Back Open For Business – – – and other stuff

Posted on March 29, 2010. Filed under: addiction, Addiction Resources/Support, Intervention, Parent of an Addict, Treatment Centers | Tags: , , , , , , |

I texted Hayley a couple of times last week with no response.  I asked if she was ok, followed by a request to contact me a couple of days later.  I haven’t heard from her and I’m worried.  I sent these text messages to the unfamiliar phone # she texted me from at 2:00 am on Friday, March 19th (see Crack House Busted), so who knows if she ever received them?  I need to hear from my daughter.

The most recent news is that Eric, my drug world “mole”, is back in jail for violating parole. He had a minor relapse and ‘used’ (cocaine, I‘m assuming), and failed his weekly UA (urinalysis) check.  Poor Eric – almost 45 yo and still battling the addiction demon.  He has tried so hard to get and stay clean. After helping get Hayley out of the crack house last August, Eric went to rehab again last September, his 5th or 6th stab at it.  Since finishing this most recent rehab program, he’s faithfully gone to NA, AA, after care treatment/programs, meeting his parole obligations, staying in touch with me and keeping his ear to the ground about news of Hayley. He’s had trouble finding a steady job, getting his old beater car going, just dealing with the day-to-day reality of staying sober, and “up”, and trying to make something of his life.  He’s been so helpful to me – I wish I could support him in some way.  I’m a little reluctant to get “involved” – initiate contact with him, visit him in jail, encourage him, offer to take him somewhere, give him some personal contacts for job possibilities, etc.  Am I being paraonoid? Selfish?  Probably. And yet, I think about someone “stepping out” of their comfort level and  befriending my daughter at some point, giving her the encouragement and support she might need at a vulnerable time.  I’m not sure what I’ll do.

The second bit of significant news is that “Bill”, the head honcho at the drug/crack house who was arrested with 2 others in the drug bust 10 days ago, is out of jail and back at the crack house, where Hayley has been living.  This hardly seems fair – drug dealer released, struggling drug addict jailed. With Eric in jail, I don’t have details of this recent development.  I wonder who posted bail for Bill?  I thought his charges were serious enough that he wouldn’t be back in circulation for awhile.  Guess not.  Since I’ve had trouble reaching Hayley at the phone # from which she texted 10 days ago, now I’m considering  calling “Bill” myself, and ask to speak to my daughter.  I’ve done this before, and Bill was very ‘cordial’ and cooperative on the phone – almost solicitous.  Yes, I have the phone # of my daughter’s drug dealer and lots of other information I’d rather not know.

Did anyone watch program # 2 last week on TLC’s Addicted? What did you think? I thought they did a decent job of showing some of the treatment center’s program, Klaya’s struggle with leaving her family and the co-dependence issues of mother and daughter.   The fact that Klaya was using meth and prostituting to support her habit while living at home, was unbelievable.  The power of denial and co-dependence  were well documented. And, from what I know about hard-core drug addicts, Klaya seemed too well-groomed and ‘put-together’ to me – nails done, always fashionably dressed and coiffed, etc.  My daughter’s lack of personal hygiene and carelessness regarding her appearance during the last year or two, were huge red flags of drug abuse, in restrospect.  (see Dirty Fingernails) The program’s ending seemed a bit too tidy, and happy, and unrealistic, especially given the fact that Klaya had been using drugs and meth, in particular, for years.  However, she was quite young (19/20?), and still fairly malleable.I would love to see a follow-up on Klaya’s post treatment progress.  She appeared to be genuinely transformed after treatment – I do sincerely hope that she has been able to sustain her recovery.  Interventionist, Kristina Wandzilak, continues to appear very credible, professional, and effective in her no-nonsense and respectful approach. She would be an asset on anyone’s recovery team.  Wish she was on my daughter’s.

Hayley’s birthday is a little over a week away.  She’ll be 31 years old.  What do I get her for her birthday?  What does one buy, wrap up, and deliver to their heroin-addicted child?  I know, I know – love, encouragement, hope – – – and recovery, are what she needs most.  At this point, I just don’t know how to give and get those gifts to her.


