Mother of The Year

So. I never said I had good ideas. I just have ideas. Sometimes my ideas come to fruition and are awesome. And sometimes, they suck. Suck may be a little judgie. They don’t work out as intended. This Thanksgiving probably falls somewhere in the middle between fan-tab-ulous and suck-a roo. As far as ideas go, anyways. My plan was to flip things upside down. I did not want to have another holiday where we pretend that everything is hunky dory when it isn’t. We do this pretend thing that I hate. It basically means we do the exact thing we would do any other holiday while ignoring the fact that JoDee isn’t home, or JoDee is home and is high, or JoDee is home and is not high but I am worrying like a lunatic that she will be high at any moment. I just can’t keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I am still insane though.

My plan was to have all of us, the entire family including the rotten teenagers that would need to be dragged kicking and screaming, to volunteer somewhere in the morning. I wasn’t really going to share my plan with them. I just was going to ease them into it when they got up in the morning. Like you know, when they got up in the morning just sort of saying let’s go for a ride and show up at our location. In the end I basically told them to be ready at a said time. I was really surprised how many organizations need help delivering, serving or otherwise preparing meals for the less fortunate. In the end I chose to stay close to home and we spent the morning running deliveries to shut-ins, the elderly, or anyone who for whatever reason couldn’t get out for a hot meal. The woman who organizes the whole thing has been doing it for ten years. She begins months and months in advance. This year she was able to feed 2000 people.  She is amazing and it was absolutely humbling to be part of it the little bit that we did. Some folks worked the night before and began again at 5am on Thanksgiving.  We were not that hard-core, though we should have been.  I was so Thankful to be part of it. Were the rest of my family is the question.

Yes. Everyone grumbled and moaned about where are we going and what are we doing but once we got there and everyone was able to see those we were helping they were grateful to be part of it. It took a moment or two to get there.

These boys were not thrilled with me:

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The boys had to go to Daddy-O’s so they left after a few hours. The girls, AC and I stayed until after 1. At three the boys would be home and we were going to visit JoDee. But between 1-3 was a period of time I hadn’t considered. It never really occurred to me that I should have had something for them to eat or something else to do. We drove through a few towns, including our own looking for something to eat. I totally thought the Chinese Food place would be open. I kept saying we could get Chinese Food. I mean, isn’t Chinese Food places open always? Even during the apocalypse? Like what the hell? No. The answer is no. Typically the only place open on Thanksgiving are restaurants that require a reservation. Except one. There was one place we found open.

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Mother of the year took her family to MCDONALDS!!!!!!!!!! Oh, my god. It’s humiliating. Yup. That happened. #sometimesIembarrassmyself  #youhavetobekiddingme #thatwasarealtreatNOT

That was certainly a moment I will never be able to forget. I’m sure the kids will be saying for years remember that time we had McDonald’s for Thanksgiving. Sweet Jesus.  Anyway. After that we had just enough time to go home to pass out for a quick nap before we went to see JoDee.  That was the highlight of the day.  She was so happy to see us, and we were so happy to see her too. Everyone but Jared. Jared wouldn’t come but I know he will come around eventually. He has every right to be mad at her, so hopefully by Christmas he will be willing to visit.

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On the way home we were laughing and talking about the new house and when JoDee came home. I apologized again for the McDonald’s incident and the kids surprised me by saying that this was one of the best Thanksgivings they ever had. We all agreed that the day was amazing and wonderful and uplifting.  So drastic from last year.

Last year was a miserable Thanksgiving. The morning after I was desperate to get a hold of her because she turned off her phone so I went to Facebook hoping she would see it:

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I must have been in lala land because I have no idea why I used a screen shot I took of 5:55 on Sept 30 but who the hell knows. I won’t even get into what that Black Friday looked like for us but you can refresh your memory if you want, here Black Friday.  This year this was how my Black Friday started:

 

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I guess I brushed my teeth a little vigorously because the toothbrush flew out of my hand right into the freaking toilet.  And no, I did not keep it. I bought a new one, thank you very much.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Five Millions and Forty Two

