Happy Thanksgiving

I walked up to the counter at the convenience store with my drink to purchase. “Good morning! anything fun planned for today?” The cheery clerk said to me, his smile evident even under his big black mask. “He would have to ask today”. I thought.

I stammered and stalled a bit.

“No, not really”. I lied.

My stomach dropped in sadness. Sadness that I couldn’t actually say what I was doing.

Sadness that I couldn’t leap for joy and tell everyone what this day represented. Sadness that I couldn’t be happy and have everyone accept that happiness.

“Oh well, it’s probably for the best”. I thought as I walked out of the store. I need to conserve my energy for the day. I don’t need to waste it on explaining and justifying my happiness.

You see, I was on my way to rehab to pick up my son. The last few months had been a much-needed break from his addiction journey. This wasn’t a usual occurrence. Exactly 2 years ago to the day, he was headed to the airport to go to his first rehab in Kentucky. Two years ago this morning, we had a family intervention in the middle of a raging snowstorm. 2 years ago today, my son chose to not run away and go back to his life of drugs. He flew across the country with people he didn’t know and tried his best to battle his disease. His experience at that time lasted about 76 days. It was a miracle. And today is too.

Five weeks in jail, 2 months in rehab, all culminated to today. He was being released to sober living. With all the nervousness of the event, and the need to keep my excitement reined in; it was hard to feel relaxed and give thanks for it all. But I needed to. I just could not be attached to the outcome. I had done everything possible to help my son succeed. But the real work was on him. He’s the one that has to fight the demons. He’s the one that has to make responsible choices. He’s the one that can save himself. Not the store clerk. Not my family. Not me. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not his sober coach, probation officer, or judge.

How to explain all this to the casual person? Impossible. Yet if I said “My son is graduating from the University”, it would need no explanation. It would just be wonderful. Congratulations would be thrown around like confetti. For a rehab graduation, I can just hear the tongue in cheek

“Well…. alrighty then- congratulations”. As if it’s an afterthought.

It’s ok though. Those other people don’t have to live in my head or love my family or pay my bills. In reality, I will probably never see that clerk again. What matters is that my people feel loved. That my God calms my fears.

It’s as-if he was gone away to the university anyway. I didn’t see him for 9 months then for 16 months. Four years of struggle and strife. Not being at family events. In and out of jail. Worry after worry. He received the degree. The degree of grit. Persistence – even if it was in the wrong arena, he still survived incredible odds. He deserves an award of:

‘Most Likely to Get in Over His head and Come out with Valuable Lessons to Share’-

From the college of real life addiction in every city, America.

The day turned out great, despite the condition of the old sober living we took him to. After trying to change it- but lacking the funds; and going shopping to get him some supplies, I dropped him off at the door. At the end of this momentous day- he said, “Mom, it’s ok, it’s better than running and hiding like I have been”. I made sure to compliment and encourage him. I was so proud. I sent him this text later:

I just want to tell you how amazing you are. 
You're my hero. For how resilient you are, yet so kind and caring

None of this can be easy. Being tossed around & told what to do, but you are a champion. A warrior.
I'm so grateful I get to be your mom and I'm grateful that I get to see you grow in this journey. ... I mean you are still the same old boy but I love that I have that back.

No Regrets

I hurriedly rushed through the sporting goods store looking for the items on my son’s “list” for this weeks “drop”.

  • A coffee mug
  • A hat with a flag or a CAT logo
  • A lighter
  • More protein mix and protein bars and maybe pre-workout mix
  • Head -n- Shoulders Body/ shampoo wash
  • More cigarettes
  • Magazines

This day was special. It’s the eve of 4 weeks in rehab. 4 weeks to a person with years of substance use is HUGE. This is after 5 weeks in jail. Although this amount of time is a great victory, it’s a drop in the hat compared to the amount of time using……..years.

Insurance companies, and others, might insist “Shouldn’t he be healed by now?”

Hmm, I’m not good at math but 48 months doesn’t equal 2 months. The brain is amazing but neuroplasticity takes time. Just like it took time to adjust to the drugs.

We “think” that as soon as we get them out of that cycle of chaos and get them a shower and some decent meals, they will be good-to-go. If that were true- there would be zero return to use after jail.

