Monday, December 31, 2012

Another December, Another year....

Son2 had a birthday a couple weeks ago, he is 23 now.  We didn't see him for his birthday, which was a little weird, because of finals. But if all goes well, this will be the last year finals will get in the way of his birthday.  He is hoping to graduate in May.  I am hopefully optimistic about this, and as some of you know, he's come a long way.  It feels good to be looking forward to college graduation.

Christmas is over and lots of time with family. The weeks before Christmas were hectic and I have to say I was relieved when all of that was over.  I've been off work since and it felt pretty good to relax and not do much, low stress... Son2 was here for a few days, hung out and slept a lot. He also went to speak at his outpatient group.  He keeps in touch with his drug counselor, and comes back to speak every once in a while.  It is a good thing.

Son2's punk band has their first paying gig tonight, New Year's Eve.  He is pretty excited and  it's nice to see him so involved, having friends, being organized, having success in what he does.

I had kind of a rough year at work.  I was promoted about a year and a half ago, and after this past year, I was seriously thinking that was a mistake.  The stress and workload was immense (to me), and I wanted out.  I guess I don't handle stress well. I was on a project that took a big toll on me, and I guess I just burned out.  So... anyway, can't figure out what to do. I am in my 50's and the thought of looking for a new job scares the crap out of me.  I can't retire yet either, financially not a good idea. I started high blood pressure meds last summer, doctor said do what I can about reducing stress.  I will be working in a little different area after New Year's, so we'll see how that goes.

All of this has been rolling around in my head while I've been home the last few days.  Today, I ran across this quote, and it gave me a lift.

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You must do the thing you think you cannot do."  --Eleanor Roosevelt

Happy New Year to all, bring on 2013!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

IS or WAS?

Son1, Husband, Son2... showing their toughness

A couple of days ago before work I was doing a flyover on POA blogs, starting with my own.  I jumped to Ron's blog and clicked on his link where he had recently written an article.

As I was getting ready to close out and go to work, I noticed something curious.  With the two tabs open in my browser,  the tab for my blog said "My son is an Addict", and the other one from Ron's article said "My son was an Addict".  Both of our sons, about the same age, clean and sober for a couple years or so... what does that mean?

My Son2 says he IS an addict, in the present tense.  My interpretation of that is that, even though he is sober, he fights for it every day.  For me, I am afraid to put it in the past tense, afraid to think that it is really over.  Don't get me wrong, my son is doing well and I am so proud of him.  I guess I have a lot to think about.  Maybe you will see some changes on my blog soon.  BTW, I would love to hear what Ron thinks about this.

It's hard to move forward from the past sometimes for me.  FOUR years ago today, our Son2 came to us with his heroin addiction.  He's home now actually, for Thanksgiving, just like he was then.  Every Thanksgiving since then, I've brought it up with family members, to mark the day and be thankful for how far we've all come.  I don't know if I will this year, maybe I should leave it behind this time.  But, I will still be thinking of it.  Yesterday, I had a text exchange with K, Son2's former girlfriend.  We are still in touch... it's hard to let go of that too.  I told her how thankful I was she was there to share those years with us, and to be part of our family during that time.  She said she would make all the same choices again... and that she has seen Son2 grow and change and can't see him ever going back.  Time for all of us to move on I guess.

So, I give thanks today ...

Happy Thanksgiving to all.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Being Sober...

A couple of things have come up on other blogs that I wanted to write about...

Can an addict use "just a little" bit and maintain sobriety?
       Personally, I don't think so.  Either you are sober or you aren't.  If you think  you can still  use while you are in recovery, you are just kidding yourself.  As a parent, don't believe it.

Can being sober be "fun"?
        Well, of course.  That's easy to say now.  I went through a time when Son2 was fairly new into recovery and I thought he had to be a saint.  I didn't want him to go out, or do anything "fun" .  After all, wasn't that how he got into trouble in the first place, trying to have too much fun?  But after a while I did realize, with his help,  he was still young, and still needed to live his life, making whatever mistakes he would make, experiencing joy and sadness, just like everyone else. He has started a punk band with his friends, goes out, and does a lot of stuff that other guys his age do.  He is not a saint, but he is clean and sober as far as I know. It's possible. Do I like it?  Well, I still worry the way he lives his life, the temptations, etc.  But then, it's not my life, it's his.

