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Monday, 30 December 2013

Pondering My Life

Looking back on not only this past year, but all of my life, and I wonder why things went the way they did. I suppose part of it is "normal" middle age crap some of us feel. The feeling that we wasted our life, the wanting to be young again. Why didn't I pursue a career, why did finding my one true love elude me all my life. Why wasn't I braver to do the things I wanted to do. Of course the, "why did so much shit happen to me" question is running through my mind as I look back.


It was a big step I made in my mid 20's when I decided to leave my friends and family in California as I pursued my dream of finding myself and the place I was meant to be. I left everything and packed some of my life in 2 suitcases, and along with my dog I boarded a plane to Budapest. I stayed with my grandmother hoping to do some nice things for her, spending some time together and learning about my family's history. I also hoped that I could do a bit a traveling from Budapest and maybe find that elusive place that I believed was where my fate lay.

Things didn't work out with my grandmother as I envisioned, but it was still memorable. I managed a few trips; Paris, Vienna, London. My first impression of London was not one that I expected, but my fears and insecurities overcame me. I thought that at least I would not have to struggle with a new language, therefore it would be easier. I kind of chickened out in respect to the whole living the bohemian travelling life style and living in new lands. I stayed in England.


The people in London were not as hip and cool as I had dreamed. The people of London were not so nice. The people of London did not really notice me, especially the men. Maybe that is why when I met my ex husband and I saw he was taken with me, I went with it even though I was not attracted to him what so ever, and I never fell in love with him, I grew to love him.

Within two months of meeting my ex, I went to stay with him, temporarily, but never left. Six months later I was pregnant, and ironically just before I discovered my pregnancy, I confessed to my ex that London was just not doing it for me and I was thinking of leaving. I did say, mainly out of guilt and to soften the blow, that he is welcome to come with me. He did not seem too perturbed by my desire to leave and he most definitely did not want to leave England, Oh why didn't the light shine bright for me then, "this man is not for you, go girl, go and follow your dream"?


The day I took my pregnancy tests is still very clear in my memory, nearly 20 years later. I cried tears of joy. I looked at myself in the mirror and said to myself out loud, "you are going to be a mommy"! I planned a special evening for a few days later in which I would tell the wonderful news to my ex. We were in a lovely London restaurant, Belgo. There we were eating our delicious bowl of mussels on a busy Friday night. I told him the news and he reacted very badly and it made me cry, it made me leave the restaurant. We had a filmed booked at a nearby cinema and though both of us were upset, we still saw it, "Four Weddings and a Funeral" God what a poor choice of films that was! Again, where was the bright light, telling me to leave!? Not the reaction I wanted or deserved and certainly not the rejection our baby needed!

Many such situations occurred in our relationship. Endless fighting during my pregnancy that this is not what he wants or that he does not want to end up like his parents, blah, blah, blah. There were times when I walked out and he didn't come after me. It is too painful and humiliating to think of all the examples of in this loveless relationship. Maybe there was a light going off in my head then telling me that this is not the romantic dream that I was searching for. This is not the reason I left my home. This was not something that was making life worth living. Maybe then I was a coward and I did not leave when I knew I was not happy and this what not what I wanted. This was not what I deserved. Maybe I was too scared, too alone, too proud to admit I had screwed up.

They say to talk to your baby when you are pregnant, to play soothing music, to love it and nurture that child from the very moment you know about that life growing inside you. I wonder how my stress, my tears, my fears and the sounds of his mother and father fighting because of him affected him. I wonder could that have made an imprint on my sweet innocent little boy's mind and heart while still in my womb? Was my baby born with a sense of sadness and emptiness? Is that possible?


Out of this relationship we bore three wonderful, beautiful children, I know this. Out of even the worst experiences we can find something wonderful. However, did this have a negative impact on these children? Of course it did and that is what I find hard to accept. The fact that I choose the wrong path, wasted my youth and beauty, helped create the hell I am in is one thing, but to know I dragged three innocent children into this mess is another thing all together. I should have made different choices. My life would have been different. My children would have been different, but then it is pointless to have such thoughts. Life did not go according to my dreams and hopes and aspirations. Live with it! This is the path, for whatever reason, and while I contemplate how the hell I got here, it lets me move to the next level of how the hell can we improve life? Maybe some of my dreams lay waiting in front of me still,  yet to be realized!


Saturday, 28 December 2013

Leaving This Year Behind Us!

Only a few days left of this truly difficult year, 2013, will be over! I can not say that I am sad to see it end. Maybe it was an unlucky year because it had the number 13 in it? Not that I am superstitious, but it would be wonderful if there was such a simple explanation and knowing that next year will be free of such bad luck!


Bad luck, fate, destiny, karma, stupidity, bad choices, whatever....I want things to be different in 2014. Part of me things that I have the ability to make life better, another part things that I do not. I do think that there is an element of luck in our lives, and some people do seem to be blessed with good luck while others are cursed with a constant barrage of bad luck. Sometimes too it is about being at the right place at the right time, making those connections with others and being exposed to opportunities that lead to wonderful things. Lets face it, money is also a factor, not only does having money take away so many worries that you have the luxury to focus on other important aspects of your life, but money also enables you to do the things that make you happy, We do not control how other people in our lives behave, their life choices but nor can we control how these people will affect us and how they will imprint on us.


So in a few days it will be the beginning of a new year. Will I have more money, more opportunities, better luck etc suddenly on January 1, 2014? Of course not. I can try however to change my attitude about the problems I am facing and try to approach the situations positively. I can try to believe in my self more so that I can feel confident and comfortable  enough to put myself in situations in which I might make those connections and opportunities that may result in some movement forward. Maybe that will lead to employment which will improve my financial outlook and therefore create less stress and more ease to do the things that make me and my family happy. Maybe I can start gaining more acceptance that I am not in control of people in my life who repeatedly hurt me. I will accept that I have been and will continue to be a mother who loves her children, but also that some of their life choices are just that, their choices.Perhaps I may even learn to let go of those people who still manage to push my buttons and realize they have no place in my life.


2014 may be the year in which I gain better understanding that I am not the cause of my son's drug addiction. I may have made mistakes that of course affected his life as well, but ultimately I am not responsible for his issues or his unhappiness or his addictions. I hope I will gain confidence and believe more strongly that I have in fact been a damn good mother who adored her son, and other children. I did the best job I could and made them my priority, always! I have tried and tried and tried to do all that I can to help my son through his addiction. Now I must learn that, for my own well being and ultimately the well being of my daughters, I need to let go of my son but without feeling that I have failed him or that I am any less of a mother.


