My Minds Crevice

Alarm blares at 5am.  UGH do I really need to get up? I swear I just went to sleep.  Ok, time to snooze for another 9 minutes.  I hit the snooze button.  Then I lay there trying to sleep more.  I open my eyes and look over at my husband and think why can he still be sleeping?  UGH

Then my mind wanders to our son. What is he doing?  Is he OK?  Did he stay somewhere safe last night?  Is he breathing?  I don’t feel emptier inside so he must be ok.  Then it happens, I look over at my cell phone.  Hello FaceBook Messenger…..  where I can see if he is currently online or when he last accessed his FB Messenger account.   Thank you Jesus!  He was online an hour ago.

Time to get ready for work, get the girls ready for school and head to work.  In the shower my mind drifts away to the responsibilities I have for today. Work meetings, customer needs, kids activities, dinner with family, and trying to unwind for the night.  Will he make it through today?  Will I be able to focus completely on what is in front of me today.  Will I get a call saying to come he is sick or overdosed. This is the first hour and a half of my day.

Then we drive to town, taking the oldest to school and youngest goes with me for a bit.  My mind races on the drive; I love him! he is my son. how did we get here? why can’t I fix this? his sister love him!  My husband loves him!  his brother loves him!  we need to love him where he is at.  I am dying inside and don’t know what to do.

Time to pray. I need some peace. The girls have no idea the conversations I am holding in my head today.  Lord, thank you for all you have given me. Thank you for the roof over our heads, food on our table and providing for our every need.  We especially thank you for giving your one and only son for us Lord.  Please put a circle of protection around the girls as they are in school.  Please put a circle of protection around my son and anyone else in our little town that is struggling from substance use disorder.  I ask for a spiritual awakening here Lord, that those who need to feel your love and hear you are able to.  That they can feel you and hear you and know they are worthy and loved.  We ask for these things in your precious soons name, In Jesus’ name, Amen.

This is within the first 2 1/2 hours of my day.  What will happen in the next 15 hours?

 

Let the Judgement Begin

I think about harm reduction all the time.  Narcan, clean needles, alcohol swabs, not using alone, needle exchanges, blood tests, regular doctors visits, clean skin and much more.  How can we make sure that those we love are practicing harm reduction?  We can help them ourselves if there is not a needle exchange.  We can point them in the right direction.  We can love them where they are at so they feel safe and comfortable coming to us if they need help.

You know what gets me?  I saw a meme on facebook about how expensive an Epi Pen is to help someone who is having an allergic reaction and how a “junkie who OD’d get narcan for free and it is wrong.  How the hell can giving a life saving medication to anyone be wrong? Regardless of the cost?

This really got me worked up.  Kids as young as 10 years old are using heroin and opiates where I live.  Do they not deserve to live just as much as someone who is having an allergic reaction is?  How can humans be so judgemental?  As far as I know there is only one judge and that is GOD and he offers grace and love to his children and that means EVERYONE.  He gave his one and only Son for each of us.

I went to this AWESOME training this past week.  The presenter talked about how everyone WANTS to and CAN recover with the right support.  It takes love, support, grace and a lot of patience to support someone in active substance use disorder trying to get well.  THEY CAN AND DO RECOVER!!  So…. harm reduction is vital during their active use times.

 

Crazy Cycle

Some days I feel like I am on the crazy cycle and I cannot get off no matter what I do.  I just right on my morning ride and then the cycle starts. It starts out a bit slow, but then the speed picks right up until I am exhausted.  This can happen day after day after day and sometimes more than I want.

This past week I felt like I was on the crazy cycle.  Not just at home but at work.  Many things happening back to back that kept me from being able to really relax and clear my mind.  Then I bring it home with me and cannot sleep at night.  I have a hard time getting to sleep when I am on the crazy cycle as my anxiety increases.

