Friday, May 27, 2011


Our first Sunday with our son back at church was maddening.  We have always gone to church every Sunday, unless we are out of town.  Our religion is a big part of our lives.  (We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).  We go to church for 3 hours.  First we go to a meeting for the entire congregation for 1 hour.  Then, we go to Sunday School for 1 hour.  After that we separate into men’s and women’s meetings for the last hour.  Our son attended Sunday School with us and the men’s meeting with my husband instead of going to his own youth classes, since he has to be in our line of sight all of the time right now. 
During those three hours, even though he didn’t go to the youth classes, we saw many of the young men that he has known at church, in the neighborhood, and at school for years. 
In those three hours NOT ONE YOUNG MAN said “hi” or “hey, you’re back” or acknowledged him in any way.  It was as if they didn't even see him. 
He was gone for two months and then when he comes back, no one notices or cares?
Did they just not know what to say to him? 
I guess “hi” is a hard word to say sometimes.
Or, had they been warned by their parents previously to keep their distance from him since he could be a bad influence?
As a parent, what would I have done?
If some other kid in our neighborhood or church had gone to rehab, would I have encouraged my son to welcome him back and befriend him again?  Or, would I have told him to keep his distance, afraid that the kid would drag my son down and try to get him to use drugs, too?  Would I have recognized the fact that the kid didn’t come back as a using drug addict, he came back as a recovering addict? 
I don’t know what I would have done, in the past.
But, I know what I would do now.
I wondered how my son felt.  He didn’t say.  I didn’t bring the subject up because I didn’t want to make him feel bad.  He probably would have said that he didn’t care and that none of those guys are his friends, anyway.  
Right after that, I got this story in an email.  It didn’t say who wrote it.  It was just one of those emails that circulate around.
But, it made me wish that the young men and their parents at our church had read it before my son came back.
One day, when I was a freshman in high school,
I saw a kid from my class walking home from school.
His name was Kyle.
It looked like he was carrying all of his books.
I thought to myself, ‘why would anyone bring home all of his books on a Friday?  He must really be a nerd.’
I was thinking about the weekend I had planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so shrugged my shoulders and went on.
As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him.
They ran at him, knocking all of his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt.
His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him.
He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes.
My heart went out to him, so I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses.  I saw a tear in his eye.
As I handed him his glasses, I said, ‘those guys are jerks.  They really should get lives.’
He looked at me and said, ‘hey thanks!’
There was a big smile on his face.
It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.
I helped him pick up his books and asked him where he lived.
As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before.
He said he had gone to private school before now.
I would have never hung out with a private school kid before.
We talked all the way home and I carried some of his books.
He turned out to be a pretty cool kid.
I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends tomorrow.
He said yes.
We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends liked him, too.
Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again.
I stopped him and said, ‘boy, you are going to really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!’
He just laughed and handed me half of the books.
Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends.
When we were seniors we began to think about college.
Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke.
I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem.
He was going to be a doctor and I was majoring in business on a football scholarship.
Kyle was valedictorian of the senior class.
He had to prepare a speech for graduation.
I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak.
Graduation day, Kyle looked great.
He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school.
He filled out and actually looked good in glasses.
He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him.
Boy, sometimes I was jealous!
Today was one of those days.
I could see that he was nervous about his speech.
So, I smacked him on the back and said, ‘hey, big guy, you’ll be great!’
He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled…
‘Thanks,’ he said.
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began,
‘Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years.  Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach…but mostly your friends….
I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them.
I am going to tell you a story.’
I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told about the first day we met.
He had planned to kill himself over the weekend.
He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home.
He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile.
‘Thankfully, I was saved.  My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable…’
I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment.
I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile.
Not until that moment did I realize its depth.
Never underestimate the power of your actions.
With one small gesture you can change a person’s life.
For better or for worse.
God puts us all in each other’s lives to impact one another in some way.
Look for god in others.
Maybe, if they had read that story or thought about the Savior that we worship every Sunday, they would have acted differently.
Jesus would have welcomed him back.  He would have given my son a big hug and would have told him that He loved him and was so happy to see him. 
He knows that my son is NOT his mistakes.  He is NOT the drugs.
He is a great person.  He can be a good friend. 
He needs good friends.
I hope he can find some, soon.
I hope he will remember that Jesus is his greatest friend.  
And He was glad to see him at church that Sunday.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