In the forthcoming year I will need to allow my son to make his decisions, as he has been doing, but now with the difference that he will have to take responsibility for himself AND his choices. He will have to deal with the ramifications and though I have not abandoned him, I will no longer be the bubble wrap that has cushioned my son these years. He needs to do what he needs to do and hopefully learn and mature  and find some insight to enable him to find the strength, courage and want to make a life worth living. I want to remember 2014 as the year of epiphany, self discovery, growth and rediscovery.


Thursday, 26 December 2013

So this is Christmastime?

Christmas, soon it will be the beginning of a new year. A time to reflect on the past as well as new hope for the year ahead.

This time last year I would have never foreseen the the events that lay ahead. This is a pattern that has been my experience for the past 5 years or so. Each Christmas I find it hard to put on the show that all is well and we have good cheer in our lives and happiness lays ahead for a brighter new year. Each year there are new hardships and obstacles that were unexpected. Due to this, I no longer have faith that next year will be better, rather I dread the up coming year and what it holds for my children and I. This is the bitter truth, though I keep saying aloud that 2014 WILL be a better year, I do not think I believe it. Perhaps I am afraid to believe it will be better so that I will not be disappointed.


Christmas 2013 saw some kindness and joy, but it also saw an empty place at our table. This Christmas my first born is homeless. I made him homeless 10 days before Christmas. Trying to do what is best for my children is breaking my heart and my spirit. I could not imagine such a life for someone who is or use to be kind, loving, giving, fun, passionate, positive and care free. I imagined a life surrounded by happy and carefree children, blossoming, growing, curious and enthusiastic to explore all the wonders and magic of the world. Instead I have a homeless son addicted to drugs and a depressed teenage daughter who is contemplating suicide and a young child who has seen and heard and experienced things she should have never experienced. I am alone without parents to advice me or give their grandchildren the love they need. I have no partner to hold and love me and give me hope. My children and I have only each other.

So. My son is homeless. I had to tell him to leave because the professionals involved with my daughter were concerned with her safety. I was not allowed to leave her alone or travel on the train, and remove all dangerous items from my house. She had confessed a plan to her counselor that if things do not change soon she will take matters into her own hands. She had a plan on how she would kill herself and by when. She would not divulge to anyone how, but the time frame was that if things do not improve she will not be alive by Christmas.


I gave my son a week to find somewhere to live as he had claimed benefit and received a backdated claim of £600. Despite our efforts and the dedicated support and assistance from our Family Solutions worker, we could not find anywhere or anyone who would take him. He asked friends but because of his drug problem no one was willing to take the risk of having him in their home. Desperate times calls for desperate measures. My son bit the bullet (and popped some pills) and phoned his father. Well, I can not understand how I still allow myself to be surprised and disappointed in this man. Perhaps it is because I see the pain and disappointment in our children and I see the ramifications that his negligence causes and I am the one left to cope with the mess. So while the Family Solutions worker and I sat there trying to come up with a plan with my son as it became clear that he would not have a place to live, my son said he would buy a tent and live outside, wherever, however, he didn't really know, he just would. We suggested in trying it out for a night before he invests money in buying the camping equipment only to discover that he prefers to be indoors where it is warm and dry. On this proposal my son said he would call his father and ask if he could borrow his father's tent and sleeping bag to try it out. I heard some of the conversation from the next room, as did our family worker, and we were impressed and proud that my son was upfront and honest with his father. He explained what happened with the police and what chemicals he had and what he was doing with them. He explained that because of his behaviors the home environment is less than good and it is affecting his sisters. He also told of the concern for his sister and that she is talking of ending her life. That brought him to discuss how we have finally come to a date after months of speaking about his moving out, but he has no place to go as of yet. He very maturely asked his father that if he does not find a place by Dec 14, could he stay with his father temporarily while he continues to look for accommodation. He also disclosed to his father that if he finds no where he was thinking of camping out and moving around from field to field and thought maybe he could borrow his father's camping gear. This may come as no surprise to anyone here reading this, especially if you have read my previous posts, but somehow I was still surprised. My darling ex husband told his first born child that since he does not really know him and vice verse he does not think it would be a good idea, he has no idea how and if they would get along and that in his one bedroom flat there would not be enough room. However, he is OK to let his son borrow his tent and sleep outside in the winter, illegally as well, in parks or woods! What a message is this "man" giving to his son who has so many issues including a drug dependency!?

When the day and time came to collect the tent from his father, because his father could not be bothered to drop it to him, our son phoned that he was running late and could it be pushed back an hour. No was the answer he got because his father had to meet his girlfriend! Disgusting!

The worst thing is that when the family worker and social worker contacted my ex husband he played ignorant but stuck to his guns that he can not do anything to help!

As timed ticked on,  unbeknownst to me, my son was spending his benefit money on alcohol, opium poppies (after not having had opium for 4-5 months), 500 benzo pills, legal highs, and 1 gram of Etizolam powder which alone cost £188! He also bought a few "normal" things like cds and had a night at the pub with his friends. The plan was that if he had nothing in place, the last resort was to stay in a cheap B&B. The B&B that was cheapest and closest was booked up and everything else was too expensive. I looked and looked and finally booked him a room, but then low and behold he confessed his spending spree and did not have enough money to pay for more than one night! So I paid for another night so that Saturday and Sunday he had a place, but his father refused to help and did not even contact his son to see where he went to! Monday he would be off to a homeless shelter in another city, about 30-40 minutes drive from our home.

He lasted 2 nights in the night shelter before he was kicked out because of drug supplying to others as well as his own drug taking. His room was searched while he was out and the police were called in to remove the drugs. When my son returned to the night shelter Wed evening his bagged were packed and he was sent on his way.

Surprisingly my son was not phased and found a friend (I have only met once) to stay with and managed to take the train to his friend. Apparently his friend's mother, who I do not know, agreed to let my son drugs and all stay will the new year. Things changed and a few days later he phoned me that he needs to leave Christmas Eve and he does not understand my cruelty and over reaction in my refusal to let him back home for "a few days". Then on Dec 22nd he phoned again that he needs to leave and can not stay anymore. I said I could not help, but then he said it was ok because his friend's mom is so very nice and good and they "bonded" so she put him up for a night in a hotel! The following day I organised him to go to our city's night shelter, though full, and ask for help. I also contacted our family worker and she made some phone calls to the shelter. I spent my afternoon, the last day of my sister's visit from America ad not getting my own things done, rather I picked him up and helped him get sorted out at the night shelter and convinced them to help him though at first they were turning him away.

