Archive for November, 2010
Hayley was just home for a few days to take care of a probation violation charge, and we had the unexpected opportunity to spend quite a bit of time together. The Prosecutor ended up sentencing Hayley to one day in jail – and because she already had credit for one day served when she was arrested over a year ago, her case was dismissed. Instead of spending 2 – 3 days in jail, my daughter spent Friday through Monday with me.
GULP! This was Hayley’s first time home, sober. Last May 8th, we, her family, orchestrated an elaborate intervention/rescue plan that culminated in Hayley going to an all women’s long-term treatment center in southern California, Safe Harbor. After seeing Hayley on her birthday, April 6th, it became apparent that she wanted to change her life. But as an active heroin addict, she was incapable of doing anything about it on her own. The words of Tom, at Recovery Help Desk, still resonate:
Voices in the “tough love, anything-you-do-to-‘help’-is-enabling-addiction, let them hit rock bottom” crowd tend to shout the loudest. But parents should know that the scientific research is on the side of the experts who say that early intervention is better than waiting for someone to hit bottom, and that enabling recovery requires action.
I realized that I had hit rock bottom and could no longer stand on the sidelines as my daughter played Russian Roulette with her life. As of May 9, 2010, my daughter has been on the road to recovery and working hard to maintain her sobriety. It’s a bloody miracle. And yes, I do now believe in miracles. The actual “rescue” was on Saturday, May 8th , the day before Mother’s Day. That day, I was scheduled to pick Hayley up at the crack house at 8:30 am. We had to be ‘on the road’ by 9:00 am in order to get her to the airport on time in Seattle and off to the treatment center. She was cooperative – but there were so many variables. At 5:30 am that day, my phone rang. It was Hayley, sobbing hysterically. “Mom, please come get me, right now”. That scene was a nightmare, and it was a miracle I was able to extricate my daughter from the cloying grip of her drug dealer/’boyfriend’, Bill. That relationship was so incredibly complex and convoluted, it seemed impenetrable. But, on that day, Hayley did walk away.
I assumed that Hayley had used right up until I picked her up that morning. (actually, I had naively considered that perhaps she had begun to ‘cut back’ on her heroin use, in anticipation of going to treatment) I had packed a new bag with all new clothes, a new backpack with toiletries, and a new purse, with a new wallet, personal essentials, etc. Everything was clean, and new, and fresh. I knew what was in each one of those bags. When I picked Hayley up at 5:30 am, I took her to my house to shower and dress for the trip. I dumped everything she had with her directly in to the garbage, and handed her the beginnings of her new life.
Hayley just told me that that day, on our way to Seattle, she ‘used’ one last time, in a bathroom stop about 30 miles from the airport. How was that possible? How did I not know? Why would she risk everything when there was so much at stake? My vision of her shooting up in the Starbuck’s bathroom stall, with mothers and young children going in and out, makes me sick – and is another harsh reminder of the power of addiction. If you think that love, or personal physical risk, or guilt, or virtually anything can compete with a craving and syringe, you’re woefully mistaken.
Although my daughter made good decisions and worked her recovery program while she was ‘home’, it was still difficult. As we drove past seemingly mundane locales – parking lots, motels, convenience/grocery stores, Hayley would comment and divulge creepy details of her drug life. It was both fascinating and repulsive. I won’t be able to look at/pass by those places in the same neutral way as before. They’ve now become contaminated.
If I was ever going to write a book, said Hayley, I’d call it, “Waiting For Bill”. The last few months I was always dope sick, changing locations frequently, and waiting for Bill to bring me something – to ‘get me well’. Bill was Hayley’s “boyfriend”/dope dealer. He was in his mid/late 40’s, fat, in poor health, and facing years in prison. According to Hayley, he did have a heart, of sorts – when he wasn’t verbally/physically abusing her and other vulnerable parasites in their circle. Apparently, he ‘supported’ quite a few addicts.
When Hayley talked about “. . . waiting for Bill . . . “, you know what immediately came to my mind? Bill Wilson, founder of Alcoholics Anonymous – a very different Bill, although both Bills suffered from the disease of addiction. Since Hayley has so positively responded to AA’s 12 step recovery program, I’m thinking that Waiting For Bill is the perfect title for a book about Hayley’s recovery. She was, in fact, waiting for Bill Wilson to lead her down the path of sobriety.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 11 so far )
Hayley arrived from California on schedule Thursday evening. I was still amazed she could pass through airport security without current photo ID, but there she was. On the next day, Friday, she would finally make her court appearance for a probation violation arrest almost a year ago. She had been advised by her court appointed attorney that she would most likely have to spend 2 – 3 days in jail. She was ready for this, she said.
On the way home from the airport, we stopped by Hayley’s former neighbors – a large, loving Hispanic family who had witnessed Hayley’s decline in to addiction, but loved her in spite of it all. The mother, Lucia, has called me once a month or so to check in on Hayley’s status and progress. They were so pleased to see Hayley in recovery and healthy. There were hugs and tears and lots of laughter. This family had worked together for over a week to make Halloween costumes for everyone in their extended family, including old grandma, for their blow-out Halloween party the next evening. It was also Lucia’s 50th birthday, so the party was going to be a huge event. Their spirit of fun and family was inspiring – and so uplifting. They made our day and, I guess, we made theirs.
