Sunday, 30 December 2012


I often process my pain, thoughts, experiences of the day when I sleep. It's wonderful actually, I sometimes wake up with what feels like perfect clarity. That is what happened this morning.

I mentioned a few posts ago that December 29th is the anniversary of when I discovered my son is an IV drug user. Yesterday was the 1 year anniversary of that. It has been a long year, a painful one. My posts from the last 3 months are a good snapshot of what every other month of the year has looked like, only with more of my husband's drinking.

He has been working hard on his sobriety for a while and we haven't had a relapse in a few weeks. When he is sober and trying hard, I allow myself to be vulnerable and loving. He is a kind person, open, joyful, silly and very fun to be around. Bit by bit, I allow myself to trust him, lean on him, reveal my fragile self. We had decided yesterday would be the day that we would re-confront the issues with our addicted son. Our son was clever and avoided it at all costs, in fact he left and didn't come home until we were asleep.

The tension around this conversation was having an effect on my husband and I and eventually we just started bickering. I snapped back at him and finally just said "I can't wait for this day to be over". My husband felt and expressed that when my comment invalidated him. He in turn snapped at me "If you can't handle it then why don't you just leave  - walk right out that door". It crushed me when he said that and I left for a while. I came back and barely spoke with him for the rest of the night. That is what I slept on, that feeling of frustration and rejection.

When I woke up this morning, I recognized that I have been so terribly sad, angry, depressed, frustrated and stagnant for a year solid. I have been in an emotional jail. I have been punishing myself for why those I love are addicted. All that self-talk about "if I had been a better wife/mother/daughter/sister, they wouldn't need to use their substance". I have been owning their pain, their excuse to use, I have believed that I deserve to have to watch and live like this. It has been horrible, almost like what I imagine to be a solitary confinement in prison. I have isolated myself, punished myself and forced myself into an emotional exile. I have gained 25 lbs in a year, I have cut off all contact with my social circle, I have been obsessing about finding solutions to their addiction. I have been alone in my head and heart for a solid year.

Today I decided to let myself out of prison, I have paroled myself. I have been the prisoner, the warden and the parole board all in one...I realized that my suffering isn't an expression of love and allegiance to the addicts - if I suffer with them, then they are not alone? I have decided to start living again. I can't control their addiction but I can be kind and loving to myself. I am going to work on forgiving myself and them.

Starting today, I pledge the following things to myself:

I will eat nutritiously - to love and fuel the body I have been given. I will not abuse it with fast food, cookies or other temporary gratifications.

I will begin to implement exercise back into my life - to love and train my body back into health.

I will reach out to my friends again - they care about me and I care about them. If these friends no longer "fit" for me (if I can't be real, honest and show my true self), I will seek out new ones.

I will do at least 1 thing per day that I enjoy or in some way provides a measure of self-care. Hopefully the two will be the same in time.

I will create boundaries and stick with them - boundaries that honour my values and protect me.

I will forgive myself if I slip and don't get it right each day but I will not give up - it's time to change.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Phew! We survived Christmas

I am so relieved that Christmas is over, it is so stressful and tense for me. As a codependent control freak, I literally take responsibility for orchestrating everything in such a way that my addicts can't wiggle (figuratively). I plan about 36 hours of "stuff" to do with everyone involved and I don't give anybody an option not to participate. By the end of the 36 hours, that has actually taken me 2 weeks to plan, I is truly exhausting managing addicts. I have such an ego or something that I think I can outsmart the effect that heroin or alcohol has on the addicts. Sure...

Christmas in our house was "successful" if there is such a thing. No fights, no using that I could discern, everybody got everything they wanted, and now things have gone back to normal. A new year is waiting for us all and in 2 days it is the one year anniversary of finding out my son was an IV heroin addict. My husband is remaining sober (for now) and I'm still terrified of everything. I have begun scanning craigslist to see if my son has started to sell off his gifts, I'm hyper managing money to not allow my husband any options about buying alcohol. To nobody's surprise, I'm pretty sure it's already sold...probably as of yesterday. I can see by his online activity that he's in his obsession. Many, many clicks on Opiophile. I guess he's getting ready to tie one on. I hope he doesn't kill himself.  It's quite a way to live...I have put all the responsibility on myself to ensure my addicts stay in line. Am I insane or what? Who has the compulsive nature really?

I am ashamed of myself, I am so sick of myself and I am totally deluding myself. I really, really need to change. I need to move out of this stage of change contemplation and into action...and actually stick with it.

Please, if there is anybody out there who is an addicts reading this, can you tell me what has or would have made a difference in your life to help you decide to get clean, or think about getting clean or at least something that we shouldn't be doing.. Please write me or comment on here...I would love to hear what works and what doesn't.  Or, maybe suggest some blogs to follow? Help me help my son.

I have started to look for other young addicted people's blogs to see if I can gain some type of understanding, insight, get some magnificent "ah ha!" moment to feel closer to my son, understand him and gain some empathy. I found an interesting one today, a young woman at university.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

I secretly believe...

...that my presence is so toxic and I'm so unworthy of love that in order to be with me, you need to be intoxicated. I only seem lovable if you are wasted.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Tis the season to be ... high?

We all know that the holidays are hard on many folks for many different reasons. For some silly reason, I had it in my head that my junkie son would want to use less...nostalgic thought, huh?

