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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.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Right on time at the Airport!

My sister and I picked Beth up at the airport. She had her leg brace on and was limping quite a bit. Her hair is dyed ruby red. She had her hair pulled back tight against her head. She was glad to be home.


She went right over to see her Nana. They sat holding hands while Beth put her head on her grandmother's shoulder. Her arms were bare. They were clear but her hands looked scared.


 
Joy and Beth went out to have a bite to eat. Our dog was so happy to see Beth that she frolicked around making little crying noises. I have never heard the likes of it! Beth always treats the animals like her precious children.

Beth said she needs to get her meds. Says that she cries very easily.As we passed a camper she told me that she would be happy living in one of those.


Please continue to pray for us. This is not going to be easy. It is so much sadder when she acts like she loves us and wants to be home!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Flight confirmed but Beth can't be Found

I confirmed the airline tickets this afternoon. When I called the land line that Beth had left me, Ian said that she was not there. She did not come back last night and did not answer her cell phone all day.

Hmmm. She either will or will not make it home. There is no use thinking about it much. I wonder if she was planning to wait till after I replaced her cellphone to sell it?  She is probably with J the boyfriend but I do not have his number. I will keep my cell phone with me tomorrow in case she calls.


My sister wrote a beautiful witness letter. I will post it later. It made me cry to remember that people actually wanted Beth to babysit for them. At one time, she was responsible beyond her years.

If she comes back here binging , she could well go to jail before her disability hearing. It is a small town and the local police have given her lots of chances. She has worn out her welcome with them. Well, if she is in jail, I will know where she is and if she is alive each day.

I don't know what I will do if she does not make it to the hearing. Once again she tests my nerves, resolve and sense of right and wrong. There is no plan too intricate,or hard won for her to throw away. Time will tell.



Today was glorius in Jersey. The azaleas are just flaunting themselves while cherry blossoms puddle at our feet. Thank God it is Spring.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Joy and Comfort to ME

As I was finishing my last post my youngest daughter breezed in from College. She was excited about getting an A on a power point presentation and lecture she had to give as part of her BA in English. Her excitement about the project and Harriet Beecher Stowe was infectious.

I called my husband and we both sat down to listen to her presentation. She was dressed in heels and a business like simple black dress. I could imagine her as a professor in a lecture hall. Her delivery was very smooth and engaging.


My husband congratulated her and gave good reasons why he thought it was excellent. T hen he went back to playing with the Kereoke Machine.  I sat with Joy for the next 40 minutes talking about literature, feminism and believing in ones self. She talked about various of her professors and friends. I knew most of them.

This ability to switch gears from preoccupation with my troubles to living the joy of the present moment is key to my recovery. I could not do this 3 years ago. I suffered from the addiction and did not notice so many of the blessings around me.

My son asked to borrow 20 bucks for a haircut. He has an interview tomorrow for a management trainee program at his job. We are very pleased with this development as well. All of the sudden he sees that he needs to do more.

I learned this from alanon and I also learned it from my fellow bloggers. In fact, I think that I started following each and every one of you because you are determined to have a life in spite of  your troubles. Thanks to all of you.

Yet Another Cell Phone

      In the midst of all the pity I have been feeling for my daughter recently, I got really pissed last night. I did not go on and on about it and I only felt a little bad about what I said.


Beth called crying. She said she fell off a bicycle and smashed her phone. This made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I felt a quick rush of adrenaline surge through my body. I am sure I am not the only one whose addict sells their cell phones for drugs. That is the history.

She was very convincing. She always is. I actually told her that she could buy a cheap phone at walmart or sprint but I would not be replacing her 150 dollar phone. She would have to get a friend to front her the money. When I see the phone, then I will send them a check.

I said, "Beth, how can you come home in this state? I will put you in a hotel. I do not want you running off in the middle of the night to buy drugs or having dealers at my house. I will not go through that with you."

She said, "You think I sold my phone but I did not. You will see that my knee is a bloody mess when I come home."  I gave the phone to her Dad. He listened and said, "Well, do you have the flight plans written down so you can follow them? OK, then I will see you when you get here."

After hanging up he turned to me and said " Bicycle my ass! She either sold it for drugs or fell because she was high."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Then and Now






My husband and I adopted Beth when she was 2 days old. It was the happiest day of our lives. She had the delighted attention of two loving parents. Her paternal grandparents lived right next door. Beth spent time with these proud grandparents every day. She was a beautiful blue eyed baby girl.

