Waiting For Bill

Posted on November 8, 2010. Filed under: 12 Step Recovery Program, addiction, Addiction Resources/Support, Parent of an Addict | Tags: , , , , , |

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. 

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11 Responses to “Waiting For Bill”

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[…] rehab, relationships, sister by Works Aside A couple of weeks ago, I read a post entitled Waiting for Bill written by one of my favourite bloggers, Peggy . I found her blog, Helplessly Hoping in January […]

Hey Peg, Just thinking of you! How are things going for you.. and Haley? Update?
Happy Holidays! Hugs, Kelly

My daughter did it, she got through the darkess and into the light. It took a few years, it was not a smooth or straight path, but she did it. And so will Hayley.

Hi! I read this when you first wrote it but just read it again. I love what Tom said. I have lost touch with him, need to send him a note.

Its been awesome watching the miracle of Hayley’s recovery. I hope she keeps going and going and going and never turns back.

I was at an intervention for a young friend once and she would excuse herself to the restroom every half hour or so…we knew she was in there using even though you couldn’t tell she was high. They will use up till the last second possible. Sad and scary.

Hi Peggy,

I havn’t written for a while. My own life has taken over and before I knew it the weeks were passing and I wasnt getting to the computer as much as I would have liked. Last night, my family and I found out that Hannah is in a bad place. Despite telling us all she has been clean since she left rehab in April she actually been using heroin since then. Her ex-boyfriend Dave rang my mum to tell her she had just been to his house to ask for money. We are back where we started. The shock. The turmoil. The pain. The fear. Even though this isnt the first time we’ve had news like this, it slaps you right between the eyes.

I can’t tell you how overjoyed I am to read of Haileys continued sobriety. She is a miracle and she gives us hope. Your post was incredibly poignant to read because last night my parents asked me what they should do. Everyone says do nothing but how can they. Is there anything you can suggest we do? We don’t know where she is? What state she is in etc. Should we at least try and find her? I would really value your advice.

Nora x

Nora I am so sorry to hear that Hannah relapsed yet again. I know the pain your family is going through.

As hard as it is to hear, there probably is nothing you can really do. Haley wanted to be clean, and actually, nothing her family did helped that, other than to get her into the right program, and even that was a bit of a crap shoot.

If Hannah doesn’t want to be clean, nothing you do will help, unfortunately. And trying to help can suck you right into the chaos and drama and never ending stress that is the life of an addict. It is not healthy for YOU to be involved.

I will pray for your family.

Dearest Dawn,

Thank you for replying to me. Its funny because just this minute I was re-reading your response to my August post in which I was sure Hannah was using again. You were full of wisdom and I cherished your advice then. As I do now. I know that you are right and although it is hard to fight a my big sister instinct to go out there and scoop her up and take her in, I know that is our only choice. My family and I will hope and pray that she stays safe and if she ever picks up the phone or asks for help to go to rehab again then we will be there but until then….we are powerless. Thank you Dawn for being here for me just when I needed you.
Nora x

GREAT post. I agree…this could be the opening of Hayley’s book.

Our story could be “Waiting for Lois”!

There always seems to be a place in each of your posts where my breath catches in my throat, and in this one it was the moment where the mother takes it upon herself to throw all her adult daughter’s belongings into the garbage. … I understand what you were doing. The moment speaks of a tenuous negotiation of power and control between not only mother and daughter, but also between mother-daughter and addiction. … I’m glad beyond measure that Hayley made it to rehab and is now sober today. It is a miracle, insofar as life itself is a miracle. This is the fact that addiction (be it “hard” or “soft”) obscures: life is a miracle. The longer I go on, the more sensitive I become to the fragility of life. Also its resilience. –G

Actually, this is the start of Hayley’s story, and it is beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.


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