I wrapped the gifts last weekend and within 1 day he had started picking through them when we were out for dinner, I am assuming to see what he can take and sell for money. He did this to every single gift he got last year and pretended he didn't. We saw the signs right away this year. All gifts are now locked in the trunk of our car now until Christmas eve. This week we also bought a safe to hide any personal effects we don't want sold. Last year he sold virtually every single electronic gift every member of my family got for Christmas, movies, a tablet, an ipod, gift cards, etc...

I can see he is using a lot right now, every single day I have come home from work this week, my son has been very intoxicated by heroin. I am really good at spotting the difference between a marijuana high and a heroin high. I can't even utter a word to him. I have lost my voice. I guess junkies, just like drunks, like to do more of their using during the holidays too? Strange, I never connected the two as similar in that way.

I hate his addiction, what it has done to him, the life he lives and the life his addiction has forced me to live with. I wonder if we will be in the same place next year...?


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

What are the chances, seriously!

On a whim this year I joined the Reddit Secret Santa gift exchange. (read about it, it's a wonderful concept and really exciting) I was matched with a woman in the United States who is similar  in age to me but lives way down south. The idea is that someone secret will send me a gift and I secretly send someone a gift. Reddit does the matching, it's entirely random. After reading my "giftee's profile, I found her description to be  a bit tragic to start with, apparently she is the victim of domestic violence. It made me sad, I have experienced that as well so I thought I would do my best to show her kindness. I spent a lot of time picking out funny and sweet gifts to send her. I was so very excited for her to get her gifts, hear that they put a smile on her face.

Late last night I got a message from her saying she is sorry she didn't open the gifts yet because her teenager has been in hospital for an attempted suicide from taking a very large amount of her mom's (my secret giftee) methadone!

Now, first of sad, terrifying and tragic is that? Her kid tried to commit suicide? I can't imagine how frightening that is!

Secondly, the only reason I know of someone being on methadone is to treat an opiate is it, in over 46000 people participating in this secret game that I get the person who takes synthetic opiates?!?!?

5 years ago I knew nothing about heroin or opiates or treatment for opiate, I live with one and with only 1 chance in 46000, I also get matched up with someone who takes opiates?!?

Is the universe trying to tell me something?

Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction, I am not even exaggerating one single part of this story.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Struggle or surrender?

I realize today that we all struggle in our own way, with our own pain, for our own deeply personal reasons.

My husband relapsed because of his struggle with himself, his pain, his coping skills. My son uses because of his struggle to accept himself, his pain, his feelings about many things. I struggle for all my own reasons, I just don't happen to use drugs or alcohol to cope.

We are a triangle, we are human, we do the best we can with each day we have - sometimes we are selfish and don't care what our behaviours do to others or even to ourselves.  How can I judge what they need to do to get through the day? Do I expect them to live in a way that doesn't hurt me? Is that even fair?

I am more confused than ever, more doubtful than ever, more sad than ever. I hope one day to achieve some higher level of understanding, compassion and to return to a state of hope, love and acceptance of others. That is my struggle. I find it so very interesting that the antonym to struggle is surrender...What does that even look like?

strug·gle   /ˈstrəgəl/

Make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction.

A forceful or violent effort to get free of restraint or resist attack.

verb.  fight - wrestle - strive - combat - contend - battle
noun.  fight - battle - combat - conflict - contest - wrestle

Antonyms: surrender,

Friday, 14 December 2012

Thanks Dad...

Last night was the worst night I have had in years. I am just devastated and I truly have no idea what to do.

Yesterday was my husband's day off, the first one that I wasn't able to spend with him since he started his new job. It was my office holiday party and I had to go. An obligation. At about 1:30pm I started to get calls from my husband...I knew in one second that he had relapsed. I simply stopped answering my phone. He called 17 times. At about 5:00 pm I decided to check in and spoke with my adult son. While it was apparent my husband was drunk, I didn't leave the party and warned him to be gone from the house before I got home. I turned my phone off again and I missed a call of desperation from my son.

When I got home at 7:30pm my son was waiting for me in the lobby and told me how things had taken a terrible turn for the worst after my call. My husband assaulted my son repeatedly until my son fled. I was enraged and returned to our apartment with my son fully prepared for my own confrontation and I was going to phone the police and have him arrested. Lucky for him, he was passed out cold, an empty bottle of rum in the trash and evidence of the fight in the house all over the place. I decided there was no sense in waking him to start it all over again.

I sat with my son for hours apologizing for not answering his call, weeping and trying to put this all together. It must have been loud and I am so angry at my neighbors for not calling the police. My son needed help, this situation needed to be intervened and nobody stepped in to help. I made my son tea to calm him, he took a shower and things calmed for  a while. He used while having his shower I am sure because he changed. We proceeded to have several weepy conversations but I couldn't turn on him given what had happened. I, too, would have used if I were him. Heroin is a perfect anesthetic for pain. He must have been traumatized by this betrayal from his father.

Now I sit here, in the middle of the night, trying to figure out what to do with this. My husband relapsed, he made a sober choice to invited this "demon" back into our lives. He did some unforgivable things. I watched my son use to cope with his pain. This cycle must be arrested before anybody else gets hurt any further. What do I do? I hate my husband, I hate his alcoholism, I hate my son's addiction and I hate how helpless I feel. 7 weeks of progress down the tubes, tender trust shredded like paper, emotional wounds that may never heal, what do I do? What can I do? How do I cope?

