Friday, April 8, 2011


I started having nightmares several times a week right after my son was gone.  They were always about him and even though I couldn’t remember anything that happened in them, I would always wake up terrified for him.

If I couldn’t go back to sleep, I would get up and type my thoughts or email his therapist, if there was something that I wanted to talk to her about, anyway.
I wondered how long the nightmares would go on.  They lasted for several weeks, then suddenly stopped.  I think they stopped after he made his first visit home.  Something must have clicked in my subconscious that he was going to be okay now and I didn’t need to be afraid anymore.

These are some of my midnight thoughts:
Have I lost him through this?  Not necessarily through admitting him to the program, but through the drug use, depression, and our attempts to help him?  I see the other kids at family group therapy and how they act toward their parents and I wonder if they were as mad at their parents as our son is towards us.  I wonder how long it took for the other kids to get over it because he doesn’t seem to be getting over it at all.  Is he going to be mad at us for the rest of his life?

It hurts to have him so angry now.  It hurts to not be able to give him a hug every day and tell him I love him.  It hurts to have him act like a brick wall when we are around him.

 How long will it take for him to realize that we had to do something when he got so depressed that we were afraid for his mental health?  And that we had to do something when he told us he was not going to quit smoking pot. 

When he made that declaration, was he really crying out for help because in some part of his mind, he knew it was getting out of control?  Maybe.

Is it so bad that we don’t want him to be depressed and we don’t want him to hurt himself, or die from using drugs?  We just want him to be happy and healthy and to have a good life.  
He thinks that being able to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, without us caring for him is what he needs to be happy.  But, he wasn’t happy when he was pushing those limits and trying his hardest to push us away.  He was mad at the world.

We have always tried to make sure he had a good life.  We have given him as many opportunities as we could.  He was allowed to try almost every sport and take any lessons that he wanted to take.  I would drive him and his friends anywhere that they wanted to go and usually wait patiently for hours until they were ready to go home again.  We have gone out of the country on vacation and have gone on many family vacations throughout the United States.  We have our own recreational retreat in the mountains where we can go and have fun as a family.  We thought we were doing everything we could to make him happy.

It was so hard when we started to have attitude problems with him.  As he got older, he started defying us on everything that we wanted him to do. 

I know I have handled things badly in the past and have been a parent who yells too much.  It is a reality that I am not proud of or happy about.  I just didn’t know how to deal with his oppositional defiance or with him not being motivated to do well in school.  I found that grounding him, giving him consequences, and taking things away didn’t work, so my last resort was always yelling.

It has been a daily struggle to try to be a better parent.  I have taken classes and read books about how to deal with oppositional defiance.  I have always tried to make up for taking the low road in conflicts by showing him more love, taking more interest in him, and doing things with him.  He usually has never stayed mad about the situation for very long.  At least I thought so.

I know that currently, the depression is a big part of how he is acting, but I also think that his oppositional defiance is playing a part in it.  When he knows that we really want him to do something, he will dig in and resist with all his might.  He wants to have all the control over his life.  In rehab, he feels like he has no control. 

Right now he knows that we want him to become well, to have a change of heart, and to be happy again.  So, of course he is going to resist.  He is determined not to give us what we want.

At parent group one of the things that we talked about is the philosophy that "they might not have caused their problems, but they are theirs to deal with".  This turns the control of the current reality over to them, but I think that he is so caught up in blaming us for everything that he isn’t stopping to realize that this problem of being in rehab is his to deal with now.

At this point, since he is still in a very angry phase, I don’t think he is feeling any remorse about smoking marijuana and isn't planning to stop.  He thinks that if we weren’t so hard on him about school, or following the rules, or wouldn’t have had arguments with him, or would have been able to provide constant non-boring entertainment, he wouldn’t have started using drugs. 

It is not fair that he blames us for his drug use.  He is the one who made that choice. 

Nothing about this is fair.  We trusted him. All of the talks and conversations that we had about drugs, smoking, and drinking left us feeling that we knew how our son felt about it.


Now we are waiting for him to complete a drug history letter to us.  I think that he hasn’t completed it because it is one more step toward realizing that he has to deal with his problem and because he isn’t ready to do the things that are expected of him in the program. 

I am also getting the feeling that he doesn’t want us to know whatever else he has done besides marijuana.  I am anxious to hear it so that I know what exactly what we are dealing with.

But, I am also afraid. 
I think the nightmares are just now my everyday reality.

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