She swam in their pool, painted pictures with her artist Nana while her Pop Pop helped her to learn tennis.  She fished with her Dad and was his special helper in the garden. She always loved animals. She had a dog, guinea pigs and chickens. She took very good care of them all. Animals love her. Even very old and sick animal crawl right in her lap when they won't let anyone else touch them.

 Beth was an excellent student and athlete. She was in the top 10 percent of her class in high school. She was also the number one tennis player on the varsity team from ninth grade on. She played field hockey as well. She was also in the soprano section of the choir and was the best flute player in the school taking the first seat in the flute section.

It seemed that she was destined to be very successful. She was always a bit of a moody perfectionist. But she used this perfectionism to achieve good goals. She dominated her tendency to get blue by working out and driving herself in both academics and sports.

Beth had a few good friends since childhood. She seemed to be a leader in her circle. They came to her for advice and I often  heard her give them good advice.

All of that was before her mental illness took over. At sixteen years of age there was a big break. When I went to pick her up from school she had a wild look in her eyes. She kept staring into space. I remember saying…  “ Beth, are you mad at me?” She said, “I am just mad at the world.

Her withdrawal was extreme. She would not talk to the other girls on the tennis team. She was their star player and she did not even know their names. Both Nana and I asked her if someone had hurt her. She was a beautiful young girl and it crossed both of our minds with this sudden dramatic change. She never told us then, but it came out years later in rehab that she had been drugged and raped by a group of men. It was her first sexual experience.

I am so very sorry that she never told me. This all might have turned out differently if she had. I think that she always had trouble dealing with her emotions. There was a tendency in her to get sad and moody. But, I think without this event, she would have made it into young adulthood with just a little more than the normal anxiety.

As it was, she kept this big secret. She got very irritable and depressed. She continued to get good grades and work at the mall but she could not sleep. She had nightmares. She still dreams regularly of being dragged by her legs.  She continued with her activities but she no longer enjoyed them. This traumatic rape is what led to her post traumatic stress disorder.

It was around this time also that she injured her knee. The Dr. said that a torn medial meniscus is typically a football injury which is the result of a tackle and twist injury. He was puzzled that it occurred during tennis. It might have occurred during the rape.

Beth had 5 surgeries on her knee over the next few years. She lives in pain. If she were my age they would replace her knee but she is too young for that. She needs a knee replacement on the left knee. They took so much of her meniscus out that it would no longer support her weight. At 20 she had a meniscus transplant. It helped some but she could no longer play sports which was her life. That knee now pops and hurts. It has arthritis in it and she often wears an unloader brace to make the pain bearable. She does not take pain meds due to her past drug problems. Her other knee hurts from overuse.

Beth lost interest in everything that she used to enjoy. She went through the motions for awhile but she also started to self-medicate with drugs. When she was in a treatment center and they were drug testing her every day they finally diagnosed her with bipolar disorder. She was clean and sober but she had a full blown manic episode. She shaved her head. She dressed in black and she thought that people were following her.

It seems as though antidepressants can make a bipolar person go manic and that is what was happening to her. They got her on mood stabilizers then and she improved. The problem is that often she goes off her meds because she thinks that she is better. They also bother her as the side effects make her drowsy and they also make her have trouble concentrating.

Even when faithfully taking her psychiatric medications, Beth frequently has days when she is incapacitated by the symptoms of anxiety and depression. She also has panic attacks that cause her to hyperventilate. She spends these days crying or sulking. She does not talk much, is extremely irritable. She does not comb her hair or wash at these times. They occur as much as once or twice per week.

She has attempted suicide three times since her 20th birthday. She has lost her car, her boyfriend, her college and all her friends. She has been homeless on several occasions for months at a time.  She has gone to rehab several times. She has successfully finished and is making a valiant attempt to get her life back but her PTSD and bipolar depression still make it impossible for her to have a normal life.

She looks for and starts many jobs but her poor attendance and inability to deal with people well make these jobs short lived. She tried going back to college and passed one course. They let her take an incomplete due to frequent absences from depression. The next course she was to sick to ask for an extension and then it was too late.


