Thursday, December 21, 2017

Living with Allen: Another year in review

I realized this morning another year has passed I have not written much this year, mostly because nothing much has changed with Allen.  I wish I could say differently but I cannot, I am not sure how to put this year in review, as I said not much happened as far as the status with Allen, but in our lives so much has changed.

I guess I will start with Allen is still alive, I found this out just yesterday, I have not heard of him in over 6 months, I have not heard from him in nearly 8 months, I guess I will start from the present and move backwards to cover the year.

Yesterday I received a text message from Allen's step mom (she is amazing and a great friend), Heidi has not had much to do with Allen in years because of his choices, she still has young children, that do not need the bad influence, Heidi loves Allen, but limits need to be set.  Allen's step father has some connections in law enforcement and heard that Allen was arrested again, ( I had not checked the jail roster in over a week, so I hopped online and looked sure enough, he is once again in Jail, this time the list of offences is not as long as last years, but it is long enough an has a few extra charges that have not been seen before, the biggest of which is drug possession greater than an ounce, and drug paraphernalia, I know does not seem like much but this is his 3rd offense on both, (well the third that he has been booked into Jail with and that are on the records, when he was still in the hospital I got similar charges expunged due to his accident/injuries and year in the hospital) So with the three strike rule there is a chance Allen will go to Prison for the first time, for me this will be the best of all things he will be safe, warm, feed, drug free, and medicated for his seizures and mental illness.  The struggle I have is an internal one how can a mother pray for her son to be in prison, locked up and put away from everything "normal" especially 5 days before Christmas, but it is how my heart feels.

In October my Dad passed away, yes it has been tough, I have lost my only child to drugs, and the man he has become, although I love him, is not a man I can live with or would want to live with for so many reasons, mostly because between the severe brain injury and the effect of the drugs on him he would not be happy in a structured environment with rules and expectations, no matter home much love I could give him, there is a point you cannot bring back what is forever lost.  So losing my dad has been hard, he was my strength, my rock, the person I fought to make proud, I am amazed how much I have been lost in the 2 months since losing him.  The last 5 days of his life was hard, his cancer won, he became weak, and could not stand or walk in that week I was called over to his house at least 20 times to pick him up, help him off the floor, get him to the bathroom, I cannot get the visions out of my head, He was so strong independent and private, and that week so helpless and dependent, I am honored he trusted me to be the one, and knowing that the strength he instilled in me would allow me to do what needed to be done, but the loss is so strong and complicated because in my heart it feels like I have lost all my family between losing Dad and having Allen gone, knowing that both men will never be there again. I thank my dad for teaching me to be strong and independent, and private, I pray that I was able to pass on to Allen just a small about of what was taught me by Dad. The biggest part of this is that I never told Allen that Dad was sick and dying, and I know I should tell him, but I honestly do not think he would care in any aspect of it all, Dad was the only Man in his life the only male he looked up to and admired, and I know that if I tell him his response will be to shrug his shoulders and say so what. It feels like another Mom Failure.

So in June, I got to see a small glimpse of the boy I raised, just the smallest peak.  I got another of the calls "we have identified your son" I think that makes 22 of these calls, of course it was middle of the night, my heart and instinct this time was to go, so many times I have stayed away knowing that Allen did not want me there, and because of hurt feelings and rejection in the past from Allen.  So I loaded up all I would need for a day sitting in ICU at a bedside, (sad to say I have gotten good at this ritual). I arrived and the nurse was just leaving the room, a quick update, Allen was not breathing well enough to get off the ventilator, he was not waking up, it is believed that he was assaulted, beat up and then had a seizure, he had not responded to anything since being brought into the hospital. (not a new story). So being who I am I walked into his room and in my best not pissed off mom voice I said "hello buddy", his eyes popped open, all the bells and whistles went of in the room, the nurse was right there she looked at me and then at Allen and smiled.  Allen then reached out and grabbed my hand. So there I sat, holding his hand, talking to him (the real him) we talked about his choices and for the first time I told him I was okay with his choice to be homeless, and live the way he wanted, this surprised him. We talked about his life what he had and did not have, I asked about his assault, and how his medical care is going, and all the normal mom(nurse) things, we had a good conversation, all the time he did not let go of my hand, if I needed to walk away (so he did not see the tears) or go to the bathroom or answer my phone he would turn his head trying to keep an eye on me. (I will forever treasure this time). I found out that Allen due to bad behavior had been kicked out of the library, ( the one place he could get online to check his Facebook) and as a result I had no way to keep tabs on him or communicate with him, we talked about his apartment (he claimed to have one he did not) I told him I could help him get back on insurance and get things so he can start his medications again, he was agreeable, (knowing his history I made an arrangement to have him send me back an envelope to verify his address, I got it back wrong address). so the paperwork sits here waiting.  After I left that day, I went shopping, got him a new pair of pants, shoes, backpack, socks underwear, snacks, and water. Putting them all together in the backpack, I went back on the second day, and guess what the drug addict was back, Allen was awake not talking, angry and upset, he did not send me away but in no way wanted to interact with me, the staff in the ICU had ignored him and his needs, so I had to get after them to bathe him, change his wet sheets, and provide care to him,  Allen allowed me to help just a little, so to say the least the visit was not very long the second day, I could not hide the tears and had no idea how to talk to this person the angry hateful drug addict that is my son. He was discharged the next day, several phone calls from the hospital he needs a ride, he needs medication it will cost $3000 he needs a place to live he can't go on the street, all of which I know and have heard over and over, and once again I explained to yet another soul who is "just doing their job", I explained that he is well known at the homeless shelter, he is known at their clinic and what medications he needs they provide for him and that this is all his choice and an adult, I also asked them and once again explained that if they asked Allen he can and will speak for himself, that if he wants to come home stay clean or work on getting clean, and have me help I would be there to do so.  I never got a call back as typical, the drug addict Allen does not want me.

