Saturday, November 13, 2010

We have a plan, man.... with boundaries....

We’ve got options. We’ve got ideas. We’ve got additional information regarding her health issues. We’ve got a daughter alluding to willingness (that is yet to be proven. But it’s a start.).

We’ve even got back up.

All this to say, DD2 will be joining our household again in December for sure.


We’re crazy, I’m well aware (all of us in this house)….but hopefully we’re harmless. I know of at least two persons in our blogging community who would think we need to have our heads examined. That’s okay.

My oldest daughter and my husband initially wished to do this, and though I continue to be concerned that we are not the best place for her, we have jointly decided to at least seriously try it. We’ve weighed the advice and opinions of a wide range of voices.

What it all boiled down to, was whether letting her come here would enable recovery, as opposed to all sorts of other enabling (not good).

She paroles on December 4th. (Hopefully. Right now, she has a “hold”, but no warrants that can be found by her old probation officer, or the online info sites…if the "hold" is still in place when she is released, she’ll get transferred to the OC jail and released after a judge puts two and two together and gets “no warrants.” She hates the thought of that, but on the flip side, is delighting in the thought that they would bus her down here and she’d still get the full amount of “gate” money from parole when she meets with them…. Basically they’d have bought her fare home.)

We’ll meet the bus when/if she gets to O.C., or we will pick her up from the local jail after the red tape gets cut. She may stay with us for December, and during that time, she will “do what she has to do” per parole. Parole is insisting on mandatory mental health treatment, medications, doctor appointments, meetings, job search, etc.


Benefits of staying here will include a fridge full of healthy food, low rent!, a safe home, a drug free environment, the occasional ride, and a lot of love. There are negatives, and she will have to weigh things out.

We don’t have to try to map out her life for her. That’s not our business. Parole is laying down the rules and it’s up to her to follow them and accomplish what they want. If we can give rides, within the confines of our own work schedules, we will. I work from my home, full time, but it’s very adaptable and I can often be away for a bit, and make that up later. If not, we’ll get her to the bus stop (nearest one is three miles away).

Big issue: She has a no contact order with Le Boyfriend for the duration of parole: 13 months. This makes absolutely no sense to me, and is, in my opinion, the one thing that could most likely trigger a relapse for her. He, she, and his brother were arrested together. They would normally all be under a no contact order, however, he and the brother may get to live together at their family’s home, because they are blood relatives. She and they are not supposed to have contact outside of public meetings (NA/AA), or church.

(Don’t think getting married by proxy hasn’t occurred to them to circumvent this, but as yet, they’re not investigating it.)


My personal opinion is that if they are going to go down in flames (relapse together), that’s what they’re going to do. Putting that kind of restriction on them is just going to make getting together that much more attractive. It’s human nature. And if they are caught together (even doing something as innocent as grabbing coffee at a Starbucks right next to a meeting) it’s twelve months prison automatically for violating, and then they start the 13 months parole over again.

Stupid, unnecessary, but it is, what it is! She can deal with it, 13 months, or 25 months, her choice! (her consequences!)

Back to the “living with us” issue
: We’ve tried leaving her “out there” to do it on her own. In the past decade, we’ve done that so often we can’t even count all of the occasions. And it did not ever result in her “getting” it. Her mania surfaced, she made impulsive decisions, she had a drink, she used, she nearly died, she got arrested.

Every single time.

She has occasionally lasted a couple months in a sober home environment.

We’ve tried having her here with us. There have been times when she came home to “kick it” and after going through detox, she couldn’t take it and she left. And the conclusion (on those occasions) was the same. She managed to live long enough to get arrested. (Once was after that memorial day where she walked through the front window.)

But there have been times when she came here, and she got significant clean time under her belt. The only time, in fact, that she has ever gotten any significant clean time was while living here.

In particular, after one lengthy stent in jail, she came here, took her medications, went to mental health counseling appointments, got a job, bought a car from us, worked full time, was an awesome sponsee and an awesome sponsor of several, and she came within one week of getting her two year chip. This particular extended season of sobriety is what fuels my husband and my oldest daughter’s desire to allow her to try working on her recovery here again.

To this day, I don’t know what made her relapse, and really, it isn’t important. It is her business.

But what if she could get that long again? Or longer? What if she could start out with us, and then successfully move out on her own? My husband mentions this, and then reminds himself and me that she’s done best here in the past, and then alternately reminds me that nothing really works. We’re nothing if not contradictory!

My husband has continued to remind her of the negatives of living with us. He wants her here, but he wants her to be aware that there are boundaries. She continues to request that she be permitted to parole home.

The letters I’m getting from her are clearly thought out. Her handwriting is precise, controlled, and the effectiveness of her medications is obvious. Medication compliance is going to be a condition of her parole. She seems to be significantly more cognizant of the importance of her medications for her bipolar illness. She mentions wanting to stay sober, get a job, go on walks with her sister, go out with her sister for movies or shows, go to church, go to meetings, etc.

