October 29, 2011

Two Visits with Two Very Different Personalities

I went to see both my guys today, I don't always do two in one day, it pretty much takes up your whole day.

I visited with Anthony first.  He was all smiles, full of energy, excited to be getting out in 2 weeks as the "new Anthony".  He asked me to pick him up and drive his straight to the sober living, he doesn't want his gf or friends or even his brother picking him up.  I think that's a wise choice.  Our visit flew by and I left feeling happy and hopeful.

Then I went to see Keven.  I love him so much.  There he was looking very anxious but trying to be cheerful.  The visit dragged on forever, we struggled to find things to talk about.  We talked mostly about his court date Tuesday and how nervous he is.  We both want to believe the best scenario will happen - but you never know.

AND WHEN I WAS THERE - THAT MASS MURDERER GUY WALKED RIGHT BY ME WITH TWO GUARDS (on the other side of glass, of course).  It seemed that they were taking him for a walk or something.  It creeped me out.  Keven says he just stands at his cell door all days and stares at all the other inmates.

So....today I felt so grateful for Anthony.  He's been writing Keven some great letters, he's been so on fire for recovery....I know I need to keep my expectations in check, and I know this sounds naive - but I think he might make it this time.

Yep, that did sound naive!  If I had a dollar for every time I said that I could go buy a new pair of shoes :)

 Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 28, 2011

Familiar Story That Ends in OD

Sad story from work today. One of our probationers was in jail waiting for bed space at an inpatient treatment center for the last few months. An officer I worked with had been working hard to get him a bed in a local facility and finally acquired one in the next couple of weeks due to the fact that his family had been calling and calling wanting to know when a bed would be available, he had been waiting in jail so long, why was it taking so long, couldn't he wait at home? Finally they took it to court, I typed the order a week or two ago, and he would be released to his parents and be on house arrest to wait the two weeks for the bed to become available. He was released on a Tuesday and died of a drug overdose on that Friday. He never made it to treatment. Sometimes parents love their children to death.
Thanks for checking out the advertising links here....and triple thanks if you made a purchase! I appreciate it so much.

 Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

National Drug Facts Week - Message to Parents and Teens

Drugs: Shatter the Myths cover imageToday marks the beginning of a week dedicated to spreading the word about drug abuse presented by the NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse).  Here is my message to both parents and teens based on my personal experience being the mother of a very intelligent, kind, funny and good looking young man who got addicted to heroin when he was 17 years old.

Message to parents:

Drug Awareness programs are not enough, believe me, your child WILL become aware of drugs and be offered them, sometimes as early as grade school but usually in Jr. High or High School.  No amount of good parenting is going to stop a child that is pre-disposed to trying drugs.  This is what I've learned from listening to hundreds of other parents.  Its natural for us to say "my child is too smart for that...." but the fact is, most parents of addicts said the same thing.  

So how do you prevent your child from trying RX or other drugs?  You do your best by communicating openly, knowing what they are up to and knowing their friends and drug testing at home if you become suspicious.  Educate yourself on the signs of drug use.  Please, don't go into denial thinking your child is immune to this danger.

And, as much as I hate to say this, if they are going to experiment there is not much you can do to stop them.  For me, the mistake I made was not understanding the seriousness of the situation when I first learned of it.  My son became addicted after ONE TIME of using heroin.  If I would have known then what I know now, I would have acted sooner, got him into a rehab immediately and perhaps he wouldn't still be struggling today, almost 4 years later.

I learned the most by becoming involved in the community of bloggers (listed in my sidebar) as we shared our journey's together.  If you do find yourself parenting an addict:  You need support!  Please go to Al-Anon or read these blogs or find another way to connect with others who are going through the same thing!

Message to Teens:

Lecturing you won't help, you already hear about the dangers.  I'll just tell you how its affected my son.

He started using at 17, today at age 20 he is sitting in jail wondering if he will  miss yet another birthday and Christmas because of being incarcerated or in a rehab.  He lost all his friends, his girlfriend, his car, all his material possessions except his clothes, his dignity.  He was expelled from high school in his Senior year for being high and missed the prom, graduation, etc.  He has almost died several times.  He has lost 8 "friends" that accidently OD'd.  He has never held a job and now has a felony on his record.  I have lost track of how many times he's been in and out of jails and rehabs.  He still has a family who loves him, but we can't trust him and have to lock up our belongings if he's going to be home, even for an hour.  He'll turn 21 in December but it won't be a fun celebration with friends because he can't be out after 10 pm due to probation's curfew (that is if he's out of jail).