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Black Christmas

I find Christmas, in fact the whole month of December, to be very difficult for many reasons. The month starts with my deceased father's birthday, he passed away when he was only 38 years old from an aneurism. Then it's my sister's birthday, whom I have no contact with. I miss them both terribly, I feel their absence in my life every day of December.

Then it's the stress of not being able to provide that warm and fuzzy nostalgia for my family, the lack of money, and now, forever, December will be marked with trauma for me. It was on December 29th last year that I discovered my son was a heroin addict. I found the needles, the straps, cups, the bloody napkins, everything...The visuals are etched into my memory, I remember the smell, the look, the way I felt, the light in the room, everything like it was 5 minutes ago.

This month weighs on me, like a million pounds of painful memories etched into my heart. I tend to feel so utterly ineffective, inadequate, and lonely. This year marks another year that we haven't gotten our son back yet, another person I love is lost to me. My sense of loss is very pronounced. Slowly but surely I have started to dread the holidays...and over the past few days I realized I think I am sinking or have sunk into a depression. It's not an acute depression, it's a slow festering one that robs me of my energy, feelings of hope and soaring incidents of panic attacks. I am getting them again, more frequently. Sometimes 5 or 6 little attacks a day.

I think I need to see a doctor before this swallows me up. I once experienced depression about 14 years ago, it crippled me and I got out of it fairly quickly, maybe 6 months of therapy and medication. I was lucky I recognized it so quickly but I remember how black it felt. I think I am on my way back there, I don't want to go there. I have reasons to be grateful, I just don't feel anything about them. I fake every smile, every motion that looks normal.

Loss, addiction, death, time, self-loathing, guilt....all are soul destroyers. I am a scrappy and smart person, I need to find my way back to being myself. Surely there is more to who I am and what my life means than the sum total of my loss and failures. God, I hope so...

Saturday, 8 December 2012

I'm struggling today

I had nightmare after nightmare last night, I kept dreaming of my son's using. I feel obsessed and consumed. The pressure inside me is ripping my sides and head apart at the seams.

I miss my son so much, his pain feels like my pain.

Friday, 7 December 2012

The more things change, the more things stay the same

Feels like I have grown so much on the inside, yet most of my problems are still exactly the same. yet come full circle in the past few weeks...sigh.

When I started this blog 2 months ago, I used it as a way to express my frustration, be open and honest with what I am experiencing in my life and also as a mechanism to expel my inner sadness, rage and other unattractive emotions. I have made huge progress and haven't lost my temper since the day I wrote my first blog, I'm grateful for this anger antidote.

Two posts ago, I was very focused on creating and keeping healthy boundaries when dealing with my addicted son. He was out for over 2 weeks. I was feeling so strong, so clear, that I even followed through on sending him to a shelter one night to demonstrate that using and living at home are not compatible. husband caved and I didn't stand up for my boundaries, rules and we are literally back at square one with our son.

My son left his FB logged in and I read everything...I know, it's low but you can't imagine how crazy you feel when living with and listening to an addict's lies. You feel like a horrible mother for not believing him? Are you are horrible mother for refusing to give money? Well, after I read I can see that we weren't crazy, he is actually out using right literally, right now!!! I learned a new word for heroin - skag -  and I found out that needles are called rigs.My husband has this romantic and fatherly desire to believe that he is getting better, that he is not using, that he isn't lying or conning. I can't even tell you how wrong he is. I also found out that our son was using every single day just before we kicked him out. It's that bad head knows my son is an addict but every time I find proof like this, it feels like I'm just learning the truth all over again for the first time.It breaks my heart into a million pieces.

So, as much as I work on my inside, it doesn't seem to affect the world on the outside. You know that expression "Be the change you want to see in the world", doesn't even apply a bit...but I'm not giving up. Back to writing my Christmas shopping list, trying to figure out what to give the addict who sells everything...I'm just not willing to bankroll this suicide mission. I have come up with my own street name for heroin, it's called The Grinch...because he stole last Christmas from us and he's stealing this one too.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Following my own footsteps

I tend not to blog much about my adult daughter, maybe it is my own way of cherishing and protecting this incredibly precious relationship that I have with her. Regardless, she means the world to me. She isn't perfect, she's bossy, outspoken, a very judgmental young woman but she's also just incredible. You would agree if you met her too. To me, she is beautiful, incredibly passionate about everything, creative, warm and loving, and best of all, she's my daughter.

She has been deeply hurt by by her father's addiction and her brother's addiction. She moved out about a year and half ago at 18 years old. She moved out because we couldn't stop her brother from literally "breaking into" her bedroom (we changed the handle to a locking handle, then that didn't keep him out,  padlocked it and he would slip into it when she was in the shower) where he stole and sold everything of value she owned over a 6-9 month period. We didn't yet know that our son was addicted to anything...My husband was still in his binge drinking phase, sometimes worse than others. He would verbally abuse us all every few days when he would drink. I don't blame her for leaving, but did it ever break my  heart. It was perfectly apparent at that moment that I couldn't "manage" what was happening in our house, I couldn't protect her and she wanted out. She wanted peace, to feel safe. I had let her down in the most basic way.

We have worked on our relationship a lot over the past 18 months. We are closer than we have ever been, we tread lightly on topics that are dead end, we enjoy each other very much. In the summer time she moved in with her boyfriend. While I didn't like him all that much for over a year, I pushed myself to accept him, to appreciate that he is kind to her and that she cares deeply for him. I have welcomed him into our family.

