The garden is planted!


We were able to construct 3 vertical palette gardens and bring them to Cyd’s program last weekend and get some herbs and vegetables growing for the house.  We also got some berry bushes planted.  We are hoping this will bring these ladies some much needed fresh ingredients to add to their diet as well as give them a project to work on together and a skill set for life after the program.  This was their idea…so we were just happy to help them make it come to fruition.  That’s what it’s all about…them doing for themselves in a positive and productive manner.

Cydney and I had a chance to have a short conversation concerning her blog and the fact she is unable to send in her own writing.  For now that’s fine as working her program and following their rules is what’s important.  I would just like to make clear here, that this blog and the facebook community page as well as her desire to speak out about her journey after rehab and possibly share her writings throughout all of this…was completely her idea and something she asked me to help start, while she was in jail.  I write. That’s what I do and have always done.  It helps me heal. The writings her, except the last post and this one….have all been Cydney’s hand.  I was raised to take the bad and find something good in it, such as sharing my experiences, as hard as it may be, with hopes it may help someone else.  Cydney has learned this as well.  We make lemonade when life hands us lemons, so  she is making lemonade by sharing her experience.  This was her choice and I’m just helping out.

I make these statements to you now for anyone reading this for the first time or anyone who might have questions about her motives.  It was expressed to Cydney that they thought  that although this effort was commendable, she should also be reminded that this may all be premature as she is not recovered, she is in recovery.  Well, no duh… is all I have to say to that remark.  Cydney explained what I explained above, but I have a feeling that the person who made this statement to her and the others who know about her blog in rehab, may not have even read any of this yet.   If they had, they would understand that sharing her experience through her journey into recovery and sobriety is what its all about.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  Come what may.  This isn’t going to be an easy road to navigate….by any means.  Cydney intends to share it all with you. SHE IS NOT RECOVERED!  We know that.  Nor will she be recovered once done with this 1 year program.  She will still have so much work to do….but writing can be a cathartic experience and as long as she wants to do this…wants me to keep it going for her, I will.

While she can’t send in her own writings, we do discuss the topics that I write for her and the sentiments she wants conveyed.  She would like any one reading this to know she has nothing but good intentions in sharing her story.  Just because she is in rehab and sober, sharing her experiences, does she for a minute think that she is recovered from her addiction.  Drug addiction is also known as a substance use disorder, which is something Cydney will deal with for the rest of her life.  She is fully aware of this.  But, she also knows that living a full, happy and balanced life is possible and this she aims to share with her audience.  We both hope you keep coming back to read.

The saga continues!




Although Cydney is unable to write and send me her blog posts (due to rules about communicating on social media while in her rehab program), we have decided we will keep this going per our conversations.  I’ll be writing it, but it will be subjects Cydney has decided she thinks are important to share.  So, how did her first 45 days go?

She was ready to do this.  She had completely made up her mind it was time to get sober and change her life as is apparent in her previous writings to me and posted here and on her facebook page….she was ready to fight.  She still is, but it hasn’t been easy.

No longer is she trying to trick the system, looking for way to control her drug use and keep her self submersed in the lurid lifestyle of the streets and addiction….however, the new behaviors she once knew but lost, haven’t come back to her as easily as she would have liked.

The house she lives in is a beautiful old Spanish style Santa Barbara abode.  Three stories mark the front house which has an office a large combined living/dinning space complete with a large fireplace. A spacious kitchen literally straight out of an era long gone by, yet very functional.  The back house is separated from the front house with a wonderful patio/courtyard filled with mature landscaping of beautiful flowers and comforting shade trees.  The back house has a TV room and an art room as well as an office for computer/vocational training.  There is also a room for prayer, bible study and daily devotionals. Although the religious aspect may not be my cup of tea or even really hers, a spiritual disconnection to a higher power is one of the things almost all  addicts experience and reconnecting is integral to(and herself)  recovery.  So, the religious aspect of this program….or any… is invaluable.

