Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hell on Earth

The terrible news coming out of Connecticut is terribly mind boggling.  It is impossible for anyone to understand why a person would ever consider harming such a young child.  It is an unfathomable act.  Insanity is not something easily made sense of. 

Another minor story that I heard on the news is the one about Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's insane notion of fashion.  This backpack is made from alligator skin and many animal rights folks are not happy.  But, look closer;  it is adorned with prescription pill "ornaments".  And, it's cost is $55,000. 

Am I the only person that finds this not only offensive but threatening?  Why should anyone endorse this as fashion?  To all those kids who might somehow see these girls as role models, what does this bag say to them about prescription drug abuse or misuse? 

Is this another way that someone has decided to attack our kids?  I'm beginning to feel as if we are living in hell on this earth.  How can we, as parents or just a concerned person, stand up against something like this?  For me, I can only point it out to others.  I can call it what it is.  This is an attack, maybe not the quick pointed attack that occurred in Connecticut but the slow subtle sort of thing that after a while begins to take away the shock until it becomes accepted.  Glamorizing something that kills and destroys families is not okay, ever. 

Son leaves the 12 step retreat on Christmas Eve and moves into a recovery house.  He has requested the Dad to pick him up.  I am very pleased.  This is healing.  I'm sure that fear will try to sneak up on us from time to time.  I heard a quote and I don't remember who said it or the exact words but basically said that if you have fear you have no room for faith and if you have faith there is no room for fear. 

Today I am thankful for this new place in life.  I am thankful that our home sold, we're all moved in to a new apartment, son has completed a program and is moving into a recovery house, the girls are doing really well and that we are turning our lives into a new direction.  I pray for all of those suffering in Connecticut, including the shooter's family.  I pray for those suffering from the disease of addiction and any mental illness.  And, I say a prayer for Henry.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

And the Weather Outside is Frightful....

     I am a world away from my life, at present.  I am in not so sunny southern California while my husband attends his annual continuing education conference.  We left the day after emptying the contents of the home that we raised our children in.  The corrupted home where my son began and continued to use drugs under my very nose.  The home where on October 19th, I left with him in tow to detox in a psychiatric hospital before entering a 12 step immersion retreat, telling him, "you will never come back to this house again," as if the home itself was a cause of this problem.  And, while I know that it is not, I do feel that that house is an ugly reminder of many things gone wrong.  I do know that I would always worry that it would be a trigger for him.

     Not only am I a world away from the life I knew physically, but emotionally and mentally.  The move is a physical change that comes about to mark a lot of interior change happening in the heart and mind of this family.  This trip was one for peace in mind and heart.  It is a trip to begin a practice of letting go of everything to the wisdom and guidance of my heavenly Father.  It is a relief, in fact to have traveled to this place.

    While I have made many steps in the right direction, I have many more to go.  My son's time at this program is creeping ever closer to a close where he will embark on the next, not so safe step, in his recovery.  He will enter a recovery house as soon as he leaves that program.  So, letting go will be tested again very soon.  This has entered the minds of both me and his dad as the dad woke very early this morning to a nightmare of the son coming home high. 

     There is a lot of work to do to travel to the place of "holy indifference".  But, it is the destination.  Today, I am thankful for the sale of our home.  I am thankful that the move is complete.  I am thankful for recovery for our son.  I am thankful for a simpler lifestyle.  I pray for continued recovery for all of our addicted loved ones and as always, I say a prayer for the soul of Henry.



Monday, November 26, 2012


Sweeping out from behind the newly moved sofa, I find pony tail holders, dog bones, pens, dust bunnies, memories both sad and happy all etched with a feeling of loss and sorrow.  The house grows empty.  It is begins to echo as it detaches from our family, piece by piece.

The Dad's heart is heavy as he stops for a hug.  "We are okay?", I ask.  He nods the affirmative.  "Then what else matters?" We keep moving forward.  This is but another death.  A dying to self and the past.  It is a visible reminder of what could have been different.

The girls hang around much longer than normal before going back to school.  They want to see their home one more time before they go.  They have worked so hard to help us move.  My heart is heavy for what they have had to go through.

Son calls from rehab.  I don't know what he really feels yet.  I don't think he does either.  I am thankful that he is not here, now.

These problems of ours seem to have grown using  compound interest.  They have become tangled and knotted into such a mess that when one is resolved three new problems are revealed.  One very dark and worrisome day, I googled novena for drug addiction and I stumbled upon this novena titled Mary Undo-er of Knots.  I began praying it and have found great comfort in it as well as tremendous helps in these difficult times.  You can find the prayers here.

Today, I say a prayer of thanksgiving for the gifts of the church.  I am thankful for all of the resources available to those who suffer from the disease of addiction.  I pray for their recovery and their families who support them.  And, I say a prayer for Henry.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Seven Times Seventy

You often hear of folks finding God in the rooms filled with alcoholics and addicts.  And, I've often wondered if it was merely the "at the bottom" kind of spiritual awakening or is it something else?  This weekend we went to the family weekend at my son's 12 step retreat. 

The family counselor made a very good point that has been hanging around in my mind ever since.  She said that when an alcoholic "falls off the wagon" and he comes back to an AA meeting, he is given a white chip that says that they desire to quit drinking or using.  And if they go out and drink or use the very next day they can still come back and they will be encouraged to try again.  They will always be encouraged to try again, there will never be any judgement and they are never given up on.

I must say that all people could learn a thing or two from those recovering alcoholics and addicts about the forgiveness that the church teaches; seven times you ever see it lived more fully?

Today I am thankful for the lessons that AA,NA and AlAnon teach.  I am thankful for the lessons gleaned because of addiction.  I am thankful for good counselors.  I say a prayer for my son and yours and I say a prayer for Henry.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Thanksgiving was always a big deal for me growing up.  My mom cooked for days.  Her favorite sister and her family would come into town.  Aunts and uncles, cousins, friends and usually a random straggler would gather around her table.  It was so much fun, so delicious, and it is a tough act to follow. 

My house is about half empty.  We still.....still haven't closed.  We are waiting on just one signature to close.  We could close any day and need to hop to moving, but not yet.  We were going to go out to a local country club for dinner but a good friend who usually comes to our house, has volunteered to cook and has invited us over.  My girls are very excited.

We went to see our son at his 12 step retreat this weekend. He looked good and seems to be working hard.  I don't think we could ask for anymore at this time.  He will go to a rehab Thanksgiving dinner at the facility that owns his retreat center. 

It will be different this year, but it will be okay.  It may even be really good.  You see as disjointed as it all may seem, I think we are all in the very spots that we need to be in.  And, for that I am most grateful. 

The family counselor at his retreat was really very good.  I think we gained a lot of insight and she helped us to take letting go a step further.  Our family is getting healthy.  I can just feel it.  Does that mean that I expect everything to be perfect?  Do I think he'll never relapse again?  No and I don't know, but whatever happens, I think that our response will be a healthier one.

I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  Hubby and I are becoming quite a team.  I have friends and family that have scooped us up in our time of need and have kept holding us up as we walk through a very difficult time.  We have the best, I mean best group of folks at hubby's office who are like our second kids and give everything that they can at work.  All of our kids are working hard and we are on the cusp of a great new adventure.

I say a prayer of Thanksgiving for friends, family, employees, animals, counselors, recovering addicts, good food and the hope of a new adventure.  I pray for our son, your addicted loved ones, my nephew and my brother.  I pray for each of you to have a blessed thanksgiving and I say a prayer for Henry.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Catch Up of Sorts

Today is supposed to be the closing day on my house, but they moved the closing to Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.  That means that I will be moving 1-2 days prior to Thanksgiving.  With patience not being one of my virtues, I find myself whining and complaining, nervous and frustrated and an all around hot mess as my younger friends would say.

The office server went down yesterday which meant buying a new server.  When we got the new gee- whiz, fast as lightning computer installed, we learned that our practice management software is not compatible with Windows 8 so now I have to purchase Windows 7 to downgrade my recent upgrade....

