New Leaf

Well-Known Member
Hi all. I was replying to Nomads thread about a parents solution (Mom paid for apartment, bought food, to help her 2o ish year old), then I realized I was hijacking the thread and should just post my own, because it turned into venting and thinking and pondering stirred up questions.
I could not afford to put my two up as this woman has her son. Don’t know that it would work anyway, in trying to get them to live a conventional life, to see the value of it, the capability and potential they have.
Especially not in the shape they are in now.
Many years of trying to help, we went down the rabbit hole..... and they just dug in deeper. Pretty much destroyed or lost whatever relationships or possessions they had, children
(Tornado has three, her youngest fast approaching teen years) cars, chances at housing, then couch surfing, the list goes on. I can’t imagine what they would do with a free place, food, limited check ins.
Probably invite street friends for a party.
If I sound pessimistic, it is just our reality. Reading about solutions like the one you mention Nomad, makes me wonder and question my decisions, then a misty image appears in my mind of my youngest curled up in a ball crying with the frustration of dealing with the manic lives of sister addicts. Or reading some of his school essays where he laments not living a normal life. It’s true. It wasn’t a normal life. We were in crisis mode more often than naught.
Going back to bending over backwards to try to placate my two to stop drugging is not an option. Not judging anyone for the choices they make to try to deal with the never ending ache of having a wayward adult child out there.
Everyone has their own ways to walk this journey.
I spent part of an evening listening to my # 2 daughter lamenting her sisters predicament. She went down to the park and found Rain and Tornado together, Tornado crying the whole time. “She’s not the same person Mom, she’s so broken.” My heart leapt to my throat as I pushed back tears and drew a deep breath. The words I spoke were not only mine, they were the echoes of testimony on this forum. They have to want better for themselves.
I can’t help but wonder how and when this happens. When will they want better for themselves?

If a person is so far down in a hole, and accepts this as the norm, removed from all loved ones, how do they begin to reconstruct their lives?
I directed Tornado to her probation officer. Rain, I have seen twice after the sepsis scare. Going down to the park to check in with her. It is all I can do. At least it is something, I couldn’t bring myself there in the past, feeling too broken myself to deal with her living conditions.
I hope a space will open up for Tornado in rehab, that is where she and her sister need to go.
I have learned the hard way that nothing I do will get them from under the spell of meths dragons breath. There are homeless camps throughout our island dotted with blue and gray tarp roofed shanties. These are the cast offs who have shunned life as we know it. My daughters are caught up in the middle of it all. Not wanting to leave the park, lest their “things go missing” not wanting to stay in a hospital because “I can’t just lay there doing nothing.” Tornado out of jail, left a sober house to join her sister in the park.
The times I have gone to the park, Rain and her boyfriend are laying around in their setup, sleeping off the nights activities. I pass by scruffy, disheveled, lost souls. Never imagined my two would be right there in their midst.
I am wrestling with the thought of visiting every now and then, at the least to keep some sort of connection. I am reading articles about compassion (CRAFT) in dealing with addicted love ones, I know that I need to be careful about my own health and welfare in taking this step.I am not talking about housing them, just taking baby steps to let them know they are still loved by their family. A visit every so often. That’s hard. In my face reality.
I am recalling my own journey when I was pregnant with Rain. I was unwed and that was a shameful thing in the 70s.My father shunned me, and I stopped communicating with my family. Mom reached out to me. I remember feeling upset at being shunned, but I was also working to thrive in spite of the disconnect, to move on without my family. My mom calling drew me back, and Dad eventually dealt with my indiscretion.
Not that pregnancy is comparable to addiction at all, but the disconnect is what I am writing about. I am not talking about enabling my two. I don’t want to go backwards to the craziness, but do feel that no contact has been extreme and not helpful to.......me. Well, it was necessary at some points, when our relationship was so strained and menacing.
There is a constant underlying ache I feel, a grieving for loved ones still living. I push it down with prayer, but it is still there. I don’t look at this as codependency. These are my daughters.
I have a hard time with certain branding used by programs. Like Detachment, I prefer disentanglement. I will always be attached to my children. Doesn’t mean that my life has to be strangled by their circumstances or choices. I can’t deny my love for them, and how hard it’s been on this journey which has been stretching on for years now.
Sorry if I am all over the place.
So I went and chatted with Rain for a bit yesterday. Hugged her tight, invited her to her brothers graduation ceremony. We shall see if she comes.
Tornado has gone further off the rails according to her sister. She must be using again. Meth has got a firm grip on her. Rain seems a bit more stable if you can observe that in a person who prefers street life. She says she cannot deal with Tornado, who apparently is jumping off the deep end into a drug hazed psychotic abyss.
Good Lord what bizarre circumstances.
You guys ever feel like jumping on top of a table a la old time musical style and belting out a song lamenting your wayward children’s issues for the world to hear? You know, when someone sees you at the store and strikes up a conversation, asks how you are doing?
Do you really want to know?
Cue music da da da da
Well my eldest is homeless
Lives in a tent
Doesn’t want to work
Or pay any rent
And her boyfriends a jerk
My third was in jail
And I felt relief
Cause I knew where she was
And finally could sleep.......