My daughter called me this morning and was very frustrated with her boyfriend. Actually, over the past few months, she has expressed a  growing sense of frustration with how living together has changed the biology of their relationship, that she has to be the adult, that he doesn't readily talk about his feelings, etc...Normal stuff and I just try to offer support. I don't judge and I don't meddle. Today she told me how whenever they go out to a bar, pub, etc...he drinks too much, embarrasses her, speaks obnoxiously, and spends much more money than they can afford. She says she doesn't enjoy when he drinks and that he never seems to stop drinking when it makes sense.

Pow! I felt like I had been punched in the stomach because the dialogue was so familiar to me. She is telling my story of what it was like in my early years with her father...I kept my composure, offered some advice, listened compassionately, all the while feeling a growing ache in my stomach that she is heading down the exact same road that I went down 23 years ago. My inside voice wanted to scream "RUN FOR THE HILLS, LEAVE HIM IMMEDIATELY, IT ONLY GETS WORSE!!!!". But, I didn't. This is her story, her life and all I can do is be there with open arms and ears when she needs me. Her story, hopefully, will have a different ending. I doubt her boyfriend will change, but I do hope she is much wiser than I was at her age. I hope she recognizes that you can't change anybody, that love doesn't conquer all and that unless she wants to marry her "father", she may want to choose a different path for herself.

My dear sweet daughter, I am so very sorry that I taught you how to tolerate untolerable behaviour. You deserve more, you never need to settle. I love you.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

One day at a time

Seven days, seems like so little time yet so much has happened. I haven't seen or heard from my son since I caught him using. I emailed him, his dad called him, no response. He's gone, for now at least.

Sadly, we seem to do better at home when he is gone. My husband finally got a job and continues to practice his recovery. He is being strong, humble, open. I like this version of my husband very much, in fact this is what the husband of my dreams looks like. He doesn't make much money, but he's doing the best he can every day. He is happy to see me and he walks with his head high. I deeply love this man, I hope very much he sticks around for the long haul.

We decided together, since recovery and sobriety is so important for this family, that our son cannot come home unless he agrees to some new rules. We are both working on our own lists but so far here is what we have come up with. We need to be united, committed and ready for this very difficult conversation if it should come. We have realized that heroin isn't the problem, our son just uses heroin as the solution to his problems. The problems are rooted in how he is feeling and he needs to address it if he wants to live in this home.

New House Rules For Our Son
1. You must actively participate in some form of recovery, at least 2 times a week. This can include N/A, Methadone, Counselling, etc, but it must be two things.You must also be able to prove your participation.
2. Must not use drugs and be willing to prove abstinence - this means drug testing either at home or by a Doctor. Random testing will occur.
3. Must not steal or sell items that are given to you or belong to someone else.
4. Must be working toward full time employment and be willing to contribute financially to own expenses even when working part time. This means you take care of your own daily expenses like bus fare, social life, etc. We will be providing you with only housing, food, health care, clothing.
5. Must take personal responsibility for own laundry, and commit to weekly room cleaning including wash bedding, dust and vacuum bedroom, wipe surfaces.
6. No smoking indoors.
7. If you break any part of rule 1, 2, 3, you are evicted. No negotiations. 

The reason we came up with these house rules is two fold. One, our son really needs a reason to address recovery and we hope that the potential consequence of being homeless gives him the reality check and push he needs. We also believe that he needs to learn to be a man, and by being a man we mean self-responsibility and accountability. The second part of the reason is to restore some sanity in our home. Why would I require sobriety of my husband and not my son? We all deserve a safe place to go at the end of the day. I don't know any other way of achieving this other than to either require sobriety in the house or to go our separate ways until sobriety is an option for the addict.

I packed his room up, it isn't the same place anymore. His old life here is gone, he just doesn't know it yet. 

I will let you all know if and when I get the chance to tell our son about this...but for now, it's just a list, on a blog, a plan.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

What is it about addicts...

I have had some better days lately, my husband finally got a job. I'm relieved. He has gone back on the wagon, trying very hard again. It is so hard to have faith in this difficult journey. However, as always, there is a bitter aftertaste to accompany some rare good news.

My son has gotten a lot more stealth about his heroin use. I deluded myself into thinking that he was maybe trying to not use. I was wrong.

He woke up this morning, went into the bathroom and made a phone call. Twenty minutes later he said he had to go to the store, I watched off my balcony...he never left the building but I saw the car I have suspected is dealing him heroin pull out of our visitor's parking. My son still didn't leave the building, and didn't return to our apartment. On a hunch, I went downstairs to the gym bathroom and found him using in the women's washroom, locked in stall. I saw the strap, the needle, the cup, the water holder, everything and begged him not to use. He literally just looked in my eyes and pretended I wasn't there. I told him I love him and that I would help him, he didn't need to live this way. He still wouldn't budge, show any emotion, I walked away.

My son is a sick young man, I miss him and I'm so scared for him. I am just broken hearted....he may very well die from this, and that may not take long.

Fuck........! What is it about addicts, even when someone is looking right at them using, they still deny.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Will I ever break the cycle of crazy in my home

Well, I owe you a quick recap of the last several days.

Last post my husband had "gotten loaded" again, I locked him out for 3 days. I finally let him back in, feeling terrible for him because he had slept in a garage (so he says) and was starving, wet, and desperate. My terms are take your Revia, go to meetings - those are the two conditions of him being permitted to stay in my home. Yes, I call it my home because I pay for every single bit of it. I pay the rent, the utilities, the car, the food, any small amount of entertainment, cigarettes, you name it...nobody else contributes a dime.

