Archive for May, 2010

Saving the Best For Last

Posted on May 23, 2010. Filed under: Addiction Resources/Support, AlAnon, Intervention, Parent of an Addict, Treatment Centers | Tags: , , , , , |

Since learning of Hayley’s seemingly rough time in detox, I’ve felt discouraged.  As usual, I project ahead and go from 0 to 100 in an eye blink.  I’ve done it my whole life.  It’s called, “catastrophizing”, and I learned it from my parents.  My mother could, and still does, turn a hangnail into an amputation with little effort and convincing drama.

So, when I read this passage on May 17th from Al-Anon’s Courage to Change daily meditations, I slowed down a bit.  Maybe it will speak to you, as well:

“When we talk of tomorrow,” says a Chinese proverb, “the gods laugh.” They laugh, I believe, not because they find us ridiculous, but because they know the future is not predictable.  Thus, we have no choice but to live one day at a time – right now – this moment, this day.

I can make plans, but I cannot determine the results.  No amount of scheming about next week can control what will happen then.  Circumstances will be different, and I myself will be different as well.

I can further compress the focus of this slogan to address one hour at a time, or even one minute at a time. In such small increments, life begins to feel not only bearable, but precious. At any given moment, no matter what is going on, if I concentrate on being right here, right now, I know that I am fine.

Today’s Reminder:

My worst fears about tomorrow need not affect this day.  By letting them go, I am free to grow. What bad habit can I change today?  What fear can I face? What joy can I acknowledge? What good fortune, no matter how modest, can I celebrate?  All I have is today.  Let me make today the most fully alive day I have ever experienced.

Do not be anxious about tomorrow; tomorrow will look after itself.” The Bible

Last Wednesday, I decided to phone the detox facility and see how Hayley was doing.  Actually, I was dreading the call and was scared. Six days before, this was the report from her dad, Brad, and his wife, Jill:

We saw Hayley this morning because we were in the area and the staff at First House thought it would be a good idea.  When we arrived she was lying on the sofa with a heating pad and asked Brad to help her up.  She seemed to be in a lot of physical pain and was really drugged up – not completely nodding off, but fading in and out a bit.  She doesn’t look so good, her feet, hands, and face are extremely swollen, but she assured us that the physician said it was a normal reaction to the Suboxone.

Edie, at First House, answered the phone, and told me that Hayley was doing much better.  In fact, she was being weaned off her meds and would most likely be headed to Safe Harbor Treatment Center towards the end of the week.  I wept with relief and reminded myself, to take “one day at a time”.  How many times do I need to tell myself this?

Thursday, I packed a box of things for Hayley: books, photos, stationary, stamps, lotion, and other miscellaneous items, and sent it off to Safe Harbor.  And, I sent her a letter, although, I wasn’t quite sure what to say.  I wanted to be encouraging and loving, ‘newsy’ about home and family, but also remind her of a few important things.  Because Al-Anon’s “One Day At A Time” and “Just For Today” slogans have helped me get through my days, I included the May 17th passage (above) as well as this:

ONE DAY AT A TIME: from How Al-Anon Works

. . . a practical approach to our challenges and fears is to take them “One day at a time.” We can’t do anything about the future because the future is not within our grasp today.  Worrying about it, trying to manipulate it, anticipating it – all these activities simply remove us from the moment. We can’t change the future, but by making the most of this day, we prepare ourselves to be able to handle whatever comes tomorrow.  We can only choose how we will respond today.

We can respond to the changes we see before us, confronting new challenges and fears, and enjoying the gifts that sobriety can bring, or we can allow ourselves to become obsessed with the possibility of relapse or failure.  We cannot know what will happen, and we needn’t deny any possibility, desirable or undesirable.  But wasting today worrying about tomorrow will not make us any better prepared for difficulties that may present themselves.  If they do manifest, those painful problems will not hurt any less tomorrow, whether we have stewed about them or set them aside today.  All of our preparation will not have spared us a single ounce of pain.  In fact, it will have lengthened our suffering, since we’ll have added all that extra worrying time.  So, if there is no advantage to trying to live in the future, it only makes sense to stay here in the present and make the very best of every precious moment we are given.

Another advantage in living “One day at a time” is that we break huge, overwhelming tasks into smaller, more attainable goals.  We cannot do what we cannot do.  Worrying about going hungry tomorrow won’t put more food on the table, it will only make us forget to appreciate the food we have today.  This day is ripe with opportunities for joy, for sorrow, for experiencing the full range of human emotion and experience.  Isn’t it time we took advantage of it?

As I’ve mentioned before, I find comfort and support in Al-Anon – but, I’ve learned to “take what I like, and leave the rest”.  For example, if I had only taken “one day at a time” and had not spent weeks putting together an intricate plan to get Hayley to treatment, anticipating all the possible snags and barriers, she wouldn’t be at Safe Harbor right now.  And, I can’t help but note that for the past year, Hayley has been living her own version of one-day-at-a-time.  Oh, the irony of that slogan.

And yes, according to Al-Anon, doing an intervention with Hayley could be viewed as enabling behavior.  However, my mother’s intuition told me that Hayley needed a ‘hand up’ in getting out of her deep, dark hole – – – and that she deserved at least one chance at recovery – especially since the statistics show that most addicts/alcoholics go through multiple rehab programs before, if ever, reaching long lasting sobriety.  It was time to start.

And now – for the best news I’ve had in a very long time.  Friday evening, I received a phone call from my daughter.  She had just arrived at Safe Harbor from the detox facility.  Her voice sounded clear and strong.  She told me how grateful she was for this chance of a new life, and that she was ready to do the hard work required.  We both cried.  And then, in true Hayley fashion, she added that she ‘needed’ to get her hair highlighted and cut, and that her dad had agreed to pay for this – and, that she also ‘needed’ a massage to get more of the toxins out of her muscles.  Hmmmmm – entitlement at its best.  She’s very good at it.  I just spent $102 getting her a pair of glasses so she can read the daily material she’s supposed to read in treatment .  I told her to just take “One Day At A Time”, and we would see what priorities became obvious.  I still struggle with setting boundaries with my daughter and knowing what is reasonable, and what is not.  And so, it continues . . . “one day at a time”.

