Category Archives: Family

All posts having to do with my family, and family matters of addicts are here.

Dad-one special Dad

Towards the beginning of this blog, I wrote a post named “Dad-one weird dude”. It is truly amazing to see the difference in my perception with a little truth injection. I am the type of person, as I’m sure I’ve written, that must find these truths on my own. I listen to very little and believe less; unless I come to believe it on my own.

I have believed for many years that the barrier between my father and I was the result of the strange punishments he dealt to me when I was younger. I know that now to be completely false. My Dad is a great man that tried hard for many years to raise me in some terrible situations. He fed me in small portions at times to make sure I had dinner to eat the next day, but that’s not all.

My Mom had some serious issues and was in general a very sneaky person in my early childhood. My Dad couldn’t have known about all the sneaky things she was doing because she made sure I never spoke of them. Some of the things were so bad that I am positive I was directed not to tell. How could I have grown up with confidence in my Dad if I couldn’t speak to him about my terrors?

I know for certain those barriers were placed there for my Mom to hide who she was. The unfortunate result is that my Dad and I have rarely had any conversations based in truth. If I have learned one thing throughout this whole process, it is the fact that I am now sure my Dad loved me. Sad that we never had a chance back then because he gave up so very much to give me his last name. Thank you Dad- for everything.

In that first post, I wrote that Dad taught me the most about life. I still believe that, but I would like to go even further. I owe finding the strength to quit this methadone nonsense to him because he taught me to notice the beauty of this world we live in. Not many see it the way he does and I am so thankful he taught me. It’s just sad there were barriers there to prevent me from seeing earlier.

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Dear Mamma

If there is one thing on this earth that can anger me the way the methadone clinic does, it would have to be my mother. My mom was once the light of everything in my life. No one could have told me any different either. I forgave many times when I was younger for the things she did-things that very likely set me on the path towards drug addiction. Things that I am about to write about now.

The first thing I remember forgiving her for was leaving me when I was in the fourth grade to move to Louisiana. She had just found a new boyfriend, and was head over heels in love. I was hurt-I was hurt badly, but she was my almighty. Once she left, I always eagerly anticipated the holidays. Christmas’ would come; she would travel home, and cut me open wide when she would leave again. Although I didn’t know it at the time, it was those cuts and many more that would eventually bleed me dry of the unconditional love, and devotion I once reserved for only her.

The summer before I was to start my sixth grade year, I got the best news I could ever have imagined. All my tears had finally paid off when my brother and I were turned loose by my father. He loosed us into two years of misery and fear with a woman that had no business raising kids. Many more cuts would come during those two years, and they were the deepest of all, but I forgave. I forgave her for the great “Morgan City” lie she used to tell. I don’t know if she realized it then, but that was always the puke that came from her mouth when she was going to stay out drinking. “I have to go to Morgan City for work today”, is all we needed to here. I was in the sixth grade, and knew on those days that I would be responsible for getting my own dinner cause mamma wasn’t coming home.

I also forgave her for the wait. That terrifying time when I lay wide awake in a pitch black room, listening for car doors and praying, “Please God see my mamma comes home safe”. I don’t know if God ever heard me, but she always came home-eventually. When she did, I forgave her for the fights that came after. I would stand at my bedroom door waiting for the shouts to begin. Then I would run in, and throw my small body in between her and the boyfriend. All I cared about was protecting mamma. I didn’t give a shit about my own safety; I just didn’t want to see her hurt. It didn’t do any good as several times she was left with bruises and bald spots on her head. I remember once as I begged the boyfriend to stop, him saying, “Get out of here A-you don’t want to see your mom bleed”. What the fuck kind of mother…?

By that time, I had just about had enough of mamma, but she still had a few cuts to make. Just before moving back to Florida, she finally wrecked the car on one of the “Morgan City” nights, and got a DUI. She came home the next morning with bumps and bruises, and promised it was all over. No more drinking she said, and I believed her. Once the two year Louisiana horror story was over, me and my brother moved back home with dad. We didn’t talk much about all we had lived through out there. My dad wasn’t the easiest to talk to anyway. Mom and boyfriend married, and then moved to an apartment about an hour away from my dad’s. It was easy for her to hide the drinking she never quit with me and my brother only visiting every other weekend.

