Moving on

I’m uprooting myself from my home that I’ve lived in for 6 1/2 years and relocating to a sober living home that specializes in women and children. It’s already CPS approved and I’ll be able to have community visits at the house and eventually overnights. I’m nervous, anxious, excited, and scared. Scared of succeeding. I used to think it was fear of failing and then my one on one counselor, when I was attending an intensive outpatient treatment center, told me that I was actually scared to succeed. You see, I’m used to failure. As an addict… you fail all of the time. We get so used to it… so used to it, that I don’t think I’ve ever planned on succeeding. I’ve worked so hard to get my children back and I’ve done all of the right things. Getting adequate housing was the last on the list and I’m finally doing it. I regret waiting so long… but there’s nothing I can do about it now. I can only move forward.

God, grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. This a prayer I need to recite throughout the day today. Our rent is due on the 3rd of every month. My landlord is a SLUMLORD. I’ve lived here for 6 1/2 years and he’s made it abundantly clear, that he won’t fix anything. No appliances. Nothing. Our heating system works whenever it wants to. When it’s not working, it just blows cold air out. I made him aware of the problem… after roughing it out for 2 years and he told me that I was responsible for getting it fixed. That’s illegal; in California anyways. A landlord has an obligation to make sure there is a working heating system in cold weather. The only times he’s ever fixed anything is when the damage threatened his property. We moved in August of 2014. The main sewer line broke. It was a nightmare because instead of hiring a licensed plumber, he had a crew of ex cons and ex addicts. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care about their pasts. I myself am a recovering addict. You’d think it was a nice gesture of my landlord to provide work for these people. That’s not why he did it tho. He did it so it so he could spend the least amount of money as possible. The next thing was we had standing water underneath our house. It was disgusting. He never even came over for that. He sent one of his workers out to fix it. The dude just fixed the pipe and let the heat dry out the wet soil. We were breathing that air in for God knows how long. I started this a few days ago and oddly enough, today is the day that I’m going to pay rent. It took me from the third until today. One of my roommates just bailed on us. Like total dirtbag shit. I talked to him Monday and he told me that in a few hours he would cash app me the $469. I guess he had a change of heart because I haven’t heard from him since. Totally went ghost. Like… wtf? He’s lived here since June. I’m the one that let him move in here. Sometimes shit that people do just blows my mind. It’s total drug addict shit. Self-center ness is the core of our disease. That was some fucked up shit. I shouldn’t even be dealing with this shit. I should have moved out months ago. Living in this house is preventing me from getting my children back. The ONLY thing that’s standing in the way. When shit hits the fan and it’s time to suite up and show up… that’s what I do. I don’t fuck around when it comes down to times like these. It’s all or nothing and I’m all in. I just thought their father would be too. I held out hope for way too long. 7 months. I was in complete denial. Then to think that he would leave the house so that I could get the kids back here. I expected that to happen. Yet, he’s still here. So, on Monday, I’ll be moving into a sober living facility that accommodates women and children. It’s not what I want. It’s not what’s best for my kids. It’s also not my fault that it’s come to this tho. I may have been the catalyst for our current situation, but he had an obligation to get his shit together as well. Him and his family are completely oblivious to the fact that he’s become the problem now. It was me. Now it’s him. I’m excited but scared. Nobody likes change. Change is usually good tho. I know my higher power stepped in when I had my daughter. I found a journal entry that was written the night before my water broke. I was talking about how I wanted so badly to get clean and how I needed a positive role model in my life. It’s crazy. Within 24 hours my water broke and I was pos tox for meth and my children were taken away. When I wrote that entry, obviously I wasn’t asking for all this shit. Bottom line tho… my higher power gave me exactly what I needed. I don’t think he brought me this far to have me fail. I’m going to get my kids back. I’ve always known that and I’ve never given up hope. I believe that as long as I continue to put in the action and give up the things that I don’t have control over and trust in my higher power to do what’s best for me… everything will be as it should be. Accept. Surrender.

Drug court

For those who aren’t familiar with it… it’s a year long program. While enrolled in Drug Court, you must complete a treatment program at whatever appropriate facility you test for. They give you an ASAM. From the criteria they collect from that, the test determines whether you need inpatient, intensive outpatient, or just outpatient. I tested for outpatient but was mandated to an inpatient facility. I stayed 18 days and self discharged because their refusal to get me the necessary medical treatment I needed. I was then given the opportunity to enroll in an intensive outpatient program, which is where I tested for anyways. I graduated in January. You also have to do random testing. When you are in a program, they take care of it there. When you’re not in a program, they have this place called Intercept Offender Monitoring. You have to call every day. The audio recording tells you if you need to test that day or not. If you no show… it is considered an administrative fail. Same thing as using drugs and failing. You also have to attend 3 NA or AA meetings a week. You have to appear in court once a month. Tomorrow will be my 8th appearance because I didn’t have to go in December or last month. It should be my 10th. The judge wasn’t present for 2 of them. I’ve gotten incentive cards for my last 5 appearances. Incentive cards are gift cards to McDonalds or the dollar store and when you get one, it means you’re doing an excellent job. Hopefully, I’ll keep the trend going and get one tomorrow. That’s my goal. Of course I’ve tested clean the entire time. That’s when I got clean. When I knew I was going to be referred to drug court. So, I’ll celebrate my ONE YEAR right before I graduate. I can’t wait. Just another thing checked off the list.

