Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A voice from our past....

You'll probably recall the story of a young man I call my "son" and how he has moved back to live with his folks and is working in 'Bama.... (I'll call him S again, short for Son. His name actually starts with a P, but what the heck!)

He says he's relishing making up for lost time, doing normal little family things like barbequing for his parents (I called him the Master of our Grill!) and generally settling in.

I got an email from him today. A little background: He is the youngest of five siblings. Large span of years between the sibs. His oldest sister's daughter is his niece, but was only a little younger than him. This older sister is alcoholic and while he lived with us, she got sober and now is a certified alcohol and drug counselor! Her daughter R is the niece, and for many years, R resented her mother's lifestyle and hated everything about it. Then she ended up, while S lived with us, embracing all of it. Drugs, alcohol, sex, mahem..... R did it all.

We reached out to her, as did S and my daughter (who was on her way to two years clean at the time). She occasionally visited, but mostly, she would call S when she was in trouble, and he would attempt to act in an uncle-like fashion. Eventually, S detached. Really, completely, detached.

R went on to have twin baby girls with her boyfriend and continued using, with sporatic periods of sobriety.

Fast forward to today. I get an email from S today, and he was forwarding an email from R, that R wanted me to send to my daughter in prison. I cried when I read it because I've been asking him how R was doing for several years now. Finally.... We get some good news (warning: copy/pasted from her email, including the occasional F-bomb):

hey girl! long time no see. how are you holding up? i miss you alot, you know, you and "S" did alot for me. you two were there when no one else was and that means alot. i miss rollin around in your ride all cracked out on coffee blasting the radio. i will never forget those times. i love you!

i wanted to write you because i want you to know that you mean alot to me and let you know where i'm at. As you know i've had some rocky roads to travel, and sadly i had to make it as bad for myself as i could to get where I’m at today.

i have a little over three months clean and sober. it's a complete miracle and i couldn’t of done it if i didn’t take myself to that point of absolute and complete hopelessness. you know i have twin girls right? well i preferred to go to motels, get abused, and get fucked off than to take care of my own daughters. i basically abandoned them, i left them with their other grandmother. i never came back. i was literally on the street and worthless. i never thought i would be that person and i despised myself. i had nothing and no one.. not even my own girls. because of my doing i was not allowed to see them. of course it was his fault or your fault or their fault, i couldn’t accept that i became the exact thing i grew up resenting and hating.

even after all i had done to my family they were there for me when i finally surrendered. i had taken my last beating and i was on a street corner with a pillow case of clothes and a blanket. i called "S" because i had nothing and i needed help. he couldnt do anything for me at the time but i just remeber how i was crying about tyler and it was his fault again but "S" didn’t feed into it. he didn’t give me sympathy so i hung up on him.

i think its funny now but i was so pist off. didnt he know who i was? my mom and her boyfriend who usually give in, didn’t budge this time either. i couldn’t believe it, this time i really had to do something and i had to mean it.

so i went to detox and i went to treatment. i did relapse in treatment after i had 60 days, someone had heroin and i took some without thinking twice. the next day i wanted to die the shame was so bad. i came clean immediately though and surprisingly i had no consequences. That’s not who i am! i don’t want to be that person and live like that ever again! and the worst part of it is, i didn’t even shoot it.. i fuckin snorted it! how sick and sad that makes me feel when i think about it. I’m insane!

but now I’m out of treatment. and for the first time in my life i am satisfied with my life just the way it is right now. I’m trying to go back to school, i have a strong foothold in na aa ca whatever i can get. i don’t live with my daughters which does tear me up, but their other grandmother is taking care of them till i can and they come spend the weekend all the time with me. this is the longest 100% honest clean time I’ve ever had, and this is also the first time i wanted it.

I’m trying really hard to do whatever it takes to make it work this time. i just want you to know i thought i was the most hopeless of all dope fiends really, but now there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. i also want you to know i haven’t forgotten about you, i couldn’t. if you need anything i’m here. i love you xoxo!!