These are just a few of the ramifications of using drugs.  The big ones are how sick you feel, how desperate you become, how you don't even recognize yourself because the person you once were has been taken over by the addict you've created (Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde).  You will steal from your parents, sibling, friends and possibly commit burglaries or robberies to support you habit.  You will exchange sex for drugs.  You will live for the next fix because nothing else matters....this happens with RX drugs and heroin especially, its physically addicting, once you start, if you stop you get extremely ill and experience intense pain in your body.

For most addicts it takes around ten years or more to finally overcome, but even then they usually have lifelong obstacles to face (relapse, felony record).  You will end up in jail sooner or later, its inevitable. And depending on your drug of choice - say goodbye to your good looks, you will lose them as well.

So, do yourself a favor and don't bother trying anything that could lead down this path of anguish for yourself and everyone in your life that cares about you.  Check out Sara Bellum's blog, you will learn a lot here!

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 27, 2011

This is not spam

I posted something similar to this on my FB page and someone thought it was spam, and it did seem kind of spammy, but its not!

If anyone's curious about the HCG diet, I just completed it and lost 25 lbs. in 30 days.  It really works.  I know its controversial but I loved it and am going to do it again in a few months.

Here is the link to my blog about it that I just decided to make public:


October 26, 2011

The Past Catches Up With Me - in Jail

Over the years I've chosen very carefully how much to tell Keven about my teens/early twenties. I let him know that, yes, I did try drugs and drank and smoked - but made it sound very casual. In reality, I was quite the party girl and had somewhat of reputation because of it.

Well, last night I get a call from jail at about 9:30.  I was a bit alarmed since we'd already had our nightly call and he's never called that late.

It turns out that one of the guys in his cell KNOWS ME from back in the day.  He was standing next to Keven and had him ask me if I remembered him (no) and then started listing a bunch of people to see if I knew them.  Turns out we ran around in the same circles and he knows my ex-sister in law, friends of my brother, friends of my sister, friends of mine AND Keven's dad.

They got a big kick out of this conversation.  The last thing the guy asked was if I remembered a certain party house that had wild parties almost every weekend....I said yes.  That was his house.  So now I am wondering what other stories this dude might be telling my son about me!

I'm not worried about it, it just feels odd, you know?  I didn't want to ask what the guy was in for since he was standing right next to him, but I'll find out later.

I would really prefer that Keven didn't hear about my party girl lifestyle, but it is what it is.  Am I embarrassed or ashamed?  A little of both.

BTW, That "diablo" in the pic is  the high school mascot for MVHS, the high school  Keven and I attended until the beginning of our senior years.  He was expelled for being high in class, I left to finish school early at a continuation school because I could not tolerate HS one more year and I needed to work.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 25, 2011

Need a Calendar?

Calenders.com is having a one day sale TODAY.

They also have these offers going on right now:

  • Free shipping on any US order with code LSFS11
  • Halloween Sale: 10% off any order with code SWEETDEAL
  • 50% off calendars in our Deals section for a limited time

Geez, this advertising stuff is annoying but hopefully worth it for you and me.

Shop the Calendars.com One Day Sale! 20% Off 2012 Calendars With Code TWENTY.

October 24, 2011

Annual Walk Against Drugs

This past Saturday we had our annual drug walk.  I have mixed feelings about, but generally think its a good thing.  It sort of makes me sad though, because Keven walked this walk several times in his school years.  Drug Awareness had the opposite affect on him - it triggered a curiosity in drugs rather than a desire to stay away from them.  I know several of you who have said the same thing about your sons.


I honestly don't know if there's a way.

How many of you remember watching "Red Asphalt" or similar driver's ed films designed to scare the heck out of young drivers?  The idea was, if we were shown in graphic, real images what can happen if we drink and drive - or drive to fast, etc; we would choose NOT to risk it.

Well, I hate to admit how many times I drank and drove as a youth, and how many times I drove way too fast for the fun of it.  And today we have texting and driving to worry about too.

I don't know if we can scare or educate kids away from drug use.  But what can we do?  Drug test them?  Threaten them?  Beg them?  Just be the best damn parents we can be and hope that they make good choices?

Its sad to me to see all those people marching againstdrugs knowing that some of them will end up addicted, or dead.

