Looking Back, Moving Forward

Posted on June 15, 2013. Filed under: 12 Step Recovery Program, addiction, Addiction Resources/Support, AlAnon, Parent of an Addict, Recovery | Tags: , , , , |

calendarI haven’t posted for over a year now, but have intended to many times.  I started a new job in February 2012 that requires a lot of writing – not a great excuse, but I guess I’ll try it.  An even better one is that my almost 96 yo mother is at the end of her life and on Hospice. Whatever the reasons for my absence here, thanks to those of you who are still hang’in with me. I do still have a lot to learn, work out, and explore.  If you’re new to this blog, I invite you to look back at where my drug addict daughter and our family were 4 years ago at this time – and how far we’ve come.

Initially, this blog was a place for me to vent and share my despair as the mother of a heroin addict.  I felt “Helplessly hopeless” and overwhelmed.  I was numb with disbelief, anxiety, and crazy worry over my brilliant, beautiful, well-educated 30 year-old daughter’s life choices. Don’t most parents breathe a sigh of relief when their child successfully graduates from college and begins her own adult life?

Hayley’s drug addiction was a slow erosion that occurred over a period of about 10 years after college. It happened so insidiously, it was almost imperceptible – like the constant flow of water smoothing stonesriverrocks over the course of time, or a river gradually changing course after a millennium of steadily wearing away the riverbank.

My daughter Hayley, a 34-year old former heroin/crack/everything addict, has been in recovery now for over 3 years.  If there ever was evidence of a miracle, she is it.  It’s not all smooth sailing – and she’s still fairly early in her recovery.  However, I am so grateful to be able to share her story of experience, strength, and hope.

Today, Hayley works at a wonderful treatment center in southern California and recently referred one of her ‘clients’/patients and her mother to this blog for comfort and support.

“Mom”, she began. “Why haven’t you updated your blog for so long?” Of course, this fact has haunted me for over 14 months now, and has become one of those nagging, burdensome undone tasks over which I constantly beat myself up.

And then she continued, breaking in to a sob:

“Ya know, Mom – I’ve never really read your blog.  But after  suggesting to my client’s family that they might benefit from reading it, I thought I better check it out more carefully.  After work yesterday, I stayed up almost all night reading through the nightmare of my addicted life.  I had no idea that I was that screwed up and caused you and the family so much worry and pain.  I knew it on a somewhat suppressed, in-the-past-foggy level; but to actually read   your words detailing the particulars of my frightening, dangerous, and sordid life 4 years ago, made it all so visceral.  I’m not sure I was ready to read about it and resurrect those horrible images until now. Can you ever forgive me? Will I ever be able to fully repair my relationship with Jake? (her older brother)”

Both Hayley and I are in recovery from her addiction.  I’ve been at it longer than she.  We both actively work a ‘program’ – she goes to AA, has a sponsor, and now even sponsors others who are new to recovery.  I go to Al-Anon and limp along at a snail’s pace, learning how to take one day at a time, live in the present, let go, and maintain healthier relationships.  We both have a lot of work to do – and will, for the rest of our lives. There is no end point to recovery, no diploma.  It’s an ongoing commitment and winding path full of triggers that tempt relapse.  You have to work every day to stay ‘sober’ – which in my case,  means staying inside my own hula hoop, and getting ‘clean’ from my addiction to worry.

Yes, it’s very painful and almost surreal to read those early posts – particularly from September 2009, when I started this blog, to May 8, 2010, when Hayley ‘walked away’ from her life of addiction. The months, weeks, days, and even hours leading up to that event were harrowing. It’s a miracle she didn’t die.  Writing about it helped me get through it – – – I couldn’t have written a more horrifying screenplay.

I heard this Pearl at Al-Anon today: For true healing to occur, we must abandon all hope of a better past.  We’ll never forget the past, but we cannot change it. We acknowledge it, learn from it, and move on.

hulahoop

 

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April Showers Bring May Flowers

Posted on April 5, 2012. Filed under: addiction, Intervention, Parent of an Addict, Recovery, The Bottom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

My daughter’s birthday is today.  She is 33 years old.  She’s living in southern California and working at a small, private women’s drug/alcohol treatment center. She has a wonderful ‘boyfriend’, a darling dog, and recently moved in to an apartment of her own.  She’s healthy and happy and a consistent source of love and support to me.  I just sent her five large boxes of household items that I had been storing – things I had salvaged from the nightmare of her apartment from which she had been evicted almost three years ago.

Soon, on May 9th, Hayley, will celebrate two years of sobriety.

 This time of year prompts such a jumble of conflicting emotions for me.  The trees and plants are budding with new life – so full of hope and promise.  Spring is here as manifested by Mother Nature’s relentless cycle of new beginnings. With a symphony of birds chirping, the greening of lawns and surrounding hills, trees leafing out, buds and blossoms everywhere, it’s hard not to feel renewed and optimistic – even buoyant. 

However, three years ago, all that changed – and this particular time of year took on a very different mood –  a different kind of feeling – a sort of pallor.  Despite the loveliness and allure of the season, it will forever be tempered by the grim reminder of what could have been.

In 2009, when my daughter turned 30, I threw her a birthday party in a desperate attempt to cheer her up and show her how much we, her family, loved her.  There were mostly family members and a few close friends  who had gathered for the weekend. Hayley had been unemployed for almost nine months – and seemed increasingly depressed, remote, and ‘unavailable’, punctuated with episodes of erratic/bizarre behavior.  On the Saturday afternoon before her birthday dinner, we had planned a family hike.  Hayley ‘begged off’, claiming she had some important errands to run.  Huh?  We had all come together, many from out of town/state, to be with her on this milestone birthday.   However, over the years, we had become so accustomed to Hayley’s ‘flakiness’ and narcissism, that we shrugged off her ‘lame’ excuse, determined to spend quality time together on the hike, in spite of her absence.

The birthday dinner went well – it was so wonderful to have everyone together – including my 91 year old mother. The next morning, however, Hayley didn’t show up for the family brunch we had planned.  She finally arrived ~ 1:00 pm – late, disheveled and spacey. I was very upset and suspicious – but focused my attention on smoothing things over for my elderly mother’s benefit, who is a professional worry-wort.

Many months later, I learned that Hayley had spent Saturday afternoon at a dentist’s office, getting prescription painkillers.  And after the family birthday dinner, she had used a variety of drugs, crashed/overslept at a friend’s apartment, and couldn’t remember where her car was the next morning.

Two years ago at this exact same time, amidst the riot and rejuvenation of spring, I was almost paralyzed with despair, fear, and overwhelming gloom.

My daughter was now an active heroin addict, living a very abusive, risky, dangerous lifestyle in a crack house.  Her likely life outcomes had boiled down to a few grim options: untimely death by overdose, violence, infection or, going to jail.

Here’s an excerpt from a post during that time to give you some context:

I’m getting ready to meet with my daughter for the first time in seven months.  In June 2009, I had learned that Hayley had become a heroin/crack cocaine addict and was living in a crack house.  A couple of months later (August 2009), she had reached out and asked for help – specifically, would I get her in to a medical detox facility?  She had managed to get herself out of the crack house and had found a safe place to stay for a few days.   She was dope sick, covered with abscesses, and desperate for help.  Of course, I donned my ‘supermom cape’, and whirled in to action. 

The logistics of quickly getting Hayley in to a medical detox facility were complicated, since there was no such facility here, in our small-ish city, and no available beds in the detox facilities 150 miles away.  We needed to first get her on antibiotics to treat the abscesses, before any facility would take her (MRSA risk). And, I procured some hydrocodone for her, to try to keep her off the heroin and away from the crack house. After 72 hours of constant phone calls and involved paperwork, and buying food and clothes for my daughter, and checking in on her, and trying to keep her hopeful and moving forward, and not using heroin (this was my fantasy, as it turned out), a bed finally became available at midnight, and I drove Hayley three hours to the detox facility.  The plan was, after detoxing for ~ 5 days, Hayley would go directly to a women’s treatment center 50 miles away.  However, after 4 days in detox, Hayley walked out AMA (against medical advice) and talked a taxi drive in to driving her the 150 miles back to our town – and her drug life.  One of the many ironies in this chain of events, was that the crack house wouldn’t take her back!  Can you imagine? This is a whole story, in and of itself. 

 We decided as a family, at that point, to pull back and let Hayley really hit “bottom” –  to let her feel the full impact of her life choices, hoping that this approach would jolt her in to seeking recovery on her own.  She’s smart.  She’s resourceful, and I truly believed that she knew where to go to get help for herself.

 And so, for the next 7 – 8 months, we had little to no contact with her – just an occasional text, since the failed treatment attempt.  During that time, I was desperate with fear and worry, and felt overwhelmed with helplessness. However, after about 5 months of not speaking to or seeing her, I had reached some kind of “tipping point”, and decided to try to contact her. It all started with a text, then a phone call, and then a few more, culminating in my determination to actually see my daughter on her birthday in April.  We had re-established enough of a connection to build the foundation of trust and desire necessary for our eventual birthday meeting.  I was convinced that Hayley’s life was at stake and time was running out –  that I needed to make one last valiant attempt to help her get the help she needed to change her life.  If I could appeal to her and tell her, face to face, how much I loved her – – – and that we, her family, would help her get the help she needed when she was ready, maybe it would make a difference. I had to try.

 My reaching out to Hayley was influenced, in part, by Tom, a drug counselor at the  Recovery Helpdesk blog, who made a good case for challenging the notion of  Hitting Bottom– that . . . 

