Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Addict Children

When the girls moved out they took each of their computers with them - of course they did, especially as the computers were actually theirs. Sara's computer had always been set up in our living room because their bedroom was already overflowing with their stuff. It simply made no sense whatsoever to attempt to set up her own work station amongst this disaster of a bedroom. Even if we had tried, I've no doubt it would quickly have vanished from view, buried beneath all kinds discarded crap! Our living room, however, had space to spare. We set up pretty comfy station for them, with loads of room on the desk that we decided to use - it measured 60" long by 24" wide, and had a pull out shelf that ran  the length of the desk, although it divided into two separate pieces, plus a full bottom shelf to put the computer's tower and whatever else you felt like. What this meant was that with only the one computer/monitor on the desk, there was still loads of empty space over which was nice as it was then easy to keep neat and tidy.

OK, fascinating I'm sure that you're all thinking, but, really, SO WHAT? See, even though I have always had a perfectly decent computer that I didn't even have to share with anybody at all, I practically never went near it. While there was nothing remotely wrong with it, I utterly loathed where it ended up being located in the apt. Jim set it up in our bedroom right next to his. Now, we didn't have the same kinds of space limitations that the girls always seemed to face, but there were other things that prevented me from truly enjoying  using my computer when it was in our bedroom. Hmmm, when I pause to reflect on all of this, I suppose in hindsight, we probably should have invested in at the least, one laptop!

From the start, I much preferred using the computer in the living room. Unfortunately, the only time that I would end up using it was when neither one of the girls was at home. It certainly wouldn't have been very reasonable of me to demand time on theirs when I had a perfectly good one sitting unused in my bedroom! Another reason that I tended not to use it was the moment I sat down at it, time no longer seemed to matter. Seemed to take no effort for five minutes to turn into five hours! Even if my bedroom door remained completely open the entire time, just being located there tended to promote a feeling of being isolated and as such, not being readily available to either one of them. This was not at all what was actually occuring, but, as a newly recovering addict I became hyper aware of ensuring that my behaviour at any time did not suggest possible relapse. Of course, there were times when I had no choice. Certainly, the last time I got hit with the flu, the very last thing I wanted to do was leave my comfy bed for anything. Not to mention, I was the farthest away from feeling sociable at any level.

So, while either one of my girls were at home, I tended to drift between the kitchen, dining room and living room. If they didn't feel like hanging around anywhere that I happened to be, then all that they had to was go off into their bedroom or leave the apartment. Now that they're all grow'd up and living on their own, I don't have to worry if I feel like staying in my room all day! I can do whatever I want! Sound kind of like I'm the one who no longer has to worry about following their parent's house rules and not the other way around! Well, I'm certainly not going to lie when I confess that since its now only Jim and I, there is absolutely no doubt as to how liberated I've felt this past month!

I also had Jim liberate my computer from our bedroom, and had him set it up where Sara's computer used to be. So, to make an already long story even longer...what I had been trying to do was let one and all know that because of our changed circumstances, I expect to be updating on a more regular not to mention more frequent basis.


Now, its time to get to something just a tad more serious, as well as extremely important. There is something that I have been meaning to address for a very long time now, but haven't gotten around to doing it. My very bad!!! Over the past year or so, I've been noticing that there has been a pretty dramatic increase in the number of blogs out there written by parents of addict children. Their collective cries for help, relief, support and recovery of their beloved is truly devastating. Even though I, personally, am  myself a recovering addict, I have no knowledge of being on the other side of addiction such as they all are. That's not to say that I am incapable of empathizing with them, its simply that I've not had to view it in the same way that they do.  So, while I am not necessarily proud of this fact, I am certainly able to relate to the many stories they share of their children's misadventures. I hope to never be in any one of their shoes either, and am pretty sure that it is by the grace of God that both of my girls have managed not to succumb to the many temptations that these illegal substances seem to offer. I hope with every fiber of my body that this never, ever changes also!

Their children are also oh so very, very young to have to go through some of the things that they do. This aspect of their addiction, though, is extremely difficult for me to relate to as I had actually never even tried drugs at their age. While I had done some experimentation while at university, I never really did it with any sort of regularity until I was about a year or so into my first real job after graduation. Once I found out I was pregnant, I stopped immediately and never resumed until Sara was about eight or nine. It then took five to six years after this for my previously recreational use to turn into full blown, hard core addiction. Shockingly, I was able to keep this from practically everyone. My own mother never knew I even had a problem until I had been in Methadone Maintenance Treatment - MMT - for over eighteen months. Jim's parents found out even later - this tidbit ended up being revealed to them while he was still in the hospital after the stabbing! We never even had a call, a visit or anything to do with Children's Aid either in regards to Sara's upbringing. For all intents and purposes our addiction was invisible.

Now of course, most of the above needs to be taken with a grain of salt as they say! Addicts are consummate liars who also have a massive capacity to rationalize any sort of potentially unethical or illegal behaviour, and I am sure that I was no better, even though through these years, I had pretty much convinced myself that this didn't apply to me. This particular topic, though, is too complex to go into much more detail right now, but I will tackle this subject in the very near future.

But back to the parents...their ever increasing numbers gives one pause for concern as I suspect that the blogs that are currently out there are barely a tip of the iceberg. Where we see one, I'm guessing there are ten more. Tragic, indeed. Below are some of the ones that I follow regularly. As my links are not as current on this computer as they had been on Sara's, I know that there are a few excellent ones that I have overlooked - I apologize in advance for this oversight. By no means is it at all intentional. If you have a similar type of blog that is not in this list, please feel free to let me know so that I can update my links section. I encourage anyone that has taken the time to read this entry to also make sure that they take the time to visit the blogs that are listed below.

  • Addiction – In God We Trust
  • An Addict in our Son’s Bedroom
  • Andrew’s Addiction
  • Blinded By Love For J
  • Fight of Your Life
  • Heather’s Mom
  • Her Big Sad
  • Hurting Parents~Addicted Son
  • INTERVENE: A Community For Parents
  • Journey of recovery…search for serenity
  • Loving and Parenting an Addict
  • Mom of Opiate Addicted Son
  • Mom vs Heroin
  • mother of a drug addict
  • My Daughter’s Addiction
  • OXY and OPIATE ADDICTION-A Mother’s Story
  • Recovery Happens
  • Writing From The Inside Out

  • Saturday, December 19, 2009


    The following article appeared in our local newspaper less than a week ago. The article provides a bit more info concerning the attack on us and the stabbing of Jim from a year and a half ago. In preparation for his sentencing hearing scheduled for the beginning of February, 2010, I've started to work on my Victim Impact Statement so that I can read it to the court on that day. Jim is also going to prepare and read one, as are both of our daughters - both of them came to me and asked if they would be able to do this as well, so of course, I agreed. This was very much a surprise as I had never intended to ask either one of them to go through this for us. Obviously, we are touched that they want to do this for us - our intentions originally had been motivated so that we could attempt to keep our babies shielded and separated from all of this ugliness. Have always said that they are made of strong stuff indeed.

    The recent article is accurate except for one detail. It states that he had a 15-centimeter cut to his arm. This 15cm injury/scar actually appears on his chest, and was a direct result of the emergency surgery he had to have when the doctors cut him open to repair both his liver and lung. Anyway, if you are at all interested, you should be able to check out the original article for a few weeks RIGHT HERE. In case it expires, the following was printed:

    Last Updated: 10th December 2009, 11:07am

    The noise coming from the sixth-floor apartment was too loud for the neighbours. That's all the superintendent wanted to tell the people inside the Wonderland Rd. apartment in London when he knocked on the door on May 12, 2008, at about 5 p.m. 

    What would happen next would threaten his life and leave him with lingering injuries. Three men ran out of the apartment, pushed the superintendent to the floor and began punching, kicking and stabbing him. P****** F*******, 25, pleaded guilty in a London court to aggravated assault for the stab wounds that punctured the man's lung, lacerated his liver, and left him critically injured. 

    F******* is one of three men charged for the attack. He, along with his brother L*******, 24, and M*******, 22, had already begun a preliminary hearing in October. F******* has been in custody since his arrest in downtown London after the attack. 

    Assistant Crown attorney Gary Fowler told Justice Deborah Livingstone the victim and F******* did not know each other. Several people in the building, including the victim's spouse, saw the attack. Along with the internal injuries, the victim suffered gashes to his arm and head and needed a 61/2-hour surgery. He needed 10 staples to close the gash in his head and had a 15-centimetre cut to his arm. Fowler said the victim needed a second surgery later. Livingstone noted that from the testimony heard earlier, the victim's ongoing issues from the attack are "significant." 

