How are you doing today?
Today I’m good because Jack is good. My other two are good. My husband’s good. So today is a good day.
Today I am doing OK. I am very grateful that both of my children are alive. I am rebuilding a relationship with my daughter. My relationship with my son is strong. So today, everything is OK. Well, most things are OK today.
Pretty good. On the quick response scene that I’m on, we have mandatory supervision meetings. And in those meetings we talk just one on one like you and I are doing. It gives me an opportunity to really share my emotions. These meetings are to help those of us on the quick response team process things like a bad call or talk about something we said that could have been unethical. It is also an opportunity to just talk. I like it. I do like it. But sometimes I’m not in the mood. I think we all can relate to that. I don’t think that’s an unfair feeling to have. But being here with you today is great.
I am doing very well. You always have the worry in the back of your head: What if she starts using again? You will always have that. As an aside, I went to an opioid forum two weeks ago. The big issue is that if my daughter started using again, if she started off using the same dose she did when she stopped, that would probably kill her because her body is not used to that amount. Those types of things go through my head. And do I tell my daughter that? I don’t want to encourage her. I think we are both doing very well. We have our daughter back and she is moving along in life. She is very involved in the recovery community. But anyone who has PTSD … you kind of have those trigger points in the back of your head that go off when certain things happen.
You know what? Incredible. I did not ever think I would get out of the isolation hole. I went through a lot with Bailey’s last relapse. All the hysterics like yelling and screaming that go along with the parent of an addict don’t do anything. I’ve learned to reach out with love. You know, it’s hard for others. It’s hard for Joe, my son, who has been great through this with the girls and has financially helped them. And Doug my husband who loves my girls as much as if they were his own. He’s such a good stepdad and an amazing husband. When something bad happens with the girls, he wants to turn it into protecting me. I mean, he doesn’t resent them or anything. We’re all at a good place. I’m in a good place right now.
Shelly: We’ve had a rough week. I went to a training last week and I was away from Travis for the first time. Travis was home by himself for the first time. And so we came back together emotionally bankrupt. And we’ve had a great journey of everything we’ve shared. But it has come to a point where we have to think, OK — what do we do next? We’re struggling a little. But that’s life.
Travis: I didn’t feel great today. I didn’t have the same energy that I sometimes have. I didn’t have the same desire to go to the gym and do some things. Emotionally, I didn’t feel good. I’m being pulled in lots of directions. In my job, in trying to push this Hope United adventure further. I feel a lot of pressure. And so some days I don’t do well. And today was one of those days. That’s life. Some days you don’t feel like doing it. So what separates average from great? What separates people is even when they don’t want to do it, they push through the edge. I didn’t want to do this interview with you. I’m just being honest with you. I mean, we emailed a couple times, right? And then I kind of went blank. And I didn’t really want to do it. Not because of you. Not because I don’t believe in what you’re doing. But because of me. And because it’s going to push me once again out of my comfort zone. And Shelly will tell you that I would have never done something like this a few years ago. So I am always being challenged to stretch myself. The difference between average and excellence is sometimes pushing yourself even if you don’t want to.
Christy – I run a grief support group for parents who have lost a child to addiction. It is very small. Sometimes there are 6 people. Sometimes there are 3. That is the other issue – is trying to get parents who have lost a child to addiction to come to a place where they might know somebody. They don’t have to talk. It is difficult. We know multiple people who have lost children and they just don’t seem to want to come to a group and talk about it.
I think being 6 ½ years out, I can compare myself to the parents in our grief group who are a year or two out. I can completely see the difference in me. Where they are is where I was. And so I try to give them some hope. I am not going to tell you it is going to get better. You learn to live with it. You learn to function every day. And if you have a reason to get out of bed … for me it was my other kids, then that’s all you need in the beginning. Take time to grieve. Don’t rush back to work in 2 weeks. Take a leave of absence from your job. Your life has been completely changed. It just takes time. And you learn to live with it. I could have broke down and really lost it a minute ago. And I tried to keep it in. And you have moments where you break down. I look at Tyler’s picture and I just feel like he is with us all of the time. And I say that all the time – I’ll say “Don’t you just feel like he’s going to walk through the door?” It seems like Tyler is just away at school right now. You don’t consciously tell yourself that, but you just feel like he’s just gone for the time being. And maybe that’s God’s way of saying we’re going to be with him again some day but in a different way. As time goes by, you learn to cope with it a little bit better. You still have those moments where you break down, especially at weddings of his friends. That’s really hard. But I’ve gotten a lot better at that too.
Wayne – I’m just kind of mad that I have to do what I’m doing. I say that after this school year I’m going back to work. I’m going to let someone else do this job because it’s 80 hours a week. It is relentless fundraising. This is what I do full time now. I left my career in 2013 to run Tyler’s Light. At the beginning everyone wanted to help, and then about a year later they all just went back to their own lives because the shock and awe is gone. So you have people who volunteer and we get these highs and lows. We had too many volunteers – we had 15 people on our board at one time. I sprinted a marathon. And you can’t right? You flame out. It is so tiring. And it is all bad news. There is no real good stuff happening. The numbers keep getting worse. And you run into politicians that are just lip service and government agencies that can’t fund you because you don’t use evidence-based practice. The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same stuff but you expect a different outcome. I’ve been putting up with this for years now and I’m just so sick of the group that is in charge of trying to fix the opioid epidemic. It’s just all public funded trash. Garbage. Bureaucracy. It’s sad. It really is. So there is frustration there.