While this was going on I was getting demanding txts from my ex that he wants to see his daughters to give them their present Monday. When I said they were spending the day with their aunt from the states, his only reaction was just,  "then Tuesday!".  I asked our daughter and she said it is her birthday and Christmas Eve and she wants to be at home. Rather then understanding this when I relayed her wishes to him, he started txting me that I do not seem to care that the girls get their presents or not!!! Seriously???? My only response to that was that there is a lot more at stake here than a Christmas gift and the biggest gift of all would be taking our son in and eliminating some stress and fear. His answer...."next sat, film and lunch!".  Argh!!!! Coming from a school teacher off work during the holidays it is an even bigger ARGH!

In the 10 days that my son as not been living here, he came home unexpectedly one afternoon while we were out to help himself to a shower. That resulted in me taking his key away. On Christmas Eve he knocked on our door  very intoxicated asking for a scarf, or some food, or to use the toilet...I would not let him in and I had to stay firm and refuse him. How heartbreaking. He calls me at 1 am, 2 am, off his face and wanting to chat. Next time we talk he tells me that people think I am being horrible for making him homeless and need a kick up my ass!

We agreed that he would come over for Christmas Day dinner but he would not be allowed in if he was intoxicated. My middle daughter refused to see him or to have dinner with him. He showed up 45 minutes late. He did not appear intoxicated but as I have become an expert, well almost, I knew he had a manageable amount of benzos so that he feels better without appearing under the influence. He was wet and muddy because he walked through the park and walked through puddles and slipped a few times. It was not a pleasant visit and I found myself on edge and very uncomfortable and suspicious. He made sarcastic comments about the gifts I had for him, yet praised the small yet useful gifts he received from the homeless shelter. He wanted to spend time in his room but I kept refusing that luxury. He did slip away to his room while I was cooking and come down to eat and I immediately knew what he had been up to!

Tears hidden, frustration apparent, depression trying to surface for all to see. Worry, dread, fear, shame, inadequacy. Not exactly the emotions one once at Christmas time and with the New Year approaching. All this and not mentioning that my son goes back for questioning by the police On Jan 2nd, the day after New Year's Day!

Oh I need a break! I need a change of scenery. I need to feel that there is more to life. These needs should be easier to fulfil than my need to know that ALL my children will surpass these hard times and make a life worth living. Sadly, even these simple needs seem hard to fulfil.


Friday, 8 November 2013

Why Bother?

There comes a point when you realise all your hopes and dreams have been crushed.  You accept your helplessness and that there is nothing you can do to change all the things that bring you pain.
I am at that point. I understand why people turn to drugs. How wonderful it would be if these feelings could disappear,  even if only temporarily. That's why my son is an addict, so he can mask the unbearable pain. I wish I could take solace in something to make my pain go away, but I have nothing.


Life goes on, but we are not living. Why does life go on? Why am I and my son and my daughters to some lesser extent, living in this purgatory?  How can this be? I do not understand what I did so terribly wrong in my life to be surrounded by so much pain and suffering and injustice?  I do not understand how my precious, oh so very precious, son has turned into such a monster that I barely recognise,  driven by fear and anger and an insatiable hunger for mind numbing drugs? The happiest day in my life was when he was born. Never ever would I have expected our lives to go down these dark, dead roads.

It makes no sense.  I am tired of trying to understand. I am exhausted by trying to find solutions. I am drained by the endless tears and emotional pain.
I am helpless.  It all seems hopeless. I should except my defeat. While my son continues to live his life in his numbed bubble, I can't continue this lifeless life......
I always believed in magic,  in love,  in hope. I now see there is darkness that is impenetrable by those things I once believed in.

I must think of my daughters, but the fight I have been fighting alone for my son has been long and hard. It is getting harder with the passing of time and I am afraid I have given so much that there is nothing left now to give to my beautiful and innocent girls.
Damn those drugs that took over my son's true self. Damn you world for creating situations that caused my son pain and anxiety. Damn those people who caused my son intense emotional pain.  And damn myself for making wrong choices and not being strong enough, rich enough,  clever enough to have created a better life for him, for me and my daughters.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Crime Scene

Briefly I will say that we have been living an even bigger nightmare these last few days then ever.  A nightmare that surely must end because we do not deserve this living hell.

As some of you may already know, my home was invaded by police,  fire-fighters, and special forensic team. The perimeter around our house and street was taped off by the police. Journalists and tv reporters and gossip mongrels also flocking the scene.


When the police came and looked around, not only was my son arrested, my daughters and I were forced to leave without packing any belongings.  We left everything, even our kitten, not knowing where to go or how long we would be gone. Luckily I did have a friend to go to who did not live near,  so we could escape.

We were away from Wednesday evening till midday Friday.  My son was in jail for 24 hours and then was let out on bail to sleep rough and walk the streets.

My daughters could not go to school or change clothes. We lost the use of our phones since we had no chargers.  We worried about our kitty but Thursday afternoon I went to demand my cat be released. I stood in the cold rain for half an hour waiting,  no coat on because that was left at home.  I watched the surreal scene that was once my home being turned into s crime drama on tv.

The police found various chemicals and lab equipment as well as drugs. They had to thoroughly search and test things and make sure no dangerous fumes were left in the house before we were allowed to return. My son was questioned and his statement taken. A statement from me was also.  Many questions and lots of things to worry about.

I have not cried so much for a very long time. I broke down in front of many people, strangers who were holding my son's fate and mine,  in there hands. I cried in public and in private.  I cried to my friends while they hugged me. I cried in front of my daughters while they worried but tried to be strong and comforting.

So much has gone on and I have so much to write but its difficult not only because of the emotions and the amount of things I want to discuss,  but it's also difficult since the police seized my laptop as well as my son's computer.

I felt so violated when we returned home. The house was filthy. My grandmother's rug in the hallway was trampled on and muddy, as well as the rest of the house. My laundry was soaked by rain coming into the utility room. A picture  was broken. Huge crane flies, dead ones and live ones had taken over. The back door key was missing. My lingerie drawer was rummaged as my bras were hanging out. My bed was dirty....