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“. . . And ‘Justice’ For All”.

Posted on May 17, 2010. Filed under: addiction, Addiction Resources/Support, AlAnon, Parent of an Addict, Treatment Centers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

I spent last week Cleaning Up Her Messes, just a fraction of the devastation left behind after my heroin addict daughter left for treatment in southern California.

Hayley had a court date on Friday, May 14th, for violating probation – and, since she is now in California after our intervention of sorts, she would not be able to appear.  In April 2009, Hayley officially entered the ‘criminal’ justice system when she served 4 days in jail for a minor (misdemeanor) shoplifting offense that had been committed the previous July (2008).  We, her family, knew nothing about this crime – she apparently decided to handle it on her own, the result being that finally, more than 10 months after the crime had been committed, she was sentenced to 4 days in jail and two years of probation.  I happen to think that carrying the shame, uncertainty, fear, and anxiety of this pending sentencing for 10 months, along with losing her job, dog, and a variety of other factors, coalesced in to the ‘perfect storm’ of escalating drug use and her eventual heroin/crack addiction.  (I really should qualify this by adding that for at least the last ten years, Hayley’s poor choices and chemical dependency on something, were building towards this eventuality.)

Apparently, last fall, a warrant for her arrest was issued for probation violation since she hadn’t kept her probation appointments for several months. Last fall, on a routine traffic violation stop, a check was run on all the car’s passengers, and Hayley’s arrest warrant was discovered.  She was arrested on the spot and taken to jail.  And, I guess her drug ‘buddies’, primarily her drug dealer/boyfriend Bill, posted bond for her and she was released after about 12 hours.  I’m still not absolutely clear about how bail bonds work, but here’s a little help from Wikipedia:

Traditionally, bail is some form of property deposited or pledged to a court to persuade it to release a suspect from jail, on the understanding that the suspect will return for trial or forfeit the bail (and possibly be brought up on charges of the crime of failure to appear). In some cases bail money may be returned at the end of the trial, if all court appearances are made, no matter whether the person is found guilty or not guilty of the crime accused. If a bondsman is used and a surety bond has been obtained, the fee for that bond is the fee for the insurance policy purchased and is not refundable.

I think that Hayley’s bail bond was for $3,000, which usually represents 10% of the bail that was set (so, $30,000?) and probably $300 – 500 was paid to the bondsman to secure the bond by Bill, the drug dealer. I’m guessing this.  More co-dependence built between Hayley and Bill.

For those of you who have been following my blog, you will recall that the morning Hayley and I were to leave town to go to the airport, the bail bondsman, Javier, revoked her bail bond (via phone instructions) and his ‘thug’ commenced to march Hayley across the street to jail.  This was a potential disaster. After intense, furious pleading with the 350 pound ‘thug’, I was able to speak to Javier on ‘thug’s’ cell phone, agree to sign a promissory note for $3,000, and leave a $500 check as a deposit.  Hayley and I were finally able to get on the road . . . literally, to recovery.

Last week I spent days getting letters written, documentation from Safe Harbor that Hayley was enrolled as a patient there, and then delivering these packets of info to all the necessary parties: public defender, prosecuting attorney, probation officer, and bail bondsmen.  Hayley’s PO, Freida, was very helpful and sympathetic and made a call to the prosecutor to let them know I’d be delivering important information regarding Hayley’s case.  And the bail bondsman, Javier, and my new best friend, was surprisingly cordial, knowledgeable, empathetic, and willing to help advocate for Hayley.  Of course, he had $3,000 at stake.

Javier told me to show up at court on Friday a half hour early – that he would meet me there and look over who the assigned prosecutor and judge were to be and then know more what to expect and exactly how to proceed. At 1:15 pm, Javier still hadn’t arrived, so I called him.  He was ‘running late’, but promised to be there in ten minutes – and, he was.

There were probably 25 or more cases to be heard that day. Other than the judge and attorneys, I was the only person there in a blazer and khakis – shorts, tank tops, flip-flops, and tattoos prevailed.

Javier sat in the court room with me for over an hour.  After showing him the letter I wrote on behalf of Hayley, he seemed impressed and asked who wrote it for me.  “I wrote it”, I said.  Yeah – I can write – wanna hire me?

When Hayley’s name was finally called, I stepped up to the table and chair beside the public defender, whom I had never met. She did, indeed, have the material in hand that I had dropped off, as did the prosecuting attorney.  When the defense attorney told the judge that the defendant’s mother was there, representing her daughter, the judge sounded a bit perturbed as he commented, “ . . . highly unusual . . .”  Yikes.  After I fumbled over a few words (did I actually say, Your Honor, as I had intended, or did I forget, and that’s why he cut me off?), and the prosecutor and defense attorney mumbled a few words to each other (as I’m frantically trying to interject important considerations that they hadn’t addressed), the judge, along with the prosecutor, agreed to a 45 day continuance – until July 9th, when the case would be revisited.  In the mean time, the treatment center would need to send every one reports on Hayley’s progress.  At this point, I didn’t know what my role was, whether or not I was to appear again in court on July 9th, what, even, was the attorney’s name who was ‘representing’ my daughter?  This all transpired in less than a minute, with random whisperings amongst the three of us, on the spot, in front of an impatient judge.

What do most people do who are facing some kind of criminal charge, unable to afford a lawyer, and no one to really advocate on their behalf? It’s mind-boggling – and disturbing – and frightening.  The answer, of course, is that ‘justice’ is served, along with privilege – on the same tray.

On Monday, I guess I’ll follow-up with all of this – get the name of the court-appointed attorney, arrange for the treatment center to send reports regularly, update Hayley’s probation officer, yadayadayada.  I’m not sure I trust everyone to actually receive and keep track of the required info – so, should I hand deliver  it to all parties?  I guess my paranoia would be quelled a bit if I did.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to not assume – – – anything.  And, do the work for these people – make it as easy as possible for them – they don’t have the time or resources to properly do it themselves.  It’s sad, but true.

