Be a Warrior!

twinsBoth girls are over 7 Months clean… for the 2nd time. Kati’s day is a few days earlier than Jessi’s but as of now they are both over 7 months…. again. Don’t get me wrong, because this is a big deal for all of us. It is just that we have been here already, and I don’t want to get all excited, because I have learned that in addiction, things can change in a moment, and in that moment someone can die. 

I am very proud of my girls for the fight they are putting up and the work they are doing. They are survivors and they are giving others hope. The fact that they relapsed does not negate the fact that they had made over 8 months already. The relapse, as horrifying as it is, is a part of most recoveries. Hopefully another will not happen, but I am not naive enough to believe it wont. I take the time to enjoy these moments and milestones. They give me newer happier memories to off set the not so happy ones that I have gathered in the past 5 years. I am happy and I am proud of the work they have done and the work they continue to do. 

The girls spent the weekend over here this past weekend. It was a good visit. I can see that they still have their struggles and worries, but they handle things a lot better. Kati still has to deal with manic episodes, and I can see that she is getting better at accepting she has them and dealing with them when they happen.

She read me a message she had received on social media and it was really quite inspiring. It was from a girl in europe. This girl is also a person struggling with substance abuse issues, her drug of choice was heroin. Her dealer had been talking to her about a new drug fentanyl. She wrote Kati to tell her that she started to research fentanyl, and while doing the research she had discovered the CBC article about Kati’s Story, and fentanyl. She said that Kati’s story had effected her in a way she couldn’t really explain, but it was too her core. She went on to say that she was able to avoid fentanyl for quite a while and attributed it to Kati’s Story. In the end she ended up on fentanyl, and her life became unmanageable, she was struggling, lost her job etc. She again looked up Kati, but this time Kati had a story of recovery. She said that the story made her cry, seeing where Kati had been and how far she had come. That Kati looked so beautiful and happy in recovery, that it gave her hope and strength that she could recover too. So she thanked Kati, and told her that because of her strength and sharing that she believed Kati had saved her life. Truly she chose to save her own life but it is nice to know that she was inspired by Kati’s story, and used her as a positive power over addiction. The young lady is now in recovery too, and working toward having a substance free life, and she just wanted to let Kati know that she loved her, and thanked her for all she was doing. It brought tears too my eyes.

I see my daughters struggling. I see my daughters fighting to remain substance free. I see them working hard to learn the tools to keep the addict at bay. It is not an easy fight. It is not an easy journey. I thank the young lady from Europe that contacted Kati to give her thanks and love. If Kati’s story, Jessi’s story or my story can help anyone that is struggling with addiction, or struggling to help someone in addiction, then that is a positive in a world of negatives.

This isn’t the first person to contact Kati. She gets pretty flooded with messages, messages of hope, reporters wanting stories, people asking for help, people sending love, messages of congratulations, messages of others struggles, and messages of people just crying out for help. She gets so many messages that she has to get overwhelmed. She is still just a young girl struggling to fight her way out of her own dark places. 

It has to be an immense amount of pressure. Knowing that your story has been international news, viewed by millions of people. There was no hiding once that all happened. She was the story, she was the face of fentanyl addiction. She knows that she is being watched and followed by many, and that has to be a lot of pressure. Jessi was able to keep herself out of the main focus of events. She too was torn apart by Yogi. She gets contacted too, but she seemed to avoid the news, as she was well aware she has a son, and that publicity would affect him. She did what she could while buried in addiction to keep him out of the publicity. She has a different struggle than Kati, even though they are identical twins. They are different people with different lives, and different views of what their lives should be. She has her own pressures, as she is working to repair all the relationships around her son and family, while living a life of recovery.

They both attend many meetings weekly. It helps to let them know that they are part of a bigger collective all fighting for the same goal. It lets them know they are not alone and there is strength in numbers. It shows the ones struggling, that it can be done, because they are there doing it. Sometimes the person that is speaking or the person sitting beside you have years of being substance free and it shows that recovery is possible.

I will take this moment to say if you are involved with someone in drug addiction, I highly recommend that you attend an NA meeting with them. Not only is it supporting them in their recovery, it is a very eye opening moment for you. There is more to reality than what television and Facebook would have us believe. What we know and what we think we know are 2 different things. I thought I knew about addiction and recovery and my reality prior to finding myself surrounded in the battle, contained no reality of what addicts have to go through to gain recovery. It is a long, hard fought all consuming battle that is killing people and the people that face it and fight for their recovery are warriors! They have faced a dragon that those who have not gone to battle can never truly understand, and they have been beaten up, burned to the ground and arisen from the ashes like the mythical Phoenix, shining light that even they did not know they had. To those of you that have survived the battle, to those of you battling and to those of you that lost the battle, You are a Warrior and I salute you! 

If you are in the lower mainland and need help with addiction

Women please contact:

Westminster House Society for Women at 1-866-524-5633                                    http://westminsterhouse.ca

Charlford House Society for Women at 604.420.4626               http://www.charlfordhouse.ca

Men please contact:

The Last Door Recovery at 1-888-525-9771                                                     https://lastdoor.org 

Together we can at 1 888 940 9854 or 604 451 9854                          https://twcvancouver.org

 

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Where has compassion gone?

On the 19th of March my girls will be 5 months clean and sober. Something that 5 months ago was not in my scope of vision, and not in their scope of vision either. They are doing awesome. Thank you Westie House for standing by my daughters and keeping them safe. http://www.westminsterhouse.ca/

I know that 5 months isn’t that long in a life of addiction, but it only becomes 5 years one day at a time. Right now, one day at a time, they are doing awesome. Right now one day at a time, they are remaining clean, learning about addiction, learning to love and appreciate themselves and others and learning to help and inspire others. Watching them go through the process of recovery makes me a proud father.

It is in their recovery that I realized I needed recovery as well. Addiction not only stole their life, it stole mine too. I was so busy trying to keep them alive, trying to do all I could think of to change the situation, trying to learn what magic thing could help us and change our lives, that I didn’t realize I was being consumed. I started burying myself in learning about addiction, learning about our broken system, while working less, sleeping less, eating less and not exercising at all. I was always tired, always depressed and always letting fear run my life. It was a horrible place to be. I have since started getting help in learning how to support myself in dealing with addiction and loving an addict. It has been a very humbling journey.

I have found that in my journey, I have a lot of people that love and support myself and my family. We are one of the lucky families. There are a lot of addicts and families out there with out love and support.

At the same time I have also experienced a whole lot of people that are lacking in compassion and the ability to show support and love to people consumed by addiction. One of the common statements I hear is “I don’t want my tax dollars paying for addicts.”

SURPRISE… they already are. They pay for all the first responders, ambulance, police, firefighters, nurses, doctors, medical issues associated with addiction. They pay for the legal avenue of dealing with all the things that come along with Criminalizing addiction, policing and law enforcement, including thefts, home and vehicle break ins, the courts in dealing with the aftermath, the detoxes, the many not so legit “recovery” houses, the real recovery houses, the city workers that have to clean up, the cost of deaths, and on and on and on.

The numbers below are from 2003 from the Canadian Centre for Substance abuse. I guarantee that for 2016/2017 they are much higher. In 2001, CCSA led the development of the International Guidelines for Estimating the Costs of Substance Abuse. In 2003, CCSA assembled another federal–provincial partnership for a second Canadian substance abuse cost study.The Costs of Substance Abuse in Canada 2002 was released in April, 2006. The study estimated the total societal cost of substance abuse to be $39.8 billion or $1,267 for every Canadian.The study also revealed that:
• Legal substances (tobacco and alcohol) account for 79.3% of the total cost of substance abuse:

o Tobacco accounts for 42.7% ($17 billion)
o Alcohol accounts for 36.6% ($14.6 billion)
o Illegal drugs account for 20.7% ($8.2 billion).

So in 2003 they found that it was costing Canada 40 Billion Dollars a year to deal with addiction. As much as the brutal news headlines all are focused on “Illicit Drugs” it is noticeable that the majority of the cost was Tobacco and Alcohol not illicit drugs. It would be nice to find a more current set of numbers.

The big thing I notice here is that I don’t hear people bitching about the government’s FREE Quit smoking program supplying patches, inhalers, gum etc., or dealing with the medical strain caused by smoking yet the cost of Tobacco addiction accounts for more than double that of Illicit drugs. Either way it’s our tax dollars paying. Maybe instead of bitching about having to spend money to save lives, we should re-evaluate how we are already spending the money! Just a thought.

Another of the things I hear constantly is “They did it to themselves”. It is funny how they focus that one heavily on Illicit drug users as well. They don’t bitch about the smokers that are getting cancer treatment for something “they brought on themselves”. They don’t bitch about the alcoholics getting treatment for the many diseases it causes because “they brought it on themselves”. They don’t bitch about having to deal with many cases of diabetes that are brought on by sugar addiction when “they did it to themselves.”
Our social programming is so out dated and wrong. Where is compassion? In Drug addiction, I find compassion is learned from having someone close to you that is suffering from addiction. As the people close to the addict start to suffer from their loved ones addiction they learn compassion at a level I never believed was possible for me to achieve.

The bottom line is OUR TAXES ARE AREADY PAYING FOR ADDICTION!

Another of the things I hear is “They deserve it”, “natural selection” or “cleaning up the streets” or “getting rid of the garbage”. There is absolutely NO COMPASSION in these words. Every single addict was a cute child with dreams at one time. They were YOU, they were ME! They are somebodies loved one that made a mistake and are now caught in horrible loop of addiction, which not only includes the possibility of killing themselves, but the stigma of society treating them just as those comments do. Do we really think that if a person is so buried in addiction and thinks so little of themselves that they would continue to feed the addiction with the very real possibility of losing their life to it, or that the pain they feel is so deep that they need to numb by using, do we really think that treating them and talking to them in this manner will help in any way? They are someone’s daughter, son, father, mother and friend.

Would you say those words to your daughter, son, mother, father or friend if they were the person suffering? WOULD YOU STAND AT THEIR FUNERAL AND SAY “THEY DESERVED IT, IT’S JUST NATURAL SELECTION! Or IT’S JUST THE UNIVERSE GETTING RID OF THE GARBAGE AND CLEANING UP THE STREETS!

