Friday, June 26, 2009

Happens To Anyone

I'm not a celebrity hound. Don't pay attention to that kind of stuff at all. In fact Mom and I have had a lot of discussions about me blasting those shows that all they do is gossip about celebrities and their lives. But last night we watched the Farrah special on ABC.

I did not know her son was an addict. They said he is currently in jail, drug of choice, heroin. A few years ago I remember the stuff about Carroll O'Conner's (Archie Bunker) son and his death from drugs. Then Mr. O'Conner pretty much devoted the rest of his life to trying to get dealers put in jail.

No matter how famous you are or how average you are this scourge can attack you. It is apparent fame and riches is no insulator to the pain of an addicted child. It was apparent in that special last night Farrah and Ryan O'Neal were dealing with the same issues as we blog about on here. The pain, the disappointment and the heartache rips at us all regardless of stature or means. That was the pain I saw last night so vividly. We all lose loved ones, death is a part of life. However, the special pain a parent feels with an addicted child is universal. More than just watching the TV, I could hear the sorrow in their voice and see it in their face when they spoke of that pain.

It is too bad we share that kinship.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sweaty and Dirty

My son seems to be doing ok out in the plant. It has been very hot and humid here in KC and our plant is not air conditioned, he gets hot and dirty. I have been buying him lunch because the sack lunch they send with them from the center is just normal jail food and not very good. He seems to appreciate that. He is getting along with the other guys and pulls his weight.

He got another job too. He leaves here and goes to work at The Sonic. He says it's better to work all the time than to sit in jail. Gets back to the center about 11pm and back in our plant for starting at 7am. He's young he can handle it. I did those kind of things all the time when I was that age, 12-16 hours was normal. I loved that overtime.

Change of Direction

A couple of blogs we read very closely because they are so close to our situation.

These are loving parents that are feeling much pain tonight. Please think of them and I know we all wish them the best.

Monday, June 22, 2009

How's The Job Going

Well my son has been on the job for almost 16 hours. I have stayed out of the way and purposely stayed out of the shop. All I have heard is that my maintenance manager told me he is really doing well and working hard. My consolation is that he is a very hard man to please, so he is honestly OK or the maintenance manager is trying to suck up. LOL

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers Day

Fathers day with your son incarcerated. What's it like? Sad, but not for what you might imagine.

I've always been a guy that fathers day, mothers day, valentines day and all those "days" are pretty much Hallmark Holidays. That's what I call them. Commercialized to bolster the coffers of card makers, restaurants, florists and jewelry stops.

What do sons know about being a father? I had no idea until I had been a father for a long time. Quite frankly I am not sure I understood until after my father had passed away. Then all of a sudden I am it. No one to provide that example, no answers at the end of a phone line. You are it. Then something strange begins to happen. As you learn you begin to grow. You begin to understand the wisdom that was demonstrated by the most ordinary things. Learning when to say nothing, learning when to be demanding and when to be patient, learning when to be a father and when to be a friend.

My father passed away when I was 27, I am now 53, almost half my life. The oddest thing I have ever seen a dead man do, the longer he lies there in his grave the smarter he becomes. All of those dad things and dad lessons begin to make sense. 

What does this have to do with a fathers day with your son incarcerated. Deep down I believe in my son. I believe that one day the lessons I have tried to instill will make sense. I believe he has a life in front of him that one day he will be free of drugs. Until then he must learn his lessons the hard way. Until then my task is to be patient and try to do the things I don't understand but are necessary to help him with his discovery and recovery.

Sad to have a fathers day with him incarcerated? Yes, but I also have two great daughters. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Home At Last

Got home about 11:30 Tuesday night. 2036 total miles on the bike. It was a good ride.

I have the need for a couple of workers for about 2-3 weeks. One of the things I deliberated a lot about while I was riding was whether to give my son a chance to work. Finally after a lot of soul searching I have decided to give him a chance to work. I figure, he needs a chance and if he screws up I will have no problem firing him after all we have been through. It will be simple work stamping out parts on a press. It requires 2 people so he will not be alone and I have a person that will supervise him that takes no guff.

My hope is with the intense structure of the residence center and an eight hour job doing labor work maybe he can start a path of change.

I'm really not sure I am doing right but I live the the consequences of my decisions, he must live with his.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Heading Home

I am in a small coffee shop in Benton Illinois. It is so much better than some McDonald's. That is one thing I have never understood. How people will sell out their neighbor for a dime. I'd like to challenge every single person that reads this blog to go out and visit a local merchant. Buy something you could get at a Walmart or some other big chain. Tell that merchant thank you for investing in your community and go back again and again. There are restaurants, hardware stores, garden centers, clothing shops just about anything you need. Try it you will like it. 

