Sunday, June 26, 2011

Horrible, Horrible, Horrible

Why couldn’t they have told him he was suspended on Monday instead of Friday?  Did anyone even stop to think what kind of a weekend they were setting us up for?

We brought him home and tried to talk to him about what happened and about how if he had gotten suspended from regular school, he would have had consequences, so we would like to have him discuss possible consequences with us.   

Wrong thing to say.

I thought we were going about it in a calm way and I thought we might come to a consensus that didn’t involve grounding from the X-box because that would just add to the problem.

His sarcastic comment to that was, “Isn’t being in rehab consequence enough?”

Oh brother!

That made my husband mad and he said, “Forget trying to come up with any kind of solution tonight.  You are not playing the X-box!”


F-bombs and every other kind of verbal attack began.  It was the worst tirade ever.

I told my husband that is exactly what I was trying to avoid by NOT grounding him from the X-box.

And then, I had both of them angry.

My son went to his room.  My husband went to our older son’s house to go over some details about an electrical job that they were having problems with.  I understood that they needed to figure out that problem, but I wasn’t happy about the timing.

Let’s have a big fight with our son and then leave me alone with him.

My son is famous for trying to “work on me” when my husband is not around.  It was only a matter of time.

45 minutes later, it began.

He said that he would like to do chores for a consequence that night and that he would unload and load the dishwasher.  I said, “Well, it is 9:30 and you have used up almost all of the time you would have had to play the X-box, so you can only play it for about an hour.”

And then he said, “That’s what you think.  When I get the X-box controllers back after I load this dishwasher, I am playing the X-box for as long as I want.”

Oh my gosh.  This was getting bad.  There was no way I could go along with that.  I couldn’t believe that he was talking to me like that.

I will admit that I was kind of afraid of where this was going.

I said that he might as well stop unloading the dishwasher then because if he wasn’t going to accept playing it for an hour, then he wasn’t going to play it at all.  But, he replied that he WAS and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.  He planned to search my room until he found the controllers. 

I went to my room, shut my door, and stood in front of it to try to block him from going in there.  I seriously was getting more scared of what was going to happen next.  I called my husband on his cell phone and told him to get home, NOW!

While I was talking to him, my son began shouting at me in his colorful way and I just snapped.  Frustration, fear, and helplessness just got the best of me and I said something that I never expected to say and regret saying.

“You know what?  If it is so bad here—there is the front door and you can just leave!”

I was sobbing by this time and forgot that I was even talking to my husband on the phone.

My son went to his room and began packing his back pack. 

He was just going out the door when my husband came home.  He wasn’t much help.  I don’t know what was going on with his thinking that night.  His effort to try to reason with our son and to try to get him to stay went like this:  “I promised you that if you ever ran away again, I would call the police.  I am going to do it if you walk out that door!”

My son’s response:  “If you do that, you will NEVER see me again!”

Thanks.  Come home and threaten him.  That is the kind of help I was asking for.

Everything was just getting more and more insane by the minute.  I felt like I was in a movie where all of the other characters knew their parts and I had no idea what I was supposed to say or do.

I was so sorry that I had told him he could leave.  I tried to convince him that I shouldn’t have said that.

But, he left.

I was hysterical by then.  But, there wasn’t time for any comforting or consoling.    We started arguing about calling the police.  I didn’t want him to, yet.  I wanted to see if our son would come back voluntarily.  And, I didn’t want him to make good on his promise that he would NEVER come back.

This was breaking my heart.  My son had just run away.  My husband was fighting with me.

How in the world did we get here?

He came back about two hours later.  He said that he just walked and skateboarded around the neighborhood until it started to rain and then he decided to come back.

Relief was followed by the fact that he was back, but wasn't ready to admit to any wrong-doing or to apologize for all of the things that he had said and done.  He was just ready to make sure we had a horrible weekend.

Saurday morning he informed me that I was to pretend that he really had run away and to ignore him as if he weren’t here.  But, there he was lying on his bed watching TV like he was mad at the world all day. 

I don’t know what he thought he could prove to us by acting like he did.  Who accepted pills at school?  Who almost relapsed (or did relapse)?  Who got suspended?  What did I do that was so wrong?  I tried to not have getting grounded from the X-box be his consequence.  I tried to have him help me come up with a different one.

