Back to Square One

Posted on February 15, 2010. Filed under: addiction, Parent of an Addict | Tags: , , , , , |

She’s moved back to the crack house.

Last night, I called Eric to see if he would go with me to deliver a Valentine bag to Hayley.  I was thinking that my recent contact with Hayley, and her new, safer place to live, meant that maybe she was taking her own version of small steps towards – – – well, something.  I knew where her new place was (see “Contact”), but didn’t feel strong enough to actually see her myself.  I just couldn’t do it. Last week, I had my two grandchildren, Lucy and Luke, make Valentines for their beloved “Aunty”, which I put in to the bag – along with a poem I wrote in September about Hayley living in another world (Traveling Abroad). I also stuck in some lip gloss and lotion – just simple things to say, “we love you”.  Eric said he would go to the door and give Hayley the bag.

I waited for Eric in the parking lot of the gas station near Hayley’s house.  When I saw him return to the car with the bag in his hand, I knew it wasn’t good news.  “She’s back at the crack house”, he said. This was the very same crack house that wouldn’t take her back in August after she walked out of medical detox AMA (against medical advice) The ‘old man’ she had been living with for a few weeks, said that Hayley had ‘trashed’ his house and he kicked her out.

And so, our next stop was the crack house.  There were lots of cars parked in the dirt outside the trailer/prefab house.  Eric knows this house well – he not only went to school with the ‘boss’ drug dealer there, Bill, but also used to go there to get his drugs.  That’s where he met Hayley.

Eric delivered the Valentine bag to Hayley.  It’s not a good scene there – – – lots of drug users inside, many in very bad shape.  Eric said Hayely looked “ok”.

It’s back to square one – – – or maybe, even less. Hayley is running out of options.  I know for a fact that she doesn’t like it at the crack house..  It’s a miserable, sordid place.  And, the ‘head’ woman there, Paula, is very tough.  She’s threatened Hayley several times and beat her up once.

I can’t help but think that the chaos in which Hayley has lived over the past 8 years, no matter how much she has or doesn’t have, is a sign of some kind of mental illness.  She’s lived in total filth and disarray since 2002.  She’s easily overwhelmed with the basic details of life.  I can’t imagine her ever being able to get herself out of the drug world and face what it is she needs to face.  It seems overwhelming to me – and I’m sure it must be to her.

For me, it would be a relief for Hayley to get a mental illness diagnosis.  It would help make sense of things.  But this can’t happen until Hayley is clean and sober.  It’s a Catch-22.  I’m feeling a lot more compassion for drug addicts and their conundrum – and, of course, the craving and need for their drug that becomes necessary for them to not get violently ill.  I don’t think getting high is in the mix any more.

Here are some photos of Hayley’s apartment  last June.  This is how she has lived for most of her adult life, whether or not she was using ‘hard’ drugs.  Surely this is an indication of some kind of mental illness/personality disorder? 


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17 Responses to “Back to Square One”

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Again I can really relate to Hayley. “She’s easily overwhelmed with the basic details of life.” I feel like a child a lot of the time, a 22 year-old child. I really want to succeed at living like a normal adult but it’s a constant struggle. Remembering to do things is a huge problem for me. In order to get things done it seems like I have to hold someone’s hand, whether it’s my mom’s or my friend’s or my boyfriend’s.
I have been diagnosed with a list of mental disorders, including bipolar disorder and ptsd. Perhaps that’s why I struggle, perhaps it’s the way my parents raised me, perhaps it’s because I started using at such a young age and never really grew up…I don’t know. I just know I have to keep on trying. As long as I try and don’t give up, that has to be enough for me right now.

Q – at least you are aware of the things that you need help with, and acknowledge your struggles. I’ve heard that an addict’s emotional/skill development is arrested/delayed from the age they began using. So, you may be 22 yo chronologically, but not necessarily so, developmentally. So – give yourself some time and practice to learn the skills you need to lead a responsible, productive adult life. And, don’t be afraid to ask for help – maybe from someone other than your parent(s), to get some systems in place that will help you organize, track, follow-up with important details. Again, these are learned skills that require practice. It is possible for you to acquire these skills with guidance and mentoring – and the desire to become self-reliant. Good luck, Q. I’ll be following your story. Peggy

Has Hayley ever been to jail or in legal trouble? I know that’s not something we want for our kids, but I think its what pushed my son to the place where he was forced to be clean long enough to think clearly (3 months) which was a big help. I like what Her Big Sad said. I remember thinking Kev would not survive and asking myself if I’d done all I could. I knew I had. But it still didn’t change anything.

Yes, Hayley has been in jail. Last April, she spent 4 days in jail for a shop lifting offense (her third) the previous summer. We knew nothing about the incident. She called me an hour before she left for jail, “just to let me know where she’d be.” Then, she got pissed that I didn’t sound more “supportive”. Huh? After that jail stint, she said that she would never allow that to happen again, that she slept the entire time in a cell with about 20 other women. None of them could believe she was a college graduate. I later learned that she was smoking crack prior to this, and consequently was able to sleep for almost 4 days straight. Soon after being in jail, she started living at the crack house, and then began using heroin. It’s been down hill ever since. I heard from a source that she was arrested again during a traffic stop last fall while riding in a car with her dealer. When they ran her name, they saw she had violated probation and there was an arrest warrant out for her. I’m not sure how long she was in jail, but I think that she got bailed out by someone, rather quickly. I just can’t believe I’m narrating this story. Last June, when I first learned Hayley was living in the crack house, I tried to get her arrested – both through her PO and the police. They wouldn’t do it – they don’t go after misdemeanor “cons” (can’t think of the right term here). They don’t have the time or personnel. Yeah – I’m thinking that several months in jail might have some effect – – – but am also afraid it could backfire and Hayley would really become a hardened addict/criminal. It’s all such a dice throw. Thanks for checking in.

