Tight Rope Walker

Tight Rope Walker

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mr. and/or Mrs. FIX IT

For some reason this topic has been coming up a lot with me lately.  Maybe as more of my friends are in our unfortunate situation or maybe more people are opening up about the subject of addiction, but the words " I just want to fix it" keep popping up. 

I think, as parents, we do just want to "fix it".  We feel it's our job to "fix it".  I know a lot of fathers of addicts who say something like, if there is a problem at work, it's my job to "fix it".  People come to me for me to "fix it".  I am good at my job.  I have no doubt most of them are very good at their jobs.  Negotiation, following the rules or laws, finding compromise, double checking someone's work are all part of "fixing it".  A lot of times when they "fix it", they feel good, they may get rewarded by a promotion or bonus, for saving their company time and money.  They stress they can find the solution to the problem and have a hard time understanding why all their efforts in dealing with their addict child in the same way, do not produce the same results as at work. 

I guess all I can say is, your work place is probably not infested with the horrible disease of addiction.  I or should I say, we, spent a lot of time learning this.  I don't think you can learn it over night.  I think it's a process to realize you can never be "Mr. Fix It" to your addict child.

If we keep "fixing" things for them, we become enablers very quickly.  Enabling leads to co-dependency.  And pretty soon, it's a family disease and no one is getting healthy.  Everyone is reacting to crisis after crisis, trying to "fix it". 

I guess Dr. Bill knew what he was doing when he wrote the steps.  Step 1: Accept the things you can not change.  You can not "fix" this.  You can not change this for your loved one.  You can certainly wear yourself out trying and going thru the process of learning this.  ( Like we did ).  But, if we had not gone thru the "fix it" stage, we would not have arrived to where we are now and I would like to believe my daughter would not be where she is right now. 

When my kids were little and fell, I "fixed" it by cleaning the scrape, putting a band aid on it and kissing it.  The boo-boo healed nicely, no scars left.  Addiction is not like that, we can't reach for the band aids or tool box and "fix it".  It goes against our nature as parents, and I personally, think it should. 

Pretty soon, we find ourselves in trouble.  ( or at least I did).  The stress took over, I got physically very sick.  I quit socializing and isolated.  I didn't cook dinners, going the grocery store was a big chore.  The disagreeing or fighting with my husband escalated as we disagreed on how to "fix it".  Soon enough, not only was our daughter always in crisis, so were we.  How do you "fix" that?  It all seemed like too much, where to start, what to do? 

Well what I would say, looking back, is, "fix" yourself first.  It starts there.  And the biggest part is coming to grips that you can't "fix" your child.  Your own guilt and shame and feelings and thoughts of where you went wrong, will only hurt you more.  When all my efforts and energy of "fixing it" for her, continued to result in the same outcome: her continuing to use, I realized no amount of tools from me could "fix" her.  Fixing yourself doesn't come over night... or over many nights.. it was a slow process that I am still working on.  But, along with counseling, I started saying "yes" to outings with my friends.  I started "faking it, til I made it".  Meaning I would go out with my mom friends and pretend to smile and laugh, that eventually I really was smiling and laughing.  I started cooking again, a few meals per week and tried to do it with love..knowing my husband and son would appreciate it gave me the satisfaction.  I started doing things I missed doing, calling an old friend, doing beading, painting, gardening, playing cards, picking up a book that wasn't about addiction.  In all honestly, I felt and sometimes still do, here I am laughing with my friends, or making something I totally enjoy and my daughter is hurting, hurting in ways I can't help her with.  One day my son said to me, how come you never make your chicken Alfredo ( aside from clogging my artery's) I related that dish with Emily.  I said to my son, well I thought Emily was the only one who liked it.  He said oh no, he loved it and missed it.  It was as if anything that reminded me of her, vanished, it was easier that way.  But, by him bringing that to my attention, I realized, not everything I thought was her favorite, was just for her.  I went out that night and got the things to make chicken Alfredo for my son, not her.  It felt good.

I hope all the Mr. and Mrs. Fix Its out there, don't stay in that stage as long as I did.  I hope your process goes faster than mine did.  My tool box now contains sticky notes as reminders for me to stay healthy, it contains saying yes to things and not isolating, it contains simple things done with love for those around me, it also includes me saying no to things, its ok for me to say no.  It also contains boundaries.  It includes things I will support and spend my time and energy on and the things I won't.  The good thing about my tool box, I can take things out and put new things in there, so I can "fix" myself and everybody wins then, they have all of me, healthy and not run down. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Small Developments

I haven't posted much, just because Emily is still in the 30  day transition period and we have no contact. 
But, I have my ways.. LOL

Not sure I mentioned this, but, the family with at Christmas time, their daughter got kicked out of the first program and went to the current one Emily is at.  The girls on a 30 talking ban. Which is fine.. for many reasons.  But, they got their first call from their daughter last week.  The mom left me a message.  Said she talked to her daughter and she is doing great!  Loves her job at a nursing home!  She said she asked her about Emily, even thou, she knows they can't talk about other clients and they are on talking ban.  But she said her daughter Emily is doing so awesome!  And please let Emily's parents know, she is doing great and working hard and contributing a lot.    I was happy to hear that!

They also called this week.  They wanted to see if we would pay 32.00 for Emily to get her license.  We agreed.  If they feel she is ready, I want her to have that in her life... it's part of growing up and being responsible.  She sabotaged it the night before she was suppose to get her license at 16.  She took my husbands company car out and drank and drove.  She didn't get caught by the police, but she did by us.  And of the school that a license is a privilege, not a right.  I could never live with myself if something happened to her or she hurt someone else. 

They have taken care of contacts and glasses and let us know all about it.

