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Welcome to my blog. I hope we can help each other endure the pain of the addiction of a daughter or son.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Her Car Died!

The Toyota that she paid three thousand dollars for in July just died! It was leaking oil fast, went into a death rattle and just stopped. My mechanic says a rebuilt engine might be the way to go. Yikes........

She was a hysterical mess waiting for the car to be towed away. She was tearful, mean and tapping her feet agitated all at the same time. I think they call this a mixed state. She checked the oil frequently so when the noise started, she did not think it was low on oil and kept driving a short way. Then it stopped.

Funny thing is, when the mechanic confirmed that it is a goner she took it well. I guess the anticipation of this problem bothered her more than the problem itself.

Now, we will see how this situation is resolved.  This is a semi rural area so there is really no public transportation where she live. Busses are few and far between even here in town.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Night

     I am very greatful to have all of my grown children with me this Christmas. All in all the holiday went well in spite of the mine fields we had to side step thoughout the process. Beth came to two family dinners. The first one she arrived late and left early. We agree that this is not a big deal. She comes and goes as she pleases to adjust for her anxiety attacks. If she feels good, she stays if she feels bad she is free to go home or go to another room to rest. This approach has helped her a lot. She comes to more family gatherings this way though she does not usually stay very long.

Tonight , she arrived with a big bag of Christmas presents in toe. She sat and chatted with her sister and boyfriend at length, she greeted everyone and seemed greatful to be included. She gave out her presents and thanked her aunt for including her in the festivities. This is big progress for her. It also means that Christmas happened to catch her on a good day for her mental issues. Crowds give her anxiety. Even family gatherings give her anxiety.

Beth gave her brother a present. He acted like a jerk. He did not say thank you and he did not give her anything. He has totally disowned her. If not for the fact that I will not let him live with me if he will not say hello and goodbye to her he would not do that either. This is disturbing to me though I certainly aknowledge that her addiction nearly distroyed our entire family. She did horrible things and we all suffered. I have talked to my son about this many times. I want him to forgive if not forget and to be her brother again. We even went to a family therapist who said that it was his choice to cut her off. According to the counselor that we paid for such sage advice, siblings do not have the same kind of love as parents to children and that is ok.

I do not think that this rejection is ok. I pray that one day he has the compassion towards his sister that he seems to have for his friends.Last year, he would not have stayed in the same room with her so there is some miniscule progress there.  It was our first Christmas all toghether in 5 years. It was our first Christmas without POP POP. I can't help thinking that some of the progress that has been made is due to POP POP up there in heaven doing his best to lobby for us and get some of this mess straightened out. He always wanted the best for us. He told me that he thought we were very good parents. He could not understand the trouble that we had with Beth and sometimes our boy. That was kind of him.

My younger daughter brought her boyfriend with her. He seems like a nice young man. They were delightful to be around and also very kind to Beth. As the evening went on we held back some tears for POP POP, we were greatful for the progress we see in Beth and we laughed and laughed over some good shared memories. The food was great, the house was beautiful and we shared memories from many many happier times that we have had together. All in all I would say that it was good.

Merry Chritmas to all and to all a good night.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dead at 58

My good friend Cathy died on Wednesday morning of pancreatic cancer which had spread all over. She was surrounded by her family and friends. She was kept comfortable during the last days in the ICU. They did not try to prolong her life. They just kept her comfortable. She did not seem afraid or distressed.

This death had affected me greatly. I have difficulty sleeping and am tearful off and on throughout the days. It progressed in only a few months. She was totally destroyed in body but not in spirit or mind.

She was always on my side. I will miss her so very much.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Life Goes On

A very good friend of mine is in the ICU. She has pancreatic cancer and they say she has less than a week to live. She is handling this with great dignity and even occasional humor. I am in awe of her. We have had a lot of fun times together and her friendship has made the hard times easier.

What a devastating disease this is! She is literally a skeleton. A few months ago she was the picture of health.

I got a message on my facebook from Beth's birth mother. She wanted to thank me and tell me how her life has gone since she gave up Beth for adoption when she the birth mother was only 13 years old. apparently Beth never did talk to her. I thought she had. Also, she does not seem to know the trouble that Beth has seen in spite of the fact that this is a pretty small town.

Wow, it was a surprise as I have not heard from her in 25 years. I wonder if contact with her would help or hurt Beth.....  I know that Beth has felt a tremendous sense of rejection and abandonment around the issue of her adoption. No matter how nicely and we have put it nicely the child still feels abandoned. I don't know why this came as such a surprise to us but it did. An adopted child misses their natural parents. Of course they do no matter how good you treat them. It is not their fault. It just is what it is.............

The birth mother tells me that she is about to graduate from nursing school. She will understand if I do not reply as she does not wish to intrude if Beth does not know about her. Beth has always known and always felt different because of it. It might have been better if she did not know but we thought it was best not to keep secrets. She must be about 38 years old by now. I wonder if there is any family history that could shed some light on Beth's mental problems.

I am being very careful what I say to her as I feel that it is Beth's perogative and not mine to share or not share the details of her life with others.

Friday, November 26, 2010


     I hosted Thanksgiving yesterday. Twelve people came. They ate and laughed and caught up on family news. Beth came late which is fine. This is one of the ways she copes with her fear of crowds. She makes an appearance late at family gatherings. I was glad that she now has her own place which is close enough to our home that we can visit. It is much easier for me to have a life of my own knowing that she has the safety and stability of her own place.

In point of fact, this is the first Thanksgiving or major holiday that we have truely celebrated in many years. Before the addiction, we had most of the holiday gatherings at my house. Addiction changes the family dynamics as does mental illness.

We also decorated for Christmas and enjoyed xmas shopping today. Is Beth clean and sober? She looks good when she visits us. She still suffers from depression. She does not want to go back on her antidepressants even though she is still depressed. Her explanation is that it is better to cope with the sadness that comes from depression than the wreckless behavior that comes from the mania induced by the depression medication. She does seem a lot more respectful and reasonable.

I am spending a lot more time thinking about my work, my  husband and my friends. I see Beth when she wants to see me which is usually three times per week. I dole out her SSI money in the manner that she determined which is 50 dollars per week split up on Mon. Wed and Friday. This puts gas in her car and buys cigarettes.

She came over here last weekend with a new boyfriend. He seemed very intelligent. He had a job and a car and a relationship with his parents. This is a new experience for her. I am sure he has his story too but she seems to be approaching normal more often now. It was nice that she wanted us to meet him and nice that they spent a Saturday night watching movies and playing pool in our house instead of all the other alternatives available to them.

 She sometimes has two or three good days in a row. We are happy for those days. If she could hit that number consistently she might be able to work part time for someone else. As it is, she continues doing her pet grooming sporadically. She does her own shopping, house keeping, doctor visits and self care. She tells me which bills to pay and when.She tells me her next goal for improving her life and safety. I help her achieve those goals letting her do for herself as much as she possible can.

Weather or not this housing first harm reduction model will allow her to sustain her sobriety is yet to be seen. It is a godsend to the people who love her. We feel much less guilty and much more free. She is safer and saner now than we have seen her in the past 8 years. The mental illness does not go away. But as they say in NAMI, we learn to manage and cope with the symptoms.

I am greatful to all of you for sharing your stories and support with me. I am always glad to hear from you. I pray our loved ones and our nation will find better ways to cope with the plague of addiction that has fallen on our land.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cozy, Rainy, Sunday

     The weather turned cool today and it rained in the afternoon. It put me in a good mood to make some vegetable beef soup. Beth came over and we set up her budget. She will get a very small amount each week on the designated days. What she does with it is her business but there will be no more than that coming from me on a regular basis.She has to learn to live withing her means. We all do.

Just as the soup started to smell like it should, dear daughter 2 called to say that she was on her way home from college. She will spend the night here... My husband and son watched the baseball game together while I cooked. Right now my youngest daughter and her Dad   are singing together in the living room. They have the kereoke backing them up so it sounds quite professional.

I now appreciate these homey days as I know what a true miracle they really are.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Got the Keys

Beth and I went to sign up for the new apartment. She was neat and clean. Her hair was blown dry and loose over her shoulders. She was nice to the apartment manager and me. Her pupils looked normal, her speech, coordination and driving were good. She did keep her foot drumming in constant motion.

Then I noticed a big bruise on her hand where she used to shoot up. She saw me notice and said that the trunk fell on her  hand. Yikes!

Look at my hand Mom, there is no hole in the bruise. There would be a hole there if I were shooting up. I wish the scars would fade.

I just said OH and changed the subject.

Don't most addicts shoot up someplace that can be hidden? She used the most obvious spot on her body.

Friday, September 24, 2010

When it rains it pours some more!

Wed: 7:30 in the  morning.  I was hit by an SUV while I was stopped at a stopped sign.  This pushed me into the intersection and jostled me around pretty good but I feel ok. The car is not driveable.

I worked all morning but had a big headache at 12:30 so I went home to sleep. Got up at 3 to take Beth to see an apartment in a nearby town that is subsidized. She could rent it for one third of her incom e. It was adorable and in a decent neighborhood. The woman from HUD told me that Beth is first on the list and it is the first time in 10 years that there has been an availability. If felt like the hand of God to me but Beth hated being in the country.

