Thursday, March 31, 2005

Chapter 10 from Agape Love by Marilyn R. Lyon

A picture of Todd from Sept. on "Crackheads in Jail" page at

Halfway between the months of August and December of 1992, Todd began to get very nervous about his money. He had claimed from the beginning that he could not handle money even under the best of conditions. It was only by the Grace of having had such a plentiful amount always coming in those years previously he managed to make ends meet. He was convinced that getting a check and going to cash it was a trigger that made him eventually give into crack. This was especially true after he had picked up the pieces of his life and things were running smoothly again. To his credit even with the profound lure of crack plummeting through his system every day after a failure his resolve to set his life functioning again on some level was so strong he could concentrate on only that. He would be able to use this strength someday to stop. But as his life began to run again the lure moved further to the front and talked to him loudly. "You can have it all this time. This time it will work".
I came home from work one day and there was a badly scribbled note in large letters taped to my bedroom door. His door was closed. Basically it said he was the lowest crawling slimy scum that ever was put on earth. He had cashed his check and went right to the crack house. He spent all but a few dollars for gas and food. This included spending his rent money. He promised under oath and death that with next weeks check he would make it up. He apologized and apologized and apologized. He also added that he was so depressed and suicidal he could not talk about it right now.
This was a slip according to George Medzerian's book. I went immediately into his room uninvited not knocking. He was curled up in a ball with all his clothes on including his shoes with the covers pulled over his head. I pulled the covers off his head, rubbed his shoulders briefly and sat down.
I told him," You have slipped again. Get out of bed. Tomorrow is another day. Start again. If it gets worse then this we will have to rethink your staying here. For now just start again".
He sat up on the edge of the bed telling me he was hopeless he was so low there were no words for it.
I told him this was ridiculous to feel this way. He was lying to himself. Why do that? He had been a raving success 90% of his life. He was loved by everyone who met him. He must start again. Take it day by day.
He said he needed my help with his money. I would need to meet him at the store when he cashed his check. He would give me my rent money, buy food and I could hold the rest of his money for him. It's funny I never honestly felt that his crack-crap was a weakness in him. More that he was in the grips of a demonic profound substance. I felt this even from the start. I felt this thing with his money was a weakness, and I was enabling him. How could one function out there get rid of crack with no money passing through their life? He was convinced this made a difference.
Enabling or not, I did it. I was sure there were so many triggers and reasons and answers for his crack-crap so this one would not profoundly change anything.
School became a measuring stick to me. He was taking accounting and computers. If that part was still functioning, then he had to be. As we neared the Holidays again he was still very busy, still home when he was not at work, school or keeping his car running. Except when some friends came into his life. Non-addicted friends of course he assured me. He was very, very lonely. I was not happy with these friends although I did not know them. For a long time now he would not tell me even what side of town any people he spent time with lived on. Because I would be there driving around looking for his car if he disappeared. Taking out my anger and frustration on his friends because I could not take it out on him. In the beginning I had told all his friends I did not want any of them around Todd if they were using. They all pledged sincerely to me they were not. Which was not true. Those who I found out about, I would chase off my porch and hang up on if they called. We had both become jaded and dysfunctional from this lethal substance.
As the month went by he became moody and withdrawn. The trips to the bathroom started again. He dropped one of his classes. He began to stay out overnight once in awhile or coming in very late, avoiding the day as long as possible. One day I went into his room and smelled his pillows and blankets on his bed and gagged. The old drug smell, like no other smell on earth was back again. He was back on crack. By the time the smell arrived he was out of control again. He had been still giving me rent money and buying food, but he had started to run out of gas at least twice a week.
I stripped his bed and started to pack up his things. I was going to ask him to leave, but he never came back. The school began to call. Where was he? Finals were starting. As the week of his absence progressed, his cat became very ill with pneumonia. I sat up all night with Tigger. In the middle of the night I waded through the snow to my shed to find a box so I could put a rug in the dryer and warmed it up and put him into the box. I thought he was going to die before morning and I would have to put him outside in the cold until the Vet's office opened. The next morning I took him to the vet and made arrangements to have him put to sleep if he did not get better by evening.
I went to Todd’s job, but his car was not there. I waited to see if he would come in late. At lunch I went again thinking maybe he would come then. It was payday. I called his job and he had not been to work for days and had not picked up his check.
Later that day they brought his cat into me and left me alone with him, thinking he was mine and I wanted to be with him before they put him to sleep. I did not. I could not. I ran out of there not even paying them. I went to Scott’s office and made him go back and pay them. I could still hear his cat crying this mournful distressed cry that cats have when they are somewhere they do not want to be. Todd had always said he would be with his cat when they put him to sleep. He wanted him buried in a separate grave with a grave stone. I paid extra to have him buried in a plot where only 4 or 5 cats were buried together, rather than twenty. The rest I could not manage.
I cried as though it were Todd I had lost. I cried for him and for me. Mostly I cried for him. This too, he had missed. This too, he could never retrieve. It would live inside him forever. This knot of pain that he had missed this too. He could not go back and re-do it.
The weeks went by this December month and no one heard from Todd. I tried to talk Scott into believing we should report him missing. He would agree then change his mind then change it again. Then Scott started to see him drive by in his car always going in a direction he could not easily follow. He always saw him in the general area where Scott lived. As though in the throes of drug suicide Todd wanted to be near someone. Then I saw him one day. By the time I got turned around I could not find him. His car window had been broken and a piece of plastic covered it. He was dirty disheveled and bent forward intently over the steering wheel driving very slowly.
At least he was alive. I think he obviously left my home before he got so totally out of control he emptied it out. Another shred of strength and integrity that he could still conjure up in the midst of a total crack-crap journey. I collected these things.
As Christmas neared Scott received a call from Todd. He was in jail about 35 miles out of town. He wanted Scott to get his tools and a few things from his car because it was going to be impounded. Todd had been stopped for a traffic violation and he had a warrant out for him for failing to pay more than a few payments to the courts on his bad check charge in the last 4 years. The judge gave him the choice of going to jail for 4 months and have the checks paid off, or to work it off through community service as well as make payments.
Todd, who 4 years previously had begged to be kept out of jail, was now immune to such trivia in the life of a crack-head. He chose jail. There were 9 people in his cell. All but one was there for crimes related to crack.
The Holidays passed without him. Scott was the only one who visited him once. I have never visited Todd in jail.
We all took a rest for 4 months. He was alive and safe in jail for now. Except we could not help but speculate: Was this the magic answer as society seemed to think and others were sure of? Had he and I avoided this all these years only to find it did the trick where all else had failed?
Scott went to clean out his car and he called me. He 'd found bags of sales receipts and others thrown around in his car from a lot of different stores. We puzzled over this. We knew he had to be doing something to survive on crack alone. But what? He had been picked up for a traffic violation not theft. His body was so saturated with crack that driving had finally become too difficult.
We finally put together the small business enterprise he had devised to survive on his several month long journey. We speculated that he would collect sales receipts from somewhere, the trash or ground. Then steal the item and return it.
At that point my imagination began to work overtime and had he not been stopped on a traffic violation I could see him progressing to bank robbery. I talked to everyone in the court system trying to explain to them that my son was on an accelerating crime binge to get crack. Could they do something or anything? Could they help in getting him in a drug program. Their response was either one of boredom, disinterest, professed ignorance or just plain "no".
I moved on to his Probation Officer who had been in his life since he wrote the bad checks at the time I first found out he was a true crack-head. She was a very ignorant female. I explained, I analyzed, I philosophized, I cried, I begged and pleaded with her to treat Todd as a crack-head whose crimes for crack were going to get worse and to get him into a drug program or prison was close at hand.
She was so bored with the conversation she could have easily yawned. She was unimpressed, sarcastic and cynical, almost non-communicative. She reluctantly admitted she would be appearing in court about Todd shortly and she would 'mention' it to the judge. She doubted the judge would agree with me. I asked her did she want me to come and plead with the judge. She did not.
I also wrote a letter outlining everything we'd talked about and sent it for his file. It seems I was the only one who read it.
Nothing ever came of it. As Todd and his Probation Officer traveled together and Todd got more and more out of control on crimes and crack, I both felt that she treated Todd as though he were a privileged person who deliberately just for the fun of it like some jet set spoiled brat, did crack. To think that someone so privileged also had some special power over crack and could therefore just stop, la-tee-da. Not like her other non-privileged deprived social outcasts, who had long lists of legitimate reasons for their chose of drugs and crime.
In light of the facts, most of her caseload had to be drug related. Yet this woman was not only feeding her own biases as though from some TV soap opera, she could not have been more ignorant of drugs and related crime. At least to me that is how she presented herself.
Even in light of the fact that probation officers may be required to have a bit of an attitude, her attitude was fueled by her own personal fantasies and ignorance. It went way beyond the call of duty.
