The name of this blog is The Addict In My Basement. And the reason that is so is that her room is in the basement. With the other two girls. However, her room was not always in the basement. In fact, she was the only one in the family lucky enough to have a room all to her lonesome, originally. I was sharing a room with ex-husband the sequel until he departed, and Jay J and Jared were sharing a room. This was a huge bone of contention between the boys and me because Jay J did not want to share a room any longer. Not that I can blame him. No self-respecting teen-age boy wants his 4 years younger (3.5 really) brother always in his stuff, in his room, in his space. And Jay J and Jared could not be more different. They are polar opposites in every single sense of the term. Eventually the “C” clan came into our family and we sort of shifted things around so everyone had some space. Really that means, we made a bedroom in the basement. Jay J kept arguing that he deserved his own room and he had a good argument for it but I wasn’t going to kick JoDee out of her room. That didn’t seem fair. Until…
It was August, my birthday to be more specific. We all know what happened. Relapse, relapse, relapse. Once again I was tossing her room to see what was in there and I found a bag of K-pins. To say I lost my shit would be the understatement of all time. That would be like saying Massachusetts got a little snow this past winter. Anger was standing in her door way taunting me, but it’s hard to throat punch an emotion. The events of the past years played in my mind like an old movie flickering on a reel. Some of the scenes were JoDee smashing the door on my shoulder and back, glass flying everywhere, me giving her and Long Gone money for “movies” or “cigarrettes”, Jared sleeping in my room because Jay J wanted friends over, or Jared playing play station in the living room because the basement was a bedroom and he didn’t have his own space. I saw myself cleaning her room of alcohol and drugs for the umpteenth time and Jay J staying home with in pain from passing a kidney stone by himself because I couldn’t miss anymore work. I was furious that her drug addiction was taking over all of our lives, including my 39 birthday. My last birthday in the 30’s. No dinner like we were supposed to do. No celebrating with the 7 of us together (though in full disclosure, I did get the best present I have ever gotten in my life (Kitchen-Aide Stand Mixer- From AC). I was pissed off. And hurt, I’m sure, but I couldn’t recognize that at the time.
After I came home from the hospital to which AC and I promptly had a humongeous fight, and then made up, sort of, we took the kids to get their back to school supplies. I just wanted to go to bed and forget that it was even my birthday. While I pretended to be sleeping, I laid in bed thinking about what I could do differently. What had we not already tried. What more could I do. Her addiction was holding this family hostage and I had just about as much as I could take. That’s when I heard the fighting… Jared wanted to play on his PS3 and OC wanted to watch TV but SC was also playing PS3 in their room in the basement. I told OC to watch TV in JoDee’s room. Jared made a comment under his breath that she doesn’t deserve her own room. And he was right. The next day was Friday. The girls were going to their mom’s house, Jared was going away with his Dad and Jay J went away with his friends. By the time they had all come back on Monday (except the girls who didn’t come back until the following weekend) JoDee’s stuff was in the basement, and Jared had his own room painted the most obnoxious color orange you would ever want to see. In the morning with his door shut, there is an orange glow radiating from the floor. It is a sight Stephen King could appreciate.
I want to make it clear this was less about punishment and more about knee-jerk reaction. That being said, I believe it was the right thing to do. First of all, since that relapse she has only slept at the house a hand full of times. That relapse started a whole new chain of events up to and including when we had her sectioned. It has been a crazy, eventful year. To say the least. Everyone’s year is crazy all the time. I don’t know a single person who has said to me recently My life is so boring , I wish something dramatic would happen. I think it is sort of a sign of the times. Like being busy or having a crazy life is a social status all on it’s own. It has taken the place of the country club membership. Instead of a glistening swimming pool and beautifully manicured golf courses surrounding a person, they are measured by the blank space in their Iphone calendar. More blank space, less social status. Sometimes I feel like I really am old, when I can’t appreciate some of the things technology has to offer, such as the calendar on my Iphone. Though, I digress. The point is that crazy busy doesn’t necessarily equate to good. In a lot of cases crazy busy is a polite way of saying I’m so fucking busy I could shoot myself in the face and I wouldn’t have time to die. In a lot of ways, that is how this year has been. I mean, don’t get me wrong. We have had some great things happen like Jay J’s graduation, Jared’s graduation, Little Gentleman Baby Smo-Ro was born, um, I’m sure there is more that I just don’t remember. I straightened SC hair and it looked amazing? That should count.