So glad I have some kind friends who came to help me clean and took my youngest to school and brought her home so I didn't have to face the looks and questions.

Since this will be an on going investigation to test the chemicals and examine computers and phones etc. my son will need to go back to the police in November for a charge to be made and possibly a court date.

My son seems a bit flippant and not showing too much concern . Unbelievably, my son still does not think he needs to change or respect my house rules. He blames me for my stupidity which resulted in everything getting "f***** up"! He has been rude and mildly aggressive a few times since returning home instead of being remorseful. That is disappointing to say the least.

So the bigger worries now begin. Will he go to prison? Will he want rehabilitation?  Will he continue his behaviour or will this be the catalyst towards change?
What will social services say? How will my daughters be affected?  Will I be seen as an unfit mother?

Has our health been compromised because of these chemicals? Other people have put themselves on the line to help us, what are the affects for them? So many different issues and questions and concerns.

This post is not that polished as it's being done via my mobile but I wanted to bring you all up speed.  More importantly I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for all the wonderful people here who have offered their support and kind words. Thank you to all the caring professionals who seem sincerely concerned about our welfare.  Thank you to my friends and sisters who love me and offer their support and want the best for me and ALL my children.

Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Happy Days

Lately I find myself going down memory lane, looking at photos of happier times and remembering.


Remembering back as far as my own childhood and recalling the dreams I had while growing up. My dreams varied of course depending mostly on my age at the time and what my interests were at that time as well. I can remember wanting to be all sorts of things. When I was very small I use to dream of becoming a doctor and going to places in Africa with suitcases full of medicines to help people who really needed it, and of course seeing beautiful wildlife at the same time! If that failed then I could be a ballerina, oh I was so very young then! Later my dreams shifted to things like being a special affects make up artist in the film industry or a model (well we did live near Hollywood so of course these types of dreams came into play)! As I grew older I had dreams of becoming a writer and then finally I put my academic efforts into psychology so that I may one day become a child psychologist.

                                                                (My modelling days!)

Throughout all those years and varied interests and dreams, one thing remained constant as I envisioned my future; I wanted more than anything to be a mother. As a very young child (probably around 7-8) I began putting away some favourite toys and clothes so that my children may one day have them. I still have some and I indeed have given them to my own children. I dreamt of having a large family, always feeling as if we lacked something in our very small family, with all my grandparents, aunt and uncles and cousins living thousands of miles away. So naturally being a little girl dreaming of a large family, I wanted 6 children! I also wanted to marry an Italian "knowing" that they love family! As I grew into my teens I thought 6 was not a realistic goal, 4 would be nice, but still with an Italian husband because Italians are often very handsome (less focus on family values and more interest in looks now)! By the time I hit my 20's I knew my life would be empty without children and I was no longer concerned with how many or with whom for that matter, I wanted to be a mother, and hopefully before I turned 30.

When I was 29 my only life's dream and my most important, had become a reality. I was pregnant and I was going to be a mother. I looked in the mirror and watched tears of joy stream done my face after I took my 2nd pregnancy test. I was going to be a mommy! My greatest dream had been fulfilled! It didn't matter that I was working as a nanny and not a great doctor or writer or psychologist. It didn't even matter when I discovered that the father was not so keen on becoming a father. All that mattered was that I was carrying a beautiful, precious life inside me and I was going to love that baby more than anything else I had ever loved in my life!

When my 1st born was born, I remember being taken to our hospital room when we were finally all cleaned up and seen to after the delivery. It was in the very early hours of the morning, say about 2, since my son was born at 12:07 am. I lay in my hospital bed holding my little sweetheart and both of us were wide awake and we both gazed into each other's eyes for hours! We loved each other straight away! Finally at about 5 am we drifted off into sleep as we continued to look at each other with so much love.

I LOVED being a mother just as I always dreamed I would. My son and I were lucky to have had nearly the first 5 years of his life bonding and building a strong relationship and experiencing so much joy and discovery before my next child came along.

                                                   (My son and I, when he was nearly 2)

Each time I was pregnant I thought it to be the best experience a woman could have. Carrying my children, giving them birth, caring for them, loving them....that is something that I have dreamt of since being a very little girl. That dream being realised was amazing and wonderful. All my other aspirations fell out the window and in all intents and purposes I have really f****d up my life, but having children, that, I will never regret.

My little boy was amazing and we did so much together: playing, reading, crafts, painting, singing, nature walks, swimming, talking, cuddling...going to places together like museums, play groups, libraries, parks, playgrounds, and so on. If my son showed an interest in something I quickly helped him to develop that interest and he was in those early years an expert in dinosaurs, space, geology and trains.


We read a lot and one of his favourite books when he was very small was "Guess How Much I love You". In the book the mother and baby say things like, "I love you to the tips of my ears, and back". The baby says,  "I love you to the moon" and mom says, "I love you to the moon, and back".  My son and I use to incorporate so many of his favourite things to express our love. We would say things like, "I love you to the end of the train line, and back", or "I love you to Pluto and back", and "I love you to infinity, and back" and so on. We would try to out do each other because we both felt like we loved the other more than they knew.


My son was a very happy boy and would even have happy dreams laughing out loud in his sleep. I would go and check on him late at night and fix his covers while he lay sound asleep and I'd whisper, "I love you" in his ear. While still asleep he would say "I love you too" back to me.

He loved to hold my hand while we walked, he helped me with household chores, we played or singed together while doing so. He would help me cook, often with all his Thomas the Tank trains by his side helping him! We would have indoor picnics while it rained outside, have lava lamp discos, and lazy Saturday mornings in bed together watching cartoons. It was wonderful!

I knew my boy was very clever and very sensitive and full of love. I of course, like many proud moms had high hopes for him.....little was I to know what the future would hold and this is where I will end because I do not want to taint these beautiful moments with what became our reality.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Trying to Repair Relationships

One of the aims of the BRICK project meetings I attend (,-young-people-and-families/the-brick-project.aspx) is to try to give tips in communicating with our teen who is suffering from drug addiction and tips on regaining the lost relationship. Sometimes we need to try to repair these relationships while in the process of recovery, or even before, but of course this is very hard to do.