I envision other parents in the crowded food court jumping up on tables and joining in with their own lamentations.

Okay I’m really losing my marbles.
But dang, sometimes it’s hard to say “I’m fine.” When I’m kind of not, kind of am.
Well yah, I’m fine, but.........soldier on Leafy.

Son is graduating tonight. There is this bitter sweet mixture of feelings coursing my veins. I have my work cut out for me in celebrating this stepping stone and walking this journey into finding myself, (isn’t that a lifelong journey, after all?) strengthening those weaknesses in my armor and living with what is, is.

Thanks to anyone reading and understanding my rant. What a mountain we all climb. In the long run, it is up to my two to figure out if the meth dragon is worth the price they pay. In feeling compassion for my own mothers heart, and in all honesty, it has certainly taken its toll on my life. Lord help us all to be brave and strong, no matter what road our adult children choose. May we all soldier on and find those moments of peace and joy as circumstances whirl around us.
Love to all,


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

What a story you write. Many of us have been down the same path but not for as long and not as hard and not with TWO! I don't know how you've done it.

One day at a time is all we can do in life, especially during the hard times, the VERY hard times.

I think if any of us knew this would happen to us when we had children we would have been childless. I married my husband and we each had a child at that time. We were good. But I wanted one with him. I wanted one of "ours".

Boy we have all paid for that choice that I made. He was okay with whatever I wanted.

I never had any idea what pain was in store for me with this last one. I don't know if I would have had that third if I could have seen the future.

He is okay now, much better than I had ever imagined, and seems to be on the right track but once you have seen that type of misery, you just cannot unsee it.

I agree with your latest decision. To be in their lives to let them know you love them. To do what feels good and right to you. There is no right or wrong here when dealing with this. There can be no judgement.

Maybe you can be ready for this change now that your son has graduated. What are his plans now?

Whatever our decision, you are doing the right thing and your heart is in the right place with all your children.



Active Member
Hi Leafy- Your words made complete sense to me. I have been in a similar place many times with all kinds of thoughts, fears, worries, anxieties bouncing around my brain. And I have just been dealing with one daughter. I can't imagine the pain and worry doubled! Many years ago I taught in a prison. We did lots of professional development and one session talked about criminality and addiction and looked at it as a cycle. They discussed how frequently younger siblings jump into the middle of the cycle with their older sibling, rather than starting out slowly as is the typical cycle. Then they bond over their shared behaviors and it is reinforced. I thought about that as I read about your two daughters. I'm so sorry you are going through this. It takes such a toll. All you can do is let your girls know you love them and will do anything to help them get well. I hope at some point they turn things around. Sending peace to you.


Well-Known Member
“She’s not the same person Mom, she’s so broken.”
I want to respond to this. I am not the same person as I was before my mother died. People break. And then they heal. They are never the same as before. But they can't be. They come together again in another way that fits the learning and doing and the loss of parts, that needs to be accommodated. This is not necessarily such a bad thing. Uncomfortable, yes.
A visit every so often. That’s hard. In my face reality.
I think this is very wise and brave.

I am this way too. I prefer out of site out of mind. I believe that I could have searched for other solutions with my son 7 or 8 years ago when I kicked him out. But I listened to others with the "throw him in the deep end of the pool," mentality. It did not work.

But I did not at that time have the resources to deal with the person my son was manifesting. I still don't.

