Monday, November 30, 2009


As I read through blogs of other parents dealing with the same issues the differences of situation vary all over the board. There are parents of addicts raising their grandchildren as their own. There are parents in all stages of reconciliation with this disease and the pain. Parents are struggling with acceptance of the problem and even some refusing acceptance of the truths involved in addiction. I reflect on our own experiences and struggles of acceptance and reality and the rough path it was to reach this point. Today, with a harsh reality staring me down at every corner, this is not over yet. Is it ever over?

I think that is the hardest issue for us and maybe for many others wearing our shoes. Is this ever over? When is the rest and peace that we long for? Our reality is not the reality of dreams when we held that tiny baby born one month early. Our reality is to love an addict and continue to help him fight this disease. How hard it is learning lessons from past mistakes and trying not to to enable him, prolonging his treatment and recovery. Where do you go for those answers? Not so long ago our questions could always could be traced back to that horrible unanswerable word, WHY. Now I feel we are balancing on the next step of, WHAT. What's the next thing to do, what do we do to help, what about this, what about that.

One thing I am sure of in this whole process. I believe in my son. I believe he is capable of subduing this demon. I believe he can be in control of his life and destiny. I believe there are dreams within him that are not yet attained. I believe one day he will grow from these experiences.

A message I want to send to every addicted child out there with loving parents hanging by a thread at times. I believe in you, too. Take that first step in believing in your yourself. It's risky believing in an addict, but if you believe in yourself you may go places you haven't thought of going for a long time.

Friday, November 27, 2009

3760 Holes

After 48 hours I am still trying to digest my impressions. It is hard for me to leave the old world behind. Even though I hated it the old feelings try to rise to the surface. I think it is my self preservation instinct to protect us from being hurt again. Complete change is a necessity for me. I will not continue my old life whether he does or not.

Mom and I had decided we wanted his release to be a celebration. We went out to eat and visiting. I had not seen that Brooke for over a week and wanted to see her. Our daughter had said Alex was not welcome at her new home. I respect that but we called her to see if we could come by and we had Alex. They thought it over and called us back and said we could come over and bring Alex. That was the first time he had seen her house and she gave him the tour. Plus we all got to play with Brooke. She had grown so much since Alex had last saw her 6 months ago. He was playing the part of a proud Uncle. It was a nice visit.

We then went by my mom's. His incarceration had been hard on his granny. A few smiles and tears and time melted away.

We were as patient as we could be. 24 hours after his release, almost to the minute we had a talk. It was hard holding in all those things even that long but it was so good to talk and I tried to listen too. Mom and I discussed our boundaries with Alex. Tried to be clear and there was nothing directed towards him. Everything from us was about how we were to live our life going forward. We said we have not enjoyed our life for a long time and for the last 3 months we learned again what it was like to enjoy life. We released our stress of his safety and learned to live again. Our goal is not to go back to that life again, our life is too short.

He talked to us. We listened. Alex said he has learned to believe in himself. He said,"there is nothing in life mentally and physically tougher than prison, if I can do that time in there I can do whatever I really want to do and I never want go back to my old life either." He also credited me with saying something before he went that helped him through it all. He quoted back to me my talk to him about "trying vs doing" ( He said he is no longer a person that tries, he said from now on in his life he is a do'er. It's almost hard to hold back tears when I heard that. Maybe they do listen sometimes.

We both talked about how hard this was going to be for us all. All of us changing at once. We offered our help. We told him we no longer would guess at what he needs and enable his death. We said we would help when he ask, but he must ask for help now. He is no longer a child he is a man and he "man up" and fulfill the role. 

Went to the regular family Thanksgiving. Alex was welcomed with open arms and many hugs. Having such a supportive family is gold to us and I am sure for him too.

3760 holes is how many holes were in his perforated steel cell door once he was out of "the hole" due to being sick and quarantined. I don't know what you see in that useless fact but it tells me a lot about a small piece of his life for the last month.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Alex Is Home

It has been a long day that has included driving over 400 miles. It is good to sit on the couch for a while. 

Alex was happy to get out and he talked for about 100 miles. Life in El Dorado does not appear to be pleasant. Got home and got him out of his "issue" clothes. Plus while there in the intake and evaluation they are not allowed to shave or get haircuts. So the beard came off and he wanted a haircut. He spent some of his $100 get out of jail money on a haircut. 

I am trying not to be overly sensitive to whatever he says. I am trying to take it in and working on my listening instead of my talking skills. He appears to have a good attitude, whatever that means. I have never understood what people really mean with that comment but I use it because it seems to convey a certain type of message. I usually try to not judge on attitude, when it comes to attitude I try to boil things down to "observable behaviors." Those I understand. 