Todd had called his brother only that once from jail. Eventually he called me to ask me to find out how he could get back in school. Then asked if someone in the family could get him the daily newspaper. He was sitting in the cell all day and had read all the books in the shabby skimpy library. I did. I also sent him a few dollars 2 or 3 times. He budgeted with more discipline than I could have. His Grandmother sent him a small amount of money, as did his brother and sister (reluctantly after much thought). It was a very small amount compared to others there, who were seasoned residents, whose families considered this part of their life operating expenses: Sending along a few hundred dollars plus paying the criminal rates of $2.00 a minute from the only pay phone available for calling out collect. It seems that not only do we punish the criminal but those who are connected by blood.
After he had bought toothpaste and deodorant, Todd spent most of his pitiful little money on food. Everyone gave him whatever vegetables they had and rice when they had it, and he lived on that. He was rail thin when he immerged 4 months later. Many times he traded his paper or money for someone's vegetables and rice. He was promised a job making $7.00 a week, which never materialized. So foraging for reading material and vegetables were his main objectives each day. Both of which certainly must have had a profound effect on his ability to dump the lure of crack when he got out. He sent me the following article he had written for the jail newspaper.
What Re-Hab Means To Me
Rehabilitation comes from a desire, not a need. Without a true desire, it cannot be done. It takes a lot of work. If we would put as much effort into Re-Hab as we do in chasing our "hit", it would be so simple, really. But we don’t. Maybe for awhile at first, then we think we are strong and clean, shit happens. Lies, excuses, relapse. The breakdown of the word rehabilitation is helping me. I hope it can help at least one other person, too.
R- Recognize the problem of your addiction.
E- Eliminate anything or anyone that supports your addiction.
H- Honest. Be honest. Truth heals all lies in time.
A- Accept the fact you cannot control any addiction.
B- Believe in a stronger power, rather than your weakness.
I- Improve working on small simple skills.
L- Like yourself. Be happy with how the mirror looks back at you.
I- Isolate. Better to be alone and positive, than negative in a crowd.
T- Terrorize yourself with thoughts of all the disasters caused by addiction.
A- Attitude. Keep a positive attitude.
T- Talk about being addicted. Hearing thoughts out loud can be therapeutic
I- Introspection. Analyze yourself. Force yourself to achieve goals.
O- Offer help to someone in need. It is amazing how this feels.
N- Never give up, and pray.
Maybe this time was all I would allow myself after reading it. It seemed almost child-like in its simplicity. Crack-heads can be child-like at times. Looking for a cure for crack-heads all by yourself can make you child-like, vulnerable, confused while searching for how to be a good person again.
I did wait anxiously for him to get out. I tried to find some special interim housing he could go into right from jail. There was not any available. He would have to come to my house again.
Scott drove 40 miles to pick him up at midnight so he would not have spend one more night in jail. He slept on my living room floor. My spare bedroom was rented.
The next day he was a whirlwind of energy and organization. Within three days he had gotten housing and a job as a waiter. Within two weeks he was gone. There was no doubt that he had changed and that he had motivation and resolution than he had had in a long time. In the past this had meant success for him in whatever he did.
I thought the hotel was the end of the road, but found there are endless dead ends. Each one worse than the one before. The place he now resides was for people in temporary need of shelter, or so the paper said.
Both male and female were housed here in three floors above a row of business in a decaying area. All one block from a renovated glamorous downtown. A great many of the residents level of seriousness about their life involved around hanging out on the sidewalk and congregating in someone’s room and yelling out the window at people. There may well have been a lot of people there who one never saw because they truly were looking for work and a place to live and locked up in their rooms when they were not. Rent was from zero to whatever you could afford. Todd paid $25.00 a week. You could stay only temporarily, then you had to move on. So a lot of people who considered this their permanent residence, moved out for a few days and then back in making sure their personal possessions were kept at a minimum to accommodate this lifestyle.
The place smelled of unwashed everything or badly washed everything or impossible to wash everything. It was stifling hot in winter and summer was a dark dimly lit cavern teaming with surly hyper bodies whose language had long ago lost trust and hope. At least jail tried to keep up with the sociopaths they knew for sure that they had housed there. Here because you were not in jail. The premise was you were therefore not dangerous, and not having any mental hospitals, we are caring for our mentally ill on the street, and this place was one of the more blatant dumping grounds for those with serious mental problems. These who were not getting gov’t money, a gov’t room or jail or prison.
I did not go up there, ever. I sat across the street and waited until Todd came out, however long it took. My doors locked and car running. Except, one night at midnight.
I called him at work about something, and discovered he had not shown up. The people at work were sure that something terrible must have happened to him if he did not come to work, me too. He had been happy with his job and very dependable. It was too soon for him to fall off the wagon, especially with his present level of motivation and enthusiasm. I did not think of crack. I thought of dead in his room at the place he lived.
All day I became more panicked. I called the emergency room number several times because that was the only way to reach them by phone. No one had seen him. By late evening I was beyond polite inquiry. I called and insisted someone go look in his room. They could not do that unless they got the manager down there to do it. I asked them to knock on his door. While doing this someone said they had seen him that day. Scott refused to go down in that area at midnight, or go into that building and advised me not to.
I told them I was coming down and exactly how I was planning on doing that. There was no parking in front of the building and so I would pull up on the sidewalk and park directly in front of the door. Someone would have to come down and escort me from my car inside the locked building.
The young man waiting for me was shivering patiently. He was polite, sweet and concerned. He also looked very down and out from the main stream of life, with mismatched clothes and uncombed hair. He was very, very large. He unlocked the door and went up into the cavernous darkness to the desk explaining to me that he was the one who had seen Todd go out of the building at suppertime. This would have been several hours after he should have been at work. I was totally mystified and feared the worst, but not crack.
The man on the front desk was engrossed in schoolbooks and TV bored and sleepy. I kept him engaged in conversion hoping to find something about Todd. As I was getting ready to leave, at least convinced that Todd was alive, he had something to say to me. I could tell he had not intended to say it, and he leaned over the counter to talk in a low voice. "I have been on crack. I am trying to get my life together. Todd…well…he may still be messed up, but do not ever give up on him. My mother never gave up on me".
I went down the stairs with my escort thinking I was not a crazy intruder into a world crazier yet, but just another mother of a crack-head. I was stunned. Drugs, again so soon? I kept thinking it was not, though. But what?
Todd did show up at work the next afternoon. He had been hit over the head from behind with a butt of a gun one block from where he lived and his money stolen. He lay on the sidewalk for some time, semi-conscious. No one stopped. When he finally got up, he could not remember anything, least of all work. He wandered around in a daze for several hours. Got on a bus and rode someplace just to get out of the area. He finally went home and lay down. His head ached so he went out to get some pain pills. He became afraid to go back because he was sure the people who hit him lived there also. He did not call anyone or me in the family. He went instead to a motel for the night. Compared to crack, this seemed one of life’s smaller endangerments. He had a large lump on his head for days. I got him to at least call a doctor who told him if his concussion were serious he would have worse symptoms by then.
Todd also has a scar on his lip where someone had crept up on him while he was waiting at a red light, reached inside his open window and hit him with a pen sticking out the end of his hand. What caused it is not important. Why it happened of course is because he was either too high to notice someone creeping up on him or some place he would not be if he were not a crack-head.
Neither time did I point this out to him. By then I knew that crack-heads already know this. It does not always help them stop.
A very dear friend of mine had raised three beautiful intelligent talented boys. One is a crack-head. He was almost shot one night when one of his "buddies" disagreed with something he said and shot at him sitting in a chair across the room. Fortunately the man was too high to aim well and the bullet crossed over his lap and went into the arm of the chair. Another time he tried to break up a fight and was stabbed.
At present he has been off crack for 5 months (1994) and attending a group organization called CA. Here no one is allowed to OD on a continuous story of how bad they were on crack. You can only talk about solutions. Eat your heart out. An AA for crack-heads.
Todd was too afraid to go back to where he lived so he came to my house again. Very soon an older lady who had been working at the restaurant for many years approached him and told him she sometimes rented out one of her rooms. She was retired and did not need to work, but worked as few hours a week just to keep busy.
She told him he could move in. She also knew he was a crack-head. By then so did several people at work. The charge for the room was very, very low. She set to work immediately to mother him. She cooked huge greasy American fare for him, although she knew he was a partial vegetarian. Perhaps she thought it was the lack of meat and potatoes, which caused his crack-crap. She claimed to have a relative with a child who was a crack-head. They had excellent insurance and simply sent them away to be cured. She assured me that she knew how bad crack-heads could be.
The restaurant Todd worked at was quaint Mexican Restaurant with beautiful and unusual d├ęcor inside. It had been a very successful neighborhood restaurant for many many, years. He liked his job and the people he worked with. This had not been true for many years. He made excellent money. We could not help ourselves, we were all very hopeful. Every one of us spent a lot of time with him that summer. My mother came to visit for the summer and we all went out to eat and to the movies almost every weekend. She bought him several articles of clothing.
The months passed from April when he had gotten out of jail and into the last of the summer. He was always where he was supposed to be and he was always available to find. He seemed positive and happy. He started to make friends at work. He talked about going back to school.
I breathed no sigh of relief, gave no shout of victory. I was hopeful but not convinced. He was changed no doubt about it. He was stronger than he had been in years. He had some of the old zest and organization and confidence and resolve he always use to have. I felt that he was near to stopping. He had grown slowly towards it and I felt every step he had taken to get there. But, I was still unsure if this was that one and only never to be forgotten, blessed, jump-off point of no return to crack.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Difference Between