Compassion seems to be something that society as a whole has forgotten to teach us and our children. “It is a cold cruel world out there.” Yes it is, because that is what our social programming has taught us. That is what we are taught to believe. Guess what? Beliefs can be changed. It is not a cold cruel world out there. It is a beautiful world. It is full of beauty all around us, but we have been programmed not to notice it.
The new social programming is to stare at your beautiful screen where the things you get to see are programmed for you. You get to look at the beautiful high def, virtual reality instead of living in the real world. You remember the real world? That place that has birds, trees, people, animals, water, mountains and life. We have forgotten the beauty of reality because our social programming says we should. Instead of helping those that are less fortunate and in need, we are programmed to gather and hoard. We are programmed that we deserve more, and should appreciate less. I see it every day in the way we treat our most vulnerable. The government funded places for our aging, our mental health sufferers, our addiction sufferers, our PTSD sufferer’s. It is absolutely horrifying really how we treat them. There is a total lack of funding in these area’s… WHY, because most of them cannot speak for themselves or fight for themselves. Most facilities for them are lacking in desperate ways especially proper funding or services. It’s all good though, I got my new phone, my Xbox, my new car, my house, my ipad, my computer, my bottled water and all my stuff! I too am guilty of this programming. I bought the koolaid, I didn’t realize until my last move how much stuff I have hoarded. It is absolutely ridiculous.
There are 100’s of Millions of dollars invested in dollar stores that supply us with plastic garbage that will end up in dumps or oceans polluting our beautiful planet. Meanwhile there are millions of people suffering on this planet strictly because of our greed and lack of compassion. Maybe we need to change our social programming. Where is respect for ourselves and others? Where is respect for our planet, our land, our food, our water? Where is the “treat others as you wish to be treated” philosophy? I guess because that kind of thinking isn’t good for business it should be ignored.

When it comes to dealing with addiction we are taught to divide the addiction into categories. Smoking is highly addictive, bad for you and a massive drain on the system but because it is legal and taxes are gathered it is okay! Drinking is bad for you, very addictive and a massive drain on the system but because it is legal and taxes are gathered it is okay! Gambling is bad for you and highly addictive but because it is legal and taxes are gathered it is okay! Illicit drugs on the other hand are bad for you, highly addictive and ILLEGAL so this is NOT OKAY! See the problem here? Addiction is addiction. The ONLY difference is how we categorize and form our belief patterns about it. In the words of Sesame Street “ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHERS!” and yet it is just like the others. What isn’t like the others is how we treat and view it.

Maybe the solution is to CHANGE OUR PROGRAMMING AND CHANGE OUR BELIEF PATTERNS.

Does it not make sense to do the same thing with illicit drugs as we have done with smoking, drinking and gambling. Shouldn’t we take the billions of dollars spent on these drugs away from the black market cartels and tax it so that at least it is helping generate the cost of helping the addicts as well as putting the money into our government cartels?

Should we not be treating ALL the people suffering from addiction the same? They are all addicts so why do we stigmatize and condemn some while we support others? The only reason I can see is social programming. GUESS WHAT? Social programming can be changed. Any programming can be changed, even ADDICITIVE PROGRAMMING! We all have the ability to change. We change everyday. So why not make the conscious choice to change your own social programming to one of love and compassion? Do you not like it when people show you love and compassion? Why would you not share that with others?

Change starts with each and every one of us. We can create our own change and can choose to not accept the social programming being forced on us by corporations, television, the internet and governments. WE ALL KNOW IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE! So I am asking you to make that change in a conscious, compassionate way.

Thank you, Much love and respect.
Steve

90 days clean and counting.

kati-and-jessiSunday Jan 15 2017 – That day marks 90 days clean for my daughters. A day that myself and Marnie, their mother got to attend the NA meeting for their 90 day fob, and be proud of the work my girls are doing in their recovery.

A lot has happened since Kati’s CBC Interview. It seems like a lifetime all in it’s own. After the video of Kati’s CBC interview, myself and the girl’s mother Marnie, were contacted by various people with offers of help and news reporters wanting a story. The calls were overwhelming, literally, and trying to see what would be in the girls best interest, offer them the best chance of success and keep the publicity down was becoming a full-time effort.

An old friend of mine Jeff, contacted me to let me know he had seen the video, was thinking about us and hoping that things would get better. He asked if there was anything he could do to help. I told him what was going on and about the offers coming in and he graciously offered to look through the offers, as he is a lawyer involved in the entertainment industry, and would see which would be in the best interest of the girls, letting me and Marnie continue to deal with trying to keep the girls alive. It was a prayer being answered! Thank you Mr. Young, you are a true gentleman and an awesome friend. He is also an awesome lawyer and specializes in the field of Entertainment Law. www.jeffyounglegal.com

Marnie and I continued to go to the strip and check on the girls. I can say, as a parent, that we were constantly horrified and heart-broken. It is a sad place to have to visit, and I cannot fathom being someone living there. I witnessed, so many traumatic horrors that the people there deal with on a daily basis. The city rolls through with workers and trucks and constantly throws out the belongings of the people who live there. One lady (whom I am sure suffers mental health issues) that slept on the sidewalk by the girls tent, had nothing but a jacket and a plastic tarp. She would wrap herself in the jacket and then cover herself with the tarp to go to sleep at night while laying on the sidewalk. The city came by one morning when she had gone to use the bathroom, and they threw her jacket and tarp in the garbage. They were the only things she owned.

I find it horrifying, that someone would take the only things that destitute woman has, the only things she can call hers, and just throw them in the trash. She can’t fight back, she is mentally ill. What is the message that we are sending to these people? From what I could see it was that we don’t care about them and that they don’t matter. If that is how we treat them, how do we expect them to treat themselves and get better? I understand now why the people there feel they have no hope and no chance. I was proud of my daughters on that day, as I had brought some blankets and clothes down for them and some of the people there, and my daughters immediately ran over and gave her a nice winter coat, a blanket and a tarp. It isn’t much, but at least it was something. In the beginning, I was getting frustrated with the girls, because I would bring blankets, clothes and tarps there for them, and when I would come back a bunch of the stuff would be gone. I was thinking they were probably selling the stuff and buying drugs, but as we spent more time there, I met other addicts that thanked us for bringing the stuff down, and they would tell us that our girls were beautiful people who gave them this, or gave them that to help them out. I realized that even in their fully blown addiction the girls were at least still trying to help others around them.

We would learn that they were also saving lives using naloxone on other addicts that would overdose, and they were even encouraging other addicts to get and carry naloxone so they could save or be saved. It is a weird paradox of wondering if I should be proud or not. I may not have been proud of them or happy with them being drug addicts living on the street, but there are definitely some people who should be happy they were there because they kept their relative alive. I was at least proud that even in that state and that deep of addiction, they would still care about and help those around them.

After the CBC Interview we had offers of help coming in from various sources, some legit and some not so legit. Some looking to cash in on the girls publicity, as the story of them being ripped apart by the dog had gone international, and Kati’s CBC video about being an addict was going viral as well. Marnie was in contact with the show intervention, but they were wanting all sorts of criteria and video footage that at that point wasn’t attainable, we were contacted by Dr. Phil’s producer. I can’t even tell you how many reporters and news agencies contacted us, as well as recovery places from across the country. Jeff, my friend, and an amazing lawyer was deciphering all the stuff for us, and one offer that looked incredibly promising, a gentleman with a few recovery houses out east and in Alberta and had worked with Rob Ford and his addiction made an offer to take in the girls with no cost to the family. Unfortunately when Jeff looked into things, the organization was buried in law suits and legal issues that did not look good. I am so happy Jeff did the background checking as they actually ended up shutting down all the houses and who knows what happened to the patients when that happened?

In the mean time, myself and Marnie were making calls and trying to get things going as well, and managed to get in contact with some people who referred us to various recovery house’s that we would get the girls into. We would learn that a lot of these places were really just kind of flop houses to give the addicts a break from the street, and offer a little hope to them, but are not actually set up as a place for successful healing from drug addiction. They would get the patients on methadone, or suboxone, give them a bed to sleep in and a bathroom to use, but there was no real counseling or addiction help other than if you would go to an NA meeting. We watched the girls go through a few of these types of houses, and always end up back on the street, as did many of the other people that we met on the strip as well. It was interesting talking to the various addicts down there, as they all know most of the houses available, which ones are completely bogus, as in they would say that the person running this one or that one will actually supply you with drugs, or this one and that one you have a bit of a chance because the person running it was at least trying to help. There seems to be a lot more of the houses designed for men than for women, and for women, the only one that the addicts kept saying that we had to get the girls in to be successful was Westminster house. They had been on the list for it for a year already by this time. I would later find out that they had been called at one point, but it was one of the times I was taking them to Mission to try to detox them, and they actually blew off Westminster house and lied to me about it so that they could come and stay with me. This is where I would learn that I was an enabler, and even though my intentions were for good, that I was not helping them at that point.

A lady from intervention Canada was calling quite regularly trying to get us to get certain videos of the girls, or get the girls to submit certain videos of them “for a documentary on addiction” but again that was like herding cats.

I received a facebook message from an old friend that said she had someone who was wanting to help. He had seen Kati’s video and it had made him want to help her. Thank you Shauna for reaching out to us. I sent Marc, the man wishing to help, an email explaining our situation, and introducing Jeff as my friend that was dealing with the offers coming in.

Jeff contacted Marnie and I, and said that Marc wanted to set up a meeting and discuss options with us, so we agreed. We would meet in an office downtown, myself, Marnie, Jeff, Marc and 2 people he had onboard as well, Todd an interventionist and Carolyn from Westminster house. We informed them that Kati was not the only daughter there and that her twin sister was there as well. We discussed what was going on, how we felt about things and the current offers. Marc proceeded to layout his plan, which involved having Todd  http://www.wareinterventions.com and Carolyn along with us do a private intervention with the girls. He then said he would raise the money to get them into treatment, and was wanting no publicity, but just to help them and us. It was all so surreal. After all this time of fighting on our own, here was a team of unbelievable people right in front of us offering the help that we never dreamed was possible. To Marc, Jeff, Todd and Carolyn all I can say is thank you, there are no words that can say how I truly feel. At that meeting it was decided to get Jeff to put all other offers on hold while we attempted the plan. The plan was to have an intervention on the strip in surrey, where we would have Todd, Carolyn, Jeff and some family members meet with the girls, take them for something to eat and discuss the options being provided.

I can say that when dealing with addicts and addiction, even the best laid plans can be waylaid. We went to the strip, found the girls and proceeded to try to talk to them and explain what was going on. There was a lot of people around, including a lot of other addicts and a guy that one of my daughters had started seeing while on the strip. They were having none of what we were selling, and things got a little heated. Voices were raised, yelling and swearing was starting, and it looked like things could get messy. I approached the boyfriend as he was getting fairly vocal, and asked him if he really thought he loved my daughter. I had met him and spent time with them over the past few days, and I took him aside and quieted him down. I invited him to come along for the dinner and that I would buy him a good meal too. Todd, Carolyn and Marnie concentrated on speaking with the girls and talking them into coming for food. Things cooled down a bit and we managed to talk them into going to get something to eat and at least listen to what was being proposed. The girls were absolutely horrified that we would try an intervention there on the strip in front of everyone, and they had no problem letting us know this. It is strange how the drugs can effect the addicts way of thinking to the point of actually making them think they were being disrespected and embarrassed about getting help.