My son had been away with his girlfriend for what was supposed to be 5 days, he came back 10 days later. Skulked in last night, not apologizing for not talking to us for days.

We all erupted, a terrible argument broke out last night at about 9:30pm and we all said terrible things. I just hate it...I was awful, my husband was awful, our son was awful...we are so terribly dysfunctional.

We are hurting him so much. We won't let go of anything, we attack him for not being part of our family, we criticize him for not being honest, it any wonder? I desperately want him to leave home so we just stop  hurting him!

Better yet, I want to just run away so I stop being angry at them for being what they are...I'm an awful mother, awful wife, awful person in general. I'm so cruel and yet that is the last thing I ever wanted to be. Fuck, how do I fix myself!!!


  1. Causing pain or suffering: "I can't stand people who are cruel to animals".
  2. Having or showing a sadistic disregard for the pain or suffering of others.

brutal - merciless - ruthless - ferocious - savage

Thursday, 1 November 2012

It is interesting...

I have been awake all night again, feeling quite exhausted but I unable to sleep. I plan on getting dressed and leaving for work soon. More selfish antics over the last several days from my dear, sweet addicts. I will walk out that door and pretend I am just fucking great, playing the "normal" game at work, maybe chat with some friends, might even go out for lunch with the girls, I won't utter a word of truth, I will live to fake it another day.

Husband has disappeared again, took the car and drove away impaired. However, not before he called my son's girlfriend and harassed my son several times. Son left to visit his girlfriend who goes to school out of town for a few days and didn't hear from him for 5 days until last night. Such selfishness on both their parts, like father like son. Not a care or consideration for another human being in this world for the consequences of their "habit".

So, I blog, I wander the apartment all night, I stress, and on and on we go. What an awesome circle of dysfunction we live is really quite remarkable that 3 very intelligent, seemingly normal people all live in this alternative dimension of addiction, pain,  deception and not one of us will show our hand of cards, we'd all rather just live in the pain than change a single thing.

I recognize that I am as addicted to the addicts as they are to their drug / drink of choice. It really is interesting how I have become addicted too, to nothing pleasurable mind you, but addicted none the less.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Thank you

Dear Blog Readers:
I received a few emails today from others who are living in similar situations and one from someone expressing kindness.
I feel good that some people have been reading my blog, it is allowing me to feel honest.
Thank you for making my day a bit easier, I don't feel so alone today.

One day at a time

The last 48 hours have been very difficult, so many set backs, so  much said, so much hurt floating around my home. I am having a great deal of trouble navigating my emotions and doing normal things.

Since my last post my husband came home. I decided in my "wisdom" to bring home a bottle of wine with me (my private fuck-you to him because I haven't felt like I could have a drink in my own home for years because I feared it would set off an awful chain of events) and proceeded to drink 3 glasses. I don't have a high tolerance because, for obvious reasons, I rarely drink. It went right to my head and I became very honest with my thoughts and emotions. I was mean. Over the 2 hours that he and I talked, I cried, I shamed him, I raged a little. Then, I walked by the bathroom door where my son was in, and heard him injecting drugs. It was horrible...the tapping of the syringe, slapping his veins, then the rush...Oh, fuck, yeah...a sigh of pleasure. Absolutely traumatizing to hear.

After some hysterical tears on my part, I decided it was best if I just went to bed. This day had been bad enough and if I stayed awake, it would only get worse. Probably a good choice on my part because the pain ended for a least as long as I was unconcious.

I went to work yesterday, enjoyed being away from the feelings and pain of my house but then I had to come home. My skin crawls when I look at my husband and son right now. I'm so angry and hurt. In order for my husband to be able to stay in our home I have asked him to take a medication called revia. It apparently affects cravings for both opiate users and alcoholics. This wouldn't be the first time he has taken it but he said it worked well before, it only stopped working because he stopped taking it.

We tried to have a sane family conversation last night and it went reasonably well. No progress to speak of but we talked, we talked honestly I think. My son adamantly denies that I heard what I heard, it doesn't matter. I don't require the truth from him to know what I heard. My husband is (superficially at least) acknowledging his relapse and commitment to getting back on track with sobriety. Quite frankly, I don't believe or have confidence in a word he says.

I wonder how long I can live like this? Probably for a long, long time. I am so weak, pathetic and frightened of everything. I am doomed by my own design...much like the addicts. 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Not my relapse

Well, I have slept approximately 2.5 hours since yesterday at 5am and been at work for the past 8 hours. I'm tired...I tend to stay awake all night when I stress about his drinking, last night was no exception.

I went to an Al Anon meeting last night to make sure I didn't just sit and fester over my husband's relapse. The bizarre part of the experience was that I dropped my son off at his best friend / using buddy's place on my way to the meeting, and picked him up after it - he was high. I felt sandwiched by other people's addictions last night. That said, I kind of enjoyed the meeting. It is nice to see that there are many people who share my experience. While I do find the God talk somewhat nauseating (I do not believe in God or any higher power), I liked the honesty and kindness in the room. It was an hour and I felt better.

