I stayed home from work today.  Appears I have vertigo — leaving me nauseous and dizzy and wobbly….around noon  I received a rambling text from a former student.  not just any student, this kid was in my class for 6 years — middle school and high school. talented, empathetic, stubborn, ridiculously beautiful, easily led.

She floundered junior and senior year.  her mom got sick, her friends ran wild and she ran with them.  Barely graduated, barely.  Thinking back, they did her no favors pushing her on and through.  she may have benefited from another year of structure.

But it was not to  be.  She graduated. straight into drug use, abuse, addiction.  went to jail, to rehab, to halfway houses, to rehab…..struggled.  got in touch with me when she was clean and then would disappear for months.

Until, around 3 years ago “momma rock, I’m pregnant…hes a great guy, in treatment too, we understand each other…” struggled to stay clean in pregnancy, failed. Baby daddy disappeared.  Baby born addicted to heroin, 3 weeks in a locked ward in the hospital, then sent home with mom — no requirement for treatment or followup required.

For the past 2 years she has been in and out of touch.  mom and I speak fairly regularly.  She asks me to touch base every once in a while, says Kelli feels a bond with me.  Mom has custody of the baby, beautiful 2 year old Kenna.

So, today I get a text.  Asking me to find her a shelter.  Asking me to forgive her, asking me for money.  I sent her the centralized intake number for shelter.  Told her she never had to ask me to forgive her anything, but that I could not give her money.  She typed ” I understand” and not another word.

I contacted mom and told her of our conversation, she thanked me for giving her the number and said, she too didn’t know if kelli was clean or using and that she understood why i didn’t offer cash.

I wish I had offered to take her shopping.  I wish I had been able to drive her to a shelter.  I wish heroin had not gotten ahold, so many years ago, of such a beautiful, innocent soul.





Addiction sucks

Damn it.  Addiction sucks.  Bites.  Blows.  Lingers and harms. 

That little rant was preceded by a visit today to one of my former students — in the hospital watching her newborn withdrawal from methadone.  Easy to type that sentence, so very hard to absorb.  This is a wonderful young lady.  Hit hard, hit young by life’s unfairness, understandably  unable to cope, adored by family, worshipped by teenage boys, stunningly beautiful, compassionate and loyal. Very adept at lying. She turned, I think during her senior year of high school — to the dark side.  Aided by moms breast cancer, the illness of a favored grandparent, a less than stable dad…the perfect storm of excuses to need a drink, a cigarette, heroin.  Jesus.  Heroin. 

the next several years she faded in and out of my Facebook stream.  Whenever I saw one of my graduates I asked if any of them had seen her.  Some years the answer was yes, sometimes a quiet “no”.  And then she hit bottom.  Hard, I hear.  Courts and probation, treatment and halfway houses…And then health.  9 months clean, living with a group of young women….smiling and thriving. 

And then, pregnant.  then alone.  then relapsed.  Treatment, again.

So today she is clean.  Almost 3 months.  And her baby is beautiful , but so small. and in withdrawal.

Addiction sucks.