My Biggest Fears

Why girl crying

In my last post abut Kae’s self-centeredness I mentioned how her Dad said one night, “she’s going to die”.  Do you know how shocking it was to hear him say that?  His voice cracked at the words.  We are afraid.  We love our daughter deeply.  We feel helpless – we are helpless.  We cannot “fix” her, control her or punish her for her bad choices.  She’s not 4 anymore.  Boy was she something when she was 4 – smart, inquisitive, funny, cute and talented.

What happened?  A parent  – me – my husband – cannot imagine how she ended up on this awful journey.  Why?  Why did this happen – why can’t she get a grip on her life?  SO many questions……..

I used to imagine her life – happy, vibrant, successful – for a time it was.  What the hell happened?  I mean I know the marriage sucked, she was laid-off from a great job….but why did she choose such a self-destructive manner in which to tackle these circumstances?

Now when I think about her future I don’t know what to visualize. Will she recover or be  homeless, dead, down and out?  I try to picture her coming out of this and going back to the beautiful, smart and talented young woman  – the one that is still residing in her – somewhere….I desperately want to love that girl again.

I feel empty and sad and fearful, but I love her so very much – she will always be my daughter.

It’s All About Me

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Kae has taken on a copious amount of self pity and self absorption.  It’s pathetic at times. But she will always be my daughter and I love her no matter, it just makes it hard to like her at times.  Her self-centeredness seems to often cause her to be somewhat of a bully.  Yuck!

The fact that she has been drinking again certainly exacerbates this behavior.  It’s interesting when she is under the influence she seems to have little or no interest in what anyone else in her family is doing, how they are feeling or what is happening in their day. Not only does she seem completely disinterested in anyone else but seems to be somewhat of a bully – making snide comments or laughing at one of us.  Trying to set up a conversation whereby she can laugh at the other person.  It’s mean!

Her younger sister has gotten to where she pretty much never answers Kae’s calls as she seems to always be the brunt of some nastiness.  Some self-righteous holier than thou remarks about her education and maturity…which I am sad to say is laughable at this point.  That education and her level of maturity aren’t doing her one bit of good today.  Jobless and stuck in a rut I’m clear on this fact – she has no room to laugh at anyone else, put them down or criticize.

My heart once again breaks as my baby girl is so disheartened to see her older, role model of a sister going down this harrowing path.  She can no longer look up to her model behavior of the past.  It makes her so sad and yet she can’t bear to be belittled and tortured by meaningless, hateful, drunk conversations.  She wants to “fix” it.  I remind her we can’t.

Just this week Kae called me twice and I didn’t answer as I had just sat down in a restaurant, alone to enjoy a meal.  When my phone rang a third time I decided I’d better pick up. She had connected the three of us to a conference call and thought it was hilariously funny when I couldn’t make sense of who I was speaking with.  When I finally realized we were all three on the phone call and heard my baby girl say, “I’m at work”, I knew she could not stay on the line.

Kae started a ramble about some pain and swelling in her jaw, with complete disregard to little one being at work and no idea what Mom was up to.  Recently she had tripped and fallen – landing on her chin and splitting it wide open – requiring 6 stitches.  It pains me to write this as I know she’d been drinking when she fell.  She tried to blow it off by saying she’d tripped over some tree roots and fallen, perfectly sober.  Perfectly a lie!  Drawing all attention to a possible medical issue – with not one concern for what her sister or her mom might be in the middle of.  Baby girl hung up – I stayed on for a few minutes and encouraged her to go to the ER if she was concerned that this was something serious.  Then I got off – feeling empty.  Always worried that I could be the one being self-centered.

My stomach goes in knots – yet I remain perplexed as to how she can go on like this. Tell me, how can she?  Marriage down the drain, jobless, stitches in your face, friends and neighbors – OH and family concerned for her safety and well being yet she continues on this crazy path of destruction.  Her Dad says, “she’s going to die”.  He doesn’t say this without a break in his voice – but at this point he can only imagine what else could possibly happen.