Thanks for checking out the advertising links here....and triple thanks if you made a purchase. I appreciate it so much. Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 22, 2011

Mass Murderer "next door"

Well, the new "venue" is great.  Kev is in the medical module and is in a huge cell with beds...that's right BEDS, double BEDS, not bunks.  There are four guys in it.  The door is left open all day so they can go in and out to the day room if they choose.  Nice, huh?  Even I could handle that.  Also, his finger is being looked at every other day (they didn't look at it once in two weeks at OCJ) and there is a nurse there 24/7.  PLUS, they get to go outside for "yard time" four times a week!  At OCJ it was once every other week.  Big difference.  He really lucked out - all because of his broken finger.

BUT - you won't believe who's in the next cell over and shares the dayroom with him - the guy that killed the 8 people in the hair salon in Seal Beach a few weeks ago.  The most notorious bad guy our county has ever had.  Keven says he's in a wheelchair and is a "red band" so he's locked up most of the time.  It just feels strange knowing he's in the presence of someone who commit such a heinous crime so recently.

Another young man in his cell was also in the news when his "crime" was committed.  He was driving drunk, got in an accident and it killed all three of his passengers (girlfriend, sister and friend).  I know drunk driving is a crime, what happened was awful and he should be punished...but I'm sure the remorse he feels is far more painful than his jail sentence.  Keven said he's a nice, quiet guy.

Ten more days and we will find out his sentence.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 21, 2011

Change of "Venue"

Kev called this afternoon to let me know they moved him to Theo Lacy's facility.  So now, he's in the same jail as Anthony!  But, they won't see each other at all.  Keven was moved due to his finger, apparently they finally realized that its more than just a bandaged up finger - it has pins sticking out of it!!!  So he'll get the attention he needs (I hope).

Also, this is a huge bonus for me, visiting there is SO NICE compared to OCJ.

Hoping each of you has an enjoyable, drama-free weekend!

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

P.S.  Isn't "venue" a cute term for jail?  :)

2nd Night in a Row!

WOW - last night I had ANOTHER dream that I was an addict.  This one was more personal because I knew the people in my dream:  a close friend from high school and her brother, who was also a close friend - a very close friend.

Anyhow, in this dream she and I were both addicted but she told her parents she wasn't, but that I was.  Her mother already disliked me because of my involvement with her son and I was so afraid of her (which sort of makes sense, I spent as much time at their house as my own in my teen years and she often scolded and lectured me).  So the whole dream was me trying to hide my friend's addiction and deny my own.  Her brother wanted to help me but I kept wondering if that was what he really wanted from me....


Then Anthony called this morning and he had also bad dreams - the same one almost - the same two nights as me.  His dreams involved him being completely clean and sober but testing dirty for his PO, and having a meth pipe in his pocket when searched.

Is the moon in some weird phase causing disturbing dreams???

Hope we all have a good weekend!

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 20, 2011

I Dreamed I Was a Heroin Addict

Last night I had a very intense and disturbing dream.  In it, I was so depressed and suicidal I chose to become addicted to heroin and then when it got to be too much, just to kill myself. Toward the end of the dream I had bruises and scars on my arms, neck, etc.  I was totally shot out.  I remember crawling to an area that I thought was safe from from other addicts that would offer me the drug and lying there deciding I didn't want to die.  I wanted to live more than anything.  This guy came out of nowhere (he looked like Robert Downey, Jr.) and offered to help me.  I remember hiding a lot and being scared, then I woke up.

I FEEL REALLY TACKY FOR ADDING ALL THE ADS TO MY BLOG.  Its something I said I'd never do.  But I've been looking for a full time job for a few months and haven't even got an interview, so I am taking drastic measures and selling everything of value I own, putting ads on my blogs, etc.  Thanks for understanding.  

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 19, 2011

I'm in a good mood, and Concert Q & A

For some reason, I feel really good today.  Maybe because Keven is in his "safe place" right now (jail), or maybe because I totally rocked out on my way to work while sitting in traffic.

I just did a post on my music blog about some of the concerts I've been too, if you're a rocker (and aren't most of us???) check it out and let me know some of your answers:

and a huge THANK YOU to the people who are using my Amazon link!

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara (aka, Layla)

I miss my old music blog friends....

October 17, 2011

Coping Technique - Living on the Surface

eMotionI've never been much of a "surface" person, my emotions run deep, I am affected by everything I read in the news, every dog I see in the shelter, every story of every life I come across.  That's just me and I like that about myself, it makes me who I am.

But when it comes to Keven - the despair I sometimes feel can be debilitating.  The "what-ifs", the grieving of him not having a "normal" life, the fear, the sadness.  I don't get angry much anymore, when I do, it passes quickly.

So my newest coping technique is to just stay on the surface.  To stop my thoughts and feelings from going too deep.  Just staying focused on the present and doing my best to be supportive without enabling and to let go of whatever else may be lurking under the surface wanting to steal my attention.

