15 weeks

landon 2013 and 2014Life here.

Sometimes my limbs tremble and ache from the climbing and grasping.

But today.

This moment.

This moment, the ground is flat and easy as I move forward.

As I skip along toward home I look behind me and marvel at the treacherous terrain that my God has guided me through. Whew!

I look at that first photo of my son and I recall the grief, the high cliffs, the plunging boulders, the trembling fear, the crying out.

I look at the second photo and I overflow with gratitude.

cliffsI know hard roads lie ahead because I am not home yet. I trust in Him for help with those.

But for now.

For now, I will enjoy rest on this gentle path and I will catch my breath.

15 weeks.

Bless The Lord, O my soul!

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” —Jesus, lover of my soul.

(you can read our story, here)

Dove Hollow

Jed and Lucas recorded a soundtrack for a documentary short that I am doing about my papa, so when they came to Windy Ridge for that we spontaneously decided to drive down to Dove Hollow to do a separate music video.  Spur of the moment. We all piled into the truck and bounced down the logging road as fast as we could before the sun went down.  I had a vision, but when I went to edit I found that I was lacking the skill. This video is quite different than my original plan, but I think it capures the spirit of Dove Hollow and showcases the talent of Jed and Lucas.

 

JEDANDLUCAS.COM

12 Weeks at Home

If you are new to this blog you can read through our journey with addiction, here.

landon 12 weeks

Our decision to do a recovery program at home was not an easy one.  Having no prior experience with this sort of thing we decided to give it a trial run and use the traditional rehab as back up if it didn’t work out.  I was very hopeful, but also prepared if the plan failed. I thought it would be easy to sit down and write up a plan, but when I sat down to write I had no idea where to start.  I decided to use a Teen Challenge schedule for reference and go from there.  This plan has definitely evolved over the last few weeks as we add and take away.

This is what the basic plan looks like today:

  • Random drug testing by a qualified lab
  • House arrest except for approved and chaperoned activities
  • Counseling (we started out with twice a week and are now down to every other week)
  • Support group for those struggling with addiction, once a week
  • Work everyday
  • Bible Study
  • Fishing

One-on-one counseling was high priority because we wanted to talk with someone that had long-term experience dealing with addiction, but having never dealt with a counselor I had no idea how it would go. It has turned out to be a huge help.  All the torture Landon was going through was validated and he found so much hope in being told that “this is normal and it will pass”.  As a family we found it so helpful as we learned more about addiction and what to expect during recovery and were given great advice on ways of dealing with it. Support group is good because he can relate to others in the same situation.

A healthy sleep schedule is enforced because this promotes healing both physically and mentally (though insomnia and messed up sleep schedule can be a big problem during detox and recovery so be prepared to offer help)

House arrest and trusted chaperones are key to our son’s recovery because he knows he can not trust himself. If he could, he would have been better long ago.

Random drug testing at a lab is important because, sadly, no matter how hard you try, addiction will find a way if it thinks it can and needs to be held accountable. A professional lab is important because addiction is experienced at tricking the system.

Our son had not worked for two years during his drug use. Work and strictly sticking to the schedule every day is necessary because idle time is the devil’s workshop. No joke. Those first days of detox Landon would stumble into the work truck with Levi and even though he couldn’t work he was there and it provided distraction through his sickness. He worked when he could those first weeks, but mostly those days were about surviving one minute at a time.  He passed out, he puked, he hurt, but he made it through.  I love Levi so much for doing that for our son.

Bible study and truth preaching are the most important of all.  During this time our son’s mind was working against him and, oh, how the enemy loves to attack a worn and weary mind. There were moments when the war between truth and lies was almost tangible and the intense battle would leave us exhausted. One night in particular stands out.  Earlier that evening had gone well.  We all listened to this good sermon about being bitten and shaking it off and we felt strengthened by the Word of God.

Things can change so quickly.

Landon had a hard moment and the darkness became overwhelming. He suddenly wanted to leave, he felt like he couldn’t handle the rules, couldn’t handle staying clean and couldn’t handle the commitment. We both knew if he left, recovery at home was over, and as he clenched his fists and spouted out all the reasons he couldn’t do it we fought back with truth. We went to bed weary and thankful that night.  Each battle won like that will leave you stronger in the end and better prepared for the next round.