This ride has been very good. Head clearing and thought provoking. Dad's got to change for dad's own good. Alex is a child in a mans body. His illness has hurt him but he won't get better being treated as a child. Dad has to be a father when the time is right and needed but more important dad must be a counselor and maybe one day grow to be a mentor if he chooses me as one. This changes a lot of things and it will be tough to change my behavior but it is worth doing. As I have said in the past:

I am aware.      I must change.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Butt Sore

I am off riding. Tonight I am in Chattanooga TN. I left on Friday and since then I have added 1100 miles to my bike.

Started off going to Springfield MO and Russellville AR to visit some cousins. It rained on me for about 40 miles. I had some really good visits. I have some good supportive relatives. I spent the night in Springfield and went to Russellville on Saturday. The Arkansas hills are something else, some of the curves had 20 mph signs. 

I went on to Memphis TN on Saturday and went to Beale St. Dinner of Memphis style ribs. They were good but I think I still like KC style BBQ better. Went to BB Kings nightclub and it was good. Although the crowd was mixed I still felt older than most. Beale St is quite an experience on Saturday night. Huge crowds and lots of drinking.

Left Memphis Sunday morning and it was raining and it rained for over 100 miles. I almost turned around but stuck it out. Went to Big Oak Boys Ranch and they have quite an operation. Didn't get to see John Croyle but spoke for quite a while to one of the house counselors.

In the morning it is time to begin heading west. It has been a long trip but nice and head clearing. Lots of time to think cruising. No real conclusions, I haven't been able to answer any of my questions but I have spent time clarifying the questions and that always helps. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Enough is Enough

When and where do you draw the line?

I went looking for some things tonight and sure enough they were gone. More of my stuff missing in the name of supplying his habit. I HAVE HAD IT! He's locked up and I'm still having to deal with his crap. Another late night and no sleep because of being angry.

I told mom I have no need to see him for a while. Maybe it isn't right but at this point he owes me some explanation and if he can't because he isn't there yet then maybe I 'm not there yet either. She is upset because I'm upset and our little addict bastard is passing his time at the center oblivious to what we have to deal with because of his stupidity and his inability to tell himself no.

Enough is enough

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

One More Thing To Cross Off....

It wasn't an easy day to start.  I hate the thoughts of going to court. I 'm sure that's why I had made myself sick to my stomach and tossed and turned all night. When I picked up our son today at "The Center" I told him how awful this was for us. It was something I never dreamed we'd have to do-especially more than once. He assured me he knew how it was for us. He admitted he hated it himself. He said he was done breaking the law. I hope he meant it!

When we left court he was happy. He was satisfied that he had completed a task, even if it did mean owing more money for fines and having to tack more probation time onto the time he is already having to serve.

He is anxious to get a job. He says he's working at least 2 hours a day at the resource center applying on line. He goes out tomorrow on a pass to apply at some places in person.  He had me stopped him at a Price Chopper Grocery Store near the Center and he applied there. He had heard that they will hire people from the Center and he has experience working there, he worked at our local one through high school. He thought he just might have a chance because of that...  we'll see.

Regardless of what anyone thinks, I feel the Center was the best place for our son.  He is alive, he is clean, he is safe and he is doing all the things that his dad and I were unable to get him to do.  They make him go to classes on how to live, NA meetings, and they keep him on task.  At first he thought the rules were strict, but he seem to adjusting to them, now. Dad thinks he is conning himself. I think he's trying to get it together the best way he knows how.  He knows that we wanted him to be there- I think he knows he needed to go there - and he just has to start somewhere. So it appears to be like one of our follower Post Nick wrote that he is "trying to work in stepwise terms". He's looking for a job, getting all of his court cases completed and behind him, going to make money, get to an Oxford House...."  That's what it seems to me.  He was dressed properly, pants pulled up, (no boxer's showing) proudly pointed out that he had polished his tennis shoes till they looked almost new.  Has he felt guilty about all he has done yet? I 'm not sure.  I know he is ashamed enough that he doesn't want to talk about certain things.  I know that he said that he has an appointment to talk to a medical doctor about depression. We talked about that a little on our way back to the Center. He said he was depressed about not being able to find a job. But I told him everyone is depressed when they can not find a job.  I explained to him that once he has a job and is making money and paying back his debts that he will feel relief and less depressed. He agreed with that.

