Thursday, April 14, 2016
Drugs and Addiction
The last time I posted to this blog was 2011. Who would have known within five years my life would be turned inside out. No need to recap the last five years that would take too much time. Here is where I am at today. I have my 20-year old son 90 days sober. Everyday it is a new experience for me, my emotions are all over the place. Yesterday morning's quiet pre-sunrise walk was depressing and signs of hopelessness met me along the path. I generally never used to feel sad and depressed in the mornings, usually upbeat and full of optimism. But since I learned of my son's heroin addiction that has changed my moods. I wrote down for the first eight days one word to describe what i was feeling. I am not sure why that word came to my mind, and why it went in this order but here is what i came up with. Day 1-Reality. Day 2-Overwhelmed Day 3-tired Day 4-Worried Day 5-Fight Day 6-Hope Day 7-Isolation Day 8-Patience There are only seven days in a week, but from my viewpoint, living with an addiction we've managed to squeeze in eight days. And you can see the roller coaster of my life. If you find yourself in my shoes the first thing I would recommend is to immediately seek advice from your doctor. Had we done this, we possibly could have gotten my son in treatment sooner and had our insurance cover the cost of residential treatment. Instead I seeked help from treatment centers all around the country and had no idea that without that doctor's permission I would be paying a lot more in costs. But my son is 90-days sober, so that was money well spent. Find support groups so you have people who are going thru the same thing or have been there, to talk about and try to help you manage your life. You are not alone. Sometimes it felt like no one else cared. And they do care but people are not going to come up and say, "Sorry to hear about your junkie son." In fact, there is such a stigma attached to heroin that no one wants to talk about it until now. I'm talking and I hope people start listening. More people today die in an opioid overdose than die in an auto accident. Wow. That's insane! The dope hitting the streets is laced with stuff no one knows about. It's all illegal and there is not control on how it is cut, if at all and with whatever other types of drugs. Basically the user is playing a form of Russian roulette. Living on the edge is scary for the loved one's family. Every time I got a call from an unknown number I worried is this it? My son has overdosed and they are telling me he is gone? Words like that creep into my mind at all hours, usually when I am trying to sleep. Get help. You need help. That is what everyone says and they are not wrong. Find people to talk with, your own support team. You need help as much as your addicted loved one. Believe me, still today, the hooks are thrown out there and the last time I heard one it took me three days to figure it out. It takes me awhile to process our visits. The more you learn about heroin and opioids the more you will be willing to talk about it and realize we have a problem in our country and we have to deal with it. Treatment for all our loved ones is first and foremost. Let's concentrate on that. Fortunately, Iowa just passed a law making Naloxene or Narcan available to family's of loved ones as well as first responders, police and lay people. My son is not living with us now, but knowing this is available for when or if we ever need to use it is a good thing. Some people think it is a safety net. It is not. It is similar to having syrup of ipecac available in the home for accidental poisoning.