While I was roaming the apartment all hours of the night, I decided to write "him" a letter. Oh, did I mention, he didn't come home at all...I came to a profound conclusion, it was not me who relapsed, it was him. This isn't an excuse for me to loose it, vent, rage, cry poor me, and generally punish him until he feels as small as a bug. Nothing changed for me, I'm fine. A lot changed for him though, he has tested my boundary and my resolve around whether or not he can continue to relapse...I left him the note, taped to the door along with a list of local shelters. I told him not to come back until he's getting treatment and back in recovery.

I'm going to take this one day at a time, reminding myself that while the alcohol abuse / addiction is his, if I am not careful and committed, I can backslide just as easily as him. I have been working really hard at not being an enabler, a co-dependent and a rage-aholic. I don't have to slip back into old patterns just because he did. 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

"Absolute" bullshit

I have been talking about my husband for the past few posts. I have really been trying to enjoy the progress  he has been making, working on my own "stuff", doing my best to be mindful. So much for my effort, he fell off the wagon again today. He made it 28 days this time.

He receives a small monthly payment, barely enough to cover half the rent we pay. That's all the income he brings in. I work full time and pay for the rest for him, our son and myself. All those daily costs like fuel, car payments, food, a tiny bit of entertainment, more than half the rent, parking, public transportation, cigarettes, etc...When the proverbial "shit hit the fan" 28 days ago, he blew his entire monthly stipend on a 2 day alcohol and cocaine binge. He left us in such financial straights that I had to do some sketchy things just to make rent. It was awful and I warned him that if he didn't get his affairs in order, take care of his drinking issues, he would have to leave. I dropped him off at the emergency room at the hospital and he waited 7  hours to see a psychiatrist and to start his "recovery". He had been going to AA, being honest, trying to work on some of his issues, and progress seemed to be happening.

Today he was expected to get his monthly payment and today is the day he fell off the wagon. I'm so pissed. He also apparently called his mother (whom he  hadn't spoken to in almost 2 months) and just lost it with her. He said terrible things.

My son is still using, just getting smarter at hiding it, and here we all are again...same place we started. Fuck I hate my life and I really fucking hate living with addicts. It really is all "absolute bullshit".

Sunday, 21 October 2012

What actually works?

I have some good news for a change yet I still feel empty, still waiting for that shoe to drop. My husband has been sober for about 22 days. Short of the time he was in treatment, that is the longest I have seen him stay sober. I should be starting to feel more at ease, confident about his sobriety yet I still feel like it is a con. Waiting, bracing, waiting, bracing. What a waste of my time.

I saw a therapist last week for to discuss anger management tools. After some contemplation, I think he was somewhat useless. I shared with him my life situation and he said I needed to do exercise, have lunch with the girls and take more hot baths...seriously, is that the best you can come up with as a strategy to deal with anger and pain?

I don't really have much to say today, I'm bored and anxious. Not very enlightened. I really wish that someone who reads this will join my conversation.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Chasing Trust, Bracing for Disappointment

I have been working on managing my feelings, being calmer and trusting just a little bit. It is tremendously difficult for me.

I feel like I have been living my life in a state of perpetual tension. Most days, around noon, I have called home to see if there is any drama, drunkenness or worse...I call this "bracing for the hit". It isn't a physical hit, but it is most certainly a massive mental and emotional punch. It allows me time to figure out who I am going to be for the rest of the day...Isn't that just the most bizarre statement. Getting the addicts to tell me who I am going to be for the rest of the day?!?!

What I mean by this is that I have felt the need to figure how what kind of person to be for the next 24 hours. Am I going to avoid going home? Do I need to be extra careful not to have any cash on me? Do I need to plan on steeling my feelings and emotions to not feel the hurt of the insults that may come at me when I walk into the house? Most often my husband has been verbally abusive, dramatic and intimidating after a few drinks. Is the pressure going to build up in me? Am I going to have to avoid answering my phone as the repeated calls come in demanding money? many questions and thoughts will run through my head almost instantaneously. It takes so much effort and I have to do it all while pretending to be a perfectly normal person who has a perfectly normal household.

My husband has now been sober about 19 days and most of those days have been wonderful, yet every day I make the same call and brace for it. I really want to feel hope, trust and just know in my heart that it is going be a good day but I am never really sure. Right now I haven't been able to reach him and I'm already experiencing intense fear, anxiety and concern. Is this reasonable or is it pessimistic?  Will there ever be a day that I don't care if he's drunk or not, and that I will be the same person when I go to sleep at as I was when I woke up in the morning?

I wonder if I will ever be free from fear and worry, I wonder if I will ever stop trying to control the uncontrollable?

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Burning House

I'm trying really hard right now to balance venting my pain and examining my contribution to the fact that my home is currently burning to the ground. I'm not very good at digging deep and I'm even less at ease with (or even aware of) where exactly I went wrong.

Have I overly victimized myself so that I don't have to believe I am responsible for some of the things that have contributed to why my family is struggling so badly? Is that the identity I have created in my own head so that I can live with myself?

I have many qualities and a few big demons I hide. If you were to meet me in the street or in a business setting, you would probably say I appear confident, cautious, even-tempered, considerate. Yet, those are probably the least authentic traits about me. I suffer from anxiety attacks daily and have since I was 18 or 19 years old. Sometimes they only happen mildly once a day, more often they hit me up to 6 or 7 times a day and I believe that I am dying. Nobody knows when I'm having them, but I am always having them. I am introverted, painfully shy at times and haven't created a genuine intimate relationship with anybody in over 7 years. I don't have a best friend (even though a few people think they are my best friend, it's really not true). While I work very hard at keeping my emotions in check, I am at a point where I become easily exhausted and I have melt-downs at home a few times a week. I used to only loose my temper every few months. I am also shrewd and manipulative. I create distractions and illusions to convince my work peers, my relatives and my acquaintances that I am loyal, hard-working and committed to the greater good of the company, family, etc...The truth is that I am just throwing cover to make sure you don't see how weak, fragile and emotional I am.

