08
Mar

If EVERY Battle Fought Was Easily WON, Would You Still Appreciate The VICTORY?

Work is my salvation. Work takes me away from the consistent sorrow my niece, Stephaney brings into not only my life but also, my twin sisters. 

My clients are friends who become fixtures in my life. How so? By checking up on how Cindy and I are doing as well as sending referral clients and booking us for future Life Events such as Baptisms, Vow Renewals, birthday parties and even funeral celebrants for when needed.

Creating Texas Twins Events was the best decision I’ve ever made and probably ever will make. 

Sharing a Life Event with our amazing clients or spending time with our families is and always will be not only mine but also four generations of my families greatest joy on location with new friends who we might never have met without deciding to start a business based on people over profit. 

I’ve met fascinating people from all walks of life in the events business. I’ve been blessed. As has my family. Every Rose has its thorn though and addiction has been a thorn throughout my life. 

Having a mother addicted to heroin as a child, I never expected to be forced to address addiction again as an adult. In fact, I divorced a husband over alcoholism. My niece is addicted to meth. 

I’m intolerant of addiction because addiction robbed my siblings and I of having a mother as a children. 

As adults, my twin sister and I as well as my twin grandnieces have lost THEIR mother to addiction. It’s sickening to watch someone killing themselves and their families. I have no idea how my mothers mother lived through 44 years of her daughters addiction. I cannot imagine it. Cindy and I have had 16 years of her daughters addiction and we are exhausted already. 

Unlike my siblings and I though, Cindy and I SAVED the twins from the childhood we had survived. Saving them because no one had saved us will surprise you. It shouldn’t. 

My mothers choices affected all four of her children to such an extent that Cindy and I became enablers. We were loving too much when we should have been pulling back when it came to my niece. We couldn’t stop trying to fix Stephaney. 

Cindy and I “bounce” from Psych Ward visits to my niece to client meetings, venues, or road trips to Texas Prisons. These work related aspects of our lives give us a break from the reality my niece has brought into our lives. But, the phone calls from my niece or someone who has seen her “behaving oddly again” follow Cindy and I wherever we might be. 

Our other family members no longer take calls from my niece. They stopped nearly 18 months ago when my niece relapsed again. 

For 18 months, yet another disruptive phone call from Stephaney often comes while Cindy and I are with a client after their Texas Prison wedding or while handling their photos following the ceremony. Generally, we are with our TDCJ Clients because for some reason, my niece rarely calls on weekends when we are with traditional clients from Texas Twins Events. 

During the week, Prison Weddings are scheduled Monday through Friday in the visitation area of Units. Because the visitation area is used for visits on weekends, no ceremonies are conducted at Units on weekends. This “frees up” weekends for traditional bookings. Why? Because for years, I’ve mainly worked evenings and weekends for Texas Twins Events. Prison Weddings perfectly “fit into” my existing schedule. 

Many of my clients are aware of the “issue” with my niece because they have heard Stephaney yelling at Cindy or I or both of us on Bluetooth while we were working with clients on location working. 

Why was my niece yelling? Because (as usual) someone stole her phone or someone stole her car or she needs money. It’s ALWAYS an emergency with my niece. 

My clients loyalty has kept me from EVER needing to advertise. That’s right, I said EVER. I’ve never paid to advertise. I build relationships not sales or numbers. 

For those of you who don’t believe in Love After Lock Up or don’t “approve” of Prison Marriage or think these relationships won’t last (yes, I’ve read your emails and your opinions), the sacrifices the person on the outside makes are incredible. They are committed. 

If only my traditional clients who have divorced had made 1/2 of the effort my TDCJ clients have, they would still be married. Yep, I just said that because it’s true. These “Prison Wedding divorce statistics haven’t affected ANY of my clients.” 

Divorce has affected a few of my traditional clients though. It’s sad but, a couple I’ve married divorcing saddens me. Yes, I keep up with them and their lives. 

