Saturday, May 14, 2005

Crackhead Mom with Agape Love

...Agape Love by Marilyn R. Lyon
...episodes about Todd Wm. Gibson alias ie: "Crackhead"

Chapter Eleven

I was becoming an expert on organizing a crack-heads life after a fall. Something I never would have believed possible. I felt like George M. with a skill no one wanted.
When I received the last call of distress and failure I would ever receive from my son, I was calm, collected, organized and dedicated. As though I had been called at a professional emergency help facility.
I picked him up on a cold wet fall morning from a street corner about 2 miles from where he lived. He had on a summer hat, an unlined cotton jacket and no socks. He had just said, "pick me up". I did. Neither of us said anything.
I drove to a restaurant and we sat down over hot coffee. This time he did not start an explanation with how much he had failed, how low he was, how helpless he was. He matter of factly explained as though he had just visited a relative at the hospital who was in serious condition.
He had picked the lock on his landlady’s bedroom door and stole $200 in tips she had left on her dresser. He re-locked the door. She was retired and worked part time and did not really need the money. A week or two previous she suspected Todd but never did or said anything. Instead she had a bolt lock put on her bedroom door. So next time he broke in the window and this time stole $400 in quarters.
When she discovered the second theft and the dislodged window, she called the police. Todd was so mindless he was just in his room as usual. When the police arrived he and his sleeping mind hid in the closet.
However strangely, when the police searched the room and the closet, they found no one. It is hard to say how much crack related crime they had already been drenched with that day.
When they left he went out the window and wandered around half clothed in the bitter cold until it was late enough to call me.
I went to see his landlady that morning. She was amazed that a crack-head she had living in her house had stolen money she left laying on a dresser behind a locked door. She also seemed to enjoy the excitement of re-telling the story and made a very large point of making me look in his room to see that she had in fact packed up all his things. But really had a waitress from work come and pack his things as though that would have some significance in my then soggy mind. I looked at the pillows on the bed and wondered if they were Todd’s, but just wanted to get his things and go. I did not even look in the drawers or closet. I knew more about what he had lost than what he had left.
Very soon we discovered a shark tooth necklace my brother had just given him while visiting form Florida. A beaded necklace made by his sister for Christmas last year; a typewriter he had bought while in school. A pair of pet shears he had for 15 years, and a new portable heater in a box and his toiletries in the bathroom.
Todd had done something very, very wrong. The courts would see to it that he pay back every dime. As well as the fact that Todd would feel loosing his stuff was what he deserved. But the personal things from my brother brought tears to his eyes. The typewriter was one of the few things he had bought for himself in 5 years. His wrong did not seem to us to make their wrong right.
I called the landlady thinking that these things had been overlooked. She hung up on me. I just wanted to retrieve the necklace not because they were so valuable, but because of their personal meaning.
Although he never spoke of it, I am sure he knew there would be a warrant out for him. So did I. He had committed his first felony that I knew of, or that he had been caught at. Although I was operating efficiently, I was very, very numb inside. Inside I was not operating, not thinking and not feeling anything.
I was drained. Todd talked about having to go back to the hotel he had been at the last year. He went immediately that day and got a job as a waiter at a new restaurant that had just opened. He was numb too and dumb and living in some fantasy world that by getting a job getting a place to live and by pretending it never happened, it would go away.
He was frantically running. I was humbly waiting. I saw Todd’s body in my house but I did not feel connected to it.
Somewhere I must have known he had to be punished for this, and that he would be punished. Nothing seemed to matter to me. I just went through the motions.
It was only a few days after he had called me on that cold wet morning when I looked out and saw police converging from all sides of the house. They hand cuffed him. I kissed him and gave him a hug and cried. I said to no one in particular, "He is a crack-head, not a criminal", as they took him away.
Can this be happening to me? I could not see how it could. But it was. This was not a TV program. This was happening to us.
I sat around like a zombie when I was not at work. Scott would call me with the details of charges and things that he called to find out about. A felony did not connect in my mind. All crimes were the same to me.
Then I got a telephone call one day when I was sitting at my desk starring dazed and empty, out the window. She was calling from the Bail Bond Dept. of the jail to find out some information so she could advise in bond being set. I did not give her a chance to ask any questions. A volcano erupted inside me. "It doesn’t matter what the bond is", I told her, and "He does not have it". None of us were going to pay it, and I started to cry. "He’s a crack-head. We are all still standing by him but he is a hopeless crack-head. We have tried everything. He has tried and failed so many times. He use to be a completely different person". I cried, "He needs a good drug program, or even a bad one. He was so much stronger than he was 5 years ago. I know he is on the brink of being able to stop. He just needs some help, some tools, and some information. I tried and tried and cannot find any help". All this poured out of me again like it was coming from someone else. Like I was reciting something to an empty room again.
"Well. If you think a drug program would help him, that’s where we will put him".
Just like that. I was silenced. Did I hear her right?
"Hello"? She said.
"Yes I am here. OK. I do think it would help. I know it will help. He is ready. Maybe it would not have helped in the beginning, I do not know. I know he is ready now. Thank you. You really mean it? Just like that you can get him in a drug program’?
My son never knew about my conversations with all the people I have talked to. He did not know about this one. When he stood in front of the Judge and the Judge said his sentence would be 6 months in a re-hab facility, he asked, "Why"? "Why now"?
"You have committed a felony", the Judge said.
"You mean I could have gotten in a Re-hab program before, if I had committed a felony"?, He asked?
"Yes", the Judge answered.
"I wish someone had told me", my son said.
The judge had no idea what he was talking about, naturally.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Conquering CrackCocaine


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 significant days clean (at least 45 days minimum) 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 and 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.