I have my fingers crossed or whatever. This time have had a ton of new learning since last summer. I am not allowing him to control me, my emotions or my judgement. (when I can help it, no absolutes in this job as parent of an addict)

My son is 21 years old. He is an adult and I have spent most of the time in the past treating him as my child. He is my son, he is not my child. He has experiences that I cannot relate too in my life. Dad can learn from son, I hope son still can learn from dad.  

Monday, November 23, 2009

Blog Awards

Thank you all for the blog awards. I have them all posted now but I haven't got everyone linked yet.

There were a lot of conditions on these awards but I am going to wimp out. If anyone wants them back just let me know. But when I began thinking about 10 things to list that people do not know, I better not do that. If I told 10 of my secrets I would no longer have any readers. TMI!!! That is the reason I cannot run for President of United States. LOL

We were all young and dumb once, right??? My skeletons shiver even I if just crack open the closet door.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tone In Your Voice

I just spoke with him on the phone and he told me about his release on Wednesday. I told him I would be there to pick him up.

I wish my son could hear himself. His voice and manner of speaking is so different when he is not using. There is a sharpness again in his tone. In high school he was very accomplished public speaker in forensics and debate. When he is using there is a slow painful tone when you listen to him. 

As a parent you can hear these differences. It matters to us. 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Release Date Nov. 25

I called El Dorado State yesterday to find out what the procedures are for picking up someone that was was being released on Friday the 27th. I was told that Friday was a state holiday and he would be released on Nov. 25. The instructions were to come to the main entrance. Go to the first guard tower and tell them why you are there and they would tell you where to park and where to go. Be here by 8:45, the process starts at 9 and it may take up to a couple hours. 

This is knowledge I never expected in my life to possess. Some things I would have been happy going to my grave never knowing. 

Our Thanksgiving plans were to go to my Aunt and Uncles, traditional they have Thanksgiving. I am going to call them today and make sure it is OK to bring Alex. I know there will be no problem but I want to be respectful.

Mom left town today with her sister and brother-in-law for Branson, MO. The girls went with them and took Brooke. They are not coming back until Wednesday. So it's me alone going to El Dorado. I am anxious to see Alex and I have such hope that he has seen the light. Only time will tell.

Work is going very well so well in fact that I had to cancel all vacations until after the second weekend of Dec. I have never worked someplace where I felt so close to everyone. To be able to count on everyone regardless of our responsibilities it makes work someplace you want to go when you wake up each morning.  I hope they understand I really need Wednesday, day before a holiday off. Without me picking him up they would provide him a one way bus ticket to downtown KC and from there he is on his own. I really don't want that impression for him when he is released. My way of thinking if someone isn't there for him when he is released how will he be able to count on his family when times are hard.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I have been responding to some other's posts but have not been too active in following up with our stuff. So here goes.

We went hunting and the group killed 17 pheasants. That wasn't bad considering it was misting and rainy on Sunday so we didn't hunt. The CRP was very thick this year so it was hard finding downed birds. We lost several we shot and I always hate that, but I guess the coyotes need to eat too.

On Saturday evening we always have a huge dinner at my cousins place where we hunt. It usually is just a big meat fest. Bar-be-que, chili, ham and my brother fried a whole turkey. This year he fried a few of the pheasants that we had just killed and they were great. Truth is, I'm a guy, anything fried is pretty damn good. After all that dead stuff we just ate, my other cousin brought homemade apple pies, we also had pumpkin pies and brownies and anything else sweet you wanted. Notice there isn't any mention of that green type food and healthy type stuff, cause it just ain't there, and if it was there it would still be there.

A very funny incident happened while we were hunting and I hope I can describe it adequately so everyone can get this mental picture and have a chuckle too.

I was blocking at the point of an irrigation circle. There were others walking thought the CRP. The grass in CRP fields this year was at least 4' high and in places taller than that. We had a couple of german shorthairs, a lab and my golden retriever in the field too. My golden is nothing more than a house dog. She gets into the field once a year but her instincts take over and actually she does a very respectable job. As I said I was blocking and about 200 yards from the line of walkers. Watching them all of a sudden I could see Paul running as quickly as he could and around in circles. The people on each side were making a hasty retreat to the rear. Of course I couldn't see anything else due to the tall grass. And when you are trying to run in 4' tall grass with a shotgun in your arms and weighted down with shell vest and a dead bird in a game pouch that actually is comical enough. After they finished walking to the end of the field I got the story.