” . . . an opiate dependent person does not have full exercise of their free will.  Their free will is compromised.” And, ” Opiate dependence is powerful enough and the opiate dependent person’s free will is compromised enough, that waiting for the person to “hit bottom” can mean the person goes on to experience HIV infection, Hepatitis C infection, unemployment, homelessness, incarceration, loss of child custody, loss of family relationships, risk of violence, or worse.”

It was uncomfortable to read this, because it challenged our family’s position that Hayley needed to feel enough pain before seeking help, which was what most professionals/groups/literature advocated.  Leaving Hayley alone for 7 months hadn’t really had the effect we had hoped for – she just seemed to spiral further down in to the deep dark hole of addiction and become more entrenched in her risky lifestyle.  And from what I could tell, she was getting more desperate – dope sick almost every day, no money for drugs, let alone food.  I was driving myself crazy contemplating how my daughter might be getting her drugs.

My post, Birthday Gifts, gives you the details of my preparation for this crucial meeting with my heroin addict daughter on her birthday, two years ago.  And Yes . . . She’s Still in There is the account of the actual meeting.

Thinking back to that time is still very painful – and a frightening reminder of how close we came to losing our daughter completely.  But, it also is a powerful testament to hope – and miracles –  and how the most desperate circumstances can change.

There are so many variables that affect an addict’s recovery – timing being one of them. Apparently, for Hayley, the combination of our birthday meeting, followed by a crucial/random phone call from an acquaintance, subsequent phone calls and texts from family members, and other serendipity events –  all came together in to a powerful vortex that started to draw her in – and remind her of the ‘normal’ world and life she had left;  that there was a possibility of a different kind of existence; and maybe she could accept help.  Who knew, or could predict, that these somewhat arbitrary events could converge in to the powerful push my daughter needed to walk away from her life of addiction.

A phrase of drug counselor Tom’s, at Recovery Deskhelp, kept running through my head: that taking action to enable recovery is very different from enabling the addict’s drug use.  I was convinced that my daughter was incapable of getting the help she wanted or needed – that navigating the complicated labyrinth of getting herself into a detox/treatment center, was too overwhelming – and I was right.  I am grateful to Tom for articulating what I felt in my gut – and for his strong voice in advocating harm reduction and a wide range of recovery options for drug addicts.

Tom’s post at Recoverydesk, Tough Love Delays Recovery For Heroin Addicts,  is especially relevant to this discussion and his view that “enabling” and “tough love” are the two “black and white” extremes – both of which can be harmful to the drug addict’s recovery.  There’s a lot of gray area in between that is sensible and reasonable and should be considered.    http://www.recoveryhelpdesk.com/

I ended my post, Open For Business, a little over two years ago, with this:

Hayley’s birthday is a little over a week away.  She’ll be 31 years old.  What do I get her for her birthday?  What does one buy, wrap up, and deliver to their heroin-addicted child?  I know, I know – love, encouragement, hope – – – and recovery, are what she needs most.  At this point, I just don’t know how to give and get those gifts to her.

I guess my point in recounting all of this is, to never give up – that as long as ‘your’ drug addict is still alive, there is hope for recovery.  My daughter is living proof of this miracle.  And today – this year – this April 6th, I am reveling in the hope, promise, and wonder of spring . . . and recovery.

 

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One Year Ago . . .

Posted on April 6, 2011. Filed under: 12 Step Recovery Program, addiction, Addiction Resources/Support, Intervention, Parent of an Addict, The Bottom, Treatment Centers, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I just spoke with my daughter, Hayley, who has been in recovery from heroin/crack/alcohol addiction since last May 9th.  Tomorrow, April 6th, is her 32nd birthday.  She called to tell me that she had just had a wonderful dinner with her older brother, Jake, and his wife, Megan, who were in southern California attending a business meeting.  “It was so good seeing them,” she said – and “I really do miss my family so much.”  She went on to say that she had also re-connected with her original AA sponsor, Brooke –  which was a ‘big deal’ in a number of ways.  Hayley had let this relationship slip over the past few months and, hence, hadn’t been actively working through the 12 steps of her recovery program.  Having a good sponsor, with whom you relate, is  a wonderful resource in recovery: for general advice, a cheerleader when you need comfort and/or support, someone to hold you accountable and check in with.  Hayley  realized that she needed to ‘make amends’ to Brooke – and re-establish this important sponsee-sponsor relationship.  And apparently, she pushed aside her ego and called Brooke.  They met yesterday, and Hayley said it felt really good – that she will try to do things differently this time.

All of this was very good news for me, on the eve of my daughter’s birthday.  And, I couldn’t help but think back to a year ago at this time, when circumstances were very different, and I was getting ready to meet with my daughter for the first time in seven months.  In June 2009, I had learned that Hayley had become a heroin/crack cocaine addict and was living in a crack house.  A couple of months later (August 2009), she had reached out and asked for help – specifically, would I get her in to a medical detox facility?  She had managed to get herself out of the crack house and had found a safe place to stay for a few days.   She was dope sick, covered with abscesses, and desperate for help.  Of course, I donned my ‘supermom cape’, and whirled in to action. 

The logistics of quickly getting Hayley in to a medical detox facility were complicated, since there was no such facility here, in our small-ish city, and no available beds in the detox facilities 150 miles away.  We needed to first get her on antibiotics to treat the abscesses, before any facility would take her (MRSA risk). And, I procured some hydrocodone for her, to try to keep her off the heroin and away from the crack house. After 72 hours of constant phone calls and involved paperwork, and buying food and clothes for my daughter, and checking in on her, and trying to keep her hopeful and moving forward, and not using heroin (this was my fantasy, as it turned out), a bed finally became available at midnight, and I drove Hayley three hours to the detox facility.  The plan was, after detoxing for ~ 5 days, Hayley would go directly to a women’s treatment center 50 miles away.  However, after 4 days in detox, Hayley walked out AMA (against medical advice) and talked a taxi drive in to driving her the 150 miles back to our town – and her drug life.  One of the many ironies in this chain of events, was that the crack house wouldn’t take her back!  Can you imagine? This is a whole story, in and of itself. 

We decided as a family, at that point, to pull back and let Hayley really hit “bottom” –  to let her feel the full impact of her life choices, hoping that this approach would jolt her in to seeking recovery on her own.  She’s smart.  She’s resourceful, and I truly believed that she knew where to go to get help for herself.

And so, for the next 7 – 8 months, we had little to no contact with her – just an occasional text, since the failed treatment attempt.  During that time, I was desperate with fear and worry, and felt overwhelmed with helplessness. However, after about 5 months of not speaking to or seeing her, I had reached some kind of “tipping point”, and decided to try to contact her. It all started with a text, then a phone call, and then a few more, culminating in my determination to actually see my daughter on her birthday in April.  We had re-established enough of a connection to build the foundation of trust and desire necessary for our eventual birthday meeting.  I was convinced that Hayley’s life was at stake and time was running out –  that I needed to make one last valiant attempt to help her get the help she needed to change her life.  If I could appeal to her and tell her, face to face, how much I loved her – – – and that we, her family, would help her get the help she needed when she was ready, maybe it would make a difference. I had to try.

My reaching out to Hayley was influenced, in part, by Tom, a drug counselor at the  Recovery Helpdesk blog, who made a good case for challenging the notion of  Hitting Bottom– that ” . . . an opiate dependent person does not have full exercise of their free will.  Their free will is compromised.” And, ” Opiate dependence is powerful enough and the opiate dependent person’s free will is compromised enough, that waiting for the person to “hit bottom” can mean the person goes on to experience HIV infection, Hepatitis C infection, unemployment, homelessness, incarceration, loss of child custody, loss of family relationships, risk of violence, or worse.”

It was uncomfortable to read this, because it challenged our family’s position that Hayley needed to feel enough pain before seeking help, which was what most professionals/groups/literature advocated.  Leaving Hayley alone for 7 months hadn’t really had the effect we had hoped for – she just seemed to spiral further down in to the deep dark hole of addiction and become more entrenched in her risky lifestyle.  And from what I could tell, she was getting more desperate – dope sick almost every day, no money for drugs, let alone food.  I was driving myself crazy contemplating how my daughter might be getting her drugs.

My post, Birthday Gifts, gives you the details of my preparation for this crucial meeting with my heroin addict daughter.  And Yes . . . She’s Still in There is the account of the actual meeting.

Thinking back to this time a year ago, is still very painful – and a frightening reminder of how close we came to losing our daughter completely.  But, it also is a powerful testament to hope – and miracles –  and how the most desperate circumstances can change.

There are so many variables that affect an addict’s recovery – timing being one of them. Apparently, for Hayley, the combination of our birthday meeting, followed by a crucial/random phone call from an acquaintance, subsequent phone calls and texts from family members, and other serendipity events –  all came together in to a powerful vortex that started to draw her in – and remind her of the ‘normal’ world and life she had left;  that there was a possibility of a different kind of life; and maybe she could accept help.  Escalating physical abuse at the crack house was the final straw – and when her dope dealer ‘boyfriend’, Bill, confiscated her “blankie” and threatened to burn it, the switch flipped.  Who knew, or could predict, that these somewhat arbitrary events could converge in to the powerful push my daughter needed to walk away from her life of addiction.

A phrase of drug counselor Tom’s, at Recovery Deskhelp, kept running through my head: that taking action to enable recovery is very different than enabling the addict’s drug use.  I was convinced that my daughter was incapable of getting the help she wanted or needed – that navigating the complicated labyrinth of getting herself into a detox/treatment center, was too overwhelming – and I was right.  I am grateful to Tom for articulating what I felt in my gut – and for his strong voice in advocating harm reduction and a wide range of recovery options for drug addicts.