The difference between night and day, long and short, male and female, jail and treatment, mom and dad, stupid and smart, good and evil, acute stage and chronic stage, Christian and Jew, love and hate, up and down, me and you, Sept. 10th and Sept. 11th, life and death could be so thin, it is not visible to the human eye.
For me just the simple difference between right and wrong explains, and everyone has experiences with these two.
To be truly strong, cross over the line of selfish pride. Be humble before you are humbled. Swallow your pride. Make the first move to reconcile a situation, even though your feelings of you being absolutely right are so strong you do not want to back down. This only blocks looking at a difference. Get past the “who is right” and the “who is wrong”. It becomes unimportant when communications seize to exist. What becomes important is returning to being creating equal and allowing life to flow honestly without snags of bickering, or finger pointing, or the I am right ‘so there’ attitude. Self centered pride brings on total blindness to even knowing when to humble ourselves. The arrogant attitude of being prideful hardens our awareness of the need to be truly humble. Once we think or feel we should only apologize or recognize and if that is all we feel we should do…we will overlook actually seeing the need to feel humility, or the need to be truly humble in certain situations or to a certain person. Instead we pride fully just say “I’m sorry” and go about our business. When what we really need to do is show submissive respect for a difference or for a different point of view, or even respect for the opposite of what you think, even if you feel you are right, but humbly admit your are wrong for not respecting or recognizing that maybe there is no right or wrong, just a difference.
Humility comes before honor. With crack cocaine I cannot see how this happens any other way. When we humble ourselves we admit our mistakes. In a spiritual way we humbly ask the Lord, have confession with humility. Lower oneself so the Lord becomes higher.
The difference between crack cocaine and other drugs: Crack-cocaine had entered kindergarten! A horrible example of this is on Feb. 29th, 2000 in Flint , MI; a beautiful 6 year old girl was shot and killed by her 6 year old classmate. The gun was found by this boy between the mattresses in the crack-house he lived in with his mixed up mother and the crack-punk boyfriend. The media kept zeroing in on the gun factor. Like crack cocaine was not the main reason, the gun was. The lie at work again. To say it was not directly from crack cocaine being around in any capacity is, well, it really frosts my ass, (to say it as my dad would say). Hard to believe it did not go past the crack boyfriend just selling… Not crack cocaine?! Just the gun! It is this stupid mentality that keeps the cycle going. Let us look the other way. What way?
All the stories, news and crime associated with crack cocaine are at times very dark. Other times, so unbelievable it makes me cringe when thinking about all the horrible things I did just to smoke crack cocaine. The seriousness of crack cocaine has whittled down to $5.00. This is all it would take to contaminate me again and keep any contamination alive in anyone else’s soul and spirit. That is an awful thought, but a true fact.
The difference between prayer and no prayer is quite clear to me. I have tried both and without does not work in keeping the devil’s candy away. The serenity prayer is so simple yet powerful. My grandmother gave me a plaque with this prayer inscribed on it. This meant a lot to me. Getting this from her made my heart jump. It did not stop the madness but it did plant another seed of hope. I broke the prayer down into sections for myself to read and remember and apply when I could. For those who do not know the prayer or have lost touch with it, this is it:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…
The courage to change the things I can…
And the wisdom to know the difference.
For me some of the things I cannot change carry a lot of pain, hurt and guilt, mostly caused by my past behavior during crack cocaine use. Without a power greater than myself, I feel there is no way of letting go or having acceptance of these burdens. By asking God to grant me, is surrendering to a power and believing it is there and will work. Trusting that by asking, surrendering and believing, serenity will manifest. Without serenity there is no acceptance. If I can change it, it might take massive courage. Change is unknown territory until you get there. Fear can grip you so hard; it will prevent any form of change needed. It takes courage to overcome serious change.
Is this a change that should be done? How do I know? I might not try if I am not sure it is needed or if I can even do this change at all. Wisdom is not inherited. It is a gift from God. If I humbly ask for serenity and courage and mean it, I trust wisdom will be there, and it is.
The difference is today I know where it is coming from, (like a lion in the night to kill me). By understanding, it empowers me to not give in to the pull to smoke crack. It is still a daily spiritual battle. Each day I am at some point humbly reminded of crack cocaine.
The difference between yesterday and today is, I am crack-free today.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Crack Editor

