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The Teenage Runaway
Category: The Kids | Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 7:50 am
Friday, June 16 2006
8:15 am and it is time to wake Shaine up for a new day. One that includes a full day of rehab and school. I get to the steps to head down to his room and before I even take 2 steps down, I know something is wrong. My heart drops, my brain reels, but I continue down the steps.
I call his name once with no response. On a typical day, that would be no surprise, but today is not your typical day; at least, it does not feel like a typical day. Probably because, it falls on the heals of a very difficult day yesterday, preceeded by a very difficult week and further proceeded by a nightmare of a month.
OK, deep breath. Turn on the light. There you have it, the tears I was holding back begin to flow. The sobs are shared with the panic of a body trying to breathe. The bed is EMPTY.
Fine, get ahold of yourself. Look, think, process, but most of all - BREATHE.
Oh God, those are both tethers sitting on the speaker by his bed! He took them off, after a year fighting his own demons while wearing those things, he removed them. Oh Lord, please keep him safe.
A note, on his bed and addressed to his girlfriend. "I am sorry for being such an *******, you deserve better than me..."
I find myself running up the steps, out the door and falling to the lawn. Sobs strong enough to lead to vomiting. No, you have to get ahold of yourself. I have to keep thinking this over and over until I can focus on getting the phone and making the appropriate phone calls.
Two hours and many phone calls later I stop to open my desk drawer. There it is, the proof of his choice. "Mom, you have to stop caring, but never stop loving me, only caring..."
At that moment, I realized that caring and love go hand in hand. I also realized that it was finally my time. Today was the day. Today was the day that I was going to let out not only the frustrations of the last 4 years, but the pent up dispair of the last 15 years. Today is the day that everyone, past and present, hears the story of why my son turned to drugs at the age of 12. Why he choose drugs over a loving family. Why he allowed drugs to rule his life. But most importantly, why I choose to never stop fighting for his recovery.
Why I learned the difference between enabling him and how to avoid that as best a possible, yet still protect him from the demons that haunt him, even though those with the most power in his life could not see it. Today, after more phone calls than I can count, my son is still gone, but so is the demon. Now we just have to pray to God Shaine comes home. That he chooses recovery over misery. That he sees it finally happened, the promise I made to him 4 years ago... to take the wind out of the demons wings... has happened. Today, I am strong.
15 years ago or so was the first time I caught my ex cheating with (edited). I divorced him in 2001. Enough is enough since I could not fight the doting father, wonderful husband, awesome friend and court employee that was the life he lead when others were present.
2002 was an awful period. My then 12 year old and 7 year old boys had normal parenting time with their father. But I started to see anger in Shaine. Not the type of anger that comes with drug use, but a deep hurting anger. The kind that builds up inside of you until you either explode or extinguish it. I did not understand until the day Shaine came to me and told me his Dad was (edited).
I took all of the necessary steps to protect my boys. Unfortuantely, the laws were not quite strong enough to help the boys. Dad got a slap on the wrist and and lecture. He turned around and said to Shaine, "How could you have done that to me? If you loved me, you never would have turned me in." I kept the boys from their Dad for 6 months. But to make matters worse, Shaine would not open up to any of the professionals that we sent him to. He refused to talk about it in any way. He did not explode from the anger, he turned to drugs to extinguish them.
I finally was able to get him into a wonderful rehab program, but still could not get anyone to see past his father's perfectly wonderful manipulations of two different lifestyles. It did not seem to matter because Shaine slowly started making progress. He was clean for 5 months. This past Mother's Day was the best ever.
Then May 15, 2006 things fell apart. I called my ex at work to talk to him about something to do with the kids. I found out that my ex had lost his long time job the week before, even though he had told me he was on vacation. I said, "What, did he get fired for (edited)?" "There is no way you chould know that" was their response.
Yeah, right, sure, ok... "ahhh, I have lived with the knowledge for years and it is about time his lifestyle and the law came face to face." I spent the rest of the day on the phone.
