Embarrassed

One of the things a parent of an addict, or any loved one of an addict, feels is embarrassment. I know that people are often embarrassed FOR me. The thing that is misunderstood is that I am not embarrassed BY JoDee. I think that might be really hard for people to understand. I know fellow mother’s in the same situation as I am, like Jill and Toni, will agree that it is a complete misconception that our addict is an embarrassment. She isn’t. There is a lot of embarrassing things floating around us, and there are situations that I have been embarrassed by but those are typically emotions I have felt, or actions I have taken, or thought that I have had-less the addict. The statement hate the addiction, love the addict is true and with that comes a broader level of patience and accountability, and perspective. When dealing with an addict a person cannot use cookie-cutter methods to their madness. Madness it is. Madness is probably a perfect word for it. And that is a word I can dissect in another day, but today is about embarrass.

The first moments that addiction becomes so obvious in your family, there is no time for embarrassment. The brain cannot catch up fast enough to comprehend embarrassed. The first emotion is disbelief. Horror. Terror. As a mother, I went directly into mom mode. She has an illness, how do I cure it? I read everything I could, I called every medical person I knew, I learned there was no cure. I learned that there was so much more to it than someone doing drugs. So I read all the information I could about that. I went through a lot in the first months of her addiction. Pulling away from the very detox after I dropped her off, I felt numb. I was shook. I thought I was devastated. I thought it couldn’t get any worse. But I realized that it could. And the first time I realized just how fucked up things were about to be was when she ran from the first rehab in Arizona. Locked in my bathroom, laying in child pose, crying harder than I ever remember crying in my life, I thought my life was over. Confessions time: I am an ugly crier. And not the regular ol’ ugly crier, we are talking absolutely horrendous, think the mask from the Scream movies. Scary. That is embarrassing.

Hindsight is 20/20- that is no shit. I remember the time that JoDee went to the emergency room in Salem because she was high, and breathing shallow, and they were going to medically clear her for detox. At that time, I was so mad that she relapsed. I was so pissed that she was still doing this. I remember seeing JV and Big Al waiting for me at the entrance, knowing I was going to kill her dead, trying to calm me down I of course flew past them directly to the doctor where I demand he do a list of things (blood work, fluid, etc.- this wasn’t my first rodeo) and he treated me like, well, I guess, like the mother of a dirty, smelly, unkempt, incoherent addict. I responded with a personal attack that sounded something like the air was thin for him because he had a giraffe neck.  That was embarrassing.  And I have about 900 examples of that. Every road block, every person that didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear, every time I couldn’t get my way to help her get better that is embarrassing.  It some instances the person on the receiving end of my attack maybe didn’t deserve it. In some instances that deserved that and more, but I’m a reality and I should be able to maintain a level of decorum, especially if I want people to have a different perspective of addicts and their families.  I consider it part of my duty in changing the stigma to behave in a manner that is not embarrassing to other families of addicts.  Every time we walk into any setting with our loved one that is drooling, and unclean, and combative, it is up to us to make others see them as a sick, and not less than- that means acting like we are not less than. It is not easy. It is trying, and disappointing and sometimes hurts in a place that brings out the worst in anyone, especially me. Since I am not a crier, I don’t break down and cry but instead square up, fist up, ready to take it on. That sounds tough but it isn’t. It’s weak. It is the easy way out to fight with someone instead of staying calm to send a clearer message. That sort of behavior embarrasses me (kinda sorta, in a #sorrynotsorry sort of way).

I can’t think of a single example of me being embarrassed BY JoDee. I might be embarrassed FOR her sometimes. Those feelings are different. I would never not claim her as mine or be unable to be seen with her in public or uncomfortable talking about her. If was at all embarrassed this here blog wouldn’t exist, y’all. I implore other families to feel the same. Feelings of embarrassment toward an addict is only going to feed the stigma fire that says they are of a lesser class. Our addicts need to be seen as people first, with a disease that makes them sick not as a sickness on society. They are very, very different things.