Sounds like a beautiful place to land yourself when looking for an option for recovery, right?  A block from walkable State street and a mile from the beach?  Great!  Even if she really can’t partake in these sights as of yet, what a fabulous place to live, regardless of if it’s because you are fighting for your sobriety.  What’s the problem you ask?  Well, of course it’s been with acclimating herself to living by normal societal rules, i.e waking up in the morning, getting dressed and starting her day as well as being respectful of others (and herself) by not using vulgar and/or offensive language such as the F word….her favorite and mine!  Very difficult!  In fact so difficult Cydney found herself facing removal from the program at her 30 day mark.  They were willing to work with her, giving her two weeks extended probation to make it work.  Her father and I were in a panic that we had to mask.  When we asked her “where will you go if you are exited?” she reminded us it would be back to jail….for three years as the Drug court judge had ordered if she were to exit this program early.  Ugh!

So, we held our breath, bought her an alarm clock and said multiple prayers for her.  Although we see a huge difference in our daughter there is no way she could come home. First, there’s nothing here for her where we live but trouble and second, she has a long, long road to go before she is living outside of a program.  This one year will barely be enough for her to move to the next phase of her recovery and living in sobriety.  So, we prayed as this program was the best hope we’d had in years….and Cydney completely agreed.  She said there was no way she’d let her self ruin this.  She was no longer willing to let life dictate her and then blame it on everyone else.  She was taking responsibility for her actions (the only thing she has control over) and make it through, and make it she did!

I can’t tell you how proud we are of her.  I know, how far the standard has fallen for what we find pride in with her accomplishments.  But seriously you have no idea what a huge accomplishment it is that she is now up everyday as she should be, showered and dressed ready for the day, putting forth a full day of productivity. As apposed to the dark of night she lived in for so many years…literally up all night and sleeping 13 hours a day (when she slept).  Talking to her is so much more pleasant when she is forced to use her vocabulary (which has always been quite extensive)   instead of filling in her thoughts with experlatives that lessen the impact of the words and ideas she is trying to convey. I’d dare say it’s a miracle in our eyes, as we were sure we had completely lost her to the life she had been living.  With just these two items under control, we see a very bright future.  She’s there, completely present in her life! The best result of these accomplishments is she is proud of herself.  That, is priceless.

So what does someone like Cydney do when her mind is her own again and she is faced with a problem that needs solving?  One that not only effects her life, but those around her she has come to care about?  She comes up with a solution.  That’s the Cydney we know and just what she has done.

The food budget, you can imagine, is low.  To feed the 12 girls in the program they buy  inexpensive food which is high in preservatives and low in nutritional value. Frozen food and quick, easy meals are the staples, not fruits and vegetables. This isn’t the program’s fault as they do what they can with the funding they have.  However, everyone knows the healthier the body the healthier the mind and the better for recovery and sobriety.  I gave Cydney a Better Homes and Garden book of gardening herbs and vegetables in her Easter basket and a light bulb went off.  Cydney asked for permission to build planter boxes and grow their own produce and berries!  She asked her dad and I to foot the bill!  Fortunately a few in my community have responded to this idea and are willing to help out and this weekend we will be headed to her program and helping the girls erect there own  vertical palette garden! Way to go Cyd!  So very proud….again!  Life is all about finding solutions and doing for yourself.  The girls aren’t expecting a hand out, they are taking the initiative to grow the food themselves in an effort to better their own lives!  WOW!  That’s huge on so may levels, not to mention the skills they’ll all cultivate in growing this garden.  Kudo’s to them. My husband and I will help any of this type of initiative these girls show.  I feel a little bad, because I never thought to reach out to community programs like these before my child was part of one.  I should have.  But, coulda, shoulda, woulda….I’m doing it now.

The next year holds a lot in store for both Cydney and us as a family.  Next week the four of us (my son included) will spend 2 hours together for Mother’s Day.  The first in many years passed. I can’t wait to tell you how that goes.

The message Cydney hoped to convey here would be that anything is possible when you take responsibility and control of your actions.  It is only yourself who holds you back.  I like that message as I think it may resonate with anyone who is reading this.  Stay tuned as we have so much more to share and as always, thank you for your support of Cydney and our family!


I’m never going back!

“It is in the nature of things that joy arises, in a person free from remorse.” ~ The Buddha


I left jail last week.  I entered into a year long program for rehabilitation that I never thought I’d look forward to!  I’m never going back.

I’m happy.  I haven’t been able to say that for years.  I’m not afraid…that too has not been something I could say.  I’m completely living in this day.  Wow!

