Saturday, December 26, 2009

The quiet after the storm

I am feeling disconnected and a little isolated.
It is okay, it is some much needed time for reflection, and for me to reconnect with my own values.

We will be moving in two days, and with it comes some stress. We are completely transitional right now. Half at each place. Nothing tied up, nothing complete. I am so thankful we had somewhere away from both places to spend Christmas. It was simple and wonderful. I am, however, glad it is over and now I can put my time into completing this move. I have also reached the quiet after the storm of the "heroin confession"....

The situation with the "heroin confession" played itself out on Christmas Eve. This was the first time I had some time with K alone, without the kids. He is Bryson's cousin, but I consider him my family as well. After a lot of consideration and consulting with Bryson, I knew I needed to tell him. I asked him if J was going to be with her mother at any time for Christmas. Had he said no, I would have tried to wait until after. The plan was for J to spend Christmas day with her mom, so I needed to let K know so that he could make an informed choice regarding his daughter's safety.

As was mentioned, he did have some idea something was going on, but did not know it was something as bad as heroin. His reaction was as good as could be expected. Of course it means there is a lot more over his head, as if he wasn't already doing most of the parenting. He was mad, sad, disappointed and expressed that he felt that J had already lost her mother. Apparently because of J's moms's lack of parental responsibility, her only regular interactions with J are to get her to school everyday and random visits either at her Dad's house or K's house. She doesn't take J to her own apartment. K has decided he needs to figure out a way to get J to school without her mom's help. He doesn't want the chance of any of her illegal and drug related behavior to put J at risk. He doesn't want her alone with her mom or riding in her mom's car. Good plan.

Although he was embarrassed, he expressed gratitude that I told him, and it did not overshadow Christmas. We still had a great day with the kids. K is a strong guy with a lot on his plate, but he handles it well and is a good Dad.

I realize now that I have to trust my heart. I know how to evaluate a situation and what factors are most important to me. The right choice is rarely the easy choice. I am lucky to have Bryson to back me up and to provide sound moral advice. I do not know what will be in store for J's mom. I hope recovery, but I know the odds, and I know that not me, or Bryson, or K, or J, can fix this for her.

Christmas night was another night of confessions. We spent some time with my kid's Dad's family. For those that do not know, he is deceased. We only see his family at Christmas, but it is usually a nice reunion, like no time has passed. Just joy for the time we get together, no resentments, no grudges. This year was like most, except that I learned that his niece is struggling with bulimia. It is heartbreaking. Everyone kept talking about how she has the same personality as Thomas. He was very close to his nieces. A lover of all children, really. His death was somewhat of a self fulfilling prophecy, so of course that relation invokes fear. Her bulimia started the year he died. Again, something that I cannot fix. Again, I remember what I have learned. Surrender is important. Expectations breed discontent.

I continue to remain grateful. I am thankful for every part of existence that I get to take part in. I know that there is purpose in my life. I have no expectations for my purpose, I only wish to fulfill it. Even in the face of these challenges, I have found meaning. I have connected to people, if even for only a brief moment. Moments of clarity have presented for many.

My journey as a mother is forever moving onward and sometimes through the courage of others and their willingness to admit their weaknesses, I learn something. Maybe I even teach something. I see the light in the darkness. Maybe I can be the light in the darkness.

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.
Willa Sibert

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"All I want for Christmas is.... Heroin" ~a confession

Last night I was left in an awkward situation. Me and Bryson and my 11 and 9 year old were at Bryson's cousin's house. Our 2 year old was with Bryson's sister (we are in the middle of moving and half at each house and settled nowhere). His cousin is in his early 30's and has a 7 year old daughter that he has primary custody of. I will call his cousin K and I will call his daughter J. J's mom has not been present in our interactions with K and J very often. Her and K manatin a civil relationship for the sake of J and we see her when she is picking up J from time to time.

I have not asked a lot of questions, but from what I gather, the sexual encounter that led to J, was pretty spontaneous and a relationship was never really an option.

Last night we had planned to stay the night at K's since we are not really settled. We all had a few drinks since we didn't have our 2 year old. J's mom was there and I wasn't sure why. She has a boyfriend that she lives with. Sometimes she comes to K's house to watch J, but not to hang out. I just figured it was none of my business and didn't ask- assumed maybe it was to spend time with J for the holidays.

J and my daughter Aliviya were already asleep. Bryson, K, and my son Destin were going to the complex's rec area to drive golf balls and I planned on turning in. It was just me and J's mom and I didn't expect to have to socialize with her since we have never been close.

Within moments after the boys left she was teary eyed and asked if she could tell me something. I wasn't sure what to expect or how to feel. I am a helping person by nature, and I was aware that there must be a reason she felt she could talk to me. I was not prepared for what she told me.

She has been using heroin for over a year.

I am pretty aware of what the right things to do and feel on my end are. We had a very good conversation (in light of the circumstances) and she is already going to a methadone clinic. No one knows except for her and her boyfriend and the "friends" they use with.

Her major realizations are:

  • she cannot continue to live like this
  • she is risking her relationship with her daughter
  • it is not safe for her to be using when she is caring for her daughter
  • her boyfriend does not want to get better or see her get better
  • she has HepC because of her addiction
  • she cannot continue financially supporting her and bf's methadone and drug habit
  • her drug habit and lifestyle do not allow her to provide for her basic needs, much less provide for J
  • she is lucky that J has a Dad like K and she wants his support in her recovery
Here are some of the really scary things she told me... Out of habit, even though the methadone keeps her from getting sick and keeps her from feeling high off the heroin, her and bf still use 1 time a day because she doesn't know how to face her day without the act of using. She is addicted to the dance of the drug addicted world (stealing, getting money, connecting with dealer, scoring, physically shooting up) and does not know what to fill that void with if she stops. She has sold herself for drugs and her bf is aware of it. Her bf is much sicker than her, and is dying from his afflictions. 

