Monday, November 12, 2012

Too much?

This last article in the paper really made me feel sick.  What does telling this story do to my kids?  How can I help them through it? Is it worth it?  Is it the right thing to do?  Should I have waited until they were older?

All of these questions swirled around in my head.  There is more than one way to look at everything.  To really not be ashamed of myself, and to help them with their shame, I have to walk the walk, as well as talk it.  And like I've said before, I usually do parenting the hard way. But to truly lift the shame, I have to not be ashamed.

The article was posted on the newspaper's website Thursday night at 10:30 PM.  I read it right away, and didn't sleep all night.  So Friday, I couldn't eat (rare), hadn't slept, and it actually felt a little familiar of days gone by.  The sick feeling in my stomach was super strong.  I was very, VERY anxious.  I was filled with fear and regret.

My boys weren't thrilled that I told the story of that last crash.  But as I mentioned before, they are stronger than many kids, because they've had to be. I may have a chronic illness, but I am not stupid.  I would have worded it differently had I written it myself.  But papers must sell, I guess.  I made it clear to them that the events of that night, saved our family.  And they should understand that.  I am very sorry.  And also very grateful.  I live my amends with my kids every day by staying clean and present. They are all incredible people.

I took them to Nickelodeon Universe, at the Mall of America to ride the rides the day the article came out.  They didn't have school that day, and we needed to get out of the house.  Buying their happiness?  Maybe.  We had a great time.

The word "meth" makes people nervous, uncomfortable, and scared. It is scary. But the word "beer" doesn't make people as nervous. I realize that beer is legal. But alcoholism is just as tricky and dark as drug addiction. And one is no worse or better than the other.

Many of you asked if they have had therapy.  We did have some family therapy and some of my kids went to individual therapy.  We are not in any therapy as of the moment. Well, their dad goes (well..when he doesn't skip.)  Because at the moment, everyone is doing fine. I may start them, now that sports are over for the winter.  More therapy, never hurts. I'm undecided.

In spite of when we were actively using, we still enrolled them in sports, we still had Christmas, we still did their homework with them. We still kissed and hugged them. I'm not saying we were great parents. We were dead behind our eyes and trapped by a drug. We fought constantly when we tried to quit.   We were not the parents we truly are.

Those sad days and bad feelings about their parents are still healing for them now.  The disease of addiction is hereditary.  It is genetic.  But to see your parent recover is just as powerful as that.  Even if some of that recovery (Bob's dual diagnosis of PTSD) is slow.  They know first hand what drugs can do.  They also know what recovery can do.  I can't be ashamed of any of that.  Do I wish I didn't put them through that?  Of course I do. But I can only live today.  We have all walked this road together.  And if we can help another parent, kid, addict, then we can feel good about that.

Thankfully, I am on this side now. I am in recovery. I play catch, color, cook dinner, (I suck at it, and we eat a lot of pizza) go camping, snuggle, laugh, and love.  I help them when they need help. They are as happy as any kid on our block. It's not perfect. But who is?

The boys play football and baseball.  And my daughter is starting her hybrid online school right this minute. We don't constantly talk about all things recovery. You can let your kids visit. We wont fill their heads up with anything heavy. We do have a lot of fun around here, and it gets better every day.


  1. I have no doubt you dont adore and love your children! You talk about them all the time and kids are resilient. Maybe more therapy would be good down the road but you're doing a great job.

  2. From a fellow '89 grad of WBLAHS, best of luck in your journey.

  3. Betsy,

    I haven't read the articles but I'd like to see them if you have a link.

    It is scary to come "out". Today I think of all the baggage and stigma addiction carries in the world however I also think about what it was like for HIV sufferers in the 1980's.

    Today everyone or nearly everyone recognizes HIV/AIDS is a disease, not a "punishment from god". It took brave people to stand up and be counted back then, just as it is brave people that stand up to be counted today about addiction.

    We stand up every day with our blogs. I believe one day there will be a non-judgmental recognition about the problem of addiction. But until then we will all suffer from what others want to believe.

    But, what you are doing is important. Be strong

    1. You just made me cry. You have no idea how bad I needed to hear that right now. Thank you so much. Honestly.

      Here is the link. Thank you so much.

  4. Read the article, very good.

    My gut feeling inside after reading the article; "This is not a dirty rotten good for nothing drug addict, this is a real person a fellow human being."

    I hope that is what others feel.

    1. Thank you again. That is also my hope. My own fear and shame creeps up on me. It's hard to overcome. But your words help. Thanks.

  5. I've been reading for a long time, but never commented. I blogged for several years about my son's horrific poly substance abuse, with heroin as his drug of choice. I smiled when I read

    "The word "meth" makes people nervous, uncomfortable, and scared." The word heroin does the same thing! People would recoil when I said it, as if it were contagious.

