Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sarahjoy And Drugs

It's May 2004 and I'm sitting at my picturesque home in Silverado, California. In its beautiful canyon, profoundly unique and also much unknown, located in the Cleveland National Forest, Silverado is situated in South Orange County, California which otherwise is known worldwide.

The 2,500-foot-deep gorge with its small creek, of the same name, is home to approximately 1,000 people, and unknown quantities of mountain lions, bobcats, deer, scorpions and abandoned silver mines from the 1800's. Silverado has its own post office (there's no mail delivery, residents pick up their mail at the post office), a library, one store and one restaurant/cafe.

Both Southern California and Orange County are famous for having alot to offer, but to take a snapshot and say you were lucky enough to live among these grandeous mountains, valleys, creeks and vintage silver-mining-days' era homes, you've truely been blessed.

Silverado, the City, is a California historical monument.

My wonderful husband and love of my life Art Loya and I had located, moved into and made this our home.

To me it was the perfect house, a refurbished, perfectly-enlarged but keeping-its-architectural-elements in line with its original one room, log-cabin roots. The no longer used outhouse was still located less than 15' from the house's wonderful country kitchen. That's a Silverado Canyon home.

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When we moved in we invested more than 25 percent of its then value in further appropriate and exquisite upgrades.

Our home was still just a home in Silverado Canyon. There were many with standing and historical presence situated around it. I was in heaven and the surrounding canyon held me in its arms. After some time, our home and its many layers of gardens was on the 'Gardens And Villas Tour,' I was told much by touring visitors that our place was lovely. At the end of the day a friend and I drove to see the much touted 'first place,' or group favorite Silverado home, I was hugely humbled by its canyon natural splendidness, especially it's rear yard with aƧcess to Silverado Creek, allowing unique diving and swimming opportunities. We could see the creek, but no swimming options.

I'd wanted to live in the Canyons, flirting with both Silverado and Modjeska, for many years, since the mid 70's. I'd purposely not guided my family back then because I was concerned over rumors of artsy but 'druggy' people these canyons attracted and didn't want to expose my young family to that.

But this morning, decades later,  I'm sitting on my fun Silverado veranda, the really cool sitting area atop our small, detached garage, with towering views of the mountains. But there is static.

I can't hear her totally, correctly. My kid, my only kid, my perfectly home-schooled kid who'd worked supremely hard for and endeavored to be in the Olympics, is on the phone talking to me.

I'd not heard from her, for some time, which was unusual, we were best buddies, we loved having time to talk. She has stories, I have stories, it's hard typically to find room for them. A male friend of her tagged her stories as the 'Sarahjoy Chronicles.'

So my kid, my wonderful, accomplished daughter is finally on the phone with me, after an odd time delay. Our talks always ended well previously.

Sarahjoy is telling me that she's leaving her husband Adam of some four short years; its not working out for various, real reasons. I love Adam, I love the two of them together, but I understand why it is not working also and I have to agree with her.

I think this is the hard part. I think this is the difficult part, so I say, our standard version of what 'we say,' which is, 'well come on home, sweetie, we'll figure it out.'

Sarahjoy and her 'Daddy Art,'
 my wonderful husband, Art Loya

But my kid is not being my kid.

She's edging and hedging, she's going away.

She's going away with someone, with something and the voice talking to me is with each word more and more unknown to me. I'm suddenly irrelevant. The phone call has made me 'I used to be her Mom.' I don't deal well with this new concept, it makes me crazed.

The beginning of hiding things has now started and it will take me years and two attempts of suicide to deal with this new situation.

I can't give up being her mom. Minutes turn into hours, turn into days. No daughter. No kid. The weeks became exhausting.

When I get my daughter on the phone again with her assurances that everything is okay, I know she is not my daughter, this kid soundingly like my daughter, or she's a different version somehow.

My first actual clue led me to a motel of sorts, not far from my home. I've never been overly comfortable with hotels/motels. Especially with my issues. Someone else, perhaps many elses, may say it's a normal motel.

To me, it's skankville. I know I won't be touching anything.

I pull into the motel parking area in my crisp white BMW Z3 Coupe looking for my daughter's dually, her very red, very large Ford truck, not an easy to hide vehicle. It's nowhere to be found.

The next logical step however since it's my only clue is towards the management office, where I ask in my appropriately inquiring voice for my daughter. I'm feeling sick to my stomache. I tell the motel office woman my daughter's name, 'her name is Sarahjoy,' I say, knowing it is unique and hopefully memorable to her, I tell her that she is small, 5'2" maybe 100lbs when she's wet, platinum blonde hair.

The motel office woman confirms my query. She tells me the occupants of 'that unit,' probably did include my daughter and with the kids who came and went. That my daughter's credit card had paid for the room. She admonishes me further that among the group my daughter, my kid, was the most messed up; she's yellow-skinned, thin and drugged up.

The manager tops it off by telling me my daughter had been picked up. Arrested. I'm told my outstanding daugher had just been arrested that same morning. Right next to the motel office in the parking area.

I'll learn the meth addict's world is full of hiding and torches, tools, pipes, objects, paraphernalia; I knew absolutely nothing about this.

I don't know that then, but when the motel manager uses her key to open the room/unit she says my daughter last resided in, I see these items on the corner table, a torch, tools, objects, paraphernalia.

I also see my daughter's perfectly packed, monogrammed in her horse show colors overnight bag, sitting on a bed. It appears to me that even if my daughter has entered the world of drugs, she's still her perfectly organized self. Every personal item of hers is in its place.

I'm horrendously aware of the terrible world I've had the door opened up to.

And then I faint.