She has some really good awareness for someone who has faced this alone for so long. She had some really good  realizations that she is enabling her BF and that she is afraid to have any "help" because she knows it would really just cushion her recovery and enable her. She feels she needs to face the music alone. She also has a lot of guilt and an unhealthy relationship with bf. 

She really wants K to know, because he has been there to take care of J when she couldn't, but is afraid he will not let her see J until she is completely clean. She is afraid that without J in her life, she will not have the strength to keep going, but she is afraid for what she is, as an active user in J's life. 

She basically said that she wants me to "do what I think is necessary" because she knows that I have recovered from an addiction. (She was present sparingly during our meth addiction) She asked me to talk to Bryson and get his opinion on telling K. I asked her if she wanted me and Bryson to sit with her while she told K, and she conveyed that she connot do it and said that she "would not be mad if we told him." I know she is reaching out for help.

This morning was an agonizing wake up call for me, when I discovered that she was still there and had not got up in time for her and bf to make it to the clinic. I was still the only one in the house who knew. I tried to get her up but she said she was ok and continued to sleep. She woke up at noon and was very "dope sick." This made me wonder if she had missed going to the methadone clinic before today. I am not naive when it comes to drugs and had to consider if her desperation is because it is 2 days before Christmas, she got kicked out of the clinic or cannot afford to go, and or cannot afford dope. She laid on the floor in front of us all, curled up in pain, nearly crying. I asked if she needed anything and she replied that she had just taken some "medicine" and would be ok in a minute, she just needed to leave. She left in a hurry, telling J not to hug her because it hurt her and it was going to make her throw up. She rushed outside, leaving her phone behind and then threw up all over in K's parking place, and left.

She took some medicine? Did she shoot up in the bathroom? Did she have methadone with her? 

So I know that we need to tell K. Here is where I am needing advice. Do we tell him before or after Christmas? 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Moments of Clarity

Sometimes I feel like this...

Right isn't always easy.

I am not sure what exactly created the complex of people pleasing that littered my existence for 20 or so years. That complex walked side by side with self entitlement as well as lack of self accountability.

How did I develop such unhealthy perceptions about myself and others? Since when was everyone supposed to make me happy and fix things for me, and I in turn, in some sort of sick system of karma, would do it for the people that I cared about? I guess since my grandparents started doing everything in their power to make me happy and fix things for me, I learned by example.

I always viewed my relationships with adults as give and take. They gave, I took. It was the nature of childhood. They always did everything to accommodate me, encouraged me to fit in, tried to "keep up with the Jones'" (as they would swear they weren't), and upheld every standard of middle class society on the outside. We didn't argue loudly so that our neighbors wouldn't hear. Why would we care more about the neighbors hearing, then about why we were arguing?

Being the "gifted" child that I was (read- emotionally over mature, very adult socialized, always thinking, always analyzing, capable of digesting mass amounts of information), I started to realize that my whole life was a contradiction. As a child I would ask questions and be hushed away, told "I would understand when I was older" or given some sort of moral lecture that led nowhere and included typical adult phrases like "Do what I say and not what I do" or "Children should be seen and not heard" and ended in surrender, followed by some sort of material distraction. (toys or food usually) It was like their JOB to keep me happy and busy. My day was always full and they provided endless outlets and opportunities to occupy my time.

When I started to ask questions that no one had answers for, it became a family uproar. Why did I have to be so difficult? We do everything for you why isn't it enough?

My questions never went away and I still had this void. I quickly learned that all they wanted was for me to be happy, but since I wasn't, I learned that I should ACT like I was. I internalized all of my feelings about my dad's absence, my mother's drug addiction and subsequent suicide, and I put on a great act. I took advantage of all of the opportunities I was given (and not always in a positive way) and tried to make my life look like everyone else's.

I had no problem solving skills because my Grandpa always fixed everything for me in an effort to make us look ok. I had no sense of consequences because my Grandpa always took care of them so I wouldn't get hurt. Paid my rent, bought my car, paid insurance, court costs, counseling, prescriptions, diapers for my kids, groceries, tuition... whatever it took to make me look like a competent, achieving, person and mother. After all, if I failed, that somehow reflected that he had failed.

I started to become severely depressed. My lack of life skills and responsibility carried over into a lack of emotional skills and responsibility. It was like some grown up switch was turned and all of a sudden I was expected to do all of the things that had been done for me. No practice, no dress rehearseal, just GROW UP!

I wanted to be responsible. I wanted to do the right thing. I didn't know how, and all of my little failures started to wear heavily on my self esteem. My calls for advice (how do I cook a turkey? What setting do I wash darks on again? what kind of gas goes in a lawn mower? what does this light in my car mean?) turned into calls for rescue (if I don't pay this fine by Friday I might lose my license. My daycare sent the baby home and I can't miss anymore work. My power got shut off because I forgot to pay it. I went over my budget at the grocery store and need you to come give me $25 more so I can check out).

My Grandpa came to save me. He always had an answer or a dollar to fix every problem, paired with some frustration and disappointment that I just "didn't learn." When he started to say no a little more often because the money was running low, and my step grandma's patience wearing thin, I started to get really upset with him. He had always equated love with the material things that he provided, and now that they were diminishing, I equated it to his love diminishing.

I never had the much needed moments of clarity until he had passed away, I had fallen flat on my face in the game of life, and had to take a crash course in survival.

When I look back on my addiction to meth and try to envision what it would have looked like if he was still here, it horrifies me. I know he would have saved me and enabled my addiction to go on so much longer. Of course he was the only thing I thought I wanted or needed during that time. I wanted him to come fix it.

All that money spent, could have been replaced with time. All of that fixing could have been replaced with teaching.

