Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Believe it, or not.

He called last night. Around 9pm. Funny how I knew it was him, even though the caller ID said 'out of area'. Hubby answered, and put it on speakerphone. There was a lot of background noise, and my broken ears could pick up only little snippets. He said he would find out in about 1/2 hour if there would be a detox bed for him today - it was still day time in Sydney. He still has no plans to continue treatment after detox. Says he has a job lined up, and will save enough money to go to New Zealand. To start anew. Again. Running away. Again. Just as the conversation was coming to an end, my broken ears pricked up - I heard the word 'money'. Yes, his cousin L has given him some money. Not much - $20 here, $40 there. Said he needed it for his prescription medication, which was only available during certain hours, and L was working during those hours, so gave A the cash instead. I left the room. Took the dogs out for their nightly constitution. I did not want to wait around for any more lies. Perhaps he was telling the truth. Probably not. This caused an argument between hubby and me afterwards. Hubby believes everything that A tells us. I believe nothing. I wish we could find a middle ground, and know what to believe, and what not to believe. Today is another day.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Clime Every Mountain

Yesterday I climbed a mountain. Literally. I guess by Canadian standards, this mountain is really only a hill, but it has earned the name of mountain. I climbed to the top with two companions and a frolicking dog. I found it strange, that despite over 50 years of smoking cigarettes (I quit a year and a half ago), I was way ahead of, and less out of breath, than my human companions who have never smoked. Is this what stress does to you? I had plenty of time to reflect on my life situation during the many instances of waiting for my friends to catch up with me. As I waited, I compared A's relapse now, with how things were when we first discovered his addiction 10 years ago.
Then: A was still living at home. Hubby's job took him out of town during the work week, and was not around to see A's constant, erratic behavior. I suspected drug use well before it was actually out in the open. I vividly remember questioning him about it one night, and he spat in my face - "What kind of fucking bitch mother are you to even THINK such a thing!?" Hubby sided with A saying "Yeah, WTF??" When I went on to list the string of events that led to my question, I was told in no uncertain terms that these were just normal teenage boy things. I should not bring my clinical nursing judgements into our home. He was almost 17 at the time. It would be another full and horrendous year later before the truth finally tumbled out. I will never forget that phone call at work from my distraught hubby. I remember being totally blown away that it was heroin that had claimed my son. I knew drugs were involved, but had no idea it was something so sinister, so evil.
Now: I never saw the signs leading up to his relapse, though I can clearly see them now. I kick myself for this.  I have not had to endure A's erratic behavior  - that has been thrust upon K and her family, who have treated A as their own son, for 6 years. They are all devastated. I understand their devastation. My heart cries for K - not only has she had to deal with A the addict, but she has also lost the love of her life, just as I lost my son all those years ago. When news of his relapse started arriving in our in-box a week ago today, I was wondering if this would be as bad as the last time. I have cried mountains of tears. But I feel safe. I am stronger now. I know I cannot fix this for A. He needs to fix this for himself. We will be there when he is ready. I don't believe he is ready yet. We will all climb many more mountains I'm sure.
Then: There was very little help for parents. We were assigned a counselor from the local health agency. This counselor appeared to have more problems than we did. She was fired two weeks later for sleeping with her boss. There was very little information available on the internet. I had very supportive friends, but they could not begin to understand the tortures that I was enduring. None of them had had to travel this road for themselves. I felt very much alone.
Now: My counselor is an old colleague who is now the local detox nurse. She has also traveled this road. Several of my friends, are now also traveling this road as well. It is going to be hard telling them about A's relapse, as he has been the person who had held their hope. I am able to write about my experiences, and read about others' experiences.  There are many of us traveling this road. I am not alone.
A is still not communicating with me, or his little sister D, with whom he has always been extremely close. Here is his last communication with his dad, via FB on May 25, 2012 -
I know dad I know I have been in and out of places for the last three days I know what is available .. Thanks for everythin I appreciate it ... I don't know how this happened again I was going so good and it just fell apart I still can't understand how - I'm better than this ... I truly am ... Anyhow, I am going to detox next week at a center and have been offered a job ... I am going to save up as much ad I can and go overseas for awhile - I don't know were yet maybe Thailand were drugs are just plain illegal and life is cheap ... Anyhow I love you xx 
I think these words ring hollow. I think it was his trip to Thailand last year that started him on his downhill slide. Drugs may be illegal in Thailand, but they are still there, and from my understanding, easily obtainable. He needs to face up to his problems, and not run away from them. 
I will stay strong. I will climb every mountain. I will ford every stream. I'm not sure I will follow every rainbow in search of the impossible.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mental Illness?