All of the middle of the night conflicts began negatively effecting our family life and our marriage.  While our son was in residential treatment, my husband and I were happy that at least we were getting closer together as a couple.  We were proud of ourselves for not letting the stress come between us.  It was a good thing that we had that time to build up our foundation because we were in for a test as soon as our son began living at home again.

The amount of tension going on here every day and night was taking its toll.    Often, we didn’t agree on what we should be doing to solve the problems.  I was trying to compromise and negotiate, while my husband was trying to establish rules and limits that were set in stone.  I felt his disapproval of every single thing that I tried to do to have peace and to avoid a fight.  The disapproval really hurt my feelings.  He would close himself off and feel sorry for himself.  I knew that what I was doing to have less arguments with my son was causing the disagreements with my husband, but I thought I was doing the best that I could.  I was not thinking of myself, I was thinking of the whole family.

My husband started to take everything that my son said and did very personally. It appeared that he almost had situational depression.  He acted like he was tired of all of the conflicts and didn’t seem to be as patient and willing to try to work through things as he was at first.  He said that “he was tired of getting kicked in the teeth and being told that he was stupid and didn’t know anything.”  Sometimes he overreacted to little things that would have been better to just not worry about.

One Sunday, I was taking a nap and for some reason, my husband let the dog in.  She came upstairs and was sleeping in my room.  My son peeked in the door to see what I was doing because he wanted me to do something for him and the dog came bouncing out of the room, happy to see him.  Well, my son thought the dog was supposed to be in there, so he tried to get her to go back in and then my husband started yelling at my son for waking me up.  We both tried to tell him that it was the fact that the dog was in my room that woke me up, but he wouldn’t listen.  Then my son began talking back to my husband since he was getting blamed for something that he didn’t really do.  My husband and son were both mad for the rest of the day.   Nobody talked to anybody.  So much for a pleasant Sunday.

The next day, my husband left for work without saying 5 words to me.  Later on, I asked him if he was going to give up on our son and he said he didn’t know what he was going to do.  I asked him if he was going to give up on me, too, and he said, “I don’t know, maybe.” 

So now, my husband wanted to give up on our son. 

And on me. 

Well, I didn’t want to give up on HIM.  We had made it this far (28 years) and I knew that we could get through this if we both kept working at it.  The fact that he had doubts about sticking with me through the hard times was hurtful.  I felt abandoned and alone in dealing with my son’s struggles.  I think my husband’s feelings were just as torn apart as mine were, except that he wasn’t thinking about how things could get better if we just persevered, he was only thinking about the constant daily tension between all of us and how he wanted to get away from it.

I understood how he felt.  It seemed like nothing was ever going to be normal again.  Day after day we did exactly the same things.  We hadn’t done anything fun or even gone anywhere together alone ever since our son was released from treatment.  We couldn’t leave him alone and since he was so very ready to unleash his feelings on anyone who disagreed with him, we didn’t feel comfortable asking anyone to watch him.  Our son and daughter-in-law had not volunteered to take him off our hands for a few hours.  Our daughter and her husband lived an hour away and they hadn’t offered to watch him either.  I honestly don’t think either of them even thought about it. 

We never knew it would be this hard.  My husband always said that he didn’t care if our son hated his guts for the rest of his life for putting him in rehab and helping him overcome his addiction—he was just doing what was the best thing at the time to help our son.  But, now that it was coming down to the fact that our son REALLY was going to act like he DID hate our guts, it wasn’t as easy for him to accept.

Even when my child makes me feel bad and even when I just want to run away because it is hard--I am not giving up.  No matter how much my son may hurt my feelings.  No matter how many names he may call me.  No matter how hard he makes it.  I am not going to give up on him.  A parent fights for their child and tries to work out everything for as long as it takes, because the child is worth it.  Especially when they are only 14 years old.   