My worker at Open Road ( asked me if I ever thought about getting a pet as it would do so much for my daughters emotional well being. Pets are indeed a wonderful source of comfort and affection, as well as newness and excitement.I have indeed thought about getting a pet since my ex husband left, but the timing was never right.


Both of these factors have played a part in trying to mend relationships in our family this week.

A very simple suggestion from the ladies in BRICK, was to play a game that are just questions that they lamented and gave to us. Questions such as:  "If I had one wish it would be..."; "If I could change one thing about myself it would be...; "One of the worst things that ever happened to me was..."

An interesting thing happens when I go to these meetings. The first couple of times I went, I came home to the usual scene of my son shut away in his room and my daughters in the living room. The last few times now, I have come home to all three of my children sitting calmly together in the living room watching tv together. They have started asking questions about how it was and what I did in the meeting. So last Wednesday when I came home, I told them we played a game, which we did. I said that we could play the game too because I was given a copy of the cards.  So surprisingly, they all agreed, even my son. I thought we would all get only 2 cards each and be done, but we went on and in the end we all ended up asking about 8-10 questions. My son and older daughter, who usually have a great deal of friction between them, actually asked each other questions in a very civil manner. All seemed to enjoy it and no one said anything that could have been hurtful though since some of the questions could have provoked quite intense answers.


The following evening after dinner, my older daughter asked if we could play again, and we all did. Though it wasn't quite the same energy as the evening before, everyone, including my son, participated and no one took it as an opportunity to push buttons. So quite a positive exchange twice in the week! Promising in some respects.

Recently I have tried to find us a pet, a puppy. Two very firm opportunities both fell through so we were so upset. My support worker was so kind,  as well as fate being kind, found us a kitten. A wonderful little cat, free of charge! And much to my surprise it was ready to leave her mother this week.

So this weekend was focused on our newest member of our family, Shadow! Our 8 week old black and white kitten!


Upon our arrival home from collecting our kitty the jealousies and competition for kitty's attention began, There was a lot of hurt feelings and a bit of selfishness if I am honest. Everyone wanted Shadow to have their undivided attention. I was wondering if this would prove to be a mistake.

Then a few hours later the amazing happened. We decided that our new kitty would do best in the upstairs bathroom overnight, with it's cardboard box bed, pillow, toys, food, drink and litter box. So there we were, ALL of us, sitting around the bathroom floor watching intently if the kitten, "will relieve himself in the litter box?".  As we watched the cat became lively and wanted to play. So here is where it got interesting. All of my children were playing with the kitten, openly laughing and taking turns and thoroughly enjoying themselves without any thought of who said what before or who has had more turns playing.


I am not saying the weekend turned out perfect, or that we have come to a milestone, but we have made a few little steps in trying to repair our broken relationships. After trying to remember the past week and posting my last post earlier today, I realised that there have been some very nice moments shared this week. I wanted to share these little sweet moments with you,

Time Goes By, But What Actually Happens?

Well a week has gone by in a blur and I am trying to think back and recall any events that happened.  I am finding it difficult.


Last weekend was very dis-concerning and I worried how the week would progress if my son did not have access to the internet, my money and therefore drugs. However, it did not seem to be the escalation that I had worried about.

We started the week with an assessment for my daughter by CAMHS (child adolescent mental health services) to see if she wants to join the Emotional Resilient Group Therapy. All went well, but my daughter was quiet. The little she did say was very poignant. When truthful statements were made regarding the extreme situations we live with at home, my daughter was asked how she felt. It was very heart breaking when my daughter answered, "I want my brother to leave, but I know that he never will so none of this will end until  I  leave". I sat there and wanted to put my arms around her and shout out, "but I don't want you to leave"! The professional running the assessment then said to my daughter, "well, maybe you can turn that into a goal. You are clever and bright and you will probably want to go to university, so that can be a goal of you leaving home". I wanted to shout NO, but also wanted to cry when I saw the hope drain from my daughter's face, that said to me, "See, it will never end".


Later that day, my son had a doctor's appointment in which his key worker came to collect him from home and went with him and brought him back again. Upon returning we sat down to talk about the appointment. The GP prescribed my son some anti depressants that should also help him sleep, with the aim of sorting his sleep pattern back to a normal routine. It was told to the GP that my son has barbiturates at home, so the prescription can not be filled until the drugs are disposed off. The three of us discussed this at home and my son refused to get rid of his drugs, so the key worker has held on to the prescription. She is aware and said openly that my son is being obstructive and difficult, thinking he knows best.

I had pointed out to the key worker the mess that still remained by the kitchen sink, the last remnants of my son's opium tea preparations. She told him that I am right in expecting him to clean up his own mess, especially if it is drug mess. So he got up and with a few angry moans and words, but he did listen to her and started to clean up. She then left and as soon as he did so, he stopped cleaning, though he was not finished.

This got me thinking, why did he listen to his key worker, but does not listen to me? Well, all I could answer myself was that when my son was a child I was his role model, but when he started adolescence he started looking more at his male role model in order to learn how to become a man, the process he was embarking on. My ex husband, never listened to me. He was very good at pretending to listen, nodding and saying that I am right, then turning around and doing what he wanted to do anyway and most often what he did was in direct opposition of what I was talking to him about. So now that my son is "a man" he is treating me in the exact way that my ex husband did, by paying no mind to what I say and in fact deliberately contradicting me and undermining me. My ex, through years of learning, could keep his anger at bay but it was none the less clearly felt. My son, being a hormonal teenager, of course has taken his role model learning but has not learned to manage his anger, so his reactions are much more explosive. The bottom line still being that he has learned not to listen to me now that he is no longer a child.

Wednesday was a long day full of appointments for me and my BRICK meeting in the evening. In between all that was a meeting at home with all my children, the social worker, my son's drug services key worker and a manager from Family Solutions. My son deserves an academy award of his performance of a well mannered, thoughtful young man who is ready to change and commit himself to working toward that change.

The outcome of that meeting was that of course my son will engage and of course he is committed to change. We will be de-escalated by social services, but if need be we will be be escalated to child protection, My son said he understands this and therefore will consider the community rehab and engage with the services at Open Road with his Key Worker. The fact that he has not disposed of his barbiturates and also that he has not applied benefits despite a mentor taking him to the GP to get signed off three weeks ago, and me filling out the long application, was also deflected by my son in the meeting.

