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Monday, 27 January 2014

Family in Recovery

An addict is afflicted with a disease called addiction. A disease that there is no medication for and comes in many different forms. There are various theories as to what causes the disease and the cause maybe different for different individuals.

The reality is that it is a disease that affects those around as well. It is not a contagious disease like some but it is unique that it will affect those closely attached to the individual suffering from the disease. Those people will develop their own sickness of second hand addiction, leading to enabling, guilt, dysfunctional relationships, co dependency and often depression.

Reading the symptoms outlined in this following article, I think most of us who have been in any dysfunctional relationship, can agree that we have felt these feelings at one time or another.

http://psychcentral.com/lib/symptoms-of-codependency/00011992


  • Low Self Esteem
  • People Pleasing
  • Poor Boundaries
  • Reactivity
  • Caretaking
  • Control
  • Dysfunctional Communication
  • Obsessions
  • Dependency
  • Denial
  • Problems with Intimacy
  • Painful Emotions
This is not an easy list of "symptoms" to be living with and unfortunately development of co dependency is often a long process, but trying to move out of co dependency is even longer for some. It is a draining and challenges process.

I think a common misconception of those who have not been  personally affected by a loved one being an addict, believes that if that addict seeks or accepts help and enters some form of rehabilitation which may lead to recovery, than the problem is solved. Conversely, families or spouses who have finally made the extremely difficult decision to cut ties with  the addict they love because that addict is not ready for positive change, still get a similar reaction from "outsiders" that they can now live a "normal" life again.

What is often neglected when we speak of addicts and their recovery, or their continued addict lifestyle, is that in either cases, the family/loved ones they affected are in recovery. Obviously there are support groups such as Al-Anon, however, that is still a minority when you look at society and the people we all still need to be in contact on a regular basis. They just don't get it. Life does not magically change when the addict you love leaves or goes into rehab!

My daughters and I are still unsure what the future hold. We do not know how things will pan out with my son. We undoubtedly, feel less stressed and on edge at home; however, we struggle with normality and making any positive changes. Sometimes we feel the need to lash out because we feel angry or frustrated but don't really understand why. We avoid all mention of "him", and when I speak on the phone with him or mention him then my older daughter becomes visibly distressed. There is still a sense of fear but now the fear is less actual and more ambiguous. There is still a sense of dread and depression lingering about and it is hard to see a different life ahead, but not for the lack of trying. We are only in the very early stages of recovery and we will need to not only restructure our daily routines but our thought process and removes some triggers at home, such as the broken banister and doors with huge holes in them as well as redecorating "his" room...all reminders of more volatile days.



Before we take on any big DIY projects in the home (which I can not afford presently), we have started small. We are trying to remind ourselves that despite having overcome so many hardships, stressful and scary times, we have things to be grateful for. We now each have a "Grateful Diary". Every night before going to bed, we write down 3 things that we were grateful for today. My youngest started first and then I joined in a few days later. Much to the dismay of my less than enthusiastic 14 year old daughter, she has now started two nights ago. My youngest, without prompting was dutifully writing in her book for a good few days, had expressed how helpful she thinks it is because "it makes you think about the good stuff, and you feel happier"

We are a family in recovery. We love an addict and who continues to use and live in denial. Nevertheless, we are a family in recovery and I can only hope that my son will also enter his own recovery one day, but at this point in time I need to focus on our own recovery along with my daughters and start to slowly rebuild our lives.

                                

Monday, 20 January 2014

Fearing the Worst

Tonight will prove to be a long very night, with no relief in sight with the rising of the sun tomorrow.



I spoke to my son today and when he got upset with me, he put the phone down on me.

Later, as I was driving home from the store to buy cake ingredients for my little girl's 9th birthday tomorrow, I saw my son walking along the other side of the street. My first reaction was a smile and excitement and I wanted to pull over and say hello. Then I thought, no, he was not very nice to me on the phone today and all he ever wants from me is money to buy drink. So I kept on driving with a pain and sadness in my heart.

This evening as I returned home from my youngest daughter's ballet lessons, at 7:20 pm, the moment I walked inside my phone rang and I saw it was my son calling.  At first glance I was annoyed, "Great", I thought, "he always calls at the most inopportune times".

Much to my surprise it was not my son on the other side of the phone, but a man pretending to be calling from a hospital. He was not that convincing but was trying to make me believe that my son's phone was found and he is in stable condition after an overdose, but then I could tell it was all a farce and I put down the phone.