Tom’s most recent post at Recoverydesk, Tough Love Delays Recovery For Heroin Addicts,  is especially relevant to this discussion and his view that “enabling” and “tough love” are the two “black and white” extremes – both of which can be harmful to the drug addict’s recovery.  There’s a lot of gray area in between that is sensible and reasonable and should be considered.   

I ended my post, Open For Business, a little over a year ago, with this:

Hayley’s birthday is a little over a week away.  She’ll be 31 years old.  What do I get her for her birthday?  What does one buy, wrap up, and deliver to their heroin-addicted child?  I know, I know – love, encouragement, hope – – – and recovery, are what she needs most.  At this point, I just don’t know how to give and get those gifts to her.

I guess my point in recounting all of this is, to never give upthat as long as ‘your’ drug addict is still alive, there is hope for recovery.  My daughter is living proof of this miracle.

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Recovery – Hers and Mine

Posted on February 21, 2011. Filed under: addiction, Addiction Resources/Support, AlAnon, Parent of an Addict | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

I apologize for having been gone so long. I’ve had other personal/writing projects in the works, as well as tending to my 93 year old mother’s increasing needs and care. And with Hayley now in recovery, there isn’t as much high drama to report on and vent about.  The reality is, however, I need to focus on my own recovery from my daughter’s addiction, more than ever.  And, I struggle with that process.  More on that, later.

First, a Hayley Update:

Hayley has now been clean and sober for nine months. During that time, she was in medical detox for 12 days, then completed a 120 day residential drug treatment program, then moved to a sober living house for 5 months, recently acquired a California driver’s license, bought a car, started working at the treatment center from which she ‘graduated’, and just moved in to an apartment with two other women in recovery.  So far, so good.  It’s a lot.  These milestones in her recovery are all very encouraging, and I’m so proud of her hard work and commitment to sobriety.  It’s almost difficult to comprehend – and fully embrace.  I’m very aware of the enormous amount of financial support that was required to facilitate her recovery – and that NOW, with that financial tether mostly severed, the real work of genuine, lasting recovery begins.  Hayley has just begun to deal with the reality of managing her own time, money, impulses, and recovery program.  Unfortunately, getting sober didn’t automatically reverse or eliminate many personal issues/traits that eventually led to her descent in to drug addiction.  So, I’m somewhat guarded – and trying to just take one day at a time.

To those of you new to my blog, Hayley was a heroin/crack cocaine addict (or anything else she could get her hands on) – and was living a high-risk, dangerous life of depravity and desperation in a series of crack houses. She became a serious drug addict at the age of 30, after years of ‘dabbling’ with a variety of substances, from alcohol, to pot, to prescription painkillers, et al.   As a beautiful, well-educated young woman from a family of ‘privilege’ who had been given/earned a variety of enviable opportunities throughout her life, Hayley defied the stereotypical drug addict profile and predictor statistics.  Yet, there she was, less than a year ago, with only two possible outcomes if she continued doing what she was doing: death or jail.  She came close to both.

I want to offer hope to those of you in desperate need of good news, information, and help for your own situation. First, if you haven’t already, you can read about the harrowing events in the months and days leading up to Hayley’s dramatic turnaround and walking away, with our family’s help, from the world of addiction. My January through May 9th 2010 posts chronicle the timeline leading up to my daughter’s recovery.  Timing, luck, synchronicity, opportunity, higher powers and who-knows-what-else, all converged to create the perfect storm for Hayley’s decision to change her life.  I am grateful beyond words, humbled, and still mystified by this bloody miracle.  There is no magic formula for such a positive outcome.  However, there is support and help for you to get through what you thought you never could .

I understand that when trying to cope and deal with a child’s life-threatening illness, you gather as much information as you can, and don’t rule out anything.  And, of course, addiction is an illness. I encourage you to reference and visit the sites I’ve listed to the right of this post.  They can provide you with important resources, information, and the emotional support you need to soldier through the roller coaster of addiction:

Addiction Recovery Blogs are written by those currently in recovery themselves. They have walked the talk and know more about addiction and recovery than any professional ‘expert’.  Their perspective and insight is of particular help to me right now, and a credible source of experience, strength, and hope. Professional interventionist, author of The Lost Years, and recovering alcoholic/crack cocaine addict, Kristina Wandzilak, just came out with a new blog worth visiting: Sober and Shameless. And, I highly recommend Guinevere Gets Sober. “Guinevere” is recovering from a prescription painkiller addiction, is a mother, wife, and eloquent writer. Actually, I don’t mean to necessarily single out any one of these blogs.  All those listed are worth visiting/reading.  They offer hope and a realistic glimpse of the daily struggles a recovering addict faces.  I find myself wanting to learn more about addiction, especially from the addict’s perspective.  These blogs help.

Addiction Resources will give you a variety of good, practical information about the signs and symptoms of addiction, definitions of terms and drug language, descriptions of drug paraphernalia, treatment options, and more.  Become educated about what you’re dealing with.

Favorite Blogs list some good blogs by other parents who are struggling with addiction in their family, where you can get a wide range of perspectives and scenarios, and, perhaps, not feel so alone.  The ‘community’ of other desperate parents, dealing with their child’s addiction, is such an important resource.  Even though my daughter is now in recovery, I still like to visit these sites and take the time to give any words of support that I can.  I so appreciated viewers responding to my own posts that were usually written in despair and in the midst of a crisis.  Their support would often keep me going through, what I thought, were impossibly painful and frightening circumstances.  I also learned through these blog posts, that many situations were worse than my own. It helped keep things in perspective for me.

•Inspiration For Living your Best Life: blogs that don’t necessarily deal with addiction, but will lift you up and inspire you to live your best life.  I make an effort to go to these sites regularly, to help keep the focus on myself rather than my recovering addict, and expand my knowledge on how to be my best self.

My Own Recovery

Trying to take one day at a time and keep my focus on changing the things I can, is a process and takes time – it is and will most likely be, a lifetime of work.  I am trying to recover from my obsession with what my daughter is or is not doing. The daily vigilance and monitoring become a nasty habit.  There is a fine line between enabling and truly helping.  It is incredibly hard not to interfere with the natural consequences of my daughter’s choices.  And, I will continue to seek out the help and support I need to stay within my own hula hoop.  We cannot climb up a rope that is attached only to our own belt. William Ernest Hocking 

Right now, I feel that I’m taking a break and stepping back from almost 10 years of constant worry and anxiety.  I am slowly shifting my focus – and working on not letting my daughter’s life take over my own.  It’s time to face my own demons and create the life I want for myself.  Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop. Ovid

This from Al-Anon’s Courage to Change:  . . . I was busy projecting a horrible outcome to my loved one’s crisis and dreading the ways in which the consequences might affect me.  The slogan, “One Day at a Time” reminds me that, in spite of my fears, I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  Why am I leaping into the future?   Perhaps I’ve given my feelings no room to exist.  Part of me gambles that by worrying in advance, bad news will be easier to face if it comes.  But worrying will not protect me from the future.  It will just keep me from living here and now.  “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow; it only saps today of its strength.” A.J. Cronin

Will I ever overcome the effects of my daughter’s addiction?  Anger, resentment, and fear are my demons.  Can I accept the reality of my life? When I try to control a situation by making suggestions, asking prodding questions, and feel the compulsion to comment, I am losing my focus and need to put my energy back where it belongs –  on myself. We should have much peace if we would not busy ourselves with the sayings and doings of others. Thomas a Kempis

I still struggle with accepting that I am just as powerless over my daughter’s  recovery, as I was over her drug addiction. Trying to” let go and let God” and break the cycle of my addiction to worry and fear, is difficult – it becomes a convenient distraction from focusing on my own life and what I need to be working on:  my own actions, behavior, motives, and relationships.  Am I afraid to live life for myself? We’ll see.  In the meantime, I will  try to stay in the present – it’s really all I have.

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. . . But A Molecule’s Difference

Posted on December 8, 2010. Filed under: 12 Step Recovery Program, addiction, Addiction Resources/Support, AlAnon, Intervention, Parent of an Addict, The Bottom, Treatment Centers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

One of my favorite blog readers, Nora, who also has a blog of her own, Works Aside, recently left this message regarding her sister, Hannah, who is a heroin addict:

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 isn’t the first time we’ve had news like this, it slaps you right between the eyes.

Your last post, Waiting For Bill 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?

That, of course, is always the $64,000 question and the family’s painful dilemma.  There’s a lot of debate around what to do and not do –  and, there doesn’t appear to be a ‘right’ or simple answer. So, in response to Nora’s burning questions and passionate plea for help, I can only recount my own daughter’s road to recovery and hope there will be some relevance to her/your own situation.  This is just one ‘case study’, one story of recovery.  Please take what you want and leave the rest.

A year ago at this time, I was as desperate as Nora.  My college-educated, 31 year old daughter, Hayley, had been living in a crack house for about seven months, using heroin, crack cocaine, and anything else she could get her hands on.  I knew where she was, but had little contact with her.  After she walked out of medical de-tox AMA (against medical advice) in August 2009 and returned to her abusive, sordid drug addict lifestyle, we, as a family, decided to take the “hands-off” approach.  We had gone to extreme lengths to get her to a medical detox facility a couple of hundred miles away (there are none where we live) in response to her call for help.  After de-toxing, the plan was for her to go to a reputable women’s treatment center near by.  But after 4 days in the de-tox facility, she ran, and talked a cab driver in to driving her 175 miles back to her old life.  

