I'm finding that when it comes to a story about addiction, it really never ends. Just when you think you're about to tell the end of the story, another chapter starts. But I'm getting ahead of myself again.
When I left off last week, my daughter had gotten out of jail and I hadn't heard from her for 2 days. I had to look for her. So my brother and I set off on a search and rescue mission.
I didn't know what I was going to do when I found her, actually. Offer rehab again? And what if she turned it down again? Then what? Drive away? Enable her by giving her a bed and a meal? I honestly didn't know. But I had to go find her.
We knew the stretch of road she hung out on because the day prior, a family friend had seen her and her boyfriend walking along it. I'll keep this part of the story short, and just say that the family friend stopped her and tried to talk to her, but didn't get anywhere, then called my husband and the two of them followed my daughter for a bit to see where her stomping grounds were.
If you're a Sci-fi movie fan, you might call them the probe.
So when I got off work, my brother and I set out along that same stretch of road to try and find her. You know those Family Circle cartoons, where cute little Jeffey is supposed to go bring something back to the neighbor's house and come right back, only instead of going on a straight path next door, and right back, he goes around back and hops on and off the swing, then runs past where he's supposed to go to jump in a mud puddle, then across the street to talk to a friend, then zig-zags back to his yard to play with the dog, and so on, until when he finally goes back to his mother a half hour later, she always asks what took him so long?
Well, it was like that, only instead of cute Jeffey, hopping on swings, jumping in mud puddles, talking to friends, and playing with the dog, it was exhausted and worried me, hopping out of the car to talk to cops, jumping behind dumpsters, questioning the homeless, addicts, and convenience store clerks, and zig-zagging up and down the street and in and out of parking lots and parks trying to find her.
Our first stop was the Wal-mart parking lot, and lo and behold, you really can find everything at Wal-mart, because we spotted my daughter's boyfriend, next to a cop car, filling out a report. He said they'd had a fight and she walked off with a homeless guy who shoots up meth. He showed us a cat scratch on his arm and said my daughter had cut him with his pocket knife, so he was filing a domestic abuse report against her.
The cop doubted the story and said the scratch looked self-inflicted, but said if we find my daughter, to keep her off the streets for 24 hours or they would have to arrest her if they found her, because of the report. Her boyfriend pointed in the direction my daughter had gone with her other addict friend, and we left to try to find her.
After about two hours of searching we were about to call it quits. It's hard to search for someone who doesn't want to be found. We tried waiting until the cop left, and then following her boyfriend because he may have lied about where she was, but after 2 hours, the cop was still with him.
We were tired and discouraged and decided we would have to try this again another night. Before we left the area, my brother decided to stop for cigarettes at a convenience store that we had previously looked behind, but hadn't gone into.
I was waiting in the car, and he came out and motioned me to come inside. It turns out he mentioned to the clerk that we were looking for my daughter and the clerk knew who she was. He said her boyfriend would wait outside while she went in to steal for him. He felt sorry for her and never called the cops on her. We gave him my number and my exe's number and he said he would call if he saw her.
As we were leaving the store, a homeless man who had been sitting on a stool by the door listening, said he knew who she was too. He said sometimes she sleeps behind a nearby church. We drove to the church.
There was a little patio area in the back of the church partially secluded by a wall. As we drove up we saw a backpack leaning against the wall and my brother leaned out the window and called my daughter's name. A man came out and said, "There's no girl here."
My brother backed up a little so we could see a bit more behind the wall and we could see someone sitting there. I got out and walked over and it was my daughter.
I didn't have a speech planned. I had no idea what I was going to say to her. So the first words out of my mouth as I watched her get up from the ground, wearing clothes that were too big for her, was, "What are you doing? Is this what you want to be doing?" Yeah, I know. Brilliant. Real inspirational, right?
Then I hugged her. Then I yelled at the homeless guy to stay the hell away from my daughter and that she's only 18. I was ready for a fight, but he looked confused, hurt, and afraid, to be honest.
As I said, I had no idea what I was going to do once I found her. I just wanted to get her out of there. I said, "C'mon we're going to your dad's. Get in the car."
The homeless guy added his two cents and said she should go with us because "They've got your back." I later learned his name and that he's diabetic, homeless, and shoots up meth.
My daughter didn't argue. She said okay, and got in the car.
Her father lived just a few blocks away so we headed over there. We called a friend of hers that she's known for a long time to come over, and her brother and sister came over too. First, she sat outside and talked alone to her friend, then to her sister.
While they talked, her dad, step-mom, and I were inside, trying to figure out the best thing to do. We had her away from her boyfriend, which was a plus. We wanted to get her into treatment right away, but we didn't want to scare her off either.
We went outside and started talking about rehab, asking if she's ready for help, ready to change her life and get off the streets, and she said yes. I was waiting for the "but..." but there wasn't one this time. No person she had to find, no boyfriend goodbyes, she said she was ready.
We called the treatment center, but because it was late, the number forwarded to a cell phone and we left a message. While we waited for a call back, the whole group of us sat around my exe's kitchen table and just talked. We talked about funny things the kids did when they were little and funny things they remembered.
