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!


  1. I am squinting trying to read this without my glasses on! I picked up the main points and will read it again later :) I'm so glad you got to hear her voice! It seems that there is plenty of time between now and December to work out what she will do. I hope Le Boyfriend can stay away from the drugs at Norco. According to Anthony they are everywhere - but I guess its that way at most prisons. Hey - maybe they will meet each other.

    Glad you updated. I've had your girl on my mind lately :)

  2. my opinion would be that she not live at home. i am only speaking from my experience. in the past when my son would come back to live with us b/c really, he had nowhere else to go, the minute he walked in the door he lost his dignity. it's almost like i could see it vanish. for us, him living here does not work. it creates stress between my husband and myself that is really unbearable. right now we are paying for his sober living and it seems to be going well but we've been down this road before and know things can change overnight.

    after reading this post i am amazed at the courage and grace you have shown throughout your daughters ordeal. you have strength that i don't think i've got.

    it's august and i'm already dreading the holidays so i understand you dreading the decision you have to make in december. i used to love the holidays.

    good luck and keep writing.


  3. I was very glad to read about your good news...thanks for sharing :) As for the stupidity of the system, it depresses me greatly to even think about it. Things will work out, you'll see :)


  4. I think the main thing is that she locates herself AWAY from all the people and places she use to do drugs with or at. That made all the difference in the world for me. I wish you both the very best and will keep you in my prayers.

  5. I'm simply "glad" that you have many "glads" at this point. Enjoy the meal and congratulations to daughter and her advancement at work. That is awesome!

  6. Another option could be some sort of treatment, either inpatient or outpatient. At the end of my addiction, I did thirty days and I was appalled at how hard it is to get into treatment programs through the jail. When I finally ended up there, I was screaming to get help and I could not. Drug talk can run rampant in jail because there are often a lot of addicts there. I would try to get my head on straight, and then I would suddenly be up against a lot of reminiscing about the high times. It was really frustrating. I am fortunate that the terms of my probation included intense outpatient treatment and constant drug testing. I was able to stay clean and complete my probation. By then, I was so far away from my former self that I never wanted to go back. Five years later I am still sober and about to graduate from a four year college...and get a real job!
    I would recommend that you make sure your daughter has some kind of treatment in place. It really is a nessacary piece of the puzzle sometimes. Court ordered outpatient treatment is the most affordable, and after being in jail we do not want to be locked up in treatment again. Intense outpatient treatment can be several days a week. At first I was opposed to treatment, and I felt like jail was enough to change me. What treatment gave me was a the chance to take a deeper look at myself, and learn some tools to help stay sober. There are lots of treatment options out there, and it is important to pick the right one for each person. Discuss treatment options with the rest of the family and especially your daughter. It really can make the difference. Court ordered was a good thing for me because I had to do it, and it really did change me. Best of luck.

  7. A psychiatrist who specializes in addiction tells me that the addicts do better at home. I gave my daughter many chances at home that did not work out. I am not sorry though because she seemed to put a little more time together at home. My suggestion ( though I do not expect it to be popular) would be to let her come home with boundaries that you agree with. If that does not work out then, she must go to the sober living. Actually, the sober living is not a bad idea at all depending on the house. Sometimes they are very good. Sometimes they are very bad so it makes a difference.

    Good luck to you and may God bless.

  8. it depends on how serious she is about her recovery. i appreciate the offer of a pattern and scraps. i will drop you a line with my contact information and maybe we can trade, i can get you some NA literature for your daughter, and some nar-anon literature for you, and you can send me some patterns and scraps!!

    Nar- Anon is for family members of addicts. it is really, really helpful stuff.

  9. I only have a gut feeling that being close to meetings and a way to get there will be essential. I hope that she remains serious about recovery. Standing on her own builds self esteem. Just sayin'.

  10. hi, lurker here. i'm in recovery from alcoholism. i'm female, 31 and very close to my parents, but from my perspective and theirs, life has been so much easier with me not living with them. I tend to do well for 3-4 months then relapse for maybe 3-4 days. I think it has saved our relationship that they've not had to witness those busts first hand. I live alone, which is not ideal (I'm in Australia and there aren't many options for sober living) but I've adapted to make it work for me - I see my parents a lot and speak to them every day - they live about 25 minutes away.

    Living away from them (I did live with them during 2007-2008 when I was really struggling with my drinking and it was a disaster) has been a blessing. I am now working part-time and studying part-time and managing my household and although it's not all smooth sailing and I do find it very hard work to cope with everything at times without a drink, to the outside world, at this point? Nobody would even know I'm in recovery and I love that, I've spent the last few years in and out of rehab and not doing anything with my life. to be approaching my own version of normalcy is helping me in my recovery.

    my best wishes for your girl.