Moving On

Posted on January 30, 2010. Filed under: addiction, Intervention, Parent of an Addict | Tags: , , , , |

I just learned that Hayley has moved.  She was living in a ‘decent’ house with two brothers, whom, I believe, were cocaine dealers.  I’ve driven by the house.  It was neat, well kept, with a nice RV in the driveway. However, all the windows were heavily curtained during the day, as well as at night – which is one indicator of something ‘fishy’ going on inside.

My ‘contact’ for Hayley, Eric, has been in jail for a couple of months – so recently, I’ve had no reliable source as to Hayley’s true whereabouts.  Eric is now out of jail, and is going to and leading AA and NA meetings.  He says he’s doing well – or, at least a lot better than he was.  He called me yesterday to report that he had heard that Hayley has relocated.   She’s now living with an ‘older’ guy, who must be at least 60 yo, says Eric.  Sh*t – – – I wonder what that means?  My head is going in a million directions analyzing this bit of news. Eric said that he knows the general location of the house, but puts himself at risk by visiting Hayley and subjecting himself, once again, to the drug world/arena.  But, he said, he would try to find out more info about Hayley’s current living situation.

This recent news of Hayley moving has really underscored the impossible logistics of doing a family intervention with her.  We just can’t be sure of where she is, how to reach her, and getting her to a location for an intervention.  As an alternative, we’ll probably all try to write Hayley individual letters and see if Eric can deliver them. The intent of these letters will be to merely make contact with Hayley, remind her that we love her, and then – – – each of us will say what we feel we need to say to her.

If I were to write a letter now, I think it would be very different than what I would have written a week or a month ago.  Today, I would tell her that she is my teacher . . . that I am learning things about myself and those ‘in the margins’, that I would never have considered were it not for her heroin addiction.  And even though I posted the  Tips for 2010 – Things I’ve Learned But Would Rather Not Know , and it’s all true, I am sincere when I say that my daughter’s disease has enabled me to discover and develop new compassion and understanding for people that I had previously made stereotypical assumptions about and/or judged harshly.

And the following excerpt from a post by a recovering ‘functional’ heroin addict and freelance writer, Laura Lang, is an example of the lifelong struggle addicts face.

I encourage you to visit Laura Lang’s site and read the entire post:

I wish I could videotape myself writing this because I am shaking. It’s been two years since I last did heroin, but I know if someone were to walk in with works and a bag, I would have that needle in my arm before you could say HIV. I miss it. Sometimes I wonder how I have gone this long without even dosing once. And I look forward to a time when I can dose again. I even know when that day is, and I am counting down. It’s not until April though, so I have a while to wait. You might ask, “Why would you quit for two years only to take another shot?”

Well the answer is obvious. I miss heroin. I miss the routine. I miss waking up everyday and knowing exactly what I need to do that day. I didn’t even realize how much I missed it until just now. Just now while trying to put into words what I think about when I think about H. Besides, you don’t get addicted in one shot. I figure since I haven’t had one for two years I can have a couple, and be ok. But that’s a saga for another day. Actually I’m pretty interested to find out what it feels like after all this time. I’ll probably puke my guts out.

I’m not going to pretend that heroin is okay — most people who develop a real addiction to heroin never quit. I don’t know the exact statistic, but I know this previous statement is true. I am lucky to have been born with the willpower I have, and as stated previously, I only know of one other functional addict. I’m lucky to remember what I wanted before heroin. And what I want from life is much bigger and better than one small moment of heroin bullshit. But that one small moment of bullshit is something that I can’t get out of my head. 

As difficult as this is to read, somehow, I understand it.

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4 Responses to “Moving On”

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Due to the date of the original post, I’m sure much has transpired by now. Hopefully all in all for the better. I have a few things I would still like to share. First, how encouraging to hear of Eric’s progress. It’s always nice to hear of a light of hope being lit in someone that once was in darkness, especially when they are courageously and actively walking forward with it (him taking part in and even leading some support groups. Also, him learning to define his boundaries).
Second, verification of love is never lost on an addict though results may be slow to materialize or sometimes never seen. But have no doubt that the knowledge of your love and care for an addict is/was a mighty seed sown in her heart. There are people that did the same for me that were never able to see it grow, yet affected me positively in lifelong ways. And thirdly, I really appreciate the words of miss Lang. They are honest and intense. But I’m not sure I can appreciate the need to so strongly differentiate between “functioning addicts” and “junkies”. All addicts have their own lines they have crossed or not crossed and these lines are endlessly unique to each one of us. The main point of concern is that ANY negative, self destructive, malicious, etc. lines were crossed (and then usually repeatedly re-crossed) in the downward path of addiction. Though there are practical reasons why these different “types” of addict methods must be looked at individually, at the core they are one in the same. An addict is someone that repeatedly and with increasing frequency does things harmful to themselves and/or others. My request is that we as addicts and/or families of addicts tread lightly/and carefully on this ground. Addicts and family members alike must work hard to face our own dysfunctional behaviors with all honesty and not allow ourselves to make light of any of them by pointing out “lines that we didn’t cross”. All that really matters is those that each of us as individuals did/do cross.

Scot – I apologize for this tardy reply. At first, I thought you had mistakenly commented on my blog – but then, after careful re-reading, realized that you were referring to a very old post. A lot has happened since then. Hayley has been in recovery for 18 months, since May 9, 2010. She is doing well and has come sooooo incredibly far from where she was. Read some of my recent posts to catch up, if you’re interested. The posts leading up to Hayley walking away from the/her world of serious drug addiction in May 2010, are full of harrowing, nail-biting drama. Hayley also experienced random acts of love and kindness towards the end of her addictive lifestyle that definitely had an impact in nudging her towards recovery. One never knows when timing, opportunity, and a glimmer of hope will all coalesce into creating the “perfect storm” for the addict to seek help. My daughter’s recovery is a miracle – and hopefully, will give hope to those needing encouragement and support. Unfortunately, Eric has relapsed after quite a few months of sobriety. I need to find out where he is, and if he needs some support.
I guess I would define a “functioning addict” as one who is employed and supporting themselves and their habit. The term “junkie” implies, to me, someone who does not have a legitimate job – and who may even be engaging in illegal activities to secure their drugs. It’s all semantics, I know. And you’re right – labels don’t promote understanding or compassion, in my opinion. The stigma of addiction creates such misinformation and barriers to harm reduction. I read somewhere that the line is often drawn AFTER one crosses it. Thanks for your comments, and for checking in at my blog.

Laura Lang’s post is truly distressing. We pray that the day will come when our addict can stay clean for a substantial length of time..if not forever. Intellectually I know that heroin rarely lets go, but emotionally I can’t accept it.

Try not to think too hard about why she’s living with a 60 yo man. I think the letter writing will be cathartic for your family, and hopefully help Hayley too. I have read that post by Laura Lang before but don’t remember how I found it. I wonder how many functioning heroin addicts end up as “junkies”.


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