Then my daughter told us that she tried to break up with her boyfriend earlier that night and he had put a knife to her back and threatened to kill her if she left him. When that didn't work, he cut himself and called the cops to file the report against her. Shortly after that was when my brother and I happened along. After the incident, she went and hid behind the church and was there the whole time we were searching, just blocks away from her.
By 11:00, the treatment center still hadn't called back, so we decided my daughter would stay the night at her dad's, and my son and daughter would stay there too. Then we would all drive to the treatment center in the morning.
It so happened that my older daughter had some bags of clothes in the truck of her car that she was supposed to drop off at Goodwill. My daughter could pack some of them to bring with her, since she didn't have anything but the clothes on her back. Any clothes she had previously at her dad's or at my house, had been in her car, which had been towed a few weeks prior, so she had nothing.
I ran to Wal-Mart to get her some shoes, underwear, and a few toiletries. When I got back to her dad's, she had showered and was sitting in the bed next to her sister, who was laying there watching TV. It reminded me of when they were little and I would go in and read a story to them before bed. I hugged and kissed both my girls and said a silent prayer of thanks that for that moment, all my kids were under one roof and were safe.
The next morning at 5:30, a counselor from the treatment center called and apologized for not returning our call earlier. The calls were forwarded to his cell phone, but he had fallen asleep and just didn't hear his phone. I told him the situation and said we would be there when they opened at 8AM. It was the same person who had talked to us the week prior, when my daughter and I had toured the place. He knew he needed to have everything lined up as quickly as possible so she wouldn't have a chance to change her mind. Also, she needed to get into detox before withdrawals set in and her addiction started to do the thinking for her.
I texted her dad at about 7:00 AM and asked how she was. He texted back "She's cranky." Uh-oh. I headed over there.
She was cranky. She was looking for excuses not to go. There's a part to the story I left out. The day before our search and rescue, a woman came to our house and dropped off my daughter's purse. She said she had found it on the sidewalk and looked on the ID to see who it belonged to and since there was no phone number anywhere, just the address on the ID, she just brought it over.
The time that she brought it over was about the time my ex and our family friend were tailing my daughter, so we knew there wasn't foul play. Our daughter hadn't been kidnapped and dropped her purse, she was alive and being followed. We later learned that the homeless guy shot my daughter with Meth and she had a bad trip and dropped her purse on the sidewalk and went running into the park. The woman had found the purse a short time after that.
Back to my cranky daughter. She asked me if I remembered to bring her purse. I hadn't. I didn't bring it on purpose because I thought if she didn't have it, it might deter her from leaving rehab again. She insisted on getting it before going to rehab. I told her no, we would bring it later. She was edgy and irritable and said if she didn't have her purse, she wasn't going. She walked out the door and began walking away down the street.
Her sister stopped her and said she would run to my house and get the purse and meet us at rehab. My daughter didn't like that idea, but her sister talked her into it. (We knew there weren't drugs in the purse, because we had already searched it) Before anything else could possibly come up that would make her change her mind, we piled in our cars and headed to the treatment center.
She calmed down a little when we got there. It took a while to get all checked in. There was paperwork, then waiting, then a detox nurse, then more waiting, then insurance phone calls, and financial paperwork, and more waiting. It seems most people make an appointment to go to rehab, I guess. I would have thought they would be a little more prepared for the unexpected, but they were doing the best they could, squeezing us between appointments and things.
Through the whole process, our daughter was very positive. At one point, she said she was excited at the prospect of making new friends, and getting back on track in her life. Finally, about noon, it was time for us to leave and her to get checked into the house where she would be staying.
I can't begin to tell you how I felt driving away. Relief, euphoria, trepidation, fear, hope, gratitude - just about every emotion was present and accounted for.
I kept thinking about the events that got us there. About how if any one thing that happened that night had happened differently, or not at all, we wouldn't be there.
If my brother hadn't wanted to stop for cigarettes, we never would have went into that convenience store. If he hadn't of thought to say something to the clerk, the homeless guy wouldn't have overheard and directed us to the church. What if we had stopped there two hours earlier, when our search had started, and the homeless guy wasn't in there then to hear us?
We would never have known to look behind the church if he hadn't said something. If it weren't for him, we wouldn't have found her that night. What would have happened when the cop had left, and her boyfriend, who had just threatened to kill her, had come looking for her? What if he found her before we did?
I truly believe there was divine intervention that night. There were just too many what-ifs, and too many coincidences. I said another prayer of thanks as I drove on to work that day. I prayed again for all the addicts out there and for their families. I prayed for that homeless man that helped us find our daughter.
A few days later, we went back and thanked him and gave him some money. I know his name now, so I can pray for him by name.
I also realized that before I started looking for a person on the street, I didn't really see all the people on the street. There are so many homeless, aimless people out there. Some are addicts, some aren't. But you don't really see them until you look for them.
So, my daughter went to rehab. This is part four of my story, but as I said in the beginning, when you think the story is over, another chapter is written.
I wish I could have written each part right after it happened, but there just wasn't time. I'll try to get you caught up so I can be in real-time, instead of past tense. Not that there's many of you reading - actually, just 3 I believe (Hi Kim and Kelly and hubby!) But nevertheless, just know, the next chapter is coming soon...
(Here are the links to part 1, part 2, and part 3 if you're interested)