Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I have attempted to write this piece several times but it becomes very lenghty due to emotions.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday my sister and I spoke in length about two losses we have had due to drug and alcohol addiction. I will tell you from first hand experience that all of the programs that everyone thinks is out there is pure bullshit! The more money you have the better level of treatment you get and the better chances you have of staying clean longer. Of course all of this is just a step to nowhere unless the person that has the abuse problem wants to stop.

Let me start with my cousin Kim. Kim was raised by strict Catholic middle class working parents is the suburbs. We were very close when we were young visiting for holidays, summer vacations, and Sunday get together. Her life was at a faster speed then mine and we were the same age and first cousins. I never figured out why her life was so much faster paced, until I was older. It was just the simple fact of exposure. We lived on a farm in the country with limited exposure and a slower way of living.

Kim started out on marijuana that she would get from her older brothers friends and other cousins. This progressed to PCP. Now that was a trip in itself to see a room full of people out to lunch on PCP. As we grew older and started to get into the club scene (fake IDs of course) I noticed just how many drugs she was doing. Kim was now at the level of Quaalude, PCP, and acid. The atmosphere unnerved me and I started to distance myself more and more.
Kim became a groupie of popular eighties bands that would go on to become famous. She had access to whatever drugs she wanted and took full advantage of this. Of course eventually like everything else it spiraled out of control quickly. My Aunt and Uncle started with the usual stuff of grounding (but of course she had been doing this unnoticed for years and already had an addiction issue which they had no clue of). That's was the sad part for my Aunt and Uncle. While they were working to put their kids through private school the drug use had started and taken hold before they even noticed. Kim hid things well and was an expert that had many accomplices that were close. The next step of course was limiting the friends that she could be around, counseling, and getting a job. By the time Kim turned 21 she had been in two facilities for drug use, church, counseling, NA meetings, and I can't tell you how many more programs.

I have read so many pamphlets that I could be an expert on some of the topics. Come on, reading material isn't going to cut it. We need programs to bring us up to date and conquer this problem. Or maybe the money made off of drugs is just to damn good for the US to give up. Do I believe that alot of this is brushed under the rug? For sure!

I attended some of these programs as support with her. At the free cheap programs she scored drugs and connections to buy what she needed. Many were there because it was court mandated and did not want to stop. It was a waste of time and taxpayer money. Then we went to visit her in her first in patient rehabilitation program that the insurance paid for. It is not like what you see on TV! I could relate this to a second hand crack house on the corner. What I did notice about this type of treatment is that they do more group discussion to let the patient know they are not alone. If they find drugs your out and they do random urine testing to protect the patients trying to get well. They create a sense of regiment back into ones life. They try but need more funding for a higher level of intervention better doctors and copping methods.

After that didn't work my Aunt and Uncle spent $20,000.00 of their savings for a private facility. Kim stayed there for nine months. When she came home she looked great and seemed to have a new look on life. Unfortunately this only lasted for about 8 months and she was not only back to drugs but much heavier substances. Time passed and I saw less and less of her. Then one day we got the phone call that she was in the operating room in a very critical condition. She had hit a telephone pole at 60 mph head on while under the influence of drugs. Kim had broken her jaw, fracture her clavicle, broken her arm, and torn her aortic artery.

She was lucky she made it to the hospital. The surgeons repaired her and she had a long road to recovery. During the process she had a stroke that paralyzed her arm and one side of her face. She was 28 at the time with a 2 year old son. Kim lived to be 35 and passed due to complications from the auto accident that left her with a heart condition.

When I think of her I remember the times when we were young and innocent running around the beach seeking out the best seashells we could find. The strong bond that we had like most first cousins do of the same age and of course that crooked smile and hearty laugh that came with ease.


Lucy said...

No one that has not been through a relationship with an alcoholic, or any addict can possible know that the person has got to want to stop, no matter who or where they go, there is no help. So many people are so cluless as to what true, hard addiction is really like. The addict lives for whatever they are addicted to. Alanon is ok for some people but as far as I was concerned like I did everything else I had to deal with it on my own, in my own way. These help groups do not live in my home. It is me that has to figure it out on my own. Does these help groups truly feel your pain?? I think not. Lucy.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Sound like a difficult thing to witness for a family member. I know I have dealt with drug issues on and off with my brother. The best thing is to not enable.

a corgi said...

that is so sad, Kelly; I don't know why some people get so addicted to drugs/alcohol. It seems like some just can't get off them/stay off of them for any length of time; I'm sure your aunt/uncle did all they could for Kim in her younger days; you know you hear what to watch for to know if your kid is using drugs or not and even when you think you are watching out and you think you have a handle on their friends, some of these kids are so clever they can make you believe their lies they are telling you because it does sound believable (been there done that with my son)I never had the desire to use drugs (mainly because I was afraid I'd die if I used them)