Remember she lives across the country.  Should we try to go get her?  She’s a grown woman…I’m not sure we can force her to do anything.  Her Dad did call her the next day and plant a seed….she can come to where we live for a while and try to find work in our area.  Is this the answer?  We don’t know but it is about our last straw in reaching out and offering a better life.  She cannot come and stay forever, for free.  She can come and seek work, save a little money and then find a little place to rent……ahhhhhh…I wish!

We are afraid she will never recover from this life of madness if she remains where she is – in that house, that town, that state of mind.

She will always be my daughter…..

Distance

 

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Not only is there a physical distance between Kae and me but I am feeling a heaviness of emotional and conversational distance now a days too.  So sad for me……It varies from day to day but most days our conversations feel strained.  My suspicion is that she is hiding something – possibly the fact that she is back at the booze!

It’s impossible to know for sure but on the other hand it isn’t.  Sometimes our conversations start out ok and then before we hang up she sounds drunk.  I can’t help but be confused.

In the past we spoke daily…now the calls are more like every few days.  I got another 2 a.m. call this week.  She was crying when I answered and blurted out how she was “all alone”.  She is…she is choosing this.  She ranted about how she is the “one” person in our family who is a f*%k up.  Getting a divorce, been to rehab, jobless….I took a moment to remind her of how many people in our family have been divorced.  Out of 11 adults – 5 have gone through a divorce, 2 of them through multiple divorces.

She apologized for calling at such an unGodly hour and told me it was either call or go buy a bottle of wine.  By the end of the conversation, as I said earlier, I’m uncertain if she was drinking or not.  Not falling down drunk, slurring her words smashed but tipsy…I don’t know.  It is hard to decipher between tears and tipsy over the telephone.  If indeed calling me and having me on the phone for 1 hour and 45 minutes in the middle of the night kept her from getting a bottle of booze and drinking until she passed out well I’m happy to accommodate!

It didn’t feel distant then.  But for the next couple of days I didn’t hear from her.  When I finally did she clearly was drinking and rambling in such a way I had to cut the call short.  Remember I set a boundary regarding drunk phone calls.  I hate it but it feels better than struggling to converse with a plastered person even if she is always my daughter.

Does It Ever End?

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Secrecy….is evil and I don’t like it.  A friend who happens to be an Episcopal priest once told me, “secrets will destroy a family”.  Kae’s dad and I have found ourselves in a position to be secretive – lately…well for the last couple of years since this whole alcohol, abuse, divorce, mess began.

First it was her wanting us to be secretive.  “Don’t talk to W”.  Then I would end up in a conversation with him.  He’d call me to complain about her alcohol use and we would discuss ways he might be able to make changes that could possibly affect her behavior.  Frankly, none of those suggestions were ever put into practice.  Notice I didn’t say he ever discussed his contribution to the nastiness that was their marriage!  Then he and I would decide not to tell her we’d talked.  This wasn’t a constant battle but one that always made me feel like such a louse.  I don’t like to lie and I don’t like liars!  So I don’t like myself when I lie either.

Lately it’s been her wanting us to be secretive from her one friend who lives close and knows pretty much what she’s up to.  When I realized she was drinking, again last week I didn’t automatically contact that friend but remember I said she went ballistic on me wondering if I was going to call.  I didn’t – her Dad did.  Read this post to clarify.   Truth of the matter is…she was so drunk that night that she doesn’t even remember what was said!

Yesterday I received a text from her neighbor asking if I’d spoken to her.  I had not but hadn’t thought much about it, and I was at work.  I took a short break and called her.  She answered, said she was folding laundry.  After a couple minutes of a rather awkward conversation she asks, “so did you call because Jackie contacted you?”  What do you think I did?  I lied….sadly.

What all of this means is, I care about her well being.  When a friend who speaks to her daily contacts me and expresses concern I become concerned.  Jackie doesn’t want Kae to know that she’s checking up but in reality she is – we all are.  Every time I call or text, even if I have plenty to chat about I feel like I am weighing in on her state of mind and soberness.

Jackie asked me not to tell Kae that she’d contacted me.  So I lied.  What Kae doesn’t seem to understand or grasp is that we are all concerned for her safety and well being – that is all!  She seems paranoid about a phone call or text between Jackie and me.  I think when she’s screwing up she figures I won’t know if I don’t hear from her friend so she gets freaked out thinking we might “talk about her” behind her back.

