“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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23 Responses to ““Getting Well””

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Thinking of you and sending hope.

I guess I don’t understand why you are still debating about suboxone (or methadone for that matter). WHO CARES if it is another “drug”– it’s not heroin! Heroin will kill you and give you Hep C and AIDs and endocarditis and put you in all sorts of disgusting, dirty, dangerous places and situations.

People who say you get “strung out” on suboxone know not of what they speak.

My son is 3 months clean on suboxone, but–but–but–this is in addition to daily NA meetings, a sponsor, an exercise program, weekly visits with a shrink, a parole officer watching him like a hawk, drug testing, and prison as the alternative. He tells me the subox helps a lot with the cravings, and after what our family has lived through, I don’t give a damn if he takes it the rest of his life.

Amen, Lou.

Just like Jim, I read as you write, Peg. thinking of you every hour. Be strong.

I’m reading as you write.

OMG…. substitute Hayley for Stevie and we could be writing about the same person….. you are caught in a vicious cycle. I would not help her. I would make her go cold turkey. It is hard but not deadly. But, it is entirely up to you. My son says he is sick and needs to get well all the time. You are correct- that is code for, “Can I have some money for my fix, MOM?” Good luck! I will be following.

I, too, detoxed my daughter at home several times, but she had lowered her usage prior to the detox in hopes of getting clean. If two of us hadn’t physically restrained her, she’d have run out and used again. She actually thanked me weeks later and said she’d have never made otherwise. But, AND THIS IS KEY, she was still in good health, because she had been living at home for the most part. Read this:

From http://www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/heroin.html
Although heroin withdrawal is considered less dangerous than alcohol or barbiturate withdrawal, sudden withdrawal by heavily dependent users who are in poor health is occasionally fatal.

Peg, your husband is a doctor. Ask him to consult with an addiction physician. And then make your decision.

Also, for what it’s worth, I just heard from an old high school friend. I had lost touch with him over 30+ years, but he was a heroin addict for many years. He eventually got clean and had been very involved with NA/AA for a few years now. I ran into him visiting an NA meeting with my daughter last year. He emailed me yesterday to remind me about a reunion and asked about my daughter. Here’s his reply: “Suboxone is also a good way to go. I counseled a guy at bridge house. He has been on it for about 4 years now and is in college going for an engineering degree.”

All I can say is, if he was a Bridge House, he was in pretty bad shape. And now he’s about to get an engineering degree. I’m not fighting for suboxone, because, obviously, no use of anything is optimal. I’m just fighting for hope, and sometimes, UNDERSTANDABLY, there is very little of that in some of these posts.

Peg, keep an open mind and talk to the pros.

Peg, I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I am just trying to protect you from disappointment. It is what it is. She created it, she can control it if she wants to.

I was in a similar place as you a couple of weeks ago. My son did use Suboxone prior to getting into rehab last week. I am not certain how serious he is but he got himself in, I made no phone calls and set nothing up (state funded program, he is on probation). If they are ready they need to go as quickly as possible and make no mistake about it, they will use before getting there. Both rehab failities my son has been in have told me that. Again, it comes back to are we as parents offering them a “hand out or a hand up”. Dad from Dad and Mom blog wrote that some time back and it really sticks with me. Good luck, I would do whatever it takes to get her some help, you never know when it will be “it” for her. That doesn’t mean shelving out a bunch of money for rehab though, she needs to make the steps to get there. (((HUGS))))

Hi Peggy,

Brave you picking up Hayley from the crack house, keeping your cool when faced with some aggression and getting her to the daycare centre. Your shopping expedition reminded me of being out with Hannah once. We went to a jewellery shop to try on some rings for my 30th birthday and I was sure they thought we were going to make off with the goods as we looked like such a suspect couple. Its frightening walking around with a heroin addict even when we are related to them. The jokes about injecting, the broken bodies, the tattered clothes and greasy hair..
Thank you for opening up the debate on harm reduction. I recently found this site which might be useful: http://www.ihra.net/Home
Keep posting

The more supplies you provide, the more unlikely it will be for her to be ready to go into rehab and stay there. You are teaching her that you will provide if she gets bad enough (groceries, lip stick, telephone, rides, etc.) She needs to find a rehab place on her own, she found the heroin on her own. Sorry.

Well, most clinics wont take someone unless they are going through active withdrawals. They still have to test positive for opiates, but not for suboxone or methadone.

A medical detox (usually county funded) is probably the best bet. She can stay there while detoxing (they give them valium and a couple of antinausea drugs) while detoxing..and then go directly to the rehab from there.

the last commentor said that the success rate for suboxone and methadone….well that doesn’t matter.

my point is that suboxone and methadone are NOT successes.

they are pallative treatments which replace heroin.

those using either are not actually clean, they are simply taking something that keeps them from using.

clean is no drugs. methadone and suboxone are drugs and basically, they do not teach the addict to not use.

they do KEEP the addict from not using, but as soon as they are off the suboxone or methadone, they go right back to using.

so, if you want Hayley to NOT use permanently, she needs to be clean.

hard as it may seem to hear, cold turkey does not kill junkies.

if pregnant, cold turkey WILL kill the baby the junkie is carrying.

detox takes approximately 72 hours. it’s very rough, but not deadly.

to detox from methadone however, is very dangerous and takes much, much longer. about 2 weeks actually.

suboxone not as much, but still worse than heroin.

so, forget the marketing hype and ask yourself some questions….