My son is entitled to state benefits and he would receive some income in which he could contribute to the household, or even if he spent it on drugs, he would not be trying to steal from me! However, my son is too lazy or unwilling to sign the form and have it sent off! My son is unwilling to try the meds the GP wants to try, because he knows better. He says it wont work on the same part of the brain as opiates and sedatives, therefore he is not interested.

Over the course of the week I had to listen on a few occasions how I owe it to him to give him money or buy him beers or help him order Valium as a reward for giving up opiates and also since I have not shown any support or positive reinforcement. Of course I stood my ground and refused. Somehow he managed to sneak my phone away from me long enough to get on the internet and order his Valium, which he somehow paid for with out stealing from me. He also managed to be awake when the post came while I was out and sign for now he is happier...but I am not.


I continue to be honest and try to make my son understand how things need to change, not so social services and everyone else will be satisfied and go away, but because I want things to change, for good. He asked me what he would get out of it all. I told him he would get a better future and a better life in the future, unfortunately he is still in denial and still thinks he can live his life at a satisfactory level with drugs.

Also in the meantime I continue to try to empower myself through knowledge and support. The BRICK meetings, the mentor training, my support worker sessions, this blog (and all the people involved in these) are all helping me feel that my intentions are right and good and that I need to be true to myself and stay strong. I am starting to rediscover that I am capable of so much and I will not be walked on by my own son but I will continue to try to get him the help he needs.


Sunday, 22 September 2013

Harsh Words in Harsh Times

Roller coaster rides can be thrilling and exciting as well as terrifying and alarming. An emotional roller coaster is just the same feelings except times 100! After a while you are no longer screaming from the downs you are experiencing, all you desperately want is to get the hell off and be on a straight, even flowing emotional state for a while.
Last night my emotional roller coaster dipped below my normal threshold which it occasionally does, but has not done in quite a while. Last night was one of those nights in which I lost control and started shouting  the things I usually control myself not to say!

"I hate this life".
"Why am I trying so hard to save this family?"
"I hate all of this and I do not know why I bother, you should be out there living on the street instead of  making your sisters and I suffer like this".
"Most parents would not tolerate this disrespectful insolence for as long as I have".
Then the worst thing a parent can say, "I hate you!".

This was in response to a fall out over the fact that my son has not cleaned up all his mess from his poppy preparation, only some of it, for weeks now. Instead of accepting that he needs to clean up more, he challenges me and turns it into a role reversal in which he is telling me off as if I am in the wrong.

Statements form my son hit me hard and disgusted me and that is why I started to react in such an irrational emotional way. My reaction was much more than anger and disappointment, it was also a deep sense of frustration that I have no control over his behaviour toward me or his sisters. I would almost be able to accept that I have no control over his personal decisions that affect his own body and his life, but when I have no control over how he treats me or his sisters and how I have no influence over what he deems as acceptable behaviour, that frustration is overwhelming at times. That is when I snap.

This is some of the onslaught I experienced from my son:

"I am doing it for you, I really really really don't want to do it."
"I told you, I told you, I told you".................(so many statements started with him shouting those three words aggressively at me that I do not even remember what followed all the "I TOLD YOU"s).
"I am clean, because I have had no opiates for two days, but smoking legal highs, drinking and popping pills, that is normal."
"You need to stop being such a cunt. You are insulting me because you don't see my achievements, You never appreciate when I am clean".
"Having no opiates is not nice, having the the runs, feeling like shit and you don't even care".
"You are selfish."
"You are in no way supporting me, it's all a lie".
"You should not criticize me for my drugs when I am doing it for you, sacrificing everything for you".
"You have no authority to be a cunt, you have a responsibility to make me wedges or chips or whatever I want when I want, midnight or any time, because it is your duty".
"You have given me no motivation, nothing in exchange for drugs, except being a selfish, cowardly, cunt of a mother who doesn't give a damn that he is doing this all for her".


Some of these statements were before I snapped and some were after and there was many ugly words being thrown about last night. It started because he did not finish the job I set out for him ages ago. The job that has been waiting weeks to be done and a few days ago it was halfway done. Because of a simple chore set by a parent, he retaliated and tried to put me in the wrong. Boundaries are always being crossed and I pointed that out! Because of this completely disrespectful behaviour I refused to make him dinner (the girls and I had pizza a few hours before, but he does not like pizza so I said I would make him something later).

When I started to walk away from the situation the remote control was flung at me with such force that I could hear the air swishing by me as it missed me. The last time, years ago, I got in the line of fire of a remote being thrown I had a split lip! Don't get me wrong, these more physical aspects of my son's anger are not every day behaviours and in fact do not happen very often. He has never laid a hand on me or his sisters, but as I said in another recent post, it is all relative, and it is not the number of times he has been aggressive or in what manner, the fact that he has been aggressive towards me and his sisters is enough to make it wrong.

Tomorrow he sees his key worker with a possible visit to the GP as well. Wednesday we are being visited by the Social Worker along with  a member form the Family Solutions team to "see" whether or not we are the right "candidates" for their service! I am tempted, oh I am SO tempted to say on both occasions that I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!

Or do I keep on persevering and being beat down in hopes that soon someone will get through to him? Do I wait and see if he gets into the community rehab in Dec/Jan? I really honestly do not know how much more I can take, how much more I can allow. I have been at this point of inner conflict before, many times before! Each time I feel I am closer to my breaking point. No matter how strong we are, we all have a breaking point, yet I am consistently trying not to reach that point. Then I ask myself, am I really doing that? Am I fighting so that I don't reach my breaking point, or am I ignoring the writing on the wall and simply allowing things to continue as they are?

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Rainy Day

We all try to save for a rainy day. While most of us try to put a few pennies aside, my son puts some drugs aside for a rainy day. So while I expected and waited for more of his wrath to be unleashed, as it began Thursday night, yesterday was not so bad...thanks to his hidden stash!

"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before." Edgar Allan Poe.

My son sees glimpses of his darkness and can not face them, he needs the fuzz and blur that overshadows his fears....he has planned for these times, but one day he have to face his darkness.

Realising that his attempts to get his drugs ordered were of no use, as well as his attempts to get money from me to buys alcohol to help take the edge off, he dipped into his rainy day fund of depressants and all was calm....for now!

We shall see what tonight holds in store for us, as he sleeps the day away.

I can only hope that one day he will be successful in wanting and reaching recovery. As I read a young man's blog of being clean for a year after a 7 year opiate addiction, I am reminded, yet again, that there is hope. 

