Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Is Going Equal to Support or Condoning?

On March 2 our son goes to court for his sentencing on theft charges. He has been in jail since he violated house arrest rules by using again about one month ago.

I am struggling with whether to go to court to view his sentencing or not. On one hand I detest what he does. Not just the drug abuse but the stealing to support his habit is against everything he was ever taught. On the other hand, holding out hope that each time could be the time he decides to clean up his act I want to be there in case he asks for help and is serious. Even though in court they cannot talk or make any gestures to spectators.

No matter if he gets more time or probation it is not likely he is going he is going to get out because I know two other jurisdictions have warrants for him and he may likely be bound over for them and transported there.

Is going to his sentencing construed as support for him and even condoning his actions? We do not visit him while he is in jail. Mom takes his calls when he calls from jail.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Welcome Distractions

The last 2 weekends I have been completely absorbed in a house my daughter and son-in-law (to be) are buying. It had been a foreclosure and was pretty rundown inside so we are redoing everything that needs to be done. The longer I work in this house the more I really like it. The layout is good and the family room ties with the dining room and kitchen to create a great social area. They are so lucky to get this house, without the housing collapse there would be no way they could have afforded something like this.

Another plus, that some may not see as a plus, is the city pool and park is directly behind them. It will be like they have a pool in their backyard without the maintenance and expense. Will be nice for our new granddaughter in a few years.

Working on this house is a distraction that keeps me very occupied and energized. My principal responsibility right now is the kitchen. I am a woodworking person by hobby. They must do this remodel on a very tight budget so I have stripped the oak cabinet face frames to bare wood. They had been painted white, terribly. The doors are worn out and I am trashing them. Next weekend I will begin making new cabinet doors and drawers for the entire kitchen. She wants oak in a shaker style door. The kitchen will look brand new when I am done. Another plus to work with is the previous people had come up with real wood butcher block counter tops. They had installed them wrong and originally they were not real counter tops. I am taking the questionable finish off of them and going to use them to build a real wood butcher block counter top for the island and real wood working station next to the pantry and oven. The working station will receive a natural mineral oil finish that is suitable for food contact and is what is used on cutting surfaces in kitchens. They ask if I can do a durable hard finish on the island to repel water and stuff so I will probably use a polyurethane. It will look like a bar top. My plan is to extend the island top out and I will turn some legs on my lathe. that will make it where add a couple small stools and it will be a good snack place.

I have been working with my brother-in-law and son-in-law. We are really getting things done. The girls are shopping, paint colors, fixtures, tile, carpet.

Son is still in jail, it would be nice to have his help but I am not sure he would be able to handle it, but he could always learn. At least this keeps my mind very occupied, it's a lot better than therapy. LOL

Friday, February 20, 2009

Absense and Hope

The longer our son is in jail the easier it is to hope that lessons are learned. It is easy to forget that this is a disease that consumes his mind and every thought. I think about when most of us want to change we just simply set out the plans to make it happen. Most times it is not a life or death struggle like it is for an addict. From what I understand for an addict it is not that simple

I realize that for an addict simply making the choice to stop does not ensure success. In fact I am realizing recovery is much, much less likely to happen than relapse. Support systems have to be there, NA, clean living facilities, a new value system and I believe family is one of the most critical components. Even with all of those systems our son has relapsed 3 times.

Destructive thought processes enter my mind constantly. Especially when he is close. So that is why it is easier to hang on to hope with his absence. Battles continually wage in my head with "he is never going to get better" vs. "all he has to do is decide to stop and get away from these bad people." But I know these are thoughts and decisions made in my mind. The only real decisions that count for an addict is what they decide. The thoughts I must dwell on is the hope that he makes a good decision. My hopes that he gives up drugs and stays clean is wasted energy and purely a wish. If he indeed makes a good decision then it is possible for us to help provide and utilize the support systems that helps with his recovery.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sadness and Anger

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Rolla, MO. The reason I am here is to recruit engineers from the University of Missouri for my company. Tomorrow I will be speaking with 100's of college students. These are young adults with a plan, motivation and drive to be better tomorrow than they are today. 

The sadness is my son had just as much brains and talent as any of the people I will be speaking with tomorrow. The anger is he is wasting that opportunity using drugs and tomorrow he will still be sitting in a cell in jail.