I dropped Beth off at her place and proceeded to meet my girlfriends. We cleaned house for a friend of ours who was recentlly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I cried when I got home as she looked so bad. The doctors say she has a good chance but oh my.... she looked bad.

My son cooked meatloaf and it was ready when I got home. He is a good cook. I went to bed at 8 and slept through the night.

Got up at 6 in the morning and decided to stay home to get xrays and take care of the car. All of that went well. I got all my estimates , a rental and got my car in the shop on the same day!

Had a big fight with Beth. She kept talking about what the 61 year old man said. I asked where he was right now and she admitted that she had moved him into her apartment on a trial basis. That hit my last nerve.
I said that I was really pissed that she moved him in without fully going over all the pros and cons with her father  and I. I told her that he is to move out immediately because I am  cosigned on that lease and I do not want him there. I cosigned and pay the utilities for her not for him. Get him out now. Your Dad and I will be over to check.

I told DH and he called her too. She called us back later that night to say that he was leaving in the morning and that even he thought that she should take the other apartment. All her friends say that it is a very rare opportunity. (I am glad someone is talking sense to her but why do I work my petutty off   and she believes her friends?) She then had a calm and reasonable discussion with DH. He explained how this would give us peace of mind because we will not always be here to take care of her. He said that it  is good that she wants to help others but she should help without bringing them to live with her. She needs her peace and stability.

She sounded resigned and not all oppositional defiant as she frequently gets. I went to my parents house for a  short visit to find my lost  calandar. We were just relaxing when I got a call from my son saying that DH was having another shaking and fever spell. The last time was on labor day when he  was hospitalized. I was determined to take him to the U of Penna. ER but when I got home he really did not look too bad. He had a slight fever and chills but did not look at all alarming like before. We determined to wait and see. Sooo we all got a somewhat  anxious night of sleep. He actually went to work in the morning. He did get another blood culture and perscription for Augmentin in the afternoon. Current diagnosis is sinus infection.

I  went back to work this morning to face a long day of putting together reports for an audit on Monday. Hmmmmm...... typically I can say your lack of planning is not my emergency but in this case it was my boss who did not plan so it was my emergency. This pile of work was assigned on Friday morning. It did not come in on the 1.5 days that I was out.

The day went by like a flash and then I started the weekend. TGIF for sure!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DH Knows

so, I told DH about the plans Beth has to move in this older man. He had the same reaction I did. He is so sick with eye bleeds, bad back, surgery scheduled for foot and eyes that I did not want to tell him. He may or may not do anything about it. We could stop paying her cable bill. We could even stop paying the electricity. That we do with our money. I could refuse to be rep payee but I do not think that I will.

She is a mentally ill adult with a powerful addiction making a bad decision with impaired judgment. She has never been one to respond to consequences since she got bipolar. I do not know if you can understand this but negative consequences just push her deeper into the muck. She embraces her bad decisions even tighter.

I remember when she was about 2 years old. She was fasinated by a beautiful snowball that was mostly ice. As she held it in her bear hand it began to hurt. She clenched her fist tighter and tighter. I was sure that when it hurt enough she would have to let it go so I waited. She cried, then she threw herself on the ground, then she started to kick and scream but she never let it go. In the end, I tried to prie it out of her hand but I could not get her fingers open. My husband was stronger so he took it away but by the time he could it was no more than a tiny pebble in her little hand.

I went to a NAMI meeting last night and heard some hair raising stories. It all comes down to that you take the drugs away from a mentally ill person , they are still mentally ill. Many many people look like they are mentally ill just because they are doing drugs. When they stop the drugs they are normal. Many many other people are mentally ill and addicted. When and if they stop doing drugs they are still very erratic in their judgement and behavior.

I know that my daughter sounds like she is doing drugs and she may very well be doing drugs. I also know that her illness creates bizarre behavior for her and for others that have it and never touched an illegal drug. When I first heard that she was addicted I was actually happy. I thought that if it was addiction and not mental illness then she had a better chance. I was convinced that she could and would be well as soon as she was abstinent. I did everything I could think of to encourage, force or beg for that to happen. I sent her to multiple rehabs and doctors, paid for halfway houses, refused to pay, refused to let her in my house for years at a time. Nothing helped. She only got worse.

This path allows the family to detach. She has shelter. She can choose to use her food stamps for food or drugs. I do not try to keep her even from hunger. I think the choice between food and drugs is appropriate. I do not think that abandoning a girl who has been gang raped to the streets is appropriate. I do not think that putting a girl with bipolar disorder and PTSD on the street is healthy for her or the others that she might harm in the mental states that ensue.

Oh well, like I said, I heard a lot worse at the NAMI meeting. I heard of perfectly sober 50 year old men attacking their mothers and not being allowed in the mental hospital. It is very hard to get into a mental hospital. That is why the prisons have become the mental hospitals. There are 5 times more mentally ill in the prisons than the hospitals because we have shut down most of the hospitals. Families are distraught and afraid. They look for help and get very little. The mental health system is broken. It is a wonder that there are not more tragedies like Virginia Tech. Families are left to cope without mostly on their own but they can not.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pros and Cons

She is still talking about moving in this man with liver cancer. Now the story goes that he has a good prognosis as they caught it early. He is taking some kind of non narcotic pain killer that starts with k......

I told her to list the pros and cons. She will do what she wants  not matter what I say. Opposing her just causes her to hide it from me.

She said that helping him gives her a sense of purpose. She said maybe she could help him find another place but she really wants to have him at hers. I said, it can give a wonderful sense of purpose to help others but you could help him better if he were not living with you. You need a place to recharge and have peace. We all do.

I do not want this man taking advantage of her nor her taking advantage of him. 

I did not share this with my husband as it might not ever happen and I keep things away from him as long as I can as he is in poor health.

A couple of you have mentioned the pain killers that this perspective roommate must have access to. Yep, I thought of that right away.

just another tricky day

Saturday, September 18, 2010

You want to What?

Beth plans to have the man she took to surgery move in with her when he gets out of the nursing home. He will pay half the rent. They are not romantically involved. I do not think it is a good idea. I told her the road blocks.

a. the place is too small
b. she is not emotionally strong enough to  nurse a dying man
c. she does not know him well enough or know how erratic his behavior might be.
d. she does not know his full medical history and prognosis.

She said she will find out about all of this stuff and get back to me. Now he is not dying according to her. I told her that liver cancer is very serious. Chemotherapy is very debilitating. Many do not recover. I also told her that she does not need a roomate to cover her expenses. We will continue to give her work even in the winter. (She thought we would not give her work in the winter ).

He stayed with her for a few days before her surgery and she called me very distraught from seeing him in pain. She was also twisted about his sons not helping him. I said that it is great for her to help others but do not move them into her space. She needs her space to calm herself and to be her own space. She said that she would not put him on the lease. If the land lords object he will go.

I hope she rethinks this odd plan. I also told her that if he was an electrician all his life that his disability payments would be much more than hers so that his proposal to pay 300 per month was really very little. He earns more than her, comes with a lot of baggage but would pay less.

She was irritated at my comments even though she brought up the subject.  I tried to put this advice like have you considered this and this and this.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Blood Infection

DH was in the hospital with a blood infection. I am so glad that I took him in and that they admitted him. He has been doctoring for a couple of months now for a mysterious fever and terrible chills that come and go about every 6 weeks. Three doctors saw him , ran some tests and had him schedule to come back in a few weeks. They all saw the rash on his legs.

His last attack was very severe. He was not very responsive, seemed dazed and was shaking violently. I called the answering service and said that he looked alarming to me. I emphasized that his kidneys are very week, he has elevated white cells and has not even been given antibiotics. A bad infection could kill him and we know he has some kind of infection. I see him getting worse and worse and it scares me. She gave the go ahead to take him in. She had not seen him before but her partner had.

On the way to the hospital I called my brother in law who is a doctor. He said that blood cultures should be taken in fact should have been taken long ago and that he should be on intervenous antibiotics. The ER Doc was amazed that this had been going on for so long. He also said that the rash on the leg was celulitis which is an infection of the skin that could spread through the blood to his organs. They cultured his blood, put him on intervenous antibiotics and admitted him to the hospital for three days. His white cell count had skyrocketed.

What we learned......... Take care of rashes persistently until they are completely cured. Ask for blood cultures and antibiotics if an infection is present. Go to the hospital while the symptoms are severe so that they can see for themselves what is going on. This mad a big difference. No one really paid a lot of attention until they saw it.

Three doctors failed him but the fourth and fifth probably saved his life. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Life Goes ON

Beth borrowed my GPS a few days ago. She had to take a sick friend to the hospital a few hundred miles up north. He needed a life saving operation and no one in his family would help him. He did not even have money for gas to give her for driving. She used her own money earned from cutting grass to help him out.

I imagined that this man has his own sad story of addiction or alcoholism that left him all alone in his dire illness. I told Beth, he must have done some really bad shit to have his entire family bail out on him in a life or death situation.

She said that his parents are dead. He is in his sixties. He worked as an electrician for many years and helped his family. Now, he is sick with cancer in his liver and kidneys and she not his family found him some kind of charity help.

