Monday, March 17, 2014

The Cold Wind Blows.

Recently I wondered if the quietness of my days was just the calm before the storm. It turns out, dear Reader, that it was the calm before the storm. A mother always knows.

I learned that my daughter was engaging in behaviors that were unsafe, unwise, and unacceptable. She crossed a line I didn't think she would cross and she did it with ease. I offered to help get her back into a treatment program and she vehemently refused. I immediately cut off all financial support and told her I loved her and I hoped she would take care of herself. I haven't heard from her since and the silence is deafening. However, I am resolute. Incredibly sad, but resolute. 

You would think you would get used to it but you never do. The first few days I kept busy with previous obligations but today I cannot put one foot in front of the other. I just can't. I sit by the fire in disbelief that we are right back to where we were a year ago, wondering what will happen next.

The only thing I am sure of is I have no control over it.

Let go, Let God.

I am following the program of those who have traveled this road before me and I am trying to accept that the answer does not lie with me. I sit in wait and I pray that if there is a God He will make His presence known, that He will hear my voice in the dark and give my daughter the grace and wisdom she so desperately needs to find her way back to her truest self, to find that brave, beautiful girl who could make her mommy laugh like no other.

Please be safe Googie Girl. Mommy loves you.

Fire and Rain. James Taylor.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Fire's Glow.

Just a quick update as I sit next to my roaring fireplace on this snowy and cold March evening.

My daughter seems to be in a holding pattern right now. I have finally agreed for a psychiatric consult for her to go on an anti-depressant. I was nervous about making the appointment because I thought she might be drug-seeking (stimulants and benzos) but she insists she just is looking for help with anxiety and depression. I was hoping to stay away from this treatment as I think her brain still needs to heal from all the drugs she took, but perhaps this will help. 

I am in the midst of a major master bath and bedroom remodel and it is much more stressful than I had anticipated making decisions about tubs, and medicine cabinets, and floor tiles and paint. I have never updated these spaces as I chose to concentrate on my children's rooms and other bath first. It's going to be a nice change and I am looking forward to its completion in about three week's time.

My eldest son has a lead role in his final semester of college as a theatre performance major. I am looking forward to attending most of his ten performances, accompanied by various friends and family members.

My youngest son seems happy in his first year away at college. I am thrilled for him that he has some peace. He actually finished high school in three years so he could get away from the chaos.

I have been going to the gym every other day for about six to eight weeks. I ride the bike, do some balancing exercises, free weights and some machines. After being in PT off and on for the better part of five years it feels good to be doing some independent working out. My PT actually said it just may be possible for me to ski again which would be nothing short of miraculous. We'll see.

This post is boring to me and probably boring to you, but sometimes a little boring can be a very good thing.

I just hope it's not the calm before the storm.

If Ever I Would Leave You. Robert Goulet.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What Happens Now?

This past weekend I spent a lot of time on the phone talking to my youngest son who is away at college, to my counselor, and to the Interventionist who helped me formulate a plan almost one year ago to send my daughter to a rehab program. The Interventionist, who has been a blessing to me and my family said, "I don't know how you do it. You are so strong and firm in your resolve. I don't know many parents like you and I really admire you." I relate this story, not for accolades, but to say simply this: "What choice do I have?" Seriously, I have no other choice than to put one foot in front of the other, stay the course, and pray for a god damn miracle because that's what it's going to take to turn this train wreck around. He doesn't know I have a blog where I pour my heart out or that I spent half the day on Sunday sobbing so hard I had trouble breathing. So, no, not always strong but I am firm in my resolve. My daughter's very life depends on it. The rest of the weekend I binge watched Season 2 of House of Cards with my eldest son, grateful for his loving presence and the distraction of an excellent television show.

Help was offered, help was refused. I almost can't believe we are back to where we were almost one year ago. Except for this: I don't have to watch it anymore.

I pray for my daughter daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes every minute in the form of a big "Oh, my God," sigh.

When I offered to help her back into a sober living house and an intensive outpatient program she said, "I would rather die that do that."

And so it goes.

High Flying Adored. Evita.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

May The Sunrise Bring Hope.

I am on high alert almost 100% of the time. The phone rings, I jump a little. A text from a certain far away girl? I flinch just a little, my heart skips a beat, and I scan it quickly to see if she's OK. So, one would think that when I DO get the all important call of an overdose and a seizure and a hospitalization and the miracle that she cheated death once again, I wouldn't be so surprised.

But I am. Every time.

And every time, my heart dies just a little bit more.

Iron and Wine. Upward Over The Mountain.

Friday, January 31, 2014

So Many Years Gone.

I see that the Super Bowl is right around the corner. I am not much of a sports fan although I tend to watch the game with my family, enjoying the commercials and the half-time show. I honestly don't even know who is playing this year, but for some reason the idea of Super Bowl Sunday is looming large in my head.

Last year, the weekend of the Super Bowl was the calm between two major storms. I made a lot of snacks and my three kids were all home for the game. Again, I have no idea who played or who won, but the kids were in and out of the living room enjoying the good food, warm fire, and the Twitter explosion that was Beyonce's halftime show. I can close my eyes and picture the four of us laughing and enjoying the easy, witty banter that we sometimes share. I am sure there was an underlying feeling of major stress because life was just not all that good most days, but this day was OK. There is nothing I enjoy more in life than my children. It was the last fun day that we all spent together in our home. After Super Bowl Sunday we all dispersed back to our day to day life, my sons resuming their academics and jobs, my daughter resuming her self-destructive, life-threatening behaviors. Last February and March were hell. 


