No one is perfect in this life, most people are real. The other day at treatment we read in the little daily book, and at the end the question was: I will be grown up by… This got me thinking about being grown up. What is it to be grown up? I don’t really know. I know that life is hard, and gets even harder each and everyday, but somehow or another everything seems to work. After I had been clean for several months things started to finally go right in my life for the first time in a long time, everything just seemed to be falling into place, or so I thought. It took a long time of me being sober for me to finally feel like I was getting somewhere. For the longest time, I felt like I was on a treadmill running as fast as I could to get out of the place that I had come, and it seemed like no matter how fast I ran, everything just seemed in a stand still. Then one day it finally felt as if my life had started moving forward. It seemed to be going forward for a while, and then all of a sudden there seem to be problems that arose, and I didn’t know what to do or how to handle them. I was scared to death, that everything that I had worked so hard for was just going to go away, and I no matter if I wanted to or not I was going to go back to using. I thought that if I stayed clean that everything would just go right, I thought that bad things didn’t happen to those not using. I knew better, but that was what it felt like. I remember crying and asking the counselor why these things were happening to me, I was staying clean, I was being good, and I felt like I was walking the road that I was suppose to walk. The counselor told me: “I follow the road that I am suppose to, I get up and go to work everyday, I go to church and share God’s word with people, I do the best I can in my life, and my life isn’t perfect either. I still have problems, I have bills that I can’t pay sometimes, I have things happen to my car, I have bad days.. No one has a perfect life.” Up until that point I really had put it in my head that all the non addict people in the world, had perfect lives, and if I could quit using then I could have a perfect life too. Looking back on all of it now, I think that it helped me reach to stay clean, and gave me something to look forward to, but it had never been true. I just needed it to help me and I had in someway found it and used it to help me get clean and stay clean. I still want this perfect life that I don’t have. I see myself for who I am, but I also still have unreasonable goals, and thoughts of who I want to be. I just did it that other day at treatment when we were going around and everyone was talking about how they were going to be grown up today by, and then we had to say if we felt like we were where we were suppose to be in our lives. That was a whole other situation, mostly because I am where I am suppose to be right now, and I don’t dislike where I am, but I still want to be other ways also. I still want to be successful in life at something, I want to be recognized for something, I want to help others that have been where I have come from, and I want to be able to buy everything that I want. I want to feel normal, like other people feel when they don’t take anything. I want to not have to take medication in order to feel normal, and not have to feel like super woman everyday. I want to be able to organize my life and stop taking on others problems, and spreading myself to thin. I want my house to be perfect everyday and to stay clean, my children to be happy, my boyfriend to be happy every morning that he opens his eyes, I want to be appreciated for the things that I do, and I want to make enough money not to worry about if anything goes wrong or if I feel like buying something while I am at the store I can buy it. I still think that one day I am going to be right there, even though I know that I really am not. There are some reasonable things that I just said and some reasonable goals that I can achieve, but in the process I have to keep learning and realize that I am never going to have all of that and that I can’t control anyone other than myself, therefore I can’t fix anyone else’s problems, I can’t make anyone wake up happy morning, and I can’t make anyone appreciate me. When we were going around the other day at treatment, all of us had answered the question, and then I asked the group facilitator, what about her, that was where I was stuck again, I always wonder what it is like to not be a addict, and she said: “I am just now going to school and I am 30, you know the way that everyone thinks that it is suppose to be wasn’t that way for me. I didn’t go to school right after high school, I just now am, I didn’t do the “normal” life, but then what is normal. My life is just like yours, I still have problems, I still have issues with money, I don’t always know if I am doing what I am suppose to be doing. I don’t know if I am where I am suppose to be in my life right now, there are times that I still question it. The only difference between you guys and me is you guys do have it a little harder, you guys have the extra factor with drugs and addiction that I don’t have, that’s the only difference.” Then she said something that really hit everything on the head for me and that was.. “I am over weight and do I feel over weight.. NO I don’t feel it, I feel just like I use to before I gained all this weight, the only time I notice the weight is when I am looking in the mirror.” That statement right there is how I feel in life and even about my own weight, her saying that made me realize that me being a addict, doesn’t make me a real person, I am a normal person just like everyone else, and “being grown up” isn’t just about what you have, its about how you handle problems, being able to put your children before yourself, and about being able to see your mistakes and make them better. So yes I am where I am suppose to be for now and as long as I stay clean, I am always going to be a real person, and my life is going to continue to go in the direction that it is suppose to go.
