I woke up on the first day of the New Year feeling the weight of someone sitting on the end of my bed. I am a morning person, unlike basically everyone else in my family. If Jared doesn’t stay up until the crack of dawn playing some inappropriate death game, he will be up early, but since it is school vacation week, no way he is going to get up before noon. The only other person who might be up early, besides the animals wanting to be fed, would be JoDee. Instinctively, I knew it wasn’t her. Without even opening my eyes, I could sense the presence of someone I did not know. Someone I had never met. I could feel the essence of a something new about to happen. There was going to be a shift in life as we knew it. I opened my eyes, and welcomed Anger into my family.
New Years Eve day the WATC van pulled up to my house at the mid-morning hour of 10:30. My recently detoxed, locked up, and newly released daughter bounced out of the van with a clear trash bag full of her belongs waving good-bye to the van driver. A man she hopes to never have to see again. I watched her walk up the driveway, smiling and happy to be home, as my heart sank. With each step she took closer to the front door, the bigger the fiery ball of volcano lava grew in my stomach. By the time she reached the porch I was certain I had stomach cancer and was going to die in moments. No, wait, just anxiety. By bad.
I was standing by the kitchen table, hoping to all that is holy that the smile on my face looked genuine and didn’t give away my true feelings. I wasn’t ready. I was told she would be in lock up until the Tuesday after New Year’s. Coming home on Thursday shorted me 5 days. I was 5 days unprepared. To those that have not experienced this, I understand your judgment. I know you read this and feel like I am a terrible person for wanting her to stay locked up longer. I understand your niativity, and I hope you should never be in this situation with your child. Having to look in the face of your first born, your own flesh and blood, your best friend, and fake being happy that she is home, is the sort of thing that makes a woman stop her car at the high point of the Tobin, get out of her car, and jump. Alas, I will not be doing that. Instead I adapted the phrase from Good Ol’ Dr. Phil and I will fake it until I make it. We hugged, we made coffee, and we talked about what’s next. And then we pretended it was Christmas Day. The boys, OC and I sat with her in the living room while she opened her stocking, and her presents. She was happy, she was grateful. We made plans to see SC in the hospital, where she has been since the first week of December (I told you this family hit a shit storm), and went on with our day.
I hate feeling anxious in my own house. My house has been my place of refuge. TBH, my bed has been my place of refuge but I am trying to not isolate when I am not comfortable with the things that are happening. And right now, I am extremely uncomfortable. I keep saying I have to do this, or I have to do that, and all that is well and nice when she is locked up, but when she comes home I have to put my words into action which is very difficult. When AC and I drove down, once again on a freezing cold January day, to WATC for the family session we set rules and boundaries. That meeting was on Tuesday. I thought I had a week to prepare myself to put that into action. Instead I had two days. That is really not even enough time for everything to sink in. I hadn’t even absorbed it yet, and then bammo- she is standing right in front of me. Well, isn’t that a nice how-do-you-do.
As the day progressed, we did the things we planned. We went to see SC, we got dinner, and then when we got home we watched Making of Murderer, which is ya know, like, what every person should watch on New Year’s Eve. I could tell she wasn’t happy she was home with us and not out with friends or doing the things that 21 year-old girls whom are not heroin addicts would normally do on New Year’s Eve. She was restless, constantly on her phone, pacing around the house. I am following her around the house, asking is she alright, asking does she want me to do something, getting more frustrated that I feel like I have to entertain her. It feels like emotional black mail. If I don’t make her happy she will run away and be back on the needle before I can blink an eye. It is so annoying, it is so frustrating. It’s very helpless and hopeless. No matter what happens on any given day she will be a heroin addict. For the rest of all our lives. There is no escaping it, no vacation from it, no break. Ever. Let that sink in because I have finally seen that this is literally the rest of our lives. I don’t want this. I am sick of it. I am tired of it. Whether I chase JoDee around or whether I let her do her and I do nothing it doesn’t change anything. She will still be an addict. In recovery or in active addiction- nothing will ever change. 20 years from now I could pick up the phone to call her and not be able to get a hold of her, and maybe it will be because she is busy with her husband/partner or kids or maybe it’s because she is out meeting that dealer waiting to cop. That really makes my current situation partly cloudy with a chance of I’m really pissed off.
So we circle back to the 1st day of the New Year when I wake up with weight of Anger settled nicely between Blu and Diego, waiting for me to do something. Anger is like a naughty cousin. The one that your mother always said you shouldn’t go out with after midnight. Anger is dark and beautiful and full of energy. Anger gets shit done. Pulling the blanket’s back, I swung my legs over the side of the bed. She looked at me with all her beauty and put her hand out for me to take it. Hand and hand we walked through the day quietly stewing about how bad this sucks, how much we don’t want to do this anymore, and how we really outta do something violent. Then we remembered the eggs. Every year on the first day of the year we take a dozen eggs and write all the things we didn’t like about the previous year, smashing them against a tree to figuratively and mentally leave them behind. JoDee, AC, Jared, OC, Steen and I wrote with a fury on our eggs, drove in the dark to a spot in the woods we always go, and hurled those eggs at our designated tree. It was cathartic, it was exhilarating and it’s our tradition. However, Anger still remains. So I will carry on with the tasks of life, cloaked in the light of Anger. I should try to be work on moving past Anger, but I enjoy it. She is my new BFF.