Archives 2. Street

1st February 2017

 

streets.jpg

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Saw him in the street today.
I could say we passed like strangers,
but it wouldn’t be true.

Years of  abuse
curled like vapour
in the grey space between us.
I caught the rueful look on his face,
maybe shame, maybe regret at having lost
his power to use me.
He limply lifted his hand in vague salute,
and my view willingly slid from his face.

He didn’t slow his pace –
neither did I.

After we’d passed each other by,
I felt chilled relief;
throughout the vacant years of addiction,
I have clung on to a fake picture of a wonderful son.

I don’t know when he went, or understand why,
but he died, leaving but a shallow crust,
to be squatted by the horror I saw
in the street today.

Maybe I need to grieve,
but it feels like I’ve been grieving forever.

Please don’t criticise,
nor empathise or sympathise.
Don’t tell me he’s still there, or that he cares;
don’t treat me like an innocent,
or like a green beginner ~
I may be too brittle to take it;
I may break.

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©Jane Paterson Basil

Archives 1. Birthday

26th January 2017

rose-670447__480I’ve had a fortnight of reading, copying, pasting, editing, and formatting the best 150 poems I have written over the past two years; a manic race to complete an album of my verse, to give as a gift on my daughter, Laura’s birthday, two days ago.

I succeeded, in spite of constant interruptions from friends and family, and a particularly nasty and unexpected brain-rape, on the 22nd, by a strange sexual predator who made me so angry that I thought I was having a heart-attack. It was hard to work the following day, since I was physically shaking. I’m a bit confused by the unwanted attention I’ve been getting lately.

It happened that I’d been invited to a family dinner with my brother’s ex and my nephew. When Linda discovered that it was Laura’s birthday, she invited both her and her boyfriend, Joe. Laura, Joe and I walked to Linda’s together. Laura looked beautiful; nicely dressed and well groomed. Every time I see her I notice a new improvement. She was well and happy. This was to be the first family event she was to attend for over three years, and I was very excited.

My sister had had a tough week, and felt too tired to attend the dinner, but she met up with us beforehand, as she wanted to see Laura on her birthday. By the time we parted company from her aunt, Laura was positively glowing from the compliments laurahair12she’d received.

It wasn’t a big party – only seven of us, so I wasn’t too worried that she may feel overwhelmed, but I didn’t expect it to go as well as it did. She had a lovely time. She ate a proper meal, and a desert, and talked confidently. Everyone was impressed with her, and they liked Joe. It was lovely. I felt so pleased and proud. They left before the rest of us, as Joe’s nephew was staying over for the night, and he wanted to spend a bit of time with him. Although Laura clearly enjoyed herself, I expect she was emotionally exhausted after a couple of hours, so it was good that they had an excuse to leave, but the ice has been broken. From now on I expect she’ll be included in all the invites I get from that part of the family.

She’s managed to build up some savings. Before, every penny she received funded her drug habit.

One day at a time…

©Jane Paterson Basil

Wall

 

wall

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This site has lain dormant for far too long. I hit a wall; for a while I felt too overwhelmed by my childrens’ difficulties to write about addiction. Even after I came out of that, I couldn’t bring myself to look at motheringaddicts.

So much has happened since I last posted. I’ve recorded a lot of it, mainly as poetry, on my main blog, and now I plan to copy and paste the relevant posts onto here – maybe over a period of days or weeks – if only to update this site.

After that, I don’t know where I’ll be going with this. I only know I should stick with it.

 

 

I’ve had an idea!

lauraagain12.jpgIt’s 2.30am, and I should be in bed. I should leave this post for a time when I can express myself clearly, but I have to get it out there now. People are suffering and dying as a result of addiction, and I think I’ve found a unique way to help addicts.

It’s all thanks to my wonderful, compassionate WP friends. I hope you all know who you are. Ever since I started blogging I’ve been looking for a way to help addicts and their families. I’ve been convinced that there’s something I can do which hasn’t been done before. Maybe this has, but I’ve never seen it.

I’ll explain how you fantastic friends gave me the idea, and then I’ll tell you the plan.