    F*******'s lawyer, K******* M*******, said her client admitted to causing the injuries from the stabbing and was involved in some of the kicking and punching. A pre-sentence report was ordered and F******* is to be sentenced Feb 3. 

    The preliminary hearing for the other two men is slated to continue Jan. 11.


    December 10th 2009, 3:12pm  
    December 10th 2009, 1:41pm  
    I hope they give this piece of human trash a double digit pen bit. He damn near killed an innocent man for knocking on a door....? The community is a better place without him. A SEVERE punishment is the only way to go on this case. Him reforming himself should be concidered a distant 2nd priority
    December 10th 2009, 11:44am  
    That hurts !

    Thursday, November 26, 2009



    This is a link that I really should have put up ages ago, but then I managed to get distracted for quite a bit, and am now only returning to my computer after a fairly long absence. Hopefully this will make up for my negligence! Years ago, when I first started blogging, I was fortunate enough to be able to belong to a website that was, for better or worse, a real showcase for about two dozen fairly talented writers who just happened to also be opiate addicts. During my two years writing under, I met some truly remarkable and brilliant individuals. While we came from all over the world and our ages ranged from teens to retirement, the one thread that we all shared was our love and dependence and continuing battle with a varying range of opiates. As a collective, we managed to bring many, many lifetimes of experiences and stories to the table. At the time, we ranged from being completely abstinent with multiple years of recovery behind us to being knee deep in extremely active addiction with no thoughts of ever stopping.

    The group had individuals who were top executives in international companies earning six figure salaries and then some to those who had no idea where they would lay their head each evening to sleep. We were all there to support the others around us. No judgments, no lectures and especially, no shame. For the first time in my life, I had found a safe and secure place to share my experiences without fear of any sort of recriminations. More than anything else though, I discovered that I wasn't alone, that there were others very much like me.

    At the time that I received an invitation to join this group, I was as deep as I would get with my addiction. I was using the absolute heaviest that I had ever used in my life, and was doing this while maintaining a full time office job of responsibility, etc, not to mention, maintaining the semblance of a completely normal family. By the time imploded though, I had found the strength to stop using and to get myself back into treatment, but know that I may not have been as successful as I have been, had they not been there for me every step of the way. To any and all that are still out there, a rather belated, but heartfelt thank you.

    The above link, seedless, was one of the original members of He also is an utterly amazing writer with stories that will simply mesmerize you. Words can not begin to serve him justice. I urge one and all to take some time and check out the above link as you will not be disappointed.

    P.S. Hope this makes up for my utterly disgracefully slow response to your earlier request! Cheers...

    A Very Empty Nest

    Even though Katie hasn't officially moved out, it has now been pretty close to two weeks since she has really stayed here, and Sara officially moved into her new apartment last Saturday, so for all intents and purposes, I guess that Jim and I are now officially empty nesters! How very weird this is. We knew that this would end up happening sooner than later, especially as Katie turns twenty in less than three months, and Sara less than four. Our babies were growing up, and itching to spread their wings.

    Obviously, there are a whole range of emotions that I am currently experiencing. Most are good. I am sad that my girls are really and truly adults now, ready to begin lives of their own, but this is very much tempered with the fact that I also know that they are indeed, well and truly ready to begin this part of their own life's journey. Both girls are exceptionally mature and responsible, with solid heads resting on their strong shoulders. I've got to trust that we've managed to equip themselves with the tools that the shall need to lead happy and productive lives. Mixed with this sadness and melancholy is a huge boatload of motherly love and pride and confidence!

    Yes, our home has felt somewhat empty - not to mention extremely quiet - since their departure, but there is also a feeling of anticipation and excitement for what this chapter of Jim's and my life will bring to us. Kind of liberating for the first time in almost twenty one years! Obviously, all of these positive feelings couldn't be possible had we parted any other way but the way that we did. Their decisions to move out on their own came from a place of strength, and no other place. We parted in the absolute best way that one could imagine - no angry words or fights or any sort of bitterness imaginable.

    It is due to this that I can look to the future with great optimism and hope. I know so many children that leave home for the wrong reasons, and I consider us extremely lucky and fortunate that this was something that I knew was unlikely to occur in our home. I love both girls so very much, and no matter what the outcome, they know that they can sleep securely each night knowing that the welcome mat will always be there should they decide to return home, no matter what their reasons.

    Getting everybody organized has been the main reason keeping me away from my computer this past month and a half, plus dealing with the preliminary trial of our attackers. This, unfortunately, has not gone near as smoothly as the other, and in fact, the prelim trial has yet to conclude, and has now been held over until the last week of January, next year. Much more on this matter very soon.

    Just wanted to stop by quickly to let anyone who still actually bothers following me to know that I am still healthy and happy and right on course with my recovery, and then some...

    peace, love and happiness...

    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    I Fought The Law

    After seventeen months, and a couple of false starts, it looks as if we may finally be getting our day in court. In less than 12 hours, the preliminary trial of the three men that attacked us and stabbed Jim is about to begin. Obviously, I am nervous. Am not expecting to get much sleep tonight although I also have no intention of actively sabotaging myself either - tempting as this may be!

    Figures that the weather just took a turn for the worse. Yikes. The temp managed to reach a high of 4C today, although with the wind, I guess that it felt more like -1C. Tomorrow morning, they're forecasting the temp to be just above zero Celsius which is too cold for this time of the season that's for sure. Right now, this near freezing weather is causing me to have a near meltdown in my attempt to pick out an appropriate court - and now weather - outfit. I suppose that if this is the worst thing that I am currently battling then I am not really in as bad a shape as I might perceivce.

    Additional mood updates as my evening progresses!!!

    Saturday, October 03, 2009

    A Few Quick Updates

    Am going to try this online web word processor to update my blog. Currently it is still in beta, and my first attempt at using it failed miserably. Of course, before I hit update, I failed to copy all of the text that I had spent half an hour entering so mega frustrating...This time I shall be adequately prepared!!! If this experiment does indeed succeed, anyone that may be interested in trying out something new, then check out WriteToMyBlog - I am such a sucker and always super eager anytime something new and different gets introduced.

    OK, so the past month has been on the busy side. It looks as if finally we may actually be getting ready to go to trial. i.e of the three guys that attacked us and stabbed Jim last year. We met with the Crown and Victim Services for a fairly lengthy visit last week, and both of them have certainly done their homework. We both are feeling pretty confident that they are the ones to complete this successfully for us, and to represent us fairly and competently. I mean at the best of times, its certainly a bit of a crap shoot so here's hoping. Got all of our fingers crossed. Am also as nervous as hell as the prelim hearing is now just two under two weeks away.

    To top everything off, I have been slowly but surely decreasing my dose of methadone. From a high of 100, I am now at 45. I have been on my current dose now for about two weeks, and of all of the decreases, this one has most definitely been the most challenging. If I go much more than 24 to 28 hours between my doses then I actually start to feel as if I am starting to go into withdrawal - mild withdrawal, but withdrawal none the less.

    We had all of our blood work done recently, and while my results were all above excellent, Jim had a bit of bad news. His hep c is currently active, and the various liver tests that they performed came back way out of the normal range so his doctor was kind of concerned. He'd like him to start interferon treatment once the upset of the trial is behind us. Apparently I've got an angel sitting on my shoulder as all of my tests show up as better than normal. Go figure. I suppose that Jim getting stabbed in his liver has done nothing to help him!

    P.S. My above experiment failed miserably so I give up for now. Don't know if it is me or the web site, but thank goodness for copying and pasting or once again, I would have lost yet one more update!!!

    Friday, October 02, 2009

    Manic Street Preachers

    Hey, did I happen to mention that in less than 48 hours, I will finally be going to a show by the Manic Street Preachers? I've literally only waited fifteen years for this to actually happen. I am so stoked!!!

    Saturday, September 12, 2009

    Funeral March

    Well, the funeral turned out to be absolutely beautiful and something Daniel would have been pleased with, if this were at all even possible. Standing room only, too. It was still somewhat weird having to return to the town of our youth especially under these circumstances.

    The actual service ended up lasting just over an hour. Both of his sisters got up to speak - he was the middle child - as well as his best friend from high school and also one of his nieces - in total he was uncle to five nieces and one nephew. The minister's sermon was very fitting as she took time to address Daniel's two decade battle with mental illness and depression, as well as talking about how he ultimately died. In fact, no one that got up to speak shied away from these normally uncomfortable subjects. To be sure, his parents opened this door originally when they stated in the newspaper's announcement's section how their son actually died. This was certainly a most unusual, not to mention brave move on their part. I can't remember ever seeing something like this mentioned in any other announcement of death in a paper's personnel's section.