And Javier and I – well, we will stay in touch.  I really like this guy, believe it or not – and I am important to him, since I’m the one who will eventually have to pay Hayley’s $3,000 bond, if necessary.

And now, some news about Hayley in detox.  Hayley’s dad, Brad, and his wife, Jill, stopped in to visit Hayley on Friday.  They had just returned from a cruise that had docked near where Hayley was located. When they arrived at the detox facility, Hayley was lying on the couch and needed help getting up.  Her feet and legs were very swollen, and she was in a lot of pain.  I hate imagining her physical condition, and what she must look like.  Brad suggested she get some exercise – primarily walking, to help the edema. However, the detox facility can’t really arrange for this.  Hayley seemed grateful to be there, and was looking forward to getting to the actual treatment facility.  She asked for a new pair of glasses – that she really needed them to read and watch TV – that she was getting headaches.  Of course, she has lost or broken probably six new pairs of glasses over the last several years.  I, on the other hand,  still have my first pair from the 7th grade!  What’s reasonable? What do we freely give Hayley now, and what should she work for/towards – – – earn?

Thanks to all my ‘fans’ for your comments, encouragement, and support.  As usual, Dawn, as devil’s advocate, keeps me wondering and questioning whether or not I’m enabling my daughter vs giving her a ‘hand up’.  This dilemma is constant, and there never seems to be a satisfying answer.  I am really trying to not do for my daughter what she can do for herself.  However, my rationale for decision-making often revolves around the fact that Hayley doesn’t seem capable of much right now – and definitely suffers from arrested/distorted development regarding basic adult life management skills.  How much of this is due to chemical dependence, brain chemistry, genetics, underlying mental illness, enabling by family members, and/or the red dye in the multi-vitamins she chewed as a toddler? Who knows?  Will it all ever get sorted out, fixed, undone, re-done?  I can get overwhelmed by it all.  Right now, I’m practicing trusting myself – and trying to maintain a shred of hope in what seems to be an almost impossible mire of obstacles to recovery.

Please know how much your comments help navigate this winding road to serenity.  There appears to be no distinct map – so your ‘sign posts’ of encouragement and support keep me from getting totally lost.  Thank you.

P.S.  I’m hoping to catch up next week with those of you whose blogs I follow.

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Cleaning Up Her Messes

Posted on May 14, 2010. Filed under: Intervention, Parent of an Addict | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Even though Hayley left for treatment on Saturday, things haven’t slowed down.  I returned from Seattle  around 5:30 pm on Saturday and proceeded to dispose of everything Hayley had brought with her at 5:30 am Saturday morning to my house, from her life at the crack house.  I dumped all of her clothes, which I had never seen before, in to my garbage can, stacked the mystery paperback books into the Goodwill bag, and knocked on my neighbor’s door, a retired surgeon and long time friend, to deliver the pouch of dirty needles for proper disposal.  There – one major mess taken care of. 

On Sunday morning, I got back in my car to drive two hours to visit my 92 yo mother for Mother’s Day.  We had a nice family brunch with my brother, his wife, and  a couple of close family friends, I planted my mom’s planters on her deck, then jumped back in the car to head back home.  WHEW!  At this point, I was still operating on an adrenalin high.

At home, now, I’m beginning to dare to contemplate my life without visualizing my daughter’s bare, perverse, life-threatening existence at the crack house, whose metal roof I can see from my kitchen window.  I’m forcing myself to not react to the sirens I hear at night – – – and think the worst. For right now – just for today – I don’t need to agonize over whether or not my daughter will be headed to jail, the ER, or, the morgue.

However – because we took Hayley out of state, and she had a scheduled court date for violating probation on Friday, May 14th, I’m in ‘deep shit’.  Or, in reality, Hayley is in deep shit.  Last Saturday, when I was trying to get Hayley to SeaTac airport to fly to the treatment center in California, I signed a $3,000 Promissory Note in order to prevent Hayley from being taken to jail.  Un-beknownst to me, Hayley had a bail bond posted from a previous arrest last fall for violating probation.

Monday,  I typed up a letter explaining why we, our family, conducted an “emergency intervention” with Hayley – that we were afraid for her personal safety and decided to quickly remove her from our small city and get her to a treatment center that could address her multiple issues of:  poly-substance abuse, a serious eating disorder, ‘trauma’ issues, and a possible underlying mental illness diagnosis.  I also requested and received a letter from the treatment center documenting that Hayley was an enrolled patient there, and that they would not recommend Hayley traveling for up to a year.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I delivered these letters to Hayley’s court-appointed defense attorney (who is overworked, back-logged, and could care less), her probation officer, and the prosecuting attorney.  I also visited Hayley’s bail bondsmen, Javier, who told me that he knew and liked Hayley, that she was a unique case,  and . . . he would go to court with me on Friday to advocate for her.  Holy Cow. This bail bondsman does not fit my stereo type and has turned out to be a good resource for me.

I received this recent mini-report from a staff member at the treatment center, on Hayley’s progress at the detox facility:

I went to see Hayley today in detox.  She is doing pretty well – sick, obviously, as you know from the detox. But her spirits are quite high – grateful to be here and can’t wait to get to the treatment center house.  I told her I would bring her some healthier snacks later this week.  Apparently, they only have things to nibble on that are unhealthy and she is afraid of her eating disorder getting the best of her.  Beautiful daughter you have.  I very much look forward to working with you all.

I called the detox facility today, to check on Hayley’s progress.  It’s day # 5 for her.  Last August, while in a medical detox facility in an inner-urban hospital in the Seattle area, Hayley walked out after 41/2 days, AMA (against medical advice).  So – – – I’m nervous. Hayley could walk out of the detox facility where she is, right now, at any time.  Today, Edie, a staff member at the detox facility, reported to me that Hayley was doing ‘ok’, that she was currently outside, in the sun, braiding another patient’s hair.  She said that Hayley was experiencing a lot of deep muscle and bone pain, typical of heroin withdrawal – and that she was scheduled for release to the Safe Harbor treatment center on May 20th or 21st.

