Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Heroin In The Suburbs

Last night ABC News did a segment on the importing of heroin and the targeting by dealers of the suburbs. If you didn't see it here is a link.


Here is the second part of that series:


Thursday, March 25, 2010

In or Out, Make A Decision

Another night of drama as parents of an addict.

I am leaving. The proverbial straw has broken this camel's back. I will no longer live in hell. I am moving, my forwarding address will be the same place I lived before all this crap began.

At some point everyone reaches their limit, mine was last night. My son either lives an honorable life beginning right now or I want to no longer be a part of his life. I cannot go on with this charade and trying to be a father to someone that holds no respect for his life, my life, his mother's life or for anyone he touches.

It is now up to him. He can either continue down the same path, in which he shall walk alone or he can change his life. I don't how he does it or what it will take but he is responsible.

When I told him of his option his response was, "I didn't know I had been that bad."

??????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't even respond.

Never thought I would lose a son this way.

This is not the post I had planned to write today. I had planned to list some helpful books I had been reading. That post will be coming soon.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Copyright Issue?

There has been something happened this last week that bothered me and now a comment has been made about it on my last post. I'd like to ask some of you other bloggers how you handle the issue.

Many of you re-post and link to our blog. I consider that an honor when someone does that. Many have even directly copy and pasted from me and linked that is absolutely no problem as I know you are trying to help others or yourself and they are being used appropriately. Please feel free to continue to do what you have been doing in the past.

However, when I was ask to write for The Partnership I had to become aware that I was writing for someone else's site and I had to respect the copyright issues they have, although they have told me I can use them as I need. A couple of months ago I found another site had copied and pasted my 7 Truths article to their site on the forums. I became a member of the forums and tried to participate in helping others. When I tried to post the links to the original articles the owner/moderator threatened to ban me and would not allow links to original posts. She then ask me to copy and paste the articles from The Partnership site to her site without crediting or linking to the original post and site. That's fine, it's their site so I thought it would be best to part ways and remind them of copyright law and ask them to remove my copied articles. Now I've been accused of being selfish, not willing to help others and who knows what else. Actually that's their problem not mine.

My question, how do other bloggers handle copyright issues about their sites and posts?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Anger and Compassion

How do you deal with both of these two emotions at the same time. After last weekend I am just now beginning to calm down enough to organize my thoughts.

Why am I angry? He's an addict, he relapses. Been there done that enough of the last 6 years I should be used to it, right? Yea, I can handle the relapse, I get mad we holler and cuss and it is over. We recognize he has a disease and at times the disease flares up and he doesn't control himself. But last weekend pissed me off. This is not the first time he has taken his mothers medication she needed because she was ill. The first time it was after her surgery and he took her pain medication the day after her surgery. This time it was cough syrup. Sometimes I don't get it, how does anyone addicted or not take medicine from a sick person? I get the stealing money and things but I am having trouble getting over this one.

He came home the other day for one day. He finally admitted he had shot up a couple times before he took the medicine. I didn't use an angry tone in questioning him but I was stern. His girlfriend had told us things about his using, even in a time of admission he still lies.

One more time it is, "I'm not doing this again." I was just weak the situations presented themselves and I did it before thinking. WAKE UP!!! The situations will present themselves for the rest of your life. Disease or no disease you still must learn to tell yourself NO. Fact of life: the world will not change because you have a disease.

He made it obvious he resents me writing and speaking about this subject. One comment he made was that; "Why don't you understand this you're the addiction expert?" No, I'm not an addiction expert. The truth is I am addiction ignorant. My expertise born of experience is living with and parenting an addict. That's what I write and speak about. My writing and speaking is about us and our life, it's not about you. I'm not sure he understood the difference. Anyway, I'm going to be like an addict, I'll stop writing and speaking when I want to stop not when someone else tells me too.

His girlfriend and friend he grew up with, whom he is living with now, gave him the ultimatum. Do it again and your out. If that works great. Mom and I have reconciled we are not motivators in his life. If someone else can help that gets him where we all want him to go. He says he is committed, but???? Anyone living with an addict, I don't have to explain the last incomplete sentence.

I'm back to having an understanding that our oversight with Mom's medicine may have been too much but I'm not in place where I accept it is Mom and Dad's fault.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Partnership Posting

The Partnership For A Drug Free America has posted another of my essay's.

How appropriate they post this one right now, we need it. I wrote it and submitted it a few weeks ago. It really fits into our weekend. The title of it is:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It's Baaaaaack

Remember the movie The Poltergeist. The little girl is sitting in front of the TV and the screen is just fuzzy snow, the sound is only a buzz. You don't know what is going to happen but you know the demon is stalking and the family is going to dragged through hell again by this demon.

Last night we spent 3.5 hours in the emergency room. Our son overdosed. This time it was codeine.

Mom has been sick for about a month. A severe sinus infection and it had migrated to her lungs and she had bronchitis. She went to the doctor twice in the last two weeks. That indicates how bad she was, if the coroner was standing over her body she would be saying she would be saying, its' OK, just give m time I'll get better on my own, I don't need a doctor. So she must really have been feeling bad. The doctor prescribed antibiotics the first time. The second time he prescribed a stronger antibiotic plus 400 ml bottle of cough syrup with a high concentration of codeine.