How do you cope on days when you feel overwhelmed?

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 16, 2011


I said I would never monetize my blog in any way, but here I am putting Amazon links back up.  It helped me a lot last year.

So if you are going to buy something from Amazon, please swing by here and enter their site through my blog.

Thank you VERY much.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 15, 2011

Some Thoughts on Suicide

Pat Moore Foundation asked me to share my thoughts and experience with losing loved ones to suicide.  The article can be found HERE.  If you read it, please leave comments on their site.

I am also going to be writing about Kev's suicide attempt soon.  At the time it shook my world to the core, but he's been slowly committing suicide ever since, so I suppose I'm actually accustomed to it now.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 14, 2011

Signs that an Addict is High or Using

I'm interested to hear what specific individual signals you get that your loved one may be using again, or is high.  There are some universal things that we all see, most of them are pretty obvious:

  • pinpoint pupils
  • nodding off
  • track marks
  • poor personal hygiene
  • sleeping a lot
  • needing money
  • stealing 
  • etc. etc. etc.

But what tell tale signs do you see in your addict?  Here are a few clues I should have picked up on this time but told myself to ignore (I know...I've heard about that river in Egypt!)

  • tilting his chin up slightly when he talks
  • more nervous ticks than usual
  • kissing me goodbye (rather than just hugging me)
  • having new ideas of how to make money (he had me buy him an extra carton of cigarettes (his money not mine) and then he sold them so he could have cash - DUH!)
  • going into detail about how well he's doing in recovery (on the 3rd Step, etc.)
Now that I've written these down, hopefully next time I see one I will know what's going on.  But then again, what difference does it make if I know or not?  The pattern is:  Use till you get caught, do your time, get out, use again till you get caught....

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 13, 2011

"I want to stop, I just can't"

Those were Keven's words to me today on the phone.  All I could say back was, "I know, Honey, I know...."

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 12, 2011

I Love My Support Group!

Which means all of you who read here!

As I read comments this morning I felt encouraged and cared for and then I got the one from Lou which ended with "don't even think of paying for another attorney" and I laughed out loud!!  Lou, your'e awesome. :)

No, no more attorneys. Although I have to say that I have no regrets hiring the spectacular Sheri S. She has been more than an attorney.  Her passion is recovery and she only works with addicts, many that are also mentally ill or have mental health issues.  As far as her pay - Keven sold his car in July and has paid for everything on his own since then.  He's watching his bank account dwindle (I'm in charge of the money, he has no access to it).  But jails free so I guess he won't have to dish out next month's "rent" at Unidos Recovery Home.

Back to Sheri the attorney.  She is in very high demand these days - not just to practice law, but to lead groups, etc.  The Orange County Sherrif Dept. has asked her to provide training to our entire law enforcement agency on HOW DO DEAL WITH THE MENTALLY ILL   This was inspired by the  Kelly Thomas case.  I find it disturbing that they weren't already trained in this.

She's also on a committee to start a family group for all the parents, spouses and siblings of addicts that are in the Collaborative Court Program (Drug Court, Recovery Court, Opportunity Court, Veteran's Court and WIT Court (wit - "whatever it takes").  I'll go to that even if Keven is kicked out of Opportunity Court (as he should be!)

She is also available to me, Keven or any of her clients/families 24/7 and I've never had to wait more than an hour to hear from her if I contact her.  She cares.  She's smart.  She's extremely good at her job and carries a lot of weight with many of the judges around here.  She doesn't coddle her clients, but she does call and encourage them when they are doing well and guides them in the right direction (if they choose to go that way is obviously up to them).

I WILL MISS HAVING HER IN MY LIFE!  She called ME yesterday just to make sure I was doing okay with the latest arrest.

And guess what?  I am.  I'm fine with it.  Its almost weird how fine I am with it.  And I am secretly hoping he gets at least 6 months.  He's safe in there.  He has time to get his head clear and think.

One last thing - His good friend who is also one of Sheri's clients is in there right now too.  This kid is lovable, funny, talented (musician) and had FINALLY got over 6 months clean, was working 2 jobs and going to a 4 year college (took him 4 years to get through a 2 year, but he persisted).  He'd even quit smoking cigarettes for crying out loud!   We were all so proud and happy.  Anyhow, he had a relapse and used dirty needles which gave him sepsis and he almost died.  They had to take his gallbladder out and then it was off to jail.  If he would have died.....I don't know, that would have been the closest friend yet that Kev's lost.  In fact this kid is the one that went to Gilbert's funeral with us last year.

