Thursday, February 24, 2011

scared/ sad....

oh damn,...we went to see the lawyer today,...finally, about the hearing tomorrow. The lawyer thinks it's extremely likely that this will go further to a trial,...and it's so serious, and to think a jury will decide this...... D is doing SO well now,'s just so hard to not know what will happen and why now ?. I know, ...the past follows him. I'm just sick thinking about it all,...and I feel like my heart hurts. This is all so tough.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

He's Home !

D came in on the plane today...I picked him up at the airport , late afternoon, after work. His friend was going to originally pick him up at 1:30 p.m., but the plane was delayed for 2 1/2 hr.s, so I told him I'd get him after I left school/work. He was already out on the sidewalk as I pulled up in the car. I got out of the car and he ran up to me and hugged me, and started to cry. With that, I cried too and we just kept hugging. I kept thinking of how he was when we left him there to fly out over 2 mo.s ago.,, he sure looks and is acting different, in a good way. He remarked on how he didn't think he'd do that (cry),...and I didn't expect that myself either. But just seeing him look so happy and being able to hug him and know all that he's done to work on change in the past months was moving.

We came home and he was happy when the dog went pretty wild upon seeing him..,it was sweet. It's also something how the simplest thing is something you appreciate and is so indicative of how awful it was before. We ate and then were sitting in our family room together....just talking about different things,...him telling his dad about his job, we were watching part of the news together on t.v.. He asked to use and did use his father's laptop and was playing a song for me to listen to,....just hung out on the sofa with us,....talked to his brother. He even went into his room and got some jeans that he'd left here and was trying them on to see if they fit....was asking my opinion,...just normal stuff that a 19 yr. old son might do, ...if he's not only either not home or in his room without coming out,....which is how he was before.

And now.....a good friend ( a girl who loves him and doesn't drink or do any drugs at all) came and picked him up and off they went for meet up with another friend of hers at his house, where D may even play his drums. Unfortunately, D pawned his within the last couple of months before he left. : ( D is a pretty good drummer and seeing those drums gone one day when I came home was a thing I'll never was like a punch in the stomach. He loved those drums, cymbals, etc.,....and they were good ones that he'd saved for.

So, that's what's happening tonight. It's hard not to be anxious really is. But I'm going to offer up a prayer and that will be it. There's nothing else I can do anyway.

My husband is taking off tomorrow and will take D to the DMV to take the test ,etc. and try to get his license back.....he has the go ahead to do so. He hasn't had a license since Sept. 2008 ! Then we'll all meet with his lawyer at 3 p.m. and it's on to court on Fri. morning. IF all goes well,.... D will fly right back to Florida on Fri. evening. It's one hell of a week around here. I just pray that D can continue on the very good path he's on right now.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Coming Home

...and so we begin the week again....but this one will be different, for D is coming home on Wed. afternoon. He flies in then, and will be picked up by a friend from home here,..a girl that isn't "bad" for him to be with,..a good friend that cares about his well being. His dad and I will both be at work, which bothers me, because, of course, I'd rather I got to pick him up myself...or my husband.

His dad will take Thurs. off from work to bring him to the DMV and get his license(hopefully),...since he hasn't had one since Sept. of 2008, when the judge first took it away. After that, they'll just spend the day together and on Friday,...we'll all go to court for the preliminary hearing. Of course, we all hope that goes well and if so, he'll fly back out of here that very same afternoon. We bought a round trip ticket....thinking positively.

but....I must admit,...I'm nervous,....about him being here at all, and of course, what will happen in court. I know,...welcome back to anxiety-ville,..ugh. I'm trying to be peaceful and accepting and knowing that none of this is anything I can do anything about.

Friday, February 18, 2011

1 year ago tonight

One year ago tonight....the doorbell rang, early evening, just as we were sitting down with Chinese food, to watch the winter Olympics. The snowboarders were that night...and our son and his friend were going to watch it with us,...they just quickly ran to the store for cigarettes before it was coming on. (I'd, won't this be, nice,...that he's doing something with us ?)