Even though I have my trepidations about this relationship, I think that it is a good thing that she is feeling some compassion for another human being. This is a mere aquaintance of hers but she used her brain and energy to find him help. She brought herself out of her own misery to actually give this man a chance to live a little longer.

I was not enthusiastic about lending my GPS. I told her that I wanted it back the next day and that if I did not get it back I would deduct the price for replacing it first from the  work she already did for me and second from her government checks. Then I worried....... not about the GPS really but about the fact that I gave her an item that was worth a couple hundred dollars that could surely be traded for drugs. There was a time not long ago that the GPS would not have lasted more than 5 minutes in her hands.

She did not defend herself. She brought it back the next day.

How can I be so proud of her and so suspicious at the same time?  I note some progress and I even enjoy it but I know that she has a long long way to go. I pray that God takes care of her and forgives us both for the injustices and heartaches we have inflected on each other without  the intention to harm.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

AA Has Helped Millions But IT IS NOT THE ONLY WAY OUT

Most of what we hear about recovery is from AA. I love AA and Alanon. They have come across some universal truths.

I have seen many people recover using their principals. I have also seen more than a few people recover or at least stop using drugs/alcohol without joining up. Interestingly, these people are using many of the 12 steps anyhow. 

I have great respect and well wishes for all the addicts in recovery no matter how they got to their recovery.

God Bless all of us who still suffer.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Today was my first day back to work in six weeks. It is wonderful to have such a long break but there is a price to pay upon returning. As you can imagine, the work is piled sky high. There are tons of emergencies that should have been handled yesterday demanding attention. I arrived home exausted and turned around to go with DH to the nephrologist. His kidneys are still holding steady. The doc ordered a urinalysis to check for bladder or kidney infection because of his frequent and violent chills.

After that, we had salads for dinner and I got a call from my sister that my Mom is back at U of Pennsylvania hospital. She will have a heart catheterization tomorrow. We were on our way to a sleep study for DH who may also have sleep apnea. His cell phone rang. It was his sister telling us that Beth had been in and out of my mother in laws house all day and that the caregiver was missing a ring. D"H said that we will tell her she can not go in there anymore unless we are with her.

I called my sister in law and said that I am not willing to confront Beth today. A dear young friend of hers died in a car accident. I said that she may well have stolen the ring. But I will not confront her on the very day she is burrying a friend on the off chance that we are wrong. I told the story of how I once raised hell with her and searched her things for 300 dollars that I was missing. I had put that money in my jewelery box which I remembered when I found it. She is very capable of stealing in her addiction but she looks like she is trying to me and I do not want to kick her while she is down.

Beth called me last night to tell me she would attend the funeral. We talked about her plans for getting support during and after the service to come out of the predictable funk. I called  my husband to tell him that I had talked to his sister and that we would deal with this issue in a few days. His sister had already called him back. It seems the caregiver found her ring.

Sigh......... I know that the suspicion was earned but I am so glad I decided to wait and that the ring was found.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Another Friend Dies

Beth called last night to report that one of her friends died in a car accident. He was a bright and hard working boy. He drank. This time he was drinking and driving alone. He crashed his car all alone. She is very upset.

My  husband went over there to watch a movie with her. She was crying about this boy and also very emotional over the pictures that my mother gave her from her childhood. I talked to her for awhile and then told her to call me again if she needs to. I think it is good that she is reaching out to me and her father in her distress instead of drugs. I think she has a tremendously difficult time feeling her intense  emotions and that  is a big part of her issues.

DH seems to be able to be more compasionate towards her when she is not under his roof. So can I actually. She is close. Only a few blocks away but we get a lot more serenity this way. I was never a mother   who tried to be her friend. I did not believe in that. I thought that I had to teach her responsibility and dicipline. I showed a lot of love but I in no way treated her as a peer. Maybe that was wrong.

Well, now that I have utterly failed that way, I am trying to be a friend to her. She definatly needs a sober friend. /She is calling me for emotional soothing, for listening to her not for drug money. I think this is some kind of progress.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's Three O'clock in the morning and I my fears loom large

     For the second night in a row I woke up crying around 3 in the morning. My fears and trepidations seem to magnify at that time of the night. I am afraid for my husband's health. He has had laser eye surgery and 3 eye bleeds in the past month. He has also had a dangerously infected wound on his foot and severe pain from herniated disks in his back.

He hobbles around here in severe pain and takes several naps a day. The latest is that he has some sort of undetermined infection which is causing violent chills and fever that come and go. His kidneys are at about 35 to 40 percent capacity. The chronic kidney disease was caused by out of control blood sugars. He is seeing on average 2 to 3 doctors per week. I do not know how he keeps on working. He is in real estate which is excruciatingly slow right now so that is part of why he can continue.

He has made many improvements lately. The sugar is under control as is the blood pressure. He exercises regularly and has begun to loose weight. None of that mattered last night. I just felt overwrought so I cried and cried alone in the family room at three in the morning.

Oh, and to sweeten the deal my doctor has me doing tests to see what is wrong with my liver. My liver! I never drank more than 3 drinks per week, usually not that much. I never did drugs or even took more than a perscription or two at a time.

 Well, things improved a little in the morning. I talked this situation over with my parents and children. I am considering getting back on my antidepressant which I recently weaned off of. It helped me a lot and now I am up in the middle of the night worrying about things I cannot control, crying off and on throughout the day over little things. I was doing fine until these health problems accumulated.

I know that I have to take it easy and apply the same skills I have learned to deal with addiction to the chonic diseases. It just seems so unfair but then life just gets tougher as we age. I am only 54 and my husband 56. I am not ready either loose him or see him decline so rapidly. We are working together finally to reverse this situation. The blessing is that after more than 30 years together I still can not imagine my life without him. I really do believe that his situation will improve but last night reason lost and the fears won. A battle lost does not mean a war lost.

Let this be a warning to any of you that might be trifling with diabetes. It is not unusual for everything to be fine, you feel fine, you look fine and then one day every major system takes a major hit. That is where he is and because I love him that is where I am too.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ghostly Girl

I saw a friend of Beth,s street walking today. It made me very very sad with a soul gripping grief that I could not shake all day. I thought about stopping the car and talking to her. What is a beautiful and sweet girl like you doing here? W hat can I do to help? What have you tried to get out of this? I was afraid to do it. I was too exhausted by my own life to do it but I felt a certain guilt in just passing her by. I do not know her parents or even her last name but she said her mom was a teacher and that she went to catholic school.

Beth said that they were not seeing each other anymore as this girl was shooting heroine. Now I see her walking down a street that is a known drug zone....... circling around...... walking very slow in her short shorts and looking very very dazed. This ghostly girl has haunted me all day.

It could be Beth but it is not. Yet, they were recently friends and it disturbs me. I have told none of my family or real world friends what is unnerving me but now you know. How many more beautiful and loved young people will we loose to this plague. God help us all.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Unexpected Ally

Twice this week we needed help and it came from an unexpected source. Beth helped us out twice. The first time was last Saturday. We have a beach house that we rent out on a weekly basis. The cleaning service never showed and we had upset tenants on our hands. DH and I had to go clean but DH could hardly walk. He called Beth and she agreed to come and help us. She worked diligently and seemed happy to have been able to come to the rescue.

She also came over today. I was out and DH called saying he was sick with violent chills again. I called Beth who was with a friend. They went right over and sat with him until I got home. She then proceeded to take her trophys out of the basement. She wants to put them on a shelf in her apartment. I think it is good that she is remembering what it felt like to be thanked and praised for accomplishments and contributions. This was the norm in her life before the trauma, mental illness and addiction.

She also told me that she has been having a lot of panic attacks lately. ( It might be because she is off the prozak.) I asked if she told the Doctor and she said no. She is also starting to obsess about a car again. Lots of days she does not feel good enough to look for one. Her knee has been hurting a lot lately. When she feels good enough to get out and look she just wants to get the first thing she sees. Sigh  like cars with more than 200,000 miles on them.

I am not thrilled about her getting a car but it is her money and a reasonable request. She really can not walk any distance without pain and for a woman it is particularly dangerous to get around without a car. On the other hand we all know the easier access to drugs and the other dangers of a car. We are looking for a honda or toyota with current inspection sticker and a price below 4000.00. Any other suggestions?

Sunday, August 8, 2010


What was your worst vacation experience with the addict?  Our worst was a few years ago when we had bought tickets to visit my Aunt in Florida. We were looking forward to a winter break for just hubby and me. My aunt is a wonderful hostess and was looking forward to pampering us.

Beth tried to kill herself by taking all her psych meds after cutting up her arms. This all was a result of a fight with the boyfriend who found out that she was using cocaine again. She was admitted to the psych ward and stayed there for a few days. We cancelled to be with her. We told the whole sad story to my aunt who cried and cried.

She has been hospitalized 4 times after attempting suicide. She was in a coma after the most serious attempt. She has made verbal references to another attempt from time to time but no actions in the last two years. This is also an experience which backs me up from a tough love stance. Dealing with a person that you know is capable of taking there own life or at least putting it recklessly on the line in a fit of anger or depression changes a mother's response. Once she did this because she had relapsed and would rather die. The other times involved rejection from a failed romance. She never really acted because of the boundaries that I set and kept. I often feared that response and did what I thought had to be done anyway. I thank God that she is still alive. Where there is life there is hope!


