Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Long post - mostly happy progress report!

Tall Karen, thanks for those suggestions!

She's been through SPIN before, unfortunately, and failed mightily (her words) and doesn't qualify.

Lynn House is (if she understood them correctly) not taking anyone on meds, and also said she had a lot of clean time and they were not probably the right fit for her, that she could move on to a different type of program.

Great Escape told her the Friendship Shelter was way backed up - the wait list was pretty long - and she needs something sooner.....

She also considered something called "Reach" which she said was an old hotel, converted into (loosely translated) a commune - everyone is in recovery and works together to stay clean, etc, but she wants more structure than that. She says she isn't ready for that much freedom yet.

Thanks for those suggestions - I mentioned that a fellow-blogger had sent those to me and she said "Awww, please thank her Mom, that's really sweet."

I'm trying hard to let her work this out.... The phone is ringing constantly and she's getting input from others she respects in program, and her sponsor, and she's going to meetings. It's looking like she may be going back to Agape house, her previous sober home.

My part right now (at least I think this is a healthy part to play) is to be wheels, and a cheerleader. One of the guys who picked her up from jail is taking her today to apply for MSI. I'm taking her to apply for the food stamps tomorrow, and if she finalizes her decision on a place to live, will take her to put her deposit on it. Friday will be the day she moves in. We hope to squeeze in an eyedoctor appointment before then, and get her a box or two of contacts to run on until she is established with a job and starts paying for her own.

Day Two of Re-entry went really well. She went to probation (who was not there – it was field day and her officer was out banging on doors and checking up on people). She was duly entered into the system as having shown up on time and she was told to come back in two weeks.

In the car she laughed, and said, “Geez, I thought she’d have been there. She knew I was getting out and had to see her in 72 hours. I expected her to be sitting there waiting for me, cos, you know…’s all about ME!”

I love her sense of humor.

(Then she asked if we could find a restroom nearby FAST, cos she went prepared for a pee test!)

She has investigated, called, questioned and basically taken direction from all parties about residential treatment versus going back to her old sober home. She went to a meeting last night and after the meeting, one of the girls took her to that old sober home to visit briefly. A bed is available…. She said she walked in and it felt like home. Even more than our house! (Yes, that stings a bit, but I understand that there is tension in our home and that this is not the best place for her.) She took all of it as a good sign. All the girls who were there before she went in for her sentence, are still there and sober. A steady house is a good house for her.

She’s observing the “no contact” rule about Boyfriend….they talk on the phone, and I believe they will see each other at a meeting tomorrow. Good for them!

Due to the financial condition of our great state (read that: in the toilet!), the cost of the residential program she really wanted has changed and is $1800 for 30 days. That’s way less than most treatment programs, but still, so not going to happen.

She said that’s a further sign she should just go back to her previous sober home, look for a job, and develop her own program of meetings, working with her sponsor, working the steps, and “doing something different this time.” She read a lot while she was in jail, and several books gave her some direction that she wants to explore about her own self image, and self destructive tendencies. She has a connection with a therapist who saw her in jail and will see her outside at significantly reduced rates. She plans to start seeing her once she gets in her sober home, has bus passes, etc.

After we made the run to probation and returned, I worked while she made phone calls and organized things. I think she’s aiming for entering the sober home on Friday evening, after we attend a recovery service at The Crossing Church together, she, Sister and I.

So much is going well. But, Aaauugh! DH is being his usual confusing self. I got pretty steamed yesterday when he came in from the front porch brandishing the grill lighter we use to light our kitchen stove (the automatic lighter broke, but the four burners work perfectly if you just light the gas with a lighter).

She used that grill lighter to light a cigarette on the front porch and forgot to bring it back in the kitchen after she went to the far corner of the property to smoke under the tree in the only spot he’ll allow it.