 

 

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Life of Life

Well. Shit. Things just never go the way we plan, do they? I know in my life NOTHING goes as planned. I haven’t really added much the last few weeks but I had very little to offer in the way of encouragement or discouragement. I don’t have much to add. Period. We have entered a part of addiction I hoped we would never know. JoDee is living in purgatory; not really dead and not really living either. She calls once in a while, touches base sometimes and sometimes I go days even a week without talking to her. How do I live this way? Well, what choice do I have? I never was asked if I wanted to be dragged into the world of addiction so I certainly don’t think my opinion is wanted now. I mean, really no one has much say on the major events of their life. The most tragic things that happen are usually not planned. So, you know, things are what they are. It doesn’t mean that life doesn’t go on because sadly it does. Here is an example of some of the things that have been going on here:

  1. Our oil tank burst causing an environemental disaster in and around the foundation of our house. Now, if anyone has been paying attention, I didn’t want to move to begin with. I had it in my head that JoDee would eventually rejoin life and we would all move happily together, to a new home that would home filled with peace and no issues and we would all sing kombaya together while braiding each others hair. Basically, we would all drink the kool-aid. And no, that did not happen. We have had one issue after another with this house. The house that EVERYONE loves. But me. AC, he who is as superstitious as me, says that all this bad stuff happens because I put it in the universe every time I say I hate the house. Now the Department of Environmental Protection is my new best friend and we are living in a house in New England with no heating system until we can get the tank replaced which requires …ugh…just a bunch of shit not even worth getting into. So, to that end, I have I told you how much I LOVE MY HOUSE. It is perfect for us. Large, and warm, and homey. Just the best thing I could possibly ask for and I am so grateful and humbled by our fortune.
  2. Our cat, Blu, had terrible mats on his back. He has really long hair and this summer was so wet that when he would come home (he is an outside cat most of the summer but stays indoors in the winter) he wouldn’t let me brush it. Being the good fur-mommy that I am I found a groomer to take care of that. Jay J is away with my car, so I am driving The Beast, aka, his old Tahoe. Jared and I get in the car to drop Blu off at the groomer and while I am plugging in the address in my GPS, Mr. Speedy Pants Jared throws it in reverse and begins to back up. WHAMMO. BAMMO. Big bang. Backs right up into AC new Honda. Blu’s grooming trip quickly became a very expensive trip.

Lastly, I have a secret. This is a secret AC and I told very, very few people. Very few. Because I am supersticious. In fact, I believe JoDee will be finding out by reading this blog because we kept it very tight lipped, and given how it turned out, I was going to tell anyone but then I decided- fuck it.  Due to a strange set of circumstances and coincidences I had an opportunity to try out for the reality TV show Masterchef. We told everyone we were going to New York to visit some of AC family but that was a fat ol’ lie. I sort of agonized even going because I thought there would be so, so many people show up, like why bother but AC convinced me that the opportunity presented for a reason and anyone who follows me on Instagram knows how much I like to cook so I agreed to go. Three days before my audition I received a confirmation call confirming I was attending- that was when shit got real. This took DAYS of planning. Days. Because you have to bring something already made. Trying to figure out what to make, how to bring it, what to wear was so stressful. In the end, I did really well. I made it to the final 14 people in a group of I don’t know how many (last I saw 297) of which they took 4 people from that group and I wasn’t one of them. However, it was such an awesome experience, and my plating was really appreciated. It was taken away and photographed in different ways, and then I was interviewed for the promo screaming I am representing Boston like a jack-ass (a lot of others were too but not everyone-maybe 20). We met an awesome couple from Boston who we spent the day with ranking everyone else’s meal, looks, general appearance to satisfy our own humor.  I’m so glad I did it, and I was asked to start a food blog (or use my current blog for that) which I will think about but I am not sure I would do it again. Idk…maybe I would.  I got to see myself on film and I was HORRIFIED at what I looked at so the good thing that came from it is that I joined OrangeTheoryFitness with my friend Lorrey, and I have to tell you, it is seriously kicking my ass! The day after my first session I text her and said I certainly hope I have no need to pass gas because I am fairly sure I have no strength to hold it in!!!!!  And that was no shit. Pun intended!!