Friday, August 6, 2010

Great Vacation

     I got back from Panama on Monday during the wee hours of the morning. It was a great break and the first time in the last 4 years that the vacation was not canceled or sorely interrupted by the antics of the addict.

I went with a tour group called Caravan. A girlfriend and I traveled together. Her husband does not travel and mine can not travel in the summer as this is his busy season. It was wonderful not to have to make any decisions all the while being entertained and pampered. Panama is very warm and very welcoming to Americans. Panama City is very modern and safe with all the infrastructure that American are used to. It is ok to drink the water and eat the food freely which we certainly did. We toured the canal, the  mountain highlands and the pacific shore areas. We saw beautiful scenery and adorable little monkeys about the size of squirrels.

I am just starting to get caught up on my normal life. Beth came over today to do her laundry. She is taking some pride in her apartment. She keeps it clean and is having some fun decorating it. She has a job interview tomorrow. This has not happened in a long time. She remains off her antidepressant which seems to be stopping her mania but increases her depression. She had a panic attack yesterday while trying to arrange car insurance. Well, it was very frustrating. She called 7 or 8 companies looking for a special program that we know exists for people on medicaid in our state. No one could help her but they were all willing to sell her something she could not afford. I found the dollar a day program the next day. It took 3 hours and all my dealing with bullshit skills to accomplish it.

Her ssi disability settlement is covering her rent, food and medical. I am paying the electric bill. She will get her gas and spending money by working when she can. She has been doing yard work here and there and clipping dogs when she can. There were no lists open for low income apartments or section 8. Not just no apartments available but no lists open to be on a waiting list. These places charge one third of a persons income. That would make her independent. She was grateful to have any roof over her head. She did not balk at the low income places.

I am much less crazy knowing that she has a roof over her head and where to find her. As you know, she was homeless for the better part of the last 4 years. She went to and finished multiple rehabs. She continued to relapse. She was attacked several times while on the street. She just kept getting crazier and crazier. She was in and out of several mental institutions. She almost died several times and kept taking herself back to rehab. At one point she was gone for 6 weeks and we thought she was dead. We were calling morgues and jails and police departments. That is what changed my mind about the tough love. I thought, what if she was doing the best she can and I never even find her body?  At this point, she has some days where she seems perfectly normal. She says she is clean. I bet she is not totally clean but has cut back some. She does not seem to be doing heroine at all. I think she is drinking more and doing pot more. She now has working friends as opposed to addict friends. She knows we love her and support her recovery. All is not well but i told you that I would tell the truth. It is a whole lot better than it was before for the family. We can sleep at night and have some enjoyment in life. It is better for her to have a place where she is safe from being victimized on the street. At this point, I have no regrets for helping her get her SSI. It only cost me time.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Good Day!

Beth was approved for the Apartment today. She also had good news at the gynocologist. I went with her. Her biopsy showed that her cervix is curing itself. She had abnormal cells but they were not cancerous. Thank God . Praise the Lord and thank you all for your prayers! It is very important that she keep her appts. every 6 months but other than that she is fine.

She called me 30 minutes before her appointment to tell me that she was rescheduling. Her boyfriend's dog had escaped and they were chasing it. I said absolutely not. You must keep this appt. as further action in a timely fashion might be necessary.

She met me there and did not seem high or out of sorts so go figure. Probably just getting cold feet. I am the opposite. I do not want to hide or postpone. I want to hear the news so that I know what I am dealing with. Fear has always upset me worse than reality.

I am going on vacation tomorrow so I will probably not post for a couple of weeks unless they have more computer access than I anticipate in Panama. I am going with a girlfriend on a guided tour. Hubby stays here to mind his store and whatever issues may arise. We travel together in the winter but summer is his busy season so I make it a point to do my third world wanderings during the summer.

Take care,


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Question: Can We Help or Hurt Another's Illness? A: Sort of

A long time ago I had an active two year old daughter and a one year old son. I was 7 months pregnant with the third child when I got deathly ill. They think it was pneumonia. After seven days, I was worse instead of better and started to get dramatic. I had high fevers and chills so bad they made my whole body ache which scared me. I started to fear for my life. I did not have the strength to walk around. I stayed in bed except for going to the bathroom.

The doctor gave me antibiotics but did not want to send me to the hospital for fear of more infections. My husband said that we would take all measures to save me over the baby. He loved the baby but had no qualms about putting my life first. ( I was not very clear about that at the time. I was afraid I would have to make a decision and told him so.) I asked my mother to stay with me while my husband worked during the day as he was a sole practitioner and had to work or not make payroll. She said that she had to go with my father on a trip to Washington because she had to keep an eye on him so he would not philander . My father said that I was a married woman and a grown up. I had a husband to take care of me and the option to go to the hospital. He told my Mom to come with him that I was no longer a child. ( My parents were natural alanoners. They believed  in extreme self-reliance for their kids, although they have mellowed some with age.) My mother left me. I was sicker than I have ever been. I had two toddlers and was 7 months pregnant. I feared for my life and she knew it but told me to not be so dramatic.

My mother in law Elsie was 70 at that time. She came to my house and took over. She made me take cold baths when my fever got over 103. She said that would protect the baby. She made me drink juice and brought me food on trays. She had me on a schedule...... liquids every hour and some kind of snack or food every three hours. She took care of the toddlers. She fed them and my husband. She used all of her nursing skills on me and I was grateful.

One day, she came into talk to me and she said that she thought I was worrying and it was interfering with my getting better.

She said tell me what is bothering you honey. I told her that my mother abandoned me while I was sick. I said that it hurt me and that it made me mad. She hugged me and said I know, I know honey. My mom wasn't any prize either. She never cared much about me. By the time I came around she was tired. But, Anna, you have to think about who does love and care for you. You have to let this go so that you can get better. I will take care of you and my son loves you. These children need you so think about that. Have a good cry and then let it go.

I did what she told me and I started getting better. Did Elsie make me better? Sort of.  Did my mother make me worse? I think that Elsie supported my health while my mother did not.

For many years, I did not forgive my mother. Now, I do. In fact, I now see that she wanted to stay but my father wanted her to go. Why do we hold our mother's more responsible than our fathers? Well, that is a post for another day.

I think I will go and see Elsie now. I have been neglecting her lately in favor of Beth.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Working With Beth

Beth came to work with me. There was really no one there except us. She was a big help once she stopped crying which she did for the first hour. Apparently she has had a falling out with her only girlfriend. Beth was distraught as Jenna told her she does not want her to call or come over. She does not want Beth in her baby's life.

I imagine this pertains to Beth's recent relapse or some other drug related escapade. I lost it when she said she was going to move back to Florida. The idea that this girl abandons her so there is nothing else here worth staying for really hurt me and made me angry. I said and what are we just chopped liver? I did not say this at first. At first I sympathized but after about 40 minutes my patience wore thin.

Probably, I just should not have been a mother. I do not have the patience necessary to deal with Beth. She needs more patience and compassion than I have. I want to have more but there it is. At first, i did feel very sorry for her. Then, I realized that something major had to have happened and it most likely pertains to drugs. Oh maybe not crack or heroine but probably booze and marijuana.

There was some sort of altercation between the two boyfriends but that stuff is a secret. Then I offered to take her home but she said she would settle down. She settled quite well and really concentrated. Her organizational and clerical skills were very sharp. It was rather amazing to see this switch.

 Then she went out to smoke a cigarette and came back in with small pupils which is a sign of heroine and also with her eyelids sort of drooping. I mentioned what I saw and she started to cry again. I apologized as in my way of thinking if she was shooting heroine she would not have given a shit and would not be crying. She pointed out that pupils also constrict due to light and she was in the bright sunshine. I said well I can be a real bitch and she said yeah, I know.

Then we worked for three more hours at highly detailed, convoluted charts and statistics. She really helped. I said that she has a talent for this kind of work. She said she likes it more than yard work. I said, I remember how she was an amazing help at only 11 years old when she helped me with the copies and organizing charts for my thesis. I told her that I expect her to recover and that seeing that she can do real work is a step towards improvement.

I was worried about paying her. I gave the money to her boyfriend and told him that I wanted reciepts. I told her if this ended badly I would not give her cash again. I offered to make application at an apartment complex that is month to month instead of a year lease. She said no she is not going to Florida. I told her that I would hold the lump sum back in case she broke the lease because I will not personally pay for her to break it so think about doing the month to month. I also told her that I will not send her to Florida without food and shelter set up for her .

Then, I went out to dinner with my husband. I felt exhausted and kept staring into space. I know that this is overwhelming me and I need to shorten my interactions with her but there is so much to do to set this all up. No one will help but me. They say that she depletes them.

I am thinking that I will put a max of three hours of contact in a row with her in the future. Not that I will tell her that but maybe it will help. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Double Wammy or was it Triple?