…since finding out JoDee was an addict. At least it feels like that. The first Thanksgiving she was missing in Arizona. Actually, she was no longer missing that’s for sure.  The Wednesday before Thanksgiving I was pouting in a bath tub with hot enough water to turn my skin into the same shade red as my OPI nail color called Red My Fortune Cookie while my phone was ringing endlessly on my kitchen table. By the time I decided to not drown myself, and got out of the water I had missed 4 calls. I was in the full throes of hysteria when she called back. Anyone following this blog knows how that turned out. Cliff Notes Version: Paid a drug dealer a ransom to get her a ride to my Uncle. Said Uncle showed up packing heat and ready to shoot the face off any loser who tried something funny. And Thanksgiving morning he deposited her on a plane back to Boston. At midnight-ish AC, Daddy-O and I went to the airport to pick her up.  Also, side note: it was also the week I got my favorite of all time kitty, Diego. My soul mate. My love. My….oh ha ha just kidding….

The following Thanksgiving was different but not by much. She was using, barely awake for dinner and I wanted to punch her face off while wrapping her in a blanket to hold on my lap. The year after that JoDee had run from a program the weeks before and was staying in a sober house that I said I would not pay for her to get into and then, like a suckah, caved in and paid. She was doing well. She seemed to be doing well. She spent the whole day with us smiling and being wonderful. We played music and had a fire in the pit in the yard. We played games and laughed and really had a good time as a family which is something we don’t get very often. It didn’t take that long to fall apart, however. By Christmas she was nasty and hostile. Clearly was using but trying hard to hide it. We still spent Christmas together but shortly after that we had JoDee sectioned which was a miserable heart wrenching yet relieving day. I won’t get into that.

Last Thanksgiving JoDee showed up late and high but I could tell she used just enough to get by. Something I should have recognized at the time. I should have seen that she was trying to be with us. I should have seen that her using just enough to keep from getting sick meant that being with us was important to her too.  But, that is not what happened. My grandmother was with us and having her watch JoDee with the heavy eyelids made me so effing angry. I was furious. I was embarrassed for her which also made me resent her.  So, I yelled at her. I made her leave. I told her she couldn’t be with us. The look of hurt on her face is something I still see when I close my eyes. She was embarrassed and humiliated and deflated and mad. It’s one of the things I will never forgive myself for. My grandmother got upset, she ran out, the kids were frozen in place. It was awful.  And I know she called the disgusting old man (I hate to use that word because he is no man) whom she stayed with for several days. She turned her phone off because she was mad at me. The Friday after Thanksgiving AC and I tried to have her sectioned. It took us forever to get them to issue the warrant. The police went to the house she was at, that I knew she was at because I was literally, LITERALLY, stalking the house, and knocked on the door. She answered the door smiling denying she was herself and they said ok have a good day, leaving her there.  That was not a good time for me. I don’t think I got out of bed or showered until I had to return to work on Monday.

This Thanksgiving, well this one, it has to be different. I know that it is still several days away so I am breaking my own rule by talking about it because I am going to jinx it. However, I feel moderately comfortable (actually I will cross fingers, knock on wood and throw salt over my shoulder just as a precaution) talking about it. Or writing about it. As a family we still have a lot going on. Moving, preparing to have my grandmother come to live with us, end of year approaching for work, etc, etc.  For that reason, amongst more that I can’t even put into words, I am flipping Thanksgiving upside down.  There will be no cooking a Turkey Dinner. There will be none of me slaving over a stove for a stupidly long time for everyone to eat in 15 min and then retire to the nearest sleeping spot.  This Thanksgiving I am going to show that I am truly grateful this year. The year was tough. We had some really low, low’s. Some heart breaking moments.  The year is looking as though it might end for the better. Maybe the best we have had in our family in a long time.  One month from now we will be moving into a bigger house, enough room for us all to stretch out and a separate in-law for my grandmother to have her own space. And most important, JoDee is doing well. She is over 30 days clean. She is grateful and remorseful and humble.  She is writing letters and taking responsibility for her actions. She admits she is not in control.  She has said and expressed things she hasn’t in 5 years. One of which is that she hadn’t realized how much time had passed. She was shocked when she really put together the number of years we have been tortured by her addiction.

Let’s be clear, shall we? She is not “all better”. She is doing well, and we are cautiously optimistic but that doesn’t mean we can relax or let our guard down. It just means that she is on a different path. One I hope she stays on. And I am so grateful for that.  For that reason, AC, the kids and I are going to do something else. We are going to be doing something different then we have in previous years. Hopefully something that brings us and others some joy. Hopefully the family isn’t to annoyed with me when they find out just what I got them into!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from me and mine.