A few minutes later my son's phone is ringing me again. This time the same man is trying to act the part of a gangster who is after my son because he is a meth head who owes him lots of money and he will slit his throat if he does not pay up. I start retaliating and make it clear that I will not tolerate such vile behaviour and will go to the homeless shelter to report this and take their advice on how to pursue it further.

So I go into the living room and inform my girls that dinner will have to wait, I must run to the homeless shelter because of the phone calls I received. As always, I am over emotional and unable to contain myself and cry as I speak to my daughters.

As I drive along there goes my phone again. The same man but this time he is apologizing for the phone calls and that there is no need to tell the shelter. My son apparently gave him the phone while he ran to go do something. Very unlikely. When he sees my son he will tell him to call me and he is very sorry for upsetting me but I was not moved by his pathetic apology.

I speed over to the shelter and when I get there the workers are outside having a cigarette break before the homeless come at 8:00 pm. it is now about 7:30. I blurted out the story while my legs and arms trembled with such force I thought I would lose control of them. They assured me that my son always arrives at about 8:00 pm and they will ask him to ring me from the shelter's phone, but if he does not show up then they will ring me. Try not to worry I am told.

I drive around the neighbouring streets hoping that my son's bright green backpack will illuminate from the dark pavements and all will be well. I was not successful in my quest. I knew I needed to go home and feed my hungry, bewildered daughters.

Upon returning home I immediately start fixing dinner all the while keeping a watchful eye on the time as well as my phone. Sure enough somewhere around 8:00 pm I get a call, by heart stops beating! It is not my son on the other end. It is a staff member from the shelter that my son in fact did not turn up as usual. I betray my emotions with a quavering voice expressing my fears. They told me they have till 9:00 to turn up, then after that it is too late.

Somehow I managed to contain myself and feed my daughters, then it is nearly 9:00 pm. I was muttering to myself but also talking to my daughter about my worries and confusion as to what actual is going on. She suggests that I ring her brother and see what happens.

The phone is ringing, my heart is sinking, deeper and deeper with each unanswered ring. At last it stops ringing and I hear "Hello". Wrong voice once again. The voice of the woman from the shelter this time. Someone who was with my son earlier, but says he did not make the phone calls to me, has come back to the shelter and handed in my son's phone. The story from him is that my son and a couple of others have "decided" to go on a bender and drink and not come back to the shelter as they know if they drink they will be turned away after being breathalysed.

So why doesn't my son have his phone? Why was this other horrible person torturing me with such horrific "pranks"? Where is my son? Is he really ok? It is one homeless person's word, the homeless person who had my son's phone. Is my son laying in the street after being beat? Is he passed out drunk in the freezing temperatures? Will he freeze? Will he chock on his own vomit. And the words that I can not even say out loud, will I ever see him or speak to him again?

The woman at the shelter assures me all is well and tomorrow at mid day when my son comes to register for a room for the night he will get his phone back and he will be told to ring me. I have to wait a very very long time and tomorrow is my little girls birthday! Please God, do not be so cruel that my youngest child's birthday will be the anniversary of some tragedy that happened to my first born!

I saw him today with excitement as my eyes recognised him, but with a heavy heart I decided to let him keep on walking. Please do not let that be the last image I have of the boy who first brought me the most wonderful joy a woman can imagine in her life, the joy of motherhood!





Friday, 10 January 2014

Mixed Up Emotions

Coping with my son being homeless and still using is actually less difficult than I imagined. That is not to say I do not worry or I am not sad, but it is no more or less the same amount of worry and sadness I had for years while he lived at home and used drugs.

I feel an emptiness at home. Before, while he was still here, we had all the stress and drama, but I missed my son very much then. I say I missed him while he was here with me in the family home because then it was a constant reminder to me that I no longer have my son or my so called normal family. Every time he would be high or coming down or aggressive or passed out, I was sad and missed my boy, because the person I was living with was not the kind and loving son I once had and knew that I could still have. Oh how I missed him, though I could see him before my eyes every single day!

                                

Now I no longer miss the son I use to have because when he is not around I am not being constantly reminded how my true son is lost inside the addict. Now I am feeling the emptiness in my home, though it is not exactly the same feeling as missing someone. It feels strange to know that when I go to sleep at night no one else is still up or downstairs. Therefore the house seems bleaker in a way, almost scary at first. I say scary because now if I here a noise at night, I can not ignore it and go back to sleep in the comfort of knowing that it is my son who is downstairs watching tv. When I come home and my daughters are still at school, it is strange to know that I am the only one here.

