Friday, July 18, 2014

Holding On, Letting Go.

Nearly sixteen months ago I hired an Interventionist and sent my daughter to a rehab a million miles away from all she knew. She agreed to go, although she minimized her drug and alcohol addiction completely. She was in a private rehab facility for three months, a halfway house for three months and a sober living house for three months. She relapsed within one hour of leaving the sober living house last December. I did not allow her to come home for Christmas, but we all flew there and spent the holidays with her. The winter months were brutal. She was relapsing all over the place and once I realized that they weren't really "relapses", but just her old way of life resurfacing, I completely shut off all financial assistance, told her I loved her and wished her luck.

She moved out of a very unsafe environment into a much better place. She is working and recently was promoted from hostess to server at the restaurant where she works. She is in a stable relationship with a young man she has known for a year, who is very committed to sobriety and now works in the addiction field. Is she sober? I really don't know. I don't ask. I am letting it be her issue. I think she is because she is a binger of the highest order and she wouldn't be able to work if she was really out there.

She is flying home tomorrow with her boyfriend to stay for a week. The house is cleaned, the yardwork is done, the fridge is stocked and I am very excited to see her. There is an underlying anxiety, of course, but I am hopeful for a good visit.

A year and a half ago I was completely convinced that my daughter would not live through the year. I was certain if I took my eyes off of her for a second she'd be dead. My life was completely unmanageable and so was hers.

What a difference a year makes. I finally learned to Let Go and Let God. If you have been reading here a long time you know that I have very shaky faith; I am a walking doubting Thomas. I still struggle trying to define my Higher Power but I know this: It's not me. I know this because I am powerless over her drug and alcohol use.

And that my friends is my completetion of Step One in Al Anon. (Holla!) Eleven steps to go!

God bless us all.






John Denver. Perhaps Love.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

#TBT The One in the Mirror


(Throwing it back to March 05, 2013. It seems like a lifetime ago.)
Awhile ago, my son and I went for a walk. He knew I had been feeling a bit down in the dumps and he knows a walk does me a world of good. I have been dealing with my own health issues and dealing with my daughter’s issues. It is hard to live with someone who is hell bent on self-destruction and unfortunately my two sons and I know exactly how hard it is. As we walked I talked about some of the things I could do to make my life better and to feel better. “I know! I was thinking about going on the Paleo Diet. Maybe I will join the swim club at the new YMCA. I think I will try to find an extra counselor who can give me even more tips on how to deal with someone else’s issues.”
We walked quietly and my son said something like this: “It’s not your change to make. If you were in control of the change, it would have been changed.”
I have made many changes in my life, difficult changes. I have proven time and time again that I can do what it takes to make things better for myself and for my family. If I see the need, I will do it. If I can’t do it alone, I will get help. If I can’t do it the first time, I will do it the second, or the fifth, or the hundreth time; but, I will do it.
I have tried everything I know. I have consulted with many professionals. I have been rigid; I have been hands off. I have been a Presbyterian; I have been a Buddhist. I have tried a smudge stick; I have tried a sticker chart (surprisingly successful for a bit).  I have tried honesty; deceit.  Rewards (bribery); punishment. Being silent; being loud. Cajoling; pleading. Ignoring; attending. Praying; cursing. Since January we did two interventions. Both were failures. When I last met with a Dr. and a counselor and my daughter and my son in a counseling room in an inpatient hospital, the Dr. ended up looking lost and said to me, “Well, I don’t know. What do you do think we should do?” A dual diagnosis program was recommended, my daughter refused. I said she couldn’t come home. She stayed another two days and the counselor called me and said, “There is no safe place for her to go. It is our recommendation that she come home.” So, home she came.
See, in spite of all the craziness I write about with my health problems and medication issues, I have a very safe and structured home. One that two of my three children have done well in. So how did my girl, my beautiful, lovely, lively girl, lose her way? I don’t know exactly, but if you are a parent, the person you blame, is the one in the mirror.
I have nowhere else to turn. I have run out of ideas. I can’t make myself go for a walk. I am paralyzed with grief and indecision.
Here’s the thing: Most counselors in the addiction field recommend tough love; Kick ‘em out of the house so they can hit rock bottom and want to change. Here’s the other thing: All of the counselors we have worked with have each independently stated that her personal rock bottom is probably death, so kicking her out would be a dangerous roll of the dice.
How lucky would you feel if you were me?
Would you roll the dice, knowing that the odds were against you?
Would you be willing to make your kid who has mental health issues, and substance abuse issues, leave a safe and loving home, knowing that there is a chance that the next time you see her, it could be in a morgue?
Would you?
If you say you would, I will call you a liar. Because I don’t think you really could.
And here’s the thing, I can’t either. For now, I sit in fear. I am trying to find the courage to pick up the dice, close my eyes, and roll ‘em.