Lexi, my golden retriever had found a skunk. She had this skunk in her mouth shaking it and was trying to retrieve it back to Paul. As she was shaking this skunk and bringing it to Paul this skunk was spraying like a garden hose. Paul was running in circles away from Lexi to escape being hit by skunk spray. Lexi just kept following him and the skunk just kept spraying.

Lexi smelled horrible. I had to take her back to the barn to try to and get the smell off. First of all she actually had skunk spray that was all yellow and wet right on her face. I cut the fur off her face down to the skin. My cousin told me about a formula to remove skunk spray. 3 parts tomato juice, 1 part hydrogen peroxide, a very liberal amount of baking soda and a liberal amount of Dawn dish washing detergent. I will attest to this formula, it works. I washed her twice and she was once again clean enough to be around people. She actually smelled fine. I could not believe the results, it was amazing. Except for a few bald spots from me cutting away the fur she is none the worse for wear. I haven't gauged Paul's mental state.

Another funny incident, my youngest daughter is a hunter. She has her license and likes to walk a few fields. I try to have her close to either Paul or me. She is very inexperienced and most all of her shooting has been at clay pigeons. When she has been in a field she has not really had any good shots. We are walking through some CRP and coming to the end of the field so I told her to get ready because pheasants much prefer to run instead of fly and many times they will run to the end of the field before flying. Right after I told her to get ready a rooster literally come up right from under her feet. Thay make quite a racket getting out of the grass with their wings plus they are usually cackling loudly. It startled her so much she literally fell flat on her back. Paul and I shot the bird, she didn't even get to shoot.

Still trying to think of "what if's" for when I pick up Alex. That's just my nature, I also try to cover every possible circumstance before I begin anything. My trouble is I have to keep reminding myself that what is to happen is up to him. I need to be a listener instead of a talker. Help him with his plan instead of implementing my plan.

My posting on The Partnership For A Drug Free America has garnered a lot of comments and I have been trying to respond to them. In addition I am receiving 1 or 2 e-mails each day from parents that open their souls and are grasping for help. I try to get back to them in a timely fashion also. Most of the time I also refer them to some of the wisdom of you bloggers that read, post and comment to blogs. Another outcome of this posting is I have been contacted by a counselor that runs a program here in the KC area and ask to be a guest speaker at a meeting on Dec. 10. That's quite a jump, I hope I am up to it and they consider it worthwhile. The message I got from her is they want me to focus on my 7 truths writing. She is publicizing this meeting and my speaking so I really don't know how many to expect. They are a part of one of those mega churches that have thousands of members and she said she is putting it out for the entire church and others. New doors have opened so anyone that really knows me, I'm going in. LOL Hope I don't run back out screaming with a mob on my tail swinging implements of destruction at me. Alex will be home at that time. I am going to ask if he would like to join me. I'd love to have an opportunity to introduce him as my son. Despite everything and sometimes I don't show it well, I am still proud of him and proud to call him my son.

I have submitted my second article to The Partnership. They haven't posted it yet. It is on Boundaries.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Quiet On The Home Front

It has been quiet on the home front. Alex will not be released until Nov.27 at the earliest. So there is not much activity. I am still struggling with what is to be when he is released. Dad and Mom's role, what he really wants and if we can help.

This weekend will be a stress relief weekend. All of you die hard animal lovers please stop reading now.

Pheasant season opens in KS this weekend and I am going west to kill some birds. This will be a weekend of killing and mayhem. This is my weekend where SOMETHING will die at my hands and be eaten. Plus there will be a great deal of family socializing at my cousins home north of Pratt, KS.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Partnership For A Drug Free America

A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from The Partnership asking if I would write to be published on their blog. After a lot of thinking I decided to go or it. I sure don't have the answers but if they want my words and thing they may help someone I'll try.

My first posting can be found at

It is pretty much a re-post of a posting on our blog about The Truths. So many of you wrote positive comments about that posting that I thought it may be a place to start. The columns I write for the The Partnership will be a personal account of our learning's through this parenting an addict. 

We will continue with our blog as a daily/weekly accounting of life with our son and the struggles of dealing with addiction. You cannot imagine the relief we get from those of you the support us with thoughts and comments. Thank you so much.