As this addiction continues opportunities come and opportunities go. I am a big believer that life is what you make of it. All of us can look back and see missed opportunities. It is hard for me to grasp that an addict can even recognize an opportunity. Living in the moment with a constant search for the next high does not allow you to recognize opportunities that present themselves or are created with hard work.

I look at my daughters, nieces and nephews. They all grasp the opportunity when it came. 2 college grads, 2 more will graduate this year, 1 was just accepted into chiropractic college, and 1 grasp an opportunity with a major KC insurance company that prides itself on promoting from within and she is a quick study and hard worker. My pride is these are young adults that recognized the opportunity made the most of it and each of them are from fathers and mothers that did not go to college. This is a generational changer. 

Time lost is time that can never be recovered. How does an addict recognize this? 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Energy Is Finite

This sure isn't how we envisioned our 50's. We had children young on purpose, we wanted time later in life alone to be able to enjoy life together and we had seen what our parents had done with their parents and care needed. We were prepared for that. The general assumption is; raise the kids send them to college, even though neither of us ever went to college. They get jobs, they become independent. Well 2 out of 3 ain't bad. But that third one, what can you say.

My mom is 80 years old. She is a very young 80. Some 80 year old people are feeble but not my mom, she even still works, goes around to grocery stores loading up those coupon machines. My sister lives with her and my brother is great helping with her. I ask him quite a while ago if he could be the point person with mom because my son was taking everything I had time and emotion wise. He has done it. Alzheimer's has ravaged my family, several of my mom's brothers and sisters have suffered though this disease. Every time mom forgets something it scares me. But right now she seems to be doing OK just normal old age stuff, fingers crossed.

My wife's father is 80. He is retired but still farms. Has over 100 acres and way over 50 head of cattle, along with all the hay, feed, equipment and stuff to take care of them. He does that very well and is as independent as they come. Yesterday that nearly came to an end. He decided to dance with a cow, the cow won, he now has 2 broken ribs, broken nose, and the inside of his mouth is trashed, truth is he was lucky that was all that happened. Looks like all of us are now going to be taking care of a few cows for a while, too.

This stuff wouldn't be and isn't a catastrophe in a normal family without an addict. As we are well aware an addict consumes an extraordinary amount of resources, emotionally, physically and financially. We struggle with what we have left after our son. Regardless of how much you try to detach they work their way into everything you do. Then how do you divide what is left between others and yourselves. As I tried to explain above, life happens.

I am a believer that energy is finite. Just like budgeting if something unexpected happens you have to shift energy available from one pot to another. I cannot allow our addicted son to consume so much energy that others are left starving. This is a discussion I will have with him when he gets out of jail. His days of commanding the bulk of our energy and attention must end.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Difference In Our Thoughts

Mom and Dad haven't had a good evening. Our discussions break down. 

Our son calls from jail. Mom talks to him and agrees to take care of things for him. He needs papers he told Dad he had already done. He needs Mom or Dad to speak to his lawyer for him. He has to be in jail at least 2 extra weeks because he didn't do what he was suppose to do during house arrest. Mom has sympathy for him.

Dad 's feeling is he needs something different from us than to do his dirty work to get him out of jail faster.

Dad and Mom disagree. I see this from a male perspective and Mom is being a mom. (of course this is from dad's perspective so I must be right.   LOL)

Our son got caught stealing. He went to the judge and pleaded guilty to theft. On Christmas Eve he was dropped at our door under house arrest. He was here for 3 weeks and started using again. Violated house arrest by using. We caught him using and I threw him out. That action put him in violation of house arrest and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was picked up at our house and taken back to jail.

After a few minutes of elevated volume discussion I ask a simple question and the answer told me more than I knew. I ask Mom, "Why is he in jail?" Her answer, because he used drugs and you threw him out of the house. 

My answer to the same question back to her was: "He is in jail because he is a thief and a threat to society." 

She cannot see my point at all, in fact she absolutely disagrees with my point. I understand her point but cannot agree the reason he is in jail is because of our actions of throwing him out. 

I think we may not be on the same page.

Any words of wisdom for me?