XOXO

Conjecture and Disgrace

There is a lot going on with our nation right now. Today marks an important day, being Election Day. Our country will not be the same, either way. It’s a country divided and really at war with itself. When I think about the significant times in American history I can’t help but compare them to current events. During the abolishment of slavery there were those that didn’t think change was necessary and there were those that could see the future of America, making all of the citizens free.  During the women’s lib movement, there were men that good understand and value the support needed for women to have equal rights.  When segregation was ending there were American’s that wanted all of our citizens to be treated fairly and equally and not be ostracized due to skin color. There are many examples of this, I could go on forever. However, the common theme is those that want change and those that don’t.  Only each side views change differently.  Each side believes that their side wants the change, even when the change is more of the same.  Who can be sure what is right? What if right is wrong? People that are wrong, often don’t know it. And can’t recognize it. If they did, they would see it from the other side.  My point is, each party is fighting for or against their own fundamental beliefs. Sometimes it is hard to be able to see the forest through the trees. And let’s face it, while we have come a long, long way, we still have miles to go. Racial profiling still happens, women are paid less than men by as much as $0.25 on the dollar and the LGBTQ families suffer hate crimes, discrimination and still do not have equal rights as their heterosexual counterparts.  America was built on fundamental beliefs of justice and evenhandedness, but it is clearly still a work in progress.

We, as a society, are divided and it is painfully obvious that is not going to resolve anytime soon. It could not be clearer then when looking at the addiction families. It is not bad enough that when our children or loved ones are suffering from addiction that we have to live on the edge of our worst fears waiting for the call that they have died. But then when that call comes, and it is more likely than ever to happen, the family is bombarded with disgusting and vile comments about the addict deserving their death, or getting what they deserve. How did we become such a cruel society? How did we become a whole that splits in half pointing fingers at each other looking for blame? When we spend so much time pointing fingers and calling out whose fault it is we spend zero time looking for a solution to the problem.  Recently I read an article about a woman who lost 3 sons. THREE SONS. Three. I cannot fathom going through this nightmare with three children. It is literally paralyzing to me.  That is the epitome of suffering addiction. Those poor boys suffered watching each other die off, the mother suffered burying each one and the entire family suffered the loss of a future. Add to that the mother is a recovering addict and it is a perfect storm of devastation.

Once again, because I truly never learn, I clicked on the comments underneath the article. And once again, because nothing really changes, I was disgraced by humanity. The cruelty of people is just unbelievable. And I do mean unbelievable in the most absolute and outrageous way.  Sometimes I am embarrassed to be alive and sharing air with people who are so ignorant and disgusting.  The comments were loaded with conjecture. The mother must be the problem if all three kids died. The mother is an addict too so don’t donate to the Gofundme page because she will probably use the money for drugs. Don’t donate because she deserves to lose her kids if she is a dirty scumbag addict too. On and on. I read them all. There were plenty of people offering supportive words about the loss but the bad definitely out weighted the good. It was horrifying.  I understand that there is some speculation on how three boys from the same family end up so deep in addiction they lose their life, especially under the supervision of a mother that is an addict herself.  Doesn’t anyone ask why?  Instead of crucifying this family, did anyone stop to ask why this has happened? In the supposed land of opportunity?

I’m sure a lot of people say it’s because the mother did drugs so the kids followed in her foot steps. That’s true. I believe that is very probable but, there is still a why. What led the mother to that lifestyle? Well, who the hell knows. No one. No one knows for sure. It really doesn’t make it any less tragic. An entire family has been wiped out by addiction and that is fucking tragic. It’s awful.  I can preach myself blue about disease versus choice or behavior versus mental health, though I think that would be futile.  There is just no forgiveness or natural kindness anymore. Now every time something bad happens to someone we say that was karma making it right, or that the person deserved whatever they got. Who are we? It’s disgusting.

