The next morning, I combed the phone book and selected several attorneys’ names who specialized in child social services cases. I was able to get an appointment with one the next day and when we met her, we laid out the main points of our sad tale. She seemed very sympathetic and assured us that with my stable home life and job and my ability to help care for Lisa, there should be no issues getting Amy back. She told us her office would file the paperwork that very day.Back in our hotel room, I called my boss to extend my vacation for another week and called my banker to release some funds from my trust. I knew countless expenses lay ahead, and I wanted to be prepared. For the next few days, Lisa and I just rode around looking at the scenery. There wasn’t much to see, but just being together was enough.The lawyer did her thing and Lisa had to be examined by a doctor as part of the process. Background and financial checks were run on me and, of course, both came back clean. I also had to take a paternity test; no DNA in those days. Things moved very smoothly and, looking back from my twenty-first-century hi-tech vantage point, the simplicity of the seventies was better in some ways. People talked to each other and sympathy for our cause spread far and wide, helping expedite the process. No cold-hearted computers getting in the way of simple kindness.By the following Tuesday, Lisa had Amy back in her arms. The court ruling was that I was given full custody and Lisa would have visitation rights. Once Lisa passed a year of sobriety, another court could cancel the order, and she would be free. A year of waiting, such a simple thing. And without knowing the future which lay ahead, we joyously walked out of the hotel and caught a flight back to my home in Palo Alto.Lisa took to the glorious sunshine and the ocean like a duck to water. My apartment was within walking distance of the beach and Lisa took Amy there almost every day. I returned to my job and thought about our future. I knew I wanted to ask her to marry me, but was unsure if she was ready or even willing. Regardless, I shopped for a ring during my lunch breaks and found one that seemed perfect for her. I explained my situation to the jeweler, and he agreed to give me fifteen days when I could return the ring if things fell apart. Minus a small fee, of course.That very night, right after we put Amy to bed, I got down on one knee and proposed“Lisa, my sweet, darling Lisa,” I began, “I know the past year has been mostly terrible, but I truly feel things have turned around. And from the moment I met you, a part of me knew I wanted you in my life forever. Will you marry me?”Lisa looked stunned, immediately covering her mouth with her hand. But the crinkle around her eyes told me it was a happy surprise.“Oh, Bill!” she şişli escort cried. “This is such a surprise. I’d hoped you wanted to marry me someday, but also worried that all my baggage might get in the way. Of course, I’ll marry you!”A few weeks later we were married on the beach, by a free-spirited man of the cloth. We had a small gathering since we had made only a few friends and I had only a few coworkers I wanted to invite. It didn’t matter, the ceremony was for us and not anyone else. For our honeymoon, we traveled south and spent a week in San Diego, with little Amy, of course. At that moment, three happier people did not exist on Earth.Our first six months as a family passed in the blink of an eye. Lisa learned to cook, and I learned how to change a diaper and bathe a squirming baby. We were so unschooled at so many things, but managed to keep from doing any serious harm. Sure, there were occasional squabbles and disagreements, but the makeup sex was always fantastic and allowed us to reprove our devotion.Through the months, Lisa had been receiving random drug testing ordered by the court. A call would come in at different times and Lisa would have twelve hours to get to the lab. Then the results would be delivered to us via the mail. Every test came back clean, until it didn’t. That was when our world began to unravel. It started with a call to me at work from a court clerk back east. Lisa had failed her most recent testing. She was to be retested in forty-eight hours to confirm.I tried to explain that now that we were married, the whole concept of custody seemed moot. But the hard truth was that courts have wide-ranging powers when it comes to minors. The clerk patiently, but firmly explained that married or not, if Lisa failed another test then her visitation would be revoked, and she couldn’t live in the same house as Amy. The court would fax the files to the social services in Palo Alto, and they would surely make a surprise home inspection. They would then enforce the ruling up to and including evicting Lisa from the home. I sat back in my chair and stared out the window at the rolling ocean waves and wondered what the fuck had happened.That night, at home, I decided to break the news gently. At that point, we didn’t know for sure that the test was right, so we just needed to prepare for the next one. After her initial shock wore off, we got down to planning.“Lisa, I know this is upsetting but we both know it can’t be true, right? I know you aren’t back on drugs, so the test must be wrong. But the court doesn’t know you as well as I do, so we need to make the next test successful.”“Of course, it can’t be true, but how do you fight a bad test?”“I spoke to a few guys at work who dabble in drugs recreationally, and they gave me several things to try. We mecidiyeköy escort can go over the list, but the main thing I need you to do is flood your system with water, at least a gallon a day. Can you do that?”