Did You Just Hear Yourself?

Recently, my beautiful and wicked smaht niece graduated from college. Her and JoDee are sixteen days apart. They started kindergarten together (separate schools but same day). They started middle school together (same school) and high school together (also same school) and eventually they graduated high school together. While they ran in relatively opposite groups they still remained close enough. Sunday dinners, family vacations and the like kept them involved in each other. After high school their lives took extremely different turns. JoDee, as we know, as struggled with drug addiction, while my niece has gone on to school and met a nice young man and got a job as a preschool teacher. No one compares them, but I’m sure JoDee does. Or maybe others do, but I certainly don’t. They have been decidedly different people since birth, so I never expected them to follow each other down the same path through life.

The reason I am giving you all this background is that my niece had her graduation party this weekend. I have had some health things going on, so I wasn’t sure if I would make it but my parents had flown in from South Carolina so we made a plan for them to meet us for breakfast on Saturday morning at our house. This was killing two birds with one stone: getting to see them and them seeing the new house. It also meant we would see my aunt and uncle, who came with them. The reason I am telling you all this is because we had an interesting conversation. One of which was that sometimes my blog posts get to be too long and the reader might lose interest. This was a valid and appreciated comment, so I will remember to keep them informative without being boring.

The other conversation was about why someone was of a certain age and still single. I said he wasn’t really a catch from a woman’s perspective. My dad respond that he was good looking. My idea that he was not catch had nothing to do with his looks. It had more to do with him being an addict. Now, I know that may sound, well, asshole-ish but I meant it. And my aunt was very quick to call me out. She said “Did you hear yourself?”

Yes, I heard myself. I know exactly what I said. Years ago I would have said everyone deserves a chance. And years ago when a friend of mine began dating someone with an addiction, I supported that. He was a wonderful guy. Fathered his daughters, and his stepsons and eventually drugs took his life. Maybe not in the normal way via overdose, but it certainly shortened his life. Knowing what I know now, I would have said run away. Run far, far away. Why? Because a normal lived person cannot understand, comprehend, or appreciate the struggles of an addicted person. I’m not saying that addicted people do not deserve mates, because I don’t think that at all. Some of the best couples I know have come through addiction together. But they have that in common. It’s hard for someone who is not an addict to truly understand the struggle. Or the commitment to going to meetings. Or the need to have a routine, or avoid certain situations.

When my aunt asked me if I heard myself I told her not only did I know what I said, but I meant it wholeheartedly. JoDee, and several people she has dated, can attest to the fact that on more than one occasion I have asked her at-the-time-partner if they were effed in the head for being with her because she was a one woman wrecking ball when she is in active addiction. I have said many times she isn’t a catch. Not like she is, or was, or is during active addiction. No one is. And no addict is a catch within the first year or so of recovery. At what point in the dating process does someone tell a person they are an addict? Meeting partners in detox/meetings is frowned upon but where else is one to meet a fellow addict? The program is called Narcotics Anonymous so I don’t think where a sticker that says Hello My Name is JoDee and I am an Addict would be acceptable. So on goes the struggle…. But addicts are really horrible pimps in the armpit of America anyway, dating should be the least of their worries?

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Addiction: The Choice

Recently I saw someone I was Facebook friends with post an article about the frustration the writer had at addiction being called a disease. The writer wrote about his/her opinion, and it is an opinion which is kind of like assholes: everyone has one and they all stink. The basis is that addiction is a choice. Plain and simple. It compared addiction to children on the cancer ward dying of terminal illness. Because those are apples and apples. So, contrary to my sarcasm I do believe people have the right to believe whatever they want to believe. One of the most amazing things about America is that we all have the right to be assholes.  And, sadly now I can’t be Facebook friends with that person anymore, because the one thing I won’t do is begin, entertain or participate in any Facebook arguments. I look on Facebook for entertainment, and there was nothing entertaining about that. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted to share my opinion.