We heard nothing from A all day yesterday. We heard nothing from my nephew. We had no idea what was going on. We could only hope that A was safe. We realize that this is his problem, but it's hard not to make it ours. I spent the day in a haze, pulling weeds from the garden, trying to pull the cobwebs from my head. When I awoke this morning, Hubby said A called last night at around 1am - I heard nothing - oh, the trials of being deaf. Hubby didn't wake me, thinking I needed my sleep. Anyway, he informed me this morning that they had a long chat. A is going to go into detox and is starting on buprenorphine, but will not be going to a treatment center - that seems a bit pointless to me. I really feel he needs to fix the underlying problems that led him down this twisted, tortured path to start with. I am fairly certain that he suffers from bipolar disorder, though this has never been formally diagnosed. Even as a little boy, he would have wild and erratic mood swings that were very cyclical in nature. I have suggested before that he needs to be investigated for this. When I tried to find answers for his childhood behavior, I was brushed off as being a neurotic mother.  Mental illness runs in both sides of his family.  He knows this. Perhaps he feels there is less stigma to be diagnosed as an addict rather than mentally ill?

Friday, May 25, 2012

First Big Step

Yesterday afternoon, we received a phone call from my nephew in Australia - A is checking into treatment, and needs us to call him ASAP. Hubby was out when this call came through. I am deaf, and unable to use the phone. I texted Hubby to come home ASAP to call. He did, and we called. We put the phone on speaker phone, so I could at least catch snippets of the conversation. A's voice was so broken, I couldn't even understand the snippets I usually get. Hubby later translated that A is at a government place, filling in all the paperwork to get him into treatment there. It will take about a week to find him a bed. Could we send him some money to get him through that week? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But with no $, no food, and no shelter, and winter looming, how is he going to get through that week safely? Our daughter D, has come home from school for a week to process all this shit. She has the idea to ask my nephew to purchase any basic things that A might need.... a meal, soap, prescription medication (apparently A has been given a prescription of I don't know what).... if my nephew sends us receipts, we will reimburse him for the money. I wonder if this will work? Hubby phoned my nephew (L) and discussed this with him. L is happy to do this. I am hoping with all my might that A hasn't gotten L into trouble as well.... he is only 23 years old. Still, seeing that A has taken that first big step in seeking help (at least, this is how it seems... is it the truth?), is very positive. I had spent the whole night and day in tears until that point. I still can't believe he has relapsed after such a long time. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pieces Of The Puzzle

Yesterday I was supposed to go hiking. The weather was ugly, even uglier than my mood.  So, after a flurry of phone calls and facebook messages, 3 of us decided to go and hike the malls instead of the mountains, for  some serious retail therapy.  One of my companions is aware of A's relapse, the other is not. I'm not really sure why I went, as I'm not really a shopper.  I think I just needed to get out of the house.  I awoke to a long facebook message from A. This was sent to Hubby, and not to me... he hasn't contacted me since he became aware that we're aware. Is this because he knows I can see through his lies? Or is he ashamed to talk to me? Some other reason? I don't know, but at least he is maintaining contact with Hubby.
Anyway, A's story is that he has been clean for 7 1/2 of the 8 years he has been living Downunder. But 6 months ago, he and his girlfriend (I'll call her K), were having financial troubles, and he started gambling in hopes of a win to pay the bills. He stated he was not using drugs, although he had certainly thought about it.  This story sounded very plausible, as do all his stories.  He is a master manipulator.  It was however, contradicted by K's family, who had started noticing little things a year ago.  When I read back through my emails to A, I discover that he has been put on pain meds for a back injury in May 2011. I questioned and cautioned him at the time. It now seems all caution was thrown to the wind.
As the day wore on yesterday, emails came through from other 'concerned' friends. Although not directly asked, one of them (an ex-coworker), strongly hinted that we should pay him back the $500 that he had lent to A. He also strongly suggested we put A on a plane back to Canada, and force him into rehab. We will do neither. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't force it to drink. This person also informed us, that A has been heavily binge drinking on weekends, and frequently called in sick to work on Monday mornings.  This is why he could not advance further in his job, that he had been doing so well at.  We have also been told by another ex-coworker, that A left his job voluntarily because he was frustrated at not being able to advance further.
Towards the end of the afternoon, as I was winding up my retail therapy (I bought nothing and felt like a zombie the whole day), Hubby was having a facebook chat with A. A now admits that drugs are part of the puzzle, but only a minor part (I don't believe that last bit). When I put the pieces of the puzzle together - gambling, drinking, drugs - I see a very troubled and disturbed young man. My heart aches for him. I can't stop crying.
I am so grateful I have an old friend in Sydney who is a psych nurse, as well as a cousin there who is a psychiatrist. They have both been very helpful in furnishing me with names and numbers of places A can go to for help. I have passed this information along to A. I am hoping with all my heart that he will take that first, very difficult step. There is always hope. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sucked In

