Friday, July 30, 2010

Need Travel Advice

In about a month mom and I will be off on a motorcycle trip. We so loved our trip last year through Colorado up to South Dakota and home. We're doing another this year.

This year our plan is to go south slightly from KC to southern Missouri. Across Missouri to the tip of Kentucky and across Tennessee. When we reach North Carolina the adventure begins. We are going to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway north all through to northern Virginia and then cut across to Washington DC. From there I know a great seafood restaurant with crab cakes to kill for right down by Camden Yard, Orioles Stadium. Out of Baltimore our plan is to ride northwest through Gettysburg, PA. Pay our respects and then it is down through West Virginia and Kentucky to home. About 2700 miles round trip according to Harley Davidson's map program.

When we travel mom and I try to stay away from chain restaurants and tourist traps. A big part of our trip is designed to be on 2 lane state highways to see the local country better.

Our request is, I am hoping some of you that read this blog live in these areas or have traveled this and we want to know where should we eat and what should we be sure not to miss, where are those hidden gems. Plus if anybody is on our route and want to join us for dinner or have coffee just let us know and we can work out the details.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Book Reports

Reading is a private pleasure in which I indulge. I'm not a fiction reader. I much prefer books explaining something that is a mystery to me. Anything from cutting a perfect dovetail or tuning a plane or coming to grips with drug addiction and its effects on me, the addict and society as a whole.

Funny thing, when I was school all the way from elementary school to high school English Class was the subject I hated most. I hated reading and giving book reports, although I did gain a huge appreciation for the great fiction writers of our time, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Mitchell, Orwell and even Clarke with science fiction. Biographers are genius, they had a way to make larger than life names into real people. Reflecting back maybe my dislike for English and Literature in school was not so much a painful class but more of a painful appreciation process.

With that I want to recommend a couple of books that I have found very good. I'll put an Amazon link to make sure you know exactly but I'm not pushing Amazon.

Don't Let Your Kids Kill You Charles Rubin

This is a very good book I wish I had found it 3 or 4 years ago. I'd probably say it would have been great to have this book from day one of my son's addiction but I think I needed some time of pain to reach a point to accept the wisdom in this book. I highly recommend this book for parents of an addict. It answers questions and helps with things that took a lot of time and pain to discover.

Madyson007 at "A Mom's Serious Blunder" commented on my last post, "STOP THE CAR I WANT TO GET OUT". This book helps with getting out of the car.

Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption William Cope Moyers with Katherine Ketcham

This book chronicles the depths to which an addicted person, the author, can fall. It just so happens that this addicted person is also the son of famed journalist, Bill Moyers. What I got out of this book is "addict think". Cope Moyers does a great job of detailing how even when great things are happening with an addict the brain of an addict can screw it up without constant diligence by the addict.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tempering Excitement

On Sunday evening we went to the baseball game. I am a baseball fan and really enjoy the pace and art of the game. I know a lot of people say those are the things that are destroying the game. It's too slow, not enough action is often heard but to sit and watch the game, think about the strategy and try to match wits with the managers as they make changes or not is the thing I love about the game. Plus where else do you get to yell as loud as you can at someone that is having a ball thrown at him over 90 mph, not golf or tennis that's for sure.

We live in KC so there are a couple of choices when we take in a game. Of course we have the Kansas City Royals but close to where we live we also have the Kansas City T-Bones, a minor league independent team playing in the Northern League. I actually enjoy greatly going to their games. Tickets and concessions are very cheap and parking is free, makes for a night of baseball plus concessions for under $15 and those are tickets sitting in the front row next to the field, traditional hot dogs are only $1. In all my life of attending baseball games, we know baseball is about traditions, I have eaten at least one hot dog at every single game I have ever attended. No way am I breaking that streak.

It was our son's girlfriends birthday so we treated them to an evening at The Park. By both of their accounts our son has been clean for over a week. There were sparks of normalcy enjoying our evening out. They enjoyed going and we enjoyed observing our son unaltered.

It would be so easy to jump up and down shouting, "We're on the road now." But we've been down this road before. But for me this time I feel lost. I feel lost because I'm not on the road any more. This recovery road is not my road to travel, it is his. I always thought I had to be driving when we took that route but this time I got out of the car and it is his time to circle the track day after day. I am going to stand on the side and cheer after each lap/day but no more driving for me.

Knowing my control personality Mom is probably in the worst spot. She is the one that will hear all my criticisms about the way he is circling the track but I hope to be able to learn skills about tempering my excitement and critisism as he makes laps. There was a book I read when I was little and I read it to my kids too, that might be right for now; Go Dog Go, P. D. Eastman.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Acceptance or Resignation

Acceptance or resignation, no matter what you call it we arrive there at different times. Looking back I can see definite stages of life parenting an addict. Fight it, fix it, love'em, frustrated, re-energize, WTF and finally we get to the acceptance stage.

I'm not sure unless maybe you have previous experience with addiction or alcoholism you can skip these; there may be even more but these are the ones I have been thinking about lately. Maybe with counsel and a lot of hand holding you can speed your way through but as a parent there is that inside feeling that you cannot get rid of without progressing through each stage at your own pace; this the emotional side of being close to an addict that also happens to be your child.

There is a lot more to it than the three C's, control, cause and cure. Maybe this is old news for some of you that are 12 stepper's. I've never been able to get into that program but I have a respect for anything that works for anybody. It's not about how you get to a place it is about arriving safely.

Personally I have finally come to realize that acceptance and resignation is not a show of defeat. If it was considered a defeat, with my personality I'd probably still be fighting. For me it means I have tried every strategy I could conceive to fix or manipulate this problem but the problem continues. I have now come to realize it is not a "problem", it is a "state of being" and a reality for me, my son, and for all of those around us.

The choice for us all is at what time we reach our destination. I can see for some they may never get there. Sometimes the ultimate tragedy is that our addict shortens the trip, that is a reality that can become so real every day. But ultimately it really is our choice about when we arrive.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Can't Think of a Title

I owe all of you that cared so much to express a concern or take a moment to remember our son and family an update from my last posts. Those posts expressed a dire circumstance and the times are dire. I may get in trouble from mom and I may get awfully personal in the descriptions but this is a problem that as you all know is very personal in everyone that it touches.

Last Thursday I contacted my son about spoons and needles I found in his room. He has been living with his girlfriend but was coming by to crash after he dropped her off at work. She is a very good person. She has two very nice daughters and she has been around addiction all of her life through her mother and father. That has strengthened her resolve not to let it invade her life. At times that must be very hard when you are surrounded with it as you grow up. Currently her mother is clean and I don't know anything about her father, I can only assume he is the same. Kudos to both of them. This is what makes it so hard, she says she loves the clean Alex but hates the using Alex. Alex says he loves her but I'm not sure he understands what that really is or he would be doing different things.

Back to my conversation with my son. I was not mad I was just resigned. I told him he had violated our contract, which truthfully, all along I knew he would. Finally there was buy-in from mom, I told him very calmly that we both wished him well, we knew some of the things he was doing but we were sure we didn't know it all but it was every bit as bad as you can guess from reading my last posts. I then told him that we had to take care of ourselves and it was time he made a decision. What he needed to decide was what life he wanted to live. He could either remain a part of our family and to do that he needed to begin actively working on his recovery. Do everything it takes and we would be the braces to hold him up but he had to be the one that wanted it, carried the load and he had to do the hard work required and whatever was required. His other choice was we were perfectly fine with him continuing his current lifestyle. If he wanted to use, deal or whatever we could now be OK with that decision if choose to go that way. But, we could not have that lifestyle in our life in any longer. We ask him to think of himself as being alone. Please do not come around, do not come to our home and do not even acknowledge us if we meet in public because we cannot have that, or bring that hurt into our life any longer. We told him that if he chooses that path we really do sincerely wish him well and hope he finds whatever it is he is looking for in life. That was pretty much the end of my conversation with him.

Last night we got a call from his girlfriend. First the bad news or good whatever your perspective. He is in jail again.

Now for the detail. Evidently he must have heard what I said on Thursday. His girlfriend said he was very shaken that his family had decided that they were prepared to give up on him. She said he was very thoughtful and decided to go cold turkey. She said this last weekend was terrible. I would have thought she would have took him to the hospital but I learned a long time ago you can't do what you don't know. She said he was sick, shaking worse than she had ever seen anyone, plus all the other withdrawal effects. I guess she didn't know how dangerous it is when someone does cold turkey from heroin and coke, speedballing. We wish she would have called or took him to the hospital but his is still alive. Last night she said he was feeling well enough to get out so he ask her to go to a NA meeting with him. He was driving to the meeting and he did a "rolling stop" at a stop sign. You know what happened then, yep flashing lights and outstanding warrant. They took him in. He is going to sit in jail until his next court appearance, the 28th and who knows what happens after that.

Mom and his girlfriend had a long talk last night and they both supported each other in that they would love to bail him out but they needed to let him sit for his own good but I'm sure he doesn't think it is for his own good.

