Trains That go Bump in the Night


Life is a rolling train wreck sometimes.

I think I write for the same reasons that I read.

I’m an escape artist.

I have two adult children with epilepsy, and they frequently face challenges that would daunt the average person.  They didn’t ask for it–they just have it.

Oddly enough, although the ‘e’ word still rears it’s ugly head and we sometime spend long hours in hospitals, epilepsy is the least of the worries.  When you throw into the mix several other loved ones who are dealing with varying stages of meth addiction, your family will occasionally have a train wreck.

When the addict went to jail I felt joy–joy that he was out of the gutter and in a dry place where they feed him and supply him with his insulin, and his violent, hateful self was locked away from me.

I’m a rotten sister.

I’m no longer buying into the insidious guilt trip that the addicts are SO good at pushing on us. I no longer allow him to bleed me dry of money and in November of 2012  I called BS on his protestations of innocence.  His attempts to make the rest of us feel guilty because we never devolved into gutter-dwelling crack-hos no longer have the desired effect on me. I told him that I would purchase his insulin, but that was all I would buy. I do love the wonderful boy he used to be before meth destroyed him, and I don’t want him to die. So that day in November, I paid for his insulin at the pharmacy. His nasty attitude was such that I felt he could pick it up himself.

That didn’t play to his plans at all. He couldn’t wheedle cigarettes or any other outlays of cash from me.  I was sent a text message that referred to me in the most vile of terms. He hasn’t called me since. According to the local grapevine, he has cut me off–I am no longer a member of his family.

Neither is his son, for the same reasons.

When he was released from jail last week, phone calls from him to others in the family demonstrated that it’s business as usual for him. I feared that the threats and cajolery, lies and promises would begin again, but so far he hasn’t called me. Every member of the family who remains in communication with this creature of the night is poisoned by his touch. You never know what phone call to answer and what to ignore, because once he figures out that you won’t answer when your caller ID says he is calling, he uses other people’s phones.

Let the celebrations begin! Since he cut me off, I have not had to pay for his insulin, which is not cheap. Where he is getting it, I don’t know. He is still alive, and I haven’t bought him any since November.

Thus it is that I immerse myself in fantasy worlds and my husband spends his free time gardening. We are united in our efforts to avoid dealing with the addicts.

Addicts have NO gratitude. Don’t expect it, they don’t have it. All they have is a bottomless need and a burning envy. The addict desires to own your possessions but not to enjoy them the way you enjoy them.  They will use them and give them away in exchange for drugs or position within their clan of using ‘friends’. The user feels completely separate from his family. The user will hate you for not being a fellow user, but though they despise you, they will use you until you are an empty husk.

Princess of Quite a Lot by Mary Englebreit

Princess of Quite a Lot by Mary Engelbreit

I am in so many ways a princess of quite a lot, in a completely Mary Engelbreit way! Having a train wreck in the family really helps to underscore what is true and positive, what is real and important. It underscores the love that binds us and also breaks us.

I am grateful for the fact that my home is a calm, pleasant little castle; 1100 square feet of modest suburban serenity. My husband and I worked hard for this tiny bungalow, and we are a bit house-proud in that we maintain it well. I am grateful that my children have good, happy lives.  I am grateful for my beautiful grandchildren.

Even when the sound of grinding metal alerts me to the fact that another train has gone bump in the night, I am grateful for the truth of my real treasure–love. Yes, it is a deadly weapon and can be used against me, and it has been used to cut my heart out, but nonetheless I am grateful for it.

I am not alone in living with the wreckage of this devastating, evil drug. Nearly every family in my county has been touched by it.  The schools are filled with children whose lives are forever tagged with the label ‘children of meth’. Society looks down on them and turns away, fearing their misery is contagious. At Christmas, polite society buys a teddy bear  or a Christmas basket for the annual “Toys for Tots” campaign, but what about the rest of the year? The problem is so huge, so overwhelming that the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services can’t even begin to cope with it.

It falls back on the rest of us to do what we can for the affected children in our own family, and hope for the best when it comes to society at large.

Gratitude is my wealth.

Living in my fantasy world of make-believe is my refuge, and writing about it is my liberation. Real life I take one day at a time, and I remain grateful.


Filed under Battles, Books, Epilepsy, Humor, Literature, writer, writing

9 responses to “Trains That go Bump in the Night

  1. When I moved from a small town to a large city, I was worried about raising my kids around “big city problems”. It took a few years of me growing up and a few visits back to my small town to realize they’re not immune from problems either. Meth is spreading fast and, you are right, too many children and families are being touched by this horrible drug.


  2. Good for you and your hubby Connie. Knowing what’s it’s like having an addicted loved-one, it is imperative to have an outlet of some sort in which to escape…if only briefly.


  3. Thank you @FindingStrengthToStandAgain and also thank you @Donna! I just felt it was time to open a dialogue about the lives of the FAMILIES of addicts. I know that it has worked its way into the best of families, and no one speaks about it, so they don’t realize that what they are going through is a common occurrence and that they are not alone.


  4. From the heart, Connie. And that’s exactly what addicts have lost. As you say, there is only need, only ‘I’ and everything human is subsumed to that need. Whilst big money is to be made, the problem will continue. No, you are not a bad sister, just an intelligent human who knows when kindness is a curse for everyone concerned and a hammer with which you can be beaten.


  5. Living with an addict in the family is a true test of the mind, will, and emotions. I didn’t speak to my brother for nearly 15 years. The good news is, he survived and we have rebuilt a very solid relationship.
    You are not to blame!!! Use your outlet to keep your sanity and be patient. Hopefully, he will reach a point where he realizes that his family is more important than the drugs. I wish you all the luck and good wishes in the world.


  6. Thank you Dennis, and thank you Stephen (Myra) for your private message. The way we support each other is through open dialogue! Secrecy is the tool of the enemy in this case.


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