Finding Peace in the Process



The 'Burbs, Illinois,
January 18
Married father of two girls. Was a writer in a previous life. Drove a truck for 20 years. Trudging the road of happy destiny since 1987.


MARCH 20, 2010 7:13PM

Back to Court

Rate: 25 Flag

     I don't think rehab went well. I visited her once. She yelled at me for ten minutes. Then left and slammed the door and kept yelling, her voice finally trailing off after she turned the corner at the end of the hall. The therapist said she's getting better at expressing herself. I never thought this was a problem.

      A close friend says this is all good. Every up, every down. They all count as learning. Rose is doing life without drugs, except the ones that come from a doctor, and even those have been limited.  No more Adderall or Xanax.

     No wonder she's pissed. 

     The insurance decided after two weeks that she didn't have to be there overnight or on weekends. My wife and I agreed to pay $200 a day "boarding charges." So much for the $7,500 annual limit on my out-of-pocket expenses. They took that check before she was admitted.

     After three weeks the insurer says she doesn't need to be there at all. So we agree to pay $750 a day for another ten days. 

     We wanted to keep her there an extra week so she could make arrangements with a halfway house. It's an important decision because some of these places provide support for young women with emotional issues, and others are merely sober houses at which the clients are largely unsupervised, save the occasional drug test.

     Our daughter insists during this extra week that she doesn't have to do any of this. She plans to move back in with her boyfriend. She could have avoided the short stay in jail which followed that decision, but maybe this is what my friend meant about learning from every decision. 

     She eventualy winds up in a nice halfway house. I find out some good things about the place. A former high school pal calls it her alma matter (class of '78) and can't say enough about it.

     I call and ask how much this is going to cost me. Nothing. The client is required to pay her own way. Once she starts working, she turns over her check and gets $20 a week for walk-around cash. The tenants shop, clean and cook together. Eventually, a client can get on her feet and decide whether she needs the continued support or is ready to move out and set up shop on her own.

     I love this place. And so does Rose. Until she doesn't. She's discharged in six days. Something about meds. Who knows. She's back in jail and I'm back in a courtroom waiting to see what happens next.

     I start one of the longest days of my life at seven and get to court  a little after nine. There is a sign in the entryway to the courtroom:

     "Courtroom full. Defendents only."

     I grab a seat outside and regret not bringing a book. I find a sports page and read about the NCAA basketball tourney for three hours. Then the bailiff pulls the sign and I enter the courtroom.

     She is a late entry to the docket so she's the last one called. It's after twelve and everyone is checking their watches. The Assistant State's Attorney tells another guy to go on to lunch and he'll meet him later. The Public Defender, Mike, pulls me aside.

     He found another halfway house that will take her. Good. It's 450 bucks a month. Oh. This new place isn't like the old place. It's a sober house designed for independent adults.Very little supervision. I get a bad feeling. Mike says you can pay by the week. That sounds prudent. I agree to pay.

     They bring her and this time I don't flinch at the sight of her in handcuffs and the jumpsuit with COUNTY JAIL stenciled across the back. PD Mike explains her situation. The judge doesn't seem to care that she was discharged. He explained a few months ago that some people go back and forth between jail and halfway houses several times before they figure it out. The System is patient. He agrees to let her try again.

     It usually takes an hour or two for an inmate to be processed out of jail. Sometimes it's quick, so I usually hang around and bring a book, but I'm hungry and have no book. I stop at a gas station where I find a copy of Men's Journal, with an article by one of my favorite writers, Matt Taibbi, about saving major league baseball. Then I hit Boston Chicken and get a chicken pot pie (how do they get those crusts so perfect?) and between the baseball and the food I linger longer than I had intended before heading back to the lockup.

     A slight woman with a ponytail sits in the office. You have to bend over and talk throught the slot at the bottom of the bullet-proof glass. I tell her I'm here for Rose and she informs me that Rose is gone. Left about an hour ago.




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Oh brother. Aching on your behalf. Sending good thoughts/prayers. Your writing does not fail here.
Oh my. I'll be here on Monday.
Reading as you write. Aching when reading. Sighing.
I will be waiting, I have lived this with my son it CAN work I so hope good news is coming. I'm so sorry..
I'm so sorry, Jimmy. You're going above and beyond, and I hope your daughter gets to the point where she can realise that and be grateful that she has you there. Sending you love and positivity.
Heartened to hear there is a part two.
Damn. Just...damn.
I'll check in on Monday.
Here's some Garcia and Grisman for ya--seems kind of appropriate:
Don't know what to say. Other than that I'm reading - just witnessing, I guess. Acknowledging your experience. Hoping you all survive.
So sorry for the hardships. My heart aches for you and Rose.
This is life, as true and as gritty as it gets. I know you're in it for the long haul. That's what good parents do. Hang on. Write on.
As a former "bad girl" who put my parents through hell---treatment, lock up psych ward, lies, suicide attempts, etc. --and as a mother of four (the eldest just turned 19 last night)--I say--let her go. They're stronger than we care to admit. That doesn't mean you should be heartless and lock the door--but, as someone wise once said, "you don't help crazy people by going crazy."

