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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Tolerance

Today I was thinking how and when my son's drug problem began. I suppose his drug use started to become a "problem" when he was 14. I could see the evidence and the drugs in his room. I would search his room when he was in school and dispose of the drugs I found. I could see that he looked high in the morning and I would search him. I found drugs in his backpack at first, then in his pockets, then in his sock, in his trouser cuffs, in his hat etc.. I would plead with him not to be doing this, and I warned him if he would get caught at school he would be in big trouble. While he popped pills and smoked dope at school,  it amazes me why it took the school so long!

A day after his 15th birthday my son and his friends thought it would be a good idea to celebrate with a little smoke of weed at school. My son brought in a wooden hash pipe, his other friend brought in the weed. So at break time they thought behind the P.E. building would be a good place to have a little birthday smoke. Along the way they bumped into another "friend" and the three of them proceeded to smoke weed at 10:00 am at school behind the P.E. building!



I believe that my son's behaviour at school, arriving looking high, unmotivated, falling asleep in class etc, more than likely set off the warning bells and the staff were probably keeping an eye on him, just waiting, waiting to catch him in the act one day.

That they had come. The boys got caught. They threw the evidence in the bushes and the third boy ran.

The boys got excluded for a week and then there was a meeting when I was told that my son was being permanently excluded from school. I remember crying in the headmaster's office begging him not too!


This is why I am wondering, as I did then, is zero tolerance on drugs helpful or is it actually counter productive? I live in a zero tolerance area of the country and there is no conversation when any drug use has been committed by a student, on or off campus...the student will be permanently excluded from school. No consideration on the student's school record, mitigating circumstances, possible personal difficulties, nothing will be enough to keep the child in school.





I think that a zero tolerance on drugs is wrong. It does not stop people from trying, experimenting, using, or becoming addicted to drugs. It is not some all powerful policy that it will  scare people into not doing what, to me is a temptation in life that most of us succumb to at least once in our lifetime.

So in a zero tolerance drug policy within a school, if a student smokes a joint for the first time, or if a student is a regular drug user, or if a student is a drug addict all would be treated in the same manner. This to me is wrong. Only if the student was a proven seller of drugs to other students on campus, that is a different can of worms. The school should investigate not only the incident, but also look into what may be happening to cause any stress in the student's life. They should consider if there are any mental health issues as well as looking at academic record, attendance, social functioning. Of course there needs to be some consequences to the drug incident such as a temporary exclusion, especially if it happened on school grounds, but drug education and counselling should also be given in addition to some extra support for the student and family.

In my opinion making a teenager an outcast and excluding them from their school, their social structure, support system, their home away from home, is just wrong. It will contribute to feelings of social and personal alienation and feelings of low self esteem, which the teen might already be suffering from. This isolation and rejection could possibly be a stimulus for more drug use and perpetuate the problem rather than help it.




In my son's case I truly believe it was the beginning of his downward spiral. He was permanently excluded and while I fought for his unjust removal, the local authority had to provide him with so many hours a week of education. That meant attending a "reform school" (pupil referral unit in the UK). It was a horrible place and after our initial meeting there I said that I want my son to receive at home tuition. I was not going to send my son to a centre in which the teacher could not teach because of constant violent outburst etc..The staff agreed it was not a place for my son.

We received  home tuition with 4 different teachers coming to our home to teach my son in 5 subjects in place of the 10-12 subjects he would be learning in school. I went to the Head Teachers, I went to the Board of Governors, I appealed the decision and took them to an appeal hearing twice. I researched the laws and educational guidance on policy making, I spoke to people in the Local government, I spoke to the Young People's Commissioner, the Young People's Drug and Alcohol Services. I got my son counselling. I had letters written to vouch for my son's character. I disclosed the home situation as well as my father's recent death, all of which affected my son's well being.



It took a year, but in a county of zero drug tolerance, we WON! It was almost unprecedented, with only one other case many many years ago, but we WON! It was a short lived victory because the damage was done. My son had lost his friendship groups and fallen behind in his studies despite some home tutelage. He was indeed excluded from everything and his anxieties started and grew. The school made it difficult when he returned and it was not an easy process at all.

So, who does a policy like that help, no one who will fall off the straight and narrow, not even once...and in my opinion, that would include the majority of teenagers.

Attitudes towards drugs and who takes drugs, really needs to change. We can make that happen!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Crushed Dreams

My son has stolen from me large amounts of money over the years, promising that one day he will pay me back. Having said this when my son buys himself things it upsets me that he continues to be irresponsible and disrespectful towards me by never giving me any money towards "repayment".



So when he announced a few months ago how he bought a concert ticket for £80 I was not impressed, to say the least. When I questioned him about this and he said it is an amazing opportunity to see a band (Atoms of Peace) because its members of a few huge rock bands playing together in a small venue and he doesn't know when, if ever, he can see them again. I tried to explain that one of the things about being an adult is realising there are things that we would very much like to do, however, if we can not afford it or if it is not the "right thing" to do at the time, then we have to sacrifice our desires and hope that another opportunity will come our way in the future.