    I certainly can understand their reasons behind doing this. Anyone attending his funeral would have already been familiar with the fact he was bi-polar and had been for decades. This eliminated having to respond to dozens and dozens of people asking how he died. I can just imagine how both of his parents would have dreaded this part of the whole service, but because of the type of people that they are, they would have answered each and every question without hesitation.

    Jim and Daniel started high school twenty nine years ago, and except for a few of their class mates that just simply could not make it to the funeral, almost their entire class managed to show up. This fact alone speaks volumes and then some...Its unfortunate that Daniel never was able to recognize this fact. For most of his life, he felt irrelevant, or that he just simply couldn't measure up to the rest of us. If only he could have taken a step back and actually seen what it was we all saw and recognized in him.

    He was a brilliant writer and artist, as well as an excellent student and athlete. Everything came naturally for him though he may not have quite seen it that way. He was one of the best looking guys in high school who could have had any girl that he wanted, but ended up spending his years there single. He was accepted into all of the universities he applied for, and even managed to excel while studying away in a foreign city away from his friends and family.

    It was during his final year at university that he was diagnosed with  manic depression - my understanding is that this is now called bi-polar - and even with this, he still managed to graduate. For about half a decade after this, he ended up in and out of institutions, so that by the time he was in his thirties, he felt as if he had really been left behind, and never recovered from this setback.

    It really is all very, very tragic. His sisters read some of his most recent writings and while they were all exceptional, they certainly spoke to his current state of  mind. He was filled with far too much  pain it would seem, and nothing on this world seemed to offer him the relief he so obviously sought.

    Peace, love and  happiness...

    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    Suffer Well

    Jim and I have to go to a funeral in the morning. I've only been to three other funerals in my entire life, which is a good thing I suppose. One of our friends from high school committed suicide four days ago. He had been suffering from depression for decades now, and I guess his wife of nine years leaving him recently was just too much for him. He had moved back in with his parents so it was his mother that found him. Even though at one point in our lives, we had all been close, we hadn't really seen him in the past decade. Out of respect for his parents, though, we are going. Jim's folks and his still live in the same small town we all grew up in, and they both attend the same church each and every Sunday. I hope that is suffering is over and that he has finally managed to find some peace.

    Saturday, August 22, 2009

    The Informers

    I've just finished watching The Informers. Its a new film written by Bret Easton Ellis based on his book of the same name which was published in 1994. The book is actually a collection of thirteen short stories, and this film has done its best to adapt these stories. It was directed by Gregor Jordan and features an ensemble cast, such as Winona Ryder, Billy Bob Thornton, Mickey Rourke, and Kim Basinger. It also was Brad Renfro's last film before his untimely death. The film basically covers stories of seven of the film's characters with these stories  taking place over the course of one week in 1983 Los Angeles. These stories cover the lives of movie executives, rock stars, and other morally challenged characters.

    This film was by no means great, in fact, I'm not even sure if it is even good, but for a number of reasons, it ended up kicking me in the stomach.  In an instant, I was transported back to the year that I turned nineteen, 1983! This was to be a seminal year for me and my friends. This was the year that we graduated high school and were about to enter university. Our whole lives were supposedly stretched out in front of us, as in, the world was our oyster. We were invincible, or so we thought.  We dreamed of going off to uni, being away from home and anyone that knew us. We imagined that this would be our time to finally be sexually free, to be able to experiment and to be able to do this without fear of any consequences. How quickly this was all shattered and destroyed.

    1983 was also a time when we had first started to hear about some mystery illness that  initially seemed to be randomly killing only gays and IV drug users. A plague of sorts. A plague that was also extremely terrifying especially since the medical community at the time appeared so utterly baffled and helpless. Uncertainty was everywhere. Once the heterosexual population started to show signs of this illness, fears escalated rapidly, as did denial. The medical community had yet to announce how this illness was spreading nor how it could be prevented from spreading.

    One thing, though, that we seemed to recognize instinctively, were any thoughts of us finally being able to have indiscriminate sexual encounters would have to end if we were to remain immune. So much for us going off to university with thoughts of anonymous one night stands dancing in  our heads. Didn't matter any more if we were on the pill as a much larger issue now existed. Not getting pregnant would be the least of our worries. The party really was over, as was our innocence.

    This movies touches so many aspects of what me and my friends were going through in our own personal lives twenty six years ago. It seems eerie watching it now, almost voyeuristic. It also almost appears to be a sequel to Ellis's book/movie Less Than Zero. The book originally was published back in 1985, with the movie of the same name coming out a couple of years later, although there were a lot of changes and departures. What may really end up being interesting will be if Ellis does indeed publish a sequel to Less Than Zero, something he has been promising for a little while now.

    P.S. Speaking of the above movie, I just had to go and dig it out to watch yet again. Even though its a bit on the dated side, it still remains one of my favourites from that time period.

    Thursday, August 13, 2009

    Suicide Is Painless II

    Well, we really don't have much more info today than we had last night. The standoff with the police did eventually end peacefully approximately two and a half hours after it had started. No one was hurt, although allegedly Charley was holding his ex-girlfriend against her will with him in the garage. This is the same female that he beat beyond recognition last year, and who he was not to associate with by any form of communication imaginable as part of his sentence. Now, to be fair, it is never him who violates this order. Each and every time, it is her, and each and every time she does this, it comes to no good. Yes, she was very much the unfortunate and undeserving victim of last years assault, but otherwise she has been nothing but poison. He has changed almost beyond recognition from when we first met him six years ago, and these changes have all happened within the past two years.

    To be fair, he has always struggled with mental issues. Since Sara was sixteen, over three years ago now, she has tried relentlessly to get this young man some form of medical help but so far, to no avail. His mother is in complete denial regarding  his mental state of mind, even at times such as this. At one point Sara even became a patient of Charley's family doctor in order to talk to him about her concerns. He is beyond desperate and is badly in need of professional health.

    Right now, I'm kind of pressed for time so have to be brief, but I'd be remiss if I failed to mention how absolutely amazing the police were in regards to my girls last night. I had to call 911 with the correct address, and was fortunate to get the same dispatcher as Katie. While on the phone I asked if the police would be able to call us back once they had arrived at the scene and everything had been sorted out - at this point there was no hostage taking, et al! She said that normally they don't do this but she would ask.

    The girls continued to call his house. At one point the phone was answered, and he identified himself as one of the officers on the scene. He engaged in conversation with Katie and she was able to supply him with a bit of Charley's mental history and possible current state of mind, etc. When all was said and done this particular officer ended up calling the girls back twice, and both times their conversations were fairly lengthy. He deserves to be commended as he was able to calm the girls down considerably, plus assure them that now there was a very good chance that Charley would end up receiving long needed medical attention. Patience he had in spades to be sure.


    Wednesday, August 12, 2009

    Suicide Is Painless

    I was actually planning on talking about something entirely different than what I am about to talk about but even the best laid plans, etc, etc. Earlier this evening my foster daughter, Katie, and I were sitting in the living room having a bit of a chit chat. I was sitting on one of the couches while she was at the computer half heartedly surfing the net. We were'nt really talking about anything particularly heavy, just swapping humorous antidotes to pass the time. As Katie is a fairly social and popular girl, the phone pretty much rang endlessly while we talked. She's got call display so she pretty much ignored most of the calls. I had been dying for a washroom break for a bit so finally I made the move to head towards one of our bathrooms. One of the calls she had been ignoring was from one of the girls oldest male friends.

    We're going to call him Charley. He's now 21, but I've known him since he was 15 and the girls were 13. He's always been a very sensitive and somewhat troubled young man. I never really knew how much until the past couple of years. Both my girls have been very protective of him often to there own detriment at times. By what Sara has told me as well as my own conversations with him, I suspect that he may very well be schizophrenic, and if not, then certainly mentally disturbed. He hears voices and often has black outs where he remembers nothing. Often these blackouts can cover many, many hours. He's also done some scary and violent things while blacked out or after voices have finished talking to him. While he was still a minor my daughter begged and pleaded with his parents to get him help of any kind. So far, they've done nothing although I would like to think that after what is actually still occurring this evening, that they do something now.