Thursday late night Alex came home and spent the night. Mom took all of her medicine to bed that night. Then took it to work on Friday. When mom came home Friday she needed to take her medicine and brought it in to take some. We ate dinner and mom went to change clothes. During that time Alex took 200 ml of that cough syrup. We didn't know it and he ask to be taken back to his girlfriends. Mom took him and when she got back about one hour later we discovered he had taken the cough syrup, and his girlfriend called and said that Alex was acting strange did we know what was up? We told her about the cough syrup.

I called the poison control center and gave them his size and history along with the info on the cough syrup bottle. They input the info and the person's response was, "Oh my, you need to get him to the emergency room immediately. He has nearly twice the dosage in him in which we recommend a doctor's treatment." She said he could possibly die from this dosage plus we didn't know if he had anything else in him.

We went to the Lawrence Memorial Emergency Room and his sister, who is a nurse found fresh new track marks in his arm.

He was released and went home with girlfriend.

What a mess.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Response

The following is an e-mail I received from a teacher whose classes attended our presentations. It was a very moving letter for me. Just the fact that some of these kids went home and talked to their parents about this stuff is a win in my book. I just wanted to share this, maybe there could be others out there that could share your own experiences. That is how to stop this monster, stop it by using education and experience.

Hi Ron,

I am so thankful, and appreciative that you are now speaking with young people about your story. Today I had two of my three health classes who attended the presentation.

Today I had scheduled/planned on a 45 minute follow-up discussion opportunity, and a different addiction activity/assignment for the last 40 minutes of today's class time. However, both classes ended up spending the entire 85 minutes in discussion because of the impact of your story. It was so amazing that at times I had chill bumps because of the stories that students shared about their personal and family experiences relating to addiction and marijuana use.

It was a very powerful day today. We had students validate your story with their stories. We had students courageously open up and speak about family members who have turned to prostitution. We had questions about date rape or acquaintance rape, stories about how friends went from being "A" students to "F" students. We shared with each other stories of parents who are now incarcerated due to addiction. Every conversation or comment today was powerful. We had kids LISTENING to each other and asking each other questions. Supporting each other. We had kids say that they went home and talked with their parents. And those parents shared stories of their struggles, or of their siblings who struggle with addiction. Stories that the kids did not know about their families until you visited our school. We had students go home yesterday and call their grandparents and share your story.

I could go on and on about what our discussions unpacked and discovered about the dangers of drugs.

Every student commented/agreed with each other on how grateful and important it was to have you tell them WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU CHOOSE DRUGS. And, NOT tell them "Don't Do Drugs!" Like you said, they've heard that over and over but with no association of what will actually happen if one initially chooses to use drugs.

It was an amazing eye-opening opportunity for the kids to hear you and Erica speak. Today was amazing as well. I am truly amazed at your courage to share with us your story.

I am thankful for you and your daughter. I am thankful that Alex has a family who will continue to love him unconditionally. I pray that he will be clean today.

Please tell him hello for me. Please keep in touch. I would love to have you visit again next fall. Take good care.

(teacher's name withheld)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Satisfying Two Days

Five times in the last two days I gave presentations to students at our local high school. The group size was probably around 60 each time. I felt it was a good experience, at least from my perspective. Yesterday my oldest daughter joined me at the school and she contributed personal experiences as students ask questions. She really took the talks to a higher level, the kids seemed to relate to her really well. I think it was the age thing, I'm just an old guy, dad type, and she is young and went to that school too.

We tried to make these talks very interactive. Because of that only one session ended when the bell rang. All of the rest kept going right through break and the teachers told the students, "Take all the time you want to ask questions, this is important." Is it possible for a presenter to feel true interest and concern from a group of students like this for what we were discussing? And I felt they had a real concern for my son and how he was doing. Each group ask how he was doing and when I told them he was over 3 months clean there was a huge group smile.

Two of the teachers at these sessions had my son in their class when he was attending this school. I told the group he was on the football and basketball teams, he has a whole stack of medals in forensics. These are things they can relate too. one of my sons teachers told them all he was really, really good in forensics and this was a very bright student.

Some of the students due to their class schedules attended two sessions. One of the teachers told me the kids ask if they could go again when they were given an option of attending. The same teacher said she overheard students discussing these talks in the hall between classes.

I tried a different approach to making my point. I did not want to be just another person in a long line telling them not to use drugs and why. My whole thing was based on using drugs is a choice, in the beginning, if you make that choice then this is what you WILL become and WHAT you will do to those around you to support your addiction. Our personal first hand experiences of being the parents of an addict. And with my daughter she spoke from the point of being the sister of an addict.

As I said we tried to make this an interactive discussion. My very first point was I ask them to be honest with themselves and I would not ask at any time for a show of hands. I want them to be honest inside, and in return for that request I promised I would be completely straight up and there were no areas out of bounds.

Once the first question was ask it was like a bursting dam, sometimes there was three and four hands up to ask questions at a time. I think the questions that were ask tell a better story about tenor of these presentations than my content. I'll just let you in on some of the questions.