When they call, I will ask how she is doing.  The reports are all so positive.  That scares me a bit!  I am used to the other.. all the negative things she does or how she is always in trouble.  They said she is doing awesome.  She is working hard , she is a big help in the house and she is really helping the new girls.  She calls them on their BS and teaches them what NOT to do.  Go figure!

I would like to take a minute and Thank a fellow blogger, Tori!  She took a comment I made and turned it into a super nice gift.  She could have said nothing, I would not have known any different.  But, she reached out to me, she went above beyond the meaning of blog friends.  It was out of the blue, something I never expected from a little old comment I made and she made it almost a reality.  Thank You Tori, thank you so much!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Grass is ALWAYS Greener

Last week, I was going to post the most recent letter I got from Emily, but I ran out of time.  Funny how things work...  No sooner than I had sat down to type the letter in Word, my phone rang, it was the area code of the city Emily is in.  It was not a number I recognized.. you all know THAT feeling! 

It was Emily.  She has changed programs.  She left the other one at 8 am and was calling me at 3pm.  No one from the first program bothered to call me, even though I requested , in writing , to be notified.  At this point, still no word from them.  I was a bit put off by this.  I told her I had just gotten her letter and she said, well my letters are lies, they tell me what to write.  I said so all that nice stuff, the common sense context are lies?  She said well, not exactly, but I couldn't tell you how bad it was.  I was being yelled at ALL the time.  I said well maybe you need to be yelled at?  I was not backing down, I have learned, it's usually not the program, it's usually her or her perception of a program or person.  I stressed the grass is not always greener.  We will only support a completed long term program for you.  Yadda Yadda.

Her points were: I am an adult, I can make my own decisions  ( haven't we all heard this before too?).  I am almost 5 months clean.  This new program is 2 years also.  It will provide meetings daily and group, which I was not getting from the other program.  I am not asking you for anything.  It is run by the woman who help start the other program I was in. 

I congratulated her on the 5 months.  I said you are always looking for the easier way out.  If you had let the first program break you and rebuild you, I believe you might have a chance.  I reminded her she is still in PAWS, this is a critical time for her recovery, as she starts to get in trouble, sabotage her recovery around now.  And, at some point, she has to quit going around the programs and go directly in the middle to get to the root of the problem and recover. 

Needless to say my husband was NOT happy.  I had to call and tell him.  He had a whole list of what we were not doing for her.  Basically cutting her off til she graduates a long term program.  He has since softened abit.

I slept on it for 24 hours.  Then I called the new program.  I will tell you what.. as soon as the girl told me, " I just love little Emmy, I wanna pinch her cheeks and hug her to death", I got a red flag.  My daughter the actress is back.. she will say, act, do , whatever she has to in a situation, in this case it was to get herself in the program.  Then the girl told me, Emily's intake took so long, she decided to take Emily on her errands with her around town.  Oh great, now Em thinks she is special. 

These are my red flags, because I know my daughter like the back of my hand. 

I understand fully and gratefully, it could be worst.  That number she called from, could have been a jail, a cell phone of some loser, etc.  And each day she is clean is a blessing.. I know all this.. as I have done my work and I have walked this path before.  I am not saying I am not grateful.  I am just saying, I see red flags again.  I listen to my gut, it hasn't failed me yet. ( unfortunately).

The girl did explain the rules are basically the same, only softer.  Instead of working 12 to 20 hours a day, they work 6 to 8 hours and include meetings and group.  I asked if the meetings were "in house" or out in the town.  She said the town.  Another red flag.  Emily is known for meeting and taking off with some guy from rehabs, meetings, etc.  The girl said, well she can't even look at or talk to a guy.  I laughed... I said you have met the pro at passing notes, getting the word out if she interested.  But, here is where my work has to play into everything, I have to accept whatever she does, weather I agree with it or not and let it go.  I just told her, my daughter thrives in strict environments, as much as she rebels against them, it is where she makes the most progress. 

She said in this program if they get in trouble, they will put on "move", but there will be a beginning and an end.  So if she caught using a phone on the job, her move will be 1 week, where as at the other place, you could be on your 6th move and not even remember the first reason you got in trouble, no beginning and no end. 

I asked if she knew if Emily left because she got in trouble, or did she get kicked out, or did she leave on her own accord.  She said on her own accord.  She said she packed all her stuff up the night before.  Nobody said anything to her then.  She announced at breakfast at 7 am she was leaving, nobody said anything and by 8 am she was across the street with us. 

I had put an opened ended credit card at a Walmart for her to get glasses and or contact.  Her contacts are from 12/10 and they are 2 week disposal ones..  If you remember last year, we got her this for her birthday, but she never went back to pick up the contacts, as she was running from the law with 6 felony warrants out for her.  I was working with the other program on getting her an eye appt.  This new place has picked up the ball and will be taking her to get that. 

She will be give credit for time served at the other place.  She has to complete their 30 day , no contact and then if she isn't in trouble , we , she, can pick back up where we left off.  We can send any amount of birthday gifts and stuff to her at any time. 

There are some things that hit me.  I am not into numbers or dates too much.  But this girl, whose name is Kelly too, said, this is Emily's 9th program and she isn't 21 yet!  I said I know, and maybe the 9th will be the charm, as she has the number 9 tattooed on her hairline, for her life number.  She asked when Emily was turning 21.  I said April 12th.  She said.. oh wow, that is the anniversary date for this program, we are having a big celebration.  Maybe those things will work for us/her this time??  I know, I am reaching for straws! 

They called me with an update on Friday.  Emily is doing "ok".  Said she is stepping up and taking a big initiative in the house with work and group, showing leadership. 

So it is more contact than I had with the other place.  I am still not sure the grass is greener, at some point, it has to come down to doing the work, not avoiding it. 

But, for today, as far as I know, she is clean.