When will this end?  Part of me is grateful for a neighbor who is a friend and who keeps in contact daily – but part of me hates the secrecy of our conversations.  I truly have no one else to turn to or to contact, besides the police if I couldn’t reach Kae.  Yeah, W did a great job of convincing the friends they’d made when they moved (only a handful) that they should stay away.  Clearly they aren’t true friends or they’d have given her an opportunity to express her side.  So sadly she is alone.  Her friends live in another state- should she move?

Guys, I am pulling my hair out.  How can I come to terms with lying when it’s at the top of my list of “NO NO’S?  Ah ha….as I wrote that a thought came to me….maybe it’s time I level with Kae and tell her – “like it or not I will talk to whom ever I need when the need arises – especially if that person is reaching out to me”.

What do you think – is that a legit boundary?  Thoughts?

 

What About All Those Other People At Rehab?

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It seems there is a mass text message among the folks from rehab.  Kae spent 30 days with these people.  Some were there for alcohol abuse, most there for drugs and or a drug/alcohol combo.  After she came out she told me how much worse off all these guys and gals were due to their circumstances at home.  Most would be going home to bitter families, non-supportive and not understanding….well, I mean I don’t understand but I support her decision to detox!

Some of the people she is referring to are much younger than Kae.  Some don’t even have an invitation to go home.  They are off into never-never land equipped with whatever they grasped at rehab.  This is scary!  I mention the others from rehab as I am curious – are these people good for my daughter?  Is it normal to remain friends with those you meet in rehab?

My daughter is a very pretty young lady.  It is normal for guys to want to hang out with her and I’m sure lending a shoulder to cry on is easy when the girl is pretty.  It concerns me that she will spend time with – let’s say those guys who were detoxing from meth or opiates – will her tender and fragile state make it easy for them to suck her down that path?  She’s proven already that going back to her addiction came easily – will it for these others was well?  Am I wasting my time thinking about this?

Maybe I am worrying about something I shouldn’t.  She’s spoken some about meeting up with a group of her rehab friends – but it has not happened yet.  I don’t have any control over this situation anyway…..

Moving on…….thanks for reading!  Any comments you can contribute – especially if you have been in either situation – mine or Kae’s – could be helpful!

 

What Recovery?

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Recovery my ass!  Liar liar pants on fire!  That’s what I’d say to a 4 year old when I knew they were telling a lie – I’m about ready to say it to Kae because she’s become quite adept at lying.  This sickens me and shatters my heart.  Not as much for lying to me or her Dad or her friends but that she’s lying to herself!

Not out even one week and she began to drink again.  It doesn’t seem to be to the extent it was before rehab but what the hey?  30 days in rehab and recovery lasted like 3 days.  Let’s not even talk about the cost of going to a rehab facility – which I might add her insurance didn’t cover.

For the first maybe 8-10 days she was doing an amazing job of not letting on when she and I would talk.  Of course, this explains why after she came out I didn’t hear from her too regularly.  I wondered why…now I know.  When she did call she didn’t sound drunk – maybe she wasn’t….maybe she waited until we had had a chat before drowning her sorrows.

I cannot wrap my brain around this.  How does a person decide all on their own to go check into rehab, go through the process of detox and 3 days after coming home already head right back down that rocky path?  I had finally stared to feel like our conversations were better, more like they have been in the past.  Until night before last when a phone call came around dinner time.

She began the conversation by asking what I was doing?  “Finishing up dinner”, I told her.  “Well where are you – can you talk?”  I agreed to talk as I had literally one bite left.  She started out telling me that she’d had a tough session with her therapist that day and a bit about how she was feeling about men.  At this time she seemed teary but not inebriated.

Then I heard a familiar and unsettling sound on the other end of the line….drinking…a kind of slurping sound.  I’ve heard that before and my heart began to sink as I knew where this was going. I waited a few minutes and as the time passed her words became slurry, I recognized some of the responses she made.  More importantly the tone started to become hateful, accusatory.  I recognized that she was in a full blown state of being stink punch-drunk.