Rarely, I suggest a TDCJ Client not marry if they are in a custody battle. I ask a lot of questions because I need to know what’s best for them. 

Last month, I told one of my clients that due to a clause in her divorce decree that she shouldn’t marry the inmate and lose custody. 

After reading the decree she sent to me, I firmly advised against marrying the inmate because the clause in her decree specifically addressed the crime the inmate had been convicted of. 

Protecting my clients is of the upmost importance to me. If there are unique circumstances, I ask more questions. 

Let me show you my beautiful family from Estes. The wardens secretary emailed me today. 

Look at the joy in this brides eyes and tell me that wouldn’t melt your heart. It melted mine. Prison wives and husbands and even their families are a tight group. They stick together. The grooms parents are looking after his beautiful bride which isn’t uncommon until his release in June. 

My team and I will be handling their Vow Renewal in Austin this summer. Renewals are a celebration for putting the long drives and expensive phone calls behind my Couples. Renewals are a fresh start. 

Cindy and I have enjoyed “getting away from it all” traveling to events all of these years. For a few hours or days on location, we forget about the drama and chaos Cindy’s daughter, Stephaney brings to our tables as we focus on giving the gift of a Dream Event one family or barter at a time from Fort Worth, Texas. 

Nothing in life life is easy when you have an addict in your life. Especially an addict you believed would “snap out of it” who refuses to do so. Families often hold out hope. I have. 

At some point though, you must accept that your faith is unfounded. That the addict doesn’t want to stop and that their addiction is far more important than their family to them. It’s a difficult truth to accept. It’s also painful. 

On Super Bowl Sunday 2009, my niece, Stephaney in yet another meth fueled drug induced psychosis, jumped into the backseats of cars, trucks and suvs in Weatherford, Texas terrifying surprised drivers who called the police. 

The Weatherford PD knows my niece well. Not one or two officers but all of them. Tazered by several officers, Stephaney went into cardiac arrest. This medical condition wasn’t from only the tazers. Stephaney was near an overdose when tazered. I was at work (as usual) in Colleyville when Cindy had me paged off the floor. A doctor had called her to “come sign the death certificate.” After three years of drama, sadness, anger and chaos, Cindy had begun buying drug tests in bulk on eBay and when Stephaney failed, kicking her daughter, Stephaney out of her house. 

As a mother, I know how difficult kicking your child out of the house can be. But understand, Cindy was the custodial parent of Stephaney’s twin daughters. Cindy had an obligation to her grand twins that superseded tolerating a drug addict in her home. In truth, after having her doors kicked in and her checks and credit cards stolen while raising the twins with Stephaney running wild, Cindy was relieved it was over. Cindy was relieved Stephaney would no longer terrorize our family but, Cindy was wrong.

Walking into the hospital alone because I was at work, Cindy waited for the doctor who had called her for about 45 minutes. Her other daughter Leigh Ann was home watching the twins. 

When the doctor approached my sister and told her “she’s alive. I brought her back!” My sister jumped up and screamed “why? You are dragging our family through more torment. This will never end. You’ve just destroyed the ability for me to give her twins a normal life without the disruptions and chaos her meth addiction has brought into our lives. You can keep her. I’m leaving.” 

This might shock people who have no idea of the raw Hell addicts put their families through. 

But, Stephaney loved meth enough to leave her twin daughters in ICU and go on a “bender” for nearly a month. By the time she did show up at my sisters home “demanding to see her children,” she was out of her mind. Now, because I had hired an attorney while the twins were still in NICU and sought custody, Cindy could legally prevent Stephaney from strolling in and endangering her daughters with wild behavior and exposing them to her sketchy “friends” or dragging them into crack houses. 

Our mother did all of the above or locked us in the car for hours or days because she had “forgotten” her four children again. Cindy did what we had to in order to protect the twins and no, we don’t regret our decision. 

