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


    Barbara aka Layla said...

    I can't believe I just now found your blog, its really great. I am going to catch up on reading some of your posts. I love "meeting" recovered addicts, I learn so much from the perspective of what my son is going through. Thanks for having my blog listed here!

    TerminallyUniq said...

    Is the "blasphemous rumors" heading for comments a new feature? I love it; made me smile :)

    Like you, being parent to an addict is one role I have been blessed NOT to play. I've been the addict, and I've been the child of an addict. But our compiled and shared experiences here are truly valuable in my opinion. Thanks for the links!

    Athena said...

    Thank you - your blog is invaluable :-)