    Once I discovered the entire truth about Charley and everything that was going on around him, I was forced to limit my daughters interaction with him. It was for their own safety. Any time that they've been allowed to socialize with him, they've had to do it under our roof. Yes, I am all too aware that they now are both adults and most likely going to interact with him whether or not they've got my permission or not. Thank goodness though, they are both pretty mature and level headed and recognize that right now he is not a positive factor in their lives. He has just recently finished serving five weekends in jail because of what he did last year to his ex-girlfriend. During one of his blackouts, he beat her to within an inch of her life at the busiest and major downtown intersection at 10pm on a Friday evening. Finding witnesses to this beating apparently was not an issue.

    Not going into the immediate fallout from this attack, but there was a lot and it still appears to be happening a year and a half later. When Katie finally did answer his call this evening, he said that he was calling to apologize for what he was about to do. He said that he couldn't deal with the police anymore, nor could he return to jail. He couldn't go on anymore and was ending it now. She obviously started going hysterical. I didn't even get into the bathroom before I was back in the living room to find out what had gotten her so upset so quickly. Pretty much able to piece together what was going on from her end. He hung up as he needed to call two more people. She was convinced he was serious so we instructed her to call the police, etc. Finally after calling 911, she got him back on the phone. He was barely coherent by this point and understandably abusive on finding out what she had done - one of the others he called did exactly the same thing. I've never been so glad that when they were younger I had demanded the address and phone number as well as being allowed to talk to the parent's whenever they went to a friend's house for the first time. It made it easier providing accurate info to Emergency Services.

    For about an hour and a half after she made the call she heard nothing. This was particularly distressing as during the course of their second call she had overheard him gasping for air, possibly vomiting and finally drifting away until she got no response from his end. Eventually, she reached someone at his house - one of the officers called to his residence. Currently Charley has managed to barricade himself in the garage with some sort of weapon, and most of his very residential street has been evacuated while SWAT or this city's equivalent deals with the situation. The officer was exceptionally gentle with my daughter. They actually asked me if they could go over just in case they could help. I said absolutely, as soon as the police spoke to me with their permission. Hello? OK, I get it. They were pretty much told that they would be turned away because they couldn't guarantee their safety, etc. The officer assured Katie that he would be looked after, and as long as the situation doesn't escalate into anything macabre or violent, he would be taken to the hospital and placed under 72 hour observation by order of the police.


    Friday, August 07, 2009

    Manic Street Preachers

    One of my all time favourite bands is coming to Toronto the first weekend of October of this year. Of all of the concerts that I've seen in my lifetime, this is one band that I've not yet been able to enjoy live! Until now! I just got my tickets for their show less than an hour ago. I am so excited that I am practically vibrating. I feel like a love sick teenager with my very first crush. Manic Street Preachers look out! I've been literally waiting to see you since 1992. I guess there is something to be said for patience after all. Much more later from me once I've come back down to earth...

    Sunday, August 02, 2009

    Methadone Pretty Indeed!

    The following is a reaction to a debate - somewhat heated to be sure - that I recently got into with someone who once had been one of my dearest friends. Finally after a decade and a half of a pretty hardcore opiate addiction, he decided to go on methadone and has been on it just shy of two months. Already, he is spouting the rhetoric that I hear so very often from the majority of methadone patients at the clinic that I attend, and once again, I found myself frustrated. If some of what I am about to say doesn't make complete sense, I apologize in advance as I was on a bit of a tear when I typed most of this!

    I know that Methadone Maintenance Therapy and its success/benefits can certainly be a hotly debated topic on any given day within the opiate addict community. I certainly can understand why it is something that can get both the for and against sides worked up into quite the lather. There are many times when I wish that there was at least another solution to MMT rather than cold turkey and abstinence available to me, but unfortunately, in southwestern Ontario, Canada this is pretty much all that I've got right now.

    Quite often, the meth program in my city can be a very negative experience. The few doctors that are part of it often stress only the negative - the high recidivism rate if you were to actually complete the program or the likelihood that you would spend your entire life in treatment. There can be little to no counciling, plus often they push and push you until you are on an almost unmanageable high dose often prescribing amounts way above what was your true blocking dose. Then they discourage you when you want to start to taper down and decrease your dose. I refused to go any higher than 95mg once I felt that I had stabilized and am now currently on a dose of 60 that I find is more than adequate.. My husband stopped increasing his at 145mg and is currently on a dose of 90. A lot of the other patients were encouraged to go on doses that were at least double our amounts. No wonder they all felt like crap most of the time, not to mention feeling rather defeated.

    Never mind all of the talk of methadone's side effects. This alone can defeat you before you're even given a chance to get started. How is it possible to imagine a life in recovery, if you're never given the required encouragement to attempt to even get there? I think that a lot of methadone''s side effects are in reality urban legends. Now after spending three and a half years on it - round two for me also, as I spent almost the same amount of time on it a decade ago - I found many of the supposed possible side effects or reactions never materialized unless you literally "willed" them upon yourself. I found that those that bought into and blindly believed and accepted all the garbage that our doctors were feeding us actually developed exactly what they were told they would develop. Self-fulfilling prophecy really.

    For many this became their license to not have to work or even look for work and justified their desire to eat any sweet thing that passed remotely within their line of vision and pound on those extra 70 pounds. Suddenly they felt completely justified in needing a previously unprescribed prescription for Ritalin to keep them going. While many of the people that I met while I was in treatment fell firmly into this category there were some that could just not settle into the program and found meth treatment to be an unfulfilled painful step of their recovery process. For these unfortunate few there were real and valid issues with methadone.

    Yes, you definitely feel more exhausted and it is hard to focus at times. Suddenly you feel as if you have developed ADD. No doubt years of opiate abuse combined with meth's assault on our bodies throws our metabolism right out of whack and we all seem to pacify this with an increase in our daily sugar intake. Obviously a weight gain will soon follow. But is this weight gain solely from the meth or are we no longer running ourselves into the ground constantly searching for our next hit? Once the hunt is removed we immediately become more sedentary. Combined with the fact that each and every penny is no longer being spent on illegal substances we find that for the first time in a long time we actually have a well stocked fridge and a full cupboard. We can finally get rid of that jumbo jar of peanut butter and $.99 package of plain crackers.

    With this kind of philosophy from the clinic it was no wonder that the majority of the patients felt as if they had traded one losing card for another. Had there been a little bit more positive feedback from the doctors I think that they would have seen entirely different results. I talked to so many that were also suffering from constant low level depression while in treatment. Because I felt that I was being prescribed my true stabilizing dose, once there, all cravings for opiates disappeared. Honestly

    Saturday, August 01, 2009

    Depeche Mode | Molson Amphitheatre | 2009 07 24

    Well, of course the concert was simply bloody amazing. All that I expected and ever hoped for, utterly no disappointment whatsoever! All of us had an amazing time that's for sure. I screamed and jumped around like mad and sang out the words to all of the songs loudly. It was insane. As I've not got much time right now, I'll leave you with a review of the show from the Toronto Sun . An update very soon.

    Depeche Mode's Gahan Thrills Fans

    By JANE STEVENSON, Sun Media 25th July 2009, 5:09pm

    Veteran British electro-dance-pop outfit Depeche Mode kicked off the North American leg of their so-called Tour Of The Universe in Toronto on Friday night at the Molson Amphitheatre with frontman Dave Gahan looking no worse the wear.

    Gahan, you may recall, had a health scare back in May when he had a low-grade malignant tumor removed from his bladder, leading to the postponement of six European dates that were eventually rescheduled.

    And just earlier this month, he also injured his leg on stage at a gig in Spain.

    But if Gahan is feeling the effects of his recent health woes, he sure didn't show it on Friday night in front of a sold-out crowd as he gleefully performed his trademark dance moves that included some sexy hip-wiggling, shaking his backside at the audience and twirling around with his mic stand high in the air.

    Yes, Gahan looked skinny, but when doesn't he, and his deep voice was clear and strong over the course of a 22-song show that stretched over two hours.

    The group, which included founding members Martin Gore on guitar-keyboards and a sunglasses-wearing Andrew Fletcher on keyboards, played on an eye-catching stage dominated by a large LED video screen and matching circular ball screen hanging above the group.

    Gore also looked sharp in a shiny silver sequin suit.

    Unfortunately, it took a while for Depeche Mode to find their groove as they trotted out the obligatory new material from their latest album, Sounds Of The Universe, including the rather somber In Chains and Wrong, and the slightly more upbeat, Hole To Feed.

    The audience, however, seemed thrilled just to have Gahan, in particular, in their presence and were on their feet immediately, cheering whenever he took off an article of clothing or was in exceptionally good dance form.