Home rehab is not for everyone.  I think it is working for us because Landon wanted so badly to get better and had for some time, but he just couldn’t do it without major support. Landon was best case scenario.

The more family and friends you can get involved in the recovery plan the higher the chances of success.  The counselor talks of building a hedge—-a growing, living thing that must be tended. He tells us the basic facts: it takes 3 months for the body to physically heal, 6 months for the brain to heal and up to 2 years to repair social relationships (our son had a jumpstart on the social repairs).

We are also reminded that though we would like recovery to look like this:

recovery straight lineIt actually looks like this:

recovery loopsand that’s okay as long as we are moving forward. I found that very helpful (and true).  Eventually the loops get farther apart and sober living becomes easier.  It is so important to recognize triggers and avoid them and that is all part of the loops—finding what caused the setback, changing it, and moving forward. Triggers can be music, locations, habits, etc. and Landon is learning to eliminate the old and replace with new and better things.  He is building a guitar with his grandpa, taking guitar lessons and started fishing in his spare time.

Recovery at home requires a lot of sacrifice as our family rallies around the one who needs it.  It is doable and worth it.

It is so wonderful to see our boy living life and I am savoring these good days.

12 weeks clean and sober.

I am still compiling a list of tried and true recovery programs and will post soon. Please email if you have questions or encouragement, need to be encouraged or just want to talk.

Thank you all for the support—-we are blessed beyond words.

 

I will leave you with this wonderful truth:

If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.  The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful.  He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.  When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Corinthians 12-13)

 

 

Painting Fabric

anniesloan

I bought these 2 ivory chairs years ago and I love the fabric, but couldn’t get the stains out.  I found an excellent solution in Annie Sloan’s chalk paint.  Simply paint the fabric and finish with her wonderful wax. This makes the fabric wipeable and feels sort of like leather. Love it. I highly recommend her brushes, too.  For deeper weave fabrics you will need more paint as the fabric soaks it up. I chose the color “French Linen” for these chairs in the master bedroom.

sitting room painted chairs

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Forty Two

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset
42 years on earth for me and it is good.

42 finds me surrounded by little children and heathy, happy big kids. Taking it day by day and I have much to me thankful for.

42

I had a wonderful, relaxing day. The little girls and I rode along with Levi to a job in Portland and had ice-cream.  Levi invited family over for coffee and the big girls served us fresh blueberry milkshakes. My mama brought me a handpicked bouquet and chocolate. Perfect.

42 bday

Beginning Recovery

You can read the introduction to our story here.

This stage was the hardest—-these first few weeks of recovery. Our son’s mind was not well as he detoxed and his body tried to figure out how to begin living without the drugs it was used to having for so long.  The risk of suicide and relapse are high.  It makes me think of when our secondborn was not yet three and lay unconscious from a burst appendix.  I remember the doctor grimly tell me he didn’t know if Riley would make it and told us to “keep our fingers crossed” as he did surgery. Those hours of waiting were excruciating  as I tossed “finger-crossing” and turned to earnest, pleading prayer. This time of recovery from addiction feels like that.
Landon in may

The hospital stay was eye-opening.  I quickly learn that I can’t depend on them to keep my son safe during this critical time. Same goes for the detox/rehab place. Having no experience I really didn’t know this.

As I stood at the curb, I thought I had time to figure out what to do next.

I ride with Levi to his next job and while he spends the next hour in a meeting, I sit in the truck and pray, ponder, research and text friends for advice.  The solitude feels good.  I think the hospital will keep my son safe for three days because I was told that the police officer had ordered them to keep him that long for evaluation.

On our ride home I am shocked to get a call from a hospital number.

“Where is everyone! Why did everyone leave me! I am out on the street with nothing!”  My son’s volatile voice yells into my ear—-accusing.

I am speechless as I try to make sense of what he is saying.

What! Why did they let you go? Where are your friends? Where are you?” I frantically ask—-defensive.