My daughter has a low pain threshold.  She’s always whining that something hurts.  A drug counselor recently told me that heroin addicts are known for their whining about their physical ailments.  Who knows how much physical  pain Hayley is truly experiencing – or how much is being ‘used’ to manipulate the situation.

I heard this on NPR today: ‘Stupid’ has a gravitational force that will pull you right in. This comment was in reference to the Greek economy, and the lack of discipline required for long-term change.  It prompted me to think about Hayley, and my hope that she not take the path of least resistance; however, I also realize that she will most likely take the easiest path.  This is scary, because the ’easiest’ path, is not necessarily the ‘best’ path.

When my older son, Jake, remarked that Hayley’s basic personality was difficult and annoying, prior to her heroin addiction, I agreed – and immediately felt so overwhelmed.  A long time friend of Hayley’s sent me this message:

Peggy, Your strength is amazing!  Having grown up knowing Hayley and your family, and being her friend, closer at times than others, these stories seems surreal to me.  I did send her a text prior to her going and she replied as well, sounding positive and admitting that she missed her family so much and “couldn’t live this way anymore…”  All good signs of getting on her way.

One thing stood out to me about your conversation with Jake, and how she had those behaviors even before she was on heroin…something to think about – – – before she was on heroin she was still an addict and chemically dependent to some sort of drug.  (Alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes, prescription meds, etc. etc.)  I’m not sure that she has not lived a lengthy period of time as an adult without being influenced by some sort of drug.  She has yet to develop the personality and coping skills that “typically” take place as an adult, whatever’ typical’ means, right?  She is probably stuck in her adolescent/addict mind frame…

As Jake said, your work is done.  The rest is up to her.  All we can do is love her.  You’ve given her the roots, Peggy, and have dried her wings, now she has to be the one to allow herself to soar.  I hope you find peace.  I hope and pray that Hayley does too.

Thanks, dear sweet Anna, who courageously reached out to both me, and my heroin addict daughter. Anna texted Hayley right before she left for treatment – and I know it helped nudge Hayley forward.

I  also want to acknowledge a friend of Hayley’s, whom I really don’t know, personally.  Apparently, Todd has known Hayley over the last 8 years, through a variety of friends/connections. Recently, Todd discovered my blog, and was shocked to learn of Hayley’s heroin/serious drug addiction.  Two weeks ago, Todd decided to call Hayley and talk to her.  For some miraculous reason, Hayley’s phone was “on”, and she picked up Todd’s phone call.  Hayley told me on our drive to SeaTac Airport last Saturday, that Todd’s phone call to her a couple of weeks ago, meant a great deal – and contributed to her shift towards getting help for herself. Thanks, Todd – for your determination to reach out to Hayley.  Your words to her, that she had traveled down the road as far as she could go, had an impact.

Tomorrow, on Friday, I will go to court, on behalf of my daughter.  The judge could decide to show no mercy, and require me to pay the $3,000 bond, extradite my daughter from California, and put her in jail. Surely, the intent of the court is to get this client the help that she needs – – – and deserves?  Hayley is in treatment right now;  however, I am not assuming that the court, whose job seems to be punitively based, will show us any compassion or give us a break.

Just for today, when I hear sirens at night, I don’t immediately go in to  cold sweats and nightmarish images. I know that my daughter is currently safe and scheduled to enter treatment where she will have the opportunity to re-invent herself.

Cleaning up our children’s messes – isn’t that what mothers do?

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AND . . . She’s Off and Running

Posted on May 10, 2010. Filed under: Addiction Resources/Support, Intervention, Parent of an Addict, Treatment Centers | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Mission accomplished.  As of last night, my daughter is in a medical detox house in southern California and, after 10 – 14 days, will move to an all women’s long term treatment center close by. Hayley is in a race for her own life and it will be more of a marathon than a sprint.  But first, I want to give you the details of yesterday’s live-action thriller.  It’s a frick’in  miracle that it all came off – definitely a case of “divine intervention”, or “cosmic convergence”, whichever you prefer.

(For background leading up to Saturday, you might want to read “Ready . . . Set . . . Go.”)

Here’s a summary.  The ball started rolling about 10 days ago when Hayley called and asked if I’d take her to register at DSHS (state welfare system), a major move on her part.  She’s always been afraid to do this for fear of being arrested for violating her probation.  I said yes, and picked her up.  That day, I was able to spend a couple of hours with her, get her to see a drug counselor at Dependency Health Services, and buy her groceries.  She looked terrible.  Her money and drug supply had dried up, and she was desperate.  She said she thought she was ready to go to treatment. I didn’t let her in on all the time and effort we had been spending to find a place for her.  While at DSHS, she started the application process for the state funded drug treatment program, which I thought was a positive sign – and that this option could always be our/her “Plan B”.  Hayley was to return the following week for an interview and follow-up appointment.  However, when I spoke with her a few days later, just one week ago today, she was dope sick and getting ‘punched and pushed around a lot’ by her roommate, Paula, and drug dealer ‘boyfriend’ – sick, co-dependent relationships, for sure.  I was very afraid for her safety.

Last week was a blur.  Our family conference call exactly one week ago today (Sunday) led to another family conference call Tuesday evening, with interventionist Kristina Wandzilak.  We thought we had found a good treatment center for Hayley, but at the last minute, discovered a major conflict of interest and perhaps a breach in confidentiality by a staff member there.  So, we were back to square one.  That’s when Kristina referred us to two other possibilities, and after days of phone calls talking to both treatment centers, medical detox facilities, and a variety of professionals, we selected Safe Harbor, in Costa Mesa, California, an all-women’s program that could potentially deal with all of Hayley’s problems.  In the meantime, I was trying to stay connected with Hayley so we didn’t ‘lose’ her.  She doesn’t have her own phone and moves between two different drug houses.  Nothing is reliable.  I’m always apprehensive about setting up a meeting time with her, her following through with it, and just being able to reach her by phone when I need to.  When I call her ‘roommate’ Paula’s phone, if Paula doesn’t feel like passing the message on to Hayley, she doesn’t.