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Life, My Love.

Two years ago my daughter went to the ER for an accidental overdose and was admitted into the hospital for two weeks. She was assigned a caseworker and I spent days pleading with the staff at this hospital to refer my daughter to a comprehensive inpatient rehab facility. Their recommendation was that my daughter go to outpatient program, although I told them repeatedly she would not attend. She was home for approximately 36 hours when she overdosed again and was rushed to the ER again. She was admitted to a different hospital for another week, was released to the outpatient clinic, went twice and never went again. That summer was a complete disaster.

I recently downloaded TIMEHOP which is an app that will give you a recap of what you posted on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram on this date for the last five years. I am looking at these recaps in disbelief as you would never guess from my cheerful updates what was going on behind the scenes. I am in awe that I even functioned much less had friends over for our annual 4th of July pool party while my daughter was in the hospital. How did this happen? I have no idea. I know that my sons and I were so beaten down and so overwhelmed and so depressed and we just kept trying to put one foot in front of the other. What other choice do you have? The 4th of July picnic was with our closest friends who knew what we were going through. It started late, it ended before the fireworks and I have no recollection of the day at all. I just know that it sucked.

I have a major case of PTSD going on. I can be doing well for weeks on end and something will trigger me and it goes downhill intensely and quickly and omg, I wouldn't wish those feelings on my worst enemy. It feels like I am drowning. It can last for days but it can go away as quickly as it comes on. I control for many of my triggers; I leave the sound off my phone because the sound of a text can be alarming to me, my sons have to be home at a certain time every night and God forbid they don't answer a text in a timely manner! The triggers are unpredictable though and I have to just try and endure them. I have a therapist who is usually available for a phone consult to help me get through them. It has been very hard for me to spend time at my pool this summer because it all reminds me of that god awful summer and the fact that it is beckoning my attention two years later is just as big a surprise to me as it is to you.

Other than that, life is good. I am feeling physically well most of the time. I am exercising at least every other day up to six times a week. I attend Al Anon meetings weekly. My oldest son graduated college with highest honors and has a six month contract with an Equity Theatre many, many miles away. My other son finished up his first year of college on a strong note and is home for the summer.

And my girl? She still lives near a far away ocean. She is coming home this summer for a week long visit, her first in well over a year. Is she sober? I have no idea. I have handed her the responsibility for her recovery and I am trying to live a happy, healthy life. Some days are easier than others but I keep on trying. I hope she is trying, too, because I fear living in this world without her.

May God bless us all.



For You. John Denver.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The First Step.

I was reading my last blog post where I seemed to be patting myself on the back for my quick assimilation into the Al Anon program. It sounds like I breezed into a few meetings, got the message, implemented it, and happily moved on. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I was a mess when I went to my first Al Anon meeting. I was a mess when I went to my second meeting, my third, my fifth, and my tenth. There was nothing sudden about any of this. I didn't breeze into a meeting, I was hand delivered. I was shaking. I was more exhausted than I had ever been in my life. I looked dreadful. I couldn't look people in the eye.  I couldn't participate in the larger group for weeks, instead I was afforded one to one meetings. I cried so hard one of my eyes swelled shut. I was the picture of grief. I would look around the room and see these people chatting and laughing and I would literally think, "What the hell is so funny?"

