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Walk It Off

June 18, 2008
About five in the morning, this morning, Wednesday morning, my ex-mother-in-law received a phone call from her youngest child, a thirty something year old man, on parole, after spending several years in prison for something, I don’t recall, maybe robbery or selling drugs. When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, he, Tony was just a boy, perhaps a teenager, I cannot remember, slowly it is all becoming useless to remember because it proves over and over again that history repeats itself and history can be too painful to remember.

I’m trying to remember the exact phrase my daughter used when she relayed this story to me today. Was it “Tony had a problem” or was it “Tony was in trouble.” At first I did not know what she meant. After her grandmother left the room, she explained it to me. Her grandmother woke her up asking for my daughter’s car keys because she needed to go get Tony because Tony was in ‘trouble.’ When I proved too thick to understand she finally said overdosed. My daughter went with her grandmother to get Tony, from where who knows, some seedy little place in the big city far away from his mother’s house but not really that far. After finding him, his mother wanted to call 9-1-1. She wanted to take him to the hospital. After all, she worked thirty-five years at the gas company, now retired with a pension; she deserves public services just like everyone else. She kept insisting on calling 9-1-1. Tony could not say much but he managed a series of No. No. No. My daughter’s grandmother was not listening and was still determined to call 9-1-1. My ex-mother-in-law looked to her granddaughter for guidance, her granddaughter said, perhaps he should sleep it off, he cannot go to the emergency room, he will get into trouble because he is on parole, and parolees cannot have drugs in their system, but one must have drugs in their system in order to be admitted to rehab, but one cannot go to rehab if going back to prison takes precedent over rehab. She could not leave the idea alone until her son said one word, JAIL! Hearing this, the mother helped her son into his room where he is currently (as far as I know) sleeping it off. My daughter told me the only thing she could think of while it was happening was a phrase she used to hear me say a lot but she could not remember in what context. “Crash and burn baby, crash and burn.” I do remember using that phrase when members of my family did stupid stuff and suffered after wards, but I don’t recall with whom or on what specific occasions. It was not during happy times for sure, but I do remember using the phrase somewhat and remember the surrendering feeling of defeat, hopelessness and helplessness toward the situation (or people) I said it to/about.

  1. Robbie permalink
    June 18, 2008 6:51 pm

    Wow! I really don’t know what to say. I feel for your daughter, for the grandmother, and for the son who needs help but is in a warped Catch 22.

    Treat addiction like the disease it is and decriminalize drug use. After all, we have other addictive legal substances that have been proven to be more harmful in some cases. It would cut out a lot of other crimes and free up our prisons from the useless overload.

    Hmmm…I guess I found something to say afterall. 🙂

  2. Kitty Glendower permalink
    June 18, 2008 8:34 pm

    Hey, where have you been?

  3. Anna permalink
    June 18, 2008 11:11 pm

    What a twisted system – risking dying instead of seeking medical help that might land one in prison. It’s as if seeking medical care is itself a crime?

    What a shame. Sorry about this Kitty.

  4. Deb permalink
    June 18, 2008 11:57 pm

    kitty…damn I’m glad to hear your “voice” out here again!

    Great post and a sad, sad commentary. Your labels tell the whole sordid story of the vicious cycle that is addiction and at whose doorsteps the worst consequences lay. And you’re right, it is neither a Hollywood movie NOR “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” (whose damn concept was that??).

    Our systems, supposedly set up to help “serve and/or protect,” are not meant to do either, at least not for regular folks. I’m not surprised that Tony’s one, clearly intelligible and emphatic word – JAIL – carried so much weight in her decision to take him home even though what he needed was care.

    And the beat goes on…

  5. Chris permalink
    June 21, 2008 9:03 pm

    I empathize with your family on this. Alexis’ younger sister has just been given her last chance in court mandated rehab before going to jail.

    I have had a tough time with this. I resent her sister for what she is dragging the family through, not only financially but legally and healthwise as well. I get angry about her abandoning her child, stealing from her mother while her mother was in the hospital and things like that. I have had my own addiction issues so I try to understand but this tears me in two different directions.

    I feel like I should be a better, more forgiving person, but I’ve not been able to be that person in this case just yet.

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