In summary, my daughter was a victim of a traumatic gang rape. It was her first sexual experience. This led to her PTSD.  She probably always had tendencies to depression but this and her knee injury plummeted her into a major depression where she could not get out of bed.

She has been diagnosed with bipolar depression but only after taking medications for simple depression for several years. These antidepressants were actually making her mania worse.

She is a very different person now than the way she was or what she ever hoped to be. She does not get much joy from life. She lives in constant physical pain from her knee but rarely complains of it. It is the mental illness that bothers her. She has a tremendous sense of emptiness and loneliness.  She has panic attacks where she gasps for breath and fears for her life.  She is frustrated by how far she is from what she used to be and what she hoped to achieve.


Please pray for her and our family.




Anna


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tough Week

Wow, I had a tough week that had nothing to do with the addict. Work has been brutal preparing for a federal audit. Everyone is getting on each other's nerves.Some of my colleagues are not exactly playing by the rules but they have great pull with the boss. For me this has meant a lot of ducking and weaving. It may well come to a situation where I must openly defend myself but for now I am trying to minimize conflict. My colleague is very ambitious. If I can deflect a little while, I am quite sure that someone else will become the target.

Our organization has lost millions of dollars in state aid and many people are loosing their jobs. We are supposed to go by seniority and certification but things are really heating up.

I have been feeling better about Beth. It relieves something primitive in me to extend human warmth and shelter to her. She will stay with me for 3 weeks if all goes well. 


Hah, Hah........ All has not gone well in eight years but we will give it a spin. We do have a plan B. I have learned to always have a plan B. If she acts up and it is only affecting me, I have another place to sleep. If she acts up and affects the whole family she gets another place to sleep but not in my home. We will do everything with in reason and then some to get her through the disability hearing.

The point is that even though I have come to the point of being willing to pay for her shelter it is entirely possible that she will not stay there. Alanon says:  You did not create it, you can not cure it and you can not control it. I know this to be true.



I do not feel guilty for creating this situation. She was born with and underlying mental illness, then she was raped and badly injured which her fragile psyche just could not handle.

I know that she will never be normal, never have a happy life. I can not give her a happy life. What I can do is offer the stability of food and shelter, a loving if somewhat distant relationship and total support at any attempts at recovery.

Her x boyfriend's grandfather died yesterday. She called me three times and her dad once to talk about it but actually said very little. Just long silences and disbelief. There is just a tiny chance that she is clean or at least cutting back as she is struggling to handle these emotions and calling us frequently. Her preferred state for a long time has been to totally blot out all emotions with drugs. "I just hate the feelings MOM. I hate the way I feel when I am not on drugs. I just wish I could get rid of the feelings without drugs."  AFter so many failed rehabs and so many na meetings, what can I say to that?

I do my best to be upbeat with her. I say..... I am sorry you feel that way. The feelings will pass. They always pass. The drugs just create other problems and more bad feelings. Drugs are a big lie!  They say here lies comfort when what you really get is a little comfort and a lot of chaos!

Lately, I have been trying to bring up other topics. Trying to talk about things we would talk about if she were not ill, if she were really not using as she claims.  Trying to act as if. Trying to give both Beth and myself some little moments of life as it could be.

I do the same with my mother in law who suffers from dementia. There is no use talking about her delusions or dementia. When she has a good day, I do not think that her illness is gone. I just try to enjoy her company a little longer on the good days as I know that all of her days are numbered.

i hope we all get to enjoy some nice spring weather over the weekend.

Take care,

Anna






























 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tickets Purchased

I purchased tickets last night to fly Beth home for her disability hearing. Her mental illness shattered her life and led to her addiction. She used to be my brightest most promising child. At least she remembers her triumphs. Some people never get any!

I am going to try to treat her with dignity and respect and mind my own business. Plan B is if I get disturbed or too wrapped up in her behavior I will send her to a cheap hotel for the few days she is here. I have seen her do 3 weeks clean many times when trying to turn over a new leaf so she may well be able to do it even if her pledges of reform do not hold up.

I am somewhat concerned mostly because of my work. Of course that is going to be a very harrowing time for me as I have a federal audit going on at work at the same time she will be in my home. I told hubby if things get too bad I might go and stay with my girlfriend during that time. I do not want to be up all night and then perform poorly at work.

I suggested to her to get on suboxone as soon as she gets home. We both know for a certanty that she can hold herself together on that for three weeks or more. She said no Mom, I am clean. I know I am supposed to believe her. I even acted like I did because I know that she wishes it were true.