I started toward the door, and through the sidelight windows by the front door, I saw all of those navy blue clothed legs...... 4 cops on our front porch. I called out to my husband..."Oh no, ..there are cops on the porch",..and he walked toward the door ahead of me. As he was about to the door....I said..."Don't let them in,...go out onto the porch"...he did, ..and so did I. That ended up to be a good thing,..because if they do get in, they then "control the premises". They told us they were here to search our home,...that D had given them permission and "it was his room". They also told us that they had D in handcuffs down at the end of the street, around the bend of the street where we couldn't see from the porch. He'd been stopped, from them,...had been caught with a "substance" and digital scale in his pocket (sigh) and also had had an open container with alcohol in it. Well,...we didn't go along with what the officers said was their right to do (NOT), and didn't allow them to come in. By the way....D has never made a mortgage payment....not "his house". We left them on the porch and made a phone call to find out some info. about their right to, just like we thought,..not their right. We walked back to the front porch and what do you know...they were gone. We went back and sat down on the sofa, the wind was knocked out of us. We never even walked down to the end of the street to see what was happening with D in the handcuffs, etc.. We were officially over it. He called from jail later on that night, collect, of course.

It is now exactly one year later from that night. Tonight,'s a whole different story. Our D is very committed to his recovery and working and planning to begin college this fall. However, there were 2 more rehabs between that night and this night....more jail, dealers, and court and clean time, then using, relapse and arrest again. And.....a lot of emotional pain and despair and prayer. But,...I still feel/know...that a lot has happened in this past year and he's in a much better place mentally than he was one year ago tonight, and so am I. I continue to be grateful for the progress that's happened this past year.....and pray that he continues to be in recovery......

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

60 days

D went to his meeting tonight to get his 60 day chip,...with a lot of happiness about doing so. He's done more than 60 meetings in those 60 days.....a lot more than 60, and that's all the difference in his thinking and staying clean, along with being ready and having his sponsor, who's been such a Godsend. Even though it's for court and we all have our big apprehensions about that day, we're looking forward to seeing him on Feb. 23rd, when he comes back here for the preliminary hearing on the 25th.

A lot has happened in the past 60 days, and for once, it's mostly all good. He was at work today (yes, the new job, yaay) and came outside and found his bike stolen, so that wasn't good. The lock was cut. : ( He should get his first paycheck very soon, so that will go toward a new bike, and now he'll bring any bike he gets into the store and put it into the back room. I was thinking....why didn't he do that in the first place, but kept my mouth shut on that one. In the meantime, he'll (hopefully) get rides for work from people in the house where he lives. But the bottom line today, for now, is that 60 days clean is a very good thing, and a good start to his future. I continue to have hope that his recovery will also continue. Praying for all of our addicts.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

just one phone call......

oh man,...especially after what I last posted about triggers and the addict brain....must my son provide an example of it just days later? Sigh. I knew that something wasn't right with him the past couple of days. He sounded different on the phone and his daily call to say hi had changed....I just could tell, know. Anyway, today he called and told me he was doing well now,...but he hadn't been for the past couple of days. Apparently, he got a phone call, and since he'd deleted all of those old "contacts/bad numbers",...he didn't know who it was calling, and answered. Obviously, he did know it was someone from our area code at home, but that didn't necessarily mean it was someone not good,...for amazingly, he does know many many people from our area here that weren't into what he was. He always was "the worst one"of his close former friends,(although he knew others that were more like him too)..but I digress.

The caller was someone he used to do "transactions" with, asking if he wanted in on one now. It was the chance to make quite a bit of $ (sigh again) and with that....he said that "his mind took off"....and was planning to have "something he could use" mailed to where he is now (!),....planning how many days it will be before he comes back here for court and how he could pass a test then etc etc.. But then, he STOPPED and THOUGHT...and realized that he'd be ordering up "all kinds of pain and disaster"(his words), and called his sponsor and told him and for the past 2 days...he'd been working on it with the sponsor. Not only that, he said that he'd called up the phone co. of his cell phone, which is one of those monthly pay as you go kind, and blocked any incoming phone calls but from those numbers on his contact list....good plan. I believe he's telling me the truth, because he certainly never had to tell me any of this anyway...I wouldn't have known. I thank God (literally) that he made the choice he did to deal with this,...but of course, it still made my heart heavy, as much as I'm also thankful. And all it took was one phone call..........

