I still am not sure why Ant wanted me to know, I know he was looking for some comfort and reassurance that it was not his fault...but it probably was so I didn't go there.

I was, however, grateful that I knew in advance because I was able to look online for all the details of when and where T was arrested and where he was in the booking process, etc. So when the grandmother called me at 8 am I was prepared, I already knew, I was able to calm her a bit and give her some info.  She asked me to do a favor related to getting his car out of impound which I did.  T was never an addict but he got busted selling and since it was his first offense, he did his time and got out pretty quickly and has been on the straight and narrow ever since but on probation.  He has been warned again and again to stay away from his brother because it would likely land him in jail.  And, it did.  I don't know the exact circumstances and it doesn't matter.  

What does matter to me is the grandmother.  This woman deserves some kind of a medal or an honor for enduring this crap for almost 40 years (38 to be exact).  She lost her daughter to it and has been living with Anthony's addiction since then (daughter was 34 at time of death, Ant was 14).  So its been non-stop for her.  She's a good person and goes to Al-Anon and understands addiction, but this is TOO MUCH for her.  She lives in fear that Ant will die and T will be devastated because they are so close, and pretty much all each other has besides their grandparents (who are both older and not in great health).

So I didn't mind being in on this, but it goes to show, once again, that one addict can affect the lives of everyone around him.  Now his brother is in jail .... that really makes me sad.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara
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