Sunday, March 19, 2017

Get to know me Q & A




Since I started my blog nearly 5 years ago, I’ve received so many wonderful emails. I have cherished every single one and, in fact, still reread many of them to this day. Over the years I’ve been asked lots of questions about addiction, my family, me and even about blogging, in general.  So, I thought it might be fun to do something different and share some of those questions and my answers for anyone who cares to read.  



Q: Why is your blog called ‘In God Me Trust’?
A: I truly believe that God is my guide and, sometimes, he speaks to us in a very clear way.  Before the blog, I was not computer savvy at all. I’m still not. However, I kept getting a vibe, if you will, that I should start one. The words ‘In God Me Trust’ kept playing over and over in my head for months until I finally decided to do it. To be honest, I’m still not sure of the purpose but I do believe God instructed me to and who am I to argue with Him.

Q: How old are you? How old is your son?
A: I’m 50 and my son is 30.

Q: Are you a cop?
A: No. My husband is a police officer. (And with the way things are going ‘out there’ I wish he’d retire!)

Q: What do you do for a living?
A: I am a retired Youth Corrections Counselor for the Illinois Department of Corrections.  For those who think that addiction could never happen in their family – mine is living proof that addiction can happen in any family.

Q: You have talked about struggling with depression; do you take medication?
A:  Okay, this is a bit of a trick bag. I’ve wanted to blog about this for ages but there are some extreme views in the addiction community and I don’t want anyone to think I’m promoting drug use. Having said that, depression is a serious illness and there is no shame in seeking help or in taking prescribed medication.  So yes, I am on an antidepressant and occasionally take medication for anxiety.  I had been struggling with depression for a couple of years prior to my son’s overdose in 2014 but that day…whew, that day was so horrible and scary and surreal…I don’t know, my nerves were so completely unraveled that day and trying to pull myself back together, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t stop crying for weeks after that. My hands trembled constantly and even the sound of my cell phone ringing felt like sensory overload. That’s when I sought help and got on medication.  Honestly, it saved my life and I’m not sure I’d be here today if I hadn't.

Q: Is your son still using?
A: You know, life has changed so much in the past six months. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring for any of us but at this moment my son is clean and doing really great.

Q: When is your grand baby due and have they picked a name?
A: My granddaughter is due in June. Yes, they have picked a name. No, I’m not telling what it is, lol.

Q: What would you do differently if you were starting this journey with your son today?
A: Ugh, when I think of all the stupid things my husband and I did in the name of ‘helping’ our kid. Lord, I don’t know what we were thinking.  If I had a do over, I’d let him feel the consequences of his actions right off the bat.  We were so afraid he’d die that we made using easy. That certainly was not our intention but that was the result of our actions, for sure.

Q: If you could give other parents of addict’s one piece of advice, what would it be?
A: See above.  So many parents have a ‘yeah but’ mentality. We were that way, too.  If you begin a sentence with ‘yeah but’ when you’re talking about your addicted loved one, you are probably part of the problem and not the solution.  

Q: Do you still think menopause is fun?
A: Hahaha. Okay, this goes back to a blog post I made ages ago where I talk about how freeing menopause is. There are bonuses for sure and with age I feel less apologetic about who I am. I’m much more confident and way more forgiving of my imperfections.  (and hopefully others, too) As far as the hot flashes, insomnia and weight gain? Oy!

Q: Do you have any other children?
A: Do dogs count?

Q: Do you think marijuana is a gateway drug?
A: The easy answer is yes.

Q: How do you know if someone is using drugs?
A: Lying, lying, lying and lying some more. Sweating,  dilated or pinpoint pupils, excessive thirst, unusual cravings for sweets, track marks, black smudges on hands or fingers, burn marks or blisters on lips, nodding off or passing out, slurred or thick speech, anger and outbursts, paranoid, loss of income/employment, bad grades, skipping school, loss of friendships, isolation, feelings of hopelessness, depression, weight loss or gain, dental problems, sores and scabs on face and arms from picking at skin, excessive itching, changes in appearance/grooming habits, burn holes in clothing, car upholstery/furniture and bedding. Addicts usually have some sort of dope kit, as well. Some items to be concerned about: chore boy scouring pads, small glass tubes, cut straws, plastic baggy corners, Imodium, syringes, spoons and foil.