As it is, my son is learning how to take care of himself again. For year’s, yes years, he has been in pure survival mode. Trying to find a place to stay every night; trying to maneuver his substance use, trying to justify his substance use, trying to deny his substance use. Putting poison in his body TO SURVIVE, yes survive. Every day his body told him- SCREAMED at him in fact: “GET DOPE or DIE”. It is survival to them.

But now, his focus is back on learning his body’s other cues. Cues of revitalization. Healing. Repairing years of damage to cells. Brain and body. He has scars. He has a bullet hole. He has ingrained pathways in his brain that automatically go into the quickest way to feel better and the quickest way to obtain the resources in order to feel better. To slow the hell down, sit in class after class, face his demons, face the pain he has caused his family, and face losing his freedom, must be daunting. To refocus that energy on lifting weights, or smoking, is a dream to me.

I gladly provide any of these items for the same reason as I picked out his baby food when he was little. As mothers, we are nurturers. It doesn’t matter if they are grown, men. Everyone needs their “person”. More and more studies are showing that even having one person believe in them, makes recovery more sustainable. Plus, nothing is promised. No time, no future, no measure of success is promised, day to day, with anyone, but especially with substance use. If I can buy my grown son some protein bars, I will gladly do it. Anything to keep him learning, contemplating, hoping for a better life.

I made the drop-off time at exactly 7:22.30, which is the time my son wrote down- just to mess with them. Ever the jokester, I love having his humor back.

As I made the drop-off, I could see the group inside, sitting in their 7 pm meeting. Unbelievably, I could see my son in direct view of the window! I had vetted over 25 rehabs by the time this one was picked. It wasn’t the best, but it worked out being the one needed. I didn’t have any idea it would be within a few miles of my house, in fact straight up the street!

Call me a stalker if you’d like, but I am cherishing every second of this. I cried and prayed every day for 2 years for this. Every day, I worried about his life being taken. He just told me about a guy who hung himself at the sober living house he’s supposed to go to after this. People are so tender inside. We have zero clue of the demons they must face. What appears on the outside is not truly reflective of what’s on the inside. They struggle with what awaits them. Going from having nothing to rebuilding everything back up must be horrifying. My son has no house, car or job to go to. If I can be his “person” to help him maneuver that, I will gladly take on that role. I will cherish every second of my role as his Mother during this precious time.

I sat outside in my car after the drop off and yup, you guessed it- cried. But these were tears of joy. This was everything, I mean everything, I could have wanted to happen. Prayers answered, dreams come true.

I am truly living in the moment with zero care of what anyone thinks of what may be the right or wrong thing to do. I don’t see anyone else making any effort to save a life, and that’s fine; but what I’ve said through all of this journey, as for me:

I want ZERO regrets 

Going To Rehab While On Parole

ByNova Recovery Center – with home I have no affiliation with. |Posted on July 3, 2019

inmate in a cell

The legal consequences of drug abuse can vary greatly, but most often, drug offenders are sentenced with hefty fines, probation, or are sent to jail immediately, especially if they have a history of prior arrests. However, going to rehab while on probation can be extremely beneficial, and for individuals on parole, it may even be necessary.

Even under the best conditions and circumstances, starting over after spending time in jail can be difficult. Many people on parole may have difficulties finding employment due to a lack of education, skills, or criminal history. Others may have mental and/or physical health problems that interfere with their ability to reintegrate into society after being in prison. And many individuals who get out of prison are also struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, with little to no recovery support.

Adjusting to adjust to life outside of jail while attempting to live a crime-free and drug-free life is a complex process that requires ongoing support and rehabilitation. A drug and alcohol rehab program can offer a wealth of benefits for people who are on probation, parole, or who are trying to turn over a new leaf after being released from prison.

While many drug offenders are incarcerated following a DUI, DWI, or other drug-related crime, it’s not impossible to get a fresh start after being released from jail. If you’ve been released from prison on parole or you’ve been sentenced to probation and you’re looking for a drug rehab program that will help you begin your new sober life, here’s what you need to know.

