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Just to let you know Justin passed away at a Recovery House in North Surrey Jul 01….my heart is broken…Linda
Linda I am so incredibly sorry to hear that Justin has passed. And in a recovery house. I am so deeply sorry for the pain and heartbreak you are going through.
You did absolutely everything you possibly could to get Justin the help he so desperately needed. There truly was nothing more you could have done. Your love for him helped him get through so much – you stood with him during his darkest times with the offer to help get him the help he so desperately needed and deserved.
Far to many times the system let him down. When we have a loved one battling a duo-diagnosis treatment which needs to be treating both the addiction and the mental health issue, often requires stabilizing one issue first. And while that may sound reasonable to some – when you have an adult child with both, you know more than most, that is not working for your loved one.
Justin truly was a lovely and caring young man. It was an absolute honour to get to know him when he did volunteer work at the mission. He was kind and thoughtful. And he loved his Mom. He was so proud of you and knew you were his greatest advocate.
Tragically in spite of all his effort, in spite of all your effort, and in spite of all the efforts of those who cared for and treated him, his addiction continue to have such an incredible hold on him. It literally held him hostage.
And with the poisoned drug supply in circulation, the risks to those addicted have never been higher.
I truly am so very, very sorry Linda. I know your heart is completely shattered. And absolutely nothing I or anyone else can say or do, can possibly help in your grieving. Please know, if you want to talk or email anytime, I am here for you. You can either contact me as you did through my site or privately at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
I hope you are getting the love and support you so desperately need and deserve at this time Linda. Please keep in touch. I am so very, very sorry.
Much love to you,
Justin has been in a program in Burnaby for nearly 90 days although it is supposed to last 6-9 months. He is pressuring me to come home after the 3 months & calling 20plus times a day since he arrived there the end of July. June- I am loathe to give in to him due to the past experiences we have had. I also feel he will never grow up if he keeps returning home. Do you know of any good secondary transition houses ??? Is it wise to take an adult child back in the home after much damage has been caused ?? On one hand I have my older son saying do not let him go on the streets & then my family and support counselor advising me to never let him back in again. But truthfully how is one supposed to survive in a city like Vancouver with no money, no job, no vehicle and no id….I am feeling so torn & my trust level with him is very low at this point. In a way I feel like I am just trying to recover too after all the drama the last few years. I will be 61 next year & do not think I have the energy to go thru all the “heartache” again….
Linda, my heart breaks for you. You are definitely between a rock and a hard place. In the end only you can decide what path you will take, but I will try and shed some light.
Firstly, it concerns me that he continues to call 20 times a day. I understand that you are his rock. Us Moms do become that and thank goodness our addicted loved ones have such love and compassion in their corner. But having said that, 20 times a day is excessive. In a sense, those calls are holding you hostage. Particularly if he is putting pressure on you. Asking you to allow him to come back home.
It appears he may well be focusing more on getting out and coming home than he is on “re-programing” (for lack of a better word). Learning the tools needed to stay the course.
Studies repeatedly show us that the addicted brain has been altered. That need for immediate gratification all to often keeps the addict addicted.
As Moms we also know that for those suffering with addiction – the most important thing is getting what they want. The drug. Whatever it takes to get it. And when deep in addiction, our addicted loved ones are relentless.
Right now your son, although in a place of help (and hopefully it is a place well run and with a solid program in place), still is trying to “call the shots” with you. Eventually we will be “broken down”. At least that has always been what has happened in the past.
I agree with your son that his brother should not be “on the street with no money, no job, etc.” but ultimately that is his choice to make. He is being given an opportunity right now – he has three months clean – continue doing what he has been doing – stay the course. Three months is a great start but there is still a long way to go.
When our loved ones make repeated calls all day long, they are not focused on getting well, they are focusing on what they want. And what they want us to do for them.
In the end, his behavior is his choice. It is not your choice. You should not have to struggle day after day and feel depleted because of someone else’s choice. Especially in your home. You need that safe place for you. You have worked a lifetime raising your family. You cannot control your son’s life. He should not be able to control yours.
That probably sounds harsh. I know as Moms we will do anything, give anything to keep our adult children safe and loved. But when a situation is out of our control, we have to keep ourselves safe.
Did I do that? No, not for a very, very long time. As mothers we have a bond so strong, nothing and no one can break it. But sometimes that protective instinct keeps our loved ones where they are longer than they may have otherwise.
By saying “No, you cannot come home at this time – I believe in you and I believe you need to continue working on your treatment and recovery plan. I have to stay true to myself right now and I truly believe that coming back home at this time would be a mistake we would all live to regret.” And then say, “I believe in you and am so proud of your efforts – keep it up, you are worth it”.
And Linda, YOU are worth it it. If you allow him to come home when you feel strongly that to do so would be the wrong this, then you are continuing to allow your son to manipulate you. While in their addiction, our addicted loved ones know fully well how to get us to give them what they want. It is not that they are uncaring. It is simply because that is the nature of the beast.
I would encourage your son to reduce the number of calls. Ask him for the next week to limit the calls to three times a day maximum. And then next week try and encourage him to call once a day.
His calls are not helping him and they are holding you hostage. He is trying to break you down. Again it is not that he is being mean or uncaring. It is just that it worked in the past and he is confident it will eventually work again.
