Tag Archives: Addiction

World View Through a Straw

tunnel-visionHave you ever had a conversation with someone where it occurred to you that this person is suffering from myopia of the brain? They think they have it all figured out from behind a protective screen of comfort and privilege?  Of course I know that we are all a product of our own experience and upbringing, but sometimes it seems that there is something fundamentally lacking.

Perhaps the ability to figuratively walk a mile in another man’s shoes is a rare ability. All it takes to get me foaming at the mouth these days is to watch FOX news for 30 minutes. The big catch phrase for the last year or so is “a sense of entitlement.” It looks good on paper, but the reality is something very different. Does someone who is looking for a job, but can’t find one, have a sense of entitlement because they think that they should be afforded the opportunity to provide a roof over the heads of their family and food on the table? Do they have a sense of entitlement when they have a child who needs medical treatment, but can’t afford it because insurance premiums would cost half of their monthly salary at a minimum wage job?

Or how about a woman who is rotting in prison for 10 years as the result of mandatory minimum sentencing laws, while her children left behind are funneled into the bizarre and profoundly broken foster care system, guaranteeing them a life of being in the system and probably getting into a lot of trouble before they even reach adulthood.

Well she deserves it they say. Her crime? Maybe she took a phone message for someone who called the house looking for her boyfriend, husband, son, etc. and unbeknownst to her it turned out to be someone looking for drugs. So she is charged with “conspiracy to distribute drugs” and away she goes into a prison system crowded with people who are in there under mandatory sentencing laws on ridiculous trumped up charges to prove that we are winning the “war on drugs”. In my opinion this war has turned into a “war on poverty.” Criminalizing any attempt to escape the rat cage.

Poverty, homelessness, addiction… these are all complex issues, and I’m the first to admit that I have no clue as to how to solve these problems. However, I do know that turning it around to blame those in need and claiming that all they are looking for is a free ride is not the answer.

Book Review – Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You

Don't Let Your Kids Kill youMy bizarre dreams continue, and I know now that they are directly related to my darling daughter’s current flip out and total departure from reality. Her last text message yesterday of 15 text messages in the space of 5 minutes was. “I HATE MYSELF, I lost my soul, you don’t care, TTYL.” (TTYL = talk to you later) How’s that for a guilt trip? My kneejerk response spoken only in my head was “uh, take 2 valiums and call me in a year, mkay?”

Instead I took the 2 valiums myself and prayed the prayer I always pray. “OK, God, I’m giving her to you… again. I don’t know what to do, please take care of her and help her find her way.” I was crawling out of my skin and briefly considered scheduling an emergency visit with my own psychiatrist.

Then it hit me, it has reached the point in our twisted relationship that I am no longer afraid FOR her, I’m afraid OF her. I mentioned this to Mr. Husband and he said “yea, you’ve reached this point before many times.” It’s funny how I can go into such a major case of denial that I forget this. All it takes is a couple of “normal” phone calls and I think “ah, everything is OK now.” What is really happening is that she’s baiting the hook to reel me in with yet another request for money, help, bail her out, buy something she wants, fix her problem, rescue her from another jam, etc., etc.

So I went on the internet and searched for books to read to help me through this. I found one with the onerous title “Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You.”

Synopsis via Amazon.com: Book Description

Don’t Let You Kids Kill You – Publication Date: August 1, 2007

This is a self-help recovery guide for parents in the devastating situation of realizing that they are powerless to stop their children from self-destruction through drug and/or alcohol abuse. It is dedicated to letting parents know when it is time to start saving themselves from being dragged along to destruction as well, and to providing skills that prevent it. The book relies on spiritual but practical teachings and the message is for parents to attain a healthy balance in their lives through the letting go process. While showing parents how to safely distance themselves from the child’s destructive patterns, it also shows how to recognize and support healthy requests for real help, if and when they come. It includes anecdotes and quotes from parents who have had to cope with kids on drugs and/or alcohol.

This book also applies to parents with kids that have substance abuse problems in tandem with mental illness, which is the case with my daughter. I get so frustrated with her thinking, “If you are so ready and willing to take a pill, shoot, or snort anything that comes your way…why the hell can’t you just pop a few extra pills that will actually help you.

The sad truth here is that street drugs are much easier to get than psychiatric meds. Psych meds required going to a Doctor or clinic which is expensive and also require regularly scheduled follow up visits. In other words it requires responsibility, planning and follow through. Not easy and usually not part of the skill set for a person who has difficulty deciding on which shoe to put on first in the morning.

Another huge problem in the mental health care system is that many Psych doctors and psychologists don’t understand or don’t have the training to help people who have substance abuse and mental illness as co-morbid conditions. Their response is typically, “well, I can’t help you until you stop drinking, using…blah blah blah.” That is probably not going to happen. It’s like telling an injured person “I’m not going to give you anything for the pain until you stop screaming from the pain.”

So I read this book last night and it has helped tremendously, mostly from just knowing that I’m not alone in this never ending nightmare. There are so many parents out there suffering that there are a boat load of books written about it. The biggest take away from the book is that I have told myself, “This is not your fault!” As parents we blame ourselves, our family blames us, society and even the judicial system blames us. There is a law in Oregon state that if a child commits a felony offense, the parent is charged and convicted and pay the consequences for the crimes of the child. How’s that for giving a child a free pass to be as violent and dangerous as they want to be with absolutely no consequences?