In my opinion the writer (not the person who posted it) is a fucking ignorant dick face. In my professional opinion, actually. If a person were inclined to look at addiction from the moment of picking up a joint, or sticking a needle in their arm, then yes that action is in fact a choice. But the decision was made so far before that. I certainly do not think that my child’s drug addiction is comparable to the pain and suffering a parent would go to if their child was battling brain cancer. But isn’t comparing addiction to childhood cancer like saying don’t feel bad if your grandfather dies at 98 because kids are dying at 3. There are just somethings that are not comparable.Otherwise,  no one in America should ever complain about their coffee order being wrong because there are starving children in Africa. And certainly no one should ever be inconvenienced by their pet’s death because women are being sold into sex trafficking in many countries. Also, no one should complain about having MS, fibromyalgia, muscular dystrophy, dementia, clubbed feet, cleft palate, blindness or deafness because families in China are only allowed one child.  Do you see how ridiculous all that is? All of those things are hard to live with, especially getting a wrong coffee order! How can one be more or less important than another?  I have MS. It affects me in different ways. And some days are harder than others. I would be pretty effing pissed off if someone told me I didn’t have a right to have a feeling about that because of some other non related incident.

I don’t like when people compare addiction to other diseases because they only see the act of using the drug as the issue but the disease has taken over long before that happens. The choice might be in which drug a person takes but the disability is much deeper than that. The disability is in the mental illness that causes the addiction. Or the self-deprecation, or the lack of self-esteem or the sexual abuse or other childhood trauma the addict suffered from that drove them to such a low point in life that drugs seems like the only option. Why is it when a life-long smoker suffers lung cancer we only see the cancer not the action that got them there? Or when a diabetic loses their eye or a foot because blood sugars were not monitored or diet was not restricted we only see the loss of the eye or foot not the action that got them there? And I am not saying that we should be less compassionate with those folks either, because I’m not. What I am saying is that all diseases deserve compassion regardless of how they happen. If someone was critically injured in a car accident because they were speeding would we be less sorry for them? Or be willing to help them less?

I have use my energy getting out of bed every day. I have to use my energy going to work, checking on my addict, raising my children, being a good wife, and a good granddaughter to my aging and ailing Bibi. I have to use a ridiculous amount of energy determining the many ways I cannot and should not help my addict because at this point helping hurts so having to take time to explain why it’s asshole-ish to compare addiction to child cancer is really shitty.  Saying that someone is an addict and it is a disease does not mean that they aren’t accountable for their actions. Saying that addiction is a disease does not absolve the addict of any responsibility. I know that addicts often have the “poor me” attitude but the reality is that the attitude is part of the disease. It doesn’t mean that we (by we I mean any and all of us not an addict but dealing with an addict) have to put down the red carpet to take all the shit they dole out.

Accepting that addiction is a disease is acknowledging that the addict is sick. That’s it. It doesn’t require some big action or some large hand-out. The society at large is not expected to make a protest, start a petition or drag an unknown addict off the street to personally see to the recovery which would be useless anyway. It takes no effort. If you are a family member of an addict it may take some hard lessons on how not to let the addict run all over you. But if you are lucky enough to be on the sidelines of addiction, if you are a spectator then spectate, not speculate. Making judgments and having opinions takes more work than doing nothing.  The addicts are not the people reading those articles and letters because they are high somewhere, mindless, numb and oblivious to anything anyone else thinks. If they did read them they wouldn’t give a shit what anyone thought. So that means the family members, like me, are the people left reading them, and realizing how cruel the world can be. It is hard enough to see our addicts so fucked up to then be subjected to the asshole opinion of ignorant, uneducated on the subject dick faces that feel that somehow their asshole opinion should have an impact on us. Are we supposed to see that open letter or article and think Gee my addict decided to do this so I hope they die? Or they should be banned to an island in the middle of nowhere? Or, even better, they should be locked up with pedophiles, murders and rapists? What is bashing the weak suppose to prove? What is it suppose to accomplish?  Before supporters of this rhetoric answer that, really think about it. Don’t just respond to act tough or fill in a blank. Think before you speak.

Helpful Hints, Tips, and Miscellany

The heroin crisis is only getting worse. People are dying everywhere. This is not just an East Coast thing, or a young person thing, or an ethnic thing. I know that when one group of people is targeted for something those not effected don’t pay attention. In fact, 30 years ago heroin was the leading illegal drug killer for black men ages 44-64. It wasn’t until it crept into the suburbs that anyone started paying attention. That alone pisses me off.  But, I am not going to get into that today.  Today I am going to spread the wealth of knowledge I have collected over the course of many years dealing with addiction.