As you can imagine, my husband and I were delighted to read this. I mailed a copy to my daughter right away.

I'm not sure what R meant by her family "was there for her", because it sounds like what they did was detach, and take care of the innocent collateral damage (the other grandmother took responsibility for the infant twins). I know the family is helping her now. I know she never ended up in jail or prison and that's a huge blessing. Anyway, I'm sharing it because I feel we need success stories, and examples like this to remind us to Never Give Up Hope.

However, I will say, this is more for us to process into the decision about whether to let our daughter come home when she is released from prison.

I still am doubting that we are the best place for her, and yet, I can absolutely see where my husband and oldest daughter are coming from, wanting to give her another chance and enable her to define and pursue her own recovery here. We have much talking and thinking and praying to do before we finalize the decision, but it seems to be leaning towards letting her come here, if that is what she continues to want.

One huge item is that she is medicated now. Her bipolar illness is truly stabilized and continuing treatment through Mental Health is going to be a part of her parole requirements. That is something I'm mindful of. The pondering and praying will continue! And any suggestions or input that you guys have to add to the mix will be gratefully accepted!


Friday, August 20, 2010

I heard her voice....

Sorry I’ve been scarce! I’ve not had a whole lot of anything meaningful to say, and I’ve just been reading blogs and commenting a little… I’ve been busy, which is a good thing! I’m having a lot of dog sits these days, and that gets my derriere out of the chair and away from my medical transcription business, and out the door to another house where the clients’ dogs and I get good walks and fresh air. School starting next week will definitely bring the dog sits to a pause, and that’s not a bad thing! We’re kinda pooped!

I heard her voice a few days ago, for the first time in about four months. I’ve never gone longer than a week without at least getting a phone call from her. She’s always been very thoughtful, even when loaded, about making sure I know she is alive. The phone rang this time and I got the familiar recording about “This call is from an inmate in blah-blah-blah” and I was crying before she ever stated her name. I got myself under control, only to listen as she dissolved into tears and just kept repeating, “I love you mommy, oh my god I love you so much!” After a few minutes, she brought me up to date on everything. She’s been endorsed to Chowchilla for the remainder of her time. I was hoping that she would get transferred closer to home (Le Boyfriend just got transferred to Norco which is only a half hour from me!). No such luck, she’s staying in Chowchilla. Because it took so long to “classify” her, and get her seen by a counselor (almost four months!) she is too close to the end of her time to take any classes. She may not even be able to get a job, but she’s trying. Anything beats playing hangman with a bar of soap on a window, she says.

I wish she could have gotten classes. She will have been there long enough that she could have finished two classes, easily, and that would have given her enough credits that she would have her two year degree from the community college she was in. That community college works with the prisons and the credits apply, etc. That would have been helpful in the job search but I guess it was not meant to be. She’s had no drug counseling or education. She’s only able to have a “meeting” for NA or AA when she has enough people in her room that want to do it. Every now and then, they get to have one out in the main yard. In the 105 degree heat.

I know she did this to herself. What I don’t understand is why, since there are classes there that are not full, why the system isn’t a little more effective in an effort to send them out more prepared for real life than they came in. She already knew how to sit around and do nothing. If there is space in the classes, and the teacher is being paid anyway, seems silly that she couldn’t get into the math class, etc. And it just seems like drug prevention/education and tools for staying sober would be classes/money well spent.

She’s doing pretty well on her medications. She is working out daily, before the heat gets too bad. She runs several miles and does a workout that is designed for the fire-camp women, but open to anyone who wants to participate. If I understood her correctly, it’s a strenuous workout designed to keep the firefighters in top condition.

We are still uncertain as to what we should do about when she is released. She wants to come home. My husband still wants her to come here. In his wildest dreams, he’d like her to just sit here and get a year under her belt, going to class on line, and working out and hanging around the house. (That scream in the distance that you heard was mine – I don’t think that’s a productive way to enable her recovery!)