I've somehow asked the motel manager to call my husband Art Loya and my best friend Diana. When the two of them arrive they bravely enter that motel room and collect my beautiful daughter's belongings.

That night, late, I don't know what time, my daughter Sarahjoy calls me from jail. She tells me much later that I was the very last person on her list to call. My husband is soundly asleep, despite my nudging. I drive from my canyon to Santa Ana, California, maybe 30 - 40 minutes, and pick up my 'released' daughter.

It's confusing. We hug, we're perplexed with each other, we're both exhausted. I do my 'Mom,' thing. It's a long walk to where I'm parked. She seems so little, so tired and so in need, so as if she's five years old, I tell her, 'get up'. I tilt slightly forward and point to my back, 'Get Up!' And she does. A mom and her daughter now riding horseback, are giddy-up-ing away from the Orange County Jail. In the dark.

I bring her home, she's crying. My husband, my hard working and stressed husband is still sleeping, barely aware that Sarahjoy is in our home and that our adult daughter has climbed into the bed next to him while he slept. She lays cradled in one arm, crying, telling him she loves him.

I prepare a warm bath for her and she welcomes it. I tickle-scratch my daughter's arm, hand and fingers as she soaks up the tub and then I help her to bed.

The next morning she's frenetically different.

The next morning she's wanting/craving a young man she calls Steve.

It's almost as though Steve is a drug that she wants/desires/needs. And this is true.

My daughter, my accomplished talented child is now a meth addict and I don't know it. It will take much more pain and aching time before I know it though. At the same it was shocking because it also seemed almost overnight.

This quickness is a horrible symptom of this particular drug and painfully I wonder - when did I 'miss a beat' and lose my kid.

Art and I go to hell and back to trying to rescue her.

But you can't rescue an addict, and it is hell and it is ugly.

One time it looks like a dad (a step-dad, but a DAD) pulling a gun on the boyfriend/drug supplier. Sarahjoy had called and said she'd be stopping by with the boy (19 year old, maybe) to pick up a couple items. Sarahjoy was 24 years. She barely looked 19.

I had notice.

Art told me that he was bringing his gun out, I begged for care. Art took Steve into the family room and closed the doors behind them. I'd taken Sarahjoy into the office. Our meeting didn't go well and neither had Art's and the drug dealer's.

The two hurried out the front door, Sarahjoy very upset. Steve is now ashen faced, mute

Art afterwards punches his fist into a solid wood wall, breaking a knuckle.

How do you ever recover from that.
My proud, honorable husband is bent over, now physically and emotionally crying that he is impotent to save her.

He'd taken Steve into the family room and had him sit opposite him on our sofas. He told me how he very purposefully placed a gun on the cushion and patted it, staring hard at the boy. He said he'd asked the boy if he had any idea why that gun wasn't in his mouth right now. The kid answered no. He said because I had asked him not to (which I had). Art picked up the gun, aimed it at Steve and told him that if anything happened to Sarahjoy, anything, if he hurt her, cause her hurt, that Art would hunt him down, til the ends of the earth, and kill him. That he would go to prison for her.

My husband, only her step-father, would have gone to prison for my daughter. To prison, forever.

This is so painful for both of us. And now Sarahjoy hates Art because he threatened Steve, her beloved.

She used miscellaneous kinds of drugs including meth for four years.

I try to commit suicide but fail both Christmas eve and then Christmas day of 2005.  (Still being written***)

How do you deal with that.
My daughter's been less than anonymous than the average addict, she chooses recovery with either alcoholics anonymous or narcotics anonymous. That's how she rolls. She's kinna' out of control regarding convention-ality.

Her story, as she tells it is she doesn't go into 'drugalogues,' she doesn't tell details of using. It’s too 'triggering,' and she says that in reality it’s unimportant. She shares that it might be the part that 'normies' consider the interesting part, but the truth is it is the least significant of all. She tells bullet points. "That’s it. Most of 'my story' IS my time in recovery.

If I do anything with my writing, it is to tell a story of what I've experienced and to try to provide some go-to's, some thoughts of how I have learned to deal, to cope and to embrace life. So this is reflective of that hope.

Ultimately Sarahjoy, not us, had to hit fricken-ugly rock bottom, her own level of fricken-ugly.

Still in another cheap motel the boyfriend had taken her car, gone for days, left without drugs (food is irrelevant to the meth addict). When she does get her car she finally drives to nearby Costa Mesa, California. This time it isn't for drugs. It is for a sober living house. For Raymar and Katt, she tells me all this in small parts later.

She says if they didn't admit her she'd have driven that car into Raymar's living room.   She met Jineen, aka, Katt, the uncomparable house manager of the 27 bed house. Katt told her the rules. She had to get a job, ANY job, keep it, had to attend 90 twelve-step meetings in 90 days. Within house rules more importantly were 20+- other, girls, who unlike my kid DIDN'T want to be there, indignatious upon court order, a sober living house or jail. A 10pm curfew, the cost for this God send: $125 a week.

Most determinedly she first dedicated and stayed 45 days.   She got out and used within days. Therefore I was not horribly surprised to get a call from Katt asking if I wanted to come again and decorate my kid's room.  This time she moved in for six months.

She then moved into her sponsor's home for another six months, taking a year of sobriety.

She said that if she didn't commit to her sobriety for such a length of time that she would die on the streets. She stayed a year and now she has over thirteen years of sobriety.

So, I guess, it's the addict hitting a level of rock bottom, awareness of help such as NA, a sober living facility with integrity. And luck and prayer. And everyday the addict wanting sobriety and peace in their lives. Every hour of every day becomes thirteen years eventually.

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