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Friday, 31 May 2013

Effort

Today my son has two appointments. First one was at 10 am this morning and another at 1 pm.



This morning when I awoke at 8 am my son was still up from the night before. As usual when I came down to start breakfast he headed upstairs. "Don't go to sleep now" I shout up to him, "you have to leave for your appointment in an hour and a half".  "I wont", replies, "I am only going to have a little power snooze". When I go upstairs later at 9:15 he is on his computer. I tell him that he will need to leave at 9:30 to catch the bus to get to his appointment on time. 9:30 I noticed his door is completely closed. I speak to him through his closed door. What is he doing? He needs to leave. He is in bed!!!! How can he do this? What sort of self defeating behaviour is this?


Words are exchanged. The end result is that at 9:50 he was telling me there is no point now. I cave in and do what I am not suppose to do. I tell him I will drive him to his appointment so he can go and be a little late, rather than not go at all. I have allowed him to wrap me around his little finger. I have taken some of the responsibility away from him. I want to be supportive, but is letting him make his mistake and get deeper and deeper into his dysfunction the route that I should be taking instead?



On the way there my son says to me, "I don't like this. This is too much effort. I do not want to do this. The way things were when I was just doing my drugs every day was much better and they should go back to that and forget all this". I could only think to reply, "Well if that is the path you want to take then you will not be doing it in my home". He says, "No, I want to do the drugs, but not be homeless".

Too much effort he says. Yes I am starting to agree. It is too much effort to be the only driving force behind my son's recovery. He needs to get in the driver's seat and maybe the best thing I can do is to try to force him into that moment of reality where he becomes his own driving force behind his recovery. My hesitation, as always, is what if he doesn't choose recovery and he is out on his own, on the streets? The answer is not one I want to hear.

http://openroad.org.uk/ Can they help??????









Thursday, 30 May 2013

Responsibility

How old are we when we start taking responsibility for ourselves? As children, once we are potty trained we are responsible for knowing when to go to the toilet. We become responsible for looking after our toys. When we start school at 5 years old we instantly become responsible for many things.  As we grow our responsibilities increase and one would believe that our sense of self as well as self confidence grows with our growing responsibilities.



How does that all go horribly wrong? How do you end up with a young adult who does not want to take on any responsibilities? In fact a young adult who does not even acknowledge responsibility for his own actions and behaviours?

There is an element of entitlement, "the world owes me".  An element of being the victim, "others are to blame, it is their fault".  An element of arrogance, "people will do things for me because I deserve it". An element of laziness, "I can't be bothered, it's too much work". Though some of these behaviours/ideas may seem to be contradictory, they can all be present in a person. I see them all in my son.

I seem to be responsible for everything in his eyes. He thinks I have to wake him up and if I can't manage to do so then it is my fault he slept so late. He thinks I have to make sure he gets to appointments, if not it is my fault. He thinks I have to finance everything he wants and needs. He has two parents, but he thinks since he does not live with his father his father is exempt from helping for the cost of things like passport fees, driving lessons, etc.. He thinks I am forcing him to be in a drug rehabilitation program. He thinks it is the school's "over reaction and dislike for him" that resulted in the permanent exclusion, not the fact that he was smoking weed on the school grounds, during school hours! He thinks the arguments are not because of drugs, or his behaviour, instead it is my reaction to the drugs which is the problem. He seems to think it is my responsibility to cook for him when he demands, wanting dinner at 10 pm, though I say if he wants to be fed like his sisters than he should be awake for mealtimes!



I am a single mom because I could not tolerate the controlling relationship I was in and I could not keep witnessing the emotional pain and abuse my ex husband subjected our children too. However, because I choose to ask my husband to leave and have perused a life as a single mom, does not mean that I am a slave to my children. I am not the only one in this household who is expected to do their fare share of work.


Before drugs my son and I were so close and in fact my husband was actually jealous of our relationship. My son was kind and helpful and loving. He always did his chores and helped me. After we had our second child, my son would help me and read to his sister to give me time to do things. When he would come home from school he complimented me on how much work I got done. I remember being pregnant with my third child, my son was 9, and he would hoover for me and change his own sheets and even cooked some meals. After his little sister was born, he was her "babysitter" and he would watch her and play with her and entertain her while I cooked dinner. He even cut the grass and helped when and where he could. All was good.