Before I left, I got some more books that my mom sent to me.  She knows me. She knows what interests me even when I don’t.  I haven’t  read a book in years and now it feels like my brain is a sponge.  All I want to do is read.  Hold that book in my hands and turn the pages…always wanting more. I hope this feeling never goes away.

I wrote to her and told her I think its the bond we share.  I know it is.  When I was young my mother was gentle and kind in her teaching of me.  I can see the perfect, beautiful picture of life she painted  and I see where I belong in it. Through her loving eyes she taught me a perception of how life should be, not how it was.  I am looking forward to exploring this life with her.  I think my heart is like hers, which makes it a great heart.  No one will ever understand unless you truly know her. She is a worthy role model.

I’ve now settled in to my life here in residential rehab.  After 30 days I can write again and keep these posts going, but it will be some time before I can get on here and write directly myself.  For now, I will just keep sending them in for my mom to post. I got one phone call and one letter….the rest of the 30 days will be focused on acclimating myself.  I truly feel like I am in the right place and where I should be in my life. I know addicts say all the time, “I’m never going back”, but I’m not.  Not only not going back to jail, but any type of life that resembles the one I’ve been living.  I may stumble, but I’m not going back! Stay tuned!


** As her mom, reading her posts and posting them here and on her facebook, it’s a surreal feeling.  Because of the past, my nerves are a little worn and when I read the nice things shes says about me or the direction she is headed….I have to wonder.  A little part of me still doesn’t know…still doesn’t trust completely (that’s all part of being an Addict’s mom).  But as I told her in my last letter; “I’m working on that!”  I have faith in her and I hold hope (as always) close to my heart.  We have a long road ahead of us, but we are the very essence of what a family should be and together, we will do this.

It’s been awhile…



72-methods-in-finding-your-purpose-in-life-2It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything to be posted for my blog.  Most of the letters I’ve sent home have been more personal conversations I think me and my mom needed to have. I know the phone conversations have been.  I think we are learning to know each other all over again.  I feel like I’ve changed a lot, but mostly, mom has changed.  It’s good. I would never say any of this was her fault for getting sick (well not at least while I’m sober or when not trying to make her feel guilty) but when she got sick, the mom I had growing up had disappeared. Sure, she was helping anyone who needed her, but she wasn’t doing anything to help her self. Taking care of herself was not a priority as it had always been and she didn’t see it, or at least I didn’t think she did. Its not the reason I started using or went down this path, but it was hard to watch.  In a way it gave me a green light, because I felt no one was paying attention and I could basically get away with whatever I wanted.  Running away instead of facing or understanding what she was going through or any of the things our family faced afterward, was easy and so I did just that.

I only see my mom every two weeks in court. She did come two weekends ago and visit me here with my dad.  That was great.  But just seeing her as much as I have I see that fire in her again. I see the physical change in her with each bit of exercise and training.  I know she wants it and I know its not easy for her given all the physical problems she now has after treatment. She’s doing it anyway.  She is fighting past the pain and pushing through her own fear and anxiety.  It makes me want to do the same. We have plans.  My mom knows that even after a year in rehab I will still have a long way to go and I truly believe this is one of her main motivations.  To keep me going and to get me to a place I can stand on my own to feet.

While she’s doing that out there, I’ll be doing much of the same from inside treatment.  I’m actually looking forward to being in this program….living with other women and learning new ideas.  I wouldn’t used to be able to focus that far ahead, but counseling and this program inside is helping me to find enough understanding of myself to focus, again.  Not to mention the knew medications I’m on.  You never know how badly you’ve truly screwed up your brain with drugs until something like medication to balance everything out again, shows you.  Its possible and I’m hoping that I won’t always be on all the medication I am now, once my brain rewires itself and starts to produce some of the chemicals I’ve stopped it from producing.  But, if its a life thing, that’s ok because I feel better.  Some mornings I feel so good I wonder how I could have missed out on this for so long.

Both of my parents have told me that I look like a little girl again.   Young and fresh, happy.  I don’t think they mean I look like a child, but actually something they see inside of me.  I think I understand that when they tell me, because I feel like I did when I was young.  Before the smoking weed, the pills, the drama.  If I could tell one young person something it would be this;You don’t need ANY drug to have fun.  It only gives you a release for a moment and anyone telling you its part of being young, everyone does it, its ok….have fun now before you have to grow up; tell them to take a hike!  Get as far away as you can from them.  Trust your parents.  Believe the stories and experiences they share with you.  Don’t let someone talk you into thinking they’re trying to control you.  Know better….and for God’s sake, trust your gut.