I will leave you with this wonderful blog, from a positive and brave young man:

Friday, 20 September 2013

Back to "Normal"

What happens when an addict is running out of drugs? They panic of course. What that panic turns into is abusive behaviour towards others who will not "help"him get more drugs. Obsessing about how they will get what they need, trying to convince others that that is what is best for them, that they will suffer without it and if they go without it is ultimately your fault because you refused to help, you let them down.

Pleading and shouting, wanting money. It is just like the the old slogan goes, "beg, steal or borrow", because the focus of every minute of their day or night revolves around how they will get their drug. They can not stand the thought that they will not get any more. They become very irritable and unpredictable.

Last night my positive attitude was put to rest because my son awoke and was very moody all evening because he wanted to "borrow" £50 to buy some benzodiazepine powders. The answer of course was no and that eventually opened the floodgates of abusive and vulgar language onto me. Words that begin with letters like "f", "b", "c", "p" and so on, I will let your imagines go with it.

My son once again burst into my room after I had gone to bed to demand that I give him money and when I said no, he wanted me to explain why! I wanted to keep things short and just said I do not need to explain, the answer is "NO". He demanded to know how giving up drugs would benefit him. When I said that it will ultimately result in a better life for him, he was furious, insisting that I am the only benefiting from "all of this".

My son has no internet at the moment, no money and very little drugs left. He does not know that my bank card has been cancelled and if he does access the internet (by taking my phone, for example) he will be very unpleasantly surprised that the order will not go through! So I think some very difficult days are coming.

Give me strength! Give us strength!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Feeling Positive

Today all I want to say is that I feel that maybe this is the time when all the pieces will come together and we might actually find ourselves on the road to recovery! I say, "we" because we will all be on that road, not just my son. As a family we will need to heal and recovery and it will take time. I am not sure why I feel like recovery may be in our sight soon, but I do, for now.

I do not have any specific or significant events that has made me feel this way. It is a series of events and there still needs to be a lot of work and nudging to be done that is for sure.

Some of the things I feel good about are:
My son attending an appointment with his key worker at the drug and alcohol recovery centre.
My sessions with my support worker.
My meeting with the BRICK project (,-young-people-and-families/the-brick-project.aspx ) for the past 4 weeks.
My 5 mentor training sessions, with 13 more to go.
These last 3 have enabled me to have many discussions and meet some dedicated and caring people. One of the facilitators in the BRICK project said, it may be "fate" that has brought me to the project and the mentoring to find the right people who will help my son. Though we have tried in the past with agencies, doctors, support etc,  perhaps the time was not right and the "right" contacts were not made. Maybe now things are "right".

My daughter is open to starting her own journey to recovery by extending the help she receives by starting "Emotionally Resilient Group Therapy" provided my our local child and adolescent mental health services. This is in addition to her weekly sessions with her support worker. My youngest daughter for the first time ever has agreed to some school clubs so she now has things that will keep her busy and take the focus away from home and help build her self esteem.

Also my son has had a few very open and frank discussions with some professionals that might actually be helping him to see things more realistically. The threat of Social Services raising the stakes by possibly making this a Child Protection case is not a good thing obviously, but the fear it evokes can be used positively.

After walking away from a very unhealthy marriage and being a stay at home mom for the last 18 years, coupled with the focus on my son's drug usage for the past 6 years, I have become to feel very insecure about my abilities to succeed or perform or contribute to anything outside the family home. Actually even my capabilities as a mother has often been challenged over these last few years as a result of the addiction and the downward spiral of behaviour and  family relationships.

Ultimately, the more active I become the better I feel about myself as a person and as a mother. These factors provide me with a greater sense of hope that we will eventually embrace recovery. Comments such as, "You will be great as a mentor", "Your daughters are a credit to you for coping well and achieving at school", "You are doing very well and more than many parents would do" have allowed me to feel more positive. I can also see that there is one or two people we have come into contact with that really want to help us, because they really care.

Of course there have been things happening that aren't so great or positive, but do you know what? I don't want to think about those situations and worries today!

People can survive addiction and come out still having a loving family and a positive future, and we will be one of those.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

It's All Relative

Like with so many things we experience in life, especially with the difficulties we have, it is all relative. What may seem like a very stressful situation to some, may seem commonplace to others. I appreciate and understand this, yet sometimes feel I should not be feeling like I do about my son and his addiction.

I have heard stories now, through this blog and the various communities around addiction and mental illness on Google+, where parents have lost their children to suicide or overdoses. I have heard stories in which families are permanently torn apart and those broken relationships are never repaired. People who have lived on the streets for years and living horrendous lives because of their addiction, sometimes suffering from mental health issues as well. Also as I am attending more and more training sessions for my mentoring, and I hear stories of people who lived the life of an addict for 10 or even 20 years before getting and staying in recovery. And I am feeling helpless, drained, guilty, worried, frustrated, ashamed, devastated, parentally unfit, disgusted, distrusting, depressed, scared....because my son has been using drugs since he was 13 and has been an addict for about 3-4 years!? He is still alive, he is still at home, I still have my daughters, I still have our house, we still have options and seems wrong to be so deep into my feelings of despair when all around I know so much worse has happened to others and is going on all around us.

Now as I said, it is all relative. I have no experience of addiction before. I have had many issues in my own life around poor health and times of depression and anxiety. I have watched both my parents die. I have uprooted myself from my country and started a very different life and a life very different to what I imagined. I lived in a very bad marriage for many years,  in a home environment that was very tense and controlling and at times emotionally abusive for the children. But before all that, when I look back into my childhood, though I battled with my illness from the age of 7, I was HAPPY. We lived in a nice home, in a nice area with nice people. It was all very nice.  I loved my parents and they loved me. I had an exceptionally good and kind and loving and supportive mother. My father always provided for us and was there when we needed him. Even after my parents divorced, they remained friends and he would spend the majority of his weekends with all of us in our family home. There was never an issue if my mother needed help whether financially or otherwise, he would help his family, because we were still a family even after the divorce.

I was educated and enthusiastic and open, hoping for a wonderful life ahead of my and with all my dreams, my biggest dream was always to be a mother! That is another time I can remember being HAPPY, when I learned that I was pregnant with my first child. I remember repeating the pregnancy test, and again, and then looking in the bathroom mirror, and with tears in my eyes saying aloud to myself, "You are going to be a mommy". It brings tears to my eyes now as I remember.

