Sunday, November 7, 2010

Insurance Drama Ends Our Coastal Lifestyle

Shane's pre-hunting drug abusing binge had left me feeling frazzled and intolerant.   I so desperately wanted to believe his promises of 'never going to do it again', but because Shane's an addict I couldn't.   Shane's intentions and words were always sincere, it was the addict within him that wasn't.   However, time spent alone while the men were hunting was good therapy, and that drama was as usual past tense by the time they returned.

Another drama though was fast looming up in the back round for my husband and I, which usually tends to put Shane's drug addiction drama's into perspective.

The weather bomb in 2002 that hit the coastline and surrounding areas of Thames had left 100's of properties severely flood damaged.   All insurance companies had without a doubt met their obligations to policy holders, and had repaired or rebuilt all properties affected by the floods.   However, the financial cost of the flood repairs to insurance companies had been huge.   Hence, insurance companies were now reluctant to renew insurance policies in 2003 on properties that had been affected.   So we waited with abated breath for our insurance renewal notification to arrive, which was due in the April.   And like most in the community, our insurance policy was renewed but flood insurance for the property was being excluded.

Our property and area in Te Puru had never been flooded prior to that night in 2002, but do we stay and take a chance that we would never get flooded again, or not?   It was a dilemma that most property owners in the community and surrounding areas were all effectively faced with, not just us.   The weather experts deeming the flood of 2002 to be a 100 year event, was of no consolation at all.   "These so called weather experts" I said to my husband, "get the weather forecast wrong most days, nobody can be that sure, and predict what the forces of nature will do".      I still had in my possession the paper work that the flood damage had cost our insurance company, it was over 100 thousand dollars.   This figure was for rebuilding the interior of our home, the replacement cost of damaged contents, and the motel accommodation for 4 months.   So it was understandable why the insurance companies weren't prepared to risk having such claims as this repeated.   However, understanding it didn't solve our dilemma.

Complete insurance cover is required on properties by any lending institution you have a mortgage with, so informing our bank about the insurance dilemma wasn't an option.   Refinancing to lift our home for flood protection wasn't an option for us either.   A builders report stated that the top storey of the house had a flat, not cabled roof so the house couldn't be safely lifted.   The prospect of selling our home was upsetting, but frankly, we weren't prepared to stay and take the risk of possibly flooding again without having insurance cover.   The property was reluctantly marketed in May and it sold in the July, and we relocated back to Pukekohe.   The property sold quickly as buyers were flocking to these coastal locations for bargins.   Unfortunately, as picture perfect as our property was, the flood reflected the figure it sold for.   It was a sad, sad day for us and our family.   They had all worked so hard, coming over for weeks helping us re-landscape our section after the flood, especially our daughter and her husband.

But luck happen to smile on us with our next property purchase in Pukekohe.   It was a 12 year old home, so reasonably new for us, and the property was in a good area of Pukekohe within walking distance to the township.   The property had previously been rented out, so it did require a bit of TLC here and there, but nothing major or expensive.   Shane had to once again transfer his CADS file back to Manukau City, and be enrolled back with the pharmacy in Pukekohe for his Methadone.

Shane was still abusing other substances and meds, but so far he was keeping his abuse somewhat under control.   His abuse did still piss me off though, and this was periodically vented to him.   So it was obvious my tolerance level and understanding was waning a little with Shane and his drug addiction.   But we'd had a lot thrown our way in the last year, with the flood, and then having to sell our lovely sea-side property because of it.   Knowing there were 2 new grandbabies due in the September of 2003, and in June the following year, helped put a silver lining to my cloud of doom and gloom.

I truly believe good people have good things happen, but I guess, to keep us all grounded we've got to experience the bad stuff, to help us appreciate the good in life when we do get it.   My life would be almost perfect if I could just get Shane to beat his drug addiction.   Having him drug free would be a dream come true for me.   It had been 10 years that Shane had been on The Methadone program, and my dream still seemed to be a long way off yet.

However, in March of 2004 Shane did gain employment.   The firm specialized in making large, expensive wooden gates.   The position was for an experienced spray-painter, skills that Shane had, and drug testing wasn't a prerequisite for applicants.   Methadone being an Opiate based drug may be detected in work place drug testing, so testing was usually a barrier for Shane.   I had hoped that Shane gaining this position was a good sign of better things to come, but it wasn't.   Working or not, Shane still abused other substances, and this was obvious by the state he arrived home from work in.   Shane used to blame his demeanour on the paint thinners etc he was working with.   But I'd been involved with his drug abuse for to long to be sucked in by that excuse.   Even though Shane was a good worker and a skilled spray-painter, I didn't foresee him holding this employment position very long term.   Shane knew drugs had created problems in his life, but he still never saw himself as the addict we did.   I don't know how he didn't see what we saw, it was obvious that Shane didn't look in a mirror on his drugged up days.   Sunglasses work a treat though.   The eyes are a dead give away for an active addict, but with sunglasses on they aren't visible, so Shane used to wear them a lot, sunny or otherwise.

My dedication and determination to Shane's drug addiction had never wavered, it was not knowing how to help him end his addiction that had always been my stumbling block.   Over the years I'd gained adequate knowledge of the addiction itself, and The Methadone program.   But I lacked understanding and information on what avenues were available to procure an end to drug addiction.   But all that changed with the investment of a computer.   Having this new technology certainly did increase my knowledge but also my fears.   It became apparent then that Shane drug abuse with the Methadone could  have serious consequences, so would he live to end his addiction.   This new information altered my thoughts, dreams and journey of Shane's addiction.


  1. I haven't been following your blog too long, so I don't know all the details of your story, but I feel almost as though, in relation to Shane, I could change a few names and titles and my story would be the same.

    It's hard to stay positive when we look at all the statistics out there and have been going through the same things with an addict for years and years. I never quite know if they are clean or if they're just acting off because of the methadone.

    We just have to do our best to be grateful for the little successes in their lives. When we find a reason to be grateful, the world has a funny way of bringing more of the same into our lives. I am grateful for the days they can spend a coherent dinner with us, the days the aren't asking for money and the days they hold down a steady job. Simple things in our lives but for them it really is something to be thankful for.

    Stay positive and don't give up on having your sober son back :)

  2. It is obvious by your comment that the same problems exist for all those using Methadone treatment. Small steps of achievement to us are major steps for them. And like you, I learnt to appreciate the small offerings of normality that came my way with Shane's addiction. It takes lots, and lots of courage for an addict to face his/her demons. Some win the battle, some don't. Love, hope and positivity are powerful tools when dealing with addiction. My thoughts are with you also.