May 4, 2009 by  
Filed under The Wind

Part 4. To read parts 1-3, scroll down.

I Dreamed a dream

He is back out on the street making his own choices. An opiate addict has many episodes where they make some really hard choices. But the moment they decide to use again, the choice instantly gets easy. They make a choice to go back to Oxy or heroin knowing they are also choosing fear, guilt, shame, failure and risking jail and anger and disappointment from their family. Apparently, opiates have the power to help make the one choice that outweighs the combination of all the bad things that will happen as a result of doing the drug. For those of us who are not addicts, it makes no sense. Why would anyone choose to give up everything- your home, family, love, support, safety, food, money, warm bed at night. And the drug is so powerful that you willingly trade in all of those for fear, homelessness, jail, having no bed, clothes or shower, pain, hunger… and no one who will lift a finger to help out. I don’t get it. I understand it, I just don’t get it. Some of you know exactly what I am talking about. It has been 4 days since he has been gone. Someone called and said they saw him at Taco Bell and that he looked really burnt. He finally called me yesterday and he can’t come home because he is using. He has only been out of jail for 2 weeks. Faced with your own ability to decide how your life is going to go, the temptation for opiate users is overwhelming when they are left to their own choices. I had a dream last night- one of those that goes on forever. In my dream Sean had died of an overdose and I had to decide if I wanted to see him one last time. The dream was torture. Opiates- vicodin, oxycontin, heroin, norco. They remove your ability to weigh consequences. You simply don’t have the ability any longer to connect action with consequences. This is ONE reason they are so devastatingly powerful. Opiates remove the ability of the brain to feel happiness. The addict cannot feel normal happiness like you and I when they see a sunset, or a puppy, or a baby or simply share a few laughs with friends. Their brain has changed to such a degree that they can only feel happiness when they are using. The brain takes about 1 full year to bring back the happiness function. That has got to be one long ass year. Our high school kids are doing opiates more than all other illegal drugs combined! They are partying with vicodin, just getting that awesome high for the day… and from there it is a just a matter of time. Soon their brain will change to accommodate the drug and will need more of it. Soon, just to feel normal feelings, they will need the drug every day. Soon, they will increase the dosage to get the same normal feelings. And soon, the pain of withdrawal will be so bad that it is impossible to quit without enduring extreme physical pain for over a week. And later, a mother will be picking her son or daughter up from jail wondering what the hell to do next. And the mothers will not be alone. But they will feel very alone sometimes, giving up everything to try and find the answer and find something that will just make it stop. Rush Limbaugh used opiates and chose to lose his hearing as he increased to massive doses of oxycontin to feed his addiction. Many powerful, smart and successful people have lost everything multiple times because of opiates. If you think you are not affected, think again. The jails are already overcrowded as 80% of the people in there are serving time for drug related crimes. The teens who are just getting into opiates are going to create an even bigger wave of addicts that will push the courts and correctional system way beyond what it is now. The crime supports their habits and everyone is affected. And it will take money to try to control it. More police, courts, jail, rehab. Lots of money that our already strapped state budgets just don’t have. And families will spend money on rehab that has a 5% success rate in hopes of saving a life. They will mortgage their houses, use up their savings or go in debt charging their credit cards trying desperately to find help for their child. I am so very grateful for all your comments and replies. Your thoughts really do help and I want you to know that feeling the love and support in your responses means everything to me right now. Love right back at you! img_0177
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18 Responses to “Dreams”
  1. Kari says:

    WEndy I just wrote you a personal email telling you I was having a hard time with the loss of my 21 year old daughter. I dont know the cause of her death as of yet 8 weeks later, but Im hearing rumor that it was from doing drugs. Im not sure because she wouldnt hang with me when she was on them and she had been. I guess I have to hand on to hope that the results come back negative because that is just something I dont want to hear. Believe me, the only thing I can think of is her and how she is gone and all the things we could have experienced together. My heart feels as if someone is ripping it out of my chest and it is sooo fresh everyday. They say time heals but Im not too sure about that right now. Im tired of all the old cliches people give me. Why cant they just hurt, cry or scream right along with me??? Why do I feel so isolated and all alone???
    Know that Im praying for your son every day and that I do know the heartache you are going through.

  2. Nancy says:


    With all my heart, blessings to you. You are not alone. We, too, have an errant child, and are facing behavior from him we would never believe if we weren’t seeing it with our own eyes. What the hell happened? This can’t possibly be our life, our child. There is shame, guilt, embarrassment, feelings of failure….does the list ever end? And yes, a part of us dies every time we hear how fantastic others’ children are doing. Mostly in this situation we feel so completely helpless and useless. We’re doing our best, and our best seems woefully inadequate…but then in brief and fleeting moments I realize how incredibly strong I must be to have made it through the last 24 hours. You, too, have made it through the last 24 hours or days or weeks, against all odds. Breathe, baby, breathe!! Sometimes that is our best.