When I questioned it – if she was drinking and told her she sounded drunk she denied it. Liar!  A short time after I questioned it she said, “You sound distrustful!”.  My reply?  “Why because I think you are drunk?”  Kai, “yep, yep, yep, (clears her throat) I’m NOT”.  The conversation ended when she became angry and hung up on me – questioning if I was going to call a friend/neighbor of hers who could check up on her and who I now know could divulge that she’d already been drinking 3 days out of rehab.

I didn’t call that friend but her Dad did.  We got the scoop and stared at each other with space like eyes.  After he hung up we scratched our heads and sat outside to listen to the crickets.  My phone rang….I cringed.  Not willing to try to communicate with a drunk – it simply is a waste of time and energy, which by this time I was already low on.

Those hateful, spewing words began to flow from her mouth.  I told her, ” I won’t talk to you in this state.  I love you and would enjoy a conversation when you are sober.  I will not allow you to be hateful to me.”  Then she started in on running her mouth about how her Dad is so stupid and doesn’t understand anything and always – (yes always) says the wrong things.  I backed him up with this response – “you don’t like that he calls it like it is”.  This pissed her off even more, too bad.  I told her I had to hang up and would talk to her the next day if she was sober.

These are the nights that falling asleep and resting comfortably are impossible.  I had a big day following and so I made the decision to shut my phone off so that she could not disturb me at 2 a.m.  I must be feeling stronger in the boundaries I’m trying to implement because I didn’t even feel guilty doing it!

The next afternoon, late in the day she called.  She wanted me to talk her off of a ledge…she wanted to call W.  If you’ve read my previous posts – we all know this is a ludicrous idea.  Teary sounding…after a few minutes it seemed as if she’d been at the bottle yet again – but not as bad as the night before.  This time when I questioned it her response was honest, “yes”.  A sad sounding admission.  Could this be progress in the right direction again?

Fingers crossed…….

 

Coming Home From Rehab

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My heart broke the entire time Kae was at the rehab facility because I am so far away I was never able to visit her or attend any of the family sessions.  I feel her Dad and I missed out on valuable info that could help us support her in recovery.

Have you attended these types of meetings? Do you have experience with this?  Can you pass along any info, suggestions, tips or hints around this subject?  I’d be eternally grateful to hear from you.

Since she’s come out she has shared with me that I need to know I cannot help her- only support her in recovery.  I understand that – I spent an immeasurable amount of time trying to “help” all to no avail.  I can’t help but wonder though, are there things I shouldn’t say?  Are there subjects to be avoided?

She’s mentioned “triggers” – conversations or such that may make her wish for a drink of alcohol.  I remind myself this is not my responsibility to prevent this but hers.  A mother’s love runs so deep it’s damn near impossible for her to yearn to be certain not be the person who says or does something that may pull one of those triggers.

Boundaries – it’s about boundaries.  She knows where she needs to set her boundaries.  Kae told me she learned tons about setting her own boundaries at rehab.  Are there any for her parents?

So many questions…….

Countless Hours On The Phone

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Before my daughter decided to check herself into rehab we spoke daily.  I don’t mean just one or two times a day I mean sometimes for 2-3 hours at a time during the day and often times another hour or 2 at. night.  I was exhausted! During the last several months before W threw his plate, knife and fork at her and for several weeks after I also found myself having multiple lengthy conversations with him.

See that drawing above?  That’s how the conversations usually felt with both of them.  With Kae it was a guessing game as to her state of soberness.  Many conversations I knew I was speaking with a drunk person, at times it was questionable and occasionally I knew she was sober.  With W, I spent considerable time asking questions that would verify something she’d told me about his behavior, or asking him what he wanted to do about their situation.

A few times I’d get a phone call from my daughter after having spoken to him where she would say, “something you said must’ve clicked because he’s being super nice”.  That never lasted more than a day or two.  When speaking with him he would express how hard it was to deal with an alcoholic (no shit), he’d tell me he just didn’t know what to do, he would divulge occurrences like, “she drank so much at the wedding she fell down”.