He hangs up on me. Who is this boy? I barely recognize him. I am scared because there is an unstable, young man loose on the streets with no support, no money and no phone. I call the hospital and get passed around from one operator to another only to receive impersonal, vague answers. I wish they would have at least called me and let me know that they were letting him go.  We are almost home so Levi drops me off and says he will go look for him. The hospital is nearly an hour away. I worry and I pray.  Thankfully, his friends find him first and pick him up. My son calls me back and asks if he can please come home for the night and go to a detox center the next morning. I hear my little boy in his pleading voice and it breaks my heart.  I am reluctant because he tells me (and I can see) he is having a hard time controlling his drug-induced agitation and I am not sure if it is safe for him or us. I sternly remind him that he has been hostile and threatening toward me and he says he knows and that it really bothers him—-it’s the drugs—-the withdrawal. I have no doubt he is sincere and I believe what he is saying, but I am still anxious.  I talk with Levi and we agree that it is best that he come home. It is getting late and our options are limited, and a huge part of me is relieved to know he will be under our roof that critical night. We set about making the house as safe as possible. It is surreal as we tuck potentially dangerous things away—-things that I wouldn’t normally think of as potentially dangerous. Once again I think how I would have never imagined that we would be hiding things from our own son. This whole experience has me shaking my head.

I am so glad that we live day by day and don’t know the future.

After a sleepless night of a near constant vigil of watching, encouraging and ministering to my broken son,  I spend the morning trying to find a rehabilitation center for him. It becomes an overwhelming task as I Google and call about our options.  I am stunned at the cost of treatment and I wonder how in the world the average person affords this.  We are average people and I think we will have to sell our house and property to afford it and we wouldn’t hesitate if this is what it takes to make him better, but selling houses take time. I hope these places offer a good payment plan.  I talk with an online counselor and after he listens to our story he says it will be best for our son to travel for treatment and he suggests The Canyon in California. Landon resists the idea of traveling and being so far away from family. He feels like he desperately needs his family during this time. I am torn. I wonder what to do. I pray for wisdom. We feel like he needs help immediately so we decide to bring him to Lifeline, a local detox/rehab that the hospital recommends. We think this will give us time to find a good, long-term residential program. Landon agrees.

He has to make the call himself. It’s protocol.  I sit by his bedside as he makes arrangements to be there at noon. He hands the phone back to me and I am told that the cost is $10,000 per month and I casually acknowledge and silently tell myself we will figure it out as we go along.  He can stay up to 3 months and will be in detox for approximately 1 week before settling into the residential program. He packs the bare necessities and we head out.

river roadOn the drive there my mind races through his happy childhood and this “wondering how we got here” is becoming cliché.  I tune into a Christian station while praying for hope and encouragement. I am amazed when it is like the preacher on the radio is preaching right to us. He talks about how bones break, but heal stronger. He reminds us that we will have troubles, but God will give us strength and use those trials for good. Landon and I look at each other with big grins and tears in our eyes. We know.  Our Mighty God always provides. Through it all He is faithful.

lifelineWhen we get there we are instructed to go to the back of the building where we will find a locked door with an intercom for admittance.  We push the button and let them know we are there and are ushered in.

We walk that hall and can’t help but feel a little defeated, huh, mamas?

We remind ourselves of the wonderful parents we personally know that have walked this same hall and we press on. The lady that checks us in is very kind and I think how discouraging it must be to see so many people walk in, broken, and walk back out, still broken. Landon is given a pair of gray sweatpants with the pockets cut out and is told to go change into them while we do some paperwork. The kind lady tells me I can go home and relax for awhile, Landon will be safe, they will test him and make sure his levels are okay for them to detox and will call me if anything changes.  We hug our son goodbye and walk out. I think we have 3 months to find him a good long term residential treatment program. I think he is safe for awhile.

That night I am sitting in bed, exhausted, when I get a call from an unfamiliar number. My heart drops as I answer with uncertainty. It is my son and he is begging to come home. Again.  The rehab center had determined his drug levels were too high to safely detox and had an ambulance take him back to the hospital hours ago. I didn’t get the call the kind lady had promised. I am bewildered and frustrated at this faulty system. He tells me the doctor said he could come home if we let him.  There is so much hurt and grief in my son’s voice. His burden is so heavy. He sounds so disheartened as he tells me he needs to be home with people who love him and can support him. He tells me he can’t stay there without going crazy. He tells me how his fellow residents of the rehab center have no interest in getting better and were doing drug deals right there during treatment. I think he expected it to be different and was even more discouraged than we were. I tell him I will think about it, talk to his dad and call him back in a half hour. He is grateful for the consideration.

Clearly, Plan A is not working.

After talking it over with Levi we decide letting him come home for the night is the best.  We are losing faith in institutions.  Levi drives the hour there and brings him home and we spend another night, vigilant and sleepless and praying.