The truth is that the way we live and are raised and are praised or not typically shapes who we become as people. Positive feedback and encouragements causes a self-amplifying cycle where positive change leads to even greater change and continued growth in a positive and self-satisfying way. Negative feedback or discouragement does the exact opposite. If a child is raised in a place where they are told they can be whatever they want, and can do whatever they want, they will believe that and strive for the best. If a child is raised in an environment that is predominantly negative they will believe that they cannot do things, or they are not good enough and it will have lifelong effects resulting in unconstructive behavior.  Those types of behaviors follow people and families for decades.  I recently read a study about children raised in poorer neighborhoods versus those raised in wealthier neighborhoods. In some instances the children were both born to poorer families (young, unwed mothers from well-to-do families) or mothers. Even though there were similarities in financial background such as mother’s working as a waitress or in a department store with no father participation or very little participation, the children raised in wealthier places were ten times to be more successful than those in the poorer neighborhoods.

It’s hard to imagine that a women that loses three sons to addiction and is an addict herself wasn’t also raised in that same environment. And, it’s not hard to imagine that the worse this addiction epidemic becomes the more of this sort of thing that will happen.  Everything starts somewhere. Poor decisions, impulsivity and negative self image are bred and developed. They are learned. And they can be unlearned, helping an entire generation crawl out of hell and into real life, but that doesn’t happen by telling them what a flaming piece of shit they are. Reading the story of this woman and her three dead sons made me sad for her AND in spite of her but I can’t judge her even though that sounds contradictory.  There has to be more compassion from one human to another.  Otherwise why bother living.

 

 

Morning Drive

IThis morning I decided to finally bring JoDee some clothes. She has been at the program for a little while now and she has called asking a few times. Each time I sort of blew her off but she sounded really good the last time I talked to her. I bought her some sweatpants, a sweatshirt and socks which AC then washed and packed. I was apprehensive to say the least. Namely, I was afraid going there was going to jinx it so this was the thoughts and sometimes actually talking out loud to myself that happened in the ride from my house to the drop off location:

Shit, I’m going to be late. I’m going to be late for work. I don’t even know where I am going. Oh, GPS.

Lady, don’t cut me off and drive slow. Hello? Do you have a gas pedal? It’s a GREEN light. (Beeps horn) DRIVE. (While passing her) Oh nice. Baby in the back and a phone in your hand. Why am I not surprised? BAD MOTHER.

(receive text from Jay J and pick up phone) Shit, I’m a hypocrite. Shit. Ok fine, she isn’t a bad mother. Wait, I don’t have a kid in my car. Oh lovely, pull into dunks with your head buried in your phone to load your kid on sugar. Oh, don’t be so judgmental. I suck.

Damn it I need gas. When did that light come on? Was it on yesterday? Did I need gas yesterday? There will be a gas station on 114.

Shit. GPS is taking me off 114. There must be a gas station around here somewhere. Why is there no gas station? Hello don’t people in this town need gas? What kind of non-gas-needing towns people live here? Omg this is ridiculous. I am going to run out of gas. That will be humiliating. Again. Oh- I can ask that guy where there is a gas station (start to slow down). Oh my god that guy looks like Hannibal Lector! Jesus he will probably cut my eye lids off and feed them to that mangy looking dog. Fuck.

No! Is my car stalling? Shit no. Ok. Still going. This sucks. I just got my license fixed from all of JoDee’s tickets and now I have to get gas too? What more does the Universe want from me? I am only one woman! Oh good, a gas station.

What the hell kind of rusty, crusty, dusty ass gas station is this that it doesn’t let me pay at the pump! Of course. Uh oh. This must be full service….. (hops back in, put window down). Christ on a cracker I am drunk. I am drunk off that mans breath. I will fail a field sobriety test right now. Jesus Mother of God.

Who is calling me from a Danvers number? Shit, the school. Jared did what? No. No he did not say he admired Alexander the Great for chopping off people’s noses and ears. Wow. No words for that one. Crap.

Ok I’m here. Here I am. There are a ton of people outside. I don’t see JoDee. If she ran away I will kill her. She ran away. I know she did. I will effing kill her. I knew it. She isn’t here.

Oh. My. God. She looks amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me calling AC: You guys worry for nothing. She looked great and is doing well. Have some faith.

AC: I’m hanging up.