Q: How have you maintained your marriage throughout your son’s addiction and do you and your husband ever disagree on how to handle your son?
A: You know what, I’ve got his six and he’s got mine. Thankfully, we have always been in agreement on decisions regarding our son. (and most other stuff, too)  Not that our decisions have always been right, mind you.

Q: Do you believe addiction is a disease?
A: I believe drug use is a choice and the choice to use leads to an addiction which changes the landscape of the brain. I believe addiction should be treated as an illness and covered under all health insurance plans.

Q: You don’t talk about your mom much anymore; do you have contact with her?
A: No.

Q: What keeps you from going insane?
A: Do you know something I don't, lol? 😜 I didn’t know this in the beginning but the only way out of this nightmare is to focus on living your own best life. I started feeling better when I started living my life and stopped trying to fix my son’s. Today, I’m back to doing the things I used to enjoy and I’ve picked up a couple of new hobbies, too.  I feel best mentally when I’m active so I trail run, mountain bike and as of last year I started kayaking. Some of my favorite moments are eating Chinese takeout in bed with my hubby and binge watching Netflix. Sometimes, you just have to find comfort in the little things – a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, a trip to the mall, some new makeup, a new pair of running shoes. A double fudge layer cake…

Q: Do you think my daughter/son can get clean?
A: Yes! Recovery happens every day. Please don’t ever give up hope





Well guys, that’s it for my Q & A. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog.  If you feel like posting your own answers to these questions, I'd love to read them!





Thursday, January 19, 2017

It's a Girl!!




My soon to be daughter in law is now 17 weeks pregnant. Little one is doing beautifully and is already so active in her mommy’s tummy. I’m so excited to meet our precious little grandbaby – to smell her sweet baby skin and to kiss her angelic little face and tiny baby toes. I’m already so in love with her.  Addiction has brought so much sadness and pain to our lives but this baby…she is the miracle, the light that we so desperately needed. I wish I could say that my son is clean and sober. I hate to say it this way but he is, at least, maintaining. That probably sounds nuts to any “normal” parent but there is nothing normal about being the parent of an addict. 

As much as I am anticipating her arrival, I worry about my son’s ability to hold onto the life he’s been living. I see his love for the mother of his daughter and his hope for their future so why is he still using? What propels an addict into recovery? Why isn’t family, his baby, enough?  How can guilt be the catalyst of change for one person but it only compels my son to keep using? I know, I know…because he wants to.  But he is a man now and, for better or for worse, his choices are his own.  He’s not a child anymore and even though I still see immaturity I have also seen growth.  I still worry about him all the time but I feel a sense of freedom that I have never felt before. In many ways, I feel emancipated from the burden of his choices and the pain of the consequences that come his way. His yoke is no longer my cross to bear. It’s hard for me to type that. There is a part of me that feels shame that I am, in some way, abandoning him but I am his mom, for now and forever, and letting him be the adult he chooses to be is the most loving thing I can do for him, right now.  I pray, one day very soon, he will choose to make the right decisions but whatever he does decide, he will always be my son and I will love him eternally...















Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Gift



It’s been far too long since I sat down to do this. Many times, I have thought about writing but the truth is often so dismal I haven’t wanted to face it. But here I am, on this cold and drizzly Sunday morning, staring at the monitor, wondering if I really feel like putting all my icky thoughts into words. We’ll see how far I get.

Lately, my emotional wheel has been stuck on anger. I’m so tired from it all that I don’t even try for another spin. I just accept that I’m pissed and let it guide my day. So stupid. I’m back to reacting rather than responding to my son’s drug use. I know better, I even blogged about it and yet here I am, reliving the same drama day after day. Grrrr!