May 16th brought us face to face with him. Andy and I, along with several support personnel sat in a room with the ex and he spilled his guts. Next came the boys, one at a time, for him to tell straight up, in front of us all. It is finally time for the truth and it is a truth no parent would want their children to hear. But yet I feel nothing but relief. He deserves the prison time and my boys deserve to heal.
But Shaine decided that he could not deal with the anger, topped with shame and hurt and disappointment. He choose drugs instead. And so the cycle begins again.
June 16, 2006 rehab and I call him out on lies, relapse behaviors and positive drug tests. I tell him I don't know how much more I can take. I then drove to the Detention Center parking lot and we sat there for 45 minutes with me trying to get him to tell the truth and acknowledge his pain. Some things come out, but most just get buried deeper within him. I tell him that he either gets a handle on things and uses the support that is in place for him or he goes to Detention. I explain to him that it is not the use, but the lies and all that goes with it. He chooses recovery. I know, with all we have been through, that in his heart he wants recovery but I am not sure that his brain sees it that way right now. I drive him home and Andy and I lay down the ground rules. He then asked to be driven to the local AA meeting which he attends 2-4 times per week.
Odd, but looking back on it now, I should have seen it coming. The hugs were extra long, the love you words were extra meaningful. At 11:15 pm I told him that "tomorrow will bring a fresh start so remember that we love you and go get some sleep". He left sometime after that.
Never the end, but one more day of trying to get through to the boy:
I called the Detective and found out exactly what I could tell people and what I could not. I explained to him that it was finally time to let the world know what this man has done to his boys. I am armed with knowledge, mad as a wet hen and as protective as a mamma bear. But I need help getting the word out to Shaine and I can only do that if people know the full story.
I need help because he is scared and alone. Because he needs to know that his PO officers and everyone else has agreed that my home is his safe-house. They will not remove him from here to take him to Detention or send him back to Muncie IN as punishment for relapse.
Rehab and the PO's will come here and sit down with all of us, including Shaine to come up with a plan of action that best suits his recovery process and healing needs. But I need everyone in our lives, past and present to help keep an eye out for him, to pass the word along through the streets in hopes that Shaine will get them.
I cannot sleep and so I sit here writing instead. I am afraid to go to sleep because I may not hear his cries.
Shaine, I know you are out there and can hear with your heart. Everyone knows, everyone loves you and everyone is worried about you. You have NOTHING to be ashamed of. The shame is not yours to bear. It is your father's shame and he must bear this alone.
I love you my dearest and will never stop loving you. But neither can I stop caring. Shame on you for asking. Now come home so we can get back on the road of recovery. Home is where you belong.
Last edited: Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:42 pm
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Date night with my son
Category: The Kids | Posted: Tue May 02, 2006 1:58 am
Andy was a dinner with his son and Travis was at his girlfriend's house for dinner and to do homework.
Shaine (16 year-old) asked me out to dinner. Granted, I had to pay, but it was worth every penny spent.
We went to Steak and Shake and had a very nice time. Not much talk, more just time spent together. I have missed those moments in time and thoroughly enjoyed it. We finished off dinner with a chocolate/bannana shake.
He told me he was glad we went, that he had a nice time.
Now I have to go get him to do his homework. Oh well, back to real life!
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Teenage depression and drug use
Category: The Kids | Posted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 4:10 pm
Teenage depression can be a problem and is common place among today's teenagers. If you have a teen who has a problem with drugs and/or alcohol, the problem is figuring out if the depression came first or the drug use. Although there are times that a teenager will turn to drugs or alcohol to help them free themselves from the depression, more often than not, the drug use came first thus leading to the depression.
Most of the symptoms of depression in teenagers are also the symptoms of drug abuse. Personally, I think that the main difference is that a depressed teen will cut themselves off from everyone, including their friends. A teen who is abusing drugs will cut themselves off from everyone except other friends who are using.
When my son was diagnosed with depression and placed on medication, he was getting exactly what he wanted. More drugs. Even worse than the doctors giving a prescription for depression rather than seeing him as an addict, was the fact that the Prozac, coupled with the illegal drugs made him worse than ever.