I think what is needed is the capacity to feel broken. To break and break and break and to not break down.

I think this is where you are New Leaf. It is a special kind of stength, to let go of the security of being right, of knowing anything, of wanting anything. It's going out on a limb with only love.

I don't think I'm there yet, because I am still hanging onto my conditions. My conditions are the figleaves that keep me virtuous, which in my case, means I hold out. I hold back. It is kind of a dissociation. To not feel how horribly vulnerable I feel. How vulnerable I am.

I think you are brave New Leaf. Nobody deserves the position you find yourself in. You less than any of us. I'm sorry.


Well-Known Member
Leaf, you spoke about me. No, my daughter isn't homeless, but she is not sober or right in her mind. I want to be able to shout the pain, but I cant. Nor can I stop loving my daughter no matter how she treats me.

You are great.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Hello dear Leafy, your mother's sorrow comes across in every word and each one of us here is likely to be able to identify with your words. I'm so sorry it all continues.

I think Nomad's friend's choice is perhaps the most extreme of how we care for our wayward adult kids.....most of us can't manage that level of care, on any front. It is a challenge not to compare ourselves to what many could look at as the "perfect" mother who puts everything into her child......however, I believe for most of us, that scenario won't work. However, those stories do bring up our own doubts about our parenting..... there were likely some who read that thread and doubted their own choices. This is such a hard path, and it includes not only our own judgements of ourselves but the judgements of so many others......in a culture which often blames parents, in particular mothers, for whatever fate their children choose. Within many of us is that need to believe we have the ultimate power as parents to change our children's lives into what we want for them.....but we don't. Only they have that power.

This path continues to evolve, it never stays stagnant and we're pushed into making choices and shifting our ways of looking at it all. You've gone thru various forms of disengagement, each one valuable in that moment......we shift and change as our kids shift and change......each moment is simply a snapshot into that reality, which can and will change....so we have to adapt to those changes. You've done a stellar job in adapting to each change......and I know what that takes out of us. Whether our kids are on the street or housed in luxury, we suffer mightily with their choices.

If a person is so far down in a hole, and accepts this as the norm, removed from all loved ones, how do they begin to reconstruct their lives?

This sentence jumped out at me. About a year and a half ago I had a conversation with my daughter's best friend, whom we've gotten to know well over many years. He, like her, slipped out of reality and fell into homelessness, futility, joblessness and hopelessness after having a relatively typical life ended by poor choices and unexpected life events. He said something which really stuck with me and gave me pause when I thought of my daughter at that time, homeless, couch surfing and hopeless. He told me how hard it was to get back out of that deep hole once you fell in. I was horrified and of course began questioning my choices to remove myself from the responsibility of my daughters life. I detached from her choices and behaviors, NOT from her. I detached from paying for anything and taking any responsibilities for her, but I continued to interact with my daughter and see her, engage with her, as long as she was respectful of me, honored my boundaries and kept the drama to a minimum. It took a while for me to figure out my boundaries, to express my boundaries around her behaviors and over time, with therapy, I was able to clearly define my boundaries and what for me was respectful behavior. It felt as if I were retraining my daughter and really myself out of unhealthy strategies we both were involved in which didn't work for either of us. It was a process.

From that point forward, I observed my daughter make small choices which had bigger results. She moved out of the town she grew up in when the house she was staying in burned to the ground with everything she owned in it. Her stint of homelessness in that town was years of drama, insanity and real down and out sketchy characters. I was in a continuing place of fear for her safety. It was her choice to move out of town and truthfully I didn't think it would work because she only knew one person in that town. She moved around a few times, but each time I noticed, it was a better environment. She got a job last October. In February where she was staying flooded and she moved again. But this time, she began paying rent, the first time in 19 years, when it all began. By April she found a place to live in a really nice home, a "typical" home where she has her own room and access to the amenities. Each step of the way, I was figuring out how to respond because the old responses didn't work, so I had to be uber awake so I would stay on the periphery with support but not engage in enabling. I was determined to help in ways which were healthy for me....and I learned on the fly as she shifted out of the dark place she was in..... she developed momentum and initiative to begin the journey out of the deep ditch she was in. She did it. And she did it all on her own. And, what I see in her is amazing self worth growing day by day. The level of self empowerment she feels right now is off the charts and it keeps pushing her into making new and healthier choices....she is the happiest I have seen her in the 19 years we've been walking this path. I never expected this change, it came out of left field. But I see clearly that SHE was the one who made all of the choices, not me. SHE was the one who chose to climb out of that hole and believe me, it was a deep one. She had nothing. Literally.