Researching continues. Plan B starts with a program called Teen Challenge.  I have heard good things about this program and have heard of others that have had success with it, including my cousin.  The website says they won’t take those who take medication for depression, but I am told that we may get in despite it.

(Landon has been successfully treated for clinical depression for two years and the medication works very well for him. Though mixing narcotics and depression is deadly, the depression alone is not the issue)

Before I get a chance to check into it Landon asks to talk to me. He asks if we would consider letting him recover at home. He suggests house arrest and drug testing and says he will do whatever it takes to get well. I am very reluctant because he had been trying to get sober at home for years and it wasn’t working.  I carefully consider it with Levi, knowing that we have never tried implementing any sort of recovery program before—we only tried to encourage him and talk with him about the dangers—-not really understanding the nature of addiction at all.  I thought of this video and how the unconventional worked for them and that gave me confidence. We agree, but make it clear that this will be a trial run. I have a peace about this and clarity feels good.  I thank God for that.   When we walk back downstairs this beautiful thing happens.

This “trial run” has been working for ten weeks now, but hasn’t been easy. Next, I will share our journey with home recovery. I am so thankful to say that Landon is now ten weeks clean and sober. Thank you for the prayers and encouraging words, friends. You bless us.

Do you have advice, insight or experience with rehab centers? Centers that worked, centers that didn’t?  I would love to be prepared if we need it in the future and I would love to compile a list here for others that are looking. If you do, please email.

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world!” John 16:33

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Rosalie Dress

Rosalie

PURCHASE HERE

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A New Season

Landon and Calli

 

Our firstborn is engaged! Strange to think of myself as a mother-in-law.

 

Landon & Calli from Windy Ridge on Vimeo.

A treasured moment —-when I went with my son to pick out an engagement ring for his girlfriend of 1 and 1/2 years.  This ring represents so much hope as the journey to this blessed place has been a hard one. You can read the introduction to our story here.

 

 

Emily Love

emily emilys family

 

We were honored to sew the Betsy Dress for beautiful Emily Love, Leukemia Lymphoma Society Girl of the Year for 2014

Oh, she is so cute!

The Struggle

Facts that helped me to understand this epidemic that is addiction:

    • Addiction affects millions of Americans. It’s not simply a failure of will or character; it is a disease of the brain. (this is hard to grasp unless you are personally faced with it and I am guilty of ignorant judgment)
    • The line between addiction and substance abuse can seem vague—-addiction is a more severe condition, and involves doing more than one behavior. Read about symptoms of addiction, here. (I liken it to the difference between baby blues and PPD.  Baby blues is hard, but nowhere near the torture that PPD is, but the 2 are often confused)

storm clouds

Windy Ridge truly is all the magical childhood and majestic grandeur that I have shared, but until now I have kept the battle scenes private except for the vague bits and pieces here and there.

These words have been on my heart for some time now.

I have carefully considered the cost of sharing this story here. I think the cost of not sharing is greater.

I share with my son’s blessing.

Today our neighbors and friends bury the body of their beloved son and I am compelled to break the silence.

I know that their loss could have easily been mine. Still can.

This story is long, so I will take my time sharing throughout the next weeks in hopes that others may find comfort knowing that we are on this battlefield together. I tell my story because addiction thrives on secrecy.  I tell my story for friends that walk this same road so that we can share resources, ideas, what works for us and what doesn’t. So that we can stand united. I  tell my story because I want to hear yours so we can encourage each other. I tell my story to spread plain truth (because obscurity breeds false presumption, gossip and all that rubbish)

It isn’t pretty or frilly or magical. It is violent and desperate and full of miraculous hope.

 

Logans Funeral

I will start with the worst day.

It hurts to visit that day in my mind.

I woke up that morning, troubled.  The beautiful spring sunshine a vivid contrast to the darkness I felt.  It wasn’t unexpected—-that phone call I received. The battle had already been long and hard—-years in the making.  I could see the suffering in his eyes. The sleepless night before, I got a text from my son’s girlfriend that he had swallowed a handful of pills and I knew that things would have to change, but there was that hope that they wouldn’t have to get worse.

That morning I sat where I am now—-at my computer.  I was posting a video of the new calf when my phone started buzzing next to me. Mothers know.

