This young man is like a son to me. He and my son (the one in jail) grew up together, drank together, got into trouble together and could have gone to jail together–but my son would not rat out his friend. I am glad that there is honor among thieves-literally-today that is. Back when, I wasn’t so full of compassion and love for others. Back when I wanted anyone and everyone involved to pay the same as my son was paying. But that wasn’t in the plan God had for the lives of all involved and through all the days and nights of living with a child with addictions, I have grown and learned so much.

When this young man was in his teens, probably 16, 17–rather than go to school he went to work with his dad at a lumber yard. He somehow got his arm caught in the machinery and ended up losing the arm. For a number of years following the accident– Dana would stop by my house and sit at the table where I would be painting and talk to me about his life, his problems, his thoughts, his missing limb, his girlfriends. Sometimes even late, late at night he would drive by, see a light on and stop.

Eventually he met he a good woman, married and settled down to help raise the daughter she brought into the marriage and the son they had together. He went through years of heavy drinking and the problems that can cause in a family. He never spent time in jail, but I am sure his wife went through hell during those years–until a few years ago when something happened within the marriage that caused Dana to realize it was time to clean up his act–and so he did.

He began coming to church. He stopped drinking. He began to be the husband his wife always knew he could be and this past Sunday night he was ordained as a deacon in our church–his ordination occurred on the same night as I learned my own flesh and blood child had been incarcerated after 5+ years of freedom.

It occurred to me at some point during the ordination service that had he not chosen to follow his addiction down it’s ugly path, my own son could be standing in the same position as Dana. In fact the Sunday the deacons were announced I told Dana and his wife that I couldn’t be more proud than if it were my own son. In fact, Dana said that I was as much his mom as his own which truly warmed my heart–but this wasn’t my flesh and blood standing up there and while I found the “answer to a prayer” (see previous post) and the fact that while my own son was sitting in jail, my *might as well be* son was being ordained, not only funny in a twisted sort of way and ironic–the one thing I did notice was no feelings of resentment, anger or jealousy toward this young man or his family for the joy there were experiencing. That my friend, was the true blessing of the night for me!!!!

Only a person who really knows me would know how much this says to me and about me. I grew up filled with insecurities and doubt, seeing the world as a huge scary place and the people in it as out to best me. Years of al-anon and self therapy, prayer and work have brought me to this place I find myself today. Yes, I can still feel smug and vindicated when certain things happen to certain people. I’m not proud of that, but I’m still human; I’m also still a work in progress. I am very thankful to God that He has brought me this far, allowed me to grow, allowed me to see where I fail and where I succeed. My God is an awesome God!!!!!

Update on daughter

Late afternoon, May 30, she got her phone call. She denied any knowledge of drugs.

On Saturday, May 31, I learned her bond was 25,000.00. No way we could go that.
On Monday, June 2, 2014 I spoke with Pete Williams, the arresting officer. I learned she was in Walmart parking lot, acting strange, law was called and when drugs were suspected, he was called in. She was high on meth and had meth in her possession. The truck was towed and she was arrested. If this was her first offense, then possibly she would get drug court and probation along with a fine.
That evening she called me crying, wanting out. I told her what I knew, we got off phone. Tuesday evening she called to tell me she was admitted to Marion County General Hospital with possible sepsis (yes she did have sepsis) UTI, kidney and bladder infection. She stayed in ICU until Friday the 6th when they put her in a room. They released her on Saturday.
It’s been rough-she called several times daily, crying, wanting Shandi to come stay with her, moaning and groaning, feeling sorry for herself. She called me and she called Shandi. She never called her dad or Ana. We visited her on Tuesday night. Shandi and I visited her on Thursday and even took her a Subway sandwich. Still she worried the crap out of us daily calling and whining. Finally I told her I didn’t have time for all that, I knew she was sick and I understood the emotional upheaval an illness causes, but I had my hands full.
When we picked her up I gave her the ground rules for until she goes to grand jury-no men can come to her house and she can’t go to theirs; if Bruce H. is seen on the property he will be arrested. If drugs and the likes of him is what she wants, then don’t waste our time, pack and leave when she gets home. I keep the kids child support card and will manage that from now on-she has wasted their money on drugs and junk long enough. That stops now.
Judy and Robert came up on Thursday-so between Stacie’s situation and company and my own chores I about went my limit by Sunday. I made it to Sunday School, came home, crawled in bed and slept most of the evening. Then I got up and worked a bit getting ready for the Columbia Market tomorrow. I also have an appointment with Sylvia S to discuss options, directions and counseling for the girls.

Helping addicted adult kids

I can’t count the number of times I’ve said ” this is it” in anger.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve said “I’ve finally let go” in desperation.
I can’t count the times I have allowed my feelings to dictate what I knew better than to do.

It always got me in trouble.

I don’t know what changed or if it has truly changed, or if I’ve only changed concerning my son. But the day did come when, with no anger, no desperation, no guilt even, I could send him on his way. It has been a year or close to it, and I still have no regrets.

I believe that we all do what we think we have to do at the time. That is neither right or wrong. It’s simply where we are at this precise moment.
Some of us have the means to provide whatever our adult child needs.
Some of us don’t and maybe that factors in greatly concerning what we will do or won’t do for our kids. As the old saying goes, you simply can’t get blood from a turnip.

Our makeup often determines just how much we will take and for how long. It also determines just how deeply we feel pain for our children. Another thing I believe factors in is our thinking–what exactly is our thinking when we do these things for our children? Is it to help us feel better? Is it so we don’t feel guilt? Is it because we want to save face?

To be perfectly honest, back when we did so much for my son the main thing in my mind was for him to be a NORMAL person, to have a chance to move forward in life, to be somebody and to take care of himself.

Well, as long as I helped him, he had no motivation to do anything but what he was already doing. In fact, even without my help, he isn’t doing any better–so, what’s the upside to not helping?

I have less worries, I have a few more dollars in my pocket and I am much less stressed.

I believe my son has much more going with his life than addiction. However, I cannot fix those problems either. We’ve put him in treatment many times, but he refused to take what was offered and use it.
I can lead a horse to water, but I can’t make him drink. I got tired to trying.

I’ve learned: Don’t build up expectations. In my experience, rules, regulations and ultimatums never worked.

Another thing I’ve learned the hard way is not to make decisions or say things when I’m angry. Anger is an emotion and as such, it leaves often as quickly as it came. I am learning to keep quiet until I can calm down and think the situation through with a clear head. No, I don’t always do this–but I do it a lot more than I used to do it.