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Sick to Death of Sickness and Death

There are so many stories of addiction in the news now. But I feel like it’s not about human interest and saving the addict, it’s more like a Jerry Springer show. Morbid curiosity. It’s similar to rubber necking as a person drives by a car accident. I keep saying we need to do more. We need to help fight addiction. But what does that really mean? I have no idea. I’m just a woman with an addict for a daughter that writes a blog. I’m not a Doctor or a Psychiatrist or a Psychologist. I’m a mother and a wife and an accountant.  What the hell do I know? I know the system is broken. I know that getting good help for an addict is really about how much money a person can spend. If I was rich with an endless supply of funds I could send JoDee to the nicest, most advanced rehab but that isn’t our story.

Our story involves state run facilities and detox’s that kick you out after 5 to 7 days with a list of NA meetings and a good luck. The addict may physically be over the symptoms of drug dependency but that is only the beginning. I sound like a broken record so I won’t preach about my feelings and thoughts about mental illness and addiction. What I will say is that if I see one more obituary that describes a wonderful, talented, loved person that died after a lengthy battle with addiction, I am going to light my face on fire. I commend families that are willing and able to speak truthfully about their loved ones addiction. It is a huge step in making people aware of how prevalent it is and how non-discriminatory it is. Drug addiction has been around a long time. It has plagued poor and under-privileged families and neighborhoods since the dawn of time. It isn’t new. It’s only new to hit suburbia and the affluent. So, that message also sucks.  The media is only now talking about the heroin epidemic since the median age and race of addicts is 18-45 white males. Where was the media when the median age and race was 45-60 year old black males. Where was all the attention to the heroin epidemic when our vets came back from Vietnam addicted as a result of suffering PTSD from the horrors of the war?  In the last 10 years the whole face of addiction has changed and now that it is a suburban problem, it’s called an epidemic. Before that it was called life for the poor, uneducated, under privileged. But I can’t get into a rant about that today, because, frankly, I don’t think anyone would listen.

What I can get into a rant about is finding help for everyone. It’s no surprise that JoDee has been struggling. Since she relapsed in the fall she has been in and out of detox and in and out of our house. On the run, back home, calling friends, into detox, running again. It’s never ending. It should end. It has too at some point. And it will. Either she will find recovery or addiction will claim another victim. Victim…that is an interesting word. Victim. Victim’s of addiction are whom exactly? Is she a victim to addiction or is she more a victim of her own doing? I guess it’s irrelevant because we all suffer the results. Talking to her, not talking to her, using, not using, it’s all painful. I know that the current hot word is enabling. There is a lot of talk of tough love really working but that’s a big bunch of bullshit. Don’t get me wrong- enabling is a thing. And it’s a serious thing. Loved ones are all too often wrapped up in this misery that they don’t see the ways they are enabling an addict. But, tough love does not necessarily slap sense into them. I have had plenty of parents reach out to me to say they were estranged from their child when they died and that is also hard to live with so if you are going to do that you have to be prepared for it. And know that being estranged from them is only a physical choice. You may be able to make plans because you won’t be running to anyone’s rescue or pick them up from a detox or any of the other nonsense affiliated with addiction, but you won’t feel any different. The same pain will always be there. And, it is often a necessary and only option because addicts feed off the pain and guilt that a family feels, usually to feed their habit.

It doesn’t matter how many times I drop her off at a detox, or watch her walk into a rehab, it never is any easier. There is some relief though. I would be lying if I said I didn’t sleep just a little better when she was locked up somewhere. The problem is that unless she is under a section 35 or a section 12, she can voluntarily walk out of any program she is in. We find ourselves, once again, wading through the muck and mire of another detox stay and I’m not convinced she is going to stay. Again. The positive here is that she comes to these conclusions on her own. No one forced her to go, and she wasn’t homeless. I believe she has moments that make her want recovery so bad she can taste it and as soon as the detox is too bad, or the facility is too restricted, she bails. At 22 years old, I can’t make her do anything anymore. Not that I really try, I have sort of given up on giving her direct orders because she isn’t going to listen. I have learned that I can’t tell her what she shouldn’t do so I have to tell her what I am going to do. So, I can’t say don’t leave detox or your grounded, but instead I say if you choose to leave detox I will not pick you up and I cannot let you stay here. It’s a terrible position that we are both in. I’m sure she feels very alone and abandoned, and I’m sure her addictive mind tells her that’s even more reason to dip. And, I feel terrible for having to say that to her when she is crying and begging and saying she just wants to come home. That is probably true, she does want to come home. But on her terms not mine. She can’t live life on her terms, she has to live life on life’s terms. She still has not been able to figure that out.

The last time she went to detox she decided on her own that she was going to go. Her new motis operundi. A friend spent all day on the phone trying to help her get into somewhere. Anywhere. One place wouldn’t take her insurance, one place wouldn’t take her insurance unless she went through the emergency department of a hospital, one place wanted $200 cash at time of admission. I’m sorry but if an addict had $200 cash they wouldn’t be looking for a detox. And I know how that sounds but let’s be realistic. How many of you have told yourself you were going to go on that diet as soon as you finished the ice cream in the freezer? Same thing. She finally get’s in a place that wants $275 deposit but they have a program for after detox. On our way she receives a call from another place, they won’t require the deposit. We pull over. Calls back and forth are made. I won’t bore you with the details, and I’m too emotionally exhausted to live through them again anyway, but it took a whole 24 hours from that last phone call to get her into a place. And three days later, the day of Jay J and Cinderella’s prom she ran away. Well no she didn’t. That was dramatic. She called someone else to pick her up but you know what I mean. I have only seen her twice since then. I have talked to her several times. At times she sounds great. At other times she sounds not so great. I still think she has no plan or direction, but it’s her life so I’m not judging or directing. At this point, I’m waiting. Though, I’m not really sure what I am waiting for.

And all that brings me back to the point, which is that I am sick and tired of sickness and death. I’m sick of our loved ones dying from a disease that should be treated with more resources. I’m sick of the over-worked, under-funded and stretched thin nurses/doctors/social workers not having the ability (or willingness) to help because they are over-worked, under-funded and stretched thin. I’m sick of hearing about young souls being taken too soon; leaving behind spouses, children, parents and siblings whose lives will never be the same. I’m tired of JoDee’s sickness. I’m tired of having a plan to go to Pilates and that being hijacked by an entire night in a parking lot waiting for a bed. Or just not having the will or resolve to do it because laying in bed with the kitties is so much better.  I want some freaking  peace and quiet for shit sake.

Look at them…. they are so freaking cute. How can I pick Pilates over them?

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