Monday, February 28, 2011

Hard work continues

She's getting her butt out of the bed at 4:45 every morning, smoking a cig on the front porch (while The Dad still sleeps) and sipping her coffee while psyching herself up for the day.

She's at work on time daily (I give her a ride but I do not get her up, or insist that she get in the car by a certain time - I just get myself ready and work at my desk until she says she's ready, grab my keys, and off we go).

She's making just over minimum wage and grateful. She's thinking about taking on a another job to help save money for a car. She's trying to be an Avon erep, but money is tight for everyone! She has to sell $80.00 worth of Avon a month just to cover the cost of the website, so I think she may stop that soon. The whole reason she wanted to do it was to put the profit after costs into a "car fund".

She's taking her medications. The parole psych doctor changed them recently and she seems less stable on the new combination. But that's for her to discuss with her doctor, I guess.

She is taking one class on campus at the local college and one online (at same college).

She paid "rent" immediately, for the whole month, with her first paycheck.

She lives for her weekends, which is her time to get to a meeting at the Crossing, and also to spend time with LeBoyfriend either at his family's house, or ours. They are very low key on the weekends, preferring to go to a movie, fix pizza at home, and attend Sunday services with his family.

She followed up on her financial aid applications this past week and discovered she qualified for fee waivers resulting in a complete refund to her dad for class costs and registration fees. Yay!

Against this backdrop of continued effort and positive results, I feel like I have no room to gripe! It's not the rosy picture it seems, given that The Dad continues to needle her daily about her smoking, and is trying to insure that we only drive the 20 miles to the Friday night church recovery meeting every other week. Gas costs are painful, and he "doesn't see the need." (Her commute to work each day is 1.3 miles - what a blessing!)

You can imagine how his lack of understanding of her need to get to a meeting of her choice once a week is impacting my serenity. She took the bus down there last week - the trip took an hour and a half, straight through the areas where she "connected" most often when using. Yes, I know it is codependent of me to be concerned about this. But really, wouldn't spending $8-10 a week in gas to get her to a meeting be "enabling recovery"? His constant needling about her smoking isn't helping her OR me either. She is dutifully walking up the street four lots to smoke at a vacant corner as per his wishes (except for that morning cigarette that he sleeps through), and still, daily he tells her "too many, too many, you promised you would stop", etc. She takes it in stride, but geez.

If you read about some crazy woman in SoCal taking a garden hoe to her husband's head, you'll know it was me.

She's doing SO well. I look at her efforts and her successes (high praise from her bosses, making the choice to skip an optional free drinks/food celebration with her coworkers at a bar because she thought it might be a trigger, voluntarily picking up extra hours on Saturdays, carefully budgeting to start paying probation and back taxes, and unbeknownst to The Dad, purchasing his birthday present two months early because she saw something that he will love…..) and I think she's really doing an AWESOME job working on her recovery and rebuilding her life.

I don't understand my own state of mind right now. I'm positively schizoid. I'm profoundly grateful and at the same time, exhausted, stressed, and emotional. I think I have had tears in my eyes about ten times already today. What's up with that!

Maybe its hormones or menopause or something like that. Maybe it's the financial strain of my economy. Note I did not say The Economy. The only economy that I'm really worried about is mine, and mine sucks.

But really, it's all good. She's clean, productive, and willing (98% of the time!). That pretty much outweighs everything else! I am so proud of her.... love her so much!

At any rate, I am just checking in, and thought I'd post an update. Now, I'm going to take my grateful self off to take a nap!

Continuing to pray for all our families and our precious children…..


  1. I so enjoy reading posts like this, working together mom and daughter get it.

    Sorry abouy husband, he just needs to thik about what battles are important. He doesn't have to give up his values, he just as to respect hers and yours.

    I drive 100 miles a day to help my son with his recovery. Quite frankly, this is the cheapest rehab I have ever paid for in seven years.

  2. I want to explain just a little more for your husbands benefit.

    Smoking killed my dad at the age of 52. I have a dislike for smoking that is almost that of drugs but I have to be realistic. Alex always smoked when he was using.