He was freaking out, yelling that she knows better than to use that and not to do it again. (I do not understand why she cannot light a cigarette with the kitchen lighter….because then that lighter lights the burners that cook our food....he’s a bit compulsive about things sometime – like “don’t put mushrooms or extra stuff on your side of the pizza we are sharing; I might get mushroom juice on my side.” A fate worse than death, I’m sure. Sigh. I make homemade single-sized pizzas now…. There are ways to deal with all of it.)

She handled herself well. She apologized, and tried to joke with him that she “figured all the rules had changed since she had been gone a while, I'm just teasing Dad, I’m sorry”, and she said she wouldn’t do it again. He continued to sputter over and over about it and she just continued getting ready for her meeting, while saying “yes Dad, yes Dad, I will Dad.” She's been so damn careful this time, keeping her stuff out of his way, cleaning up after herself in the kitchen, thanking him profusely for anything he got for her, for letting her stay, etc.

I didn’t get in the middle of it (though I seriously wanted to take a frying pan to his head). When I drove her to the meeting, we stopped to pick up a drink for her and I purchased two lighters for her.

Next morning, I went to light the stove and he’d hidden the grill lighter.

My older daughter needed to make breakfast before her morning of classes. We decided to just laugh, not get riled up. I went to the pantry and got out the box of 500 matchbooks I’d bought the LAST time my addict had stayed with us. We went through this same situation then. She is the only smoker in the house and he is extremely anti-smoking. Breakfast was made, and I left the matches out for us to use until he could get home to tell me where he had hidden the lighter.

That’s where I lost it. When I asked him where he’d put it, when he got home from work. He insisted it was in a really easy place and opened a random cupboard and dug behind a lot of stuff to get it out. I just looked at him and I admit, I got kind of bitchy.

I just said, “There was no call for this. Had I not had matches, your solution would have made us all late, or breakfast-less this morning.” (We don’t use dry cereal, we're out of bread, and hot cooked cereal was all I had on hand.) He started in about how SHE knew better, the day before, and this way, SHE could not do it.

I said, “I know you love her, but I feel this is an example of one of the many reasons we are not a good home for her now. That was uncalled for in my opinion, and it inconvenienced all of us this morning. I am not going to try to change your mind. We used the matches I had buried in the pantry and I have bought her more lighters.”

And I walked away back into my office. He continued to sputter but I just didn’t hang around to listen. I know she should not have used the kitchen lighter if he said not to. I haven't told her it was okay to go against Dad's rules. I just showed her where we keep those matches, and bought lighters for her.

If I'm off base here in how I handled it, I'm open to suggestions.

I can only deal with one sick person at a time. (and sometimes I'm the only sick person I can handle!) But this is why she needs to go to the sober home (or somewhere). She is doing really well and is very positive. To stay here is to invite repeated, constant conflict like that little episode. If his methods had only affected her, it would have been one thing, but I’m a tad sick of being affected by his micromanagement of everyone else’s life in addition to his own.

And to his credit, this is the same guy, who when he found out she wanted to play with an old juicer we had and make some juice, bought her a huge bag of apples and a huge bag of carrots.

I don’t understand him and I don’t need to. He’s a good man, with some problems. (Maybe related to being the son of an alcoholic who on at least a few occasions, beat the crap out of him?) We all have problems. I’m crazy in my own way too.

What I’ve tried to do in recent years (after we nearly divorced and I decided to try yet again to honor my vows, in sickness (mental) and in health) is tell him that I’m going to have to be treated with respect in order for it to work. I speak up, like I did today, when I feel that I’m not being treated with respect. Other than that, I try to get along, try to aim for giving 100% or more to the relationship, try to act in a respectful manner to him, and live my own life and try to fit in time to do the things that bring me happiness. I try to remember not to try to change him. That would be futile. I am trying to change my responses. That seems more productive. We’re doing better than we were five years ago, but we have incidents like this (more often than I like).

Whatever. I’m going to focus on the fact that she is doing well, my work schedule has permitted me to be of some assistance to her this week (that's the positive side of my current business slump!), she is going to the sober home this weekend, and for now, I’m very grateful for all of it!

