Tight Rope Walker

Tight Rope Walker

Friday, November 1, 2013

Been A Long Time! UPDATE

It's been so long since I update this blog.  Usually that means 1 of 2 things: relapse, isolation, in crisis or everything is going smoothly and life has become "normal".  I am happy to say, it's the latter.

Well, let me clarify, "normal" is a relative term.  Our normal is probably far from the real normal.  But, here is the scoop.

Em has been clean for over 24 months!  Have I breathed a sigh of relief?  Yes and No.  Being clean is wonderful.. I see the rewards daily!  Having said that, there are some traits that give me that big red flag waving in my face, or that gut feeling, something is off.  I am learning, being clean doesn't change all their personalities or personality traits.  I am reminded of teacher conferences when nobody knew if it was ADD or just her age.  There is little things, like printing her paper for school at home, with only 5 minutes to drive to school, get in her seat and hand in her paper.  It's forgetting appointments, that she doesn't want to to go to because she remembers the ones she does want to go to.  It's a situation where she planned, schemed, and eventually lied to our faces about her ex boyfriend.  It was calculated.  Red Flag.  Deep Gut Feeling, leaves me almost back at square one.  It's pushing that boundary or rule.  How do you discipline a 22 year old adult?  Well, here is how I did it.  You have until Nov 1 st to move out or ( and you can thank my bff and your old leader) you can be "on the move" for 3 months.  10 hours of cleaning, chores a week for 3 months.  After 3 months, the next 3 months, 5 hours of volunteer work per month and daily random acts of kindness for me, your dad or a total stranger.  Ohhh and if you don't like it, you can move out.  This requires me to keep track, to push, to remind, when she is sleeping til noon when she should be "cleaning".  But, this is my house and I need a drama free space and I choose my home.

We don't let much slide because she is "clean".  Yes, ( as I put it to her), we are happy you are managing your disease!  But, that is not a license to get away with everything.  You should also be productive and work towards your goals and becoming independent.

She is going to the community college.  Will probably make Deans List!  She does work and this week just took a job at local 30 day rehab as a clinical assistant, will start next week.  She does pay rent.  She goes meetings, some days 3 a day, some days none.  Average of 5 a week.  She leads meetings at the rehab she will be working at for the people in detox.  She got her license!  She sees her counselor an average of 2 times a month.  She has a great group of sober friends, who have been over many times and we know them, they actually look us in the eye and say please and thank you!

So right now, today, she is happy, progressing more than regressing and we are doing bonding that we never got when she was using.  Think of all of you often!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Year, New Changes

I am sorry I have been MIA.  It does not mean I have not thought of all you out there.  I know how hard the Holidays can be for families like ours.

I am not quite sure where to start??  My son , with our encouragement has decided to take a semester off.  Maybe more, who knows.  He needs to mature.  He did not do 16 home work assignments in his accounting class.  When I calmly asked why, he said it was hard and he didn't feel like it.  Well, sorry, we don't feel like paying for college for somebody that can't do the homework.  He is not "kicked" out of school, we made a financial decision.  Our plan is for him to go to Ecuador for a few months.  He is working with his dept. head to see if he can get college credit.  Leave my home as boy and come back a man.  Well that's my hope anyway.

Meanwhile, we spoke to Emily at xmas, she put in a home visit proposal.  And then promptly got put "on the move" for 14 days.  On the move means, what it says, you are on the move, working, cleaning, etc.  You get 1 to 2 hours a night/day of sleep.  All your privileges are taken away.  She got put on the move because she knew a girl kissed a boy and she didn't tell on her and as a SR person in the program that was wrong.  14 days wrong?  Not sure.  She got off the move and they had a group session.  She asked about her proposal for her home visit, which was for the weekend of Jan 17th ( last weekend).  The Director ripped up the proposal in a lot of pieces and threw it at her and said you are not seeing your family, your Mom will be the reason you stick a needle in your arm again.  Mind you, they had taken all our visits away.  We had not seen her since Sept.   Well she had a melt down, she had not slept, the Director said due to your melt down, 3 more days on the move.

That was the icing on the cake.  She called me, she had worked 97 hours in 6 days.  There was no food in the house.  She basically had gotten all she could out of the program and her needs were more to get some individual time out in society.  Move on, get education, get to meetings, etc.