After 45 minutes of food and talking, things were calmed down and discussed, but the end result was we were dropping them back on the strip in Surrey where they could think about the offer and make a decision later. To me this was devastating. At that point I felt it was the end. Everything I had dreamed about was happening and here they were refusing the help. They had just turned 22 at the time and without their ok there was nothing Marnie or I could do. We dropped them at the strip and left, feeling shell-shocked. That was a sad day for me.

We had been told that the offer would be extended for a few weeks and hopefully they would accept it. I went down to the strip every chance I could for the next couple of weeks to try to talk them into accepting the offer. I would tell them that it was an unbelievable offer, and that the universe had pulled some magic strings to make everything line up like it did. I would tell them we couldn’t find a better place. I was telling the other addicts and other people around them that they had this offer and that it was only for a limited time, asking them to help try to talk the girls into going. Some of the addicts around them started to tell them it was a good offer and that they should do it. One day I was down there and I was talking to the girls about the offer running out and that they should decide before one of them died from an overdose. At this point overdose’s were happening at a ridiculous rate and the girls had already had more than their share. I asked if Todd or Carolyn had called them recently because they said they were going to. (We had made sure that once the offer happened both girls had working cell phones so that they could call when they were ready.) Kati made an offhand snide comment when she said no… about “just like they were going to take us to see the place… right?” Those words would ring in my head all night. The next day I woke up with them ringing in my ears, and I phoned Carolyn and asked her “If I can get the girls to come look at the house will you make it happen for us?” She said yes, and so that became my mission.

The weather was getting worse. It was rainy and cold and a storm was moving in. The girls were fighting with each other constantly. One of the girls had moved off the strip into a room with her new boyfriend. Things were just all around shitty.

We didn’t give up, and neither did Jeff, Todd, Carolyn or Marc. I was even contacted by friends that had seen the video and took the time to go to the strip and visit the girls, (thank you Allanah and Steve) making sure the girls were ok, bringing them food, clothing, blankets etc. and just generally checking in on them. Many of the girl’s friends went down to the strip after Kati’s video was aired. They would try to talk the girls into leaving and getting help. Unfortunately the drugs were strong, the addiction was strong, and they had built up a belief that they were destined to die as addicts on the street. After all the failed attempts and multiple overdoses getting clean wasn’t a possibility that they could see or comprehend even when it was right in front of them. It was a long hard haul, with a lot of crap packed into 3 weeks. It is strange in hindsight to see how everything aligned to get them where they are now. As the girls say, “It was a higher power moment!” I was contacted by many of my family, friends and even people I didn’t know but had seen the girls story. They were offering me love, strength, support, hope and help. They were praying for me and my girls. They would offer hope and try to give me strength to continue the fight to help save them. I want you all to know that I am very thankful for the support and the prayers and that I drew strength from your support and I passed the love and prayers on to the girls. The video pulled a lot of heart-strings, and made a lot of people realize that addicts are anybody. Addiction does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, the rich, the poor, man, woman, child it does not care. What people saw in the video was a little girl, someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone who was hurting, crying out for help and at 21 didn’t care if she lived or died and spoke so matter of factly about it that it effected you, and was hard to get out of your mind. What people saw was a little girl who needed help. If you have not seen the video you can view it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG70kTLfS7w

or you can read the article here:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/the-new-face-of-fentanyl-addiction-kati-s-story-1.3766697

I think that what people saw was a sad reality of our society today. Our streets are filled with people who need our help, and they are dying every day because proper help is not available. We waste so much money by not spending it on the proper places. There are successful programs out there that prove they work. Model those programs and repeat and fund those models. It is not like addiction is anything new, it is just something that we sweep under the carpet, keep hidden in the basement and don’t speak up about. That is not how we can fix any of the problems. There is lots of science and research in this area done in many countries and the things that have proven to work need to be implemented.

Well to get back to the story, I get up in the morning, and have decided it is my mission to try to get the girls to come look at the house at the recovery center. I get ahold of each of them and try to arrange a time that I can pick them both up and take them for a visit. They agree to go, but they are not hanging out with each other at this point. Kati is pissed at Jessi for leaving her on the strip and moving in with some guy she has met down there. Jessi is mad at Kati, and doesn’t want to be living in a tent in the street, in the cold, pouring rain anymore. I talk them both into going with me the next day and have called Carolyn to let her know that I am going “cat herding” and will call her the next day when we are on our way.

Later that night I get woken by a call from Kati, she is high, depressed and talking suicidal. The weather is horrible, the storm has hit and she is alone in the tent. She asks me if I can come and see her, and bring her some food or something. I am in bed sleeping, about an hour and a half from being able to get there, and I am tired, run down and not feeling up to it. I try to talk to Kati, and ask her to just go to the hospital and ask for help, but she freaks out, yells something about killing herself and then her phone goes dead. I of course start freaking out. I call her sister, and ask if she knows where Kati is or if she has spoken to her. She says yes, and that her sister is psycho, that she had just been visiting Jessi, but had a psycho tantrum and they had to kick her out of the house because she was making too much noise and was creating a ruckus. I ask her to try to get ahold of Kati and let me know if she does. I then try to call Kati back but the phone is dead. It is 2 in the morning and it is an hour and a half drive to get there, and I don’t know where her camp is at this point. I decide at that time, that no matter what I can’t do anything, I can not enable this behavior anymore, and no matter what happens I can’t fix it. I pray that I am making a right decision, and I try to go back to sleep and that I will go there in the morning.

The next morning I get up early and try calling. The phone is still not working. I get ahold of Jessi, and let her know that I am on my way in, will pick her up and go look for Kati. When I get there, Jessi gets in the car with me, and is crying. She hasn’t heard from Kati either, and is also worried that Kati may have overdosed. We head down to the strip and start to ask around about her. Jessi, heads off to check one area and I start in another. Jessi, comes back and gets me and says we have to drive over to some guys tent on the strip so we do. She gets out and calls Kati, and Kati answer’s back. When I hear her voice the tension in my body goes away, and I am so happy she is alive. Jessi on the other hand tears into her telling her she is a complete bitch for making everyone think that she may have killed herself and asks her why she hasn’t answered her phone. Kati tells her that when she was talking to me, she was walking in the storm and dropped her phone in a puddle and it quit working. They start to get heated and arguing, and I interrupt by saying we have to get to Westminster house because they are expecting us for the tour. I then text Carolyn and tell her I have them and I am on my way.

We drive out of Surrey into New West, and the girls are continuing to argue and bitch at each other. Kati is in the back seat and Jessi is up front. As we are driving down a hill, one of them makes a comment about the other being a complete selfish bitch and that sometimes she just wants to hurt her. The other starts in about the comment and then just reaches around and punches the other in the head and starts pulling her hair, and they start screaming at each other. I pull of the road, and try to calm things down. I pull into a McDonalds drive through and offer to buy breakfast and coffee before we get to the house. As we are in the drive through, Jessi says I have to get Kati to a hospital and get her committed because she is a fucked up suicidal bitch, and Kati yells fuck you, I am not going to any hospital and jumps out of the car. Jessi then jumps out too and they go at it like a couple of UFC fighters. They are standing toe to toe swinging fists, kicking and screaming at the top of their lungs….. in a freaking McDonalds Drive through. I am just happy no one had pulled in behind me. I was able to back out, and when they took a break to get their breaths, I grabbed each of them threw them back into the car, yelled at them to shut the fuck up, and drove out of there. I was blocks from Westminster house and called Carolyn right away and let her know what was happening. She was kind enough to meet up with us, and had a talk with Kati while Jessi and I went for a walk to discuss and diffuse things. When we got back, Carolyn spoke with Jessi while Kati and I went for a walk and talked for a bit. When we got back, Carolyn suggested that now might not be the time to see the house, and that we should try again tomorrow. So once again I headed off to drop the girls back at the strip. I did take them for something to eat, and told them they needed to start treating each other better, and that I loved them. I was not able to get down to the strip the next day I ended up getting a gig, and as I needed the money I took it.

The next day was Saturday, and I arranged things a little differently. Marnie had our grandson that day, and we decided that her and I would go together with him to pick up the girls and go see the facilities. I phoned and told the girls that was what we were doing. They always acted differently around him. They wouldn’t fight, and they would pretend that things were ok. We contacted Westminster house and they said no problem that we could do the visit, so we went with the plan, and picked up the girls, who were on their best behavior for our Grandson, and the visit went off with out a hitch. The worker that took us on the tour, showed us the house, the rooms, talked about the program, how they could help Jessi build her relationship with her son back, how they had access to all the programs, doctors, counseling, support and could even have visits and in time sleep overs with our grandson. He was a shining light, telling them how he loved this house and that he wanted to play in the yard with his mom and auntie. After the way the first attempt went, this was a complete miracle. Little buddy was tugging at their heart-strings and it had a huge impact. It wasn’t enough to get them to say yes right then, but it was enough to make them start to think about it being a real possibility, and that maybe there was hope.

It was still very cold and wet, and the weather was about to get worse. We received a call from Carolyn that the offer was only going to be left open for a few more days, as the spaces were filling up, and others were in need and wanting help. Marnie and myself started to hound the girls pretty heavily at this point. It was an offer that even right now I find hard to believe. A person we did not know was volunteering to raise the money, $6000/month to help my daughters get better. He had engaged a friend who is a professional interventionist, and one of the top places in BC that can help girls like them. My friend Jeff volunteered his time and energy as well as finances, to help them and us as well. It was just so surreal and hard to fathom, but to this day I just humbly say thank you.

One of the girls friends from Richmond who was struggling with his own addiction issues, had heard they were on the strip and had shown up to see them. He started to hang out with them and ended up being a savior. He would keep Kati alive through her next three overdoses that weekend. He kept telling me that we had to get them out of there, that they were going to die, and that he couldn’t keep saving them. Kati was out of control and he had to hit her 3 times with naloxone to bring her back after her last overdose. Thank you Evan, you are an angel that deserves to live free of addiction and have an awesome life. After we got the girls off the strip, Evan left the strip himself and got into treatment. I am proud to say Evan at this time is over 70 days clean! His mother is finally able to sleep at night. Her and I spent a lot of time talking, trying to support each other, and discussing the broken system we were all trying to navigate.