Well, of course the ticket has been bought, and like most concert tickets it is non refundable. When the night of the concert starts approaching and my son starts to ask me money for train costs into London because he has no money, I do not sympathise at all and continue to firmly say, "No".

The day of the concert has finally arrived. Friday night! Months of my son waiting eagerly to see this "amazing" band is finally here. I start to think that he has bought the ticket, instead of paying me back. I think we have been eating beans this weak because I am broke. I think it has been so long since he has been anywhere. I think a night without conflict would be a welcome change. I think, eh what the heck, I will give him £10 towards the train ticket, no more to squander on drinking though.



My son is up in the morning and says how he plans to get ready and do a few things on the computer and delete photos on his camera so he can take some pics and wants to leave at about 2-3 pm so that he can stand in line and be guaranteed a good spot. OK, great.

I take my youngest daughter to the park to meet friends for a picnic and told my son I may not be home before he leaves. We stay out longer because my daughter and the rest of the children have been invited back to one of the houses to splash about in the paddling pool. It is nearly 4 pm and I have not heard anything from my son, but that is ok. I decide to call home though and see how he and my older daughter are.

Well by the time I got home at nearly 5 pm, my son was just getting into the shower. Hours passed with him saying he feels nervous and nauseous. He drank his opium tea. He took some benzos. He smoked some weed. It wasn't helping. He told me he was scared. I tell him it's understandable since he has not been out for so long, but it will be ok once he gets there. He finally said at one point he is getting his shoes on and packing his backpack, this was nearly 7 pm and that is when the concert venue was opening its doors. Travel time from where we live would be just a little more than an hour. He says, its ok, they have an opening band and he doesn't care if he misses it. He has some more opium tea, whether he had more pills , I do not know. I go up to his room to see what is going on, again, he is struggling with putting his photos onto his computer, it is not recognising the device....he is getting very anxious and worried. I tell him not to take his camera, he will always have the memories of being there.




It is now time to put my youngest to bed...I fall into snoozing mode while doing so. When I finally come out of the bedroom I am shocked at how late it is and that my son is still not ready to go. He says he was feeling so anxious so he self medicated but it didn't work. The later it gets the worse he feels about himself but he is insistent that he will still go, even if he only catches the last song. Finally, it is 10:30, it will be 11:30 at the earliest when he gets there, so I have to tell him that he can not go any more, it is too late. He talked about what a loser he is, what a waste, and that everytime he really wants something he never gets it and how nothings ever works out for him etc. He started to cry. He was sitting in the living room, crying. I felt so incredibly sad for him, yet because of the nature of our relationship these last few months, I felt paralysed. I listened and I reassured him that there will be another time. Inside I was feeling sad and worried and I thought that this incident highlights to me my son's emotional and psychological problems. This entire evening is not "normal". I thought, how am I going to ask him to leave if he refuses to go into rehab?

He calmed down and fell asleep on the sofa after watching a bit of tv.

Next day he asked me, "what can I do to feel better about last night?"

I did not have an answer.

At one point, no actually more than once, I have tried to highlight to my son that this shows how serious his problems are and that is why the intense therapy in rehab while coming off the drugs would be so important to him. This of course upsets him. He talked about how he would have been able to go to the concert if he was on methadone. He talked about how the drug clinic deliberately kicked him out to make him suffer. He talked about how he has too many worries about how to stay on his other drugs now, cost and effort etc. He talked about how none of "them" care about him. He talked about how every care professional is only interested in filling out the paperwork but doesn't give a damn about him. He talked about how the doctor did not like him and wanted to punish him. He talked about how non of this "helping" ever helps, it only makes it worse and I am the one who wanted all this "help" and he always said it would just make things get worse.



I just don't know what to do. All the while I am being faced with our home being repossessed because my ex husband does not care to help and is putting all the pressure and responsibility on me. My ex is trying to use his intimidation and control, just as always, into making me feel it is my fault. Well, when I explain to his father how consumed I have been with our son's problems, and indeed all our children's problems, how time consuming all the appointments and meetings are, and that I am trying like mad not to make our son homeless....his answer, without any expression is that we will all be homeless. Is it any wonder that our son has so many issues that have been there since childhood, festering inside and getting more convoluted? Is it any wonder our son turned to drugs?  I am not placing blame here, I am recognising a key factor that played a part in our sons disease, just as much as I have recognised how, for a while, I enabled that disease to grow.



My son was crying because he missed a gig he was looking forward  to for months to see. He felt sad. A dream crushed. So many dreams have been crushed in my son's life. Friendships, Education. Family. A future. Maybe one of the biggest dreams however,  that have been crushed, is the dream of a loving caring involved father to teach, to play with, to grow up with....to love.



Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Letter

A letter I have written to my son in hopes he will "hear" my words better when they are not spoken but read in his own time and space:




Dear Son,

It seems very hard for you and I to speak these days, so I thought I would write you a letter.

I am sorry you are feeling that I have not been as tolerant and supportive as you would like during this difficult period in your life. I urge you to look at the whole/big picture and not just the recent weeks and months. It you take the time to reflect over the whole of your life honestly, maybe you will see that I have always been there for you, always loved you, always tried (above and beyond at times) to help you. Try to remember the nice times, the fun times...can you remember? I hope so, I can.

It may be hard for you to think that I have been supportive this past year, especially these last few months, but I have. I have been supportive by trying to get you help. I have been supportive by trying to keep you at home. I have been supportive by giving you time and space. I have been supportive by helping you to get to appointments (until I felt you needed to start taking on that responsibility for yourself). I have been supportive by loving you so much that I have kept waiting and hanging on and putting up with so much because I am hoping that one day I will get my true son back. The son that I know is still in there. The son that I have raised and love with all my heart.

But, now here comes the BUT....

I see that things are not improving and we are all stuck in a miserable state of limbo. I see that your state of mind is getting worse. Your anger is getting worse and emotionally things to be getting bleaker. I am not helping you if I keep things the way they are. If I buy you the things you want, if I allow you to act the way you want without a word said, allow you to self medicate etc.. If I allow to you to hide away within these walls and take no responsibility for your life or your actions and for you to accept those consequences....nothing will improve and it would be no help to you.

On the same token, if I try to keep my current position strong and refuse to buy for you, give you money, wake you up, cook/clean/wash for you on demand without your own participation or responsibility for your own self; if you sleep all day missing out on daily life and stay up all night in isolation...and if I keep telling you NO and DON'T, and so on, the arguments increase. The anger and frustration increases and unfortunately, your aggressive angry behaviour also increases making it harder for me to show you any positive feelings or actions. So, while I stand firm on not approving of your "lifestyle" and behaviour, this makes you more resistant and angry; therefore, this is not helping you or working for any of us.

Also, whether you like it or not, I do have two other children, you have two younger sisters. Their lives, emotional well being, upbringing, role models etc all concern me. The way things are at the moment may be very damaging to them in the long run. In the short run, life is not good or fun or comforting for them, for me nor for you.

Reflect upon your behaviour. Your language. Your mood. Your lifestyle. The messages you are sending.

I have no choice now but to urge you into rehab or to ask you to leave. Weeks and weeks go by without any discussion or steps forward. Its not all about what I want, I am asking you to get on board now and start thinking of helping yourself. I ask you to seriously consider this and for a decision to be made within a week's time. After that another week to put that decision into action, i.e. prepare to move out or get the ball rolling to get signed into a rehab.

I hope you make the right decision, but no one can make you go into rehab. You must WANT it. You need to want and believe it can help you on many levels in becoming better, happier.

Regardless of what you choose, I will always be here. I will welcome you home with open arms if you come out of rehab or if you have been out on your own and realise it is not the life you want. It is scary, I know, and I hope you find the courage and strength to do this. I believe deep down that you do want to live a happier life. You have me and you have a great friend too and we both believe in you!

We can't go on like this and I can not, will not, tolerate the treatment you are increasingly giving me. I am sorry if this is all hard to accept and take in. I do love you and I want a healthier, happier, stronger son to come back to me. A son who is ready to embrace life and create a life worth living.

I love you, always!
Mom xxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 19 July 2013

Mental Health vs Drug Addiction

I am wondering if the frustration and helplessness that people who love an addict is also felt by people who love someone afflicted with a mental health problem.




If my son was not taking any drugs and indeed never had an addiction but all his behaviours were the same would I still question whether he should remain in the family home or not? Would I still feel that despite all my efforts he does not want help or does not want change so therefore he should be put out? Possibly.

Mental health problems come in all shapes and sizes and degrees just as drug addiction. Just because someone has a mental health problem does not mean they are not lucid or that they are a threat to anyone or themselves. Most people I would imagine think that if my son where only suffering from a mental health disorder he would be able to be hospitalized and then there would not be the same disagreements at home as we are having regarding rehab.This is not the case at all. Unless the mental health problem was severe, he would need to voluntarily seek help and or hospitalization, so my hands would still be tied.



So, take away the drugs and lets say hypothetically, that my son would still be in the same darkness he is in now. Depression. Low self esteem. Abandonment issues/fears. Severe anger. Sleep disorder. Not engaging in services. Isolated. Occasional paranoia. Some obsessive compulsive tendencies. Not able to work or attend school because of these issues, etc.. I imagine life with such a child, who is now legally an adult, would be just as difficult and just as frustrating. So given such a scenario, and say he would not attend doctor appointments or take his meds, which is what happened with the drug clinic, I assume I would feel the same helplessness about not being help him. However, I would have the same worry that his behaviour was having an increasingly negative affect on the rest of the family. So would I still be thinking of telling my son to leave?



