As the 4th year of my being clean from that shit came and went, I realized just how fragile the grasp I had on my real, reality. Being clean wasn’t the hard part, staying clean wasn’t the hard part, getting clean now that was tough. . . but . . . It wasn’t the hardest part. That came just yesterday.
On October 20th of 2006 I lost my 3 youngest children, not like they wandered away at the Costco lost, but that they were saved from my self destruction by my then mother in law. My then husband and I were reaching the end of our marriage, had reached the end of our sanity and all self control. Our main focus was our drug of choice, and abusing each other. Neither of us really had a job anymore, and its very sad because we both actually were on our way up in very promising careers. I had recently totalled our 1 car, having long sold off our 2nd car for drug money since we no longer needed 2 cars when we had no jobs. You see the twisted logic here. The Sheriff had been to our home to many times to count for domestic disturbances, and twice I was transported to the E.R. only to leave because I was to high and scared to stay, while Mr. Jeni was arrested and transported to county jail for assault. It was enough for my in laws. I had a live in boy friend, who was supposed to be my husbands best friend, he was just as crazy as we were. Hell, so were all of our ” friends” and our home was no longer a home, but a flop house. I was so close to eviction, and didn’t even care.
So, there went my husband to jail to stay for at least a month or more, there went my children, the little lives that used to hold the most value to me, and there I was with my boyfriend. High, sad, high, angry, high, depressed, and well high. I sold off almost everything I owned for drug money, and to fix my boyfriends car. Ended up living in my brothers small apartment in his dining room. High. I wont bore you with the rather unboring details of the next 3 years, lets just say, I saw did some crazy things, spent some nights eating cold ham sandwiches with crazier women then I, and moved from place to place to many times to remember.
January 2009, here I am again, high, alone, boyfriend having taken a break from my crazyness for a month, and facing another eviction. Almost everyone I knew in my little drug world was in jail, waiting on trial. Some real friends I had almost made along my journey were scarce as I was out of control and they were scared of me and for me. Finally I was rescued, my boyfriends best buddy, and dealer, went to jail. His girlfriend and her 2 kids alone and needed help, just as much as me and my boyfriend did. So we had a place to live and she had help with her kids. Still we were high. At this point I began to realize how much I missed my babies, and hearing my name “mommy” being sung through my home. I had seen the kids maybe 5 times over the past 3 years. I had no right to hear the word mommy really.
It was time, for all of us adults in the house to get right. You would never guess how we went about getting ourselves right. It was quite an adventure. First we had to get rid of the things around house that had been acquired due to Meth. So we had a Spousal Restitution Sale, posted on Craigs List, in the middle of the night OF course. So that was the first step, cleaning house, the second step, hiding from the friends ” of the life”, but that was kind of easy as most were locked up or hiding from being locked up. And number 3, pick our Independence Day, and start the withdrawal party. Feb 18th, 2009….. 3 people having met through our drug use, nothing in common to really make us friends, went through a nightmare with each other, for each other. We did it, we made it past the shakes, the need to be high, the sleeping for days on end, the crabbys, everything you think you know about it, and then more. I went from a size 8ish, to a size 18 almost over night. I have never been a smoker, so instead of nicotine, I was a hard candy junkie. I guess it took about 4 months before the want, and the need really wasn’t there anymore. For any of us.
Then real life came to visit. Traffic fines I had totalled over 10,000. came knocking. I had to quit ignoring and start being proactive in handling my life. I spent way to much time with warrants and overnight jail visits over traffic tickets then was necessary. Jeremy, the man who stuck with me from start to finish, had some similar court issues also. Lolo, my amazing buried treasure and best friend needed to get back on track with a job that she had worked for years, and loved, but was endanger of losing. So we all 3 had our battles to fight. I also was looking at a war.
Over the years I had seen sporatic visits from my still then husband, he was just as much of a mess as me for a while. His mother pulled him out and forced clean living on him to give our children at least 1 decent parent. That lasted long enough to get through 7 months of court cases to decide the custody of our children and get divorced.
I made the first move, I filed papers to terminate his parents temporary custody of my kids. I went in thinking ” oh, I got this.” I was so cocky, I mean I was clean, I had shown progress in working out my court issues, I had a stable home. Four months does not show a judge that I am ready to be responsible for 3 lives I had already damaged with my bad choices. I was granted my petition, but I was not given my children. They were to remain with their father, in their grandparents home until such a time as a custody agreement was done through a divorce proceeding. My visitation was a few supervised hours every other Sunday. I was crushed. I was unrealistic, and not prepared to deal with the anger, hurt, mistrust, and estrangement I felt from the people who were my family.
I think I was going to give up, to involved in selfish pity, to realize that as painful as it was to go through, I had made the first step. I needed to keep walking forward. The phone calls were hard, I cried so much that the kids were upset and took the calls very hard. I had to get a grip, be stronger then I really was. The first visit was not the joyful reunion I thought it would be. My babies were not the babies I remembered, I was not the mom they dreamed I would be. I was a crying, clingy, scared, scatter brained mess and they didn’t know me. I will say that the calls got better, the visits became happier and progress was made, one step at a time.