How do I make my son care enough to change his life? It’s a question I ask every single day and the answer is always the same…I can’t make him care. I think many of our addicts suffer from depression and other mental illnesses. Maybe the thats why the answer is always the same? I am praying for you and your daughter.

Bingo – – – this is the million dollar question. I know that probably I can’t make my daughter care enough to change her life. But how can we help an addict care enough to change themselves? Do I just have to leave this all to chance and time? I’m not sure Hayley has the luxury of either of those choices. Thanks for your comment, Madyson. I will visit your blog. Hugs to you.

I am not sorry for anything that I have tried to help her. If this thing kills her, I will know that I did unconditional love, tough love, stay at home, stay away from my house and suboxone. I would help her try anything that might work 3 or 4 times. I do not regret it. I just regret that she is still lost. Now I am trying to get what I can back of my own life but I still pray for her many times a day.

The pictures are so familiar. Housekeeping and hygiene just are not priorities when my daughter is on heroin. Conversely, you could eat off her floors when she was on speed! I’m sorry your daughter is back in that house… prayers will continue for her and for you. Please know I’m thinking of you.

I am so very sorry to read this. I didn’t read the other comments, yet, but here’s my take on this: I think it is not only possible, but likely that your dear Hayley has a mental illness. It is so, so common among addicts. The trick is to get her clean long enough to be evaluated. I can attest that my son has become a different person now that he’s been properly diagnosed and is taking the right combo of meds (of course this could change any day, I am not naive enough to think he’s out of the woods completely). I don’t know the laws in your state, but in CA you can not have someone admitted to a mental health unit unless they are suicidal. If she could get someplace to get clean long enough to find out what the underlying issues may be, I think she’ll have a better chance. You are a loving mother, its painful to watch you have to watch her live like this.

Uggh 😦 I wish you didn’t have to go through the pain the worry causes. I know how nice it was when you knew she was in a better environment. I’ll put my advice out there again from a Greg Iles book, “Our greatest hopes and our worse fears are seldom realized.”
Even if you knew there was a mental illness involved, you wouldn’t be able to cure it or control it. If you truly think it might be BPD, there is a great book that I’ve read/used in the past “Stop Walking on Eggshells” by Paul T Mason & Randi Kreger. Even though Hayley hasn’t officially been diagnosed, the book helps with things I even later translated to Heather’s situation with drug abuse.
(Side note: of course I gave the book to Heather b/c she too has to deal with the person with BPD and – what do you know – I asked if she had read it – um – no – I sold it on e-bay. nice.)
It is such a hard catch-22, and unfortunately, until Hayley does something herself, the best you can do is take care of you and take it up to God.
I spoke with Heather last night and (I can’t remember how this came up) she said about how when she was doing Oxy all the time how hard it was to keep up with her basic hygiene. I found this very interesting. She was always a very “glamour girl” – nails done at the salon etc. Through 2009 sometimes I wondered if she had even bathed, and her bathroom was disgusting etc. so I found it interesting she would admit to that. Though that doesn’t help much with rather the mess is from mental illness or drug use…
Peggy – you and Hayley are always in my prayers.
God bless.


I am sorry that she is back at square one . Hopefully, you are doing something that you enjoy every day in spite of all this.

Many people get a tentative mental health diagnosis in rehab. They get meds as well for the mental issues. They are told that the diagnosis is not definitive until they have a long time sober but they still start treatment.

I am told that most addicts will not take their psychiatric meds if they are using other drugs. They mostly just sell their psychiatric drugs to get what they want. This has happened over and over with my daughter. She had her psychiatric diagnosis before she started the major drugs. I believed until recently that she was clean and sober altogether before her first major bout of depression. Turns out that she was drinking and even doing perscription drugs quite a bit. At this point she is in active addiction and has probably done all of the drugs.

When they are mentally ill as well as drug addicted the crises come very fast and furious. They have impaired judgment and problems with impulse control without drugs. Now add the drugs into that glorious mix and you have Dante’s inferno.

I hope you can take comfort each day in your own health and the joy of your other children.

Thanks for being here for me.

Anna – thanks for this. It has been helpful and tempers my panic a bit. Hayley has always had impulse control issues. From what I’ve read, I think she is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) which is difficult to diagnose, definitively, let alone treat. It all seems like such an impossible conundrum. Sorry about your daughter . . . you are in my thoughts, and I appreciate your wisdom and insight.

Right now, you can only take care of you. Any peace you can find for your heart right now, you need to focus on. You and Hayley are in my prayers.


hold on to the three c’s. that’s about all you can do.

My thoughts and prayers are with you. I know from experience that an addict will not stop until they are ready to stop.
I have been in apartments just like Haley’s as well as the crack house you described.
All is not lost. There is always hope. My family had to love me from a distance until I could love myself enough to stop.

Hope is available.

Thanks for this comment. I just hope my daughter can stop before she kills herself.

Peggy – I’m so sorry you have to go through this pain! She may very well have a mental disorder, but until she decides she can’t live like that any more, you can only accept the situation and take care of yourself. You can have compassion for her and not try to “fix it”. Thankfully, God is not overwhelmed by the situation.

You and Hayley are in my thoughts and prayers!

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