Somehow the drugs started, and eventually the home involvement started to slowly decrease. There would still be some help and sticking to chores, but it soon became less and less. Now I live with a son who appears to be a male chauvinist pig, he assumes I will do all the work while he contributes absolutely nothing.
What is worse when I try to explain to my son that he should do some work around here and then he will feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when he steps back and says, I did that.....he says, "You know that feeling you are talking about?  Well, times that feeling by 100 and that is the feeling you get on opium and it was for zero effort. Why should I do work and make myself tired for that feeling when I can get it in an instant?" How can I compete with that? How can I get the message through to him that a life of purpose and achievement and self worth  through hard work is SO much better than an instant high?



                                                           
                                                  


Nonesense

The nonsense with social services continues. How do these people manage to hold their jobs and even more importantly, how do they manage to ever help people? I thought that was their job...to help?

Apparently, there is going to be a "professionals" meeting taking place. Many different people, some of who have not been involved with us at all, are going to discuss what is the best for us as a family. By way of chance I have found out about this meeting which is taking place a week from today. There have been more professionals I have come into contact with since I heard about this meeting, some say I am suppose to be there as well. One actually came to visit my daughter at her High School and my daughter was told that I am going to be at said meeting. Has anyone from Social Services called me to inform me? NO. Has any letter been mailed out to me about said meeting and asking me to attend? NO. Well, this is utterly absurd and unprofessional. I am very, very unimpressed. I am so very, very frustrated!



People from the primary school (who are not involved and knew nothing about my son's drug problems because it was not affecting my youngest child's behaviour or school performance) will be there and I personally do not think they are a necessary element. People from the high school, the drug clinic, the support worker who has sessions with my middle child, the social worker, the student social worker who has only meet with us once and had one session with my daughters individually.....all these people involved and discussing what can be offered to us as a family as support.



I am a mother who has been there for her children. Listened openly, supportively and usually non judgementally to her children and their worries and fears and problems. I am the one who has seeked out professional help. I am the one worrying as well as trying to love and protect them and help them. I am the one, who as a good mother did not choose to merely kick my son out on his ass the minute the problems became too much. I instead offered my help and support. So now when I am saying, my son needs more help than I can give, and none of my children have displayed behaviour suggesting that they are being neglected or unloved ,now the professionals are meeting to discuss my children, my parenting skills, my family life...all without informing me?!



What about the father? What about the drugs? What about when I asked for help to put my son in hospital? What about the real issues here, will they be addressed or will this meeting simply be a lot of useless rhetoric? Will the meeting be all about what I as a mother, should be doing, yet these "professionals" who have organised the meeting could not even be bothered to inform me about this meeting? Of course I could be wrong and maybe this meeting will be an important tool to getting the help my son needs, but can you blame me for being slightly pessimistic and cynical?




Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Love/Hate

OK, lets be honest, if you love someone who has an addiction problem there is also an element of hate in your relationship.



I am writing this blog in all honesty and openness, there is no reason to be false here. We are false in so many other elements of our lives. We share good news and smiley pictures on social media. We chat when we see acquaintances and behave very politely telling them that we are fine and everything is good. We do this of course because we are taught social rules of pleasantness and politeness. We also do this because it helps us by pretending everything is really fine and of course some of what we say is true and we are merely focusing on the positive. Sometimes though, we need to let it all out and tell it like it is. We do, of course tell a few selected friends and family, but we are careful not to say too much or talk about problems all the time because we fear losing these people with our constant flood of worries and problems.

OK I am not perfect. I will admit, I do feel negative feelings for my son while I still love him and worry for him. I even tell him now at times that I hate him. These are usually in heated arguments, but sometimes they are said because I cannot stand the constant element of addiction and substance use that is in ALL of our conversations now. If you would have asked me a few years ago if I could tell one of my children that I hate them , I would have said no. I know on an intellectual level that when I say "I hate you", I am saying "I hate the drugs, I hate the behaviour that is a result of the drugs, I hate the way our lives have changed" and sometimes when I say "I hate you" to my son I am also saying "I hate  myself, I hate your father, damn it, I hate everything that is unfair and is somehow responsible for this." But, yeah, often now I do feel very negatively toward my son.

We have been having arguments throughout all this of course, but I know that something changed about a year ago. Until then after we argued I would cry and my heart would go out to my son and I would feel his pain and the frustration of my helplessness. Then the element of nastiness crept into the arguments. My son started to call me and his sister vile, filthy names. The language changed. The aggressiveness increased. I started to feel the element of hatred enter into my blood. When we went on a family holiday and this same nasty abusive behaviour was directed towards my 81 year old aunt who is like a grandmother to my children, well I was humiliated, ashamed and hurt. How could my son treat us all like this? Where is the respect, the love, the self control? I can't understand how addiction changes a person so much? How can I understand something I have never experienced?

Sure I had a few drinks well before I was 18. I smoked cigarettes and had a bit of pot with my friends. I had the odd pill too, but never did I feel the NEED. I never needed it and I never felt I could not stop. I never felt, like my son says he feels, that being intoxicated was the best feeling ever. To him, it is the best feeling ever...this is when the lack of understanding really hits me.


I want to understand, but really I want my son to understand and BELIEVE there is so much out there in the world to experience and to feel and that there is something out there that will make him feel WONDERFUL! I can't make him feel this or believe this or find what it is.....he has to do it for himself. How do I as a parent give him, or help him, direct him, guide him to feel strong enough to try? How can I help him try to break free off this dysfunctional, restrictive, unhealthy lifestyle? I thought I gave him a firm foundation. I thought with all my years of praise and pride I helped build his self confidence. I thought with my love and support he would feel strong. What went wrong? I am his mother, his parent, but now it is time for him to look within and search deep. As a parent I need to let him go. I want to let him go, but when he is over this. I am struggling with this notion that to help him I must put him on the street and make him go deeper into the abyss. Maybe I am just eternal hippie who believes in peace and love. I am again feeling this cognitive dissonance because while I believe inside in being supportive and peace and love on the outside my relationship with my son is all negative and volatile. I am also struggling with the idea that perhaps somehow I am enabling him to live the very life I hate him living. How do we start? How do we change? What is right and what is wrong? Can love really conquer all or is love sometimes not enough?



Monday, 27 May 2013

Failure

Today, as everyday, my daughters and I wake up and get ready to go downstairs for breakfast. Also, as almost everyday, my son is coming upstairs to go to bed. He spends his time asleep during the day and up during the night. This has been a slow process which started as simply not being able to sleep, going to bed later and later, then of course drugs influenced his sleeping patterns as did the school exclusion which lead to no more structure and no more need to be awake during the day. Now it has become his norm. We seem to lead separate lives.

I set the breakfast table for 3. I lay out the plates, get the coffee and cocoa ready. I look in the cupboards and fridge and see what I have to offer today. OK. I warm up the pastries in the oven to revive them and make them fresh again. Some yoghurt and blueberries we bought together yesterday would be nice as well. The girls come in to breakfast. They are happy and eat with smiles and giggles. I feel sad. I try for them, yet for me there is something wrong, something missing.




I sit, sipping my coffee, thinking I have failed. Everything that I have wanted and tried to achieve success with in my life has failed. I went to uni, got the degree and then did nothing with it....FAIL... I left America to travel and find the place I felt a sense of belonging...FAIL... I wanted to find love and be a good wife to a good husband...FAIL...Most importantly, the desire that has been within me since a child, I wanted to be a great mom and have a thriving family with happy and successful children...FAIL!



I try not to dwell on it. I try to keep on trying. I know I have two other children who can succeed without falling into the bottomless pit my son has. More importantly, deep down I know that my son really isn't in a bottomless pit and there is still great hope for him. I do not have wealth to bestow on them, I have nothing of value to leave my children when I die. We do not spend our days doing exciting things and going to fun places and eating out at restaurants or entertaining friends. We do not live in our dream house in a nice area and probably never will. We rarely have holidays and when we do they are often laden with problems. We do not have the dog, cat or ferret that they always wanted and I always promised them, "One day...." I struggle with money, with providing for them, and finding a way to secure a future for all of us. I can not fix all their problems and my answer to their questions is often "I don't know". There is something though that I do have. I have love. I love them so very much. I love all three of them. I love them with all of my heart and soul.  I want all three of them to be happy. At the moment though I often feel that I only have two children that I am giving my love to.