We were stunned.  It hadn’t occurred to us that after courageously extricating herself from the crack house and deciding to get clean, she would give up, part way through detox.  After that failed attempt to get Hayley in to recovery, we/I had virtually no contact with her for five long months.  I nearly drove myself nuts thinking about and envisioning how she was living, what she was doing to herself, and what she might be capable of in order to procure her drugs. I was a wreck, valiantly trying to just hang on to my own life and sanity.  Al-Anon meetings helped, I saw a therapist, and started writing this blog.  Still, I felt devastated and hopeless, and found myself thinking more about preparing myself for my daughter’s funeral, rather than her recovery.

I must say, that after a few months, it became easier to compartmentalize and detach.  This was mostly a coping mechanism, based on fear and complete despair.  The logistics of trying to do a formal intervention and ‘rescue’ seemed impossible.  Plus, most family members had been so badly ‘burned’ by Hayley walking away from de-tox, they were not especially interested in having any further contact with her.  “Let her find her own way to recovery”, was the unified front we all adopted.

Around January, after Brian, Hayley’s younger brother, had not been able to reach her by text, my ‘mother lion’ instinct kicked in.  I realized that I needed to do something. Was she even alive?  Although a professional drug counselor had advised me to cut off all contact with Hayley so she could feel the full consequences of her choices, I had reached my saturation point – my bottom. I needed to hear from and see my daughter.  The scale had tipped – one tiny atom had changed valence and upset the ‘balance’. 

In early March, the ‘perfect storm’ began to gather and gain force.  On March 4th, I was headed to Seattle to hear David Sheff, author of beautiful boy, and his recovering addict son,  Nic Sheff, speak. In re-reading my notes from beautiful boy, I was inspired to try to call my daughter and “break the ice” of her shame/guilt-driven isolation.  That, combined with a serendipitous series of events and Hayley’s pending 31st birthday in April, pushed me to action.  I was determined to be with my daughter on her birthday, to remind her of who she still was and how much we all loved her.  My daughter was going to die if I didn’t intervene in some way.  She had never been through drug rehab and I felt strongly that she deserved a chance to get sober.  I knew she couldn’t do it on her own – and that I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t try to help her.

Some of you may be familiar with blogger, Dawn (DHAM).  A while ago, Dawn sent me this excerpt from a recovering addict’s blog:

I was zombie like–running on automatic. Addicts don’t desire financial ruin, loss of self respect, ruining good relationships with family or friends, or spending time in jail/prison.  Those are all just consequences of being an addict. People w/o addictions generally make their decisions based on their conscious motivations.  An example, normal people get jobs so they can pay bills and support their families.  For me as an addict, my decisions were made based on an impulsive, physiological drive for drugs.  Every decision I made in life was centered around my drug addiction.  The only reason I got a job was so I could pay for my drugs.  If it was a choice between paying bills and copping a bag, the bag would always win.  If I had a choice between eating a meal and drugs—-drugs.

Self control was non existent for me.  My probation officer told me if I failed another piss test at one point I’d go to prison for five years.  So for two weeks I’d quit using 3 days before I saw my probation officer.  Then the lack of self-control took over me.  During my 3 days of not using, I’d continually obsess over the drug, and despite the potential consequences of 5 years in prison, the drug would win.

The drug came before everything in my life.  The high was more important than my family, my friends, money, food, water, my health, my future, my own life. Consequences never even crossed my mind like they do for ‘normal’ people.  I needed it.  I lived it.  I breathed it.  It became me…

And, my now recovering daughter, would add:  . . . it got to the point where I wasn’t using heroin to get high –  I needed it in order to not become violently ill . . . to “stay well’.

Back to the story.  I had an advantage at that point.  I had seen on the news that the crack house had been busted by federal agents and Hayley’s drug-dealer boyfriend was arrested.  As a consequence, her ‘easy’ drug supply had been seriously interrupted. I received a text from her after the crack house raid that she was ‘ok’, still at the crack house, (now boarded up with no power), and living with Paula, the tough, ‘professional’ junkie and crack house ‘operations manager’, whose fierce competition with Hayley for drug dealer Bill’s attention and favor, often led to violence.  Hayley had no money for food, let alone drugs.  I was afraid of what she might do in order to “stay well”.  I knew that Paula shoplifted at Wal-Mart regularly, and who knew what else, to generate cash flow. Hayley was most likely desperate enough to overcome her shame and guilt and agree to see me on her birthday to perhaps ‘score’ some merchandise that could be sold for drugs.  In fact, that is exactly what happened.  Soon after the crack house bust, I received a text from Hayley asking if I could meet her to deliver her quarterly stock dividend check (a couple of hundred dollars).  I jumped at the invitation and told her we’d meet on her birthday, a week later.  That would give me time to investigate some treatment centers, develop a plan,  and gather her Birthday Gifts.

After that first meeting with Hayley in months  (Yes, She’s Still in There . . .), I continued to stay in contact with her.  I took her grocery shopping and on a few other errands.  Each time we were together, it was easier and not so awkward. She began to talk more and revealed disturbing details of her life. We laughed about silly, mundane things.  I brought her some make-up samples, shampoo, and underwear – and was gradually able to introduce the possibility of treatment, the facilities I had researched,  how/when it could all happen.  She was interested yet, at the same time, terrified – especially of the de-toxing process.  On one of our visits together, I called “Lloyd”, the security guard and groundsman I had been in contact with at the small, all women’s 6 bed detox house we were considering.  Lloyd reassured Hayley – his voice was gentle, and confident, and full of hope for her.  He, too, had been where she was – and spoke her language.

But after each visit with her over the course of a few weeks, I would drop her back off at the abandoned crack house and just pray that we could get her to treatment before she OD’ed.  That month of contact (combined with  other serendipitous events and phone calls from other family members and a couple of random ‘normie’ friends) built a foundation that seemed to be the tipping point. 

These words, from Mr. SponsorPants, are particularly insightful:

Sometimes I think there is but a molecule’s difference between helping and enabling . . . between hope and expectation . . . between faith and fantasy . . . and further more, sometimes all the clever slogans in the world can’t help you discern when one slips into the other.

Hayley has now been clean and sober since last May 9th.  It’s a bloody miracle.  Our family’s journey through hell and out the other side is just one story – and it’s not the end of the story. We all know that Hayley’s sobriety is one day at a time. How/why  Hayley embraced recovery at that particular time, when the option was offered to her,  is still not completely clear.  Ultimately, it is the addict that needs to want to change his/her life – I know that.  Yet, it’s not always that simple.  The addict is often incapable of taking steps towards change on their own – even if they fiercely want to.  In my mind, the clock was ticking – it was a “dice-throw” as to whether or not Hayley could get herself out of her drug addict lifestyle before it killed her.  

There are some things, I think,  that seemed to help Hayley walk away from drug addiction and get on the long and winding road to sobriety.  More importantly, these things helped me stay sane and take charge of my own recovery – the only real control I have.   (Thanks to Guinevere Gets Sober for her words: “. . . be present and have low expectations . . .”)  I hope you can find something here that brings you a molecule of hope and possibility:

•Be Present: stay in contact with the addict – but not excessively. It will help narrow the gap between the ‘normal’/real world and the addict’s crazy, dangerous drug life.  Today, Hayley says that it was easier to compartmentalize and ‘forget’ about family and ‘normal’ life than it was to stay in contact and connected. In her case, the less contact we had with her, the further down she spiraled, in to the deep, dark abyss of addiction.  The shame, guilt, and fear of her situation were overwhelming to her – and paralyzing.  In order to cope, she isolated.  Her drug user ‘friends’ and ‘roommates’ became her family –  one that didn’t judge her and accepted her for who she was – right at that moment.  Even though they stole from one another and often couldn’t trust each other, they also shared what they had (food, drugs, fringe-y lifestyle)  and ‘covered’ for each other.  They all had a lot in common, and lived for the moment.

After Hayley walked out of medical detox in August 2009, our family essentially washed our hands of her.  This was her first experience in medical detox, and she was then scheduled to go to a woman’s treatment center in Seattle.  I just learned that after almost 5 days of de-toxing, with the worst behind her as far as physical withdrawal symptoms, she was ‘sober’ enough to actually feel her own anxiety and fear.  She just couldn’t face going to treatment.  That unknown seemed too overwhelming to her, whereas going back to using heroin and its accompanying life style, was something she knew, was familiar with, in a ‘community’, of sorts. She had earned a place there.  A sense of belonging is  a very seductive reason to re-join and/or become a part of any group, as evidenced by the abundance of gangs in our society.  The ‘disenfranchised’ are welcomed.

Kristina Wandzilak, in her blog, The Kristina Chronicles, had this to say regarding “Fear and the Addict”:

How much is fear responsible for a person’s descent into addiction and inability to retrieve him or herself from it? Addicts, in general, are fear-based individuals. I’m not sure that fear has a lot to do with the manifestation of the disease, per se, but once we’re in it, fear keeps us from getting better.

We’re afraid of what will happen to us. We’re afraid of success, of failure, of living and of dying. We’re afraid to try to get better. It can feel easier to be resigned to a life of addiction than to live a different, sober life. Sobriety changes everything.