    And when the hits finally kicked in - this is a group who have sold 100 million albums worldwide since their formation in 1980 - with Walking In My Shoes, which featured a backdrop of a crow on the video screen with a large eyeball projected on the ball above - the crowd couldn't be contained as they happily sang, danced and clapped along.

    A string of crowd pleasers, It's No Good, A Question Of Time, and Precious - the latter from 2005's Playing The Angel - were interrupted by another buzz kill song, Fly On the Windscreen, followed by Gore taking over on lead vocals for two back-to-back ballads, the new song Little Soul and Home (maybe to give Gahan a break), although Gahan eventually returned for two more unmemorable new song from Songs Of The Universe, Come Back and Fragile Tension.

    The thing about Depeche Mode songs when they're good, they're great, but when they're bad, they seem to go on forever.

    Thankfully, the second half of the show really kicked into high gear, beginning with the dramatic I Feel You, followed by the dance-happy Policy Of Truth, Enjoy The Silence - featuring Gahan, Gore and Fletcher as stoned-faced astronauts in a video - Never Let Me Down Again and an encore that brimmed with some kinky material like Master And Servant, Strangelove (featuring a video in which a young Asian woman sucked the toe of a young redheaded woman who eventually exposed her breasts), and the mother of all Depeche Mode songs, Personal Jesus.
    ***1/2 (3.5 out of five)
    Depeche Mode

    Molson Amphitheatre

    Friday night


    In Chains


    Hole To Feed

    Walking In My Shoes

    It's No Good

    A Question Of Time


    Fly On the Windscreen

    Little Soul


    Come Back

    Fragile Tension

    In Your Room

    I Feel You

    Policy Of Truth

    Enjoy The Silence

    Never Let Me Down Again



    Master And Servant



    Personal Jesus

    Waiting For The Night

    Friday, July 24, 2009

    just can't get enough

    In less than 24 hours, I will be swaying to the beats of one of my all time favourite bands - Depeche Mode. At times it seems as if it has taken a lifetime to get here - the moment I heard Just Can't Get Enough when I was seventeen, way back in 1981 I was hooked. I've remained hooked until this very day. They have been one of the constants in my life. It seems rather fitting that I'll be enjoying them with two of my other constants - my husband and daughter. Come September, it will be twenty-nine years since I met and was introduced to Jim. Imagine that, almost three decades ago. We've definitely shared some adventures over the years.

    Now we are sharing in our recovery. Both of us have been on MMT for just over three years, and neither one of us has stumbled - yet, cause you can just never say never...Had we been still using, this concert would have been missed. In fact, I doubt very much that it would have even been much more than a blip on my radar. No time for stuff like that back then. Would have dismissed it with the excuse that we could simply not afford it, which was not at all truthful. In reality, we couldn't be bothered to afford it, as our money was already earmarked for something far more important. What a difference a few years has made. I paid $150 for our three concert tickets, and yesterday paid out almost another $150 for our three bus tickets to Toronto. I've budgeted another $150 to use for our spending money. To a former addict, this is a massive step forward. Being able to hold onto money, to put it away to use later, to actually save is a skill that we rapidly lose once we become a junkie. I am happy, and proud and plan on really enjoying our family day out together at the show - Toronto garbage strike be damned!

    P.S. Jim also just celebrated his 43rd birthday on Thursday! Happy birthday baby...Love you always...

    Wednesday, July 15, 2009

    I Got The Music In Me!!!

    For as long back as I can remember, music has played an important part of my life. Discovering the wonders of Elvis Presley as a nine year old would forever alter the way that I looked at the world. To me at that time, I felt as if I had discovered something that no one else had any idea even existed. It was truly a magical and innocent time for me, and from that point on, I had to have music on in the background for every one of my waking moments - the hours of my day devoted solely to school would at times seem unbearable. From Elvis I moved on to pretty much whatever happened to be playing on the local AM Top Forty radio stations in my area. You can well imagine just how limited I actually was in regards to my musical choices, seeing how I just so happened to be growing up in the deepest, darkest musical abyss that was southwestern Ontario of the late 70's. To my young and naive being though, I didn't really know quite how awful it really was, and how much I was really missing out on. Of course, this all changed the summer that I turned fifteen, 1979. This would be the summer that, for better or worse, changed me in ways I can't even begin to describe. Those brief months became a revelation to me, and from this point on, there was no way that SW Ont would ever be able to hold me down!

    It was getting towards the end of June 1979. Grade Nine was rapidly coming to an end, and summer vacation was beckoning us all. Couldn't wait for those lazy days of summer, especially as this summer just happened to offer something very, very special. My father was a teacher at the local community college, so he too, got to enjoy a couple of months vacation each and every summer, just like myself and my brother. As a family, we also had immigrated from Ireland to Canada a decade prior to this summer, and while my Dad had returned home a few times over the preceding ten years, the rest of us hadn't. This was all about to change, as my family would be spending this summer's vacation in Ireland, as well as England - my Mom's parents had moved there from Ireland a number of years earlier so we were going to spend an equal amount of time between both countries and both sets of grandparents. I was so excited, although at the time, I had no idea exactly what kind of adventures awaited me, nor how profound a change these brief couple of months would end up having on me.

    Although, my brother and I had more cousins living in Ireland, we did have a handful our age living in London, England, and they were more than happy to show their cousins from the colonies exactly what a huge city has to offer. Nothing in Canada prepared me for the grandness of London. At the time, we lived in a small town with a population of slightly more than 1 100. The largest city was a twenty minute drive from where we lived, and even then, its population didn't quite reach 250 000. I was captivated instantly. I surrendered completely the second my cousins took us to Kings Road in Chelsea. I had never, ever seen or heard anything quite like I found here. Punk rock was alive and kicking, so to speak, although by the time I had arrived in the UK, the original punk movement that had exploded in 1976, had long since disappeared and been replaced by what many classify as a second wave of the punk rock movement. By the time that I arrived, punk had splintered into a number of sub groups, many of which I found exciting beyond belief, and for the brief couple of months spent in England and Ireland that summer, I couldn't consume enough of this new music fast enough. I discovered what would soon be called New Wave and Pop Punk were my favourites and to this very day, I remain faithful and true to my first loves.

    In just over a week's time, I will be going to see one of my very first loves, Depeche Mode! They have a show at Toronto's Molsen Amphitheatre on Friday, July 24 - just so happens, this show falls on the day after Jim's birthday! We're going to make it a bit of a family day as Sara is coming with us - she was also allowed to bring a friend with her so she wouldn't be stuck all day with our boring selves! This is also a bit of a big step for us as we've been keeping pretty much to ourselves this past year. Certainly, this event will have the largest crowd of people that we've had to interact and function within since the attack. Could prove fairly interesting. If nothing else, it certainly is a testament to how much I adore this particular band as I can't think of too much else that would motivate me this much that's for bloody sure.

    Now, as an aside and for anyone that might be interested, besides Depeche Mode, my other all time favourite bands would have to be the Clash, Social Distortion, and Manic Street Preachers. I have a boatload of almost rans but that list would be too long...If I were stuck on a desert island, though...

    Wednesday, July 08, 2009

    The Pen Is Mightier...

    I have been keeping a journal of some sort on and off since I was about 10 or 11, so about 34 or 35 years now. I kept one religiously all thru high school and university because it seemed like so much was happening with things changing so quickly, I was afraid that I would forget stuff and at that time in my life, I wanted to remember everything, good or bad. As I settled down into married life in my twenties and then motherhood in my thirties, keeping a journal was but a faint and distant memory. It was the farthest thing from my mind. At that time, there seemed to be no time left to undertake this sometimes time consuming task, plus, for better or worse, my life had seemed to have settled into something of a routine. Excitement and change seemed to be memories of the past. Not that this was necessarily a bad thing, just different.

    Seven years ago this past June, my father was diagnosed with cancer and he passed away the following March. For the first time in over a decade, I picked up pen and put it back to paper. Towards the end of his life, I found myself in a long since forgotten place, but suddenly it became extremely important that I remembered everything that was happening around me these last seven or eight months of his life. Now more than any other time, I did not want to lose so much as a single memory from what was happening. I was so very afraid that I might forget something about his last days. For all of us, it was definitely a time of change.

    I carried my journal with me everywhere. I filled up dozens of blank ones over this period of time, and every time I started to feel restless, I would write, and write, and write. Many days, I had a lot of time to do this. For twenty plus weeks, I spent each and every week day waiting in various rooms at the hospital for my father to complete whatever appointment he had that day. Every day he had his radiation treatment, plus there were a multitude of other types of appointments related to his cancer. To top everything else off, he was also getting chemo at the exact same time as his radiation, although the chemo finished about a month after the radiation. For just over five months, I drove him to the hospital five days a week for his treatments. Most days we would be at the hospital the entire day, but there were others where we were lucky enough to get out of there within the hour.

