Saturday, December 8, 2018

Grieving My Living Son

I wrote this somewhere else but decided to share it here:

Twenty eight years ago on 12/7/90 my surprise baby arrived. I was 30 years old, single and had decided I did not want children. But hey, things happen and I got pregnant by an ex-boyfriend. I chose to have the baby even though I cried daily for the first three months of pregnancy.

Then one day something happened, I felt the little intruder rolling around inside me. I fell in love. I fell even more in love when I finally held him in my arms. The feelings I had for this child, shocked me and changed me. No one had ever explained what a powerful love a mother has for her child. My life revolved around him — keeping him safe and healthy, raising him to be a man of integrity, compassion and curiosity, those were my new priorities.

He was, for the most part, a happy little boy who loved Legos, playing outside with friends and dressing up as pirates, cowboys and super heroes. Even though I was a single mom, with the help of my sister and my mom, I was able to provide him a very stable loving home, fun vacations, and new experiences. As he grew older he had good friends who loved him for who he was, yet he never felt worthy. That became an indication that something was not quite right. Counseling, love, encouragement, nothing helped. He didn’t feel good about his tall, handsome, intelligent self. I always wonder if that had anything to do with it…

Late on an August night in 2007, my son and his girlfriend came in and sat on my bed. The girlfriend forced him to tell me that he had been using heroin. He was 17 and had “shot up” his first time with some older guys he knew. He’d been using for about 2 months. At the time, the opiate epidemic was not public knowledge and I couldn’t understand where, how or why he got his hands on such a vile drug. He promised me he’d stop and I believed him. Oh — the bliss of ignorance!

My son is still using today. He’s been through 12 drug treatment programs, the mental hospital at least 6 times (lost count) for suicide attempts, he’s been on life support twice (once as a John Doe until he finally woke up and gave them my number), he’s been in and out of jail for the last eleven years and he spent 16 months in state prison. He’s watched so many of his friends die, including one that I adopted as a second son.

What many people don’t seem to grasp about heroin is that its unlike any other addictive substance. You need more and more each day just to “not feel sick”. Its an insidious disease that affects the mind, body and soul. It controls every thought, motive and action. My son has committed acts (both illegal and immoral) that make my stomach turn. Things I wish I didn’t know.

We’ve all heard that “addiction is a family disease”, that statement is pure truth. My life as I once knew it, like my son’s, is a distant memory. I’ve lost friendships, gained weight, lost jobs, gained debt, lost laughter and peace and gained fear, and stress. I’ve become an expert on addiction — something no parent wants to be. Sadly my only piece of advise is: There is nothing we can do to stop them from using. Its no longer a choice for them, its a need. Many do get to the point where they are literally so sick and tired that they are ready, only to relapse years later. Its never completely over, although there are many success stories.

So today on his birthday, I grieve the loss of who he was and can only hope that someday, my real son will return to me. I miss the smile that is so rare these days. I miss being able to trust him. I miss setting my purse down when I enter the house instead of locking it away the second I’m home. I miss the laughs we used to share. I miss the real hugs. I miss his hopes and dreams.

The hardest part of this tragedy is not grieving over who he was, but grieving who he is today. He is paranoid, stressed out, anxious. His only goal in life is to find ways to stay high and to pass drug tests for his parole officer. He hates himself. He is filled with guilt, remorse and disgust for all the things he’s put me through. He’s lonely with no real friends. He’s a tortured soul who feels completely hopeless about his future.

My love for him hasn’t lessened, in fact its grown. Too bad love doesn’t conquer all. He’s been on this earth for 28 years as of today, but only 17 years of actually living. The rest have been years of survival and devastation because of a poor choice he made 11 years ago. Just one time of using is was all it took.

So today I grieve instead of celebrate. I would do anything to save him, to help him. ANYTHING. But there is nothing I can do other than take a lot of deep breathes, continue to love and encourage him and force myself not to think too much about the possibility that he may not be around to turn 29. Happy Birthday, dear son, your mother loves you and will never lose hope no matter how dark the days have become.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Suboxone Implant - Or Leave

I really miss writing.  Three kind people left comments here after my last post so I thought I'd follow up.  I didn't even know I had comments until today.  I may actually start blogging again...


My love life - I realized that I DO love Peter and I DO want to be with him for the rest of my life.  All the things about him that bother me are petty.  I was following my usual M.O. for men in my life and pulling/pushing away from him out of fear of commitment and a feeling that I am not lovable.  I listened to my family's complaints about him and let them (my sis and son) warp my view of a wonderful man.

My sis and son don't even know we are back together yet.  They will find out when he comes to visit in January, that's the soonest he can come visit.  They don't like sharing me.  I do so much for both of them because I am the Queen of shameful as that is to admit, its true.

