“. . . 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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23 Responses to ““. . . And ‘Justice’ For All”.”

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We are keeping up with your recent developments and cheering you on. There is only so much you CAN do, and at least Hayley is in safe hands

The glasses issue sounded familiar. I just got a very informative and prompt response from the women’s prison in chowchilla where my daughter is, and i will be obtaining a cheap black pair of plain glasses for her and sending them to the medical staff office, with a copy of the Rx. That’s because my daughter still has her disposable lenses in, and she’s doing significant damage to her eyes…. Her inability to make healthy decisions is glaringly apparent there! Anyway, I think getting the glasses enables other things to happen… but that’s just me. Anna made great points and thoughtful ones! Hugs and prayers to you and especially for your daughter as she hopefully turns towards recovery!

All I can say is do what you feel is best. That way it will be easier for you to live with your decision. Easier said then done, I know. But you are strong enough to trust yourself. I’m praying for you both.

Hi Peg,
Just stopped by, finally, to see how things have been. You have so much strength and please konw I’m keeping you and Hayley in my prayers.

Your comment about “what do people do who don’t have someone to work the system for them” hit home. Because I am not helping my son out with his current legal issues now that he’s in jail again. Yikes. it’s scary, and very hard to know if we’re making the best decisions…all of us. You just keep doing what you feel is best at each step. Your daughter is blessed to have a mama who loves her so much.

Hello Peg…Just now back online.
I am happy to hear that Hayley is in treatment. I guess I need to go back and read some back posts but none the less she is where she is.
The court system seems to work backwards as most do. The keyword to remember is ‘System’. As with all systems there are processes. You did what you did for a reason. Now it’s just One Day at a Time.

I found the song, if you want to listen to it (see lyrics following link:


She asked for her mama’s bathrobe
And a pot of potato soup
She’s gonna dry out this time if it kills her
She wants the whole family in the loop
She can outsmart death like a stuntman
She’s a cat with 99 lives
She’s my heroin addict sister
And I’ve known her all my life
She pushes a tiny needle
It’s like the devil’s DNA
It takes her somewhere she’s just gotta go
But can’t afford to stay
She stripped for a while in Connecticut
Got married at least 5 times
Every one of them men was crazy about her
So she married a couple of em twice
She’s a certified underwater welder
She can cook, clean, and crochet
She can flash a smile from her sweet weary soul
That’ll melt all your doubts away
She’s high at the homeless shelter
When she’s had it out with my niece
She don’t notice the holes in her clothes
Or perverted Orlando police
I’ve been so mad I wanted to kill her
So worried I had to cry
Such crazy stories I can’t help but laugh
So scared of when she’s gonna die
She called outside of Atlanta
Been dodging them big ole trucks
Ya know she cleaned up in Tennessee one time before
She just needs a couple hundred bucks
And she just needs to be with us
We all say thank God mama
Ain’t here to go through it this time
She’s in heaven telling them Macon County cops
Better give her baby a ride
And they got to her just in time

I think Anna’s comment has a huge amount of merit. I would think very seriously about what she said. My inital response to the glasses question was to just get Hayley some glasses. But that response was not in keeping with the 12-step slogan, “Think”. Anna did think and her insight was excellent.
My next comment is not about glasses, but it is about heroin addiction. On NPR this afternoon I heard an interview with a country singer named Elizabeth Cook. Not being a country fan, I wasn’t familiar with her. She was very articulate and has written some great songs. One of her songs they played and discussed was titled, “Heroin Addict Sister”. Elizabeth actually declined to talk about the song much, saying that the lyrics said it all. She was clearly choked up even trying to discuss it a little. You might want to go to the NPR website and listen to the song and the interview. Or, Elizabeth Cook might have a website with the song.
The disease of addiction is everywhere. If we are brave enough to share (as you are showing us how to do, Peggy) we can all heal.
Peace and strength to you and Hayley.

Peggy, I love your comment about the large duplex, but I think it needs to be a tri-plex. Where will the psychiatric staff live?
About a year and a half ago, both my husband’s daughter and my daughter were in the throes of substance abuse. I fantasized about buying a large piece of land, fenced in securely, staffed with a psychiatrist armed with elephant tranquilizers. The tranquilizers were for me.
I love my daughter dearly, but I am so glad she has her own place now. It’s exhausting walking on eggshells…and as messy as she kept her room, sometimes that was a literal statement.
You definitely need to rent the “Grey Gardens” documentary. Once you watch it, you’ll really appreciate how well the actresses in the movie portrayed the true characters.
Anyway, get that girl some glasses and maybe she’ll start seeing the big picture a little clearer. Hugs.