    Regardless of the length of each visit, there was plenty of time for me to reflect and write. It was also a time for me to really get to know my dad all over again, as well as he had a chance to reacquaint himself with me. Bittersweet is an apt description I should imagine. After he passed, I continued to write as an outlet for my emotions. To this day, I carry a journal with me everywhere I go, and any time I feel the need, I write something in it. An entry can be one word to endless pages. I have found that whenever I am restless, upset, bored, impatient, irritated, you name it, the moment that I start writing I am immediately calmed. My recent journals follow no set form. They range from neat and tidy to tremendously disorganized and messy. I paste pictures in them sometimes. I doodle in them. I make sure that each one is different from the next. I haunt stores looking for unique and different books to use as journals. I have become quite creative in my quest to make each somewhat unique in its own way.

    Now, I also keep an on line journal, although it is nowhere near as current or updated as my written - I am hindered somewhat by my complete inability to type as well and as fast as I would like. It was about five years ago that I was told about . This became my first foray into on line journaling. It seemed to take me an exceptionally long time to feel comfortable expressing myself publicly, although once I more or less got the hang of it, it became easier and easier. For the most part, I have liked using livejournal, and in fact, initially, I ended up having a number of separate accounts there. In the beginning, I mostly used them to display and store my art work. But these earlier attempts were dishonest at best, half truths at the most. They in no way reflected my actual life, although they did allow brief glimpses of it from time to time.

    As I became more familiar and comfortable with this method of journaling, it became increasingly important that they start to actually reflect what was really going on in my life at that time. Initially though this caused me momentary paralysis as I certainly had no desire to lay bare those portions of my life I had spent years pretty much hiding from the general populous. My "alternate" life needed to continue being exactly that - one face for the majority and another for the precious few that were familiar with my drug use/abuse. That face was not yet ready for public consumption.

    With the identity that I had been using, I found that this was going to be impossible to be completely frank and open about my lifestyle. Finally one day, I created an alternate online identity to reflect my alternate life. This is the one that I continue to use today. Over the past four and a half years there has been a blurring of my real and of my alternate world. This has become possible because my comfort level continually increases allowing me the luxury of honesty. For the most part, my mask is still there. I try to keep my name and my families and those that are important to me as anonymous as possible in an effort to ensure that their privacy is respected, as there is no certainty that they may feel as relaxed as I.

    The majority of my drug use/abuse years are currently not available to read anymore online as the site that I had been using for this particular period of my life, literally disappeared overnight about two years ago. I used to be part of a group of addicts and recovering addicts that all had their personal journals at JUNKLIFE. At any given time, there were about twenty to twenty five of us sharing our stories with each other and anyone else who was interested. Sadly, it is now gone. After a number of frantic months attempting to contact the web master, I finally was able to get all of my writings from my time spent there. Until I received them, I was utterly gutted, as I had well over two hundred separate entries just from the two years I had been writing there. More importantly, I needed these writings available to me as an aid in my current recovery. I had only just started MMT when my site disappeared, so the lion's share of what was happening to me during this period reflected my very active addiction, as well as documenting how I allowed it to get so out of control. With each passing month, you could see where I was inevitably heading - the proverbial, or cliched, rock bottom.

    Now, while I have all of these entries stored on my computer's hard drive, I have utterly no clue how to get them uploaded once again to the INTERNET. They were sent to me as one .sql file - whatever the heck this means cus I've so got no clue! Ideally, I'd like to add them to this site, or even if I had to, start a new site for my archived writings from my addiction period. I can go through this very large file and enter one entry at a time by copying and pasting it, and then back dating said entry with its original publishing date and time. I've manually entered a few, but it is just too time consuming, and honestly tres boring to have to do it this way. This site was actually started approx May 2007 when I first started having trouble accessing my previous site. Any writings from that point on are all original to this site, any before this time, were culled from my previous two sites, and are sadly not remotely enough to really paint the complete picture of my severe addiction years. If nothing else though, they are a start. Perhaps I'll suddenly feel energized enough to enter a few more of my old entries! LATER...

    Tuesday, June 30, 2009

    Stings Like A Bee

    Someone recently commented about how I have somehow managed to keep this inside of me, or not to have posted about our attack and Jim's stabbing. Initially after the attack, I made a few brief posts and for those I think you can find them in the archives for May 2008 and perhaps even June 2008. I did save some footage that the local tv station broadcast the day of the attack as well as the few days immediately following it. Not for the faint of heart, but if anyone is interested in watching one of the news reports, simply click HERE to view. You'll need a simple media player to view this file.

    Ultimately, three young men were arrested and charged with the attack on us as well as the stabbing of Jim. While all three of them participated fully in the attack, only one of them actually stabbed Jim. This was probably a good thing as the one fellow doing the stabbing managed to stab Jim a total of twenty four times. While a number of his wounds were defensive in nature, three of the stab wounds were extremely critical ones, and for whatever reason, should have been life ending rather than life threatening. To this very day, his doctors are still utterly amazed that Jim managed to walk away from this alive. He now has a near four inch scar on his neck where the knife ended up slashing through. By sheer luck or miracle, his main artery managed to be missed by the smallest amount, although the knife managed to damage nerves and tendons in this area. Jim still suffers the aftermath of this wound today as he has yet to regain feeling along that side of his body from the top of his head down through the upper part of this leg. He is by no means paralyzed on that side, but it is very apparent that some form of damage has been done, not to mention the loss of strength and co-ordination vs his other side. His lung was pierced which caused it to collapse at the site of the attack, plus his liver was also pierced b y the knife. Additional liver issues is exactly what a recovering addict wants/needs to deal with later in life as well! As a result of these two wounds, Jim now also has a major scar on his chest running from the end of his throat to his belly button due to the emergency surgery required to repair these wounds. Lucky me got to witness this entire attack.

    To say that we have both been dealing with issues since this attack is definitely a bit of an understatement. Obviously, for Jim, his immediate concern was getting his health back which has required a lot of work on his part. He has had to go through some brutal physiotherapy sessions to get himself back to close to normal. He still has a long way to go but at least he's able to even do this, something the doctors weren't too sure of this time last year. Pretty soon he will be starting therapy to deal with PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am currently in therapy myself getting help for the exact same thing. Initially, I had no idea how much this attack had affected me and my outlook on life and the rest of the world, but the longer that I am in treatment, the easier it is for me to see the damage. I have mixed feelings about everything IE the attack, our recoveries from it, the accused and what will ultimately happen to them. By this, I am referring to their ultimate criminal trial which has now been postponed twice. This is so very frustrating as we are now waiting once again to get subpoena to testify. Initially, the trial was to be held in January but that was canceled. We got another subpoena for the trial to begin May 7, 2009, but less than 24 hours before it was to start, we received a call stating that it was going to be adjourned until a later date and to disregard our most recent subpoena as we would be issued another once a new trial date had been set! Grrrr...Apparently one of the defendants decided he wanted/needed a new lawyer so now his new lawyer needs time to prepare.

    I have mixed feelings about having to testify in court as in I'd really rather do anything else but this! I know that if this does actually proceed to a trial then I ultimately may have no choice. Obviously in the end, I will also do the right thing. I guess because for so many years, we lived in that gray area of drugs and dealers that for me, its kind of a knee jerk reaction to avoid the law and courts at all costs. Its like I'm being a rat of some sort if I testify against these three. I know that I am not, that this is an entirely different situation. These are people that you had never, ever seen before that day. These are people that don't run with the same crowd that we used to run with, nor will they ever. Yes, its now been three and a half years since I removed myself from that environment, but its still hard to shake off the stink. Also, ultimately, these three attacked and deeply affected me and mine, and by their actions, very much made it personal. I also know why they are dragging this out delaying their day in court, even though, to this very day, not one of them has been able to make bail and have sat in jail since about three hours after the attack. I understand that one of the accused is still only a landed immigrant to this country and that there is an extremely good chance that once he has served his sentence, that he will be deported back to his country of origin - the Sudan. I suspect that the other two - who happen to both be brothers - are counting on getting two for one credit when sentencing is finally handed down.

    The thing is that, honestly, I don't really care what happens to these three now. Whether they are released five minutes after their trial ends, or whether they are sent away for another few years it doesn't really matter. Their damage is already done. No sentence or punishment will give us our old life back. Its gone, over, changed forever.

