I have been known, from time to time, on a rare occasion, in an odd instance, to use the F word. I know this may shock many of you. Please, take a moment and collect yourselves. Deep breaths. I promise that it is only used in the most intense of moments. In the most insane of times. In the most desperate of situations. Or when I stub my toe, wake up with a cat on my neck or run out of diet coke. However, the F word you are thinking about is not the F word I am going to talk about today.
The F word that I am having difficulty with today is Firm. It is hard to be firm. I have drawn a line in the sand. I have put up imaginary boundaries to proclaim that I am no longer going to act or react as it were, in a certain way. The mere proclamation is the easy part. It’s putting your money where your proclamation is that is hard. Impossibly hard. Knowing JoDee is self-destructive is really hard. But knowing that I can’t help her, is even harder. I know that letting her come home is enabling her. She will rest for a few days, claim to be looking for a bed, rejuvenate a little bit and then hit the rocks when she is feeling better. Al and I continued to repeat this cycle with her over and over. We talked many times about one or both of us putting our foot down but it’s so difficult. She cries and is pathetic and sad and begs. And she means it. At the time when she is crying and begging and pathetic she means what she says about needing help. She hits a low spot, she hates herself, misses her family, has desire to live and trots off to detox with the best intentions to stay. A couple of days later there is drama with other patients or they aren’t medicating her the way she wants, or she is sick because detoxing isn’t easy which runs her right out the front door into whoever is willing to pick her up.
One of those people is gone. The other person she will probably be running from, and that leaves me. For the weeks since she discharged from WATC I have rarely spoken to her. She has barely spoken to me other than to touch base once in a while so I know she isn’t dead. A few times when I have spoken to her she is hard to understand, mumbling, incoherent and disoriented. Last night she called me at 6 at night asking if I was up yet. She was confused as to the time of day. I had to remind her it was still night-time. She was very upset when I told her it was still Sunday. She cried that she never leaves the house, and sometimes she doesn’t know what day it is. Who wants to live like that? Who wants to live one bag to the next? Wondering if you can find it before you get sick? Especially when you have no money and have to depend on someone else to get it for you because you have the ambition of a slug to get up and do anything for yourself….
I feel like I repeat the same things over and over when I write these posts, when I chase her tail, and when I drop her off somewhere. What can I do differently? Say no. Be firm. I can be firm. I have to be firm. I have to do things differently. Doing things differently means being able to decipher what I have done wrong, or where I am enabling her. How am I enabling her? Someone tell me. Please because I have thought about a thousand times that I had stopped enabling her only to find out that I actually am. Again. So how? How do I figure it out? The person I would usually go to for advice during times like these, is gone. I guess I will have to brain storm. We will have to brain storm. Brain storming begins now.
First I started with seeing her. When I went to visit my nutso 91-year old grandmother I took her with me. She was ok. Looked like crap. Pale, burn mark on her arm from a cigarette that she claims she did while talking with her hands but looks suspiciously like she fell asleep with it in her hand because it was a lovely sized burn, and swollen feet and ankles. She was pleasant, enjoyed seeing us, and I think it made her miss us more. When I dropped her off she jumped out of the car fast, like if she didn’t, she wouldn’t go. Later that night she called me, and then again a few hours later. The next day she called me first thing in the morning. Crying, wanting to come home. I stayed firm. I enforced that I can’t do that. I reminded her that being at our house is not good for her. She begged and said she just wanted to see us. I told her she could come over if she wasn’t high. She said she would call back.
A few hours later a very mumbly, incoherent JoDee called me back asking if she could come for a visit. I told her she could as long as she didn’t sleep over. I told her I would have to bring her back to where she came from and she could not come over if she is high. The rest of the conversation isn’t worth the brain storming. Just know it was difficult, heart-breaking and emotional. For both of us. I hated it. I almost called her back to say just come home. But that is what I have always done. Run to where ever she is and save her from the situation she got herself into. But if she keeps getting saved, she has no reason not to get into these situations. She has to know that there is no one that can save her but her, so I did not call her back. I did the thing I always do when I am anxious and can’t stand still. Cooked. I made a honey cake, vegan carrot raison cupcakes with faux cream cheese frosting, blueberry corn pancakes and biscuits and gravy. As JoDee becomes sicker the rest of us become fatter. And crankier because then we are all sick to our stomach from all the sugar. What the F (the real F word)?
I never heard from her again until she called me thinking it was 6 am on Monday morning but it was still 6 pm on Sunday night. She cried that she missed us and wanted to see us. She said she could detox at my house. How do you tell your child that she can’t detox at my house I don’t trust her alone? And I don’t want her alone with the other kids home because she shouldn’t be their responsibility? And if I take another day off work, I am supporting her belief that I will jump if she needs it. So I had to tell her to make calls. Reach out to detoxes. Find a bed. I would pick her up to bring her to treatment but that is really all I can offer. It’s like taking a bullet. It’s like taking a bullet right to the face. Feeling the pain, and the agony, but having to put a band-aid on it so I can go on with my day. Saying no once is hard. Saying it over and over and over and over is cruel. It’s vicious. What little bit of humanity I have left is chipped away each and every time I tell her I can’t pick her up or bring her to my house or even buy her cigarettes. Why? Because if I buy her cigarettes what little money she does have she can save for drugs. If I don’t buy her cigarettes she has to choose. I mean, a choice between drugs and butts is really not a big deal to those of us with ability to reason but to her it’s a big decision. To her, the decision is similar to mine between helping her or not.
Helping is another word. It’s up there with Firm. Help. Firm. Help. Firm. They go hand in hand. Firm. Help. Firm. Help. The sentence goes like this: I am helping her by being firm in not helping. It’s my new motto. I just repeat it to myself over and over and over. I do a lot of things over and over and over. Like say the Our Father when I can’t sleep, bake cakes that make us fat, sit in my car in the driveway listening to the radio loud so no one hears me yelling and punching the steering wheel in the middle of the night. Also posting blogs about not helping her to be followed with blogs about how I help her because I wasn’t firm. Fucking firm.