  3. Valerie says:

    Oh Wendi,

    I went on twitter today & saw your post. Of course I clicked the link to read what you referring to. I sit here crying my eyes out for you & Sean, I say a prayer that a miracle awakening & healing of Sean’s emotions will occur. (as well as yours) I feel your anguish deep in my soul. For you have been such a friend to me & a major part of my own wellness journey. Oh how I would love to be able to return the blessings back to you. I understand what you are saying only in a different perspective. Living in an addicted household in one shape or form all of my life, I know, I know. I pray for my children, that they won’t get caught up in the terrible addiction trap. Some of them play with weed. I worry & let them know it’s not a good idea. But they don’t listen, they know so much more, so they think. I pray it never goes beyond that. I pray more they will wake up & leave it alone. The family genetics & history paint a grim picture. All we can do is love & pray while never giving up hope for another day with a new beginning.

    I’m glad you realize you aren’t alone. In fact I think you have more company than you even know everyday on the shows… You touch lives & you know this. I salute your courage in bearing all this so the rest of those who enter our world may understand. Perhaps one who is suffering in their silence will come along & realize they aren’t alone, & it will give comfort on some level.

    I love you my friend, & will keep you both in my prayers.



  4. Lisa says:

    Dear Wendi,

    I am sorry to hear that Sean has mde the choice to return to drugs. What is true of the jail is also true for the psychiatric hospitals. On any given day, at least 86-92% of the population are either dually diagnosed with mental illness and drug addiction, or are strictly in there after coming to the attention of the authorities for some impulsive or bizarre behavior, that is totaly the result of drugs. They say they hate the hospital, yet they continue to frequent the psych wards and the jails daily. It is not the answer, I know, but there isn’t much out there that will help. Also, it is up to them to want to quit. I keep hearing that, but the availability of substances is too great. The ones I know that have quit, literally had to change their whole group of buddies and move. I know that the darker side is always out there and apparently easy to find. It seems that in order to keep your own habit going, you have to sell something. Sometimes it seems like an endless loop.

    I do think you need to recognize all the folks that you have helped and know that it will take someone else with their own set of special gifts to help Sean. I am sure that your nights are long and frought with fear for him. I do believe that there is a cure out there and that researchers are working on figuring out how to turn the addicted side of the brain off. It just can’t seem to come fast enough. My thoughts are with you and know that going public with this crisis is the right thing to do.

    Love, patience, and peace,

  5. Julie says:

    Dear Wendi
    This is the hardest thing to talk about and that you are talking of it publicly is a cry for help because you feel so incapable to make any change.

    I know this because my family has been through it. My nephew Daniel died from accidental overdose when he took a prescribed sleeping pill after an evening when he used heroin. The combined dose sent him to sleep forever. He had just turned 18.

    He started using illegal drugs when he was 13, at least we think it was around then. Prior to that he was a problem child, diagnosed with ODD and treated with ADHD type prescription drugs to get him through school. He refused to go to school anymore when he was 14.

    We tried to help him and he tried to beat his addiction. Now 2 years later, we are still raw with grief, we never really thought we’d lose him. Even knowing how young he was and how much he had to deal with, we thought we had time. We were told by so many people, it is his problem, you can do nothing, he has to do it himself.

    In the last 2 years I have thought about that more and more. Did we do enough? Should we have had him locked up and bootcamp him to recovery? I read Kate Holden’s “In my skin” this helped me to see life from their point of view. I wish I had not shook my head and looked so sadly at him, I wish I had tried to make our time together extremely happy. They love us and their guilt and shame makes them avoid us because they know they will betray us. They know we love them but they too feel powerless.

    But what I most wonder about is homeopathy. My sister is very conventional. I was the wild one, I explored alternative therapies such as self hypnosis and I was helped by homeopathy. Due to this, in the nicest of possible ways, my sister thinks I am a “flake”.

    Knowing what she thought of “flaky” things, although I suggested homeopathy to her, I never pushed it or actually tried to take any control to make my nephew try a therapy like this. We hang back because there are other dynamics happening and I don’t know if this is the right or wrong thing to do.

    I was hesitant to write this because its a terrible thing to say to someone worried about their son dealing with addiction, that your own problem child didn’t make it through. But if Daniels death has taught me anything it is to strive your hardest to avert tradgedy in any way possible.