    I came to the realization that I and him had a more urgent battle. Smoking may kill him young like it did my dad. He will suffer pain and die an agonizing death from cigarettes. Drugs will surely kill my son in the darkness of an overdose of destruction of his body. This will happen sooner than later. Sometimes it is easier to climb two small mountains that it is to sale Mt Everest.

    I let go of the tobacco issue. When I gave up on that issue I spoke in detail to Alex about my fear of tobacco and my father but I also told him that my fear of drugs was greater and I would no longer speak harshly of his smoking. My only issue was do not smoke in the house and do not throw your butts in the yard, there is a clay flower pot for cig butts on the porch that you must empty.

    I never again brought up smoking. Surprise surprise, Alex has been drug free since last summer. When he went to jail and there is no smoking in jail he decided that he would become smoke free too. He now works on work release here in my plant and he is not only drug free but tobacco free too. Tobacco free since last October.

  3. Dang! She's doing better than me! Good for her. I've been combing the papers for a hoe incident but guess you've used self restraint so far. Maybe squirt him with the hose instead :)

    Seriously I am proud of your girl and still hope to meet her soon even though Anthony is no longer available to do her tattoo.

  4. PS to Dad, cheap rehab for your son but definitely valuable!

  5. Barbara, I'm using the hoe in the garden this week to try to get it ready for planting. I think leaving the hoe outside is a good idea for now. :) However, I do know that it is possible to drag the garden hose around to the tiny window outside the shower, and aim it in there when someone is showering. My "son" can attest to that! Heehee!

    Dad, I hear you. My husband's dad (alcoholic and smoker) died before his time and his mom (smoker) died of a stomach cancer that according to what I could find out about it, occurs predominately (overwhelmingly, in fact) in smokers. It was a long, difficult illness and he went through that with his mom at the same time that we entered the Addiction Nightmare. I truly understand WHY he feels like he does, and I too, do not wish to see her go through that, but I am hoping that maybe he can lighten up on it a bit. She's trying so damn hard, and getting so discouraged at depending on others for rides, limited earning capacity due to both the economy and her record, etc. (the bus stop is a long ways away and doesn't run on a decent schedule out here.) We have much to be grateful for, and I'm trying to be encouraging to her.

    I am in AWE of your son's progress, and so happy for your family. Your wisdom and your son's hard work give me great hope!

  6. Wow....this is such an amazing post....your daughter is just working SOOOO hard ! It's wonderful to read !!

    As far as the cigarettes...sigh...I too have been really bothered by my son's cigarette smoking, and so wanted him to quit. Guess what...(and I have heard this before)...his sponsor said to not even work on quitting cigarettes until he has at least 6 mo.s clean time (he has 2 1/2 mo.s now). Apparently, trying to quit the cigarettes at the same time can be too much at once. Now it's not free, but MUCH cheaper than you know about the electronic cigarette? Yes, there's still nicotine, but no other toxic harmful chemicals that real cigarettes have. I also know there's been some controversy about the total safety of them, but they're still much healthier than any regular cigarettes. Our older son got one at 7-11 for $20, but they're also sold at other places like cigar shops for about $30. more buying those horrible and expensive cigarettes which are also amazingly expensive.

    Congrats to your daughter !!! :)

  7. Such great news! You know sometimes when things calm down and all seems to be doing ok without our direct involvement....its like we can finally let down and all of the emotions we had been holding in and holding together come flowing out. Its a release....but it can be overwhelming too.

    I am so happy to read about your daughter...she and your husband's relationship is theirs to work out...and I do know that is far easier said than DONE. LOL My fingers would be twitching at my sides and I would be clucking my tongue as I tried to keep my mouth shut. Gggrrrrr.

  8. Great post and like everyone else, I understand hubby's fear of smoking and angst created by it. My decision was to "pick my battles." And I hope by not nagging at my son (he has to smoke butts laying around), that at some point, maybe when the additional $1 a pack tax passes in California, he will make the decision to give it up.

    With regard to your emotionality, I totally get it! From my perspective, you spent soooo much time putting up the walls, detaching with love, living with her consequences and your frustration that becomes the norm. With your daughter in recovery and doing well, your emotions are in an upheaval (and yes menopause and your economy can impact!) because for so long you separated yourself from her, you worked on "not caring" and now you have to reengage...because you want to. But it will take time for your emotions to catch up! At least this is how it has been for me.