I might sound now, after 5 years of various scales of drug issues and problems in my son's life, that I have just accepted our fate and I sit idly "letting" him carry on as he wants. This could not be further from the truth; however, with time you do become tired and drained and the reality sets in that you can not carry on the way you did before because then you will not be able to carry on for your other children. How many times have I tried to sit down and talk about things with my son? How may arguments have there been? How many times have I searched his room and disposed of substances, confiscated the post and put items straight in the bin? Cancelled my bank cards? Hid my purse? Emailed his internet suppliers and told them not to sell to my under age son? Refused my son's demands? Made appointments, phone calls, took him to appointments, sat with him supportively? How many tears have been shed???? I CAN NOT DO IT ALONE.


I want all my dreams that I had when I was young to have become reality. I want to be the smart, successful woman with a loving husband and caring father to our beautiful children. I want the lovely home in a place I feel at home. I want financial security. I want to watch my children grow into happy, successful adults with purpose and meaning in their lives. It is too late for me, but not too late for them. All of what I wanted and failed at achieving will no longer matter if my children achieve success in building the lives that they want and that make them happy and whole.







Sunday, 26 May 2013

"Tea"



Most of us start the day with a warm drink of coffee or tea, to get us "going". While most of us who drink tea in the Western world have choices of a variety of black teas, green teas, herbal teas etc.,  I had no idea that in the Middle East it is common to drink "poppy tea" made from the opium poppy plant. Naturally, my son has rationalised his drug habit to a certain extent because he is not shooting up heroin or morphine. He simply has his cup of tea. What is wrong with that he asks me?

Who knew that these beautiful flowers would one day be the source of my first born child's drug of choice? Also how do people who do not live in such a culture as the Middle East, where poppies are every where and opium is as well, get the idea of researching poppy tea? If I wanted to get high I would not have thought of it...maybe I am just not hip any more, or maybe I am just not that interested. Who knows.




I have learned that these beautiful flowers are harvested for their opium. That when the flower petals fall and the seed pod grows you can slice the pod and the liquid that oozes out is opium. 



I have also learned that when the pods dry they are sold by the kilo on the internet, some by flower shops, and then the pods can be ground up (minus the poppy seeds inside) and the powder can be brewed into bitter tea that once drunk you will become intoxicated


So I get angry that everything is a click away. Search in opium on the internet and a wealth of information is at your fingertips. Go to a florists website and buy a kilo of dried poppy pods for £25 and get high everyday for a week or two. Pretty cheap drug habit I guess and once you have prepared the poppy pods into powder, you can brew your "tea" in front of family and friends without their knowledge that you are about to sit down and get high off of opium while the rest of your company drink coffee or PG Tips! It is just plain crazy if you ask me!


Saturday, 25 May 2013

To Rehab or Not To Rehab....

When my son started the community drug program, the clinic brings all new cases to the table to a meeting and the professionals discuss the case.

Apparently, when my son's case was put forward, some of the professional opinions were "he will only get better in residential care"....rehab. I agree. My son does not.

I would love to put him into a residential drug program yet I can not because he is 18. I did not think of rehab when he was younger because all people ever talked about was having people sectioned and put in hospital against their will, but this has to do with mental health and not only a drug and alcohol problem. I assumed from some previous conversations that rehab was a private and expensive treatment. When my son was under 18 and seeking help from the adolescent drug program rehab was casually mentioned as a voluntary choice on the part of the adolescent. No one told me I had the right to put him into a residential care program funded by the NHS.

I wish I would have taken the time and initiative to research what options there are for dependent children with drug and alcohol problems. Maybe I could have and should have put him into rehab at 16 or 17. I did not. I simply sought out help and advice through the conventional avenues and as always, did what I was told. Why do I do that???

Too late to think what could have been. The reality is that he IS 18 now and what can I do? Seems like I can not do much at all.