The nagging finally seemed to have worked. It was a Sunday afternoon and I got ahold of Jessi, and told her that the offer would run out as of Tuesday at 10:30am. They had to be at Westminster house to meet with the doctors and be admitted or the spots would be given up. Jessi and her boyfriend had just been kicked out of the basement suite and her boyfriend had been arrested and would probably be in jail for 30 days. Jessi said she would go to treatment, even if Kati didn’t want to. She wanted to get clean and see her son again. I asked her if she was going to see Kati, and she said yes but she wasn’t with her right now. I asked her to tell Kati the plan and to call me when they were together. I called Carolyn and told her the news. I would be bringing them in hopefully Monday if I could talk them into it, but at the latest for Tuesday morning by 10:30. I then let Jeff, Todd, Marc and Marnie know.

Monday I called Jessi to finalize the plan. She said she hadn’t seen Kati yet but she would tell her as soon as she saw her, and I should just show up about 10 and pick them up. They would be at their tent on the strip and they would be ready. I was one happy guy. Miracles really can happen and I was watching it! The next morning I got up early, got ready and drove to the strip. I had spoken with Todd and he had suggested I get there extra early, bring some coffee and breakfast and try to “herd the cats” as it was never an easy quick feat. I got there about 9am, and pulled into the parking of the place that supplies the addicts with clean needles and sterile water. Kati was right there on the street in front of me. She turned around and saw me and came running over. She said, “Hi, what are you doing here?” I said, “I’m here to take you and Jessi to Westminster house!” She knew nothing about it. She hadn’t seen her sister in a couple of days. Jessi had said nothing to her, and she didn’t know where Jessi was. My heart sank! I saw everything going out the window. I told her what had happened and that this was our last chance to take advantage of things. We were standing in the street and she was telling me she wasn’t ready and started to make a bunch of excuses. One of the older addict girls came over and told her to start loading her stuff into my car and that she really should go. She started to ask others about where Jessi was, and people started to make phone calls. Jessi had gotten into a car with some guy the afternoon before and no one had seen her since. We packed a bunch of their stuff into the car, Kati gave a bunch of their stuff including their tent to some other street people and I continued to try to get ahold of Jessi, but the clock was ticking. At 10:10 I called Westminster house and asked if it was OK if I dropped off Kati to get admitted and would run back to the strip and hopefully someone would be able to direct me to Jessi and I would rush back with her. They said Ok, so Kati said her goodbyes and we headed off. I left my number with the older girl and asked her to call if Jessi showed up. Kati managed to get high as fuck somewhere along that saying goodbye thing but she still got in the car and we were on our way. I got to Westminster house and was met by some workers and we took Kati and their things to the intake. I gave her a big hug and a kiss, told her I was really proud of her and that I had to go and try to find Jessi. She was leaving with the staff when she stopped, turned and looked me in the eyes and said “Dad, this time I’m not doing it for you. I am doing it for me!” I told her I loved her and headed for the car. As I was getting into the car, my phone rang, it was a number I did not recognize but low and behold it was Jessi. She was sounding distressed, said she had a horrible night and asked if I could come and pick her up. I asked her where she was, and told her I had just dropped Kati at Westminster house and that she only had minutes for me to get her and get her back there. She was at the East Side woman’s shelter downtown off Hastings Street. She had lost her purse and her phone and was using the phone in the facilities. I told her to wait outside that I was on my way. My GPS said it was about a half hour away. I raced down there, didn’t see Jessi, pulled an illegal parking maneuver out front, jumped out of the car, locked it and ran inside. Boy was I in for a shock. I thought I would enter a building and there would be a reception area or something, but I ran into what seemed like a large cafeteria full of women. I was stopped at the door by a couple of rather strong-looking ladies, and yelled at by a bunch more. One of the staff came running over to question me, and I explained that I was there to pick up my daughter, that she had called from there and that we had limited time for me to get her into a treatment facilities. I was immediately escorted out, but told they would try to find her and bring her out to me. About 10 minutes went by and a lady came out to tell me they couldn’t find her. I showed her the number that I was called from and she confirmed it was from that place. She suggested I drive around the block and see if she was outside somewhere, and that she would again go inside and ask around for Jessi and would call if she found her. I hopped in the car and took a slow drive around the block looking to see if I could spot Jessi. I was almost around the block when I got a call from the number again and answered it. It was Jessi, and she was wondering where I was. I told her I was out front and that she needed to come hop in the car so we could get going. I pulled up out front and she was there, she hopped in the car and we were finally on our way. I have a feeling they couldn’t find her because she was off getting high when they were looking, because she was high as fuck when I picked her up. I asked her what she was doing down there and she proceeded to tell me a story about getting a ride with some guy from the strip that was going downtown to get some weed. The story then turned into a police chase and a night spent running from police and sleeping in bushes. She had lost her purse and phone somewhere along the way but made it to the East Side Women’s Shelter where she had called me. She then fell asleep as I drove to Westminster house. I showed up there a half hour later, and again was met by staff where they escorted Jessi into admitting and told me to call later to find out what was going on. I was already exhausted, but I was also elated! My girls had a chance at surviving. That was the end of a long nightmare, and the beginning of a miracle of change. But again, it was only the beginning.

If you have not seen the more recent videos, the girls attended a candle light vigil for the addicts that had passed away, and that weekend addiction had taken 13 lives. They again ended up in the news but this time it was good. They were 60 days clean at that point, and even though it is early in their recovery, they wanted to show people that there is hope, and that if in 60 days they could go from where they were in the first story to where they were now at 60 days that anyone could do it. They wanted to let people and other addicts know that even though you might think recovery is hard, it was easier than waking up on the street every day trying to get your next fix. I understand the message they wanted to give out, but again, not everyone has access to the type of treatment they were getting. Real treatment is not cheap and if it wasn’t for miracles and Marc the benefactor raising the money for their treatment, things would be very different.

If you have not seen or read the most recent interviews I will post the link here.

The Article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/fentanyl-kati-mather-1.3910152

The National Video: http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/840755779669

The Candle light vigil: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/katie-mather-goes-from-fentanyl-overdoses-to-long-term-drug-treatment-recovery-1.3902201

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/kati-mather-60-days-clean-1.3902240

Kati Mather’s CBC radio interview on as it happens:  http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/i-ve-overdosed-17-times-kati-mather-marks-two-months-clean-since-fentanyl-addiction-1.3905838?autoplay=true

At this point in the story the girls are now over 90 days clean. They are doing well, I am proud of the direction they are going. I am proud of them trying to not only help themselves, but also trying to help others. I am proud of the people that have blessed us and them with their love, energy and finances to make this miracle happen. They still have a lifetime to go, and the support from Westminister House has been unbelievable. The program is not cheap, and Westminster House helps a lot of struggling women. They have both private beds and government-funded beds, but the wait to get into the few government funded beds can take well over a year or more. Westminster House is a blessing, but they are definitely an underfunded facilities, fighting to get more government funding for more beds, to help more women.

If any of you feel so inspired by my girls story, and feel that you would like to help them and or others, I would kindly and humbly ask that you think about donating to Westminster House. A charity tax receipt will be issued for any donations over $25.00. If you mark the donation for Kati and Jessi it will go directly towards their treatment, but if you just donate without marking it for them it will go to helping them and others as needed:

http://www.westminsterhouse.ca/how-to-help/donate/

If you wish to donate directly to Westminster House you can mail your donations to:

Westminster House Society
228 Seventh Street
New Westminster, BC
V3M 3K3 Canada

They are a full program facilities with doctors, drug counselors, addiction counselors, acupuncture, massage, trauma counseling and an expensive but proper dietary program. This is a link to the gofundme for their meal program if you wish to donate to it:

https://www.gofundme.com/westminsterhousemealprogram

Thank you for following my blog and our story. This is all I am going to write for now, but I look forward to writing about a happier future with my daughters. Miracles can and do happen. I know this is only the beginning, but at least now it is a story of hope, love, recovery and change. Thank you to all that have shown us love, strength, prayers and support. A very special Thank you to Marc, Jeff, Todd, Carolyn, Marnie, Susan, Eric Rankin and CBC.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Much love and respect!

Steve

The new face of fentanyl

kati-before-and-after

A lot has happened since I last wrote anything here. It seems a lifetime has passed, and in reality it has been a few. 3 of the people the girls had introduced me to when I first found them on the strip are dead from overdoses. One of my best friends daughter is dead from an overdose. It has been too many lifetimes already and yet it will continue!

As many of you may know my daughters did not last at the recovery house. We did get to celebrate their birthday while they were there. My grandson got to spend the day with his mom and auntie on their birthday and he had a great time. We all had a great time. But alas, great times come to an end. It wasn’t long after their birthday that things took that left turn…. Again.

I think that when a person is addicted to something as strong as crack or heroin let alone fentanyl, you need to have the proper medication, counseling, support and doctors for any real chance of success. That is the big difference between a rehab facilities, a treatment center and a recovery house. A proper treatment center or rehab facilities, that is truly there to help the addict succeed has those tools. Most of the recovery houses don’t have that type of support. It depends on whether they are government regulated or not, and it seems like there are way too many unregulated houses claiming to be “Recovery House’s” that are really just “Money Making Flop Houses”. Some don’t have any real support at all, and most are making good money. This is where I have to start asking questions. Where is all that money going, and couldn’t it be better spent to help those same people?

I heard from a parent of an addict that she got in an argument with a guy that runs one of the recovery houses her son was at. Social Assistance was paying her son $980 a month and $900 was going to the recovery house. Her son wasn’t getting the other $80 and she still had to bring him food and toiletries. She asked what was happening with the other $80 and said she was spoken to rudely and called names by the man running the house.

Social Assistance was paying for my girls to be at the recovery house they were at too. There were 10 people in the recovery house that my girls were in. 10×900=$9000 that month. That is the accounted for portion. 80×10=$800 unaccounted for and not given to the addicts. That is almost $10,000 a month per house. Now on top of that, of those 10 people in the house, 4 of them got kicked out and replaced. So now does the government pay another 4×900=$3600 which seems to me to be a lot of money being spent on places with no resources and a huge lack of successfully treating any of the addiction. Could the money not be better spent?

Hey Mr. Rankin if you are reading this maybe your investigative reporters could look into this? I am not saying anything is corrupt, but I am saying that it is worth making sure they are trying to help addicts succeed not owners succeed in pocketing government $$$ that could be better spent helping deal with the addiction!

There is a line up of addicts at these facilities because the epidemic is monstrous. The houses don’t have to be concerned about helping anyone, there is a lineup of $980/month patients at the door daily. Every time an addict goes to one of the bogus places and relapses, they have one more reason to believe that they can’t succeed. I am sure this makes the road to success even harder and longer.

