Monday, October 22, 2012

I Remember Hating Weekends

I remember hating weekends. The weekend meant there was no rest from parenting an addict. You were home with crisis and drama slamming you into the wall at every turn. Calls from jail asking for bail money. New dents and damage to vehicles. Incoherent conversations that end up being a catalyst for more self hurt. Unknown noises at 3 in the morning and not getting out of bed to investigate. People showing up at your home at midnight and you have no idea who they are and being smart enough not to confront them. Sirens wailing outside wondering who they are chasing and in your heart hoping it is........

I wanna go back to work so I can focus on something resembling sanity. Just an office where I can close the door, hide and work in peace.

Today weekends are once again a time to relish. Babysitting a grandchild from a son you never thought would be alive. Looking forward to a visit from a son that spent Friday night at a family bonfire and a Saturday night at Haunted Houses. Listening to tales of fun and joy from those events on Sunday morning. Watching a 1 year old grandson run into his daddy's arms. This is what weekends are suppose to be like. That's what is called appreciation.

The past seems so long ago now.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Value of Work

I can only imagine what recovery must be like for an addict. I would guess it isn't an internal struggle it must be more like an internal thermonuclear war. Two sides literally fighting for survival. I have a great admiration for any one that has fought that war and won. Way too many are not able to win that war or forever fight skirmishes all their life never feeling even a small taste of freedom.

My observations of my son in recovery extend to all people in general as it relates life. Work is important. Work has been defined as a basic psychological need of humans in general. We all want to feel that we contribute. We must contribute to our family, to others, to society and most of all to ourselves. Work provides purpose. I'm not just talking about punching a clock someplace. Work is what we do to give purpose to our life.

It's not just with addiction, I've seen others suffering from different diseases, they can't wait to get well so they can work. The lack of work is devastating for all peoples. Unemployed, sick, disabled, doesn't matter we all want to contribute.

Especially with addiction I see the destructive power of no work. The old saying I heard from my grandma was, "Idle hands are the devil's playthings" is most appropriate.

Addicts in recovery carry baggage. Many times criminal records, long periods of unemployment, huge unexplained gaps on a resume or application is part of that overwhelming load. For a fact, this makes it hard to get a job and work. I can vouch to that because for over twenty years of my career I have been in human resources and I am that guy that tossed their resume or application aside.

Nothing is going to change over night. All people need work to be healthy. It doesn't matter if a paycheck comes on Friday, work is what we do for our self to be healthy. Work is the reward, money is the byproduct. I don't want anyone to misunderstand the value of compensation, we needs our basic survival needs met but we cannot ignore or diminish the value intrinsic motivation has on our own health.

For myself there has been much professional learning over these past years. I no longer toss aside those resumes and applications (people). But, I do hold all people to the same standards. Recovery is an event or process not an excuse.

I don't have an answer for those in recovery looking to find a job and running into countless brick walls. Nothing in the world is going change over night except you. I don't believe I am unique. There are hiring managers out there that understand what I have come to learn. You just have to dig deeper to find them. Work is a critical part of your recovery, don't allow it be a reason for your relapse.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Parent of An Addict -- Child of An Addict

Today I spoke to over 600 middle school students about being the parent of an addict and what drugs did to my family and my son. These are students that are 12-14 years old. There were over 600 students, too many parents for me to count and a whole school of teachers, staff and administration. It was a jam packed gym with maybe 2 open seats to spare.

My daughter Erica went with me. She is Alex's oldest sister.

This was the first time I ever spoke with this age group. I was a little less graphic than what you have seen on my YouTube presentation. But I tried to be just as intense. For 35 minutes I spoke to this packed gym and other than my voice you could hear a pin drop. These kids were quiet and respectful. I felt every eye on me the whole time. The nurse said that it was amazing how focused and intent they all were on your message.

I introduced Erica in the beginning as Alex's sister if they wanted a sibling perspective. I then began my talk. I introduced myself, introduced my son and his addiction issues, then I issued a spoiler alert and told them that Alex has been clear and sober for over 2 years, since July 2010. When I said he was clear and sober entire gym burst out in thunderous applause and it just went on. The speaker nearly lost his composure at that minute.

At the end of the talk Erica and I found ourselves surrounded. I glanced at her and she looked like a teen rock star she had so many students around her. They were asking her about what to do for their brothers and sisters with issues in there own family. Erica said one little girl ask her if she cried a lot. Erica said, "Yes, she was very sad for a long long time and cried often." The little girl ask Erica if she could hug her. She said if it was her brother she would want someone to hug her.

I was quickly swarmed with parents and students. I answered a couple questions from parents but I quickly focused my attention on students. I'm not going into details but students talked to me about their parents that are addicted. The only thing I could say to these students, tell your parent that you love them, ask them to get help, tell them there are people they can call for help and not get into trouble. But, most importantly, your parent is sick with a disease. This situation is not your fault and you don't have the power to help them. The most you can do is to tell them you love them and ask them to please get help. I left them with my info and told them they can write or call any time.

My heart hurt today. I spoke about the terrible pain when you are the parent of an addict. Today I saw what is even harder to imagine. I met 12-14 year old kids processing being the child of an active addict.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fall Festival Rescheduled

All of the KC weather guessers are predicting a weather apocalypse on Saturday Afternoon from 2-8. Rain, hail, 60 mph winds. We all know it hasn't rained in KC for 6 months but you all know the Grover luck. So, we are re-scheduling Fall Festival for Sunday at 2:00. I know on the invitation it says rain day on the 20th but that is race weekend and Sunday the 14th is suppose to be beautiful, according the the same weather guessers.  Please show up for the same fun and games on Sunday. The Chiefs are playing at noon in Tampa Bay but what REALLY would you be missing.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall Festival Time

It's time to get serious about Fall Festival Oct. 13 is this Saturday. Barbara put me up to having all you readers over to put faces with blogs and readers so it is your chance to meet everyone. Near or far to the KC area everyone is welcome.

I usually get a little over 200 hot dogs for the fire and make around 5-6 gallons of chili, plus there are always enough marshmallows to get everyone good and sugared up. But the best part is all the goodies everyone makes and brings. Every time I walk by the tables I am grazing.

Here is the full invitation. Each year I always like to try something different so this year I'm trying a car show.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Impossible to Swallow, Heart in Throat

This morning I received an e-mail from a mother. Last night her son overdosed.

"Last night I saved my son's life in our bathroom. I'm certainly not the first parent to do so and I won't be the last..........Laying there turning blue lipped and laying in blood from hitting his head on the tile. I can't physically get it out of my head"

How do you get it out of your head? This is the horror of being the parent of an addict. OVERDOSE, what a horrible word!

This is a mother that stole her son back from the monster, at least for that night.

"I believe I first heard of Narcan from your blog or a link from your blog. You indicated you had to use it at some point....  .....Thank you for talking about Narcan. I was able to at least save his life another day for one more day of hope."

Yes, I did write about the time my son was given Narcan because of an overdose.

If you are the parent of an addict, I can't say it enough, EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE, yourself. I know with the drama and crisis of addiction this may seem overwhelming but it must be done.

My random rantings and raving on this blog isn't about helping to save a life. My purpose began as trying to help me make sense of an insane situation. Maybe it has turned into something more.

If this mom that wrote me reads this I want you to know that you have made my day today and you have destroyed my day. You ripped your son away from the monster and there is nothing in the world that makes me feel better. The monster is alive and still grabbing our children each day. That reality grabs my heart and destroys my happiness.