Mental health problems still holds a stigma in our society, especially with such a vast amount of conditions falling into that category. Society hears the term mental health and equates it with the stereotypical schizophrenic or psychopath character. However, I think that the term drug addict holds an even greater stigma within our society due to the lack of understanding around addiction. Addiction is a disease just like any other, no one plans to be an addict; however, people believe addicts "choose" that life whereas mental health patients had no part in their affliction. Therefore maybe society and parents feel more empathetic towards someone struggling with mental health issues rather than drug or alcohol issues and find it easier to break the ties when drugs are involved. I am wondering though if maybe for parents or partners of someone with mild to moderate mental health issues that is not always the case. Maybe they too get to the point where they can do no more and the person suffering needs to accept the help being offered.....I wonder, because believing that my son's issues are more than "just" drugs is what keeps the hesitation in me about putting him out. Then I also wonder if I am simply rationalising my inability to take that step.....

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Thinking About Change

What does it take an addict to get to the point of wanting to change? When does an addict feel their current life is undesirable and want to make their life better? There obviously is a point when the high or the security an addict is experiencing from his/her drug(s) of choice is no longer better than anything else, but I guess it is an individual thing people come to at different times because of different experiences. My son isn't at that point.



I keep hearing from tough love advocates that my son needs to be kicked out and then maybe a life on the streets will be a harsh reality call that will make him "come to his senses" and see that things do need to change. I am sceptical about that tactic. I think that would be the final rejection that could quite possibly push him over the edge.



I have examined my behaviour and I am consciously trying to stop enabling my son in any way because I now accept that those actions were not in fact helping anyone, rather they were hindering us all. Those brief moments of respite resulting from my enabling,  actually did more long term damage. However, I still can not comprehend how putting my son out is better than offering my love and support and reminding him of what services he can be engaging in. I do comprehend that with other people, especially other children, in the house sometimes loving and supporting a family member with drug and/or emotional problems can actually cause damage to the others living in that environment  Then I am faced with this issue of "choosing", even though on a deeper level I know it is not so simple as a mere choice, it is about doing for those who you can still do for as opposed to trying to do for someone who does not want you to do what you are trying to do!



So I am trying to accept that there is only so much I can do and one day if my son does not accept that he needs help from a rehab centre, or that in fact he can find an alternative way of improving, everyone else in the family home will live a compromised life. That is not what I want for myself or my daughters. This does not mean that I no longer love or support my some, it means that I also love and support my daughters and I will have to bear their emotional well being in mind.

I have written out the contract and my son has seen it but will not sign it. I will have to give him an ultimatum to sign it within a given amount of time or he will have to leave. Also if he does sign it but doesn't live up to it, then again he will have to leave. Speaking to him yesterday he was assuring me that he would do just fine as a homeless person and that is what he would rather be than in rehab. He might just get a chance to test his theory how easy being homeless is.



In six days it will be the last day of school. Six weeks of summer holidays are upon us. I can see the doom in my daughter's face because she is dreading being home that long with her brother. My youngest daughter expects us to go on vacation because that is what people do during the holidays. My son is expecting to wonder off on his own to festivals in Europe. I am hoping that we stay housed and that we survive through it and stay sane and maybe, just maybe, even have a little improvement by the end of the holidays!



Tuesday, 16 July 2013

A Father's Responsibility....or Not

On Saturday, I saw my ex husband briefly while I "handed over" our daughters. When the mood suits him he will txt me asking to see them. It is always the same thing, lunch and a film, or sometimes just one and not both. In general he sees his daughters for 2-4 hours approximately every 6-8 weeks. He never visited with our son, until he became 18 and then meeting up for a pint was a novelty that soon wore off when reality started to become involved in their conversations while sipping their pints. Now they don't see each other again, it has been about 3 months since our my saw his father. Toying with our son's emotions is obviously not a big concern to him.

Tara had already said to me that she is tired of always going to the movies with Daddy, it is boring sometimes. Well, I am thinking that the movies is such an easy option for their father because no contact or communication is necessary for almost two hours. However, she will not tell him, because she finds him scary to talk to. No one wanted to bring this topic up, so it was just left since my words fall on deaf ears.

After all these years of separation and eventual divorce, I still become so anxious before hand and nearly always feel shaken afterwards. This last Saturday was no different and in fact I was quite upset.



As always when we meet in the car park of our local park (he refuses to come to the house), and then he tends to give the girls some small tokens, usually free samples he has picked up in conferences etc. for me to take home.  I am always uncomfortable in my awareness that he has nothing for our son, except the occasionally chocolate bar and usually a type of bar our son does not like! I wonder if this differentiation is intentional or not?