I’ve lost count of how many attempts he’s made to get clean. And, even though it may sound like I’m being snarky, I’m really not. The truth is, I hold my breath and cling to hope every single time he/we go through this. I felt really good about this last one. If I’m going to be completely honest, I really thought this was *it*. The timing felt almost spiritual. Anyway, he decided to give suboxone another chance. He’d tried it before but you know how it goes. If they aren’t ready, they won’t succeed. This time, he seemed ready. He had already been using subs, off and on illegally, but he wanted to go about getting clean the right way. So, he researched his insurance,  made a bunch of calls and found a clinic that would accept his Plan. He even managed to get an appointment right away. How often does that happen? After his first appointment he seemed really hopeful. Ironically, the day of his appointment, was also the day he found out he’s going to be a dad. Unfortunately, he only made it a few days and then he was back to using.
 
Before any of us knew a baby was on the way, hubby and I had decided to buy a house for our son and his future wife. Aside from continuing to offer our emotional support, there’s nothing more we can do in terms of his addiction/recovery. We’ve paid for every treatment option available, some multiple times, to no avail. Through all of this, we have always done what we thought was best for our son and in doing so, we have often neglected our own emotional, spiritual and financial welfare. The one thing that has always plagued us – what happens to him if something happens to us – led us to this decision. I don’t know what the future holds for my son but I have to know that he’ll always have a roof over his head. I think about the homeless addicts who die on the streets - alone, scared, cold and broken. I can’t bear the thought of that. I just can’t. He will still be required to pay rent but instead of giving money to someone else, that payment will be invested in his own home, in his future and the future of his family. 

With so many changes before him, his drug use has been escalating. I’m so afraid he won’t live to see his baby, that he won’t be capable of raising this child. He’s back to using multiple drugs and his grandmother is also back in his life. This is starting to feel like 2013 all over again.  My stomach is in knots just thinking about all that happened and everything that evil old woman has done to my son, to my family. I hope God has a plan. I pray His timing is soon. For my kid to get embroiled in all of that again, for him to go back into that pit, with her, I don’t think he could survive it this time. I don’t think my husband and I can, either. 

The baby – this sweet little angel, a miracle and the most precious gift, is the one bright spot in all of the stress and turmoil of our son’s addiction. We have always wanted to be grandparents and cannot wait to meet our first grandbaby. Little one had his very first picture taken and at 1.7 cm he’s doing beautifully and his heart beat is healthy and strong. Hubby says he looks like a baby bunny, lol. We’re anticipating his or her arrival in June...











Friday, August 12, 2016

Courage



I hate going to the dentist. On Tuesday, while sitting in “the chair” trying to pay attention to CNN and not the whizzing and whirring of that thing that cleans your teeth, I was thinking about what it must feel like to be an addict when they are actually getting high. I always get nitrous when I go to the dentist. I just can’t sit still in the chair if I’m not mildy sedated. Once that mask is placed over my nose, I know in a minute or two, I’ll be okay. Laughing gas is the bomb. For the most part, I just feel calm and mellow and every care seems to feel very far away. Sometimes, I’ll play a game with myself and I’ll start counting off all the things I would lose if it were possible to stay in that altered state forever.  Meaning, would I give up my life for that high. More on that in a minute.

On Tuesday, a different tech was handling the sedation and she, clearly, had no idea what she was doing. When she first placed the mask over my nose and turned on the oxygen, I could barely breath. Everytime I inhaled, the mask would cave in a little and every time I exhaled the mask would get loose. I felt like I was sucking in mud, so weird, and not at all calming for my dental anxieties. So, she adjusted the flow, I finally got some decent air coming in (and I was able to exhale which is kind of important when breathing) and then she blasted me with N2O. I’ve had laughing gas a bunch of times and have never felt this half baked. No kidding, I’m pretty sure I floated up to the ceiling. I won’t lie, it was a nice trip. 