I don't really think it's a roller coaster ride I have once again been led to, as mentioned yesterday. I like roller coasters and love the feel of the speedy descent after the slow climb to the top. That, to me is exhilarating. This next journey does not hold any promises of exhilaration.  I think more than being on a roller coaster, I have been sucked into the vortex of a whirlpool. Only this time, I will not let myself get sucked down to the bottom. I can see a tiny bit of light out the end... I just need to navigate the maze through the spirals of broiling waters.  Is this going to be easier, with him 12,000 miles away in Australia?? Or will this only make things more difficult? Should we bring him back home? But back to what? I am unable to have him in my house again. Memories of past experiences have come flooding back... how he pounded his little brother's head on the tiled floors... how he emptied out all our bank accounts... how he stole the last mementos of my late parents... how he pushed me over several times, the last time pushing me down the stairs... how he stole my camera just as I was starting out my photography business... how I was attacked by one of his 'friends' when I went looking for him.  No, I cannot have him back in my house. At least I feel safe with him so far away. But how to help him there? I have contacted a friend of mine in Sydney (thank god for re connections with Facebook), who is a psych nurse, and have asked her for some information regarding emergency mental health assessment, detox and rehab facilities down there.   We have contacted a local counselor here, seeking guidance. Things may be a little easier this time around - we no longer have other children at home. Hubby has just retired, and I am still of work on disability for my profound hearing loss. I will be going back sometime in the very near future, but for now, I am able to concentrate my energies on myself and my family. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Welcome To My Blog

As I awoke this morning, I looked out my bedroom window, and all I could see was gray, where I would normally see a conifer infested mountain. I rubbed my eyes, trying to shake the fog from my head, but gray remained the only thing visible outside that window. I rolled over, feeling grateful that today's hike up that mountain had been cancelled due to inclement weather. As Lola, my 10 month old Mini Aussie, came and smothered me with her warm, sloppy puppy kisses, I had no idea that the gray fog outside my window, was a foretelling of things to come. It is Monday morning of a long weekend. It is my 2nd son's 25th birthday. After seeing that my menagerie of animals had been fed and watered, hubby and I headed out to the local cafe for breakfast, where I proceeded to bombard our birthday boy with text messages, wishing him a happy day. Visiting the birthday boy is out of the question, as he is 2400 kms away in Whitehorse, YT. With breakfast finished, and bellies full, hubby and I headed home, wondering how we were going to spend this wet and ugly day.  We didn't have to wonder long. The phone rang shortly after arriving home. It was our daughter, our 3rd and youngest child. She was absolutely distraught. She awoke this morning to an email from a friend of our eldest son, who has lived in Sydney, Australia, for the past 7 years. He has lived there since becoming clean from heroin addiction - an addiction that proceeded to tear our family apart when he was a teenager. He is now 28 years old, and the addiction is back. My recent suspicions have been confirmed.  That horrible, endless roller coaster ride is afflicting our family once again. Dealing with this half way across the world is not going to be easy. It is my hope that writing about this journey will help us through what promises to be a harrowing and erratic journey, if past experiences are anything to go by. It is my even bigger hope, that A will once again emerge happy and healthy from his reunion with hell.

Welcome To My Blog