I went in to work today to review test data , make decisions on student placement and file an appeal if necessary. The data was incredibly controverted. It was presented in numerous charts which covered my whole desk. Did I mention that my office had been cleaned but everything was out of order because the cleaning crew did not put it back the way it belonged?

I lost track of the time while trying to figure out how to condense and display so many variables in a way that made sense. My hypoglycemia kicked in because I had not eaten on time. At the same time I felt pressure in my chest from indigestion. On the way to the local convenience store, I started to think about how my Mom and sister had heart attacks before they were my age and scared myself. I was also thinking about all of Beth's medical problems and got overwhelmed. I started to cry and made the mistake of calling my husband. He got my father and came to get me so that I would not drive. They wanted me to go to the hospital. I felt pretty foolish because by then, I had eaten and felt a lot better.

Oh well, it is nice to know that they would come to the rescue. Anyway, we did go to our doctor's office. He ran an electrocardiogram and took my blood pressure. Both were fine. I did turn out to have infections in both ears and a mild case of acid reflux.  He ordered a stress test and some other tests that I should have had done anyway. I plan to take it easy tomorrow and the next day then attack those statistics again on Friday.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Yesterday was up so today had to be down.

Beth arrived at 10:00 am and we spent the day looking for a rental. She had not slept well at the boyfriends house and she was very tired. We looked at so many places including subsidized rental apartments which in reality did not exist. The waiting lists were many months long or closed. These places were very dangerous anyhow with drugs in your face all the time.

She got very stressed out thinking about how to make ends meet on her allotment. It is not really possible so the plan is to work out some sort of situation where she pays a certain amount and we supplement it. We replied to 20 adds for rooms for rent but no one replied. The sources were craig's list, roomster and They will not take her on what she recieves for SSI as it never does cover the rent. I will have to co-sign or so they say.

At the end of the day there was really only one real possibility. 640 plus utilities per month on a month to month basis. Ugh

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Perfectly Normal

When Beth and DH came home from the movies they said they had a great time. Beth was cracking jokes and ate a little dinner with us. Anyone in this world would have thought her a perfectly normal 24 year old tonight.

On the 22 we will find out if her cervical dysplasia has progressed to cervical cancer. Apparently this is a very very slow moving type........ worse case scenario hysterectomy. The fact remains that she did not do her 3 month check ups even though I asked and she told me she did.  She told me tonight that she might just have a hysterectomy instead of freezing and having it come back over and over. I encouraged her to take one day at a time. Maybe it will not show cancer. Maybe the proceedure she already have will be enough. Maybe one freeze will be enough. We just have to wait and see. Possibly get second opinion.

She is supposed to come by tomorrow at 11 so that we can look for a rental. Some sort of location stability would certainly be an improvement at this time! How can she be so crazy one day and so perfectly normal on another? I guess now that we are not living with her, we will see more of the pulled together Beth. I hope so and I sure do pray that she starts making more progress.

Visit From Beth

We had a visit from Beth. She was swimming at the neighbors and then came over here for awhile. She does not have a key so she had to knock. It seems the boyfriend's mother wants her out of the house when her son is working. Sooooo, she spent the other day at the Mall.

Her plan A for a place to stay did not work out. Her plan B which I liked a little better seems to be evaporating. It looks like she will be homeless again soon. She wanted to know if she can stay here while the boyfriend is working. I said that would be too much like living here. She needs to find a place where she can stay. There were a bunch of possibilities on Craig's list but she rejected them all as too far away.

I gave her the name and address for a drop in center run for consumers of mental health services for other consumers. She can go there during the day. She can also visit her elderly grandmother next door.

I did tell her that I would front the money from her SSI to get her started. I offered to help her look tomorrow. She said she would call me tonight. She mowed the grass for her father. He then took her to buy cigarettes and to see a science fiction movie.

I really wish that she was settled. Do you think I was right or wrong for not letting her hang out here in the daytime while John works?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Notes on Boundaries

I just came home from what DH refers to as my druggie meetings otherwise known as alanon. The topic was boundaries. People shared about how they set boundaries. There were a few points that I want to remember so I am going to jot them down here.

1.  We always have choices. The addicts have choices but so do we.
2. When we feel resentment it is time to set a limit.
3.  When we fear for our own well being either emotionally or physically it is time to set a boundary. We are not meant to live in fear.
4.  Boundaries should also be about what we want to experience. For example: in order to have peace and serenity I need...........................

5. If we allow unacceptable behavior in a loved one it is just like setting the replay button. The behavior will happen again.

6.  We can ask ourselves if what we are be asked to do is for someone's convenience or is it actually a need.

7.  If objects or insults are being hurled I will go somewhere else. Preferably, the person hurling the insults or objects will remove themselves.

8.  Violence is unacceptable.

9.  Living in fear is unacceptable.

10. I am a complete and separate human being on my own. I am not joined at the hip with the addict.

Thanks to all my alanon friends for sharing from their strength and hope.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Miserable Morning, Nice Family Fourth

It is amazing how we could have such a miserable morning and then actually enjoy the afternoon. We decided to go to the family picnic anyhow. My sister in law has a place right on the beach and she had invited us down. It was soooo hot here that we thought oh well let's go sit on the beach. It will be a little cooler

I finished trying to make my mom's potato salad. We packed up and went to the shore. Joy came with us. She can do impressions of just about anyone famous, her customers at the restaurant, or the neighbors. Her Dad can too!  They got to doing their various accents and we all laughed. We laughed, sat on the beach, walked and then had a nice take out Greek dinner complimented by my potato salad and some snacks that Nancy made. ( It must be genetic........ even though I had to guess at the recipe the potato salad was great! It was all gone fast.)

Nancy asked if Beth was still home. I said for the time being and rapidly changed the subject. I normally tell her the truth and she will know within a few days but this was a mercy lie. I did not want to ruin her hospitality with this sad news. Joy and DH thought that was for the best.

In spite of the fact that it was 98 degrees inland, the breeze off the ocean was pleasantly cool. We were on the beach for 4 hours!

Beth just came over here to pick up a few things. She discussed her housing plans with me in a calm and polite fashion. Just like when she first came home. She said that she was sorry it ended so poorly yesterday. I said that I was too. I suggested that she give plan B consideration. It would give her enough money to maintain a car and take her out in the country far away from the drug zone. This involves renting a room instead of an entire apartment. It is in a very rural area within walking distance of the bay. She listened and talked for about  5 minutes and then she was gone.

I found it a relief to come home and be able to use my own kitchen and family room. No mess, no tip toeing around trying not to upset her. It was also good not to have to lock my purse in the car and sleep with my car keys.

Josh surprised me by not being happy that she was gone. He said, there is no way she should live in town. I agree but I can not control where she lives only that her money goes to food, and shelter. He seems to have gained a greater appreciation for her struggles . He used to be so mad at me for even talking to her. He also was very rebellious and did not want me in his business. Now, he holds my hand and tells me he loves me a few times a week.

In spite of how things have turned out, this family has been the most important thing in my life for the past 28 years. I really believed with no doubt whatsoever that if a person put this much time , work, passion and energy into something that it just had to turn out right.........  Let's not go to the pity party. There are still lots of good parts to my family and my life. It also time for me to get more of a life for myself.

Thanks to all of you. It really meant a lot to me that you were there so fast for me in the last few days.



Sunday, July 4, 2010

Lost It!

I went to church this morning and prayed for wisdom. When I came home I lost it. Beth was on the couch with dialated eyes and a little burn mark next to her mouth that I imagine came from the crack pipe. I asked her if she had thought about what she could do to help with her recovery. I reminded her of a couple of outpaitent programs in the area. She got very mean. She said that there would be no programs or drug testing. Well, Beth maybe if you would do something different I could convince your Dad to let you stay here.

She said she would buy a car and move to Florida. She said I had better turn her checks over to her or she would get a lawyer. I said something along the lines of the money is for food and shelter. I will put it out directly for food and shelter and nothing else. It is your business if you want to do drugs but you know you can not do them and live here. It just makes you too mean and we all suffer.I told her to clean up the kitchen and do one load of laundry while I was gone. She had said that she did not want to come to a picnic with us.

  She got very huffy and yelled at me that she would clean the kitchen but she was not touching any one elses laundry. I lost it. I yelled at her and said that this is the end of her bossing me around like some mean drunk. She will not act like the boss of me in my house. She can either do what I say or get out. She threw the remote down at my feet and smashed it to pieces. She ran upstairs to pack.

DH came down and said that I was acting all tough now but in a few weeks I would be a wreck looking for her. He had already told her that she had to move but that we would help her find a place.

I went upstairs and semi apologized. I said that I am just so angry because these drugs have nearly ruined my life. She acts like using is no big deal. She will also not agree to do anything any different. This pisses me off beyond reason and it scares the hell out of me too. I said please, please take care of your cervical dysplasia or it will kill you. She lied to me about taking care of it . It had been two years since she went to a Doctor and she is supposed to go every three months.She said that she hopes the cancer takes her quickly. She has no interest in living. or programs or hospitals.

Five minutes later on the porch with her bags packed. She said, " I was doing well. I was finally happy and you kicked me out for one slip."She went to stay with a girlfriend within walking distance of her drug grounds. We all think that she was using for awhile because she was so mean and surley. That is how she gets with crack.