We've moved the old dog to the clinic to live.  He is 13 yrs old and a big dog.  So far we have had to buy him a new bed and do a lot of grooming.  Then, one night he chewed the barn doors in an effort to go outside, or die trying.  We decided to buy a dog door and an electronic fence system so that he can go potty and not get out of the fence and get hit by the busy traffic.  We discovered that despite the fact that we keep his monthly flea protection up to date, he had fleas.  So, we went to the small animal vet and purchased the meds for an instant kill and will look for a new maintenance product as he is probably becoming resistant after all these years.  His hips don't work so well so now we are looking at a heated pad for his crate for the winter. My guess is that once we purchase all of these items, his time will come.....not that I'm a skeptic.

This has become quite a strain on our already strapped, stretched ready to snap financial situation.  And so I wonder,  What, are you wanting me to learn from this, Lord?  What is it that I'm not getting, because I want to get it, already. 

On a good note, because there is always a good note, a family member who had relapsed has asked for help.  For those of you out there living in the midst of addiction, you know just how big that is.  And, this weekend is family week at my son's 12 step immersion retreat.  I really do look forward to that.  Friday will mark 25 days(29 days since we sent him to detox but tapering down with Suboxone)  totally drug free and so it will be interesting to see him totally clean.

The girls at the jail are really impressive.  Two of the five have acceptances from Sober Living communities and the others whose release dates are getting closer are working on a plan.  I'm so proud of their work.

If I am quiet the next week or so, you will know that we have started our move and a new chapter.  I'm very excited for this to begin.  Today, I am thankful for nephew asking for help, son working on sobriety, blog friends, regular friends and hope for tomorrow.  I pray for our addicted loved ones for healing and  to persevere in the program.  And as always a prayer for Henry.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Building Back.....

My Dad, the son of Henry, the alcoholic, died in 2002.  He fathered six children and left no debt and a little money to each of us.  When I got my money, I felt so guilty.  He had to fight so hard to even make it through the eighth grade.  He worked to feed his family since he was a young boy.  He left for  Europe during WW2 when he turned eighteen, and spent 2 years and 8 months there.  He worked very hard to make my life always feel safe.  And, he did.  I feel unworthy of the money he left.

A little over two years ago when we first realized my son suffered from drug and alcohol addiction, I offered up to God (like I had the power) any and all of my worldly goods if he would just save my son.  I don't think you can really bargain with God.  But, we are selling our home and divesting ourselves of a lot material possessions.

The idea of moving from our home of 18 years was a little sad for me at first.  Now, you can't get me out of here fast enough.  After the last round with son, this place feels more like a crime scene than a home.  Nonetheless, I have been feeling a little sad.  And, I could not figure out why.

On Saturday, we took a load of furniture to my hometown, to my sister's garage to store.  Oddly enough, she lives in my parents old house.  One of the items that I chose to keep was a bookcase that I bought with the money from my father's estate.  I just couldn't sell it.  I must admit that it was a little humbling to return there with some of my last worldly goods. 

Yesterday, hubby moved his horse to a boarding stable.  I dreaded it so much because this home and this farm was his dream, not mine.  I feared that it would be very difficult for him.  I saw a little pain on his face and a little sadness in his eyes, but, like me, we have learned what things are of value.

There are so many emotions swirling around in my head.  I'm not really sure how to sort them.  But, the one thing that kept entering my mind was the verse from Genesis 3:19:

By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return."

Now, I know that I am not dying.....but perhaps there is a death occurring, one which involves a way of life.  The old unhealthy way that we have been living...maybe that is what we are dying to and it is becoming visible in my mind. 

After a very loaded day of emptying, son called.  He sounded so very good and clear.  Daughter came home and commented on how good Dad and I seemed together.  This is how I choose to build back my home.  Thanks be to God.

Today, I am thankful for this insight.  I am thankful for the opportunity for my son.  I am thankful for starting over.  I am thankful for all of the bloggers out there who pray.  I pray for all of our sons and daughters and I say a prayer for Henry.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Little Lost

  Trust is a detachment from control ( my definition...don't quote me).  I'm having a spectacularly difficult time resting in faith, right now.  My house is exactly one week away from closing, if all goes well.  I sit here typing while waiting on the appraiser to arrive; the last item on the list of things to do before closing.  It makes me a nervous wreck.  Tomorrow we have another showing.  Our realtor does not believe in taking chances and will continue to show it until the ink dries.

Son is at his 12 step immersion retreat and the counselor called saying that he was doing well but moving slowly with regard to the first step.  So, now I'm worrying about that.  Why oh why do I do this?  Someone please tell me how to turn this off.

I want so desperately to do things differently this time around.  As I sit here to write, I start to dig out my feelings and I think that I am afraid to accept the possibility that he might not make it.  I am afraid of totally letting him go back into addiction because if he does, I will not be able to afford to put him in a safe place to recover.  I am afraid of this disease taking him completely.  I am afraid to entertain the thought of burying my son.

There it is, my greatest fear.  And some how, my worrying about the fact that he is struggling with the first step leads me straight to the worst possible scenario.  I wonder if parenting a child who suffers from drug addiction counts for time off in purgatory? 

Today is another day in the desert.  I'm so tired of of the mountains of worry here.  I hate addiction.  I hate feeling so lost.  I know that God has been so good.  I know that I could turn all of this around and look at it from the point of gratitude. 

He is in recovery.  Thanks be to God.  There is a contract on the house.  Thanks be to God.  He is struggling with this first step, but he's got ten other young men there to help him ( and they are trying to teach him to ask for help which they say he has trouble with) and maybe this is one big step in changing the way he does business.  Thanks be to God.

Ignatian spirituality teaches us to have "holy indifference" to anything and everything.  That requires a great deal of trust.  The reason I can't trust that much is because I want it to turn out the way I want it.  I don't trust enough to let go of my will, not all of the time anyway.

So, I sit here a little lost and fearful.  I will continue to pray for courage.  I am thankful for this opportunity for recovery for both son and for myself.  I am thankful for the contract on the house.  I am thankful for good friends and family.  I pray for recovery for all of our addicted loved ones.  And, as always one for Henry.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Learning to Love

I've considered writing a book for sometime.  It may just be one for my family, but maybe not, we'll see.  When I first began, I wrote snippets like I do here and struggled with how to organize them.  My good friend kept pushing me to get organzied and outline, first.

I first had to come up with a thesis statement. That was a very difficult task.  I want to write about how addiction has changed me.  I want to write about what I've learned about my own life because I've had to face the addiction of an adult child.  That is no easy feat.  How do you boil down all of the things I'm learning into one bold statement?

For a long time, I thought that my story was about the lessons learned in accepting the cross.  But, with further reflection, I have discovered that the lessons I've learned in accepting the cross are not about totally different things;  they are all about love.  Accepting the cross teaches me to love.  There it is, plain and simple.

I've been doing catechetical training.  I hope to use it with prison ministry someday.  I had to miss one session to take my son to detox, so I sent an email to Sister Mary Michael and  I told her what was going on.  When I went to the next session, she came over to check on me.

I started telling her a little about things that have gone on.  I told her how blessed I felt in the midst of this hardship.  She began to smile and turned her head to look at me very directly with a piercing stare and she said, "at some point in your life, you wanted to be very close to our Lord."

Wow!  I didn't see that coming.  But, she's right, I do.  It's hard to accept the difficult path, but it is truly the only way to get to the better place.  I had to give my son up to hopefully get him back one day.  I have to give up my will to get a better future.  I have to give up my fear and learn to trust.

We talked to our son this weekend.  It is a little awkward.  I asked my husband what he thought and he said, "I don't even know who he is, he's so clear."  We will try our best to give up expectations and just trust God with this process.

Today, I am thankful for this step.  I am thankful for my girls and how incredibly hard they work.  I am hopeful that from this difficult experience they will learn to lean on our Lord for everything.  I'm thankful that I won't have to watch one more political ad!  I'm thankful that our home closing is just 8 days away.  I pray for those still out there trapped in the clutches of addiction.  I pray for God's grace in helping them to reach for recovery and I say a prayer for Henry.