On to the rest of the year, Allen did well for a few months before he was in the hospital, he was on Facebook several time a week we had some good conversations, and he told me many times he loved me but was okay and where he wanted to be.

The first of the year was not so great, he was arrested in January, he had over 20,000 in fines, they kept him in Jail for nearly 5 months, I broke down and sent him a letter and some email's I never heard a word back. He ended up in the medical ward the last 4 weeks in Jail, and when they were ready to release him due to medical concerns they found me, they stated they wanted me to pick him up and take over his needs they would not elaborate what those needs were,  I explained that Allen chooses to be homeless, and that if he wants to come home I will be glad to facilitate that, but they needed to ask him or talk to him, (this took me 3 days and 12 calls).
So they discharged him, to the hospital for a psych evaluation (he had been suicidal and actively tried to hurt himself) he was discharged at 7pm and ended in the hospital I started getting the calls from an amazing social worker, repeating the same conversation I have had 22 times, (Allen is an adult, he chooses to live in the streets, he is a drug addict, he has chosen to have me out of his life I am just starting to talk to him on Facebook, he has been looked at as incompetent by the state because of his addiction and inability vs unwilling to care for himself, he was just released from Jail and if you release him he will be back in a few hours strung out and having seizures. I advised her to talk to Allen and if he wants my involvement I would be glad to come visit and help. the conversations took us to about midnight. She called me back stated I was correct that Allen knew all the answers, and although not okay was not a risk and they were discharging him this was about 1am.  At 215 I received the 23 phone call we have identified your son, he is here he had a seizure, he was on drugs..... blah blah blah, and it started all over again.

So we end this year were we started this year, my only child lives in the streets, he wants nothing to do with me, or I should say society in general, he is presently in Jail, possibly headed to prison, he chooses this life, he has a severe head injury, mental illness, addiction, seizures, and no care how things come out.  For me I wake up with a prayer everyday, let it be today, let me off this roller coaster, I then check the jail roster, and pray let him be locked up, I listen to the news, not for what is happening in the world but to find out if there are unidentified males that are dead, I often times call the hospitals and ask about admissions, and traumas. I can say I have quit crying as much, I have come to an acceptance of this lifestyle, and of his choices, he is a grown man, I cannot change who he is I can only change how it effects me and how I respond to it, fighting it has only caused me pain and sadness, it has not effected him in any manner. I have come to accept I will never understand, I have come to accept that I have done the best I could with what I knew and had through all this, I have come to accept that I can love him even if he is making choices I don't like, I believe that I have given him what he needs to survive his choices.  I often times struggle with what life has handed me to manage, but I know that I have also been given the ability to do just that handle all that has been given to me good or bad.  I am thankful for all the support and friends who keep eyes out for him, that understand, and reach out to me. Thank you for reading I will update again when things change or I need to release.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Living with Allen, addiction a mom's perspective

Let me start with this is my perspective, experiences and view, in no way am I speaking for all or even a few, for I cannot speak to anyone's experience with addiction.  As time has forced me to live this life where addiction is part of  daily conversation, I have learned that no two stories are the same, and that it is staggering the number of people who share in the addiction world, let me explain.