There are many ways to stop smoking crack-cocaine. As simple as this seems, it really is true. Crack-cocaine lies. It convinces you that you can have IT and a life, you just have to work it out…again…and again…and again.
This booklet is in a format that without a doubt saved my life. When I was jotting down all these notes, I had no idea it would come to this. As we know GOD has weird ways to get us where HE wants us to be. HIS way works.
It takes 75 days to completely get the spiritual possession (not the secular addiction) of crack-cocaine out. The secular addiction is an on going life long dilemma as long as we buy into we can never completely get rid of an addiction. Well this is not true. This is from our experiences and truths. Clinically it can take about 75 hours. This is not a clinical battle. The spiritual and mind possession can tempt and prod you for quite awhile longer than this format is set up to do. When you do get to the end of the 75 days, the plan and goal is to be exposed to the real truths about crack-cocaine and to have disarmed it to the point that it has started to leave you alone so you can work your program and fight the spiritual battle of your life, for your life. The following pages are set up to be a daily guide. Each day will have one spiritual issue with a scripture of reinforcement. My daughter Sue says we should do these as memory verses. I agree. We also have a quip of the day. There will be more than one spiritual issue per day coming at you, but our focus is on how to accomplish one issue at a time. Each day away from crack-cocaine brings us closer to being completely free from crack. With a true desire and the understanding of where this stuff is really coming from and its only mission to destroy; this understanding and desire will bring you the strength necessary for success. Our measure of success is in our 1st belief and to quote: We believe in each success, not every failure. Success is what you make of it. When contaminated, an hour can be great success.
I do suggest that when a fall, slip, relapse, or picking up again, or whatever term works for you…IMMEDIATELY get back up and go to where you LEFT off…and do it again and again and again until you get it right. Ultimately it goes full circle…and remember…it took me 3 years AFTER I knew what I know now as the truth revealed to my soul as to what this stuff really is…this approach works for me and crack-cocaine will never penetrate me again…this is ONE thing I do know for sure about crack-cocaine… BUT do not worry…I am not too confident…it is just when you do finally get how to do this…it is simple.

Todd called me as soon as he was able to tell me the news. Pat the social worker at the Bail Bond Dept. had already called me to tell me she had appeared in court and Todd was definitely going into a Re-Hab Program. Todd and I waited anxiously for an opening to come up. He was euphoric but very nervous and very serious.
He had wished for a long-term residential program for so long and thought it to be hopeless. Now that this had arrived he was terrified that it too would not work. He was terrified that he was hopeless. He was moving neared to that place where crack-heads can not stop and can not live as a crack-head any more.
He finally heard of an opening and was scheduled to move in immediately. He called and gave me a list of things he needed me to buy at the store, and which of his clothes he needed. I had already packed his bag. It had been waiting for weeks. When I arrived with toiletries from the store he had made a list of the cost of each one and totaled them including tax.
"I can get a job and a pass to go to work after I have been here a month. I will pay you back from my first check". And he did.
I visited him every Saturday afternoon for 2 hours. He was both serious and euphoric with energy, zest, confidence and dedication. The old Todd was back. He was very happy and impressed with his caseworker that was on the premises every day. She was able to put what was best for the patient 1st. She gave him many books to read and he devoured each one, taking notes on them! He would bring the book and his notebook to the visiting room when I visited and talked about each one in detail. He even had me get the books I had read from the library and let her read them. Todd was ready to take any program, good or bad into his heart and try and make it work.
He talked non-stop for 2 hours every week. It seems he had lucked out at this facility, which housed people from a large area, even out of state. It involved some serious felony prisoners and all types of substance abuse. Consequently the program was broad and varied. The reading material covered a range of ideas about crack. The lectures were balanced with a variety of types of people with a variety of approaches to various abuses. Meetings were held with a format ranging from AA's to a newer more free-form supportive more positive approach. Todd soon found leaders he admired and identified with. Something that had never happened at meetings he had gone to before.
He was both terrified at the thought of leaving the facilities and impatient to have a life again. He took to heart one of the main aspects of the program, which was whatever is bothering you, whoever is bothering you, however small and insignificant, please, please tell us immediately. Your happiness and peace is very important to us. Your recovery is #1 in our life. We will do anything to help you get there. He became an avid complainer. It always worked. This was his first taste in 6 years of wanting to live his life in a certain way and having control over something that was making this difficult or impossible.
Of all the things he devoured here, that one helped him to take the biggest step. Control over his life control over crack.
While he put everything under a microscope, in every aspect of his life, he began to separate the people around him. Those who were not interested those who were weak and those who 'might' make it. This was another mark off point for him. Seeing himself and seeing those around him just as they really are.
People in the program assured him continually that his recovery was his recovery. Whatever program worked, was the right one. Whatever people helped him, were the right people. He was the free agent here who could design and find exactly what he needed. He was OK. He did not have to fit into an AA program. He could find his own personal program. If someone designated as help, and this person did not say things that had meaning to him, he had the right to reject them and find other people. In spite of this TLC, Todd constantly admired those counselors who also had, a you can not bullshit me, I know all the moves tough and brutally honest, and even a little cynical. He recognized this combination as real tough love.
The counselors did not spend a lot of time on how lethal crack was, or how desperate the life of a crack-head was. Most were pretty well aware of by now. There were those there who did not want to know. The why's were left a lot to the individual to find. The what's were stressed. Not so much here is a list of how to's, but what could work for you. In the midst of a monolithic mortally lethal substance epidemic, with no road maps, were these brave souls-the counselors and addicts were trying to find their way out of the wilderness together. That is what made it work. Together. Crack-heads do not need experts to write out a program in stone. They need people to work with them through this wilderness, pooling resources as if they were a combat unit shedding real tears when one of them did not make it.
I studied his body language. I studied his words. I studied his program and for the first time I was content. I would not hook myself into making stone chiseled proclamations. It would be 9 months out of the program before any of us would say, "I think he is going to make it". But I felt something shift in him. There was new grease in the gears.
He felt it too and there were days when he knew positively that he could do it. And days when he was terrified to be out there alone again. He wanted to leave every day and get restarted on recapturing life again, but he was terrified too. As though some monster from "Alien" was out there looking for any organization of society to eliminate, and it was just him and this slimy grotesque animal to battle it out. He counted the days to his release and clung more tightly to what was around him!
It seemed that no matter how strong he was, how armed, how padded, there was still this terror of this monster out there. Was he really strong enough, armed enough, and padded enough? What was enough? It was the nightmare of all nightmares. It was the creature of all creatures.
It was that his brother Scott who came down every Sunday to pick him up and drop him off at a church. By then Scott believed only GOD could give any real guarantees in Todd's life and none of us cared who gave Todd the key, we just wanted him to have it. We were all dedicated in our own way to try and bring it all into Todd's life, to try.
If you ask Todd what was the key that finally took away that terror that still lurked inside him, even with the Re-Hab Program working miracles in his life, he will tell you he prayed and prayed for GOD to take away the desire for crack. Because this was the terror inside him even with all the tools, the strength and the steps to help him, he was terrified that the desire was still there and might be more powerful.
Until one day he walked out of the church and the desire was gone. He said from that day on, "I never think of crack. I have no thoughts about it and am not interested in it. I have no reason to or no need to ever do it again.
The terror inside him was so great, this miracle to Todd was above and beyond anything else. His need to have; no thoughts or interest or desire for crack, as well as the emotional and intellectual tools and so eliminate the terror of a monster that had gripped his life for 6 years was so important to him that there were no miracles above this one.
I can live with that. Certainly I believe most completely in miracles, and GOD"S power. I also believe GOD helps those who help themselves and who know what to do with that help and who truly needs it. And HE helps those who help others.
Todd's miracle was a package deal. He did try to help himself and we learned how to help him. Many people including a society of people, the counselors bravely walking through wilderness with no road map for crack-heads. Pat at Bail Bonds Dept., whose last name I never knew, came into our lives so briefly yet was part of this miracle. I would not want to take one card form the house of cards for fear it would all tumble down. It is hard for me to separate any one part of all the things that helped Todd, and say this is the one that really did it. He traveled a long road with many people to even get miracle status. Perhaps he needed to. But for Todd, after collecting all he had collected on his journey, and taking this journey with all the people he did, his terror of the desire was the greatest obstacle and only GOD could remove that. And HE did.
My daughter said, "You had a lot to do with this. I do not know if it would have happened without you". Why didn't I feel that's true? I would stop and think when she said it, of what specifically did I do that made a difference? I never could pinpoint it. I do think it was not as people think it was. Similar, but not the same. Certainly there were things I did with no motivation other than help or cure Todd. But that could not be sustained for long in the chaotic ups and downs, disappointments and failures of having a crack-head son. What I did was sustain myself. Help myself to get through it. Made myself feel as good as I possibly could to endure it. Had he died, I would have been able to draw on this. As it was it got me through. And in the process helped him. It did not cure him. Only he could do that.
He was not entirely alone, either. Neither was I, because it was a very lonely time for both of us. To death, or to life, I had to take that walk with him, or I could not have lived with it.
AGAPE LOVE? It seems too perfect a feat for me. Maybe a mini Agape Love was achieved-sometimes.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Belief #7..."We believe this is not just your problem because it becomes everyone's problem.

