Tight Rope Walker

Tight Rope Walker

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


There are some really horrific diseases out there. Addiction and Cancer are daily in my life. I have to include addiction because our medical field considers it a disease. I honestly feel at, and I have said to my daughter, at one point you had a choice to sneak out of the house and look for your thrill.. you did it enough for it to not become a choice, but something your body needed, craved to keep going.
However, in my sister in laws case, Carol, there was no choice, she woke up one day and was told she has incurable, non surgical cancer. It's in her lymph nodes, breasts, and most recent PET scan showes in her bones. She has no choice but to die from this or complications of this disease.
But my daughter does a have a choice, she can choose to use or Recovery, to die or live.
Seems like a no brainer to me, but what do I know?? I do not have either disease, thankfully.
I spent 3 days with Carol last week. I saw a noticeable difference in her from the last time I saw her.. 3 weeks ago. She said it was the new chemo. She got all the symptoms and more. To see her sit in the chair and cry... no able to verbalize what hurt, or explain how she was feeling. I felt helpless.. totally completely helpless. To hear her say, I can't do this anymore. I don't want to do this anymore... was very difficult for me. One hand, I wanted to say.. fight Carol.. fight. The other side of me, the one that knows she has lived this way for 3 years now.. wanted to say.. don't.. don't put yourself thru this for your family, for us. What's right, what's wrong to say?
There again, what do I know? Do you choose the last chemo available to live or do you take what quality of life you might have and live for awhile? I just don't know.
I called Carol today. She is no longer at her "resort" home in PA, she is in Pittsburgh with her daughter and her daughters family, to be closer to the hospital. She said she would never go back to her daughter's home, they had learned the lesson that as parents, they needed their own space and her kids needed their own home. So for Carol to be sitting there now, I know it's bad. Her hair has fallen out. Her head hurts to even lean against a chair.. so she is on yet another med to treat another symptom.
Carol has amazed me with her fight. She believes in God. What I consider a strict Catholic. She has dealt with her hand with Grace, Faith and Love. She trusts God. I admire her.
Last week, as I was leaving, she asked me.. What happened to us? We used to be so close. I knew what I thought, which was complicated and I knew how to present in away.. that she would not feel it was her. I said.. my brother was extremely sick and then finally got his liver transplant, I was consumed with that. And , to be honest, I isolated with what was going on with Emily. Took on the old saying, no news is good news. So if you don't hear from me, it's all good. She said, life is too short and these are the times we need our family and friends... I am both to you, so anytime you are feeling bad, you call me or visit me. This is coming from woman who is touching her head with a handful of hair coming out as she said it.
Will I ever have a conversation like that with my daughter and her disease? Can I ever say to Emily, what happened to us? Can she ever answer honestly? I just don't know.
So when I say, I would not wish the addiction on my worst enemy, I think I better say, I don't wish any disease on my worst enemy. Disease is horrific... some can be managed or go in remission, some can not. But it all comes back to acceptance. Accept the things I can not change and take the good moments when they are here and accept the bad moments, because they are here also.
Please keep Carol in your thoughts and prayers. She is a very special lady to me.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The shirt says: Got Serenity??

I guess this is not my idea of : Got Serenity

I am just sick of it all.. fighting with my husband, because he believes her when she says she did not relapse, it was just a joke. I sick of wondering. I am sick of worrying. I am sick of living my life dictated by her immature actions. I am sick to death of all the money, time, work put into rehabs, sober livings, schools, therapy to have it all come back to this. I am sick of my life being on hold, because I might have to bury my daughter.

Do you really want the details? Probably not. But this is my life with an addict, that I love with my entire being.

I put my foot down.. I told my husband no more money spent on her until we have a meeting with the counselor she says she has or her sponsor/ sponsors. I want to know what Step she is on. I want to know what she is doing for her Recovery... before I open my wallet when the rent is due.

I can't say I am surprised... but yet again, I can say, I am sad. I can say, again, what I will support and what I won't.

And best of all , I can GET MY SERENITY

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Emotions like a Roller Coaster

It's been just over 1 week and I can't say the roller coaster ride I've been on is over..yet. The update. My husband did rent an apt for Emily. If you remember I was not "pro" this idea. He said to me, you can support her or not. What a choice he gave me. So in the Spirit of the ride, I decided to try and support her.

I picked her up Friday night.. by the time she decided she wanted to do this, prayed on it, and by the time it was official, the apt was hers, if she wanted, it was rush hour. She told me while I was driving she would pack. I pulled into her town and called her.. she said... oh *hit, I have to pack. I asked what she had been doing?? Nothing came to her mind.