Friday, November 2, 2012

The Communion of Saints

Fourteen years ago yesterday(All Saints Day), my sweet mother died.  Four years later, my Dad joined her.  Since then we've lost my husband's mother, a very sweet aunt and the last surviving Heaton male of my father's generation. 

Sometimes it seems as if there is just too much loss.  Last night we went to mass for All Saints Day (a holy day of obligation).  My husband had given money in remembrance of All Souls Day (today) for my parents and his mother.  Each name was carefully printed on the outside of the envelope.  He handed it to me to put into the basket as it passed by.  He usually remembers these little thoughtful things but last night just seeing their names in print evoked feelings of loss that I hadn't really considered in a while.

I just wondered and imagined what our current situation with my son would be like if those anchors of the family were still with us.  But, really they HAVE been.  You see I believe in the communion of saints.  And, what a marvelous gift that is.  I believe that I can pray to Venerable Matt Talbot or my mother to extend prayers for my son any minute of the day or night and we all work together as a family in the mystical body of Christ.

This weekend we will not go to visit my son because it is awfully far away.  Oddly enough, I learned that parents weekend (family counseling) is the weekend that we are to move.  And, we will be there. We will just move before and after that time.  I feel like he needs this time alone with himself to begin to sort, process and hopefully heal. 

This is when I will need to have faith.  We've reached the big pinnacle of going to recovery.  It is a big step indeed for him to want/need to go.  But, now, it's up to him the addict and thus far that track record is not so good.   I am afraid.  But, my hands are off.  Instead, they will be folded in prayer.  So, I'm taking advantage of the gift of communion that the church gives me.  You see I am adding strength to my prayers.  What a beautiful gift.
Today, I say a prayer of thanksgiving for all of the marvelous examples of christian living that the church helps us to recognize.  I pray for all of the souls in purgatory.  I pray for our addicted loved ones and I say a prayer for Henry.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Much of the last two years spent with my son the addict, has been  a perpetual state of observation and evaluation.  Is he using?  Is he sober?  If he's sober, is this brain damage?  Is he mentally ill?  Could this be withdraw?  (In Al Anon this would fall under the category of "my life had become unmanageable" in step one.)

Wikipedia defines naivete as the state of being naive;  having or showing a lack of understanding, experience or sophistication, often in a context where one neglects pragmatism in favor of moral idealism.


Yep, I guess that about sums it up.

Last Sunday hubby and I drove a little over a hundred miles to a ninety nine acre property that is home to men working the twelve steps of AA.   Our son had been locked up in a psychiatric hospital detoxing for five days and then was taken from there to this property quite literally in the middle of nowhere and had been there for four days when we saw him. 

Guess what??....we saw HIM.  Nine days......and we saw him.  I didn't expect it this soon.  I know....I sermons please.....I know that this is but a baby step on the long road HE has to travel ALONE.

He didn't have a car.  He was laid off from work. He was living in my house.  And, after two years of AlAnon, he was using under my very nose....AGAIN.

Let's review the last part of that definition of naivete...."a lack of understanding, experience or sophistication, often in a context where one NEGLECTS pragmatism in favor of moral idealism."

When we visited with him, we began conversations that will need time to finish and process.  Hubby did say to him a number of times, in response to things he'd say regarding his future, " I know you will figure this out."  You see if he didn't have a car or a job and he was able to do what he was able to do.........he should have no problem figuring out how to dig himself out of this. 

Perhaps there is mental illness or brain damage.....he is still a pretty sharp fellow.  I think the rub will be in channeling that resourcefullness into good.

Hubby and I are learning so much.  We now know that he can NEVER live with us again.  We are too easy. We want so desperately what is not to be, to be......and it's not.  That boat has sailed.  Our son is a drug addict.  He will live this life and die a drug addict.  In active addiction or in recovery....he is still and will always be an addict. 

Those facts don't necessarily make me sad anymore, they are just hard for parents to accept.  It is not of the natural order.  When I saw my son on Sunday, my thoughts were, 'oh wow, look at him......Thanks be to God.....he's still in there." 

But, my thoughts remind me..."don't get too close....this may not last....Drug addiction is my cross to carry.  And, as one of my favorite Dominican sisters says, " pick it up and quit draggin' it for heaven's sake." 

And so I will, with God's help and the strength He provides.  My prayer for today is one of thanksgiving for His closeness during this time.  I am thankful for all of the support we are receiving from family, friends and even strangers.  I pray for the strength to look squarely into the face of addiction leaving idealistic notions aside, and live with the reality of it.  I pray for strength in recovery for my son and yours. And, I say a prayer for Henry.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

He Leads Me Beside the Still Waters.....

Today my son left detox at a hospital and entered a residential treatment center.  Actually, it is a 12 step immersion program. 

It wasn't exactly a warm, fuzzy send off.  Addiction, at it's height, seems to take over, making it hard to see the person.  Addiction and I are not friends.

I've started to question my own sanity or maybe my lack of empathy.  I've had a few folks, kind sweet folks, become tearful at the mention of what we've been doing.  They have asked me how hard today must have been. 

It was hard.  But, not so hard to move my son there.  No, for me, more than any other thing I've been doing, trying to remember that I'm dealing with addiction and it is smart and crafty and it mutates every time I make a move, that has been the challenge.  You see I missed so much this time after I've supposedly been "in the know" for some time.

Dealing with addiction is a task that wears me down.  Putting my son in a place far better equipped to deal with him than his home where I keep going back to treating him like he's still my little boy, that is easy.  That is a relief.

The girls at the jail probably did more to help me prepare for today than anything else.  They told me what they'd be doing at this stage of the game, reminding me that this is how it will be this early on.  They reminded me that detox doesn't automatically make him think like me.  It is but the first step; one of many.

Today, I am thankful for this opportunity for my son.  I am thankful for so many caring folks.  I pray for those affected by the disease of addiction.  And, I say a prayer for Henry.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gossamer Pashminas of Grace

Yesterday was a very low day.  We talked to the counselors at the rehab facility who told us that our son had sunk about as low into his addiction as possible without dying. 

That is a tough blow in and of itself but financially, we are about as low as we've ever been.  Our home is for sale and it has a contract on it.  But, if something happens to stop the sale, we are up a creek quite literally without a paddle.

While I know that throwing money on the situation does not fix the situation, I still want one good opportunity, at least, for him to have a chance at recovery.

I was frozen and feeling numb and quite unsure of what to do when my very artsy fartsy friend said, " just to endure this you have to be swathed in gossamer pashminas of grace."

And, ya know what?  She's right.  Look at this photo:   look at those beautiful hands;   All shapes, sizes, colors, experience, softness,  callouses ............those hands represent protection and prayer, I'm here for you and what can I do.  Those hands started to come to me one by one.  Each one holding onto the next, like trusses in a building, each adding strength.  Until, I feel I'm gonna be okay.  I've got a current of prayer, protection and strength encircling our family.

How did those hands come together?  One friend showed up with a check to loan us the money for almost 60 days rehab.  No questions asked.  More than that, she showed up crying for my son and me.  Another friend offered to fund the remainder of that amount if the house doesn't sell.  A family member is working on getting scholarship money for us.  I've got novenas and other prayers coming from friends and family, 80 Dominican friars, and 6 lovely little inmates at the county jail where I volunteer. 

Those gals also gave me serious pep talks and being recovering addicts themselves, they spent the hour telling me what it is like for the person detoxing and what not to fall for.  They had asked how we found out and I told them about my husband finding him.  I also told them that it was kind of surreal how calm I was this time around.  One of the ladies said to me, " it was because you knew.  Before, you weren't were drug testing him....hoping he wasn't but knew."  I think she is right.  They ministered to me.  They are praying for me.

