I mentioned before how Ash has experienced more deaths from overdoses than I have encountered in my lifetime. Our phone conversation yesterday was about the most recent one. A young man who had a wife and child and had gone through rehab three times. The third time he left because his insurance would not cover any further treatment. His wife had left him, he was still trying, and now he’s gone. I cannot imagine what it is like for Ash. I know she puts her heart and soul into helping others in their recoveries. I have experienced how her clients, fellow employees, and those in AA respond to her. She has a gift but she cannot save them all. It is a daily challenge for her.
She is in a good place now, mentally and physically. Despite the last couple of weeks, events which could have triggered a relapse, she seems to have gathered strength. Her confidence has bloomed and she is seeing herself more as others see her.
Last night I watched the documentary, HEROIN(E) on Netflix. It was a look at the opioid epidemic in Huntington,WVA. I kept thinking about the conversations Ash and I have had about treatment and believe me, she knows much more about it than me. Huntington has quite a team fighting for addicts and their recovery. Some may find it difficult to watch. There was one segment of a team laying a young woman who had overdosed on a stretcher. Her face was blurred but she looked so much like Ash, hair, body type. I concentrated more on what the judge at their drug court, the firemen, EMS, and police were doing to help. Amazing.
Some, but not all, were homeless. I had asked Ash on my last trip if she had ever overdosed. I thought I was ready to hear her answer as she never mentioned it nor had I asked. I think I just always knew. While she had never been hospitalized, she did have a couple of close calls. That led to the discussion of relapse always a possibility. I was enlightened a bit more as to her time outside the gay bar and how she set up camp in the alley behind the building. So difficult to imagine this. It breaks my heart. I wasn’t there. She said the only thing that kept her from making a “Homeless, need money for food” sign was her pride. We all have seen the homeless with the signs and wonder if the money would go for food or drugs. I think that money given to her would possibly have gone for drugs. They are more important to an addict than food.
Another startling statement during my trip was when Ash was stopped at a light, looked over at me and said, “You have good veins,Mom.” Seeing the look on my face, she educated me on how she notices those things now. She also cannot understand how I can be her mom, pour a glass of wine, and not finish it. Some of my friends may not believe it, but yes, it happens often. Ash said addicts have to drink the whole bottle. I knew that but not that our veins are a source of envy.
In the Netflix show, a woman who has been trying to rescue people from the streets for years, asked a young woman what the craving was like. Her reply was wanting that next high would be what the woman might feel if she could kiss Jesus.
Ash and I have some topics listed to write about from middle school on. I am curious as to what you might want to know, especially those of you who are living the nightmare of an addict in the family. We have good times and are always hopeful, but believe me, I know it can be a parent’s, spouse’s, friend’s, child’s and sibling’s worst nightmare.
I love my recovering addict. What can we do to help with yours?