Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The World of IS vs the World of OUGHT

It is very hard to live with a son incarcerated. I know all the sides of he is safer there than using on the street, he needs time clean to help get his head on straight, he did things wrong and he must pay. These are all things I have written before and they are actually things I have come to believe and trust. However, that doesn't stop the emotional turmoil that boils inside of you when you think about incarceration and what it means. You miss your son, you still worry about his safety and most of all you constantly think about if any of this is doing any good to help him with his disease.

I think as a parent, not just a perspective of a parent of an addict, we are always wrestling with the concept; the world of "what is" versus the world of "what ought to be". As it pertains to our own children we make it personal. No matter if your child is an angel or an addict we parents want the best for our kids. We want them to never learn a lesson the hard way. We want them to listen to the wisdom we have acquired over the years. We want smooth sailing and calm waters as they grow and mature. This is "the world of ought to be".

The world of "what is" causes us pain. The world of "what is" only allows us as parents to do the best we know to do and are capable of doing. That world requires our kids at times learn there lessons the hard way. The reality too is that if our children listened to us all the time and did as we ordered there would be very few free thinkers. Innovation and progress would slow. Our progress as a species relies on our children not being satisfied with the status quo. Unfortunately, many times that causes us parents anguish and grief.

What are the lessons learned and how does this all apply to our son and us? Yesterday our son was transferred from the county jail to the Department of Corrections prison in El Dorado, KS. I can be angry but that will change nothing but my blood pressure. I can bemoan the fact that he shouldn't be there, he ought to be in treatment. I can stress about the past and how he ought to have stayed away from the drugs and those people that led him down this path. He ought to, I ought to, they ought to, ought to, ought to, ought to. As it pertains to my son and his situation "ought to" is a thought process that leads to anger. Trust me when I say that dealing with my sons addiction in the past anger has been a domineering emotion and upon reflection it has not served me well. Nothing changed or got better while I was angry, me being angry was just me being stubborn.

The world of "what is". It has been very hard for me at times accepting the fact that if something is wrong, like his addiction, I cannot change/fix it. That's living in the world of what "ought to be". Moving towards the world of "what is" allows that I cannot change this. I must accept what it not only does to him but what it does to me also. If the world of "ought to be" was my design there would be more rehab centers, there would be no drugs and there would be a lot less sons and daughters incarcerated and they would be getting the help and treatment they need. Living in the world of "what is" allows me to speak and try to get people to recognize the need for treatment centers for this disease. Living in the world of "what is" I realize I have little effect on the influx of narcotics into my world, however I have a platform where I can try to educate others before they begin, convince them early not to enter this world of pain.

"What is" versus what "ought to be" causes pain. I am not saying we accept the status quo simply because it is what it is. My point is getting angry over this struggle serves no useful purpose. There is a reason things are the way they are. Until we have a very clear understanding of the whole picture, not just the picture we are allowed to see we will never move closer to the world of ought to be. It is a struggle because the picture is ever changing but if we are all doing the best we can then that means we are doing all we can. Isn't that all you can expect from anyone, no matter if they are an addict or an angel.

ps.: As a side note, we have been doing this blog for about 9 months and we have been writing what we feel and any way we feel. A couple weeks ago I found out from another blogger you could have your blog submitted to people that review blogs for content, appearance and I guess just a general critique. I decided to ask for constructive help and submitted ours to see if we could make it better for you readers. We got a 4/5. If you are interested you can see the critique posted online at:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Found Him

I guess I was a bit premature in thinking we had lost track of our son. Our son called the other evening and told us he was still at the Butler County Detention. I went in to the computer after our conversation and it showed him still there but the page looked different. I guess maybe they had taken down that part of the site to make modifications and the default was just no information. We all know what kind or assumptions that leads to. With an addict it is ALWAYS the worse case scenario.

