His therapist had suggested 2 things for summer. Tutoring and working.
She thought he needed help getting caught up in skills that he did not learn during his last few years of poor effort at school. So, he went to 12 hours a week of summer tutoring. Expensive summer tutoring.
The second thing was finding a job because it would help keep him busy leaving less time to be bored, since boredom is a trigger for relapse. It is not easy to find a job when you are 14 almost 15, so he worked as a laborer for my husband and older son’s business for a few days a week when they needed him.
I spent a lot of time driving him to and from tutoring and work.
During the rare free times, I tried to find ways to make him happy and to have fun. That was not easy.
One day, I took him to the Utah Arts Festival to look at the professional photography. He was not impressed with the photography, but became interested in the wood carving. So, we went to the hobby store and bought wood carving tools and blocks of wood for him. He seriously spent almost 3 days carving wood and did not play the X-box once during that time. It was amazing!
But, I thought I was going to fail at summer entertainment when we left the Arts Festival. On the TRAX train ride home, he asked me, “What are we going to do now?”
In my mind I was screaming, “Are you kidding me? We just had our activity of the day!” But, he was totally serious about wanting me to have another thing planned to do. I thought, “Oh boy, this is going to be a LONG summer.”
Then, on the other hand, sometimes he didn’t want to do anything. One day, I asked him if he wanted to go see the flooding river in one of the parks in our area. He seriously got up and gave me a big hug. He said, “I love you mom. I love that you want me to go with you. But, no.” It seemed genuine and I was amazed.
We went bowling one day and found that on Tuesdays, the arcade at the bowling alley had “two-for-one games”. So, we started going to the arcade every Tuesday following his After-Care group meeting at the rehab center (where they check in with a counselor just to let them know that they are still sober and doing fine—hopefully). We had a lot of fun playing games at the Arcade every week.
I was also still babysitting my grandson three days a week and this turned out to be very good for my son. He liked playing with his little nephew and my grandson soon learned that having his uncle around was awesome.
He didn’t really do anything with friends. He didn’t even act like he had a desire to. There are the kids around here that he knows he should not hang around and then there is one friend that plays X-box more than my son does and they can do that in their own houses, talking to each other over their microphones. I wondered if he was unsure about having to make choices and decisions that have been made for him in the last several months.
Other times he would say that he had no freedom, but never took the initiative to have any either.
He told me that I was his best friend and that he would worry about other friends when he started school.
Even though I think he is kidding in a way about me being his best friend—Wow!
Imagine going from hated parent to best friend.
He started going to AA meetings on Wednesday nights with his sponsor. The meetings were quite far from our house, so I would drive my son to the meeting and then his sponsor would bring him back home. It gave them time to talk during the drive and helped them develop a good relationship. I will probably say this many times, but I am very thankful for this good, caring, giving person being in my son’s life. He is an amazing influence on my son.
I definitely was chauffer/best friend/entertainment committee for the summer. I put a lot of effort into making sure that he was having fun, active, and happy.
I probably did too much and tried too hard.
I was on a crusade against boredom.
And it was hard.