Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How Much Work Is It?

How much work is it parenting an addict?

This is going to a be a selfish post. Not one of self pity but one of realization. For over one seventh of my life I have been parent to an addict in active addiction. Of course for the first two years we existed in oblivion of his disease. I'm finding that is not uncommon, unfortunately.

Addiction doesn't recognize vacations, time off, or holiday's. This is a 24/7 disease. The drama invades every waking and sleeping moment of a parents life. Phone calls at all hours and the overwhelming fear of each ring that the message is that ultimate horror.

Relationships crumble dealing with the drama of an addict. Let'em go, stop enabling, cut'em loose, kick'em out of your life, just ignore them, are all phrases that cut you like a knife through hot butter. Every one of them spoken by people that love you and are well intentioned but don't seem to realize that this is your child. Words come easily from those that have never worn these shoes.

Addiction is work. Not just for the addict that struggles every single hour to find a way of getting that next hit but also for all of those that love an addict. Work for those parents that now find themselves raising grandchildren. Added stress for those parents struggling with jobs. Our struggling with parental shame and self doubt caused by the inability of our society and nation as a whole to recognize the effects of this disease. Struggling with our own conflicting beliefs about drugs and drug addicts.

Detach with love. If only it were that easy.

But detach with love is what we must do, not just for our own sanity and life but for the health of our addict. Detaching with love is just another "thing" we must learn to do as if we don't have enough already.

It seems a lot easier to sit back now and come up with what we should do while our son is in recovery and doing well but isn't that the way it always is for most things. Reflection and deliberation is how I learn. Without a time of peace it is hard to take a moment for yourself but it is something that you must do for your own health.

There is no doubt in my mind that this has aged Mom and I considerably. No one goes through this with a child without an nearly unbearable heartache. Sleepless nights, financial stress, the compromising of our own personal values does damage I am not sure is measurable.

Just because right now our son is in recovery does not mean our work is finished. There is a path of destruction behind us in our own wake with our own life and issues. Most of it I am not going even worry about cleaning up. Selfishly, I want a break, but at some point some of the work needs to be done.

How much work is it? It's a hell of a lot of work, but it's worth it if you are working on the right things. My biggest regret is I spent so much effort working on things that didn't mean or accomplish a damn thing.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Continuing Education

Nothing stays the same.

Have you heard of K2? It's the stuff that is sold in "head shops" and quickie marts as "incense". Many states are in the process of of banning this substance, Kansas has already banned it. But already there is a new version out called K3. Methodology of the product is it is actually being smoked like weed although the packaging does explicitly caution against using the product in this way.

The new one that is hitting the scene is "Bath Salts" . A common brand name is Ivory Wave. The active ingredient is MDPV and it provides a high similar to Ecstasy. This can be snorted and some even just use it as a bath salt and experience a high. Unfortunately people are dying using this "legal" product in the way it is not intended on the package. The UK has already banned this substance.

It amazes me how the people who manufacture and sell these types of materials always seem to take the high road by prominently posting on the package to use this material only in the way prescribed.

It is sad there is a few people with such a lack of humanity that they would profit on destroying humanity.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Whatever Works For You

What a great week we have had with everything going on here at our place. At the end I will post a link to the Fall Festival pictures.

Our son is still doing wonderfully. He is working. Plus he is going to court for his stuff he committed in the past. I can't help but think that has to be hard. If you're clean and trying to fly straight and have to go and take care of past issues, must be discouraging but he doesn't complain and he always takes money with him to satisfy the judge and PO that he is taking care of his obligations.

I went and spoke to a group of parents last week. A parent expressed her happiness about her son had been clean 62 days. We all felt great for him and expressed our joy to her. But for myself that was exactly the topic I had recently been deliberating on concerning recovery, the "day count."

I am a very goal oriented person so I very well understand the nature of keeping track of progress and goals, Gant Charts are not considered foreign language for me. But as I focused on my son's "day count" which I really don't know, I begin to feel conflicted. What exactly is a day count. I have spent countless hours of trying to accept the way this disease works, the minute by minute struggle for an addict at times. But in recovery it becomes day count. I was ask in the meeting about my son. My response was that he was clean today. My attitude today is that his sobriety is his business and the most important day in the world to me is today.

Now I may be upsetting to some about that kind of attitude. I read about and hear from others about their day count and their anniversaries. Despite what I said, I honestly feel joy for them and their day count. The most important thing for anyone is, whatever works for you, works for you and I'm happy about that.

I'm not a NA or Anon 12 step person. I went to meetings but they did not work for me. I've done the counselor thing, but likewise I'm not a person that does the counseling thing. I'm not a church or prayer person. But I'm going to tell you I advocate for all of these things. The most important thing in all of this for a parent or an addict is "what works for you." And, if it ain't working find something that does.