I told my husband some of these feelings about not giving up on your kid and how it hurt to have him want to walk out on me, on the phone that day. 

It must have made some kind of impact on him because I thought he wasn’t coming to Family Group Therapy that night.  He said he just needed some time alone.  I was totally surprised when he came.  It was a good thing that he did because that night there was a Rose Ceremony.  A Rose Ceremony is held after one of the kids from the program makes it one year clean and sober.  They are given a rose by their therapist and then they briefly tell their story.  Rose Ceremonies are meant to help all of the other kids who are going through the program hear how it is to be successful and sober in the real world.  If the parents wish to tell how they feel about that year of sobriety, then they have the chance, too. 

These rituals not only help the kids in treatment, but they help their parents have hope, too.  That night, the comments of the parents had a big impact on my husband.  Something that was said initiated a big change in his attitude and outlook.
I think he was given hope.  If that particular kid could make it under the circumstances that he started with, then there was hope for our son, too.  Hearing how the parents, themselves, got through that year makes success seem possible. 

The next night at our individual family therapy, the therapist asked my husband how he was feeling now and he told her that he began to feel a lot better after the Rose Ceremony.  He said he didn’t really want to give up on our son or leave us both, he was just feeling frustrated with everything that was going on in his life at the time relating to our son’s situation, our family, work, and finances.

He felt good and was going to make an effort to try harder to make things work out.

Even though he acted like he had changed, it was hard for me to just feel like everything was going to be okay again. 

It is still up and down. 

I like the up times.

I dread the down times.

That is why I try so hard to keep the peace.

And that is why my husband disapproves of some of the things I do.

Then the whole cycle starts over again.

It is perpetual.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


When he came home from Residential Treatment, he had begun taking Trazodone for sleeping.  His two other medications affect sleep and he has also always had trouble with sleeping, so the doctor felt that the he should try taking a sleeping pill.  I wish that he had gotten the sleeping pill issue all worked out before he came home to stay, but we seemed to be started from scratch trying to figure out the new medication. 

Getting him to go to sleep was like being awake during a bad dream. Nothing really changed from the first night home when he gave us such a hard time about going to bed.  It seemed to be an awful struggle every night. 

Trazodone is meant to help a person stay asleep, but doesn’t really have “knock you out” components.  So, On Trazodone, it still took him too long to fall asleep.  He wanted to be able to watch TV for hours until he fell asleep.  Even though we knew that wasn’t the best thing for him, he was absolutely sure that it was.  We tried to make a rule about having the TV off by 10:30 or 11:00, but he would just freak out and tell us that he couldn’t go to sleep without it.  Threatening to take the TV away resulted in horrendous arguments.  Seriously, I didn’t want to fight about having a TV in his room.  I just wanted him to be reasonable about when to turn it off and let his body go to sleep.

Since it was taking him such a long time to get to sleep and he was having a hard time waking up in the morning, the doctor decided to switch him to Ambien because it is supposed to help you get to sleep AND stay asleep.  We prayed that this new medication was going to be the answer to the sleeping problem.  We needed a break from the conflict.

With Ambien, a person needs to be in bed trying to go to sleep within 30 minutes.  But, he wouldn’t change his bedtime routine.  He still wanted to watch TV for hours until he fell asleep.  He wasn’t letting the medication do its job.  Two or three hours later,  his mind didn’t want him to be awake and his behavior became unreasonable, irrational, and out of control.  I thought his attitude was bad when he was awake while taking Trazodone, but it was nothing compared to this.  Trying to tell him to do anything was pointless.  He would rant and rave and swear excessively.  Many times he said things that were hurtful and mean.  How much of that was the medication and how much of that was just his way of letting out all of the feelings he had about us?  I think it was probably a little of both.

We tried to just walk away to avoid arguing, but he would come after us to keep trying to get what he wanted.  We lost our patience and our tempers when he did this.  Of course, that made everything worse.  And, by then we were so upset that we couldn’t sleep either. 