We will never forget our mother, her addiction and her priorities. We did what we had to in order to protect the twins. We became the mothers and grandmothers we had never really had. 

The children or Stephaney? We chose the twins but, were consistently drug back into “Saving Stephaney.” We couldn’t help ourselves because we pitied her. We also, inadvertently became enablers. 

My niece has been arrested since 2009, 27 times. Her possession charges alone would shock you. My niece also attempted to steal an 18 wheeler five years ago in Oklahoma. How high was she? High enough to not realize she couldn’t drive it. 

As usual, I filed another missing persons report on Stephaney 5 years ago when she as usual “went missing.” Cotton County called to tell me they had her. 

Cotton County is over 6 hours one way from Fort Worth. I had wanted to spare my sister traveling to Oklahoma but, couldn’t. Cindy cried the entire 6 1/2 hours while (as usual when Stephaney’s chaos disrupts our lives) Leigh Ann (Cindy’s other daughter) watched the twins. 

Listening to my sister cry “why, why, why do I have to go through this? I’ve spent my life caring for others. I’ve sacrificed. I don’t deserve to deal with a daughter who continues to ruin my life. If that doctor hadn’t brought her back, I could be normal like other people. I could be happy like other people. Stephaney is killing me.” 

Cindy wasn’t too far off about Stephaney one day killing her. High blood pressure (which started when Stephaney abandoned the twins) and hypertension are the results of Cindy’s stress due to her daughter’s choices. My twin has suffered a heart attack. My sister is fragile. Stephaney could care less. 

Stephaney only cares about “what you and mom can do to help me.” We have been consistently “guilted into” helping Stephaney. Drug addicts are con artists. But, I wouldn’t “help Stephaney” bond out in Cotton County. 

Arriving in Cotton County, I had no idea what to expect. Cindy and I had been paying rent on an apartment for Stephaney to get her off the streets. This was a mistake on our part as we expected Stephaney to find a job and instead, she moved in a homeless addict. He was sitting beside her in the courtroom as I helped my sister walk to a chair across from Stephaney and her “friend.” While my niece laughed and told her friend, “I told you they would come,”my devastated sister sat numb. 

Furious, I went to find the DA and find out what the Hell was going on. I didn’t want to leave Cindy for too long though. 

The DA said “your niece said you were rich and would bond her and her accomplice out. The bond is 200k each.” I was too stunned to speak for a moment but, my shock turned to anger. 

Catching my breath, I advised the DA “I help my sister financially as she is raising her twin grand daughters without benefit of child support. Also, I have no idea who that guy is but, I’m not posting a bond for my niece or that guy. Keep em both.”

Walking back into the courtroom with Stephaney laughing and carrying on (still high most likely), I told my sister “get up, we are leaving” and did just that. My sister was stunned. She asked “we are leaving? We drove nearly 7 hours to get here sister.” I looked at my crumpled and once fearless twin and said “my role I to protect you. We rented an apartment to get her off the streets. She moved that IDIOT into the apartment we were paying for. She also told the DA that you and I would post $200k bonds for each of them. She’s sitting here laughing at us. I cannot allow you to be drug through this hearing. I must make this decision in order to protect you. We have twin 9 year olds waiting on their twin MiMi’s to come home. Our place isn’t here. Our place is with the children.” 

As usual, Cindy had no idea that Stephaney expected us to bail her out again. Over the years, Cindy and I have spent thousands to tow yards getting Stephaney various impounded cars out. Why? Because when she’s using, she’s homeless. At least a car gave her shelter. Again, looking back, we were making a mistake. 

Giving a drug addict transportation excellerated Stephaney’s behavior. When we rented the apartment for Stephaney, we refused to provide a vehicle. Cindy and I told Stephaney “get a job and buy your own car. Ride the bus or walk. We don’t care which. This apartment, utilities and groceries as well cigarettes are costing us over $1200 a month. We have our own households and your children to raise therefore, we will not under any circumstance provide you with a car. Get a job!” She never did. Instead, half out of her mind on meth again, Stephaney was arrested trying to drive a vehicle that she had no idea how to operate.

