Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Guess this may be something I may never understand. Without an addictive personality it is hard for me to grasp even after all this time how addiction runs your life to the point of destroying your life.

Maybe some of the addicts that read this blog can help.

How is it while in jail an addict can go without using but on probation regularly violates to use, full well knowing jail will be the result of using? Is incarceration and the inability to acquire the only thing that keeps one from using? What is the mental state of an addict in jail when not able to use? While you are clean do you have moments of a clear mind? If you are in jail and not able to acquire drugs you don't use, so why is it impossible to tell yourself NO when left to your own self regulation?

I have ask myself these questions a hundred times and using my experiences and mind cannot reconcile the actions of addicts with my reality. I'm sure many other parents have done the same. I've read the books, sat through NA and Nar-Anon meetings, spent 4 days in rehab going through the same sessions as other addicts and alcoholics. Seems like all I take away from it is that it is a disease, and you can't understand if you aren't an addict. Surely that isn't all there is. Acceptance of a problem without corrective action is not part of my makeup.


clean and crazy said...

well this is sure a test of faith huh? for me, i couldn't see past the nose on my face. i never attributed any of my problems to drugs. i knew i was an addict for a very long time. and i was resigned to the fact that i would die high. i was so bad with it i never even tried to quit, watching people like your son quit and start only verified to me how hard i would have it if i tried to quit.
as a result i never really saw the consequences i never really had any, my father would take me where i needed to go so i never got a dui. and as long as i thought i had control of my using, i was going to stay right where i was.
for me i finally hit bottom. i finally got the "gift of desperation" and it was a great deal in part due to my father dying. when he died that is when i stuck a needle in my arm. i wanted to die and i couldn't do it myself. it was bad, the worst and the last year i used i was thrown in jail, had all of my belongings taken from me, lost my vehicle, lost my daughter, contracted an std and an over dose. i finally woke up one day and my fingers hurt. i had been running around with this guy who could hit my veins. i was in the booking of the police department and i was being finger printed. i couldn't remember how i got there. i just knew my fingers were hurting. the cop said it was probably due to the marks on my arms. any way i sat in jail for about 10 days, nobody bailed me out and after a few days the fog began to clear and i remembered my baby girl and she didn't want me any more. and i started to hurt inside. it took a while but i got out of jail and all i wanted to do was get back to my girl. so i went home to my mom's house. i was not using and it was the most difficult thing in my life. my saving grace was that i could not hit my own veins. at that point if i couldn't shoot up there was no point in getting high. for me though i remember the struggle with black rage. i would get so angry i would throw dining room chairs across the room. the next four months were pure hell. your son cannot handle the withdraws of the dope.and they last a really long time, when he is inside he does not have access to the dope. he needs to stay clean long enough to do some stepwork with some people with real recovery.
i cannot imagine the hell he is going through in his head with feeling like a failure to you for not being able to stay clean. i know he is suffering inside and i have been praying for him and you both. Have you ever read the basic text? or our "it works, how and why"? these two books go with me everywhere, they are my bibles today and maybe they can give you some clearer insight to the program. i only ever tried to quit using one time in my life and that was a little over 4 years ago. i am very lucky, i got it i don't know why i did but it works for me and i am grateful for this.
i know some great members in Kansas i have been our regional secretary for the past two years now and i have a huge contact list of both men and women with not only multiple years clean but who also live this program in their lives today it is recommended for men to have male sponsors and women to have female. for us our mission in life is to help the still suffering addict. if you would like some numbers to give to your son while he is locked up, drop me a line and i will get you contact information for some good guys in your area that will be more than willing to do what they can to help your son.
as far as helping you understand all i can do is share with you a little bit of my story as i just did. like i said before he can get clean and talk the talk but until HE decides to do some serious step work you will not see a change in him. i hope this helps-Q.

sydney_savage said...

I don't really think it's our job to understand. As a daughter of an addict, I have seen almost all there is to see - every bottom imagineable... but you know what, I never stopeed hoping and praying ... but I made it my mothers responsibility and not mine. It was never my job to understand her reasoning, it is my job to take care of ME.

I don't know if it works that way for a parent... but thats how I was able to reconcile her behavior. I hope it helps.