Our conversation went well. Dad has a real problem with not lecturing. I try very hard to carry on a normal conversation about whatever but for some reason I find myself always coming back to his addiction. I know it stems from my control issues but I am self-aware of that weakness so at least I am working on my issues. I also know that there is nothing in my mind that overshadows his addiction and my wanting him well again. I know what I'm going to hear from everyone but no matter what is right or wrong, I as a human sometimes want what is not mine to have. At least not right now, but as a human I also have within me the best thing going for humans and that is HOPE.

Alex is looking forward to getting out. I do not discuss with him what it is like in jail. I can tell he doesn't much care for it, he is always making plans and worrying. He tells me he is worried about getting job, worried about where to live. My advice to him was to end all non-productive thought processes like worrying and begin a concrete process of goal setting and the planning of action steps to make the goals attainable. His response was that, I had been telling him that stuff all his life and he thinks he might ought to give it a try. All I can do is cross my fingers.

He ask about one of his childhood friends step-mother. We found out she had cancer and told him she was not doing well last time he called. I told him she died a week ago. He was quiet for a minute. I told him that his life of drugs was stealing from him. I said the addiction was stealing the most precious thing he possessed, time. I said that Brooke was having her 1st birthday on Friday and that she will miss him very much and she didn't even know it yet because she didn't know him.

Life goes one while our addicts battle this disease. They miss so much but seldom realize it until it is too late. But for all of us that love addicts we must also remember that life goes on as they battle this disease.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Where Did He Go?

I guess our son is now in the custody of the Kansas Department of Corrections in El Dorado, KS. He is no longer listed under the county jail inmates and his last call he said he was probably going to transferred.

His impression is that he is still scheduled to be released on Nov. 29 but from what Mom and I see it could be not until Feb. 2010. I guess it really doesn't matter much after his release by Johnson County, then Wyandotte County wants him. This warrant rolling is insidious but he did it to himself so it is hard for me to work up a lot of sympathy. After all, all of his troubles are a direct result of his actions while using and everything he has done is in direct conflict to what we worked our lives to teach him while he was growing up. Reconciling that is the hardest part of this issue. Did he not listen to ANYTHING we said while he was young?

Mom seems to struggle with her frustration of the legal system. She doesn't understand why the system is so antiquated concerning communications. I really don't either but my philosophy is that "it is what it is", her mindset is more personal to her baby. The actual truth is if my company operated as inefficiently as the court systems across boundaries we would be out of business. My feeling is they operate so inefficiently and are so obtuse because they can, or they do not know better cause they are just government employees feeding at the taxpayer trough and have no incentive to get better.

There are many things coming up to distract us from our son's issues. I am more focused on my little granddaughters first birthday this week.

Maybe this seems cold and callous but I take advantage of his being incarcerated by putting his everyday life out of my realm of concern. His food, shelter and behavior is someone elses concern now. There is going to be a day soon ??? that he will be released. Right now I don't yet have a plan for my role or reaction but I know something must be done. I am not one that does things on a whim in these types of circumstances. What my role is as a father I really don't know, suggestions would be appreciated.

Monday, October 12, 2009

It Was Cold

Another Fall Festival in the books for 2009. It was cold, the high temperature for the day was 46 and the low was 31, plus the wind was blowing. Normal high for KC on this date is 72. Needless to say it was freezing for everyone. The theme this year was Fall on the Farm, hence the tractor pics and so many people wearing their western wear and cowboy boots.

Despite the temperatures everyone that showed up appeared to really have fun. We had a big fire and that proved to be the most popular spot in the yard. Maybe even more popular than the food tables. Even with it being cold people still played games like kids, and some of them were actually kids.

If you are interested the photos are posted at our flickr page:
ps.: can you believe that is the same baby as in our profile picture?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall Festival

The countdown has begun. Each year for the last 6 years we have hosted a Fall Festival at our house. It is an event that starts at 2 and goes until ???. It is Sat. the 10th. One year there were still teens and young adults sitting around the fire at 2am. This is one of Dad and Mom's major distractions for the year that keep us going. It started with about 40 people and now has grown to 150 or more.