Last night, I sat in my office working and straightening up after the day, and listened to the “music” coming from upstairs. My daughters were catching up on each other’s day, laughing, talking excitedly, and I just sat here and soaked it up. Couldn’t hear what they were saying – it’s far enough away that it's just music to me, different low even tones, sudden bursts of higher phrases, and giggles interspersed. I loved it!

I AM HOPEFUL! And I'm continuing to pray for "mine" and "yours"! May He bless each of us, and especially, each of our addicts, today, in an unmistakable and "God thing" kind of way!

(sorry for the long post.... if you stuck with me this long, hugs to you!!)


  1. Does your husband go to Al Anon?

  2. Nope. He has refused to go to marriage counseling, refused to participate in group family therapy productively during her first hospitalization and refused all such groups since, and he has to date refused to go to Alanon. He asked me the other day what he could do to help me on that day (it was a heavy work day for me and he was off early. I think he meant something like "the dishes" or "feed the dogz"...) I asked if he could attend Alanon with me that evening.

    His first response was, "but I'd miss part of the news." (he doesn't even want anyone talking in the kitchen when the news is on, and he watches one station and tapes another. The news is his hobby. I think he would love to micromanage the world too....)

    His second response was "if it is important to you, I will maybe go with you one night, but not tonight."

    I'll take it! I'll ask nicely, every week or two, if he'd like to go and leave it at that....I will hope that someday he will.

    Funny story about him, in group therapy at that first hospitalization. Our therapist had everyone introduce themselves using six approved "feeling" words. Hi, my name is X, and I'm feeling happy, sad, mad, scared, etc. I can't recall two of the words.

    His response every week: "Hi, my name is X, and I'm cranky and morose."

    She never got anywhere with him....he was feeling like a hostage and showed it. But oddly, that has stuck with us - sometimes when he's moody, the girls will tell me, Dad's cranky and morose today! :)

  3. Wow, I love that you were able to sit and listen to your girls laugh, talk and enjoy each other, how very special!! My goodness, it sounds like your daughter is working so hard in her recovery process, you must be so proud of her right now. I can so relate to the husband thing. I am also working on my responses and voicing my opinion when I feel disrepected and biting my tongue when he gets on my son for the "little stuff". I am so happy for you today, God Bless!

  4. God Bless your daughter! She has a lot on her plate, and so far she is making great decisions.

  5. Loved reading this blog. You've got your hands full. I'm so happy that you are going to Alanon. If your daughter has a place to live that you are even remotely happy about, your family is richly blessed. We all know the price of getting great joy out of the mere sound of laughter comes with great pain. You are not alone. Sounds like when hubby's focused on the news, he's out of everyone's way. I say get him cable news, 24/7. Then, you'll all be happy. Hopefully, one day he'll join you at Alanon. I hope God blesses your daughter with wisdom way beyond her years.

  6. Love it Madison!! (your comment about cable news 24/7). He just about has that! Three regular newspapers, Wall Street Journal, five weekly news magazines, and cable TV news.

    I just put on my music headphones and work on my quilting. That's my happy place! If I listened to a steady diet of news, I'd be cranky and morose too!!

  7. Madison, I think that Al-Anon would benefit your husband. The behavior seems a bit controlling IMO. But it sounds as if your daughter handled it well. There is no changing others, just ourselves.

  8. Been to the Friday night meetings at the Crossing. I'll try to go tomorrow night. I'll be the tallest girl there...most likely.

  9. Your daughter seems to be doing well.
    I don't know what to think of your husband. He may be scared that he is responsible for a lot of what happens and so he hides in the news and in trying to control things. We will pray for you both.

  10. I'm in my happy place right now, headphones and all. I agree with Syd -- Alanon sounds like a good idea for hubby.

    I love your message -- honest, sincere. Rah, rah, rah!!! Cheerlead away, friend :)
    Kudos to your daugher