Huntress of the Lens


Friday, July 31, 2009

Repost, and update

Get ready for enough words to stuff a small mattress. This is a repost of a blog from June 4, and then an update on how this is all turning out.

Last night I was writing you this beautiful blog...
Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 8:27am
About my daughter, and her birth, and who she's growing up to be. I was in my typical nine para graph style working up to what I really wanted to say about how she is really my teacher and not the other way around as I had envisioned it in the beginning. It was good, it was tribute, it just barely glimpsed the way I love her and what she means tome as from the corner of you're eye when you're sure you've almost glimpsed a miracle. But it started with her birth. She was my only hospital birth, and her brothers were 7 and 9 that june sunrise... I had a good friend playing the roll of their birth coach because I wanted them there to be a part of it, not just have me go "Hey, look at this baby I got, she's your sister." On the off chance that one of them was too freaked out or grossed out to handle it I had this good friend who went and got them at 4:30 am from their dad (who can't stand her, she went through that for me) and I had been practically holding her in for them to get there so we could all do it together. They got to my bedside and I said "Hi boys, can you see ok?" and then three pushes later Molly was here. I remember them telling me to get my hands out of the way, but I catch all my own babies and as soon as I had her under her slippery little arms I pulled her up to lay on my heart where she's been ever since. Andrew wanted to know if they were going to unplug that extension cord, Paul was kinda "Hey cool but gross" Neither of them was in perfect vagina viewing angle, they were by my head, and still too young to be scarred by seeing their mother naked.

Remember, this was 16 years ago, lesbians weren't having babies the way they were today, as in whenever they choose to. Pretty much a partnerless lesbian wasn't going to get a lot of birth action, although that statement is absolutely meaningless to this story, it serves to slightly illustrate how deep our bonding was that we had just been through that together. Molly's dad hadn't attended any birth classes (I told him I didn't need him for anything when I was giving birth and I don't know what he thought it was going to be like but I don't think he saw any role other than the original implantation anyway) But my friend (who I'm not naming for her anonymity later in this story) had been fascinated by the whole process and really wanted to be there even though she knew that her role was to take a boy or two out if they couldn't handle it. She was right by my side when baby "Violet" (her name for molly the whole time she was inside) was growing and preparing for her emergence into the land of touch and breath. It was three pushes (Where Paul was 26 hours and Andrew was 5 days) and then she came right as the sun emerged from the rain clouds for those few minutes on that June morning 16 years ago. Molly's dad was furious that I wanted her there, he hates "those gays" and didn't want "one to see my wife naked." I completely disregarded him in that as I did in so many other things, which is part of my part of why we couldn't be married, but this isn't that story.

So I was writing a beautiful, poetic story last night about my daughter who will be 16 tomorrow, and was just past the part that my friend had played in her birth. We've drifted apart, this friend and I. We did use a lot of Meth together in the year before I got pregnant with Molly, we kicked together, we made beaded jewelry well into the night together... but then I married Molly's dad and he hated her and she felt excluded and that was the start of the drift. We have stayed off meth for these last 17 years, both of us, although I took up drinking and she hurt her back at some point and had a Kaiser style access to pain meds. She took me to my first three or four Indigo Girls concerts, and we'd talk and exchange birthday presents, but something shifted in our friendship and we had long moved from "best friends" to really old friends who remembered a lot of tricky bad times we'd been through.

Michael knows her, we've eaten meals together, surprisingly they never got into playing guitar with each other, but our whole family knows she's a distant spinster aunt who would be so much happier if she could find the right woman to love and settle down with. She got increasingly depressed and bitter and I really dropped the ball in seeing how much trouble she was drifting into, moving on to stronger and stronger pain pills, morphine patches, pills and pills and pills. I didn't ask her to be a bridesmaid when I married Michael (There's no way I would have asked her to wear a dress or explained a bridesmaid in a tux to a majority of my guests) but I did ask her to play me a song at the reception.

Recently she moved to Las Vegas to try to find a better job market, and referred to it as "making the biggest mistake of her life" because she was going to live with a couple who both have used meth for the whole time I've known her. I was so worried that she'd fall back into that, and have actually said to my friends that I am afraid I just sent my good friend off to the desert to die. I called her on the way to my fateful Indigo Girls concert last month to say hi, I was thinking about her and we only chatted for a few minutes, but how could I be on the way to see Amy and Emily and not think of her hard enough to call her? That's the last time I talked to her before last night when I was randomly writing about her and her part in Molly's birth, which was a blog about the magic of my daughter.