Most of you have read and followed my blog about Allen and what life is like with a child who is brain injured, homeless and a challenge to say the least. What you may not realize is that Allen is a drug addict this is how it all started, a girl saying try this.  I for the longest time hated that young lady who started my son down the path of destruction, I have since forgiven her, and I now pray for her.  I do not know if she is still alive or healthy or happy, I simply pray she found release to her struggles that lead her to drugs, for I believe she used drugs to escape something I will never understand.

Allen was 17 when he first choose to use the evil mistress, he fell hard and he fell fast, drugs are such a seductress it took no time for Allen to be lying, stealing, he dropped out of school 3 weeks before graduation and disappeared into the world of drugs, dreams, no responsibility, freedom, and wandering as he describes it.  It took almost 3 years before I heard from, well of, him again.  I stalked Myspace (Facebook did not exist) he would surface with some poem or picture or such, the evil mistress played to his creative side at first. 3 short years that seemed like a lifetime and his accident happened, the accident that took my son from me, that was 10 long hard emotional and frustrating years.

Allen was clean for the first few years after his accident, well he did spend a year in the hospital, so lets say the first 3 years after coming home, then a neighbor boy said here try this, and the world I dreamed for crashed..  Most moms want college, marriage, grand kids, successes and bragging rights for their kids, well I was no different until 10 years ago, those dreams were left on an interstate in California.  My dreams became, let him walk, let him not hurt, let him make it one day without a seizure, let him potty train (he was 20-23 years old), let me handle what is given me this hour, day, week, let me have strength today.

After he was reintroduced to drugs all was lost well in a sense, my beautiful boy is alive he is not the boy I raised, he is not the boy I dreamt he would be, he is not a functioning member of society, he is amazing, he is polite, he is kind, he is respectful, (I guess I did something right),  I know this from the police who arrest him, the doctors that treat him, the social workers who try to help him, from the Judges who sentence him, I also know since having lunch with him in December he will never be my boy again, he is his own lost soul, he will never function in society he will never come home "Normal" at some level I have accepted this at some level I grieve the loss of my boy, the dreams, the possibilities, at some level I want it all over and an end to the roller coaster.

As I write in this blog the new chapters I will share my heart and feelings, some of this will be difficult to write and share, some will be difficult to read, none of it is meant to hurt, shame, or offend anyone, it is one mom's view of life with the evil mistress living in your nightmares waking hours, hiding in your closets, and ever present in your home.

This year I start with acceptance of my sons' life where he is and wherever he ends up, it has taken me a long time to get to this acceptance,  I have looked in so many places to find the answers and how to accept when it was actually simple I opened my eyes and saw my son for who he is, I did this in December when I saw him in person for the first time in over 3 years.  I knew when I saw him sat next to him and listened with my heart I could not save him.  In trying I was killing myself, with wasted energy, wasted dreams, and never ending faith and love,  and it in no way effected Allen or his choices.  I was luck enough to receive a picture of Allen on his 29th birthday. 

I was shocked and upset when I received it I cried and cried I hid it from those around me I would look at it and cry, then I accepted it was what it was it spoke volumes to me.  Then around his birthday this year 30 years old I received another picture of him from a friend who responded to a medical in which Allen was in need of help,  this friend had not seen Allen since he was about 12 years old, but knew the sweet kid now a broken man.  Again the picture ripped at me and hurt so bad, where did I fail, for weeks all the bad choices, all the arguments, fights, nights with no money to feed us, missed events because I worked, all the bad mommy minutes and days haunted me ( don't get me wrong I know I did what had to happen, I made the best decisions I could under the circumstances, and I am in no way directly to blame for this, at times of pain doubt follows closely behind).

This year I joined an amazing group for addicts moms' I found it nice to know I was not alone in this journey, as I read their stories and worries and experience's I quickly discovered, that I did not belong with those amazing women,  I do not know if I am deluding myself in thinking I am in a better place where Allen's choices are concerned, or if I am just naive in believing I am, overall I found I was becoming more depressed and hopeless as I read the thousands of posts from mothers all over the world with kids who are addicts. I admire these ladies, and pray for them and their kids but for now at least in this battle I am going it alone in a sense perhaps I will heal enough to join this group again perhaps I will never be where they are in the world of addiction

When I visited with Allen a few short months ago I saw so much in his eyes, in his speech, in his mannerisms, and I saw how much he has lost, declined and how much more of my son has disappeared even since the last picture I was sent.  I did not get a picture of him that day, part of me wishes I had gotten one last picture of us but part of me wants to remember the boy that resembles the picture in my heart.