Renting and furnishing an apartment for my niece while begging her to get a job and buying groceries and cigarettes for 8 months, my sister and I NOW realize (looking back) that WE WERE enabling Stephaney. What we weren’t going to do was post a cash bond for Stephaney or “her friend.” 

Loving An Addict Is Painfully Devastating. Fear And Loathing In Fort Worth Or Enabling An Addict? For 18 months now, since getting off court ordered drug testing in Oklahoma and relapsing my niece, Stephaney has consistently either “gone missing” for weeks at a time or been involuntarily committed (16 times) during yet another drug fueled psychotic episode. 

I wish I could tell you I had hope my niece would finally put all of her escapades behind her but, I no longer do. Nor does her mother. Why? Because my niece overdosed for the second time in ten years last weekend resulting in three heart attacks and was in a coma for the second time in 10 years this week. 

The Tarrant County PD had found Stephaney in a ditch and transported her to JPS. Cindy and I had been searching for Stephaney 7 days in Como, Southside and the Las Vegas Trail (drug areas) she frequents.

A few months ago, after a wedding at Bell Tower, an Officer called to tell me “we found her living in a box. Here’s the address. She’s not acting crazy enough yet to issue a mental warrant.” 

I drove over there and she WAS acting crazy. The officer wouldn’t issue a mental warrant so, the following day, Cindy and I did. It was one hour from expiring when Cindy found her under the Las Vegas bridge one block from the apartment we had rented years ago for Stephaney. 

Once released, Stephaney was back on meth in a matter of hours. The cycle had started again. We lost her. We searched for her and while in California filming and working 3 weddings, my son called to tell me that his cousin was “shadow boxing light poles.” We were at LAX. I couldn’t do anything. The police issued a mental warrant and took Stephaney back to JPS Psych Ward. 

My sister and I have no idea what to do about Stephaney. In truth, we never have. Trying to “act normal” in an abnormal world has taken a toll on my twin sister. She no longer laughs and tells me her hilarious one liners AKA Cindyisms because the light has gone out on Saving Stephaney. Every ounce of hope either of us had was lost this last “Go Round.” 

We are now at a fork in the road. Do we tell Stephaney’s twin daughters about the “latest overdose” and risk upsetting them? They are fragile and I believe we shouldn’t. Sparing them the sorrow Cindy and I have faced (mostly alone) is essential to protecting the twins. 

Maryssa and Makenna are in counseling. I called their counselor to address the current “situation.” He agrees that it’s best to wait and see if my niece recovers or finally dies from her years as a slave to her addiction. 

We have no idea if Stephaney has brain damage from this latest OD yet but, we are aware (Stephaney’s doctor advised us both about meth and enlarged hearts) that her heart is enlarged. Meth will eventually kill my niece. 

As I wait in the hospital lobby with my son, I wonder why or how any family recovers from the emotional trauma of loving an addict? 

I now question why when Cindy said no to her daughter that I said yes. I now realize that my niece “played both sides of the fence.” Why didn’t I realize this sooner? Stephaney like my son and grandnieces have always had two mothers. Cindy and I have raised our children and her grandchildren as a Team. 

In my haste to be “Ms Fixer,” I had no idea I was actually “Ms Enabler.” When Stephaney needed a place to stay, the halfway house rent was covered by me because she wouldn’t look for work and support herself. When Stephaney needed food or cigarettes or a bus pass “to look for a job” I bought it. If I didn’t, Cindy did.

From clothing to food and everything in between, when Cindy said no, Wendy said yes. Hundreds of you in similar situations have called or emailed me to share your journey and your pain while also alerting me to step back and due to my sister’s fragile health, to literally pull her back.  I now have. 