The Partnership home page is There is a lot of good info and resources on their site.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Communication From Alex

We received a letter from Alex yesterday. It was written on 10/30. He told us about his transfer to El Dorado. When he arrived there they gave him a physical and he hadn't been feeling well and he registered a temperature of over 100. So he said they want to take no chances on the flu so they have put him in isolation and he has to spend 24 hours a day in his cell and he has a cell by himself. Plus when they bring him food he has to put on a face mask. When he wrote he said he was feeling better but he was still in isolation.

He also said he was tired of this life and he is going to change when he is released. He was worried that everyone had given up on him and had moved on and would not accept him when he gets out. There was a lot of reflection in his letter. His final thought was that if he ever gets to have a life and have kids he said he has some real stories to tell about how and why to avoid this life he has lived.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

There is Hope. . .

The email we received from J. this weekend was surprising to say the least. It was wonderful to see that he was getting clean and doing the steps to stay that way. I think his blog will help me understand just what he and my son were going through.

This actually wasn't the first apology I had gotten from someone that had done drugs with my son. One day while having lunch at the grill across from my downtown office, a young man in painter's clothes came up to me. He asked if I knew who he was. I said yes, and called him by name. He said that he wanted to come over an apologize for getting Alex started down the wrong path of life. You see, he is the one that had first introduced our son to drugs. Back then, when I found out, I had forbid Alex to see or go over to his house (lot of good that did since he lived within walking distance to the high school). Alex had told me a couple of years ago that this fellow had gotten clean, gotten a good job painting and had found religion. He continued on telling me how he hoped Alex could get his life together, as well. He said he felt responsible for Alex's troubles. At the time I was relieved he's put it that way because the co-worker I was lunching with didn't know anything about Alex's troubles ( that is a story for another time). I smiled at him and said that I hoped Alex could get his life straightened out as well. He said he'd let me get back to my lunch, he had just wanted to apologize to me and Alex's dad for a long time. That day seemed like a good opportunity, since he saw me sitting there. I thanked him for coming over and wished him well.

When he left I sat there half thankful that he had gotten his life together and believe it or not half jealous that he - who had introduced the poison to my son-appeared to be doing so well. I wanted that for my son. 

I've been thinking after this latest apology, what courage these guys have had to come to me and dad. I hope they know how good it feels to us, not just to receive the apology but more getting the courage to approach us on their own. By doing this they have showed us there is hope for our son-- and your son or daughter as well.


Monday, November 2, 2009

A Letter In My E-Mail

On Sunday morning Mom and I were going to visit Alex at the El Dorado State Prison. His visiting hours were 8:30 in the morning. So we had to leave KC at 4am. After a 180 mile drive one way we found out he was not allowed visitor until his evaluation and assessment period was complete and that would be in 4-6 weeks. So turn around and return another 180 miles. I had read the visiting info online but it said nothing about that.

Before we left I checked my e-mail. Quite a coincidence but we received an e-mail at 2am and I checked it at 3:30. I printed the e-mail and took it with me to show Alex but that didn't work out.

I responded to the the sender with my own e-mail and I ask him if I could re-print his e-mail on this blog with his identity hidden. he graciously allowed his permission. I feel this is a powerful testimony that when they want to quit it can happen, just comes down to the "want to".

Mr. and Mrs. Grover-

My name is J. You guys don't know me, but I know you've seen me before, when I would drop Alex off at the end of the driveway on the street. I feel as if I owe you both a HUGE and heartfelt apology, because in a way, I helped your son feed his addiction while feeding my own at the same time. I am an addict. However, I have been clean since April, and in a way, your son inspired me to clean my act up. Whenever I would ditch school to pick him up in the afternoon to go get high, I saw what kind of lifestyle addiction leads to.

I first met Alex on Christmas Eve last year...I was with a mutual friend, and was just about to drop said mutual friend off, when he called and asked if we could pick him up. So we did, and that was the beginning of my, at the time, drug-friendship with Alex. Over the course of the next two or so months, I got to know him a bit more, and saw that if he could just clean up and straighten his life out, he could be successful. I sincerely hope Alex can overcome the evil demon of addiction, because it can be done, and that comes from first-hand experience. It is a difficult road, but it is worth it in the end. My parents felt the same way you guys did, and so I feel I can relate to you on so many fronts.

I discovered your blog just randomly poking around on facebook, and I'm not gonna lie I read the entire thing, and it was very eye-opening to see things from a parent's perspective. My constant prayers and support for you both, and Alex as well. I have faith that he can ultimately overcome this demon, and when he does, the relief you ALL will experience will be overwhelming.   

Wishing you the best, J

Someone Needs Support

Here is a 19 year old recoving oxy addict. He sounds like he is working his issue. Check it out, he is just beginning his blog.