I know that telling him he could leave was wrong.  Maybe he was hurt by the fact that I did that.  Maybe he really thought that I had given up on him.  No matter how many times he has said that he didn’t want me to care about him, maybe when it seemed like I really didn’t anymore, it hurt him more than he could admit—so he acted like a jerk, instead.

On Sunday, he refused to go to church and his attitude did not improve.  I went alone and nearly burst into tears when in someone’s talk, they said that if you just act interested in your kids and do things with them, they will always stay on the straight and narrow.  Well, okay.  Glad they could clear up what I did wrong.  One of our leaders saw me crying and said that he would get our Bishop to call me to see if he could help.  I cried on a friend’s shoulder all during Sunday School, then sat by her during the women’s Relief Society meeting.  The closing song in that meeting was called “Through Deepening Trials.”  For some reason, we both just started laughing and I said, “Oh, we can’t just have trials, we have to have DEEPENING TRIALS!  Why can’t they be level trials?  Why do they have to be deepening?”

As I have said before:  Sometimes you just have to laugh. 

It didn’t last long.  I had to go back home! 

I was not looking forward to the next three days.  He was suspended and would be home alone with me!  I was afraid of how those days were going to go and didn’t think I could manage it alone.  I called my parents and told them a little bit about what was going on and asked them if they could come and spend the day with me.  I was babysitting my grandson that day, too, so I knew that they would enjoy a day with him.  It takes a lot for me to ask my parents to do anything for me—that shows how desperate I was.  I appreciated the fact that they agreed to do it.

The day went fairly smoothly.  He stayed in his room and was cordial to my parents.  That night, our Bishop came to visit.  I told him what had happened and how my son was acting.  Then, he and my son talked for over an hour.  I don’t know what they talked about entirely, but the bishop did tell me one thing that he said to my son.  He said, “I don’t care how mad you are or what may be happening that you don’t like.  You will NEVER, EVER speak disrespectfully to your mother again.  That is just something that is not acceptable for any young man to do and you need to realize that.”

I had my doubts that my son would listen to that advice, but I really think he did.

I was grateful for the help that our Bishop gave us that night.  He also told me that if our son did get expelled, he would help us find a new therapist through our church’s network of Family Services and that he would talk to our son anytime we wanted him to or anytime our son wanted to talk to him.

I felt a lot better after that.

The next day, I took my son with me to run errands for the senior citizen relative that I take care of.  I thought that he probably wouldn’t be disrespectful and rude to me in front of her and that we would have another fairly calm day.  I was right.  It was a better day.  I think that the talk with the Bishop had something to do with it.  I hoped it did.  I hope he had done some serious thinking about his life in the last few days.

Wednesday, I decided to try staying home alone with just my son, my grandson, and me to see how it would go.  I was very nervous.

He was calm again and even though he asked me if he would be able to get the X-box back, he didn’t argue with me about the conditions.  He seemed to think that the conditions were reasonable and I don’t know why he wasn’t willing to do what was required, but it was fine with me to not have to give him back the X-box.  I think the X-box is one of the most damaging things to our family relationship that exists and I wish it would be an easy thing to just destroy it. 

He even interacted with his nephew a little bit and I think that did him some good.  My grandson is fun and just gets to your heart in a way that you can’t help but love him more and more every time you see him.

Maybe that love helped wear off some of the armor that my son had piled on himself because he actually teased me and tickled my side a few times like he used to when we were getting along and he even smiled!  It is amazing how things like that can actually make a difference in the mood in the house.

Hearing Day was Thursday.  We were to meet with the Doctor, the alternate therapist, and a new Psych therapist.  They were going to ask my son questions, allow us to ask questions, and tell us what they thought was the right course of action. 

They gave us the impression that they were going to reinstate our son, depending on his answers to their questions and how seriously he acted about completing the program.  We were at exactly 4 months after he had been admitted to rehab and here we were trying to fight for him to be able to remain in treatment.

