Day Four, Detox/Rehab, One day at a time…


It was explained to us last night that Day Four of the clinic stay for our son is a transition from detox to rehab.  We saw him last night as we delivered a Ziploc bag of quarters for phone calls and a razor and shaving cream. 

He looked so good.  Looking good is so deceptive, however.  Drugs are so deceptive.  Yes, he looks really good, but it doesn’t truly give any insight into the workings of the mind and how it reacts to chemical additives.  It doesn’t tell us whether or not a return to the life of drugs is imminent. 

We ponder why anyone would take that first “pill” and set off on the road to addiction.  On our way out of the facility last night we spoke of this to one of the people who comes in to “give back” to the community by talking to the clinic inmates.  She reminded us that we would never understand it and could only understand it if we actually tried it.  Well, forget that.

We almost killed ourselves as we got out of our car in the icy parking lot.  Waukegan can be quite seedy.  Luckily, this part of it seems to be pretty safe.  It wa dark and cold and we almost didn’t get in, the aide/attendant was iffy about our getting through the second door as we were followed by a two hundred fifty pound man wanting to get in…once he was dissatisfied with her response to us, he hightailed it out.  Then she let us in.

She got him out of a meeting, probably the last in the evening. 

He was calmer than before, looking good, as I said.  We talked about all sorts of things.  He mentioned that we can see him on Christmas Day but we can bring cookies only if they are pre-packaged.  He therefore will not benefit from my final efforts to make cookies; he will just have to wait until his release.

We had known that he was devastated about his divorce.  We had seen him in the spring, the entire family together in a rented home in San Diego; shortly thereafter he announced that he was getting a divorce.  Divorce at twenty-six…at this point in time seems early to even get married.  He was so in love with her.  She was the reason for the California move.  Objectively, people are not always good for each other, I have seen good people connect only to cause sadness and catastrophe for one another, I don’t see this situation that way at all.  The entire family had spoken to him about our reservations, carefully, because he was an adult.  We also knew that coming on too strong could work against us all.  He was in love, case closed.  We did the best we could to support him.  I am really convinced that deep down he thought he could help her; she had a lot of issues.  As we all know, people can only help themselves, ironically, now this is what he has to do for himself.

I knew she was damaged beyond control, we all knew that deep down.  I have no problem relating to young people.  MK reminds me that they all love me, love to talk to me, maybe finding me a bit eccentric, but that is okay.  I could never relate to her, it didn’t matter what I did.  She is one of the few people who just wouldn’t talk to me or spend any time whatsoever with.  The irony is that my absolute best conversation with her was when I took her out for tea in California on my first visit there to help Mikey.  We spoke more than we had spoken in the entire time I had known her.  That is a very sad statement.

In our discussion last night it was clear that the biggest thing on his mind was his loneliness après divorce proceedings (the divorce still isn’t finalized).  We, as a family, had continued to have issue with him and his lack of what we deemed to be “connection” with us.  He was hard to get a hold of, might not answer calls, etc.  Apparently he was far lonelier than anyone realized and/or could deal with.  We know that our youngest child had seriously missed his family network of support and was somehow trying to replicate it, but not in a savory sort of way that would be acceptable to his Midwestern family.

He mentioned that he knows that his taking any sort of chemical additives to his body are out of the question.  It is good that he says this.  As he speaks, my mind wonders whether he is just spouting what he has been hearing or if he really believes this.  Due to the short time he had been taking serious drugs, flew home without any on a more than five hour trip (he didn’t have a non-stop flight), then tried to clear his body of them ‘cold turkey’ makes me want to believe him. 

One day at a time.

We keep saying this to him, know he hears this, and it is true.  We know that seeing the immensity of what needs to be dealt with is too much and can make relapse more possible.  This is why the family mobilization has occurred and duties have been farmed out so we can put it all into perspective and then deal with them. 

One day at a time.

Mike has never been good at “letting go” of an argument or of something once he has started.  Our iconic story of him is when, as a child, he was “wronged” by the neighbor boy down the street.  As I recall, Clark whacked him over the head with a toy guitar for some reason, as kids do.  Mike never let go, every so often, even into early adulthood, he would recall the supposed injustice of that situation.  It is part of a pit bull type attitude where once he gets something in his head, it is omnipresent.  I hope that the twelve steps will find their way into his headstrong brain as then we can all be assured that he will be on the road to recovery.

The dog got the paper and slid and crunched slightly on the snow that I see from the couch where I am sitting quietly as I write in the shadow of our beautiful Christmas tree.  What does this day hold for us?  Are we okay?  Is Mike on the road to recovery?  What other things does it hold?  Will the police call once again for MK’s mom?  Will she tell them to look for her deceased husband who is supposedly carousing at a bar or with some woman?  We go through crazy spurts of activity with her lively form of dementia ever y so often.  Hopefully it has settled down to allow us to deal with other things.  Meanwhile, my mom sits in her wheelchair in the nearby nursing home and deals with her unique form of dementia, at least she remembers pretty much everything, just has short term memory issues. 

We love Mike…

We always wondered why he was so disconnected from all of the trauma we have been going through with the grandmothers as we relocated them, moved furniture, attempted to take care of them to the best of our abilities and yet still feel we haven’t done enough.  We wondered why he didn’t seem to be totally aware of all of the ramifications of the recession and its effects on the family.  We had needed him, he is our “equalizer,” always has been, and he wasn’t there for us on any level the way we hoped he would be.  Now we know why.

We want him back…

One day at a time for the sandwich generation…


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