Oil Tank Spill:

My Baby Blu

AC and Me in NY

Me after being a loser       This is right when we pulled up by our hotel   The audition was here            AC being a goober

Committed: Recovery, Gardens and Family

The sun beats down on my back as I am kneeling in the dirt cursing the weeds that keep coming back. They are relentless. I have tried all of the tricks of the trade: homemade weed killer, pulling weeds in the middle of the night, when the dirt is dry, after watering, standing on my head while burping jelly-beans, but nothing works. The soil is rich and bountiful since the land was once an onion farm many, many years ago but someone spent many more years covering that farm rich soil up to grow grass. It has taken me several seasons to develop the perfect rectangle in the ground and most of the it is weed free, but the one area that continues to grow year after year is my nemesis. Well, the used to be my nemesis. Now, I am grateful for them.

 

My kitchen faces the back of my house directly into my garden deliberately. While I am washing dishes I love looking out at the butterflies attracted to the marigolds, and the bees pollinating my cucumbers. The blots of red from my tomato plants add a deep color to the mass of green vines and leaves. I am often standing in that exact spot trying to determine the items I will use in that evening’s supper. It’s beautiful, and knowing that the fruits of my labor will nourish my family is an added bonus. One particular day, late in the season, I noticed the last of the tomatoes had ripened, and were ready to be picked. The butternut squash was looking fantastic and on schedule for harvest in another few months and my second harvest of potatoes was almost ready. The flowers were gone and the plants were beginning to wilt, a sure sign that the tubers were ready when the phone broke my concentration.

 

When a person is staring at such a beautiful part of the earth, a part that she herself had helped create, she should not be disturbed by a phone call that will change her life forever. That is what happened to me. Drying my hands off on a nearby dish towel I answered the phone to be told that my daughter has jumped a wall in the middle of the night to runaway from a rehab in Arizona. There is nothing a person can do to prepare for that, and I was not prepared, at all. In the years since that day, we have many escapes and many near death experiences. She should be dead now, by all rights, but she continues to live another day. That first season the garden was all but forgotten about. My husband had been mowing the lawn at the time. The whole winter the lawn mower stayed right where he turned it off. The tomatoes rotten on the vine, and the potatoes under the earth. The butternut squash ripened to harvest and eventually froze to the ground decomposing the following spring. In the beginning getting out of bed was all I could manage some days. The garden seemed like a chore. I lost the love and the desire to watch things develop from seed to life. It felt as though the very opposite thing was happening to my daughter. She was slowly dismantling herself and her life. Killing herself. The drug was the weed that was strangling the life out of her and there was nothing I could do to stop it or help her. It was worse than that. It was like having powdery mildew sweep through the whole garden, and nothing we tried made it better or clear up. It was just a disease that kept on spreading.

 

It wasn’t just the outside garden that suffered either. My house plants wilted with neglect and my other children sulked around rarely showing their face out of their rooms. My Christmas Cactus never bloomed that year and the Wandering Jew I had for almost ten years on the mantel over the fireplace began to lose leaves and turn brown. Eventually we figured out how to bring life back to our lives. It isn’t an easy process. It is so difficult to commit to a life lived with an addict. It makes life unpredictable and scary. Even the strongest of people, even the people stick to their boundaries still live with the emotion attached to it. Not being in contact with the addict does not ease the pain or the depression or the misery of all that it entails but eventually it becomes just another part of the family dynamic.  Her addiction is like that patch of garden that keeps growing weeds. I won’t stop pulling them, and I won’t stop trying to figure out how to get rid of them for good, but I refuse to let it rock my commitment to the rest of the garden. I make sure I water the eggplant, and trim the herbs to encourage new growth. I snip roses putting them in vases all around the house so we can relish in their sweet scent and I take time to sit back to admire the work I have done.

