Vigilant to be Awake

I remember the night I couldn’t sleep. Someone dropped him off and he seemed ok but as time went on it was clear he was messed up.

He sat on the couch and the nodding started. Then it turned into his mouth moving no words coming out. Graduating from that to trying so hard to stay awake but his eyes closed and he would lean way over side to side.

I was so scared. I had no idea what was going on. I tried my best to stay awake just to make sure he was ok. I googled every possible phrase to see how long it takes for an overdose after using and what the signs and symptoms are.

My Mom heart was aching, my eyes were burning, I was sooooo tired! But I was vigilant to not fall asleep just in case. Got the narcan out just to be safe.

Before me flashed every moment- from his birth, to getting RSV, to the first teeth, listening to me and his father sing silly songs to him, to him shaving his head to be like me when I had lost my hair during chemo therapy, to baseball, basketball, wrestling, Japanese Exchange student time, to first car, first girlfriend, prom, graduation and then…. here.

Thank you God for being here and listening to my every thought, hearing my prayers, comforting me when no one else can and for offering my son love and grace because he is YOUR child and you love him.

I wish I could never fall asleep and never miss a moment with him until he is in recovery. I am vigilant to be awake. However, I just cannot make it, my eyes burn, my body and mind are tired and I must sleep.

His Heart Beats

As long as his heart beats, I will stand with him. I am a Mom, a sister, a daughter, a granddaughter and more. Most of all I am a precious child of God. So is he…. which sometimes I think people forget.

It is easy for people to tell me what they think I need to do or what they would do if they were me. It is easy for people to pass that judgement. What is NOT easy is to turn your back when someone you love is hurting.

As long as his heart beats, I will have HOPE.

As long as his heart beats, I will stand ready to HELP.

As long as his heart beats, I will continue to HEAR and listen to what God tells me to do with him.

As long as his heart beats, mine will REMAIN unbroken.

I can completely understand how people feel that they would act differently than my husband and I are. I was like that before now too. But please just know that we are making the right choices for our family and our situation even if it isn’t what would be right for you.

LOVE THEM WHERE THEY ARE and PLEASE LOVE ALL OF US TOO! 💜❤️

I Can Only Imagine

My husband and one of our daughters and I went to this movie tonight.  Wow, Wow, and Wow.  I haven’t shed that many tears in a long time at the movies.  This movie tugged at my heart strings and spoke to my core.  It brought me back to my own life experiences.  Having a family member being physically and emotionally abusive for the majority of my childhood.  I was so relieved when that person was no longer in the picture.  However, I was ambivalent about it for a very long time.

When the person who is abusing you is someone that you want to love and care for you it makes it all the bit harder to let go.  Forgiveness is not easy.  Even when you do forgive someone it is hard when they don’t acknowledge your pain.  This is why accepting Jesus was so very important for me.

I learned that despite the things I had experienced at the hands of this person, that I am worthy, loved and cared for no matter what. That I am loved by Our Heavenly Father and I am offerred grace and acceptance.  I don’t have to measure up to a certain standard because Jesus already died for my sins.  I also learned that I am OK to forgive someone without acknowledgement on their part – it doesn’t mean that I wasn’t hurt by them or the actions never happened.  This was hard for me to work through.

This also makes me think of my own child who is suffering from substance use disorder. Forgiving him and loving him where he is at because he deserves it no matter what he has done.  I know he has a desire to recover and he can.  I know he loves me and his family and his sisters and brother.  I know he wants to be loved back and to be accepted and to be OK.

I can only imagine ………

You can add the remainder of that sentance that completes what is in your heart.  Each of us has a dream and desires.  Never give up and never underestimate your potential.  No matter what anyone else says.

Detox Supply and Demand

Since we live on a small island with very few resources there is not a place to safely detox from substance use. You can get the emergency room but they won’t admit you. We do not have an urgent care, or another place to go for help. We have a small inpatient facility that cannot meet the growing needs of our community. Actually out state has less than 2 dozen detox beds. Which is quite concerning!

The wait list to get into a provider for an assessment is long. It could take up to 90 days. Then it could take weeks before you can get into a program.

If you need medication assisted therapy you are looking at a couple months before you can see a provider and then it depends on if they can take on new patients.

The struggle for families with someone in active substance use disorder is so frustrating and real. As we watch our loved one get turned away when they are ready for the help we get more discouraged. I cannot imagine the frustration of my loved one. He’s ready but cannot get any type of help at all.

All I keep thinking is DETOX is imperative! How is it that we have an epidemic and we cannot get help!! People are dying!! We need help!!

As a Mom this upsets me! Along with the stigma and poor treatment of those who need help. I hope to never watch my son get treated poorly because he has a disease – otherwise I’ll be recording if possible and doing something about it! Change is needed!! Detox is needed!! Treatment upon demand is needed (just like supply and demand in economics)!! There is a demand for help so increase the supply of it!!

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.

 

Always Say I Love You

You know, when I talk to my kids I always try to say I love you each day or at the end of all phone calls. There is nothing more important to me than letting them know.

However, often times you just don’t think about other people too. Your brother or sister or best friend. Until you get bitch slapped with some sad news about them or someone else you love.

So over the years I have made it a point to say it to a lot of my people – people who mean the world to me and that need to know I love them dearly.

Tonight I realized just how important that truly is. We go through life just getting through the hustle and bustle each day. Don’t put a lot of thought into others. I am glad that I tell people I love them. Even if I still get sad if something is wrong.

Lately I’ve put more thoughts into my addicted child and I thought heartbreak would come from a call about them. I was wrong. I got a big fat dose of reality and it made me realize I need to remember everyone else too.

Prayers needed for a special someone tonight ❤️ May our loving Heavenly Father protect her and keep her safe and heal her. 🙏🏼

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!