I am so very sensitive and feel things so profoundly and my son is the same. Are relationship could not have been more perfect and more loving. Despite everything else that was wrong, having him was right! Having him all to myself for his first 5 years was wonderful and I was so confidant that we successfully created a firm foundation for our son and that he will have that foundation to build himself on. So child psychology would like us to believe, but that proved to be anything but the case for us!

Each time I fell pregnant, if everything else was wrong, being pregnant was always right and in a perfect world I would have had more children because to me nothing surpasses that joy.

With that joy comes responsibility and sometimes anguish as well, as I now know.

My pain to me is very real, even when I know it could be worse, as it has been for others. My son's life is difficult for me to observe helplessly. The pain and sadness I see in my daughters faces are not illusions, they are real as well. The years of their precious childhood lost. So this is my reality and my experience and to me it is dreadful.

Today as I wake up to my son more or less passed out on the sofa, with all his messes around him and the mess he has left for me everywhere, I feel empty. I feel life is wrong and I want to make it right. I feel we are approaching the end of the line soon. The drugs will have to end, the stealing will have to end, the abuse will have to end and ultimately for my son, his denial will have to end and he will need to face up to his demons.

I hope he will and I know that the road ahead, if he chooses a path to recovery, will be even harder than this life with drugs, and I hope he will come out of it a survivor. I do not want us to be saying these same things 10 or 20 years down the line. I do not want to loose my son to homelessness or suicide or an overdose.

My heart goes out to all those people out there whose reality is darker than mine, I admire your strength, courage and resiliency. I do not know if I could survive what you have endured. I hope other people out there will not have to either. I hope we all have brighter and happier days ahead of us!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Sunday, Not So Funday

Generally you would think that a weekend in the life of an 18 year old would be busy and maybe you would not see too much of him unless he was hungry or needed some cash to go out with his friends or wanted to borrow the keys to the car.

Things are a bit different in our house, except the not seeing much of my son part, but that is because he has slept most of the weekend away, as every day. While I write this, it is 6:45 pm and he has still not surfaced. We are about to have dinner...hmm oregano chicken and rice for breakfast son?

His weekend has been one of sleeping during the day. Drifting in and out of sleep on the sofa at night while watching TV. He became extremely anxious on Friday night because he was asked to meet a friend and his friends at the pub. He was anxious because it has been many months since he has done any socialising. After taking copious amounts of opium to calm himself down, the plans were cancelled. Saturday he was meant to meet that same friend at 1:30 pm at the park since Friday's planned fizzled out, but my son slept through the day, until his friend was trying to get some sense out of me, but I was not home. Saturday afternoon and evening he spent feeling guilty and anxious about not knowing what to do about said friend because he did not know what to say. I also tried to talk to him about "things" Saturday. Sunday morning he went to bed at about 7:30 am after more than likely falling a sleep for a bit on the sofa. I came down to see that the sofa was drenched in beer because he probably fell asleep with the beer in his hand and eventually spilled it. During the course of the weekend he has had opium, benzos, barbiturates (phenobarbital), quaaludes (methaqualone in the UK), codeine syrup, alcohol, and smoked some substance in his vaporiser. Saturday he never even got dressed. He talked to no one other than me. He did not go out.

So my son does not live alone of course. I am here and so are his two sisters, 8 and 13 years old. Saturday was OK because I had plans to take my youngest to see a friend and her mom for coffee. While getting into the car when we finished we bumped into another friend of mine and I ended up giving her a lift to work and having another coffee and a chat since she got to work so early! It felt good to be out and be spontaneous and share a few laughs and not being at home!

However, I was disappointed that my other daughter would not come, she is starting to get into this, "I don't want to do anything" stage and I am sure much of this is to do with the emotional stresses at home. Once home though, my energy vanishes and my mood changes. I spent some time on the computer and cooked a nice meal, which unfortunately we at in front of the TV because none of us can really face sitting down around the dinner table together any more.

Sunday has been a very lethargic day for us all. I feel responsible for this in regard to myself and my daughters. Can you believe we woke and came downstairs, I saw the wet sofa cushions and the room reeked of beer. I knew my son had just gone to bed so that he would be out all day. I felt ashamed that he bailed on his friend and no contact had been made. I was disgusted by the mess of ground up opium poppy husks and all the mess from his detailed preparations that were still in the kitchen. I knew we had no plans for the day. We were cold and it was grey and dismal outside. My daughters and I sat down, had breakfast and all of us sat like zombies (either playing on a phone, on the laptop, or watching cartoons. We sat like that for 3 hours, I am quite embarrassed to admit that!

No one understands that the atmosphere in the house is hindered by this constant involvement from drugs and the affects it has on us all. We have all become dysfunctional to some extent or another. The mere fact that I know he is sleeping it off all day and has no life, drains me from wanting to do anything. The guilt in me that even if I would try to have a "normal" life with my daughters while he is locked away in his room either sleeping or taking drugs or doing nothing, alone, alienated, excluded is too much for me sometimes. If he was away from home than that would be less of a powerful deterrent to me, but I do not know of course how I would feel if he was no longer here. Much would depend on the circumstances on where he was and how he would be living.

Finally we all showered and dressed, besides my son, who continues to sleep. We did manage to go into town and do a few things. The low mood in the house remains. I feel I should have within my power as a mother, the head of the household, the only responsible adult here,  to shake myself out of it and get energised with outgoing enthusiasm and teach my daughters to get up and lets enjoy life to the fullest....but I am not doing that and it feeds the vicious cycle of guilt.

Tomorrow though, we will get up and start our day fresh. My daughters will go to school, see their friends, enjoy themselves and come home and tell me all about my day. I will get up too and make sure the girls get to school and come home to make my phone calls and run my errands etc and talk to my friends. We will have appointments, training, clubs, meetings etc during the week, thank God! My son....he will sleep. He will start his week as an unordinary teenager which will be exactly the same as his weekend.

 I know my blog posts can vary from being contemplations to informative to just venting, so I hope you all bare with me if my posts sometimes seem to be random at times, but like the life we are living with an addict our lives and thoughts are on a roller coaster and maybe so to are my blog posts at times!

And if anyone is interested in some of what my son is taking, names some of you might not be familiar with, here are some links. Most bought on the internet. Many times disposed of by me, but always replaced by him, often after the stealing the money from me to do so.