My son has an image of rehab as a place that he will be locked up. Told what to do and when to do it. Everything will be regimented and scheduled and controlled. Therefore when he is "released" and comes back home everything will revert back to the way he lived before he went to rehab. The sleep problems. The social withdrawal. The family tensions. The "triggers" would all be there and be the same and so the need and want to take drugs will be there and everything will go back to the pre rehab days.

I disagree.

First of all, you are not locked up and since it is all on a voluntary basis, here at least in the UK, you can leave the treatment centre whenever you like.

Secondly, the structure and organisation in rehab is just what he needs to start turning his lifestyle around. In the end the new structure will become normal routine and I think it would continued at home. I hope that with so much change and the exposure to independent yet social living at rehab, my son would come home motivated and hopefully with more self esteem and confidence to want to continue doing things for himself and seek out new experiences such as work or school.

Thirdly, I would hope that while in rehab the nature of the treatment would be intense and multidimensional.
Of course there would be the physical detoxification, but there would also be therapy to try to find the reasons behind the drug use, relaxation techniques, anger management, life skills (simple cooking, cleaning, washing etc) as well as social skills being learned. I would like to believe that this would continue on the "outside"

As far as those who are left at home, in this case myself and my two younger children, we would benefit from the break of the constant focus of drugs and all the ramifications it has had and continues to have on our family relationships and lives. We could also start to heal and move forward, yet not forgetting about the one in rehab. We would miss him and welcome his return home.

Of course, I am not 100% optimistic about rehab. Of course there is the risk that the girls preferred life without their brother at home. That things would be easier and tensions and anxieties would increase upon his return. Of course, there might also be the urge for my son to slip back into his old ways. Yet somehow, I firmly believe the positive gains would outweigh the negatives.

Maybe the same results can still be achieved in the community care route (out patient basis) but it would be harder and longer I think.

I really do not know. I wish someone would offer their views and perhaps share their personal experiences on this issue. Inpatient rehab treatment or not????



Friday, 24 May 2013

Hunger

"Mmmm, the sweet, satisfying taste of that wonderful green liquid".
Methadone is what my son is happy about.
His new "medicine".
How did we get here and where the hell are we going to end up?

This is the outcome of our meeting with his Key Worker and the Dr at the drug clinic today after he has fallen off the program, missed 4 appointments and not taken his prescribed Suboxone for a few weeks. Starting him on Methadone. However, it is Friday, the start of a three day weekend. That would mean that the chemist would have to dish out Sunday and Monday's doses to my son on Saturday. Hmmm, Methadone being highly toxic the Dr thinks it is better for my son to wait and instead continue drinking his opium and taking codeine until Tues.

On the way home from the clinic we stop at the store. Once, we would have just walked along getting what we need and perhaps my son might have asked for some melon, sunflower seeds, biscuits....those days are no more. Now he stands in front of the over the counter meds and puts in pack after after pack of caffeine pills because he needs pills to get him out of bed. He asks me to get codeine. No! Then we move on and he stops at the beer, bringing them to me as I reject each and every item. In the next shop rather than helping me with heavy shopping he "browses" the beers, the spirits, the ciders....longing for a drink, telling me about all the good deals. He asks for no food, unless you can call mint leaves and a lime food....they are for Mojitos of course. No!

I am sad. I want normalcy. I want to talk about school and plans for University as his one time friends must be doing. My heart slightly breaks when I hear about his ex school mates all moving onward and upwards. Today is the last day of their studies and some wont be here much longer. Only one friend has really been here for my son through the thick and thin of this all and he is really taking a proactive interest in helping my son get clean and get better and move forward. Surprisingly, but not really, my son does not like this. I suppose he sees it as more pressure on him and also someone to disappoint because he believes he has disappointed  himself and all those who care about him.

Friends and family are absolutely vital for us human beings to be happy and stay sane. My son has me....virtually only me to call family at the moment. That is changing and our relationship has suffered great pains and betrayals by the bloody hands of opium and Benzos and alcohol (yes I know they did not jump into my son's mouth and it started as his choice).  At times I fear that we might have gone past the point of no return and our relationship will never be the same. It is never good to have to put all your faith and trust into one person and one person only. It is not healthy for either person.