We had ran out of options for what to do with him, leaving him at our house had to end, leaving him on the street would have ended in one disaster or another, so of course we have high hopes the "Center" can help him get back to a clean, functioning life.  I think his making his first steps toward that.  I have my fingers crossed.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Conning Yourself

We went for our first visit to the residence center to see our son. It was pretty uneventful. I mainly just sat there and listened to his mother and him talk. 

Afterwards we went to dinner. I ask mom, "What did you think?" She thought it was a good visit. 

She ask me, "What did you think?" I said, thought he was conning himself. He spoke of getting a job and getting his fines paid and he thought the rules were ridiculously strict. We told him good, glad they are strict. He spoke of getting out and getting into an Oxford House. He had already got in trouble for back talking.

Curiously absent, no mention of apology for what he had been doing. Unless prodded, no mention of stop using. Just another list of what he wants us to bring him. 

I told mom that I believe until he becomes contrite and has enough moments of self reflection there will be no healing, there will only be him conning himself. To me that is the worst con, honesty with self must come before honesty to others. 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Give and Take

Our son called on Tuesday evening. My psyche is just now getting back to normal. When he calls he "wants". Wants clothes, wants money, wants razor, wants our social security number so we can be added to visitor list, wants, wants, wants. (he ain't getting ss #, I called PO directly to tell him ss#, for background check) I get so angry at times from his being so needy.

He's 21 and helpless, I have to keep reminding myself that he's always calling mom and dad because that is all he knows to do. I really believe addicts stop maturing the day they begin using, so that means he is still 15 years old mentally and that is what 15 year old kids do when they need, they call mom and dad.

Give and Take, I can remember these words as a child from my dad as if it was yesterday. He always told us that the world was give and take. At times you are a giver and at times you are a taker, never should your world become unbalanced by taking all the time. My son is a "taker", but I think that is what addicts are. I don't mean taker as in a thief, I mean they take more emotionally from others than they give. Someday he will have to balance the scales. Right now with me it seems he has wiped the cupboards clean. I'm planning on restocking the shelves by spending 4.5 days on a Harley. Stephen Covey, of 7 Habits fame called it "Your Emotional Bank Account". My dad was a clamp truck operator in the warehouse at a local P&G soap plant, not a high powered consultant and author. I think he had it nailed before Dr. Covey.

For those that haven't heard the term "emotional bank account" or want more info there is a pretty good explanation at this link.

Or just do as my dad said, make sure the give and take scales are balanced, but his always seemed to be tipped far to the give side.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Parental Detox

Alex has been locked up for a little over 2 weeks. Between jail, and detox I hope he is settling down. When he got out of detox and I took him to the residential center he got a couple of weeks in jail for dirty UA. This last weekend he was transferred out of the jail an into the residential center. It's still a part of the department of corrections but I think of it as jail in a dorm room. They seem to have programs to help if he wants help. I personally feel that if he doesn't want the help and truly doesn't want to change then the next stop is probably a full blown prison. He'll be in the residential center for 6 months

Here is more info about the Johnson County Residential Center at this link:

It takes a while for Dad and Mom to detox from the situation too. I honestly believe addicts have absolutely no concept as to what their addiction does to those people close to them. We are living in a toxic environment. Maintaining healthy relationships with other family members, friends, and with each other is a struggle. Luckily we have good support when we need it but for many it is so hard to relate to as what it is like having a child addicted, unless of course you have been there. And I wish no one had to be there.

I'm not looking for sympathy and I don't want this to sound like a pity party but we have been through a lot in our lives. The deaths of parents, long term illnesses with cancer of family members, loss of multiple jobs due to plant closings and downsizings and the typical trials and tribulations of everyday life. Absolutely nothing has been as devastating as this issue of addiction.

I read a blog of an addict that I follow. I am angry and left a comment that probably she will be angry about. This addict is honest and states she really doesn't want to quit. But when she got caught by the law she calls good old mom to bail her out. Mom has to front $5000 for bail and then she has the nerve to ask for more money so she can get another fix. I guess each person has to make their own decision but if you want to use, don't call "us" when you are in trouble. Sit in jail until your court date and leave us alone. But this is what I meant earlier when I said addicts have no concept as to what they do to those around them, and I don't think they care.

Like I said, Dad and Mom are detoxing now. Dad is going on a motorcycle ride in less than 2 weeks. Leaving on Friday after next. If anyone see's a big red Harley heading south towards Springfield, MO and on though Arkansas to Memphis and east to Tupelo and Birmingham AL, and back up through TN and KY then back to KC. Give a wave and stop me, we'll have a coffee.