Don't you imagine that God is smiling?   My heart is full.  I may  have a long road ahead, finances may be tight but I am the richest person I know.  Today I am so thankful.  God does provide.....what we need, when we need it.  I am thankful for the gift of friends from every village which I am so thankful and proud to be a part of.  I pray for recovery for our addicted loved ones.  And, as always a prayer for the soul of Henry, my grandpa.

Monday, October 22, 2012

.....Or For Worse.....

 I imagine that when hubby and I uttered that commitment, "for better or for worse.."  we never imagined just how bad the bad can actually be.  I doubt we imagined that we'd find our first born in the act of using drugs while uttering to his Dad, "I've relapsed and I"m hopeless."  I doubt that we could have imagined taking our son to drop him off at a psychiatric hospital for detox.  But, we did and we have. 
After hubby heard him say that he was hopeless, he asked for my son's phone.  He took the phone and said that at that moment, the phone represented all that was wrong (his connection to drugs) and he took the phone and threw it as hard as he could against the brick fireplace.  When it continued to stay lit up, he stamped it with only his  house shoe on.  Those phones are heartier than you might think. 
Hubby now has a stress fracture in his heel.  He doesn't really recommend acting in a fit of anger. But, he got it all out. 
 A child facing the long road to recovery definitely fits the "or worse" portion of our marriage vows but you know what........we're better this time around.  Now, don't get me wrong, this still isn't a cake walk.  But, the first time we found out our son was using, we both panicked separately.  Now, we're forming a plan as a team.  Before we were angry with our son.  Now, we make sure he feels only tough love.  Before, we were individuals fighting to keep ourSELVES afloat, now we are a family forming a rescue plan for it's member who is in need of saving, no matter how hard it is to do the hard things necessary to save a loved one from the evils of addiction.
I think we're finally understanding our commitments.  Funny, how we behave just like the kids in having to test the rule ourselves just to make sure it is true. 
Son is at detox.  We went for the only visitation day (yesterday) and began the conversation of how he was gonna have to come up with his own plan after the 30 days.  Just 24 hours since intake and my how different he looks.  The phrase Clean and one that I understand so much more now.
Today, I am thankful for our spiritual growth.  I am thankful for another chance.  I pray for strength in our journey.  I pray for recovery for all of our addicted loved ones and I pray for the soul of Henry.
End note:  the I phone still works!!  We couldn't believe it.  Maybe I'll write to Apple.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Process

Relapse is a part of this process.  It is a part that hurts.  I feel like I did after my first c section and soon to have my second one.  The feelings of dread and the fatigue of the pain return to me in memorable waves.  Today I sit here and write the words quickly for fear that if I wait, I will lose the courage to write them.  I want to be honest.  Honesty is my defense against the devil. Honesty and prayer.

I'm waiting on a call from a rehab facility because they are checking my insurance benefits.  I wait in numbed prayerful silence.  I've begun a novena to St. Jude today.  How ironic that it began today.  Our Lord is compassionate.

Today I am thankful for a loving God.  I am thankful for paid insurance.  I am thankful for good friends.  I pray for healing and recovery for my son.  I say a prayer for all of your children and I ask a prayer for the soul of Henry.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gifts to Bring

Today is hubby's birthday.  This his him at work today, radiographing the secretary's Pomeranian.  Last weekend we had a wienie roast in honor of his birthday.  It is our birthday ritual for Dad.  It was what his mom and Dad did for his birthday when he was a kid.  A lovely memory I am sure.  Hot dogs and S'mores, chips and dip old friends and new.  Another lovely memory.

The girls both came home for the event.  The son was there.  All of the kids from work (our work kids as we call them) our neighbors friends.  It was an eclectic group.  It is our village of kindred souls.  We are so lucky because as different as we all are, they all wanted to be there for hubby.  They wanted to celebrate his life. 

Our house has a contract on it.  The last inspection is tomorrow at 3 pm CST.  If we get through this we feel pretty good about the sale going through.  In the process of boxing up and cleaning out, we have discovered so much CRAP.  Why on earth did we feel the need to purchase, hold on to, store so much that only gathers dust, clutters and decays? 

Hubby and I went to lunch at the club we've joined and they had the doors wide open with the sun shinning down on the lake.  What a marvelous treat to eat in the fresh air.  After lunch, the son and I went on a walk.  We were looking for the pecan trees that line the creek on the 100 acres that joins our property.  You have to move fast or the squirrels will clean them out.  It was such a beautiful day.

We found the fruit?  I'm guessing growing close to the ground.  We googled it and thought that maybe it was passion fruit.  But, I don't know that much about it.  It was a day to reflect on the gifts that matter. 

Today, I am thankful for the hubby and his life.  I am thankful for the beautiful Autumn season.  I am thankful for friends and family.  I pray for all of those facing life's hardships to begin to enjoy life's real gifts.  And, I say a prayer for Henry.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Broken then Blessed

In honor of this Sabbath, I'd like to repeat something I heard on an Oprah Winfrey show, today.  She was interviewing T.D. Jakes and he was talking about the parable of the two loaves and five fishes and he made a point about that story that I had not heard before.

He mentions that Jesus broke the bread and then blessed it.  Then, there was enough to feed the crowds.  Let me repeat, the bread was broken and then blessed and there was enough to feed the multitudes. 

This point gives the gift of hope.  I think hope is a marvelous gift. 

Today, I say a prayer of thanksgiving for this day and for hope.  I pray for the recovery of our addicted loved ones and for you who take care of them.  And, I say a prayer for Henry.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Our home of eighteen years has a contract on it.  I am beyond delighted.  The husband, not so much.  The kids are a mixture of excited and nostalgic.  It is change.  Change is hard.  We have not decided whether to buy or rent for a bit and decide what to do. 

One day I think rent and have a little time with the decision.  Then, I see rental prices and interest rates and I think you're a fool not to buy.  Maybe we won't get the loan and the decision will be made for us.  I do not know.

I remember bargaining with God when we first learned of our son's addiction.  I remember telling him that I'd give it all up just to have a healthy son again.  I don't think you can really bargain with God.  But, perhaps I may have an opportunity to realize what really is important in my life.

The kids, all three of them, are making good progress (not perfection by any stretch) .  Hubby and I are working on all of the issues that we bring to the table.  We are not hungry or sick.  God is taking care of us.  I think he will continue to do so.

Today, I am thankful for the sale of our home, an answered prayer.  I am thankful for progress.  I pray for guidance and perseverance.  And, I pray for the soul of Henry.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fight, Flight or Freeze

I've been watching these DVD's about trust based parenting featuring Dr. Kayrn Purvis and her partner Dr. John Cross about kids from hard places.  These are little kids.  They are dealing with mostly adopted kids or kids in an orphanage.  But, they are also talking about kids who had problems at birth or a problem pregnancy.  Maybe they are talking about the mom who was stressed during pregnancy.  Or the family raising a child without first dealing with their hard childhood first.

Whatever the case may be, these kids are different.  They are different because they have survived the fear of their life by choosing whatever means of survival they can.  It isn't normal and they don't respond to normal parenting.

Dr. Purvis will say over and over again that the main thing a parent should do is observe their child.  Get to know their body language.  Understand that a behavior is not an indicator of a good or bad child or behavior,  but a child who is choosing one of three coping mechanisms:  flight, fight or freeze. 

The goal is to establish trust with your child.  Not that you are not trust worthy....but the child should be able to FEEL like they can trust you.  More later.

Today I say a prayer for insight and understanding.  I pray for all those who choose flight through drug use.  I pray for the families to gain understanding and have strength to carry on.  And, I pray for the soul of Henry.


Thursday, September 27, 2012


A good friend of mine who blogs, here, is mom to eight children.  Three are biological and five are adopted.  She has become quite the student of attachment theory.  As the years have gone by I've heard more and more about attachment, dealing with with a host of things besides adoption.  Seems we all need some attachment to someone we can rest assured that will love us and be there....always, no matter what.

I started hearing about attachment from the books written by Gabor Mate, MD, on children with ADD and addiction.  Then hubby and I began marriage counseling and our LCSW uses attachment therapy.  I didn't look for that but it's where God sent us. This summer I read Greg Boyle, SJ's Tattoo's on the Heart, a book about his ministry with former gang members.  His number one advice is to repair the attachment. 