I have been going to treatment for over a year, and even though the things that are being talked about at treatment aren’t necessarily new things, I take away something new each time..
So the cycle of addiction.. Most people don’t realize that addiction usually starts in childhood, with a thinking error..
That thinking error is usually learned from a adult figure in a child’s world. When a child see someone yelling at them or putting them down they don’t know that it is wrong, there for they think that behavior is acceptable.
As the child continues to see the thinking error, it becomes reinforced. It becomes something that the child accepts and the child begins to believe that the thinking error is acceptable in the outside world, other than that of what they know.
Maladaptive.. This is where the child takes the thinking error and begins to use it in the world, usually at school.
Negative Consequences… happen from the maladaptive behavior, because it is a thinking error and it really isn’t accepted in the outside world. From the negative consequences you get..
Negative Emotions, the feeling of what did I do wrong, why am I getting in trouble for this, why is this happening, no one likes me, everyone is picking on me, and so forth.. Which causes more Maladaptive Behaviors, and more Negative Consequences and all of this causes…
Low Self-Esteem.. Feeling of rejection and loss.. That causes..
Seeking Acceptance.. Everyone wants to belong somewhere, so in seeking acceptance, being around the same types of people helps, those are the people that understand the maladaptive behavior and they don’t see anything wrong with the thinking error..
Using.. 1st time, feeling accepted, feeling like you belong, feeling NORMAL.
Justifying.. Well I will only try it, its not like I am going to do it all the time, just this once, I need to get through this and they are doing it, it will be okay, nothing bad is happening to them, they are normal, this is the only way that I can get through this..
Negative Consequences this time are more than likely going to consist of hiding it from others, spending all your money on what it is that is being used, and so forth..
Justifying.. They don’t need to know, its not like they will understand. I am not hurting anyone. I need to have this.
Which all goes back to the thinking error..
It all makes a complete cycle. Each stage that I have described above is a relapse line. You can stay in these lines for a long time or a little time.. Each time that you go around the cycle each section takes less and less time for a addict to cross. Before most know it they are going through the cycle, on a daily basis. It is described as a spiral from this point on.. Imagine drawing a circle and each time you go around you go in a little and go around again, you will end up in the middle of the circle. The middle is full blown addiction and as long as it takes a addict to get to the middle is as long as it is going to take someone to get out..
Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself:
I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today.
I can choose which it shall be.
Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet.
I have just one day, today, and I am going to be happy in it.
By: Groucho Marx
I have a open case with Division of Social Services (DSS). I have been fighting to get my little girl back for over a year now. I have done everything they have asked me to do.. I have done all the classes that have been required of me, plus some. I have passed every drug screen that they have given me, and I haven’t given them any reason to keep my baby. I get over night visits and they are suppose to be increased to 2 over night visits. I go back to court in April, and hopefully they will do a trial home placement with her.
At first, I tried to buck the system.. I read all their rules and regulations, I read state laws, I did everything that I could to make sure that I knew what I was dealing with and what they could and couldn’t do to me. DSS can do anything they want, it is all a case by case basis and most people think that they have to have a reason to take your kid, and that isn’t true. They can take your kid and then find a reason to keep your kid. That’s how our wonderful system works. It isn’t right but there isn’t anyone doing anything about it. They can legally kidnap children. Before I started dealing with DSS I was a person that thought that they were there to help families and get children out of bad situations, but going through it, it feels like they are there to keep your kid, not help you. Going through the system your not allowed to make mistakes, there is no room for error. If you get a flat tire on the way to one of your visits, they will report that in court and it will be held against you. If you are a addict and you have a relapse you loose everything and start completely over. You can’t call your caseworker and talk to them when your having a problem. You can’t go to them for any kind of help at all, otherwise it they will make it look like your doing something wrong, can’t support your child, or can’t care for your child. There have been many of times going through this that I just wanted to be able to turn to them for help, but I can’t because I loose my child and everything that I have worked for. It feels like you can’t make mistakes, life can’t happen, its not allowed and if life happens when your going through DSS, you loose your kid. Everything is centered around you loosing your child. Everyday, I live in fear, even though I am not doing anything wrong. I am trying to get my life together and make it better, and they make it almost impossible. Instead of being there to help you they are there to test you, to see how much they can put on you, to see if you will crack or not. They waste taxpayers money by keeping children in foster care, even when there is no need to. They waste taxpayers money by requiring children to be in state paid childcare, even though they have a stay at home parent.