Miss, Missed, Missing, Miss Thing

I never sleep, which I think we have already established. That’s an exaggeration. I do sleep. In intervals. I will get tired at 8 pm and struggle to keep my eyes open until 9. I will fall asleep only to wake up at midnight or one. At that point I am up from that point until right about the time I have to wake up the kids for school. By noon I am drooling at my desk because I am exhausted and I usually get a second wind on my way home from work long enough to cook supper (sometimes by cook I do mean order take away).  It’s an awesome pattern.  And, a pattern that can be disrupted at any time. For example, if CNN sends me a notification to my phone, I will wake up immediately. If my phone lights up, vibrates, dings or rings, I am up for the rest of the night. This is my fault because I refuse to put it on silent at night in case someone calls me about Miss Thing. If she runs away, is sick, or otherwise makes contact, I don’t want to miss it.

Miss. That’s the theme for last evenings Late Night Wakeful Thoughts. Miss is a word that encompasses so much. Miss can be an emotion. Missing someone is a state of mind but when someone really misses another person it’s a physical pain.  Some will describe in as heart ache; others describe it as a gut ache. For me missing someone feels like I swallowed a volcano that is just burst to erupt but doesn’t. It burns my guts, and makes me wish I had a virgin to sacrifice to make it go away. Ok, dramatic, but you get the point.  Missing someone is painful. Sometimes we miss someone we can never see again because of geography, circumstance or death. Sometimes we have to just hold on until we can see someone again, in a matter of time. I know I will see JoDee again but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss her.  At times of active addiction I have to turn my “missing” off because it’s too hard to think about.  If I think about the relationship we aren’t having or the life she isn’t living it is paralyzing.  As a mother it is impossible to picture her dirty and begging and desperate and treated like trash in the name of her next high. As a human it’s maddening to watch someone with the opportunity for such a beautiful life throws it away with no regard for their person.

When she is in recovery it’s hard to miss her more. The potential of having my daughter back is so close, in arms reach, that it makes the missing catalyst by a hundred percent. All of the missing I suppress while she is active using comes running back at the speed of a runaway train. Praying, hoping, wishing becomes a life line and a pull on the heart strings. It’s both releasing and imprisoning.  But it also brings up another “miss”. It always brings me back to the place where I wonder did I miss something. It brings up the miss that means something wasn’t seen or forgotten or overlooked.  This kind of Miss has me replaying every single minute of her childhood and teen age years wondering where it went wrong and what I overlooked.  This is an exercise I do often anyway because I am terrified that I will make the same mistake twice. I don’t want to find myself in this position with the boys, and I won’t be blind enough to say it couldn’t happen.  I don’t want to miss something else because I miss the days of all three of them together, happy and laughing.

Although feeling the emotion of missing her is rough, there is nothing tougher then when she is missing. The worst moments of our life, my life, are when I get that call that she has vanished from somewhere. The first seconds after I receive those calls, time freezes. I don’t hear anything, or see anything or feel anything. My mind goes blank, and I have to wait for the realization to settle in that she is once again gone.  The initial shock wears off so much faster now than it used too.  It really does take moments for it to sink in. It used to take days.  I’m not as terrified as I used to be.  At the beginning I would immediately imagine her dead on the side of the road or in a dumpster. Now I just imagine her sleeping on the side of the road or behind a dumpster.  At the beginning I would call police stations, hospitals, shelters and programs hoping she got off the street. Now I know better. If she is running from one program she will not turn up in another one. And, she won’t be found until she absolutely wants too.  She will stay missing until she doesn’t want to be missing anymore.  How we suffer as a family while she is missing is something she will never comprehend. She will try to understanding, and she might even feel badly but she can’t feel it. She won’t be able to really fathom the extent of it.  The brunt of it will completely miss her.

 

Waiting for the Wait to End

The sound of the phone changes depending on the time of day. It sounds different depending on whom a person may expect on the other end. The sound of the phone ringing during The Walking Dead season premiere is annoying. The sound of the phone ringing at 8 in the morning on a Sunday is infuriating. The sound of the phone ringing at midnight is startling and concerning especially when the number on the caller ID is not a familiar one.  For a parent with an addicted child represents a whole different set of emotions to a ringing phone at midnight.  On Saturday night when the phone rang at midnight, I woke immediately.  JoDee had been in treatment a total of 15 days.  I had spoken to her and the Clinical Director just days before this and she was doing well.  She was excited about her future and being clean. She told me she was learning so much about herself and addiction. She said she was staying no matter what.  It was encouraging. I won’t say I was excited or feeling particularly optimistic.  I was cautiously glad with a hint of pessimistic.  I really hoped she was going to stay the course, but I knew that relapse is very likely with her.  Of course, to her I told her we were happy and couldn’t wait for her to come back to us.