Remember the time when my son would come home with 2, 3 or 4 friends after school and they would laugh and play football and I would feed them and there would be smiles all around??? Of course I do. I remember my son's smile and his healthy skin and good appetite and energy. I remember his friends feeling comfortable here and the sounds of life, laughter, happiness filling our house. The friends continued to come but the behaviours slowly started to change. Muffled voices and strange smells from my son's room and leaving the house and not really convinced what they would be up to. Coming home different. Then there would be the phone calls that some one is having a bad trip and please come and get us because I was the only one they could call. Not long before the school excluded my son and the withdrawal and social exclusion and the anxieties started and mounted....what a vicious circle, more drugs were used to ease the pain. The friends started to fade away, some were probably pushed away and some probably ran away! Some however stayed in the background, but these were not friends. It was pointless to try to explain this to my son, I was being hurtful in his eyes. These people who lurked around the background and appeared every now and then were no friends at all. They wanted something. They wanted to get high. They knew who to come to and get what they wanted. Some of them wanted money and were the "friends" who helped my son get high. Of course with time, and endless arguments about their selfish reasons to be my son's "friends", they eventually drifted away. I was glad, yet also somehow strangely sad for my son because he was sadder and lonelier. More drugs needed! Benzos and opium became his only friend for a long time.

Somehow this boy who knew my son at school grew into a mature young man and showed his strength of character and decided he would come and visit my son and be there for him like a true friend should. He is still trying to help and be a friend. Please don't let yourself be pushed away!!! Please do not give up when you get frustrated on what seems to be useless time and effort!!! My son needs you.

I have been there for my boy through so much...but I am feeling that maybe everyone is right that he needs "tough love" and to be put out and toughen up on his own and get a reality check. Yet I keep holding back and holding on to hope that he will change, things will get better and we will survive! I am also fearful, a part of me not fearing, but knowing, that if I put him out I will be the last and most important person to reject him and push him away. That push will push him down and he will live a horrible life on the street using heroin....and even worse. I do not want to do that to him, but am I slowly killing all of us by refusing to turn him out? I really do not know. I am torn and frozen yet appear strong and devoted.

I just want my boy to come back to me as the young man I know he could have been, can be, will be! I miss him :-(

Thursday, 23 May 2013

From the sublime to the ridiculous.


About two months ago we get referred to Social Services due to my son's open drug usage with young children in the home. Finally, about a month ago we had our initial visit. We were told after a gruelling 2 hours that we need to sit down together as a family and play some board games, makes lists of the positive and negative but focus on the positive. Seriously?
"Hi son, you're high again? Cool, lets all sit down and play Monopoly"!!!
We were also told that there would be a referral made to Family Counselling and that the Social Worker is not sure if he will see us again.

                                         
                  

About 10 days or so later Mr Social Worker comes to visit us again bringing a student Social Worker along with him. Is this because of her wealth of experience and knowledge or is it to use us as human lab rats? I am not sure, but say it is OK as I have kept myself open and always tried to be accommodating. The only input the student had regarding my 18 year old's behaviour (which through long term drug use has consequently been altered) is that it sounds like autism!!!! Ha ha...you have been reading the wrong textbook before our visit! Mr Social Worker says no, no, it is sibling jealousies and negative reinforcement.

Ms Student says she will contact our primary school to possibly do sessions with my youngest and that she will liaise with my middle child's school counsellor to see if she needs to have sessions with her as well. She will be in touch and also put some literature in the post for me. She never did either one.

Two weeks go by. Nothing. I get a missed call and voice mail from a woman from an organization "Parent Aid". I am very busy and did not get back to her immediately. Mr Social Worker is then calling me, leaving one voice mail that he "urgently" needs to speak to me and then continues to phone without leaving messages throughout the day while I was involved with a school trip with young children. Upon returning home later in the afternoon I find a note slipped through the letterbox that Mr Social Worker had also come by the house looking for me. I phone him, what is so urgent, I am anxiously wanting to know. Well it seems that I have not returned Mrs Family Counsellors call from 2 days ago!!!!