We got the house key back. It is creepy to think that she had some guy she picked up doing drugs drop her off at my house. I do not want these people to know where I live. She has threatened me before when I was holding money that she owed a friend of mine. I am afraid that this will happen again. I told her if she starts any funny business that makes me feel fear I will turn this over to a court appointed non familial guardian who will be much less flexible than me.

She left, and i said Beth, just because I can not live with you does not mean that I don't love you. I do love you but I can not live in this chaos and constant tension.She said, "It is all your fault, Mom. This time is all your fault."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hostility and Arrogrance = Crack

She did not come home last night. Called me at 5 in the morning claiming to have fallen asleep. Arrived home at 10:OO am and had a fit when I gave her a couple of chores. It did not look like she had slept. She arrogant and hostile. I said we would need to start drug testing immediately. She said that she would fail. She used coke last night but it was the first time. No big deal really.

Given how she has been picking fights with me, staying up all night and sleeping all day, I do not think it is the firs time.It hit me like a brick in the head. I cried for about one and a half hours and then went to sleep for the next three with an extreme headache and acid reflux. Hope can be the enemy. Hope leads to expectations which leads to this sort of crash.

We will see what happens next. We did not really intend to live with her. We were going to set her up in an apartment and follow through on the SSI. She did well at first while she could still remember missing us. As time went on, she just used us more and more and appreciated us less and less. She is personally miserable and abusive to those around her most of the time. It is not that she hits or even name calls. She just reacts with seething hostility and disparaging looks, slammed doors and a constant black cloud. Our house is no longer a comfort zone. We are once again trying to avoid it. Not a good situation!

Friday, July 2, 2010

First Real Customer for Precious Paws !

The day started out horrible but ended up pretty well. Beth did not sleep last night and neither did I. She came into my room at about 9:00 am insisting that I take her to buy cigarettes immediately. I can't say that I reacted to this with any maturity. I told her in no uncertain terms that she is not the boss of me! I would drink my tea. Finish my breakfast and then take her.

As she got in my car she bumped her head on the visor and yelled at me for leaving it down. I escalated by saying it is not my fault that  you do not watch where you are going. She got out of the car in a huff and went inside. I drove away and she called on the cell. I said that I had more to do than cater to her all day. She called her Dad hysterical.

I told him that I was in a menopausal sleepless twit and she was just pushing me too far. He said that I had to realize I was dealing with a crazy person. (That's a swithch.)  When I got home after doing my own errands my sister had taken her to get her cigarettes in exchange for some chores. Beth and I went to Pet Smart to get some combs for her dog clippers and she assured me that she would clip the dog today.

I told her that I get overwhelmed with the responsibility of taking care of so many people. Her Dad has been unable to walk without crutches for the last two weeks. I now have 4 other adults depending on me and my nerves are frazzled. I said that things have to change and that I want her to give me 30 minutes per day in household chores. That is because  she is not working steady and I am just overwhelmed. Too my surprise she agreed and said that she got it. I apologized for escalating.

Then, she went to the shore with her father to help him work on two rental properties that we have there. He said that she slept all the way there and back but was helpful when they got there. She came home and immediately started clipping the dog. Then, strangers drove up to our house. They were actually not strangers but relatives of her girlfriend Emily. They brought a big fat bassett hound and wanted his nails clipped. Beth petted him and got him to lie down with the owner petting his head. She filed the nails in about 20 minutes with a drummel. The man paid her 10 dollars. She smiled when she realized that this was her first real customer and she had recruited him herself through a friend.

She resumed clipping our Dog but decided that she needed a muzzle. Roxie is arthritic and when you get near her back legs she does nip. None of the local groomers want her anymore. Beth came in and asked permission to take a break, buy a muzzle tommorrow and start again. Her back was hurting. We do not have a grooming table so she was all huntched over for a couple of hours. I said of course. What a change from this morning!

I said Beth, when words gets around that you can do those nails that fast and only charge 10 bucks you will have customers lined up around the block!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

She Came Home in Good Shape

She came home and just seemed the same. I am not entirely sure if I can tell when she is using now or not. She always used to dissapear and stay away for days. She got in soooo much trouble that there was no doubt.Yesterday was a 2- and today was a 2+ for her. Yesterday, she did nothing and was hostile. Today, she did nothing and was neutral.

I go to alanon tonight. I hope the meeting helps. This is wearing me down.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day Two : Mood 2

If I were to rate Beth's mood on a scale of one to five, today and yesterday were both on the 2 level. Below average at best. When I came home today both Joy and my husband were at their wit's end with Beth. They said leave her alone, she is having a bad day.

Joy told me that she was collecting change!  We have all seen this before and it leads to no good. In the past I would have tried my hardest to keep her at my side through bribery, distraction or straight out confrontation. This time I just asked her if she was ok. She said yes. I said, "you don't look alright babe."  She said, "I just got real mad watching tennis. All those people who still play at 40 and I was ruined by 17. "

What could I say? "Oh, that must be frustrating ." Yes, she said, " I am angry and resentful."  Then she told me she was collecting money for cigarettes. She wanted Joy to take her to the bank to get the change converted and  then get the cigarettes and go to Emily's house.

I took her to the market and bought the cigarettes.We dropped her off at Emilys. Will she be ok?  Will she make her apt. with the public defender tomorrow morning or the gynocologist tomorrow? Will she use the change in her purse for drugs?  She will or she won't. It is not that I do not care. I have just learned to detach. It did not come easy. My attempts to control her always just make her mad.

On the positive side, perhaps, she felt her own frustration and decided to seek the company of a friend. That would be a healthy response. We still need you prayers my friends.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Big Accomplishments on a Draining Day

The temperature here was about 98 and humid for the third or fourth day in a row. When I got up last night at 4:00 am to find Beth smoking on the porch, it was still hot!  S he said the dog woke her up. She had not fed him  until late and consequently he had to be let out in the middle of the night.

I heard her running down the stairs and that is why I got up. Anyhow, today we went in for her blood work ordered by the neurologist first thing. She gave me a real hard time about getting up. She kept falling back to sleep. The seroquel she takes really knocks her out till about 10:00 am. I had asked her to take it earlier in the evening so this would not happen but she never did until 11 pm. Between the seroquel and the lack of sleep she was very tense and complained about everything. Finally, I told her "I am tired too. You woke me at 4 in the morning. I am doing you a favor, taking the day off work to take you all the places you need to go but instead of thanks I just hear complaints."  She said, " I am just tired."  I let it go. In the past I would have insisted on an apology and really expected her to get it. Now, I just know this is how she acts when she is tired and nervous. Still, after about the 10th or 11th complaint I have to speak up. The shrinks call this behavior negative persistence.

Anyhow, we did the blood work and then proceeded to social services to sign up for food stamps. Then, across the county and over to the Social Security office to do the final paper work for her SSI and SSD. The subtract one from the other. They also subtract anything we might give her towards food and shelter as income.

 Things got a little hairy when she realized that she does not have free access to any money. I must account for every penny to the government showing that it is used on food, shelter, medical expenses and other necessities. I thought she was going to walk out in a huff eventhough this was never a secret and the attorney had discussed it with her before.

Fortunately the case worker was very calm and explained to her how she could change this over the course of time with responsible behavior and her doctor's endorsement.

They told me at U of P that an addict in recovery should not have free access to money for about 2 years. I still believe it. Although I did give her 100 dollars just recently to go grocery shopping for us. She went with someone I trust. They came right back and they brought me a reciept. She was quite happy with this. She did not see my behavior as suspicious. She saw it has adding back a little trust with back up proof.

Thanks for keeping us in your prayers. I am exhausted and intend to turn in early tonight.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

''When moms get involved kids don't. Learn how to keep your kids safe

from drugs and stay  (The partnership for a drug free america)''

These are the exact words. They appear in a full page advertisement on the front cover of a magazine I just bought. The magazine is entitled Everyday Easy  Recipies from Better Homes and Gardens.

I looked it up to get it exact when I saw your interest. I only know one Tom who is at Recovery Helpdesk. He does not have anything to do with this group as far as I know. I am just about to look up this  It would be interesting to know who sponsors them.

I think that this sort of propaganda sends the message that this problem can not happen to you if you are a good parent. I used to think that too. It is one of the reasons I was not looking for the signs. I thought that only kids who were in some way abused and desparate  did this sort of thing. That thinking sort of made drugs someone else's problem. Certainly not something that could effect my family.

I used to think sort of the same way about mental illness as did the psychiatrists. Mothers were out and out blamed for schizophrenia 40 years ago. Doctors now know that this is not true but I am not so sure about the general public.

On a positive note. Beth continues to do well. She is much more easy to communicate with now that she is off her antidepressants. We all think they were making her manic. She remains prone to debilitating depression but the depression does not seem to take her judgement away like the mania does. The depression seems to come and go on its own when we just give her time and space with it. She remains very productive on the days the depression lifts and not productive at all when the black cloud descends.

The big difference in my house is that we are not pressuring her to do anything when she says she can not. I will let you know how it works out. So far she is now starting her 9th week with us. Before her illness, we never pushed her. She pushed herself mercilessly to satisfy her own perfectionism. Soooo, I just decided to believe her on the days she says she can not. My goal for her at this point is not full time employment. Just, staying off drugs and making a contribution to the family on the days that she can.