No more death - PLEASE!

Thanks everyone for your comments.  I'm taking care of me.  The hardest part is seeing my mom suffer because she doesn't understand why he keeps doing this :(

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 11, 2011

Back In Jail

Today was suppose to be a normal day at court, but it wasn't.  No one from the usual team was there (the judge, his PO or his attorney).  The PO that was there took one look at Keven and thought he was high.  I thought he looked high too ... BUT ... its a known and understood fact that Keven often looks high even when he's not because he's on meds that give him that heavy-lidded look.

But since this guy didn't know that about Keven he kept him after court and drug tested him, and lo and behold:  oxy and methadone.

He has been tested THREE TIMES A WEEK at rehab and is coming up clean.  But apparently their test doesn't look for oxy or methadone?

Lucky for me there were two guys escorting him today, so I had their moral support, but honestly I think one of them was more upset than me.  Keven has been doing so good at Unidos and had recently had some serious breakthroughs and was working on his issues.  Yet, the addiction monster is still living in him.

What this probably means for his future:
- getting kicked out of Opportunity Court
- serving time in jail (6 months? 16 months?  who knows)
- having his felony remain on his record for life

I just found out one of his best friends from the program is also in custody right now, a kid that was excelling and surprising everyone with how far he'd come with his sobriety, but he relapsed too.  I hope they can see each other in there, for the other guy's sake, he's not comfortable in jail whereas for Keven, its his second home.  Ugh.

Praying for all our loved ones - and for US.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 8, 2011

Another Lost Friend

I went to visit both my guys today.  I saw Anthony first and we had a wonderful visit, but he did have some bad news:  one of his friends died recently of an OD.  They had seen each other just days before Ant got arrested.

Then I asked Keven if he knew the young man, and he said yes he knew him too.  In fact one of Keven's friends at rehab was really good friends with this kid so Keven told him and he broke down crying.  He got out his iPod and showed us a bunch of pictures of them.

My heart is breaking for his parents.  I don't know them personally, but yet, we all know them don't we?  They are us.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 6, 2011


I continue to be completely stunned by the low pay employers are offering these days.  And to find one that provides health benefits is almost unheard of.

I am fortunate to be working part time, rather than not at all, but I am not making ends meet.  My dear sister is supplementing my income each month PLUS buying all the food we eat.

Its humbling to say the least.

It would be nice to support myself again.
To be able to spend $20 without cringing.

Homeless people have always had my empathy - but now more than ever because I would be right there with them if it weren't for my family.

In March my COBRA insurance will run out and I will have not health care.  I am actually on a very serious diet so that hopefully by then I can get a lower rate because being overweight hikes up the monthly cost big time.

Ok, done complaining.  Just had to vent.  Its very upsetting to go from making $20 per hour @ 40 hours per week with awesome insurance - to nothing for nine months - to $12 per hour @ 20 per week.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 5, 2011

My Own Drug Use

I feel like I need to come clean and admit that in my younger years, I was a drug user.  Somehow I managed to stay away from getting in too much trouble and was never addicted (although I did drink way too much).

I started drinking and smoking "pot" when I was 13.  The year my dad died, I stayed stoned the entire year to avoid feeling anything (age 15).  After that I discovered LSD.  I loved dropping acid back then - but the thought of doing that now scares the crap out of me - being completely out of control of your own mind.

Anyhow I did all kinds of pills, coke, mushrooms, PCP - but never heroin.  I dated several drug dealers and a few addicts (wrote about one of them here).

Anyhow all this went on until I was 25 and got my first really good job.  I lost interest in drugs and just stopped.  Now I have a drink maybe once or twice a year.

Somehow sharing all this makes me feel kind of like a hypocrite, but its been bothering me so I decided to just

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 4, 2011

The real "F" Word is Obscene

I've had a bee in my bonnet on several issues this week.  This one is the one that breaks my heart the most, its on my other blog:  WFIO.

Goals for today:
- not worry
- finish a CD project for my sis
- CATCH UP ON COMMENTING (I've kept up with blogs but didn't comment and want to go back to a few to let you know I'm out here caring about you and your families)

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

October 2, 2011

Horrible Nightmare

Last night my dreams were all about Keven and the most horrible circumstances.  He ended up in prison and I was so relieved, but everything that happened up to then made for a very non-peaceful night's sleep.  It was only a dream.  I guess since I am not worrying about him as much consciously - its all coming out in my dreams?

Hope everyone is having/had a good weekend.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara
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