It is possible we would be welcoming home the daughter who almost got two years. It is possible that we could give her an environment of encouragement and unconditional love, but with our own boundaries in place.

We will not live with drugs or smoking.

We will not live with theft.

We charge rent!

We will not knowingly participate in deceiving parole.
(Le Boyfriend will not be here if she is here. Not to do odd construction jobs for us, and not for family dinners.)

If she can be here and contribute to the household in positive ways, and we can enable her to more easily seek her own recovery and she uses this time to rebuild her life in a positive fashion, however she sees fit, then perhaps we can do this for a time.

It will be up to her. During December, she will get a chance to decide what she wants to do. After the ‘honeymoon period’, when the chips are down and things get monotonous, and the WORK of recovery is staring her in the face, if she wants to stay, and is in agreement as to respecting our boundaries, then perhaps we can continue to give it a go. Frequent, open, honest discussion is going to be necessary.

The end of the honeymoon period concerns me, because right now she has a rosy memory of living here. She has forgotten the chaos of Dad’s five dogs (some of whom do not get along and require strategic rotation in and out of areas of the house), and she’s forgotten things like the emotional hits of living in close proximity as a family. It can be good. And it can be hurtful. I think this is true of any family to some extent. Sometimes with us, it seems a bit more critical.


For example, she’s forgotten that every single night, you can’t even speak to each other in the kitchen or bang pots and pans because Dad is 20 feet away in the den area watching the news (not once, but several episodes, along with other taped shows he records), and he will snap his fingers and bark “keep it down!” at anyone who makes noise. Or he turns up the volume to the point that I can’t hear my music or the little TV I’m watching upstairs in my sewing room. One would think watching TV in another location (closed bedroom?) would be an option for him, but it’s not one he uses very often.

We’re a family with more than one person who isn’t as healthy or mature as they should be, emotionally (myself included). And the clashes will come. She needs that honeymoon period to reacquaint herself with this family that LOVES her oh-so-much, but like any family, is not perfect and isn’t always a rosy place to live. She, and we, will need to decide if we want to continue this past December. Clashes at home have been used as an excuse to relapse in the past. Only she can decide if she is going to truly seek recovery.

Our back up? Boy, do we have back up. She will be “on loan” to O.C. Parole, from Riverside Parole, the county that she was arrested in/sentenced from. If she screws up, she loses their permission to live in O.C. and has to move to Riverside and work through the Riverside Parole office for the remainder of the 13 months. If for any reason, circumstances lead us to not be comfortable with these arrangements any longer (plainly stated to me, three times, by the parole officer who came and “inspected us”), all we have to do is call them. She will be transferred back to Riverside parole office, and have to live there (30 miles away). Period. No questions, no negotiations. That would be a difficult step to take, but the option is there.

The opinions expressed by those I have talked this over with have been a little surprising. One treatment specialist of hers that I still talk with now and then, has said in the past that he thinks “the rent is too high” at our house. His comment is directly aimed at the price of her and her dad trying to coexist. And he states categorically that he knows how much she is loved by her dad; he just also knows this family well enough to know this may not be a good idea. He stated it would be up to her, whether or not it would work. He said her Dad’s not going to change; she will have to change how she responds to him. Also, one of her former closest friends (an addict with five years clean time) is skeptical. He thinks she will never “get it”. He no longer speaks/writes to her.

On the flip side, all of the others whom I have talked with about this during our initial consideration, have all been in favor of this trial arrangement, given the boundaries and the backup. These include another AOD counselor, therapist, several parents at my parents-only Alanon meeting, and a blogging parent or two. I feel like we have bounced our thinking off a good variety of other “thinkers”.

I may be scarce(r) in the future in the blogging realm, but will continue to follow blogs and hopefully throw up a post now and then. My DH is committed to helping more this time and will do a significant amount of the driving but I will be busier too. It is time consuming, helping her, even in a healthy fashion! I don’t mind that at all! But, it will be imperative that I take care of me (think Exercise!) and that I have time to get in my happy place and sew a bit. Creating things is just a part of who I am.


We’re looking for a bit of a fresh start church-wise, hoping to find a new church home where we don’t have such a history and one that also has an active Celebrate Recovery program, close to the house. Our financial situation remains tight, due to this supposedly recovering economy, DH’s part-time hours, and my business being about 50% of normal…. We’re not oozing money and can’t afford the time or the gas to drive all over heck’s half acre to get her places and get to church activities too.

It will all work out! In just the manner that it should. It’s in God’s hands, and it’s up to her!

At this point, we’re going to give it an honest try. I think it has to do with that four letter word…..


H O P E!!

Prayers for all our families continue!