Keven is waiting for the Suboxone implant.  I paid for him to go through detox and he made it a few weeks without using, but is using again while waiting to get the implant.  Damn it!  I can't even tell you how much it pisses me off and the things he does (stealing credit cards) that are totally unacceptable.  If he doesn't get the implant soon (within two weeks) I have to seriously consider kicking him out.

Trew.  Trew is the young man we were visiting in the hospital.  He had endocarditis for the second time and was lucky to be alive.  He was in the hospital for 8 weeks!  His mom lives up north and the rest of his family won't allow him to live with them so he was going to go from the hospital back onto the streets.  The nurses rallied around him for the 8 weeks he was there and made him their special patient, doing all kinds of things nurses don't usually do.  They bought him a bunch of clothes, a big duffel bag, hygiene stuff...everything he needed.  His doctor even gave him a $50 gift card.  They even went as far as getting him the Vivitrol shot before he was discharged (its similar to Suboxone, it blocks opiates so if you use heroin you don't get high).

Well, I couldn't let him go from the hospital to the streets so said he could live here for one month (longer if he got a job).  He was suppose to take it easy for the first week.  He came here on a Saturday night.  The following Tuesday I took him to court to clear up a warrant.  We spent the entire day together, had lunch, had a good time.  He'd stayed with us a few days at a time in the past and fit right in with our little household.

After court that Tuesday he asked me to drop him off at his storage unit, said his dad was going to meet him there to get some stuff out because his brother was no longer going to pay for it.  That sounded reasonable to me so I dropped him off and told him what I was making for dinner and said to call me if he needed a ride "home" later.

Haven't seen him since. Its been over two weeks.  His mom and I are in contact via text and she's heard from him a few times.  The Vivitrol shot is keeping him from heroin but his other drug of choice is meth and that's how he got sick in the first place.

Drugs have such a powerful hold.  It makes me lose hope for Keven, but I can't, I just can't.

My next post will be about MY drug charges...the fun never ends when you have an addict in your life!

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


As usual, I write when I'm in a bad mood.  I am just tired of taking care of everyone else.  I am taking care of me too, but so many people impact my life and I don't know how to change it.

I think I may have to take care of my son for the rest of his life.  He's not normal.  He may never be.  Peter says he understands, but it would have a great impact on our relationship and I really don't want that to happen.

Stress.  I need to work on lessening it.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Sad Mother's Day

I'm sad.  Not because of my mom, or Anthony, because of Keven.  The other day my credit cards went missing.  I found the little pouch I carry them in in his room.  But - the four important ones were missing.  He swore up and down for days that he did not take them.  Of course I knew, and he knew, he was lying.  Its just what he does.  He lies.  He steals and he lies. 

Yesterday I had $10 in my wallet.  Its gone.  The only reason I keep any cash on me is so I can give it to him when he needs it.

I knew he had a bunch of our stuff locked in the trunk of his car so I spent my Mother's Day morning going through it and putting most things back where they belong.  Hidden in a little slot in a watch box were my credit cards - the ones he didn't steal, except one was still missing.  Also found my sister's checkbook.
This doesn't show all the plates (some gold plated), etc. that I had already put away.

I haven't even seen him yet today.  I know he hates himself for the things he does, but he can't seem to stop doing them.  I know I've been saying this for years, but the time is come for me to turn my back on him and let him figure out life on his own.  I may call his parole officer tomorrow to ask if they have a plan and inform them that he won't be living here much longer.

I'm not even mad.  I'm just plain sad.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Friday, April 20, 2018

I'll Take That As A Compliment

Here's what I wrote on FB today:

"Here's one definition of "Acceptance", "willingness to tolerate a difficult or unpleasant situation". Acceptance has the frame of mind that keeps me sane. I've been dealing with my son's illness for over 10 years now, and have tried fixing, avoiding, denying, acting like a crazy woman, isolating and hiding from life, etc. etc. Nothing has helped him, or me. So a few years ago realized that I had a shift in my thinking and had accepted the situation. I may lose him. He may never be well. There is nothing more I can do, I've done my part. Now I just love him and hope that he can learn to love himself, that he can find the right help. "The System" has caused him so much more harm than good and they are at it again trying to force him into his 14th rehab. If rehab worked, don't you think it would have by now? I wise man I know, Mark, says that it doesn't happen until you come to believe in a Higher Power and work the Steps. Another wise person I know things that some people need to stay on Suboxone/Methadone long term to survive. For whatever asinine reason rehabs are 12 Step based and are against Medically Assisted Treatment (Suboxone/Methadone). What if a person needs BOTH? I believe that's what my son needs. I am beyond frustrated with the parole dept. Yet, acceptance has to be daily choice or I will not be able to get out of bed in the mornings. Thanks for listening."

What I didn't say is how hard it is to be in that mindset.  It doesn't come easy.  Its like letting go of control and being ready for the outcome, which in some cases would be death.  Last night he talked about suicide (again) but every time he doesn't do it reminds me that there may be a time that he will.