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

I don't understand either. I just want to crawl in a hole and hide from my son until he's better...but I can't. He's here in my life. He's not using, but he's not living either. He sleeps, eats and hangs out. Sometimes I wish he was in jail, maybe he'd learn. I don't really know.

Thanks clean and crazy for sharing all that....every little insight helps.

Sydney, I think its a lot different for a parent, its our role to care for our children, its the natural order of things. I am glad you are doing well at not enabling your mother.

Eli said...

On one level, it seems that if I knew the answer, I wouldn't really be "powerless" over it. On a morning after I've used, I look back and can't make any sense out of my actions the night before. It's maddening and frightening to have so little understanding of even my own mind. The reason it's easy for me to become complacent in sobriety is that I honestly can't remember what made the prospect of using so compelling. I have to remind myself that I indeed have relapsed before, so that I will continue to work my program.

Syd said...

I don't know the mind of an addict or alcoholic. I don't think that I want to. All I know is, their actions take them places that I don't want to go. And my actions were dictated by theirs. I don't want to go back there either.

~C~ said...

do you both attend Al-Anon or Nar-anon? The answers are there...along with support and the 12 steps. I urge you to give it a try....

Sarah said...

There are no good answers, I get frustrated with the same exact questions, and in my case, I AM the alcoholic.

But I do know this, until I was desperate to stop, I WOULD NOT HAVE. I could go for periods of abstinence also, but only as long as I absolutely needed to. And as soon as I could, I would sneak more vodka into the house. No matter what. And during sober periods, the only that kept me going was planning my next drink.

And I don't get it either. The anger that I would feel because I felt and acted like this would drive me over the edge and onto the brink of suicide. I HATE THIS DISEASE.

And I don't know HOW I chose to stop, except by the grace of God. And I know, that answer is very little comfort when you crave solid ones. I'm so sorry.

Annette said...

I have asked these questions many many times. I hear the frustration and I do understand. I know its hard to not *know* the answers. For me that goes back to my need to be in control. For me it has become more about trust than knowing all of the answers or the ins and outs of my daughter's thinking and behavior. Trusting in God to keep her in His hands until she is done traveling this path. Trust in God to keep her alive until she figure how to live. It is hard, I know that heartbreak and torment...but all I have is faith and hope at this point.

Gin said...

I will never understand either. It seems so simple to me, keep your house, keep you job, keep your family, or drink. Why is that such a difficult decision?

sKILLz said...

I have asked myself these questions as well.
Is there ever a "right" answer I don;t think so.
I know that once you are in jail most people don't use because to maintain a habit (a heroin habit that is) you need alot of money.
A bag in the street ( well I speak of Brooklyn )
is 10 dollars and then once you go into Rikers Island the bags become 30 and they are less then half a street bag.
I'm pretty sure that it is the same in most prisons.
They have bags that are called "New Yorkers" meaning they are the same bags your would cop in the street and the same size, however they will cost you maybe 50bucks!
So again to have a habit in jail is like the hardest thing. A person might use once or twice while in jail but not everyday that's for sure!

Once someone hits the streets it is now a totally different thing.
Of course everyone while in jail and clean says there going to stay clean and do this and do that and blah blah blah.
However 9 out of ten times that's certainly not the case.
Why do they get high knowing that at any moment there PO can lock them up? I cant give you a correct answer.
I know being an addict we do things that don' make sense and do things without FULLY thinking of the consequences.
Also addicts think there so freaking slick I swear!
We always think were one step ahead of the cops and the PO's and our family meanwhile all were doing is being shady and most of the time we end up getting busted.
A friend of mind just came home from doing a 4 year bid upstate.
He is now on parole for the next 4years.
He has to report to his PO every Wednesday.
So in his sick mind he stops using on Fridays and then goes to his PO early on Wednesday to get it over with and then right back to getting high.
This was working for him for a few weeks and now he is not even trying to stop using to give her the clean urines.
She is threatening him with going away to rehab and then finally back to prison and he STILL is using. WHY? I can;t even tell you. I have talked to him and asked him many times over and he just shrugs his shoulders and says "fuck it"
Now he has people out here who care for him.
His family is mostly passed away, except for a brother in which he hates and is trying to amend with only because his mother on her death bed asked for him not to fight with each other.
He has a girlfriend of 9years who stuck with him the whole 4year bid he has me as well. I have known him for over 10years and STILL he does what he does.

