It takes HEART not STRENGTH to lift a LOVED ONE back up when they are DOWN…

Loving an inmate requires dedication and perseverance. It’s not an easy path for any of my clients. But, love is stronger than than most people realize. 

Yesterday, a stranger called me who had been following my blogs for years. This person had decided to finally “reach out” in order to point blank ask me “how I became so compassionate towards others?” 

It’s confusing to others how I became the person I am today but, I’m open minded and determined, passionate and perseverant because I haven’t had an easy life. If I had, I might have been a different person but, a hard path didn’t define me or my sister. A difficult childhood empowered us both with strength, courage, tenacity and resilience. 

The truth is that throughout my childhood, Cindy and I as well as our stepsister had very little attention and much less compassion from those who were supposed to love and protect us. Our mother was a heroin addict. Our mother also sold all four of her children for $50 each to go buy heroin. 

Cindy and I were 6 years old and at our grandparents house alone with our grandfather while our grandmother and other family members were at another house planning a birthday party for my twin sister and I. Neither of us will ever forget this particular 6th birthday.

Why? Because my grandfather had played the tape recorded conversation with our mother (as he often would over the years) to remind us that no one wanted us before sexually assaulting us. I would stop speaking on my 6th birthday. I would for many years have difficulty speaking. 

People say “children learn what they live.” This is bullshit. Children can and do learn to break the chains. Cindy and I did. We both hate drugs. We both went to great lengths to protect our children and grandchildren from ever being hurt in the same way we had as children ourselves. We were never taught compassion by example. 

Instead, we learned to be compassionate regarding others because we knew lack of compassion by the examples of people who were supposed to love and protect us failing to do so throughout our childhoods. Cindy and I left home at 15. We never looked back. Instead, we looked forward.

Last Friday, my twin sister, Cindy was hospitalized with chest pain. After 16 years of the “carnival of chaos” Cindy’s youngest daughter, Stephaney has pulled us back on over and over again, the end result is that my sister has hypertension. Stephaney is a meth addict. 

Someone told me last year “don’t hate the addict. Hate the drug.” I’m assuming they must have been an addict because I know damn well that anyone who loves an addict would never say anything this stupid to someone who was yet again “Trying To Save Stephaney ONE MORE TIME.” 

The number of times I’ve told my niece “this is the last time” would astound you. The lengths Cindy and I have gone to in order to put her daughter on the right path would amaze you. We absolutely refused to give up. We can no longer go on. Yesterday was Stephaney’s last chance. I fear if she doesn’t choose to change, her choices will destroy our family once and for all. 

My niece and her choices have hurt my own health as well as my sisters. Stephaney’s choices have affected her twin daughters mental health and self esteem. Stephaney is self destructive. Stephaney has consistently backtracked. 

Last weekend after three months of sobriety, Stephaney backtracked again. Sunday, I was in the hospital with chest pain regarding Stephaney’s latest relapse. My sister and I as well as Stephaney’s twin daughters, Maryssa and Makenna were all (yet again) devastated. 

Yesterday, Stephaney was released from her 18th visit to JPS due to drug induced psychosis. My son had driven my niece to JPS while Cindy was in the ER with me. My daughter in law and son also took over my bookings last Sunday. I’m terrified that Stephaney’s choices will eventually kill my sister or myself. 

I drove my niece to rehab yesterday. I cried as she cried. I mourned the years she had lost with our family. I feared and continue to fear the future of my sisters health issues that Stephaney’s choices have burdened her loved ones with. How do you change an addict? How do you save them? 

People have asked “how did your mom stop being an addict?” She didn’t. High as a kite, a Los Angeles transit bus collided with my mother’s car. The “accident” took 60% of my mother’s cognitive ability and one of her eyes. 

In essence, my mother “forgot” that she was a heroin addict. I pray my niece decides to stop being an addict and chooses to be a part of our family instead….