Conquering crack cocaine does not involve just the user. It starts with you obtaining knowledge and transforming that into power over how crack cocaine has entered your life. Then we plant a seed of hope and lovingly from a distance, nurture it. While contaminated, a user does not believe that there is a way out. We need to eliminate all the ways this person gets access to money. Never put money in the hands of a person possessed by crack cocaine, not even a penny. You may have to be drastic like sleeping with a purse or wallet in a plastic bag for a noise alarm to keep money away from the hands of a crack-head. Leave your valuables in a safe box or at someone else’s house. Camille had to do these type of things long enough to get a grip on the situation so a plan can be executed. Are there pop cans lying around? Take them in yourself. It only takes $5.00 to get going on crack cocaine again. Get a storage place and store all things that could be sold or pawned for money to get crack cocaine. Have pay checks direct deposited into an account he or she does not have access to. This is not an option. If a crack-head says they want help, they probably do. A sure fire way to see if this is real, is to direct deposit without exception. If this one simple thing is not complied to or agreed to, then the time is not right for them to quit. At this point YOUR survival is first. When they hit below bottom again or are in jail, they will cry for help again. Same thing then. Drastic measures for a drastic situation! If they need food you go buy the food and give it to them. You can pack them a lunch. Absolutely no money. Find a local food pantry through a church or program. If they need clothes, you can buy them and then cut the inside label off and write their name on the inside collar and you KEEP the receipt so it can not be returned for money. If it is possible and they are working, arrange to drive them or find someone to do it or buy a monthly bus pass so they can get to work only. The bus pass is only to look for a job or to get to a job. If they are looking, the names and times need to be on paper and verified. Your conversations should be limited to conquering crack cocaine. Nothing else matters. When he or she begs for money say NO! Practice saying NO. If they are being evicted give them the address to a local shelter if you are not able for some reason to have them in your home because they cannot be trusted yet. Print out pages from our website and give it to them for a present instead of material things. Todd's father bought him a gravestone and coffin for Christmas. Is this being mean? NO it is being real because crack cocaine does and will kill. Sometimes having tougher than tough love is needed to get that window open. Some people have to leave, some divorce, others have their children taken away. Many have to have protective services or the police called just to open that window. You have to fight crack cocaine with all your might. Sitting around worrying gets you nothing. Driving around looking for that person gets you nothing but out of gas. They will be back when they have exhausted all means of money or they are physically unable to continue. Pray to God for their safe return so you can continue the fight. There does come a point of deciding to let go. How do you know when that time comes? When your loved one shows no signs of progressing in the process of conquering crack cocaine. Progress could be as sad as they brought back $20.00 of their paycheck instead of nothing. The progress may be a little micro dust mite, but any and all progress is a sign to continue. When all progress stops, then yes there does come a time to let that person go. That does not mean that it can’t happen at a later time, but it means you might have to move on in hopes they will get to the point of desiring progress again, or needing it. The fact is, that some people never get there and crack cocaine kills. Crack cocaine is draining and exhausting. We are living proof that it is worth the fight.

We get a lot of questions on when do I trust again? Trust is earned not given. You give trust a little at a time until that person proves his or her trust ability. Little droplets of trust at first and that does not even begin until they have at least 30 days clean and are showing signs of progress. Camille let me carry money only when she was with me, for example: when we went out to eat Camille would let me hold the money and pay for the meal so I felt better in front of others, but the minute we got in the car I had to give what was left back, and it better add up. Keeping your loved one connected to the real world is very important to their ability to form positive self-esteem again. Having birthday parties, Christmas, family gatherings, taking them to church even if they just got high, going to a movie, buying a hamburger etc… normal events of everyday life. Sharing new ideas you read about. These things need to take place even if you have to drop them off back in their crack-infested neighborhood. Keeping in touch is a way of planting seeds of hope. Remember how your loved one use to be? Maybe you can help them get there again. It is possible. Crack cocaine can be conquered! This takes a team participation. Those in your family who wish not to participate, might have to step aside for a while.

Expose crack! Tell everyone you know that your loved one is possessed by crack cocaine. It does not matter who knows. The more you expose crack cocaine the less power it has on you or your loved one. Camille even told the grocery clerks about it and gave the manager a picture and told them Todd is possessed by crack cocaine and may try to cash a bad check here. You know what? They did call when Todd tried to do this. Camille would tell local police, neighbors all family members, pastor EVERYONE she came in contact with and it worked! Crack-Todd started to lose power and my Todd is the man we knew he is! Crack-Todd could not go anywhere in the area we lived in without Camille finding out. So SPEAK! This is your life and your loved ones soul you are fighting for. Embarrassment never gets you to a crack-free life, but taking control does. Tom Petty has a song that has a line in it that goes, “I'm taking control of my life, right now!”. So can you. So can your loved one.
We know crack cocaine can be conquered. We are here to help anyone through the process. When we went through this we had very little help. Our goal is to reach as many people as we can. We are not here to debate programs and whether they work or not. We are here to share our beliefs, uphold them and share any and all ways that allowed Todd and I to conquer crack cocaine.
Todd and Camille

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Everyday Book Quips

These “quips” are not claiming to be original, some are. If I’ve used yours, no infringement intended. They were used to quit smoking crack. Thank you for the help.