Today at Urgent Care, my sister was sick with phnuemonia again. The fourth time in the past year. Stephaney’s behavior is making my twin physically sick. I decided to drive my sister to her urgent care appointment. Frankly, Cindy was too exhausted to drive herself. We have a full weekend of booked events. My sister needed medication to recover from bronchial phnuemonia. I fear one day phuemonia or a heart attack will take my beloved twin from me. It’s every twins greatest fear. It’s also mine. 

After getting shots and medication, my sister once again started crying about Stephaney and our “worlds are crashing in because of her.”

Cindy’s water heater went out again to top a host of other problems at the Daniel Diva Diggs. My sisters house in a money pit. It always has been. I can’t even begin to recall the thousands my husband and I have spent on Cindy’s house. Even Cindy and Steve can’t believe what they have spent on their “money pit” home either. Something is always going on. 

We’ve changed the name of Steve and Cindy’s house to “Camp Chaos” due in part to all three of her grandchildren living with her as well as something always breaking or needing a repair. 

Cindy’s “sketchy handyman” Jessie is a con artist. I don’t like him and he doesn’t like me. But, arguing with Jessie has been going on 27 years now. He isn’t going anywhere. Dang it! When he doesn’t show up, it’s because he’s in jail AGAIN. 

Jessie is a thorn in my side. Cindy is accustomed to “haggling” with Jessie. This can go on for an hour. He starts high. Cindy starts low. I can’t stand it. 

But, Cindy says “at least he shows up to work when he isn’t in jail. I’ve had handymen take my money and never come back. Jessie always eventually comes back to finish a job.” Eventually being the key word. I’m not alone. My niece, Leigh Ann also doesn’t like Jessie and, he (in turn) doesn’t like Leigh Ann. 

Cindy calls my house “the mansion.” It isn’t really it’s funky and about 3 thousand feet but, comparing it to my other home, my “new to me” WorthamWorld is little over half the size that I had become accustom to in Lakeside. 

But who needs 5 bedrooms and 3 and a half bathrooms? I didn’t. My previous “monster house” made me uncomfortable alone in it rattling around with Foxy. 

Empty nesters in a huge home, my husband and I rarely used the other rooms aside from my office, the master bedroom, one of the dens and the kitchen as well as the laundry room. 

Thyroid cancer changed all of that. I was thrilled to move from a home that constantly needed pool maintenance or cleaning bathrooms no one ever used. I felt lost and alone in my previous home. I often called it “my pretty Prison” because without Cindy and the twins in it, it was.

Stress and trying to help Cindy fix this or that at her house or hire handymen (other than Jessie) or help with expenses for the twins needs when Cindy’s husband was out of work earned me the nickname of “The Fixer.” 

I’m a “saver” by nature and have not actually “had to work in many years.” My husband and I pay cash for everything including our cars and only use credit cards to travel. 

When someone in our family is in a bind, it’s my husband and I who “fix it.” I couldn’t fix my stepdaughter, Anne. She died in her sleep after forty years of a Hydrocodone addiction. I still can’t believe it happened. I may never accept that I couldn’t save Anne. God knows how hard I tried. 

I couldn’t save my friend Glenda. No one was more shocked than I was that Glenda had a drug problem. I never detected it. But, Glenda had an enlarged heart due to all of those years of drug use. She died of a heart attack.

My son has lost 17 friends. He cannot understand why they chose drugs and may not ever understand it. He carries the scars of shock and sadness all of these years later. “Jody was my best friend. His heroin overdose started a cycle of losing friends over and over again. I became anxious to answer my phone mom. Hearing about another death and funeral haunted me through high school.” These deaths of kids under eighteen haunted me too. 

My son was in private Christian school with “good kids.” What happened? How did drugs get into an exclusive school? 

Accepting that I cannot Save Stephaney is painful. It’s tearing me apart. I have 7 events between Friday and Sunday night and I’m all over the place the next two weeks. 