I'm hitting my stride now, I have enough words that come before the story I want to tell you to feel like it's time to start now.

Turns out that my worries about her falling back into meth use were groundless, it's been disgusting her the whole time she's been there. The part I never anticipated was that her Kaiser isn't recognized in Nevada, and with no job she couldn't fill her many prescriptions without paying out of pocket. She's been kicking opiates alone in a tweeker house, and she's been on them for years. It's been a sweaty sick business for her, and she's been afraid to call me about it, not because she thought I wouldn't understand but because she knew I would. She knew I would be telling her to get her ass to an NA meeting, and she'd sort of found this second rate way to try to halfway deal with it: A skeezy guy who comes over and has been giving her methadone. This is not a story about my feelings about giving opiate addicts methadone so they can replace one drug with another, and I'm not qualified to have an opinion about that, opiates weren't my thing and who am I to judge anyway. Turns out Mr. Skeezy has shown up in her bed the last two nights, once demanding a hand-job, and the next having sex into the crease of her bended knee while she lay with her back to him crying. I call this rape, whether or not he penetrated her. She called me horrified and crying and needing drugs so bad and knowing he'd be back with more drugs and more penis. He said to her last time "I'm being nice this time" and she needed the drugs so badly and we both know what was coming. She called me, because I'm an addict, and I know about that need that lets you watch yourself do every single thing you've promised yourself you would never do. That need that must be answered. I know that need, it's asleep right now, hypnotized by my Higher Power but once it worms itself into your soul like an amazonian parasitic worm that surgery can never remove.

We cried together, and we talked about the problem for a while, honored it's hugeness and then me being me we shifted the topic to possible solutions. I was harsh in describing my visions for her immediate and long term future. Harsh from love, but pulling no punches in telling her that she was probably close to death, if not of her body then her soul. She asked what sponsors do, and if I would be hers and if that would change our friendship. I said it would, because there's never been any balance of power between us and that I can be a hardass and what a sponsor does is give directions and the other person doesn't do what is suggested then it's a big waste of time. I said I'd sponsor her for just that night, and that if she really wanted my help she would need to do what I said. Like I know what other people "need" to do, but she's in Vegas and I couldn't drive over there and the only connection we had was the tenuous wireless one that is so battery-dependent.

I told her to drop to her knees that moment and say to whoever it is she talks to "Help me I'm dying and I can't do this without your help." she did I said "Do it again." Crying and sobbing she said "Help me, please help me I'm dying and I need you." I told her she was now infused with a power that was going to allow her to do the next thing. I told her to grab her guitar and a backpack and put three pairs of pants four shirts and a handfull of panties in it. To grab all the small valuable things that she could sell later and her journal into the backpack. I told her not to get strung out into other things like "which CDs should I bring?" (the answer was none) "Grab your family memento little things that you can't replace, grab what fits into one backpack. She's setting the phone down and crying and I'm praying my ass off and googling the nearest hospital to her address while she does this. She had to put her phone on it's charger and set me down because it was our only connection and her battery was almost dead. She trusted me, she was doing what God was telling me she needed to do next. I told her to put every pill, every drug she owned into the backpack and take it with her, that there couldn't be one drug in her room when she returned, which she wouldn't be doing. I asked her to walk away from her stuff, which is how we define our space on the planet sometimes.

I said the hard part was that she needed to go put that stuff in her car and be ready to drive away from the rest of it. First she had to feed the dogs, she had to go to the bathroom, she had to smoke one more bowl. Of course she did, hurry hurry hurry before someone comes home. She did as I suggested because I love her, and I'm an addict and I know the need and she's seen myself be saved from it. I asked if she had her car loaded and when it was I said here comes the next hard part, I don't want you to leave a note of any kind. I want you to walk out to that car, and don't look back, you will turn into a pillar of salt.