1. Dear God, please help me be the person that my dog thinks I am.
2. Happiness is a choice.
3. Honesty is essential for recovery.
4. If it don't apply let it fly.
5. To fail to cry is to fail to live.
6. Anger alerts us to the fact that something is not right.
7. The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.
8. Those who forget their past are doomed to relive it.
9. The best way to replace a bad habit is to replace it with a good one.
10. Choose your companions with care; you may become what they are.
11. Suffering is defined as, 'anything about which one says, Oh No!
12. One form of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results.
13. Worrying is paying interest on troubles that may never come due.
14. Discipline means taking responsibility for our behavior and the consequences.
15. If you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything.
16. Grief is a profound part of recovery.
17. If we look close enough, we can say that every choice we make is a love choice.
18. Denial and avoidance are the enemies of recovery.
19. There is no such thing as rejection, only trying to fit in where you were never meant to be.
20. Instead of counting your days, make each one count.
21. Even though you cannot control some of your circumstances, you can control your entire attitude.
22. I must have an awareness of my own ignorance.
23. Who we are looking for, is who is looking.
24. Lying distorts reality.
25. Cannot heal what you cannot feel.
26. Emotions are expressed in the body even before we're consciously aware of them.
27. We are directly responsible for our own wrong doing.
28. The more nothing changes, nothing changes.
29.The only thing that holds us back is ourselves.
30. Unresolved grief is almost always about undelivered communications of an emotional nature.
31. The first screw that works loose in a person's head is the one that holds the tongue in place.
32. When we need outstretched hands, we must let it be known.
33. Loss must be experienced in order to be shared and it must be shared in order to be healed.
34. Pain is reality, misery is optional.
35. We should consider ourselves as spirits having human experiences rather than humans having an occasional spiritual experience.
36. Humility comes before honor.
37. To get out of a hard situation, try a soft answer.
38. Resentments do not punish the other person, they punish us.
39. Resentments are hardened chunks of anger.
40. Life has a way of humbling us whenever we get a little too impressed with ourselves.
41. Discipline means understanding there are logical consequences to our behavior.
42. Drug use dulls the pain of the dysfunctional family loneliness.
43. Our own 'inner' child has to be disciplined in order to release its tremendous spiritual power.
44. Debate and argument are our tools for finding out what path each person needs and wants.
45. It is the heart that must be nourished and live; "Out of the heart are the issues of life”.
46. A strong ego is needed to transcend ego.
47. Soul is the essential self, ego is your adopted self.
48. Creating your own life takes the courage to risk new ways of being.
49. People must seek balance in their lifestyle before they can obtain contentment.
50. Anger needs to be discouraged as soon as possible.
51. Resentments are the block that holds us back from loving ourselves and others.
52. As adults there are conditions we must meet if we expect another to share love with us.
53. Human ability cannot guarantee genuine success.
54. A wise person, especially a discerning superior, has a pleasurable temperament.
55. Take time to think where you are going, or you may not like where you end up.
56. It is not that you do not is that you chose to forget.
57. Nothing is difficult, once you get used to it.
58. The way we handle our problems and troubles determines the quality of our life.
59. The way to handle life's problems is to solve them.
60. Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
61. Fewer things are more contagious than cheerfulness.
62. Without desire and wanting, our life energy gets crushed.
63. Part of growing up is learning to delay gratification which means more pleasure.
64. Strength is more impressive yet less effective than wisdom.
65. Growth is moving from one set of problems to a better set of problems.
66. Our one aim should be to have perfect harmony between conscience and conduct.
67. It is not what is wrong with us that counts, but what is right.
68. Everything in life we need to experience, it is exactly what we need in order to do the work we're doing now.
69. You cannot know what you do not know.
70. What we love we soon grow to resemble.
71. If we are what we should be, it automatically follows that we will be doing what we should be doing.
72. Do we need to loose our minds before we come to our senses?
73. Dying and not knowing who we really are, is the greatest tragedy of all.
74. An addiction is a pathological relationship to any form of mood alteration that has life damaging consequences.
75. You sought the heaviest burden of all and found yourself.
76. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
77. Nurture your marriage and you will nurture your soul.
78. Drugs and the devil can put a hole in one's soul.
79. Optimism and trust are the soul of intimacy.
80. We must never forget the 'value' of being a role model.
81. Do not hang onto the good things that come your way; pass them on they’ll have the power to bless.
82. It is easy to point our finger at another, but it is more rewarding to gently point it at ourselves.
83. The one thing we are never free to choose is choicelessness.
84.We need a balanced sense of responsibility; accepting consequences for what you do, refusing to accept consequences for what someone else does.
85. It will work if you will work.
86. The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our disposition and not on our circumstances.
87. We need to stop dreaming about what we do not have and be content with what we do have.
88. Development of character involves replacing our pride with patience.
89. Sound instruction and practical insight can help us avoid traps such as pride, impatience, disillusionment and resentment.
90. When we accept the way we are, others accept us for what we are.
91. Grief is something that cannot be hurried.
92. Grief is emotional not intellectual.
93. When we are unable to grieve, we cannot finish the past.
94. Grief is the healing feeling.
95. Our tears are to be cleansing showers, not am endless flood.
96. Tears of regret, remorse, and despair water the roots of love and life itself.
97. Graceful existence integrates past, present and future.
98. Constructive words of wisdom are no match for destructive weapons of war.
99. Honesty is never having to remember what you said.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Here we go again...Another website addiction know-it-all on crack...Crack Is Crack---Sad but True!

