Tight Rope Walker

Tight Rope Walker

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Believe or not Believe- Christmas with Emily

Warning: This post will be long!
Our plan was to get her Sunday. Have a nice Christmas dinner with her and spend the day Monday with her, getting nails, hair done. We are leaving tonight or tomorrow for FL without her.
Her friend that Od's recently, is now in jail. Her Mom texted me telling me that the girls had seen each other recently. There were pictures of them on A's phone. In the pictures A has a nose ring and she didn't get that until after Thanksgiving. All texts had been deleted. So I thought of a plan. Because this information was timed so badly for me, as I was getting Emily for our Christmas.
I picked her up after her work. We were on the road a few minutes, I said let's get the unpleasant stuff over with and I asked when the last time she saw A. She said a long time ago, I have not seen her since I moved from Wooster. I said time to be honest. There are photos of you on her phone, recent ones, she has a nose ring, she got that after Thanksgiving. I said she is in a lot of trouble and the court order her phone to be turned over and they are getting all the texts. Emily said, A, got that nose ring a long time ago, her Mom didn't know, she took it out. I don't care about the texts or anything, I do not communicate with her and haven't for a long time.
Then she said, who are you going to believe? Me, whose almost been sober 1 year or a girl who OD and is not sitting in jail? She said I am trying so hard to show you by my actions. I got a full time job, I am getting benefits soon and paying my rent, doing the right things. So who do you believe? I thought for a second.. I said neither. She said good answer and you shouldn't believe either, but I do want to see the good things I am doing.
I said I have a real hard time believing you have been sober for year. And I wish you wouldn't say it if it wasn't true. ( pictures on Facebook w K loco in your hand)
We get home, haul in her laundry, her boyfriend appears at the door, we all have a nice dinner. I can tell you, I do believe she was not using. There are little things that lead me to this belief.
She left her purse laying around. When she is using, it's attached to her
She wore short sleeves, no marks on her arms
She took off her boots and coat, not hiding things
She was naturally funny, animated
She took the initiative
She did her own laundry
She whined , in her normal way when she didn't get what she wanted instead of blaming us
She verbalized how grateful and thankful she was
So Monday I had a 9 am physical. My Dr's step daughter went to the same charter school Emily went to. I wanted them to meet, since my Dr knows all about Emily and the "players". They met and chatted a lot. Then Emily left the room and my Dr, said hard to believe such a polite, intelligent, articulate girl choose heroin. She said that seems the new heroin type now. And she proceeded to tell me, last week one of her patients was in the waiting room and got a call her son died, OD'd. He had agreed to go on Suboxen and they were planning that treatment the next day. He thought he'd have his last party before starting and he died. I just said, thank god she was in a safe place and I just can't imagine getting that call... ever.
So we headed to get our nails done. That was pleasant. Went to lunch before her hair appointment. Our lunch conversation revolved around addiction. She said the last rehab she went to made the biggest difference. It was "gehetto". It was the bottom. She was in shock she had reached that point. It was not the 550.00 dollar a day place. She could not believe she had ended up at the end of line in her short life over a drug. She said they made her write a good bye letter to heroin. She wrote it and they said it lacked her soul. They made her do it again, and again and then yet again. They made her look in a mirror for 30 minutes without saying anything.. just her and mirror. She looked at that person and realized she wanted to live, she deserved to live, not have a drug take her life.. or leave her with no choices.
Then she told me, she found out everyone at the Beacon House wanted her out. The women, the staff.. wanted her gone. Her counselor L, fought for her to stay. They were sick of her whinny entitlement attitude. They never had anyone so young there and they said she was bringing the house down and not taking recovery seriously. L saw something in her and wanted to keep working with her. She said if it was not for L and EMDR, she is not sure she would be where she is today. She said much later , when she was living in the Salvation Army, there was a woman and baby. The baby was L's grandchild. The woman had a one night stand with L's son... resulting in a baby. This woman told Emily she was just like L's daughter. Nose piercing, guitar always in hand or writing songs and poetry. L never talked about her family or her history. She said it clicked why L fought so hard for her and she was very grateful.
She said somewhere inbetween the "ghetto" rehab and EMDR, something clicked. She said she was a very powerful relationship with God and I would be amazed at all the work she has on paper about God and her spiritual self. She still works hard on that.
And, she feels she out grew heroin. She said now that she has freedom, she is considered an adult, she can go to bars, parties, etc.. it does not have the appeal to sneak out and use. That she has allowed her brain to heal and being rebellious was stupid, but she realized it too late, addiction had taken over before she knew it. She said Mom, it sucked so bad to wake up trying to figure out how to get the next fix. It's horrible to steal and lie to people who love you. That's not me, the heroin was talking. I was a prisoner to it. It ran my life, it had the power I gave it. She said I have to watch it and never let a person, thing, drug, place, take my power. I am aware of it, because I have a healthy brain now. She said she felt drugs had stunted her growth. She said I am flat chested, I am little, like I am stunted at 14 years old. She said she hopes to fill out, physically and she knows her brain is healing. I was going to ask about cravings and such, but she beat me to the punch. She said I am not saying, I don't think about it at times. But I know 1 time will result in my death. She said, I just talk to God and ask Him to take those thoughts from me. She said how many times in her life she has "oh 1 time won't hurt" and it did. She has to always remember that.
Do I believe her? I do believe she was sober for the 2 days she was with us/me.
Someone asked me if I was walking on cloud 9. No I am wasn't, no I am not now.
I am neutral. I think I have worked hard on my emotions, boundaries. Her failures and successes are just that.. hers. I can not and will not let them rule my self.
I do know she is a wonderful actress and lier. Second nature to her.
I do know she appeared very sober while with me.
So I am choosing to believe and not to believe, neutral. I am comfortable there for now.
So now we are headed to Atlanta to see the Cavs and then Palm Beach to see my Mom for Christmas and then Orlando, just my husband and son. Stress free as I told her bluntly.
Have a wonderful Holiday! I know the Holidays are so tough for those of us with addiction in our families.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dry by Augusten Burroughs

