Recovery is a process, not an event.

"Whatever you are doing allows her to continue to do what she does". AG, my therapist.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

We are a family with lots of rules and expectations.  We are a family that has spent the better part of almost 6 years trying to save our daughter.  We have run out of options, we have run out of patience, we are ready to surrender.  Addiction has taken its toll on us all. We are participating in the family week portion of Christine’s 90 day treatment at SLBTS.

I am a registered nurse, I help people regain their health, I am knowledgeable, I understand disease.  I find myself mesmerized by Dr. Kevin McCauley; his lecture on Addiction: the Disease Model.  He is speaking at the SLBTS facility on 17th street, he is engaging.  He doesn’t ‘dumb down’ the subject matter.  It is technical yet understandable, his analogies are brilliant.  I ask him if he will take my daughter for a year and send her back when she is better.  This man understands, he is passionate, he gets it.  I start to feel like maybe, just maybe, it isn’t my fault. Her mid brain is defective, this is a disease.  Now, how can we convince the world who all think my kid is a loser druggie that yes she is addicted to drugs, she is not a loser, she is sick.

Christine was difficult in-utero, she was breech, she moved constantly.  At 37 weeks gestation, Dr. Meininger did an external version and forced her head down from breech position, she didn’t go easily, that should have been my first clue.  She walked at 8.5 months, she spoke in full sentences by 1, she threw the mother of all tantrums, frequently.  She was triplets in one child, she was difficult.  She was also smart, funny, beautiful and fun.  She is still smart beautiful and fun. She is addicted, she is a vault, impenetrable unless she chooses to let you in. 

She became a Meth addict at the age of 15, or was it 16?  I had no clue, I drove her to the house where she used, she was helping her friend, his life was so terrible.  He lived with his grandmother, his Mom a Tweeker, Dad no where to be found.  Christine was his support system, I bought him shoes.  I chauffered her to the place where she began her descent into hell, I never knew.

Her behavior changed she lost weight, she became mean and agitated.  But she was a teenager, honestly, I didn’t even know what Meth was.  As her behavior became more and more erratic, school suffered, more time in the Dean’s office than in class.  Behavior modification plans with
with psychologist and counselors, testing, excuses, labels, diagnoses, boarding schools and being transported in the middle of the night to Hurricane Utah by professional transporters.   We have done it all.

As her addiction and secrets grew, so did my desperation for answers.  Christine was so good at manipulating me. When a drug test I gave her from the drug store came up positive for Methamphetamine, cocaine and weed; she convinced me the test was faulty.  I believed her.  Wow, how stupid am I? 

We went from behavior problems to what I coined the  "diagnosis du jour ".  ODD- (oppositional defiant disorder), to Bi-Polar disorder with major depression and anxiety.  OK, lets go with the psychiatrist’s diagnosis because the ODD thing and behavior modification model failed..miserably.  Remember, I still am in the dark about the drug abuse. She says she had not started using yet, I think her memory is cloudy.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

This is the beginning...

I finally decided to begin the process.  I know there are many families just like ours.  I found that the more I say out loud "my daughter is addicted to heroin" the lighter the burden feels.  They say 'The truth will set you free', my prayer is that my blog will help others who feel helpless and hopeless in the sad world of addiction.  It is a journey of pain, despair, healing and hope.  At times, changing minute by minute. I welcome you into our life, as we struggle to overcome the far reaching  effects of addiction.

My daughter, C. is now 21 years old. Today, she is 117 days clean from heroin.  This period marks her 4th attempt to overcome the demon heroin. This is the longest she has ever stayed clean.  Her descent into the hell of heroin addiction began in 2009.

Addicts do not wake up one day and decide to inject heroin into their bodies.  In my daughters case, a brutal rape at the age of 14 started it all. A pre-dispostion for the disease of addiction didn't help her.
I will leave the disease versus choice argument for the experts. May I recommend Dr. Kevin McCauley, his expertise on this topic is invaluable.

All I know is that my daughter has fought to numb her pain and disappear for 6 years.  We have fought to keep her alive for as long.  I will never give up, every life is worth saving. God blessed me with a beautiful daughter, I will not forsake her.

No Magic Pill…No Perfect Place

I found myself in the shower, wondering ‘is she that angry with me”, “she didn’t text me, she hasn’t called”.  The obsessive thoughts, certain she had relapsed, or worse... she is dead.  I was washing my hair, heard the door of the bathroom open, it was Ethan, I knew he was coming in to tell me she was gone, that this time she died.

It is family week, day 2.  Treatment attempt #3. We are at the Hyatt in Newport Beach, Chrissy is at SLBTS.  She is 19 years old, she has been addicted since she was 16. I am addicted to her.  Where does our story begin? In the fall of 1989, we welcomed a little girl into our family. She weighed in at  8 lbs 15.5 ounces, infant of a gestational diabetic mother, fat cheeks, beautiful baby girl. With a laugh that was beyond contagious.

Is she an addict because I was diabetic and craved birthday cake and ice cream, because I gained 60 pounds?  Or maybe its because my Dad is alcoholic, so is my sister.  Or wait both my paternal and maternal grandfathers were drunks, yeah that’s the reason.  Oh, it could be that my sister was in a near fatal car accident in Texas.  Christine was 8 months old; and as I cared for her, Christine was traumatically weaned from breast feeding, my milk production ceased due to the stress. That’s the reason she ended up injecting herself with heroin, I am sure of it.

I know deep in my soul this is all my fault, it is my fault that Ethan is coming into this bathroom to tell me she is dead.

Ethan walks into the bathroom,  I held my breath, and waited… he came in to get dental floss.  I am certifiable.  I am crazy.  I am constantly on the verge of tears.  I have to get dressed and get to family therapy, I need help.