She was the "golden" girl.  She moved up quickly , was doing well in her program.  She went to Oregon for a class.  And then, the State came and pulled their participants out.  Next, Cherokee Nations came and took their people out.  I did some investigating, the Director had her license pulled from the state of NC.  She engaged in an inappropriate relationship, used participants food stamps for personal use.  The list goes on and on.

So my son and I made a nerve wracking trip down and got her.  It was solid rain and sleet on the way down and back.  We took our time and got hotels so it much longer than normal.  We got her in mid Jan.  I will write more about her visit soon.  I could not get into this site for awhile and not sure why, but seems I am here today!  So I will continue the "story" soon!  But Emily has been clean 17 months!  Warms my heart.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Homesick Times Two

After a long summer of having my son home from college for the first time, I thought I would have at least 2 weeks crisis free.  But does that really ever happen?  Well, not in my life it doesn't.  

I think most of have discussed that our addicts seems to have crisis's on special days, or occasions, or holidays.  It appears the same is true when they are in recovery.  Emily make contact with us, 2 days before my birthday.  ( Not that I care about my birthdays anymore, but I did have a plan or two).  3 of her main supports or best friends left the program within 48 hours of each other.  As they contacted me, ( which was so very nice of them), I came to realize they all left for different reasons, all seemed pretty justified to me.  However, I knew Emily was very upset.  Then, Cherokee Nations came with a bus and took all their people out of the program.  Emily became the senior person very quickly and she was frantic and panicked.  She said the program is closing.  She needs our help to find her another place.  We made some calls and did some quick research to find out that she was probably correct.  

So what do you do?  You jump, you want your child to stay clean, you want them to make it thru the stress, you will do anything to make that happen.  Right?  Well that's what we did.  

We pulled a lot strings from a whole different state.  We got her an assessment.  We confirmed her current place has no license.  People were being pulled by PO's because they had to be in licensed facilities.  However with all the people leaving her program, the other programs were filling up and beds were being filled as the minutes ticked by.  Her assessment , was eye opening to us.  What smacked me in the face, was be careful of what you wish for.  Didn't I wish and pray for her to be there for years?  What have I done?  The woman that did the assessment is the head of the counseling center locally there.  She said first, you should be so very proud of your daughter!  She wants this so bad, she is working her butt off for it.  She is intelligent, articulate, and in a lot of ways, very lucky to be alive.  She said here are the problems.  The woman who runs this operation is known around here for putting so much "guilt" on the participants.  Makes them feel they can't do it without her.  Exploits addicts.  She said think along the lines of brainwashing.  Your daughter will have nightmares for a long time to come and she will need some deep counseling for "deprogramming".  And unfortunately, your daughter is just the stereo type this woman preys on.  And your daughter is in her web.  

She also said, if it wouldn't be crossing professional boundaries, she would have taken Emily to get her stuff and took her home until she could find a bed for her or take her to reputable program.  So between her and my husband contacting another program that this woman believes in and we had a lot a good about, we got Emily a bed.  

Now to figure out how to get word to her.  We had a ride arranged at 1 pm the next day.  The program is usually only 1 year and Emily will be 1 year in Oct.  But they agreed to keep her for 6 more months, because of her assessment, because of her being a senior person now, doing intakes and office stuff, they needed that.  To me, it all meant, a life boat being offered.  She is one lucky girl!

We called her house and demanded to talk to her alone.  They allowed it.  We explained what has taken place and what the result of her assessment was.  She said, well, the Director took her out to dinner, bought her some stuff, took her around town to show her where she wanted to take this program and basically got to her.  Emily said, I owe this program everything, I wouldn't be sober if it weren't for them.  I said, wait a minute, nobody can keep you sober, but you.  I have no doubt you have enough resources to stay sober and enough to go and use if you so desired.  Here's what she told us, I am an adult, I can make own decisions and haven't you stressed to me that you will only support a long term program and complete it.  That's what I am gonna do.

What did I learn.. again.. how quickly we jumped to HER crisis.  Then came the contact of I am homesick.. I have almost been here a year.. I can make it at home.  I want to see my room, my dog.  Please Please.  Oh, that's all I have ever wanted.. her home.. us to live "normally", so starts the tugs on the heartstrings.  But, we held our ground.  No.  We will see her in a few weeks and I think there will be a lot of heavy conversations, as we have been keeping it light on our family visits, but it's time.  Amazing how they contact us in need, then less than 24 hours they are an adult and don't need us, then get homesick.  I am sure it's all part of recovery, but I need to always remember it's her recovery.