I shouldn’t have been surprised when the phone rang. I guess surprise isn’t even the right word. I wasn’t surprised. I was disappointed. The voice on the other end of the phone asked if I was Melanie Brayden. I confirmed I was. She said I have you listed as the emergency contact for JoDee Joyce. I asked what happened. She said I’m sorry to tell you this but I’m calling to tell you that JoDee left the program.  I inquired about when and if there was anything that precipitated it. She had left an hour ago and it was sudden. She left alone.  The woman on the phone said to me that she had never had to make a call like this before and it was making her think of her own mother. She told me she would keep JoDee in her prayers.  That was it. Call ended. Probably 45 seconds total.  Everything changed from one moment to the next. Just like that.

I sat on the edge of the bed waiting for something. I stared at my phone for a few minutes expecting her to call me from her phone to say she left. Historically, JoDee won’t call right away. A day or two will go by but not usually more than that before I hear from her. However, the last time she called me for help I left her in a park in the middle of the night so I don’t know if she will even bother to reach out to me.  Sleep was over.  I paced the house, watched Netflix (p.s. Dexter took a huge nose dive once Deb found out he was a serial killer, such a bummer) and started preparing for the open house we are having (selling the house to buy a house that actually fits us all).  I won’t give you the step by step but eventually I went to sleep and woke up a few hours later.  AC and I had coffee while discussing what we thought she could be doing or what happened. All the while we are just waiting to hear from her. Some sign that she is in fact alive. Nothing. Sunday continued pretty uneventfully. I had the house further prepared for the open house by having someone to come in to help clean it (if you are in our area and looking for an AMAZING home cleaner Christie Mills is worth every penny plus!!!!!!!).  By the end of the day, with no contact from her, I tried to call her phone. Voice mail immediately. I tried to text her but I could tell her phone was off.  I tried going to bed which is a joke, really.

Monday was a busy day. Again, no one wants to hear about my boring life, but short story is that by the end of the day, I still had not heard from her. I started to worry. Waiting sucks. I kept checking my phone to make sure it was not dead. I kept checking her phone to see if it was on which it wasn’t which is also weird.  The waiting sucks.  It sucks so badly. Not knowing. Did she take her phone and wallet? Maybe her phone isn’t on because she didn’t take all her stuff with her. If that is the case if she dies somewhere how will anyone know who she is? Maybe she is already dead but no one knows how to get a hold of her family. She could be lying in a morgue as Jane Doe. The thought of that was paralyzing.  Paralyzing isn’t even strong enough to depict the emotion.  What in the world could go through her mind? She must know how worried I will be. Oh. Right. She isn’t thinking about anything. But her addiction. And her next fix.  So I guess we keep waiting until she wants to call.

At this point, I know where she is. She hasn’t called me or reached out to me, but I have confirmation she is somewhere. A place I knew she would go. I’m still waiting to hear from her. I will still be waiting for her to find long term recovery. I will be waiting for her to rejoin our family as a productive member of society.  I will be waiting for her to call for help again. I will be waiting for her to have her next bottom. And I will wait patiently because the alternative of not waiting is too painful to think about.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nomadsland

We have discussed on many occasions my suspersticiousness (is that a word?). I don’t want to talk about something if I think it will jinx it. I call it jinx, AC calls it “putting it out in the universe”.  A few weeks ago JoDee called me to bring her to detox.  We did the usual rush around, grab all her stuff, drive to the middle of no-where to the only place still willing to take her after all of her bad behaviors and elopement only to have her elope 18 hours later. Two weeks after that, she wanted help again.  How many times can I drop everything to run her to detox only to have her give me the finger as she yells see you later sucker as she walks away? I found how many times. No more times, that’s how many.

