Every time I buy more bagels …

Breakfast food is among my favorite. I like bacon and eggs, in particular, just about any time of day. My young addict likes eggs, but not bacon. He doesn’t care much for cereal. He’s usually not hungry until an hour or so after he wakes up. When he was still in high school, his go-to meal was a bagel and cream cheese. We kept these in bulk so he always had quick, easy and nutritious meal available.

Our remaining at-home kiddo is more of a frozen waffle person. He toasts these and eat waffles for breakfast just about every day. So, of course, we keep these in good supply. He likes bagels all right, but with his braces, a bagel is a bit more difficult to bite and chew, so waffles are a better bet.

As a mom, I think about breakfast a lot. That’s what you do as a parent. You make sure there is always a breakfast option so everyone can start the day off with that all-important fortification.

Although our young addict has intermittently lived at home – or spent some nights here — these past several years, his not a regular resident and my grocery-shopping reflects this; I hardly, if ever, load the cart with bagels and cream cheese. And, then he shows up and the refrigerator might as well be bare because there are no bagels, no cream cheese.

Right before he started drug treatment in December, our young addict was staying with us for a few nights. We bought some bagels and cream cheese. The very next day, he got a call from the treatment center that a bed had opened up two weeks earlier than anticipated. That morning, he smeared some cream cheese on a bagel and we made the 40-mile trek to treatment. For the next 50-odd days, the remaining five bagels and opened package of cream cheese sat in my refrigerator … until I decided the freshness date had expired and tossed these out.

Since completing treatment and then starting and then quitting his half-way program against staff recommendation, our young addict was immediately homeless again, back using, and sofa surfing at the homes of his former drug buddies.

Ever concerned, we’ve reached out to him to encourage returning to a treatment and recovery program. As always, he’s denying that he’s using and resisting any help. Even though we know otherwise on the using. Even though we know that staying at home may be a form of enabling.

All the same, we know he needs a safe place and some good food so he can possibly think more clearly. Last Tuesday, we said he could stay the night and that we’d get him to work the next day. We brought up out-patient counseling. He said, “Maybe.”

After a few days, he was better rested, better fed (including bagels and cream cheese) and had a better attitude. We were working together as a team. He said he had a plan. We said we were proud, that we would support that, that he could stay in the interim as he was pursuing a recovery program.

Yet, we knew better, and when his work week wrapped up and he had three days off before his next shift, and headed out the door to hang with his heroin and pot-smoking “friends” that it wasn’t likely that he’d be with us for breakfast the next morning. (My only hope, and this is admittedly grim, is that I hope he will be back because every time he uses, I know that it’s possibly, even increasingly, a fatal outcome. Yes, I am bracing myself for that even as I remain ever hopeful, ever optimistic, ever realistic, ever, ever, ever … believing that one day he will be sober and healthy, instead of intoxicated and dying.)

In fact, we knew he wouldn’t be home that night. We knew he wouldn’t call or text letting us know that he wasn’t coming back. We knew he wouldn’t respond when we reached out. We knew he wasn’t having a phone interview the next day with a sober house; just one of the well-intentioned promises he appeases us with that becomes a well-worn, well rehearsed and routine lie. We knew that he couldn’t meet the sober-house requirements of a minimum of 30 days sober and with a letter of recommendation from his halfway house, another well-intentioned action that he couldn’t act upon.

So, here we are. I’ve got a half-full bag of bagels in the refrigerator and a couple more bags in the freezer; the cream cheese is half gone with a couple more packs in the deli drawer. We are ready for his homecoming. Every time I buy more bagels, anticipating that we’re turning in a positive direction, the cycle begins again.

My prediction is he will call tomorrow because his work clothes are here and he will want to come shower and change. Will we offer him a bed to sleep in when his shift is done? Will he want to stay here that night? I don’t know, but he’ll probably have a bagel and cream cheese if he does show up.