The next morning, he always said he didn’t remember any of the horrible things that he had said or done.  But, we still felt wounded and hurt by his tirades. He thought we were crazy for being upset at something that he had no memory of.  

What was it going to take to get this resolved?  And how long would we have to keep having this battle?

It wasn’t just about the Ambien, it was the fact that we thought we needed to have rules in the house and that the rules should be good for all of us.  Our son thought that the rules were only good rules if they benefited him in every single way.  He thought that if they didn’t benefit him in every single way, then they simply didn’t apply to him and he fought us about them or just ignored them.

It is another control issue.  This is one of those areas where he can have all the control since he doesn’t really have very much control over everything else in his life right now.  He says he wants the sleeping medication to help him with his sleep, but he still wants to control WHEN he goes to sleep.   

We tried to come to an agreement on a rule that the TV had to be turned off within two hours of taking Ambien.  Even though two hours was way too much time, this was as close to a compromise as we could get with him.  He was supposed to take the pill one hour before he got into bed and then watch TV for one more hour. 

All of this was to take place before 11:00 p.m. because not only did he need to have the TV off so that he could go to sleep, but he needed to have the TV off so that WE could go to sleep.  Our room is directly across the hall from his room.  He still didn’t have the privilege of having a door on his room and I am not going to shut my door anymore during the night, so that I can have a better chance of hearing him if he gets out of bed.  The sound and the flashing lights of the TV were making it hard for me to go to sleep, too!  He didn’t really care whether his actions made it hard for me to go to sleep and he just kept pushing against rules that he had agreed to.

We asked the doctor and the therapist to talk to him about an Ambien sleep routine. They both said, “Ambien is a medication that you take when you are ready to go to bed.  You take it, lie down, and go to sleep.  He should be ready for bed when he takes it.”  He heard what they said, made them believe that he would try that, and then reverted back to his old behavior again and again. 

I asked the doctor if he could increase the Ambien dose a little bit in order for it to make him fall asleep faster, but he said he couldn’t.  I am sure that medically, his reasoning makes perfect sense.  He thought we could get it worked out if we just kept trying for awhile longer.  But, he doesn’t live here and isn’t going through what we go through every night.

Every night we are:
Trying to get him to go to sleep. 
Experiencing intense arguing, yelling, and swearing. 
Having him tell us that he could care less about having good relationship with us. 
Feeling frightened about how angry he seems. 
Hearing how he hates it here and can’t wait until he can move out when he is 18. 
Feeling defeated and devastated. 
Unable to figure out what to do. 
Knowing that so much damage is being done.
Sad and upset.

Curling up in bed and wondering how it has come to this.

Remembering how it was when he was a little boy asking for just One more kiss and one more hug, before going to sleep. 

Thinking about how I would gaze in awe at that sweet, peaceful, little face.

Realizing that he has changed so much and is now the boy who pushes me away and tells me to go to hell--with a hateful expression on that same face.

And I cry myself to sleep.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Step One

Passing many of the Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous is one of the requirements to progress through the rehab program.  So, he had to complete this Step 1 Packet and then pass it off to a Step Advisor.

This is the packet:
Step 1
                We admitted we were powerless over alcohol/drugs—that our lives had become unmanageable.
                Before starting on Step One, you have to get right with some of the definitions involved.  People tend to struggle with terms like “powerless” and “unmanageable.”   We picture wild-eyed crazies who live in dark alleyways and rip off little old ladies for drug money.  We think, “I am not one of those people.  Sure, I have had a couple of ups and downs with my use, but I can stop any time I want.  No one has really given me a chance.”
                The 12-step (AA, NA, CA, etc.) definition of “Powerlessness” is very simple:  If you have had negative effects or Harmful Consequences from your use to any aspect of your life and you keep on using, you are, by 12-step definition, POWERLESS.  It means that you have lost control over your use. 
                It’s the same thing with “Unmanageable.”  It’s like being pregnant—either you are or you’re not!  You can’t be kind of, sort of, almost, or maybe!  Either you have been in full control over your use or you haven’t.  This means that unless you have had complete control over the amounts you consume, and the effects of your use in all aspects of your life, you are not fully in control of your use.  If you are not in complete control, then your use is not completely manageable.  Therefore, in AA’s definition, you are experiencing “unmanageability” in your life and in your use.
                It is the 12-Step work that you will be working on in recovery and treatment.  Now that you understand their definition, try to answer the following questions with this in mind.