We would have meetings based on the twelve steps on Al Anon and I remained on Step One for forever. I could not admit I was powerless over someone else's alcohol use. If I had only tried harder! If I had read one more story when she was little, if I had listened a little more closely, prayed a little harder. I  believed it was my fault. I was told about the three C's -- You didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it. I honestly thought they were misguided. I remember sitting in this quiet room in an unknown church basement and whispering to this woman, "I did cause it, I should have been able to control it, and I should have been able to cure it." I thought myself an utter failure.

Crazy.

It makes me sad to think of the woman who used to be me.

I used to dread the hell out of those meetings. I didn't want to go but I did because I am stubborn and I didn't want to tell the counselor at my daughter's rehab place that I wasn't following through. So I dragged myself week after week and eventually I was able to open my swollen eyes and realize that I was surrounded by a bunch of people who had my back, who understood my journey and my pain, and would offer me the gift of acceptance.

So many people at those meetings have told me that I hardly seem like the same person, that I have to believe it is true. According to my friends there, I have transformed before their eyes. I feel it. I can feel the difference in myself and it is a good place to be. I can chat and laugh at the meetings now. I am able to offer comfort instead of only seeking comfort, and I recently fulfilled my first service role so I am beginning to give back.

It's a long journey and I am still very much on the road to recovery.

I am no longer stumbling though. I am clear eyed, my heart is open, and I am ever hopeful for better days ahead.




Johnny Cash. You Are My Sunshine.











Saturday, April 19, 2014

One More Day.

About two years ago, I logged on to Amazon and bought a cart load of books on addiction. I kept them under my bed and every night before I went to sleep I would pull one out and read it. I read them over and over again and I was surprised at how much of myself and my daughter I saw in those pages. In many ways, I am not an enabler. I never intentionally enabled the addiction, what I enabled were some health problems my daughter was experiencing.

Her drug and alcohol use was a lot of binging rather than straight up, in- your- face abusing. I thought she was trying to manage some of her health issues, but then would get "carried away" due to a bit of an addictive streak. She would go months without drinking or using drugs, was at times attending college, and had the same job for many years. After awhile, the binges became more frequent and more disastrous.  I finally found a homeopathic Dr. who treated her for unresolved Epstein Barr and within a month or so, her health really improved. It fact it freed her up and gave her enough energy to focus on her drug and alcohol use. It turns out she just really likes to get ****ed up!

I finally had enough and called an interventionist and off she went to rehab. Then I was personally delivered into the hands of our local Al Anon group and I have been attending weekly ever since.

I knew a lot before I entered the doors because of all the reading I had done and of all the steps I took prior to attending. I was able to see where things went wrong. Basically I had to go against some of my basic instincts and trust the process. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that MY answers got us nowhere so I had to put my trust in a Higher Power. For now, my Higher Power is simply, NOT ME.

The most important thing I learned in Al Anon is to never get between an addict and their pain. Pain is what makes people want to change. I used to let my daughter fall and experience consequences, but I allowed her to do it from the safety of her warm home and cozy bed. I caught her before it got too bad. That was a mistake; I see that now.

I recently cut off all financial support and told her I loved her but she was on her own. I was certain it would not end well. I have learned that she is training for a higher paying job and has started going to meetings and got a sponsor. No one is more shocked than I.

Is this the end? Is this the victory post? No, of course not.

This is going to be a long, long struggle. But, I am trying to have it be HER struggle. I pray every day that God will watch over my girl and keep her safe. In the meantime, I am trying to take care of myself and live one day at a time.

As we are all in a better place than we were a year ago, maybe there really is Someone listening to my prayers.

For this, I am grateful.




Michael Buble. Softly As I Leave.


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.