    Friday, June 19, 2009

    A Very Long Overdue Rant

    About thirteen months ago, my husband and I were victims of an unprovoked, and very random, attack by three unknown young men - at the time, they were 20, 22 and 23 years of age. The attack occurred while we were responding to what should have been a routine noise complaint made by one of the other tenants of the apartment building where we were Building Managers. Within seconds, it was all too apparent that this was anything but routine. What should have been fairly straightforward and quick to resolve, quickly escalated to a harrowing and extremely violent and savage beating and stabbing of my husband. While the blame obviously lies in the hands of the three young men who initiated this attack, I hold one of the the other tenants primarily responsible for the resulting escalation of violence. I strongly feel that is was his actions immediately prior to the attack that nearly ended up costing my husband his life. I'm very surprised that something similar had not actually happened before this, and while I still hold a huge amount of anger and resentment towards my husband's attackers, there are times when I find myself angrier and extremely bitter towards this tenant. In the end, I suspect that I will find it easier to forgive the attackers before I will be able to forgive the tenant. Not only did his actions, immediately prior to the attack, do much to exascerbate an already potentially volatile situation, but his utter lack of action while we were being attacked and immediately after resulted in even greater injury to my husband.

    This was his second complaint in less than 25 minuted that day to me regarding his neighbours. During his second call that day, I requested that he please give the police a call to issue a formal complaint against his neighbours. Generally regarding noise issues, the landlord, or his agent, is not really supposed to contact the police. At a later date, there is always the possibility that the tenant could end up charging the landlord with harassment, as well as a number of other things, because of this particulat type of action. It is preferable to have a third party make the noise complaint to the authorities, thus allowing the landlord to maintain his neutrality. In fact, the very fact that we were even receiving a noise complaint from one tenant against another tenant within the building was practically unheard of. This was, and still is, an exceptionally quiet and calm building. It is extremely unusual to hear noise of any kind. In fact, I can easily count on one hand, the number of noise complaints in total that we have even received since we began working here. This particular problem simply does not exist within this building. Kind of ironic when you think about it now, but the few noise complaints that we have actually received, surprisingly, have all come from the exact same tenant. Colour me surprised.

    Shortly after Jim and I had started working as Building Managers at this property, we were contacted by this particular individual regarding a tenant that lived on the floor beneath his. On this particular afternoon, apparently, the tenant residing below him had been listening to here reggae music quite loudly - is this even possible? He requested that one of us go and investigate what was happening, so immediately upon hanging up the phone, off I went. As I arrived at the floor that the other tenant lived on, I witnessed the complaining tenant walking away from her unit. During this time, I also witnessed her response apparently to his direct involvement in this situation. She was shouting quite loudly at him through her closed door to "f**k off, leave her alone, stop coming to her door using his cane to knock loudly on it until she came to her door". Hmmm, most interesting.

    Typically, we encourage tenants not to get directly involved whatsoever with each other when it concerns any type of noise issues. Surprisingly, there is a tendancy for violence to develop between the two tenants. We strongly advise the complaining tenant to allow their Building Managers to handle this situation. We ask that they give us reasonable time to investigate said complaint, as well as time to resolve any issues associated with their complaint. This is pretty much the industry standard, and the majority of Building Managers do their damnest to adhere as much as possible to this procedure. Problem is that it is next to impossible to do this when you've got a loose cannon thrown into the equation. Lucky us, as this is exactly what this tenant is, a loose cannon - may I add at this time that I'm being very charitble describing him as such. He is the type of tenant that is utterly incapable of leaving well enough alone. He has to be right in the middle of everything, and generally ends up doing more harm than good, not to mention, undermining our job each and every step along the way. This guy in particular is really quite the piece of work. He is a walking cliche and stereotype come to life.

    The day of our attack, I can easily imagine all sorts of petty and annoying things that he was bothering his neighbour about because this would be his way of getting back at them for their allegedly disruptive behavior. Not that his behaviour in any way excuses or remotely mitigates the other three individual's subsequent violent actions towards Jim or myself. Not at all, but I wonder if what ultimately ended up happening that Monday afternoon just over a year ago, could have possibly been avoided entirely, not to mention allowed us to handle the situation differently then what ended up happening. I believe that are options for resolution ended up being rather limited, as well as being almost completely out of our control by this time. In the end, this resulted with us walking into a completely different situation than what we had expected and anticipated, and right from the outset, we were set up to fail somehow or someway because we only had the smallest of pictures, so tp speak. If it wasn't bad enough that it was due to his actions towards his neighbour over the course of that particular afternoon ended up with is being attacked, he did absolutely nothing at all to help us in anyway while we were under attack.

    Later on in the day, he was interviewed by one of our local tv reporters and what he said to the reporter ended up being played at each news broadcast over a three day period. He was able to describe to this report what actually had happened when we approached his neighbours door. He had a good enough view of us to recount how we had been given no chance at all from our attackers. He stated that after we had approached their door and knocked on it, the moment that their door opened, I was pushed off to the side, while Jim was charged and thrown violently up against the door across the hall from them. He said that we weren't given any opportunity at all to even identify ourselves before they attacked. At least he confirmed part my statement that I ultimately gave to the police that it was a completely unprovoked and unwarranted attack against us. But that's about all that he is good for as the only thing that I am able to bring away from this is that he was lying in wait for us to arrive at his neighbours door, essentially spying to see what was going to happen. Then after seeing how they ended up responding to us, rather than attempt to assist us in any way, and by any, I mean he didn't even call 911 on our behalf. All he ended up doing was slamming his door and locking it behind him. Nice.

    At one point during their attack against us, I found myself outside of his unit, screaming for help and pounding relentless on his door. When he did finally respond, all he did was open his door to quickly slam and lock it right in my face. Through the closed door, I remember scrreaming at him that they were killing my husband, and begging and pleading for him to either call for help or call downstairs to our main office. I understand that when he looked out into the hall, what he must have seen scared him half to death. I know it surely did me. At no time did I expect anyone to put their own lives in any sort of danger by actually physicallly assisting us, but I had hoped that somebody would pick up their bloody phone to call for help. Whatever...

    Initially, I had actually doubted whether or not the complaining tenant was exaggerating the extent of his neighbour's disruption on this particular afternoon, as his reputation preceeded him. Every high rise has this tenant, some even a few. They are the ones that know absolutely every little thing about their immediate neighbours, as well as the majority of tenants in the entire complex. Rarely are they ever satisfied with the property management nor their direct representatives, their Building Managers. The company can never do enough for them, whether it is ensuring the cleanliness of the property, its daily maintenance and upkeep or anything else that they could possibley think of bothering the office about. They feel entitled to getting a new paint job annually or new carpet or flooring or lighting or whatever, and goodness, don't let them find out that another unit may have gotten an appliance replaced for whatever reason, like, perhaps after thirty years, a new stove was actually warranted. They are absolutely incapable of leaving you alone. On a daily basis, you can be assured that they will somehow find a way to contact you, and believe me, it will never be to pat you on the back for doing a kickass job either!

    Every other tenant understands when asked to contact their Building Managers during business hours only. After hours is to be reserved for emergencies only. This tenant doesn't care what time it is. When he has a bee in his bonnet, then this is the time. Who cares if it happens to be a Sunday evening before 11pm - or better yet, a Saturday morning before 7am. If he has decided that he just wants his first initial appearing on the tenant listing at the building's entrance, rather than his full first name, then to him, this is very much an emergency and the moment this idiotic idea grips his tiny, narrow mind, he just has to let his BM know. To really drive home just how utterly self centred and egomaniacal this idiot is, he doesn't even have a modicum of courtesy when he attempts to reach you. He couldn't be bothered using the telephone to communicate said ridiculous request. Instead, to ensure that the BM's entire family is disrupted, he actually goes directly to their unit and knocks loudly and relentlessly on their unit's door - even though he could have also submitted a written request and dropped it through the door's mail slot that I got hastily put up shortly after meeting said nuisance. Everyone else managed to adapt nicely and quickly to this alternate route for communication. In the end, of course, he had to because a policy was implemented that no request by a tenant would be addressed unless submitted in writing to either the property management or their agent, their Building Manager.