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24 Responses to “Back Open For Business – – – and other stuff”

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Peggy, undoubtedly she’ll look terrible, and I’m sure she knows it. Parents of heroin addicts kow what extensive heroin use looks like. Skinny, bad skin, bruises, track marks and worse, etc. After a while, heroin destroys an addict’s self image. They hate (but need) the drug, they hate themselves and they pretty much think they don’t deserve anything. Sort of like long-term suicide. That’s why I hope you’ll try to see Hayley and tell her you love her, for better or worse. Which doesn’t mean you’ll rescue her, just that you’ll be around when and if she can make the move to rescue herself.
You know, Peg, I told you I’d been thinking about all of this quite a bit this week, considering everyone’s comments and experiences. Do you think it’s possible that addicts hit a point where the drug has removed all semblance of a human being inside, which would explain how loving mothers like Dawn and Lisa are able to arrive at the give-up point without dying inside themselves.
I raised my two daughters on my own (my ex left when they were 3 yrs. old and 18 months – after 13 years of marriage), so my relationship with my girls was probably a bit too close. I nurtured and protected to a fault. So, “letting go” is a big issue for me. It’s easier for my ex, because he was pretty much a non-participant in their upbringing and has an avoidance issue, opposite of my problem. At any rate, I’m always aware that there is only one person my daughter knows she can depend on to love her no matter what, and as long as I try to keep boundaries, i.e. expressing love and support, but no more rescuing – That’s what feels right for me right now. Peggy, you have to figure out what feels right for you.
Hugs to you and all-

Thanks for this, Gal. It sounds true. I cringe and get almost panicky when I think about seeing Hayley. Yet, you’re right. She needs reminding that someone loves her – me – and that I AM the one that is here and always have been. I’m just so afraid that her teeth have been knocked out or something worse. I learned that she had been in the ER on March 5th. Wouldn’t you think that after an addict shows up in the ER time after time, that they would call a social worker in to talk to the addict and help them if they wanted it? I know I should see my daughter – just don’t know if I can.

I think that addicts who are trying to remain functional may focus on outward appearance (ie hair/nails) to delude them selves and others into thinking everything is fine.

That makes sense, Kevin. I think my daughter has given up all pretenses of appearing functional. She has isolated herself in the crack house. It must be a very small world for her. I’m afraid to see her and what she looks like now after 9 months of shooting heroin. Her birthday is next week – and I’m not sure if I’ll try to see her or not.

This blog has stirred up so much great sharing, Peg. I say “amen” to Barbara’s comment (so well said). Here’s a quote from Robert Burton: “Hope and patience are two sovereign remedies for all.”

I feel like I have nothing to add other than I care about you and feel very frustrated for a lot of parents tonight 😦

I think there is a lot to be said for focusing on those things that bring you joy (your other children/grandkids, etc.) and on yourself. In reading all the responses of those who know way more about this than I, it seems that you can continue to love, hope, pray and care but not at the cost of all else. Life is short, you will always be there for Hayley and she knows that at her core. Don’t lose out on all the wonders you do have in your life. Hope its okay to say that, I know how much you struggle with all of this. What did that little note pad say again? “I can only please one person a day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow doesn’t look good either.” Doesn’t totally apply to this but there is a good message there for all of us. xoxo a.

Thanks for this, Ang. Looks like I need to look for one of those notepads for myself.

Peggy – I almost emailed you privately, because I’m embarrassed that I can’t bear the thought of you not contacting her on her birthday. I refuse to believe there is harm in telling someone you love them, especially on a day that might still mean something to her, deep down in her drug-addled consciousness. Telling her you love her doesn’t cure anything. It doesn’t say that you approve of her choices. It doesn’t say that you expect anything from her anymore. It just says…I care. I’ve mentioned before how my daughter sunk deeper and deeper into self-hatred when she was using heavily. She no longer felt she was worth saving and disliked herself so much, she couldn’t imagine anyone else caring about her. If I hadn’t reached out my hand, it’s very unlikely she would have found the strength to get help. (She has told me as much.) I have no idea whether she’ll be able to continue in her fragile new sobriety, but by the grace of God, she’s alive right now. If she ultimately wants to kill herself with drugs, I certainly can’t stop her, but at least she’ll die knowing that she matters and that I love her. Perhaps, one day, I just won’t care anymore, but surely I’ll know when I’ve had enough and want to close the door completely. For now, I have to believe it’s about setting boundaries. As much as I respect those who say turn away and save yourself (and if I was responsible for raising my addict’s children, I know I’d feel the same as they do) but if you’re not yet to the point where you can comfortably turn away, then maybe it’s not right for you now. You love your daughter. You hate what the drugs have done to her. Offer love with strong boundaries. If you’re ready to walk away to save yourself, that’s fine and you should, but you sure don’t sound like that’s where you are. I know I’m not, and I dread the thought of getting to that point. All due respect and many hugs to Dawn and Lisa, because they’ve lived through so much and have so much to offer us…and I know they must think I’m still ridiculously naive in clinging to hope for Hayley, et al. But so be it. One step at a time.