Hayley said she wanted to go out to dinner – to our city’s finest restaurant, owned by a close friend of mine. I was a bit hesitant – – – how would she do around alcohol and/or running in to old family friends? After chatting about this, we gussied up and forged ahead. We ended up sitting in the more ‘happen’in’, lively bar area – yet, Hayley seemed unfazed by all the alcohol around her. She talked openly about it. “I’ve worked too hard to stay sober for almost 6 months to be even slightly tempted”, she said. The thought of relapsing, with any substance, was simply out of the question, she insisted. “I just don’t have the time to start over again”, she said. We saw quite a few old family friends who knew about Hayley and the bare essentials of her story. She looked gorgeous and seemed pleased and proud that these people could now see her clean and sober. It was a personal triumph, of sorts.
I learned that Hayley had not heard from her Probation Officer, Freida, prior to leaving California. More accurately, I think, was that Hayley had just started trying to reach her PO on Wednesday or so. She called and emailed Freida all day Thursday, with no response. And so, on Friday morning, I routed Hayley out of bed and told her I thought we should go down to the Probation Office to try to track down Freida before Hayley’s court hearing at 1:30 pm. We did just that – and Freida was there, with no clients in her office. Why Freida did not return Hayley’s (or my) phone calls and emails, I do not know. This pattern of unresponsiveness has been frustrating and difficult to deal with.
Nevertheless, Freida was happy to see Hayley who is, apparently, one of her few success stories. Freida noted in her file that Hayley had checked in with her, and we were on our way. Our next stop was at Javier’s, the bail bondsman. I had signed a $3,000 promissory note back in May in order to take Hayley to treatment in California. Therefore, I had a vested interest in staying in contact with Javier and letting him know that Hayley was in town to take care of her probation violation charge. Javier was also thrilled to see Hayley. Last May, he had talked at length with me about how unusual it was to have a client like Hayley – well educated, beautiful, from a ‘good’ family. He had repeatedly asked Hayley after her arrest, “What are you doing? Why are you living this life?” We filled Javier in on Hayley’s court hearing that afternoon and potential jail sentence. Javier responded with: “Be sure to tell your attorney that you should receive credit for one day already served – that the day you were arrested a year ago counts as one day in jail.” Wow! What a little pearl that turned out to be. Hayley’s attorney had never brought up this important piece of information. Yeah – next time, we’ll go to Javier first – it would save a lot of time and angst.
I then dropped Hayley off at her court-appointed attorney’s office. She was able to track down ‘Lisa’, and chat with her in person for a few minutes. “See you in court”, Lisa said, as Hayley was leaving.
We went to lunch, and then on to the courthouse. I was very anxious. Hayley seemed calm and resigned to spending a couple of days in jail. She had given me all her jewelry and her purse, and just carried in a Ziploc bag with her medications. We sat in the courtroom as it filled with all of the other “delinquents”. As 1:30 pm approached, we noticed that a different attorney sat down in the public defender’s chair. Where was Lisa, who had just met with Hayley and had all her paperwork? The attorney looked behind him, saw Hayley, and got up to approach her. “Didn’t I see you in our office this morning?” he said. Uh, yeah. “I’m working on something”, he assured us. And then, a different Prosecuting Attorney showed up – not the one to whom Hayley had sent a letter, testifying to her current life, recovery program, and commitment to sobriety. Is the legal system totally arbitrary, random, a throw-of-the-dice? Yes, I guess it is. “I’m just going to say a little prayer”, whispered Hayley. And she did. And so did I.
When Hayley’s name was called, she sat down next to the young attorney with whom she had never spoken to about her case and who had little, if any, knowledge or details of her case. All the leg work and proactive measures I had taken over the last few weeks, were for naught. I saw Hayley whisper to the attorney about the one day already served. And then, the Judge addressed the attorney and Hayley. “It’s good that Ms, XXXX has finally been able to appear in this court. Her mother has been here in the past on her behalf, and I was getting impatient. Mr. Owen, what do you have for us.” “Your Honor”, the attorney responded. “My client has accepted the prosecution’s offer of one day in jail for probation violation charges. But if I may interject, she has indicated that she already has served one day in jail. Would you please check the records regarding this?” And then, the Judge spent a very loooonnnng 5 minutes, looking through my daughter’s thick file, and announced, ” Client sentenced to one day in jail, one day in jail already served, case dismissed.”
We were shocked – and elated – and a little numb. Outside, Hayley chuckled, “Guess you’re stuck with me for a few days, Mom.”
Yikes – I hadn’t planned on this eventuality. But actually, the next 4 days were probably the best I’ve spent with my daughter in many years. I was pleasantly surprised by Hayley’s good choices and how she worked her program. She went to an NA and an AA meeting with childhood friends now in recovery, went to the gym to work out, watched movies and beaded, was generally helpful and picked up after herself. But the absolute zenith of the entire weekend – and of the last few years, was when Hayley surprised me by showing up at my Al-Anon meeting. When it came time for her to speak, she eloquently and tearfully thanked the group for giving me so much comfort and support over the years. I have never been so touched, or proud, or grateful.
Once again, when it came time for Hayley to leave, on Tuesday morning, we were both ready. It had been difficult on Hayley to be here – and on me, as well. When we drove past certain locations in our town, Hayley would comment and reveal details of her sordid life as a drug addict. It was shocking, and sad, and hard to hear. Yet, our time together had been like salve on an open wound. My hope for Hayley’s continued recovery and sobriety, was strengthened.
The $3,000 bail bond was exonerated and Hayley closed one significant chapter from her past. I can now really let her go, to get on with her life as she chooses. This is both liberating, and terrifying. But I think we’re both ready for this important step. I know I am.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 11 so far )