His girlfriend ask Alex, "Why do you do drugs? You have everything." She said, at first his answer was, "I don't know." We've all heard that one haven't we. But she said he came back a couple days later on Sunday and said he had been thinking about it and said he doesn't like himself. I'm no psychiatrist but to me if he is serious that could be a step towards a profound experience. It all hinges on HIS next step.

A big difference is this time Mom and I know the next step is his step to take, not ours to take.

Monday, July 12, 2010


It is not good. With what is going on it probably won't be long.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Recovering From 4th of July

I've been through a lot of 4th's but yesterday's is one to write home about.

We always have many people over to celebrate the 4th and it is always a good time of friends enjoying a celebration. The 4th was always a big day in our family because it also happened to be my fathers birthday, he would have been 82.

Everyone began arriving about 2pm. People trickled in for quite a while. The day was cloudy and there were a couple very light minor sprinkles but not enough to even get wet, but that was soon to change.

About 8 the sky's opened up and the wind blew. Our canopy was blowing and about to lift off. The monsoon began, the weatherman said we got about 2". Rain was blowing in sideways. 6 of us held down the tent. We were soaked to the bone. Many people left and the rest went indoors. It rained hard for 2 hours. About one hour into the storm the electricity went out. We could see the candles and flashlights in the house, of course it was hot so no air conditioning either. Then the emergency call came from the house for me to get inside quickly. The toilet was overflowing and no one knew what was happening in the bathroom in the dark. Water was coming out into the hall before someone noticed and closed the valve under the tank.

So here I am, soaked all the through to the skin. There is no power in the house. The rain is still coming down and under the tent where we were holding down there is now a big mud puddle from so much rain. I am trying to find a plunger because mom moved it out of the bathroom because of "company" coming over. Can't find the plunger in the dark. The side yard became the makeshift bathroom, because everyone knows as soon as the toilet is out of order you have to pee.

You know from now on this 4th will be forever recalled as; you remember the year when...........

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thoughts to Ponder

I had been deliberating for the last few days over many things concerning my son's addiction and trying to understand how drugs take over your life and what you become when they do. After many days of thought I wanted to speak with my son about my conclusions. How do summarize many days of consideration into something that is meaningful and concise? This is what I said.

Son, nature abhors a vacuum. Drugs and their pursuit have been your life for many years. With what and how are you going to fill this void in your life?

Your secrets are as dangerous to you as your drugs, if you cannot face your secrets of you then those demons will distroy you as surely as the drugs.

This is what several days of contemplation boils down too?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Suspicion, Drama and Life

Sometimes it is hard to recognize the good because you are always on edge suspecting the bad.

Since my last real post we (all 3 of us) have been trying to live up to our end of the bargain. Truthfully, our life hasn't changed much, the items on the contract was what we expected anyway. Our son has taken it serious though and from what I can tell is trying to fly straight. Fingers crossed, seems like every time I say something like that disaster strikes.

I reminded our son last night that despite his addiction he has the strength to be whatever he wants to be and genetically he is strong enough to do what he sets out to do. I spoke to him of his family and ancestors. The strength each of them had to get to the place we are today. I told him to pull on that strength of us around him and reach deep into himself and use the strength of ancestors that I knew but died long before he ever met them.

The 4th of July is coming up. Our son says he is looking forward to it because he has missed the last 3 years due to being in jail or off drugging. It will be a welcome sight to see him interact with his cousins again. It may be uneasy and I can understand that. He has hurt most all of them in many ways. I hope forgiveness is within them but that is there call. I use to try and make it "right" but I have since learned my lesson on that one. I hope my son can recognize that building back takes a lot more than tearing down. I am hoping that this event that is drama free.

I am looking forward to this holiday. In the tradition of the Bar-Be-Que capital of the world, I will spend 2 days smoking meat. There will be quite a crowd at our house to blow things up on Sunday. To do that it takes food. I am smoking 2 full pork loins, a whole turkey and 2 slabs of ribs plus a huge pot of beans cooked open on the smoker infused with sausage, pork and brisket. They are almost a meal in themselves. Anyone hungry? Come on down, I am sure there will be plenty. It may not be politically correct on a blog about addiction but I just call this holiday the National Holiday of Alcohol and Gunpowder. From our house we can actually see 4 fireworks shows. We can see the Basehor show, the Cedar Lake show, a neighbors show (I think they may secretly be mad scientist pyromaniacs) and our own show. We have a good placement for the holiday events.