At the time, I was told that if we were able to get a handle on the depression, we would take care of the drug problem. Even the court system agreed, going so far as ordering into the sentence that the prescription be taken on a regular basis. Fine, if the doctor's and the courts all agree on it, then it must be the right thing.
Looking back on it, I can understand why I fell for it. I had no one to tell me otherwise. But, to this very day, I will tell you otherwise. If you have a teenager who is an addict, you have to get to the bottom of that BEFORE you treat the depression. More than likely, you treat the addiction and the depression is no longer a problem.
If you have a teenager who is using and are unsure of why or what to do, find a private funded teenage treatment center and make an appointment. Not a mental health center, but a drug treatment center.
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Three types of parents
Category: The Kids | Posted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:10 am
Present day and I am sitting here thinking about all of the things we have been through as a family. After the birthday dinner and night in the woods, came the family vacation. That iwll be the next post.
The one thing I have come to understand is that parents fall in to three groups:
1)Confront the situation, whether in the right way or the wrong way.
2)Want to help but do not know how.
3) Completely ignore the situation and continue on with their own lives.
Some parents fall into only one category and others fall into more than one of the categories, depending on where they are in the learning process.
Confront the situation: This would be the parent who will confront the situation with a calm voice and a Love and Logic approach; or the parent who reacts to the situation with yelling and a 'you are worthless' attitude.
Want to help but do not know how: This is a tough one. To know you want to help your child but are unable to find the help you, as a parent need, to help the child.
Completely ignore the situation: This is a very sad type of parent. Unfortunately, this is also the type of parent that I have seen the most in relation to my son's friends over the years.
After the overdose, I spent hours on the phone. The first of many hours on the phone to be spent. I made a doctor's appointment for a physical for him and requested a standing order with the lab for random drug tests. The first test was positive, just days after the overdose.
From there, after several failed attempts at finding a helpful path, I was able to get him evaluated for the local mental health hospital. They placed him in a one week day program.
He came out of that with a diagnosis of depression and a prescription of Prozac. If I knew then what I know now, I would have laughed at them, threw the prescription away, and kept looking for the right kind of help.
But I did not know. So counseling began, with weekly visits that went no where . Not to mention the random drug tests which continued to be positive. But I give it time in hopes that it will help. I mean really, what else could I do?
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A cold night in the woods
Category: The Kids | Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:07 am
Moving forward from the F.A.P. diagnosis. It is the younger ones 10th birthday and we are celebrating by going out to dinner and a movie. Andy and I actually dared take the two boys to a sit down restaurant in the hopes that they would mind their manners and enjoy a nice family meal. Unfortunately, between the older one's phone calls on the cell phone and the constant comments of "how long is the movie?" it was a miserable dinner.
I know, you are thinking...why did you not take the phone away? Well, honestly there were just things at that point that were not worth the fight. So often we were at war and a nice restaurant was not the place for a major battle.
Dinner finally came to an end and we headed off to the movies. Good grief, I swear that the older one must have left the theater a dozen times to "go to the bathroom". I do remember that the rest of us managed to enjoy the movie. We then all headed home, at which point the older one left and went to a friend's house. Whew, some quiet time.
Odd thing is, I slept well that night, although most nights I did not. By this point, the older one had taken to sneaking out of the house at all hours of the night. But on this night, he had actually told me where he was going, or so I thought.
He comes home the next morning and slept all day. Typical of him at this point. Spends more time high, drunk and sleeping then he spends on school work, helping around the house and spending time with the family.
He finally has slept and is sober enough to tell us about the night he had.
Seems he and a buddy somehow got involved in a fight between a woman and her boyfriend. He says they were trying to help the woman. Next thing he knows, the guy pulls a gun out and starts chasing them. They ran for the woods and hid, scared out of their minds. They were afraid to come out and ended up sleeping in the woods all night.
OK, and you did not use the cell phone you had on you why? I mean really, you cannot get through a family dinner without using it. I would think you could have used it in the heat of the moment to call the police or me. But no, drugs make the mind work in mysterious ways. Better to hide in the woods all night and freeze then to call for help. What next?
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Familial Adenomatous Polyposis
Category: The Kids | Posted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 1:04 am
Time to switch gears somewhat.