Probation and Parole for DUI, DWI, and Other Drug-Related Crimes

Substance abuse and crime are known to be interconnected, with many criminal offenses stemming from addictive behaviors. Although addiction is recognized as a chronic disease that affects behavior and impulse control, many criminal offenders who commit drug-related crimes serve lengthy prison sentences and get out of jail only to pick up where they left off and end up back in jail. In fact, research shows half of all jail inmates are reincarcerated within three years of being released.1

The challenges of adjusting to life outside of jail and maintaining a drug-free lifestyle can be overwhelming for many people who are on parole or who served a full sentence and were recently released from prison. However, there are alternatives to incarceration for drug offenders, one of which is drug court.

People who commit drug-related crimes often end up in drug court, where they are given the opportunity to enter a long-term addiction treatment program instead of going to jail.2 Court-ordered rehab gives them the chance to address the underlying issue (substance abuse) and learn how to live a fulfilling, crime-free life while providing much-needed support.

For criminal offenders who are on parole following an early release from jail, drug rehab may seem like a violation of parole conditions, but enrollment in rehab is often encouraged in the event of a relapse or recurrence of symptoms and can help drug offenders prioritize their recovery while they adjust to life on the outside.

What Are the Benefits of Parole Rehabilitation Programs for Addiction?

The purpose of parole is to help prison inmates re-enter society successfully and avoid becoming a re-offender. This is a great option for inmates who are motivated to change after being released from prison. Additionally, it’s also great for taxpayers, as parole in Texas costs $4 per day per offender and incarceration costs $50.3

Although parole supervision at the end of a prison term reduces the likelihood of future arrest, the Urban Institute study found that drug offenders do not typically benefit from parole supervision.3 In these cases, an addiction treatment program is much more likely to provide the support drug offenders need to maintain their sobriety and successfully reintegrate back into society.

Just a few of the primary benefits of drug rehab for people on parole include:

  • A focus on relapse prevention and management
  • Life skills development
  • Opportunities to engage in healthy relationships with sober people
  • Active engagement in a recovery program
  • Access to safe and sober housing
  • Trauma-informed therapy for self-esteem and identity issues
  • Employment and volunteer assistance4

Not only are there many great benefits of attending rehab while on parole, but coming clean and enrolling in a drug rehab program can also show your parole officer and the judge that you’re serious about changing your life and that you’re willing to put in the hard work to get it done.Talk to a Treatment Expert – (512) 520-0255FREE INSURANCE VERIFICATION & CONSULTATIONName *FirstLastEmail *Phone *Your Messagehttps://newassets.hcaptcha.com/captcha/v1/b1129b9/static/hcaptcha-checkbox.html#id=0cf2r1jb9o0g&host=novarecoverycenter.com&sentry=true&reportapi=https%3A%2F%2Faccounts.hcaptcha.com&recaptchacompat=true&custom=false&tplinks=on&sitekey=fa544d83-6542-40db-96cb-624850045369&theme=lightGet Help!

Can I Go to Rehab While on Probation?

Yes. Going to rehab on probation is often highly encouraged by judges and other law enforcement professionals who work in probation and parole departments. In recent years, the legal system has begun to change the handling of drug-related criminal arrests and sentencing. As such, court-ordered drug rehab is now much more common than it used to be. This is great news for addicted individuals who would prefer to be sent to an addiction treatment center rather than jail.

However, if you are on probation and you want to go to rehab, you should maintain ongoing communication with your probation officer and keep the limitations of your probation in mind, as any violation could have serious consequences such as immediate arrest or jail time.

For example, if you violate the terms of your probation and use drugs or bring them with you to the rehab center, the staff will be required to report this to your probation officer and you will immediately be sent to jail.

Before you commit to rehab while on probation, you should speak with your probation officer first to get permission. Most often, the probation officer and a judge will need to sign a few documents that you will need to take with you to the addiction treatment center. This is especially true if the facility is located outside of the state where you have been sentenced to probation.

What to Expect From a Rehab Program While on Probation or Parole

If you’re on parole and you’re suffering from addiction, communicating honestly with your parole officer about going to rehab may be the best choice. Going to rehab after prison may not be your idea of “freedom,” but it will provide you with the tools you need to prevent relapse and avoid going back to jail for violating the conditions of your parole.

Many people who enroll in rehab while they are on parole, but it’s completely understandable if you don’t know where or how to start looking for help. Once you communicate with your parole officer about your substance abuse problems, he or she may be able to refer you to a drug therapist or rehab program.