Still, I forgave. I forgave her for never having the guts to tell me that my father wasn’t really my father. I even forgave her when my heart was crushed the day I found out from my step-brother that she never quit drinking after the DUI. I forgave, but I wasn’t going to forget-that was the final cut.

Later in life I didn’t forgive, when the woman I once called mamma, took my brother to a bar. This was at a time when he was in the throes of a crack addiction fueled by low inhibitions when he drank alcohol. She said later that she knew he was going to drink so she wanted to be able to keep an eye on him. He stole her car that night, and traded it to a dealer for a few hits of crack. I could be wrong on this, but I’m fairly certain she called the police. What kind of person does such things to her children? Either way, she by her own choice has been doomed to a life of turmoil and misery. What comes around, I guess.

I said before that my journey into drugs is very likely the result of the things my mom did. The other day I was speaking to my brother about this. He has been to many rehabs and programs and had this to say- All of the bullshit we went through in Louisiana was at a time in our lives when we should have been receiving love and encouragement. It was a time when we should have been getting the positive reinforcement that we could accomplish whatever we dreamed.  Instead, we got what we got, and were taught to find things to help us escape reality. While I do realize there comes a time in everyone’s life when they must own what they’ve become, this seems plausible to me. We never truly grew up. At least not in the way that we were supposed to.

In the last year, my mom has begun drinking heavily. Even when we were in Louisiana, she wasn’t like she is now. Her life is a mess, and she will likely lose her job soon because she drinks at work. She will also probably lose her life because unlike in Louisiana, she no longer has youth on her side. I tried, albeit not with much enthusiasm, to talk some sense into her a couple months ago. When it didn’t work, I finally went to her, with all the “why’s” of when we were young. I’m in a fight of my own see, and I finally needed to get some answers. I wasn’t worried about protecting her feelings anymore; I just wanted to know how she could do what she did. I actually thought it may break her when she heard what I had to say, but I had to say it.  To this day, I feel one of two things is true. Either she truly doesn’t realize what she meant to me, or she doesn’t care. I can’t answer that, but I know what I saw, or better yet, what I didn’t see in those tired, defeated eyes when we had our talk. We are currently not on speaking terms. If somehow she ever reads this (which I don’t imagine she will), I have two questions for her…
Do you really not realize what you once meant to me, or do you just not give a fuck? Are you going to kill yourself with your drinking, and die letting me continue to believe the latter?

ismelltherain

Warning: Danger Ahead

I made a commitment to a friend recently that I would give some early warning signs that a child may be heading in a direction conducive to drug use. Over the next few days I began to think back about what signs my parents could have picked up on had they been looking. When I say “had they been looking”, it is not without reason. At the time, my brother had a raging crack addiction that kept him in and out of prisons and rehabs. There was very little time for anyone to notice anything other than his all-consuming life. It was a life that eventually led to his becoming homeless, living in a homeless shelter, and then living on the streets. It finally occurred to me that I actually have two reservoirs with which to draw early warning signs- mine and my brother’s.

With me, the first signs were visible in my loss of life direction. I lost my full time job because I could no longer seem to get to work on time, and very soon after, quit going to school. School just didn’t matter anymore. Any discussion prompted by those that cared for me, was met with vague answers about what I was doing, and where my life was headed. I had always been a night person, but my night dwelling increased substantially. Alongside that were my new night dwelling friends. I was no longer interesting in hanging out with people whose lives had direction- I couldn’t relate. Instead, I began hanging around people that could get me what I needed- more drugs. I began viewing life as a constant party to the point that my father had to eventually kick me out. Another thing that is very hard for me to admit now is that I was selling drugs to support my habit. Thank goodness I was never caught and arrested, but lack of money/borrowing wasn’t an issue for me- in the beginning anyway.

