Birthday’s Are Funny Things….

Clearly last March was not the last of relapses for JoDee. Or we wouldn’t be back in programs, treatment, etc. And really, could it have been that easy? No. It is never that easy. It isn’t easy even if it was that easy. I mean, it wasn’t “that easy” to begin with. But what I mean to say is that was not the end. It was the beginning of the longest run of clean time we will see for a while, and I am proud she managed that. I wished it could have been longer, but JoDee’s story doesn’t end there. I’m really not sure when it ends, but I know it doesn’t end that March. And I hope it doesn’t end with surrendering her life.

JoDee’s relapse in March began another round of let’s guess how long she stays clean. I always, always, hope this is it. This will be the time she realizes her self-worth, she will realize this cycle is insane, and will magically stop struggling. Oh, have I introduced you to Denial? Denial still follows me around; along with Fear, Reality and Anger has a place too. Guilt is usually piggy-backing someone. It’s no wonder I get no sleep, I rarely enjoy silence (I allows my mind to race too much, I always have a TV or radio on) and I am always, always, trying to anticipate what will come next. But that is the thing with addiction; you can’t anticipate the next move. I’m not sure JoDee can, so I don’t know how I would.

It is sort of like Hockey. My son is a goalie, and he has to rely on his instincts. As the years went on, his instincts got better. When Jay J first got in the net he got deeked all the time, break aways were his nemesis and the five hole was a huge problem. By the time he was in high school, he was a pro at blocking breakaways. He could close the gap on the five hole and his deek percentage was much, much better. That was because he learned to read the ice. Read the players, and anticipate what was next. A good defense is a good offense. Or something like that. My point to this, in case you were wondering, I know I am, is that he got better with time and practice. The more ice time he had, the more experiences he, well, experienced, the more he was able to anticipate his opponent’s moves. Who in this nifty little analogy is my opponent one might ask. Interesting question. Is it my daughter? Her drug addiction? The drugs themselves? Me? Am I my own worst enemy? Denial? The answer is all of the above.

Every day is a new day. Every day she is an addict, I am her mother and this is our life. It is true that I am better able to navigate the system. I know what to say to the nurses, social workers and doctors to get what I want/need for her when she is high. I know what my insurance company will and won’t cover and the lengths I may need to go to keep JoDee locked up even for one more day. But I also know Denial lets me forget what is happening when things calm down. Reality, well Reality is no joke. Reality is always there. In my face, not hiding like Fear and Guilt and even Anger. Reality stands in my face and dares me to try to forget she is an addict. When I am lying in bed and she hasn’t come home or I haven’t heard from her and I am watching the clock, Reality sits at the end of my bed, glaring at me with beady, annoying eyes that I want to gouge out, taunting me. Reality knows I don’t want to call her because if she is high or not where she says or doesn’t answer, it starts all over, but if I don’t call I am being an ostrich by sticking my head in the sand which could be deadly. It’s so unfair. It such complete bullshit but it’s the hand I have been dealt and I have no other choice. And it’s not easy. Believe me, it is not easy. Many days I am innocently scrolling through Facebook, minding my own business, though technically if I am scrolling Facebook I am probably reading other people’s business, but that is beside the point. When I come across someone’s daughter/son/husband/dog/canary having done something super successful and brilliant and wonderful and I want to drop kick them. With no remorse. Not because I’m not happy for them, I am very happy for them. But I am also pissed off for me. We all want our kids to be successful. And I am extremely proud of JoDee’s accomplishments, but I would be elated if I could get her to go back to school. She is managing her job, now, well; she only complains a moderate amount of time. However, wouldn’t it be wonderful if I didn’t have to worry about her working at the Kohls for the rest of her life and trying to support herself on minimum wage? I did that already. I graduated high school, didn’t go to college, and fought, scratched, worked, worked harder, worked longer and stronger so that I could make enough money so that she could go to school and not have to do that. It feels like a more of a betrayal than the addiction. Addiction is what it is. It’s in her blood now. She will live with it forever. Can’t she live with it forever and have a college degree? Anyway, none of this is even relevant to what happened after March. Though, actually I guess it is.