By Thursday, we had firmed things up with the treatment and detox facilities.  Airplane tickets were purchased. I had consulted with the only addiction physician in town who wrote 2 prescriptions to keep Hayley more comfortable during the long trip, when she would be in withdrawal. I had shopped for Hayley – buying all new clothes and gear. I didn’t want her taking anything except her ‘blankie’ with her. She still didn’t know the details of our plan. So, I arranged to spend an hour or two with her on Thursday, which I did – it went well.  I told her that we would drive 3 hours to Seattle on Saturday morning, pick up her brothers, Jake and Brian, and then go to the airport where Brian, who had flown up from San Francisco the night before, would escort her down to Safe Harbor in Costa Mesa, California.  I encouraged her to spend Friday night with me, but she said no – that she would be fine.  In essence, she wanted to use right up until the last minute.  And, emotionally, she was a wreck.  She had become involved with and attached to her drug dealer boyfriend, who was facing 7 felony charges (5 years each) after his crack house was raided two months ago. I think that this development of Bill most likely headed to prison, also was a factor in Hayley choosing treatment.  Timing is everything, right?

The departure plan was intricate and tightly scheduled.  We needed to be on the road by 9:00 am Saturday morning in order to connect with her brothers,  Brian and Jake, and then make the plane flight at 2:30 pm.  I was a nervous wreck.  So much could go wrong.

There was just a bit too much time between Thursday and Saturday, in my opinion, to be able to successfully pull this mission off – too much time for Hayley to change her mind, to OD, to have the plan sabotaged in some way by her drug addict ‘family’.  On Friday afternoon, I tried to call Hayley to just check in, and got a message from Paula’s phone that it could no longer receive messages.  I went ballistic – – – my mind catapulted to the worst-case scenario in a millisecond.

Finally, after many phone calls, Paula did pick up – and handed her phone over to Hayley.  “I’m fine, Mom”, Hayley chirped.  I burst in to tears.  “When I couldn’t reach you, Hayley, I thought the worst.  I’ll pick you up at 8:45 am.  Be ready. And if you need or want me to pick you up anytime earlier, just call.”

Friday afternoon and evening flew by, with all my packing and organizing for Hayley.  There were lots of details – and, I was in my highest level of obsessive-compulsive mode.  It was getting closer – – – a chance for Hayley.

I went to bed and was amazed to actually fall asleep.  And then, at 5:30 am on Saturday morning, the phone rang.  I bolted upright in a daze, my heart pounding out of my chest.  “Can you come get me”, Hayley sobbed.  I didn’t know what was wrong – or what I’d find when I arrived, but I quickly dressed and flew out the door.  Hayley was at drug house # 2, where Bill was now living. Everyone was there and apparently they had been up all night. When I pulled up, there she was on the front porch, saying a tearful goodbye to her drug dealer/boyfriend. I got a good look at him – and actually felt some  pity for him.  He was facing prison, losing his ‘girlfriend’, and a dead-end life with little light or hope.  She hugged him several times, walked away, and got in to my car.  I was stunned.

“I want to pick up some things at the other house”, she said.  “And, I need to meet my bail bondsman at 8:00 am to sign some papers before we leave”, she casually added.  WHAT?  I immediately felt a dread in the pit of my stomach.  “What bail bond?” I asked.  “It’s no big deal, Mom. It’s just from when I was arrested last fall for violating my probation.”  I tried not to panic, but my anxiety was building. I was already a wreck – and now, this monkey wrench.

We stopped at the crack house, drove around the back, and Hayley climbed over the garbage and discarded furniture strewn about. She crawled through a small window and disappeared into the house.  No one was there – they were all down at the house we had just come from.  She finally appeared with two bags stuffed with filthy clothes. She went back in to bring out and show me her’ rescued’ stray dog, Kali.  She sobbed hysterically as she held Kali and said goodbye.  It was heartbreaking.  Finally, we were on our way to my house.

As I pulled in to my garage and Hayley unloaded her things, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – one bag full of dirty, torn, smoky clothes I had never seen before, and another full of cheap mystery paperback books. I told her to just keep everything in the garage and that I would wash and send what I could, later. I had already packed her bags, and there wasn’t room for one more thing. (Actually, today I dumped everything into the garbage.  It was all too far gone – and I didn’t want Hayley to ever put on any of those clothes she had acquired (lord knows how) as a heroin addict.)

By now, I’m anxiously watching the clock.  I needed to get myself ready to go, fix breakfast, and get the car loaded.  Hayley took a shower and got dressed.  She couldn’t wear the slip on sneakers I bought for her because her feet were too swollen from shooting up.  “I need an iPod”, she whined.  Oh brother, I think.  That familiar, entitled tone and attitude were still alive and well.

By the time we got out the door, we were late for our 8:00 am appointment with the bail bondsman.  I still was confused about this whole kink in the plan – I knew nothing about bail bonds, what they were, or how they worked.  Hayley assured me everything would take just ten minutes.

We arrived at the bail bond office, which is directly across the street from the county jail.  Hmmmm, I thought to myself. How conveeeeeenient. A young man was there, waiting for us, but knew nothing specific about Hayley’s paperwork.  He called his boss, Javier, who said he’d be there in ten minutes.  So, Hayley and I went next door to a new, ‘happening’ coffee shop to get espressos.  I saw my dentist there with his wife and chatted with them while Hayley waited in line.  When it got close to 9:00 am and the latte’s still weren’t ready, I told Hayley to go back to the bond office to start the paperwork.  Finally, our coffees were ready and as I put lids on them I looked up to see Hayley walk in the coffee shop door being “escorted” by a 350 pound, shaved head, tough looking mother-f—er in a tank top.  “I’m taking her to jail”, he announced to me and to everyone else in the coffee shop.  “Her bail has been revoked”.  It then dawned on me that Javier had set us up – that he had never intended to show up at the office himself and then let Hayley leave town. Hayley had a court date scheduled on Friday, May 14th, and if she didn’t appear then, Javier would be out $3,000..  It was purely business.

