Last time, I wrote about how Ash said I saved her life by telling her she had to leave the house. She says “kicked out”. I prefer “leave”. She told me that in the past, she knew I had to do some tough things. Later she said if my telling her to leave was the hardest thing I ever had to do, she realized it was really bad. The drugs had become her best friend and that used to be me.
Ashley was right in that there were other events in my life that were very difficult. Some that I rarely share. I always was able to see that no matter what, I could get through it. This was different. What happened if she left and overdosed? How could I ever exist without my daughter? I cannot imagine a life without my kids. Even though we came close to losing Ashley after the fire, I just could never let myself believe she might actually die. This definitely was different. I kept remembering what other addicts in recovery had told me. Nothing was going to be more important than the drugs. Someone not addicted cannot begin to imagine the cravings. It totally takes over. An addict will do whatever it takes to reach euphoria. The drugs turned them into monsters. I felt this was my last opportunity to save her and yet there were so many doubts.
Ash left that night and was lucky enough to be able to stay with a friend she had known since middle school. This friend has supported Ash through every step of her recovery. She is also the friend who was living with a police officer. I found it interesting that an addict would stay in the home of a police officer but then again, I knew she was in a safe place. Except for whatever drugs she had. No one could keep her safe from those.
I think it was a day or so later that Ash called and asked if it was okay to come by the house. A package was coming to her from a friend in California with some things she had asked him to send. I was out of town, the house was locked and she had no keys so I gave her permission to come check the mail. I believed her??! I later found it was a package containing kratom ( I think). Since I was not actively journaling at the time, some of the details are a bit fuzzy, but then, that really is nothing new for me.
Within a couple of days, I was back home and received another call from Ash. She wanted to come over to the house. Ash had arranged to use her engagement ring as payment to enter the rehab in Lake Arrowhead again. The center would pay for her ticket to California as they knew she was in bad shape.
I was proud of her for taking the step to get herself back in rehab but just sick to know she would be gone again. It is heartbreaking to remember the day when I took her to the airport.
She got out of the car standing as straight as her 90 something pounds would allow, looking like a wounded warrior going back to battle. Her backpack was much larger than she was. She looked determined. Scared. She also looked like she might not live through the flight. I don’t know how to even begin to describe this nightmare of letting her get on that plane without me. I just knew it had to be done. The memory of her leaving haunts me even now and that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach returns as do the tears. Would she make it? Am I doing the best thing for her? Why can’t I take this on for her? Is this the life my daughter, my lovely daughter who I love with all my being, is this the life she is going to have? Is she going to have a life? At one time I thought getting her through the fire and her recovery were going to be our toughest battles. I was so wrong. The automatic doors at Dulles swallowed my girl and she knew she was death walking.
The Betty Ford Family Program gave me the strength to set boundaries and follow through with them if I wanted to give my girl a chance. I would recommend anyone with a loved one in recovery to attend one of these programs. I used to not admit I thought she had a problem. I felt I had done everything wrong and that all of it was my fault. I made excuses. I could not believe this was happening. Except that it was.
Ash made it to rehab and went through the program a second time. For the time being, she was getting help, was safe, and, as always, I was hoping this would be it. It wasn’t. There was still more to come. Sometimes I still cannot believe all she has gone through. More later.
I am so proud of my daughter. I love my recovering addict.