 

That sounds easy, doesn’t it? To someone on the outside, that sounds like an easy thing. Pick the weed, accept it will grow back and move on. It’s not as easy as it sounds. It is a commitment. It is a commitment to myself and my family. I didn’t want to sell my house to buy a new house without JoDee being clean and able to be with us. I procrastinated as long as I could but it didn’t happen. I haven’t planned a family vacation yet for the summer because there is no way she can come with us. But I have to do it. The rest of the kids, my husband and I, work hard all year and we deserve the down time with each other. This is a real commitment. Every morning while I shower I allow myself to sulk and moan and question why this happened to me, and my daughter, and my family. By the time I dry off, brush my teeth and am dressed for the day I have to commit to putting it behind me until the same time the next day. Allowing the weeds to strangle me would only spoil the whole garden.

 

At this point with JoDee we are in a holding pattern. She says she is clean, but her patterns haven’t changed. Not working, watching Netflix, letting others take care of her is not going to make the weeds stop growing but I can’t preach that. At this point no one can. She knows what she has to do. She knows how to do it but she has to have the desire to do it. That is something that cannot be taught, or given, or explained. It has to come from her. And the first thing she would have to do is admit she still has a problem. She would have to admit that she is in denial because being drug free is not the same as living a clean life, weed-free* life.

 

 

*Weed as it relates to the garden, not a reference or innuendo for pot. Get your mind out of the gutter people.

T. R. E. M. B. L. E.

T-Today is a new day. It is a day we should embrace because we are given another chance to do things right. To make today count. The problem with that, is if I realize it, and I know it, it’s one thing. But she has to know it. She has to feel that way. She has to take today as a blessing. If she is making excuses, and blaming others, and focusing on the wrong then, today won’t count. It will just be a repeat of yesterday and all the yesterdays gone by.

R– Remembering how she was when she was young is both painful and helpful. She used to be so innocent, and beautiful, and kind, respectful. Now she is a shell of the girl she used to be. Now she is planning her next scheme, looking for away to work less but get more. She is looking for a way out or a short cut or an excuse or someone to blame. Gone is the girl who would beg to feed to feed her little brother, or would ask for chores to earn a dollar, and wanted to learn to mow the lawn. Now she feels like life owes her something, that she is the victim of her own doing and is deserving of all that others have.

E-Everywhere I go I am reminded of what is or could be or was. A mother with her little girl in the park looks like we used. A banged up girl on the bus looks like her now. The man at the Red Sox game nodding off into his beer looks familiar. The woman in the ER with the child passed out in her lap has the body of her own but the face of me.

M-Mothers are breed to protect their children. Mother instincts are not just a saying; they are in fact a real feeling. When the child grows up to be a heroin addict the instinct is now a curse. All the things a parent will do to protect their children, the mother will do, is the wrong thing. The way we would protect our children before now becomes enabling and dangerous. The feeling we have to stand in front of our children, shielding them with our own body, not only is harmful to our children, but may even result in a knife in our back. Mother becomes could world for mistake. And a big mistake will end up with a dead child because if we don’t make them responsible for their own actions it can be lethal.

B-Because we have to change everything we every knew about parenting means forgetting all the things we have become, and learned, and have grown into to instead be a jailer, and probation officer, drug specialist, hard-ass that we don’t even recognize when we look in the mirror. When I look in the mirror.  And because I don’t recognize myself I become the other B word. Bitter.  I am bitter that my life doesn’t look like I wanted it too, or that my daughter’s life doesn’t look like it should, and that I have to un-parent one child but still remember to parent the others. It becomes confusing.

L-Laughter is something I miss. Laughter is something that should reside in everyone’s household along with their pets, and memories, and experiences. Laughter should not be something that is malleable. It shouldn’t bend, and leave, or break and come back.  It should be part of every persons being. Laughing should be as present and tangible in every life. When laughter is missing, it is evident. The atmosphere is heavy and dark.  When laughter is present the atmosphere is light and bright and has a lot of hope.