My ex then tells the girls to go wait by the park gates and I am surprised how quickly they obey him without muttering a word.

Then starts the very unpleasant conversation or more like "inquiry" regarding the recent letters from the bank, solicitors and court office regarding our house.

My ex husband and I are both on the mortgage and part of the divorce settlement was that we will share the proceeds from the house once sold after our youngest child is 18, and the split is 70% 30% in my favour. The house was not signed over to me because my ex would not agree to it but also because the bank would not agree since I would would have to re-mortgage it in my name and I am unemployed whereas my ex husband earns a pretty good living. The irony of it all is that my husband is not legally required to pay for any of the mortgage, so he stopped doing so nearly two years ago!



Well enough of that, the point is that my ex husband questioned me as to what am I intending to do about this situation. I quickly explained to him the intensity of our problems at home which are largely due to our son's drug and emotional problems and the vast amount of professionals involved, how time consuming and draining it is. I explained that my priority has been our children and their well being. I said that I am trying my best to help our son and convince him that rehab is the way forward or I will have no choice but to put him out and he will be homeless.

His father's reaction.....are you ready???? Nothing! Nada! Zilch! Didn't even flinch a muscle, did not change his expression, did not display any body language other than his intimidating stance. His words:  "You will ALL be homeless soon"!!!!



I was nearly in tears at this moment but I was trying desperately to maintain my composure. I explained that surely we can come to an agreement, an arrangement of sort that he pays in some money into the arrears to stop the court proceeding? He has a good job as well as two parents who are in a position to help. Nope! He can not. OM MY GOD, but I  can??? He then has the audacity to ask if our son knows and what is he doing about it " Is he looking for work? Is he signed on to unemployment benefits? Hel-lo? YOU ARE THE FATHER OF THESE CHILDREN, YOU HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY!

So it is left in my hands. My daughters knew something was up and my older daughter txted me later to ask if I am ok. When I tried to talk to my son about it he refused and wanted to hide away from the truths about his father and the truths of our situation.

OK, not exactly about the addiction which is the main element of this blog, but the fact that that this "man" (I have to put man in quotations because in my mind he is not a man if he can be so cruel to his own children) is willing to see his children made homeless is mind boggling. The fact that it is somewhat connected to his first born child's, his only son's severe drug addiction brought on no doubt by serious emotional pain is just indecent to the highest degree! If I were in his shoes, I would have been so upset and feel such heartache and knowing that I may not have the power to help our son, he most certainly does have the power to help keep his children housed in their family home! Unbelievable!

I am reminded how much emotional damage has been done and is still being done. Our son has suffered a lot because of this man and all of his children continue to suffer because he can not stop his control game over me and he is relishing in watching "super mom" fall and take their three offspring down as well in the process.

When I went to pick up the girls, he walks over to the car after our daughters get in and he puts his head through our daughter's window and glared at me and slowly shook his head.....I felt sick and I could not get home fast enough!


Friday, 12 July 2013

My Double Life

Sometimes I feel like I lead a double life.



The worries and struggles of being the mother of a teenager with drug and emotional problems. A life which is full of worry and fear. It brings on arguments, knowing about things I don't want to know about, abusive behaviour, financial strains which leaves me worn out and drained.

Then there is the "happy" mother on the school run, full of smiles and always ready to chat. Going to school activities and mingling with the other parents, discussing "normal" things. My daughters are well groomed, well mannered, bright and generally OK to the outside world.

Yesterday, by day I was in a social services meeting discussing my son's drug usage and many other issues and the serious impact it is having on his younger siblings. Talking about him in such a detached and sterile environment is difficult and surreal at times but always frustrating because there seems to be no solution he will be comfortable with. Also during this meeting I am conscious of the fact that now we have representatives from both of my daughter's school attending and I am somewhat ashamed. I don't really want them to be privy to all the details and I don't want them to look at my daughter's in a different light and I certainly do not want them to associate my daughters as "one of those" children who are on the social services list. I am only being honest here about my emotions, I am not saying that they are true statements of how the school actually views my children, they are my emotions, rational or not.



I listen to wonderful comments about my daughters, followed by, "she wants her brother out of the house". I am told that there should be some options to my daughters during the summer holidays because being at home with their brother without the respite of school might be an emotional strain on them. The summer holidays are a time when all the family are together and being at home is a safe and relaxing enjoyable experience. It makes me sad to once again think how "broken" my little family really is.

Then by night, my happy "normal" mom persona took over last night as we went to watch my daughter's High School's end of year production of Grease. We excited got ready and left my son at home in his dressing gown, sitting alone asking me what will he do with his time. He never wanted to come to the production, his sister did not want him to come, honestly I didn't even want him to come...yet when we leave him at home, he is like a child and does not know what to do with himself. Perhaps this display is only for my benefit, because he does keep himself occupied when we are out and he is always doing what he would normally be doing when we return.