Programs:

Nar-Non and Al-Anon are both good groups. Clearly Nar-Non offers more support and education with drug addiction then Al-Anon. To Nar-Non alcohol is a drug, in some Al-Anon programs they only talk about alcoholics. The Al-Anon groups I went to were very supportive of families dealing with drug addiction. Nar-Non groups are harder to come by, especially at convenient times.

Learn to Cope is mostly a Massachusetts program but it is a group worth looking into because they do offer an amazing on-line community. The support groups are for loved ones who have an addict suffering from opiod use. I have found that to be beneficial because I heard so many stories like mine that it helped me realize that JoDee wasn’t possessed by the devil (well, she is but that devil is heroin). This is more than just a support group. They offer resources and education about other programs and typically have an industry professional as a guest speaker.

There are multiple blogs (like mine) that offer different perspectives. And there are a number of on-line communities such as In the Room, PAL, and the drug addiction hotline Hazelton Betty Ford Clinic has a website that I have found helpful and informative.

Rules:

The things I didn’t do, but should have are listed below:

  1. Do not be trusting. Addicts will say things like they can’t believe we don’t trust them, or that we know them, and they wouldn’t lie to us but every single addict lies. If your child hasn’t stolen from you or hasn’t lied about where they are, it doesn’t mean they won’t or that you just haven’t caught them. No matter what, trust that everything they are saying is no true. If you are seeing changes in your child or loved one and they deny anything is wrong, don’t believe it. Addicts will have a lot of excuses but it’s important to see through them.
  2. Research programs. Just because a detox or rehab is near you, does not mean that it is the program for them. Educate yourself on methadone and suboxone and other drug replacement therapies to determine if that is the way your family should go. Some detox’s are better than others. Sometimes there is a way for them to find more drugs inside than outside. Find a program that has an after care, and potential parent groups too.
  3. Do not believe that detox is the miracle cure. It isn’t. No matter how good the program is there has to be willingness for the addict to get better or they won’t. Be ready for the unexpected.
  4. Find your own recovery. Just because an addict is going to stay in active addiction does not mean that you have too. Those meetings and support groups are clutch when things seem at their worst. Going to a support group does not mean you have to air your dirty laundry. If it doesn’t feel right, say nothing. AC and I went to so many meetings and I don’t think I ever really talked about JoDee or our situation. But sitting there listening to other peoples struggles gave me comfort. And hearing that their children did find recovery gave me hope. I won’t lie, sometimes they are depressing. No one says you have to go every day. Do what feels right.
  5. Don’t lose hope. It they are alive there is a chance they will find recovery. No matter how terrible things seem, they could change in an instant. No one knows when that ah-ha moment is going to strike an addict. Maybe it never does, but maybe it does.
  6. Don’t enable them. Balancing our own recovery, keeping hope and holding our bottom lines are very delicate. Try not to set yourself up for failure. There is no way to stay positive all the tie, or keep hope alive everyday or hold your bottom line when the addict asks you so many times and no is hard to say the first time, never mind 200 times. Be ready to give yourself a break and know that if you cave in and give them money, or a place to sleep for the night, or allow them to get their clothes out of your house when you said you wouldn’t, forgive yourself. No one can be strong all the time. I can’t be strong a fraction of the time. At the end of the day you have to be able to look in the mirror and see your own face, not the face of regret. So do what is best for you.
  7. Reject the lies and manipulation. Our addicts have lost their mind, literally, and with it their moral compass. They will be mean and angry and ugly and hateful. Do your best to not take this personally. It is so hard to do and sometimes you may just want to punch their face in but don’t bother, I have tried that and it doesn’t work. It’s best to just ignore them.
  8. Look around, and recognize that you are not in this by yourself. Even if you have a spouse or a best friend or a person, it doesn’t mean they will always feel the same way you do, and that can be extremely lonely. You aren’t alone. You are not alone. You. Are. Not. Alone. And more importantly, this is not your fault. So don’t isolate. Call a friend, go to a movie, and take a cake decorating class. Learn from my mistakes, I basically hermit-ed myself in my house for a few years but that is no good. Do something that isn’t drug related. Stay connected to the people with normal lives. You know non-drug addict lives. It’s refreshing to socialize so to forget, even for a little while, that life is worth living.
  9. Don’t be afraid to do the thing you said you would never do. I once told myself I would never have JoDee sectioned and now I have done it four times. I said that I would never put myself in compromising situations as a result of her drug addiction and I have had encounters with drug dealers that involved my having a golf club (I am not suggesting anyone else should do that) . There are no limits a person will go to try to save their loved one, but that also means saying no. Don’t be afraid to say no. Even if it’s painful. Not being afraid to do the thing you said you would never do may be leaving your kid stranded somewhere because you simply can’t help anymore.
  10. Eat dinner together. Even if you never did the whole family at the table for dinner routine before, do it now. Or make everyone have breakfast together one day a week. Find a way for all of you to stay connected. It is so easy to push aside the family members that are not addicts. Addicts demand so much attention even though they don’t really deserve it. Ignoring my other duties and family members is something that haunts me now, but I make an effort to connect with all the other kids on a regular basis. And connecting means talking to them about them, not about what JoDee did or where she is or what she is going to do. It means letting them know I am listening and interested in their lives. I am present. And listening. It used to be hard. I would always be so invested in JoDee’s recovery that it felt like I lost interest in parenting anyone else. It was work to bring my focus back, but it can be done, and I did it.