You have to do what your heart tells you to do – what feels right. It is important to have distance, boundaries and to try and always keep yourself in the picture. Its also important to cling onto the fact that she has not completely disappeared. She will know it is her birthday and she will know if you dont call. I have come to understand that being the sibling of an addict and being the parent of an addict can be worlds apart. My mother, although working hard at the moment in trying to create some distance will never be able to fully detach.
Thinking of you at this difficult time
PS: A new item of comfy clothing for her birthday?

I would call but everyone is different and in a different place. If it makes you feel better, go for it. I am in a different place because my daughter is home and put herself in rehab. She has a lifetime of healing and recovery to do but we are taking it one step at a time. Good Friday will be 90 days for her clean and sober. Only issue was the cutting incident last week after she saw her ex.
You cant just stop loving them even when they don’t want your love. You can still give it. Prayers for you and Hayley and hoping that one day the light bulb will go off and she will want to get better, until then, sending hugs, since we all need them right now.

Yes, I have a few things – fleece, sweats and hoodie, long-sleeved T -all in her favorite color, glacier blue – same as her eyes. Whenever I see this color, which is everywhere, of course, I think of my daughter and my heart breaks. And fresh new underwear. Who knows if there’s a washer/dryer at the crack house? And some lip gloss, a few toiletries. I’ll add some fresh fruit.

I understand your fears, they are mine as well. I have tried so many things over the years to get my son into recovery, help him get well, all to no avail. I finally realized that nothing I do or say will make a difference in when and if he gets clean. What I am finding is that I can still show him love without getting in his way, staying out of the path that his soul is meant to take. It took me years to feel this way and some days are better than others. Every person’s journey is different and unique, but we all feel the same fear and anger over our loved one’s addiction. I hope you can find some peace and that Hayley will find recovery.

Dawn, you have a gift for words…even though I don’t always agree with you.

I like Anna’s idea.

I watched episode 2 of Addicted, and agree with what you said Peggy. I had recorded it and it cut off. Did they say how she is doing now?

They said she had 90 days in treatment, and 90 days in a 1/2 way house. Sounds pretty good to me. For some reason, I really believed in Klaya’s recovery and positive future – don’t know why. Her transformation after getting clean seemed so genuine and hopeful. This program is what keeps me questioning whether or not our family should consider doing an intervention with Hayley, the logistics of which seem close to impossible.

I don’t think it is sad to have hope for Hayley. Stay out of Eric’s world you don’t need anymore addicts in your life…it always seems to lead back to the same self destructive place.


You have said that you live in a relatively small town, that people know about your situation. You will know if something happens to her. You will know fast so nothing did!

A good birthday present if you want to give one is a haircut paid to the salon in advance. I once bought my daughter oranges as I was hard pressed to think of something that she could not trade for drugs. She was not pleased!

Take care of yourself. You deserve it.

Good point, Anna. I’m sure I will hear quickly when/if something of significance happens in Hayley’s life. And your gift suggestions are great. Finding something that can’t be traded for drugs is difficult. Fresh fruit and veggies – strawberries, raspberries, oranges, fresh asparagus – all things Hayley would appreciate. (I think – afterall, who is she now?) My guess is that Hayley would avoid going so public with a trip to the hair salon – but, I know she would love it. Since I can’t really communicate with her (she doesn’t have a cell phone anymore), should I call her drug dealer on her birthday? I think that’s what I’m going to do. Tsk. Who woulda thought.

I felt while reading your post, that you had taken a snipit from my life and posted it. 😦

Peggy, Amen to all comments above. I have not heard from my daughter in two years. I have not received phone calls, birthday gifts, Christmas presents and neither has she from me or for that matter, her children. It is sad, but it is what it is. You are not moving from place to place or constantly changing your phone number. She knows where you are if she needs to contact you. Life is short – enjoy it!