From the very first time I began writing about my children’s addictions – and particularly Laura’s (that’s her in the picture), you have sent messages of love and support, often telling me that you will include both of us in your prayers. I’ve been sharing these messages with Laura, and they have meant a lot to her – more as time goes on, and her mental health improves – and along with it, an increasing desire to go into recovery. There have been hiccups along the way, but each one is less severe.

What I’m saying is, that she’s more well than she’s been for over three years. She’s even found herself a Guardian Angel of the human sort, right here in this town, who is a wonderful man, father of six healthy children and a crazy amount of Grandchildren. This is all thanks to you, my amazing friends, and also quite a number of caring strangers who’ve dipped in and sent me beautiful messages.

I want to build a blog which the loved ones of addicts can connect with. They can tell their stories, send pictures, or not, as they wish. All they have to do is give the name of “their” addict – even a fake name would do, it will still represent the same person. Each name will go onto a list, and every family, friend – whatever – will pledge to focus on that group of addicts, every day, and do whatever they feel comfortable with – whether it is praying, or sending out a pink bubble, or simply thinking positive thoughts about that group of people.

Whatever they believe God to be, or if they are atheist or agnostic, it will work.

Whether they are  Christian or Hindu, their God will hear them. But here’s the most wonderful thing – if they are atheist or agnostic, all the addicts on that list will benefit from your thoughts, provided they’re in touch with the donors (whoever put their name on the list), because the referers will tell them about it, and the addicts will feel less isolated, more nurtured.

It’s aimed mainly at those addicts who wish to get clean, but need help to do so, but anybody will be welcomed into the fold.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about people with an addict in the family, it;’s that most of them hate addiction, and they’re not just concerned for their children, but for everybody else’s as well. They’ll genuinely care about everyone on the list, and everyone who is suffering because of addiction.

I know this can work. I know it will make a difference, but only if it is marketed properly.

I need:

  • Someone who’s hot on publicity
  • Someone to look after a Twitter account
  • Someone to look after a FaceBook page
  • Advice I can understand about tags, and stuff to do with attracting the right readers to my blog.

We all do our best to make our own blogs successful, but this is important. Lives are at stake. Does anyone have any advice for me?

Laura’s beauty returns a little every day. I want the kind of help that you have given her, to be given to addicts, everywhere. I want to facilitate that, but I can’t do enough without help and advice.

If you think that reblogging, or sharing anywhere else, may be useful, I’d be happy for you to do that.

I should add a contact form, but I never quite figured out how to do it, so it’ll have to wait for the moment.

Okay, Jane, be brave. Click publish.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Release

My son, Paul, has been released from prison today. We made a vague plan for his first morning of freedom. He was to catch a train to Exeter, which would bring him about a third of the way home. I was going to catch a train from Barnstaple to Exeter, then we intended to meet up, and return to Barnstaple together. This would have meant that he would be at less risk at a time when he is vulnerable. Most addicts in prison, even when they’re clean, and determined to stay that way, think about having a hit as soon as they are freed.

However, there was a risk that he may be arrested as soon as he left the jail – for a small outstanding offence – so, whatever happened, he had to phone me and let me know. In order for me to be in Exeter at the right time, should he make it there, I had to get on the train before he would be available to ring me, but I realised that if I was on the train, I would be out of signal. Therefore, I couldn’t get on the train, because I would miss his call. The next train would get me there an hour after him.

He rang me as planned. I was still in Barnstaple. He had to use a public phone, and there wasn’t much time to talk. He pointed out, quite rightly, that he can’t be nursemaided for the rest of his life. He said I should stay where I was; he’d stop in Exeter for long enough to get something to eat, and see me later, in Barnstaple.

I can switch off the specific thought of what he may do – rather than, or in addition to, eating – in Exeter, but I can’t switch off the anxiety. To distract myself, I went to the gym, but found I’m too washed-out to exercise. I thought of going to Oxfam, and asking Karen (the manager) to give me something repetitive to do, rather than my usual work, which I’m pretty up-to-date with anyway, but I suspect that in my current mood I’d be a burden. Yesterday didn’t go particularly well. It was my regular day there, and in the afternoon I got a phone call from my daughter’s housing officer saying she’s been missing for a week. Although I knew that she’d been spotted on Tuesday morning by a friend, it made me so anxious that I had to leave early. I managed to locate Laura, and let the housing officer know that she was safe, so she could call off the welfare search, but now Laura is homeless again, and she probably hasn’t paid the top-up on her rent allowance either.