I’m not going to waste time feeling bad about the wasted years.  That’s just more wasted time.  But I will set it to the side as a reminder of what can be.  I know statistically I am not supposed to succeed this time….maybe 5, 10 or 20 more times before I succeed for a long period of time at sobriety.  However, one thing I did learn watching my mom go through what she did is that I don’t have to be a statistic.  I can be sober for the rest of my life and never depend on anything to ease my pain, worry or anxiety.  I can live a life worthy of  the life God intended me to have and that’s where I’m at right now.  I’m not leaning on the programs.  I’m going to use the tools given with an understanding the rest is up to me.

We have plans for the future….me, my mom and dad.  It will be time needed for us to reconnect, but I also think a lot of healing will be had by all three of us, for many different reasons.  I’ve been given a platform to share my story and share it is just what I intend to do.  I head out of jail and to rehab next month.  I will have 93 days sober.  There I will have more of an opportunity to write more frequently for my blog. As the plans for sharing my journey and our family plans unfold, I will keep everyone up to date.

For anyone reading this right now I want to say thank you.  All of your private emails and messages on FaceBook have really given me hope and a purpose. Thank you for taking the time to reach out to me.  Each one of you who have shared your story have inspired me.  Each one of you who have commented on my posts or  reached out to my mom, please know it means everything to me.  I intend to pay it forward.  You can count on that.

A bumpy ride…but I’m up for it!

Last week I received the news that someone I know has passed away.  I don’t have the details of his death, but I am pretty sure of how he died.  After getting that phone call, I was approached by a correctional officer and a long story short, my mouth got me removed from the Farm and the Sheriff’s Treatment Program.  I was worried what this would mean for me as far as my time in jail goes.  I went to court on Tuesday and instead of requiring me to get back into STP and making my time in here longer, I was required to finish a work book on recovery and sobriety, that will take me 60 days.  On March 17th I will be released and go straight to my 1 year residential program.

This was definitely a bump in the road.  I could have come unglued, as usual.  But I realize this was my own doing and I still believe everything happens for a reason. I am where I need to be at the moment and it’s going to be okay.  Tomorrow, January 21st 2017, I will have 30 days sober under my belt and that feels good.  I have also received the medical and emotional support I need, while here.  It took them almost 6 weeks to get to me….but I’m on the right road to recovery physically and mentally from the damage I have done.  So, it’s just that….a bump in the road.

General population can be tricky.  Its much easier and more comfortable on the farm (materially speaking).  We have two block glass windows down here that don’t open.  We get outside twice a week for an hour…that’s it.  Sometimes we don’t have hot water and its noisy and smelly.  Interacting with people is different here too.  I can go into my little glass fish bowl I’ve made in my mind and become a Beta fish. Isolated and alone, yet very serene.  When people become unreasonable or I just feel like I can’t deal I can become a Beta fish and everyone just leaves me alone.  Not so on the Farm.  There I have to be an Orca…..people don’t let you retreat and confrontation is always a possibility, yet you have to keep your cool.  So as an Orca or killer whale, I show my colors and that somehow works. I’m respected and in turn I respect others.  I can’t retreat, so I have to stand my ground.  I don’t know why things are different in the two different housing situations.  But I realize I’m going to have to see what works on the outside.  I’ll have to figure out a balance between being a Beta fish and an Orca.  All part of learning to grow.

No matter where I end up doing the rest of my time or if I’m not in STP, but doing this work book, I plan to thrive.  I’m going to make it and I’m going to make it through the next part of my recovery too!  I know this deep in my heart.  I didn’t before.  I was truly convinced I could never live a sober life.  But, somehow I know I can now.    Not for anyone but me.  I can’t imagine going back.  I don’t suggest anyone taking the path I have to get out from under the fist of addiction.  Find a different way than landing yourself in Drug Court and then jail.  But, for me, I think it had to be this way.  Its just a bump in the road and I’m up for it!

Thanks for following along….stay tuned.


A brother is like no other! Sobriety brings me to face reality.