Manchild number 2.  Called me.. humm not a text, but a call , that started out with "Mom, can you talk for awhile?".  Why didn't I say I am busy? LOL.  He broke up with his girlfriend of 2.5 years... or should I say she broke up with him.  He was saying, I loved her, well no, I love her.  Then I had a flash back... don't we all still remember our first love?  How traumatic the break up was??  My `wounded boy.  Of course it's not my place how wrong I thought she was for him.  I just said, well if it was meant to be, there's still so much time, if not, hurt, heal and move on.  

He said, well Mom, I am homesick.  Can I come home?  This kid is never homesick.. that's why I sent him off to camp as soon as I could.  I lived with too many people who were homesick at camp, college, etc, I wasn't gonna let that happen to my kids.. give them their wings.  But there's that tug at the old heart strings again, so I said of course, come home.  I feel guilty saying it to one child and not the other, but the situations are so different.  

I can tell you, he has learned going out with the "hottest girl ever" doesn't always mean her character is what he thought it was.  I have been though this him before with her, but it only lasted 48 hours and usually over a text... lol.  But, I believe she has done enough damage after the fact, he is seeing the light.  His friends are telling him how much he changed when he was with her.  He brought his new roommate over.  Great kid.  He went to the Browns game with another group of guys he hasn't seen, so he is taking the steps not to isolate or sink into a depression.  

I am glad "home" is place my kids want to come to when they need security, somewhere to hang their hat, somewhere they know they are loved and valued.  I also want them to go though these things as pain free as possible.  I can offer them their room, a lending ear, a home cooked meal and love, but I can't make it all go away for them.  Looking around for that magic wand.. must be lost again.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mother's Joy

It's been awhile since I have given an update.  Summer flies by!  I wanted to share my "mothers joy".  I had both my kids together, first time in 2 years!  I can't tell you how it felt to be a semi-normal family again!  I did post some pictures on FB, but not one person said anything.. so my joy sorta deflated and I guess I have been thinking, nobody really cares.. so I will take a break.. and enjoy my moments by myself and not share.  ( I get like that sometimes!).

We kept the "family visit" light. ( July)  Nothing heavy and tired to meet everyone needs.  I think everyone was nervous to be together again, after all the anger, lost dreams, shattered hearts.  But, I have to say, both kids stepped up to the plate.  Andy really put forth an effort, which made me happy.  He could have easily given us his grunts and attitude, but he didn't.  It wasn't 5 minutes and I heard the sibling laughs, the teasing, the old stories.  Oh how that warmed my heart!  Emily didn't push and or over do.  She seemed to accept what was being offered without wanting more.

Emily now is going on 11 months.  I can honestly say, there were points in this journey I never thought that was possible.  I know in the blink of an eye, it can go back..that's always lurking under the surface.  She is moving along and is now working in the office and doing intakes and is the leader of a group of women.  She is running groups and is signed up to take seminars for certification starting in Sept.  She still has 13 to 14 months in this program, but I guess all the past places we paid for, actually helped her and somethings did sink in.

Tomorrow I will be taking my son back to college.  Bitter / Sweet.  But, it's time, amazing how the cycle of life really does work... It's time for him to go out there and sink or swim again.  I have to be honest, I am not one of those mom's who will miss turning out every single light 10 times a day. Or, wake up to a 5th meal cooked at midnight and all the dishes, pots, pans, pizza pan, left on the counter.  I won't miss tripping over size 11 shoes, and he has more shoes than me I think.  But I really will miss his daily phone calls from his way home work asking if I need anything.  His texts to tell me the guys are coming over to make a fire and hearing the voices bantering or laughing.

My husband and I will be heading back to see Emily in Sept and then she will get a home visit in October, as it will be a year.  Hopefully Andy will join us that weekend, but I have learned not to push.

Hope everyone had a great summer!

Monday, June 11, 2012

No Longer an Empty Nester

Well this past school year has flown by!  My son is home from college.  He has been home a total of 4 days and spend probably less than 24 hours here at home.  I hear this is typical.  All I know is, my nice quiet empty nester life is over.  It's back to, the upstairs smelling like Tag and Axe, back to the big shoes littering the front door entrance, finding cups and drink cans/bottles laying around and an endless supply of laundry to be done.

