I slept the whole way to my dad’s house which took about three times longer because of the snowy conditions – but it didn’t matter to me. I was gone. The heater in the van finally had me warm from head to toe. I remember feeling the hard bumps in the driveways and I knew that we were there. The van shut off and without saying anything, my dad got out. I instantly became more aware because the heater was abruptly shut off and it instantly got cold. My door open slowly and I scrambled not to fall out, but my dad caught me in his arms and helped me slide from the van into the foot of snow. I remember my eyes fighting to open enough to see my dad’s friend driving my car slipping and sliding up the driveway and barely made it to s parking spot in front of the house. The snow was so thick I could bare see the house, but my dad put his strong arm around me and started leading me to the house. I could barely walk. My lets wanted to give out and my feet felt like cement. I closed my eyes and let him lead me. Seemed like forever before the snow ceased at my feet and I stumbled through the back door.
Dogs rushed me barking greetings and banging against my legs almost knocking me over. My dad spoke to them and continued to lead me to his room. I vaguely remember him saying that he had several friends living with him but I could meet them later. He told me to go use the bathroom while he made my bed. When I came into his room, there on the floor were a pile mattress pads, thick blankets, and a stack of pillows. I face planted, and the last I remember was the weight of a ton of blankets being thrown over me. And I floated away still in my cloths. Gone.
My dad had inherited my great-grandfather’s house on the base of this beautiful mountain. The biggest wow-factor was the house was completely made out of rock that was dug up from the base of that mountain. All the walls were think rock and it had a red-tile roof. It was small with only two bedrooms, a good size living room that overlooked the valley, kitchen, two bathrooms, and a dining room. The house was SUPER cold in the winter and beautifully cool in the summer so because of that, my dad had propane tank heaters in each room. In my dad’s room were two corner windows. It was my favorite house.
In my darkness, I would start to surface – struggling and fighting to open my eyes that were cemented together to peer at the windows that were strangely completely white. Sometimes I would hear unfamiliar voices when the door was quickly opened and closed, and I knew there was a water bottle there for me. I remember feeling warm bodies wrapped around me from time to time, but they would unexpectedly jump up and usually step on me as they exited. Other times I would start to surface in a complete panic – my job was so important and contained a high level of responsibility. I had left a lot of open ends thinking that I would be at work finalizing details before the New Year’s Holiday. Now all I could do was completely panic about them but couldn’t even lift my head to do anything about them. Besides, I didn’t have a phone and my dad was gone at work. Those panic attacks were enough to make me gladly sink away back into darkness.
I was starving but way too tired to try to make my way to the kitchen for food. My cloths felt nasty and old on my body but I was too cold and exhausted to change them. My lips were cracked from barely drinking. I smelt like the dogs that slept with me to keep me warm. Everything about me was stale; but I was on the road to recovery. But I didn’t know it. I was too exhausted to life my head or open my eyes.
My dad said I would start sobbing in my sleep. I know those tears were for Mark.
Then I heard my dad’s voice. ‘It’s time to start moving your body around. You haven’t moved in almost three days and you’re muscles need to move. You need to eat. You need to get up now. Larry brought you bag in from your car and it’s here. Come on, little girl. It’s time to come back.’ I opened my eyes and my dad was sitting a few feet away at his desk. When I moved, the dogs looked up surprised; I think they thought I would never wake up. I was wishing I would never wake up. I sat up for the first time. My dad told me to take a shower, change my cloths and get ready to go out. Its New Year’s Eve. Larry (my dad’s best friend who I found out lived there with his wife Rachel) suddenly appeared with a piece of toast to hold me over. It was time to admit that I had lived through it, and I was alive. Barely.
As I dressed after a quick shower, I was ASTONISHED when I looked out the window. I realized that that window was strangely white because it was FULL OF SNOW! I couldn’t even see out. My dad was still sitting at his desk and I asked him what happened outside. He said it hadn’t stopped snowing and there was almost four feet of snow outside – and more storms are forecasted. I was amazed; I had never seen so much snow; and then worry and distress washed over me. I asked dad if we were still going out because my dog-bed was starting to look really good again. Yes, dad says. Get ready.
In the truck with dad and his friends, I pressed my face against the window and tried to hold back the tears. I hurt so much inside. I thought about Mark, about my job, about my horse, about the snow, about how sick I felt. I didn’t wish for meth at this point. I was too concerned and distressed over my life to think about that. Our first stop was dinner and I ate the amount for three people and left unsatisfied with my cloths hanging off my body. The next stop was our local bar.
I remember the bar was buzzing with New Year’s excitement; the music was loud, the laughter was loud, the pool balls banged together hard, and voices were louder. We found ourselves a table and to my surprise, my dad ordered me a shot of Jack. I never drank Jack. But I drank it this time. The friends I met during my visit that Thanksgiving came and everyone did their best to cheer me up and get me to relax. I tried but my heart was black. I was so empty. I wondered about Mark. I wondered if he had changed his mind after I had been gone for a couple of days. I asked my dad if he had called, and he hadn’t.
I don’t remember much more after Jack#4. I remember my dad helping me to the truck and assuring me that my bed was waiting for me. I was hoping the dogs were there waiting for me – I was cold again.
I woke up two days later on a Monday morning. I was fully awake twice in six days. Dad told me to get up and go with Rachel to the bar to hang out and have company during the day. He knew that I didn’t need to be alone anymore and sleeping wasn’t going to do me any good. I needed to find my feet again and start rejoining the world. My feet still felt like cement but it was easier to wake up this time. It gets easier to wake up as time goes on.
It was so hard! In moments of silence my head would about explode with worry and stress about my life, job, marriage, horse, bills, money, etc. The stress wanted to send me back to bed. But what could I do? There was now five feet of snow outside and it was impossible to get anywhere – my car had disappeared where it had been parked. My dad still had my phone and wallet which was good because then there was nothing I could do about anything except just give myself a chance to recover. I would get all that back in due time.
I turned to drinking and smoking pot to pass the time. It helped with the feeling of being overwhelmed and helped cover the hole that meth had left in me. And it helped me with the pain, frustration, desperation, panic, and stress that encompasses the life that was waiting for me.
My heart hurts thinking about this. If you are here, my heart hurts for you too. It’s amazingly hard to go through this, I know. It’s hard enough to quit meth is hard enough – dealing with the life that is left after is even harder. It’s hard facing the mirror. It’s hard seeing each morning. That first week after leaving meth is by far one of the hardest weeks of your life, even with support and dogs to sleep with.
If you can relate to any of this, I’d like to hear your story. If you are ready to walk away from meth, I’m here to help you with a plan to make this as easy as possible, but it won’t without pain and stress. But know there is normal life waiting for you.
If you have an addict in your family, there are definitely ways of being a support without being an enabler. If you want to talk to me about this, I’d love to hear from me. I know what my dad did for me. In fact, after I wrote part 1 of this blog, I called my dad and thanked him so much for what he did for me. We reminisced about what happened and laughed about the huge snow. He was modest about it (as I knew he would be) but accepted my thanks. He told me he was proud of me. It’s a bond we will always have.
If you need a promise, I have one for you; one that you can claim for yourself – one that is meant just for you. “God is our refuse and strength. Our very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1). This promise is meant for the darkest times of our life and is a light for us to follow. I invite you to claim this promise and as Him to be your refuse and strength. It’s a first step.
And then there was the second week which included my first counseling appointment. And included my first conversation with Mark. And my boss. And I started drinking a lot.