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 know....no 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 ......like 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 sure.....you were drug testing him....hoping he wasn't but really....you 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 place....my 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 Sober....is 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.