                              

Some days I worry why he has not contacted me, but then when he does I am quickly annoyed and disappointed in the nature of our conversation so feel the urge to just hang up. Other days I forget to call him and when night rolls around a sudden feeling of guilt overcomes me that how on earth could I have not been thinking about my homeless drug addict son today!?

There was also this enormous fear within me that if I ever allowed my son to be homeless that he would crumble and succumb to depression and heavier drug use and even possibly suicide. I was very wrong in that fear and he seems to be managing very well. I have written before how this is almost a disappointment to me, yet it is not to say that I want my son to be wondering the streets depressed looking for a better fix and possibly ending his life! NEVER! My disappointment is rather that before those things would happen my son would be overwhelmed with fear of the undesirable elements that being homeless could bring, that he would then "wake up" feeling remorse perhaps, feel the need for sobriety, and seek out help. The fact that he is coping well being homeless is good in the fact that it shows me he is emotionally stronger than probably both of use thought, as well as resourceful. These are very positive indications. I worry that the negative indications to his being so well adapted to homelessness may be that he enjoys the freedom which enables him to continue living a lifestyle of drugs, denial and lack of responsibility.

A pleasant surprise to all of this is that I am aware that I am actually accepting that I have done much good for my son, and though we all make our own mistakes, I am really not responsible for his drug addiction. I am not responsible for his drug manufacturing arrest. I am not responsible for him ultimately becoming homeless. I have tried my best to raise him for nearly 19 years, providing him with love, nurture and support, even during the last 6 years of his ever increasing drug habit. Despite what my son and my ex husband tell me, it is NOT my fault! I am actually starting to really "get" that and believe it!

                          

Perhaps it was foolish of me or just naively hopeful, but I had hoped that once my son was no longer in the family home, and especially once the holidays were over, I would feel new motivation to clean up the house as well as our lives. I envisioned myself with a burst of new found energy and determination to make this the home it once was, and bring back some normalcy of routine to my daughters. Unfortunately this has not been the case. Although I am feeling more and more aware that I really am not the cause of all this, and I no longer have to be the kicking post for my son's rage and anger, I find myself still lacking in energy and motivation.

So many emotions and varying states of mind, some expected, some not so expected, which illustrate just what a very long journey we have been on and still have before us. I am holding on the the mental picture I have of my family being whole again one day. A family no longer torn apart by addiction. A family which has overcome so much emotional, physical and situational hardships yet still worked through the issues and found new healthier relationships within the family at the end. I see happy faces and new additions to my family in the future. I see my children as three happy, well functioning. emotionally strong and healthy young adults one day! This vision is what keeps me here!

                    


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Happy & Homeless

Yesterday afternoon I received a phone call from my son that he needs a lift to the emergency room, because he cut his hand badly last night and today noticed that there are big chunks of glass wedged deep within the wound which he can not remove.



Of course, as mothers do, I said I would pick him up and take him to the hospital in 20 minutes. I had to know though, how did it happen? He slipped, while walking,  on the wet pavement and he was holding a bottle.

My youngest was not impressed as it was her last day at home from her winter break, her sister had gone back to her school the day before, so today should have been just about her. Not a fun way for an 8 year old to spend her last afternoon of her holidays!

As I pulled up on the street corner, I saw my son a few yards away, smiling and chatting to another young man. He looked good. My son looked to be enjoying himself, fully engaging in conversation, smiling, laughing. He looked like a good looking young man enjoying himself. He looked happy.
My first glance at my son made me happy. Then reality sunk in and I was no longer happy. I was not looking at my nearly 19 year old son hanging out with his class mate after uni, waiting for me to help him do his grocery shopping before I dropped him at his flat where he shares with other classmates....just a nice hypothetical example, one of many "nicer" alternatives to the truth.

I was watching my homeless son, chatting to his fellow homeless mate who was enjoying a can of cider, standing outside the drug and alcohol clinic, waiting for me to take him to the hospital to get his hand stitched up. This was not right. This was causing me a great sense of cognitive dissonance. This was making me feel edgy. AND he was making me wait, because he was enjoying himself!

Upon arriving at the hospital, he tells the true story behind his injury. The day it happened he had gone to the corner shop and stole a can of extra strong cider and a bottle of wine. He then proceeded to the park where he consumed all of the wine and cider. He was, according to him, enjoying himself and got a bit drunk. This led him to want more, so foolishly he went back to the SAME shop and attempted to steal another bottle of wine. He thought he got away with it, but once outside a man from the shop and a guard dog chased my son down the street. This is when and how my son fell and fell with the bottle of wine which smashed in his hand as he fell. The man caught him, and according to my son, dragged him back to the shop by the scruff of the neck. When my son tried to escape his hold, he threatened to sick the dog on him. Once back at the shop, the manager decided there was no point calling the police since there was no longer evidence that he took anything, it was broken and all over the pavement somewhere. They let him go with the warning that he is not allowed to ever enter the shop again.
           