    Anyway, I'm sure that you have more than enough information now to be able to draw your own picture of this tenant. Given the time and opportunity, I could easily go on and on about this tenant as he is truly that annoying. In the end, it was kind or ironic that he stopped being his normal daily nuisance around this place. I presume that somehow he was able to connect the dots to figure out that perhaps he played a larger role than he imagined in the violence against us. I'd like to think that when he heard the extent of my husband's injuries combined with the near seven hours of emergency surgery that he had to endure immediately after the attack, not to mention the last rites he received from the family priest that day, that just for a moment, he felt a tinge of guilt or possibley a modicum of responsibilty for what had occurred. If he did, I doubt very much that it ended up lasting too long. His type can too easily dismiss away these intruding feelings pretty readily. Its second nature to them as they've had a lifetime of practice.

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009


    Yet, once again, I am commenting on the fact that it seems to be an eternity since I last updated, and I guess it has. A number of things have kept me away from my computer these past few months, although nothing specifically. I did finally get my new computer all set up the way I like it. For me personally, it was quite the computer upgrade. I ended up buying a refurbished HP Compaq d330 Slim Tower Desktop PC at Factory Direct. It's an Intel Pentium 4 Processor with 800 MHz Front Side Bus, 512 KB L2 cache with HyperThread and came with 2GB memory, PCI card or external USB, 6 USB 2.0 ports (2 front, 4 rear), and 48X/24X/48X/16X Combo CD-RW/DVD-ROM Drive, plus Windows XP Pro installed as its OS. There's a bunch of other stuff which I can't readily recall, but its all been good. I've been more than happy with it so far, and is easily twice the computer I previously had been using. I got all of this goodness for $89 plus tax - no monitor, but we had extra monitors anyway so no big deal. I'm using a near brand new 19" Acer flat screen which we had picked up for a good price just after Christmas. We gave my old computer to the girls to use, and then gave their old computer to my brother's three kids, so that they would now have two computers between them - they are ten years old and younger with another on the way, due just before Christmas. Yikes!

    We've both been swamped with various doctor's appointments as well. Both of us are still on MMT, and both of us are continuing to do exceptionally well in regards to our recovery. No slips still and I don't forsee any in the near future either! Jim just celebrated three years on MMT, while I've been on it since February 2006. Jim just started his treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorderrelating to the attack last year. He is currently scheduled for twenty four sessions initially. I started my own treatment for PTSD in February of this year and am about halfway through it - I think. Both of us attend different doctors for this. I go to one of our city's hospitals which has an entire department dedicated to PTSD and PTSD only. There, I deal with up to three different individuals - a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a social worker - depending on my scheduled visit. Jim will be going to a private psychiatrist, who also happens to be a pain management specialist as well. I guess, two birds, one stone...Much more on this whole subject of PTSD in an upcoming post, especially as I have a number of questions that I want to throw out there that hopefully some will be able to answer for me.

    Also, I've been doing a lot of sewing, something I haven't done anywhere near enough of ever since we were attacked last year. I also undertook a few home decorating projects in our living and dining room which happily turned out perfectly. We have one fairly long wall in the living room - about nine feet - that had basically just sat there bare naked since we moved in over a year ago. This was bothering me to no end, but as I didn't have a boatload of money available, I had to think of something on the cheap, as well as creative side. We have a store in town called XSCargo, which is like a discount store of sorts. They sell all kinds of stuff at exceptionally low prices. I found a variety of different sized mirrors there ranging in price from $2.99 to $9.99 and in size from 11" x 11" to 20" x 24", so I ended up grabbing 12 mirrors in total. The mirrors that didn't already have a silver frame, I painted silver. I arranged them in a flattering pattern so that they fill up almost the entire length of that wall, and measure close to four feet in height. There was a small posrtion of wall left over near the entrance to our kitchen. I found this large metal butterfly in blue and dark brown - which are the basic colours of both my living and dining room - as well as a butterfly chain measuring about 40", also in a light blue. I hung both of them up in this empty space of the wall. Now I am thrilled with that previously bare wall. I also had this old wooden half table with three legs that I was able to resurrect quite nicely by painting it silver. I placed it basically in the centre of the wall and added a small silver lamp which had a cream coloured shade with blue and brown strings thoroughout.

    I have also started some work on our dining room. I put a 60" x 36" dark wooden table with black metal legs lengthwise in the room, exchanging it with a 42" light wooden table that had been there previously, moving it into our kitchen. I had a number of canvases that I had attempted painting a year or so ago, but had failed miserably at. Rather than throw them out, I decided to cover them with some fabric. I found some beautiful taffata with patterns in complementary colours. I ended up covering all of the canvases I had because this project ended up working out exceptionally well - I even had one canvas measuring 30" x 40" which I hung directly above the table. I also bought new curtains for the dr window - sheer navy voile with some silver threads throughout them. I still have some more work yet to do in the dining room, although the living room is more or less completed now. I ended up slip covering one of our couches as I had found a 2 piece slip cover in a stretch navy check fabric that I really liked, plus it fits the couch like a glove so you can't even really tell that the couch is covered at all. We also got a dark brown area rug in chocolate brown berber to place between both of the couches. I also ended up hanging up some of the fabric covered canvases in the living room to fill out some of the wall's bare spots.

    Well, I guess that this is all for now. Will be back shortly with a better update, I promise.

    Friday, May 08, 2009


    While I was transferring some of my files from my old hard drive onto my new computer, I found a folder with a series of images that I thought some might find kind of entertaining. These images were the individual pages of a comic book that had been distributed throughout New York city during 1966. It's called HOOKED and its a story about one guy who finds himself unwittingly hooked on heroin. If anyone is interested in reading this 30 page story, click on the above image. Once at the link, you'll see the web page I've created and uploaded for this comic. There are individual full pages for each page of the comic so that it is nice and easy to read. Enjoy!!!

    Friday, April 03, 2009

    Making Plans For Nigel

    Oh, my goodness. It seems like a near eternity since I last updated. Unfortunately, a bunch of other stuff ended up keeping me away from my computer. First of all, I just got a brand, spanking new computer which I am still in the process of getting all set up! Any of our computers that have come before this one, pale in comparison! I am so excited. Finally a computer that reacts the way I want it to! On top of trying to get it all put together, Jim and I scavenged through all of the various computer parts that we've managed to collect over the past decade, to put together a working computer for my brother's three little ones - two girls and a boy ranging in ages from five to ten! Their one computer was no longer doing the trick at their house but this was also the worst possible time for him and his wife to attempt to buy a second one, so Jim and I got to thinking.

    Somehow, we managed to get them another working computer less a monitor, something I think they'll be able to get from her parents for next to nothing so this is good. Not the most powerful, but a 100% working one that the kids are simply geeked over having - not to mention how pleased my bro and sister-in-law were with our little gift! Obviously, something we so would not have been able to pull off three and a half years ago, but now, in recovery, something that actually didn't even really feel like it took a lot of effort to pull off. Imagine that!!! Regardless of the ultimate cost of this extra computer, its how both Jim and I ended up feeling about ourselves that will end up benefiting us in the long run, as it is one more thing to remind us just how important staying on MMT is at the end of the day.  

    Tuesday, February 24, 2009


    A few month’s ago while looking up some information on a particular book, one of the results returned by Google directed me towards their new GOOGLE’S BOOK SEARCH BETA. Ever since I discovered this little gem of Google’s, I have been using it nonstop. If you have a Google user name, you are even able to add titles to your own library. Currently, I’ve got a fair number of titles in my library, and anyone interested can check my books out HERE. You’ll probably notice a bit of a trend regarding my current interests!

    Once you’ve searched for a title, a number of title links will be presented to you - or you can do a more general topic search with these results returned instead. Depending on the book itself, you’ll be able to access its information by one of three means. You can either get the full preview of the book, a limited preview or a snippet view. The final one returns a page with all of the specifics of the particular book while the other two offer so much more. Even with a limited preview, normally you are able to read substantial portions of the book, generally a few chapters at the very least. If you really want to read the entire book and this is not an available option, there are ways around this though a tad bit time consuming and annoying.

    Pretty much clearing your browser’s history and cache will allow you to choose otherwise unavailable chapters - restarting your browser after deleting the above mentioned files certainly doesn’t hurt either. Also, if you have multiple browsers installed on your computer then you can usually open them up and read different chapters amongst your various browsers - by different, I mean Opera, Firefox, Internet Explorer. If you’ve got one of the many IE based browsers installed, your history/cache for all of these will ultimately be treated as one and the same.

    One of the recent books that I just finished is entitled Mothers and Illicit Drugs. This book speaks to me on so many levels so I found it particularly helpful. If you go HERE, you can ready some of the book’s more important pages. I’ve created a web page with a number of thumbnails to direct you to these important passages. The page itself is especially easy to navigate.