As it turns out, she has basically been black bawled from every detox within a reasonable and in some cases an unreasonable distance. It does seem sort of counterproductive that an addict is being refused treatment for being a violent and self-hating addict.  On the other hand, if she isn’t willing to cooperate how are they supposed to help her? The problem with my particular addict is that she became an addict in her teens. It may have been her late teens, but it was still her teens. So her mentality, her mental and emotional growth, stunted around age 17. She was already a young 17 when she was 17. She was more like 15 when she was 17 so she isn’t even acting 17 now. She is a 15-ish year old addict in a 22-year old body and she acts appropriate for that. She is too old to get into a teen program but too young to be treated like an adult. But she is an adult.

This causes many problems because she can’t shut her frigging mouth. She has yet to reach a point where she has learned that recovery is about more than not using drugs. She hasn’t figured out that it is about changing the entire way a person thinks about their world.  The entitlement she has is so outrageous there are just no words to describe it. It’s as though she is doing the world at large a favor by detoxing so we owe it to her to put up with whatever vile and horrendous bullshit she feels necessary to dole out. Not only does it make me extremely angry, I am embarrassed for her because she doesn’t even see how juvenile it is.  She doesn’t stay clean long enough for her brain to heal, so she can begin to grow, so she can begin to development and mature so the cycle just keeps repeating itself.  When she wanted to go to a program and no one would take her we called the insurance company looking for help. By we, I mean her. They helped her find a rehab that was suited to help troubled women. Women with a history of behavior troubles.  The would detox her. The would rehab her. There would be programs for after that. It was a continuing program. She would follow it for a year. It was in Cathedral City, California.  I said no fucking way. Absolutely not. I have been duped into flying her halfway to nowhere twice before only for her to runaway, go off missing for a while, and then call me desperate to fly her home. It’s a terrible cycle and not one I am in a hurry to repeat, so no.

A young man called me. He called to tell me why this is the program she needed. Why it could be the one that finally helped her. He wanted me to check out the beautiful website so I would be swayed by the chandelier affect so to rush her on the next flight, which by the by, I would have to pay for. I explained to him that I had absolute faith in the program. And I believed in their success rate, and their providers, and programs and I bet their food was amazing and I bet their sunrise yoga was like totally stellar. It was JoDee I didn’t have faith in because she is a runner and when the going is tough in detox she does not stick around. The young man took diligent notes and listen to me tell him all the horrible things she has done in the past. He said that he would have a meeting with the clinical team at the facility to let them know she would be difficult to make sure they could handle it. Several hours later, he called me back to say that they knew what they were getting into and were prepared to take her. My mother’s instinct alarms were ringing. They were so loud in my head I could hardly hear. A $12,000.00 a month rehab would be worth every penny if it would save her life yet, I was filled with dread, not hope. I didn’t give a shit about the money, I would spend every dime I had if I thought it would work. But, my guts were trying to tell me something. I was in the middle of my  month end closes so I couldn’t leave work. My two sons and Cinderella agreed to take her to the airport. I wasn’t even going to see her before she left, and I didn’t want too.

Jared text me that she could barely walk. Jay J said that Cinderella was a little horrified because she was stumbling. AC was so confused because he stopped at the house to say good-bye but she was fine. Normal. Wasn’t high at all. How in the world did she get high between our house and the airport while never leaving the kids side? When I got home from work that night, mystery was solved: She swiped a bunch of my meds before she left. I’m sure she just grabbed and ran hoping something she took would eff her up for the plane ride. She hadn’t been in the house for so long we got careless. Stopped using the safe. Left meds in the medicine cabinet. We lived like normal people even though we aren’t. It was foolish. It was the first sign. There were more along the way.  But we decided to do things differently this time. We, AC and I, decided to do things different. Usually we send her a care package right away with cigarettes, and flip-flops, and whatever gatzi gatzs she asked for but I didn’t. I told myself if she makes it all the way through detox without leaving I will send her a big package.  She called on day one to say arrived, never mentioning she pilfered my pills but was quick to give me a list of the things she wanted me to mail her and to tell me not to forget. I simply agreed with everything she said while thinking in my head thank God this is a phone call and not Skype or you would be able to tell I want to kill you.  Several more phone calls I hear how much she loves it out there, and how she is never coming home, from her. From the staff I hear that she is having a hard time adjusting with staff and other patients. That she is having episodes of violent behavior.