I spent the first 7 years of my children's lives parenting like he did. I fixed everything. I kept the house immaculate. I washed their clothes, cooked every meal, optionally enrolled them in an academy and drove them every where. My daughter was in dance. My son was in karate. I made them finish everything they started even when they didn't like it. We were all so very empty on the inside. I was teaching them to ignore what was inside and to make it look ok on the outside.

When I started medicating what was on the inside with drugs, all of the material things took a back seat. I felt good about me, about life, about everything, for a change. I could think about all of the most painful things that had ever happened to me and still feel ok. It was as fake as all of the material things on the outside, but I didn't want it to be. I wanted to be that happy all of the time.

Using street drugs isn't like prescriptions. You don't go to a Dr. and get a piece of paper saying it is ok to get some of your "happy medicine." You don't go to a pharmacy and turn over your piece of paper and a reasonable amount of money for a month's supply of it. I don't think I need to go into details of what does happen in order to obtain the drugs. What starts out as something that seems to make your life livable and better, turns into a nightmare to maintain. As my addiction consumed my life, I would often think- If only meth was sold at the convenience store.....

fast forward...

When I was finally doing the emotional work and learning to fill my void minus the drugs, I learned.... that I had a lot of learning to do. I basically needed to parent myself. I needed to try and fail. I needed to learn what made ME happy on the inside... not you... not my kids... not my kid's teachers... not my grandpa. Sigh... 

fast forward again

Today I have clarity about my life. I live in this moment. I have hope. I set goals. I achieve maybe half of them. I am gentle with myself because I am still learning. I will always be learning and I look forward to the lessons in my failures. I do not set out to be a perfect example for my children by way of expectations and accomplishments. The example I set for them is that it is ok to try and fail. It is ok if they want to pursue their own dreams. Love, forgiveness, and hope without expectation provide a safe environment for learning and for teaching.

So what does my parenting template look like compared to that of 3 generations past?

I let my kids try and fail. In fact, I hope that they fail. Why? I love to watch them learn life lessons in small and safe doses. I like to be a part of their life and to encourage them, to be who THEY want to be, not who I want them to be. Having good moral character and being whole on the inside has nothing to do with money or possessions or some credential on the wall. Accomplishments are a great part of the journey, but alone they fall flat. We do not try to impress other people. We laugh at ourselves often. I don't criticize them for making mistakes. I have empathy for the consequences, but I do not fix it.

Instead of just teaching them to try not to break things, or showing them how I would fix it, we learn to fix them together. This includes toys, furniture, cars, and hearts :) They teach me a lot.

I let them take responsibility for as much in their life as possible. They definitely don't do it the way I would, but they learn more when they do it. Our life can look messy from the outside. It's okay, because sometimes it is, but now there are moments of clarity.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Not Having Christmas!

Seems I have a lot of explaining to do!

The roller coaster I ride called "My Life" always has something new for me. It is never the same ride, always a new hill to climb, then a great thrill around the corner, maybe even some moments of sheer terror, and of course the free fall adrenaline rush of making it over the hill.

There is one big difference in "My Life" present, than in past. All of my past... childhood past, grown up too soon past, tweaker past, victim past... The big difference is I do not want off until the ride is over. I am never really afraid of the next hill. Sometimes I get bored waiting for my next challenge, but I never have that feeling of , "STOOOP THE RIDE, I WANT OFF!"

I don't reflect nearly as much as I used to. In fact, reflecting in the past was more of an obsessive, painful, over analyzing state of mind, always followed by expectations. Now it is more of a brief moment to look at how I have gotten to where I am, what I have learned, followed by hope and goal setting.

All of this being said, I do not have expectations for much, and Christmas is included. It is a good thing, because this year, "My Life" through me a sharp fast turn that left me completely disoriented as I began a loong loon slow climb up my next hill.

Here is a random breakdown of what I see up ahead on my hill. By the time you read this, a few things may already be behind me.

  • lease is up
  • rent is too expensive here
  • health problems
  • no insurance
  • criminal record
  • credit problems
  • children and Christmas time
  • no one will do a 6 mos lease
  • applications for rentals are strict due to increase in evictions
  • student loans not resolved due to "clerical error"
  • one vehicle is broken down
  • 2nd vehicle needs tired
  • moving requires deposit before we get our current deposit back
  • moving 4 days after Christmas
  • eminent bankruptcy
  • garnished tax return (for afore mentioned student loan error)
  • won't finish college as planned
  • year long road trip moved out a year

All of that and we are armed with about a whopping $140.00 to get through a week and a half (food, gas, 2 adults, 3 kids -one in diapers), followed by one more check before Christmas that has to include a moving truck, expenses for 2 weeks and our electric/heating bill and transfer fees. We have gotten each older child one gift, and nothing for the baby yet. We are not decorating, because I cannot forsee moving a 4 bedroom house in one day, with a 2 year old, four days after a Christmas that included decorations. All of this almost sounds devastating in my head as I type it out.

It's not. If you can stand it, my kids are amazing, and they were so scared we weren't going to have ANYwhere to move, that when we found a much smaller place, with no yard, and all we could get is a year lease- they were OVERJOYED that we will still have a HOME. When we explained that they would only get one major gift ($50 each we spent) and a few little things (that I will be getting courtesy of the amazing Jeffco Action Center Santa shop) and that we would have our own little housewarming celebration in January- they said "it's ok," with warm smiles and they meant it.

I do not speak of religion much, because I do not feel it is my place to sway someone who is not looking for new direction in that area. I have come to my own conclusions based on my experiences, my wisdom, history, and how I feel.  I do not believe in the "God" that most do. I have my own system of morality, and basically I equate "God" with good and so everything that IS good is what "God" is to me. My own personal belief is that the idea of religion and faith are strong principles and they work for many people who need them. I believe prayer works because it creates "good" energy. I believe that when people "give it to God" they are surrendering to their inner most powerful good and of course "God"is in all of us because there is good in all of us.