    So with respect and the deepest sympathy, I bring this to your attention. Homeopathy has a strange ability to change people’s outlooks. Look into it with an open mind and feel free to contact me if you want more info from me.

    I urge you not to ignore your driving need to protect your son and to do whatever you feel you need to do to save him, because however hard life is with him, his loss would be far worse.

    It may well be, as they say, that no one can do anything. That personal change has to come from the person. We can only try and help, that is all any of us can do. Your hypnosis has helped me immensely, thank you for being who you are. I sincerely apologise for I know this will cause you distress.

    My thoughts are with you and I too wish you strength.

  6. Dear Wendi,
    I send you very much love. You are a magnificent writer, and I know that by opening your heart so freely and beautifully that you’re helping many people. I have a strong feeling that your prayers will ultimately help. I know they’ll lift you up. I’ll say some too. I hope many people will read what you’ve written, and I also hope that there will be massive assistance to solve this growing problem. Bless you!
    Love from Marilyn Gordon

  7. Rene says:

    I dont have a solucion for the problem.
    But I want you to remember that love and hate,are 2 faces from the same coin,they belong togehter,the hart givs pleaser because it knows the pain…if you allow the pain to be there,it will transform into the ultimate flowering of love…compassion.
    My love go´s to all of you…

  8. Tracey says:

    I can’t imagine your pain, your heartache or your frustration. I know I have 3 young teenagers and every day I worry about them coming face to face with those same choices as Sean. My kids father ….an alcoholic, their uncle …an addict. Family history is scary enough yet the deck of cards in the game now is much different then it used to be with opiates etc. My heart breaks for you. I know your heart is so huge and how amazing you are to anyone who seeks your help. It truly just does not make sense no matter how hard you look. All I can say is that I hold you and Sean in my heart and you have my undying support.

  9. L says:

    I know how you feel, but not from a mother’s perspective. My brother had an accidental overdose and is now a vegetable. What I’ve seen him go through in the hospital these past few months is so painful – and pain for my parents, too. Stay strong. You’re amazing. Just keep showing him love.

  10. Sue says:

    Dear Wendy – and all who are going thru such painful situations with family or friends. My heart breaks for you. No parent should have to watch their child go thru such hell -and you right along with them. I pray for an answer/cure/whatever – to allow all of you to take your lives back.

    Wendi, you are an amazing woman and mother. Thank you for shining a light on this terrible problem and bringing it out into the open. I know you are a strong leader in this fight – you have my uptmost admiration.

    I send you love and peace,

  11. Donn says:

    Wendy, I’ve been reading your posts and finally feel I need to reply. My daughter was a herion addict for years and now seems to be clean (she sounds ok on the phone – you know how you can kinda tell?)

    I can really relate to your comment about other people and their perfect kids – it hurt. For some reason, at least for me, two things helped me get through the really rough years:

    1) Marylin vos Savant who writes the “Ask Marylin” column and is supposed to have the highest IQ or something like that wrote “Never judge a parent by their children”. Why did that help? I don’t know but it did.

    2) It helped me to listen to the song “Everything Must Change” by Oleta Adams. I can’t explain but there is hope built into the chord structure of the song.

    Ok, just a feeble attempt at helping – but a try.

    Your friend,

  12. Wow Wendi,

    Thank you so much for sharing you and your son’s story !!! You bless us all with education
    I had no Idea how the opiates change the brain. Check out Dr Daniel Amen, Amen clinics, I think he is in Newport beach near you. He does a bunch in public broadcasting and is famous for brain Imaging.

    God bless you and your son,


  13. Debbie says:

    I just happened to read your blog entries Friday and then again today and your pain is exactly the pain I’m going through right now. I lost my daughter to heroin (she’s alive, but lost to me) about 4 yers ago as I think is about when your son’s troubles began. She, too, has been in jail, in the hospital, lived on the streets, stolen and sold herself to support her habit. She’s a beautiful girl who grew up wanting to go to college and become a lawyer. Well, she’s into law, just the wrong side now. She’s been in and out of rehab 4 or 5 times, I can’t keep count and although I haven’t spent as much as you on rehab, the only reason is because I don’t have as much to lose. But trust me if I had it it would have been spent – anything would have been given away to save my child.