I went into Sals. I have to say.. it was very nice, clean, smelled like a good dinner. As we were checking her out, the worker on duty said, you know, if you stayed just 2 weeks longer we assist with deposit, rent, electric , etc. I just looked at her..another good opportunity gone.

The whole drive home, she was on her Boost Track phone.. which I found out includes Internet and Facebook. I asked her to put the phone down and talk with me, since I don't see her much and to get paper and pen and make a list. I included calling the Food Stamp place, to give her new address... because I do this my clients.. and I know the guidelines... but honestly, what do Mother's know?

We got home at 8 pm. 8:05 , her friend Justin was at the door. They planned on going to a party. Both my husband and I said NO. I said we are not ready for that and you have a lot to do. She claimed she needed to do laundry for interview clothes, etc. He left at 11:30pm and Emily remembered she had wet clothes in a garbage bag in my car. She wondered why I hadn't done it... I said, I told you could use my facilities, but I was not doing the work..

Woke up to Emily gone.. She and Justin went to breakfast at 8 am, as he was leaving for his sober support in Prescott. I smelled something... looked in the dog cage.. Lucy had gotten very sick. Come to find out.. Emily was searching the pantry late the night before.. dropped the Kashi chocolate covered fiber bars on the floor and too lazy to pick them up.. so Lucy had a midnight snack with wrappers included. So I made her clean that up too. Then I check Emily's room. I asked her to put it back the way she found it please.

I still wasn't sure if I was going to asst in moving day. Around noon , I decided to. I hit, ironically, a Sals. They had all their furniture 1/2 off. So I got a futon, because my husband thought he should buy her yet another bed, new. I got a chair and coffee table and a few lamps, that's all that would fit, thankfully, because I love a 1/2 sale at Sals! A huge storm came, most people were pulling over.. I kept trucking.. then I hit the orange barrels.. so it took me 5.5 hours to get there... by then I wasn't much help.. tired. We went to dinner at this cute tikki place.. I had fresh grouper, hard to find in Ohio. The waitress's were wearing different colored tye-dye t-shirts and jeans. And they said they were hiring.. we suggest she come back there and apply. No reaction.

She is on the 3rd floor with no a/c. Against our better judgement.. I was sent to Walmart to buy the last 3 fans the store had, blinds, light bulbs, sheets, oh about 200.00 worth of stuff.

That was 1 week ago. I have not heard from her. My husband has, I have not. But I guess he is paying the rent , I am not.

She did get a job, 10 am to 5:30 pm , 6 days a week, off Saturdays. There goes IOP. Guess it wasn't a priority.

Meanwhile, my husband left last Sunday for business til Thursday. He got back in time for our counseling appointment with Andy. The counselor basically told us.. Andy is formed. We are not his primary influence anymore. He is a great kid, he has had lots of opportunities, lots of potential and he made some bad choices. Due to us being hyper sensitive about the issue, we might digging in a place that will come up empty. Our job is to keep doing what we do. Give consequences and follow thru and don't dwell and don't be bullied into changing our mind about our consequences. Enjoy our time left with him and his Senior year.

I kept stressing.. I am worried about addiction. It's in our extended family, our family. The counselor explained to me, I can't stop it.. I can't control it... geesh those words that took me so long to "accept" with Emily. I don't like to accept that Andy is formed and we are not his primary influence... when did time fly and when will I get off this ride?


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Always that shade of GRAY

I don't know if it's just my children or all teens... but it seems as if nothing is black and white when it comes to their side of the story. I was certain they had learned in school and at home, that sticking to the facts helps get the crisis cleared up quicker. Instead, I become Detective Kelly, digging up the facts. Because nothing is black and white with either of them.

Emily is still at "SALS" - Salvation Army Shelter. The latest was that, all the girls have turned their back on her. That the politics of the Beacon House, are making sure everyone stays away from her. That she can't sleep there, the beds are loud when someone rolls, there is light, she had to spend some the 40.00 we gave her on an eye mask to block the light. She is so stressed out she can't eat. She is lonely and depressed. But she is sober. What's a Mother to do when she gets a phone call like that?? Go into action... that's what.

I start looking up sober living homes around the State. What's to keep her in Wooster, when the support I thought she had is gone. I am scrambling to get plan B or C. But remember I am tired, I need a break. So I make a plan.. call my husband to meet for dinner at PF Changs.. if we go there.. I know he will go for any plan I have! My plan was.. I am too tired to figure all this out, so she should come home. Just 1 or 2 weeks, then we can look online together, make calls, wash clothes, etc..