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Environmental triggers and the addict brain

Here's an article from the NY Times, written last year....that provides some logical explanation for what often seems to be illogical behavior.

Lasting Pleasures, Robbed by Drug Abuse

Scott Menchin

Of all the things that people do, few are as puzzling to psychiatrists as compulsive drug use.

Sure, all drugs of abuse feel good — at least initially. But for most people, the euphoria doesn’t last. A patient of mine is all too typical.

“I know this will sound strange,” he said, as I recall, “but cocaine doesn’t get me high any more and still I can’t stop.”

When he first started using the drug, in his early 30s, my patient would go for days on a binge, hardly eating or drinking. The high was better than anything, even sex.

Within several months, though, he had lost the euphoria — followed by his job. Only when his wife threatened to leave him did he finally seek treatment.

When I met him, he told me that he would lose everything if he could not stop using cocaine. Well, I asked, what did he like about this drug, if it cost him so much and no longer made him feel good? He stared at me blankly. He had no clue.

Neither did most psychiatrists, until recently.

We understand the initial allure of recreational drugs pretty well. Whether it is cocaine, alcohol, opiates, you name it, drugs rapidly activate the brain’s reward system — a primitive neural circuit buried beneath the cortex — and release dopamine. This neurotransmitter, which is central to pleasure and desire, sends a message to the brain: This is an important experience that is worth remembering.

We would not have gotten very far as a species without this brain system to motivate us to seek out rewards like food and a nice mate. The trouble is that while such natural reinforcers activate the reward system, mind-altering drugs do it much more powerfully, causing a far greater dopamine release.

In other words, drugs have a competitive advantage over these natural rewards and can hijack the brain’s reward system.

Even so, the acute pleasure fades when the neurons in the reward circuit get used to all that dopamine. Eventually, as with my patient, even higher and higher doses cease to feel good as users try in vain to recapture the initial high.

So what explains compulsive drug use, especially when it brings the user to the brink of personal ruin?

I got a clue from my patient’s recent relapse. After nearly six months of abstinence, he found himself inexplicably craving cocaine on the way home from work.

It happened that he had run into an old friend just outside his office with whom he had used drugs years earlier. Although he did not consciously associate the friend and the drugs, his brain had not forgotten, and the meeting touched off the urge to use again.

In short, recreational drugs like cocaine don’t just usurp the brain’s reward circuit; they have powerful effects on learning and memory.

Many brain imaging studies, using positron emission tomography, show that cues like viewing drug paraphernalia are enough by themselves to activate memory circuits and unleash drug craving. Where you are and what you are doing when you use a drug like cocaine is inextricably linked with the high. And these associations are stored not just in your conscious memory, but also in memory circuits outside your awareness.

This kind of pathologic learning lies at the heart of compulsive drug use. Long after someone has apparently kicked the habit, long after withdrawal symptoms subside, the individual is vulnerable to these deeply encoded unconscious associations that can set off a craving, seemingly out of the blue.

I could not rewire my patient’s brain. But at least I could try to help him reconfigure his environment by avoiding cues that might provoke cocaine craving. I had him make an inventory of all the people and places he associated with his drug use — and then had him steer clear of as many as he could. Lucky for him that he never used drugs at home.

His problems did not end there, however. Although he has been cocaine-free for nearly two years, he feels life is lackluster and little excites him. And that experience is consistent with recent evidence that the effects of drugs like cocaine can endure long after use has ended.

Dr. Nora D. Volkow, a psychiatrist who is director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has shown using PET scans that methamphetamine-dependent subjects have about 25 percent fewer dopamine transporters in critical brain regions compared with normal volunteers. Since the transporters ferry dopamine in and out of neurons, this decrease means less dopamine release and a less responsive reward circuit.

Alarmingly, this reduction in dopamine transporters was present in subjects who had not used methamphetamine for at least 11 months, suggesting that the effect was long-lasting — perhaps even permanent.

Though my patient had not used methamphetamine, cocaine has similar effects in the brain. With years of abuse, he could have lost enough dopamine transporters that his own reward circuit would become dulled to everyday pleasures. After all, to most brains a fine dinner with friends or a beautiful sunset is no match for the euphoria of cocaine.