Depending on your circumstances and your treatment needs, there are several different types of rehab options that may cater to your individual situation, including:

Regardless of what type of drug rehab program you participate in or which rehab center you choose, you will still need to abide by the conditions of your parole while you are enrolled in rehab. This means you’ll need to report to your parole officer regularly, not break the law, and agree to law enforcement searches of your vehicle, home, and personal possessions, among other common conditions of parole.5

While you are in treatment, your counselors and/or therapists may also communicate with your parole officer to provide updates on your treatment progress. The rehab center may also send the results of all your drug tests to your parole officer as evidence of your ongoing sobriety.

Although there will likely be some behind-the-scenes work that makes it possible for you to attend detox, rehab, or sober living while on parole, this shouldn’t affect your treatment experience negatively.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) on Parole or Probation

IOP (intensive outpatient program) is a type of outpatient drug rehab program that provides structured group treatment sessions and evidence-based therapies to help individuals maintain their sobriety and adjust to sober life outside of an inpatient setting. IOP offers a high level of support and structure to decrease the likelihood of relapse, boost self-confidence in sobriety, and address physical or psychological issues in recovery.

At Nova Recovery Center, IOP is a robust treatment program that consists of three group sessions per week for a total of eight weeks. Treatment sessions primarily focus is on life skills, relapse prevention, and peer support, with group discussions covering a variety of topics, including:

  • Social skills
  • Restructuring thoughts
  • Family dynamics
  • The science of addiction
  • Problem-solving

Intensive outpatient programs are an excellent treatment option for people on parole, as they provide comprehensive treatment with the flexibility to continue working, going to school, or maintaining other personal responsibilities and commitments.

Going to Rehab After Prison: The Start of a New Beginning

Going to rehab after prison or while you’re on parole is an excellent opportunity to start fresh and change your life. In rehab, you’ll gain the tools and life skills necessary to establish and maintain a healthy, sober lifestyle in recovery and hopefully, never see the inside of a jail cell again.

Oregon’s New Law

The Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act was passed in Nov 2020 and this article by Alexander E. Sharp shows how it could be the new end to the war on drugs.

It quotes President Nixon in 1971 stating “the war on drugs has begun”.

“Almost 50 years and $1 trillion dollars later, we can categorically say that the WarOnDrugs has been lost.

Drugs are more widely available than ever. Use has not declined. In short, the drug war has failed even on its own terms: it has not curtailed the market.”

Oregon’s New decriminalization of drugs is their version of the war on drugs following after portugal’s lead years ago.

“Their goal is to move people out of the criminal justice system into the health care system. But the health care system isn’t ready to receive them,” Marshall stated.
Funding for treatment would be handed out via a grants program, being overseen by a newly established Oversight and Accountability Council, with its members appointed by the director of the Oregon Health Authority.
“The Oversight and Accountability Council shall provide grants to existing agencies or organizations, whether government or community-based, to create Addiction Recovery Centers for the purposes of immediately triaging the acute needs of people who use drugs and assessing and addressing any on-going needs thorough intensive case management.

—CNDP Exec Dir Rev Al Sharp examines the impact of Measure 110 in Oregon for the Christian Century:– from Heart of a Warrior Women facebook group.

Theological Walter Wink stated 8 years ago:

“Our attempts to stamp out drugs by force violate a fundamental spiritual principle. Jesus articulated it in the Sermon on the Mount: “Don’t react violently against the one who is evil.” Adapted to fit the drug issue, it means “Do not resist drugs by violent means.” We have merely repeated the mistake of Prohibition.

This articles exolains
The exact amounts they’re talking about decriminalizing.

“Here are the limits:

Less than 1 gram of heroin
Less than 1 gram, or less than 5 pills, of MDMA
Less than 2 grams of methamphetamine
Less than 40 units of LSD
Less than 12 grams of psilocybin
Less than 40 units of methadone
Less than 40 pills of oxycodone
Less than 2 grams of cocaine
The measure reduces from a felony to a misdemeanor simple possession of substances containing:

1 to 3 grams of heroin
1 to 4 grams of MDMA
2 to 8 grams of methamphetamine
2 to 8 grams of cocaine”

Under these amounts, my son would be free to get help and services without this fear of getting arrested. As it is now, he is running scared, with a hijacked brain, not a dime to his name and scared to apply for food, housing, or a job. His brain is in a state of panic and turmoil every day. To survive, not be sick that day with his to illness and try to find money. All the while, the shame of him not fulfilling his obligations, failing at every aspect of his life, being continually buried deep under the facade of his withered pale unfed skin.