Leigh Ann’s mother in law just arrived in Texas today for a visit with her granddaughter, Madyson. 

“Maddy” loves Chuck E Cheese so, I’m planning to meet Janet, Cindy and Leigh Ann between client meetings at “The Cheese.” Maddy lights up this family with her hilarious curiosity. Leigh Ann is moving to California to join her Navy Husband, Alex. Losing little Maddy will break our hearts but, Alex has been away from his daughter for over a year now. 

Alex has some pretty comical expressions himself. The photo below is a great example. 

Finding time to visit with Janet on short notice will help Cindy to forget about Stephaney if only for a few days. 

I’m looking forward to seeing Janet again. She’s hilarious and calls Cindy and I “her sisters.”

I’m overwhelmed with work but, work is my salvation. Work removes me from family members who are angry about my consistent desire to “Save Stephaney.” 

Work and my clients bring me joy while other family members “who forgot Stephaney years” ago due to her addiction and actions continue to get angry at Cindy and I for always “running off to save the day AKA “Saving Stephaney” when we aren’t working. 

Even my own son cannot and may not ever understand why “being the parent I never had” was so damn important to me that I refused to give up on Stephanie. Flat out wouldn’t. Couldn’t. But, I’m now at the place in my life of considering her imminent death. I’m shocked. I’m horrified. I’m also helpless. 

Stephaney “came to” from the medically induced coma and as usual was angry. I should’ve expected this but, didn’t. My niece is a narcissist. 

Stephaney NEVER admits to meth use. But, the doctors always tell us “she tested positive.” We know when she’s on meth. Most parents recognize the signs. The scatterbrained behavior. The constant talking fast. The anger and hostility. It’s easy for both Cindy and I to recognize she’s “back on the sauce.” 

I’m glad I turned Cindy’s ringer down before putting her to bed and heading to Fort Worth yesterday. I’m glad that Cindy was spared the usual “you always accuse me of drugs. I had hearts attacks and went into a coma.” I’m always the bad guy. Cindy is too. 

Stephaney has put us through so much that we are both beginning to harden our hearts. We have to. We have no choice. Stephaney gets all of our attention while the rest of our loved ones are set aside. It’s not fair to them or us. 

I’m tired. Cindy’s tired. Stephaney won’t change. If we don’t pull back, Stephaney’s behavior will put us in an early grave. 

I’m looking forward to seeing Janet again and my clients at Mercado Event Center, Bell Tower Chapel, Aristide and Walnut Creek Country Club this weekend as well as Green Bay Unit, Tarrant County Jail and DreamWorld. 

The Six Flags wedding tomorrow will be fun too. They met at Six Flags and have decided to marry there. I remember the wedding at Bell Tower with a hilarious groom. I smile thinking about it because everyone in the wedding party had either at Six Flags and they were a spirited bunch. 

Janet is meeting Cindy, Leigh Ann, the twins and Maddy at Six Flags to enjoy a day of fun with us. Frankly, I’m looking forward to a break from hospitals and phone calls regarding Stephaney. I’m certain Cindy is too. 

Thank God I was busy this week with clients and able to forget about Stephaney nearly everyday this week! I met amazing people and am thankful that my clients are such a delight and joy. Creating Texas Twins Events was an idea I had to help Cindy and others. My sister gave up her job and her income in order to raise her twin grand daughters. Love is sacrifice. 

I needed a way for Cindy to be able to go to work AND get out of her house with the twins. She found it by partnering with me.Four generations of my family now work with me at Texas Twins Events, The Pawning Planners, Texas Prison Weddings With Wendy Wortham, Texas Twins Treasures and Texas Twins TV. 

Thousands of events later, creating an opportunity to help people while getting Cindy out of the house was the best decision I have ever made. 

I left selling for others and by doing so, I left the stress of “working for the man” far behind me…