E-Everyday I tremble with fear that she will be dead that day. Waking up with hope that things will change is becoming less frequent. Trembling is feeling, movement, or sound or a physical or emotional condition marked by trembling.  I have learned a person can tremble with laughter, with fear, with joy, with anxiety, or love. Hatred and anger can also make a person tremble. Desperation and anticipation can cause trembling as can heroin withdrawal, alcohol withdrawal, detoxing and overdose. When a person is administered narcan, and brought back from near dead, the will have involuntary shakes and trembling while also swearing, vomiting, and general disorientation or agitation.

Grave Oversight

The level of oversight can vary from incident to incident. If I do not pay the electric bill, it could be shut off but would be easily corrected. If I forgot to buckle one of my children’s car seats in when they were little that could be catastrophic.

When time came for the next step of JoDee’s recovery I did not want her to come home. I knew that being home is difficult for her. Not because we are using drugs, or partying like rock stars, but because I expect her to be a member of society. An able body in the house that helps clean, or cook, or take out trash, or keep her room clean.  This time, the director of the program and I had a conversation about my reservations. We talked about the goals for her and my concerns for her being home. He suggested that I make a list of things I would expect her to do or not do, send it to him and he would discuss it with JoDee.  That happened. I gave them a list and they discussed it as promised. It was clear that she wasn’t happy about my rules, but she claimed to be willing to adhere to them.  I told AC that it is all good in the hood right now but when she got home it would be a different story. I heard from everyone that I was pessimistic and being negative. I heard about how much she has changed, and that she really sees the joy in life now. Fine. She can come home. Fine. I will ignore my gut, again. Something I said I would not do. Fine. We will try again.

An oversight is an unintentional failure to act or notice something. Or it can be the act of overseeing something. It is my job as a mother to oversee our children. Obviously in partnership with my husband, but shall we be honest? Yes, we shall. Motherhood is the epitome of overseeing. Fathers do as well, but it usually falls to the mother. The majority of it anyway.  The colloquial word for oversight as it relates to being a parent is the bad guy. I have to be the bad guy. I have to tell them to clean their room or I won’t give them anymore money, or to find another sponsor or do step work or get a job or do their laundry.  I have to point out that the attitude sucks, and we aren’t here to cater to their every whim. And, this is not just my addicted child. It’s really all the children. They all need policing at some point. My addicted child needs more attention, and more parenting because she has larger hurdles.

Day one was amazing. She came home and immediately did dishes, organized her belongings, started laundry. Her attitude was pleasant and vibrant. It was a pleasure to have her home. The whole time she has been home I have enjoyed having her home. When the girls are all together the laughter vibrates through the walls, and makes everyone smile.  It is easy to relax when the house feels better with her there. It is easy to let your guard down when she attends her groups, goes to meetings and is following most of the rules.  But change is slow, and when it happens it is easy to oversee. The attitude became surly. The behavior became a little difficult. She didn’t eat much, she chewed her nails.  She was going out, but I believe she was doing the right thing. I think she was struggling with a lot of death around her, I think that she was suffering survivor’s guilt, still, for someone she loved a lot. Contrary to anyone who put her on blast.  I believe she felt like she was an outsider in her home with all of her family. And she wasn’t. She was one of us. She is one of us. She will always be one of us.

What she may not always be is clean. And that, that is truly the thing that separates her from us. She hasn’t learned that I am an expert now. I may not be an addict, but I don’t need to be to know when she is turning a corner. When she wanted to go to Boston on Saturday, I questioned her. I had a feeling it was a bad idea.  She told me that everyone was going, it was the Women’s March and something else at the Frog Pond.  She tried to FaceTime early in the afternoon to show me all the action. But we had a poor connection. She called me later on, and I knew it. I knew she was up to something. Maybe she was struggling. Maybe she was uncomfortable. When we hung up I told AC, she isn’t coming home tonight, I know it. He told me I was pessimistic. That she would come home to show me wrong. I was right.  By noon the next morning we had spoken via text. She said it was no good for anyone if she came home, and was honest about what she had done.