Anywho. Immediately the benefits of Jared having his own room were evident. No fighting between the brothers, no kids in the living room when Albuilito wanted to watch TV. The girls had their space, the boys had their space, AC and I had our space. All was right with the world. Except for that JoDee was still an addict in active addiction once again. Yup… just that. I knew right away she wasn’t coming home. I didn’t know it would be I can’t let you come home ever, but I knew it wasn’t good. It was Labor Day weekend, I figured they would keep her until Tuesday at the latest and I would have to figure something out. Just the fact that I was thinking “I” would have to figure something out sort of speaks to the effed-up-ness of the situation. She is my daughter for god sakes, but I couldn’t just let her come home. We had done this dance enough times that I was not letting her step on my toes again. I told the nurse, the case worker, the discharge planner, anyone who would listen that she was not coming home from detox. Was not. Could not. No way, Jose. Under no conditions. Did I sound convincing? Probably not. Because I was having a hard time convincing myself. I knew that’s what needed to be done. It was the logical next step. If you can place logic anywhere in addiction. AC kept saying that it was time for drastic measures, and I know to a certain degree he was right, but I don’t want to hear it from him. I didn’t want to hear it out loud. The struggles I had with coming to terms with that next step were happening in my head and I needed to keep talking to myself to come full circle. It’s sort of like I can make fun of my nutty, wackadoodle, possibly pyschotic grandmother if I want but if someone else does it I will ass punch them with the velocity of Optimus Prime.
I remember the day I met JoDee and her case worker on the floor of the unit she was in. I knew this conversation was going to be about discharge and I was going to have to take a hard line. I purposely went without AC because I didn’t want him there. I didn’t need his glaring blue/gray eyes staring at me with the intent of using mind control to get me to do what needed to be done. I would have ended up poking out those eyes and letting some nutbag on the unit make earings out of them. So, I went alone. And that is how it should be. JoDee had her plan all set about going to an IOP in Gloucester, which would mean living at home, and using my car. I waited for them to finish givng me their speechy plan and I said as calmly as the Wicked Witch of the West asked Dorothy for the ruby slippers back that she couldn’t come home or use my car. Ever again. About the car. And about the house too. Maybe, but definitely the car. The case worker sort of expected it. I’m sure she has seen the false bravado on many a parents face as they enter those meetings. JoDee on the other hand, looked as though I just told her I wasn’t her mother. Crestfallen is the world I would use. And in that moment I was heart sick, for not being able to make this right for her, angry that her sad face made me feel so bad when my sad face at her using didn’t seem to stop her even for a millimoment, and vulnerable. The vulnerable part surprised me. And I felt vulnerable because I realized, with that crestfallen look and my reaction to it, that her addiction has manipulated me so many times into allowing it to be easier for her to use, that I had to stand my ground. Nothing changes if it doesn’t change. I stood strong. I said we need to come up with another plan. The case worker said she would look for another inpatient program. JoDee looked at me with her puppy dog sad face masked by a smile and said it was fine and she understood and she loved me anyway. I walked slowly out to my car, for fear that my sick stomach would make me vomit all over the hallway in the hospital. My car was parked with the nose facing a wooded area. With one hand on the hood, burning under the hot August sun, I retched my guts up. I am almost positive I expelled Milk Duds I ate in the 3rd grade! When it finally stopped, I climbed in my car, drove home feeling defeated and defiant. Stronger and weaker. Happier and sadder. And more unsure about our future as mother and daughter, than I had in the last 20 years of her life.