 

 

2016 is a Wrap

2016 has been a hell of a year.

January– This was a brutal month. It began with JoDee coming home from WATC. It wasn’t the best homecoming. Quickly it became very clear that it wasn’t going to last very long.  She ran off, as expected, but nearly died, which wasn’t expected. For six minutes she was dead to us.  I thought that was the end. I thought she would finally see the light and not the kind she should be walking toward. I could not have been more wrong. She sent me home. She didn’t want to come home. She wanted to go back out to do what she does with whomever she does it with. January was the month that I realized my daughter was gone to me. To us. And nothing was bringing her back until she was ready and willing. Jared’s birthday was not the happy celebration it should have been.

February– started with her birthday. It also happened to be SC birthday (they are two days apart). Being able to celebrate with SC but not JoDee was hard. It made me take a real look at what I was going to do now. It was clear JoDee wasn’t coming back to us. So, I decided to do something’s for myself including cutting my hair.   February was also the month that a young man lost his battle with addiction and a newspaper chose that time to exploit his death by highlighting his criminal past, as though that would justify his death. By the end of the month she had overdosed again.  I thought she was going to be dead any minute. And I felt desperate.

March-we didn’t have much contact. She did her best to keep her distance. I did my best to let her keep her distance. It was way too hard to see her looking like a gutter rat and way too hard to keep away from her. It was a miserable month.

April– seemed to look up a little. She was trying to scrap together clean time. It wasn’t working but she would try to do normal things like go to Pilates with me. There was a lot of talk about addiction in news and in the paper. Addiction was the new hot topic. Some people were actually concerned about those that were dying but some were too busy condemn the afflicted.  It was also the month I realized just how much addiction catalysed lies. From the addict, from the family, to oneself.  It was a particularly hard month. The weight of her addiction was crushing.

May– Well, this month brought both happiness and sadness. Jay J and Cinderella went to the prom looking like movie stars. And on the same day JoDee ran from another detox. Someone picked her up. Someone I talked to on the regular. Someone who I told not to pick her up. Later that same month, that someone would be dead. That loss was an enormous one. Not just to me or JoDee but to the whole NA community. I knew that meant she was either going to get better or going to die.  This was also the month that the kids, including Cinderella, AC and I participated in Light the Night Purple.

June– This month began with a Section 35. She was in a downward spiral that was clearly leading to death. She had nowhere to go and no one to call and the only thing she could rely on was drugs. And drugs aren’t very reliable. Shortly after she was incarcerated she called me to say that as soon as she got out she was going to get high. She was not going to be clean. She did not want to be clean and she was very angry at me. Hateful. But I knew that the person she hated the most was herself. We celebrated Jay J’s birthday but it was veiled with sadness.  In addition, someone had the bright idea of sending me a letter asking for advice. I now receive advice letters routinely and some of them are scary. Like, makes me question humanity scary, and my own humanity because I can’t stop laughing at some of them. (Think a question about sex with animals and my reply being don’t go to petting zoo’s). The month ended with desperation and anxiety.