       I still think about being a "bad mother" back then, and now.  It's hard not to feel responsible for my Son2's problems in some way.  I've blogged about this more than once, and I still struggle with this.  There was a few things that happened that I always will wonder about, if they had an influence on his choices.  My husband's parents fell ill and passed away when Son2 was preschool age.  Of course a lot of our focus was on them, and I always felt bad about that.  When Son2 was about 14, his older brother decided to get married at 19.  I was pretty upset that he was marrying so young, and again, much of my focus was on that situation.  I did the best I could, I really think so.  It looks a little different now that I look back after 3-4 years. Not so emotional as back then.  I think all of us POA's have done the best we could, at the time, in the situation and circumstances we were in and what we knew at the time.

Looking ahead
      Son2 just told me that he talked to his advisor and he thinks he will graduate in the spring.  OMG!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

3 years

Son2 called me last night, just as I was falling asleep.  It surprised me a little, and annoyed me too, I was tired.  I'm not used to being in daily contact with him anymore and didn't really expect even a text, say nothing of a call.  He called to tell me he had just gotten out of a meeting.  That's nice, honey, was it good?  I got my 3 year coin.  WHAT?  wait, what?  what is today?  oh my gosh, August 20.

He was laughing, and I said I was so sorry that I forgot the date.  He said he was hurt at first, but wait, wasn't that a good thing?  We talked about it for a while, and I said I never thought I would have forgotten that date.  I was remembering those days where addiction occupied my every thought.  Daily worry, phone calls, texts, sleepless nights. All of you POA's know what I'm talking about.  Even after he was clean and sober, there was still worry, then relapse, and more worry.  I thought it would never end.

This past year, finally, I am able to think of other things:  my stupid job, vacations, my parents, other family drama, etc.  Son2 has become so independent, really created some distance, doing his own thing.  I look ahead, and actually see him finishing college, something I didn't dare think about 2 years ago.

He said to me, to both his father and I, that he couldn't have done it without us.  That touched my heart.  But really, he did it.  And he continues to do it, every single day.

I haven't been posting too often, but I do try to get out and read blogs, although not as often as I used to.  I feel the pain of those POA's that are dealing with active addiction.  I don't have any thing really deep to say, except I somehow got through it.  Everybody seems to deal with it differently, and what works for one, may not work for another.  Am I any wiser for the experience?  I don't really know, I'd like to think so.  It's changed me that's for sure.

Take care of yourself, that is one important lesson I learned.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Checking in after a Long Break

I don't know why I didn't post for so long.... I wasn't reading much either... I guess I just needed a break.  Much has happened.... you know, life goes on.

First of all, Son2 is fine.  He and K broke up for good, they both now have found separate apartments and seem to be doing fine.  I don't think they have any contact with each other right now, maybe for the best.  I miss that girl a lot.  We are trying to stay in touch, hope we can keep that up.

Son2 is living in what he describes as a crappy apartment, with a roommate who was a childhood friend.  I haven't seen this apt yet.  Don't get me wrong, neither one of these guys is perfect, but although D, the roommate, drinks (like many Wisconsin college students), he does not do drugs, and he knows all too well Son2's history and has said he will not tolerate any of that.  Son2 has been his designated driver a few times.  I think they will look out for each other a bit.  Son2 is sober as far as I know, does not drink either.  He still likes guns, and has a buddy that he likes to target shoot with, and also play Airsoft with.  This buddy is also an artist (photographer) so they have a lot in common.  Son2 is also trying to start a punk band with his roommate and a couple of other guys.  Not the sort of thing I would recommend for a recovering addict, but it keeps him busy, and it's his choice.

Son2 is becoming more and more independent.  He is working as many hours as he can get this summer.  We still pay his rent, but he is covering most of his other expenses.  He doesn't come home every week anymore, and that is weird.  He has his own life, he is doing his own thing.  I didn't know if I would ever get to this point, but I finally can say I do not worry for him constantly anymore.  In fact I don't text him every single day anymore either.  He is not living the life I ever imagined he would, but he is living his own life.  We were out of town the weekend he moved, so he managed all of that without us,  with a few of his friends to help.  One thing I asked him to do for us is figure out this summer is how many more semesters of college he has left.  I'm thinking 2 or maybe 3.

So then, what about me?  My job sucks still, having trouble handling the stress.  A couple of friends of ours passed away this spring, and my daughter-in-law's mother was just diagnosed with Lymphoma.  Add a couple of annoying health issues of my own, and yeah... life goes on... with or without addiction in it.  I'm trying to focus on what I think is important in life, but it's not always easy to be positive.  We have so much to be thankful for though, my kids are independent and happy, lots to look forward to.