Because of a difficulty with the “jail mail”, I was not able to receive Cydney’s blog entry for this week.  After discussing it with her on the phone, she thought it was a good idea to share with you an excerpt from a letter she sent last week. The writing pertains to her relationship with her brother.  Her addiction has brought turmoil to this relationship and in the light of day and sobriety, she sees the damage it has done not only to her relationship with her brother but her own life as well.

Cydney would like me to preface this entry by reminding everyone that she is not a religious person, but a spiritual one.  Instead of  this sounding like a push for any one religion, she would simply like to urge anyone struggling with addiction to find their connection to their own understanding of spirituality.  Cydney has never lost this connection, but simply misplaced it for awhile.  She has always identified equally as much with the Catholic/Christian bible teaching as she has with the philosophy of Buddha. “Find your way and keep your spiritual life healthy” is Cydney’s message to you all!

“This is an excerpt from a letter to my mom, sent last week, hoping that my brother would be receptive.

“Those who love their brother, remain in the light”. 1 John 2:3-11

“The old commandment is the word you have heard and yet I do write a new commandment to you, which holds true in him and among you, for the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.

Whoever says he is in the light yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness.  Whoever loves his brother remains in the light and there is nothing in him to cause a fall. Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.  This is the word of the lord.”

Although I am sure the use of the word “brother” is meant to mean all of mankind, for me it means my actual brother. I want to dedicate this verse to him.  I love you little brother!

Let us love each other so we can both walk in the light together , with our parents and family.  Please forgive me for my past so I can be part of your future.  I need you in my life and I hope you need me in yours.  Although we are both Scorpio and can separate easily from people who have harmed us, I know your heart matches mine.  We love to be close to our family and it is a bond that can never be broken for us.

Good luck in your upcoming adventure.  I know we won’t see each other and probably not get a chance to talk before you leave.  But please know that the goodness in me that has always been with you, will be with you in spirit and know that I once was blind, but now I see.”

I’ve asked my brother to write back to me.  I haven’t yet received a letter and not really holding my breath, even though my mom says he has responded.  It doesn’t matter.  All that matters is he knows.  I will move forward and keep becoming the sister he deserves.

Dear Mom! A letter from Cydney to her mom, posted as her first blog entry from jail!

You asked me to write about my life inside these institution walls for my first blog post.  Maybe it was for you too?

So, here’s a day to day.  It so happens I thought of the perfect situation to express what its like with the other people in here with me.  A situation I have been struggling with the past few days, but I didn’t speak to you about it because I was focused on walking the new path we had talked about and that I had shared with you some quoted text, a few days back. It’s helped me figure out who I am.

We all know I’m different. I always have been and I always will be.  I’m me and I love it but it doesn’t mean everyone else loves it.  Especially in here. Things are different inside these walls and behind these bars. To some people being loud and talkative means happy and comfortable. For others it shows a lack of know how and maturity. To many being happy is fake and just a front and to some people, sharing life stories from the past are just lies and manipulation. They don’t believe you and the life you had before addiction.

To someone like me, I change for no one.  I mean no harm and have no bad intention.  What you see is what you get. Happy is happy and talking and sharing stories are welcomed.  I have nothing to hide anymore and I have a lot I want to learn.Stories from others teach me all I need to know about a person from just watching them as they tell their stories from their lives. I can learn a lot by listening and watching.

I can see why these people stay hidden behind false emotions and don’t want to share themselves.  To them I’m an outsider and they too must learn from me before they can let me in. I once thought I was broken like many of these people.  I’m glad to find I’m just bruised.  The pain will fade away because I’m still strong and now unafraid.   

I’ve faced fear and stared straight into his eyes and you know what….I realize I’m not scared at all anymore to succeed.  Yes, I’m fearless! I’m strong! I can do anything! I can change the world each and everyday, one day at a time.

I have also realized I’m not just one person standing alone anymore.  I now know its you and me.  We are 2 and you can be my voice for now!   Together I know I can do this and with your help, I can heal and help others too!

Love Always,

Cydney Mouse

“Avoid the Devil’s Left Hook, from the book “Doing His Time”.

Generous in Love – God, give grace! Huge in mercy – wipe out my bad record. Scrub away my guilt.  Soak out my sins in your laundry.  I know how bad I’ve been; my sins are staring me down.Psalms 51:1 – 3″