My oldest daughter is neither in favor or opposed, and says she’ll deal with whatever we decide and that she’s 100% looking forward to taking her sister to some concerts and dinners out with friends, etc. She writes her every week. I write several times a week, postcards mostly with little bits of news, and about once a week a longer letter. My husband has not written. Even once. He did purchase some paper and stamps and get the requisite packaging to send them to her. And he has helped with getting her first quarterly package paid for. We split that down the middle, and got her a few things she was hungry for, and a few things like vitamins, and two running teeshirts and a pair of real running shoes (only $14.95 on the prison-approved site!). Her birthday coincides with the arrival of this quarterly package, so it made me happy to be able to get her a few candy bars, and some cheap shampoo, and lots of coffee, coffee, coffee! I’m glad he has done what he felt comfortable doing, and I made sure she knew her Dad was involved in the quarterly package.

The dilemma about having her come home is just lurking like the proverbial elephant in the living room. My husband’s big thing is that his one stipulation is she can’t smoke on our property, or even our street. Whatever. Not a field I’m going to die on.

I feel that we’re not the best option. There are no meetings nearby; she has no car, and we can’t take as much time as would be necessary to run successfully her around to job interviews or take her to meetings and work. (Letting people pick her up for that sort of thing runs the risk that if she relapses, then it’s not the “good” friends that are picking her up, and I don’t like the “bad” friends knowing where she lives, if it’s with us!)

Seems like a sober home located on a bus line and close to parole would be more appropriate, because she could easily get where she needed to be on her own. Then we could pick her up for family dinners, shopping, church (she has asked me to attend services with her), etc. We’d be seeing her in a more appropriate fashion for an adult child, that way.

Does anyone have any input, opinions, suggestions?

I’m not going to stress over it yet. She’s not getting out until December. She will likely have warrants here that will surface when she is released, so she may come back to the O.C. jails to handle those. And that is despite the fact that not once, but twice, she and LeBoyfriend have filled out appropriate paperwork requesting immediate trial/sentencing for violating probation, so that the times are served concurrently which is supposed to enable them to leave prison with all the outstanding cases resolved and a relatively clean slate upon release.

Her probation officer called me the other day to state that she had sent the paperwork on to the appropriate courthouse, six weeks ago (for the second time) and as yet, still not heard anything.

The same system that didn’t get her classified in time to take classes, is probably not going to manage to get the case here (a warrant for failure to show up for a probation appointment) settled before she is released. Instead, the system will go to the expense of transporting her down here on a prison bus, processing her into O.C., running her through the court system here, and then deciding that she’s already done time up there, and stamping her paperwork as “done”. Makes sense, doesn’t it? To spend all that money transporting her around and feeding/processing her when a signed piece of paper from the courthouse faxed to the prison, would eliminate the need for it. Sigh.

I personally don’t care, I simply point it out as kinda stupid.

I am happy to report that she is sounding really good in her letters. Her writing is precise and neat (a great indicator of sobriety and a medicated mind, for her!) and her thoughts and statements seem well-ordered and thought out. She has reconnected with “the God of her understanding” and this seems to give her a lot of peace. She has been including lots of verses in her letters. She is in a very “Christian” room now, and all her bunkies are into Bible studies and she enjoys them a lot. I am really deeply happy for her that she seems to have found her faith again. I am not going to have expectations, or assume that all her problems are over. I’m just grateful. She says she’s looking forward to “family, church and meetings” when she gets out. :)

She is supposed to get to call us again soon. :)

I’m celebrating some good news with my oldest daughter this weekend. She was made salaried and given benefits at her law firm. She is a law clerk right now, but finishes her paralegal studies this semester and then they plan to make her a paralegal. :) She’s beside herself with glee and she and I are going to her favorite Indian restaurant for a lunch buffet Saturday. Yumm!

I’m wishing us all a serene weekend!! I have so many Glads today! I’m so grateful!