Remembering that Addicts are Users

An addict is a user. I don't mean drug user I believe they become masters at people using. Understanding and accepting the arsenal they have at their disposal is beginning to help me fight back to keep from losing this war. I want to believe in fighting a fair fight, this is not part of an addicts arsenal. Lies, theft, deceit, emotional blackmail, divide and conquer, pity and empty apologies are just some of the weapons our son has used to maintain his addiction. 

It is hard to accept that a human being that you raise with honor and preach to since he was old enough to understand english that honor is the only thing a man dies with and can take with him has been discarded for the sake of a chemical high. 

As I begin to accept his tactics I understand his motives. I will not fight back using these tactics but I can prepare my defenses. When I am hurt by his actions it is because I allow him to hurt me. I can't help but believe that as his tactics fail on me he has to face his demons without a crutch that I have been for so many years. I guess this is all about enabling, again. Here I am again hoping logic can triumph in an illogical situation.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Rants and Raves

On Craigslist they have a category titled Rants and Raves. That sounds pretty appropriate for some general get it off your chest stuff. Here are a few of mine from the top of my head.

The crimanal justice system is not effective for addicts. Punishment doesn't work when you are addicted. It seems to me that it costs more for society to continue a system of failure than to invest in methodolgies that stand a chance in helping the addict become clean. Methadone, Suboxone, Rehab and clean living centers cannot be as expensive as incarceration over and over and over again.

Addicts are incapable of learning from their mistakes. As a goal oriented person one of my life goals is to "make only new mistakes". Moving forward is impossible when you are re-taking the same ground because you didn't learn anyhting from the last time.

I read once on the internet that it is estimated only 1 in 8 oxycotin pills are used legitimately. Yea, I'm suspect of some of the "facts" on the internet too but if it is only half that many how much money are legitimate pharmaceutical companies making on the illegal drug trade.

The collect calls from jail are outrageously expensive. All it is a way for government to scam money from the relatives and loved ones of those incarcerated. 

These are just a few of my rants and raves. I've got a bunch, but enough for me right now. If you got a rant put it on here no matter your relationship to an addict or if your are an addict. Sometimes you just want to say it even if it doesn't help anything.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Guilt of Relaxing

He's been in jail since last Friday on a warrant for not paying his fines associated with traffic offenses over one year ago. He goes in front of the judge today. No matter, Johnson County also has a warrant for him for violating his house arrest. I assume they will transfer him after the judge sees him today.

I've never been to jail, except to bail him when we first started this insanity and thought this was only a phase and it would pass. Never even been in handcuffs, knock on wood. So there is no way for me to empathize with him as to the feeling or the conditions. He says jail is no fun and the food is bad. One part of me feels sorry for him and another part remembers the Beretta TV show theme song, "If you can't do the time don't do the crime."

The one thing I really do struggle with is the guilt of feeling relaxed when he is locked up. When he is in jail I can focus on the rest of the family. At first it is just peace and quiet. The phone is not bouncing off the hook. He is not up and down, in and out. Not having to observe some of the most bizarre behavior I have ever seen, and him trying to explain it away.

When he is locked up I am not concerned about his using. I do think about his safety and comfort. He says it is freezing cold and he did see one person stabbed once.

The longer this goes on the more obvious it is that we have to do more to force the issue of his addiction. The realization that to help him we cannot allow him to continue the behaviors he is accustomed too simply because he is an addict. This behavior on our part does not work to help him change. Our home must be someplace he is welcome to visit but he cannot stay. I don't know the what the immediate answer is when he is released but I think that will not be real soon anyway.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Being Ready For Anything

On Friday it almost seemed like a father/son time. We were watching a movie together, the doorbell rings and it is the sheriff. Another warrant for his arrest. He is in jail again. We don't pay bail. So he is there until, I don't know.

Mom has a saying posted on the refrigerator, I don't know where she got it so I can't give proper credit for the quote but it really applies here. "It is difficult to move towards the future when the past keeps dragging you back to the present."

Kept us busy not thinking about the situation with him this weekend because we helped our daughter move. Note to self, respect and appreciate those people whose job title is Mover.

Got a recommendation from a counselor I respect at Valley Hope. She spoke highly of a rehab facility in Oklahoma called Clay Crossing. Does anyone know about this facility? Has anyone known someone that went through the program? It is a minimum 90 day program.