I couldn’t believe what was happening.  As I followed Hayley and the ‘MF’er’ out the door, Hayley was pleading, “Please, let Javier talk to my mom.  Can’t she just call him?”  In two minutes we were across the street and “Thug” was punching in the code to the jail’s back door.  And then by some miracle, the ‘big guy’ handed me his phone to talk to his boss.  Javier asked me questions about my self, where I lived, my work history, etc.  I told him that Hayley was going to a drug treatment center in California, and Hayley’s attorney (my brother) had advised us that the treatment center would send a letter to the court testifying to Hayley’s presence.  Javier asked if I would sign a promissory note for the $3,000 bond.  “Yes, of course”, I answered. “And leave a $500 check for deposit”, he added.  Groan.

And then, we were outta there – a few minutes behind schedule, and narrowly averting disaster.  It would have taken hours to have processed Hayley in jail.  Not only would all the carefully planned logistics of physically getting Hayley to treatment have been fouled up, but she would also have been in heavy withdrawal by then. “I never would have gone through with it all, Mom. I would have changed my mind.”

We actually swung in to the Starbuck’s parking lot in Seattle right on schedule.  Brian and Jake were waiting for us.  It was a tearful reunion. The boys hadn’t seen their sister in over a year, and she looked very different. Hayley seemed to be in one of her manic modes, ordering coffee drinks, pastries, and sandwiches – on top of the coffee and food I had purchased a few hours earlier – not to mention the lunch I had packed and the snacks Hayley grabbed from my pantry.  Is this her eating disorder rearing its ugly head?  Here it all comes.  I’ll fast forward a bit, because this has gotten way too long.

On the way to the airport, Hayley’s conversation and humor seemed inappropriate.  She tried on my sunglasses and quipped that she guessed she wouldn’t steal them because they were prescription lenses; she remarked to Jake how lucky he was to have such huge veins in his feet – that she couldn’t find any on her own feet any more; and when she asked Jake about his job and he told her about a recent business trip to Amsterdam, she asked him if he had gotten high there – and recalled being totally blitzed out of her mind when she was there in 2000. Later, Jake told me that Hayley seemed to be her same ‘ol self-centered, brash, entitled self, with a harder edge.  “And the scary part is”, he went on to say, “is that she acted that way before she became a heroin addict. ” He was disappointed and was expecting at least a shred of humility, contriteness, surrender, and gratitude.  It just wasn’t there – in fact, Hayley almost seemed to enjoy dropping little bombs/remarks regaling some of the details of her drug life.

At the airport, Jake and I helped Brian and Hayley get checked in.  Brian, a documentary film maker, had all his camera  and personal gear with him, having come directly from a shoot in Albuquerque. He had his hands full managing all the equipment, bags, Hayley’s meds, and just keeping track of her.  By the grace of god, airport security accepted Hayley’s expired driver’s license and passport as her photo ID.

Jake and I got in to my car and waved goodbye.  Jake was driving, and put his hand on my leg. “Let her go, Mom.  It’s up to her now.”  Brian’s report to us was that the trip went fine.  Hayley slept most of the way.  However, she tried to buy a beer in the airport terminal, and they wouldn’t accept her expired ID.  She had better luck on the plane itself.  Does she realize she will have to give up alcohol, as well?

Brad (Hayely’s dad) and Jill, his wife, were there in California to meet the plane – as was Safe Harbor. And then, it was finished.  The master plan to get Hayley to treatment had been completed.

For about an hour on Saturday, I was with my three children – all of us together at the same time, on the same team, to get Hayley help and out of the risky lifestyle she had been living in for over a year. It was a miracle – – – and the best Mother’s Day present imaginable.  However, now comes the waiting.  Will she stick it out? Can she schmooze her way through a team of professionals like she did in 2002 at the eating disorder treatment center? Who and what has she become?  Can you “undo” ways of thinking and behaving?

P.S.  I drove back home from delivering Hayley to my sons, yesterday, and this morning got back in my car and drove two hours to spend Mother’s Day with my 92 yo mother.  At around 1:00 pm at brunch, my phone rang.  It was the detox center, and my heart sank.  “Hi – – – this is Megan at First House Detox”, she said.  “Normally, phone calls aren’t allowed, but I have your daughter here and she wants to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day.”  I was thrilled to hear Hayley’s voice. She sounded good.  Her message to me was sweet, and sincere.  She seemed pleased that she had slept so long that now, it was time for her first suboxone dose.  Hmmmmmm.  That phone call was testimony to Hayley’s incredible persuasion skills.  I just hope that the treatment center staff is up to dealing with them. 

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Ready . . . Set . . . . . . . . . . . . GO!

Posted on May 6, 2010. Filed under: addiction, Addiction Resources/Support, Intervention, Parent of an Addict, Treatment Centers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

My daughter says she is “ready” to go to treatment. And so, after a very intense and frenzied 10 days or so, we are “set”.  Now, we just have to “go”.

Waiting for the “go” is the hard part.  There’s way too much time from now until Saturday morning at 9:00 am when I’m scheduled to pick Hayley up at the crack house, drive 3 hours to the airport, and send her off.  Will she truly be ready?

We have definitely reached a major milestone.  A couple of weeks ago, after virtually no contact with Hayley for ~ eight months, I decided that she might never get herself to treatment, and needed a “hand up”. If the heroin and other drugs didn’t kill her, the dangerous lifestyle would.  She has never been to a drug treatment program, and I felt she deserved a chance – – – to change her life, to get clean and sober. I know how her brain works – and understand her anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed.  Since seeing her on her birthday, April 6th, she has been saying to friends and some family members that she wants to go to treatment. In reality, I suspected that her shift in attitude was due to her drug supply being seriously interrupted.  After the crack house was raided a couple of months ago, she no longer had easy access to her drugs.  Whatever . . . in order to be able to live with myself and know that I had done everything possible to help my daughter, I decided to take this “ball” of opportunity, and run with it.

