The Naltrexon was working so when the two months were over, you went back to New Jersey again to get another implant. One of the guys that was working for us had the same addiction you had, so we told him if he wanted to go with you, we would pay to have his implant put in. In my heart of hearts, I really knew that the Naltrexone was only a bandaid. You weren't dealing with your addiction, you were just hiding it. But Honey, it was so wonderful to see you not on drugs. I kept hoping that not being on them would enable you to take a closer look at what you could do to manage them. But, the implants were short-lived along with your being clean.
There would be times when I would get a call from your little boys telling me you were sleeping but they couldn't get you into bed. They were only six and four years old. I would drive over to your home to find you in the stupor the drugs put you in. You would be standing up, hunched over, and stiff like. You would sway back and forth, jerk, wake a little and then fall back into your lethargy. Most of the time, you would have a cigarette in your hand, burnt clear to the filter. I would stay with my grandsons until I could get you to lie down on the couch. I would cover you up and then load the boys into my car and take them home to stay the night.
The thing is Honey, I knew you knew what you were doing to your boys, and I knew that knowledge you buried into your mind with all the other regrets you had. I knew it ate at you daily. You knew that Christian would stay home from school, because he was afraid if he left your side, you would die. You knew that your finances suffered, not because you didn't earn enough money, but because what you earned went towards your drugs. You knew you were not going anyplace in life; you weren't growing, achieving, accomplishing all that you knew you could. In fact my precious son, you didn't want to be who you were.
There's a saying among recovering addicts and alcoholics that when addiction starts, development stops. I saw this with you honey. Your emotional development stopped at the age that you started using drugs. You didn't know how to deal with life. If you were worried, instead of dealing with what worried you, you took drugs to hide it. If you were sad, instead of dealing with what was making you sad, you took drugs to hide it. It all became such a horrible vicious cycle.
How many friends did you watch die over the course of your life? I can think of six. Your friend "V" was such a cute guy. He was funny and charming and cute. I spoke at his funeral, and watched you and Mark place duck calls in is pocket as he laid in his casket. When "V" died from drugs, I thought "This has got to make him see what the drugs are doing. Surely this will wake him up and he will see where he is headed." But you buried it under your own addiction.
I've heard it said that each of us have one special person come into their lives; a soul mate so to say. You found yours in "K". She came into your life and she would never leave it again, if only in your heart.
She moved in with you along with her little boy. He and your sons became fast friends and I, looking for the magic answer to your problems, hoped she would be the answer. Surely, you would do anything for her; anything to keep her.
She became pregnant, and you were ecstatic. You were so certain it was a little girl. Once again I thought "A little girl. Surely, she will turn him around." But "she" didn't come to be. "K" miscarried, and you both were crushed.
Once again, there were three of you in your relationship; you, "K" and drugs. "K" made the correct choice that she needed to think of her little boy and what your relationship would do to him, so she left. For the rest of your life you would tell me there would never be anyone else for you. She was the love of your life. The damn drugs robbed you of her too. And of course, you didn't know how to deal with all your emotions, so you hid them with a bottle of pain pills.
The price of your addiction caused you to lose your home in Springville. You, Vince and Christian moved in with us in Payson. You see my darling son, tough love still wouldn't work when Vince and Christian were in the middle.
Your dad lost the contracts he had in utility construction, so he decided to shut the business down. We moved from our Payson house to a rental in Santaquin. Mark had started his own excavation business and was doing well. You started taking the construction classes so you could get your own license also. "Dirt" was in your blood you would say and you loved to play in it. My sober son had all the right ideas about life. He liked to work hard and would teach his sons the same. "Head down...ass up," you would teach your boys about shoveling, indicating the position they should keep in.
Honey, you didn't even know how truly intelligent you were. Yes, you struggled in school because of ADHD, but your mind was wonderful. How you loved the "History Channel" and would absorb and could recall everything you watched on it. You were so inventive. You were so quick witted. The things that came out of your mouth at an instant's notice would amaze me (and more often than not, shock me). You loved God and you loved the world He created. The mountains were your cathedral. The sun, God's gift. The natural man God created in you was so wonderful!
Your goal to get your contractor's license once again was replaced with pain pills. You had lost your job and was deeply depressed. Your dad and I had found a house in Mona, but we couldn't move into it until we could get a well dug and the waterline ran, so we were going to stay down at the house but live in our trailer house until it was ready to move into.
I had found needles in the bathroom and knew you were doing heroine. You didn't have a job, would soon not have a place to live, and still had two wonderful young boys who needed to be thought of. Sheree offered to take Vince and Christian to Idaho to live with her until you were able to get on your feet. You had reached the lowest part of your life I had ever seen you reach. Losing your sons now made you depressed, angry and resentful...but not at the drugs. You were mad at the world. In your mind, you saw me as being the one who took your boys away from you.
You moved in with a friend and was able to get a job. Your dad and I had finally got moved into our house after a couple of months of waiting for permits, well drillers, materials and the money to pay for it all.