It may help Hayley’s confidence to know that she is capable of doing things for herself as simple as obtaining a pair of glasses. It might seem like a little thing, but maybe if she is able to work that out with her counselors it will continue to help her along the way when it comes with dealing with court appearances, job interviews, etc. etc. etc. down the road. Yes, she is deeply fragile right now, but not having glasses for a few weeks will not kill her. She is highly intelligent, capable, and has survived the drug world for the past year all on her own. I wonder if there is some sort of on-line donation for old/used perscription glasses that may be similar to what her needs are….? I am sure her counselors have dealt with this before and they, or you, could point her in the right direction without doing it for her…. I say save the $60 and get yourself a massage! She will continue to feel “entitled” if she doesn’t have to work a little to take care of some of her own needs. Maybe provide her with the resources and some positive praise once she gets them on her own, you can’t “purchase” the awesome feelings she is going to through some self-realization and self-confidence. They may just be glasses, but they represent a lot more in the bigger picture…

Anna – this is very insightful advice – and from some one so relatively young! I think that what you say is absolutely true. And, I have a feeling that this is just the first request in a long list to come. Hayley has a knack for dramatizing the situation and “need” in such a convincing way. I know that I need help in this area – to let her figure out things on her own, and experience the pride and dignity of earning things on her own. I’ll probably get the glasses, and then draw the line. It’s hard to not want to give her something that will most likely help with the recovery process. Still – I know you’re right – about letting Hayley earn her own way.

Hello Peggy,

Thanks for this latest post. I wait with bated breath for the weeekly updates. We need you as much as you need us – together this journey feels a little less frightening. I would never have guessed I could have found such support and wisdom online.

I’m so glad Hailey’s detox – although painful, is going well. These first few days are so crucial and she is still there. Thats what matters today right?

Good on you for navigating through the justice system – who would have thought we would have to become experts in such things.

Keep doing what you’re doing.

I too would go ahead and get the glasses, she’s much less likely to lose them now that she is in one place.
I’m glad to know Hayley seems positive about being in treatment.
Can I tell you how impressed I am about all you did for court – the letters, showing up yourself… I would have been sick – literally – sick. Praise God you had the skills/talent/strength – wow 🙂
Oh, and Helga has some great information in her comment.
God bless.
Sending love & hugs!

I vote for glasses too. Reading is important. I think it will be easier for her to hang on to them now.

You’re a devoted mother. I hope that someday Haley can recognize and thank you for how you never gave up on her. Sounds like you would make a good attorney yourself 🙂

Peg, today’s post is very relevant to me. Please bear with me as I think through all of this at everyone’s expense.

First, we saw a theatre production of “Grey Gardens” this weekend. There was a line in it that I’d never noticed in the original documentary or film version. Toward the end, when Old Edie and Little Edie are living together in squalor, Old Edie asks her daughter, “What do you think would have happened to you if your father had ever come home?” Old Edie answers the question herself. “He would have had you put away.” In other words, Old Edie wasn’t just selfishly holding on to her daughter for herself. She knew her daughter couldn’t make it on her own.

This stuck with me in a big way, because I spent a couple of hours with my painfully sober daughter yesterday. Now that she is able to think, she is having to face the fact that maybe her boyfriend isn’t what she wants or needs. Even though he is anti-drugs, he has serious anxiety issues and seemed to be a lot happier when she was using and desperate. That’s how my ex-in-laws were. My ex-father-in-law seemed to revel in the superiority and control of having a weakened, alcoholic wife. She upset the applecart quite a bit when she got sober for good. My daughter brought up the topic of her problems with her boyfriend to her sister and me, but eventually started crying and blamed us for upsetting her!!!

Ok, I’m drifting, but I realized yesterday that my daughter may never cope well with life. She couldn’t cope with new wallpaper in her room at the age of 2, so I shouldn’t be so surprised that life doesn’t flow easily for her. Will I end up like Old Edie having to convince my daughter to live with me so I can keep her going? I hope not, of course. But there is a harsh reality staring me in the face.

My older sister, who has never been an addict, has struggled with severe depression most of her life. She is a successful newspaper editor and has lived on her own for years. Recently, after being diagnosed with serious cancer requiring tough treatment, she confessed to us she needed help with her house (she hadn’t let any of us go in it for more than 15 years). Suffice to say we discovered a hoarding/filth problem worse than anything you see on TV. And lots of denial about how serious it is, even to this day. I’ve always known my daughter is much like my sister in many ways. Extremely intelligent, highly creative, overly emotional and chronically depressed. Yet, my sister had achieved a lot by age 25. My daughter hasn’t. My daughter may be sicker than my sister…and this just terrifies me.