So, we excitedly get ready and make our way to the school. I watch my younger daughter who is excitedly watching the show with a gaping mouth and sitting on her knees so she can see it all. My other daughter is sitting next to her friend, who has joined us with her family. The two young friends are watching with smiles on their faces, sharing whispers and giggles and enjoying themselves. During the interval I chat mindless chitchat with my daughter's friend's parents while the children laugh while sitting away from the grown ups. We continue with the show and it was excellent and full of energy and fun. After the show we hang about again acting like we are just your average family, chatting, smiling etc.. The performers come out to talk to their family and friends. My daughter was busy with her group of friends while the younger siblings tried to torment them! I carried on talking about summer plans (but of course not in the same vain as in the social services meeting!) and getting together and making possible plans an so on.

Once we return home the mood changes, no other reason just merely because we are home now :-(



Today I will try to talk to my son about rehab, which will lend itself to an unpleasant exchange of words. I will clean up the mess he has left me over night. I will try to make phone calls about the repossession of our home. I will worry about if I have enough money to live on for another week while I know that my son will be asking me for various things that I will not give him money for and once again we will end up in an unpleasant exchange of words.

Tonight, I will take my daughters back to the High School where there is an "Inflatable Fun Day" and I will smile and chat and let my girls run free and have fun and say "yes, of course you can have an ice cream or a hot dog or anything you like" and pretend we are "normal", until we go home.




Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Needing to Vent

Today I have hit a new low, even though I know I should not feel ashamed.

I went to the charity food bank :-(



There are so many ramifications of our troubles at home and we are affected on so many levels. Though my son does not steal from me to buy his drugs on the scale that he used to (hundreds and hundreds of GBP were being taken taken out of my bank account regularly at one point, despite me constantly replacing bank cards and changing bank accounts) he somehow still got access to my details, though I don't know how since I have my bank cards on my body 24/7 and never, ever keep cash any more. His latest purchase of opium poppies were somehow bought by ME! He then says that I have to help him buy the pills he "needs". No way buddy, looks like I am closing my bank account!



It was also brought to my attention a while ago that I am using an incredible amount of electricity. Well, that is not surprising since my son's reversed sleep scheduled has him up ALL night, with lights on and tv and computer while the rest of us are asleep. Unbeknownst to me my electricity company decided to up my monthly payment from the agreed £50/month to a shocking £265/month. So when I went to get a few things in town, I could not. Luckily I checked my bank balance at the cash machine before going in and was in confusion as to why I only had £5 available when I was expecting over a £100. Now, since I had not a single coin on me I was in a predicament because the only way to leave the car park without paying (which I could not due to not having any cash on me) is to buy something in the supermarket and get your free parking voucher. The minimum purchase is £3. So I went in, got my £3 of fruit, which was next to nothing, and left the car park with no shopping and only £2 left in the bank!




Upon arriving home, I immediately phoned the electricity company which resulted in me crying and shouting to the representative on the other end of the phone. This was because after a lengthy discussion and review of my account and usage, the lowest she could get my bill down to was £165/month, but she was not able to refund me the £100 difference until July 24th because that is their policy and time restraints apply to refunding money back...blah, blah, blah.

 The next day in my session at Open Road Drug and Alcohol Centre, I told my worker all this and miracle upon miracles she said they could help with getting some food to feed us....thus, the visit to the food bank!

Then, the next day I get a letter in the post from a legal firm representing our mortgage company informing me of a court date to start proceedings of repossession of my property because of unpaid arrears arrears on the property.

I have been all consumed by the problems my son is having and all the things it involves. I have been unable to work and often have buried my head in the sand when it comes to all our other problems because, #1 this addiction and "abnormal" way we live our lives is my main priority, and  #2, dealing with #1 leaves me too drained to deal with anything else.




When my son started stealing from me I could never replace that money and he has never paid me back, so it has always had a knock on effect which I still feel even though that was a long time ago. I was not working then and I am still not. I want to but so much of my time has been spent on trying to resolve things with my family, yet other important matters have been ignored. It took me a year of researching, letter writing, appeals, meetings etc just to get my son back to back after his drug related school expulsion...but more on that another time!

My son refuses to go on unemployment benefit, he does not want to look for work or go to school or get training....Every appointment I have regarding job searches, training courses, benefits etc. I bring up my distraction and worries concerning my son and each and every time I am offered help for him yet when I go home and share with him that there is such a program or service and they could help him, he is not interested. Of course, I no longer get any benefits for him as my child because he is no longer a child, which also has had its impact.

All of these are the dominoes that keep knocking me down and every time I think I have managed to stand a domino back up again, 2 or 3 get knocked back down, The trail of those fallen down dominoes seems to be forever getting longer and longer.




