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.

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