                                        
                 

Having finished his story, he also told me that his hand was bleeding quite a lot after it happened and he wondered around and eventually went into a church that was holding an evening service. When some of the parishioners noticed the state of his hand they were concerned and offered him tissues. After the service the clergyman helped my son with his first aid kit, and everyone was very nice and helpful, though he didn't think the cuts in his hand were a big concern. All the while when he was telling me this, he was calm, relaxed even smiling and chuckling at times.

As he stood by the car door, very comfortable with the fact that he was going into the emergency room to get stitched up, he did not seem too bothered. I told him that I hope this is not the beginning of things to come. He said that it probably is and that he will probably get into fights and such and receive much worse injuries. I drove away sad, worried, and disappointed.

I reflected on our car journey home, how he was telling me, with his young sister in the back seat, how it is actually good being homeless. He gets a room and taxi. He gets fed decent food every night. There are churches that they go and hang out in to get warm and get light lunches during the day. He has free time and he is out doing a lot of stuff, not just sleeping and sitting indoors all the time like he was at home. He has no one hassling him, and the people don't judge and they are nice.

                                           

Right now being homeless, having a shelter with a special night provision, doing your own thing is an adventure my son is enjoying. I hope he gets housed in the supported housing project (that excepted him in early/mid December) has an opening soon, before this adventure turns into a chosen way of life that my son chooses over an improved living accommodation where he would get support with the intention of moving forward toward independent and healthy living. Something tells me once in a house with rules and boundaries to adhere to, he will look at homelessness as the better option for him. I hope my feeling is wrong.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Is Life Fair

This post has nothing to do with my son, or addiction, or drugs.

This post is only about me trying to figure me out.

What shapes our lives and makes us into the type of person we grow up into being. Is it genetics, upbringing, destiny or a mixture of it all? Actually, I am wondering why do our a adult lives turn out the way it does.

                                 

Sometimes, more often then we think, we comment on how lucky a person is or what a lucky couple they are. Is it just luck? Sometimes we look at a person and think (rightly or wrongly) that they are where they are today because of their looks, their money, they relationships they had etc. Other times a person seems to have it all merely because they were born into a wealthy and prestigious family, many generations creating privilege. Sometimes these people have the world handed to them on a silver platter, yet whether they are happy or not is another matter.

There are of course people who we admire and know how hard they have worked and overcome to be where they are. They have studied hard, worked long hours, put up with difficulties and made sacrifices to be where they are and enjoying the fruits of their labour.

I am sure everyone has either known. heard of, or seen a couple who are so obviously in love with each other and truly happy, that we know it is true and could not be a charade. On the other side of that coin we have also all known and seen couples who are so unbearable unhappy, dysfunctional and sometimes even abusive, yet that is the relationship they remain in for the majority of their adult life, denying them love and happiness.

              

We have also known people, or maybe even feel like this ourselves, who seem to have rotten luck, trying hard yet everything seems to go wrong and they never succeed. Good people, kind people, smart people who for what ever reason never seem to get it right but not from lack of trying.

Then there are the lucky ones who always seem to be in the right place at the right time, everything falling into place and good things happening and sometimes to not very deserving people.

Does anyone out there think about these things and get bogged down with the unfairness of life sometimes? Does anyone get to the point where they just think, "why, why, why?" to the point of tears? I think of how I have overcome obstacles and survived difficult times and I am proud of that, because I know no matter what I am a survivor. The thing is, I don't want to go through life just surviving it. I want to succeed and achieve and LIVE! I try and try yet every step forward seems to take me back two steps. Everything seems so hard. That I could almost bear, but it is the things I can never have or that I missed out on, yet others seems to be so ignorant in the fact that they "have" it and it seems to be no significance to them.

This is not self pity, it is not jealousy. It is not bitterness. If you would spend time with me, you would know how much I love to be around people. I am loving and kind and giving. I welcome you into my home and cook for you and enjoy feeding you. I laugh, I act silly and goofy. I turn the music up loud and sing badly. I dream of better days. I do the right thing. I have studied and learned, and still desire to learn more. I believe everyone has that one special love out there that they are meant to be with. I believe in romance and magic. I believe the world is beautiful, both in natural beauty and wildlife, as well as art and architecture. Travel is exciting and enlightening. Passion is inside me and I love "love". I believe in family and will always fight tooth and nail for them, as I have done in the past. I will give you life and watch you die, the people I love so much, and cry tears of both happiness and grief.

