Ready . . . Set . . . . . . . . . . . . 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.