In the last couple of weeks, I  have spoken with a number of professionals and multiple treatment centers. The choices are dizzying – and confusing.  It’s like trying to choose a college by speaking to an admittance counselor over the phone. However, our family has been counseled and directed by a well-respected interventionist, who has really helped us define our goals and narrow down treatment centers and options. Kristina Wandzilak is definitely an experienced and talented coach and professional.

Hayley will be going to go to an all women’s treatment center in southern California, where they will be able to treat her addictions, eating disorder, and ‘trauma’ issues.  It’s a 90 day initial program, with a minimum six month after care program that can be extended, if necessary.  Hayley will need a one to two year supervised living situation where she can learn and practice  basic independent living skills. And, she will hopefully get a thorough psychiatric assessment and the follow-up counseling necessary to re-build her self-esteem, learn behavior modification techniques to moderate her impulses and manage her anxiety.  It all seems overwhelming.  But, I am allowing myself some hope, for the first time in years.  If the timing is right, and Hayley can grab hold of this opportunity to pull herself up, well . . . it will be a frigg’in miracle.

I’m a bit numb – trying to keep myself focused on the many necessary details to still arrange, and also trying to keep my hope within realistic limits.  I swing from one extreme to another. I’m trying to keep myself going through these next uncertain days and praying Hayley makes it too.

We decided that we would not need to use the intervention process now, as Hayley already seems willing to go to treatment.  However, the power of the family collectively coming together and professing our love and hope for Hayley, is something that we may do after 30 days of treatment, when she is more clear-headed and may need a boost of energy and resolve to continue on.  They say that the hard work of recovery actually begins after the residential treatment program ends.  And then, there are the 3 – 6 month “fuck-its” that need to be overcome. I hope we can cheer lead Hayley through  these vulnerable periods of recovery and empower her to do what she needs to do.

So,  here’s the plan.  I will pick Hayley up on Saturday at 9:00 am and head to Seattle.  Along the way, we will drive an hour or so and meet my brother, who will be waiting for us with my 92 yo mother.  After a brief hug and some well wishes, Hayley and I will continue on to pick up her older brother, Jake, and younger brother, Brian.  Brian will have flown in from San Francisco and will then personally escort Hayley down to southern California, where they will be met by Brad, their father, and Brad’s wife, Jill.  It’s really a tag team effort, with all major family members involved and able to spend time with Hayley, give her some encouragement and support, and any personal message they may have.

Hayley and I had planned to meet today, Thursday, at 2:00 pm.  I am definitely trying to stay in closer contact with her as departure day looms.  Today, I was going to give her more details of the treatment plan, time table, logistics, etc. – essentially everything we discussed with Kristina on the family conference call.  I was nervous, and have been very anxious that something will foul up the intricate plan – especially since last night, when I spoke with Hayley, she was crying and in bad shape.  She said she was tired of being “punched and pushed around”, yelled at, and generally, treated poorly. She’s enduring a lot of physical and emotional abuse, just to procure her next hit.  This conversation broke my heart, and scared me.  What would these drug addicts plan/do to sabotage Hayley’s effort to get clean?  She sobbed that ‘they’ were even threatening to burn her blankie.

At 1:45 pm today, Hayley called to say she had overslept and could I pick her up at 2:30 pm instead of 2:00 pm?  My stomach dropped a bit – but, at least she called, right?

When I swung in to the driveway of the crack house, she was ready.  Whew! As we were driving, I called “Lloyd” at First House Detox, affiliated with Safe Harbor Treatment Center in Costa Mesa.  Lloyd had told me yesterday that he would love to talk with Hayley and reassure her – which he did.  He was very sweet, encouraging, and tried to  put Hayley at ease.  He talked about using suboxone during detox, but that it was very important she not use it in treatment.  He sounded very convincing, and made some good points, which, I promise, I did not prompt him to do!  It’s amazing how things sound so much better coming from someone else.

We picked up some lunch at Quiznos and took it to my house.  One of the things I was most concerned about was whether or not Hayley had some photo/picture ID, so she could get on the plane.  She assured me she did, so I decided to not worry any more about that – cross it off my list.

During lunch, we had a good talk.  I told Hayley some details of the drug treatment center program, its length (90 days, then 6 months extended care/sober living, then maybe even more supervised living if that’s what the professionals recommended).  And, I told her that if she did not fully complete each step of the treatment program, she would be on her own – that we would have no further contact with her.  I think I was able to convey our excitement for her to have this opportunity to re-start her life and reinvent herself, our hope and confidence that she was capable of doing it, although it would be hard work. She seemed very receptive.

I essentially bought Hayley an entire new wardrobe: (from Target, Shopko, Costco): shoes (she’s had no shoes since September – only random flip flops), clothes, luggage, toiletries – everything to be in California for several months. Basically, I encouraged her to leave everything behind at the crack house – just bring her blankie and a couple of special things.  She agreed to this and seemed to understood the rationale.  In fact, when I returned her to the crack house, she gave me her blankie, one pair of favorite jeans, and a sweater to wash.  I’ll pack them in to her bag.

I’m still quite anxious that Hayley’s druggie ‘friends’ will try to sabotage her leaving – and discussed this with her.  She assured me that they wouldn’t, that she would be careful, etc.  I suggested she stay with me Friday night, but she declined.  I told her to call me Friday night before midnight, and Saturday morning at 8:30 am, and that I would come pick her up any time she wanted me to prior to the Saturday morning departure.  She sounded strong and determined. She truly seems ready, and was very touched by the family “tag team” effort of sending her off and taking her down to CA.