That being said, our family celebrates Christmas not out of Christian beliefs, but in a sense of spiritual coming together of all that is good, to acknowledge the good that is within each of us and to share that good with others, and of course national tradition.

Many of you who have gone back to the beginning of my story, or have been here all along, are familiar with my varied religious upbringing, the lack of "family," and the many confusing Holiday seasons following so much loss. I have had to recreate what many aspects of life mean to me and I choose to define them my own way, filled with love and hope. I do the same for holidays and celebrations. This is after all, "My Life," shouldn't it be the one I create and define instead of the one my nosy neighbor thinks I should have, or my condescending, judgmental grandmother prefers, or that ever annoying seems to know-it-all d*mn talking screen in the living room says it should be?

This year will be just as special as any. I think likely it will be one of the more memorable years. Not because of Bryson's famous stuffing, not because the kids got the newest most expensive high tech gift, and definitely not because of our richly decorated home, filled with people, food, and gifts. Those things just cannot be afforded.

This year will be special because we have each other, because everyone in our family appreciates that, and because we are still filled with love and joy and hope, not expectations.

Perhaps next year will be a different celebration. Who knows, we may be moving at the end of our lease again. Perhaps our planned life trip will beginning to rematerialize.  Whatever happens, our love remains. Ever changing... growing... adapting... but ever present.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Scary trip to the Emergency Department.

Last night I was taken to the Emergency Room by ambulance. I do not know what happened and neither do they. Lovely. I was suddenly struck with the most intense pain in my upper stomach. I was immediately doubled over, screaming and crying. They got here in minutes, but it felt like hours. The bumpy ride to the hospital was torturous as well.What a spectacle to be put into an ambulance screaming in front of your house.

They tried several different types of pain medications with only brief buffering of the pain. Then I got an antacid/numbing "cocktail" that only made me freak out cause I couldn't feel myself swallowing. Morphine was next and it helped about 25%, but brought with it nausea and vomiting. Then came anti nausea medications.

A CT scan showed up nothing. (the half gallon of liquid I had to drink for it really made my stomach pain bad) Blood tests showed up nothing. I asked them for the one test that has worked many years ago when I had hernias from my gastric bypass. This was also the only similar pain I have ever had to what I was experiencing last night. They said that it is not an emergency procedure they provide. WTF. I know this hospital is not exactly gastric bypass knowledgeable, but I had no choice in going there. I have no insurance and so I  could not possibly ask to be transferred to the hospital where my surgeon is, where I could get the test I needed.

Finally they gave me sleeping medicine and dilaudid.  My pulse ox showed I was having problems with not breathing so they did a sleep study. Because of all the meds I do not remember what I was told while being discharged.  Bryson's little sister came and got me. Somewhere along the way I lost my shirt and had to come home in my pants and hospital gown and it was like 5 below zero last night.

Now I am sick and nauseated and all they did was give me meds to treat the symptoms. pain meds and anti nausea meds. Thanks for costing me thousands and thousands of dollars and refusing to do the one test that could have helped. Now I REALLY feel nauseated.

Monday, December 7, 2009

"Shawna'a Christmas Meth Carol" Part III ~Ghost of Tweaker Future

(Trigger Warning~ this is a warning that is very raw as it relates to drug use and suicide)

This is the most painful and frightening of all of my ghostly experiences. Tonight a talk dark demonic type apparition, pulls me suddenly from my slumber, and throws me through my bedroom wall. When I open my eyes I see no one, no thing, it is dark. I feel his cold ugly breath upon me.

I hear the sound of a projector, clicking and reeling from somewhere behind me. Before my eyes, begins the story of.....

There I am walking out of jail. My kids are not there to meet me, they are not allowed to see me until CPS can analyze my situation. What situation? I am homeless, jobless, and have just gotten out of jail. I have no money at all. No one ever came to visit me or put money on my books in the three years I was in jail.

Next thing, I am in the basement of my ex's cousin. The one that started making illegal checks. The one that stole people's identities. The only one that would answer my collect call. I am crying and then I see the pure evil he is holding. The loaded glass pipe. Please tell me I don't do it, please! 

I do it. I can't believe my eyes. I cry, I inhale, the room is filled with that wretched meth stench and smoke overwhelms the scene. It fades away and I see myself alone in a ratty motel room. There are burns on the comforter, the table, the floor. It is disgusting. I try to call the kids. My grandma reminds me that she is court ordered to keep them from talking to me until I have somewhere to live and CPS approves it. She says if I call one more time she is going to report me. I hear them talking in the background. It kills me inside.

All the shelters are full. I only have the backpack and few clothing items that I got at the Community center, and my motel voucher for this place runs out tomorrow. I don't even know what happened to Bryson. He went to jail when I did, but he was only the co defendant. He had much less charges and he got out before me. He was not allowed to contact me since we committed the same crimes together. No one else that we knew together is still in the same place. Most of them are in jail or prison.

I feel hopeless. I am in pain. I am depressed. I can't afford anymore drugs. I do not want my kids to see me like this ever. How can I ever stop? How can I go on in the pain I am in? I cannot afford anything to kill myself with.

 I see myself roll out of the bed and almost slither to the ground. I look like I am in so much pain. I crawl on all fours to the table and chair. I switch on the light and grab the chair to pull myself up. I grab a pen and begin writing.

This is what I write:

Ive been here too long. Ive already spent more days here than I should have been allowed and my time has come. Destin and Aliviya…. I never should have brought you into this world knowing how I felt about myself. I thought that having kids was the answer to all my problems. I thought that kids would love me and give me what I never had. It isn’t your fault. You are the best kids anyone could ever ever ask for. You gave me the best memories I could have imagined. You taught me what love really is. You showed me that to really love someone you have to give of yourself and not expect back. You have to love from your whole self and expect nothing. I wish I was capable of that. Maybe in another lifetime…. Maybe if my mom was here to love me and give me that wholeness inside I would be able to stay with you and give it to you. 