Through some of Hayley’s ‘friends of friends’ and acquaintances, I became ‘educated’ about the underbelly of our ‘fair’ city.  I salvaged and saved every scrap of paper with a phone number or name on it that I found in her apartment when she was evicted. I spoke with drug counselors, our two community hospitals’ social workers and ER staffs, and found a ‘mole’ within the drug community who was willing to give me periodic reports on Hayley’s condition.  I found out where all the crack houses were and dropped off letters to her – and, a Christmas present from her grandmother.  I discovered that texting was  a more non-threatening and reliable way to reach Hayley and get a response.  (However, usually her own cell phone was out of minutes or not charged -so she was dependent on her ‘friends” phones, who often exercised their power over her by refusing to pass on messages, etc.)  When I did hear from Hayley, I noted the phone number and kept it on file.  The bottom line was that Hayley always knew how to reach me and other family members.  But, she seldom initiated the contact herself. When I increased contact with her in March and April (2010), it helped  break through that barrier of shame and guilt on Hayley’s part, and of helplessness on mine.  Being with her reminded her of some things – that she had choices, that she was loved, that it wasn’t too late to change her life.

One caveat: if you’ve tried to ‘help’ your addict multiple times and it just hasn’t worked, you may need to step back and let him/her come to you – in their own time and on their own terms.  You do need to protect yourself from the roller coaster of the addiction drama – it can suck you in and eventually use you up.

•Have a Plan (but not an outcome): Do some legwork and research in to possible treatment facilities and options. What type of treatment center would be best – short (28 days) or long term (90 days or longer)? all female or co-ed? 12 step based program? post treatment options? medical detoxing prior to treatment – and if so, how and where?, etc.  Hayley was very fearful of the detoxing process.  It was a huge barrier for her. During the last few months of her drug use, she was constantly dope sick.  She didn’t have the money/means to reliably maintain her habit. Being dope sick was so unpleasant and withdrawal so horrible, that she would have never agreed to detox without medical supervision and palliative drugs to get her through the worst of it.

And, I guess, consider an intervention.  The kind and degree of intervention can be tailored to your situation.  We used a professional interventionist, Kristina Wandzilak, as a consultant rather than as an actual interventionist.  She advised us regarding good long-term treatment centers of which she had personal knowledge.   She served as a non-biased facilitator/mediator during two conference calls involving our entire family, as we expressed our individual  concerns and fears. We all had our own diverse opinions about what we should do or not do and Kristina skillfully acknowledged and managed them all. And, there are so many treatment centers out there, it’s difficult to know which ones are truly effective.  They all look good on the internet and sound great on the phone.  The recovery industry has become huge, and is ‘big business’, with little regulation.  It helps to get professional expertise and experience in choosing a reputable program.  Getting Kristina involved was the best $450 we ever spent.

Go to this blog post to read about our family’s debate/discussion regarding an intervention with Hayley. Another post,  Al-Anon vs Intervention, also discusses this controversial topic.

Hayley said that knowing there was a treatment plan in place was an incentive and helped make it become a real possibility.  She would get immediately overwhelmed at the thought of needing to initiate the process herself.  Just filling out the necessary paperwork required to receive treatment through the state seemed impossible. She was so ashamed – and was such a prisoner of her addiction cycle and physiological dependence on the drugs, that she could really only think a couple of hours ahead – and that focus was always on how to get her next fix.

•Timing is Everything: and often something over which you have no control.  Hayley was a college graduate and started using heroin at age 30.  Addiction is a progressive disease – and Hayley began with seemingly innocuous pot smoking and some alcohol use in high school/college.  In 2002, having graduated the year before from a small liberal arts college, she was diagnosed with a serious eating disorder (bulimia).  As a result of her ED, she developed some chronic dental issues and irritable bowel syndrome that lead to legitimate prescription pain killer use and, of course, eventual abuse.  And, it all compounded to the point of moving through and using cocaine, methadone, smoking crack and ultimately, shooting heroin.  After almost a year of living in a crack house, going to the ER multiple times to treat abscesses and GI problems, having her unemployment checks discontinued resulting in no source of legitimate income, getting beat up and abused, being dope sick almost every day, there were few options left. However, she told me recently, that she had resigned herself to being a junkie for the rest of her life, and dying a junkie. She couldn’t see any way out.  And then, Bill, her drug dealer/boyfriend, started ‘messing with’ her blankie, which she has always had since she was a baby.  Bill started hiding it and threatening to burn it to sadistically tease and control Hayley.  That was the final straw, Hayley later recalled – but all of these factors collided with each other and accumulated into a critical mass that ultimately resulted in Hayley walking away from her life as a drug addict. And, at age 31, she was finally realizing that she didn’t have time to f*ck around. 

•Keep Expectations Low (but keep trying): one small step can shift the balance; one atom moving into a different orbit may make the difference for bigger changes down the road.  Don’t set yourself up for disappointment and failure.  We have no way of knowing when an addict is ready to recover – or what small things can have a significant impact in shifting an addict’s desire/ability to get and/or receive help.  Just don’t ever give up.

•Get Support and Work a Recovery Program For Yourself: I started going to the anonymous fellowship of Al-Anon over 8 years ago when Hayley’s eating disorder was first diagnosed.  I am still learning how to shift the focus from Hayley to myself and be happy in spite of what Hayley is doing or not doing.  To have such a safe place to find help – – – and hope, has been crucial in traveling down this road of drug addiction with my daughter that I didn’t choose, or know how to navigate.  I’ve learned that if I apply the Traditions and Principles of Al-Anon to my life and relationships, serenity is possible (I’ve gotten a glimpse of it) and there are no hopeless situations. I invite you to Take a Seat.

Seek out true friends who don’t judge and want to listen – who rarely offer advice, and only when asked.  I have discovered some  Unlikely Friends and Neighbors whose compassion and support have been so incredibly comforting – and often, a pleasant surprise.   Journaling, blogging, reading Al-Anon and addiction  literature and good recovery blogs, all add to your body of knowledge about addiction.  They can calm your mind, ease some frustration and guilt, and give you hope.  All these resources helped me feel not so alone, for which I am grateful.  See my BlogRoll and Recovery Blogs in the far right column, for reference.  And, a Gratitude Journal helps to regularly think about, remember, and write down the things and people in your life you are thankful for.  It’s a bit of a diversion tactic that helps to get your self out of your own misery for a while – and focus on what is good and positive in your life.

And finally, try to be of service to someone else who is in pain due to or struggling with addiction.  This may be as simple as setting up chairs at an Al-Anon meeting, reading and commenting on blog posts, calling a friend who needs support and encouragement, giving someone your full attention and truly listening to them.

•Luck, Serendipity, a Higher Power, God: they all play a part that is impossible to predict or control.  I don’t discount any of these and try to remain open to their presence.  I will say that as of May 9, 2010, I do believe in miracles. And, I’ve learned that it helps to let go and turn some of the burden of worry and despair, over to a higher power. I’m still working on this.

So, Nora – I know this has gone on far too long and that I’ve left some things out.  I don’t pretend to know what to tell you to do regarding Hannah.  But, I do know that there is always hope, that YOU can find serenity, and that miracles do happen.  One tiny molecule can make all the difference in the world.

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Rescued From the Sea

Posted on July 12, 2010. Filed under: addiction, The Bottom | Tags: , , , , , |

I’m cruising a bit today.  It’s summer, and I feel I haven’t played yet.  The days just fly by, with me tending to ‘important’ details of my remodeling project, Hayley’s recovery, family demands, and – – – life!  And so, instead of hacking out my own post, today I am featuring a ‘guest columnist’, professional interventionist Kristina Wandzilak. This is her most recent post, June  30th, from her blog:  The Kristina Chronicles. Kristina’s fabulous memoir, The Lost Years, is a story of hope.  I read this book last summer, when I was certain that I had lost my daughter to heroin and crack cocaine, forever.  The book was informative, touching, raw, and honest. Kristina and her mother, Connie, wrote alternating chapters – from the addict’s and mother’s points of view.  You may also read reviews of Kristina’s television series, Addicted, on my previous blog posts.

And so – if you are feeling despair, and hopelessness, and overwhelming grief and fear that your addict ‘child’ will never get clean/sober – or even survive, take a look at Kristina’s story and journey to recovery. It can happen.  It does happen.

Rescued from the Sea

I drowned today.

In a sea of memory and emotions, I drowned.

Just like the ocean, the memory took me over slowly. The water covered my toes and feet first, the sand melting away beneath them; then my knees, thighs and stomach. My chest next, with a slight loss of breath as the shock of the cold memory swirled around me. Then my shoulders, and finally my face was the last to go under as it looked up at the sky. My mouth let out a small gasp — and then bittersweet submersion as the memory pushed and pulled all around me.

I was very naive when I first hit the street. I learned very difficult lessons, the hard way. I was taken in by a man who told me he had a bunch of crack and he wanted to share it. I know — looking back, I should have foreseen what was coming — but I was lost, hurting and hopelessly addicted. And when he held up the bag of rocks, I could not turn away.

We went into a muggy motel room and he put down the bag and a pile of cocaine for us all to enjoy. It was me and an older black woman who was very thin and looked hard and a little scary. She had a scar above her eye, and I remember wondering how she got it. Her eyes were a deep brown, like dark chocolate, her hair short with a bandana wrapped around her forehead. I could tell she was pretty at a time in her life, but the street wears hard on pretty faces and kind souls. She had on a torn lavender T-shirt and tight jeans, dark blue. She was wearing a pair of white K-Swiss, I remember because I had a pair of the same exact shoes, at some point. She did not say much but took hit after hit off the crack pipe. It was warm in that room — smoky and dirty — but warm. The drugs were endless. It was heaven.