As we traverse the landscape of drug addiction, I am learning that there is a real play on the language and the learning curve. We are taught to believe things are a certain way and that all you have to do is “A” “B” “C” and it will all be better. It just is not the reality of the situation. I can only speak for my experience, that it will lead to the detox program, which is really only a respite for those involved, where everybody gets to breath and sleep for a few days, until on day 8 the addict gets to come home.

Of course with minimal counseling, and only 8 days of getting off of the drug, a program designed for opiates as strong as heroin, not synthetic opioids 100x stronger like fentanyl, combined with going back to the area of addiction and no time or education to change behavior, is a recipe for relapse and adding one more “failure” into the addicts bag of tricks.

Don’t get me wrong because I valued the time they were in detox. When your life is being consumed by someone you love being an addict, those moments of knowing they are safe are very valuable. The last time the girls called the detox we found out that even they had a waiting list. The epidemic is ridiculous and our system is so antiquated and not ready.

My girls went to detox quite a few times. After relapsing every time they finally said, “No, Detox doesn’t work, we’ve already done that over and over.”

Then we learn about recovery houses, rehabs and treatment centers. We learn that rehabs and treatment centers are either very costly, or the lineup for the government beds can be years long. They are also few and far between. Especially for females, and even more so if you are under 19yrs old. You learn that there are quite a few recovery houses though. You find out that the government will pay for them to go there, and the name is “Recovery House” so you assume that things are about to get better.

For us they did. It was better for a short period. They went in with the best of intentions, but then without getting any treatment, and minimal meetings, over time, the addict won. It seems that in the experience that I watched, more than half of the people in the house would relapse and get kicked out or moved.

Spending time down on the strip, meeting a bunch of the young people that were there, I learned over time that they all know about the recovery houses. They can tell you which ones are good, “but they are full and you have to get on the list” or which ones you can get in right away, “Its okay, you get to get off the street for a while, and have showers and eat regular, you just gotta be careful not to get caught using, and make sure you go to a couple meetings every week.”

It truly was heart breaking for me to see. I learned humility, and realized how judgmental I really was, even though I thought I wasn’t. My reality… my truth has been forever changed. No matter what I saw, I could not pass judgment or I would be passing that same judgment on my kids, and who the hell am I to judge anything? What I felt was pain and compassion. Everyone I met had a sad story, and I can guarantee you that lie or not, there is no GOOD story that ends up on any strip using drugs! What I saw was pain and heartache, everywhere. Showing up with a bag of clothes, jackets, blankets or even just umbrella’s, would make so many people so happy. It would light up the day of someone who is living some of their darkest moments.

There are people that believe that doing that is wrong, because they believe you need the addict to be as uncomfortable as possible to move them out of their addiction, and I understand that, but as the father of 2 daughters that are addicted to one of the strongest opioids out there that is constantly killing people, I also believe that if the addict is already there living on the street, in the cold pouring rain, in a tent, shooting those drugs, they are at rock bottom and the only place lower is death.

I have already experienced the death of loved ones, and have just watched my friend go through the loss of his daughter. My train of thought, even though I get the tough love idea, is that if I can make a loved ones possible last few days a little more comfortable by showing them love and compassion and bringing them clothes, blankets or food, then I am going to do it. If they are to die, I will have to live with myself and the results of my choices. I will live better knowing I showed them compassion and that they are loved as well as knowing I made their last days more comfortable.

The girls addiction was much stronger than the fight to get clean at that point, and they ended up getting in trouble and kicked out of the recovery house. They went back to what they knew which was back to the strip. I tried to reason with the girls, but come on, trying to reason with some one that is busy trying to find their next fix is like as I came to call it “Herding Cats!” It is funny how even when confronted with something completely illogical we will still try to find logic in it.

The girls went back to the street and this is where for me days become weeks become months etc. I lost all track of time. I found I was extremely caught up in their addiction. It was consuming them, it was consuming me. There was no turning off that voice inside my head. It just wouldn’t shut up. It would play every scenario over and process all the info I could gather, but could not come up with a solution. I know that the solution is for them to have enough and decide to fight the addiction, but the trouble is keeping them alive long enough. One of my daughters has overdosed and been brought back by Naloxone over a dozen times. The last time took 3 blasts of Naloxone to bring her back.

How do you reason with someone that is so addicted, and so willing to do that to their own body? All you can do is watch or watch and pray. I have prayed a lot over the past year. I find it a perfect way to share my focused intent, love and energy. I find that just the act of speaking my intentions and releasing my thoughts verbally, allows me to hear it through my ears and re-catalogue it in a place that I can make better sense of it. I also find it seems to free up brain space for me to process more information.

Their mother and I continued to make trips to the strip, just checking in telling them we loved them, taking them for something to eat, and trying to at least spend a little time with our girls, because at the rate of overdoses, and deaths it is hard to believe they will survive especially with the odds being on two of them. One day when I was down there one of my girls told me she might end up on the news. She said that a reporter had been down there talking to people and that he had done an interview with her. In my head all I could think of was “oh no here we go again.”

It was a few days later when I woke up to being sent a link to a CBC Story. I tagged the link and was brought to a picture of one of my daughters and a story that made me cry. I remember thinking “Who wrote that? I have to thank them for not shredding my daughter and treating her with some compassion.”

It was Eric Rankin from CBC that wrote it. I did thank Eric, and I hope to someday sit with him and my daughters and watch them give a story of hope, love and success, but we are just at me finding Eric’s Story about my daughter, and that is where I will leave it for now. This was the 1st story I saw.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/the-new-face-of-fentanyl-addiction-kati-s-story-1.3766697

Then I got a link to the video that was played on CBC. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG70kTLfS7w

Then I got this one…   https://www.msn.com/en-ca/video/news/the-new-face-of-fentanyl-addiction-katis-story/vi-BBwhEgA

Then this one… https://ca.news.yahoo.com/face-fentanyl-addiction-katis-story-213901722.html

Then this…. http://reevelaw.ca/2016/09/the-new-face-of-fentanyl-addiction-katis-story/

Who knew that she would actually end up being the story? And so my day started.

The articles are from a little while ago, and a lot has happened since these articles were published, but I will write about that another day.

I actually thought that that was all I was going to write tonight, but I have been learning that life has a way of laughing at your plans and ensuring you change them. I just received a phone call as I was debating about publishing this. I always debate about putting this much of our lives out there for anyone to see, but in the end I do it anyway.

The phone call was from someone close to me. They called to tell me that one of their lifelong best friends just lost their 20 yr old brother to a fentanyl overdose in Richmond. Really? Only 20 yrs old. He had been clean for a few months, but some greedy ass wipe valued the $ more than his buddies brothers life!

And so it is another Life time.

Hold your loved ones close, value their love, energy and memories. Much love and respect to you all until I can find it in myself to write a little more.

The Streets of Hell

tent city

At one point not so long ago the girls were 27 days clean, and proud of it. They were going to get that 30 day chip for being clean, but at 27 days things went south. That addict is an elusive sneaky person, and as soon as they got some money, which was on day 27, things went south. They didn’t let me know they got any money, and they told me they were going to visit a friend that had just flown back to town after moving away a while ago. Then they were going to go dancing with this friend, so they were going to stay at her place.

Well somewhere along the way that turned into get drugs and get high. Some things happened that night that were traumatic for them and are currently under investigation. Over the next few days I watched them fall further and further away from being clean, deeper and deeper into addiction and realized we were losing again. I tried everything I could think of, called everyone I could think of but because they are 21 I cannot make help happen. I would beg the girls to go see our doctors for help. They would, but who knows what the girls were telling them. They got some prescriptions and then sent home. I would tell them to ask to see drug councilors, trauma councilors, psychologists, addiction doctors. I learned it was easier for them to just do the drugs. The more drugs they do the stronger the addiction gets and with the drugs already 100x stronger than heroin, how the fuck do you fight that and win? I wish I knew. Instead I have 2 struggling addicts committing suicide slowly, and some days trying faster than others.

Things were moving too fast lately and I did not feel like writing, I was too busy with the struggles in our lives. Things had really gone down hill quickly. The girls were back living with me, and we were trying once again to find the road to getting clean, or so I thought. Upon realizing that I was just being an enabler, even though I was trying everything I could to help them, I understood that I could not remain an enabler and that they needed to find somewhere safe to go. They each found a recovery house to go to. Both houses were in Surrey, not far from each other. Recovery houses have a lot of their own problems. There are some that are serious and legit about helping the struggling addicts, and some are not so serious and some are not so legit in trying to help the addicts. There does not seem to be a set standard and the government doesn’t seem to be setting one for them.

One of my girls was happy with the one she was in, the other not so happy with the one she was in. There seems to be a real lack of one on one counseling and medical help in most of them. You would think that counseling would be one of the main things to have for them. Not just group sessions, but one on one counseling. Unfortunately that makes things a mental health issue, and mental health in this province is definitely under funded as is the addiction problems. The happiness of them being in recovery for me was short lived, and the fact that they had met a bunch of young people that lived on the street in Surrey, and it was easy to find drugs in that area, it was not long before they were living on the streets too.

When I found out that they were actually living on the streets, my heart broke yet again. I started driving around for hours on end hoping to find them. The first day I went looking, I was blown away by the amount of people that live in that area. There are so many destitute people down there. It was horrifying to think that this is where they were ending up. I did not find them that first day, and I drove around for hours looking.

After work the second day, I headed back to look again. Driving in circles around the harshest areas, hoping to find them, yet at the same time, hoping to not find them there. I was making a pass of one of the small encampments on a patch of grass on the side of the road, when one of my daughters saw me, and jumped up waving and giving me a big smile. I was so excited to see her, and then I saw her sister with her and my heart jumped even more. I pulled over and got out of the vehicle, and they came over and hugged me, and I hugged them. I didn’t know whether to be happy I found them or horrified that they were living there in that camp, with a bunch of other addicts. We all shed a few tears, and a lot of love.

They introduced me to a bunch of the people in their camp. It was full of teenagers and young people. Some addicted to heroin and fentanyl and others addicted to crack and meth, but all were addicted to something. I asked the girls to pack up and come home, but they said that they could not put me through the pain it would cause me again, and they had to use, and it was easier to get it where they were. I drove over to get some food for them and the other people in the camp, spent some time with them, and then sadly I left them there and went home. My mind was officially blown. How had we come to this?

Over the next few days I would visit them and bring food and coffee for them and the other people in the camp. I had spoken with their mother about it, and she wanted to come and visit and help as well. Over the course of time, we got to know some of the other kids that were addicted there, and some of their stories, which are just heart wrenching. Every time we would show up we would ask them to come home or to find a place to get help, but again it was easier to do the drugs than get the help and do the fight to get clean. Every single person in their camp told us that we needed to get them out of there. That living there would destroy them, and we should get them out while they still had a chance. I know that there are some people that were very happy my girls were there, because they saved a few lives while there. Kati has her CPR first aid, and they both carry naloxone kits in case of overdoses. They ended up using both many times.