“It’ll be hard, but I promise I’ll do it. Anything to hold on to you and Amy!”I’m not sure which of the magic bullets my office mates gave me worked, but Lisa’s second test was clean. Life went back to a somewhat predictable schedule, though Lisa seemed to be on edge all the time. Some days she would be sullen and not want to leave the apartment. On other days she would snap at me for the littlest thing or berate Amy for spilling her juice. Attempts to ask her what was wrong just led to assurances that everything was fine.About two months later, she failed another test. We tried all the magic bullets, but this time she failed her second test too. Things then happened rapidly. Within days, we had child services at our door on a Saturday demanding to inspect our apartment. They spent an hour poking around, but there wasn’t much to see in such a small space. Then they turned their attention to Lisa.They had her whole file, including information we had never divulged. Over and over they asked the same questions and though I tried to sit with her, Amy’s needs were never-ending. I walked back into the room and saw the one officer shining a flashlight into Lisa’s eyes and for a brief moment, I thought maybe he was enamored like me with her shade of blue. But no, he was confirming his suspicion that Lisa was partially impaired but skilled enough to hide it well. The next thing I knew, they called for a mobile unit to take a blood sample.Once the blood was drawn and the officials had left, I didn’t know what to think. I still believed Lisa was clean, but the walls seemed to be cracking.“These people are no joke,” I began, “if they do this much for a false alarm, imagine what they do when the parent really is on drugs?”Lisa didn’t look at me, she had her hands clamped tight and stared at the floor. The weight of the world seemed to be upon her. Finally, she spoke, in a voice almost too soft to hear.“I’m so sorry. I can’t even describe how sorry I am. I’m fucking things up, and now they’re going to make me leave. It was just a few pills. Nothing serious. Just a little pick me up during the day when things got a little crazy. No big deal.”I felt like a dump truck had just run over me. The admission was so unexpected that I could barely process her words. After a minute, I was able to clamp down my anger and ask questions. I learned that she met the guy during one of her daily beach trips. Some guy, just wandering from person to person, striking up a conversation and then mentioning that he had supplies if they were interested.“I thought my addiction was under control,” she pleaded. “I said no every time he asked until that one day when we’d had that bad night with Amy and my nerves were frazzled. I just needed a little something to boost my energy. But as time passed, I needed more and more pills, always trying to guess when a damn test would occur. But with today’s blood test, it’s all going to come out.”“Lisa, I love you, and I always will. But you can’t be taking care of Amy if you’re high. We need a permanent solution!”“Are you kicking me out too? Am I going back to the life you rescued me from?”Her voice was trembling, and she looked like a scared little girl. I quickly went to her and hugged her as tightly as I could. I buried my face in her neck and breathed in her scent.“No, no, I would never kick you out. Never think that. But the officials can and will once that blood test comes back. I’m proposing that I search tonight for the best addiction recovery center in the area, and we enroll you first thing tomorrow. That will give them what they want and after thirty days when you complete the program, they won’t be able to stop you from returning home.”As she processed my words, I could see a mixture of hope and utter fear on her face. The thought of being forced out scared her to death, but the reality of being hospitalized was even more daunting. Eventually, she agreed to my plan and I got to work looking for a facility.After making some calls, I quickly learned that ‘the best’ is a hard thing to judge. Some rehab centers were dedicated to celebrities, with price tags to match. Others were more reasonable, but with no way to verify their success other than the marketing pitch each gave me over the phone. I finally ended up calling my boss and asking for advice. He expressed his sympathies and said that many in senior management had family members with similar issues, and one facility consistently was utilized. He gave me the name and I called them to make an appointment for the next day.It was a beautiful campus, and they admitted Lisa that very day. The first two weeks were intense and no visitors were permitted. I did get to visit her in the third and fourth weeks, and while she seemed happy on the surface, I felt that her soul ached for something she couldn’t describe. But she did complete the program on schedule and was then allowed back into our home with Amy. The only warning was that the random drug testing would continue for another year.Her first months back home were nice, and we were able to act like a normal family. Amy had entered the toddler stage, which added a whole new layer of stress for Lisa to handle while I was at work. Our sex life was quite satisfying, though over time Lisa became quite aggressive in the techniques she preferred. Lots of biting and slapping and even the occasional leather belt entered our sex play, which was not always comfortable or even enjoyable for me. But I loved her dearly and just accommodated her wishes the best I could.