It’s been another six weeks since my son reached out for help with his addiction. Through the Sacramento County Department of Health Services he signed up for assistance with substance abuse. In six weeks this is what has been accomplished:
- He went to an intake appointment and was qualified for a 90-day inpatient program.
- He did orientation for that program that puts you on a waitlist for a bed. And we learned it could be MONTHS for a bed in one of three facilities for men. Months in like – if you don’t get a bed within 90 days you have to basically re-apply. It’s more of an update than re-application. He has to check in once a week by phone to indicate he is still interested. The waitlist works like this – when a bed becomes available, the intake person starts at the top of the list. He calls the first name – if they take the bed, it’s done. If they don’t answer, he leaves a message and goes on to the second name. If the second name answers and takes the bed, it’s done. If not, he leaves a message …. and so on. If the bed is not taken on a phone call, the first person to respond to a message and take the bed gets it. There is no way to know if there are 10, 50 or 100 people on the waitlist.
- He entered a suboxone program. It is used to treat adults who are dependent on (addicted to) opioids (either prescription or illegal). SUBOXONE Film (a sublingual dose) is indicated for treatment of opioid dependence and should be used as part of a complete treatment plan to include counseling and psychosocial support. Unfortunately there is no counseling and psychosocial support until he is inpatient.
- He has had a TB test and a physical.
- He is awaiting an appointment for a psych exam for monitoring his bi-polar meds.
No call from the waitlist yet.
As long as he is true to the suboxone program (weekly clinic appointments to monitor his compliance) I have purchased a $15 a month gym membership (Planet Fitness) so he has access to a shower. I take him to a laundromat once a week to do laundry. I still will not give him cash. He is still homeless.
I also moved over the last month – from the 2-bedroom townhouse we shared to renting a room from my ex. Being on social security and a very small pension and not having the shared rent support from my son as it was suppose to be left me with no choice but to further minimize my living expenses. It also made my son realize that he truly does not have the option to “move back in with mom”.
As I am looking back over the last three months or so, from when I finally made the decision to stop enabling my son, I think on the range of emotions I have gone through:
- Despair – the acceptance that he was not going to change as long as I made life so easy
- Anger – at myself for letting him take advantage of me for so many years and, yes at him despite knowing he suffers the disease of addiction, for his anger at me for turning him out
- Fear – at not knowing where he was, if he was safe, if he was eating, or lying dead in a park somewhere
- Hopefulness – that he reached out for help and (unless I’m really missing something) appears to be earnest and following the plan
- Acceptance – that the ultimate outcome is out of my hands
- Reclaiming – reclaiming my life that I gave up five and a half years ago to take care of him, which I came to realize was the big mistake here.
It’s a process – a time of personal growth even in my late 60’s.
There is some hope.