Perfect example of why I wrote “When Nobody’s Home…” I received a phone call from a distraught 30 year old black female who was arrested for “transporting” narcotics across state lines. She is currently bouncing from pillar to post with a 10 year old son, whose baby daddy is serving time is a state prison. She called into the office because she stated she had a warrant out for her arrest. As I looked into the computer, records showed that she has not reported to the office for over a year and since she was arrested in Texas I could not give her an answer. Be that as it may, I decided to ask her how she got into her predicament. I needed her to know how her family dynamics impacted her decision making process and how she ended up with a criminal record and a grand of probation. She stated that her family life was chaotic and unsafe which is why she dropped out of the ninth grade and hit the streets. She admitted the streets were safer than her home because of the physical and sexual abuse in the home. She mentioned that her dad was never around and her mother had men coming in and out of the house. She became more frightened as she hit puberty because she saw how her mother’s boyfriends looked at her. As she talked she began to cry because I was exposing the truth of her life and impact those experiences had on her. She said she developed specific survival skills to deal the uncertainty of her life. When I discussed stability, acceptance, hope, love, validation and security of home and family she stated that she has never experienced any of those needs. One of her responsibilities of her probation is to enroll into a residential treatment program. She said she did not want to enroll into a drug treatment program because she doesn’t not use drugs. I said, I understand, however, “do you have a place to live or food to eat?” She said, “no.” “Have you ever had any stability in your life?” She said, “no.” “So, wouldn’t it be a good idea to live in a treatment facility to the experience what stability looks like or what a routine is? She said, “I never thought of it like that.” I said this would be a great place to start. However, there is a price you will pay for this experience, you will need to tell your son the truth of about why you are leaving him and how you are going to maintain communication with him while you are in the program. Inform him that you want him to break the “prison cycle” of young black men. Inform him that life does not revolve around the prison system and that he can be different. Tell him your personal journey so he understands where you have been and the price you have paid for your choices. I mentioned to her that she can do something different than what was has was expected. I shared with her that her being comfortable with her family members going to prison is no different than my family members going to college. It is all we know. She stated that for the first time in her life she actually felt relief about her situation and a plan for herself. As we ended the conversation she mentioned how grateful she was for the guidance, faith, and information. She said no one has ever talked to me like you did. I said, I just wanted you to know your journey is usually what happens “When Nobody’s Home…”
As the mother began to talk about her past drug use as a young women she mentioned how she was abandoned, neglected by her father and how her mother tried to be there for her but she was too emotionally frail to offer any support for as she was growing up. As a young mother with no paternal support she mentioned how she used drugs, partied, and would leave her daughter in the apartment by herself for days at a time in order to satisfy her drug fix. The mother began to tell other stories where she left her daughter with strangers or anyone who would take her so she could go off and get high. I began to see the tears well in her eyes as she was telling the stories while looking at her daughter. The daughter did not say anything while her mother spoke about her past, she continued to look down trying not to be seen. The mother looked down at the ground and for the first time realized how her behavior impacted her daughter. In her defense, she proceeded to tell me that her irresponsible behavior that was behind her. She stated that she and her current companion are doing really well in life by working a business together, making enough money to pay the bills and staying out of trouble. She continued to say that she has finally found peace and predictability in her life.
to be continued…
The daughter was strategically placed in front of me so I could focus on her while separated from her parents. While she sat in the chair she kept her head down to avoid eye contact and looked like she went through a meat grinder. She was very skinny with blotchy skin and her hair was brown and stringy. The dark circles under her eyes were a dead giveaway that she was strung out and an avid meth user. I needed to gain her trust in order for her to relax and be forthcoming with her story. So, I looked right into her eyes and let her know that she was in good hands and that we were going to uncover what was causing her so much emotional pain. She nodded her head in agreement and said, “thank you.”
I turned to the parents and asked them to tell me their story and there question still remains why is my daughter is on a meth binge. In other words, I wanted them to tell me any childhood experiences their daughter had that might cause her to react in a way that was life-diminishing. The mother decided to tell me her story. The man sitting next to her was not his biological daughter but a current boyfriend. She mentioned that they had been a couple for several years. She also mentioned that she and her boyfriend are ex-felons and have been involved in the criminal justice system for many years.
to be continued…
As I waited for this family I began to create scenarios about where the pain lies with the daughter. I could only guess what need was not met by the caretaker. I would find out soon enough.I picked them up in the front lobby. I walked them back to my office and readjusted the seating so I could have the daughter sit directly in front of me and the parents would be seated to my left. Sitting before me was a Caucasian family. The mother was in her late 30’s with brown hair and a medium build. She was casually dressed with white capris pants and a flowered rose colored top. The father (significant other) wore jeans, grey short sleeve sweat shirt and sneakers. Both parents looked scared, tired, and helpless. It appeared they were at the end of their rope looking for a solution. My daughter is on a meth binge and we need help…
to be continued….
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As I listened to the story the Rolodex of related stories I stored in my mind began to churn to find where this scenario fits into the experiences I heard from my past clients. I told the man on the phone to bring his daughter to my office so we can gain understanding behind her behavior and methamphetamine use. My daughter is on a meth binge. The caller asked me about the idea of having her daughter enter a treatment program. I asked him, “Have you enrolled your daughter into a treatment program before?” The caller said, “Yes.” “How did that experience work out for you?” “The caller said that she has run away from every treatment program she has ever entered.” I informed the caller that I have interviewed thousands of drug/alcohol dependent individuals and your daughter experience is no exception. I said,” if you want to find out “why” your daughter continues to use then I recommend you bring your daughter to my office so we can get some answers.” The caller responded by saying, “I will be there in 30 minutes with my daughter and her mother.” Before I hung up the phone, I said, “Ask for me at the front desk.”
to be continued….