I have a baby that I have missed out on so much of, because I haven’t been allowed to be there. Being through it I personally think that if the parent(s) are doing well, they should have their child back in their home. Why keep a child in foster care while you monitor the parents, and make sure that they are going to keep doing what they need to be doing. I think a child should stay out of the parents home for the least amount of time possible. As long as the parent is working with the system, and they can provide a safe home for the child, why keep the child out of the home for a year or more. How is that fair to the parents or the child? How is that best for the child?
Why take a baby from someone, who didn’t do anything wrong. Why take a baby from someone that didn’t test positive for drugs through out the pregnancy, didn’t test positive for drugs when the baby was born, the baby didn’t test positive for drugs, the parents had everything that they need for the baby when the baby was born, and the parents had a stable home environment for the child when the baby was born. The only reason that they took my baby was because of my past and what they thought I was doing, even though I had passed hair follicle test and UA’s for them. The only reason they had to take my child was my past.. Because two years before I had the baby I had another child removed from my care, and he had lived with my grandparents.. for several reasons I had decided it was best mostly for them, but him to that he stay living with them. They wanted to adopt him, so I gave him to them, and decided not to “work” with DSS, with him. I still did hair follicle testing every three months though, I figured that way they would know that I was staying clean.
My daughters foster parents, are the best of the best. I couldn’t of asked for better people to care for my child, while DSS decides to keep her out of my home. They are just really great people.. They are down to earth, they aren’t fake and they love her. The love her part can get some what sticky, loving her to the point that they feel that they are loosing a child when she gets placed back in my home can cause the issues. It makes it easy to look for things wrong to report. It makes it easy to not want to give her back and to try and find reasons to keep her. Even though the foster parents and I get along great, they weren’t in the foster care system, to take care of kids and give them back. They were in the system to keep them. They never hid this fact, so why was my daughter placed with them? Why was she placed in a pre adoptive foster placement? A good part of me believes whole heartily that they were told not to worry, that we wouldn’t get her back and they would get to keep her, in order for them to take her. A big part of me believes that they are still being told that she is not going to be taken from them and that they are going to be able to keep her. Its like they don’t want me to have her back. The sad thing is that her foster parents have suffered emotionally too, because of DSS. I am sure that they feel like they are being punished for something, and I am sure that when she is placed back with us, it is going to hurt them horribly. They are going to have to feel the loss of losing a child. How is that fair to anyone? I don’t understand most days how a very important system like DSS, is so flawed and so over looked. Most people don’t know that DSS (family court) is civil court and there isn’t a whole lot of rules and regulations to make it fair like criminal courts. Everything goes in civil court there aren’t any guide lines in civil court to protect the individuals going through it. When it comes to something this important should it be very well regulated to make it fair?
I didn’t deserve to go through this, and everything is all wrong about what I have been through and my case, but in a positive light it has made me see and understand things I didn’t understand before. It has taught me how to be strong and to stick with things and not to give up. It has taught me how to fight, without fighting. It was taught me to stay on my toes, and that comfort in life isn’t any good. When you get comfortable in like, that’s when most of your mistakes are made, (big and small) and it seems like that’s then things seem to go wrong. We are suppose to stay always looking among us, stay on our toes, ready to act, (not react), ready to handle the things that we need to handle, not letting things sneak up on us and surprise us.
What is a cynic?
A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
By Oscar Wilde
My son is 9 and he is what I like to call my mini me. He loves to sit on XBOX 360 live and play all day. This kid can play for several hours at a time.. It is crazy some days, I thought, until a little bit ago. I have been sitting in the same room as him playing and I am hearing myself. I hear myself and the way that I like to control others. He tells everyone what to do and gets mad and aggravated when they don’t listen to him. He is and wants to be in charge of everyone he is playing with. He has his mind set that he has to do all these glitches, and he gives out orders on what everyone is suppose to be doing. I hear him talking and I think how awful, I wouldn’t want to be playing with someone that talks to me that way.. Well, I would be that person.. I hear him and then I look back on different things and I hear myself, no wonder why I have very few friends, no one has wanted someone that tells them how to do everything. This is why I have friends who don’t have anything, or have major problems those are the only people who want to be around someone like me. It is amazing sitting here in the same room listening to him talk on this stupid game how much he has taught me about how I need to start treating others. I never was able to hear it before, I guess because it was coming out of my mouth and I didn’t really want to hear it. Now, I can hear everything I have said, and I don’t want to be that way. I am seeing how I can’t control everyone, and everything. Sometimes I just have to let people be themselves and just be me. I have to let them be who they are and stop trying to control everyone around me. The other day I was cleaning the house and it was the first time in a long time (maybe ever) that I wasn’t barking orders at everyone around me. In being that way, you end up making yourself incredibly rude and putting everyone around you down. I don’t want to be like that I want to be better than that. I know what it is that I can start working on within myself. Not everyone wants to do what I want to do, and if someone is nice enough to help me, I have to start excepting the way that they are willing to help me. This is part of my recovery, and what I need to do so that healthy minded people will want to start being around me. When you are seeing things in your children that you don’t like, we need to look inside ourselves and find that same behavior.
