Puppy Love

Posted on January 13, 2010. Filed under: addiction, Parent of an Addict | Tags: , , , , , |

I heard, indirectly, from Hayley.  It was not in response to the letter I sent her last week – I don’t believe she ever received it.  Actually, I’m not sure.

As you know, I’ve been very concerned about not being able to reach Hayley since Thanksgiving.  And when her younger brother tried texting and phoning the 3 contact #s we had for her, with no luck over Christmas, we became very distressed.  A couple of weeks ago, I heard from Jill, my ex-husband’s wife, that she had received a text from Hayley asking for her brothers’ phone #s.  That meant that Hayley no longer had her phone.  I called Jill last night (who lives a couple of thousand miles away) and asked her when Hayley texted her and from what #?  Apparently Hayley had sent the text the day after Xmas from a number I didn’t recognize.  I asked Jill to text Hayley and see if she responded.  Amazingly, Hayley did respond by calling Jill last night, around 10:00 pm.  Hayley said she was fine, living in a safe place with people who cared for her and had a new puppy.  Jill said it seemed her speech was slurred at times, that Hayley cried about missing her family, but just couldn’t face talking to any of us.  Her shame was, obviously, a huge barrier.  She told Jill she was still using heroin, but not as much, and that ‘using’ helped her manage her eating disorder – that stopping the drug use, like the eating disorder, was impossibly difficult and beyond her capability – or, desire.

I am, of course, greatly relieved that Hayley is alive, and apparently ‘safe’.  And after a lot of thought, my paradigm has shifted.  My “hope” now is not for Hayley’s recovery, but simply for her to be alive and relatively safe.  It appears that she has made some sort of life for herself.  For most of her adulthood, Hayley has struggled to manage, connect, function at a ‘normal’/acceptable level.  She never could really make it work for herself.  And now, she has found a way to ‘live’, and cope and be. I don’t like pushing the limits of my ‘hope’, but I do wish that Hayley is able to give and receive some level of joy, compassion, experience goodness and beauty and, dare I say, Happiness?  And, who am I to say how some one else needs to live or what they should do?  Yeah, we all agree that as long as you aren’t harming someone else, there’s a range of behavior and lifestyle choices that are ok. But the “ok” is definitely premised on my own life experiences and perspective on the world.

I try not to dwell on the liklihood of criminal activity necessary to support a drug habit – or how opiate addicts support Afghani terrorist activities by filling the demand for poppy crops.  I drive an SUV, playing my own part in America’s oil dependency and consumption, which most likely contributes to the instability and scramble for power and influence in the Mid East, which ultimately drives terrorist activity.  ARGHHH . . . stop!  My guilt complex is taking over!

Nevertheless, for now, I am comforted by the fact that Hayley is alive – and feels like she belongs somewhere – and perhaps, is giving and receiving love from a sweet, innocent puppy.

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17 Responses to “Puppy Love”

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Dear Peg,
I am so excited to read this posting today. This is the first positive news about Hayley in a long time. She is ALIVE
and SAFE! I have been a long time advocate and believer in animal “therapy”. I’m not sure if you realize what a HUGE step Hayley has made by getting a puppy. She is reaching out beyond herself and is taking on the responsibility of caring for a little dog.
For addicts, who usually ONLY care about themselves, and no one or anything else other than their own satisfaction and pleasure, acquiring this puppy represents a HUGE psychological “reaching-out” step which may open other doors to contacting your family and perhaps eventual recovery.
Hayley is NOW thinking of something other than HERSELF for the first time in a long time. This is a HUGE step forward. Wow!
Perhaps you can use the puppy as an “excuse” to meet with Hayley because, as a dog lover yourself, you want to meet the puppy. Concentrate on the puppy. Doing this might open the door between you & Hayley. And once Hayley feels the unconditional LOVE of this puppy she might realize the great rewards of her thinking beyond herself. This might encourage her to reach out to her family.
Keep HOPE alive!!!

Joyce,
Thanks for your comments. It’s a good idea to focus on the puppy and use it as the center of conversation and contact. The only hang-up I see is that in my opinion, Hayley used her 3 other dogs as an escape from dealing with the necessary details of adult life and substitute for healthy human relationships. Still, I am comforted to know she has access to that innocent, unconditional puppy love right now. Good to hear from you.

Peggy, I’m new the blogging thing and I hope this comment reaches you. I’m not sure how this blog works. It’s different from the others I often visit. At any rate, you visited my blog and I wanted to visit in return.
My prayers reach out for Hayley and for you. As a mom, I recognize your pain, and as an addict in recovery, I recognize Hayley’s. God bless your journey and hers. It’s difficult, but not impossible, to live a full life with an addicted child/adult. You know this. I encourage and support you. Keep on believing. Hugs from Chris at Enchanted Oak.

Chris – thanks for your supportive words. I’m going to spend more time on your blog – I very much appreciated your poetry and beautiful photos. Did you take the photos yourself? What kind of camera do you use? You have a good eye, and are a good writer. I recognize and value those talents. Thanks for sharing. Your own story is encouragement and hope to me. Thank you.