You are probably going to feel like I’m selfish and that I don’t love you, but I’m taking this moment to write this to let you know it isn’t true. I’m tired of being alone. I have nothing to give the two of you and I keep making the mistake of giving what little I do have to men whom I believe will complete me… complete us and make us a family, but make bad choices with me. In the end they only take from me and I don’t have the strength to build myself back up one more time. I have done it for the last time. If this life were fair…. God would have taken me gracefully from you instead of your father. Your Dad loved you and he had strength deep within that I am not capable of. Unfortunately suicide isn’t very graceful and I wish I didn’t have to let you see that. Death never really feels good to the people left behind to experience it, but it’s something that we all must come upon eventually. I want to come upon it now, while I still have memories that are good and my heart is full of love for the two of you… before all the wrong I have done catches up to me and your memories become filled with my mistakes and you become full of hurt and hate. Do not hate me for leaving. I want to give you a chance to have love. It is the only thing that matters in life. 

Do not make important to you the material things that everyone will make you think are important. You always look out for each other. You are family and you two are all you have. I am so thankful I was graced with the ability to have two children to be there for each other and I do not bare the burden of leaving you alone. I know that you two will be loved and taken care of by someone who will be able to help you remember that I loved you as much as I could and will remind you that I left because my strength ran out… not my love. Always be kind to everyone. The people who need it most are probably not strong enough to be kind to you. Keep your heads up and your minds open. Do not let drugs and alcohol ruin your vision. You have to stay aware of what reality is in order to get through it and when you do drugs and drink alcohol you don’t know what is real anymore. Don’t let people steal your heart…. like I did. You make them earn it and take care of it… it is where all of your love is and it’s all that you are.

Don’t forget me please. Look at pictures… take time to remember all the good times we had and know that all I ever wanted was to give you good memories. I have run out of the means to provide you with any more, so treasure the ones you have, and make it important to give each other many more. As time goes on I’m sure that other people worthy of your time and love will come along. Give them good memories too. I love you with all of my heart. You are so beautiful and I am so lucky to have been in your life for this long. Maybe a miracle will save me from the hate that has consumed me… but if not know that you are so special and please do not regret that I am your mother. I did the best I could.
MOM xoxox

Then before my very eyes on the screen ahead of me in this darkness, I crawl to the bed. I call my grandma and tell her to send the police for me and I give her the address and room number. I pull back the blanket and nasty burned bedspread and reveal the sheet. I pull it off as well, and drag it along with myself to the bathroom to seal my fate the same way my mother did. I briefly see myself hanging from the shower and then everything turns black and cold.

**** This is probably one of the hardest things I have faced. It is also one of the most personal I have shared, because that is my actual suicide note, that I wrote, high out of my mind, 5 years ago. A miracle DID save me and I am instead here, happy, healthy, clean, writing this tale of what my future would be like if I hadn't stopped when I did.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

"Shawna's Christmas Meth Carol" Part II ~Ghost of Tweaker Present


Of course I no longer use crystal meth, and so this is my version of what I think my present would be like if I had not stopped using.

"Ghost of Tweaker Present"

Even though I am still shaken from last night's visit, it does not deter the spirits that be from pursuing me. In my thought riddled state of half sleep, I am fully awakened by the ghost of the present, flying feverishly through my room. It seems he wants to show me something. I am again whisked into the warm night air, guided by my present spirit. The air begins to turn cold, and snow starts to fall.

We head in a familiar direction, over many a structures I know too well. We are heading to my childhood home, where my step grandmother still lives. The neighborhood is full of holiday cheer and festive lights.Again I am guided to look in the window.

I see my children. They are sitting on the floor and they seem to be making something. It is Christmas time and the house is decorated with all the same decorations that have adorned its walls and occupied its space at Christmas time for at least 20 years prior. I do not see Victorya. I wonder where I am?

I lean in closer so that I can hear what they are saying.
Destin is my 11 year old son
Aliviya is my 9 year old daughter

Destin: Do you think that Mom will like the card I made her?
Aliviya. Of course she will like it. You made it.

Destin: What are you making her?
Aliviya: I guess I have to make her a card too. Grandma says they don't allow many things in the jail. I don't want to send her something that she might not get.

Destin: Yeah I was really sad when the necklace that we got her for mother's day got sent back
Aliviya: I wish she could be here for Christmas. Grandma says she is never allowed in this house again. I don't  understand why they put moms in jail. Don't they know she has kids that need her?

Destin: Aliviya, it is more complicated than that. You will understand when you get older.
Aliviya: That's what everyone tells me. I am tired of people thinking I don't know anything. (getting tears) I just want her back. I hate living with Grandma.

Destin: She will be out by next year. I am sure she won't mess up and we will go to live with her again.. There is nothing you can do to change it this year. Please stop crying and try to make her a nice card.

I am so sad. I cannot stop crying and I cannot believe my children will be spending Christmas without me, and me without them. I am also horrified when I realize Victorya is not there... because she was never born.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

" Shawna's Crystal Meth Carol" ~Ghost of Tweaker Past


I have decided to challenge myself to something very real. At this time of year we are filled with glee and joy, sad and hurt of what it "should be," or a mixture of both. My friend xxx at SPIRIT IS MY DRUG just took this amazing journey, as did Ebenezer Scrooge in his own life,  and I think it will help me.

I would also like to challenge anyone here, as it so applies to your condition ( sex, food, drug- addiction, codependency, recovery, etc.) to do the same.

"Ghost of Tweaker Past"

Tonight my stern new acquaintance leads me through the warm fresh night air. I hold on for dear life. We settle upon my old neighborhood. We descend to the house that we presently refer to as "The house on Saratoga."  My ghostly companion nudges me over to the window. I look down and see myself, and Bryson, asleep in bed. This is what happens....