Free rehab is available to him which would more than likely help get a few of those dominoes standing upright and tall again...yet he keeps refusing! So sad. Such a waste. So frustrating.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Blame

My son blames me (and everyone else actually) for everything, but he used to blame his dad. My ex husband blames me as well. I blame my ex husband for causing the emotional issues that led to the drug use and I blame myself for staying with my ex for so long as well as later enabling my son's drug use. We can all point the finger and place blame on ourselves or others, but to what end? Does it help the situation at hand? No, it most certainly does not. So lets let go of the the blame. IT IS NOT HELPING!



Still I can't help but try to figure out where all these complex emotions, the disruptive behaviour, the complicated issues and co dependent/dysfunctional interpersonal relationships started? Not so I can point the finger and place more blame, but so that I can understand and therefore maybe find a remedy. Is that possible?

I went through a period of resenting that all my "good" was for no good. I thought to myself, "I was nice. I was good. I was kind. I was giving. I was loving. I was fun. I was understanding. I was patient. So how come my children are not secure and confident and well adjusted?" It just didn't make any sense. While my son seemed to be hit the hardest by whatever was lacking or wrong, my daughter also has problems with confidence and is often unhappy. My youngest, well, it is hard to tell yet, but even she seems to be "unsatisfied". My son, of course plagues me the most, especially since, in my eyes, he had it the best when he was little, but then on the some token he had it the worst from his father.

I felt that my love wasn't good enough. All of what I was doing was not good enough.I sometimes thought, what is the point of being "nice"? Then I realised that even though I love with all my heart and try to be the best mom I can, I am human and I get frustrated and I have lots on my mind sometimes. I have many worries and get tired and impatient. I am not in control of the outside world and of other people. I am not apologising for myself because it is life and that is the way it is. I have still tried my best given everything else.



My son has been deeply hurt by things he has experienced in his life. I guess we all have to varying degrees and I am sorry he has experienced them. I can not be responsible how his experiences affected him psychologically. No one knows how things affect people, we are all unique individuals. I tried my best to help him as well as prevent those experiences continuing when I told his father to leave.

 At the end of the day, if I look at our lives with emotional detachment, I can not blame his father because I believe his father has many of his own demons and mental health issues as a result of his own emotionally and physically abusive childhood. My ex would probably say he did a good job as a father because he was never "as bad" as his parents. Of course it doesn't work like that and to our son the amount and kind of abusive he received from his father was bad enough regardless that his father or other people might have had it worse! Abusive is not relative, it is just abusive full stop. So than do I blame my ex husband, or do I try to understand the behaviour and the pattern and learn from it? I hope we can learn from it and I hope that one day my son faces his demons hopefully while he is still young. My ultimate hope is that my son receives treatment and therapy to enable him to grow and overcome his issues and addictions so that one day he can no longer feel the need to blame other and he can break the pattern. I hope that one day he can be the emotionally healthy and loving son/man/husband/father that I know he is more than capable of being.




Monday, 8 July 2013

Our Crosses to Bear

Another week end has come and gone and things are still the same.

I have written out my home contract and my son read it over the weekend and said he wants to make some changes, so we will have to talk about it. I also want to write him a letter about my feelings, to make him understand that I love him, but things can not continue like this and sometimes parents have to make hard decisions. I need to him understand that if I did not love him, I would have sent him packing years ago and we would not be here now. I am urging him to seek help and go into rehab because I love him and I want him back, the real him back home. I am not insisting on rehab because I want to "get rid of him" like he seems to thinks.



While my son spent his weekend sleeping the day time hours away, I was busy with my youngest daughter who had her 1st "show" experience, dancing with her ballet school. Four shows in two days, with a total of 6 dances she performed in. I watched her yesterday with my other daughter and it was wonderful!



When she first came on stage my eyes welled up with tears. Tears of pride and joy turned into tears of sadness. Sad that her brother isn't here. Sad that she only has me and her sister, while there are so many grandparents and fathers and "complete" families watching. We are broken on so many levels but maybe she will be tough and strong, like I hope my other daughter will be and flourish despite her incomplete and dysfunctional family. My son seems to have have taken this cross as too much of a burden to bear.



I watch my precious little girl dance with such a big smile on her face and see her face glowing, she is truly enjoying herself. I think again of how her brother is missing this and I am reminded that two or three years ago when his other sister preformed with her school choir at London's Royal Albert Hall, he missed that as well. Things have been the same for him for years.

He is missing out on life....I must be a horrible mother to "allow" this to happen? To "watch" it happen. Wait, I look at my girls and think, "I must be doing something right"? What went wrong? How did this happen? I want to make it better!!!! The horrible struggle and frustration of a parent who is watching one child deteriorate and suffer while the other children need to be encouraged to LIVE, is a terrible experience. I know I do not have the ability to change things without my son's participation and if we are not "on the same page" then no one can change that...one of us needs to join the other and damn it, it should be me he is joining!