The last 19 years with my daughter have been a long, arduous journey.....and I've doubted myself every step of the way, but like all of us here, I put one foot in front of the other and did what was in front of me...and cried a lot.....and then that lead me to the next step. We don't get to see the final outcome, we only get to see this moment where we have no guarantee that our choices are working.

We all find our way thru this maze of fear for our children however we can, in the ways which keep our hearts intact....it's hard. I have every reason to believe that the choices you make with your daughters will be choices that are well thought out, filled with kindness, love and boundaries.....you know how to work yourself through each step and come out the other side in a healthy and better place. You have a long history of finding loving ways to respond to your daughters while keeping your heart safe..... which you can rely on now to guide you. Your open heart, Leafy, in spite of the years of hurt, is a beacon for your daughters to find their way.....however you choose to express your love for them, while keeping yourself intact, is a positive choice.

Big hugs to you Leafy.
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Well-Known Member
I think the story of this mother who has done everything to save her son followed by the one two punch about the dead son affected each of us in similar ways, New Leaf.

And I think we have fallen into holes like our children have. In both of our cases we have lost a loved one, under difficult circumstances. I think both of us felt we should have done more, and may even have been reproached with this by others. Each of us lost important people where the relationships had become difficult or not enough, or had always been that way. And on top of this our children kept falling and falling.

And the end result was that we ended up breaking down too, losing ourselves in the endless pain and conflict. We had fallen into pits too.
He told me how hard it was to get back out of that deep hole once you fell in.
she developed momentum and initiative to begin the journey out of the deep ditch she was in.
SHE was the one who chose to climb out of that hole and believe me, it was a deep one. She had nothing. Literally.
So we are in ditches now. The question to me is what do we need to do for us?

We can love our children, but the task at hand is to realize we are in our own holes and need to dig ourselves out.

I went to an AA meeting today. I go because I don't know what else to do. I've convinced myself I am an alcoholic, when I am not. For years I've had a glass of wine a couple of times a month at restaurants. That's it. So I stopped that, and began to call myself an alcoholic. Nobody at all is convinced I'm an alcoholic. Not me. Not the other members who are all of them kind to me. But go to the meetings, I do.

You see. I go because I don't know how to climb out of the hole that I have found myself in since my mother's death. And the suffering with my son. Everything I was, and did in my life has not worked to get me out of this hole. My mother is in a real hole now from which she will never leave, called a grave. My son is in another kind. And I am in my own kind.

Leafy. I think we are in the same hole.

A woman at the meeting said this: every day is a new day. Why would you feel that anything else in your past way of living would have prepared you to face what today brings? Instead of reacting to the feeling of despair, and brokenness it is to lean into it, to define ourselves by it, from it.

I believe that what we feel right now is purely about us. We may put our children's names on it but that is an afterthought.

By drawing a line and not permitting your two to hurt you further was a strong, responsible and kind thing. To them. No loving parent should allow their child to degrade them. You were not wrong to do this.

I agree with everything you have wrote. But I agree with recovering too. Recovering supported her child but she did not let her child hurt her, and she did not help her child hurt herself.

You did nothing wrong. This is not your crime. Nothing you can do can fix them. You know this. But they can fix themselves.

We are sad now and depleted. This is something internal to us. I think now is time for healing.