 I sleep unaware of even my own existence, lost to the world, in what is often called a "tweaker coma," I awake to my same old bedroom, my same as always situation, and quickly look to find that little tiny bag ...the one that brings me to life... the one that allows me to get out of bed. I do not usually even sleep, but obviously the drugs ran out, cause I am waking in a bed- strange? I do not even wonder how long I have been asleep. I have no idea where my 5 and 8 year old children are. I assume I took care of that before I passed out.

I hurt. I think for a split moment that I should try to get out of bed... that I should think of SOMETHING.... ANYTHING other than getting high. The room is fuzzy. I still don't know where my children are. Perhaps I should go find them. I try to stand and it HURTS. My back hurts, my neck hurts, blinking does not feel so good.

I sit back down and I look at my little stash box and I open it, hopeful. PLEASE tell me there is some dope left! I look in and find nearly a teener! Holy wow! God must love me today! I don't even think back to wonder how I got so lucky. Glass pipe? check! Lighter? check? 2 minutes later I feel no pain. Life is great and I have "clarity."

Well DAMN! would you look at that? Bryson just happens to be laying next to me? didn't notice him before. Poor guy. I bet he will wake up and feel like crap. I better get him up and let him know that somehow we have so much dope left and that he can feel better too!

10 minutes later we are two overly confident and motivated individuals. I look at the clock and it says 6:15. We are in the basement, and in our room, where there is purposely no light. Who wants to acknowledge LIFE happening? I can now remember getting here at 4:00 in the afternoon and I think... Right ON! I have only been "out" for  2 + hours. I didn't do too bad. 

I walk out of the room to where there are windows, and it is still dark. Hmmmm dark at 6:15 at night? ) I look in every room and in every "hiding spot." maybe there is more dope or even MONEY in one- we do hide it from ourselves and those tweakers. No luck, so I look for my children. Upstairs, I find... The kids both asleep in their beds. Bryson's mother also asleep in her bed (she has been our dealer and babysitter/roommate for a while now.) I think that all is well and head downstairs to smoke another bowl so that I can do laundry and call Bryson's Uncle P (our BEST dealer) to line up our next deal.

I am so ahead of the game- I have like two hours 'til the kids need to be at school! I just might deserve to smoke ANOTHER bowl!  I can make a couple fake checks for people to cash and buy some more dope to sell, and THEN I can even (gasp) make them breakfast! Life is GOOD!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

One click away....


I have so much going on in my mind right now. I just want to get inside and yell, "Can you SHUT UP so I can hear myself think?!?!" I have learned that the best way for me to quiet my fighting inner voices is through expression. It doesn't always have to be writing, but tonight it does. I need this. Until everyone in my head can settle down and listen and focus, this might be all over the place.

I feel as though I have been swept up into the whirlwind of blogging. Along with me and all of you other wonderful people, I have found many things. All inside my computer screen, I have found courage, honesty, friendship, understanding, sadness, compassion, and hope- just to name a few.

When I started this, I had no idea what I was getting into. The first blogs I happened upon had 30-40 followers and a lot of folks were following upwards of 20 other blogs themselves. I thought How in the world do you have enough time and energy to keep up with so many people? As time wore on I would find myself connected to another wonderful blog, eager to click the "follow" button, anxious and excited for our future together. No matter what the comment section brings, each and everyone of you have taken a look into my life, if even just one post, if even just a glimpse. All of the blogs I follow~ you have invited me into yours.

I sit here in awe. I am amazed by the power of sharing and connecting. I am inspired by the hope and healing that progresses and is woven through and through the words of each and every person. Each story is unique. No one has walked the exact same path to get where we are. We are all at different stages in our life's production, yet we all have something to share... something to contribute.

I feel like everyday here is an adventure. I never know if I will find a new friend, a challenge, knowledge, courage, or hope... I never know what is just... one click away.

“Life lives, life dies. Life laughs, life cries. Life gives up and life tries. But life looks different 
through everyone's eyes.” ~author unknown

“I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday, and I love today.”   ~William Allen White

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Recognition and Thank You's, MIA, Life Happens- a blogging medley

I have been away from home and the computer for a few days. My husband's cousin is moving and we stayed a couple of nights with him helping, hanging out, and checking out the amenity's at his new place. Indoor pool and steam room, HELLO! It was a nice break and now we will be taking another break for the Holiday tomorrow. 

I am still catching up on all of my reading. I did want to take a moment to thank LisaC at Loving and Parenting an Addict and Barbara who can now be found at Recovery Happens for the lovely Loyalty Awards! Two lovely awards from to wonderful women! If you haven't already done so, take a little trip over to their blogs for some wonderful and honest insight into their life journeys, parenting addicts, among other things. Thank you so much girls!!! 

I will pass these awards along after the Holidays, as I just passed along another award and I think people might be rather busy like I am at this time of year. 

I wanted to share some of the things I have been thinking about over the last few days and some of the new developments in my life. As we narrow in on our big adventure, the dreaminess of it all has started to fade some, and the realities of planning are now in force. We have started selling things in the house. We are in the middle of going through all of our clothes and getting rid of what we don't need (I am even taking the time to donate the usable ones!). I have let the landlord know we are moving out January 1st and we are figuring out if we will downsize to a 2 bedroom for 6 mos or will move in with Bryson's aunt to save money. 

Today we went and LOOKED at campers for the first time. I scour craigslist on a daily basis, but to actually go look at some, made it feel so REAL! His cousin gave us some of his camping gear that he uncovered in his move. I have been gathering boxes and organizing and condensing things around the house. It is all happening.  