One night they weren’t together and I guess something went wrong. I woke up in the morning to one of my daughters calling me from the hospital. She had overdosed, and was crying. She didn’t want to do it anymore, she wanted to come home and get better. She didn’t know where her sister was and could not remember anything about the night before. I told her I was on my way and headed out the door. She called me back and said she was on her way back to the camp to look for her sister, and that I could pick her up there. I learned that they had not been together that night, and that the sister was asleep in the tent the whole time and was not aware of the overdose. I also learned that one of the other young addicts had called 911 for her because he had seen her collapse. One of the guys on the street, while she was already wasted on heroin, had given her GHB, and she had actually overdosed on the GHB. I was able to talk them into coming home after that episode, but we were still stuck in the problem of the addiction and the need for the drugs. I made a bunch of phone calls, but again the system is so backed up and not ready for the epidemic that help is hard to find. Unfortunately with the way things are, until you can get the help, they tell you to keep using until they have the time to deal with you. That means that they have to keep picking up off the street and using those same drugs, which I can honestly say is brutal for them and all involved.

I continued to make phone calls, getting them also to make phone calls. I learned that one of my daughters has manic episodes and gets suicidal. We would have emotional episodes, and ups and downs. We got them back in to the original doctor that had put them on the methadone program, which was not very successful for them. Fentanyl is so powerful that the methadone does not work for some very well. We had also learned that suboxone was having better success with it. They were able to finally get on suboxone, so that they could try to deal with the cravings of the addiction, while we tried to find some help. It was there that they brought me in to speak to me, and I was told that one of them was again manic and concerned about her suicidal thoughts. They told me they couldn’t do anything for us other than prescribe the suboxone, and that we should see our family doctor.

We made an appointment with the family clinic as soon as we could. We were unable to get our family doctor as he was not there, but we did get to see a doctor. Because one of them had been placed in my care from the Manic/Suicidal behavior I was allowed to be in on the visit. Normally because they are 21 I am not allowed to attend. I told the doctor about the addictions, the suicidal thoughts, the manic behavior, the trauma over the years, and what had been going on recently. It is there that I found out one of my daughters is bipolar, borderline personality disorder, and Ocd. When I suggested seeing a psychologist and a psychiatrist I was blown off. I told the doctor about a medication that the addictions doctor had suggested, so the doctor phoned a psychiatrist and discussed the situation, not with my daughter or myself, just with the doctor. At the end of the session, we had no appointment with a psychiatrist or psychologist, but we did have that pill that the addictions doctor had recommended. I also had them back in my charge with the doctor saying that if she gets manic or suicidal again to just call 911. Our system is broken, as is my heart.

I brought them home and started making phone calls again. We need to find the proper help. It was in this time period that the daughter of one of my dear friends overdosed and passed away. It really affected my girls, as they new her and had just seen her a short time before.

Our system is so fucked up, that when my girls learned of her death they said they would at least go to the 7 day detox again. They called, but all the detoxes are full. 1 to 6 week wait. Yeah our government is really addressing the problem. The detox is the revolving door of the government trying to look good. Its only a 7 day cleanup, with no where for the addict to go when it is over, so they go back to the environment that feeds the addiction, then they go back to detox and repeat over and over. The numbers look good for the government though! Look at all the addicts we help! Our detoxes are full. The numbers look great on paper! Meanwhile our streets are full of kids addicted to these brutally strong drugs that require MONTHS OF TREATMENT to have even a slight chance of success, and nowhere to get the help.

There are about 4 men’s places to every one women’s, and if you are an underage female it gets even worse! It is horrifying out there. How do I know? Because I have spent hours on the phone trying to find help, and my ex and I have spent hours visiting my daughters and many of the other unfortunate kids living on the streets in Surrey, bringing them food, pillows, and other necessities. It breaks the heart and soul to be there witnessing it! There are so many young kids down there being preyed on by the drug dealers and scumbags that will take advantage of them. I was down there to see my daughters and a brown guy in a big white escalade stopped and yelled to me out his window “Do you want a sample?” I wasn’t sure I heard right so I said “what?” He yelled out again… “Do you want a sample?” I was horrified and said no and he drove off. They are that unbelievably blatant in mid day. Yep that new task force is fixing everything!

A good friend of their mothers and mine, made a phone call to one of his high school friends that had become a counselor and ran a successful detox for men. I was able to speak with him at length, and let him know of our situation, and made sure he was aware of a lot of the trauma that the girls had suffered, and that they were suffering currently. He gave me some numbers to call, ideas to try, and a little hope. The next day, he gave me another number to a Lady that would prove to be an incredible blessing. After days of trying to get help and hours and hours on the phone, we finally had a place that would take them in and try to help them. It is another recovery house, but one of the more serious ones. They are there now, and so far have been successful. It is only another beginning, and there is a long way to go, but at least we have hope for today, and as long as they are alive I can have hope.

One of my daughters gave me this poem that she wrote while in recovery and I asked if I could share it here and she said yes.

Just another day, Another night

Another moment that just doesn’t feel right

Another guy, Sigh after sigh

Another reason to ask why.

Using everyday, everyway I can

I gotta pay everyday Just to feel okay

Gotta be a normal person

Gotta stay clean

The problem is

I am doing it for everyone else but me

I wanna be sober But I can’t stop using

My life’s already almost over

But withdrawls are too abusing

Cuts and bruises

I just cant help myself

I love drugs

I love getting high

Always tell me to change my mind

Losing friends and losing family

To this horrible addiction

This shit is fucking real

It ain’t fucking fiction

Being on the streets, No where to go

No bed and no sheets

No room to grow

Everday’s a challenge

Recovery and relapse

No one said it would be easy

No one drew any maps

Every single day I fight

The demon that’s inside

Tryna do what’s right

But the only thing that feels good

Is getting high if I could

But I can’t right now

Thinking of my dad

Thinking of all the things I coulda had

By now

A car, a house

Maybe even a child

But these are all just dreams

For the next little while

Cigarette after cigarette

I’m so fucking stressed

Ever day I wake up

And I just wanna get fucked up

Dragon after dragon

Takes the pain away

I know it sounds fucked up

but heroin makes me feel okay

Anxiety and panic attacks

Are pretty normal now

Everyone tells me to get clean

But nobody tells me how

Detox and treatment

Clean time for a while

But then I always go back to her

Thinking she’s my smile

By “her” and “She”

I mean the dope fiend in me

Down, down, down,

I just love the fucking feeling

And when I think about the high

I just feel like cheering

But then I think of all the pain and disappointment

That comes with it

Sometimes I really care

Sometimes I just wanna get lit

At least I know

I don’t gotta do this alone

Cuz I got my twin sister

And when I’m with her I’m home

Doesn’t’ seem to matter

Where we are, or how far

If we are together

We can do anything

No matter the weather we just need to fight

And we will be alright

Cuz O’Ding and dying is not how our story ends

Time to turn over a new leaf

Time to transcend

In went two caterpillars

Out came two butterflies

In went to liars

Out came all the lies

From now on

Its only truth and honesty

From now on its only

Peace and love

And we will be free.

KCM 2016

 

 

ONE LAST TIME….

ONE LAST TIME!      one last time

Quite possibly the most common – Last Words – ever thought!

She’s Dead! just a teenager, her whole life ahead of her. Beautiful, Talented, Funny, and now she is gone.

“One Last Time!” I have heard those words from my own daughters. We have been very lucky. One of my best friends, not so. I watched him do everything he could. He called everybody he could think of and more. He went to meetings to learn about addiction and things he could try. He went to the government, to doctors, counselors, friends, family everyone that he could talk too that might be able to help or tell him where he could get help.

Throughout their history whenever his ex and daughter would fight, his ex would get angry and kick their daughter out, and maker her live with her father. He was always there waiting. He would take her in, show her love and compassion and help her any way he could. In the later years he only ever seemed to get to see her when there were problems. I find this sad, as that now means the majority of his memories are of him trying to fix problems for her instead of having fun and enjoying life with his daughter.

This time things were different. This time she had become a struggling addict, and that is never easy for anyone involved. This time when she showed up, he was in for the fight of her life. He buried himself so hard in trying to save his daughter he actually lost himself. He gave up his jobs, his tours, his days and his nights, and focused 100% on trying to help his daughter.

I have known this man for a lifetime. He is one of the most caring, loving, talented, non-violent souls I have ever met. I struggled my whole life with my temper and fits of anger. I didn’t believe it was possible to not act that way. He taught me how to understand love and calm by explaining why he didn’t understand that type of anger and temper. He was raised in a family where they didn’t spank, the siblings didn’t pick on each other or talk or say rude things to each other. By him coming into my life I had my truth proven false and I was now open to changing my truth. I can say I still get angry and still have temper tantrums I am a work in progress. Quite often when I find myself in challenging situations, I ask myself “What would my buddy do?” and it helps me to be a better person making better choices, (THIS IS NOT ONE OF THOSE TIMES!)

My admiration and love for this man is that of a guy that is incredibly proud and humble to have him as a friend. We are familiar with each of our struggles, and in the beginning I would try to help him with ideas because I have been dealing with it for a lot longer. We were hoping that because his daughter was under age he would be able to get help easier than I was because my girls are 21. In the end he was helping me. His beautiful little girl is gone, and mine are still alive. Struggling Addicts, but still alive. We were wrong in the end. Everywhere he turned he got told he couldn’t really do anything and her being underage was actually worse. That is the demographic that has the least amount of places for help.

I am familiar with not being able to do anything. It seemed for a long time like every time I thought I could help, I would find my hands were tied. It didn’t stop me from trying, but it did cause me a lot of crying. My girls have been through multiple detox’s, multiple overdoses, held each others heads as the other was dying, been brought back to life multiple times, administered naloxone to dying addicts while performing cpr and now lost a friend, and the daughter to one of my lifelong buddies. It doesn’t seem to matter. The drugs are so strong, and the addiction is so brutal and readily available.

He was always there with his heart and arms open wide. He just loved her with every fiber of his being. Her father did everything he could. He went to doctors, the ministries, counselors, Nar-anon meetings, he tried everything. Without any support or help he lost his job, gave up his gigs and made his life all about trying to save his daughter.