My end of the conversation went something like this, “have you gotten rid of all the alcohol in your house?  Are you still smoking pot every day?  Why do’t you go with her to a counselor and seek that help?  Are you talking to your parents about this?  Can you give up drinking to be supportive of her if she quits?  And on and on and on ……..

In hindsight none of my chatter did a bit of good.  In response to my question regarding if he was talking to his own family about the situation his response was always,” they just know about Kae and how much she drinks – they are worried about her”.  SO what this tells me is that he didn’t divulge anything regarding his bad behavior.

After he impaled her with a fork my conversations initially escalated with him but soon began to diminish.  Somehow it didn’t seem right to carry on conversations with a person who hurt my daughter.  At one point he told me, “my parents aren’t involved”.. I responded with, “I wish they would get involved so you’d have some input from them.”  I told him this knowing that I was about to cut off communication with him.  I was sick and tired of hearing all the blame being placed on her – in his eyes it is her fault the fork went through her hand and glass shattered and cut her arms and hands.  Once I realized he wasn’t about to accept responsibility for his own choice to throw the items at her I gave up having conversation with him.

Whew, one down and one to go.  After the incident with the fork for a good 6 or so weeks I spent many days with phone in hand – multitasking.  Making the bed, loading the dishwasher, folding laundry, taking a much needed walk, chopping veggies, getting ready to go to work.  Lucky for me I only work a few hours a week at a non-stressful job.  Most of the time Kae was full of babble – drunk or headed in that direction babble.  I know that many of our conversations were her trying to decipher what the hell was going on in her life and how did she get there.  I was over the lecturing as I knew by now that it did no good.  If anything I’d make a quick comment like, ” well as long as alcohol is involved nothing seems to be going in a good direction”.  It is a mother’s hope that one time – just one – that those words would ignite a fire in her daughter to take herself to a detox facility and check in.

I don’t think it was because of me that she finally went – it simply, finally clicked in her head.  That was what I’d been waiting for, praying for and wishing for.  At this stage W doesn’t even know she went.  I do question – what would he think?  It doesn’t matter though does it?  He’s got his own set of problems.  I am thankful that the lightbulb went off for her!

The Letter – I Never Sent

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This is the letter I wrote to Kae and never sent.  In a way I wish she could read it but on the other hand it wouldn’t have changed anything at the time.  She was still in denial of her alcohol abuse and my words would have gone in one ear and out the other – so to speak.

Since she has been home from rehab and in recovery mode she has told me that all the talks and suggestions her Dad and I had with her – all the promises she made to shut us up are typical of a family struggling with addiction.  You know, I knew this all along but what I didn’t know was, what to do.  I did know she had to make the choice on her own to enter rehab and have it be effective.  She tells me she understands we didn’t know what to do or say and that she is blessed to have a family that doesn’t turn their backs on her as so many families do.

In rehab she heard stories of families who refuse to accept their addicts condition or choice to get help.  She shared some of these situations with me and hers is different in regards to the support she will get from her family as she continues in recovery.  She is blessed!

I’ll share this letter with you and maybe someday with her.

Good morning my sweet daughter,

Let me start by saying “I love you more than you can imagine”. Everything I am about to say is because of the deep and infinite love I have for you! Please remember this as you read my letter.

I want you to know that I agree with your statement last night, “all of this is not my fault”. There are certainly many contributing factors that have led you to the mess you now find yourself in. SO much of that was not in your control.

What you do going forward is completely in your control. Your issues with alcohol seem to be situational, yet the situation isn’t changing. So I don’t see how you will get sober if you stay where you are. The first step to getting out of this mess is for you to admit – sincerely that this is the biggest problem. Clearly, choosing alcohol in the manner you have is not working for you, your relationship or your well being! It not only affects you but many of those around you.

Had I not seen the ugliness of what the alcohol does to you I’d question it more – but having seen for myself I can’t question it anymore. It is an issue only you can fix! I have faith in you that you can climb out of this mess but only if you choose that path.

I know you say you feel ambushed! I suppose I might feel the same if I was in your shoes. What I wonder is…do you realize that the people who are stepping forward are doing so out of love and concern for your happiness and health? I wish you could realize it is not for any other reason.