                       

Those few how know me really well know that I have suffered. I have been ill since childhood. I have lost those closest to me. I have never been successful in work or with money. I am often penalized for my honesty and trying to do the right thing. I had many love affairs but was never wined and dined and treated like I was their love. I have never had anyone chase after me or fight for me. I have never been proposed to, had an engagement ring or an actual wedding ring, in fact no man has ever bought me jewelry or much in the way of gifts. I have not had a "real" wedding. I have cared for people and went through hell for them. I have went without. I have done crazy things, like spend every penny, sell jewelry, have unpaid bills just so I could travel and have a holiday with my children so that I can show them how magnificent this world is.

Through all this, things have never been easy and what I consider to be "normal" pleasures in life have either eluded me or been a struggle and not lasted long. There always seem to be many problems, yet little solutions. Even simple problems are never easy for me to fix.

I have almost given up in ever having so much of the ease, happiness, love and work that I want. I will not give up though, and if anything else I will get pleasure vicariously through my children if they succeed with building a most wonderful life that they are grateful for.

I still wonder if it is something in my psychological make up, am I somehow damaged and unable to create the happiness I long for? Is it all about energy? Even though I still love life, am I somehow putting out negative energy and therefore attracting negative energy? Is it something from a past life I am working through? Is it that God only gives us as much as He knows we can take, and though we may be suffering we will be rewarded in heaven? Is it all just luck? So many different theories, I do not know what I really think or believe. I just know that I want more yet I get little, that sound selfish, but it is not meant to be!

                     
 
So everyone who grows up at some point learns the lesson that life is not fair. So I was just wondering why this lesson is still so hard to believe for me? Am I being too simplistic and naive to believe that good things should happen to good people? Oh well, the hopeful romantic in me still believes in magic and that one day things will change, not just for me, but for all of you out there who feel the same,

             

Friday, 3 January 2014

Drug Crime is Drama.

We were the center of attention in October 2013. We thought such attention and drama would have huge repercussions. The waiting and unknowing of what the consequences for my son and my family would be was unbearable in the beginning.

                         

We had to wait for Nov 20th for my son to be questioned a second time after the police investigation. Nov 20th came and went without a bang because the police needed more time to investigate such a "serious incident". The interview was postponed until Jan 2, 2014. More waiting.

So much time passing, you forget how much of a drama the "incident" was. It is strange to look back now and see how many images of my home were being blasted on every type of news media. Even on Flicker! They ranged from major news stories (BBC for example) to our local news reports. I am reminded of the horror, the invasion, the violation, the humiliation, yet as we waited to see what drama the police were going to be throwing at us as punishment,  seemed to get further and further away and less significant.

Here are a few of many news reports. So many images of my home surrounded by police,  tents, people in special safety suits,  fire engines etc.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-24378914

http://www.essexchronicle.co.uk/UPDATE-Chelmsford-chemical-leak-Man-arrested/story-19881718-detail/story.html

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuart166axe/10075344225/in/photostream/

http://www.essex-fire.gov.uk/incidents/18043/

http://www.itv.com/news/anglia/update/2013-10-03/arrest-after-chemical-incident-in-chelmsford/

http://www.theenquirer.co.uk/read.aspx%20id=12616

Now here we are Jan 3, 2014. My son was re-interviewed yesterday by the police now that they have completed their investigation and forensics. My son was at the police station for 4-5 hours. No information after those hours as of yet have been relayed to me. All I know is that now they will decide how to charge him, They will  post  the charge! If he does not get his charge by March 13th then he will need to reappear at the police station to get his charge! More waiting.

I am sure that once the charge is made, there will be a court date. I am also sure that after the charge is made, we will have to wait again before we are told when the court date will be. Once we get the date, we will have to wait for that date!

Wait, wait, wait. It does not seem to equate with the amount of drama, publicity and expense that was put into the "incident". I hope that at the end of this long waiting period my son does not just get a slap on the wrist.  Don't get me wrong, I do not want him to go to prison. I would like him to get a DRR (Drug Rehabilitation Requirement) even though he might resist engaging fully so little benefit might be gained. However, I do not want him to get off lightly for his own good because I do not want my son to get the message that what he did was somehow OK and no serious consequences resulted. This may only encourage him to do the same crimes again.

                              

Educating The Young Homeless Addict

I met with my son in town for a cup of coffee today. He was 45 minutes late, but at least he was not intoxicated!