I snatch it up to hear her voice frantically telling me that my son is violently trying to end his life.

How does a mother process that?  

I knew my son did not want to die. It was the desperate act of an afflicted mind. It’s jumping out of a burning building.  It’s Like Ann Voskamp said : You don’t try to kill yourself because death’s appealing — but because life’s agonizing. We don’t want to die. But we can’t stand to be devoured. 

My worst nightmares and deepest fears as a mother are being realized.  I walk out of my office and I am unnaturally calm as my mind struggles to make sense of it. I call Levi at work and when I try to say the words out loud my unnatural calm crumbles and I weep. A foreign, gasping and choking—-a creature all it’s own that descends out of nowhere.  Levi says he will meet me at the hospital. I have three wide-eyed little girls following me around so I try to compose myself.  I struggle to know what one does in this sort of situation. Everything is a blur as I send a text to my mom and dad and go upstairs to change out of my pajamas. I am simply putting one foot in front of the other. By the time I come back downstairs my mom and dad and sister are already standing there and the uncertainty and concern in their expressions remind me that this is real. They ask for details. I open my mouth to speak, but I can’t, so I sit down, silent. I try again, but all that comes out is that weeping.  My dad puts his arm around me and we weep together.

Life is too hard.

They bring me to the hospital and on the way I sit in the backseat and send messages to my “support group”—-a group of mothers and friends that know what it’s like.  I am in survival mode and I desperately need their words and prayer. I am calling in the troops and thanking God for them. I know that God is way bigger than this, but I am human and I tremble in fear.

When we arrive I walk up to the check-in counter.  I feel timid, unqualified and too small to deal with this big stuff. I make a pathetic attempt at dignified confidence as they lead me to triage where I find my son on a bed behind a curtain.  They have treated the wounds and physically he is okay. His mind is not.  It is controlled by the substances and the basest of human nature.  I feel helpless, as if sitting on the sidelines witnessing a war. He squirms in agitation and I can see he is tortured as he lashes out. He demands help, but at this point there is not much I can do and as hard as it is we have no choice but to ride out this storm.  I lay my hand on his head and think, “what happened to my little boy”.  My mind is flooded with images of his sweet face throughout the years. I think of how kind and conscientious he was. I think how I would have never dreamt that he would be the one fighting this. I think of how treacherous this world can be.

I have never seen him like this. Through his depression and addiction he has almost always been respectful, seeking, compliant, hurting. I see how the drugs crowd out the good in him and I hate that. I know that he hates it, too.

We stand at a crossroad.  

We know that it is not safe for him to go back to the way it was—–that extreme measures must be taken—-that we must find another way.

Eventually, I realize that my presence seems to be making the situation worse so I leave him with his good friends who, surprisingly, seem to be taking it all in stride. They have been where Landon is and they understand. I have a lot to learn. I am told that he has been ordered to stay 3 days for evaluation.  I hug him goodbye, telling him I will be back later.

I stand at the curb and grieve that this is what it came to while feeling hope that this might be when things change. I know these next hours and days are critical. Life & death critical.  I resolve to make it through the day one minute at a time.  I pray for wisdom as I wait for Levi to drive through and pick me up.

landon

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Though our stories of addiction share many similarities are paths there are different. Those suffering addiction are often genetically vulnerable. Our son’s struggle starts with clinical depression—-something beyond choice.

His opiate addiction started with careless abuse of a prescription painkiller found on my closet shelf.  If he would have known the dark place those pills would lead surely he would not have taken them.  What starts as a wrong choice can turn into a illness beyond our control, a changing of the structure and function of the brain, a chemical problem. A chronic and progressive disease just like heart disease, asthma and diabetes. The difference is that there is no stigma attached to other diseases, which also can start out with wrong choices.  My prayer is that we could see those suffering addiction through eyes of love and compassion. These are somebody’s sons and daughters and they need help even if they can’t see that themselves.

You can learn about addiction and the brain, here.

Bottom line is this is a broken world, and we are fallen man. Nobody is exempt. Not one. We are all guilty of being careless. We are all guilty of wrong-doing.  We all need saving. Thank The Lord for grace and mercy.  He know our battles.

Today our son is 8 weeks clean. Recovery is brand new and we are taking it day by day. We have much to be thankful for. Always.

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. -2 Corinthians 1:4

If you share our struggle and would like to visit, email here.