So, Life is good, some things that happen are good, and some things are bad.  Life goes on...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

It's just life...

I feel a little better.  Truly... I'm glad to have these kinds of issues.  Its just life, and I'm grateful that I have the luxury of complaining about myself.

Son2 is doing fine. I am back to calling him Son2. I have been re-thinking calling him by name in my blog, since Barbara brought it up.  I don't know, but I guess it would be prudent to go back to calling him Son2.

I mean, he went on local tv, on camera, and gave his first and last name and said he was a recovering heroin addict, and he knows I blog about him, and he's ok with that.

I used to keep the whole thing very secret.  I didn't want anyone to know, I felt like we, our whole family, were scum, and didn't want anyone to find out.  Drug addicts have such a bad rep, tv and celebs don't help.  I came to accept Son2 has a disease, but so many others don't see it that way.  I rejoice in his progress, I'm so proud of him for what he has done in recovery.  But even his own family members, I won't say who, look down on him.

After Son2 went on tv, I've talked about it with more people. A lot of people won't say anything, won't bring it up, ask how he's doing, or even ask how we're doing.  My own extended family and friends, act like nothing happened, and I don't believe that none of them saw the piece on tv.  Those that did talk to me about it after it aired, really touched my heart. So, I talk to people about it if they ask me about it, but I don't bring it up unless it comes up.

Should I be able to talk about this freely as if my Son2 had any other disease?  How he's doing, how the treatment is going, etc.  But it's not that easy... it's not the same, is it?

So, I guess on the blog, I will be a little more careful.  Anonymous, seems like a little bit of a cop out, though, you know what I mean?  I'm trying not to be ashamed, but that's something I still struggle with.  So, what do I call it?  shame?  call it being careful? call it protecting our family's privacy?

This is kind of a rambling post... but I'm really struggling with this idea.

Monday, February 6, 2012

What now.... ?

Tony is doing ok, I guess.  His relationship with K seems on and off, truly, I don't know for sure what is going on right now.  She graduated, and will be going to grad school next fall.  What will happen between them I don't know, and have kind of stopped trying to figure it out.

Second semester is under way, he is taking a full class load and working weekends.  He's still going to meetings and working the steps.  He's done with his weekly After Care, so he doesn't come home Thursday nights anymore.  I kind of miss that. We went to see him a couple of weeks ago to take him out for dinner and see how he was doing.  The apartment was a pig stye but he seemed to be ok.  It was all I could do not to start cleaning, but even he said, I am not responsible for that.

As far as me, I don't know... I think I have the winter blues, or something.  Plus I am feeling a lot of pressure at work. I'm on a big project and am performing a pretty important role.  At least it feels important, and I am scared to screw up, thus the stress.  New role, new boss, big project, it adds up to tension headaches, not sleeping well, shoulder and neck pain.  Add on a few age related health issues, and I am not sitting in a very good place.

How much do you think addiction has changed you?  I mean has it changed the way you deal with life's difficulties?  Right now, my sons are ok.  Family is ok.  So, why can't I relax?  Why don't I feel better than this?

Monday, January 9, 2012

I have to laugh a little

So last week Tony was here, it was the middle of the night and something woke me up. I heard his bedroom door close and figured he couldn't sleep or just plain likes to stay up late. Then I got a whiff of something... Sulfuric... I have smelled this before a couple years back when a certain renter was living next door. My husband and I had always theorized it was meth. But I didn't think of that. Right away I lept to the conclusion that it was Tony. I lay in bed trying to decide how to confront him, feeling sick and sniffing the air to be sure of what I was smelling. I pondered if I should wake up my husband and then I heard something... Voices. At first I thought they were coming from Tony's room or that he was outside, but then I recognized the voices and the banter. Our neighbors and the former renter come to visit. "you suck" "no, you suck" "you really suck" "no, you really suck!" etc, etc, etc. You know the non-rational, inane arguments that drunk/high people have. Of course, Tony was in bed, and if he was still awake, was probably greatly amused. H and I had a good chuckle in the morning, he had heard them too. I couldn't admit what I had been thinking... Sigh... Two more things I have to mention. Tony got his grades, 3 A's and 2 B's. These are the best grades he has ever received. No dropped classes and a full load. He's got to be so proud of himself, I know we are. The other thing is that After Care is ending. He had been going once every couple weeks or so still, but they finally are cutting him loose. I guess it's time, I hate to think he was taking someone's spot who really needs the help. So that's one more thing to leave by the wayside, another safety net to put aside. It makes me uneasy, but then, I'm not the one driving, am I?