Step 1:  We admitted we were powerless over alcohol (or drugs)—that our lives had become unmanageable. 
Let’s see how much you’ve lost because of drugs or alcohol.
How?  By completing the First Step and admitting the truth.
Fill in these pages.  It’s time to stop lying and to get honest with yourself.

Step 1:  Inventory
You have been admitted to a treatment program for drug or alcohol problems, and you aren’t sure whether you need to be here.  You may admit that you use “a little.”  But you’re not out of control.  Well…let’s see.  The purpose of Step 1 is for you to write down your problem and face how serious it is.

Be honest!!
This is a special opportunity.  It could mean life or death.  Don’t waste your time with lies.  Write the truth and let’s look at whether you have a problem.

Risk Taking
1.  Write about the times drugs or alcohol have put your life in danger.
I have been in a lot of fights when weapons were involved.  I have almost been hit by a car and I have done a lot of stupid s*#$ when I have been high.
2.  Did you risk the lives of others when you were using drugs or alcohol?
“In fights and while I was DUI.”
3.  Have you ever thought about killing yourself?  Explain.

Thinking Less of Yourself
1.  What have you done sexually when you were high that you wished you had not done?
(He wrote an answer to this question that kind of shocked me.  I talked to his therapist about his answer because it contradicted what he had told me when I asked him about sex the time we were doing his Harmfuls packet.  She told me that she was confident that he has not had sex.  So, I am not going to disclose the answer that he wrote on his packet.  I feel better going with the therapist’s feelings on this).
2.  Write about the times when someone has hurt you physically or the times when you have hurt others (being beaten up, rape, gang fights, etc).
“I have hurt and been hurt by others in fights.”
3.  What things have you done to get drugs or while on drugs that you told yourself you would never do?
“I would car hop and steal stuff from stores.”

Breaking the Law
1.  Give examples of times you have broken the law while using drugs or while trying to get money to use (shoplifting, stealing money or cars, prostitution, etc.).
“Shoplifting, car hopping, using drugs, and driving while I am 14 and high.”
2.  Tell about the times you were arrested, sent to jail or juvenile court, or just “picked up” by the police.
3.  Did you deal drugs or alcohol?   Where and to what age groups?
“Yes.”  “Mostly at school to 8th and 9th graders.”
4.  Have you ever used a false ID to buy alcohol or asked an adult to buy it for you?
5.  How many times have you skipped school to use alcohol or drugs?
Once or twice or many times?
“Many times”.
6.  How many times have you missed school because you were too sick from alcohol or drugs (hung over, hadn’t been to bed yet, etc.)?
Once or twice or many times?
“Many times.”
7.  Have you ever been suspended from school?  Why?
8.  Did your grades or school participation go down because of drugs? 
Describe what happened:
9.  Did you ever drink or use drugs on school grounds? 

Losing the Trust of Your Family
1.  What behaviors does your family complain about the most?
2.  Did your family know about your drug or alcohol problem?
3.  Have you ever done these things?  (Put a check next to the ones you’ve done.)
__X__a.  Tired to sneak out at night to get high.
__X__b.  Used drugs or alcohol at home.
__X__c.  Stolen money from family to buy drugs or alcohol
____d.  Used drugs and then lied to parents about it.