But in the back of my head.. there is tick tick tick.. shades of gray.. the sky even got gray.. So I picked up the phone and called one of the girls. We'll call her Linda.. Linda coined out.. got her own apartment. And Emily was suppose to get other 1/3 of the house. That didn't happen. Emily went Monday, after my husband had talked to the owners on Saturday.. and the place was Emily's and they would help her.. But when Emily went to confirm, they said NO WAY.. and their warm friendliness turned to stone. My husband made a call to the head of Beacon. He said.. what's up... this girl is trying, living at Sals, sober.. and for some reason every avenue she tries to take is being shut down.. and your organization seems to be the reason. What's up with your confidentiality?? The man calls back.. he said.. yes, Linda and another girls told the owners there were problems with Emily... I will however call a meeting about confidentiality.. that is not fair to her.

Another reason for one of the ticks in my head, was, on Sunday we called Emily on Sunday night.. we always try to contact her at 9:30 to 10:00 pm to make sure she is ok and her way to Sals or at Sals and she survived the day on the street. Sunday, she happened to be in a hurry, saying she was late.. because her new sponsor, B took her to a meeting in another city, because Emily felt uncomfortable with the girls at their meeting. I looked up the other city and the meetings.. and there weren't any.. But maybe I got it wrong?? Tick Tick Tick..

Oh yeah.. back to calling Linda.. I said to Linda.. I am really worried about Emily. I want to help, come up with some options for Emily... Linda told me the following: Emily has been missing meetings because of "that boy". Pete. Pete is homeless, living in the park. Pete is not allowed in any shelters in the city. She said, I could not risk having Emily live in the same building/house as me, as I am trying to get my kids back and I can't have all these youngens drinking. The girls from the house are not associating with Emily due to her choices. She said in fact, B has asked me to co sponsor Emily and we are having a "Pete Intervention" with Emily tonight after the meeting.
She also told me, Emily has the support.. me, B, many others.. she has to call each of us every day, has homework from us, she has rides for interviews and meetings.. she is welcome to eat, stay at either of our places.. and she went home with me last Sunday to my parents house.
I said ok, with Emily, there is always another side.. the gray.. thank you for telling me, makes my decisions easier. I said, my 2 things are safety and health, that includes being sober.
Linda said, she has all that and SALS is the best place for her right now.. because she has rules, curfew and chores and is being fed, she can live there and save money. She said I would hate to think of Emily having an apt right now, she is not ready.

That was Tuesday.

Wed. my husband had planned to go up and meet Emily and find another apt for her. We met for dinner at PF Changs and I relaid my conversation to him. I said now what do we do? He said, well I am still going, and I plan to have a talk with her. I said well, since I know Linda, and I know the program she has worked.. I am want to follow her lead.

My husband went up there. They looked at many apts. They narrowed it down to 2. They told each one they would make a decision and have the money by Friday.

So not only do my teens have shades of gray, I guess my husband does too.

Since she does not have a job or address or bank account. It becomes black and white as to how her new apt will be paid for.

I was then told Pete has been "cheating" on Emily with another girl and has moved in with that other girl. I didn't say what I think: which was .. wonder how long that will last?

Because apparently things to me are black and white and it's a sunny day today... not a cloud in the sky.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