Please continue to pray for us.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

When Moms Get Involved Drugs Don't Take Hold

I saw the title line in an advertisement from the parnership for a drug free America. Oh, how I wish it were true! I was involved and I am involved.  They should know better.

 There are lots of very involved parents who have kids addicted to drugs.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


We are all doing a little better today. Beth has been pepping up from time to time. She rallies when her friends come around. So far, they seem to be kids who are struggling but clean.

We made an add for her on Craig's list for pet sitting. She made a list of services and prices. I found a cute picture of a cartoon character that looks a lot like her walking a group of dogs in high heels and a big flared skirt just like Beth wears. The character looked a lot like her.

This is something she can do from home in our finished basement. She can say yes or no to one job at a time and if worse comes to worse we can help her get by for a few days as long as she keeps it down to one pet family at a time.

She loves animals and they love her back so it could work. She will watch them overnight or during the day. She will also bathe them or cut their nails while they are here.

Does anyone have any good names for the business?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mean and Surley

Beth just wants to sit on the couch. She is not as tightly wound up as she was before. But if you ask her to do anything she protests and acts put upon. I just read something appropriate on Syd's blog. Another blogger wrote that she prays her boundaries are straight and clear with soft edges.

I told Beth that I want peace in my home so please do not make small requests into big incidents by making such a big deal. I am trying to be patient but at the same time I do not want to be her doormat. The honeymoon is over and now instead of being polite to me she tells me that she does not give a shit about cleaning up after herself.

She just watches one movie after another. Her life is watching movies and smoking. This was a girl who played the flute, tennis, acted in plays, played field hockey, sang in the choir, won many art contests, swam like a fish, earned a captains license and worked a part time job at the same time.

I go from feeling very very sorry for her to being angry with her. Maybe this is the best she can do. I have sure seen much worse from her but I wish she would appear to put a little more effort in this. She is in her seventh week clean. That is great but I am concerned with the lack of structure. Anything i suggest including playing with horses is rejected!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Off the Couch

After three very intense days on the couch and seething mad most of the time, Beth seems a lot better. She is riding her bike, talking a little, making good sense and attending to her hygiene. It seems to have taken three whole days of taking the meds as perscribed.

The Doctor was just about to give her another  antipsychotic and then  she started getting better. I finally asked her tonight why she was not taking her meds regularly. She has skipped nine doses. She said that it was not 9 in a row but that she would forget if she slept at her girlfriends or if she did not put the meds on the table.

I went through this with my son with ADD. He really wanted to take his meds when he was younger. There was no coercion involved but he would sometimes forget. The very frustrating thing (really it is logical if you think about it) was that if he forgot once, he would be much more likely to forget again. The medication itself helped his memory. Without it, he was much more likely to forget.

  Soo, I will lay it out for her on her table each night. After awhile if she seems more stable I will put it in one of those day by day containers. With her, it is even more critical. I notice that if she forgets for a couple of days then she does not even want to take it. We have learned that it is best not to even try talking to her when she is off meds.

I so want to keep her home and just watch her 24/7. If only, she would submit to such treatment we could give her the gift of 6 months or so clean under our care but she is very sensitive to be controlled. Even as a child she was very sensitive to being controlled. She would obey but she would seethe with resentment unless you could explain to her why. I am sure that being raped was an even greater trauma for this girl who values her own free spirit so much. I admired this trait in her. I thought it would serve her well.

Josh is working a double shift tonight and Dave is sick again. First his back for weeks at a time and now he seems to have the flu. Joy and I just got done looking a bunch of pictures of my husband and I from high school. We were all hippied out with love beads and bell bottoms! Those were the days that we were out to change the world!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


At this point we are classifying last night as an incident but not a crisis. Beth came home when she said she would which was around 12. I had left her meds on her night stand just in case she changed her mind. It looks like she took them. She was a little better today. She did some weeding in the garden and her friend Jim came over to help her and take her to the movies.

She told him about her drug problems and that she wants a friend not a boyfriend. Yes, I have heard that one before. Anyhow, he does not seem to be into drugs or drinking. He brings her home at a reasonable time and is very patient.

I have spent most of the last 24 years trying to control Beth. I do know now that I can not control her or her disease. So far, she has been clean longer with this lack of control. Her doctor did take her off the prozak. I am now laying out her meds as she was skipping quite a few doses.

Thanks for your prayers. We want to keep this sick adult child with us. We love her and she is in much less trouble with us than out in the world on her own. She is very talented and smart. If she could just get a little more mentally stable she could start making a contribution to this world even if she can not support herself. She could still help out at the humans society or be involved in her art or coaching. These are now my dreams for her future.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Beautiful Day, Disturbing Events

We are now in our sixth week with Beth home. She was doing pretty well up to a few days ago. I actually heard her and her brother Josh exchange a few words in passing!

She started to go down hill on Friday but pulled herself together for a good day on Saturday. She helped her Dad with a lot of handyman stuff all day and then watched movies with friends and her Dad at our house.

On Sunday she started to be miserable and today as well she did not want to get off the couch eventhough she looked clear eyed and alert. She looked haunted and pissed off. I asked if she had slept and she said yes. I asked if something happened and she said no. She said she is pissed because there is no food in the house. (There was a lot of food in the house.)  I emailed the doctor.

A few minutes later I got a call from Beth demanding that I send her to a hotel before she slaps Joy or wrecks her computer. She was very angry at Joy. Beth was convinced that Joy was avoiding her chores so that Beth would have to do them.

I tried to convince Beth to call the Dr. I did agree that Joy was wrong to accuse Beth of being lazy and not having a job so she should do more. Beth was crying and saying that she is not lazy she is just sick. I said that she had a good point there but that I did not want the threats. I will not tolerate violence or property distruction. I will send her to the hospital if this happens.

I called Dr. Vasquez who had already read my email. I called her on her cell which she regularly gives to her patients and their loved ones.  She said that this is her mania breaking through. She said to give her half a seroquel now, and a whole one at bed time. She also said for me to check and see if she is taking the other meds. Beth would not comply with the meds. I tried to get her to take her lamictal or topomax. She would not do that either. (She has been skipping doses of both of these.)

Her father tried too. HE offered to take her to dinner. He tried to get her to take her meds. She said she is going out with Jim her friend. Dave said to her not to do anything foolish. Call us if you need us to get you.

Beth did calm down and quit making threats but she would not comply with her meds. She says the seroquel makes her hands numb so she will only take before bed. I tried to reason with her that it is just this once not all the time. She is very likely to use drugs in this state so please pray that she will not.

Dave says she can't live here using so here we go again. Here we go again with the not complying with meds, mania and upset in the family. Oh well, the family is not too upset. We all see it for mania and we are not being sucked in personally. It is still very hard to cope with even when you do not take it personally. Right now she is mad at  Joy, me and her Dr. She thinks that her friend Jim will make it all better. I said, honey you will just end up fighting with him too. She said no I won't and off she went.

Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I can see now that my writing in this blog is far from elegant. I just say what is on my mind as fast as I can and then go on to read your blogs. It helps me a lot to be able to get these things of my chest. My English teachers would cringe but then this is not written for English teachers but for other people trying to make sense out of this life that we did not choose.

The president of my NAMI chapter asked me why I did not write down some of my experiences with the mental health system to begin acting like an advocate. He is right but even those of us who could write in better times are often so busy putting out fires. It is hard to think about buying a fire protection system when the room you are standing in is already on fire! That is how it feels in a crisis.

 I have learned from someone here how to ask myself........ Is this really a crisis or just another incident? I sit in those rooms at NAMI and see how it could be a lot worse. A lot of those women are dealing with big strong men who sometimes turn violent through no fault of their own. That is one scary proposition. These mothers take care of their schizophrenic sons (they are mostly sons) and worry what will happen to them when they are gone

One therapist told me that there is a tremendously high suicide rate among the mentally ill around 50 years of age. She thinks it is because that is around the time that their mother's die.

Dave was walking without his cane today. I could actually see a spring in his step. Beth took a whole seroquel last night and slept well. She told me she was only taking half so that she was not groggy in the morning. I asked her to consider taking a whole one as she really was worn out and irritable yesterday.

I don't know what time she got up but she mowed the grass and power washed the back of the house before leaving. That is really a help to us and she knows it. We are paying her for this type of work so that she can buy her cigarettes and go to the movies. I could just give it to her but number one I do not like paying for cigarettes and number two I think a little work is good for her. I do what I can to keep things low stress and high structure. That is what the NAMI people say....low stress  and high structure.

Come to think of it that could be a personal goal for me as well!

Take care and I pray for you all.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Week Five

We are finishing up week five with Beth still at home. She just told me she has a friend on the phone threatening to kill himself. She asked me what to do. I said tell his parents. She said she does not know who they are or where they live. She does not know where he lives either.  ?????  I said.....ask him where he is and we will send the EMT's. He would not say.

I don't even know this boy but I feel sorry for him. He came back from Iraq in distress. Beth does not need this kind of pressure. She already has been having a sad day. She did not sleep well last night from nightmares.