After some time of getting high and simple talk, I went into the bathroom, which was through the bedroom. I left the front room, and when I came back the man was standing in the doorway, blocking me from walking into the main room where the older woman was partying and listening to music, ABC by Jackson Five. I’ll never forget it. It was such a happy song for such a shit place.

He said to me, “Pull up your shirt and pull down your pants so I can see how much you’re worth.” I was shocked, speechless, and fear shot through me, making my hands shake. He said, “You didn’t think this was free, did you? You’ll be paying before you leave.” He just stood there blocking the doorway with a sleazy smile and a creepy look. Panic flooded me. My head was dizzy. I felt weak and sick and terrified. There was a knock on the motel room door, which distracted him. He said, “I’ll be back,” and stepped away to see who was at the door.

The moment he was out of the doorway, I gasped “…I can’t, I can’t, I can’t do this.” I slid down the wall and began to hyperventilate. “I don’t know how to get out of this…” The older woman stood at my feet. She took a hit off a crack pipe, knelt down in front of me, pulled my face to hers, placed her lips on mine, and blew into my mouth. I inhaled as deeply as I could. The crack smoke filled my lungs like a baby’s first breath. Then she lifted my chin and looked into my eyes and said, “You don’t belong here.” Just those words, nothing else. She pulled me up off the floor, led me into the bathroom and helped me escape through a small window. She told me not to return.

As my feet landed on the walkway outside and the fresh air filled me, I ran. I ran blocks away. I ran as fast as I could. Running when you have nowhere to go is like a nightmare. My feet were moving so quickly, my breath was fast but it was like I was stuck in a dream I could not awake from. There was no escape from what I had done to myself. So I ran until I simply could not run anymore. I slept on concrete that night, at the far end of an alley, pushed into a corner. I closed my eyes until dawn was upon the city.

I do not know her name; I will never forget her face or the mercy she showed me that day. I was not so lucky the next time.

I bring her words with me into each intervention; no one deserves to be caught in the wicked, lonely, despairing disease of addiction. I have intervened on homeless drug addicts and fortune 500 CEOs, and I can tell you the desperation is the same; the fear, the madness, the brutal cycle of shame and self-loathing is our common denominator, and no one belongs in it or deserves to die of it.

When I doubt — and trust me, at times I do — that there is a higher purpose for me and a reason I survived, I picture her face, I remember her words, and she gives me strength to carry on and to continue to wage this war against addiction.

Sober and Shameless, KW

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Cleaning Up Her Messes

Posted on May 14, 2010. Filed under: Intervention, Parent of an Addict | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Even though Hayley left for treatment on Saturday, things haven’t slowed down.  I returned from Seattle  around 5:30 pm on Saturday and proceeded to dispose of everything Hayley had brought with her at 5:30 am Saturday morning to my house, from her life at the crack house.  I dumped all of her clothes, which I had never seen before, in to my garbage can, stacked the mystery paperback books into the Goodwill bag, and knocked on my neighbor’s door, a retired surgeon and long time friend, to deliver the pouch of dirty needles for proper disposal.  There – one major mess taken care of. 

On Sunday morning, I got back in my car to drive two hours to visit my 92 yo mother for Mother’s Day.  We had a nice family brunch with my brother, his wife, and  a couple of close family friends, I planted my mom’s planters on her deck, then jumped back in the car to head back home.  WHEW!  At this point, I was still operating on an adrenalin high.

At home, now, I’m beginning to dare to contemplate my life without visualizing my daughter’s bare, perverse, life-threatening existence at the crack house, whose metal roof I can see from my kitchen window.  I’m forcing myself to not react to the sirens I hear at night – – – and think the worst. For right now – just for today – I don’t need to agonize over whether or not my daughter will be headed to jail, the ER, or, the morgue.

However – because we took Hayley out of state, and she had a scheduled court date for violating probation on Friday, May 14th, I’m in ‘deep shit’.  Or, in reality, Hayley is in deep shit.  Last Saturday, when I was trying to get Hayley to SeaTac airport to fly to the treatment center in California, I signed a $3,000 Promissory Note in order to prevent Hayley from being taken to jail.  Un-beknownst to me, Hayley had a bail bond posted from a previous arrest last fall for violating probation.

Monday,  I typed up a letter explaining why we, our family, conducted an “emergency intervention” with Hayley – that we were afraid for her personal safety and decided to quickly remove her from our small city and get her to a treatment center that could address her multiple issues of:  poly-substance abuse, a serious eating disorder, ‘trauma’ issues, and a possible underlying mental illness diagnosis.  I also requested and received a letter from the treatment center documenting that Hayley was an enrolled patient there, and that they would not recommend Hayley traveling for up to a year.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I delivered these letters to Hayley’s court-appointed defense attorney (who is overworked, back-logged, and could care less), her probation officer, and the prosecuting attorney.  I also visited Hayley’s bail bondsmen, Javier, who told me that he knew and liked Hayley, that she was a unique case,  and . . . he would go to court with me on Friday to advocate for her.  Holy Cow. This bail bondsman does not fit my stereo type and has turned out to be a good resource for me.

I received this recent mini-report from a staff member at the treatment center, on Hayley’s progress at the detox facility:

I went to see Hayley today in detox.  She is doing pretty well – sick, obviously, as you know from the detox. But her spirits are quite high – grateful to be here and can’t wait to get to the treatment center house.  I told her I would bring her some healthier snacks later this week.  Apparently, they only have things to nibble on that are unhealthy and she is afraid of her eating disorder getting the best of her.  Beautiful daughter you have.  I very much look forward to working with you all.

I called the detox facility today, to check on Hayley’s progress.  It’s day # 5 for her.  Last August, while in a medical detox facility in an inner-urban hospital in the Seattle area, Hayley walked out after 41/2 days, AMA (against medical advice).  So – – – I’m nervous. Hayley could walk out of the detox facility where she is, right now, at any time.  Today, Edie, a staff member at the detox facility, reported to me that Hayley was doing ‘ok’, that she was currently outside, in the sun, braiding another patient’s hair.  She said that Hayley was experiencing a lot of deep muscle and bone pain, typical of heroin withdrawal – and that she was scheduled for release to the Safe Harbor treatment center on May 20th or 21st.

My daughter has a low pain threshold.  She’s always whining that something hurts.  A drug counselor recently told me that heroin addicts are known for their whining about their physical ailments.  Who knows how much physical  pain Hayley is truly experiencing – or how much is being ‘used’ to manipulate the situation.

I heard this on NPR today: ‘Stupid’ has a gravitational force that will pull you right in. This comment was in reference to the Greek economy, and the lack of discipline required for long-term change.  It prompted me to think about Hayley, and my hope that she not take the path of least resistance; however, I also realize that she will most likely take the easiest path.  This is scary, because the ’easiest’ path, is not necessarily the ‘best’ path.

When my older son, Jake, remarked that Hayley’s basic personality was difficult and annoying, prior to her heroin addiction, I agreed – and immediately felt so overwhelmed.  A long time friend of Hayley’s sent me this message:

Peggy, Your strength is amazing!  Having grown up knowing Hayley and your family, and being her friend, closer at times than others, these stories seems surreal to me.  I did send her a text prior to her going and she replied as well, sounding positive and admitting that she missed her family so much and “couldn’t live this way anymore…”  All good signs of getting on her way.

One thing stood out to me about your conversation with Jake, and how she had those behaviors even before she was on heroin…something to think about – – – before she was on heroin she was still an addict and chemically dependent to some sort of drug.  (Alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes, prescription meds, etc. etc.)  I’m not sure that she has not lived a lengthy period of time as an adult without being influenced by some sort of drug.  She has yet to develop the personality and coping skills that “typically” take place as an adult, whatever’ typical’ means, right?  She is probably stuck in her adolescent/addict mind frame…

As Jake said, your work is done.  The rest is up to her.  All we can do is love her.  You’ve given her the roots, Peggy, and have dried her wings, now she has to be the one to allow herself to soar.  I hope you find peace.  I hope and pray that Hayley does too.

Thanks, dear sweet Anna, who courageously reached out to both me, and my heroin addict daughter. Anna texted Hayley right before she left for treatment – and I know it helped nudge Hayley forward.

I  also want to acknowledge a friend of Hayley’s, whom I really don’t know, personally.  Apparently, Todd has known Hayley over the last 8 years, through a variety of friends/connections. Recently, Todd discovered my blog, and was shocked to learn of Hayley’s heroin/serious drug addiction.  Two weeks ago, Todd decided to call Hayley and talk to her.  For some miraculous reason, Hayley’s phone was “on”, and she picked up Todd’s phone call.  Hayley told me on our drive to SeaTac Airport last Saturday, that Todd’s phone call to her a couple of weeks ago, meant a great deal – and contributed to her shift towards getting help for herself. Thanks, Todd – for your determination to reach out to Hayley.  Your words to her, that she had traveled down the road as far as she could go, had an impact.

Tomorrow, on Friday, I will go to court, on behalf of my daughter.  The judge could decide to show no mercy, and require me to pay the $3,000 bond, extradite my daughter from California, and put her in jail. Surely, the intent of the court is to get this client the help that she needs – – – and deserves?  Hayley is in treatment right now;  however, I am not assuming that the court, whose job seems to be punitively based, will show us any compassion or give us a break.

Just for today, when I hear sirens at night, I don’t immediately go in to  cold sweats and nightmarish images. I know that my daughter is currently safe and scheduled to enter treatment where she will have the opportunity to re-invent herself.