Another of the big happenings is that I finally am going to finish my degree! It is just my Associates of General Studies, but I have been 5 classes away from graduating for over 5 years now. No one in my family has ever gone to college and the 3 semesters that I have completed were when I was widowed with small children. It is a huge life dream for me to continue my education. Finishing it before our trip will be such an accomplishment. It also means that when we settle down again (IF we do!) that I am ready to go into whatever coursework, for whatever field I finally choose, with NO MORE general studies!!! YAY!

Life has not all been gravy. There are several different people in the family that are coexisting with drama, addiction, unhealthy relationships, and shaky futures. I feel fortunate that we are not entwined in that web anymore, but it is still painful to be helpless onlookers. My emotions really run the board with empathy (I have been there), hope (anyone can change), fear (some people never do), and sadness (we cannot help anymore).

Part of me mourns the loss of connection with people, but realizing that the type of isolation we have chosen is healthy and comfortable for us, and has likely saved us from ourselves, brings solace. 

I am thankful for:

-opportunity and the ability within myself to create it

-freedom from fear

-the ability to forgive myself

-the wonderful people that grace me with their presence in life- cyber presence included!

I think all of those things can be applied to every little detail in some form. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dear Sweet Child

Following in the footsteps of Susan who took upon herself the challenge set forth by Lori of writing her younger self a letter, I am here to attempt my own. I am a little afraid because I do not venture back so much anymore, but after seeing before my eyes, the very nature of writing's therapeutic essence, I am going to give it a try.

I felt that the time when I most needed a letter was when I was 7 years old, the day before my mother committed suicide, the day when everyone stopped talking to me the same.


Dear Sweet 7 year old Shawna,

I know it has been a long three days wondering where your mom is. I wish I could tell you she will be with you soon. Tomorrow you are going to get the most devastating news a little girl can hear and you will never be the same. I can't change it or fix it. Some things are beyond our control. It is not your fault. You are going to think you will never understand how she could leave you. You are going to think that you will never be able to forgive her.I know how much you love her and I want you to know that she loves you more. It will be a long and treacherous road for the better part of 15 years, but I want you to know you will be okay.

One day you will have children and you will be faced with so much pain and agony from all of the choices and consequences that spiraled your life out of control following tomorrow's events. One day when you are 25, you will be crying so hard you cannot breathe and you will be holding 10 little pills that are waiting to end your life. Then you will understand your mother's pain. For an agonizing couple of hours, you will mentally walk in her shoes, feel her pain, and relive every moment of love and loss that can be experienced in a mother/child relationship. You will play the child and the mother. You will grieve for both of them. 

You will choose to surrender to living instead of dying on that day. You will forgive your mother and you will see new light, for it is her life lost that saved your own. Had you not experienced what you are about to tomorrow morning, you would not have realized the irreplaceable void that ending your own life would have left your own children. You will come to appreciate your mother's life for what it was and wasn't and you will take it all with you into your own journey of motherhood.

Deciding to live, will however not be the easy choice. Your steps from that point on will be slowly moving forward through confusion and darkness and you will experience even more loss. Your choices will not always be good and you will use substances and sexuality in really harmful ways. You will fail your children at one point and you will again walk yourself to death's door. Your own suicide letter will save you and the writer in you will become alive.

You will face some of the most extreme hardships and will give true meaning to rock bottom. You will see unrecognizable horrors within yourself, through the blurred vision of meth addiction. Yes, its true. Unlike the familiar times of death, you will wish for life and you will fight for it. I wish that I could tell you that there is a way to change any of the pain that is about to commence, but there is not. Please do not be afraid. You will become exactly who you are meant to be. You will realize love in all of its capabilities. You will emerge a capable and beautiful woman and you will be thankful for every experience life has given you. 

Please sleep tight tonight, Shawna. Tonight is the last peaceful night you will have for a very long time. For tonight your innocence will slip away in the middle of the night and be lost, but not forever. What is lost, will most assuredly be found, and you will become life's explorer.You will create a wonderful existence and  you will find beauty in the face of tragedy.  Tonight an angel whispers "sweet dreams, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite" before her eternal sleep. She loves you.

your 31 year old self

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

From Me to You Award... My first!

I received this award from Susan at Weaving A Life. I appreciate it so much... Thank You!
The rules are as follows:
1. Thank whoever gave this to you
2. Copy award
3. Post it in your blog
4. Tell us 7 things that your readers don’t know
5. Link 7 new bloggers
6. Notify winners of the award with a comment on their blog
7. Keep being awesome!

So 7 things you don't know about me. Wow I am too much of an open book. What are my secrets?

1. I used to be so extremely desperate to have cinematic memories as a youth and teen, that I would set the stage for many events obsessively, by compiling the perfect atmosphere of music, lighting, where I should take pictures from, how I should smile and what I would say (and hope would be said back), and that write about it in my diary as if it "just happened." Whew it was hard work!

2. I can fix most anything in a household. This is due to many years of being a single mother with little income. I have installed toilets, sinks, a garbage disposal, fixed and replaced drains, replaced light fixtures, converted a whole house of old outlets to grounded ones (and shocked the sh*t out of myself! LOL), and can operate all power and lawn tools.

3. I can cook just about anything and usually replicate food I have eaten without a recipe. The only thing I ever measure out is dessert baking recipes. I won second place in a chili contest at my husband's work last year.

4. I am a huge procrastinator (think the power getting shut off because I didn't want to call and pay the bill-even when I had the money!), but I am always early for appointments.

5. I am tone deaf and if I tried to sing it would be worse than the worst karaoke singer you EVER heard!

6. I am learning to parent my kids with concepts from Love and Logic and it is very trying at times but very rewarding. I think I may even like to teach it when my kids need a little less of my time.

7. It took me like a half hour to figure out how to make text linked to a website and I am very excited that I got to use it in # 6. I have been wanting to learn how so I could link to other blogs for a long time, but see #4! It took me like another half hour to think of #7 :)

Now to pass this on (I am excited to practice my new linking text to blogs skill!!!!)