#1...Here are 2 questions from another site with the only answers:
Can you help me understand? and How can I help?
We understand that the approach to this horrible addiction is tainted with self-pity and anger beyond human comprhension...because you got bit by crack. Better yet you got stomped by crack. Of course you had nothing to do with this...right? If only you had had the information we provide for freedom from crack...maybe you would get how this NEEDS to be done. As far as helping...well your idea of helping is kicking EVERY crackhead to the curb...BECAUSE you are the one on file that says and I quote, "There is no hope for crackheads"! This is not true, except in your angry clueless world of bringing a message from the enemy of zero hope. God tells us to have faith and hope will manifest...but on this guys site there is NO HOPE EVER!
#2...Everyone thinks they can help their addict. This is the furthest thing from reality... attempting to help an addict only enables him to further his addiction. This is a very difficult concept to grasp. For the moment just understand it is a big misconception.
***Key word is "attempt". What is that? Like trying is dying. You do not try, you do and get done. Divided...the enemy wins! United we conquer crackcocaine. So EVERYONE thinking of helping "YOUR" addict...stop and give up because this website says you cannot help "YOUR" addict. Difficult concepts are a cover up for having an incorrect concept...DUH!
#3...I believe that crack is a two part problem composed of physical addiction and a unique lifestyle.
***HUH? What is that? "Unique lifestyle". Is this guy an idiot or what. Smoking crackcocaine BECOMES a lifestyle. Not unique...just horrible and possessed by evil. Crackcocaine IS NOT PHYSICAL...period. Obviously this guy does NOT know what he is talking about. Of course having NEVER smoked would he know. Crackcocaine is a possession of the body, soul and spirit. Nothing more...nothing less. Easy CONCEPT? NO! But a simple concept of truth.
#4...If you are an easy mark, you will be manipulated and become a part of their life. If they see you are interested in romance, you are in big trouble. No, your love isn't going to change them. It's going to destroy YOU.
***WOW is this guy hurt or what?. Easy mark? What the hell is that? AND love won't change anything? OK...lets try hate. Yeah that will work for a crackhead. Let us hate the person and NOT the crack. Yeah that sounds consider it done. After all there is no hope for ANY crackhead...and love is meaningless...and hate is the answer!
#5...Dealing with a crack addict is totally disarming. It will interfere with your sleep, your work, your driving, appetite and general concentration.
***I guess when you don't get don't get it! Interfer? This is just so depressing I am not sure I can continue with this crackgobbletygoo...but I will persevere to expose ALL the cracklies.
#6...Crack is very dangerous because it is an easy transition from marijuana.
***NOW I AM convinced this guy from this "other" website is a complete fool. To mention pot and crack in the same sentence because you go right from pot to crack? From my personal summary: "Crackcocaine fools a fool". This is a great example of why I wrote that.
#7...Never take an addict to buy drugs. Undercover detectives stake out drug houses 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
***This is the most stupid NON-CRACKHEAD statement I have EVER heard. Why would you need to even say this. If you are following a true and correct program...this is not worth mentioning...period. Man this non smoking crackhead who has this site of crackstupidity is stupid.
#8...In my opinion women are most vulnerable to crack. It seems as though there is something in a woman's personality that causes them to be more easily addicted.
***You are is just your opinion...and it is again stupid. I cannot do this much longer...I am getting stupid cutting and pasting this crap for you'all to see the "other" side.
>>>>>>>OK 1 MORE THAT IS IT<<<<<<<<<<<<
#9...If you try to make sense out of their actions, you will drive yourself crazy.
***Quite simple. Their action are a result of being possessed by the enemy through crackcocaine. SIMPL. Once you get this you won't want to "figure out" a crackheads behavior. I am sure this is why this guy is so "stupid" in his search for THE crack answer. We have the answer...too bad he didn't when he really needed the true answer about crackcocaine....then maybe he would not be so angry at this "girl" and focus on being really angry at crackcocaine and attack crack not the "drug", "the person", "the treatment" or any other "item" except crackcocaine itself.
***I have had enough of crack-stupidity today...gotta go!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Other People TRYING to quit crack! TRYING IS DYING!


I am a recovering cocaine addict and I have been clean and sober for over 6 years. Getting clean and staying clean have been the hardest thing I've ever done.
***UPDATE: This person has relapsed real bad this year...sorry your "sobriety birthday is no longer". If only he had taken 1 MORE step to 13. TOO BAD relapse is part of this person's recovery. It does not have to be. One should listen, learn and try any and all ways to stop the madness of smoking crackcocaine instead of "acting like you know what you are doing"!
**SPECIAL UPDATE: Here is the same person's statement but different..."I am a recovering cocaine addict and I have been clean and sober for over 5 years". Well what is it? 5 or 6 years?
Maybe we are spending too much time counting days INSTEAD of making each day count.
Making each day count is detoxifying your contaminated soul and spirit. NOT sharing war stories, finding NEW connections or telling or hearing YET another sad story of an angry day, or some normal daily functioning "feeling" trips them up almost if it hadn't been for you people around these tables, or issues that caused them to smoke crack. Rhetoric groupology of meaningless words that OBVIOUSLY DO NOT stop crack dead in its tracks. Oh what you think will work for you.
***VERY SPECIAL UPDATE: Here is yet again another mish-mash of words from the same perrson describing "counting clean time"...this is soooo confusing..."I have finally found the strength to stay away from all substances for the last three years". 3 YEARS? Is it 5, or 6, or 3 years? Now even I do not know what direction to go to find this "only way" to beating this regular "disease of addiction". WOW. What a mess and no crack has been smoked...phew, that was close.
****INCREDIBLY VERY SPECIAL UPDATE: This is amazing. Here is more of the same...-- "for me it was the 12 steps of NA
putting my huge ego aside and surrendering -
finally a glimmer of hope although it has taken me twelve years to get 5 years.
There is hope - for the hopeless". HOPE? This guy RAN from that word when we said it to him and now he claims hope? AND this IS even after he relapsed again just under 75 days ago? Hmmmm? Let me think about this a minute...OK. You say NA, AA, CA or any "A" is the way to "get rid of crack" or arrest it, and yet relapse IS part of your recovery plan....except this time you will go what maybe 7 years? Now I AM really confused on how to do this...and if I AM wonder you cannot get this simple task in your be free from crackcocaine for the rest of your life instead of "for awhile" or "whenever a relapse" occurs. Hmmm? I am speechless...and that is rare!
*****A PHENOMINAL SPECIAL UPDATE: Here we go decide...again same person..."I again work in a job that I never felt I could obtain again and most of the time I have serenity". MOST OF THE TIME...SERENITY? So is it when you do not have that "serenity" you relapse? You might want to take a look at this point. You are clean for what 3...then ...5 then 6 years or something like that and you have serenity MOST of the time? Why not all of the time. I know the answer... do you? I suspect you do not.

*******ANOTHER WONDERFUL UPDATE: Yes from the same person. You-know the one who arressted crack for awhile, relapsed and is now counting days again...yeah that guy..."Yes, I had to hit bottom before my recovery could begin. It was only at that time that I became willing to change". CHANGE? You are willing to change? What happened this last time? You have not changed since I first met you. You have the way. The only way. AND OBVIOUSLY it is OK in "your group" or "website" to relapse as part of the planned recovery program. Great positive program. HEY FOLKS COME JOIN OUR GROUP...YOU CAN ARREST CRACK...RELAPSE ON CRACK...BE ACCEPTED BACK...AND WE DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN AND AGAIN. Phew. I am tired!
********THE FINAL GREAT UPDATE: Same person..."that there is hope for the hopeless, recovery is possible". POSSIBLE? What your way? Not much of an example of hope there buddy. Of course NOW I am sure that you will be going forward with a renewed vigor and holler that is was a missed meeting, or call to your sponsor or oh yeah too much time spent on YOUR WEBSITE OF CRACKRELAPSE! Wake up and smell the know who this is about...YOU!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