I offered to look up a suicide prevention line or a veterans help line. She said no, texted a few more times and then  continued watching her movie. She said you can not stop someone who wants to kill themselves. She asked him why he told her if he does not want her to do anything about it.

As you know, it was not so long ago that I had the same sort of conversation with Beth. She was threatening to kill herself.

Hubby got an epidural steriod shot today for his back. He is taking it easy enjoying the not being in pain.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Good Day to become an Advocate

I was busy but not harried at work today. When I got home, Beth and cut the grass and gone to the movies. Joy had cleaned the kitchen and volunteered to do some grocery shopping. I made a quick but healthy dinner from some fresh Jersey asparagus, rice and eye of the round steaks. Carrots and onions just thrown onto the grilling pan added a little color.

After dinner, Dave felt well enough to go to the movies. He wanted to see Robin Hood. I really just wanted to sit for awhile so I was happy when Beth arrived and decided to join him. She loves movies and she loves to watch them with someone. It is the only time that she is reliably social.

After all we have been through, these little gems of normal life are very precious to us. I have recently had enough energy to start looking at some of these problems from a societal/political viewpoint. That is so hard for us parents of affected children to do because we are so busy putting out fires on a regular basis. Our strength is regularly sapped by the latest crisis.

I emailed my governor and state representatives last night. I asked them not to close anymore mental hospitals. There are many families like mine. There are many families with much harder circumstances. Did you know that we have to wait for the mentally ill person to actually hurt themselves or someone else before getting them committed?  This is often the case. I have seen things that I would not have believed could happen in our country. When a person is sick enough they should have a hospital to go to. This is not the case now. It will get more and more dangerous as time goes on. There are more mentally ill people right now in jail than in mental hospitals because we have closed most of them down. During the Raegan years our mental hospitals were decimated.

I am all for keeping people in the community but when the institutions closed down not even half the amount of community support that is needed was put in place. I know a lot of older women from my NAMI group living with schizophrenic or extremely bipolar grown but disabled chilldren. They do not know what will become of these children when they die. We can do better than this.

I urge you all to write your representatives and even the president. It was not as hard as I thought it would be. I found simple ways to email all of them on google. Then, I just cut and pasted the same basic message over and over again. In 20 minutes I had contacted the governor and three congressmen.

For Barbara,

My daughter is currently taking lamictal (it has helped her the most and is a mood stabelizer), seroquel (antipsychotic) and topomax ( this supposedly helps with bipolar and lowers cocaine craving).

Monday, May 24, 2010

U of P Twice in one Week

I went to the U of P with my husband last week and with my daughter this week. They were both told that structurally they do not need joint replacements. Their pain most likely comes from inflamation. My husband got steriods to mitigate the inflamation. My daughter got sent to another doctor.

My husband is a lot better after a few days of steriods. Beth is still in pain but I can tell she is relieved that she is not full of arthritis or bone deteriorization. The miniscus transplant may have shrunk some or it might be inflamed from a low level of rejection. That means she may also be helped by steriods or anti-inflamatories but they want her to see a specialist in meniscus transplant. Her actual bones are not so far deteriorated as to need a knee replacement.

The orthodpedist did not say this but I have read it in addiction literature. The body may send out pain signals in response to drug cravings in people in early recovery. They are not inventing their pain. They actually feel pain as opposed to drug craving. But it is the craving that gives them the pain.

I told Beth, that if this is the case, she will have a lot less pain in 6 months. I do find it odd though that my husband never did any drugs and his diagnosis is the same. Your bone structure does not require an operation, yet your pain is debilitating.

We will see what the meniscus transplant surgeon has to say. AT any rate, she knows that I am working with her.

Josh is coming home soon he says. He knows that Beth will stay with us as long is we can keep her. He seems to accept this now instead of fighting it. It might have something to do with the funeral he attended this past week. The brother of a friend of his died in an ATV accident. Death has a way of putting life in perspective doesn't it?

Beth has continued to take her mood stabelizer, anticonvulsant and antipsychotic medication in the same ammounts. She has not taken her antidepressants anymore. She says that at this point, she does not miss them.

Thank you for your prayers. We passed the third week which is most usually the crisis time for her. We are now well into the fourth week. Please pray for her and for us.

  It feels much better to be helping her. We know she is safe at night in her bed. I have now cut back my daily antidepressant and every other day xanax use to every other day for the antidepressasnt and once or twice a week for the xanax. I know that I am doing all I can for her right now. I am not torn apart and conflicted in my own emotions. That is where we are today.

It is a relief to be able to ask for your prayers. I suppose I could do it in my church but I am not somehow brave enough and I also feel it would be violating Beth's privacy here in her hometown. I am grateful that we have become blogger friends and that I can ask you to pray for us.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Old Paradigm

Thanks to Megan I just found out that Beth has been medicated following an out of date guidelines for medication management. I did some research and found guidelines by three major authorities and they all agreed with Megan. Antidepressants are not usually tolerated by people with bipolar disorder even with the addition of a mood stabilizer. The American Psychiatric Association, The Texas Medical Algorithm Project and the Expert Consensus series all agree.

Since, Beth just started her Prozac a couple of days ago (it does make her happier), I shared this info with her and ask her to cut down or cut it out until we get an updated medical opinion. I am going to write to Megan's doctor and ask him to suggest a colleague in my area.

A similar situation happened with my diabetic husband two years ago. He had never been able to control his sugar. He was suffering multiple and dangerous complications including eye bleeds and kidney insufficiency. A friend of Beth's who was an EMT talked to my husband Dave. He said, "Dave you are following a paradigm that is 30 years old. Go to Jefferson or U of Pennsylvania. No one does it the way you are at the major medical centers.  You are following an old paradigm."

I talked to my friend the school nurse about all of this and she said to go see a diabetic educator about insulin and carbohydrate counting. My husband spent 3 hours with this woman. His sugar has been right ever since!
We tell everyone if you can not control your sugar get on insulin, see a diabetic educator and learn to count carbs and make adjustments to your insulin.

I really thought I was up to date on bipolar disorder but apparently not.

Thanks Megan, you might have saved a life. At least there is hope in the protocols that we have not even tried.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Back Troubles

I had to take my husband to the hospital this morning with severe back pain. He was in writhing pain all night and then it got worse. He could not walk in the morning. The EMT's took him in and I fought with the ER doc for a couple of hours until he got the MRI. Another Doctor had authorized this a couple of weeks ago but due to my insurance company delay and some delays in the orthodpedists office nothing happened until the situation escalated. He has numerous other health problems which make him medically fragile. The ER doc was going to send him home to wait a few more weeks but I said I would not and could not physically take home a man who is twice my size who can not walk. I also called the orthodpedist and explained my position asking her to make the MRI stat. She did, and it took all day but it happened. I expect him to be discharged in a few minutes. My younger son and daughter who are in their early twenties took over for me at about 3 pm. That was great as neither my husband or I slept last night.

Beth started taking her meds last night. She did not sleep well either but she was relaxed and reasonably content today. That is unusual for her. I hope we will get another 3 weeks as she just started the prosak last night. Since I am writing it here, I will not forget.

It did my heart good that both Joy and Josh dropped what they were doing and came to sit by their father. They encouraged me to get some rest and I did. Also, I cam home to a clean kitchen. Beth had cleaned the kitchen while I was gone. This was a little glimpse of life as we used to know it.We went back to being a regular family that helped each other out in times of need. We enjoyed each other company on those oh so precious "every days"  that we did not know were to be so fleeting.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Third Week

Please pray for us as we start the third week with Beth at home. Historically the third week has not been good. That is when all hell breaks loose in one form or another. I am determined to keep my serenity regardless of what happens.

She now has my roof over her head. That is the best thing if she can hold steady. I might even be persuaded to hang in there through up to three relapses given conditions which do not endanger the family. I do have a plan b and even c regarding studios in Philadelphia.

I see how lonely and ill she is and that she needs us right now. She is in no hurry to leave and it would be much easier for her to use in her own place. I think she wants to be with her family. Now, we will see how long she can sustain it.

She went back to her Dr. She got her psychiatric meds but not suboxone. That is interesting as the suboxone has a high street value. She choose not to take it.   She has not been taking the prozak, lamictal or seroquel eventhough she has had it for three days. I am not pushing it. I want to see if she lasts a little longer without the meds. My suspicion is that she gets in trouble because of the mania. I think the  mania has never been adequately controlled and the prozac makes it worse. This is  my observation as a mom living with her. She was depressed and miserable before starting her prozack but also careful and obedient. She is not happy but she also seems to be staying away from drugs. She is not suicidal either just sort of in a low middle kind of mood.

I have not said anything to discourage her from taking her meds, I am just not pushing them as I have in the past.  Prozac alone will definitely make mania worse. She was on prozak alone when she got addicted and raised hell around here.Basically , because she was initially diagnosed and treated for simple depression, it means that she was taking meds for about 6 years that made her a lot worse. No wonder I do not have confidence that the current mixture is right!

I thank you all in advance for your prayers that we live one day at a time and hold onto our serenity in this third week.

Thank you good people for praying to God for us.