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Hey guys, sorry I have been kinda absent lately. I have had a ton of stuff going on. I don’t know if you remember or not but a month or so ago I was asking for help finding treatment for my sister in law. Well, we waited and waited and after keeping her in my house for a week she ran off. She truly wanted help and we didn’t find any.
I can’t tell you how heartbreaking that was for me. I couldn’t believe that I spend up to 80 hours a week working tirelessly to help in this epidemic, have amazing connections and yet I couldn’t help her find treatment. She was off and running hard and there really wasn’t much hope of stopping her.
The worst part is that every once in a while she would message me and tell me how scared she was. That she didn’t want to live that way. About two weeks in my brother in law left treatment. He has been there for almost 9 months and they kicked him out because he got a dirty urine for Neurontin. I was so angry. Angry at him for taking it and angry at them for being so closed minded that they weren’t willing to give him another shot. They told him he could come back in two days. REALLY? I can’t even believe it as I write it.
He ended up calling his wife who is still in active addiction and the two of them met up with my sister in law. That was a real recipe for disaster. They were selling themselves, stealing, lying and cheating all over the place. A week into the binge my one and two-year-old niece and nephew were taken into custody and put into a foster home. Their parents didn’t bat an eye, they were going to ride this one till the wheels fell off. I don’t know if it was my mother in laws crying or my own guilt for not being able to help but let’s just say I took my computer and went into the basement and made it my personal mission to put the shit to an end.
A few days ago I set my sister in law that was looking for help before up to be picked up by the police and today I was finally able to get my brother in law into custody. I wouldn’t be exaggerating when I say that I made posters of them and sent them to every police station, Walmart and Meijer ( there favorite boosting spots) chase and fifth third bank ( because I learned they had stolen checks from these banks) and every pawn shop within 100 miles of our City. I had their cell phones turned off so it would be harder to reach their dealers and hacked their facebooks and changed the passwords so they wouldn’t be able to reach dealers that way. Now that they are safe the only one that is still out there is my brother in laws wife. I hate this woman. She is the devil. No joke. I won’t even go into the why because it’s awful. The problem though is do I stop with the ones that are important to me?
First, day out of rehab and my world has closed in on me,
Every corner has my parents jumping out,
If only they understood what this does,
I have to do the fighting not them,
For some reason, they think it’s their duty,
But this duty is pushing me to my edge,
Is this my recovery or their recovery,
Are they doing this out guilt or mercy,
Maybe it’s their way of keeping me sober,
The sad truth is they don’t have a clue,
Nothing is keeping me clean but me,
Do this, do that, that’s not going to work,
How do they know, they need to step back,
But I’m feeling like a rat in a cage,
A puppet on my parent’s strings,
If I try to break out and do my own thing,
Then little whispers float in the air,
You are going to relapse if you don’t listen,
Man it makes me mad,
Almost mad enough to throw my hands up,
I know they are worried about me,
But this has to be my recovery,
I must find my own way,
If I fall down then I have to figure out how to get up,
Without this being my recovery it means nothing at all,
I need space because this can’t continue,
Nothing healthy will come out of this, nothing.
At nineteen I found out I was pregnant by my long-term boyfriend. This was twenty three years ago. It shouldn’t have mattered that my boyfriend was black, but it did. My parents tried to understand and if we would have been healthy at all things might have been different. He was abusive and I was in love.
I don’t remember how my mother found out I was pregnant but she told me that I needed to have an abortion. See, I had given a child up for adoption at sixteen, so just three years before. It rocked the entire family and my mom wanted this to go away. There was an appointment made at an abortion center and she took my latest paycheck and put it in her purse to go toward the fee for the abortion. There was no way I could do it so I took the paycheck out of her purse and left.
My mother was beyond angry with me. Let’s face it I was no peach to deal with. She was remarried to a man from a conservative family. They didn’t date out of their race and girls did what they were told….if not they didn’t get caught. That was a skill I never acquired. I always got caught.
The father of my child drove me down to Kentucky to stay with my dad. When we arrived we found that I wasn’t welcome in Kentucky either. I bounced from house to house for a week or two and then he came back and got me. I spent a couple of weeks sleeping in my car. Sometimes he would stay with me but I was alone most of the time. Eventually, his mom allowed me to spend the night at her house. She told me that I needed to find somewhere to go. She suggested that I go to a homeless shelter. This thought was so scary but I had to find a place to stay. I was about four months along and I really felt the clock ticking.
One morning I opened the phone book and looked for shelters for women. I was from Woodridge, Il a very nice suburb one minute and now I was looking for any place that would take me. I called several places, and the people were anything but welcoming. I didn’t think I would ever find a place to go. Then I called The Lambs Fold. The lady that answered the phone had a very warm and kind voice. She had a thick Jamaican accent and told me that I absolutely should come and be assessed to stay there.