My daughter is 42 years old now, so I don’t think I can be legally blamed for her mistakes or actual crimes, but the fear still keeps me up at night and gives me nightmares when I do manage to sleep. There is a broken record in my head that keeps playing the same questions over and over: “Where did I go wrong? What could I have done to prevent this? What did I do? What did I not do?”

One thing the book advises is to try to distance yourself, stand back and view your child as an adult person, not the darling child you gave birth to. If this person engaged in the offensive or violent behaviors and language, abused you physically or emotionally, stole from you, lied to you, and was just in general an all-around looser…Would you accept their behavior, make excuses for their actions, blame yourself, or even associate with them at all? If the person were not your child you wouldn’t even think twice, you’d back the hell off and stay away from them. You would not; give them money, tolerate hysterical phone calls at 3:00 am, believe their lies, bail them out of jail repeatedly, or allow them in your home. And you certainly wouldn’t visit their home, if they have it together enough to have one, without a bodyguard.

So instead of nursing this gaping wound for my child I have to start taking better care of myself. I have to start living my good dreams instead of my nightmares. The stress of not doing so could kill me. And it does kill parents of troubled children on a regular basis via high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, suicide, bleeding ulcers, and other stress related health conditions.

My daughter has threatened me with suicide many times if I did not do what she wanted me to do. Today I accept that as an adult this is her decision to make. But, also, now that she is adult she is responsible for her own life. I am no longer willing to die for her.

Your Habits Become You – Your Red Scarf Matches Your Eyes

I Did It My Way

I Did It My Way

I’m a rather curious person. And I’m also a curious person.  I like to click on the people who “like” my post and go to their blog to see what they have to say. What’s their take on life as they know it?

While perusing others blogs I came across an article The S.A.I.D. principle, posted on February 9, 2013. It means Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands.  I found this on the Real Women’s Health Blog. She’s got some good stuff there.

While exploring this topic she posed the question: If faking a smile can make you happy, does whining make you more miserable? I think this is absolutely true in a most profound way. I know that whining never solves any problem that I have.

Nor does having a tantrum.  But, but…tantrums are so cathartic, even though they do tend to damage people and objects subjected to said tantrum. Whining only turns you into a sniveling bowl of poorly set jello. It doesn’t help at all. It’s not cathartic, it’s not satisfying, and it does not help the situation. It just makes you and those around you more miserable. And it reinforces a sense of helplessness and being an all-around ineffectual person. “I can’t or won’t do anything to make this better, so I’m just gonna sit around and bitch about it.”

Years ago I sat through many a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon (for people who deal with other alcoholics). These people are ruthless I tell you! I’d be sitting around nursing my crappy coffee in a Styrofoam cup and singing the blues. “Oh woe is me, my life sucks, and this will never end.” The old wise ones would tell me things like: “Put on your big girl panties…. Get off your pity pot.” My favorite was “come down off that cross honey, there’s only room for one up there.”

I would of course become outraged. “How DARE you say that to me!  If you had the problems I have…<insert horror story here>…blah blah blah.” Then I’d calm down, shut up and listen. Everyone who has to deal with substance abuse or mental illness or any other freak show has their own horror story. The may be different from mine but they’re all terrible.

I’ve listened to people talk about their schizophrenic or bipolar/alcoholic daughters, who would go off their meds, disappear from the face of the earth for a year or 2 and then show up out of the blue with another baby for the grandparents to raise. Then after another year or 2 the daughter would pop back up and say “Hey, I’m all better now, gimme back my kids.” And with the courts behind them, they snatch the kids out of the stable environment and go off on another magic carpet right, kids in tow. How’s that for a nightmare scenario?

I’m grateful now that I heard these stories. My daughter tried that with me. She did not even ask, she demanded that I take her children. And threatened that if I did not take the kids, I would never see them again. Fortified with the information I had  – I refused. I told her that she needed to get straight, get treatment and TAKE CARE OF HER CHILDREN, THE KIDS SHE GAVE BIRTH TO. It broke my heart into a million tiny pieces.

I got a ton of flack and grief from people who don’t understand the labyrinths of hell that is untreated mental illness and substance abuse. “How could you do that, what kind of person are you that you would not take in those kids?” It cut me to the bone. I was a single woman at the time living at a barely subsistence level myself. I was in no position mentally or financially to take on the raising of 2 children.

Unfortunately she made good on her threat. I have never seen these 2 grandkids since. She disappeared again for a couple of years when I failed to meet her demands. I found out later that she gave the children up for adoption. She claims the state took them away. I don’t know what is true around this. But I do know the kids are in a stable 2 parent home, cared for by people who love them and can give them a happy life. Could I have done that? I don’t think so.

Am I whining about this? Nope, just stating the facts, Ma’am. Tough love is exactly what is says –tough. You might be better off walking barefoot across hot coals topped with broken glass. I guess what we have to do is pull way back and look at the big picture. Would things have been better if I chose a different path? I don’t know. I will never know. I just have turn left at the next star and head straight on ‘til morning.

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