My brother didn’t have the same entrepreneurial spirit as I, and his lack of cash and the lies he told to acquire money were much more obvious. I remember a time in his late teens when he had a checkbook that he took pride in keeping balanced. He had always been good with money, and always seemed to have it. Some years later, when drug finally rendered him homeless, my dad and I were dispatched to clean out an apartment he’d been evicted from. I remember finding his old checkbook (which I now wish I’d saved) and noting how it was a literal road map of his decent into addiction. The book began balanced and showed a fair amount of money in his account. As time (and addiction) pressed on, it was obvious the money was dwindling as well as his ability to keep the book in order. Even his handwriting became almost unreadable. Towards the end of the book, it was clear that checks were still being written to an account that could no longer cash them. Damn I could kick myself now for not saving that book, but I digress.

I will try to sum it up in a paragraph. First, there was a marked change in both our lives when drugs were taking over. As I said, it was much easier for me living under the veil of chaos created by my brother, but both our dispositions were off kilter. Gradually at first, and then more rapidly we pulled away from family. Second, money matters to a drug addict. We cannot do what we do without it. Third, our friends told the tale. It is cliché’, but it is true; we were who we were hanging with. Many times I hear parents say, “How did I miss it when it was so obvious?” or “I felt something was off, I just didn’t know what”. I think parents many times are so in denial that it takes something major, like an arrest, to finally wake them to the nightmare. And there is no doubt, if you are a loving parent and your child gets hooked on drugs, you will live a nightmare. Believe it, fear it and recognize it! I have thought many times whether or not my parents could have done anything had they known early on, and I honestly don’t know. I do know that I certainly would have liked for them to have had the chance to try.

Looking back now, at my life before drugs, I will draw a parallel maybe young ones can find easier to understand. Think of my life as a game- a football game to be more precise. The game had a coach (my drive), a team (me, family and good friends), and a game plan (life dreams). I started the game (my life) and I was winning. I was in the prime of my life, moving with speed, determination and zeal. Then on one play there was a game changer…I was hit hard (opiates). It was a jarring hit that shook my life to its core. In an instant I was standing on the sidelines, watching as the game began to fall apart (addiction). There were many times as I watched the game that I needed, had to even, get back in. Every time I tried though, I was disoriented, confused, and utterly uncoachable. I was pulled again and again, and finally sidelined. I was forced to sit and watch as my youth, my dreams, my very soul was stripped from me.

I could cry right now if I were to think hard enough about what I was, and the future I lost. What I could have been. If there is one message I wish young people would take from my words, it is this: Drugs are a game changer. Everything you think you know will be taken from you because drugs don’t care about dreams and aspirations. Moral boundaries and inhibition will no longer exist. You will find yourself doing things that you never thought possible. There are many young ones, that will disregard my words of warning. For one reason or another, many young people are convinced that it would never happen to them. Trust me young ones, some of you will wake one day, if you wake, and find that young adult life and everything in it gone. Don’t be that person- don’t be me.

Speaking of me, it is no longer me. We (me and my family) are now in overtime in the game that is my life. Somehow, late in the fourth quarter we were able to put together a new team- create a new game plan. We have the ball and we’re in the red zone. The red zone is the dangerous 20 yards in between us and the goal (recovery). It’s a place where many times the game is won or lost. The game may go either way and if you could call Vegas, they would probably say I’m not favored. What do I think? I’m betting my life on my team FTW (For The Win).

This one’s for you and yours good friend. May your children grow to live fruitful, productive lives and may they always be able to walk outside and smell the rain. Thanks for all your help and advice. You’s a good man!

Functioning addict

I was thinking this morning about how some that read this blog may perceive me. I figured some may picture me as the stereotypical drug addict that is dirty, smelly and unkempt? Maybe to some of you, I have been homeless, in and out of jail with track marks up and down my arms. Fact is, I am none of those things. I take a shower every night, never been homeless, never been in jail (because of drugs) and never shot dope. I am married with kids, have a full time job, a car payment and even a mortgage. I could be anyone you know. Wait, let me rephrase that, I am someone you know; your child’s teacher, your therapist, or your grocery store clerk. The consummate functioning addict that doesn’t function, I am.