I have had no contact with any member of my own family (on purpose) for more than 10 years. I will share that story another time. I think of them often and every month or so I google them to see what they are doing, where they are with their lives, do I have any nieces or nephews, and if anybody has died.

I sound cold and callous, don't I? Maybe even a bit nuts...Seriously though, you would never know any of this if you met me at a Starbucks, at a meeting or passed me in the hallway. I am all smoke and mirrors.

My son wasn't born an addict. My husband might have been one before I met him, but his disease certainly progressed over the past several years we have been together. Am I the match that lit the fire to start the fire in my burning house? Someone please call the fire department and pull us out of this burning house! Is booze and heroin the only way out of this burning house that I lit fire to?

Friday, 12 October 2012

If you look hard enough, you'll find it...

I snoop, I snoop and I regret it every time I do it...but I still do it again and again. Am I addicted to snooping or am I just bracing for the next punch in my heart?

I track my son's internet use, he has somehow come across some hydrocodone and he's trying to figure out how to inject it. Or, this is what his internet history is telling me. Why do I need to know what he's doing? Chances are, I already know...he seeks drugs, he sells stuff, he seeks drugs, he does drugs. Not a mystery yet I feel constantly compelled to keep track.

My therapy appointment next week can't come fast enough, I feel unglued.

My son told us last night that we have emotionally wrecked him when confronted about his addict behaviours. What does one do with that statement? Is that the angry addict or my son talking to me? Is it true?

Good night...will try my best to sleep (one eye open of course and purse hidden).

An irrestable urge or an urge unresisted? Two kinds of withdrawal in my house

I mentioned in my bio that I live with two addicted people, my son and my husband. My husband's drug of choice is, openly accepted, available within a stone's throw of almost every household. I have a love-hate relationship with alcohol. I really enjoy nice wine, a cocktail from time to time, and sharing bottles of overpriced champagne with my girlfriends...but I never ever drink it and I have never had any issues with drinking myself. I have had to virtually eliminate it from every aspect of my life for fear of waking the booze-dragon in my husband. Not sure how well that approach is working...but it's what I do.

Fifteen days ago my husband went on a 2 day booze / cocaine binge. He leaves the house, we never see it...he spent $610 on it, money we definitely didn't have to spare. This has happened four times in about 8  months, not to mention drinking to total obliteration 2-3 times per week. He hides it but knowing that he has been drinking is about as obvious as whether or not it's raining outside.

He has had alcoholism issues for more than 20 years I'm sure. I'm not exactly certain when it became an addiction though. Since the day I met him 27 years ago, he has never handled his booze like anybody else that I know. He never knew when to stop, he always acted or did something obnoxious, and he has always had at least one problematic interaction every time he has drank. He has been verbally abusive, emotionally abusive, dishonest, and many other things...Not very surprising that our son is in the place he is in when considering his father.

Two and a half years ago his mother and I sent him to treatment, it cost over $12000 (money we had to borrow to get him in) and he left after 35 days. Within one week of returning home he had relapsed. I made him sleep in the shed, I would not let him in the house...We did this nasty push/pull dance up until 15 days ago. Shame, resentment, lies - on both our sides, building up after every episode of drinking. His drinking doesn't fit a typical alcoholic pattern (if I even know what typical looks like...) but the damage is the same. He doesn't crave booze in a physical sense but he does use it regularly as a counteractive medicine for the pain and stress he feels. When he does drink, it is always awful and it always starts with and ends with lies. It has been nearly a year since I gave him more than $10 in a feeble attempt to control his access to booze. Oh, did I mention that he hasn't been able to hold a job down in years. He has started and quit (or been let go) from 3 different jobs this summer alone. The cycle is awful and it isn't helping our son, our marriage or his well-being.

Last night I had the distinct "pleasure" of watching the two men I  love more than anything both go through craving and withdrawal. I think my son hasn't used in a day or two, so he had awful mood swings, neck pain, sweats, nausea. I did my best to comfort him but I dared not say what I believe was actually going on. My husband, under pressure of watching his son go into withdrawal started to get agitated, combative, eating compulsively, and today he erupted with anger and nit-picking attacks on me and our son. This type of mood is always a precursor to a drinking binge. He made a promise to me 15 days ago, after the last binge to really work on sobriety. I have a really hard time believing him...but I desperately want to be able to believe in something, someone, somewhere, sometime...

So, given the different nature of the two addictions in my house, is one an irresistible urge and the other an urge unresistant, or are they both the same and which one are they? 

I truly want to move towards a place of understanding, compassion and strength...I don't want to fight what is a war I can never win. Why must I make sense of this when it's not even my problem to make sense of? Why don't I just pay attention to my own issues and stop letting them distract me from dealing with my own shit? Am I just as addicted to the addicts or and I just a casualty who has become sick over time?

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Guilt and ghosts

I've decided that I want to talk about guilt and personal responsibility today...