Dry is a memoir written by Augusten Burroughs. He also wrote Running With Scissors. I just finished reading it. I had taken a break from reading addiction books for awhile. But when I saw this book on the shelf at Goodwill for 1.99, I couldn't pass it up. I have always wondered why Emily can make it about 9 months and then relapse. Like at that 9 month mark, something goes wrong. I just couldn't understand why? From all I read and hearing Dr. Phil say it over and over, it takes about 30 to 90 days to change a habit, so by 9 months, certainly the bad habit has changed. Not so with Emily. Here is what Mr. Burroughs wrote about 9 months.

" At work the next day, I feel edgy and worried and frustrated and angry and sad and confused and relieved and every other emotion on that damn rehab feeling chart. Sometimes, a few feelings collect and have a sort of party in my head. Then it seems they all leave and I have no feelings at all. I remember in rehab someone saying that nine months was a turning point. It's like the seven-year itch. I think this must be because we have nine months programmed into us from our time in the womb. After nine months we are ready to make a dramatic change. Be born, or go get drunk."

He obviously relapses... very badly.. for quite awhile. What he learned after the relapse, as he explained to his friend going thru it, was this:

" You're suppose to go to a meeting. I mean , as much as you hate them or if they feel stupid or you just don't want to go. The thing is, if you go to a meeting, you won't drink that day. It's like a minibrainwash. It kind of fixes you for the little while. But then I say, "of course if I'm really wallowing in self-pity, then I will tell myself, ' Pighead, (his best friend who died) would give anything to feel this uncomfortable right now.' So there's always the auto-guilt trip method."

I get it. I understand what he is saying. I get he is using the tools he's been given now. His relapse taught him, meetings , meetings, meetings. How come our kids don't get it? I wish I could gift "getting it" for a Christmas gift, instead of a coat or gift card.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Still some innocence-Take the Long Way Home

There are those times, when I just want the moment stay, not to pass so quickly. There are those moments, where my mind wanders to the worst, like I have been trained that way, like there is a hidden a meaning.. and I am luckily reminded, there is still some innocence in my life.

Tuesday night my son, Andy and I went to the Mall. He had a few things to get for Christmas. On the way there, he said he wanted to go to Victoria Secret to get his girlfriend a gift. My mind went to the stories I heard from my friends who had 17 year old boys... they found VS his/her oils, body lotions in their bedrooms. My son wanted help picking out a "Pink" hoodie or sweats. She likes the Victoria Secret Pink things. Whew!

Then he told me, he and his best friend decided it was the year to exchange gifts together. They put a 15.00 limit on it. Where does my mind go? Condoms. Cherry swizzlers to smoke. Know what he wanted to get him? A big box of Milk Duds, his friends favorite candy and some funky sweatbands and sweat wristbands. Whew!

We were driving home and there lots of Christmas lights up. This town goes all out. He asked me : Mom, do you ever take the long way home to look at the lights? I said : Do you? He said oh yes, I love them. I remember when we younger you would take us all around town to look at the lights. We remembered the night we ran into Shawn Kemp at a light display. He was, at the time a Cavs basketball player. He had, what I called a tank as a car, but actually it was the first Hummer I had ever seen. We remembered going to the "rich" area, known for their light displays.. and seeing a boy about his age now, dancing into a mirror in his underwear like Risky Business.

I said to Andy, to answer your question, I do not take the long way home to look at the lights anymore. After 40 plus years of looking at lights, I do not think about it anymore. But let's do it now! So on the record low cold night, on the way home from Mall, my son and I took the long way home to look at the lights.

I was reminded there is still some innocence. I allowed myself to stay in that moment and cherish it. I was happy it wasn't about VS lotions, potions, oils, condoms and cherry swizzlers.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Holidays

The Holidays - for those of us with addiction in our families, it can mean a bad four letter word. I believe this is where the AA saying "fake it til you make it" comes in. You press on. You go thru the motions.

Ever since 9-11-2001, the Holidays have lost their spark for me. I believe it is the same year my youngest child was told by his best friend there was no Santa. But the loss this country suffered that fateful day, took the spirit out of me. Or maybe it was preparing me for my future Holidays with Emily.