Two months after the overdose, I had to have both the boys genetically tested for F.A.P. (Familial Adenomatous Polyposis). It is a hereditary colon cancer disease which is being passed from the boys father. The genetic test was to find out if none, one or both of my boys had the the mutation. Both the boys have known, since they were old enough to understand, that this was a possibility.
2 weeks after the blood work was drawn, we got the news. The 13 year old was negative for the gene. Unfortunately, my 9 year old was positive. Heartbroken, I watched him go through a multitude of emotions over the next few days. I knew he had come to terms with it when, one night when just he and I were talking, he told me "God gave me it for a reason, and not my brother. He must know that I can handle it and that my brother cannot."
I cried. Nothing else to say except I cried, hugged him and told him how much I loved him. Then I cried some more.
F.A.P. information of interest:
Kids with F.A.P. will develop hundreds to thousands of polyps throughout the colon. Although most times they begin to form once puberty is reached, they can start developing earlier, around the age of 8 to 11.
The biggest concern is that the polyps are all pre-cancer and will become cancer without treatment. It only takes one polyp to change from pre-cancer to cancer. Usually in the youth, the polyps are found in the colon. As they mature, the polyps will also be found throughout the entire intestine (large and small), the duodenum, the stomach and the esophagus.
Although it means regular intestinal and stomach scopes (at least 2 per year) as well as several surgeries throughout their life, most kids with F.A.P lead normal lives.
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And you were thinking what?!
Category: The Kids | Posted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 9:03 pm
Back to the present for a moment. My now 16 year old has been in a full-day rehab setting for almost 4 months and just graduated to the second level on April 19, 2006. That placed him in a high school setting (first time back in school since last November) which includes a rehab classroom that he goes to for first hour, lunch time and after school.
Today was what is called a staffing meeting. All staff members from the rehab school, the rehab classroom, the school vice principal, high school teachers, his father and myself are included. My son had to lead the meeting, giving details of his use and addictions, what his triggers are, what teachers and staff can do to help, where he is currently at and where he is going. Everyone could then ask questions.
He did great with his presentation, but was busted for skipping his 6th hour strength and training class several times, including today. Duh! Skip the class that is right before the meeting!
This came on the heels of 2 drug drops in 24 hours and now another one this evening because of a situation that involved one of his peers. Of course, not completely knowing my sons involvement in everything but knowing he was involved or knew of it, rehab felt it was better to stay on top of it. The first two were clean, and I am hoping the one tonight will be clean as well. He says it will be.
Then he gets upset because no one will believe him. He tells me he might as well use again as everyone assumes he is. Excuse me...um, what is he thinking, he has been sober since January 4, 2006. OK, I understand sort of what he is thinking.
But I say to him, "You know, if you do not give them a reason to distrust you, then they would not have to question you. Hanging out with a peer that is using again and not calling him out during the morning meeting is only enabling him. Skipping class with him is only giving them reasons to suspect you. Look at the big picture. You have come so far and are doing great. They are there to help you, but you have to be completely honest, and you have to be accountable for your actions. It is only a small set back, which you can overcome very easily. And always remember that I love you, and support you, but you have to do this for yourself."
He is quiet for the rest of the ride back to the main rehab house for a group outing. When he gets there, he says to me, "Pick me up from the outing at 7:45 tonight so I can go to an AA meeting (he attends AA 3-4 times a week, depending on his needs).
I am proud of him; having a minor bump in the road of recovery, taking it in as a learning lesson and moving on. Now let's hope that tonight's drug screen is negative as well and that the lesson learned today sinks in permanently.
As for me, each incident becomes smaller and how I deal with it gets easier. I have the rehab program to thank for that. They require parents to attend group meetings where they help us understand and deal. They require us to attend individual family meetings so they can teach us how to interact as a functional family of an addict. And they involve us every step of they way.
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Category: The Kids | Posted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 4:24 pm
Flashback - We were now half way through his 13th year. Made it this far, yet wondering how we have done it.