Everyone keeps coming back so we assume they are having fun. We have a big fire and everyone cooks hot dogs and marshmallows on the fire, there is chili and everyone brings Fall type treats. We play games all day and this year we are having a hayride.

Yesterday we got all candy and toy the stuff we use as prizes for the games. We get a bunch of the "dime toys" for prizes for the little kids. They love getting something for playing and we have a blast giving it away and watching them. Already have all the hot dogs and chili fixin' stuff.

Fortunately we know some really talented people and they come do shows and play games. Dad and Mom have no talent at all. LOL One year we had a retired NFL quarterback come and play football with the kids, I work with him. How many kids and teenagers get to go back to school on Monday and talk about playing football with a NFL player. I work with a guy that is an actual yo-yo champion and he has put on demonstrations, and gives lessons to the kids, it is amazing. I work with a person that raises snakes and she brings snakes for show and tell, I have seen people that have a deathly fear of snakes touching and holding them, and they are adults. My brother-in-law is an Eagle scout and he puts on demonstrations on making rope by hand. My son-in-law and his friend are home brewers and they make special beers for tasting for the event. My daughter makes homemade root beer and ginger ale. Glad we are surrounded by so much talent.

This year we decided to theme it Fall Festival at the Farm. Bringing down lots of hay from Mom's dad to pile around along with the big John Deere tractor to take pictures around. A picture is the price of admission, you must sit for a family photo record of the year, then my daughter and mom make me a photo book of the event. We also post them all on-line for everyone to see. We are hoping that people come dressed in "farm clothes". We actually get Christmas cards from people that use that photo on their card.

What really has amazed me is one year we sent out a scavenger hunt list with the invitations. This has become a dog eat dog competitive event. You cannot believe the trouble people go to and find the items and the they actually make displays to show them off. I have taken a "hands off" on that one, I make the list and I let Mom judge. I have actually started using riddles for some of the items. They have to figure out the answer to the riddle before they can get the item. The little kids get their chance too, when they first get there I give them a lunch sack with a list on it from things they can find in the yard, like a pine cone, acorn, red leaf and stuff like that. it's fun to see these kids running around looking for stuff and coming back to turn in a full sack to us for a sack of toys and candy.

Oh well, 5 days and counting. I am anxious. Lot's of work to go yet but nothing too serious. Of course my weed eater quit yesterday so I need to borrow son-in-laws to finish the yard but everything else is falling into place. It is suppose to be cool this Saturday, that makes it nice and everyone gets in an Autumn mood.

BTW, if you're in the KC area and want to come, e-mail me and I'll send you the info. This is one way Dad and Mom keeps addiction from completely destroying our life, another lifeboat.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Addiction - As I Imagine It

Living with yourself while your addicted child is incarcerated.

This is my imagination at work. To recovering addicts if I am not exactly accurate, please forgive me. To parents of addicts if I am too graphic, please forgive me. This is just my imagination at work.

Caution: Adult language ahead. This is a fictional story that I play out in my mind when I begin to feel sorry for myself or for my addict while he is in jail.

I told dad once needing to use is like breathing, sometimes I think using is more important than breathing, or at least just as.

God, I can't stand it, answer the fucking phone, answer the phone. Shit nobody wants to answer. Yea, I'll call her. Yea, are you holdin'?

Yea I got some, what ya need.

I need 80's can I come in to get 'em?

Yea, but listen mother fucker don't come showing up again with a fuckin' old Barbie doll from the 1960's in the orginal box with your goddamn mother's name written on the back of the box in crayon. What do you think I am a fuckin' toy collector. You ain't got cash then fuck off.

OK, I'll bring cash this time.

What can I get this time, they don't leave shit for cash in this house any more. Dad's stuff downstairs. Yea, this will work, a DeWalt Saw. Shit this thing is brand new.

Evan, you gotta come over, take me to KCK. I need to pick up some stuff.

OK, I'll be right over.