My Mom's Book....about the crackhell I put her through

Agape Love by Marilyn R. Lyon

I could mourn the crack-addiction. I could pray for it to leave. I could try to contribute to its death. I could pretend it was not here, year after year, or that it might always be here.
Maybe even that death might take it away, as well as my son, or that there is and was a quick and easy answer.
What I could do is share with him the place I reached after many years of both our failures. I could give us both a relationship, of sorts. It could be called Agape Love, although at the time I called it my program for surviving my pain. I have no judgments. I have not got the answer. I did share my strength and encouragement with my son to try one more time again, never give up hope. Eventually some inner belief planted itself that he could find an answer one of these next times. Then the new uplifting knowledge that each time he tried and failed, he could start again from where he left off the last time he…
He could call me when he failed. I would sit across from him, wanting to breakdown in total despair. I wanted to beg him to succeed, so I would not die of my pain over all this. In those moments sometimes I would lash out with bitter, angry, or clipped remarks. Mostly I did try and not say any judgmental or despairing things. At those times of being in despair myself, raw and vulnerable, Todd would accept my momentary lapses, stoically. He believed more than I, that he was no good, a total failure. I did not need to remind him, although I did it for me. It was my anger and pain. Todd, was not my enemy or I his. We had reached a point after many years of 'crack-crap' where he knew this. I was grateful for this. The long journey to get this was old and well traveled.
I was there to share another starting over again. There was never any doubt he had to try again. Just as I knew he would make it, maybe this time or maybe next time. How to retrieve his fast dwindling boxes of worldly possessions was always first on my list of 'enabling actions'. In this moment of a zombie-like existence, while entering back into the real world, when only a moment ago deep into hell, he would have let someone saw off any leg of choice, truly believing he did not deserve this added aid to re-enter the world of 'normal'. I knew starting over again required some semblance of material possessions to function at least with a little dignity and being able to have some personal moments to weave the days together. He would sleep on my davenport and go to the mall to sit and wait for me to get out of work. He was not allowed in my house anymore when I was not there. After a failure, it could be a fast or slow slide into some kind of pit that endangered his life. He was completely drained of everything. It literally would take months of dedicated good 'effort' just to regain an existence that would not be a danger to himself or anyone else. All this was a daily reminder to Todd and me, that he was a crack-head still. And I did remind him of this, when it fit easily into our conversations. When he became angry at his bleak life, I reminded him that this was the life of a crack-head. When he sighed that he could not walk through another Michigan winter, I again reminded him this is the walk of a crack-head. I said these without bitterness, and without anger or judgment, just a quiet reminder of the sad facts. I wished I could make it not so. But I did not know how. Only Todd could figure out how for himself.
There would be rides to find another scum flophouse for him. Occasional rides to yet another interview for a bottom of the heap job. And there would eventually be rides to look for another junk car. Fixed and imprinted on my mind forever are those businesses that are a dumping ground for the drug addict's in-between binges. These companies are supplying America with cardboard boxes, hinges, and pieces of plastic and cheap hamburgers!
And he was started again.
Some would consider this enabling. This is a word that became part of my vocabulary three months after I was assaulted with Todd's crack-crap. This I feel is because they do not understand anything about crack-heads. They think it is the same as alcoholism. It's not. They both are devastating substances, but that is the only thing they have in common. Overeating can be devastating, yet no one has suggested that we send crack-heads to weight watchers as another quick fix for society's mounting endangerment from crack cocaine. There is a very fine line as to this being enabling. One can only follow their heart. Each case is different. There are no experts regarding crack-heads. There are no rules written in stone. Not yet, anyway.
My program was my program. I believed in it when I was doing it. My program was an attempt to keep my son linked to the edges of the normal, to keep him in touch with real life. Crack-heads have lost every link to normal life. They live in the underworld of the criminal, the hopeless, the ignored, the forgotten, and the lepers of our society. I searched for a link, any link to the warmth of human beings living a normal life, something to keep the memory alive. I welcomed every small and seemingly insignificant opportunity to bring him out of this black hole of life he lived in a as a crack-head and bring him into a brief moment of fresh air.
I never did give him money. Some in the family did at first, but not later. We all believed there were easy answers. I did not bail him out of jail after the first time. I did not, nor did anyone buy him necessities of life. What little he had came at gift times. However, I must confess, we all over gave to him. And each gift was drenched with tears for a love we had so little opportunity to express.
And it went on for years. Would he make it this time? Next time? He was always with us at holidays. On those brief occasions we all put out of our minds that he was a crack-head. Still, he was Todd. He was OK. He was a human being, there but for the grace of GOD, go I, Todd, son, brother, grandchild, brother in-law, uncle. He was OK, even when he filled the room with his pain.
After Todd's many grueling years of being a crack-head, the family would always ask me 'the big question' (like I had the answer) will he make it this time? Because it was I who said I was sure he'd make it one of these times. It was I who said he's starting over again, trying once again, or he's failed again.
I would always answer the same, "I do not know"! And I would count off the good things on my finger for them, like a magic potion. He's going to school part time, he's never done that before. He's working every day; he has a place to live. He's saving his money for an old car so he will not have to walk again all winter. You could get him some long winter underwear for Christmas, or gloves, maybe a warm hat. Just in case his car breaks down.
Eventually there was an aurora of peace and belief in something only I could see. The family bounced off it with their own negative, hopeless feelings, but always came back to the hope, wanting me to convince them to believe he will get it one of these days. Never realizing they were not around on those heart pounding 3 AM jump up and think he is dead kind of things.
Driving to his place, seeing his car there, a light on, was not a testimony to his being alive. I took this crumb home with me, not knowing that I really had been holding my breath until someone called who had seen him since that night and I'd let the air out.
Pulling together my own private program was the only way I could go on. Because I wanted to go out in the streets and lay down and pound the pavement, screaming for an answer. I wanted to buy a gun and search out those responsible, threaten those who went on with their lives in the face of such a massive epidemic of hopeless despair, my son being just one tiny fragment of it.
My despair reached such proportions at times, people advised me to forget my son and run for my life to the nearest counselor. Instead I turned to learning. I filled my notebooks with bits and pieces of information, I collected these fragmented shreds, and the next time Todd failed I would share them with him. He was vulnerable at those times. He'd listen to anything. I became a student of counseling a crack-head. I could not make anything be his answer. I had this huge need to let him in on everything I could find on the subject of being a crack-head, just in case something clicked with him. Most of the time I was just there, another human being across from him who was flawed, difference being I do not have crack cocaine contamination or possession. We are different. Not less, not more, just different.
And so I searched for answers. Against all the experts' simplistic answers, such as AA's program that had been put through three washes and it came out the other end as a quick and easy simple comfortable solution for crack-heads, something to soothe society back to sleep with. Here's the program. And a drug is a drug is a drug. And addiction is addiction is addiction. If it does not work, it is because the crack-head doesn't want it to work.
The more I learned, the more "suspect" I became. If AA's program was the only answer, how come it was not and does not work for true crack-heads? Not just for my son, but for all the others too. Would I have to wait for a program to be invented? Would he be alive by then? Would he be too old to start again?
On my lunch hour one day while leafing through a book written for drug counselors at the library, I almost hyperventilated over a paragraph in front of me. Guess what? That's what! I wanted to stop everyone in the library and tell them, alcoholics are always alcoholics, never an ex-alcoholic. Crack-heads could be ex-crack-heads. It seems someone discovered that when a crack-head had a relapse, it was a lapse. They did not loose all their progress. Whatever strength, resolve, and knowledge they had hopefully accumulated while being off crack the last time did not disappear. In fact it stayed right there with them. Starting again for a crack-head meant not starting all over again. But starting form the point they left off. Whatever personal bits and pieces of ammunition that had hopefully been gathered over however many years was still there.
I also found a definition for drug addiction. It is a learned response. The learning process starts as a user. Like with alcohol, not everyone goes beyond this step. For many, they easily slip into abuser before the user even notices. After that, 10% of the millions of users will slip quickly across that line into addiction where they are completely out of control.
At the next failure, I added this to my mantra of trying again, and a belief that he would make it. You have not lost whatever skills you had to quit the last time, and the time before. I told my son they were still there to use. And this time you will add some more, and one more time might just do it.
Did he cling to this as much as I did? Was this single piece of flotsam in an empty ocean of the War on Drugs Gobblety Goop enough to 'do it'? I do not know. But I clung to it. It was my life raft. And I guess I picked him up and put him in it, no matter how many times he fell off.