I leave the Family Counsellor for another day or two, after all we have been waiting weeks, and in that time I received a professional letter from her asking me to contact her. I phone on the first number on the letter, no answer and just voice mail saying "the person you are trying to contact is unavailable". No message left as I thought I will ring her on the mobile number next. Ring mobile, no answer, left voice mail for her. Later I get an "unknown" phone number calling me. I answer the phone, "Hello". A man on the other end of the phone barks at me, "Did you call me?", "No, you called me". It goes on and on, "But did you call me?". After repeatedly saying "I did not call, you called me and by the way who am I speaking to"  he explains, "I did call back and you called me". I said, " I did ring a number earlier today trying to contact a Mrs Family Counsellor"...."Oh yes, she is my wife and this is the home number"!!! Oh my God. How UNPROFESSIONAL is that????

So I wont bore you with all that happened but in the end I complained to Mr Social Worker regarding the unprofessional behaviour of the woman he referred us to, I also told him that Ms Student has not followed through with what she said she would do. He did not seem too surprised or interested or helpful. This was last week.

Yesterday my youngest child comes out of school saying that she was taken out of lessons to talk to Ms Student! No one told us this was going to happen on that day...Hell-lo, a little notice would be a normal professional courtesy. I spoke to the school after hearing this from my daughter and they tell me that they have been told that I was informed about the visit. I was also told by the school, and this is only after my inquiring about what happened that day, that my child will be seen every two weeks at school by another person who we have not even met!

Ms Student did not liaise with my other child's school counsellor, that child is in High School and not Primary School as my youngest. Ms Student was told by me on our one and only conversation a month or more ago that she does not need to do work with her because she is comfortable seeing her counsellor and does not need to be disrupted more from classes. She agreed that she would only talk to my child's counsellor. Late yesterday afternoon I  received a call from the High School that they were called by this student and she is coming in the following day. Great!

More good news. I find out that the so called "Family Counsellor" that Mr Social Worker referred us to is not a counsellor at all. She is a self employed family mediator who is contracted out by Parent Aide which is an organization to help predominately single parents with poor parenting skills and this woman has had no training on substance abuse and how that affects members of the family or counselling  I was laughing to myself that this process of seeking help for my son who has become a drug addict (for lack of a better term, and he also considers himself to be an addict) and comes from a loving and support home has turned into such a farce!

Of course, it is not funny at all, but really I had to laugh to myself. So I asked Mrs Family Mediator, aka Family Counsellor, NOT, that how would she advice me on my parenting and communication skills when our "disagreements" are all centred around drugs? I gave her scenarios such as, "Arguments often stem from my discovery that my son has stolen from me to buy opium", "My son will shout and swear demanding that I go out and buy him alcohol" "My son gets abusive following a red mist phenomenon from his opium"....her response, "I will have to check with my supervisor".

I am not perfect. I said yesterday I felt I did nothing wrong, well I meant in the BIG PICTURE my parenting was not bad. Of course we all do things we later think we shouldn't have done or that we could have handled situations differently. Now, I am having lots of those moments when I think, "I should have been tougher". That is no good to me now. I thought that professional help would be the best way forward, however it seems we have not found those professionals, yet!






Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Trying to Understand

How do people cope with the issues they face in life? Where do these issues stem from? Why do some people who are in similar circumstances see life as challenging them and tackle those challenges and come out a better person while others see them not as challenges but as a punishment that they have to endure and suffer and look for a way to escape the suffering? How did this happen?



As a mother, we are somehow conditioned to blame ourselves when one of our children fall off the straight and narrow or grow into unhappy and troubled young adults. We feel guilt that we did not do enough, somehow, somewhere did something "wrong" and should have did things differently.
Well, I have a confession. I do not feel guilty that I did something to cause my son's deep seated unhappiness, on the contrary, I feel great confusion because I thought I could not have done a better job than I did with him, especially during his first 5 years which I believed would be giving a strong foundation to grow on.

We played, we sang, we held hands, we kissed and cuddled, I applauded him on each and every achievement from pulling himself up to stand to getting 100% on his 1st spelling test in school. I never scolded him for crying or expression emotion, as some parents of boys sometimes do. I encouraged communication and honesty. We went to messy play groups, toy libraries, city farms, playgrounds, but also had lots of stimulating toys and books at home. My son was by my side when we cooked and baked and I let him join in. He put his toyed always and liked to help mommy clean. He ate a healthy diet and to this day he does not like fizzy sodas or sweets. He would be happy indoors or out and never complaining he was bored and would often tell me he loved me.