Sometimes just hearing that they are alive and breathing brings us all the peace we need. I never would have thought that a couple of years ago as my expectations of my son were way too unrealistic at best. I am glad I have found your blog and will be following. Renee

” . . . the middle way is a wide boulevard . . . ” I’m putting that one in my Hall of Fame. Yes, it’s simple, but so hard.

I was so glad to read your post Peg, and hear that there has been contact with Hayley. I absolutely agree that there are times when life gets down to the core of being grateful that someone we love is alive. At these times, issues of achievement, success, and whatever else just fall away. What matters is life and how much we love each other. Your post has reminded me of the importance of this most basic thing. In my Tai Chi class today we talked about sustaining a balance between what the Dalai Lama tells us “Never, never give up. No matter what, never give up.” and the serenity of “Let it all go.” So…on we go, day by day trying to never give up AND let it all go. Here is to your strong heart with its special spot for Hayley. My heart is with you.

Donna – YOU are the one that helped me consider the possibility of just appreciating that my daughter was alive – nothing more. Thank you for getting me back to the basics. And, the “never, ever give up” vs “letting go”, is just the most brilliant dilemma to struggle with, I think – because, both arguments have merit and their place in our life. AND, I think that both can exist together, simultaneously. Instead of struggling with which to go with, I’m now more inclined to figure out how both can work in my life – side by side.

Yes, Yes. Rinpoche says that it is only our ignorance that prevents us from knowing that the middle way is a wide boulevard. We believe that trying to walk the middle way between never giving up and letting it all go, is a razor’s edge. Not so, say the sages. But, finding that enlightened state is, itself, both simple and the greatest struggle.

I think you can still hope for Hayley’s recovery. Through my work with more than 1000 people who are opiate dependent over the last 10 years I can tell you that it is clear to me that ANYONE can recovery and sometimes it’s the last person you expect and when you least expect it.

At the same time, I think your focus on her safety, quality of life and stability –separate from the issue of whether or not she is currently using is helpful.

I don’t know if you read my post at recoveryhelpdesk.com called Focus on Safety, but that is what I was trying to get at.

You probably saw that I’ve started a series of posts there about methadone (10 Things You Should Know About Methadone) but just so you know I’m going to follw that with a similar series about Buprenorphine. I think it is important to know about these treatment options and how they compare.

I also just started a new social networking site for people with opiate dependence, their families and friends at junkjunk.ning.com and would really like to have you join (all are welcome).

I’ll be in the chatroom at junkjunk! tonight from 9-10pm east coast time if you want to chat.

And thanks for your comment today, I really appreciated it.

Tom – thanks for your comments. I just not sure that Hayley has anything to recover for. She struggled so much in the ‘real’ world – and didn’t seem to feel connected to the family – at least as an adult. Yes, she misses us and says she loves us – – – but truly, I think she’s more ‘at home’ in the drug world. That’s hard to say – but I fear it may be true.

I am so glad you know that she’s okay and doing “well”. I think having a puppy is a good thing, puppies are the sweetest and it will depend on her to take care of her which may somehow motivate her to care for herself. I hope that somehow the puppy helps her to understand that some kinds of love are unconditional and that she can let go of some of her shame and call you.

It is so nice to see you have comfort! I’m so happy somebody actually TALKED to her. And that she TALKED and you know some of what’s going on in her life.
Dogs do wonders for people. Last night as I lay in bed praying I thanked God for my two dogs. They give me comfort, and hopefully the puppy is doing the same for Hayley.

I am glad you know she is alive. I wonder if she would try a methodone program. I have seen people do well with them.

The statistics for these harm reduction programs look good on paper.

Dawn made some really good points.

Thanks for your comments, Anna. I’ve heard that methadone is harder to ‘kick’ than heroin. Suboxone seems to be the new generation of treatment drug, but I don’t really know much about it. Last summer, a doctor wanted to put Hayley on Suboxone, but she let me take her to medical detox instead, which only lasted 4 days before she left AMA. Dawn seems to know more about suboxone – I need to educate myself. And, of course, in order to get off heroin and use one of the drug alternatives, Hayley would need to leave her present living situation, have transportation to the methadone/suboxone clinic, etc. She’s not even close to being there yet – if ever.

i/m glad you indirectly heard she is okay, and functioning. that in itself is a good thing. try to hold on to the good things, and let the guilt/bad things just go. you can’t change anything at all. you can love her even if its from a distance for now. maybe in future, you can love her closer, take her to lunch, and simply choose NOT to discuss the parts of her life which are illegal or unsafe.

keeping a relationship does not mean you approve. it just means you love her.

best advice. don’t discuss her addiction with her at all, unless SHE brings it up. the subject of addiction of a child by a parent is a taboo subject which alienates you unless they bring it up.

Your post is amazing and it made me cry. The demonstration of your love with detachment for her is amazing. I don’t know if I will ever achieve such a level, but you give me hope to see how a parent can love and let go.


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