In a strange way these odd decisions have freed me up to lead my own life. Other than offering her shelter, I am much more compliant with alanon principles. Also, I notice that a lot of alanon members are living with addicts and alchoholics. We are not required to kick them out to keep on coming back to meetings.


I will not tolerate violence, disrespect or endangering the people in this house. I have a plan A and B. I will lock up my valuables and try to mind my own business. I will give my girl all the love I can and try to remind her that another life is still possible for her. I f she worries me by staying out all night which she has promised not to do I will send her somewhere else to sleep and keep my distance just taking her to her hearing. If she can hang out here with the family and act like she wants to be here then hopefully we can find some good moments amidst all the sorrow and struggle that we have known.

My husband and other two kids are alright with this. Finally we agree!  They all think that this would never have happened if her mind had not snapped around 16 years of age. They have more anger towards her but they do agree with this point.

The weather here is georgeous. The colors are just stunning with bright pink dogwoods and yellow freesia all in bloom! I hope you all are enjoying your spring.

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Directions

I made the decision to help my daughter with shelter. This is after about 5 rehabs and more than a year of her being off and on the street.


Being off and on the street has not helped her. I almost went crazy when she last disappeared for three weeks. I reported her missing and called the morgue.

 We have never been enablers. We let my daughter loose her car. We did not bail her out of legal problems. We do not allow her to live at home.  But after all that we have been through and she has been through we still can not tell how much is the addiction and how much is her bipolar disorder or post traumatic stress disorder from a gang rape.

All this tough love has not changed a thing. She was often willing to go to rehab. She really tried but simply could not keep clean out of rehab. I now see my refusal to help in any way as a punishment. I was trying to punish her into choosing a clean life. What if she can't?  What if she is too far gone?

An interesting thing happened. I called her ready and willing to pay for her to get into an apt. in Florida. She said for me not to worry she was going to live with and clean for a spiritual family. She said that they wanted nothing from her, just to help her get well.

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The next call I got was from Beth's attorney. Her hearing for social security disability has been scheduled for May 10. The attorney gets nothing if she does not win so she must think it is a good case.  If she wins and gets total mental disability she will get 674 dollars per month. That and a little help from Mom will provide shelter.

I felt like God was talking to me for this to be scheduled at this time. I had been grappling with the question as you know. The phone rings and the hearing that we have been waiting for more than 2 years is scheduled.

I will tell you the truth of weather it is better or worse. Do I think that this will cure her?  NO

Do I think it will hurt her?  NO 

Society is much better off with her in shelter. It is cheaper and safer for society.

I function better without the extreme guilt I lived with for 3 years doing what was completely and totally unnatural for me to do. Throwing a sick person out never felt right. I did it for my own protection. I also believed the party line that she would improve if I stopped enabling her. I am here to say that it got a lot worse not a bit better for her. 



Tom, over at recoveryhelpdesk wrote a great post about this. He could not get it to post on this site and neither could I. I do not know why. He is a former addict with an MD. He practices medically assisted recovery treatment. They believe in harm reduction as does the National Alliance for the mentally ill.

Canada and most European countries also follow this approach. It might not work. Very little works in this field. But, there again I think it is worth a try.

Andy Reeves was greatly criticized for both supporting and for turning out his sons. He also tried both. He and his wife did a great interview about it. 


I would have disagreed with myself a few months ago. But, I have come to believe that since witholding supports from her has not cured her that I am now part of the problem. I am her mother and I will keep a roof over her head from now on if and when she accepts it.

I hope that you all do not reject me even if many of you disagree. I have come to rely on your support. You have helped me and I hope that I have helped you through some long nights of the soul.



Anna

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter

     We had 14 people over for Easter today. My sisters, nieces, and nephews. Also my mother in law and brother in law. It has been years since I had the whole family over. We used to do it for most holidays but that was BA. Before the addiction.


Anyhow, we had a wonderful time. We ate and caught up on the family. We sang with the kereoke machine and most everyone participated. The weather was great.

Beth called twice. She has been calling 3 times a day lately. I suspect she is trying to get clean again after that last three week bender. She calls a lot when she is doing well. The calls are fewer and fewer and only about money as her use escalates.

I hope you have had a good holiday.