Today, I am a sane, responsible, caring , loyal, dedicated, committed, organized, well-balanced, educated, professional mother of four AMAZING children that have never done drugs and likely never will.

Most important: protect your marriage. Children can be like littel foxes in the garden...
I pray for you and your daughter.
Jim: Looks like a lot of us are doing all we can -- standing by, hoping & praying -- and wishing we could do more. All I can do just now is take refuge in the knowledge that you will see and do (or perhaps have already done) the right thing.
Jimmy... I cannot see how you hold up through the hell...
Are you able to get any rest?
You're keeping us waiting like Rose is keeping you -- and her life -- waiting. But then again, this IS her life -- just as it is yours. You showed here long ago that you have far more patience than I have, and I admire you greatly for it -- as well as for your writing -- there's never a false note in your stuff.
My own DD wound up in the emergency room blind drunk & is now charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery for lashing out at a caregiver and security guard when they tried to restrain her. There is so much power in your understatement. That's how I like it. That's how it has to be. All best, HB
Please accept a group hug and forgive me for not answering individually, at least for now. See 'ya tomorrow.
You are one strong person. I'm not sure that all of your readers know that you have had to conquer your own substance abuse problems at the same time as being a great dad to Rose. Man I hope that she's okay and this story illustrates the need for mental health parity in our insurance system. Stay strong!
This is journey that never seems to have a destination. Be safe my friend.
This is journey that never seems to have a destination. Be safe my friend.
This is a long and winding road you and Rose are on. I continue to hold you both in my thoughts and prayers.

Missed this one when you posted. The good part of that is that part two is already up, so I can just pick right up where you left off.

Jimmy, there's a thin line that separates us all, that separates you from me. You are demonstrating love, not matter what has gone before, or what will come, you are demonstrating something that will be a hook and anchor for those you love. My best wishes to you for strength and patience and continued love.
It's so hard to watch an addict. I feel for you. I wish I could offer words of comfort, but I'll be thinking about you and your daughter.
I'm late. Its Monday. So on to two.

If I skip you, it's because we chatted after part two.

Lunchlady--I know it can work, too and my hope is intact. Thank you.

Natalie--I hope she realises she can count on herself. I think that's the key. Thanks for the love.

Jeanette--Before Open Salon, I wrote stuff and threw it in a drawer. Knowing someone's gonna read makes me a better writer, and for this I thank you.

jane--Thank you.

junk1--Thank you, but I'm pretty well convinced that no one skates in this life. I mentioned in the comments after Part Two that there are too many like her with no access to the mental health treatment at all. I think Rose has a good chance.

sweet peony--Your story and similar ones from other are what keep my head and heart above water. They are stronger than we give them credit for. I want to pay particular atention to your last line. My wife and I were in horrible shape a couple years into this. I really don't know if we'd still be together if not for a family therapist who convinced us to stop blaming each other. Divide and conquer is always the first play. If it is successful, the kid has taken charge away from two otherwise intelligent adults, and turned them against each other, to their detriment and that of the other kids. The grown-ups gotta be on the same team.

littlewillie--Thank you.

Jeremiah--I know that fact brought my mother great comfort. Thank you.

gary--Because I don't feel like quitting.

Stim--I sleep like a baby, honest.

Tom--I consider that last a tremendous compliment. Thank you.

Noisy--Thank you.

Roger--Rose had pretty good treatment. I was never able to provide the long-term facility stay that may have helped her. But there are way too many just like her who have never even seen a shrink. They don't have much of a chance without help. Thanks for bringing up this important point.

bbd--I do try to stay in the now. Fool's errand to try to grab all the water under the bridge and re-examine it, re-order it, see if we can find what we missed. Meantime, more water's rushing through. Thank you.

fingers--Other than a few instances, there hasn't been drug use for several months, between jail and rehab. Now the mental illness looks different to her, and to me as well. My hope springs from folks with similar maladies who were able somehow accept it as part of themselves and carry on. It's a gargantuan task, but it can be done.
This must be one of the toughest things as a father you've had to weather. Your writing makes me want more but as a dad I wish we'd get to the happy ending already.
Beautiful writing Thank you so much! I love your work. I write a variety of stuff and have been writing since I was four or three. Grad degree in Journalism and undergrad in art and film.. Plus I have a addiction studies certificate. Been around it my whole life and it's great to hear it told so openly. I might try to be more bold now. Congrats!!!
Jimmy, this is so heartbreaking on so many son entered prison to serve a 5 year term...just 8 days ago. Hugs.