Addiction sure has a way of controling my life even though I am not the person actively using.  It seeps into each thought I have.   I don’t even intentionally have to be thinking of it.  I can be working and the next thing you know my mind wanders over wondering what my child is doing, are they safe, are they sober, are they alive.

The crazy cycle is something that happens in my mind that I cannot stop.  I have joined a support group with other family members who have loved ones suffering from addiction.  I am not sure if I should be pleased that I am not alone or if I should feel sad I am not alone in the crazy cyle.

How is it that so many people can be affected by addiction and be on the SAME crazy cycle? This amazes me.  Parents doing the very same thing I am across the country, in a different time zone and for a different person!!!  I hate the crazy cycle right now…..it frustrates me, exhausts me and makes me feel ashamed of myself.

Ashamed

Yep, I am very ashamed of myself.  I had thought that I was FREE to pass my judgements.  Judgements that I wasn’t even really aware I was passing until I had a problem within my own home.

I remember the year I went through chemotherapy (1999) and each time I rode in the car back from UofW from seeing the doctor we would take the same exit back up to my apartment in Seattle. I can visually see it as I type.  Head south, take the James street exit, go down and take a left either up Cherry or on James Street.

The same woman was there day in and day out. Very clean looking, had tanned skin and a purse on the ground by her feet with cash stuffed in it.  Yep…. and she was high.  So high somedays that she could barely stand there with her sign begging for money.

But that is not why I was judging her – did you read what I wrote that is etched in my memory? She was very clean, tan and looked just like me or you except she was HIGH.  Yep…. I was looking at her through the car windown judging her for begging for money while looking all clean and having a tan.  I was feeling like she was just out there to make the money needed to get her by to the next fix.

Well, those judgements were passed likely for many years without me even feeling it like I do now.  Why is that? Because, I am faced with this disease of addiction in my home, with my child, and it affects the very core of me.

I now can see that the disease is the driving force. That she was much like my child and didn’t have control of herself. The drug had taken over her mind. She likely was unable to go through a day without it.  Matter of fact, it was likely because she NEEDED it so badly just to have withdrawals.

I didn’t see this woman as someone with an illness that was sick. I saw her for something much different and I am ashamed of that today.  I have learned so much over the years and in the course of my lifetime. I have a different understanding now.  One that I might not have unless I had to deal with it myself.

I felt that it was important to put this out there so I can say it and finally own it and let it go.  I have a new understanding and new view of those struggling.  I am ashamed and sorry that I ever felt like I could and should judge another human being.   I hope to bring light to addiction and a new understanding and awareness in my community.  So that people like myself back in 1999 can have a true understanding of what addiciton is and how we can support those affected without pasing that judgement.

Black Balloon Day

Today is the day we bring awareness and remember those loast to an overdose.  So we hang black balloons outside of our homes.  I did this at 6:30am and took photos and posted them on social media with the hashtag #BlackBalloonDay.

Next year I will plan better in advance and let the local radio stations and the newspaper know what day is coming. Unfortunately I didn’t think of it until today.  I want to take a more positive role in the community and help bring much needed awareness to the growing epedemic of addiction.

Addiction is much like Satan.  There is no discrimination in who gets manipulated and suckered in.  Addiction and Satan….. one in the same.  Whispers in the ear, takes over your thoughts, makes you believe they are the best thing for you and for you to leave what you love and believe in for it.

As I hung my ballooon out I thought of my good friends nephew who lost his fight at 22 years of age less than two years ago.  Of another Mom who lost their son as well less than two years ago.  I look at my child and wonder if I am next to lose someone.  I look at the faces in the community, some that I know are using, some that I suspect could be and I wonder who loves them and if they are next to lose someone.

It is unfortunate that those suffering from addiction are treated with such disrespect, and ridicule.  At least those who wear it on their sleaves and are not hidden behind a suit, or a dress, or smock, or scrubs, or in a prestigious position that hide their addiction well.

#BlackBalloonDay is important and should be recognized and in my small community it is not.  I am one person with black balloons on her car and on her house.  I have not seen another one today at all. Kind of makes me want to go pass out black balloons at the local Walmart just so I am not alone.  However, on the other hand, I am proud to hang my black balloons.  So standing alone is OK by me.   For now…. as next year, I will plan big!

 

 

Fake Friends II

I know that some people thought I should not post about fake friends.  And some reminded me of the truth – I am to look to God for my purpose and for acceptance.  Which I truly do.  I feel that I have definately matured and grown in my Christianity and with the way I view the world and others since becoming born again.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have fake friends and those friend hurt my heart when I interact with them.  I do have those friends who truly care and have busy lives and their own things going on.  This is a very valid point.  Each of us has something we are dealing with and we do not see behind the scenes for others lives.

However, my fake friends list is a small thankfully and it is people I would not have expected.  It brings me back to when I had cancer and I had no hair.  I would go out in the community without a hat and people would stare and walk further away from me.  I have made a point since then to never do that to a person when you can clearly tell they are sick.  It is NOT right and doesn’t make them feel good.

I have talked with other Moms who have children suffering from the disease of addiction who also feel like they have fake friends.  It is like being in a select group except you didn’t SELECT the group.  You don’t know how you got in the group, and there is no way back out of the group.

My family is Alaska Native.  We are actually Aleut.  Back when the Japanese took over the Aleutian Islands my family was ripped from their homes and put in camps across Southeast Alaska.  They were segregated and treated poorly because of who they were. Many got sick and died in those camps.  They did not choose to be in the group, and there was no way back out of the group for them either.  Now we acknowledge the wrongs to those Aleut people who lost their homes and families and treat them much differently.

A mother of someone suffering from the chronic neurological disorder we know to be addiction should not be treated this way either.  We need to be cared for, lifted up, prayed for and loved.  We need encouragement and support and to know that no matter what happens someone will hold our hands and be there when the pain we are experiencing has gotten more than we can handle.

Activist

My youngest daughter told me she thinks I am an activist a few days ago.  I didn’t think so. I have never looked at myself like that at all. She said she was discussing this with my friend, who is a school teacher.  This brought a grin to my face. I love that my daughter is getting educated.
Now that I get to thinking about it, I may have some activist like behaviors.  I certainly have decided that in 2018 I will no longer be treated like I have the plague because someone I love suffers from addiction.  Matter of fact, I have decided that it is high time for our small community to become educated.
I decided to speak at our local Tribal Council meeting in February.  That was a bit hard. I was the last person lined up to speak and I had to wait almost a full two hours!! This gave me plenty of time to sweat and be nervous and replay what I wanted to say over and over.
Now, next week I am going to promote Black Balloon Day!! This is on March 6th.  I am so exicted to tie a black balloon on my house and on my vehicles!!  This is because  someone I love dearly is affected by addiction and to honor someone lost to an overdose.  So if you have someone you love affected by addiction, you can tie a black ballooon on your car or at your house.  Take a photo and use the hashtage #BlackBalloonDay on Facebook and Instagram to show your support.
I will be hosting another event or two to bring awareness in our community in 2018.  I will keep you posted.  Addiction is not a moral failing, it is a chronic neurological disorder.  I plan to keep bringing opportunities to educate others on this and to bring back love and compassion to those suffering and their families and anyone who needs it.
ac·tiv·ist
ˈaktivəst/
noun
  1. 1.
    a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change.

Just BREATH

This week was crazy busy for me.  I cannot think of any down time that I had before 9pm.  Work was wonderfully busy, kids were busy with activities, and I was busy with my activities too.  I am thankful at times for such busy days/weeks.

Often times I catch myself letting out a long, deep, and meaningful sigh.  One that represents fear, and anxiety more often than any other emotion.  I try to listen to the dialogue going on inside my head when I am aware of this breath.  I can be very disappointed in the dialogue I have going on, so this is why I listen and intentionally try to change it.

This past two weeks I was faced with many fears.  Without going into detail I just want to say that I am thankful for a merciful and loving God who offers me grace and understanding at my weakest moments.  If I was not blessed with a God who loved me so much he gave his one and only son for me (and each of you) and my sins, I might not have been able to JUST BREATH at all in the past week.

Nor would I have been able to see someone in the raw moment I was allowed.  I had a moment where someone shared information with me that I could have decided to condem them or forgive them.  I chose forgiveness.  It was a moment where I truly felt God’s presence and knew I was doing the right thing by seeing a negative situation in a positive light.

I can just BREATH easy tonight knowing I chose to give grace instead of condemnation.  Addiction is such a nasty, unforgiving, non discriminatory disease.  Addiction wants anyone and everyone they can consume and it is so enticing and ruins the best of people and families.  My anger needs to remain with the disease and not with the person.  This is a work in progress for me daily.

I also want to say this – my blog is about my thoughts.  It is fragmented if my thoughts are.  It may not make sense because it is not intended to be perfect.  It is not directed at any certain person or group.  It is thoughts running through my mind that I NEED to get out so I can just BREATH.  Thank you for understanding and offering me grace when I may offend you.  It is not my intentions to do so, I am just doing my best to make through each day – one day at a time.

 

Daily Life

Each day I start out praying for a circle of protection.  For all of those I love and others who need it.  This puts me in a good mind set.  Knowing that I am not in control (even though I WANT to be) and giving it up to God as my day begins lets be keep on moving through daily life with my family.

Recently we have experienced a few more challenges so I have beefed up my prayer regime.  Car accident with my girls that resulted in extra anxiety for all of us.  Thank goodness for guardian angels that were with them and protected them.  I am so thankful the car is the only total loss we experienced and the other people in the other car were ok as well.

Work keeps me busy a variety of hours so that helps me keep my mind on things that make me feel good.  My family keeps me pretty busy the rest of the time with sports, girl scouts, and other fun activities.  It is the quiet time where I sit that my mind wanders to the what ifs.

I am in a few support groups for Moms and families of those suffering from addiction.  My what ifs drift towards things I hear about in those groups.  Right now we are in the fairly early stages of addiction with our child.  No stealing, no dealing right now, and no sleeping on the streets.

I am not saying the addiciton hasn’t been present for a long time, as we have became aware of it about 4 years ago this past December.  However, it progressed from alcohol to marijuana to pills, to other substances and then about 2 years ago heroin reared its ugly head in our lives.  Well, that is when we knew heroin had joined our dinner table.

Today I choose life! Today I choose to live in the present with my family and not let my mind drift off to the what ifs.  My daily life needs to come before addiction.  My husband and kids that live at home need to come first. Today I choose to remain in the present and be here for my daily life uninterupted.  Today is going to be a hard day.

 

NO LOVE ALLOWED

I sit and wonder why in the world parents like myself get the short end of the stick?  Why do parents have to bear the blame unwillingly and wrongfully when they have a child who is struggling with addiction?  And why is there NO LOVE for parents for the addict?

Having someone tell me I have clouded judgement because I have a mothers love for my child was offensive.  I don’t feel I have clouded judgement.  I have LOVE for my child.  Nothing less and nothing more.  Walk in my shoes and maybe you might see differently.

I know all too well that I cannot enable them by giving them my hard earned money!  I  will not be paying for their addiction, gas, rent, or whatever other expense they come up with so I can pay for their needs while they use their own money to pay for the addiction.  I will not do that.

I am amazed at how many people do NOT want me to love my child who is struggling with addiction.  Honestly, I find it ethically and morally wrong.  People are so cruel.  They do not see addiction for what it is.  A chronic Neurological disoder.  It is not a moral failing.  I believe the moral failing stand with those who want a parent to not love their kid.  Shame on you for even having the thought or expecting it.