Paul reached Exeter fifty minutes ago. He will do what he will do. I should trust him. Families Anonymous literature on “helping” (written in the first person, making it useful as a visualisation) states:

  • I will have no thought for the future actions of others, neither expecting them to be better or worse as time goes on, for in such expectations I am really trying to create or control. I will love and let be.

Those are wise words, but it’s hard to carry them out when your son has just left prison. From here, things will get either better or worse; they certainly won’t remain the same, and my own future actions depend on what Paul does today. I’m finding it impossible not to dwell on it. It would be false for anybody who has an addicted loved one, to pretend that they don’t hold out hope for their recovery, and where there is hope there is fear.

I cannot help having thoughts of his future actions – of his current actions even. I have a great deal of hope, but at the same time, I am very afraid. If he was your son, wouldn’t you be?

©Jane Paterson Basil

Crackers

I was supposed to raise my medication almost two weeks ago; what the doctor didn’t know was that I hadn’t been taking it, so, as I was deemed to need it, I began it on a lower dose.

Today I increased it to the expected level.

My vision closed in, my limbs began to shake, I felt just a little sick, but I was sitting , so I didn’t notice the other symptoms.

At the ring of the doorbell I staggered into a standing position and noticed that my knees were bending, in the way I’ve seen my son’s knees buckle when he was on particular drugs, but I didn’t give in, no, I made my winding way around furniture which had expanded since I woke this morning, leaving narrower gaps for me to negotiate.

I calculated; already hours had passed since I took that little pill. I spoke through the intercom, but the words came out the wrong shape; I could almost see them; magically writhing chunks of elastic detritus brought to life by the tide, making me nervous.

I mustn’t be seen like this by those who will gossip and misunderstand.

It was a relief to learn that my guest was a man who’s familiar with chemical that play with the mind. It was just Laura’s ex who had come to collect his key, which she’d given to me.

Joe was talking fast and he seemed excited. His eyes were wide and his pupils contracted but even like that he could see there was something amiss; let’s face it, it couldn’t be missed,with my erratic gait and the way I collapsed, but when I explained what medication I was taking he smiled in glee.

He related an occasion he’d taken the same thing without a prescription, but he took a bigger heap, and pretty soon we were laughing together, discussing shamons and things of the spirit, while I made him a cup of tea.

He stayed for a while and we talked about Laura, and by the time he left he’d agreed to come to me in the event of tragedy, and hold me and help me to see that it’s only her body which will decay; her spirit will finally be free, and we’ll find a way to celebrate a life which I made, which never wanted to be.

He hugged me and told me he needed a friend like me; a friend who is crackers and understands him.

You may call Joe a druggie, an addict, a junkie, and he wouldn’t disagree, but the first time I met him I felt a connection, a recognition, and though we are different in the way we live, in our souls we are really the same.

With him I feel liberated, intied from convention, polite pretention, stripped down to the depths of me. I know he’s a friend, I know he’s a soulmate, I knew it instantly. It’s love without need for sadness or pity, and it’s a rare emotion to see.

And yes, he lives on mind altering substances, but I won’t let prejudice cage me, difference enrage me, judgement disengage me. It doesn’t decrease my feeling of kinship.

Amidst all this, I spoke to my doctor and listed my symptoms. He waited for me to say I would like to discontinue my medication, replace it with nothing and see how it goes. His agreement was instant; even eager, and he admitted he doesn’t like Lyrica [lie-ree-sa]. It had been recommended by a psychiatrist I had seen.

Now a streaky sea of evening sky advances, and still I am shaky, still I am staggering, still I am off my face. Which probably proves I am not the type to misuse drugs, or I would be more immune, and the message is strengthened by my decision to give up taking prescribed medication, even though it’s the kind that’s desired on the street.

And in case you wonder, when I wake up tomorrow, straight and sober, I’ll still know that Joe is my friend.

©Jane Paterson Basil