Hope that doesn't sound conflicting to others but the old saying, "There is more than one way to skin a cat." Each of us must skin our cat our way. My trouble for quite a few years was that I was trying to skin my cat and his too. That doesn't work. Plus I was trying to skin my cat just the way everyone else was doing it and my cat isn't exactly like your cat, our cats may be similar but no two cats are exactly alike. Each of us must skin our cats the way best for us, but the most important lesson I learned was to I could only skin my cat.

As I have mentioned before and wrote about for the Intervene site I find lifeboats invaluable. One of Mom and Dad's lifeboats is entertaining. One of our big events of the year is Fall Festival. Fall Festival was last weekend and if you want to see the pics you can find them here:

Fall Festival 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Month for Boobies (o)(o)

How do you like that title? Spoken like a real man, right?

All of you ladies out there are sporting pink and making sure everyone knows what to do about getting that annual mammogram and doing self exams. 3 cheers for each of you.

Mom is very diligent about her awareness. HER SISTER IS A BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR!!! But sadly her mother and her aunts have all died from either breast cancer or ovarian cancer.

So, a message from all of us guys. Ladies, please do what you have to do to be aware and take care of yourself. Without those boobies we'd have to look you in the eyes when we talk to you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Another Partnership Posting

The Partnership at has published another one of my essays. Julie and Olivia at The Partnership sure have a way of making me look a lot better than real life. They added the pictures.

Lifeboats: Taking Care of Yourself During Your Child’s Drug Addiction

Speaking Tonight

I am speaking with a parent group tonight. If there any of you in the KC area that want to attend it is an open meeting and the talk is structured in an open format.

Church of the Resurrection
13720 Roe Ave.
Leawood, KS 66224

6:30 - 8:30 Room 217

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Addiction Recovery Process for Loved Ones

I have been struggling with a whole new problem within myself as it relates to my son and his recovery efforts. What is the role of a loved one when an addict is working on their recovery?

Just like all of this when dealing with an addicted child, when you finally think you are getting a grasp on the new learning you have experienced; there in front of you is a whole new world that must be experienced and digested.

Enabling addiction is what we all seem to do in the beginning. Then as this disease progresses in our child we begin to learn that what we are doing is helping the disease to progress, so we struggle with changing our paradigm concerning addiction and the progression of this disease.

Now we are facing a new change, what is the role of parents to support recovery?

I’m a simple guy without a formal education so in my deliberations about everything concerning addiction I have to break down very complex issues dealing with this disease into simple examples as they related to the learning I have based on my personal experiences. (some of you have been exposed to my examples before.)

My son, just as I am sure many other recovering addicts have done has dug himself a very deep hole in which he stands at the bottom. When you are actively using I am sure the bottom of that hole may actually provide a measure of security and insulation. But after a profound experience an addict stares at the walls and the light that seems so far up. All of us are standing at the top staring down. What do we do to help?

Somebody at the bottom of a hole, I got lots of options to provide and assist a rescue. We can fly a helicopter over and lower a basket on a winch they can climb in and be lifted out. We can drop a long ladder slowly into the hole and they can climb out. We can throw a rope over the edge and they can pull themselves up and out. We can pitch a shovel into the hole and they can dig themselves out. And, I could just stand at the side of the hole and holler down, “Looks like you are in a world of shit, good luck.” And wash my hands of the whole mess.

I have helicopters, ladders, ropes and shovels and sometimes I can yell real well too. I’m sure each of these tools have a place in recovery but the struggle for me as a parent is; when you have all of these tools at your disposal, what tool do you use and when?

The dichotomy in all of this is most of the time the answer is we probably should do the minimum. But I am conditioned just as most people in our nation and society are conditioned to help those that are in trouble and need help. This involves helping people afflicted with diseases and even people in conditions in which they may even have had a hand in creating. For example; people were told to evacuate New Orleans before hurricane Katrina. Many people did not evacuate for a variety of reasons that made sense to them at the time. As a nation we flew in helicopters, provided food and housing and money, in the final analysis even our national efforts at help were woefully inadequate. During floods we provide help to people we do not know, but with a little effort it is easy to determine where flood plains are located and we all know not to live in a flood plain or drive into rushing water, right?

Speaking the truth from inside of me, what do I do? I am lucky, I have the resources to help him but what is the right thing to do in helping my son?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Worldwide Problems with Drugs

Another mum from New Zealand writes about her son's addiction and their experiences with methadone treatment.

This truly is a worldwide scourge on society.

No2Methadone.A Sons Addiction

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rejoicing, One Moment and Event At A Time

I'm not a superstitious guy but deep inside I think most people get that fear of jinxing something good if you acknowledge it, I guess I can be counted as one of those people too. But sometimes we must live on the edge.

It is so nice to have my son in a place where we can sit down, enjoy a meal together and talk.

It is so nice not to look at my son and be afraid.

It is so nice to see my son smile without pinpoint pupils.

It is so nice to feel a level of trust in him to make decisions that creates honor for himself.

Enjoy today and rejoice. I have seen the possible. I believe in the future and I believe in my son.

Its seems so long ago but just like yesterday Monday, July 12, 2010 and Tuesday, July 13, 2010. Where there is life there is hope.