    I have three other children who grew up in the same household who have gone to college and work and enjoy relationships, doesn’t it just drive you crazy wondering how one could be so damaged? I would do anything to save her and I have, which is why I’m in debt. She has stolen from me and her siblings, sold our Xmas gifts, stolen credit cards, written bad checks and had a friend rob her boyfriends house. It goes on and on as you know. The last month I’ve been dying inside because we haven’t heard from her in quite a while and then my mind starts with the horrible scenarios just as the dream you had last night. Sometimes I’m OK and other times I’m so depressed and fragile I scare myself. There just doesn’t seem to be an end, ever. The last b’day I spent with her was her 16th and she just turned 21. If she comes around it’s not for long as she can’t stand the scrutiny – it’s the guilt and shame, etc.

    So, yes, you are not alone and I feel exactly the same way you do. I also bear the shame and guilt, the helplessness and the deep lonliness that accompanies life with (but mostly without) an addict.

    I will pray for you.


  14. Heike says:

    just forgot.. that dream you are having.. you know we are sent nightmares to make sure we are remembering our dream, or the message in that specific dream. The things you saw there, don’t mean nothing bad. As strange as it sounds, it is a reminder of happiness, a new beginning and success.

  15. Vicky says:


    My thoughts, my being, my heart, extends to you. I have been in your situation, my son is now 28, he was addicted to oxycontin, then went to heroin. I get a lump in my throat when I read what you’re so courageously sharing. I’ve been there, most everything you’ve written I can relate to, so closely.

    My son is clean for the past 15 months, but is not in the clear yet. I can tell by the things he says, he is still tempted to go back to it. He still has the mind set of his addiction a good part of the time. What changed his mind about using for now? I guess he was finally tired of the struggle, and being in jail seemed to jolt him, too.

    My heart aches for us all, for all the people out there who are in similar situations. There are no answers for those who love an addict, specially when it is your child. The answers lie with the addicted person, and they will choose life, or not. It is the hardest thing I have ever experienced. I am supposed to let him go, and of course not enable him, not believe the lies. And to somehow be ok, regardless of what he chooses to do with the rest of his life. The choices I’ve had to make regarding him have been so insanely difficult. I wish I had words to help, but all I can say is, it is his choice, you are not responsible.(I know the guilt!) I have hated vehemently his drug persona. I want my son back for good. I miss him.

    There is some promising research being done, there was a series done by HBO last year, I believe, on addictions. It may be available on DVD. Help cannot come soon enough.

    Thank-you once again, Wendi, for so candidly sharing your experience.


  16. Jason says:

    Hi Wendi,

    I read your posts. I am so sorry this is happening to you and your son. It is heart wrenching and frustrating. I lost a brother last year to liver failure as a result of his alcoholism. He had just turned 39. He was loved, had so many friends that at his memorial they had to open the hall to accommodate all the people that came. In the hospital I asked him why he never got help (he lied saying his doctor said he was fine. We found out after he had not had medical since ’94)his response to me was “I was scared.” He could not give up drinking and it did kill him.
    Now I am watching my youngest brother drink more than ever and do drugs. He has a young daughter and a good job, but that doesn’t seem to matter. I have offered my help and he has declined it. I feel I will be watching another tragedy unfold and there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do unless he wants my help.
    I guess I am telling you all this because I share your frustration. It seems some people have the ability to realize what they are doing and can rise abouve it, but some people seem to lack that certain something to help themselves. I don’t know what it is, but I wish we could find a way to tap into that certain something and be able to help others help themselves.
    My youngest brother’s activities have caused my mom to be evicted from her home of 20 years. She is 76. Some members of my family want nothing more to do with him and I can understand that. I can’t turn my back on him. Wendi, I don’t know how to help you, but all I know is that all we can do is be there and support our loved ones. Sadly, I think we can only help them if they are willing to help themselves.


  17. Heike says:

    Wow, I am impressed. This is the first time I read this. You had mentioned your son on that call the other day but I never thought anything of it. Now I read this and I am impressed with your openess. I was lucky that my daughter changed her road to nowhere, to become and grow. I know what you must feel like though. Having all this knowledge and power, and yet your hands are tied. I wish you all the strength in the world with this and pray that he will return to, to change his ways and make the right choices. You know everything is possible till the last day.

    Big Hugs to you

  18. Carol says:

    Dear Wendy – my heart goes out to you. My sister died in midlife, age 48, and I knew she would be dead sooner or later. It is so difficult, I tried to “save” her by supporting her for 4 yrs – it didn’t work. She was on a self destructive track, and nothing I could do could help. It is so difficult, sad and hurtful that sometimes there are no happy endings. But because there was no happy ending for my sister, my husband and I decided to adopt a child from Kazakhstan. If I could help my sister, maybel I could give a life to a child. . .and so it goes.

    Love and Peace,

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