Hey, glad you came fast, I'm hurtin'. We got to stop at the shop on the way, you know the one on State.

OK, no problem.

What can I get for this saw? It's a Dewalt and it's new.

Where'd you get this? Did you steal this?

No, I work construction. It's my saw I just need some cash. Give me $25.

No man it is only worth $10 in pawn. Grinning because he knows the kid is strung out and needing.

$20 and you got a deal.

OK. Quickly handing over the cash for a tool he knows cost nearly $150 new.

Hey, I got 20 give me what you got for 20.

You cheap ass fucker. Get some real money from now on or find somebody else to dick with. The guy she is living with is on couch sitting there stretched out. It must be uncomfortable with gun in his belt against his gut but he isn't somebody to fuck with.

Come on Evan let's get outta here.

We're home, get your kit man your in bad shape, I gotta go, outta here bye.

OK, upstairs. Back downstairs, where are those fucking matches. God damn it they ain't in the drawer. Oh yea, dad grilled steaks last night, look on that table next to the door to the deck. Yea, here they are.

Light the candle, get the water. Come on baby, don't burn the shit, don't get it too hot man. That's good, that's good. Pull tight. Sure glad that dad saved all his old worn out belts...........

There are 2 endings to this story. This is like some of those new DVD's or computer games where you can choose your scenes. It's your choice, pick the one you want to read.


It's a good vein. They ain't all gone yet. Slow and steady, watching the needle press against and then puncture the skin. Pulling back to draw a little blood into the syringe and then a slow push of the thumb. A calm peacefulness settles into his face as the syringe empties. The anxiety is gone, life is calm and right. Relaxing, man this good. Breathing is settling into a normal pattern now. this will hold me for a while. Gotta pick this stuff up.

Blow out the candle, stash this stuff behind the tupperware storage box in the closet. Grinning, I bet dad doesn't even miss this old belt.


It's a good vein. They ain't all gone yet. Slow and steady, watching the needle press against and then puncture the skin. Pulling back to draw a little blood into the syringe and then a slow push of the thumb. A calm peacefulness settles into his face. His head droops towards his chest, cocked to the side, his jaw open slightly. His body slumps and his chest moves in a very shallow irregular pattern. Soon there is no movement. His eyes half open, blank, no blinks. Nothing there to even take out the needle. The candle slowly burns down and out, the flame flickering its last life.

Hi babe, it's me. Are you out of work early today? On your way home? Half way there? I'm just leaving the office now, I'll be there soon. See you when I get there. Bye, love you.


This is what enables me to sleep at night while my son is in jail. One day I know he will beat this demon but until he is ready I want him in a place where I know he is watched.

2 posts in one day, be sure to read CDC Report also.

CDC Report

Drugs Set Deadly Trend

In the Oct. 1 edition of the Kansas City Star there was an article datelined Atlanta from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This article highlighted that as of 2006 data in 16 states deaths from drugs outnumbered deaths from automobile crashes in those states. Nationwide auto crash deaths are greater than drug deaths but within these states drug deaths outnumber auto related deaths. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington hold the dubious honor of these statistics.

You can read the whole article at this link:

I have a belief that the horror of this epidemic will not be realized until the local news begins to cover the deaths of addicts in the same way they cover the deaths in auto crashes. My personal belief is most people not closely associated with addiction probably just shrugs off the death of another "low life, drug addict". Perception is a real problem that we with addicted loved ones face in our families and community.

"Drug overdoses make up the vast majority of the drug related deaths, and there was a sharp increase in fatalities tied to cocaine and to drugs known as opioid analgesics - including methadone, fentanyl, sedatives and prescription pain killers such as Vicodin and Oxycontin." Mike Stobbe, Associated Press

This is data from the last year available, 2006. I have to believe the problem has gotten no better in 2009. The CDC does not yet have finalized data for 2007 and subsequent years.

Margaret Warner, epidemiologist with the CDC who co-authored the report, "Drug poisonings are definitely going up."