I was a grave oversight to ignore my gut. It was a grave oversight to not insist that she go to a different program, or a sober house, or a halfway house. I knew it would be hard if not impossible for her to recover at home. It is too easy for both of us to get wrapped up, to be caught up, and to forget the purpose of recovery. I should have noticed she stopped seeing her sponsor. I should have noticed that she wasn’t doing step work. I should have seen the signs of her feeling resentful and angry. But I missed them. I had an unintentional failure to notice something. And as a result, she is gone. Again. #whattheactualhellisgoingon

 

Everything Opposite

Everything Opposite

I am concerned about jinxing myself, as I have stated before. So, in an attempt to trick karma/the universe/whoever decides what is jinxable, this is opposite day. I am not saying that everything I am going to write is the not true but merely insinuating that readers should think of these statements as contradictory to real life.  Let’s begin.

  1. The house move is going splendidly. Very organized and well thoughts out. Not at all crazed and confused.
  2. I can’t wait to move into our new house which I love. So much. Love it.
  3. I was not at all upset when a tiny pebble, a miniscule little stupid fleck of a rock flew out of nowhere making a quarter size cracks in my windshield. I laughed. I wasn’t mad. I definitely did not swear.
  4. I am so looking forward to Christmas. I cannot wait for the fun which some might interpret as chaos and worthy of self mutilation, but not me. I am grinning ear to ear.
  5. I am not at all easing my stress and aggravation with retail therapy in the form of online shopping. I do not have so many packages and boxes stacked in my bedroom that Diego scared the crap out of me when he jumped on them in the middle of the night causing the entire stack to fall over on to my bed and on to the exact spot that I was sleeping in.
  6. I am looking forward to all the wrapping I have to do. I simply can’t wait.

And lastly, since it’s OPPOSITE day and you should consider this to be CONTRARY, I will say JoDee is doing, ugh, so bad. Horrible. Can’t stand having her at home. Such a drag. We don’t laugh and laugh and laugh until she snorts which makes me laugh more. She is not behaving, and following the rules and cleaning up after herself. And she looks like crap. She does not have absolutely clear and beautiful skin and put some weight on. She does not look so healthy that it’s hard not to stare at her and she doesn’t seem happy at all.

I won’t go on and on about all the contradictory things that have been going on. I definitely am not treasuring this time. Not at all. No way.

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The Real Dilemma

I used to think that a dilemma was when I agreed to be in two places at the same time. Or when my gas light was on but I couldn’t find my debit card. In the real world of normal people dilemmas are stressful but manageable.  I remember when I used to be stressed out by every day dilemmas.  In another life a dilemma wouldn’t keep me up at night, staring at the ceiling wondering if the choice I made is the difference between my daughter’s life and death.  I believed, back then in the fantasy world I lived in, that the dilemmas were horrible and unnerving. I laugh at the person now. I sneer at her in awe of her ignorance and naivety.

First world problems is a new tag line going around. There is some real truth behind that. Market Basket is a zoo is most people’s biggest complaint on a Sunday morning, meanwhile there are people who haven’t eaten food they haven’t scavenged or killed with their own hands ever in their life. I am complaining about dog hair and cat hair and boys that don’t bring their dirty clothes to the laundry or girls that leave clothes everywhere and yet there are children that have never had clothes. CLOTHES. Those are not dilemmas though. Those are tragedies and real world problems. It makes me embarrassed for us as American’s when we complain about our dilemma’s.  Even though, that is true, when facing a dilemma it does help put things into perspective when comparing them to the problems of others. Someone very smart once said to me if everyone in the world had to dump all their problems on the street for all to share, we would be very quick to go grab our own.