Cleaning up our children’s messes – isn’t that what mothers do?

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“Getting Well”

Posted on May 2, 2010. Filed under: Addiction Resources/Support, Intervention, Parent of an Addict, Treatment Centers | Tags: , , , , , , , |

“Getting well” can be an ironic term, I just learned.  And, in today’s case, it’s a euphemism of sorts.  “Euphemism”, according to Webster’s New World Dictionary is:  “the use of a word or phrase that is less expressive or direct but considered less distasteful, less offensive, etc. than another.” Bingo.  Read on.

We’ve been frantically trying to put together all the pieces necessary to get Hayley in to treatment – soon.  Time is of the essence before she ODs or does something even more dangerous/foolish to get her next fix. She is desperate, with no money for food or drugs.  She’s living in the raided crack house with Paula, the woman who regularly beats her up, and who shares the ‘services’ of drug dealer, Bill.  Bill, however, has recently moved out of his crack house since he can no longer sell drugs from there, after being arrested in the recent drug raid. (he was bailed out of jail by his parents) Bill moved in with the Zero brothers, where Hayley used to live,  ‘abandoning’ Hayley and Paula.  Waaaahhhhh  😦 

Over this past week, Hayley announced she was ready for treatment. She said she is tired of being ‘sick’ – as in ‘dope sick’, which translates to: “I can’t easily get my drugs any more and don’t want to go through withdrawal every day.”

Friday, Hayley called me and asked if I would take her to DSHS (state welfare office), to apply for food stamps and the state-funded drug treatment program.  (I hadn’t seen or talked to her since her birthday, on April 6th.  And, as you may recall, I hadn’t seen her, prior to that meeting, since last August.)  I told her I would, fixed a peanut butter sandwich for her, and picked her up at the crack house.  She looked terrible – over-sized men’s slippers on her feet, dirty clothes, thin, pale, hat pulled down over ½ her face. It was difficult to just look at her, let alone, be with her.  “I should be a phlebotomist”, she quipped. “I’m really good at finding veins, especially on other people.” She then showed me her foot, where she had not had any luck that morning. And the irony here is, that professionally, I was well known for my phlebotomy skills.  She added, “Yeah, I’ve often said that I wish my mom were here.”  Some type of weird chortle/sound bubbled up and out of my throat.

She started chatting about treatment – and had somehow gotten wind of the place we were considering for her.  “Do they allow suboxone/methadone there”, she asked? “ I don’t think so”, I responded.  She then launched in to a discourse about wanting to be part of the treatment center selection process – that she knows what she needs to increase her chances for success.  I tried to stay as neutral as I could, but felt bullied a bit, and intimidated.

On the way to DSHS, Hayley mentioned she needed to call her probation officer, so I handed her my phone.  Of course, she didn’t have the phone number – or even know her PO’s name – – – but I did. She left a message on the PO’s voice mail. This was the first time she had called her PO since she first moved in to the crack house a year ago. Consequently, there has been an arrest warrant out for Hayley for violating probation. I believe that this issue has been a huge barrier to Hayley, regarding registering with the state welfare system – she was afraid of going to jail.  So, this phone call was a very big deal, in my opinion.  (Apparently the arrest warrant has been dropped, and Hayley has a court date on May 14th, information I found out about a couple of weeks ago from the hospital ER when I spoke to a social worker there.)

I dropped Hayley off at DSHS with the plan I’d return in a couple of hours – I had a scheduled physical therapy appointment, etc. And when I returned to pick her up, she was there – waiting!  Yay!  Again, progress, though a baby step, I know.  She was ‘bummed’ that she only received $16 in food stamps.  She said she applied for the drug treatment program and had a follow-up appointment next Tuesday.  “Do you need a ride?”, I asked.  She didn’t know.

While we were together, Hayley was able to speak briefly to her PO and told her she was going to treatment.  Again – Hayley was now assuming, I guess, that we, her family, were indeed going to get her to and pay for treatment. And, again, she let me know that she wanted to help decide where.  Hmmmm.

I was then able to talk Hayley in to visiting with the drug counselor at Dependency Health Services I’ve been in touch with over the past year. He was miraculously available when I called.  I could tell she was embarrassed at how she looked, and asked for some lipstick.  She’s so damn beautiful, it’s amazing what a little lip gloss can do.  She spoke to Mike for about 20 minutes.  I felt like another small step had been made, and that now Hayley knows about this resource and could possibly find her own way there if she wanted/needed to.

Hayley asked if I would take her grocery shopping, which I did.  THAT was a tension-filled, awkward and very unpleasant experience.  I realized that I can hardly be around my drug addict daughter – I’m not only so saddened by her condition – I’m also disgusted, angry, and feel intimidated by her.  I never really know what to say to her – and often can’t keep myself from saying the ‘wrong’ thing.  Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know I just need to show her love – but, it’s damn hard.  In a way, I think I’m protecting myself from really losing her.

When I dropped her off at the crack house, I met ‘tough’ Paula, who actually came up to my car window and thanked me for the groceries. I was speechless, and didn’t know what to say.  This woman is a professional criminal and drug addict, who has been mentoring and bullying my daughter for the last year.  When I got a look at her, however, I thought to myself:  Ya know – I bet I could take that bitch on.

I am trying to stay connected to my daughter during this time we’re attempting to set up an intervention and treatment program.  So, I called her this morning to see if I could take her to lunch.  She sounded horrible – and said she was ‘sick’.  She said that she needed to find a way to ‘get well’ today which, of course, means that she needs to find some heroin.  Will she do something even more desperate or foolish than she’s done in the past? And – while we’re trying to put together a plan, should I ‘help’ her in any way?  I guess it’s absolutely ridiculous for me to give her money for heroin while we’re making the drug treatment arrangements – – – or, is it?  Help!

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“Not Ready”

Posted on April 20, 2010. Filed under: addiction, Parent of an Addict | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Today, my heart is heavy.  My chest feels a throbbing ache deep inside that is crushing.  All day long, I have spontaneously broken down in to wracking sobs that convulse my entire body.

Two weeks ago, when I met with my daughter on her 31st b-day, I guardedly allowed myself to feel a glimmer of hope. We hadn’t seen each other in over seven months, yet talked in a relaxed, uncensored way with humor and compassion. I was able to tell her some things I thought were important, and she shared some details of her life that were honest and informative.  All in all, I felt good about our meeting – and reconnected.  I think Hayley also felt that love and connection which, I had hoped, were reminders of the possibility of a more ‘normal’ life.

Last night, however, I heard from my ex-husband’s wife, Jill, who was in town for a few days to visit her family.  She told me that she and Hayley had been texting for a week or so prior to her visit, and that they were planning on getting together so Jill could deliver a belated birthday present.  Jill went on to say that late Sunday afternoon, Hayley called her asking where she was.  When Jill answered that she was at Safeway, Hayley responded with, “I’ll be there in 2 minutes.”  Jill was immediately caught off guard, not anticipating this spontaneous get together, and not knowing quite what to do.  And then, Hayley appeared.  She looked terrible – big bruise on her forehead, scabs on her head, dirty/torn clothing.  Two guys had driven her to Safeway and were waiting for her in their car. Hayley was obviously in bad shape.  She asked Jill for money – was dope sick – desperate.

Jill did not give Hayley any money, but gave her the birthday gift bag from her and Brad – a dress, sandals, earrings, books, a Walmart gift card. The entire encounter lasted about 10 minutes.  Jill did ask Hayley, “Why did you leave medical detox last August?”  And Hayley replied, “I just wasn’t ready.”  And when Jill asked Hayley about the bruise on her forehead, Hayley said that she and Paula, the other woman living in the crack house, had gotten in to a fight.  “What about?” asked Jill.  “We have the same boyfriend”, answered Hayley.

This boyfriend is Bill, the drug dealer, owner of the crack house, older (45-47 yo), a fat, disgusting guy in failing health who wears only his boxer shorts all day. I saw him on our local TV news about a month ago when the crack house was raided by federal agents and he was being led out of the house, in hand cuffs.  Bill was the one who got my daughter hooked on heroin and has porno running 24/7 on the crack house TV.  Get the picture? Depravity at its best (or worst, depending on which direction your scale runs).  This is what my daughter’s life has become. I can hardly fathom or process this reality.  Is there anything Hayley would not do for a fix? I am both repulsed and devastated by the entire scenario.

Today, Hayley texted Jill to thank her for all the great birthday gifts (“. . . the dress is adorable, and I was down to my last pair of earrings . . . “).  Is she fucking serious?  I’m sure that every thing in that birthday bag was sold for some kind of drug to get herself through the night. It’s just so pathetic. And after this birthday thank you text, Hayley proceeded to harass Jill throughout the day, asking to get together again.  She also asked Jill for a $100 loan – “ . . . just until I get my unemployment check tomorrow – and by the way, could you give me a ride to get my check cashed?  I promise I’ll pay you back tomorrow.”

This evening, Jill texted me that Hayley had called her 11 times within 30 minutes.  Jill didn’t respond. Her grandmother just happened to die while she’s been here in town, and Jill has her hands full with family matters.  However, Jill is very susceptible to Hayley’s manipulations . . . and Hayley knows it.

Jill has said  that her heart is breaking – and that she (Jill) feels so guilty about Hayley’s current situation. Yeah – I know about that. I feel it, too. I definitely feel that I failed my daughter in some way as a mother – and Jill’s ‘place’ in our family was the result of an affair with my ex-husband. Her role in my daughter’s life during some crucial developmental years, was – – – well, damaging, in my opinion – unintentional, yet still, inappropriate and confusing for Hayley.