When did you know he was an addict?
Do you feel it was your fault he used drugs?
Did he use drugs with friends he met here in school?
What if I know someone that is doing this, what can I do?
Did he go to jail?
Has his appearance changed?
Where is he living now?
What did you do when you first found out he was using drugs? My answer, we went for a long swim in the pool of denial.
Does he regret all of this?
Has he ever tried to kill himself?
What was the hardest thing for you and his mom?
To his sister, what is your relationship with him like now?
Could your son come and talk to us?
Are his friends still using?
Do you think he is done using?

I felt like every question that was ask over two days was expressed with genuine respect and concern for Alex for us. Plus I got the impression they ask questions out of real concern for themselves. There was no cross talking in these meetings. There was no disrespect exhibited at any time. My daughter remarked to me, "Did you see that there were students literally sitting on the edge of their seats?"

The after meeting discussions were heart wrenching. A teacher is open to his class about his brother-in-law was a meth addict and is now clean 4 years, and his admission that addiction runs throughout his family. Students waiting to get a minute to tell very personal and private stories about dealing with addiction in their families right now. Asking me if it would be OK if someone needed to talk to us could they?

I don't know where this will lead. One teacher expressed that every parent needs to here this and she sent an e-mail to the principal that they need to find a way to get parents to a talk like this. I'm willing if they are. Next steps? I don't know but I'll talk if someone will listen. One day I hope that when Alex is ready he can do something like this. With his gifted speaking ability and wealth of knowledge I think he truly could make a difference in some of these young peoples lives.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Another Presentation Opportunity

Next Tuesday and Wednesday I will make presentations at our local high school about drug addiction and its effects on a person and family. It started off to be a few presentations in the classroom to students in the class at that time. Now it has grown to multiple classes over multiple class periods and it is now being held in the school auditorium. I am excited for the opportunity to reach so many kids. They are also sending invites out by e-mail to parents to attend.

I am still going to try and make it as informal as possible and most of the time is going to be devoted to Q & A. The teachers are going to hand out note cards on Monday for students to write anonymous questions they may have. I hope to get some that have the nerve to stand up and ask outright. I hope for a decent dialogue. The principal has ask, to be sure and cover pharm parties and huffing.

Does anyone else out there have any special suggestions.

Answering a comment:

A pharm party is where the kids raid the medicine cabinet at home and all go to a party and put all the pills in a bag and you reach in and pull out a couple like candy and you have to take what you grab. Pharm is short for pharmaceutical.

Huffing is breathing in fumes. Lots or potential highs but paint is one that is used and many other materials such as aerosol glues, carburetor cleaner and nail polish remover. For us old folks it is equivalent to "sniffing glue" that was popular in the '70's before they begin adding things to make it hurt to "sniff".

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Message To My Son or Any Other Addict

Life is not easy. It’s not easy if you are an addict or even if you are not an addict. It’s all about evolution. The strong survive. It’s not just about physical strength it is more about mental strength. Do you have the will to survive; do you have the strength to make it one more day?

As a person that has never been an addict or alcoholic I can only speak from that perspective. My insight into your world is only through observation. I do not wish to walk in your shoes. But I can tell you what it is like to walk in mine if you are serious about sobriety.

Every day I have unfulfilled wants and they are not centered on anyone else. It may seem selfish but I believe that the center of one’s being can only revolve around self. I want things, I want different feelings, I want changes in others, I want, I want, I want. It really never ends. I believe that desire is no different for an addict or non-addict.

Daily there are people out there to tell you, no, a boss, friends, parents, spouses, girlfriends. That is just part of life, disappointment and hurt is as much a part of living as joy, happiness and love. Hurt is the same for an addict or non-addict. The difference I observe in our reactions to all of our emotions, good or bad is our coping methods. I don’t know what drugs do for an addict to help with coping of disappointment. I don’t know how drugs heighten the joy of happiness. But I do know that my life would be very monochromatic without the peaks and valleys.

I have no doubt from observing you that you hated every day that you were using. I can see how your life was out of control, spiraling into a pit of hurt and despair. You became so lost that the helping hands of others could not even be grasp.

I see your struggles being clean. More pain than joy. It’s a time in your life where the scales may not be balanced. You are working so hard to change but everyone is saying, no. So many frustrations, what is the use?

There is one place that no one will say no. There is one life that will accept you. It is the life you have known for the last several years. It is the easy path to take; it is the impossible path to follow.

The immediate pain will eventually fade. Just as when my father died, there was terrible pain for me. I wanted to pick up the phone and call him, but I knew I couldn’t. I wanted one last time, for old times’ sake, but I couldn’t. I flashed back to all the good times, but they were not to be any more. I believe that feeling may be something similar you must experience to live on. Your old life must die and there will be tremendous pain with that death. Each day you will want, just one more time. Time may heal all wounds but sometimes the scars are there forever.

In time the scales will balance and you will find more joy than pain. But for now you must travel the difficult path. Your reward is you will become stronger and that dangerous fork in the road becomes further and further behind you. It may be hard to see because of the difficulty of the path but know inside you are not walking this path alone, hands of help are outstretched at your every step.