She completed an IOP. Her first ever completely finished. She did not have a job any longer because she was high and didn’t show up when she relapsed so she sort of lounged around. Tried to figure out what she was going to do. I told her she could work with me. She came in a couple of days a week and did some filing and other administrative tasks. As spring turned to summer she went to the beach, slept in and did a whole lot of nothing. Hung around the house, did some more chores, and did some more of nothing. Nothing. Not regular work. Not regular school. Do you see where this is going? Idle hands and all. I should have known. I should have known it was going to happen. I did know it was happening, and I allowed Denial to lead by the hand. I did the deadly thing, even after everything I have been through, even though I know better, even though I know I cannot trust her, I gave her space and freedom and too much time to do a lot of nothing. Her only job was to stay clean. HEAR ME KNOW WHEN I SAY AN ADDICT NEEDS TO KEEP BUSY! Convincing myself I was helping JoDee so the only thing she had to do was stay clean was a ginormous mistake. If anyone is doing nothing, they are going to find trouble, forget a person who looks for trouble! A person who basically writes her name on the bathroom wall of troubles house to see what she can find! It didn’t take long to figure this out. 5 months actually.

Mid-August my whole family, his kids, my kids and my parents, went to Six Flags for a family day. We had a great time. The kids all got along, we saw a strange phenomenon, Jay J smiled, Jared laughed, and everyone liked each other. That only happens as often as we spot Halley’s Comet! It was a great time. We ate. We went on rides, we ribbed each other. We got home late. We slept in the next day. The only sad part about the day was when OC and I were in line for a ride and we had heard about Robin Williams. When we got off the ride, we went to meet the rest of the gang and told them what we heard. I said it was so sad. JoDee asked if he was an addict, I said no I think he was depressed. She sort of had this black cloud pass her face. I asked if she was alright, she said yes fine and was back to herself within a few minutes. I should have known then. That is a common theme with me. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN.

Two weeks later it was my birthday. I was looking forward to it so much. Last year on my birthday JoDee was nasty and biter and pasty (and apparently actively using and I found out ten days later) so I was looking forward to spending it with the 8 of us. It was a Thursday. I would be off for 6 days from work because I took Thursday and Friday off and Monday as Labor Day. I had let JoDee take my car to a meeting. Something I didn’t want to do because the night before I let her take my car and she came home at 1 in the morning. But I told myself she was just with friends. At 11 JoDee called me and said I just dropped off your car. I’m in the driveway talking to JV (using initials to protect privacy). I said ok come in soon. At 12:15, 15 minutes into the morning of my birthday, my phone rang. Someone once said to me if the phone rings in the middle of the night there is no good news on the other end. That is no shit. I answered the phone, and turned my bedroom light on. Standing next to my bed was Reality. Shaking its head, looking at me with pity. I looked past Reality to the figure behind. Reality told me not to focus on that, but I liked it better. As I climbed out of bed to go meet JoDee at the hospital, where JV had brought her because she was high, I told Reality to stay away from and walked hand in hand with Rage to my car. To say I was Angry would be a complete understatement. To say I was furious would not do it justice. To say that I was consumed with Rage might be close. It is lucky for JoDee, high or no, that she had someone else bring her to the hospital. It is entirely possible that I may have been completely irrational if she had come in that way. As it was when she called me, I was screaming on the phone. Frothing at the mouth, spitting, kind of screaming. I swore I wasn’t coming to the hospital that she was on her own, blah blah blah. In the end, I got out of bed, trucked to the hospital, stayed with her all night long, answered all the concerning questions, made sure they didn’t send her to the unit she used on and finally went home at 5 in the morning. I crawled in bed at 5:02 a.m. AC said Happy Birthday and I went to sleep.

At 7am when AC got up for work, I got up with him. I showered, I dressed, I made breakfast for the kids and I headed back to the hospital. JoDee was still out cold. I sat with her until 2 and then went back home. I cleaned the house. I started making dinner. When I got the call that JoDee was being moved to the locked unit, I said ok I will come bring her clothes. I brought her some essentials, and sat with her until they came to get her. When we started walking up to the unit, I said my good byes. She questioned why I wasn’t coming up to the unit with her? I said no, not this time. I’m not watching you go through that door again. I gave her a hug and left her at the elevator as I walked back out to the car. Reality started whispering in my ear. I did that teeth grinding-pointing thing that parents due to unruly children and told Reality to back off. I don’t want to hear what Reality said. I refused to heed Reality’s warning about letting anger consume me. I had come full circle, Denial, Acceptance, Avoidance, and Reality. There was really only one thing left. I marched out of that hospital completely in love with Rage.


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