He is spending the night at a long time friends house. I figured it was no big deal as I have known this family for years and they live right around the corner. Am I kidding myself here?!
11:30 p.m. I get a knock on the door. The mom is bringing my son home. He walks in the door and I can immediately tell he is on something. OK, the questions begin.
Other Mom: I was sound asleep and I felt someone in my bedroom. He was just standing there staring. I called his name, but he did not answer. I turned the light on and he did not bat an eyelash. He just stood there staring.
Her son also came to bring him home, so I ask him: What did he take?
After prodding and getting "I don't know", it finally came out. They had gone to the local drugstore and stole over the counter Dramamine. So I search his pockets, while he stands there staring and trying to talk, but cannot.
Found the pills and after more prodding of the friend, figured my son probably took about nine 50 mg tablets. OK, so off to the hospital.
He overdosed by accident. Whether he figured he could handle that many, or just did not realize how many he took, it made for a very long night. I can tell you that having your child throw up thick black charcoal quicker than he can drink it is not fun.
And the hallucinations were amazing. The things he thought he was seeing and hearing, in a way made me chuckle. Unfortunately, because of the hallucinations, he does not remember the seriousness of the situation.
About the only thing he remembers is thinking the sink on the wall in the ER was a toilet and urinating in it. Well, not really in it; More like all over the wall and the floor around it.
Hospital releases him and I bring him home, put him to bed and follow their orders for observation for the next few hours. I have another sleepless night and take the time to begin putting together a plan of action for phone calls for help.
He lived though the overdose, but another part of me died inside that night.
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Teenager and so it begins
Category: The Kids | Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:12 pm
Fast forward to two months after the thirteenth birthday. He is an official teenager. This just makes it easier for me, as mom, to say he is "testing the waters" of adulthood.
"Mom, it is Friday night, can me and my buddy go over to a friends for a while?"
"Sure, be home by 10:00 p.m."
"Why are the two of you back home, what happened?"
"I think he drank to much!"
Well, he certainly did. "What did he drink?"
"I am not sure but we had a fifth and I only had a couple of drinks."
"How much is left?"
Sent the buddy home.
I spent the next hour holding my son's head while he puked up everything he consumed, and then some. He passes out and the following hour was spent wiping the drool from his face and nose, keeping him from smothering in it. From there I checked on him every 15 minutes, until the breathing went from passed out drunk, to the normal breathing of sleep.
OK, I can check on him every half hour now. About 4 a.m. I finally fell asleep exhausted thinking that we would have a nice long chat tomorrow. The first deep down, nitty gritty talk, not the standard talk that every parent gives at some point.
Little did I know, it was the first of many more to come.
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Beginning of the never-ending battles
Category: The Kids | Posted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 3:46 pm
Age 12. That is how old my now 16 year old was when I began to suspect drugs.
It was the little things: Falling grades, tired all the time, cranky as all get out, change of friends, dropping out of things he enjoyed and lying. Little white lies at this point, but oh my, was he setting the stage for some real whoppers as he got older.
But he was my oldest so I told myself that it was normal stages for a pre-teen.
The once closeness that we had was disappearing as well. I think that is the part that was the hardest for me to understand at that time. We were usually inseparable, and he was beginning to stay as far away from me as he could. Again, I could justify it to myself by believing that it was normal stages. A young boy trying to find his own identity.
As for his brother, he was only 7 and oblivious to it all. But then, my youngest is really good at keeping things hidden. Born with Sensory Integration, he had enough of his own problems to deal with on a daily basis. Considering I received my first true hug from him at age 5...Well, that is for another post. And he did not get the F.A.P. (familial adenoma polyposis) diagnosis until age 10.
Yet another reason I tried to justify the older one's behavior. Was he jealous of the younger brother getting so much attention with the Sensory Disorder? Not to mention the divorce.
The boys were 6 and 11 when I decided to call a 14 year marriage unbearable, and filed for divorce. Chalked that up to the older child's behavior as well.
So although just the beginning of a long battle, I was not ready to admit that there were problems. For every problem, I had an excuse. Typical, and just the beginning.
I had not yet reached the "Mom has left the building" stage.
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