Now, my friend (we have always said that we live parallel lives) gives me all of these DVDs on a conference led by Dr. Karen Purvis, dealing with healing the traumas that have caused a failure to have secure attachments.  Dr. Purvis is a psychologist at Texas Christian University.  She is amazing.

One of the messages she shares, that I really liked so much is this, the good news is the bad news:  the brain is plastic.  It can be changed; for the good or the bad.  But, what it means for me is there is hope for recovering what might have been lost.  It isn't easy or perfect but it is possible!!

I'll try to share a few things I'm learning along the way in my next few posts. Today I am thankful for hope.  It is a marvelous thing.  I'm thankful for a second chance of sorts.  I'm thankful for the time at the county jail.  Those ladies teach me so much.  I pray for more knowledge needed for healing.  I pray for the patience, strength and perseverance to carry out God's will.  And, as always I pray for the soul of Henry.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Samaritan Friends

"And he sat down and called the twelve;  and he said to them, 'If anyone would be first, he must be last of all'   To better illustrate this teaching, He took a child, and put him in the midst of them; and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 'Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me;  and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me'.

This is a passage from today's readings which illustrates that if we humble ourselves to embrace those who are of little importance in the world's eye, we are in essence embracing Christ himself and His Father who sent him. 

This passage has come to mean a great deal to me.  Before I was a mother of a recovering addict I understood this passage.  But, now, I feel so many levels and nuances of this passage that I never experienced before; it is hard for me to illustrate, but I will try.

My son is working (this time) on four months of sobriety.  Total sobriety from drugs AND alcohol.  It is a first time for that.  He still smokes but he has gone father and worked harder at his sobriety this time than ever before.  He attends NA and goes to mass.  He is doing a lot and his family is very proud.  We are also very tired.  Four months while great, is but a short distance of travel on sobriety's road. 

Four months means that he's working very hard but he still has panic attacks.  He's still very emotional.  He isn't always able to sleep at night so he will nod off in the day causing others ( me included) to think he is using again.  His behaviour is not typical for a 23 year old.  He is emotionally behind.  Sometimes it is embarrassing.  Sometimes my pride gets in the way.  It is the ugly truth.  I am not proud of myself.

Yesterday we (son and I) had a conversation about people knowing that he is a drug addict.  He said that he understood that I had to tell some people but he hated that some people know because it changed the way they behaved around him.  He felt like it marks him....forever.  It probably does with some people.

But, he went on to tell me about two families that we are friends with.  One family, we'll call our barn family and the other we'll call our godparent family.  Yesterday, we went to a horse show and the Barn family mom came up to him and hugged him.  She listened to him.  And, when he was a little off, you would never know it from her kindness, inclusiveness and love that she showed him.

Godparent family has been much the same.  He is welcome at their home.  They are happy to see him and they never judge him.  They are praying for him and he knows it.  They make a point of talking to him and touching him on the shoulder, looking him in the him dignity.

Both families have created for him, safety and love;  key ingredients to recovery.  Both families make my eyes tear at the kindness that comes so easily and naturally, making my fears of his behavior leave. 

We are a blessed family.  Today I am thankful for the gift of those in my life who will come last(and in so doing, are first) and embrace, drawing in, those who society sends away to the periphery.  I pray for all of our addicted loved ones and I say a prayer for Henry.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Do You Remember...

The seventeenth day of September....  On this seventeenth day, twenty-one years later, I like to remember the gift of that day.  A daughter was born.  A child who embodies nurturing love, even to her detriment, at times.  A beautiful, intelligent, confident young lady who will leave a distinguished mark on this world as soon as she realizes what her father and I already know about her.

Only the baby for 14 months, when little sister arrived;  This child would wake and bring me two diapers each morning, one little, one her size, without prompting.  I'm fairly certain that her example potty trained her sister and she taught her to tie her shoes.  She loves to help those in need and has a soft, kind heart once you get past the tough exterior.

Our Asian pediatrician always said to me after a visit, "She has good brain."  and she does.  Born just past the school cut off she went ahead with those a bit older but not always wiser, because she was reading at 4 years old. 

She is always in a hurry to get things done....simply because she can without always taking her time to just be.  Just to be and absorb and find all that God has made her to be. 1.   Magnificent.  2.  Holy. 3.   Loving. 4.   Caring.  5.  Diligent. 6.   Intelligent.  7.  Beautiful.  8.  Full of Light. 9.   Intuitive.  10.  Driven.  11.  Articulate 12.  Organized 13.  Kind 14. Cuddly 15.  Nurturing 16.  Competent 17.  Willing 18.  Accepting 19.  Trusting 20.  Inclusive 21.  Uniquely designed by God

And we would not have her any other way;  even though she does keep her father and I on our toes.

Today marks a celebration for Dad and I  because on this day 21 years ago we received the most wonderful gift. 
A daughter who has been in a family with ups and downs.  And, her light still shines so bright.  A daughter who valiantly travels a difficult journey with a broken family;  but one who loves her enough to do the work to heal and start anew.  So on this day, We begin with prayers of thanksgiving for a beautiful daughter;  a calm loving one named for a grandmother who exuded those same traits.    We pray for her strength and fortitude for the journey.  We pray she finds the peace that passes all understanding only found with God.  We pray that she learns to take her time and see the miracle that God created in her.  And we are so excited to watch her unfold into the person that God intends her to be. 
Happy Birthday My Daughter "of Light".  We love you very much.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Money For Nothin' and Your Chicks For Free.....

My husband is an equine veterinarian.  He has been practicing now for 28 years.  There are times when it has been a very fulfilling career and vocation for him.  Lately, with a slow economy, there has been nastiness of epidemic proportion.

Just today, two clients have threatened to us;  one to use another vet if an after hours charge wasn't removed and one threatened to have a dispute filed with a credit card company over charges another disagreed with.  She also threatened a lawsuit and reporting us to a veterinary medical association.

There really are a lot of nice clients out there but a few make you want to wave the white flag, sell out and move on.  I was thinking just how brilliant the cupcake places are.  You sell one enormous beautiful cupcake for $5.00 and nobody gets pissed off or tells you that the ingredients were not just right.  They don't tell you that because they are so fattening that maybe they'll just pay $3.50.

I was feeling overwhelmed at all of this happening just before noon when my husband said, 'remember son is doing so much better right now; we are doing better; the girls are okay.  I guess that really is all that matters.

Today, I am thankful for a husband that can remind me when life pushes me down.  I am thankful for all of the blessings listed above.  I pray for all of our addicted loved ones to persevere in their fight for freedom from addiction.  And, I say a prayer for Henry.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Some people swear.  But, in the south, we cuss.  I have never really been much of a cusser (is that a word?).  My mother, born in 1923, NEVER cussed.  She actually wouldn't even fully spell a cuss word.  Doing so might actually mean that she'd cussed.  So, she'd spell exactly half the word and not one letter more. 

My dad grew up very poor and the son of an alcoholic.  He wanted more.  He would always tell me that it was easy to cuss but he was so proud of my Mama and what a "good" girl he'd managed to snag that he just felt like he could and would do better.  Instead, he made up cuss words.  "Dad dhasted" was among his favorites.  "Son of a Buck" was another...although I'm fairly sure that a buck is male, but I don't really guess that matters. 

My aunts used Sugar instead of that word referring to fecal matter.  I wonder why we feel such power when shouting out a term referring to excrement?  But, the one that is like nails on a chalk board to me is the "F bomb".  Did you know that "f bomb" actually made it into the dictionary this year?  It is a sad sign of our times, indeed.  Anyhow, I hate, hate, hate that one. 

In active addiction, my son, knowing of my adverse  reaction to that word once called after he'd been kicked out and he'd been drinking, and using his great creativity to use that particular word as a noun, verb, adjective and a host of other grammatical terms that I have forgotten the meaning to. 