                            

My fear was always that if my son was ever homeless he would be exposed to more undesirable "things". I really never looked beyond the fear that he would turn to heroin and may accidentally overdose.

Funny, I did not think about the other "things" he would be exposed to. I suppose I feared the threat of heroin and possible overdose because I assumed my son would be scared and hurt and turn to heroin as a comforting  way to deal with his fear. I did not think that my son would just fine being homeless. He would like the people he was coming into contact with. He would listen to their tricks and think it is worth a go.
Oh how naive of me!

                                      
It is a provable statistic that crime and drug addiction has a high correlation, therefore why am I surprised that my son would turn to petty crime to support his habit? He has already broke the law in so many more complex ways. As I sat with him and he spoke of things, I was embarrassed that we may be overheard, I had a feeling of detachment as well as shame.

Under the pretense of wanting to see me and just sit and have a chat, it became clear there was more to it. He has no money. Will I give him enough money to tie him over till he gets his next benefit payment. "No, I am sorry I can't, you will have to ask someone else." "Dad has just given me £50 for Christmas and wont give me any more, and my friends won't give me money."

        

I will not give him any more. I helped him out with nearly £100 the first few days after moving out. His most loyal friend will not give him money because he has also learned that he would only be enabling him. His father has not helped for months and our son knows that  Dad is not a resource for him to tap into. My son receives benefits now, paid into his bank account each fortnight. I will help him budget that money, as I offered, but I will no longer do anything that is in any way enabling his addiction.

So ok then, he will have to start stealing "bigger stuff". Ahem, excuse me, "bigger stuff"? Well he has stolen a thermal head scarf, some ear phone cushions, AND, and I did not want to know any more. He told me of how one of the guys at the shelter told him how he steals wine, even though he doesn't like wine, it is the easiest to steal. He also found out that some chemists do not dispose of medicines properly and sometimes if you poke around their bins you can find some pills. Also around the University campus is also a good place to find blister packs of prescription drugs laying about. A homeless woman also steals from donations that are left outside Oxford and other charity shops. STOP. I do not want to hear any more.

I am listening to this is a small cafe with no other customers and the owner is sitting at the table right behind my son, he is not even trying to speak quietly. He talks about how the codeine syrup he bought yesterday broke when he dropped it. Then he says, that though upset, he was ok because he knew he had the codeine he extracted from some co-codamol he bought and that was back at the room. Upon returning he picked it up and spilled 2/3rds of it. Also his prescription for Atarax (hydroxyzine hydrochloride) is almost gone even though he had a new prescription filled on Jan 31st, 4 days ago. If the doctor intended him to be taking as many as he is, obviously he would have given him a larger prescription!


                          

He wants some money, because he is starving?! Hmm, funny how are you buying codeine and such? The homeless shelter only gives him one meal a day. Funny, a few days ago my son told me how he is eating so much better! 

Can we not just talk? No, at home everything revolved around drugs. Outside, everything revolves around drugs. Our relationship will not change until my son faces up to his addiction. I know that, now I need to wait for my son to come to that conclusion as well.

As we left the cafe, my son asked for a lift to a corner shop near my house even though he said he was meeting a friend near where the cafe is soon. Why? To buy a can of cheap cider. Oh I guess he is not entirely penniless. OK, upon getting into my car he pokes around the little place where I put change and keep my trolley pound, anything he can find to take.  There is nothing because I have learned to live with absolutely nothing left laying about would be potentially useful to my son.

His plan for the rest of the afternoon? Buy a can of cheap, strong cider. Go to the chemist and look behind the shop in their bins for any discarded medications. Go to maybe a few more chemists that he has heard from the other homeless people are relaxed about disposing of drugs. Try to remember to meet his friend. Go back to where the shelter is and possibly pop into the off license opposite and try to steal a bottle of wine. Get taken back to his accommodation and consume what he has successful obtained. Lovely skills son!

On the bright side, I am discovering that I am becoming stronger and stronger and letting go of the guilt and feelings of responsibility of my son's addiction. Never in a million years would I have been able to envision this situation 6 months ago. I have actually told and watched my son leave my home. He has become homeless. He is asking for "help" and I am saying no. I have turned him away in the cold night when he appears at my door unannounced intoxicated. I have told him to leave my house during a visit over the emotional and lonely holiday period because he broke the rules and lied. I have managed to do this all without tears, well, without too many tears, without breaking. I have managed to smile and laugh and go out and feel happy with other people guilt free. I will keep contact with my son, I will continue to advise him and love him, but I will no longer let his choices destroy 4 lives. I accept that my choices were not the best and in some ways my choices contributed to his unhappiness, but it was his choice, not mine, to use drugs to buffer his sadness or dissatisfaction with life. I am here to help, along with others, when he is ready.