One night there is a phone call at 2am that she going to the ER for vomiting. At 4am I receive another call that she is leaving against medical advice. At 5am I receive a call that she is staying. I got up to make coffee. As I sipped my coffee, AC got up too. We both knew this was the beginning to the end. I said we didn’t tell anyone she was going. We never sent her anything. I didn’t want to jinx it and he didn’t want to put it in the universe. I didn’t blog about it, or Facebook it, or text it.  We didn’t discuss it amongst ourselves, or with our friends, we didn’t tell anyone. Until the day before I got the first phone call. On Tuesday someone at work asked me how JoDee was and I told them the truth, that she was in California. I panicked. I didn’t have a plan set in my head. On Wednesday I got the first call. On Thursday someone else asked if I got anymore calls and I said I didn’t. On Thursday night, they called to say she was too violent and they couldn’t keep her there. They had bought her a plane ticket. She would be flying home Friday morning. At one in the morning on Friday they called to tell me that she wouldn’t be getting on the plane because she left the facility with another girl. She was officially, effectively, a nomad. Shiftless, homeless, penniless and wondering around as a nomad. She could be anywhere. With anyone. Doing anything.  I jinxed it. Don’t ask me how I feel. Or how she is or what’s next. Or where she is, or what we are going to do. Don’t ask me stupid questions because I don’t know. The only thing I know for sure, is I have people. I cannot do a single  thing to help her, but I have other people who need me. I have a husband, two sons, two daughters, a grandmother, a dog and my three kitties that need me. I can’t think about what is next or what’s coming or what to do or how to fix this because it is too overwhelming. As a person, not even as a parent, imagine the enormity of trying to find one person in a state as large as California when they have no cell phone, don’t know anyone and, you are not even sure where to start. Last night I crawled in bed with my work clothes on and pulled the blankets over my head. At 9 at night when Jay J opened the door and I heard “mama you alright?” I realized they all probably thought I was suicidal. I forced myself up. I forced myself to work today. And I will force myself to live life until it happens naturally. In essence we are both wandering around in our own nomadsland.

Recent Things That Really Happened

  1. Car behind us pulled up too close. Me: Oh Okay , do you want me to get out of this car and take care of this right now? AC: Calm down bulldog, I think we are fine.
  2. Me: Jared your grounded. Jared: I’m going to Dad’s so what is my punishment. Me: I will poop on your play station. Jared: Please don’t. Also, what is wrong with you?
  3. Bibi to Jay J: Listen Jay J are you still with that girl? Jay J: Yes Bibi: When they look that good and they can cook you need to make sure they can’t get away. Not to mention you can have a lot of fun if you know what I mean. (Bibi=91 year old great grandmother with no boundaries).
  4. AC: Tell JoDee not to post that shit on FaceBook. Me: Ok, I will and I am pretty sure that will work as well as did don’t do drugs and don’t have sex. (pause to look at him like he is a dingbat, and to hear OC laugh). AC: One of these times she might listen. Me: No. She won’t.
  5. Text from Jay J to Mom: Don’t worry I got instant karma for getting two flat tires in your car. The dog ate my entire honey cake and then peed on the crumbs. Me: Hold on. Can’t stop laughing. Wait, dying. Ok. Nope still laughing. Karma is a bitch, son.
  6. Jared while AC is telling us that someone at his work recently lost a loved one to cancer: That is so sad. We should send them an edible arrangement with sun-died tomatoes. (Inappropriate, but hilarious).
  7. While FaceTiming with SC: Me: FaceTime is not flattering. SC: you have to hold it up high. Me: I look Mopa otherwise known as Jeffrey Tambor. SC: Oh my god! You totally do! Me: wow, you didn’t have to sound so excited about it.
  8. After making vegan and non-vegan cookies with OC and Jared: Me: Wow. OC: What? Me: The vegan cookies which should taste and look like cardboard look like they were just cooked by someone on the Food Network while the regular full fat and yummy cookies look like Helen Keller made them. With no help.
  9. This honest to God happened, Me to co-worker: I love my new office especially because I used to have birds fly into my window all the time since we were on the fifth floor. Now we are on the first floor so that won’t happen. As bird flies into the window. CC- Well that just happened. Me- What the actual eff was that??????????
  10. Lastly, I know I am doing something right as a wife when during a simple argument my husband covers his nipples with his hands while saying don’t be scary.

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.