Divorce court, here again I thought, I am the mother, so I got this. No problem. Wrong again. Jay, and his lawyer had it all planned out, paperwork in order, nice and tidy and correct with the court. Me, I hired a paralegal late in the game and though I had several things working against Jay, I was still in no way ready. He took round one of divorce court, or so I thought. I was devastated. He got custody, he got child support awarded, he demanded hair follicle and urine testing on me, and was awarded that as long as he did the same. I was awarded weekend overnight unsupervised visits every other weekend. So, a small victory for me in that. But I couldn’t afford child support, or the cost of weekly urine testing and the first test including a hair sample was not cheap. But I keep waling, one step at a time. Within a month Jay was willing to drop child support if I would agree to the custody agreement, and drop the weekly urine tests. He also promised that I would have more time with our kids. So I settled, the fight wasn’t the important part, it was the kids. I hadn’t realized that I had made the second move in getting full custody of my kids. November 11th, 2009 my divorce was made final. Jay had residential custody, with final decision making and I had weekends, holidays, phone calls, and no child support to pay. He got free of the drug testing and that was all he wanted. His parents continued to raise our kids and Jay went off to crazy land again.
I still pressed on, one step at a time. Gaining the kids trust, their grandparents trust, and getting to know who I was as “mommy” again.
We waited, we watched, and we were patient. Jason moved him and the kids into an apartment with his new love and they married. And we waited, and I continued forward one step, into the next. Then it happened. The door that I knew would open, did. Jay slipped up and once one domino fell, they all went down. I watched as his world began to crumble and he didn’t even seem to be aware of it.
His mother, someone who I once thought of as family, then the enemy, was now my advocate. The children needed me, and she believed I was ready, and her faith in her son was gone. It only took till July of 2011 for me to see that everything had happened the way it did to bring me to this one moment. I filed about a million papers, copy’s in triplicate. And waiting to see the same judge that had granted my divorce. I guess, Jays current legal charges, and incarceration spoke for itself, because I never saw the judge that day. He granted me the kids on an emergency order and set a hearing for 30 days out to hear both sides and review and modify his original orders if needed. I cant describe my feelings as I left the court building. Relief, redemption, vindication, validation, those were for myself. For my children, I felt pain, anger, betrayal, and I was so scared. How was I going to tell them about this new change in their lives, and what do I tell them about their dad…….I finally got what I wanted, I knew that it would happen pretty much the way it did, but I wasn’t feeling like a winner. I think that’s when I finally realized I was mommy again, because my feelings took second place to my children.
So, my life now, I have a job I am happy with, and its a step in the direction of my career choice. I have paid off the last of my court traffic fines, and am a licensed driver, with my own car. I have a bank account, not busting with money, but not in the red. I am on the verge of a new home purchase in the area where I currently rent. Its a nice suburban neighborhood with great schools. My anchors to the real world still by my side, Lolo and Jeremy. We have lived together for over 4 years, raising kids, rebuilding our lives and working together to keep moving forward. I say I a lot, but I really isn’t singular for me. If it wasn’t for Jeremy’s love, Lolos belief and trust I wouldn’t even “be”.
This story has been difficult to let go of, and its really the short, abridged, rated PG, version. There is so much more to the adventures of Jenibear into the decline of Meth. But I will save those for another time. I want you tell you why I had to sit down this morning and let the past overflow from my memory.
Yesterday at 11 am I watched as someone else sat in a court room and lost her children. The woman who replaced me as Mrs. It really was heartbreaking to be a witness to. I even let myself be called before the judge to give as much of a positive statement as my conscience would allow on her behalf. It wasn’t much, but it was the truth, and it didn’t help. The current Mr. and Mrs. look a lot like the Mr. and Mrs. of years ago. I watched it happen these past months, and protected my kids as best as I could with my ex mother in law still my faithful advocate. He love of my children saved their lives, I doubt that not one bit. Her anger and hurt, and mistrust at me, well I had earned that. Easily, as a matter of fact. It was much, much harder to win her faith, respect, trust and love back let me tell you.
My kids are going to be OK, they wont ever be free from the past. Its left scars on all of us. Its still haunting my ex and I don’t see that he will ever be free. I wonder how many will be dragged down with him as time goes on? His step children, they are in a better place right now. We all know this, but the admission is still tough to say out loud. Mrs. is just beginning her war, and she doesn’t even know it yet. She hasn’t recognised the signs of the battles she already fought and lost. But I know, I have seen, and I have fought. I will always have to be ready to fight. Once an addict, well you may be clean, but it always stays with you.
Be strong, be worthy of the positive things others see in you, you may not see them, but others do.
Why me, why Meth? I guess it had to be someone, and I lived to tell my story. So maybe that’s why, so that I could share my war with others so that they might see the light at the end of their tunnel, and fight all that much harder to get to it.
Was it worth it? I don’t know. The lessons I have learned are priceless and the value I place on people is very different today then 6 years ago. I guess the doubt comes from the pain I caused my children, and the lessons they had to learn because of me. So, for me it was worth the fight to teach me the value of what I have.
Fight, that’s my best advice. One word. For everything you face in life. If you want to truly be free you will have to fight to know that value of life. If its easy to come by, its easy to lose. But the things we fight for, the people who need us to fight for them, will mean that much more and you will fight even harder to keep them in your life if you first must earn the right to claim them.