July– If you follow this blog at all you will know that July was the month of anger. People giving me advice that I didn’t ask for or want annoyed the shit out of me. Nightmares, depression and general spite for al living things made me a little hard to live with. The month ended on a positive not for SC while AC, SC and I were in Arizona however, while away JoDee got herself in some hot water involving a misunderstanding about not paying for cigarettes or gas or something. Needless to say, one whole morning was spent on the phone keeping her out of jail.

August– Let’s face it, August was not much better than July. JoDee did a lot of running, I did a lot of isolating.  I was strong armed to sending her to a program in California which she promptly ran from, as I knew she would. August was spent with her on the run in the desert doing who-the-hell-knows-what while I sat home wondering what those terrible things could be. She begged me to fly her home. I wouldn’t.  In the end, unbeknownst to most, I paid for her to fly home but told everyone someone else did. I refused to see her or pick her up at the airport. I did not want her to know that I was involved.  It ended with me Sectioning her again. For the 3rd time in less than a year.

September– Oh the joy of September. September was the month the entire world went ape shit when the epipen price soared comparing it to the free narcan. I’m sorry, but that is an absolutely ridiculous comparison. I can’t. I won’t. I refuse to get into that again. If you need a refresher go here Dear State House.

October– Once the world died down on the whole epipen dilemma the public shaming started. Video’s of addicts nodded out with kids, or in stores, or in Dunkin Donuts started surfacing. This was about “exposing the addicts” for the scumbag shit they were. Well, I guess no one really thought about the families of those addicts or the kids in question and the fact that those images will be on Facebook, twitter and YouTube forever so it will follow them no matter how old they get. No one understands it doesn’t just shame the addict, it shames anyone within a 50 mile radius of the addict. But let’s don’t talk about that….. It was also the month JoDee checked into detox after I left her stranded in a park in the middle of the night. Proceeded to rehab and then ran from rehab.

November– JoDee checked herself back into treatment and according to those involved, was doing well. I didn’t believe it. I refused to see her. I didn’t really want to talk to her. I was waiting to hear that she bailed again. My faith was lost and my spirit was low. I was joyfully surprised when she hit the 30 day clean mark. And looked amazing. The glimmer of hope began to shine again. This was also the month that I fed McDonald’s to my family for Thanksgiving. Such a shithead sometimes.

December– That brings us to the end of the year. The last month of the year. The finally of 2016. This month brought a horrific loss to a wonderful mother. The kind of loss that is a parents worse nightmare. There is nothing I could say to bring comfort to her, and there is nothing anyone can say to ease my guilt for being relieved it wasn’t my kid. There is also nothing at all that can be done about the fact that it can be at any point, and without long term recovery it might be. Part of the end of the year is a stat report I get from my site domain.  To finish the year, here is some stat info:

The number one post of the year was To My Dearest Daughter.

The least viewed post was Why Does It Matter?

There were 15000 view of my home page or archived posts (from previous years).

The most views in the month was January with 3478.

I had 27361 more views than in 2015.

The most popular day of the week is Thursday and the most popular hour is 8 pm.

I gained 71 followers this year and double the number of comments from last year.

I posted 64 blogs (not counting this one) and they were seen in over 80 countries.

My favorite of all the stats are the search terms used for 2016: (these are words folks googled or binged or yahoo’d to find my blog)

The most used is the addict in my basement and there a number of variations of that.

I had two people find it by using “child unresponsive and not breathing at finish line convenience store”.

My boyfriend is growing drugs in my basement.

Motherless son fucks his addict mother.

Found drugs in my basement.

My family was in my house so I went to my basement.

Saying goodbye to a sister/best friend before I go to detox.

I helped a old lady home with her groceries and when she bent down to pick up groceries I fucked her.

How to apologise for the biggest mistake relapsing.

I feel pitiful at 18.

Life advice bloggers dumb.

Whats the movie called where the woman is held captive and replase on drugs that was hidden in her daughters music box?

What to do if you grew up a shitstain on society and became a sponging off the government drug addict.

Pinned droppy eyes heroin.