YOU are not sending him on to the street. If he leaves against all the advice, he is choosing to. His decision. Not yours. Remind him winter is coming, no one wants to be out in the elements.
Once he finishes his program, an aftercare program will be put in place for him. One that will help him continue on in his recovery with support from peers that have walked the same path.
Linda this is just something for you to consider. In the end my Friend, you have to do what you are comfortable doing. We each have to make our own choices. Our addicted loved one do and so do we. And we live with the decisions we make. For better or worse.
You are in my thoughts and prayers my Friend. Please keep in touch and let me know how both you and your son are doing. And remember, as parents we may walk in almost identical shoes, but only you have walked in your shoes.
Take care of YOU.
Have finally got some good news that Justin will be starting a treatment program that deals with both issues.Hopefully he will gain some better life skills/coping skills that will enable to make good choices instead. As a mum the best one can do is pray that they will find a way back to their original nature. He was such a delightful, energetic young boy who loved being outdoors in nature until the drugs & the behavior that comes along with it took him away.
I hope to see that young man again !!!
All the best ….Linda
P.S He did go into a recovery house again,got kicked out & returned home . I felt he was too close to getting into the treatment program to allow him on the streets. The drugs are so much more deadlier these days & did not want to take that chance.
Thank you so much Linda for sharing that wonderful news with me. You and Justin will be in my thoughts and prayers as he enters this new phase. A new opportunity with all kinds of wonderful possibilities.
You were absolutely right in having him come home while waiting for the treatment program to begin for him.
Take good care – I am sending you both nothing but positive energy. Please keep in touch Linda. I truly care.
Thanks June for your kind reply !!! We have an appointment booked with my GP at the Primary Access Clinic on Tuesday am and also one with a Dr John Koehen at the Alliance Clinic on Wednesday pm.Trying to find doctors who subscribe Suboxone are few and far between. However, I have been told that now he is on Suboxone, the clinic will not do tapers. I do not understand how doctors can prescribe meds but are not under obligation to help their patients withdraw from them. I thought their oath was “Do no harm” !! Even Recovery programs will not take clients on Methadone/Suboxone as they are too stoned to engage.It is very hard to make sense of this utter nonsense…as you can tell I am very frustrated with the whole medical/mental system.I do not understand how anybody with substance abuse/mental issues is supposed to navigate it as I am having such major difficulties myself. We are hoping to hear from WR/South Surrey Mental Health this week but I am not holding my breath. Justin was cut off 3 times doing the intake and told to call back. My advise- do not call if you do not have the time or ask the client to come in personally- that simple!!!
I am returning to work June 01 after a month off trying to get something sorted for him to no avail. Financially this has been a terrible burden and the bills keep coming in. However we will keep persevering and hopefully at some point get help.Something needs to change pretty fast at this point and a more cohesive system would be a great start.Criminal records linked with medical records, emergency visits,pharmacy dispensary records, psychiatric visits etc. If a full picture was given perhaps a more holistic and fuller solution might become available whereby our adult children would get the proper care they need and deserve. The whole system seems inhumane to me….
I just reread your book for the 3rd time and heard the CBC radio show this morning after my sister called yesterday from Victoria and said tune into it.
I have a son- whom you met 4 years ago when he was at a recovery house in North Surrey and volunteering. You gave him the book and he kindly passed it on to me. We have encountered the revolving door for so many years and agree with you that there needs to be more of a one stop treatment program with follow up.My son is suffering from post crystal meth psychosis and has had difficulty getting any help.He was in a treatment program at the Orchard but could not engage because of this problem.He came out after 28 days with scripts changed from methadone to suboxone and risperidone to olanzapine. with the suggestion that he go into a hospital setting for further treatment and assessment??? Instead we have been in & out of emergency twice since his return 3 weeks ago. He is suicidal and depressed and we have contacted our local mental health team only to be told they are still working on the case. I am not a doctor or a psychologist but know that my son has severe substance abuse issues and mental health problems as well. It is too much for me to deal with and the option of turning on the street is not a solution. As you said our children are not “throw aways”. It is a tough one and there seem to be no easy solutions. He does want help but the phone calls are few and far between.We just get handed lots of brochures…
Thanks for your inspiration..
Thank you so much Linda for your note. I am glad to know that you have found some solace in the pages of Addiction: A Mother’s Story. My new release Addiction: A Mother’s Story – Second Edition has a lot more information that you might find helpful. I will be putting more information and resource direction in the days to come. I hope you will check back to my site. Hopefully you will find some information that may help even slightly.
I am so sorry to hear how your son is struggling. How you are struggling to find him the help he so desperately needs. The help he deserves. Sadly far to many of our addicted loved ones are falling through the cracks in the system. Addiction and mental illness far to often go hand in hand. When mental illness comes first, far to many start self-medicating. Others become addicted first and that addiction results in psychosis.
You are absolutely correct, it is too much for you to have to deal with. It is far to much for any family to deal with. We need a system in place that is there to help our loved ones when they are reaching out for help. Delays far to often result in further devastation and sadly to often the loss of life that should have had the opportunity to become healthy. Our children deserve better. We deserve better. Society as a whole deserves better. It is way past time to keep treating addiction with punishment. It is a disease – lets treat it with the same compassion we treat other diseases.
Please keep in touch Linda and let me know how your son is doing. How you are doing. You are not alone. I truly care.