For the first few years, beginning when Hayley was a senior in high school, Jill tried to be best friends with her (after all, she’s only 13 or 14 years older), subtly undermining my role as parent/mother. Whenever Hayley came home during college, if I tried to set some boundaries – or even asked Hayley to pick up after herself, she (Hayley) would storm out the door saying, “Fine – I’ll just move over to Dad’s.”  Hayley was masterful at  manipulating the three of us and triangulating all the adult/child relationships. We never quite knew the truth about anything since we, the adults, rarely spoke to each other to compare notes or corroborate stories.

Brad was essentially intimidated by Hayley, and also was adept at practicing his lifelong habit of avoiding conflict at all costs. Once again, guilt oozed in to and filled the space that should have been reserved for some critical, coordinated parenting.  Brad and Jill both felt very guilty about breaking up two entire families which then bled in to their relaxed parenting style.  Hayley, at age 17, was caught in the middle – not yet an adult, yet beyond the reach of any consistent parental guidance..  In fact, the major area of  conflict in Brad’s and my marriage was always our opposite parenting styles – he was excessively passive and could never say “no”, and consequently, I was probably too controlling.

So – I was feeling very blue all day – but had previously planned on going to our community hospital this afternoon, where Hayley has used the ER multiple times, and speak to their ER social worker – which I did.  I asked the hospital social worker if there was a way to “flag” my daughter’s chart – so that the next time she went to the ER, a social worker would be called to counsel her?.  Yes, there is such a system, the social worker advised me.  I gave him some background info on Hayley, which he entered in to her chart.  And, he is developing a social work plan for Hayley, to be initiated the next time she makes an ER visit.  Finally, I felt as if I was doing something.

Next, I visited the hospital’s business office, where  I asked for a private meeting..  I told “Melissa”, the hospital’s account representative, that my daughter was a heroin addict, essentially homeless, and not willing to get help for herself for fear of being arrested and sent to prison.  We then proceeded to discuss the barriers to getting help and some strategies for overcoming them.

I had intended on paying Hayley’s $320 ER bill from funds that I was holding for her from the sale of her beater car last summer.  As I summarized Hayley’s situation in “Melissa’s” office, I burst in to tears. Melissa tenderly grabbed both my hands and said, “I understand”, she said.  “Not that long ago, I was where your daughter is today. There’s hope.  I’m a living example of that.”

Melissa went on to say, “I think your daughter qualifies for the hospital’s charity program.  I’m going to forgive all her bills from the last few years”.  I was shocked at this sudden, unexpected elimination of my daughter’s hospital bills – and yet, there it was – a gift to “start over”.

I know that Hayley will most likely be nudged towards recovery by some random stranger versus a family member. “Melissa”, at our community hospital’s business office, offered to speak to Hayley and could be “the one”. Or, could it be the social worker that will be called the next time Hayley goes to the ER? I don’t know – but right now, and maybe forever, Hayley’s “not ready”.         

ADDENDUM: Although Jill’s and my relationship started out very rocky due to the circumstances of my ex-husband’s affair with her, over the years I became less threatened by her and began to realize that she was actually an ally in regards to my daughter. She never intentionally tried to come between Hayley and me – and often, in fact, could get through to Hayley in a way that neither Brad or I could.  And, last June, I experienced a complete transformation in how I felt about Jill.  When we first learned that Hayley was living in the crack house and had been evicted from her apartment, Brad and I “bought” some time (one month’s rent) so I could clear out and salvage what I could. (Brad and Jill live in California.) It was so traumatizing for me to sort through the chaos and filth  of my daughter’s apartment, that after a few days, I just couldn’t deal with it any more. I took out mostly personal things: sentimental family artifacts, art work, five years of unopened mail, photos, school mementos,  hand knit sweaters (from me and my mom), etc – Hayley’s personal history and anything that I thought she could use to start her life over.   There was still a ton of junk left and Jill, who happened to be in town visiting family that weekend, offered to finish it up- and she did.  She and her oldest daughter emptied the entire apartment, sending truckloads to the dump and Goodwill.  No one else in the family showed up to help with this, except for Jill and for that, I am eternally grateful. (see Unlikely Friends and Neighbors)

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A Perfect Storm

Posted on April 3, 2010. Filed under: addiction, Parent of an Addict | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Yesterday, on April 2nd, it snowed for several hours with white out/blizzard conditions.  This was unusual and must have resulted from a number of variables converging to create just the right conditions for a spring blizzard – the “perfect storm”.

Exactly one year ago, there was another type of “perfect storm.” My daughter, Hayley, was turning 30 years old and I had a birthday party/celebration for her. I didn’t think any of her current “friends” would be organizing any kind of party for her – so, I felt I needed to. I knew that this birthday was a big one for her, and that she was struggling. She hadn’t worked since the previous October and was receiving unemployment with no good job prospects on the horizon.  She seemed to be having a really hard time paying her bills – but then, she always was in some kind of financial crisis. Her dad had moved away to California in January with his relatively new, much younger wife, Jill.  Hayley and her boyfriend of almost four years had broken up months before, and he was now seriously involved with another young woman. Hayley’s “checking-in” phone calls to me became much more sporadic and we weren’t getting together as often.  I had a huge sense of dread in the pit of my stomach, but “stuffed” it. Whenever I asked Hayley if she was ok, or wanted to talk, she said she was fine – to “get off her back”.  I felt this family gathering, in honor of her 30th birthday, was important – a genuine display of our love and support for her.

I invited the few friends I knew of Hayley’s (just 2) and flew her younger brother, Brian, home from California.  Her older brother, Jake, and his family came – wife, Megan, and 2 and 4 yo darling children, Luke and Lucy – and, I drove 2 hours to pick up my 91 yo mother so she could be with us.

The family all gathered on Saturday around noon, had lunch, then decided to take a hike through the river canyon, a short distance away. It was a beautiful day, spring flowers were beginning to bloom, and we had a few hours before the dinner guests would be arriving. To our amazement, Hayley announced that she couldn’t go on the hike with us, that she had “errands” to run.  Huh?  We were shocked. Hadn’t we all come together to celebrate her birthday – and now, she was telling us she had to run errands?  The whole purpose of the weekend was to spend time together with Hayley, and it had taken a fair amount of planning and effort to do so. Nevertheless, we shrugged off Hayley’s quirky behavior, which we had become accustomed to over the years. She was always finding excuses not to participate fully in family activities.  And, she was notoriously disorganized – perhaps she needed to pay some bills?  (she had no checking account or debit card – they’ve caused huge financial problems in the past. She carries wads of cash around to pay bills for which she has to get a money order and then make a delivery in person, in a car that barely works and is usually out of gas – talk about making things hard for yourself.)  Still – we couldn’t quite believe it.

The dinner party was festive and wonderful, and Hayley seemed thrilled that we were all there to ceremoniously launch her in to her thirties. Everyone dispersed around 10:00 pm, with Hayley going home to her apartment.  The plan was for the family  to convene the next morning for breakfast at 10:00 am, after which Megan was going to cut and highlight Hayley’s hair before they (Jake and family) headed back home over the mountains.

Ten o’clock came, and went. As did 11:00 am, 12:00 noon – and no sign of Hayley.  We all were waiting to eat, and finally went ahead without her. We  tried to call her on her cell phone, with no luck.  Finally, at ~12:45 pm, Hayley called to say she had “overslept” and was not at her apartment and didn’t have her car.  This seemed so odd – and troubling, on this birthday weekend we had planned for her. Things spiraled down from there.  At lunch on Monday with my mother, Brian, and Hayley, I learned that Hayley’s power and water had been turned off in her apartment.  She was couch surfing at night with friends, she said, and was at her apartment during the day. Her grandmother took her birthday shopping after lunch at Target – supposedly to buy thngs that Hayley might need for a new job.  What ended up in the bag seemed seemed totally inappropriate to me.  And when we stopped at Costco to buy Hayley much needed house/toiletry supplies, she decided to stay in the car – and was sobbing.  I thought it was due to the 30th birthday milestone, with no job, boyfriend, overdue bills, etc.

Later in the month, after not seeing Hayley since the birthday party, she called me to report that she would be going to jail for 4 days for a shop lifting offense (her third) from the previous summer.  She sounded pissed – at me, of all things!  She said that I didn’t sound “supportive”.  Apparently, her shoplifting offense stemmed from a “beer switching” attempt at a grocery store, where you put more expensive beer in to a different brand carton and check out, paying less than was due. However, cameras in the beer aisle videotaped her doing the beer switching.  Hayley never told us about this charge – and had apparently been trying to deal with it on her own for ~ 9 months. That week of her birthday, she was in court for several mornings to receive her sentencing, which was the real reason behind her sobbing when we were together in the afternoons.  And, I later learned, when cleaning out her apartment after she was evicted in June, that the” errand” she ran on her birthday party afternoon, was to a dentist to get a prescription for hydrocodone.

I’m emotional and kinda shaky this weekend.  Hayley’s 30th birthday party was exactly one year ago.  This has been a year from hell watching my daughter lose everything and slide in to crack, cocaine, and finally, heroin addiction – a variety of circumstances and choices coming together to culminate in . . . “the perfect storm”.  And next Tuesday, Hayley will turn 31 years old. What’s in the forecast? Even Willard Scott or Al Broker can’t reliably predict.

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