Most days I actually have my life together. It might come as a surprise to those who read my blog to know that most people in my day to day life have no idea of this angst I feel. When I am not writing this blog or wandering around my house wrestling with my fears, I actually put on a fairly brave and cheerful front. I go to my art class, the theatre, I socialize with family and friends, and banter with people on Twitter and Facebook. 

For some reason, the idea of Super Bowl Sunday is killing me. My kids will not be here. My daughter is far away, dealing with her own battles. My oldest son is busy with activities on his college campus. My youngest son is living away at college. I want them to get on with their lives, honestly I do, and I never try to hold them back, but ...

I miss them.

I never wanted their childhood to end. I just loved the shit out of my kids. At every age I loved them fiercely and protectively and wholeheartedly. I think they are clever and gorgeous and funny and their childish silliness filled my heart.

So many changes this year. Necessary changes. I would never turn the clock back to experience the waning days of last winter, but boy, I would give almost anything to have three happy healthy children visiting me, making me laugh so hard, I can barely breathe.

Best of Me. Michael Buble.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Despite This, I Pray.

My first love is music. Coming in at a very close second is my love for reading. I am an avid reader and I am pretty sure, just like my friend Scout Finch, I was born knowing how to read. I was read to often as a child and I don't remember a time when I didn't know how to read. I was a very advanced reader as well. By the time I finished grade 4 I had already completed my grammar school K-8 reading program. I was given an individualized reading and English program for my remaining years and I read, read, read until my eyes were going to fall out of my head. I first read my favorite book, "To Kill A Mockingbird," by Harper Lee, when I was a wee girl. I didn't even fully understand it. I have loved reading this book at every age, initially seeing it from only Scout's perspective but eventually having a walk around in Atticus' shoes as well. I gave it to my son to read when he was in middle school and when he finished it long after he was supposed to be asleep, he came into my room and woke me up, astonished at the beautiful ending of a perfectly told story.

When I was a young girl I also read "The Diary of Anne Frank." Like so many other young girls, I was captivated by this story. It was so well-written, such a beautiful, lovely story and so achingly sad. It was a book I re-read often and each time, as only a true reader can understand, I would hold my breath and hope for a different ending. It wasn't until I was a young adult that I really understood the enormity of the story of Anne Frank and that it wasn't something that happened "once upon a time," rather it was a story that was really, not so very long ago. It appalls me and if I told you how frequently I think of her and this story you might question my mental health.

It haunts me. 

I have talked frequently about my struggle to find faith; the presence of God eludes me. Despite this, I pray. In our Al Anon groups we talk about putting our loved ones in God's hands and again, I struggle with this and if you lean in a little closer, I will tell you why.

If God could not protect a beautiful young Jewish girl in a Nazi concentration camp how will He ever look after a self-destructive, speck of a girl, near a far away ocean?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Just For Today.

Last March I was given the name of an interventionist who agreed to work with my family to get my daughter into a treatment program. My daughter agreed to go to treatment, I flew with her to the rehab facility and came directly home. Within days the interventionist personally delivered me into the hands of our local Al Anon community and I have been religiously attending these meetings weekly.

I was a wreck the first month I was there. I was in shock, I was sobbing, I was shaking. I hated being there. The first few meetings I had were private ones, away from the group, where I told my sad and sorry tale to the most sympathetic set of ears I had ever encountered. The leader said this to me, "You didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it." I told her I was thinking the exact opposite -- that I did CAUSE it, that I could CONTROL it, and I could CURE it. I just needed to try harder. Sigh. I had to unlearn a lot of things in these meetings and now I am trying to learn new things.

It's hard.

It took many (many) weeks before I could go the meeting without dreading it. I told my son, "I feel so stupid. I go in, tell all these people my problems, I cry, they give me tissues, and they try and make me feel better. How ridiculous is that?" I was so beaten down that I didn't even realize that they were giving me what I needed most: Support. Non-judgemental support.

I eventually switched groups for no other reason than that the other group had more parents. I have been attending faithfully for nine months and I will tell you this: I have found my people. They get it. They get the fear, the loneliness, the self-doubt, and the sheer agony of being completely powerless over someone else's self-destructive choices.

Al-Anon follows a twelve step program. In the beginning, I thought, "Well, let's see: Twelve steps, twelve weeks. Roughly three months and I'll be done." (Because I am a pretty good student I actually thought I could do two steps a week and be done in six weeks. Holla!) I lingered for months on the first step: Admitting I was powerless over someone else's alcohol use proved to be a very difficult concept for me. (That life had become unmanageable was a pretty easy thing to see.) Recently I have been wrestling with the next two steps which involves believing in a Higher Power.

If you've been a long time reader of my blog you will know that I have struggled very much with my faith. I grew up a fervent believer and one day, in my mid-twenties, just like that, my faith was gone. I have been searching for it ever since. I want to believe in a loving and benevolent God, but I just don't feel His presence, although I pray for it daily. For now my higher power is called NOT ME, and just for today, that has to be enough.

Last October I wrote that I no longer felt comfortable writing about my daughter on this blog. That was true then and is true now, too. She doesn't know I have a blog, and she wouldn't like it. So why do I do it?

I do it because there is no lonelier feeling in the world than being a parent of a drug/alcohol abuser. My far away girl is right back to square one, relapsing while simultaneously denying there is an issue. It is painful. The phone calls are painful. The texts are painful. The sleepless nights are painful. Unless you have walked in these shoes the pain is indescribable. Somehow coming here and trying to describe it helps me and right now I need all the help I can get.


A Great Big World. Say Something.