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The Ups and Downs of Life with a Substance Abuser

When Keven was actively using (in other words, almost all the time) my first thought every morning was, "I hope he makes it through another day". Life was chaotic, stressful and exhausting. In the early days I wrote a blog called "The Needle and the Damage Done".

I met my first support group of other parents through our blogs and many are still friends today, even though I've never met most of them in person. I don't know how I would have survived without them, and some other blog friends I met along the way (Hello Mike and Robyn!).

Here are some posts from June 3 in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, my comments are in blue.

June 3, 2009

Today was the second day in a row that I witnessed Keven smile and laugh and did not see the “dark side”. He’s at a meeting right now. I’m not thinking about what tomorrow may bring, I am just thankful that this ONE DAY was good. As was yesterday. That makes two days in a row!

It doesn't sound like much, but there are cherished moments that gave me hope. My favorite sound in the world: Keven's genuine laugh/giggle.

Kelly was over here last night, her mom dropped her off so she could visit me. She has a court date tomorrow and hopefully they will send her to a rehab. She told me she started using again because she misses Anthony, and then she told me Anthony is using in prison because she told him she was using out here! UGH! I wanted to pull my hair out, but wouldn’t look good bald, so I just hugged her.

She said she wished there was some place on earth that she could go where there was no access to drugs. But that place doesn’t exist. It’s in jail and rehabs, small towns, suburbs, big cities, out in the boondocks.

It seems to me there are three different types of addicts:

  1. those who sincerely want to stop

  2. those who sincerely wish they wanted to stop

  3. and those who know they do not want to stop

"Kelly" (not her real name) died 4 months after Keven. We may never know the real cause of death. One version is that she was found hanging in her jail cell, the other is she was murdered by a guard. She was Anthony's girlfriend for a few years and one of Keven's closest friends, she was part of our family and people assumed they were siblings.

June 3, 2011

Keven will be bowling tomorrow between 10am - 12 pm at the lanes near our house. His Probation Officer is the one who put it together for all her “people’’ to bowl with her. Keven hasn’t reached his 60 days at Unidos yet so she called and told them it was court ordered that he go bowling! I think that’s funny and very cool.

Unidos (Spanish for United) was a County rehab for Hispanic men, but there were a few non-Hispanics there and Keven was one of them. He did really well there! Having been to fancy residential treatments with houses with pools, etc. I thought he would hate this place. It was run down and not exactly clean. with no amenities whatsoever. There was something about the camaraderie there that he liked. Goes to show - it doesn't matter what type of facility you go to - its all about your willingness and your desire to "get better".

June 3, 2013

Kev’s doing good. He’s been at his job for four months now and has a good relationship with his boss and the other older guy that works there. He’s still going to physical therapy 3 days a week after the car accident, but seems to be okay.

Shortly after writing this Keven started using again. 4 months was the longest period of sobriety he ever had. His boss hired a new guy who happened to be a heroin addict. Enough said.

June 3, 2014

Just when I think things are finally going well for Keven, I find out that they have him on a on a behavioral contract and could get kicked out of rehab any day! He’s been disrespectful and full of anger. This is NOT my son. This is a new Keven that’s emerged in the last 6 months and I can't stand it when he’s this way, in fact he scares me.

But I know that anger is often fear turned inside out. So much easier to act pissed off and rude than to be vulnerable and admit that you’re scared to death inside. Either way I'm still upset with him.

He tested positive for Hep C and HIV and he thinks he will be dead soon.

He got kicked out. The rehab was located in "Rehab Central" of Orange County - Costa Mesa. It was one of the few times I would not let him come home right away. The streets were filled with addicts that had left rehab and had no where to go. Many clients were flown in from out of state. I didn't leave him there long, it seemed like a death sentence. He was living in a cheap motel with a bunch of other heroin users.

Keven tested positive for HIV twice and negative for it three times, we assume he didn't have it. He refused to get the Hep C treated, he just didn't care about his health.

June 3, 2015

Guess who did meth last night? This is what I found when I walked downstairs this morning.

Meth would cause him to go through closets and drawers, etc. and then leave a mess behind. The whole time he'd be dripping sweat and shaking. I hate meth even more than heroin. Heroin = mellow, meth = erratic and possibly dangerous. (There's my sweet baby girl, Sugar, she passed 5 months after Kev)

June 4, 2019

Kev is in the hospital with a serious infection which is life threatening but hopefully they caught it soon enough, he’ll be there at least another week. It started in a deep abscess in his upper thigh (from shooting up there). They operated on it but could not get all the infection out so for now they have a drain in it; they didn’t sew him up. It’s hard to look at. On Tuesday, they will go in again to try and get the rest.

In the meantime, they are waiting for the bacteria culture to be identified and we are hoping and praying it’s not necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating bacteria) because that would mean he may need his leg amputated.

I can’t think about that. I have one nurse telling me how sick he is and another saying “he’ll be okay” so I go with nurse two.

I stayed by his side as much as I could. They ended up doing 3 surgeries in one week and thankfully, he didn't lose his leg. It was a different type of infection. Of course immediately upon being released from the hospital he started using again.


As always, thank you so much for reading here. Please pass my site along to others. I'm really hoping to help people so a bigger audience is one of my goals.


Makes me want to cry for you and for Keven.


So difficult. I'm so sorry to hear about Kelly. Was she at the funeral?

Replying to

I'm so sorry.

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