So, in-between “which flavor do you want”, Trumps latest, idiotic, remarks and my monumental buzz, I started playing the game. My son has described getting high as “the greatest feeling one could ever feel”.  On that day, I could, sort of, relate to that.  I was feelin’ good! So, what would I be willing to lose or give up for that feeling? The answer was the same as every other time, nothing. Then I asked myself – what matters in this moment – and this was a new one for me.  Honestly, it scared me a little to realize my answer was nothing…or almost nothing. Somewhere, way off in the distance, life still mattered but I had to pull that out of me. I actually had to talk my way through my conscience to get there. Isn’t that weird? I’ve had a lot of sports injuries and with that has come a few surgeries. If you’ve ever had an operation, you know the anesthesiologist usually gives you something to calm your nerves before he puts you under. Do you know that feeling? That moment of twilight, between here and there, where voices seem muffled and images are hazy. Your body is light and you’re drifting farther and farther away. You feel like you’re in a dream, right? Everything that pushes you down and holds you back is gone. You are weightless and limitless. There is freedom. But here’s the rub – how free are you really if the thing that allows you to feel weightless is the very thing that makes it impossible for you to even lift your arms or breath on your own?! The more the anesthesiologist gives you, the deeper you go, the deeper you go, the less control you have. 

Addiction equals loss of control which is almost #funnynotfunny when you consider what the addict really wants. Life is chaos, I need to use. They control their shitty situation by making the decision to get high. Only problem is, the more the addict thinks they control the drug, the more the drug is actually controlling them. Uh, no thanks! While I’m more than willing to relinquish my control to the anesthesiologist because, well, do I really want to know what’s happening during surgery (?!) and while I’ll gladly accept sedation dentistry for the sake of my jangled nerves, the thought of giving up control of my life for a drug, for a few moments of feel good followed by sickness and consequences…not a chance! My life means something to me and even though I’ve thought about taking it during the really dark moments of my son's addiction, I can’t imagine giving it up to something that would only compound my problems. What does that say about my kid? I’m kind of confused on that. When he graduated drug court they gave him a silver key chain with the word “courage” engraved on it.  I think about that a lot. Why that word, in particular? Is that what it takes not to use? Hmmm, maybe. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this dark but there was a time when I put great thought into how I would kill myself. When each day felt shittier than the day before, I would begin each morning thinking about that plan. Somehow, it gave me comfort to get through my day, the next hour, sometimes even the next minute, knowing I had a plan. I don’t know what stopped me from doing it but I do know that it was courage that kept me living, hoping and working toward something better. Maybe what my son needs most is courage – the guts to say I’m not doing this shit anymore…and then the will to follow through.

A few weeks ago, my son overdosed again. He was in a car with other people when it happened. Not knowing and not caring if he was dead or alive, they opened the car door and pushed him out onto the side of a road and took off. Thankfully, someone saw him and called 911. That day, he didn’t have the courage to say no. I’m really scared. It’s not just the death from an overdose that we have to worry about, not that that isn’t worry enough, it’s the scumbags he associates with, the horrible things junkies will do to one another. Addiction is a friendless, fucked up, world where no one is safe. Those are the fears that keep me up at night and the terror that invades my dreams. I’m scared but I believe in my kid and I have to hold onto the hope that he’ll get through this, that we all will. Yes, where there is life there is hope. Absolutely! If they are breathing, there is always hope. Such a simple phrase but it packs a big punch, especially, when you’re new to the world of addiction, when you love someone like my son. It’s easy to feel hopeless and, when you’ve been part of this world long enough, we sometimes become jaded. I may not know everything about addiction but the one thing I know for sure is that God is still my Creator, He is still on the Throne and He still loves my kid. Whatever your beliefs, whatever your faith, even if you have none whatsoever, He still loves your kid, too…