I have had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Gabor Mate speak a few times over the past 2 years, I've read his book called In the realm of hungry ghosts (ironically I read it before I found out my son was one of the hungry ghosts he speaks of!). I was moved, my heart swelled for addicts that roam the downtown east side, unwanted, abused, misunderstood, lonely, hungry and tired...and then I found out my son had a stash of needles and supplies from Insite, and was buying street heroin in just that neighborhood! Suddenly my values and self-identity came crashing together, that of the compassionate observer and that of the judgmental, addiction obsessed mother. I now mark time by dividing my life in two periods of time: BH and AH (before heroin, after heroin).

Now AH, this past spring I saw Dr. Mate speak at a small forum on one of the Gulf Islands. He talked about how he believes all addicts have some trauma or caused stress during the attachment phase of the addicts childhood, often caused their mothers, and their drug of choice is basically the street version of medicating their pain. He also challenged several audience members about their "pain and personal discomfort" when interacting or watching the addicted. He talked about how that more speaks to one's own pain, not really pain for the addict.One phrase he often uses is to help the addict where they are at today, not where you want them to be...

What I love about hearing him speak is that he causes me to think intellectually and in an intelligent emotional way. What I hate about it that there is an inference that I have some responsibility in my son's heroin addiction. Is this true, could this be true, how can this be true???? What do I do if this is true? How does one fix a wrong that they never knew they were doing? How does one live with the guilt and pain of knowing you have cause a person you love so much to turn to the most powerful pain killer on the planet to get away from the pain you caused them?

How do I get to the bottom of this question - did I do something to cause my son such pain that he sought out heroin to ease his suffering? I don't drink, I don't do drugs, I work hard, provide for my family, I'm not a mean person and for a very long long son was the person I considered closest to me on this planet.

How do I get to the bottom of this question so I can begin to fix whatever I caused? Is this type of self-examination even useful? Does it just let the addict off the hook for being responsible for their own choices? Is this more of my psychosis that this type of dialogue is even going on in my head?

I struggle with the guilt every day knowing that sometimes I give him money that I'm pretty sure he's buying heroin with, just because I want to treat him with some dignity (I know, where's the logic?). Sometimes I have found paraphernalia and stockpiled/hidden it from my son and husband because I just couldn't take dealing with the discussion, the pain, the lies. Sometimes I just ignore it all and stuff my face with sweets and stare endlessly at a TV show that might transport me into a life that isn't mine.

Most days I just hope that I can keep a lid on it...not loose it, not dissolve into a messy puddle of broken dreams, guilt, frustration and hopelessness. Today is pretty good, nobody has any idea that this is my life.

Below are some links to the websites of the topics I spoke of. Have a peek, they might help you, or they might not...

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Heroin, tow trucks and anger

Welcome to my blog. This is my very first blog, my very first post...I suspect I will get better at writing these in time, so I appreciate your patience and most of all, I look forward to your contribution.

So,  if you read my bio, you'll know that this is a place to talk about, vent and get honest about the realities of living with the addicted. I promise to be  brutally honest to accomplish two things: First and foremost, to be real in at least one place in this world; secondly to say the weird and painful things that I can't seem to find in any public resource anywhere. I don't enjoy the on-line Al-Anon meetings, nor the chat sites because they seem to get "stuck" really easily on their subjects, thought processes, and most of them really forget how hard it is for those still really suffering and feeling raw.

I will start with talking about my is most acute for me right now. My son is 22 years old and he has been addicted to injecting heroin for the past year. This has got to be the most painful, depressing and bizarre year of my life. He might have been addicted to opiates prior to the past year but I know he started using the drug intravenously since last fall. This has changed who my son is on every level possible. He has lost at least 15 lbs, he lies non-stop, he has stolen everything of value in our home that is sellable on craigslist. As of August this year, I stopped giving him gifts. Every single thing I have given him of value has been sold. This includes a watch, a hoodie, a jacket for the fall, an xbox, you name's liquid cash to him. I don't know if he cares that he is / has done these things...I ache for signs of life in him. That he isn't the concience-less junkie that he appears to be. He's also really stealth about his use. Last February he admitted everything to us and asked for our help to get him off heroin. He wouldn't go into residential treatment but he went on methadone, saw a doctor every week and kept talking...all of a sudden he slipped about 4 or 5 weeks into it. I have been in a war with him ever since. Some days I'm the worst mother in the world, some days I'm really understanding. I'm cruel and kind, I am addicted to keeping tabs on the addict. I have no idea why or what purpose it serves. One day, about two months ago I said the worst thing in the world to him...I told him he should just jump off a ferry and kill himself because this protracted suicide mission of injecting street heroin is going to accomplish the same thing. How terrible of a thing is that to say to your own child? I was just sooooo angry at him about his addiction at the time that I had lost my filter. Anger has become a very big problem for me over the past 2 years.

This past Friday night my anger and frustration peaked in a way that scared me. There was this tow truck that was trying to tow my car away from a visitor's parking spot and my son alerted me to this. I jumped out of bed and ran to stop him...I completely lost it on this stranger. I created such a spectacle in the middle of the street, with my screaming and profanity at this jerky tow truck driver. I said things to him that I had no business saying, I was shaking, crying and has moments of black-out. It took me 2 hours to calm myself after torrential tears. I realized at that moment that I am not OK anymore. I am back at counselling...I had stopped about 6 months ago, feeling as though I had a handle on rational thinking. Clearly I am / was wrong.

Well, that's it for my first blog. Thank you for spending some time with me, please feel free to post your comments. Good, bad or ugly, I'm open for discussion.

Hugs and love,

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