This is about the "Other" one

Great looking group of boys... childhood friends.. memories.. growing up...
Each year my son, Andy and his friends get together and have draft teams for Fantasy Football. They have a web page. They have a commissioner.. whose house the the draft is held at. They wear suits, ties, like owners do. Except my son, who adopted my habit and likes to hit the Goodwill for fun and funky things. This year was kinda special, as they will be seniors and this little tradition might go by the waste side as they enter adulthood, college, work, etc. Although I am told, that's why the website was made. As they make their in the world, they can always come back to their roots thru football. My guess is more money will be placed for betting.
I have not addressed some of my stress with my son on this blog. Instead, I put on my sunglasses at the grocery store.. I say "No" to invites to have dinner with his friend's Mothers.. I pace the house.. not only for Emily, but Andy as well.
Last night, I laid in bed... thinking back.. ( not always a good thing to do).. I had two perfect beautiful babies. 1 girl and 1 boy.. how lucky is that? We had a cute little bungalow.. even a metal old school swing set in the yard.. came with the house.
I was happy, grateful.. who would have thought?? I was the last person anyone thought would have kids.. and maybe I should have listened??
My older more experienced neighbors were full of advice for me at the backyard BBQ's. Little kids, little problems. Oh those teen years...
Instead of looking at my children with love I didn't know I even had.. maybe I should have listened to the older wiser neighbors.. opened my ears.. I don't know.. as I said.. looking back or reflecting isn't always a good thing to do.
My son was charged with possession of beer in his car last night.
He and his friends ran from the police. He wasn't answering the phone I pay for.
The police ran the plates and called my husband..
Oppss.. I was at the Irish Fest with my best friend.. Kelly 2. I had stayed in the house all week, pacing, crying over Emily.. my friend said it was time for me to go out for a day. I agreed it would do me good.. fresh air, bands, food, drink... yes, that should be just what the Dr ordered. But, maybe I should have stayed home, been on top of my son. eeekk there I go again, looking back.. reflecting.
He passed the breathalyzer test. He showed them where he dumped out his beer. They picked his car to drink in because it was the biggest most comfortable, best speakers. Here I thought we bought an old used Infinity so he wouldn't be hurt if he was in an accident. Hindsight is 20/20.
There were 2 other cars parked there... the police were trying locate those parents and the boys that ran. They are not being charged.. that I know of. Although, Andy believes if they tested them, he story would pan out, he was clean, they were not.
He stands to loose 60% of his sport.. swimming.. he is the captain, has been for 2 years.. a swim scholarship and much more.. our trust... the trust of his friend's parents... his character.
Back in the day... the police brought me home to my parents, drunk.. slap on the wrist. Things are different now.. the stakes are higher, but the invincibility of how you feel when you are teen is the same.
I have always believed we learn from our mistakes and those teen years are your learning years.. but no one told how it really was.. or I just wasn't listening. I want my son to learn, to fail in areas to learn and grow... but man is it painful to watch.
As I closed my eyes last night and tried to sleep... I remembered God only gives us what we can handle.. I been handling a lot lately, I asked for a break.
My daughter is living in the Salvation Army shelter
My son is charged with possession
My sister in law is dying of cancer
I am on email exchange only with my Mom
I am still on medical leave from work
Last night, I drove Andy home. He said.. say something.. do something.. I just shook my head.. He said ok then... no car for a month, no Cedar Point next week, see the counselor once a week, don't hang out with xxxxx.
I thought I would wake up today.. have a plan.. have a contract.. jump in with both feet, be pro active.. but I woke up still numb and void. I hope this is enough for now.. just for today.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Latest Update

First, I can't say I am ok. I try hard to keep it together. What kind of Mother has her 19 year old daughter live in a Salvation Army shelter. Emily calls it Sals. Is that like Sak's? I don't think so... far from it. My eyes brim with tears..24/7. Something is not right in this. And I don't have the answers.

Gloria sent a piece of paper with one of the girls to their home meeting for Emily. It had the name of 2 rehabs in other cities close to where they are now. 90 day rehabs.
Want to know what I think?
I think Gloria thought Emily was a spoiled rotten brat. That her Mommy and Daddy would pick her up and bring her home.. and that didn't happen. So if something happens to Emily, Gloria will share in my guilt.

Emily has signed up for IOP. We all know what that, but for others, it's Intensive Out Patient. Emily's counselor, who has done wonders for her, is in charge of that. So she can continue her work with Loree, the counselor. Loree is gone for 2 weeks.. but she will be back. Emily starts on Monday.

I told Emily, I am really proud of you. Simply amazing. She just said Thanks.. like it's all normal.

I have consistently said.. your words mean nothing to me anymore.. it's action I want to see. I have to say, her actions are reassuring.

She has had several offers of help, a place to live, etc.. but she said she is not making any rash decisions and thinking it all over.. trying to be patient.. letting God help her.