And the final and my personal favorite:

Is it illegal to tie up an addict in my basement.

 

The search terms boggle my mind. I can’t even imagine the reasons some of these terms linked to my blog. I’m sure I don’t want to know. I can promise my readers I have definitely not tried to force an old woman into a sexual encounter with me after helping with groceries. I can only imagine what 2017 will bring. I hope everyone has a safe and Happy Holiday and New Year.

 

Much love from my family to yours even if you are a self-proclaimed  shit stain on society,

 

MB, AC, and gang.

 

Tough Questions

Tough Questions
I am really getting reflective as the year comes to an end.  It has been a really hard year. Not that any of the others weren’t hard, because for the last 5 years have been very difficult as a whole.  I have spent much of these five years questioning many things including my sanity.  It’s hard not to doubt yourself as a person when you’re watching your child fail at life.  I can recite verbatim the information parents are given about addiction not being our fault, and that it’s a brain disease and that often parenting and environment have a slight factor on addiction. I’m not sure I believe all those facts. I imagine a child raised in a shooting den would have a more likely chance of being an addict then a child born in the suburbs. If for no other reason that children tend to follow in their parents footsteps. For that reason I believe that environment plays a bigger factor and that under privileged neighborhoods need more drug prevention resources and support.
I also believe that indirectly environment plays a big factor. A child can be raised in the most supportive and functional atmospheres yet still die on a cold bench with a tourniquet and a needle. Mental health plays such an important role.  Mental health encompasses so much more than ones mental ability or stability.  Experience and station in life are also important. If a child of a preacher is afraid to tell h/her parents they are gay, it will be detrimental to their mental health. If a child is abused by a relative or neighbor when they were young but never spoke up or even if they did but didn’t work through the trauma, they will seek out a way to calm the feelings inside.  If a family of Doctors expects their artistic child to follow in their footsteps instead of going to art school that child will grow resentful and distance themselves, sometimes in the form of drugs not miles.
It is difficult to hear anyone bashing an addict of any kind because no one really knows how that person came to be. How did that person end up on the street? In the gutter? With no teeth or hair? With pickled skin and thinking delays that make it hard to form a sentence? I can’t begin to work out the ways in which life is lost while still living while simultaneously receiving zero sympathy or empathy from society.  So my difficult question is how can that change? How can an entire society see things from a different perspective?  When someone starts smoking, especially in the last 20 years, they are well aware of the likelihood of getting lung cancer. Or any cancer really. No one ever says that a lung cancer patient deserves whatever they got. I know some people never smoke a day in their lives yet still get cancer. Isn’t that the same with addicts post injury? Those addicts followed the advice of physicians until their bodies because dependent on a drug that they supply, i.e. the physician, cuts off when they decide it’s no longer warranted.
Sometimes I believe it is the little big syndrome. I probably made that name up but often people have to make others feel little so they can feel big. If I talk about how terrible someone else is it is in effect saying that I am better than them.  I’m sure that many of those that have hurtful and awful things to say about addicts have their own skeletons in the closet. This sort of redirect will certain assure them that those skeletons are not nearly as bad as the person targeted.

One of the toughest questions I ask myself is why does this keep happening? Why is anyone picking up a drug now? We all know the consequences. No one is immune. No one is unkillable, undeathable, invinsible.  The reason that no one knows the answer to that question is because they are looking for the wrong one. We can not solve drug addiction, but we can solve or try to prevent the problems that lead to drug addiction. The system in place shuffles addicts from one program to another, shoving drug facts and 12-step literature down their throat. Families, like mine, do everything in their power to help the addict put the drug down. But the problem started long before an addict picked up that drug. And without the proper information,  understanding of the reasons the addiction developed we are simply keeping embers from burning into flames, but they are always smoldering