After months of fighting, struggling, meetings, doctors, tears, love and compassion he was starting to have a little success, she was staying clean. I know the struggle her father was going through. We spoke all the time, sometimes for hours, because we were brothers at arms, fighting to save our daughters lives. I still have a fighting chance, my girls are still alive. He has to deal with the death of his daughter, the person he dedicated his life to saving, and he still finds time to support me in my battle even in the midst of his devastating loss and grieving. He is one of the most honorable caring men I know, and he doesn’t deserve any of this!

I saw the boyfriend too, crying about how he loved her. Aren’t you the guy that introduced her to heroin and shooting up? Yeah you really loved her, not as much as heroin though, hey buddy! Fuck you too! If you hadn’t started her using she might still be here!

Am I mad? Yeah I am mad! I have watched my buddy lose his daughter and get devastated by the aftermath. It is very maddening. Anyone that knows him knows he is a loving compassionate person that literally sacrificed everything to save his daughter, and in the end lost her anyways!

Their daughter knows the truth now. She is part of the universal consciousness and sees all truth! She can see what an awesome father he really was, and how much he truly loved her! May you be in the arms of the angels, sending love to your father from the heavens.

Addiction is hell  #fuck addiction  #fuck heroin #fuck fentanyl

#fuck you, you murdering dealers!

There is only ever right now, and right now they are 8 days clean!

image

My girls got out of detox today. 8 days clean and sober. I am so proud of them, and wish them only success this time around.

I know I should be happy…. But…For some reason I seem to be anxious and having anxiety. I know it is not about me, they are quick to remind me of that, even though I had to fit in driving from Mission to Vancouver, picking them each up at different detoxes, running them to transit to pick up the stuff they lost last week and then get them to their doctors in New West and then me get to work in Surrey on time while my roommate drives them home to our place in Mission.

I know I should be happy, but I am finding no matter how much I want to be, my mind says “Don’t get too excited we have been here before!” I even feel guilty about those thoughts, but I still have them. Maybe it is just because I am tired, run down and running on too much coffee, but this isn’t about me!

The first time we attempted this it was in Oct 2015, I booked the month off so I could run them to meetings, counsellors and doctors. I borrowed $3000 to cover rent, bills, food, medication and expenses. In the end Things didn’t work out, they left and relapsed, I could only find a couple of gigs as I had canceled the whole month, and just ended up in debt. The second time was January 2016 after the dog attack. I did the same thing, booked the month off borrowed $3500 as I had to pay about $100 a day just for bandages and wound dressings, none of which was covered by medical. This time didn’t work out either. They relapsed and again I could only find a couple of gigs and just ended up another $3500 in debt. At least we were able to get them on a methadone program and they were using fentenyl way less. I just ended up with a heart that was breaking and a $7500 debt. But this isn’t about me!

This time I have booked work everyday this month except for two days. I am working 8 to 12 hours a day 7 days a week. At least I wont be going in debt for this one.
All I can offer this time is my love and support, a place to stay while they transition and hopefully transform their lives, and maybe a ride here and there if it fits my ridiculous work schedule. I find working keeps my mind busy, and as I work in the arts, I enjoy my job. It is strange for me to realize that at this time in my life my work is my happy place. But this isn’t about me!

The girls each looked so vibrant and happy when I picked them up today. It was nice to hug them and talk to them with out having to hear a high as fuck voice. God I have missed my loving beautiful daughters, the drugs turn them into people that I have a hard time being around. I know that even when they are high they are still my daughters, but It breaks my heart and hurts my soul to be around them. I can’t even comprehend being in their position, just being in mine has been a pretty tough fight, but this isn’t about me.

Today They sounded so positive and strong. Each of them have clear plans of battle. They have done a great job taking charge this time and have each lined up their own counseling, doctors appointments, meetings and support. It is very encouraging. I hope and pray that this is the time…. That they will heal successfully and stand strong against their addiction. I know they have all they need to do it!

There is only ever today, and today they are 8 days clean, and I am so proud of them.

Here is to today, to meeting our challenges head on, standing strong in the face of adversity and being successful!

Much love and light!

Today has been an Awesome Day!

Today has been an awesome day. I spoke with both my girls today. They are both in detox and doing well. It was awesome to speak with them and hear hope in their voices. It was nice to hear their voices without that High as fuck sound in it. They were telling me about their plans they are making, and sounding excited about getting clean, I am going to completely immerse myself in enjoying the moment. We have been here before, they went through detox last October, and then the road to success started throwing up many a road block. We may end up here again but for now there is only now, and now is good.

I know that to some of you, I may seem strong in the face of adversity, but I hold strong to the love of my friends and family, the support from you all to draw my strength from and to remind me that I have the strength and Love to get through all that comes my way. The things I write about may seem horrifying and overwhelming to some people, and sometimes they seem that way to me. Believe me, over the past year or two I have shed many tears. I have also blasted much anger, shared much love, and reached out to friends and the universe to strengthen me in my journey. But the journey that I have let hurt me is not my journey, it is the journey of my daughters. Because I am their parent, I try to bury myself in fixing the problem, except it is not mine to fix, therefore I can not fix it, but sometimes I forget this. That is part of being human.

I let myself get caught up in the human emotion of fear. When I get overwhelmed I forget that I am a spirit having a human experience and think I am a human trying to have a spiritual experience. My meditations teach me to remember all that I am, all that we are. We all as people have our (perceived) flaws, we all live in our own (perceived) realities, with our own (perceived) beliefs and knowledge. That is part of the fun of being a human. Our soul or light knows no flaws, does not recognize our physical reality or our minds beliefs. When we search for enlightenment we are just searching for the real us. The spiritual part, the consciousness, the essence of life, the light, the part that is connected to all that is and all that ever will be.

Believe me, I have my moments… I have been buried in despair, depression, anger, hatred, and many other self harming emotions. My Captain Stoopid has many times said things to me to discourage me in my journey. He has many times suggested suicide as an option to get out of things that have overwhelmed me, but I have learned to tell Captain Stoopid to just fuck off. I am the one writing my story and my ending, and It doesn’t end with me killing anyone, especially me.

Captain Stoopid has told me that I can not succeed, that the girls can not be successful, that my life sucks, that I am not strong enough to handle everything. IT IS ALL BULLSHIT! It is the ramblings of the crazy part of my brain, and I don’t have to listen to it…
What am I trying to succeed at? LIVING! I am doing it, and Life is good. Death offers me no option to fix or change anything in this life, and I refuse to go out with out a damn fight!
The girls CAN BE SUCCESSFUL! It is up to them and not up to me. It is only my position to Love them, not judge them and Success is a point of view, what makes mine the right one? NOTHING!
My life doesn’t suck! I have a family, friends, job that I enjoy, my health, lots of love, and sometimes an overly exciting life.
I am strong enough to handle anything that comes my way in this lifetime. I just have to remember that I am a part of the universal oneness that is all, and as such am armed to the teeth to deal with anything.

Yesterday I made a post on facebook, and in hindsight realized I should have posted it here:

We all have personal struggles!
A person’s pain from their struggle is never a selfish thing. No matter how small we may see it, to them it may look massive and overwhelming. It is so real when we hold it in our heads that it can create depression, anxiety, addiction and thoughts of suicide. These can all lead to disease, cancer and or death. I post my blog so that others in dark places can see they are not alone, and find strength in knowing that they are not alone.

I can tell by the latest response that My struggles seem big to a lot of people, but a year ago I watched my friends suffer through their young son dying from a dipg brain tumor. They were all so strong and dignified in how they handled it. The little boy Peter was an angel. Dipg is a death sentence in our current system! They stood strong and fought. They embodied the definition of love and strength and when I think of my struggles I find strength from Peter and how he handled his. I think of the strength his parents and brother showed through the fight and still show now that Peter is gone. Such dignity and grace, love and strength. It puts my struggles in perspective and gives me strength to face mine standing strong.
Thank you for all that you taught me Peter, Eli, Bill and Terra.

peter1

This is Peter and he was/is as awesome as this picture of him. He lives on in the hearts of all that were lucky enough to know him! I am one of those blessed to learn from him.

Friendship is not just about sharing the good times it is about holding out your hand and helping when others need help or holding out your hand and asking for help when you need it!
You have all helped me already. Knowing someone cares is the biggest thing to help anyone. Thank you for caring, for reaching out and showing support.

I know that not everyone has a supportive family or friends, and If you are reading this and are someone that is in a dark place and needing a friend, or know someone that is in a dark place that is needing a friend, please refer me to them or them to me. I may not be able to do much, but I can always offer love, compassion and understanding. I can let them know that they are not alone, that I care and that together we can help each other stand strong and  face our struggles.

At this point in my story of the girls it is all up to the girls and time. They get out on Friday, and we will see where the story goes

In the story of me, well I am in charge of how that goes, and right now, it is going pretty damn good!

Much love and light to you all.

At least my life isn’t boring

IMG_8761I do not write this to get sympathy, make people feel sorry for me, or to strike anyone emotionally. I write to clear things from my mind, document some struggles and hope that others that might be going through tough times may know they are not alone, and that maybe my words can in some way help or inspire someone else.

I know that I am a very blessed person with an awesome group of friends and a wicked support network and I give thanks to them all for being so damn awesome! I do still have my struggles, and as a father of a couple of struggling drug addicts sometimes the struggles can be mentally and emotionally draining.

The last couple of days were definitely a bit hectic for me. Wednesday morning 9am I dropped my daughters off at the methadone doctors. They were not open yet, but I had to work in Vancouver from 10am until 1pm and then head out to Surrey to work another gig from 3pm until 10:30pm. The deal I had made with the girls was that I would drop them off at the doctors, they would wait, and get their prescriptions, and then make calls to find a detox that would admit them that day so they could clean up and that they could not stay at my place anymore until they did. They had agreed. I dropped them off, told them I loved them, asked them to please do as they had said they would, and then I headed off to work.

At about 12:30 that afternoon I received a phone call from one of my daughters phones. When I answered I was speaking with a man who said “Hi is this Mr. Mather?” I replied “yes”. He went on to say that he was with mall security and that they had my daughter and she was in the middle of overdosing. He said they had called emergency and they were on the way, but was wondering what she might have used. He had the phone on speaker phone, and I could hear everything going on in the background, including them calling my daughters name, and asking her to stay with them and open her eyes. Stay with us emergency is on the way. My heart was racing, my mind was racing and I was wondering if I was possibly listening to one of my daughters dying. I asked if they only had one, as she was a twin, they were together and the other one was probably overdosing as well. They said they only had one of my daughters, and sent more security to search the mall to find the other one. Now I was thinking, “Is the other one overdosing somewhere by herself? Is this THAT fuckin phone call?” I could hear emergency show up, they were trying to get my daughter to communicate and I could hear her voice suddenly.  My heart jumped “She is alive”!

