Well, we are back. Back to school, back to work, back from the most amazing vacation that we have all ever had. We laughed, and fought, and swam, and ate, and walked, and ate, and beached, and ate. We rode pirate ships, catamarans, ATV’s and cabs until our little hearts were content. Most nights we passed out from sun and exhaustion. We had the trip of our lives. There is no doubt about it.
That doesn’t mean that it went seamlessly. It did not. That’s the really shitty part about addiction. You can’t just leave it home when you’re on vacation. I couldn’t take it from JoDee, wrap in plastic, and put it in a safe. It follows us everywhere. We were very excited the first day we got there. For those that don’t know, AC and I got married in our back yard the night before. Actually, it was a surprise wedding. Everyone came over expecting to celebrate my 40th birthday before we took off, and when they got there…. SURPRISE. Only our 5 children knew. Our parents didn’t, our families didn’t, our friends/co-workers. So, we barely slept the night before, we got on a plane at 7am (getting to the airport at 5am!) and landed around 12noon. By the time we got cabs, found the condo and arrived, we all were exhausted, and excited to see where everything was.
We went out for lunch because we were all starving. At lunch JoDee ordered a drink (non alcoholic), took two sips and said she didn’t feel well. Her voice became funny, she was nauseated. All bad signs. I whispered in AC ear “Is she high?” He responded by saying that at times like this he wishes I was fluent in Spanish so we could talk about the kids without them knowing what we were saying. We had only been in Aruba for a few hours and all ready I was on the alert. And it made me so angry. I was annoyed. I was on vacation to celebrate our wedding and our families, couldn’t I get a break? The answer is no. There is no break. It comes with you to Aruba. It makes you not want to finish your burger that was delicious and juicy and suddenly became acrid and revolting. It makes you question your decision to let her go back to the condo with the other kids while you go to the grocery store with AC. It makes you short-tempered, and foul, on a beautiful island where everyone is smiling and sun-bathing around you. And that makes you even more foul.
When we were alone AC said how could she get it here? I don’t think she is high. Maybe she is. Honestly I don’t know. And my response to that was “thanks for clearing that up.” When we got back to the condo the kids were telling me she was acting strange, she was slurring her words, she was tired, etc. I thought maybe her drink had alcohol in it? Maybe they didn’t give her a virgin fruity-tooty-umbreller-y drink. But I would think she would have tasted that. Maybe she did and she didn’t say anything?? I pondered the possibilities through unpacking, organizing, arranging beds. After a while, the kids all settled in and AC and I went to sit pool side, Jared and OC were swimming. We laid in the sun, as the day began to turn to-night. The steaming heat and humidity from the day began to fade to a comfortable warmth as the sun started to hide behind the horizon. I laid by the pool losing out on the first sun set of the trip to question whether JoDee was high or not. It was infuriating. Jay J came out to tell me that he, JayPay and JoDee were going to go walk around the beach for a while. I immediately started panicking. I did not think this was a good way to start the trip. Jay J told me to relax, he was going with them, no one would do anything stupid. I believed that as much as I believe my dog is going to become a vegetarian.
By this time, JoDee was fine. Totally normal. She had taken a nap, showered and ate and was perfect. Anyone who knows someone who uses knows that they can’t rebound that fast. She kept saying she was tired. Not high. I can’t say for certain that she wasn’t high, but I can’t say for certain she isn’t high right now. What I can say is there are many times I think she is using until I see her high. Then I remember exactly what it is like. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure it out. I also know that I could not spend my well deserved, expensive, greatly anticipated vacation chasing JoDee’s recovery. I can’t chase JoDee’s recovery anywhere. It’s not my recovery to chase. So, I let them all go out. Within a few hours I was completely unhinged, so I text Jay J for them all to come home. When they got back we all sat down and had a calm conversation about rules, using and boundaries. Ha. If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you. Of course, when they got home I yelled and screamed and they got defensive as they should . Then we all calmed down, and I made it clear that I wanted to be able to have a good time. They made it clear that they wanted to have fun too and not be scrutinized for every single thing they do with an excusing eye. We made peace and enjoyed the rest of the trip.
As a mother I couldn’t help but worry, a little, but I was able to put it in check. I kept an eye on all of them. All 6 of them. Not just JoDee. But that’s par for the course of parenting and parenting an addict. There is regular parenting and watching and monitoring and then there is everything else. Being on vacation doesn’t mean I didn’t stop having an addict for a child. It was a good reminder that it never goes away. I can’t escape it. She can’t escape it. We have to figure out how to live with it in every aspect of our lives or we will be fighting it. Fighting addiction is what leads to relapse. Pretending it is not there will lead to relapse. There were 8 of us on that trip. 8 people who wanted to have fun and snorkel and swim and shop and relax. 7 of us did that really well, 1 of us hung out with the 9th guest that no one wanted, or could see, except me. Reality always shows up the time I least want to see it. But the reality is this is my life, and I’m grateful for that because if I don’t see Reality lurking around somewhere then JoDee is gone and there is nothing to worry about anymore.
I won’t bore anyone with a million pictures but here are a few highlights!