On Friday, I confronted him about something that I thought he was lying about.  When he continued to stand by his story, I yelled from a place I was certain my parents were watching and shaking their collective heads in a "you know better than" motion, BULLSHIT!

If you really think about it, bullshit is like the plain ol shit on steroids.  I know this for fact as I live next door to cows.  Anyhow, I'm fairly certain that son swallowed his gum and his face went red and the whites of his eyes just about doubled in size.  He was so shocked.  Here was this boy who was obviously not shocked by much and yet me cussin at him almost knocked him over.  He could not let it go.  He brought it up 3-4 more times.

It kind of tickled me (after I felt guilty over stooping lower than I should have in a fit of anger).  It tickled me because even if I didn't realize it before, keeping my language clean, meant something to him.  You talk and talk to your kids but it's your day in and day out actions that are really who you are.  They are what they really notice.  It is a wake up call for me to build on that one good thing that I've got going.

Today, I am thankful for his standards for me.  I am thankful for great parents.  I am praying for all of you out there with your daily ups and downs and I'm praying for Henry.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Glass IS Half Full Today

Today I had an early morning doctor's appointment.  It took me 1 1/2 hrs to drive there.  It should have taken 45 minutes.  When I left the appointment, a funny smell started coming out of my air conditioner vent and then my air conditioner quit working.  It was 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  Then, I stopped to get gas and I stepped over the gas line to shade the area where you punch in your credit card info so that I could see it and I tripped over the gas line.  Miss twenty something was on the pump on the other side.  She had on workout clothes and was slim, trim, and fit.  She saw me fall flat on my face stubbing my big toe (which still throbs!).

I still didn't make it home in time to attack the pile on my desk.  Two house showings in three days has robbed me of the pleasure of checking items off my list.  And, to add insult to injury mine and my husband's cell phones are on the blink.

But, my son called and talked about having a dream about a devastating accident at work that involved a death.  It bothered him so much that he was extra careful when he had to use that piece of equipment.  Then at work, a similar accident happened but no one was hurt.  He told he how after the dream, he had been doing a lot of praying.  "That, I said, was the Holy Spirit!   How cool is that?"  "Pretty cool he says.  I've been praying so much lately."  Cool indeed.  And definitely the path to recovery.  My cup is more than half full.  It runneth over with words like those.

Today I bathe in thankfulness.  I pray for all of you and for your loved ones and for Henry.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I'm extremely weary.  Early sobriety is very difficult to live with.  The behavior is off.  The emotions are up and down.  I swing between worry and fear and empathy and regret.  I can't decide when to love unconditionally or when to draw the stiff line in the sand. 

My husband says that I just need to drug test and love him.  Either way.  I guess he is right.  My son is trying and I know that.  It's just that he has so much lost.  He has a battle which has started from behind. 

Today I pray for perseverance.  I pray for guidance.  I pray for blinders.  And, I pray for the soul of Henry.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


I've traveled to Dallas to a writer's conference.  I am considering writing a book on my journey through my son's addiction.  There are days where I feel like I have to write this story.  Then, there are days that I think, who do you think you are to write this book?  There is the fear factor that is present because I have never published a book before.  There is also the fear of publishing such a personal account of our life.

Last night, I was channel surfing.  The lack of quality on TV is astounding.  Let's just say that when I become intimidated by writing, all I have to do is look at Toddler's in Tiaras or Honey Boo Boo.....

I've learned a lot here.  I've learned that I will really need to get organized, which does not come naturally to me.  And, I will need to get clear about the message that I want to convey.  But, most importantly, I only need to write if this is God's will.  So, I will proceed with prayer before I take any further action.

The most important thing is my son's sobriety.  What I have learned in this journey, is first and foremost for that purpose.  So I will pray for wisdom.  I pray for all of our loved ones who have felt the ravages of the disease of addiction.  And, I say a prayer for Henry.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Saying it Out Loud....

Most every day, I read a daily reading from the series In Conversation With God by Francis Fernandez.  I love those readings so much.  They help me to better understand the day's liturgy.  The author refers to a lot of quotes by St. Josemaria Escriva.  So, I decided to start reading some of his writings.  My best friend is "in the know" about most all things Catholic and of all books Catholic.   She hooked me up with a lot of his books and told me that he was kind of tough!  His writings are a collection of sacred scripture blended with personal reflections from his life and experiences of others.  His most famous book, The Way, is divided into chapters on topics such as charity, interior struggle, the will of God, etc.  Then under each chapter you will find numbered snippets of practical advice.

I'll just call my friend Sue.  Sue says each snippet should be followed by the phrase, "you slacker" or some other such fitting phrase.  For example,  on the topic of character:  "Maturity.  Stop making faces and acting up like a child!  Your bearing ought to reflect the peace and order in your soul. "   You can see how fitting it would be  if you were to end that snippet with "you slacker"  Josemaria does not mince words.  I think I would have really gotten along with him quite well.  My Dad was one for brutal honesty.  Sometimes when I was young and I would go around with him to his rental properties, I would just cringe with his straight forward manner.  Today, at 48 years old, I see myself more and more like him and it happened before I knew it.

Lately, I've questioned why I am considered the bad guy for telling the truth.  I've questioned the way in which I deliver the truth and I know that sometimes I'm a little blunt.  But, other times I feel as though the truth is the truth and there is no way to make it pretty if it is not what someone wants to hear.

"You never want "to get to the bottom of things." At times because of politeness.  Other times because you fear hurting yourself.  Sometimes again, because you fear hurting others.  But always because of fear!  With that fear of digging for the truth you"ll never be a man of good judgement." St. Josemaria Escriva.

We are taught to tell the truth...sort of...but many times we are rewarded for dancing around it.  My son's addiction made this quote a reality for me...

"Don't be afraid of the truth, even the though truth many mean your death."

Saying the "A" word out loud did not make it real.  It made me face it, accept it, and deal with it.  Failure to acknowledge does not control anything......nope it allows for things to continue to be out of control.  So, I'll continue to edit my words so that I do not make personal comments but I think I want to continue to be like my Dad.

Today, I am thankful for the courage to finally confront the truth.  I am thankful for those tough saints like Josemaria Escriva and Mother Teresa (Blessed) and I am thankful for a Dad who modeled the hard stuff for his kids.  I pray my son to learn to be courageous enough to accept the truth of his life long condition and to continue to fight.  I pray for all of your sons and daughters, husbands and wives and any loved one facing the demons of addiction.  And, as always, a prayer for the soul of my grandfather, Henry.

Friday, August 10, 2012

What I Did This Summer Vacation.......

The house is STILL for sale, but, we've been showing it quite a bit.  The son who had been laid off got a job which starts Monday.  The girls are quite burned out with summer and are ready for a schedule.  We are leaving for Cincinnati on Tuesday to see my best friend's son take his first vows as a Dominican priest on Wednesday.  Life seems to crawl but when I sit down to think about it all, I realize how quickly things are really moving.

If I were going back to school and asked to write an essay on what I did on my summer vacation, this is what I'd write:

Summer break was a time that felt more like summer school.  Our family is beginning to learn some very important lessons about BEING a family.  We have refused to let addiction take over any time that we have to be a family.  We have started trying to practice unconditional love to each member.  By practice, I mean that we are trying to give time to other members and we try very hard to help them feel and know that they are loved.

We have not done this all with ease or seamlessly; we have painfully, with frustration and trial and error and error and error worked things out.  And, while at times it feels like frustration is at every turn, when we slow down and look back, we do see that progress has been made.

One of our biggest lessons is the "what is" lesson.  For those working a program, "what is" is the very beginning....acceptance of what is and choosing to live with it ......or not.  Another biggee is trying very hard to look beyond self to try to see and understand another.  This is not an easy step but the rewards are mighty cool indeed.

We are trying very hard to stop defending self in order to look out for other family members.  This is such an unnatural thing to do.  It requires a lot of trust and trust is sometimes hard to come by in a house where addiction once lived.

