Monday, April 29, 2013

Speaking At SMW High School

This Friday, May 3 I will again be speaking at Shawnee Mission West High School. Anyone interested contact me.

Another mother dealing with addiction through her blog: A Mother's Heart: Dealing With Addiction

Friday, April 19, 2013

500 Posts

I just saw the stats on my blog and it said my last post I Need Help was my 500th post. "What a long strange trip it's been!" That's a quote from a rock band, do you know who? (answer at bottom of post)

I looked back at the first post I made on this blog. Funny how the 1st post and the 500th one are tied so closely together. On January 20, 2009 the title of the post was simply "Welcome". In that post I want to quote a sentence from so long ago. "My wish and goal for this blog is that maybe I can help you or you can help us." How ironic the title the title of my 500th post was "I Need Help".

There has been a lot of ground covered since my first post. Life did not wait while all of the crisis and turmoil invaded out lives. Friends and family died, grandchildren were born, children got married, something happened that caused us to smile every day, tears were shed.

However one thing I am eternally grateful for is the reason I began this blog. Today my son is in recovery. The blog maintained MY sanity, barely. He is the one that did the work to be what he is today. I have said before I have no words that can describe that feeling inside on me.

Most important in this endeavor, you read this blog and whether you commented or not you helped me. That was my selfish reason for writing. I salute you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I don't know if there is a life cycle to something like this blog. I'm not ready to give up but I realize I write far less often that I use too. I do answer e-mails. I began this blog anonymously, today I share most everything including my phone number to those that need to talk. Coming out for us was a big step but not one we have regretted.

Asking for help in my 1st post and asking for help on my 500th post. Maybe Alex is the one that grew and I'm the one stuck.  ;-)

"What a long strange trip it's been!" The Grateful Dead. From the song "Truckin"

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I Need Help

It ain't over till it's over.

I got a comment from a mother last night and I commented back to her. But I need help. Please share your advice and stories of hope here on this post in a comment for her. I am going to reprint her comment. Share your words and love with this mother.


Anonymous Anonymous said...
I am a mother of three young sons and I am an addict.. I started off by taking a pill here and there to "perk" me up at work in the afternoons and didn't think anything of it until I started taking them in the mornings as well , it wasn't long before I needed them to get up in the morning and function! Now here I am 5 yrs into this hell . I wish to god I had never touched one!! My life is ruined.. I have tried to quit soooo many times only to go back because the withdrawal is pure hell!! I wouldn't wish this on anyone.... I wish I could go back to feeling normal emotions without anything in my system , all I want is to be naturally happy like I used to be . I was such a happy person just naturally happy but I have ruined my brain now so I am literally incapable of feeling "normal" . I don't want to be high just comfortable in my skin but its imposible for me . I blame myself not my parents no one is to blame but me...I have ruined my life...It's over I will never ever be normal again .....

I don't know if it is the same person but here is another comment to a different post from last night too.

Dear Dad and Mom ,
I am an addict... I have been reading your blog and I thank you for not "throwing" your son away and instead trying to understand his illness. I am ashamed , embarrased that I did this to myself. I'm sorry I have ruined my life .I hate living with this shameful secret of mine I am exhausted just pretending I'm happy . Once you mess with that part of your brain you can't fix it you see...I have so many regrets....I wish I could turn back time and said no ....but It's too late unfortunately just way too late...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Something Different For Me

I have been ask to be a guest on a HuffPost live show event tomorrow 4/17 about addiction. The host is Alicia Menendez. I have to get my computer set up in the morning and they are doing a pre-interview. Tryout I guess. The show is 2:30-3:00 EST.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Few Early Sunday Morning Random Thoughts

At times I find myself talking and thinking about addiction as an actual thing not as a condition or disease. I think of it in a first person sense. It's almost as if I allow it to become the person. I allow myself to give over a person to a condition and that makes the person less of a person and elevates a disease to more.

I am guilty of allowing addiction to define my son. I am the worst offender. There was a time I interchanged "my son" and "my addict". That was not meant as being disrespectful it was just a statement of fact or condition at the time.

When was the last time we heard a parent refer to their child with cancer or diabetes as their cancer kid or their diabetic?