Inspired by my cohort, Mid Atlantic Mom, I’ll wrap up this blog post with a quotation: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.”

Midwestern Mama


That Dang Elephant Won’t Leave the Room

You’re familiar with the concept of the elephant in the room – the thing we all know is there but that we ignore or pretend it isn’t there.  Sometimes we do this to retain harmony.  Sometimes we do it to avoid conflict.  Sometimes we mention the elephant but then change the topic.  Sometimes, we know it’s an exhausted topic with nothing new to add.  And sometimes, we say to heck with the elephant and just talk about it anyway — it ends up being a one-sided conversation or a two-way disaster.  The elephant for our family is anything related to our son’s addiction, treatment and recovery.

We get along pretty well with our son these days unless we bring up his situation. Goodness knows, if we don’t bring it up, he won’t.  That’s when it gets really uncomfortable because the challenges continue and his choices continue to have undesired consequences.

Our son’s counselor at the recovery program (a halfway house) recommended a 90-day treatment plan.  He’s completed 6o days but wants to be done.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t have housing and moving back home is not a good option – in anyone’s opinion.  He made the decision two weeks ago and today is his last day there.  He hasn’t shared this with us directly so it’s really dicey to bring it up.

Without housing, it will be difficult for him to keep his employment.  Without employment, it will be difficult for him to pay for housing.  This cycle has happened several times before.  In the past, it has escalated his drug use.  I know one thing that is driving his desire to be out of the program is he believes he can drink and use recreationally without it leading to abuse.  As much as he dislikes structure and accountability, he withers without it and he’s not all that motivated to go to meetings or counseling – doesn’t find value in it he says.  All this points to an unfortunate truth – he’s still struggling and he’s not ready or open to help from his program, AA, NA, his counselor or from us.

I want to talk to him about it – his feelings, his concerns, his needs, his worries, his hopes, his plans.  I’ve reached out to him with no response until this morning.  The reply was pleasant enough, but it entirely avoided the conversation on any level.

Yes, the elephant is still here.

Midwestern Mama





Onward, Young Addict

This morning went as planned.  Actually, so did last evening.  Phew!

Amid the chaos of transition from treatment to the halfway house, I’m pleased with the general and genuine helpfulness of every participant.  My son was skeptical and a bit combative.  Some of his manipulative, emotionally charged language showed, but overall he was even tempered and collective patience of all participants paid off.

We were fortunate that his great aunt and great uncle live near the treatment program and were willing to have him stay the night at their house.  It was a neutral, if not positive, place for this period of limbo.  His great uncle then brought him to the halfway house this morning and I met them there.  So grateful for family.

I met the intake counselor and one of the techs.  It felt good to see the neighborhood and get a feel for the program.  The counselor gave me a copy of the client handbook, which outlines three phases moving from highly restrictive to moderate to ready for discharge.  It’s anywhere from 30 to 90 days of programming, and likely the recommendation of a sober house for continued aftercare.

This particular program is 12-step.  It does not thrill my son, who has issues with the “powerless” and “higher power” concepts.  (His treatment program was based on a modality called Health Realization.)  They seem accommodating, however, and I hope he will be too.  For the first five days, he must stay on premises and cannot have calls or visitors.  After that, there is more freedom along with structure and accountability.

He will continue taking an antidepressant and an opioid blocker (Naltrexone) to aid in his recovery.  He will be connected with a primary care, psychiatrist and therapist for continuing care in addition to the AA/NA and group work at the halfway house.

We hugged and said I love yous.  I told him we are proud of him, but he shrugged his shoulders and said, “I guess.”  He’s young.

Midwestern Mama


Ready or not, here I come

Tomorrow morning I will pick up my son at treatment. Due to complications with finding an available half way house, his 28 day treatment has lasted 42 days. I am great for the extra days. He is ready for a new routine. He would like to return to complete freedom but is far from ready. The half way house will provide transition. Ready or not, this is the next chapter. In an upcoming post I will share my impressions.