I couldn’t believe my luck. She told me that this shelter was for ladies in exactly my situation. The house was located in Joliet Il. I hadn’t even heard of this area but it was only about 45 minutes away. As soon as my boyfriend came by his mother’s house I had him take out to the shelter. I was so scared. I didn’t want to leave him and wanted desperately for everyone to be excited that my baby was coming.
It was late when we arrived. The house was dark. I rang the doorbell and a tiny little lady answered the door. It was the kind woman who I spoke to on the phone. She ushered us in and had me fill out some forms. She needed to find out why I needed help and so I told her. I was ashamed that I was in this situation. The father of my child is standing right beside me while I explain that I have nowhere to go. He wasn’t going to do anything to help me. He was probably happy to get me out of his hair. We were so young and he was far from ready to be a father.
I want to say her name was Tiffany or something but I don’t remember even though I can picture her face as though she were standing in front of me now. She took me to my room and I was pleased to find that there were only six women at the house at any one time. That is all it could hold.
The Lambs Fold, took care of us. They took me to the doctor and made sure that I ate properly. There was a schedule that hung in the kitchen that had all of our meals planned out and who was going to cook them. If your name was on the schedule to cook you cooked what was scheduled. On the meal plan there was a recipe attached that we were to follow. I hated cooking there. See I didn’t realise it but they were teaching us how to cook. To this day I make my chili exactly the way that little recipe card taught me.
You see the secret is that you use V8 juice instead of water. You are getting vegetables without even knowing it. It is so funny because see there were girls that wouldn’t eat any veggies in the house, but they sure loved that chili. I was 19 when I was at The Lamb’s Fold and now I am 42. I make that chili at least twice a month and my seven-year old who hates veggies eats my chili. Thank you for that.
We had bible study once or twice a week and mind you I hadn’t ever opened a bible. We did potluck at the church once a week, regular church on Sunday and a 12 step to Jesus one night a week at the church as well. I was loved there and taught to love myself. They went to doctors appointments with me and ooed and ahhed at his little heartbeat. This is what I longed for and they gave it to me.
Since there were five other girls in the house I got to see that as bad as I thought my situation was it could be worse. I watched as women who had, had their other kids taken from them were given the tools and support to keep their babies when they never thought it was possible. When someone went into labor we all went to the hospital and made sure the mommy and baby were fussed over and loved.
See, when I walked into the Lamb’s Fold I was about as low as I could be. When I left I left with my head held high and the tools to not only take care of myself, but raise one of the best people I know.
My son was the general manager of a local ice cream chain at the age of 16. By 20 he was making 40,000 a year at Chanel. He is currently one of 8 Chanel Certified Makeup Artists in the United States. He is a wonderful person, who might not be here if The Lamb’s Fold didn’t exist. My family thought if they pushed me away the pressure would get to me and I would crack and abort my baby. The Lamb’s Fold ensured that did not happen.
When I went into labor my mother and father both came to the hospital. There was no denying the change in me. After my baby was born, my step dad called all of his family and friends and told them that Chris was born and he had better never hear another racist comment from anyone.
From that day forward I was no longer a little girl I was a woman. Thank you to everyone at The Lamb’s Fold. Every year I hang a little lamb on my christmas tree and tell a little story about the people who saved me and my child.
This is the question that every parent of an addict desperately wants to know. The answer to the question is that it didn’t have to be your kid, it just was. It was the luck or unluck of genetics and circumstance.
Your child didn’t decide, you know what…I think I want to be an addict when I grow up instead of a doctor. They didn’t sit in their bed and fantasize about being dope sick the way little girls dream about their weddings. Not one addict I know had a set plan to steal from their families and destroying relationships the way a teenager plans for college.
It is a disease. Some people cannot use socially the way others can. So maybe in high school or college, you tried coke or pills, but you didn’t do it every day after. Someone with the disease of addiction cannot do that. They might start their disease with something like Xanax or a pot only to graduate to pain meds, heroin or meth. They might do them all.
Parents need to remember that just because their child is an addict doesn’t mean they don’t love you and that you did something wrong. It just means that your child can’t do it just once. They didn’t get high alone that first time but more than likely the people they did it with didn’t all become addicts. It really is like the unlucky lotto.
Maybe some of you have guilt because of your own addictions or for something else that happen when your child was growing up. I will tell you that yes, your child may be hurt by some of this and could be using to numb feelings but if they weren’t genetically made up to have this disease they wouldn’t be an addict.
So the next time you start to ask yourself this question or why me if you are the addict. Just remember that it isn’t because you are bad. If you are the parent it most likely wouldn’t have mattered that you worked more than you wished you had or that you gave spankings for punishments. If you are the addict, remember that you are not a bad person. You just can’t use drugs or drink like others. There is no way that you could have known that.
Don’t beat yourself up, is the moral of this story. If your child or loved one is the addict love them and do your best not to shame them. If you are the addict, find some help. The good news is that neither of you are alone and you will find that some of the best people on earth are recovering addicts, so you will be stepping into a fine crowd.
This poem speaks volumes to me about the disease of addiction and how even with the consequences staring us in the face, we still use.