New Leaf

Well-Known Member
Thank you all for your kind and wise responses. Flip, flop.
I am having to rethink my approach.
After contact with Rain and comments from her sister Hoku about a conversation that ensued after sons graduation I am met with the utter insanity of my twos lifestyles and the real danger that presents to any kind of normalcy and just plain safety for my family as long as they are on the streets.
Rain is with another abusive man.
The revelation that he spent years in prison for a revenge murder is raising up all of my mama bears hackles and putting me back on the defensive, rightly so.
How insane is that?
Not only does Rain endanger herself by hooking up with these violent men, she threatens the safety of her family. She has brought him up to my home on a few occasions in the past. I had no idea of his background and have always been leery of her “street friends” knowing full well that they were also addicts and capable of doing harm.
Shocked back to the reality of this situation.
I can’t and won’t allow my family or myself to be subjected to the craziness of her choices.
Back to square one.
Rinse, repeat.
You know Copa, we can all look back with a huge dose of shoulda, woulda, coulda, thinking that maybe if I had responded thusly, things would be different now. I go there every so often, then I have to remind myself that I did the best I could under some very bizarre circumstances. Loving a child with mental health or addiction or co combined issues is definitely not a straight path. Yes, I made Rain leave at 18, she was defiant, hateful, lazy, partying, disrespectful. It was the right thing to do. That I did it with anger is something I have to forgive myself for.
It was still the right thing.
That was 22 years ago and she has repeated the same pattern of choosing partners who abuse her in one way or another. It is sad to recount her decline into the streets. But. Again. Choices.
I have to choose sanity and safety.
Going down to the park where Rain is. That’s insanity. Especially under these circumstances. Her boyfriend feels threatened by our contacting her. He tried to sabotage her coming to the graduation. She came, but slept through most of it, because of the drama she went through with him the night before and day of. I can’t and won’t place myself or my family in harms way. I can’t help her. She has to help herself.
As I am writing this, I am reflecting that this event was a family celebration, for my son and HIS accomplishments. While it was good to have Rain there, AGAIN, it became a shift in focus, over her issues brought on by her choices.
I am not blaming the victim, domestic violence is a horrible thing, but really? This pattern.
She commented that when she fled to an old boyfriend and this man came after her, the old boyfriend did nothing to help her.
This man is a murderer. Hello? Who wants to go up against that? Or get next to it?
It is opening my eyes once again that I fall into a pattern as well. Sucked into the vortex by the fear of sepsis and my Rain losing her life. The reality is, this may happen for any number of reasons due to her ill health, drug use, choosing to be with violent partners and expecting others to rescue her from her choice.
Compassion is one thing, placing yourself in harms way is insane.
So, I am totally rethinking this.
Back to square one.
You know, I was flashing back on the time Rain came up to the house years ago, beat up and downtrodden, at my door right before I was leaving for work. I called in late and offered to take her to a DV shelter. She refused. I have felt guilt that I did not do more. This is making me realize that it was all I could sanely do, considering my own safety and that of my son, my home.
This is all so crazy.
Shocked back to reality.
Thank you all for listening and sharing your heartfelt wisdom.
I need to toughen up my armor.
Or get a new shield altogether.


Well-Known Member
Dear New Leaf

This man Rain is with sounds CRAZY. I think you are exactly right. I think that as long as he is a variable in Rain's story, a wide berth needs to be taken. Let the choices be Rain's, and the rest follows from that.

That's what I hear in your post. That these are Rain's choices. Everything we feel, we do, originates there. With them. They have begun this cascade. We are in the way. We get crushed or we move. Or we move them.

There is a reality to this story. Several crushing realities. The sepsis, the drugs, and the murderer. Your grief and fear only arise from those realities. They cannot reverse them. Your grief and fear are an effect.

In this last post you have reconnected with your intention and your responsibility. These are NOT effects. They are purposeful and powerful. You have found yourself again.

I think that for me this is a time of healing. I have found a way to keep my son peripheral to my mental space. Thoughts of him, his needs, his health, his safety are no longer colonizing me. And what has happened? I have an intense sadness. Vulnerability. Sometimes I think I used the vulnerability of my son as a way of defending against my own.

Not good.

I will try my best to play on the home court, which is me.

Right now, Rain seems very much in control of her life. She has made purposeful choices, based upon what she wants and who she is right now. I know that sounds wacky to write that. But what else can we think? She is a middle aged woman living the life she has chosen. Not one thing you have written leads to the belief she wants anything different. The only thing she does not want is the consequences of her choices. Same as my own son.

We need to play on our own field. Not theirs.


Well-Known Member
New Leaf, my prayers go out to you and your daughter and I shake my head. You cant risk yourself. You cant. I cant. None of usc But we do. Until we get a big S.O.S.