Actually, my son may be learning new "skills" at the moment that I am not proud of, (but again it is his choice), but I am learning new skills as well on how to be stronger and happier and still remain supportive. I am showing my daughters that life does not only go on, but it can get better. In the end I hope that one choice my son will make, is the choice to seek help and the choice to start on the road to recovery. I also hope that when that day comes and he is enjoying more sober and enlightened days, he will look back and see who was there for him and see how much we have all grown.

                                  



Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Nothing Changes New Year's Day

New Year's Day 2014 is today.

Many people around the world are hung over from too much celebrating the night before. Celebrating a new year with hopes of new beginnings, hoping that this may be the year that something lacking thus far in their lives will find them and fill a void. Resolutions are made by many, resolutions that will soon be forgotten.

                              

Yesterday there were no celebrations in my house. The house and kids were a mess so my agenda was to have something cleaned before the New Year started. After a slow start I  decided to start with our kitty and give him a flea treatment. Since he sleeps with me, I thought I should also change my bedding. Not that was riddled with fleas, but it is better to be safe. Then I showered my youngest. As I brushed and combed her washed hair I discovered she has lice, which shockingly is a common occurrence with British children. OK, that meant dry the hair and put lice treatment on, change her sheets, comb with lice comb, re wash hair! Then I told my other daughter she better check her hair....she thought she was all clear, but eventually found two disgusting creatures in her hair. OK, treatment and thorough coming, wash hair, change sheets! I might as well do mine, to be safe, but later, too much to do! Any one who has been through this ordeal, knows how tedious and time consuming it is!

During all this I am getting phone calls and txts from my son. He had a Dr's appointment and wanted to stop by since the doctor is very near my home. Eventually after lots of toing and froing we agreed that he would stop by but not come inside and collect his benefit letter at the door. Then when I made the suggestion that he could stop by a certain friends house, my son was very quick to inform me that he is no longer welcome there and that it is my fault! Apparently when my son was kicked out of the first homeless shelter for drugs and was looking for places to stay, even if for just one night, this particular friend asked his parents and it was ok until he let it slip to his parents that my son was homeless and why. Upon hearing the truth, this friend's parents said that my son was no longer welcome in their home. So my son started to tell me how this was all my fault, I made him homeless! I tried to explain how it was all his choices that led us here and that the more people that refuse to help him because of his drug addiction, eventually he will learn why and start taking some responsibility to get into recovery.

                              

So, as I was trying to deal with my mess inside with mountains of washing (and no tumble dryer), realizing that time was getting on and that I still needed to get out to the shops since come New Year's Day they will be closed, and still not dressed, my son knocks on the door. Never is anything simple, could we just say our hello's and collect his letter and be on his way? Of course not. Somehow my son started talking, again, of how he needs to have his clothes washed, he wants to bring some stuff by because he has too much to lug around, etc. I noticed that he had new trousers on. The day before he had met with his father who bought him some jeans and a thermal top and gave him £50 and bought him lunch etc. OK great...but I have given him much more and it is never good enough. He tells me how the trousers I gave him for Christmas have already ripped and blah blah blah. Then he contradicts himself by telling me how good he has been living since he is homeless. The shelter feeds him good food, he has been treated to lunches and he is near fast food places. He has been more productive, he is out more etc. As much as I understand that he longs for a relationship with his father and independence is a self satisfying experience, my son seems to want to hurt me with the way he communicates these things to me and always puts in an insult or two for good measure. He not only treats me with gross disrespect, blatantly holds me responsible for EVERY bad thing that has ever happened, he speaks highly of others who do minimal for him and yet is ungrateful and even unaware of how much I have done and still do for him.

                               

I had to try to stand my ground and not emotionally charged and keep the interaction to a minimum, while offering him to come over the following day and then he could also pick up some nicer clothes to wear to the police interview on Jan 2nd. When he continued to wind me up about his father, I succumbed (as I often do) and asked if his father has offered to support him some way on the 2nd. Has he offered to get him to the police or stay with him to give him emotional support? No, because "Dad is going away for a few days ". Lovely! "He can go away if he wants, why not?".