So, in answer to your question, Peg, now that you have a better understanding from whence I come…Yes, I would get glasses for Hayley. The cheapest possible for now. If she’s having headaches every day, it will make it that much harder to read the materials and do the writing exercises she’ll have in rehab. She needs to be able to concentrate on getting better.

Look, one way or the other, what’s another $60? This is her last chance. Give her the tools to succeed. (Boy, I know I’m gonna get slammed by other mothers!)

Sorry for the long post, you guys. Maybe I’ll start blogging one day, but in the meantime, thanks for the outlet. Hang in there, Peg. You’re doing GREAT!!!

I vote for some modestly priced glasses. She is in rehab now. That is grounds for some type of reward.

Gal – wow. This all strikes such a familiar chord with me, as well. Yeah – – – I seriously doubt my own daughter’s ability to live on her own – – – she hasn’t been able to do it yet, for 31 years. And she wouldn’t ever let us in to her apartment either. It looked like a crazy person lived there – – – and maybe, she did! That movie, Grey Gardens, was incredible. I only saw the newer, dramatic version, with Drew Barrymore, but I think I’ll rent the documentary. That’s such a scary proposition – to have to live with my daughter in order to keep her going – – – or even functioning. Unfortunately, I know I couldn’t do it. Maybe you and I could get a large duplex and we could live together on one side, our daughters on the other? ! ! :-!

I am in awe of you. Haley is lucky to have you as her mother. I hope some day she is in a space that she will thank you for all you do to help her find a healthier path for her life. And I hope that you are at peace, knowing you have done and continue to do everything in your power to give Haley a chance at a better life. I am glad to hear she is doing okay. I think about her every day. Be sure to take good care of yourself as you help take care of Haley, until she can take care of herself. Keep us posted.

Yeah. I do. Lol. I just don’t want u 2 invest 2 much emotionally n hayleys recovery. U have given her one hell of a chance.now it is up to her and her alone.

Since I work for an attorney and I am somewhat familiar with the justice system, at least in VA and TN, which is similar, I can tell you that you need to keep her defense attorney abreast of Haley’s progress and whereabouts, because if she does not show up in court on her next court date, they will issue a capias for her arrest. If you can, you should go to the appearance just like you did last week. You have invested this much time and effort, it would be wise to continue to do this to assure that she can stay in treatment without having to worry about the law. She might eventually even get a big break in the end, if she can show the judge that she has successfully completed a long term rehab program. Here, the bond works like this: if the judge sets it at $3,000, the defendant has to come up with 10% for the bail bonds man. If the defendant does not show up for court, he (the bondsman)has to pay the $3,000 and then try to recover that money from whoever signed and/or cosigned the bond.
I would be surprised if her bond was $30,000, this seems excessive to me for a shoplifting offense. All this may or may not apply in your state and in her case, just wanted to tell you of my knowledge and experience. I am on vacation this week and typing on a laptop, which is awkward for me.

My heart goes out to you as always. I know what its like to see a recovering addict in pain during detox. The first 2 weeks are really tough. My daughter still has pain after 4 1/2 months and cannot continue her previous job as a medical massage therapist due to the drug use.
I would do the same things you are doing to help Hayley. Not everyone agrees that is why we are all individuals. At the end of the day you must do what is right for you. I am here for you.
I know how you like good news, my daughter got a job and starts today. She has been praying hard for a chance and God has given her that chance.
Remember I am here for you. Hugs

Helga – thanks for this good info. I went to the public defender’s office today, and they wouldn’t even book me an appointment to speak to the attorney who ‘represented’ Hayley last Friday. They said that since I wasn’t the defendant, they wouldn’t even speak to me. I just don’t understand this. I did get the NAME of the attorney – and the fax # of the office so the treatment center can send reports. But I’m very leery of things being tracked and accounted for. It is definitely something that I need to keep on top of. Peggy

As far as your question concerning new glasses…I would get her some…I agree that you are currently doing for her, what she cannot do for herself. Keep trusting yourself! Stay positive that she will get better…I will continue to pray for both of you!

Thanks for checking in, Sherry, and your encouragement and support. I spent a couple of hours looking at glasses frames today. It’s almost impossible to choose something for Hayley that will fit and that she will like. I’ll probably go with a ‘cheap’ pair from Costco that look ok on me. They’ll get her by, at least. Peggy

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