Somehow she got a full charge on her battery (Thanks HP, we needed it) and talked her (with the use of google maps of a place I've never been) all the way to a hospital that should have been a 15 minute drive, but there is so much freeway construction that crucial onramps were closed. It took half an hour for her to get there. She asked me to sing some of "Turpentine" by Brandi Carlile to her, I did. She asked what she should say when she walked into the emergency room and I told her to tell them that she was going to kill herself, that she had the drugs to do it, and a plan, and that she was going to do it right now except that she didn't want to die. We both wanted her to be 5150 so that she could get three days of medical detox and a safe place to be. I said if she couldn't say those things she needed to hand the phone to the admitting nurse and let me talk to her. She couldn't, and I did.

"This is my sister who stands before you right now. We've been on the phone for three hours and she is going to kill herself. I don't know what kind of drugs she has in her purse, but she has enough to kill 6 people and if you let her walk out that door she's going to do it in your parking lot." "We can't make you any promises that we can do anything for her." I couldn't believe it. "You have got to help her, I'm in another state, and she's trying to kick an opiate addiction and she can't get the drugs she needs and she's giving up. She doesn't want to use any more, she doesn't want to live any more and I sent her to you. I have to put my sister into your hands, and you have to help her!!"


July 31, 2009

So that was back in June, and after three days of hospital detox she's stayed clean, and come down from all those drugs she was prescribed by the Big Connection called Kaiser. She has been rattling around Las Vegas, living in the same house and getting an up close and personal look and disgust at active drug use, and she wants to come home here. When she calls me to check in her voice is light and cheery and I can hear my old friend again, the person I chose twenty years ago to be someone special in my life. She is abstinent, yet not in recovery, the people at Las Vegas NA meetings freaked her out and she just didn't connect with them. I am not her sponsor, but I have been filling that role for her while she gets to where she's heading in life at the moment, and if I make suggestions she listens to me. I am just not qualified to be anyone's sponsor at this point in my life, unselfish giving, regular meeting attendance and most importantly true availability are necessary for that, and with my illness my tank is often only half full on any of those. I do have some experience though, and I am willing to share it with any who seek it, and she calls, seeking.

She took what would fit in her car, and walked away from the rest of her belongings and came home yesterday. Stuff is just stuff, and that's a giant step in willingness that makes me so proud of her. She's home here again, with no job, no permanent residence, but one true friend and a plan.

We're going together today to a ninety-day live-in rehab program that is available here in this town to start the process of getting her in there. Not every town has a facility like this, and I think it's a God-send and that every town should. If you can pay, they ask you to pay, but if you can't you can still avail yourself of their services. For three months you get a bed, and meals, and groups, and go as a group to meetings almost every night of the week. If you stick with it and follow the sometimes ridiculous and arbitrary rules (all, in my opinion designed to see just how willing you really are) and complete the program you also get assistance finding work and a home when you graduate. Many of the graduates go on to volunteer or work at the facility when their ninety days are finished. What it is, really, is the best running start on recovery that is available within miles of where you're standing right now. It's a miracle, housed in an old building that's no longer being used for it's original purpose.

They make it hard to enroll. You don't just waltz up to the door and say "I'm ready, fix me!" They are always full, with a waiting list to get in. They'll ask you to return once a week, still clean, and try again. Sometimes it takes weeks to get a spot in the program. Willingness, diligence, persistence and a desire that is bone-deep are what it takes to become a client here. I've seen so much of that in her already, and I believe she is going to secure her spot in the future that's offered there. The co-dependent in me wants to tuck her under my wing and hold her there until she's in, but I have to remember that she started this journey way over in Las Vegas and has come this far without me micro-managing her. I so want for her what I've found in my own life though, I want it like I used to want a horse when I was ten. Big Want.

We're going to have coffee this morning, and some epic hugging, and some tears, and then get on it, this recovery and renewal of a life that (like mine) was almost lost to addiction. Pray for her, and for me, and just for good measure= for everyone in the world, we all need something from the Universe to be our highest selves.

I, for one, am so excited!

1 comment:

  1. I don't know what to say other than I love you. I love who you are. I love that you are understanding, compassionate, supportive, strong, and have all those qualities that make up a best friend. You are an angel for this woman and for countless other women, myself included! This is beautiful and I will be thinking you you to embracing each other and being held in the sunlight of the spirit. LOVE YOU!


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