So after saying all that can we truly answer this? I don't think so.
I think it is totally up to the person and what they want to do in life and with there life you know?
I hope all is well!
Stay Up!

avoid and distract said...

I just got clean from heroin less than a week ago. I never got caught, so I never personally had to go through this.

You answered your own question. In jail you can't get drugs. That's why he doesn't use in jail. If he could, there's a 99% chance he would. Probation is just another annoyance or cause of pain for the addict, and how to addicts deal with their pain? They use.

I honestly believe most users keep using, because the drug has swept them into believing that they can never have a normal life again. They can't imagine anything better, something more.

I really hope your son realizes that there is more to life. I was fortunate to have, but the temptation is always there. Just keep being supportive, like you are. You are doing everything you can, and it's wonderful to see from my perspective.

Has your son just been treated for his addiction or has he ever got a dual diagnosis from a psych? Dual diagnosis is drug abuse + depression or bi-polar or some psychological problem. If he hasn't been treated for the cause of his abuse with therapy and medication, it will probably never go away. Every user I know is just using to self-medicate.

I hope things get easier for you. You deserve it.


Fractalmom said...

it's called King Heroin for a reason. It doesn't ever really let go. Ever.

I'm so sorry for both of you and your other children and family members, but the rude and true facts are less than 13% of heroin addicts make it to sobriety, regardless of how many people tell you that there is hope. There IS hope, just not very damn much.

I wish I had words of wisdom for you, but I don't. I have 10 years of pain, 10 years of being stole from, 10 years of heartache and almost 10 years of raising the children of a heroin addict while watching her love heroin more than the lives she created.

10 years of wasted time and money trying desperately to help someone get clean who doesn't stay clean more than 6 months at a time.

I don't try anymore. We all walk our own journey.

Mine is over as far as my daughter is concerned.

Anonymous said...

I can't speak of using or not using in jail because I really don't have any experience with jail. I DO have a lot of experience with using even when I really didn't want to use any more. This disease is crippling. It's a compulsion that I literally have no control over. Without the aid of my HP, I am certain that I would have died from my disease. For me, my self-loathing and shame drove me to try to kill myself one high at a time. I didn't care about anyone, especially myself, and I wasn't capable of seeing past the nose on my own face.

I've been clean for a number of years now. In September it will be 10 years. :0) I don't know much but I do know this: I'm responsible for working my program and taking care of myself. My family couldn't help me. They love me very much but they couldn't help me. What they could do was help themselves by attending meetings. They chose not to do that and it's their right. You have to take care of yourself and leave your son's recovery to him and God.

Hugs to both of you.

BTW, I've tagged you for a happy post.

ChaiLatte said...

I think you summed it up in your first paragraph, Dad.

For me, it's been acceptance that I will never fully understand. I can continue to educate myself on addiction, but that's about it. I also look at it as disease/mental illness. I didn't always see it that way, but I do now. That gives me peace in the sense that it's brain chemistry and they can't turn it off. A lot of work and behavior modification can get them on the right track, but they have to want it bad enough.

Anyway, it's a never ending topic and I just find addiction to be very, very sad.

Anonymous said...

I'm very far behind in reading so many blogs. I appreciate all the comments I am reading.
I have asked my son, many times, why he kept relapsing. One of his answers was-- he dreaded the withdrawals. Even though he would detox (he'd call it a "spin dry", it takes a very long time to really clear their body from the poison of heroin. He said that, when high, he felt "normal". What an oxymoron.
Even worse, he said me made a LOT of money dealing oxy-contin so he could buy heroin. He says he misses having a lot of money. Sad, isn't it?

I honestly believe that addiction is a disease...BUT that isn't an excuse. I believe there is a genetic predisposition and once the switch is turned on, the addict is in a spiral to try and quit...easier said than done. My son, I believe, is undiagnosed ADD. Psychological disorders and addiction seem to go hand-in-hand.

A non-addict can never understand an addict's mind. We non-addicts can only educate ourselves, and learn how to set boundaries so that we keep our peace intact.