This one is perfect for my last post…
The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort,
But where he stands at times of challenge and controversy!
By: Martin Luther King, JR
I just got done putting my 7 year old to sleep, and laying here with her I realize that it is amazing how my children just fit with me. I was laying half on the bed and half off the bed with her intertwined around me, and somehow it just worked. I know that some will know what I am talking about. It takes a few minutes to get comfortable with my children, but then we find that perfect spot, and once it its found they are usually asleep, within minutes, and I am not far behind if I stay holding them. I have to put them down within a couple of minutes of them sleeping, or else I will be out with them. That’s only part of how my children just fit with me.. They are so much like me sometimes and other times I see a lot of their dad in them. They know how to play perfect with me most the time, they sense when something isn’t right, and they just know things about us. It’s amazing how it happens most of the time. I don’t know if it is the same for a father and his children, if it is the same for other mother’s and their children or not, I just know how it is for mine. I didn’t get to see my older children for a while, when I was having issues, and I couldn’t sleep most nights. The two years that I went without being able to see them, I swear the most that I was able to sleep was 2-3 hours at a time. I would wake up for no reason and falling asleep took me forever, I know that it may sound weird to some people, but some of that right there was a reason that I used for a while. I wouldn’t sleep, but if I used and stayed up for a while, then I could actually sleep for hours when I first fell asleep. I wanted to be able to sleep everyday all day when I didn’t have them and couldn’t see them, but I couldn’t sleep at all. I didn’t realize that by just getting my life together and getting back into their lives I would be able to sleep again, and I do mean sleep. I will never forget the first night that they came to stay with me, I fell asleep within a matter of minutes. I was holding my little girl (she’s 7) and putting her to sleep for the first time in 2 years, and I think I was asleep before she was asleep. I was so comfortable and she just fit, it made sense for her to be cuddled up next to me. If I had known this before, it would have given me another push to get clean faster. I know now that I should have done it regardless, but the cycle of using sucks you in and it is almost impossible to get out for most people. Even when you loose everything, it’s so hard.. I guess for me it was that when I lost everything, it hurt so bad and I didn’t know how to handle the pain and it became easier to use and not to have to think about it then to face it. Then you just keep using because everyday hurts worse and worse and you can’t figure out how to get it back right away. I don’t know but maybe if you could get everything back you lost the day after you decided to get clean, and it would all just come back to you right then, more people would be able to quit and begin recovery. It don’t work that way though, you have to quit using and you have to learn how to handle what hurts, you have to learn how to feel emotions all over again. Learning how to feel the pain that has built up over time, is the roughest part of recovery. That is a huge learning process, I remember when I first started the only way that I got through mine, I had to channel it, I was mad at everyone else, and I guess that it had to be that way. For me I had to sit for hours and think of how to get back at everyone that hurt me, and how I was going to make them pay for it. I would sit and research laws, and read up on DFS, and make them follow all the rules, and call Jefferson City, and report them for anything that they did wrong, I had to channel all my anger in hurt into something else. I was mad at the world and I had to control everything. There were some days that I would call my caseworker and ask her questions that I already knew the answer to just to see if she knew, it made me feel better that she didn’t know and I did. It was just part of it, it was part of what I had to do to be able to deal with the hurt that was given to me. You know what is the most amazing thing, I had no idea about any of this until right now… It just came to me right now typing this post, how I got through those first few months of living clean, and what I did to be able to feel the hurt and handle it. Looking back now I know that my counselors knew this, I remember my one pushing me to read the Art of War.. By Sun Wu Encouraging me to go in that direction, not for any other reason except for they knew that was what I needed to do to get through those first couple months of feeling all the pain that I had tried to ignore for all those years. Addicts that have turned to drugs, have to develop a coping mechanism, when they first get clean to be able to deal with all the trauma that they have caused in their lives for using drugs. See.. this is why everyone in recovery needs to write something.. It helps you understand more things then you ever imagined.. I guess writing just does that, I bet there are a lot of people who blog and write a journal and learn more about themselves writing, then anything they have ever done..