Changing subject, suboxone or methadone is controversial even in the recovery community. How many of you have heard someone say, "If they are using suboxone then they aren't really clean"? Many times we think of suboxone or other treatments even 12 step programs as something addicts should or could be weaned from after a period of time. Yep, guilty here of these thoughts too. But yet, I would never ask a parent or think that a child with diabetes should be weaned off of insulin. I would never think of an adult diabetic as weak because they still treat their disease with another chemical. When someone has heart disease do we chastise them when they eat healthy and exercise? "Oh it's OK, you haven't had an "episode" for years, why don't you just give up that healthy lifestyle? This health kick is like a religion to you." It's not our place to judge. What works for one my not be the best for all. What works is what works.

Final thoughts, we had a mini-Alex spend the night with us last night. Friday night we had Brooke and Owen, last night we had Tyler. A weekend of grandkids. Great visits but I know why women's baby makers shut down at a certain age. Raising babies when you are in your mid-fifties seems a lot harder then when you are in your 20's and early 30's. But, I wouldn't trade the smiles and non-stop activity for anything in the world. Tyler is a mini-Alex. His mannerisms are just like Alex when he was that age. He is very inquisitive and a boy that loves being loved. Like wanting to sit right next to you when watching a movie or grabbing your finger and taking you to the door when he wants to play outside on the swing set.

Here is mom getting camera happy while Ty and I were chilling and watching the movie Brave last night. Alex would sit just like this while he watched Bambi, his favorite movie at that age.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Today is Alex's Birthday

Today Alex turns 25 years old.

I know none of you are watching me write this but I'll share a little writers inside secret. After I wrote that first sentence it was hard to even touch the keyboard. Just a long moment of nothing but appreciation. A silent recognition of the significance this day means.

Birthdays come and go, it is a good thing. When we cease to age, that is a bad thing.

I still think back to a story I told a couple years ago about being in rehab with Alex six years ago. Happy Birthday to my Son  How can something seems to be so long ago and yet also seem just like yesterday? Guess it has something to do with how much of an impact an action has on one's life.

For today everything in the past is "so long ago". Today is for appreciation and reflection of the good and grace I have been given on this day.

Happy Birthday, Son

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What Do I Wish I Had Done

More than a couple weeks ago I got an e-mail from a mother telling me about her son. Similar situations that we have all experienced. She had done this and done that trying to help. Now she was scared she was going to lose her son.

She ask me a simple question about what should she do now. She ask what do I wish I had done differently?

That is a tricky question. Or, some may even say it is a trick question. Looking for the silver bullet has been every parents quest that I have spoken too. It was my quest for several years.

That troubling question has caused me much thought since she wrote. I answer every e-mail I receive in some way or another. Many times I feel I just have no answer that is adequate but sometimes the answer that best fits is simply, "I understand, you are not alone."

"What do I wish I had done differently?" First thing I thought of was all of those little things and big things that I feel would have made a difference. Might even have prevented this nightmare. That was my first thought and I threw in some answers I hoped would help. But, my answers troubled me. After a few weeks of deliberation I am satisfied with a different answer.

I would have learned to listen. This is not an easy thing for a parent to do.

I've spent years chronicling our family experiences on this blog. Written about what I have learned and how we screwed up. There is nothing original, I just had to experience for myself and draw my own conclusions.

I would have learned to listen to my son. What does an addicted person really have to say worth listening too? All along through his words and actions he told me there was nothing I could do to fix him. Although, as a parent I knew it was my job to fix my son. That's what parents do, we fix things. Years of trying to fix him even through he was telling me not too try.

I would have learned to listen to counselors and parents. Listening is very different than searching for answers. Getting answers to questions or "what to do" solutions assume that there is a single answer or methodology that will awaken not just you but also your addicted loved one from this nightmare.

I would have learned to listen to my own internal struggles about what I am told. What have I heard, what do I feel, why am I scared? Emotional reactions was a result of unresolved internal struggles.

I would have learned to listen to my heart and my head. Most of the time one or the other would win out. Listening to my heart is what tells me where there is life there is hope. My heart allows me to love someone that by all accounts seems to be unloveable. In my head I know all of the realities of addiction. Heart and head is not a win/lose struggle. Hearts and head can actually work together. It is possible for your heart to accept that my son may die. It is also possible for the head to grasp that there may not be an answer for addiction and loving for just today is all you get.

Listening is hard. No one loves your child like you do. Since they were babies you fed them, changed them, raised them and provided for their every need. Listening to someone or anything is hard when loving and caring for them has always been instinct.

What do I wish I had done differently? I wish I had learned how to listen sooner in my life.