My last and hardest question I ask myself is why, as this weekend begins which should be the celebration of her birth, the day to honor her coming into the world, a day to spent with her mother, and son, and sister, are we mourning the loss of a beautiful soul. Why are they planning final service arrangements and telling her son she will never come home? Why is my wonderful friend looking at life mothering her grandchild while grieving the loss of her own child? Why did this happen to a family that I know has fought with everything they had, and done everything they could? I don’t understand why a wonderful mother and friend is crying an endless river of tears and afraid to close her eyes because of the image that haunts her dreams. Brittany was an immeasurable asset to the world. She had more to offer than her addiction allowed which now will never be realized. When a life is lost it is a tragedy. When a life is lost for something so senseless and preventable it is a travesty. When society points fingers and makes the victim of said travesty a villain by means of nasty comments, judgments, alienation and dismissal it is a perversion for all humanity.  Remembering Brittany for anything other than the beautiful, amazing and giving soul she was is a crime

In loving memory of Brittany Michele Medlin 12/17/1989-12/14/2016

 

 

via Discover Challenge: Tough Questions

Dear State House

Dear Madam/Sir (I am so freaking sick of Sir coming first. For God sakes it is 2016. Can’t Madam come first for once?)

I would like to come forward to address the epipen vs Narcan controversy. Actually, I don’t want to address it because it is a ridiculous and unrealistic debate. I would like to address the absurdly inappropriate silent stance our state has taken. I see on social media sites that our government officials push their political propaganda to propose the latest popular regulation or law in an effort to collect more votes. I often see the traditional picture of my senator giving candy to a baby or participating in the Veterans parade, though not actually fighting for Veterans rights which are a letter for another day. What I don’t see, and is absolutely needed, is someone with authority and knowledge to put the fire out between the new mommies with the peanut allergies and the suffering mommies with the drug addict kids. This is not an either or debate. And the government, our state of Massachusetts, knows that, and is watching people compare apples and oranges silently. Shame on you.

The facts are that Narcan is only available now because it is funded by Department of Public Health. Massachusetts is one of the only states I know of that does that. In many states it is illegal to be in possession of Narcan. The kits cost about $75 and are now funded because many families, and addicts, and medical professionals fought for the right for those in need to have it available at the ready. Many, many addicts died before it was funded. It took many years for that to happen. It took funding efforts, and proof that addicts were more than the sum of the horrendous things that they do while using. Once again, because Big Pharma has jacked up the price of something that has nothing to do with addicts at all, addicts are reduced to nothing, worthy of nothing, and are the product of nothing. This is not accurate. Addicts are people. They were people before they were addicts. Sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, friends, lovers, spouses, partners, neighbors, who had lives and contributed to the world as we all do. They all have the potential to continue to contribute to the world but they need that opportunity. Narcan is giving them an opportunity in a moment, at a time, in the situation when they have no faith in themselves.

In no way does that have anything at all to do with someone having access to an Epipen. Parents, patients with allergies, medical personnel who feel strongly should get out there to fight for their rights exactly the same way the addiction family had to for theirs. It is criminal to inflate the price of a medication that any person needs for life saving issues. No matter the reason; Whether it is chemo for a lung cancer patient who still smokes, for a Narcan to an addict, insulin pumps for diabetics that won’t change their diet or people with allergies who have no control over their allergy at all.  Parents up in arms about epipen being outrageously high in cost have a right to be outraged. But they do not have a right to compare it to Narcan. They have a right to put their fight (and their mouth is)  up with those that control such things: the state, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies. Leave addicts and their families alone. And passive aggressive meme’s on Facebook are childish, also they show nothing but keyboard courage so grow up. I will say it since clearly, our government won’t.

Stop watching people pitting each other’s kids illnesses against each other like a good Jerry Springer show. Do the responsible thing as the leaders of our state and lead. Your silence is cowardly and unjust. And it makes you look like a donkey’s ass.

Sincerely,

A mother sick and tired of watching the news and seeing people die while politicians use the opiod epidemic as a platform to get votes while not actually doing anything to help a specific person. Also, I’m tired of seeing articles in the newspaper that follow addicts, exposing their dirty secrets, and their awful times, so the world knows what they are going through but never finishes with an Oprah-like ending by helping them get an apartment, or an education, or into a good rehab but simply says how bad that sucks and fairly-well while walking away. A mother, who works hard, prays hard, chases demons from her children, and forgets what a regular life looks life while the politicians that run my state vacation on the Vineyards. A mother who wants people to wake up and smell the shit, not the coffee, because shit stinks and it isn’t going away on its own. A mother is who going to start voting for herself because I think I could do a better job at this point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The F Word

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.