When we moved to Columbus, I was between all the family, so we all met here. I hosted. I am not a jolly person before hosting 20 to 30 some people. I am a Virgo, so perfection was a must and that put a lot of pressure on myself and my family. I will say though, once the day was here, the good times and memories are worth it.

I was faking it , til I made it. Holding my breath no crisis would occur 20 minutes before everyone was to arrive.

I am surprised nobody noticed , at the time, my Parma tree that one year. If you are not from Cleveland, you will know Parma from Drew Carey. My tree was a little white 25.99 tree on top of a table with the value pack of 6.99 for 30 multi- colored glass balls. If that doesn't scream crisis mode, I don't know what does. About this time of year, that year, Emily tried to commit suicide. Needless to say, I was not in the Holiday mood.

Another year, we were sitting in the therapist office 2 days before, doing some kind of intervention, for what, I am still not even clear on. Then there was the school suspension, for skipping, last thing a Mother needs before hosting a bunch of family, is a defiant teen child at home while trying to get ready. But, whatever the situation was, resulted in me learning to "fake it til I make it", which by the way, is something I am still trying to master.

Last year, there was not faking it, I could not make it. I look back and I realize how sick I was, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I owe a big thanks to the wonderful folks at ODR, Opiate, Detox and Recovery Board. There were quite a few others that had been where I was and so helpful in getting me thru. To the point of calling me on Christmas day and chatting with me for hours to get me thru.

Emily had stolen our credit cards and checks right before Thanksgiving. Went to jail. Then went to live with her dealer b/f and his family. Admitted she was having fun using and had no intentions of quitting. I was such a downer, my husband and son went to see the movie Avatar, who knew it was one of the longest movies in history! That left me alone on Christmas day. Not good. I called Emily to come over. She was making demands, that her dealer b/f should be able to come too. He was her protector. He didn't want her coming to her family alone. Did he think we would beat her? Abuse her? Looking back, we might have unbrainwashed her, that was his fear. After many phone calls, she decided to agree to come alone. My husband and son came home from the movie. Needless to say, not a good thing. My son went to the basement, would not even sit at the table with his sister. I, don't blame him, as I was hanging up her coat, there were needles coming out, which lead me to look in purse, more needles... last thing you want to find on Christmas day in your child's coat. They still freak me out, needles. There was no faking it, I was not making it.

I was not "making it"... so bad, that by Feb, I was physically sick. I was laid off my job, due to poor health. Go get well, I was told. I still do not have my job back, due the economy now. But, it was a slap in the face, a wake up call, it was the turning point of me saying, I can't help or support you, I have to take care of myself. But, I can't say, I am making it now either, even after learning all that. I will tell you why I feel this way. I believe I have made much progress, this all hasn't been in vain, BUT, I am still "faking it". I am going thru the motions. I could care less what I buy for my family for Christmas, I could careless what I receive.

You want to know why? Because there has been another crisis. I won't write about what it is, for 2 reasons, it really doesn't matter exactly what it is , and secondly, it is not my story, but Emily's. BUT, it is something that has put another dark cloud over the Holidays, separated my husband and I on what to support and what not to. The bottom line is, as long as he keeps supporting her financially for her mistakes or crisis's, she will not learn, she will not become an independent adult who can solve her own problems.

This comes after our Thanksgiving. Emily was 3 hours late. Turkey's don't wait. I faked it that day too. I listened to what every parent wants to hear. She told me her friends have told her all I did last year to save her. That I worked tirelessly, that I love her so much. One friend told her I was the last person he had texted with before his car accident and he remembered thinking, he only wished he had a mother that loved him like I loved her and she was so lucky. She thanked me for all I have done, she had no idea what was going on behind the scenes. And look how far she has come in a year, she was at Thanksgiving with her family.. what could be better? She said Grace at dinner, it was long, I don't remember all of it, but I remember, something is "off". That Mother's institution.. a nagging feeling in between her words of being sober for 10 months.

The 3 of them decided to go to Blockbuster for a movie. I saw her purse sitting here. I went thru it. Nothing. I didn't believe it, I went thru it again, check the lining for a hole this time, nothing. Breath. Exhale. I went to the counter and saw her phone charging. I looked at the texts. Guess what? Oh come on, you know you the answer as well as me. Texts from her dealer b/f from last year. Drama, swearing, crap. Texts about standing on the corner waiting for grams, oxy's, X. Texts on buying up all the 4 Loco's. Texts about how she thought there was arrow on the work schedule and she was really off on Thanksgiving... that she had been moved to work on Black Friday. You know the excuses.. you've heard them all, as have I.

What did I do? I wrote the names and numbers down. My son noticed I was "off". So I told him, I should have. But you know what he said to me.. you know and I know and that all that matters. Get rid of the numbers, there will always be more numbers, more dealers. Don't waste your energy. He was/is right.

So this year, the 3 of us, my husband, son and I are going on vacation for Christmas. We will be with my Mom in Palm Beach, who is so excited, surprised and happy we are coming. She has called me 3 times going over menus, gifts, schedules. I hope I don't fake this year, I hope it is sincere and just what we all need.. Mom and Grandma to brighten our day.
Happy Holidays