Technically, a dilemma is being torn between two or more situations in which each one is equally troubling. Every time I have an encounter with my daughter, I am faced with a dilemma.  She is destructive, and self sabotaging, and hurtful to everyone around her. She can’t tell the truth because I’m not sure she even knows it anymore and she can absolutely not do anything that would better her life.  Each time I see her or talk to her I am faced with the dilemma of hugging her or smashing her face in.  I can’t say with each relapse, because her life is one constant relapse, but every turn on the Merry-Go-Round makes me sicker, makes her sicker and pulls us farther apart.  When this ride started I stood next to her, in front of her, trying to protect her from all of those around her. While the horses went up and down and the creepy music played I frantically searched for the next threat so I could help eliminate it no matter how motion sick I got. As the Merry-Go-Round sped up and horses started to break away, I kept my eyes on the horizon looking for her bright future.  All the while that stupid ride spun me crazy, and everyone who began the ride with us was gone, I never noticed the real threat. The real problem was not the other riders, or those standing by watching to see us fall. The real menace was her. She was the real problem. And there was no saving her from herself.

Now that I see something, I can’t unsee it. I can’t make my mind block the truth. I would look at her to see the baby she was, the young girl that I watched grow up.  The girl on the Merry-Go-Round was blond and little and waving her arm to for all of us to wave back, proud she was on the horse all by herself. I was blinded by that image and I couldn’t see what everyone else saw. I was warned, and warned, and warned. Many people told me that there was nothing I could do. Many people told me to step off the ride. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t make myself get off no matter what. Like an idiot, I believed the ride would eventually stop and we would both be able to get off, together.  I believed it was my duty to stand with her, even if she took me down with her because I was her mother. Isn’t that my job as a parent? To advocate for my child when she can’t advocate for herself?  In 99% of the situations a child goes through, that may be true, but not with addiction.  Addiction epitomizes a dilemma. Helping hurts, doing nothing sucks, watching them live sick and soulless is torture but death would be worse.  There is no bigger dilemma then when she calls you to tell you that she is going to have to sleep in a park because she has nowhere to go. If I bring her to my house again, she steals from us, I can’t go to work because I can’t leave her alone and no one feels comfortable with her being there when she is not the JoDee we all know and love. The person that would come home would be a person we don’t know. A stranger occupying the body of someone who looks like someone we used to know.  If I pick her up to bring her home she will be validated that I will always pick up after her. She will never have to change because I am always there to clean up her mess.

If I don’t pick her up, she sleeps in a park. In my mind it isn’t the image of the stranger we see in the present but the daughter I knew in the past. She could use alone and die from an overdose. She could be kidnapped or raped. The numbers of things that go through my mind are endless. I hear her crying in the phone, and her words are not good. I can tell she is high. I’m not even sure if I’m breathing.  I don’t know what to do. This. Is. A. Dilemma.  My choices are let her sleep in a park in Everett, or pick her up to bring her to my house. The place that she stole medicine and money and who knows what. How can a mother make that choice? How am I supposed to decide between those two options? I know what Nar-Non and Al-Anon and who-ever-the-hell-Anon would say:  Don’t get her.   So, I should say that I’m sorry I can’t pick you up just to climb in my own bed, with my fuzzy blanket and sleep?  She knows I won’t let her come home, so I ask her why she is calling me. Through cries and hiccups she tells me that she thought I would want to know that her child is sleeping in a park. Those words are like a bullet right to the heart.  Even if I picked her up, what then? She can’t get in any programs and she has nowhere to go.  If I don’t pick her up, how long does she sleep in the park?  How will I live with myself, or look myself in the mirror, or sleep?

I didn’t pick her up. I have done everything I can do. The only thing I have left to do is nothing.  Nothing is a very strong statement. It hurts to say it, and it hurt for her to hear it.  I don’t know how this ends; I don’t know how long I have to live in hell on earth. I hope someday there is peace for both of us.