What can I say about one of the worst experience of my life? What words could I string together to make a cohesive sentence that could accurately describe a scenario that was so emotionally taxing that the mere thinking of explaining it is exhausting. I make no promises that I will sound intelligent, but I can try.
I’m not sure exactly where to start. I guess at the beginning but we have already gone over the highs and lows, pun intended, of addiction so just assume things had gotten out of control again. JoDee was accompanied to the ER by two close friends after several weeks of using and hiding it, not very well, at that. When I got the call, and then proceeded to the ER, I was, again, not prepared for what I would see. I had called her earlier that day when I had heard from someone that she was seeing her drug-runner/ex-boyfriend (which I still don’t know if that is true or not…I heard he is still in jail so who knows) and we had an argument. She was nasty to me, I hung up on her. Before I hung up I told her don’t call me until you’re ready to swallow your pride to realize you are in serious trouble. She looked so sick in the week since I had last seen her. Her face was brutally picked, she smelled, she was dirty, she was paranoid, and I don’t know even know whose clothes she was wearing. Clearly crack was at the party this time.
She agreed she needed detox again. She claimed she couldn’t do this anymore, but in a sort of half interested way. She said her stomach hurt because she hadn’t eaten in days. Her friends departed, I stayed with her until the in-take person met with her. We agreed on a course of action and I went home to sleep a few hours before work. It as 3am on Monday morning. I got up at 5:45 per usual to start the morning routine. I text JoDee, she was not up yet. Everyone got off to school and work, and she text me around 11 that she was going to detox and had to turn off her phone. Around 4 she called me from detox sounding annoyed, sick and very tired. She was going to go lay down, I told her someone was bringing her some clothes and I would drop off quarters. I went home from work that day feeling discouraged that we were doing this again. I saw something in JoDee’s eye that led me to believe that this was not over. I was very uneasy.
I never heard from her again until 6pm on Tuesday night when I was on my way to pick up her car, my car really, were she left it. She was disorganized in her thoughts, seemed paranoid, was not oriented to time. She kept repeating herself and then would stop talking and say “did you hear that?” or wouldn’t say anything at all. It was frustrating just being on the phone with her. She finally said that she had slept for 24 hours and was confused because she just woke up. She was upset because she still had no clothes and was desperate to finally shower and get out of the clothes she had been wearing for who-the-hell-knows how long. I told her I would see when her clothes were getting dropped off and told her to call me later with the quarters I had dropped off. When we hung up I told AC that she was a mess, I was worried. And, I had that feeling in the pit of my stomach that told me a big storm was coming and I had better brace myself.
At 9:20pm I get a text from JoDee, below is how this conversation went:
Her: Where are my car keys?
Me: I have them. Why do you have your phone?
Me: Did you leave detox? Why do you have your phone?
Me: Jesus Fucking Christ answer me JoDee.
Her: I left.
I immediately called her. She didn’t answer. I text her “Answer the phone right this minute or I am turning off the service.” She called me back. She said she left, she didn’t care about life, and she wanted to do whatever she wanted to do. She had walked out the front door. She wasn’t going back. I told her she was a spoiled brat and she swore at me going on about how she isn’t the only addict in the world who behaved badly, on and on. Finally I said I won’t see you again until your funeral if you keep this up, she “ya ya ya’d” me and I heard her say I love you, and I hung up. JV and I text back and forth until almost midnight trying to determine where she is, what happened and what next. I said, she walked out, it’s freezing, and she needs to be on her own in the cold to see what that is really like. He agreed. I didn’t sleep all night.
At 5am I got up, got ready for work, the entire ride debating with myself with next steps. I got to work, changed my mind, went back to Danvers, picked up AC and headed to the court. The whole time we were driving we kept saying out loud, and to ourselves, are we going to go through with this? Can I really have JoDee locked up? Have things really come to that point? Someone told me almost two years ago, that’s right TWO YEARS, to go to court and have JoDee sectioned and I didn’t listen. And each time she relapsed, I brought it up, or someone else did and I would think about it and say, no she isn’t to that point. There was no denying that she was at that point. For the first time, I truly could not anticipate what might happen. I had no idea where she was going or what she was doing. She was completely homeless, money-less, car-less and any other sort of less I could think of. She was going to be desperate. And I knew the time had come. If JoDee died from her drug addiction, I could not say I tried everything within my power to help her because I was afraid. I was afraid to do this but I realized the fear of her dying was greater than the fear of seeing her locked up or of her hating me. I really understood that it would be better for her to hate me for the rest of her life than to have her die in a gutter somewhere. I also knew it’s no guarantee. Many a good person has been sectioned, released after doing said time, used, and subsequently died. But how do I know if it would work for JoDee if I didn’t try? The last thing she said to me when she hung up was, “I don’t give a fuck about life” which is a strong statement.
So, with a heavy heart and enough anxiety to paralyze a small nation, AC and I marched into court and declared JoDee be detained. Only that’s not how it works. I soon enjoyed the slice of heaven here on earth that is our Drug Court Clinic. It was a lot of sit here and wait. Now come and tell me your story. Ok tell me again, slower. Now repeat that. What about this. Please wait outside, please sit some more. Please go into the court. Please tell the judge how pathetic a parent you have been that your child is such a wild hoodlum that you can no longer care for and why. It’s a humiliating, depressing, frustrating and time consuming process. In the end, a warrant was issued and the hunt to find JoDee was on. We made phone calls to people who made phone calls to people who made phone calls who claimed she was at someone’s house. Great. We called the police to let them know. They hadn’t received the warrant yet. We called again 30 minutes later. They just got the warrant and currently at the location. She was gone. It took some time but JoDee eventually called me, crying, no not crying, frenzied is probably the best word. She didn’t know where to go, she didn’t remember leaving detox, she never wants to use drugs again, call off the police, she will come home and sleep in her own bed and be a good girl, and the guy she was with scared her and she was afraid to be on the street and she didn’t know where she was going to go. I think you get the drift of that call. We let the police know where she was, and met them there. She tried barricading herself in the house, but we got in and the police took her away. It was ….there aren’t words strong enough to be worthy of such an emotion. She was frail, sick, dirty, scared, desperate in a way I have never seen her. And in that moment, at that exact time, seeing her like that, I knew it was the right thing to do. Without that sort of terror, without really seeing the bottom, she would never understand how bad it could be.
She went in front of the judge. He remanded her on the section to the women’s addiction center. And I am left feeling, nothing. I think my emotions have been so exposed in the last 24 hours that they shut down. I keep saying to AC I don’t even know how I feel. Relief. Sad. Exhausted. Worried. Glad she is safe. To say I am cautiously optimistic is an understatement. I am certainly not naive at this point in the game to believe that this is going to be a miracle cure. There is no such thing. I can only hope that it’s bad enough for her to remember when she gets out. I know there are many, many people whose loved ones have been locked up multiple times so I also keep in mind, this may not be last time I have to do this. But I am going to not think about that tonight. Tonight, finally, I am going to do laundry, and try to clean the house. Then, I am going to lie in bed and watch bad-mind-numbing TV that is not about drugs or drug addiction so I can try to sleep, just for tonight.