I made Kay leave ny house but bought her her own house. Was I stupid? My compliant Husband too? It was ac house but in a good area. The mortgage was so low. They were responsible for paying less than some rentals. Lee had a decent job then. Well, Kay wouldnt work andh husband Lee didnt pay. Suspect pot, other drugs and a weed garden took their money and house. If that hadnt been.stupid enough of us we then gave in, out of fear for them being homeless, and paid money down for a new single wide mobile home. They would not pay the small lot fee and had several domestic fights in public and wild parties with crazy people until they ended up being warned to behave by the owner. They then sold the by then run down mh for $1000. We paid apartment rent after that and when Kay got pregnant she played us for all we had left.

One day Lee came over and was drunk and threatened to kill us. Believe it or not we were still enabling and did not want Jadens father in jail. Weg along well with Lee's poor parents so we called them to talk Lee down. They are not on good terms but they were able to come over and get him away from us. Then we all cried together as Lee went home in an uber, too drunk to drive home. Few words. Hugs and tears.

This was when we stopped giving out money or help unless it was to buy Jaden diapers.

Even the worst enablers get it most of the time someday. Our kids have nasty friends and are often dangerous too. I believe Lee and Kay are both capable of hurting us. They slap each other. A lot. Can we ever know they wont do us harm? And tje baby! The cops have never taken.him because their domestic fights don't include Jaden so far thank God. But I am wondering if the.cops ever called cps them. I dont know which makese wonder if I should. Or if that would only make it worse.

Thanks for your post. I hope it helps you to know that your sharing helped me remember that these particular types of kids can have dangerous associates. Or be dangerous and hurt us. It is so hard for me to look at the old picture of my beautiful girl as a chubby cheeked child with sparkling eyes and remember that she is no longer that sweet little girl.

I hope one day God touches our girls. Until then we must fight through the pain, one step at a time.
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Well-Known Member
Quick note..
We are all different.
I’m not sure at all my acquaintance’s way of handling her “situation” will work. It seems to be. But, who really knows. And her son didn’t seem to drink or use drugs other than marijuana. He also caught on that working was a good thing. Not sure if he wants to , can or will work full time. But, part time is better than nothing and the rest might come along. It’s an unknown.

We can’t truly compare ourselves to others though.

I had a bio child and since I’m an only child didn’t like the idea of having just one. I had too many health problems to give birth again. Sooo I suggested we adopt. Omg. Oops. My Difficult Child is adopted. I spent time in therapy reviewing that decision...believe me.

I know I’m not the same person after two specific life events: early death of my mother and having a Difficult Child. Both turned my life upside down. Both were not my fault. Helpless, hopeless...great confusion and pain. But life moved on.

Love them as best as you can. Do what seems right. Set boundaries. Don’t let your soul get crushed. Don’t blame yourself. I know there were many times I had to lean heavily on my Higher Power. This stuff is hard as heck. But you are strong.


Well-Known Member
I heard a saying that sometimes the definition of heaven is backing away from hell. I came back here because I needed a booster shot of sense and I got that and more from all of you. Thank you and I'm sorry we're all in this situation.:group-hug:
We had fallen into pits too.
The pit is such an apt description. In all of the chaos that has ensued in my life over the years there are 2 things that I try to remember when dealing with my difficult children. The first is to stay away from the pit. Don't even look at the pit. I think I have the ability to ascertain where the ground goes soft and it becomes dangerous, but I don't. The edges crumble and before you know it you are on your way down. It is in my nature to trust, forgive, hope, love and mother. I thought it was all the best parts of me. In normal circumstances they would be, but this is anything but normal. We left normal in my childrens' jr. high years. Normal is a town in central Illinois.
The second thing is that if I am in the pit, don't go farther down. I can lose ground all by myself even without any contact with my kids. I bought one of those Legacy box things where you send in pictures and they digitize them for you. Holy hell, that trip down memory lane was fraught with melancholy and wistful tears. My parents, my late sister, my babies, me without the careworn look of "Auntie Em". I deal with a certain baseline of stress daily mostly due to clinical depression. If I linger on memories, hopeful outcomes, get over sentimental or think there is something I should do to improve the situation or move it along...watch out! The ground beneath my feet is crumbling and I better scramble back to safer ground.
I am just now learning this and trying to manage my emotions. My tendency is to isolate and get quieter and quieter. I think sometimes my husband just wants to come over and take my pulse.
I am still here and working toward building MY life. I do backslide. Nothing about this is easy. EVER.