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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

The Roller Coaster Life of The Lonely Addict

There are many people out there who are alone, unhappy and lost. We all find different ways to manage these difficult and uncomfortable emotions. We all, at the end of the day, want to feel loved and to love ourselves and our lives. That is not always possible and we then want to make ourselves feel better, feel loved, or even at times, feel nothing. What easier way to do this then with self medicating with illicit and licit drug use to become comfortably numb. I can understand the need and the motivation which creates sympathy for my son; however, I can also see the destruction and chaos which creates frustration within me.


Don't get me wrong, I am not saying it's ok to be an addict and I may not sympathize with them all. I know not all people are the same and therefore, not all addicts are the same. There are some addicts who slipped into addiction through over indulgence and "partying". There are some addicts who were almost turned into addicts from dealers who are in essence pimps who have no soul and deliberately get people "hooked" so that they keep coming back for more at whatever the cost. There are some who unintentionally became addicted to prescription medications and those who were socialized to drink and one day they realized they could not function without a drink. Not all addicts create a self medicated numbness; but, my son is such an addict.

My son's drug habit always seems to worsen when he has been rejected or had a negative experience, which is not surprising. My son does not go out and party and have fun while taking drugs. My son uses drugs to try to escape reality and in some respects he uses drugs in pursuit of happiness but he is starting to come to the point in his life where drugs no longer make him happy. That can be a positive or a negative. In a positive sense his realization that drugs no longer transport him to a happier plane could be the catalyst for him to seek out rehabilitation and a new direction in life in order to find happiness in other ways. It could also have negative repercussions in the fact that his realization that the drugs he is using are no longer giving him pleasure, he could then begin to experiment with other drugs and/or increasing the dosage in order to achieve a state of "happiness" and may in fact inadvertently overdose. I often fear the latter and every day wonder if my son is alive or dead. When I have tried to reach him and can not, my mind plays out different scenarios of finding him dead and my various reactions to his death. It is a horrible way for a parent to live, that each and everyday you wonder if you will ever see your child again, and it is more disconcerting when there are valid reasons for that fear.


My son is clearly unhappy and keeps finding it more difficult to achieve any level of happiness. When he reverts back to using drugs in attempt to erase his unhappiness, more often then not it will backfire on him. Just in the last three to months I can think of at least three such examples. During his last admission to the mental health unit we hoped for some help at last and all was going relatively well, until 6 weeks into his stay a new patient arrived. My son went out with this new patient one day and they scored some drugs (heroin, tranquilizers and synthetic cannabis). They were both subsequently discharged without any diagnosis or follow due to the fact that their discharge (as well as now the official reason for them being there in the first place) was due to drug use. After that my son regressed back to his secluded lifestyle of being indoors for days on end, being depressed, feeling rejected, feelings of self blame and therefore took more drugs.

Another occasion was when my son spent a lot of money on a variety of substances (quite a lot with the intention of putting some away as his stock pile) he became friendly with a young girl who is his neighbor in the supported housing where he lives. They started to get close and my son started to believe that someone could not only like him, but perhaps also love him. A few days of spending time together as well as taking drugs together, this young woman ended up in hospital since her heart could not cope with the amount of drugs in her system. My son panicked, flushed his stock pile down the toilet and called me up in hysterical tears fearing that this young woman may die and feeling responsible and so again the self blame, the depression, the anxiety all came flooding back to him. Luckily the girl was ok and was soon released from hospital.


Sadly the last example of my son's failed attempt at happiness by way of drugs may have very serious consequences. After receiving a large sum of money from the benefits department, my son was sensible enough to have me hold some money for him as well as kind enough to pay me back quite a lot of the money he had stolen from me in the past. He still had quite a lot of money left at his disposal. Even though he had a list of things he wanted to do with his money, like go to concerts, get a passport, buy a laptop etc he has spent the majority of it on legal and illegal drugs. When he first bought some drugs he spent a few days with a fellow drug user and basically that entire week is lost to my son and it is just a blur. Shortly after that week spent in a  drug induced haze he had a visit from the police with a search warrant. Not surprisingly the police took him in for questioning when they did find drugs in his flat. He was arrested for possession with intent to supply Class A and other classes of drugs. Of course with his past conviction the outcome is not looking very positive. The drugs have been taken away, well except for the "legal" one and he continues to use drugs.

Of course all this has been exasperated by his impending doom of eviction with no where to go. First the reason for eviction was the state in which he keeps the flat. Then it was for rent arrears. Both of which were addressed and the eviction was put on hold, but always a possibility when the manager seemed fit to continue with the proceedings. Then whilst in the mental health ward, I received a phone call from the manager of the flats saying that "since he is in the Linden Center, we are going forward with the eviction as it is clear that we can not offer him the level of support he needs". So sympathetic and understanding, not to mention the fact that she is obviously a very good manager of SUPPORTED housing, isn't support needed here?

Once my son was discharged and things seemed to be improved in some ways the housing manager did not say one way or the other what was happening with the eviction and my son was too anxious to ask! All the time though, my son lived in fear as to what was going to happen. Then after the incident with the neighbor, the eviction was put into full swing once again. This time he was told point blank that he will be evicted, it will go to court and he will incur court costs and the bailiff will come and put him on the street. The housing staff knew full well that my son had no where to go, and in fact that the homeless shelter would not even help him as he was still in arrears with them.


This happened just before I went on a 2 week holiday with my daughters. Whilst on holiday I spoke to my son and he told me that he was advised by the support staff that it would be in his favour to resign his tenancy and avoid court, court costs and eviction because the local council would look unfavorably on that and he would be seen as making himself intentionally homeless. I agreed then that he should do as they advised. Upon returning home, it was my priority to assist my son with finding accommodation and the first port of call was going to the council. As we explained to them the situation, they informed us that the housing staff ill advised my son, and by resigning his tenancy, he is making himself intentionally homeless and he should have went ahead with the eviction and he would have had support from the council. Again, another blow to my son and all these blows feeds his feeling of hopelessness.

Next step, assessment for supported housing, to which I attended with my son and was told that his application will be put forward to the next panel meeting (2 months earlier this was suppose to happen but the man handling the application never submitted my son's application and therefore was not considered for supported housing on mental health needs even though he just spent 6 weeks in the mental health unit and was told that that was the reason for eviction)! I was optimistic to the point that every day that followed that meeting I went to my son's flat to clean up, sort out and pack up because I assured him that once his application is viewed at the panel meeting he may get a phone call telling him he can move.

Unfortunately, after I inquired (4 days after the meeting) we were told that no one at the meeting was "willing" to take on my son due to his past drug history! No alternative suggestions, no reassurance that something will be sorted; despite that one of the supporting documents to my son's application for supported housing was a letter from a psychiatrist saying that if he is made homeless again his mental health will surely deteriorate and the pressures of living on the streets will push him deeper into drugs and alcohol. No one was willing to take him on!


Since then my son has been indoors once again and on the day we found out this news my son said to me, very sadly, that there is no point. There is nothing in his life and there is nothing that creates any semblance of happiness any more. He doesn't even understand how I can still love him. He has nothing, he is unhappy and the things that used to make him happy no longer work.

How long can a person continue to go on while they are constantly feeling rejected by professionals and society? I do not condone his drug use at all, but I do understand the motivation behind it. If people who are being paid to help and support vulnerable individuals, do not seem to give a damn if a young person who still has potential to become a thriving part of society, lives on the street or not...well then yeah, what is the point in his eyes!