To a wonderful woman that I am proud to call my friend, Barbara at The Needle and the Damage Done You are a wonderful lady full of life's beauty. Sharing in her journey of family addiction, her honesty and genuine spirit gives me a sense of comfort and belonging.

To Jennifer at One True Self, an amazing lady that I feel so connected to and you are one of my best supporters.

Lorenza at Pure Energy, you are next! You are a life poet, your words speak to my soul.

Purposefully Yours (aka xxx) at Spirit is my Drug- Your journey is inspiring and your courage and wisdom in recovery are astounding. I am thankful for the opportunity to follow you.

Dan at Vacant Mind because you remind me to laugh when sometimes I have forgotten to... ok I am lying - you MAKE me laugh and continue to allow me to let my family think I am quite literally insane for laughing at my computer screen. Thank you for your perspective, sarcasm, and humor.

Kim AYRES (I can spell it- I took note for future reference) over at ramblings of the bearded one. You are the first blog I came to EVER and I just haven't been able to leave. You are my muse in blogging and creativity and your life is inspirational and delightful in both joys and sorrows.

And last but definitely not least, Debby at Oxycontin and Opiate Addiction: A Mother's Story. You are one of my newest inspirations. Your spirit and endurance reflect your love in motherhood.

So go ahead and pass on some blogging appreciation!

addiction, brain chemistry, connections, and substances (unrefined thoughts)


This has been an alien 24 hour period for me. I really have not experienced anything so overpowering and dark in a long time. It was terrifying, but is slowly evolving into empowering.

I am highly aware that meth has long term effects on people. I experience what I can describe as awakenings.  Its sudden "aha" moments where something seems to reconnect. At the height of my meth use, when it was still fun and manageable, I had incredibly heightened self awareness. I had impenetrable self esteem.  I have learned in my recovery that the likes of Hitler as well as the psychologist, Sigmund Freud were meth amphetamine addicts. Its probably a good thing I didn't posses that information when I was actively using, or it would have given me cause to further justify how meth was going to help me realize my mental capabilities. (Euphoria is powerful, and the general effects of meth tend to make you believe that it is helping you, initially anyway- you stop running out of justifiable reasons when the high permanently goes away.)

My mental capacity slowly began to diminish. I never shot up and I never got paranoid or delusional. I spent all my time and money chasing those euphoric times where I was the grandiose star player in my new high game. Instead, I became underweight, malnourished, and sleep deprived. I really felt like I could feel myself internally and mentally disconnecting. I'd stay up STRAIGHT for upwards of 2 weeks, only taking 8 or so hours to sleep and start all over again. There was one time that my kids almost called an ambulance becasue my "tweaker coma" was so severe that I was unresponsive and barely breathing. Maybe my body was seeking eternal rest.

I was completely unaware of any mania or depression. It was just high or coming down. That seemed so much simpler. I have to work for my emotions being bipolar. Abusing meth was simply: I had it and I felt ok or I didn't and I felt like dying. Totally under my control, no work, no thoughts.

Fear, desperation, lack of hope, isolation... only drove me to want to make them go away- hence why people use again and again. I quit using in an instant. The instant my children were taken away. There were no ifs and or anythings. That was one price I was NOT going to pay.

I found myself in what a lot of people consider a dark place. In jail, withdrawing, separated for the first time in my life from my children, broke, and homeless. (jail was home for 7 days followed by literal homelessness) Amazingly for me, it was the first peace and light I had seen in months. It was so emotionally and physically painful at times, but it was REAL, it didn't cost anything, and it was the first time I had really seen light in months. Learning to take the bus was one of the most empowering things I have ever done. (can you see how I was enabled in the past?)

I immediately realized that I did not have the same mental function as I did before. Beautiful words and phrases seemed to have been kicked out of my vocabulary for more common ones of that time. I had a cheat sheet in my pocket of weights and prices of meth so that I would not get "burned" and soon I could easily tell you what "10 cents" or and "8 ball" or a "teener" were. My list of professionals included a lawyer and a bondsman, and my dealer. Who needed a Dr. or a dentist? I still feel the effects of that lost beauty and search hard for my words.

Obviously it has been a long road since those times, but I still feel like I am not fully reconnected. The urge to use has long been gone, but the damage done is still being repaired.When you forget to water a plant, parts of it die. When you remember again and you try and try and try to undo the harm you have caused, some parts just never come back. New parts grow, and the plant lives on. You have to let go of the dead parts so they do not suffocate the new growth.

I decided to look up the effects of oxycontin. As I have said, opiates have never been something I have used or know anything about. I do however remember what the chemical parts of addiction and withdrawal felt like. It was not a connection I appreciated having so recently. Especially since I wasn't breaking any rules or abusing a substance. It was given to me, easy as candy, in an ER.

According to several online sources, oxycontin can produce withdrawals as quickly as 6 hours and that last upwards of 7 days and are very similar to heroin withdrawal. I cannot say I blame my feelings of the last 24 hours on the oxyconyin exclusively, but I do feel like it must have been a contributing factor.

I think it was comparable to a plant being neglected for a very short period of time. The leaves begin to wilt; fear of past damage surfaces. The plant is watered and cared for, and it quickly bounces back and resumes a healthy growth pattern; fear subsides and life goes on.

I feel empowered by this experience. In all reality, had opiates been my substance of choice, I think this would have been equal to what relapse feels like. I realize how much stronger I am and how much I enjoy and desire a clear picture in my life.

I also feel a sense of rage that substances like that are legal and prescribed, often without a clear patient history of risk.

I cannot express the gratitude I have for the community and support I find here. I haven't been able to express anything at all related to my drug use other than on this blog and to Bryson. It was a lonely recovery for us. I feel safe and supported here and it is new and enjoyable. I feel lasting connections and look forward to future growth.