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!