Jail is not going to help his illness and make him have self respect again. It’s going to put him in survival mode even more, defending himself against the gangs, proving he’s “one of them” and not “too white” or he will be knifed. 😭

The ASPC treats dogs better than this. Our little kids with a variety of problems that yes med them to use drugs, are being banished from society for having an illness that is 100% treatable.

As Gabor mate states in his Video about addiction and the correctional system:

“In my opinion, the correctional system does very little correcting”.[ for the addicted.]

Even though I’m biased, I tend to agree. I will admit, my bias- ness comes from a place of fear. My son has warned me of the gang mentality in prison. I didn’t believe him until I saw the net flix documentary, Big brother. The scene of the reporter standing by the back of the pick- up truck, talking to the “boy” with his cousins confirmed my sons stories.

But, it hardly matters since I have zero control over the outcome. I never have really. But that doesn’t stop this mom from having hope every day that my strong “beautiful boy” will be back soon.

Excerpt from 1000 Last Goodbyes

Zero. What an awful number. Especially if you’re staring at it, in blaring red neon on the heart machine. I was sitting next to my 86 pound dad in the hospital, listening to the slowed beeping of the machine. His gaunt, pale, sunken face haunted me, but it still didn’t stop me from climbing into his bed with him, knowing I would never get the chance again. The COPD he had battled for years had finally overtaken his lungs, causing him to go into unconsciousness when they wheeled him into the emergency room from the ambulance, a few days prior. The nurse had said, it was only a matter of time, until he would slip away. She soon came in the room and said it was time, he was ‘ready’. She left my mom and I to be with him. My sweet mama, stricken with her second bout of lung cancer, sat on the chair with her colored scarf covering her chemo ridden scalp, seemed nervous; scared. She didn’t know quite what to do. I laid my head on his chest and watched his lifeless body slip away as I stared at the machines. I told my mom to come over and say goodbye.  Suddenly, I heard his heart beating again with my ear that was on his chest! I said, “He’s alive! Go get the nurse!” My dad raised up his right arm, as if it was once last flailed attempt to beat this disease, then dropped it to the bed. He was gone. Years of smoking would take his life and then my moms just 4 months later. 

So why then, 12 years later, were my oldest daughter and I, standing in a convenience store, on an Indian reservation, in the middle of December, waiting in a long line of people who were all there for the same reason? To get a carton of Lucky Strike cigarettes for half the price. It was for my son, of course-isn’t everything? He was in his first rehab-out of state. Remember, life with an addict has you doing things you never thought you would. Your standards drop bigtime as you celebrate small victories that are unexplainable to regular people with regular problems that don’t involve substance use. As it was, we were actually thrilled to have found these cigarettes for him because we had searched online on how to send some directly to him. Apparently that’s not an option, it’s illegal or something. So that kids can’t buy them online.

Turns out that even though both your parents died of lung related diseases-directly as a result of smoking all their life-the shock of finding out that your kids smoke, has completely worn off when you realized your son is a heavy IV drug user.  To ‘Only Smoke” is HUGE compared to THAT dark world. We were thrilled to be able to do that for him, as long as he was in rehab, and they were allowing cigarettes to help with the absence of the drugs.

My son finished that rehab for a total of 72 days clean. Almost a miracle in the world of addicts. But as naively “first-timers to rehab” we were, we were shocked when it didn’t “cure” him. Our healthy brains could not wrap around this non-linear course of addiction and recovery. With any other mistake or unfortunate event such as a fire or earthquake, you process the shock, clean up the damage, and rebuild. What we didn’t know then, is that fire and and inanimate objects don’t have ingrained trauma or other mental health issues that continually fight against the rebuilding. Habits are engrained in humans to create safety and order. In the ADD, addicted brain it is no different. The path of least resistance, even after a break, and a few good counseling sessions, is to go right back into the fire. That evil, disintegrating , rabid fast burning fire that has shattered so many people and families’ lives. Do you run into it to save them? Or stand there in utter horror, hoping and praying that they walk out with most of their faculties intact…..