                           

After I shut the door I lost it. The floodgates opened. Why do I have to deal with all the crap? The fleas, the lice, the washing, the cooking/cleaning, punctured tire on my car,  the bills, the debt collectors, lawyers, courts, police, social workers, drugs, chemicals, drug services, suicidal daughter, groups therapy, appointments, mental health services, doctors, school, being on the news, gossip,  shitty comments, lost friendships, unemployment, my son's homelessness, crap from their father, listening, crying, arguments, putting up with the crap, hoping, waiting, wanting to fix it all, and now Christmas and trying to keep it together and keep the magic alive for my youngest......why, why, why???? He CAN GO AWAY? He doesn't have to deal, he can relinquish responsibility and also blame ME for Everything? How the F*** is that right or fair!

Their father lies to the Social Workers and sends me txts such as, "You seem to be ok with the girls not seeing me before Christmas and not getting their presents...?". Disregarding all we have had to deal with lately and that also was my sister was in town for only a few days. He then said he would not see them any other day before the 29th. When that was agreed I said that he could collect the girls across the street from the house, it's easier that way and better for the girls. So I get accused of being difficult and he will not have it. I again caved in to the games and said that I was just trying to put our children's well being first, unlike him. I also asked for a time when the visit would end (so I could plan my day).  So when I read his response, "Great job you have done with our son. When the big hand is on the twelve and the little hand is on the five", well I was in tears and so upset that he could be blaming me on what a great job I have done in raising our son. Hell-lo, he did/does have a father, yet he blames me and me alone? Then he speaks to me like a child regarding the time his visit with our daughters will end? Really!?

It's ok for him to go away whenever and wherever he likes? How about me? This hit me even harder than usual, because a few weeks ago an old lover in France sent me a lovely email about how I need to do something for myself, and get out of "it" for a few days. He wrote me that we could look at the snow on the Alps, drink wine and love one another. For the first time in a long time I felt excited and happy that I can do something for me and it is OK. I deserve to get away for a weekend and recharge my batteries. To feel young and beautiful and worry free. I thought about it, we wrote a few emails and then I started to look at airline tickets and planning in my head who to ask to look after the girls, which friends could they go to , who would look after the cat etc. Long story short, it is not happening and I feel that he may have bailed on me,  I told him when I was thinking of going then it was no longer convenient because he will be away working. No discussion on making other plans and no contact now for a while.  My bubble burst, big time!

                                           

So I am having a rant here, sorry. I just feel like all these little and big incidences boiled up inside of me and I felt like screaming.

Today . New Year's Day. New beginnings. New chances,

I started with playing a board game with my daughters. My youngest has been feeling neglected since so much of my time and attention was always taken away by her brother and his problems, which of course helped build my own problems. When he was getting ready to move out and I explained to her what was happening, I told her that now we could start trying to make things better at home. "So you will play with me more from now on?" was her reaction. I had to say that not right away, but soon, "after Christmas, mummy?". "Maybe, we will see how it goes".



What a better time then to show to my daughters that things will start getting better, playing a game together on New Year's Day. My little girl was thrilled and we enjoyed it!

My son arrived a couple of hours later and it all changed and I realized that it is so very hard to make change happen. Everything soon went pear shaped and the raised voices and arguments and disregard to my wishes were all happening again as if the last 15 days never happened. He left a couple of hours later only to return an hour later (for 10 minutes he said) to collect clothes for tomorrow, That 10 minutes turned into a couple of hours and him getting high/drunk in his room and messing about and wasting time. My daughters were shut away in their room and I was getting so frustrated and disappointed. Eventually I had to tell him that he is no longer welcome in my home unless he agrees to be clean and sober. No more lies. No more manipulation. No more shit! I even told him that because of his behavior that I will not take him to the police in the morning, make his own way and whatever will happen will happen.

                                               

All this is NOT MY FAULT. I am NOT responsible for my son's behavior. I am not responsible for his choices. I will no longer be his scapegoat! This is a new year and I WILL NOT do it anymore.

I will think of making this a happier home for me and my daughters, and I know it will take time. I will find someone who does want to spend time with me and have moments to recharge myself. I will not feel guilty if things go wrong for my son. I will continue to love my son and hope for his light bulb moment which will lead him onto the road of recovery. I will welcome him back when he returns as my son and not a using addict.

New Year, may not seem much different in my house today. Nothing has changed for my son. Nothing has changed within our dysfunctional relationships. The problems and difficulties remain.

Something is different though. No matter how much my buttons get pushed by my ex, or guilt is thrust upon me by my son, or I feel rejected by old lovers, I am not going to let it control me anymore. I will try, little by little, try to make that change and this year will see me becoming more empowered and ultimately happier, whatever the future holds.

At least, this is my goal....today, on New Year's Day 2014!