Good news is, he does have a full time job and is off today and we have a "date" to spend time together.

Bad news is, he is still in his rut about his sister.  This weekend is a summer "family" weekend at Emily's place.  And it's Father's Day.  We rented a little condo and asked Andy to go with us and spend Father's Day showing him around the area.. he has never been in that part of the country.  Well , it also happens to be his girl friends graduation party.  So when she was over, in front of everyone, I asked her if she knew about the conflict.  She said yes and she told him to go see his sister.  He, of course got mad at me.  I just said, hey look, I need to know, because I have to get the dog a kennel reservation and let Grandma know if she can go, etc.  And, it's best to be honest and have an adult conversation about it with all of us present.  He just said, look, I am closer to my girlfriend than Emily and that's who I am supporting and I will talk to you later about it.  Well later turned into, " I am not going".  I didn't say anything, I just said, thank you for letting me know and walked away.  What is there left to say?  I am not gonna beg, I am not gonna try and reason with him, I am not going to "force" him to come and make our time with him and Emily miserable because he doesn't really want to be there.

It's just another reminder, this addiction crap runs deep and it might take a long time or a life time to get over for some of us.  Makes me sad.  I would love for the four of us to be together, even if it's for 1 day or a few hours.

Meanwhile, my best friends father has been in ICU since we got back from the Dominican, about 3 weeks now.  My sister in law is not doing well at all, they are keeping her on chemo til the end, so I am going to see her in FL when I get back from seeing Emily.  So I am trying to be present for all of this and not worry about the rest.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Card

The one card meant a lot to me.  It was hand made with a heart and 2 hands holding it.  It said:

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY KEL_BELL!  I love you very much!  I just want you to know how blessed I am to have a Mother like you.  You have always showed me unconditional love despite all the hell I put you through, and your support throughout my recovery is what gets me through.  Mom, I am sorry for all the years I wasted blinded by addiction, but, I am hopeful for the years to come finally be able to be the daughter you deserve.  I cherish our relationship deeply and I look up to / respect you for what a huge heart you have.  Mom, words do not express what a wonderful mother you are and how grateful I am.  Thank you for all you do, I know it has not been easy.  Love you, hearts Emily.

I have a hard time with this.. for several reasons.. it makes me sad what addiction does to families.  It makes me sad to think of all the Mother's Days and holidays that have been ruined by addiction.  I feel heartbroken for all the Mom's out there whose kids are not in recovery and are still going through what I went through for  many years.  I wish I could do something more to help them.  

Part 2

So we got Emily and Renee on Sunday at 9 am. Mothers Day.  Renee is also a mother of a 3 year old.  So I know she was feeling alittle sad.  They took me to their room and we blessed the room and spiritually cleansed the room.. they asked me to do this.. so I did.  Then we went to another wonderful breakfast place.  Unfortunately it was still raining.  But we did head to Chimney Rock and Lake Lure to look around.  We had fun shopping a bit, getting ice cream, laughing, hiked a bit on the trails.etc.  Then we just decided to go back to the house and hang out.  I made some appetizers and munchies and I had brought some speg.  One of Em's favorite dinners.  So I cooked that up.  Meanwhile she gave me several cards.. didn't quit hugging me.. telling me she is so sorry, she loves me.  She gave me an Irish Necklace with a card that told what it was and it was so appropriate.

Emily got to talk to my Mom after brunch.  It's been years since she has spoken to her and that was special.
But the best part was, my son called me and I said, I am with Emily, would you like to speak to her?  He said yes right away.  I wasn't expecting that.  They were talking and I left the room to give them privacy and I heard the belly laughs again.. what a wonderful sound!  After she hung up she said she had been waiting for that and was nervous at first.

So we all sat down for dinner and soon enough, we had to take her back.. but I felt so good seeing her, hugging her, being with her.. I couldn't stay too long or I would have cried my eyes out.

The next day the head woman texted me saying she actually cried several times.. when we first came and were hugging, she cried after we left.  When Emily came home and said she got to talk to her grandma and brother, she cried.. She said this why I do what I do.. Emily has a hard background and lots of growing and relearning to do, but this makes it all worth while.  So I felt good leaving her there, she is in good hands and gaining her independence drug free.