The life of an addicts mom is an odd and unusual one, the things that become normal if you shared with anyone would make you shake your head, I am in no way an expert in being the mom of a addict for me it has been easier to deny it and hide away from it, mostly because I have been separated from it and my son for so long.  I admire all the thousands of parents both moms and dads who walk this path.  I will continue to share my experiences and thoughts with you in this blog, I do so not for sympathy but to simply share and allow myself to heal at some level.
thank you for reading

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Living with Allen, Lunch Date

 Another year, it is hard to say that well I guess if I were to be honest I would have to say it is hard to accept.  In my life so much has happened in that year, so much I want to share with Allen my best friend and yet it is not possible.  I accept that at some level now (well most days I do) on another level I have to accept it or it will consume me. 
Last year Allen started the year in Jail, he had over 10,000 dollars in fines that makes a total of over 50,000 he owes someone somehow, he spent 6 months in jail, (Six glorious amazing calm and rewarding months) how you might think, they were glorious for me not him.  A mom's heart did not have to worry have to cry did not have to anything.  The day he got out it all started again,  while in jail I tried once again to reach him I sent him mail, and the ability to contact me back but no answer no acknowledgement.  The day he got out I received a call from the jail telling me he is being released and I should come get him, after they took him to the hospital for a psych evaluation.  Well after multiple calls and many conversations and even more tears, Allen was sent home from the hospital only to be brought back 45 minutes later in full seizure activity.  More conversations and more tears, once again he was discharged this time to the streets.  You might ask why did I not go get him bring him home, because he is a grown man and choose not to have anything to do with me.  When asked in the hospital can I call your mom he said NO, she wants to talk to you NO, she will come be with you NO, she cares I know but NO.  So after 6 amazing months my heart breaks again.

I watch Allen from a far, there is not much to say to anyone on a daily basis or even a monthly basis, the word seem to have been said time and again and again.  Yet the roller-coaster continues every day every month every thought.  I start everyday with a prayer for acceptance of what is to come, I then thank the powers that be for not receiving a phone call containing bad news, then check the news for dead bodies, then the hospitals for John Doe's, then the Jail rosters (I save the best for last), then I wipe a tear out of my eye and put my feet on the ground and a smile on my face, "today is a great day, he is alive and not hurt" I can deal with whatever comes my way. Crazy Right.

So from January till July Allen was in jail, from July till December I had no idea where he was, (I loved the rare post on facebook). then near the end of December I took a shot, I suggested we meet for lunch at a place that in his childhood we loved to go together, back when money was short but memories were great.  He agreed, I was shocked so the day of the fateful lunch came, I drove the 40 miles terrified, excited, nervous, and at the same time saying don't count on him being there.  He did not show up, I drove around looking at the possible spots no luck.  So I went back to the sandwich shop and ordered lunch (No need to waste a trip and the food is still a favorite).  Allen logged onto Facebook as I was there I messaged him (A long shot) and he answered, he agreed to come to lunch.

  I had not heard my son's voice in three years, I had not seen him in the same, the last time I saw him was broken in the hospital him telling me to leave he wanted to live in the streets, I have cried more tears then I knew possible I have spent hours on my knees praying for understanding and acceptance. I have come to a place in my life where I accept the choice and the strength it takes each day to live as you choose this holds true for my son first and foremost. the meeting was a long time coming and difficult and rewarding. I have asked many times for Allen to meet me and spend a few minutes.  lunch came to pass by the grace of God it happened my prayers were answered. it was difficult seeing my only child as he lives but rewarding that he is alive. he was clean by definition he looked good well better than I expected we talked it was awkward for both of us there was some tender times and some stressed times we did not know what to say, I got a hug well a few we both shed a few tears while together I shed a gallon on the way home. he said  he has a place to call home, he is managing to care for himself it is not ideal but not bad he wants no real help from mom but has agreed to have another visit and lunch date in the near future. there is much I need to share with him and tell him about family and struggles but this was not the day. I was blessed beyond words to be  able to crack open a door with my child and with continued prayers and blessing develop a relationship of sorts again. 

This day and the lunch holds mixed emotions in my heart there is so much I feel I need to share with Allen so much of life and family is happening and time seems to be passing him by, yet I don't know if it is more for me or him. I don't know if he cares or even could comprehend so as it stands right now I have a treasured memory a mixture of good and bad but a memory.  As for what I need I think I am going to continue this blog and write a bit more the context is going to change because I am now and will continue to be an addicts mom, my addict is a bit different than some but not all, my addict has a mixed bag of struggles, first and foremost his addiction, his brain injury, his physical challenges, and his mental illness.  in this moms heart and soul I can say I am proud of the battle he fights everyday, I may not accept it, understand it, but I will forever be proud of his fight for life.