We do not yet know whether the loss of dopamine transporters is permanent or eventually reversible. But why take the chance and endure a dulled life? The plain truth is that drug-induced pleasure is a cruel illusion: it never lasts.

Dr. Richard A. Friedman is a professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Monday, February 7, 2011

good day

D called today and he DID pass the drug screen and DID begin work today,...he was so happy to get going on it ! I know this will be so good for him, and in a lot more ways than in making money. For him to have a purpose and feel productive and be earning money of his own to pay for some of his expenses will be great for him, just in how he feels about himself.

Speaking of how D feels about himself.....he went through EMDR today with his therapist,...just began to be treated with this. I don't know how many of you know of it or have been involved with it. It's a newer treatment tool that frankly, sounds odd, but is supposed to be quite effective in treating negative emotions and feelings that are persistent, ...even used to treat PTSD. He said that surprisingly, he did feel really good after going through the treatment. He was asked to think about negative feelings of self esteem,...imagining a situation where he felt badly about himself (how common would that be for addicts?...quite)....and even had to voice aloud what he was feeling about himself. At the same time, he was treated with the EMDR , it to see what it's about. As I said, it sounds quite odd,...even a bit unbelievable,....but is supposed to be quite healing and effective. I hope that it is. Today, I am grateful for his progress.....and for taking steps forward , working on my own.

Friday, February 4, 2011

what can you shake off ?

I had a phone conversation with D yesterday.......that didn't go well. This has happened before, since he's begun his recovery(this time), even though this time he seems more committed to it (multiple times more) than he's ever been, and is doing all of the every day work to make it happen and continue. Thank God for that,...I am very grateful.

First of all, he did get that job at Pep Boys...YEAH ! He is just now waiting for the results of their drug test (go figure) until he can start. He should have no problem getting back a clean result, but says that he still has a very hard time relaxing about that, since it's so foreign to him to feel. Plus,...the weed stays in your system for so long, that he's still worried about it, but I digress. Then he said something about wanting to start putting money into a mutual fund every month once he starts getting a paycheck ! LOL,..I'm sorry, but...what? I said, ...I don't think you're even close to that type of situation yet, ......first you need to pay some money back. He said,."why, I don't owe any money." It just hit me SO wrong....I was just instantly so pissed that he'd think he should INVEST money before paying all of his own sober living expenses, or perhaps, even, let's me back the $60 he stole out of my purse right before leaving for rehab.,...and that's just ONE small example ! OMG....I am shamed to say so, but back when, ...and not as long ago as I'd like to say it was...meaning, I KNEW better,...I gave him $ to pay off a dealer !!! : ( And I do really think he did, for he was scared of them, was in deep trouble with them, etc.,...but I was humiliated and ashamed to help him with it, and just knew how wrong it was...what i was doing,...but it was cleaning up his mess, when he finally wanted to get clean.

NO excuses...I know...just saying,.....there's just so so much hurt that is still inside of me, and I know that resentment is an ugly thing that I don't want to keep, for it's not helpful to me, to get better. It's not at all the money either, but the idea that he was so oblivious to it,...and I know at the same time, that he's been very troubled by all the pain he's caused, and ashamed of it, and has a hard time dealing with it mentally,......who he became from addiction. He's expressed that multiple times, and like any addict, "doesn't want to think about that." (although, I do think he will, and hopefully work through it) I also know that he did call his sponsor after our conversation....he became angry when I did...and today, said that he was working more on himself. The fact that he became angry was "his issue, not mine"....and not my fault. He "understands why I would have a reaction that I did" etc..

Of course, I am very grateful and happy that he's FINALLY working SO hard on his recovery, in so many ways that I haven't even written about, but wow, we sure can't turn off a switch and just shake off all the pain of the active addiction and the years of stress, anger, worry, pain, shame and horror. And yes, of course.....I'm very aware that it could also all begin again....God forbid. I do think it would be good for me to go to Al Anon or Nar Anon , which I've been to before, multiple times. But I've never really worked the steps or got a sponsor, and I'm sure it would help me work on this.

Any thoughts from all of you.....what have you been able to let go of ?