Anyhow, the title of this post.  Yesterday Keven said to me "a bunch of my friends have asked me over the years if you were an addict".  I asked why (but I sort of knew) and he said "because you know so much about it and understand it from our perspective".  That really touched me.  I did my homework, not just by reading but by getting to know (and love in some cases) quite a few addicts over the last ten plus years.  I care, I can't help it.  I don't judge others that think the only answer is kicking their kid out and moving on, that's called self preservation and I've done that too.  But I do think it helps both the loved one and the addict if you really GET IT.  If you get why they keep using, if you understand what it does for them, how it controls them, how they are willing to take serious risks (physically, relationally and legally) to get it, and how it feels to be dope sick...which is horrendous to put it lightly.

So, I feel complimented by that.  I have a ton of compassion for people that are in the same "boat" as Keven.

I hate that I only have TWO pics of Keven and Anthony together.  I have to use the same ones over and over.  Look at those SMILES.  They were both not using that Thanksgiving.  A great day.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Friday, October 27, 2017

I'm Getting Married for the first time at age 58!

For once I have some great news to share here.  I know not a lot of people read here these days, and I already shared on FB, but wanted to share my joy.

Peter and I met because both of our children are heroin addicts.  A mutual friend introduced us (over the phone - he lives 7 hours north of me) because she thought it would help him to have someone to talk to about his daughter.  We hit it off.

After 3 months we met in person and from there things just blossomed.  On August 15th, as we were walking on the beach, he found a rock for me to sit on then dropped to one knee and proposed.  It wasn't my first proposal but it was the only one that I felt 100% sure about!

We celebrated one year of knowing each other on October 11.  We plan to marry in May/June 2018 and he will move here for a year then we will move out of state after that.

I've never been happier and have never known true love until now!  Sadly, we still have our children to deal with and that is the one dark cloud hanging over with, but we will make it work.

Right after he asked me he looked down and found a heart shaped rock!  This is extra significant because we find heart-shaped rocks for each other all the time.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Lost Faith, Losing Hope

I don't cry much anymore, I ran out of tears after Anthony died. But yesterday I couldn't seem to get through an hour without at least one cry. I'm very lucky to have Peter, he's very understanding and supportive, but like all men - he hates to see (hear) his woman cry.

I cried because I don't think the Keven I once knew still exists. He's a shell of who he once was. He lives in his head - which is a dark and scary place. He uses Klonopin (prescribed) and/or heroin to feel normal for as long as the high lasts, then he plummets back to the depths of his despair in the form of self-hatred, depression, fear and debilitating anxiety.

He was bad off before he went to prison, and ten times worse than that when he came home. He was made to do things in there that he doesn't want to talk about (and this kid tells me everything - he always has since a child - I know things I wish I didn't know but it helps him to talk to me so I listen).

Is another rehab the answer? He's been to at least ten (not counting detoxes and sober livings, hospital stays and jail/prison time).

I am enabling him to keep using by letting him stay here with a roof over his head, all his needs met, and no consequences for his drug use (other than what he inflicts upon himself).

In the past I've found him places to live (sober living, hotels, an apartment in another county). A few times I had him arrested. A few times I just kicked him to curb with all his stuff packed in trash bags. Once I even stopped my car on the way to a detox (in Garden Grove) and kicked him out right then and there because he said "I'm not sure I want to do this" and pushed me over the edge.

I've sold his stuff to pay for his drug debts. I've paid to get back items he pawned. I've depleted my savings more than once. I wracked up my credit cards more than once. I am once again broke and in debt.

He's been to psychiatrists (mostly that give him whatever he wants and don't bother to try and diagnose him) and therapists and tried different modalities of treatment.

He's seen friends die, one died in bed next to him and he woke up to find her. He's almost died three times (officially) and who knows how many times I don't know about. He's had sepsis, MRSA, sever abscesses. He had a positive HIV test and refused to be treated. I lived thinking he was dying for two years until he was retested and it was negative. He has Hep C. 

So here we are 10 years in as of this month.  I will never forget the night he woke me around 2 am.  He and his girlfriend at the time (who is now a nurse, we are still in touch) sat on my bed and told me he'd been using heroin but was going to stop because if not, she would leave him.  He was 17, she was 16.  She hung around for several more months and was with him when he attempted suicide (cry for help) and I'd take her to the mental hospital to visit him.  She finally gave up on him as did all future girlfriends, and guy friends.

I'll never give up on him.  But I don't have much hope left.  I just can't seem to muster it.  I lost my faith in "God" a long time ago after being a faithful and committed Christian for about 18 years.  But that's another story for another time.

I desperately tried to save Anthony, but couldn't.  I've been desperately trying to save Keven - will I be able to?  No.  I can't, it doesn't work like that.  Somewhere deep inside himself he has to find the will to live and to stop using, but can he?  I don't think he can.  I think I may lose him one way or another.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara