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.
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!
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.
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.
a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change.
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.
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.
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.
I am a failure and I am at war. I cannot protect my own children. What is wrong with me? Well this feeling creeps in on me all too often. Especially lately. I have days where I just do not understand where I went wrong. Seems like I have a lot to repent about and alot to ask forgiveness for.
One of my biggest failures (I feel) is the fact I don’t know how to help my younger kids deal with what is happening. How in the world can I help them when I cannot wrap my own head around understanding the chronic neurological disorder of addiction? It haunts my dreams, nightmares and creeps into my thoughts each day. I cannot get away from it. The sadness creeps in and I fight off tears throughout each day.
Told my husband today that maybe it is time for some family counseling. My kids are my heart and soul. Without them and my husband and grandkids I would be nothing. I feel like I am failing my family and we are falling apart at the seams. We are actually being torn into many pieces and addiction is actually satan and he is tearing, ripping, and gnawing away at my family.
I believe in the power of prayer. I believe that God has a bigger and better plan for each of us and if we obey and listen great things are to come. I am scared and I am at a loss. I am failing to provide safety and security in my home because I cannot understand what to do anymore. I pray on my knees, I pray in the shower, I pray in the car, I pray at work, I pray in the bathroom and I pray whereever I can. Satan is around every corner, lurking, waiting to pounce upon my family …. we are under spritutal attack. I am in a constant state of war these days.
I would give my last breath for my children to live a peaceful and long life. One that God intended for them. I would give my own life to save any of them. Instead I am at war…. a spirtual war and my family is under attack. Please pray for us.
Moms help fix up their babies every day around the world. We scoop up toddlers when they get a bump, kiss it and make it all better. As you grow older we are there when you fall down and get a cut on your hand or dirt/rocks in your palm.
How about when a Mom needs to fix your finger after you learned how to use scissors and you got into Moms sewing scissors instead of using your cute little safety scissors. Then its a bigger bandaid and lots of cuddles.
Oh I sure wish I could go back to the days of learning to ride a bike, you fall off, scrape your knee and I come out and clean it off and on goes the bandaid. Where I could give you a hug, hold you for a little while, sing to you and then off you went again to keep on trying.
I am now in the land of no baindaids. Where if you fall, its a Narcan kit that will need to be used to even get you up. I cannot run out with a box of the old cloth bandaids that smell funny, bring my hydrogen peroxide and fix you up. This kind of fall will require someone to be quick on their feet, have a Narcan kit on hand, and know how to use it. Hopefully it only takes one kit, but I have heard there are times when it takes two for some people. After your Narcan is adminstered hopefully whoever is with you calls 911 for EMS.
I pray that I will never have to use a Narcan kit but I have been trained just in case. I sat quietly in the clinic where they give them out for free and listened to all the directions. I have spoken to my friends who work in the medial field just to make sure I completely understand what to do.
Today my prayer is for comfort for all of us in this with you. I ask for God to be by my side, with your sisters, your brother and you stepfather and all of us who love you so much. I ask for him to put a circle of protection around you and for you to know you are loved and worthy and you have support when you are ready for it.
This thought goes right along with those who ask how I am doing but don’t really want to know. I have some longtime friends that I thought were completely awesome and supportive of me as I was them. We have been friends for many years, consider each other family.
However, it has become increasingly clear to me that my sons addiction has caused these awesome friends to not be awesome anymore. I guess it might be contagious right? They don’t ask how he is, pretend he doesn’t exist and if I ask for prayers for him they choose to not respond.
Despite the fact they support every other cause in the community, supporting a friend whose child is slowly dying from their addiciton is not a priority. Battling addiction must not interest them. Maybe you don’t get the community support to stand up and say we must do something about these drug dealers selling dop that is killing our kids. It is killing my kid!
Don’t you care my friend? Don’t you see how you are hurting me by choosing to treat me like my son is not good enough? I pray for you at night, that you don’t ever have to experience what I, as a mother, is going through. The pain I am experiencing each day. Without your love and support.
I fully believe in promoting other causes in our community and I support them. I join the ones I have time for and believe in them. However, I also believe the only judge out there for my son is God and you don’t have the right to judge him the way you do. He is a precious child of God who is loved and worthy struggling with a disease. When people die from lung cancer do we shun them, turn our backs on them and not love them as they suffer because they smoked cigarettes? I think not!
So to my fake friends, I pray for you. I especially pray for a soft heart that spends time trying to understand the disease of addiction and that it doesn’t affect anyone in your family like it has mine. I know you love your family just as much as I love mine. If it does affect your family, I will be there for you because I know the pain and I love you.