Issues with Friends
1.  Before you began using or drinking, did you have “straight” friends?
What things did you do with them for fun?
“Yes”  “Skateboarding, X-box, sports, card games, and pool.”
2.  Write about the friends you have now.  Are they drug users, straight, etc?
I still have all my sober friends and a lot of using friends.
3.  a.  If you still have straight friends, do they know that you use?
b.  What do they say or think about your drug or alcohol use?
4.  a.  What things did you do for fun that you don’t do anymore because of your drug or alcohol use? 
b.  Why did you stop doing them (don’t have time, too messed up to do it, drug friends don’t think it’s “cool”, etc)?
(he did not answer this question).
5.  Do you think you are part of the drug culture or group?   Why or why not?
“Yes”  “Because that is who I hang out with the most.”
6.  What did most people at your school (or neighborhood) think about you?  (What was your “image”?)
They thought I was a stoner and so did I.”

Effect on Your Body and Brain
1.  Put a check by the problems you have had because of drug or alcohol use.  Describe when the problem began, how often it occurs, and how much it bothers you.
__X__a.  Trouble with memory (blackouts, can’t remember things in school, can’t pay attention, etc.).
“I can never remember things and I can’t ever pay attention in school and it pisses me off.”
__X__.  b.  Getting dizzy
“I get dizzy a lot when I stand up.”
____c.  Having flashbacks or seeing trails.
____d.  Hands, feet, or legs getting numb.
__X__e.  Trouble sleeping
I have never been able to sleep without problems.
____f.  Getting the shakes (“nerves”) if you try to stay off drugs or alcohol.
____g.  Don’t care about doing anything.

Running Away from Painful Feelings
Sometimes you may drink or get high to escape from painful feelings of sadness or anxiety.  Write about these feelings and what caused them.
“I would have fights with my family and it would make me mad so I would use.”
 Effects on Your Mind
1.  Write about the times you were thinking about drugs or alcohol (or how to get them) when you were supposed to be thinking about school, work, or people.
“I was pretty much always thinking about getting and using drugs.”
2.  Give examples of things (like homework or chores) you forgot to do because you were high or drunk.
“None.  I never did homework anyway.”
3.  Have you ever tried to control how much you used drugs or alcohol (I’ll just smoke one joint, “ or “I’ll just have one drink,” or “I won’t use anything tonight.”)?
4.  Write about some of the times you ended up using or drinking too much anyway and couldn’t stop.
“I never really told (myself) I would only use this much.  I just used until everything was gone.”

Giving Up Plans for the Future
1.  If you had not come into this program now, what would have happened to you?
“My life would be a lot worse.  I would still be using and I would probably be in DT.”
2.  Before you started using or drinking, what plans and goals did you have for your life?
3.  How did your plans and goals change after you began using?
Addicts are people who, once they use a drug, have to keep using even though their life is a mess and getting worse.  They no longer care about school, job, family, or friends.  They will lie, cheat, and steal to get drugs.  The First Step is for you to see whether you are an addict or if you are on the way to becoming an addict.
1.  Do your answers to any of the questions help you see that your life is a mess because of drugs?   Which questions?
“Yes”  “Almost all of them.”
2.  Can you accept that you are an alcoholic or drug addict? ____Not sure—maybe I’m on the way to becoming an addict.
3.  May confess that they have no control over their drug use, but they don’t really believe it.  What would it take to make you believe you are powerless over using alcohol or drugs?
“I already know.”
4.  What about your life is most like an addict’s life?
“My entire life revolved around drugs.”
5.  Name things you could change (in a good way) about your life while in this program.
“Never start using in the first place.”
6.  Filling out these First Step questions could be use a joke, unless you have been totally______

Now you will present your First Step inventory to a First Step group so you can hear your own thoughts and get feedback.

Take the risk of being honest!

Your life depends on it!

After reading that packet, I thought that he should have had to complete it before he ever was released from residential treatment.  Really coming to terms with the fact that he was powerless when it comes to drugs probably would have been a good thing for him to have discovered BEFORE he came home and took all of his anger out on us for being put in rehab.

But, at least he said that he could accept the fact that he is an addict.  That makes me feel that maybe he is telling the truth every Friday when we go to AA and he says, “My name is ___ and I am an addict.”

I can’t believe that he was in all of these fights that he wrote about.  I didn’t ever see any evidence of having been in a fight, but I wonder if that is one of the reasons that he would claim to be sick some days—because he had been fighting and was hurting as a result of it.