Still, I hurt. Yesterday was very hard for me physically. It was probably my worst day so far. I will keep on keepin’ on though. My wife, my beautiful wife, is the pillar on which I stand. Thank you so much dear. You have waited on me, patiently for so very long haven’t you? I’m still in the woods, and the storm is raging now but I am coming. I will be home soon.

ismelltherain

Lies, Manipulations and Drugs

I want you to know something about addicts. Just in case there is any doubt whatsoever, I want to make one thing abundantly clear; WE LIE. Fact is that we are masters of lying and deception. If lying were a pro football team, we would be the star quarterback. What’s more is that our easiest marks are loved ones. This is why so many family members of an addict are hurt so completely throughout the process. So much so that often it is advised that family members get counseling in tandem with a recovering addict. I’m guessing it’s for something akin to post traumatic stress disorder. You see, we are able to manipulate a family’s love, with very little effort, into something that benefits and enables us. Unfortunately (for loved ones) there is no thought given to the hurt we cause, but only to our own self-gratification. Being an addict, I have come up with a simple way of reading any situation with other addicts. When there is a question, default to “it’s a lie”. 99% of the time, it will be a lie. If it sounds fishy, it’s a lie. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s a lie. Generally, if an addict’s lips are moving, it’s a lie. I was just thinking of some of the whoppers I’ve told over the years.

Once when I was in a particularly tight spot financially, I went to a family member. I asked to borrow $200. The reason I said, was because my wife, in all her glorious dim wittedness, overdrew our bank account. It was going to be fine though because from then on, I was going to show her the correct way to balance a checkbook. I got that cash over a few laughs and a passing last mention not to mention anything to her about it. She was already extremely embarrassed and her tattered ego just couldn’t handle anyone else knowing. I never told her this one so I’ve likely just signed my death warrant. Lucky for family though, we addicts many times save our most creative lies for our fellow addicts. We’re generous like that.

Many years ago, I had a contact (dealer) I bought Tylox from every month. Tylox comes in capsule form and is a mixture of oxycodone and Tylenol. At some point in our dealings, I came up with a brilliant plan. Once, when her (dealer) prescription was filled, I went over and bought half (60) the pills. I took them home and emptied the contents, which was a white powder, into a zip lock bag. I then crushed up zinc pills into a similar fine white powder and refilled the caps. I was very good at it, and even used cotton gloves so the oil on my fingertips wouldn’t smudge the outer sheen on the capsule. I then balled them up in a sheet of aluminum foil. A few days later, I set off to purchase (rip-off) the other 60 pills. While at her apartment, I went into the kitchen to retrieve the sheet of aluminum foil she always gave me to put the purchased pills in. I balled them up and slipped them in my jacket pocket. All of the sudden, I realized I had conveniently left my wallet at home. I took the zinc pills out and handed them to her saying I would be back. This worked approximately 1.5 times, because the next time I pulled the stunt, she stopped me before I could get the pills put away. She then demanded I empty my pockets in front of her. I made haste as I headed out the door saying that what I had in my pocket was too personal for anyone else to lay eyes on. Even now, I’m thinking how ridiculous that sounds. I was then in quite a fix with no money and no way of feeding my habit. As it turns out though, I had everything I needed, which was a pile of look-alike Tylox and the number of another addict. I solved the problem by unloading the bogus lot on my fellow, unassuming idiot, ahem, addict. And because I was such a nice guy, I even gave a discount because he bought them all. After not hearing from him in quite some time though, I inquired as to his whereabouts. I learned that he was recovering, as he had been allergic to zinc. He spent nearly a week in bed and had a horrible metallic taste in his mouth for a month afterward. I vowed to him that sooner or later I’d catch up with the bitch that scammed us like that.

As I look back now, I realize that I am very lucky to have never been arrested or even worse for the things I’ve done. Lies hurt and it is very important to know that addicts, when in the moment, do not care.

ismelltherain