Good Night I feel awesome.. I just learned something new about my recovery…
Begin doing what you want to do now.
We are not living in eternity.
We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our and melting like a snowflake.
Let us use it before it is to late.
By: Marie Beynon Ray
Unexpected.. Last year in February of 2012, I had a daughter, the day after she was born as I was waiting for her to get released from the hospital, I was informed that there was a court order to remove her from my care. It wasn’t because I had tested positive for drugs when she was born, it wasn’t because I didn’t have a stable home environment for her, it wasn’t because I didn’t have the things I needed for her, and it wasn’t because I was unable to care for her. Division of Social Services (DSS) took her from me because of my past. In 2010, I had a little boy removed from my care because of drug use. I had tested positive for marijuana and opiates, and even though I didn’t test positive for meth, and I hadn’t done it in the last couple of weeks, I had still been doing it for a year. They took him that day and I was suppose to go to inpatient treatment, so I went and after a week I decided that I was healed and that I didn’t need to be there anymore, so I left. My PO violated me for leaving and made me go do a 120 treatment at the woman’s state prison. When I got out in January of 2011, my grandparents had my child and they were his foster parents. I tried to do what I needed to do in order to get my visits with him, but every time I would complete what I needed to complete in order to get my visits, my case worker would always have a reason not to give me my visits and she would always come up with something else that she wanted me to do. I gave up, my grandparents had him, and they were already really attached to him, attached enough that they were already saying that they would adopt him, and part of me was afraid that if I fought and got him back, then it would hurt them, and something would happen to them. The other part is that they are retired, they have money, and they are able to give him a really good life, and he had gotten use the type of life that they could give him. I didn’t want to take that away from him. So it not only was best for him to stay, but I felt that I owed it to them also. (They had raised me, and I was awful to them and I had hurt them really bad, many times, it was my way of making it up to them.) In June of 2011, I found out that I was pregnant with my daughter, I still went to all of the court dates for my son, while I was waiting on the paperwork to get ready so that I could sign and they could adopt him. At these court dates I was always made to go do a UA and a hair follicle test, which always came back clean. My last hair follicle was done in August of 2011 and it was clean, the paperwork giving up my parental rights, so my grandparents could adopt him, was signed in November. Even though my case worker in the one county had promised that she would find a way to take my baby, the case worker in the other county said that she couldn’t do it, and that she had no right to, as long as I stayed clean, and made sure I had a stable home environment for her. Well, come February 2012 I had my baby and the social worker that said that she would take her no matter what I did, made good on her promise. It has been over a year now, I love my daughters foster parents they are really good people. I hate what has happened and I know that none of it was right. I know that they should have never taken my baby from me, but then since it has already happened and there is nothing that I can do about it now, it is done did, so the only thing that I can do is to find the positive in the situation. Part of me wishes that someone would hear my story and be able to help me, fight and make DSS make right the wrongs that they have done. Going through getting my child back I have meet some really great people, and my daughter has the best foster family that I could of ever asked for. I don’t know how I know, but I know that her foster parents were made to believe that they would be able to keep her, and even though I have done everything that has been asked of me for a year and I haven’t done anything wrong, DSS looks for reasons not to give her back to me. I know that the DSS system is not fair, it is ran by people and people have feelings and emotions. I am lucky because I was able to get a foster family that even know I know that they want to keep my baby, that they do everything that they can to help me get her back. They are the most unselfish people, and I know what it is like to loose a child, and when I get my daughter back, for them it will be like loosing a child. I really hope someone that can make a difference reads this post, and can help others realize that the DSS system is extremely flawed, it is ignored and needs to be fixed desperately. These are families lives at stake. There is no room for error. Most days being in the system, I feel that I am not allowed to be human. I am not allowed to make mistakes, and I can’t afford for anyone involved to make mistakes. I live a life of fear everyday, that even though I am not doing anything wrong, one of my drug screens will get mixed up and it will come back wrong. I live in fear that they will find anything just a little wrong, they will not give her back to me. I cannot afford to make mistakes and I cannot afford for people to make mistakes, or I loose my child forever. Most days it is so overwhelming, I feel like I have to live the perfect life, have the perfect answers, and have the perfect behavior. I am scared everyday that something is going to happen and I won’t get her back. I am scared that if I answer on question wrong they take her forever. My heart drops every time DSS calls me or comes to the house. I live in fear. I don’t get to make mistakes, I can’t afford life to happen, if life happens for me I loose my child and possibly even my new baby that I just had. The only thing that I have most days, I do have a great support system, and I do believe that my daughters foster parents are part of that support system…