What are some of the other stupid are that he has done?  He will probably never tell me.  I know that driving was an insane thing for him to do.  Not only was he driving someone else’s car (he better not have been driving mine!), but he could have killed someone, himself, and wrecked the car, too.  My husband and I could have been liable for his actions and we could have lost our son in a car accident. 

Knowing that he was stealing from people and cars makes me feel like somehow he missed the part where we taught him about honesty.  Of course, he seems to have forgotten a lot of what we taught him about everything from not smoking, drinking, and using drugs to basic right from wrong. 

It makes me anxious to even think about the fact that he dealt drugs to other kids.  Other parents have kids who use drugs and when they find out about it, like we did, they are going to be so mad at the drug dealer—just like we were—only the drug dealer is my kid this time.  What an awful circle of circumstances that is!

It is so agonizing to think that he could have died at any time due to using drugs. We would have been so shocked when we found out.  As far as we knew, our son would never do anything like that.

He said that he would get in arguments with his family and then go and use drugs because of it.  But, he also said that he was always thinking about getting and using drugs and that his life revolved around drugs.  In one instance he is blaming us and in the next instance he makes it sound like he is addicted.  No wonder he would have arguments with us--everything that we would talk about or want him to do had nothing to do with his daily desire to use drugs!

I hope he meant it when he said that if he had not been put in rehab that his life would be a lot worse.  Because at first, and for many weeks afterward, he thought that being put in rehab was the worst thing that had ever happened to him.

People say that some day he will get over being mad about it.

Some day he will thank us.

All of these days in between are so overwhelming, though.

I hope we all make it to some day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


He never takes his contacts out at night.  It has been one of those issues that we have had many, many discussions about.  He doesn’t have extended wear contacts.  His vision is so bad that he has to have his contacts specially ordered by the ophthalmologist’s office.  Even with contact lens correction, his measurements are 20/50 and 20/60.  So, everyone told him that he should make sure that he takes care of his eyes by taking his contacts out every night.  He didn’t believe that it was necessary and it made his life easier to just leave them in 24 hours a day. 

It was also something that he had control over.  Kids who are oppositional defiant try to find things that they CAN control and that no one else can really do anything about.  We couldn’t physically make him take the contacts out.  Yes, I know that we could have told him that he would have to wear glasses if he didn't take better care of his eyes.  But, I also know what kind of battle that kind of threat would have created.  Sometimes, I just get tired of having battles when I don't have to.  At his age, it seemed like he could figure out what he was responsible to do without us having to fight about it. 

Then, he finally learned why he should be more responsible with his contacts and his eyes. 

He woke up one morning with a terribly red eye.  We told him that it was probably a consequence of not taking his contacts out, but he didn’t believe us.  He didn't tell me that it was causing him pain, so he went to Day Treatment, anyway.  My husband and I have made it a habit to take him to Day Treatment every day, whether he acts sick or not. 

He has had so many days over the last few years where he has missed school unnecessarily, that now we just let the teacher and the nurse at the facility decide whether he is too sick to stay there for the day or not.  Several times since he came home for Day Treatment, he has played his sick game.  Sometimes they call us to come and get him, and sometimes, he decides to stop acting sick and he stays there the whole day.

That day, I was called and told that he had pink-eye and that I needed to take him to the doctor.  Just like I thought, he didn’t have pink-eye, he had an eye infection caused by his contact lens.  The doctor told him how important it was for him to take his contacts out every night and also told him not to wear the contact in that eye until it was better.  The infection was painful and made his eye very sensitive to light.  He said he never wanted his eye to feel like that again.

But, it recurred TWO more times over the next few weeks!  I guess he had to learn by repetition.  It was annoying when he had to miss Day Treatment for a couple of days each time, because they kept telling me he had pink-eye even though he didn’t.

After the third time of enduring the pain and sensitivity to light, he started taking his contacts out almost every night!  He has had nights when he has fallen asleep before taking them out, but still—finally--he has had a consequence that TAUGHT him something!

I hope that the consequences that he has had from his drug use and addiction will eventually teach him something, too!