    Like you, my son is doing good. Well, he is more like Bob, but I'm grateful for the forward progress...:) I appreciate your writing about Bob's struggles also, I can relate to that.

    Anyway, no judgements here. You are living an honest and moral life. You parent with all your heart. You try to put kindness and an open mind first. Sounds good to me.

  6. When I read that article after reading your post about it I thought "it's just the newspaper trying to sell their stories", I like your blog, it's honest and I know you would have told that story differently if given the choice. It sounds like you are doing awesome with your kids and showing them that recovery is hard but pays off is so good, I think it will only make them stronger.

  7. I'm an almost 40 yr old to parents who had addictions to coke & alcohol in my teens - twenties. I never touched hard drugs because I saw how it screwed things up for them. Until my mom got sober, my siblings & I held serious resentment and anger towards her. Her skating around the problems as if it never happened was just as bad. Seeing her get clean and stay sober in my 30s was so healing for our family. Having her be able to admit she screwed up was too, even though it's awkward to talk about.

    I think being honest about your struggles is good. Keeping secrets and trying to hide the problem causes just as much resentment in kids as when you're using. I'm glad your family is healing and you work to stay sober every day. Your kids will appreciate and understand it more as they get older.

    1. I appreciate that Jennifer. Thank you for sharing that with me. I really need to hear that stuff!!

  8. I can't feel your anxiety in this post. Please know that you are doing a GREAT thing here.

    My parents never managed to find recovery. My dad was dead by 50 and my Step-mom is dying. We always had Christmas, and Thanksgiving- but only because the town would drop boxes of donated gifts-food at our door. 3 of my dads four other children dropped out of school when I left, becoming addicts themselves. 2 of the 3 are now clean, healthy functioning parents themselves. I never touched meth for that reason in and of itself. It tore my family to tiny poisonous bits. I carried so much guilt for leaving, even knowing that it wasn't my fault.

    I attempted suicide when I was 13 after some BS I went through with my parents (dad n stepmom). I just wanted them to listen. Even more, I wanted so badly to hurt them for what they were doing. As you can see, fortunately- thank God- my plan failed. Unfortunately they still didn't hear me. They didn't 'wake up'. They didn't 'open their eyes'. But I did. And I think I became even stronger and smarter for it.

    Your children are so fucking lucky to have you. They may not see it now. YOU might not see it now. But I do. So many children in this world aren't that lucky. I've seen so many families ripped apart by meth, and even when its so clear to everyone else, they can't see it, they keep ripping deeper. I've seen my own cousins abused physically and sexually in foster care. I've seen them face worse in their own homes- foster care was a fucking vacation for those kids compared to their homes. I've seen them turn into users and abusers themselves, and I've seen them when its too late... In the county coronor van. Last year I lost my cousin JJ to drugs- His baby will never know what his daddy was- who his daddy was- and my aunt is STILL FUCKING USING.

    I can tell this newspaper is messing with your head. I can see your doubt. Think about it- then let it go- and move on. If people are talking shit- well then good. They can be ignorant assholes all they want- don't let them live rent free in your head. What you've done, what you're doing, is SO MUCH GREATER and they can't possibly take away from that. Ever. And one day soon, I hope your kids realize, the full extent of what you're doing for them now. I wish my parents had done it for me and my siblings. And I'm angry every fucking day that my aunt didn't do it for JJ.

    1. I'm sobbing. For real. Thank you for sharing this with me and boosting me up. I was filled with doubt, shame, guilt, fear, all of it. I am so grateful for people like you who tell me things like this. In my heart of hearts, I know that sharing my stuff is the right thing to do. But then the shame of what I've done hits me. But I will let it go. I am letting it go. And I am so very grateful to have connected with you.

      I wish your parents would have been able to do it for you and your aunt for JJ as well. But your voice and story will help. It helps me to know that I cannot give up my recovery for anything. ANd I will work, speak, write about it every day, for the rest of my life.

      Thank you Amanda.

    2. Amanda, can I use your comment in my next post? I will use your name, or I don't have to. I know it is posted here, but I would like to use it. Thanks!!!

    3. You can absolutely. Sorry my phone was screwed up this week. All my emails just cam through this morning.

    4. You probably saw that I did use it. Again, thank you so much.

  9. I think being ashamed of certain things you did in the past is only a sign that you are human, that you care about and love the people around you. Memories might hit you, they hit all of us at one time or another - the virtue of life is to not be swallowed by them...not allow the shame and guilt and fear to take the better part of us. By "coming out" you do a lot for others who are affected by addiction and I think that your kids will appreciate what you do - if they don´t already. Having a parent who faces her problems and knows when to reach out - like you seem to do - is a blessing! Also it will make your children stronger to grow up in an honest and up-front environment. Just don´t forget: you´ve come a long way and it needs a lot of courage to come this far.