When he started reception class (kindergarten) he was eager to please and brought in his 1st piece of homework the day after they were handed out; only to be disillusioned by the teacher who told him he is not meant to bring in it the next day! The helpers on the playground were amused by my son's sense of right and wrong and they nick named him the "playground police" because he would show concern if other children were being "mean" or if they "swore" saying words such as stupid, because in our house hurtful words like stupid were not used and therefore my son thought stupid was a bad word. Perhaps he did not feel the home values were being reinforced at school and longed for praise from other adults as well?

My son made friends and played nicely, but of course as any child would sometimes have a naughty moment or two and these were usually dealt with by a time out in the corner as well as discussing the reason behind the time out.

Well, I have so many memories of those wonderful early years when my son was a happy little boy, but the point being that the happiness seemed to be there for a while longer but I also saw some sadness growing in my son's eyes. Was this because his sister was born when he was nearly 5? Was it because his father's involvement was decreasing and his impatience increasing? Was it because after the birth of his sister he started full time school and maybe felt he was being cast out? Was it because marriage difficulties and tensions at home increased? All the while my son and I still held hands, still loved each other, I still praised him, but now I was trying my best to give two children my love and attention.

At the age of 11/12  I think it was when my son took his 1st pill that he found at home...and I knew he was "high". I gently confronted him and he told me that he did take a pill. After that things seemed ok but by 13 it started with buying legal highs on line, then to cannabis, pills, alcohol, opiates, magic mushrooms.....by the age of 15 was addicted and permanently excluded from school. My wonderful, loving, intelligent, bright son had changed before my eyes and his life was taking a course that I would have never dreamed of.....How did this happen? I thought I did everything right????

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Learning

I am learning a whole knew vocabulary: Subutex, Suboxone, precipitated withdrawals...But I wonder why do I need to learn these words??? What about my son learning good old fashioned words like, RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, COMMITMENT, ACCEPTANCE?

Also, why is it that if I would want to get a family member sectioned one of the key points is that they are "in danger of harming themselves or others", yet substance/alcohol abuse does not fit into the category of "seriously harming themselves" because drugs and alcohol are exempt from this apparently because it is a voluntary CHOICE!!!

Maybe society is becoming so "politically correct" that we no longer have the right to take action when what we need to do is just that, TAKE ACTION. Why is it that I am being advised to call the police to remove my son and make him homeless rather than calling a rehab clinic and having them come and take him to their facility? Wouldn't forced recovery be more humane and productive than forced homelessness and in so doing, give the person into situations that would inevitably promote MORE drug and alcohol use? Yes, I know that the person addicted needs to want the help and needs to want to change themselves and it often leads to relapses when they are forced into it...but surely that has to be the preferred option than the police coming to the family home and making you homeless? Seems that the system is wrong.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Limbo

Here we go...Monday again. The start of another week of phone calls and trying to get my son out of bed. He will sleep ALL day while I deal with all the realities and then be up ALL night while the world around him sleeps. I can devote my entire day, as I have done so many times before, trying pointlessly to wake him up....he is out cold.
Social workers, Family Support, Drug Centre, all want to know why my son has not been attending appointments.
Well, now that he is 18 I seem to get very little useful advice from all the various agencies besides "kick him out" or "call the police". Yet I am the one who wants to help him....so frustrating!
How can a person try to change another's self destructive behaviour into productive behaviour? He is 18, but still my child and I want to help him though at times I despise what he has become. However, having said that, I have two younger children who I need to protect and take care of as well.
I am forced into feeling that I have to choose between my children while we just get pushed around from one service to the next.
Has anyone else been in this situation? Any thoughts on how to get your teenager to "see the light" and start making positive steps to change? How bad does it have to get before he sees how serious this situation is?

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Begining

I am starting this Blogg to gain and offer support for any parent who is struggling to cope with a teenager at home with a substance abuse problem. I will aim to share my experience and no doubt vent from time to time! This is my 1st attempt at blogging so please bear with me!