    Hang in there for yourself; and give your daughter a hug from all of us out here in blogland! We are all so very proud of her.

  9. It sounds as if she is doing great. Her dad needs to ask How Important Is It? Is it worth making a fuss over something that is really her business? I hate cigarettes but nagging someone is not going to make them stop. Remember we are powerless over people, places, and things.

  10. I am sooo happy to hear that your daughter is doing so well. I agree that hubby should back off on the smoking but we can not control him either. This feels like a miracle to me . Great news on your daughter.

  11. great post ...inspiring to see kids in recovery.
    Their recovery is a SLOW process..I can son is very much the same.. I feel like i move like a bullet compared to his "recovery speed" at times..However I am surrounded by other parents who kids are facing jail, institutions, and detach....for me is a good day..

    thanks for your post!

  12. Thank you so much for posting an update - and what great news to hear! I am so happy for her, I am so happy for you :) Leave the smoking between him and her and keep YOUR peace... (easier said than done I know)... But I do think he's wasting his time needling her about it, no matter how good his intentions. I smoke myself, and no one is going to say or do anything to get me to quit except myself, hopefully he'll realize and keep his own peace... one can hope for his sake, and yours! :)
    God bless!

  13. Hi, Joy. Such good news - yet, I understand exactly how you feel. We've been so conditioned to expect the worse - that it even becomes a form of self-protection. My post about parents suffering from PTSD underscores that black cloud of anxiety and fear that follows us everywhere - even when things are going as well as could be expected. For me, the stakes seem even higher, now that my daughter has 10 months of sobriety under her belt. How could we all survive going through all of this again? I know my sense of doom/dread robs me of any joy in the "now". So, I am trying to learn how to stay right here, right now, and not project ahead or behind. Progress not perfection, right? We're all in recovery. Best, Peggy

  14. Hi, Joy. Such good news - yet, I understand exactly how you feel. We've been so conditioned to expect the worse - that it even becomes a form of self-protection. My post about parents suffering from PTSD underscores that black cloud of anxiety and fear that follows us everywhere - even when things are going as well as could be expected. For me, the stakes seem even higher, now that my daughter has 10 months of sobriety under her belt. How could we all survive going through all of this again? I know my sense of doom/dread robs me of any joy in the "now". So, I am trying to learn how to stay right here, right now, and not project ahead or behind. Progress not perfection, right? We're all in recovery. Best, Peggy

  15. Your post made me laugh - I don't know if Parents can always be agreeable especially when they have been beaten down by addiction. I am still trying very hard to detach and I am not doing a very good job. But I will say that I would drive my son to a meeting anywhere. I am always told to tell him that when he is ready to get in recovery then I will be in his life. So personally (of course that isn't saying much) I think it is great that you are driving her to work and meetings.

  16. I have a huge smile on my face! My own crazy life took me away from blogging for a while and I have slowly been making the rounds, and it is so good to read so many positive things. Where there is life, there is hope. I am at a place where I am going to need to keep reminding myself of everything I have learned in relation to codependency... My son is 13 and I learned last year he started smoking when he was 9. Even though it is the lesser of many evils, it is hard to wrap my brain around.

    Anyway... I am so glad to hear so many good things. She has come so far since I first came upon your journey so long ago.

  17. I havn't stop by for a while and I can't begin to tell you how happy I was to read your post. Your daughter has come such a long way and is clearly continuing to strive for her new life. As for the cigarettes - I'm a fine one to talk. I gave up for 9 days and yesterday smoked one out of boredom. Need to get back on the wagon...

  18. This is just the most fantastic post and I am proud of her and you! It is posts like this that keep the hope alive.

  19. I can only say that when you care about someone and they have changed their entire way of thinking due to recovery any support you can offer is a must. Angry resentments from parents need help too. It is a family disease so your husband may want to seek help because he has an untreated illness at this time. Clean and sober and getting to a meeting by bus once a week? That in itself is amazing. I smoked for most of my life and into my sobriety. That was the least of my worries. If the focus is going to be on the smoking it makes it difficult to progress. There will always be something else wrong right? Start a meeting in your area..where 2 or more are gathered is all it takes. God would smile...Perhaps there is a need in your area that people just haven't filled right? Please take care