You were working in south Santaquin one day when I called you and asked if you would like to run down to Mona for your lunch. It was the first time you had talked to me since the fall-out we had had weeks prior. You came down, and we talked. You said you were getting an apartment in Payson and were going to go pick the boys up from Sheree's. They had done well at Sheree's; had the structure they had never had before but I knew how much they loved their Dad. They missed you so much. Some might wonder how they could miss a life with an addict. It's because as I've said before honey. In you there were two men. There was Daren and there was Daren on drugs. Daren was simply wonderful.
"What If." I have asked myself that question so many times over my life. "What if" I hadn't called you that day. Would it had made a difference? "What if" we would have fought you for Vince and Christian. Would that have made you face your demons? What if...what if.. what if.
You went to work for Mark, overseeing some of the projects he had going. Daren was such an assett to him. You could oversee men and get them to do what you wanted done in such a positive manner; a manner where when they left the job, they still liked to be around you. Some of the grouchiest city inspectors were putty in your hands. You could win them over with your quick wit, a handshake, and a grin.
Of course, Daren on drugs was a different story; one Mark would understandably have little patience for.
You worked for him until the first part of 2009. The economy was falling apart and the construction industry was failing.
Haley and Jereme had invited you to move up to Alaska and live with them until you could get yourself set up. So in July of 2009, you and your boys set off on your Alaska adventure. The pictures of you in Alaska were wonderful. You had started gaining weight, and looked so healthy in the pictures with your sons and all the fish you were catching. You had a construction job and things were looking up for you. In September of 2009, you had been asked if you would like to house-set for a man and his wife who were going to the lower 48 for the winter. All you would need to pay would be the utilities. It was a beautiful house that sat right on the Salcha River.
In May of that year, your dad had suffered a heart attack. He had bounced back from having a stent put in, but then the drug store had filled the wrong prescription for him which set him back. Other health issues forced him out of the dump truck business we had started. The stress of everything was having its toll on him. We were not able to make the payments on the dump truck nor on our house. I didn't know what we were going to do. But then you called and told us to come to Alaska and live with you. Living in Alaska had always been your dad's dream and now you had made it possible.
Mark took over the dump truck and the payments, we sold our home on a short sale and your dad and I headed to Alaska. He drove his one ton truck, pulling our trailer house and I followed in my car. The only things of our lives of 45 years that we kept, were on the back of his truck and strapped to the top of the trailer. My possessions kept consisted of my Christmas decorations. His was a few of his construction tools. I had learned that my home did not consist of the roof we lived under, but of the people that were under that roof. I had your dad, so wherever he was at could be my home.
You and Haley met us at the Salcha Lodge as we pulled into Salcha and led us to where we would be living.
"Honey," I asked you, "are you sure about this. I don't want your dad and I to be a burden on you and the boys."
"Mom," you said. "Stop being stupid. You're worried about being a burden on me after all the years I've been your burden. My home is your home. Whatever I have is yours."
Through all the years being in the construction business, I could not remember ever being able to enjoy a winter. Winters were times when we worried about getting enough work, about keeping our employees employed, and keeping equipment and tools maintained. It had never been a time we could really relax and enjoy being inside and warm on a cold winter evening without stress. But that first winter in Alaska gave that to us.
You had been helping Haley and Jereme with the "Salcha House of Horrors" a spook house they helped put together for Halloween. It was held at an old abandoned shack that sat in a field out in Salcha. On Halloween there, the temperatures would drop to a negative 20 to 30, so a fire had to be kept burning so the people who came could gather around it to keep warm until it was their turn to go through the haunted house. You were in charge of getting firewood and keeping the fire burning.
"Nobody's going to be crazy enough to come out in this weather to go to a haunted house," your dad said. But he didn't know Alaskan's very well. The place was PACKED! You kept a big roaring fire going and enlisted your dad's help. He was loving standing by the fire talking to everyone who came. I watched you...being Daren and was so glad you came to Alaska. You were happier than I had ever seen you and so were your boys.
The construction stopped in Alaska and you went on unemployment. I had picked up a part-time bookkeeping job. Your dad had some setbacks with his health. He had caught the swine flu and had pneumonia in both lungs. We put him in the hospital and he slowly started getting a little better physically, but his depression was getting bad. I became frustrated when he said "How in God's name did I end up in this frozen hell," when it had been his dream we were living.
We had Thanksgiving at our house and invited Haley and Jereme over along with some people that didn't have anyplace to go that Thanksgiving day.
Christmas Eve was spent there too as well as New Year's Eve. You and Jereme braved sub-zero weather to set off fireworks over the frozen Salcha River while the rest of us huddled around a burn barrell to keep warm. It was such a wonderful experience being there, in that house, with you and the boys and enjoying our first winter. I thank you so much for that time honey.
The signs began. They were soft at first, but I knew them well. You would lay on the couch and not want to go out. One day. Two days and you would stay. I know now honey that you were afraid. You were afraid to venture out, because what you were feeling made you know that if you left, you would run towards finding drugs. And drugs can be found. It doesn't matter where one moves, unless of course it's an isolated island, drugs and temptations will follow. An itch that you can't scratch away, even though you have tried and have reached blood. It still itches until it drives you crazy. The itch was back for my son.