At the park

Right now I’m at the park with my two older boys. Madden is 9 & Breckin is 6. I love being around my boys. They make me so happy. I can’t wait to get them back. It’s going to be difficult at first. I’m not used to being a mother, let alone of 4 children. I mean… I was a mother as far as financially taking care of my family but I wasn’t nearly as present as I should have been. It’s been a long road. This past year. I wouldn’t change it for anything tho. If I could change one thing, it would be the effect that it’s had on my children. I know my 9 year old is suffering. I have a lot to be thankful for as far as CPS goes, but I have plenty to be upset about regarding the way things went down. I’ll explain that later. The way they handled things initially, was absolutely horrendous. A parent’s worst nightmare. I accept full accountability for my actions. I tested pos tox for methamphetamine upon admission at UC Davis when my water broke at 33 weeks. I also failed to get prenatal care. I lived with both of my children’s fathers. I could have been removed from the home and placed somewhere with my baby. That’s not how things went down tho. More to come…

Today I celebrate 9 months clean!

Today, I celebrate 9 months clean. I just happen to have a child visit today, as well. My higher power is blessing me and has blessed me so much. I see my 9 & my 6 year old for 2 hours. From 12-2. We usually get something to eat and then go to the park. It’s difficult right now, with covid going on. Usually, if you have community visits, you can have them at your house if it gets approved. Unfortunately for me, my house isn’t approved. Their father still resides here even tho we haven’t been together since January of 2016. His progress is not up to their standards. To be quite frank, it’s not up to my standards either. He’s had an ample amount of time, just as I have… to get his shit together. I waited the past 6 months hoping that he would comply. Now, comes the difficult part. I have to move. I’ve lived in the house since August of 2015. I was pregnant with my 6 year old here. That’s all he’s ever known. Nobody likes change. My 9 year old is on the spectrum and no one hates change more than he does. Their father had said that he will leave. I can’t sustain this house on my own. I’ve been running on self-will for so long. I’ve been trying to control everyone and everything around me. It’s like I’ve been chasing my tail. Nothing has come of it. My younger children’s father got placement of my little ones at his mom’s because I don’t have housing. Go figure. I should have left a long time ago. I was just in denial. It’s time to let go and let God, as they say. I’m turning my will and my life over to him. That’s the third step and I’ve completed it. I still have to drop it with my sponsor tho. Let’s see where God guides me. I have faith that he will guide me in the right direction. After my visit I have my 28th CBT session. CPS only requires us to complete 20, but I requested 10 more. I’ve been somewhat out of commission because I had surgery on the 12th. I had to have my gallbladder removed and I had an umbilical hernia repaired as well. The doc says I’m still on, “light duty”. I get to start having overnights! They have to be at a hotel tho. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t resent my older boys’ father. It shouldn’t be like that. They should be here. At their home.

In between… then & now

I will have 9 months clean on the 27th. NA is what saved my life. I identify as a grateful recovering addict. I have a sponsor. I just finished my 3rd step, I just need to drop it with my sponsor. I’ve completed everything that CPS requested of me. I completed an 8 week parenting course. I went to inpatient for 18 days but self discharged. I was able to enroll in a 6 month intensive outpatient program and just graduated on January 26th. I have 5 hours a week visits with my children, unsupervised, in the community. I secretary a meeting every Monday night and have two other service commitments. I’m still enrolled in Drug Court until May 31st. So, I’ll be randomly tested until I graduate from Drug Court.

Allow me to introduce myself

Well, I already have. My name is Ashley Rae. I’m 37 years old. I have 5 children. Four boys and one girl. Hudson, 17. Madden, 9. Breckin, 6. Talon, 2. Raevyn, 1. My eldest son, Hudson, lives in NH with his father. He moved there 3 years ago. Currently, I am also without the rest of my children. My 9 & 6 year old, live with their paternal grandparents. My 2 & 1 year old, live with their father and paternal grandmother. It wasn’t always like that though. Things were different. A lot of things were different. So many things have changed. I took my children for granted. I chose drugs over my children. It doesn’t have to be that way tho, and today, it isn’t. I’m set for reunification. I just need to find housing. On May 27th of this year, I’ll have a year clean. I don’t think I’ve ever had a year clean since I began abusing drugs when I was 14 or 15. The longest I could ever abstain were throughout my pregnancies and my last two that even became challenging. I was able to quit with my 4th but I struggled with my 5th and that is when God intervened. I relapsed on a line of meth. My water broke at 33 weeks. I went to UC Davis, the best children’s hospital in California. I hadn’t even had prenatal care. I knew that I wouldn’t be taking my baby home from the hospital. I could have never imagined what happened upon my arrival home tho. I’ll never forget the date, as long as I live. January 23rd, 2020. An intake investigator from CPS showed up at my door with a court order signed by a judge to remove all of my children from myself and their fathers and place them in protective custody. I skipped a little. I’ll go back to that though. That is what brought me to where I am today.