Javier, the Bail Bondsman: My New Best Friend

Posted on November 4, 2010. Filed under: addiction, Addiction Resources/Support, AlAnon, Drug Addiction/Legal Issues, Parent of an Addict | Tags: , , |

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.


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11 Responses to “Javier, the Bail Bondsman: My New Best Friend”

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I was just saying to a dear friend at lunch that Time is one of my powers greater than myself. It seems that Time acted well in your relationship with Hayley… The moment where I felt my breath catch: “All the leg work and proactive measures I had taken over the last few weeks, were for naught.” It was beyond your control; all the ways you tried to force solutions simply were beyond you.

One of my favorite pieces of reason in Al-Anon literature is about “not forcing solutions.” My sponsor has frequently throughout the years reminded me of my urge to “fix it,” and how this is not helpful… actually, has been hurtful in my life.

I like the book about 37 Days, am grateful for the recommendation, gave to my best friend for her birthday last week, plan on buying myself a copy. I also think there is a lot to be said for the seasoning of life over long and indeterminate stretches of time. Hayley has needed more time than 37 days, and so has your relationship… your friend G

Fabulous post Peg. Your experience with Hayley and a couple of other things lately have made me feel that “someone” is trying to get a message through to me about the shortness of life and the urgency of living each day as best as I can. There is something so important, frightening, and intimidating about this message. I need to really listen. Thank you for your part in helping me try to understand what it is I am supposed to be learning. I’m looking forward to another special opportunity in the next few days. Each of us has just this one and precious life – it’s overwhelming and full of promise. I believe that Hayley knows that and I believe you do too. Let’s keep reminding one other.

I need reminding of this too, Donna. Yes – let’s keep reminding each other – as if we have only 37 days left. P.

Lisa – – – I do know that my own recovery is probably as important as my daughter’s. Truly – for the first time since Hayley was probably about 10 yo, last weekend felt like what it must be like for most ‘normal’, healthy mother/daughter relationships. I am not taking this new experience for granted, nor letting it be a precedent for the future. I am just so frigg’in grateful that right now, I feel a connection to my daughter I’ve never felt before.

I'[ not sure why I teared up when I read this post. I’m proud and happy for Hayley and for you as progess continues. I guess it just touched something in my heart.

I’ve experienced some (not all) of this with my son. But mostly I’m happy for you that things are going in the right direction, and at the same time, I truly understand the feeling of wanting a visit (even a good visit) to come to an end. It takes a long time to recover from the days, months and years of stress we live through with our addicted children.

I know that horrible feeling of listening as they recount some of the extremely disturbing things they’ve done…

I love hearing about how well Hayley is doing 🙂

I am glad to hear that things worked out the way they were supposed to. I am more pleased that this burden has been lifted from you and you are able to move on to the next chapter of what you want to do. I am sure that Hayley has enough in place that her decisions from this day forward are just that…her decisions.
Take Care.

I was so happy to read this! I have always believed in miracles and in prayer! Bless you both!

I was having a bad feeling this morning but this has totally uplifted me. I have nothing to be worrying about unless it happens. I am so grateful for you and Hayley and the fact that you share these moments in your life. What a relief for you to know that she understands and is working her recovery. It does work when they want it. I wish I was not all the way across the country because we would be hugging right now and crying tears of joy. Love,Renee

Renee – Thanks for sharing your thoughts and giving this encouragement. I still find myself worrying constantly about things that haven’t happened yet. It’s such a bad habit. I know I can’t control things – yet, I still feel I can help things along a bit. If we hadn’t visited the bail bondsman Friday morning, Hayley would have gone to jail. Which, actually, might have been a good thing. In fact, It probably would have been ‘good’ in some ways. However, there was always the risk of Hayley getting physically hurt, or whatever, while in jail. The fact that she was ‘ready’ to do what she needed to do was the important part of the whole scenario, in my opinion. I feel your hugs. I’ve started to believe in miracles – of recovery, and the love of ‘strangers’/friends who take the time to connect to someone who needs support. Thank you. Peggy

Your words bring joy. I hope you can relax more now. You deserve it. And to Hayley…I’m so proud of your incredible success.

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