Unfortunately, there is no medical detox here in our county, which is why I had to drive Hayley 3 hours for her medical detox last August. I’ve heard from enough people to avoid methadone – don’t know if suboxone would be strong enough for Hayley. At this point, I was considering suboxone just to get Hayley to treatment. We’re in a holding pattern until details are worked out and arrangements made.

In Florida at all the 12 step rehabs the heroine addicts are detoxed while taking suboxone. It is not unusual for them to continue taking it until they are finished or almost finished with treatment. It keeps them there longer so they do not have a lot of addicts running away. You could google up suboxone docs in your area. Tell them she is in withdrawal and try to get her in asap.

Plan B: Get her in detox. A detox that uses suboxone. Just ask. They will tell.

Plan C: Take her to a methadone clinic early in the morning. They will probably get her started that day. Suboxone is often too weak for a person with a big heroine habit. Call a few and see who is likely to take her. You will have better luck talking with a counselor not a secretary. (I did this before and was able to get her in the next day but she did not want to go.)

Many if not most 12 step programs also use methadone to detox from heroine. This is surpirsing isn’t it? You will find tht it is true. The 12 step programs use it as a stepping stone to abstinence. The recovery rate for 12 step programs is around 20 percent. The recovery rate for methadone and suboxone is over 60 as long as they keep taking it. I am ready for my daughter to try this after 6 rehabs but she is not. The 12 step rehabs are very much against using suboxone or methadone long term.

Good luck and know that I support whatever decision you make including no decision at all.

One more thing – Whatever you do, please check with an addiction physician. These are decisions that require professional advice. My daughter wasn’t given suboxone until she was well out of rehab, so I can’t advise you about what to do in this stage. Detox is dangerous, so please get medical support asap. Hugs.

You do not get strung out on suboxone. My daughter is 3 months clean, thanks to suboxone, and believe me, she’s living a functional, productive life on it. For many, it can make all the difference in their recovery. I know nothing about methadone, but I believe suboxone can be a lifesaver. It blocks the high if they try to use. Most important, it curves the cravings to keep them from doing so. And that’s everything.

Thanks for this, Gwynn. I forwarded it on to family members. My current thought is to get Hayley on suboxone until we get her to treatment. Also – Hayley has never been to drug treatment before. As a family, we just discussed that maybe it was premature to get Hayley on a suboxone maintenance program. That maybe, if she relapses several times, or after going through several treatment programs, THEN we try suboxone. What are your thoughts? Peggy

Obviously, I’m biased. All I can offer is this- I know we wouldn’t be where we are right now without suboxone. The pull of heroin is mighty every single day, and the first few months are so hard for the recovering addict. I’ve said this before- while suboxone is usually recommended for about a year to 18 months, if she needs a suboxone a day for the rest of her life, my only concern is paying for it. When cravings rule their lives, it’s awfully hard to get well. But this is my perspective, based on our experiences to date.

P.S. Remember, the hardest part is post-rehab!

I was wondering the same thing as Gal. If Hayley is “ready” and sick and broke, can she get into a detox now? My county has a medical mental-health ward where you can stay at no charge for 72 hours, if you’re willing to say you have depression or some other psychological problem. Does Drug and Alcohol Services offer a some kind of detox?
I hope you don’t let her talk you into letting her be part of the treatment selection. If she goes for a suboxone or methadone program, she remains addicted to the substitute drug. I’ve seen far too many heroin addicts strung out on the so-called treatment drugs. Just an opinion, worth what you paid for it.
Best wishes and prayers.

I’ve been thinking about you and hoping and praying for Hayley…keep us posted.

Your chances of impacting Haley are greatest while she is least able to score drugs. If you provide them for her, you cushion her reality, and she will be less eager to change her lifestyle. I am thinking of you and sending all my hope that Haley agrees to seek help. Best of luck to you and all your family.
many hugs
-chris v

I just got a brainstorm idea. How about getting Hayley on suboxone until we get her to treatment?

Peg, since treatment is a definite, would it be crazy to get her now and put her into medical detox?? She can’t go into rehab until she detoxes, and she’s going to need serious medical supervision to detox. If she’s as drug sick as she sounds, why wait? It seems like time is critical from what you’re saying.
And I know what you mean when you talk about finding it difficult to talk to her. You’re so scared to say anything that’s going to scare her away from recovery, but the addict-thinking and addict-logic are both infuriating and frustrating. You might consider getting a interventionist (if you can afford it) to help you right now. They can work with her directly, setting proper boundaries…particularly since she left detox once before. You are so emotionally connected (of course!), that it’s excruciating to know how to handle it. I know you can do it, but if you can get help, please try to get it…and they can tell you if you need to move tonight or if it’s safe to wait.
Now that I’ve scared the hell out of you, please take care of yourself. I’m here.

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