The rewards?  Oh my, my....watching daughter go from tears because she thought we were fussing at her to soaking up the words that we were just disappointed that she wasn't staying because we miss her and want to be around her.  And, she stayed....we all sat together until .....dare I say a normal family?

We are making plans for holidays.  We are so thrilled to go and share this lovely celebration with my friend's son.  We are acting like a!!!!!!  And, that is what I did on my summer vacation.

Today, I am thankful for my family and the progress that we've made.  I am thankful for my son's new job, the service of my best friends son, the showing of our house, the progress of our girls.  I am thankful that my son is going to meetings and to church.  I pray for his continued strength and growth.  I say a prayer for my son and yours (or daughter or spouse or sister or brother) and I say a prayer for Henry.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fear is My Enemy

Many experts warn about the dangers of parenting out of fear.  I think there is a lot to that.  The problem is that I have a hard time stopping myself when fear arises.  I start thinking that maybe I am letting something slide instead of confronting it.  I start backsliding with the whole control issues.  I start to panic and so I behave in all sorts of weird ways that confuse the whole family.

I hate living like this but I can't seem to stop myself when he behaves in a way that I don't recognize.....which is most of the time.  It is all new.  He is really doing better than I remember in such a very long time.  You'd think that would put me at ease, but no, it gives me all the more reason to fear the past.

I guess this is where I have not let go of control.  There is where I must face the daily task of detaching.  And, I'm not really all that good at that.  We've gained so much ground.  I am truly over the moon for that.  Some days, I get greedy and forget what I have to be thankful for.  I want normalcy, whatever that is.  Maybe that's what I have and I don't recognize it.  I guess it is my norm.

Today I start a new term of the Homeward Bound program at the jail.  I get to meet the new ladies and start a new AlAnon group with them.  I really look forward to that.  After working for and with the public, it is so refreshing to work with those who are at the place where they know that they have to change.  They are thankful for the opportunity to learn a healthier way.  Working with that mind set is like breathing the sweet air after a springtime rain.

Today, I am thankful for a new fall routine.  I am thankful for sobriety even though each new step is a little scary.  I am thankful that we are really starting to show our house.  I am thankful for my kids and my husband and my friends.  I pray for strength in detaching, continued sobriety and health to all who read.  And, I say a prayer for Henry.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Long and Winding Road

We are at the stage of the game that leads to really good places and really tough places.  We have uncovered so much that was hidden by the anesthesia of drug addiction each day and even though the addiction is "in remission"??  we have other battles ahead.  Anxiety is a big problem.  Getting help for someone who is afraid of taking medication is problematic.  

I have so much to be thankful for but this long and winding road has really begun to wear on me both physically and emotionally.  I feel good about my decisions and then an hour later I question.  I'm really tired.  I don't know how to proceed.  

Today, I say a prayer of thanksgiving that we are dealing with the issues underneath the addiction.  I pray for guidance and strength.  And, I say a prayer for Henry.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Interior Change

There has been a change.  The inner change allows outward manifestations to  sneak out bit by bit defining a new person or perhaps illustrating  the real person minus the drugs or the anxieties of the past.  I do not know why it is happening or when exactly it started to happen but I am so thankful.

I've been reading some really good books regarding love.  Real love.  How we show we perceive love and my only explanation for this change is prayer and a new understanding of how to love.

Prayer in and of itself is love.  It is a love of God and getting to know Him more deeply.  Prayer is love.  Not just of what we want but trusting God to know and give us what we need.  So I don't question, I just accept with grateful heart.

Love is the subject of many books, many songs and movies.  It is the theme of what we all live for and crave.  Hollywood has distorted our image of love in such a way that most of us don't know the first thing about it anymore. 

Today, I am so thankful for God's holy grace.  I am not worthy.  I am thankful.  I pray for each of you to learn as I am learning God's gift of love.  I pray for our addicted loved ones and I say a prayer for Henry. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

My People

Last night oldest daughter texted her dad to watch a show on the Animal Planet called, "Turtle Man".  Dad flipped the channel as I am trying to fall asleep and a fella is walking barefoot through the murky waters of a pond in hopes of "feeling" a snapping turtle.  Apparently, he's pretty good at this.

Dad texts daughter back asking if he's paying for her cable tv or is she?  She replied, "I am" to which he says, "good."  I guess he doesn't feel that this is an important part of her education.  We continue to listen to this guy who is clearly a character and I say where in the world is this guy from?  Hubby says, probably Louisiana...bayou country.  But, the more I listen I begin to think he not only sounds ( regional dialect) but has characteristics of people from mine and hubby's home (Kentucky).  "He's from Kentucky,"  I finally say.  "No, he's not."  hubby says.  About that time, the show comes back from commercial where they mention that he is from the backwoods of Kentucky!!

The dad is stunned that I figured this out.  He reminds me of Ernest T. Bass if you are an Andy Griffith follower.  Today, son and I spent some time together.  I started telling him about some of my AlAnon friends.  Some of them are characters too.  But, I love them.  I am learning to look beyond the exterior and look within because when you do, you might just see something really neat. 

Turtle Man is really an intuitive sort.  He must really have come to understand animal behavior from a lot of observation.  The fact that he's missing a few teeth and makes an odd noise in celebration of his catch just make for good tv. 

I guess you could say that I recognized "my people".  Not all of them are as flamboyant or backwoods but, they are honest and unafraid of who they are.  There's a lot to be said about that. 

Today, I say a prayer of thanksgiving for healing from our past.  I pray for our addicted loved ones and I say a prayer for Henry.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Face of Jesus

Sometimes, when I stand back and pay attention, I  see things that I easily miss on any given day.  Don't you imagine that there are times that God is all of His glory in heaven sits back like any good parent shaking His head thinking, when will they get it?

Son is at home between jobs and sober.  I know this because when I thought he was using I said , "would you be willing to take a drug test?"  His reply was "yes ma am, would you like for me to pick one up?"  In days past this would have been all that I needed and I would have been delighted by such a response but older wiser Hattie was not falling for it so she said,"why yes, I would appreciate that very much!"

He was clean....clearly PAWS were rearing their ugly head his way.  He is of his own volition, doing 90 meetings in 90 days and met with a sponsor yesterday.  Before, this would have had me doing a happy dance.  Today, I figure it will work out or not.....holy indifference, a grace for sure.

Sunday, he went to an NA meeting and stopped at a convenience store to get gas on his way home.  There was a homeless guy outside who asked if he could bum a cigarette.  Son said sure and gave him 3-4 cigarettes.  The homeless man  was very grateful and asked how he was and what he was up to.  Son told him where he'd been.  The homeless man told him that he used to smoke crack cocaine but now substituted for alcohol.  He told him to keep it up.  He told him to take this chance and change his life. 

This encounter really touched my son.  He kept talking about it all day.  I think my son saw Jesus that day.  And, sometimes, the kindness of those who have the least still surprises me.  The marginalized are just dismissed.  But, if we pay attention, if we look them in the eyes with the hope of seeing Jesus.........we just might.

Later, the daughter had the Kardashians on tv.  Everyone that walked in the room made a comment about how we could not believe that she was watching that. And, like moth to a flame, we all sat there unable to change it because we could not believe how unrealistic these folks really are.

 Later, my son said to me that he thought the mom was a succubus......OK this is my son who was not sober for most of high school and all of college.  First of all, I had to ask him what this meant, then I could not believe it when my son told me that it was a female demon appearing in human form and that one of our earliest popes was corrupt in large part because of his liaison with one.  He thought this was true, then googled it and confirmed. 

Well, wonders never cease.  Wonder what God has in store next?  Everyday is a surprise.....

Today I am thankful for the gifts of God's generous heart.  I am thankful for the "least of these" and the lessons that they teach me, all of the time.  I'm thankful for the gift of faith.  I pray for God to heal your sons and daughters and mine.  I pray for wisdom and I pray for the soul of my grandfather, Henry.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Journey

A chronic disease is like a marathon.  Anyone who suffers from one knows this for sure.  Addiction, I think like cancer or cystic fibrosis, drags the family along in tow.  I have always felt that this is a journey that no one wanted to take.