I asked them to give the phone to my daughter and tell her it is dad. They put the phone close to her and she started to tell me it was ok, she was ok in her slurred I am high as fuck voice. I asked her where her sister was. She said she didn’t know. I asked where they had used, and she told us which bathroom they had been in. Security went and checked but her sister wasn’t there. One of the people there asked her where they were suppose to meet up and she told them, they sent security there to check and wait. The ambulance showed up and then suddenly the phone went dead. My mind was numb. What could I do? I had no time to get someone to cover my gig, and I couldn’t just not show up for work? WTF?. They hadn’t found my other daughter and I was having a tough time keeping my logistics together.

I hopped into my vehicle and went to start it up. Nothing but click… click… click. I have to say I was a little frustrated, and thought to myself, “Really? right now?” So I opened the hood, checked what I could, couldn’t get it going and proceeded to feel helpless and hopeless. My friends came to my rescue, and offered to give me a ride. The problem was I couldn’t run to the hospital, as I was running late already to make it to work. The cortisol was overloading my brain. I went into my breathing exercises and tried to silence my mind. I asked my friends if I could get a ride to my job in Surrey as there was not much I could do even if I was to go to the hospital. On the way I received a phone call. It was mall security calling me to tell me they had found my other daughter, she had overdosed as well but she was on her way to the hospital. Ahhhhhhhh…. Ok… things would be ok.

I got to work a little early, and spent a few minutes outside gathering myself, breathing and thanking the universe that today wasn’t THAT day. It was about 2 hours later I received a call from one of my daughters. I answered, and I heard that slurry high as fuck voice and it says “Mall Security is following us all over, there are like 5 of them.” I asked what they were doing at the mall, they were suppose to be at the hospital. She said that the hospital had treated them and that they were fine and on their way to the skytrain so they could go to Richmond. I said “Security just sent you to emergency a couple hours ago, they are following you to make sure you don’t get high again!” Then I told them to leave the mall, get on the train and call the damn detox places. I got the “yah dad, that’s what we are doing, we are doin it, we are, yah that’s what we are going to do…. yah.” I really hate that high as fuck voice. She said “I will call you when we get in” and she hung up. I was working, and really couldn’t do anything. I gotta say I felt helpless, and had a whole lot of WTF? going through my mind.

I finished my gig at 10:30 and then tried texting and calling people to find out what was going on. I didn’t get any answers. I caught a bus to the skytrain, so I could catch the skytrain into town, and then a bus to my car, so I could see if I could get it going. I called  my buddy whom I had left my keys with to let him know I was heading in to try to get the vehicle going. I then finally got a hold of my Ex, to see if she had any news on the girls. She said that they had come to Richmond, that they had received some money and actually paid off a bunch of their debts, but then picked up, used and hadn’t called detox. I have to say, I had another WTF? moment! Really!

One of my daughters showed up at my Ex’s and asked if she could stay there for the night as she had no where else to go, and that she would go to detox tomorrow. The other one had gone to stay with a friend and was going to go to detox tomorrow as well. My buddy with my keys called me, and said he had called Busters Towing and they had tried to get my vehicle going, but that the starter was shot. GREAT! I was just arriving into downtown Vancouver, and told my buddy I would bus over grab the key, sleep in the car and deal with it tomorrow. I live about 1 1/2 hour drive out of town so I wasn’t going  home. I contacted my boss and asked if he could get my gig for later that  day covered, as I had to repair my vehicle and deal with a few family issues. He is an awesome dude and got my gigs covered. My buddy with the keys came and picked me up at the seabus station, took me to a drug store where we picked up some toiletries and then let me crash out in a spare room. I have awesome friends, and I am so lucky that they always have my back. I was pretty done by this point, so I thanked him took a hot bath and then went to bed.

I woke up at 7am. I opened my eyes, sat up, realized that it wasn’t a bad dream but was all real, pulled the blankets over my head and went back to sleep. I got up about 8:30, had a shower and started my day. I got ahold of a friend of mine that works at an auto supply store and asked about getting my starter. He is an awesome dude, and got me a great deal on one. I got a call from another buddy asking how things were going, and he offered to drive me around and help me with my vehicle. Again…. I have awesome friends. I took him up on his offer, and he said he would be there in an hour or so. I tried getting ahold of family to find out what had happened with my daughters, but no one was answering their phone. I decided to go get some breakfast. I have some friends that have an art gallery with an awesome little coffee shop that has wicked carrot cake, and always some intelligent conversation. They are awesome people and if you are in downtown vancouver I recommend saying hi to Jennifer and Chris at Harrison Galleries.  I also recommend the carrot cake…. MMMmmmmm carrot cake!

From there I headed out into the rainy day and made my way to meet up with my buddy and get busy working on my car. He picked me up and we were on our way. We drove to my vehicle, I watched the youtube video on changing the starter and figured “doesn’t look that hard”. Hahahah. Of course all my tools were at home, so I got my buddy to run me to buy another set of ratchets and wrenches and headed on back. Okay, Disconnect the battery, jack up the vehicle, remove the skid plate. OK, thats’s done. Next. Disconnect the drive shaft but mark it first so you can put it back the same way. Okay…. Marked. I hooked up the ratchet, put on my gloves, and proceeded to use every ounce of strength I have along with a whole lot of WD-40. I could not get the bolt to budge. So I tried a different bolt…. with the same results. I was wrenching so hard My muscles started to spasm and seize up.

At that moment I realized I was not going to be able to make this happen. My phone rang, and it was a dear friend that I had not spoke with in a quite a while. Her hubby is an awesome mechanic and they have their own shop. “NZ Auto Works”  This is a shameless plug for an awesome honest mechanic. They are at 1841 Hastings St. East, in the event  you also have vehicle luck like me and need a good, honest, old school mechanic. If you stop in say hi to Ronda and Craig and tell them Mayhem sent ya…Talk about the universe knocking. I asked the possibility of them helping me out. We had the car towed to the shop where they fixed it up and they made me feel welcome and awesome. Again, I have incredibly awesome loving friends and I am truly blessed for it.

Later on in the evening I received a call from one of my daughters. She was phoning to tell me they were ok, and that she had called and been accepted to a detox, but that she got the last spot available. There were no more available spots in detox in Vancouver. She told me that the other twin didn’t get in and had nowhere to go, and would probably commit suicide if I didn’t pick her up. There was no more detox’s available! WTF? NO DETOX LEFT IN VANCOUVER??? Hey Christy Clark WTF? I was frazzled, the last couple of days had taken a bit of a toll on me, and I was pretty much cooked. This would be the first time under a threat of suicide that I have told her that I probably could not make that happen and that they would have to figure something else out. She whispered in that stupid high as fuck voice…”I am just saying, that if you don’t pick her up, your daughter will probably kill herself.” I told her again, that they would have to find other options, but that I would think about things and call back. I thought about things for a few moments, called her back and suggested that maybe she should let her sister have the detox spot and then she could go later as she wasn’t going to kill herself, but that I could not come in and pick her up. This was a landmark moment for me, as I was not going to give in and if I was wrong, I could possibly lose my daughter, and would carry that with me the rest of my life. I said a prayer with as much love, focused intent and energy as I could, meditated and went to bed.

When I woke up this morning I tried calling, but could get ahold of no one. So I wondered if my daughters were alive or if one had actually made it to detox. I couldn’t do anything about it and again had to go to work. Another day in the life of Mayhem. I made myself some breakfast, had a coffee, took all my supplements, and sat for a moment of peace before starting the day. I received a call while I was sitting there, it was one of my daughters. She hadn’t gone to detox, they were together. They were both fine and they had both been accepted at a couple of detox’s for tonight. Well, hopefully it was going to be true this time, but the voice was clear and not the high as fuck voice on the other end of the phone. At the time I am finishing typing this, they are both finally in detox. It is only 8 days but it is a start. They have been here before, and may be here again, but every day they are alive is a good day!

And today…. Today is an awesome day!

If you know someone that may find strength in my words, please share this blog!

Much Love and Light

Good News… Wtf?

What kind of a fucked up time are we living in, when a friend can call me with “good news” about his 16 year old daughter,  when the good news is “She is only doing heroin!”? The sad thing is, it actually is good news because at least she isn’t addicted to fentenyl. That is so messed up.

I have noticed that the news and the government is starting to recognize it as an epidemic. Too little to late, but I guess better late to the party than not showing up at all. W-18 is on its way to the party too. For those of you that don’t know, fentenyl is 80x stronger than heroin or clinical morphine. W-18 is 100x stronger than fentenyl. Now math isn’t my strong suit, but by my calculations that would make W-18 8000x stronger than heroin!!! People are dying all over the country from fentenyl, and W-18 is making its appearance. Hey Christy Clark, better start stocking up on body bags cause there is a landslide coming.

Everyday I give thanks that my girls are still alive. Its not a happy place, because They are still addicts, still on the methadone program, with their methadone getting raised constantly because they still get cravings and still end up using fentenyl. It is only a matter of time….. And the only thing with lots of time….. Is time. Time is patient, time will wait, after all he has all the time in the world.

Me, I am just numb to it all. I have gone through every emotion including having a complete meltdown. I have gone through anger, fear, hate, love, compassion, depression, frustration, anxiety and now emptiness.

I recently spent a weekend with my girls. They had asked me for help, as everyone else has given up on them. They have lied, cried, begged, yelled, looked me straight in the eyes while high as fuck, swearing they didn’t use, they have brought and used the drugs in my house, the whole time telling me they would never do that. They have truly become fully blown addicts. They have every excuse to not get help. They have become selfish, rude, disrespectful people. They have become slobs that don’t clean up after themselves, they will help themselves to things that aren’t theirs and they are so messed up they can’t comprehend why people get upset!

I got the joy of watching them nod off for hours, and got to watch one of them that has developed an OCD disorder literally tear the skin off her face while she is high. It doesn’t matter what you say or do, she can’t help herself, so she just picks and tears until her face is bleeding and scabbed up. It is horrifying as a father. I have gotten to hear lots of awesome rumours about the horrible things they let themselves be subject too, and honestly, as a parent, I do not wish that on anyone. It tears apart your heart and soul! It breaks my heart that I can not help them, but the reality is that I can do nothing for them, but love them.

There isn’t really anything I can say to help my buddy either. I am sorry he too will have to go through this, but at least we are not alone. It is a sad fucked up time we live in, when the children feel that their lives are so bad, that those are the drugs they need to use to deal with it.

We can pray for them, and encourage them to seek the professional help that it will take to help them beat the addiction. We can try to look at any little positive thing we can, and we can take care of ourselves so that we don’t melt down ourselves. We can offer them love and support in trying to beat their addiction, and other than that we can wait….. Just like time…..image