I am not being flip or unsympathetic; your frustration and your pain is real and I’m so sorry that you are dealing with this, at this level, for so long. You deserve a calm and serene life. But Dawn is correct. You are totally involved in Hayley’s addiction and it is not getting you anywhere except closer to your grave; and that is unfair to you and the rest of your family.

You should not be talking to the drug dealers, moles, or anyone else. If Hayley was not an addict and was working a “normal” 9-5 job and having some difficulty with her boss, you would not pick up the phone and call her boss. Our perception gets totally warped when we are dealing with our loved one and they are an addict.

I can only say to you to keep praying for her; and focus on you and other family members. You can reach out to her once a week or once a month and ask her to check in because you miss her and love her, but if she chooses not to, you have to accept that it is because she doesn’t want to reach back. It doesn’t matter whether she gets your message or not. She will contact you if she wants to. She knows how to reach you.

It breaks my heart to sound so harsh, and I honestly don’t mean to. I am so very worried about you and your well being. Someone wrote (it might have been Lou, I can’t remember) that addicts seem to have extra guardian angels on their shoulders because they come through so much. I believe that is true, so I hope that gives you a little comfort that regardless, God is still watching out for her. Please take care of yourself; and you will continue to be in my thoughts and my prayers.

sorry. you are still drinking the kool-aid. it’s unfortunate,but this is not the fairy tale that the stupid tv shows portray.

and, hayley doesn’t WANT to contact you or she would.

bottom line, they prefer drugs to interfering and loving family members. it’s just the way it is.

sometimes, i’m not sure who has more trouble detaching…the parents? or the addicts.

hayley is offering you the opportunity to detach, and you are holding onto those apron strings with both hands gripped tightly. but you are the only one attached to the apron at this point. hayley let go a long time ago.

she wants to let go. now it’s your turn. of course it hurts. start focusing on the other parts of the family and your work or something, before you go insane.

she is turning 31 years old soon. she has been an addict for almost what? 10 years or so?

obviously she has survival skills. obviously she continues to choose to live this way.

there isn’t anything you can do about it, and quit trying to reassure her that you love her. she knows it.

woman!! get thee to a counselor!!!

said with much love, dawn

At this point,I’m just not sure that my daughter is deliberately “choosing” her lifestyle. I think that her addiction is now calling the shots and she is frantically scrambling to stay afloat. I know – this perspective has the “victim” mentality ring to it. However, I can just feel Hayley’s paralysis and sense of being overwhelmed. I truly believe she feels stuck, and helpless, and hopeless, and needs help taking even a baby step towards recovery. I don’t necessarily think that I am the one to “rescue”/”save” Hayley – to maybe give her the boost she may need to get over the wall. But who else is there? And what’s the alternative – just wait around until something catastrophic happens? How much time is is there? Of course, Hayley needs to take charge/ownership of her own recovery – but what if she genuinely believes she’s incapable of doing that? I haven’t seen my daughter since August and have only spoken to her, briefly, twice since then. I have physically detached from her, but have not emotionally. I know that. It’s just so difficult to do nothing.

Dear Peg,
Sometimes I don’t have the words, like today, to let you know how much I feel for you. Because I am an addict and self-obsession is at the core of the disease of addiction, I get trapped in my own world, stay on my side of the street. Having talked to literaly thousands of addicts in detox facilities, jails, and meetings it is always the most difficult talks in talking to family members of addicts and trying to convey to them what can be done and what can’t be done. I was looking at a picture of my 2 children and wondered “What would I do if it were them”. The answer wasn’t as spiritual as I thought it would be.
I believe today that there were people who came in and out of my life for a reason. Some of them cared and others didn’t. The ones who cared, who prayed for me, waited for the day that I made a decision to do something. They loved me from a distance because they were hurt and confused by my actions. You have already given your daughter the greatest birthday gift of all….Love. She may not be able to see it for what it is, but you and I know what it is for, and that’s what matters in the end.
There is a sign over Dante`s Inferno that reads “Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here”, don’t ever give up the hope, ever, without hope, I have nothing, and people just like you give me hope.
Much Love and Respect…
Bob D.

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