A journey suggests that this will take us from one place to the next.  And, so it does.  In the beginning I wanted direction from anyone who could help.  Then, I tried employing only the boundaries I discovered in the recovery communities.  Now, I look to my faith to help me out in the gray areas.

I recently met with my friend Lou.  I told her that we (our family) had helped my son "one last time".  She said that she hoped it wasn't the last time.  And when I tried to apologize for something that I'd done with my son, she told me to quit apologizing.  When she instantly, matter of factly (don't know if that's a word) said those words it was as if a 60 lb boulder was lifted from my shoulders.

If he is using, he will go.  If he is trying to recover do I just stay away?  For now, I have decided to go with my intuition.  I have decided to go with prayer.  I am trying to remember that parable of the man forgiving his servant not 7 times but  77 times.  I am trying to remember that loving my neighbor as myself and the Lord my God with all my heart and soul and mind can never steer me wrong.

This does not mean that I'm allowing him to move in, ever or that I will give him money.  It just means that I will not be sorry for forgiving after disappointment or for loving him no matter what he does or where he goes. 

This is my newest milestone.  This is a place where control and fear are not allowed to enter.  This is a place of holy indifference. 

Today, I am thankful for the peace and joy provided when I am at a point where I can no longer keep moving forward without God's grace.  I am thankful for great friends who are pretty good at throwing a tow line.  I am thankful that God is the one doing the heavy lifting on this one.  I pray so hard and without ceasing for healing for our addicted loved ones.  I pray for the miracle of love to engulf them so that a substance will never compare.  And, I say a prayer for Henry.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Battle Fatigue

I'm  feeling so tired.  I guess a long weekend and poor diet aren't as easily forgiven by the body as they used to be.  I took a little weekend get away to visit with my friend Lou.  Our visit was really good. But, my expectation for the whole weekend was that I would get caught up on reading and wriitng and that didn't happen.  It's left me, as hubby would say, full of piss and vinegar. 

Today I took my car to the dealership ( I know the dealership is the most expensive place) but it was for a recall or a reprogramming of something or other.  I could not renew my tags because the check engine light was on.  Half way home from the dealership, the check engine light came on again.  So when my daughter comes home, I will drive back again to drop off the car this time.

My head and heart are at a battle of tug of war as to what or how much to do for my son.  I am so tired of the constant analysis of what my motives are.  I want to just be for a while.

I guess I am full of piss and vinegar today.  I think I need physical and spiritual rest. 

Today I say a prayer of thanksgiving for my friends both near and far.  I am thankful for this blog and how it helps me to sort my feelings.  I pray for our addicted loved ones....that they might feel the restorative love that we have for them and that they may rest in it today.  And, I say a prayer for Henry. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

We all Need Hope

There is a lot of heartache in this world.  And, in this community in particular, we have seen, heard, and personally felt a lot of heartache.  So, today, I wanted to share a story of hope with you.  The Dad is a horse vet.  He sees all kinds of horses.  There are beautiful dark warm bloods, thoroughbreds, quarter horses, arabians, morgans, paints, ponies, miniature horses, draft horses, donkeys and mules and many others.

They all have owners....(okay, that is another post).  But, many owners aren't all that equipped to own a horse.  Horses are a big responsibility.  I often say that there are horse people,  there are competitors or collectors of horses and there are folks that like the idea of having a horse.  But, few really and truly just love the animal.

I've got a friend who is to the core, a horseman or maybe horsewoman.  She loves and appreciates them for the creature that God created them to be.  Yesterday afternoon she called in tears because she went to look at a horse to purchase for a lesson horse for her farm and what she found, was pure unadulterated abuse and neglect.  She wanted to know how to go about reporing these folks to the proper authorities.  Later that evening, still in tears, she called to let me know that she had just purchased the horse in the poorest condition.  Her heart is big.

I went to the clinic when they brought him in and this poor guy was surrounded by my friend and five other people from her farm.  The thought that came to my mind was this poor guy went from being in a tiny 4X6 stall with no hay or clean water to having his own personal village of humans to love and care for him. 

This 16.1 hand horse weighed 966 pounds.  His affect was very dull and depressed.  He had sores in his mouth because of the poor quality hay and because his teeth needed a dental.  But, his eyes were so kind.  And, he had not given up.

We keep a big glass jar of peppermints on our counter at the clinic.  When the horse's procedure is over we give him a treat.  My friend opened the jar and began to rattle the celophane wrapper and his eyes lit up and he began to move towards her.  He had been given treats before.  He remembered.

Tonight he can rest in a big stall.  He gets all the hay he can eat.  He will begin to get grain and water and fresh grass.  But, more than that he will be loved.  Afterall, that's all that we all really need right?

I'm posting his picture here, not to shock but so that you will see a starting point.  By the way, my friend looked up his tattoo ( all registered thoroughbreds have a tattoo on their inside upper lip) and found that he shares her daughter's birthday.  As Leroy Jethro Gibbs says on NCIS, "there are no coincidences."

Today I am thankful for the ability to witness the kindness of others.  I am thankful that I had my family together tonight for dinner and a rosary.  I pray for healing for all of our addicted loved ones and as always, a prayer for the soul of Henry.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Today's Parable


Ever mindful of my life and the lessons before me, I pray that I don't miss the opportunity to learn in the way that Jesus taught us....through the parables in our everyday lives which serve to teach and remind us of who and what we are and what we are called to do.

I sat a lone in my hot attic on this 92 degree day with sweat pouring down the center of my back.  Nineteen years of memories are held here.  I am emptying it in a leap of faith that if I begin the process of moving, the buyers will come.

As I empty the contents, I am thinking of how overwhelming this task will be.  I come up with the plan to :

1.  Get rid of the garbage
2.  Sell that which could be of use to others
3.  Keep what is still of use or a memento

I sit here in the floor looking at the girls American Girl dolls, favorite DVDs, books but not my sons camera, X-Box, computer or guitar because they were sold for drugs.  Downstairs (in the garage below) I hear my daughter sorting the garage sale items, jamming to one of my I tunes;  a favorite from when I was just a young girl...

"Got on board a westbound 747
Didn't think before deciding what to do
Ooh, that talk of opportunities
TV breaks and movies
Rang true
Sure rang true

Seems it never rains in southern California
Seems I've often heard that kind of talk before
It never rains in California
But girl don't they warn ya
It pours, man it pours

Out of work, I'm out of my head
Out of self respect, I'm out of bread
I'm underloved, I'm underfed, I wanna go home
It never rains in California
But girl don't they warn ya
It pours, man it pours"
And then I see this cross pendant laying on the floor right next to what looks like a "straw" used for snorting drugs...

Will you tell the folks back home I nearly made it
Had offers but didn't know which one to take
Please don't tell 'em how you found me
Don't tell 'em how you found me
Gimme a break, give me a break
Seems it never rains in southern California
Seems I've often heard that kind of talk before
It never rains in California
But girl don't they warn ya
It pours, man it pours"
I think to myself, I could take every last item to the dumpster and never look back.  I think I will mourn, again and again.  Until I can relax and surrender what is not to be, what never was, what the road ahead will not include. 
But, today I will throw away the trash both in this attic and in my life.  I will not hold onto what only gathers dust and begins to decay.  I will only take with me, what is of use.
When I look back on the empty space left behind, I will see that cross and that straw and know that I will choose to throw away the straw and hold onto the hope of that cross.  I will not let fear cause me to be too afraid to let go of what might be by refusing to see what is and just deal with it.  In place of the chaos that was my life, I see an openness to what might be.
Realizing how little control I have I will toss pride on the top of the garbage heap along with old expectations and open my eyes and ears to what should be and learn with God's grace, to be grateful.
Today, I feel blessed to have an empty clean attic.  I am thankful for the courage to let so much.  I pray for my son and yours to learn the lessons that God has in store for him/her today and I say a prayer for Henry.