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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