I might sound all high and mighty, but I am most certainly not, I want him to join my way of thinking because I want my son to LIVE! I want him to experience the world outside his room and his world of drugs and insecurities and fears. If I join his way of thinking then I would watch him slowly die without doing or saying anything...sometimes I feel that that is what I have been doing because my words to him have been powerless.




My little boy was so so precious to me. He LOVED life and was happy. I saw so much potential as did others. Slowly the sadness entered his face and the intelligence and potential was still there but the enthusiasm and motivation slowly started to disappear. I wish that when he was younger and the negative signs starting to show, I could have swooped him and his sisters up and took refuge with my family and started a new life. However life is never that simple or easy. I had no money, my mother was no longer living, I was not on the best terms with my father, who was busy with his life and his second family. Even if I could have gone to my sister, she was on the other side of the world and these things can not happen without money....maybe if my son manages to overcome his drug problem and live to be a family man, he might then understand why things were the way they were. He might then understand that I did do all I could do at the time given the resources I had or lack of!

Sometimes I wonder where his life will take him....and that is when my biggest fears scare me the most.....maybe his life will take him no where and his life will be short and end in suffering. Now that would be a cross I could not bear!!!!





Friday, 5 July 2013

Rehab Calling

Interesting turn of events events today. My son actually made it to his appointment at the drug clinic today and we were both expecting the usual appointment and for him to walk out with another prescription for Methadone.




I did not go with him, he is an adult and I was not asked to attend the appointment. While escaping reality my way, by submerging myself in grocery shopping, feeling if there was at least one slightly ripe avocado, my phone rings and I get a txt as well.....hmmm I only dropped my son off half an hour ago, I wonder what is going on.

I try ringing my son, no answer so I assume he is in the middle of his appointment. Then I listen to my voice mail because I could not get to my phone quick enough to answer it when it rang...too busy with the avocados! It was my son's Key Worker and wanted to speak to me.




Basically the outcome of the appointment today is that they will no longer offer him Community care, no more prescription for Methadone or any other substitute medicine. They have made a referral for NHS Residential Rehab and the application was successful and he would obtain funding to go to an NHS Rehab Centre.




The people at Open Road would like to see him next week to discuss the rehab as well as try once again to offer him support in the Structured Recovery Program as well as the Integrated Recovery Management System. He said he was not interested in that.

He was angry because he was faced with the reality that he will have no Methadone, he will have no immediate relief from his Opium Poppies and he has no money. He was angry and asked if he could leave the appointment.



The call was to inform me of what the outcome was, as well as to give me the thumbs up that my son will be coming home potentially very angry and for me to consider what I need to do in order to ensure the safety of my daughters and myself.

To rub salt into my son's wounds, as he perceives it, the social worker is coming out in an hour to tell him he has basically shot himself in the foot! Fantastic! Fun, Fantastic Friday for us! Woo-who!



Thursday, 4 July 2013

Tears

Tonight I do not feel as strong as I did yesterday. I am crying for the first time in a long while. My daughter is disappointed in me because I put up with his vile behaviour.



Seven days have gone by without my son having his regular prescription for Methadone. He has a secret stash of various substances to help him "cope". He has asked me for my "help" but I have said no, explaining I will no longer enable him and he needs to accept the consequences of his own behaviour. Today the "no" got to him, he has had a surprising amount of self control over these last few days. Tonight the horrible swear words and insults and blame were thrown at me, even threats of violence. I threatened to call the police if he continued but he got up spewed out his last bit of abuse and went upstairs.



Earlier today I was reminded while writing what a lovely little boy I once had. My counsellor at the drug and alcohol clinic suggested that I should tell him that I love him because his constant need for my attention, negative or not but still attention, is maybe because he needs to know I still love him. I glared at him when he was speaking to me with such disgust, and worse still it was in front of his younger sisters. I thought I do not love you when you are like this, and it is getting harder and harder to see an opportunity to tell him because the situation is never right.

When he was leaving to go upstairs he punched me in the arm, not too hard mind you but on some level he wants to hurt me, thankfully he can still control that impulse.

My 13 year old daughter looked disgusted and disappointed and said that he will get worse and do I want to wait until he really does something bad? After my son went upstairs, so did she because she said she wanted to be in her room, away from me I guess.



His offensive behaviour lasted 20 minutes and than an hour or so later another outburst for about 15 minutes. Not wild uncontrollable behaviour that I didn't feel it justified calling the police, because by the time they get here everything would be calm there was no property damage this time. However the emotional damage has been made in those few minutes.

Tomorrow, no tonight, I will write to my son about what I expect from him and if he can not comply than I will have him removed by Aug 1st.....I hope I can find the strength to actually do it!