So – I think things are on track – – – and I will be sooooo relieved when she steps in to the car with me on Saturday morning – and then,  gets herself through airport security, isn’t too dopesick on the plane, and is picked up and delivered to the detox facility in California. I am incredibly anxious about these last couple of days.  I know that any heroin injection is potentially fatal.  And, Hayley’s drug ‘friends’ are f–ked up enough to hurt her and/or make her “pay” in some way for leaving. There are so many ways the plan can fail. I’m trying to send out positive energy – and hope that Hayley can feel it and stay strong.  Keep your fingers and toes crossed.

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“Getting Well”

Posted on May 2, 2010. Filed under: Addiction Resources/Support, Intervention, Parent of an Addict, Treatment Centers | Tags: , , , , , , , |

“Getting well” can be an ironic term, I just learned.  And, in today’s case, it’s a euphemism of sorts.  “Euphemism”, according to Webster’s New World Dictionary is:  “the use of a word or phrase that is less expressive or direct but considered less distasteful, less offensive, etc. than another.” Bingo.  Read on.

We’ve been frantically trying to put together all the pieces necessary to get Hayley in to treatment – soon.  Time is of the essence before she ODs or does something even more dangerous/foolish to get her next fix. She is desperate, with no money for food or drugs.  She’s living in the raided crack house with Paula, the woman who regularly beats her up, and who shares the ‘services’ of drug dealer, Bill.  Bill, however, has recently moved out of his crack house since he can no longer sell drugs from there, after being arrested in the recent drug raid. (he was bailed out of jail by his parents) Bill moved in with the Zero brothers, where Hayley used to live,  ‘abandoning’ Hayley and Paula.  Waaaahhhhh  😦 

Over this past week, Hayley announced she was ready for treatment. She said she is tired of being ‘sick’ – as in ‘dope sick’, which translates to: “I can’t easily get my drugs any more and don’t want to go through withdrawal every day.”

Friday, Hayley called me and asked if I would take her to DSHS (state welfare office), to apply for food stamps and the state-funded drug treatment program.  (I hadn’t seen or talked to her since her birthday, on April 6th.  And, as you may recall, I hadn’t seen her, prior to that meeting, since last August.)  I told her I would, fixed a peanut butter sandwich for her, and picked her up at the crack house.  She looked terrible – over-sized men’s slippers on her feet, dirty clothes, thin, pale, hat pulled down over ½ her face. It was difficult to just look at her, let alone, be with her.  “I should be a phlebotomist”, she quipped. “I’m really good at finding veins, especially on other people.” She then showed me her foot, where she had not had any luck that morning. And the irony here is, that professionally, I was well known for my phlebotomy skills.  She added, “Yeah, I’ve often said that I wish my mom were here.”  Some type of weird chortle/sound bubbled up and out of my throat.

She started chatting about treatment – and had somehow gotten wind of the place we were considering for her.  “Do they allow suboxone/methadone there”, she asked? “ I don’t think so”, I responded.  She then launched in to a discourse about wanting to be part of the treatment center selection process – that she knows what she needs to increase her chances for success.  I tried to stay as neutral as I could, but felt bullied a bit, and intimidated.

On the way to DSHS, Hayley mentioned she needed to call her probation officer, so I handed her my phone.  Of course, she didn’t have the phone number – or even know her PO’s name – – – but I did. She left a message on the PO’s voice mail. This was the first time she had called her PO since she first moved in to the crack house a year ago. Consequently, there has been an arrest warrant out for Hayley for violating probation. I believe that this issue has been a huge barrier to Hayley, regarding registering with the state welfare system – she was afraid of going to jail.  So, this phone call was a very big deal, in my opinion.  (Apparently the arrest warrant has been dropped, and Hayley has a court date on May 14th, information I found out about a couple of weeks ago from the hospital ER when I spoke to a social worker there.)

I dropped Hayley off at DSHS with the plan I’d return in a couple of hours – I had a scheduled physical therapy appointment, etc. And when I returned to pick her up, she was there – waiting!  Yay!  Again, progress, though a baby step, I know.  She was ‘bummed’ that she only received $16 in food stamps.  She said she applied for the drug treatment program and had a follow-up appointment next Tuesday.  “Do you need a ride?”, I asked.  She didn’t know.

While we were together, Hayley was able to speak briefly to her PO and told her she was going to treatment.  Again – Hayley was now assuming, I guess, that we, her family, were indeed going to get her to and pay for treatment. And, again, she let me know that she wanted to help decide where.  Hmmmm.

I was then able to talk Hayley in to visiting with the drug counselor at Dependency Health Services I’ve been in touch with over the past year. He was miraculously available when I called.  I could tell she was embarrassed at how she looked, and asked for some lipstick.  She’s so damn beautiful, it’s amazing what a little lip gloss can do.  She spoke to Mike for about 20 minutes.  I felt like another small step had been made, and that now Hayley knows about this resource and could possibly find her own way there if she wanted/needed to.

Hayley asked if I would take her grocery shopping, which I did.  THAT was a tension-filled, awkward and very unpleasant experience.  I realized that I can hardly be around my drug addict daughter – I’m not only so saddened by her condition – I’m also disgusted, angry, and feel intimidated by her.  I never really know what to say to her – and often can’t keep myself from saying the ‘wrong’ thing.  Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know I just need to show her love – but, it’s damn hard.  In a way, I think I’m protecting myself from really losing her.

When I dropped her off at the crack house, I met ‘tough’ Paula, who actually came up to my car window and thanked me for the groceries. I was speechless, and didn’t know what to say.  This woman is a professional criminal and drug addict, who has been mentoring and bullying my daughter for the last year.  When I got a look at her, however, I thought to myself:  Ya know – I bet I could take that bitch on.

I am trying to stay connected to my daughter during this time we’re attempting to set up an intervention and treatment program.  So, I called her this morning to see if I could take her to lunch.  She sounded horrible – and said she was ‘sick’.  She said that she needed to find a way to ‘get well’ today which, of course, means that she needs to find some heroin.  Will she do something even more desperate or foolish than she’s done in the past? And – while we’re trying to put together a plan, should I ‘help’ her in any way?  I guess it’s absolutely ridiculous for me to give her money for heroin while we’re making the drug treatment arrangements – – – or, is it?  Help!

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