So when my eyes are brimming with tears, as always with Emily, they are because it is all so bitter sweet.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Warning this is Raw as it's happening Now

All this is happening right now. All I can say, is Thank God for the Salvation Army! I will be putting more money in the red buckets at Christmas time.
Emily got kicked out today. We all knew it was coming. I don't even remember where I left off on my last blog.
Anyway they had a meeting on Monday about her. Only 1 of the house mother's voted to make Emily leave. I will refer to this woman by her name, because I don't care, Gloria. Gloria has caused us to walk on eggshells since I met her. Gloria was put in a position of power that Gloria shouldn't have. But, we all knew this. My thoughts are she is very angry and unhappy and karma is a *itch. I also believe people like Gloria are put in our lives to learn something. Gloria does not like Emily , or us for that matter.
So after the meeting because only Gloria voted to kicked Emily, Emily could stay. BUT, she was on restriction, meaning back to square 1. She couldn't go to meetings, call her sponsor, us, etc. And can't get a check mark or she would be out. I knew this wouldn't last too long. I knew it was a matter of time.
This morning Gloria said one of the girls in the house could take Emily to a meeting. Aarica, whose in the highest phase. Emily had to stay with Aarica, it's the rules. So in this way, I feel Gloria set Emily up.. Emily should have smelled a rat. The girls went to the meeting. Aarica stopped at Drug Mart and got a pop and cigs. Emily got kicked out, she was not allowed to go to the store. Yet she had to stay with Aarica.
My husband went up to get her. Here is another inconsistency. When a girl is kicked out. They drive them to the Salvation Army. Gloria would not drive Emily.
So my husband called me several times on the way up there. He wanted to bring her home. Stating she could get her job back at Starbucks, her licence, save money, etc.
I had to be strong. I felt this is the time I have to be strong. Little did I know, I would have to find even more strength during the course of this morning... I said no she can't come home. Physically, I can't take it. I am just on mend and I can't get sick again. He said to me, your sickness was a thyroid, that is taken care of now. I said, it was brought on by stress. My Dr. didn't have to throw my into hypo thyroid, he could get back to normal because it was stress.
Then he said, ok, I will bring her back for a short time, until we can find another place.
I said: There are 3 of us living here, Andy has a vote too. You better call him. My vote is no, she can't come home. He hung up on me.
Calls back and says, ok, I will tell her, because of her Mom, she can't come home.
See, the addiction and her crisis es divide us.
He got there and all the girls were in an uproar. How unfair this was, etc. They are gonna do something about it. They will help Emily. So and so can get her job, so and so will have her over to her parents for dinner, etc.
Emily got in the car and said, going home is not an option. There are too many triggers, too much for her. She calmly said she wanted to go to the Salvation Army. They found it and my husband got out of the car to go in with her and she said No, this is something I have to do.
There is a bed for her. She can't go until 4:30pm. They are to be out of the center during the day to find work. She called me and said, it's not most glamours place she's been, but it will due.
I am crying.. sobbing.. still am for that matter. How does a Mother put her daughter in the Salvation Army shelter? I needed strength to make it happen and now I need strength to follow it thru.
When a person is almost 7 months sober, is living at the Salvation Army a reward? Is the right thing to do? Will it cause her to go back to her old ways? Am I doing the wrong thing? Will something horrible happen to her? Can I live with the guilt? It seemed much easier to "throw" her out when she was using. That was a no brainer to me.. but this.. this is just plain sad... numbing.. We have always been able to pull an option or a string in the past, those are all used up and this is where we / she is. Do I have the strength to do this? I can't answer that.
She is very calm. She said she was going to her home meeting tonight and gonna tell her story. She feels she has a lot of sober support there. Someone may help her out with a place to live or a job. She is taking this much better than I am.
I started sobbing when I talked to her. She asked why? Why?? I HATE addiction.. it's sending my baby to a Salvation Army. She said Mom, I can't do this now... I have to hold it together, I will talk to you later.
She has no money, no phone.. God only knows... Just keep my baby safe and sober please...

Monday, August 2, 2010

It takes women like this to help us all

At one point, when Emily was in FL and we were out of communication with her, my mind started to wander.. what if's.. she was laying there and OD'd. What if she is sick? What if her mental illness has kicked in? She is 18, the law says she is an adult. What can I do?

I found out about the Baker Act and The Marshman Act.

I called the police and mentioned the Marshman Act. They went to the motel she was holed up in and she opened the door. They said your Mother is very worried about you and worried about your health and mental well being. She had her phone in her hand and said, that's weird, I just got off the phone with her. Her phone was turned off by me, a week before. The police bought it, hook line and sinker.

Well here is a woman, Sharon Blair, whose daughter Jennifer lost her life due to drugs. She is trying to tweek the Marshman Act, to benefit our loved ones who are addicts. The Jennifer Act is in Indiana now. Close to be used in Florida... I hope we can get stated in all States.
The Jennifer Act « The Jennifer Act

Recovery Month 2010 - Sharon Blair

NOPE Task Force - Narcotic Overdose Prevention & Education

A major shout out or kudos to Sharon Blair!