I want to tell you about a phone call I had yesterday. It was with Lenny. He contacted me, as James had called him. He loves you and wants to spend time with you. He wondered if I knew about all that was going on. I told him I do and that we speak pretty much, daily. He went on to say that unless you were able to get sober he would not be able to spend time with you. He told me about a couple of times where you’d passed out at dinner in his home. He told me he won’t allow that to happen in the future. He believes you are in denial of your alcohol issues and refuse to seek help or change your ways. He told me I should share this with you and he would risk your being angry about it in hopes that you will change it! He talked about how beautiful, smart and fun you are yet you are not in a place for those qualities to shine! He, as everyone else doesn’t know what to do.

I am reminded of the times you’ve told me about incidents, how many people told me after Seth’s rehearsal night how drunk you were, the 2 am phone call, our closet confrontation, the night you picked me up from the airport…..Every one of those incidents are contributed to your alcohol use – maybe there were other issues that caused you to choose to drink but it was and is your choice and only your choice. You can’t live your life based on what “everyone” else is doing if it doesn’t work for you. This isn’t working and you need to remove yourself from THIS situation.

This is a crazy situation. You are not yourself, not the girl I know. I know she’s inside you somewhere and I’d really love to see her emerge. You have your whole life ahead of you – I can NOT imagine why you would want to spend it like this. Alcohol is NOT the answer it IS the problem.

When you admit it and choose to take the path to recovering from it your life will be amazing like you. Any chance this is going to happen?

I don’t want lip-service I want to see action! In this case actions definitely speak much louder than words! How can I help? I’d be happy to come to be with you while you figure this out and begin to seek help. I’ll be with you every step of the way.

 

I love you and you’ll always be my daughter,

Mom

 

 

 

To Tell Or Not To Tell

The events that happened in my last two posts were near the holidays.  Thanksgiving was coming followed by Christmas.  It was their year to spend it with his family.  They we’re planning a road trip for Christmas.  W thought it a good idea to tell his family and have them send out a mass text message to get the word out to extended family members who would be present during the holiday festivities.  This outraged Kae, but it was too late the message had gone out to a bunch of family members. It went something like this….

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Dear family – W has brought it to our attention the Kae may be an alcoholic.  She’s drinking too much and he is trying his best to help her through this.  She won’t be drinking during the holidays.  Don’t be surprised.

It’s no wonder she was furious.  Do you think anyone stepped up and removed alcohol from their plans?  Nope!  On their first night at his parents house his mom showed her where to find the non-alcoholic wine and beer and everyone else proceeded to pour their alcoholic beverage of choice.  Okay providing some non-alcoholic beverages was a nice gesture but really people…what kind of support is that?

The bigger picture here is that his mom and her sisters drink like fish and continued to do so knowing that Kae might be struggling with alcohol use.  Her husband also drank as much as he liked and continued to harass her about how she couldn’t and shouldn’t drink any. Kae was able to make it through most meals or cocktail hours without imbibing, feeling a bit lonely and left out as everyone else poured and poured and poured.  Finally she decided she could handle a glass or two of wine with everyone else and so poured herself some.  At that time she was able to control how much.

That holiday we were able to spend one evening with Kae and W and chose not to serve alcohol nor have it available.  It seemed a bit uncomfortable but that’s because it’s not the norm, but what family wouldn’t be happy to accommodate a loved one who may be struggling with alcoholism?  At this time we weren’t even sure if she was truly an alcoholic or not.

She abstained the majority of that holiday trying to please W but it got her nowhere because as soon as they returned home everything went back to status quo.  So she began to drink in her closet again.

Should W have told his family and allowed them to spread the word like wildfire?  Would it have been better to have a private and personal conversation with his immediate family and let her do the talking?  Just curious if you’ve experienced a situation such as this how did you handle it?

And if you’re thinking that I seem a bit angry with his family you are correct.  Writing about it helps me let go because anger towards them does not serve me in any positive way.  As I tell you more about their behavior with the abuse you may come to understand better why I feel a bit incensed with their response or lack of to this entire situation.