During his suspension he had to complete an honesty paper and an incident packet.  Both things said basically the same thing: 

“On Monday or Tuesday, _______ asked me if I wanted any pills and I said yes so he said he would leave them under the sink in the bathroom and he did and before I used them I thought about what I was doing and felt like sh!# and so I decided that I wasn’t going to use so I flushed them down the toilet and didn’t tell staff.”

I was so nervous about the hearing.  I just didn’t think they wanted him back.  And, I thought that if my son didn’t want to go back, he might be rude and uncooperative with their questions just so that they would expel him.

It wasn’t as intense as we were led to believe it would be.  They agreed to take him back on a three week trial basis.  He was asked to verbally commit to do what he needed to do in the program to advance.  They even got him to commit to go to bed with a better routine, and to eat more so that he could gain weight. 

The doctor told him that if he could not remain in this program he would be referred to another program that was more like a boot camp which was nowhere near as nice as this program is.

They said that they were going to do more behavior-type therapy with him and would give him detailed lists of what they expected him to do and we would have to keep them informed about whether he was doing what was expected.

They wanted to take him right to school when the meeting was over.  He thought he would start back the next day and tried to get me to tell them that would be fine with me.  But, I said, “Are you kidding me?  You have been tied to my hip for five days!  You can go to school today!”  He actually seemed to understand.  He wasn’t happy about it, but went willingly. 

It was such a relief.

He wasn’t expelled.

I was so happy.

I kind of think, that in a way, my son was, too.  

Saturday, June 25, 2011


I have felt like we have been on a roller coaster for months now.  Sometimes it is climbing, sometimes it is speeding downhill, and sometimes it levels out.  I thought that maybe now we would finally start leveling out.

But, no.  The roller coaster began speeding toward the ground again.  This time, when it looked like it was going to have to level out, it plunged into a dark cavern underground.  I wondered how much it was going to twist and turn as it kept going down, down, down.

We had been having a few good days.  My son was enjoyable to be around and things felt happy and good in our home.  We thought that switching him to Psych was showing him that he really needed to get going, get learning, and let them help him with his emotions so that he could move along in the program.

And then, 4 days after being switched to the Psych program, my son was SUSPENDED from rehab.

When I say it out loud, I can’t stop myself from laughing a little bit.  It sounds like such an oxymoron.  Suspended from rehab!  That is not a sentence I would have ever thought I would hear or say.

Apparently, on Monday, one of the other boys brought pills to Day Treatment.  He passed some on to a kid who asked my son if he wanted any.  My son said yes.  I can imagine that he was not in a very good place in his head at that time, having just found out that he was being switched to Psych from C.D.  But, still.  It made me so mad that he would do that and blow everything out of the water that had been done for him in the last few months.  Not that he thought anything positive HAD been done for him. 

One of the other boys finally decided that he was going to tell the staff what he knew about the situation—4 days later!  My son was asked about it and he said that he had gotten the pills, but had changed his mind about taking them and flushed them down the toilet.

If that is what he really did, he did the wrong thing.  First, he should have not accepted the pills in the first place.  But second, he should have given the pills to a staff member and told what happened, not flush them down the toilet.

Kids in rehab are going to lie.  Kids in rehab who are going to relapse are especially going to lie.  How was anyone supposed to know if he was telling the truth or not?

He was suspended until further notice and when I received the phone call, I was told to come and pick him up immediately.

I had to meet with a man who was not my son’s regular therapist.  My son’s therapist was out of town for the week.  She goes on vacation SO MUCH!  I know that she works 4 days a week, 12 hours a day or more and that she devotes so much of her time and thoughts to these kids, therefore she deserves every minute of her vacations, but I still want my son’s therapist to be there when we need her!  

The man I met with was not very nice and wasn’t very hopeful about my son’s chances of being accepted back.  He said that the kid who brought the pills in and the other kid who was passing them around were going to be expelled.  There would be a staff meeting the next week on Wednesday or Thursday to determine my son’s fate.  I thought that wasn’t fair because his therapist should be able to give her input and fight for my son, but she wouldn’t be back by then. 

He said they had done a urine analysis to try to verify my son’s story.  A U/A 4 days later to see if Lortab was still showing up in his system?  That made no sense.  They should have done a blood test, at least.  I wish the kid who had confessed his knowledge about the pills had done it on Monday, and not waited until Friday.  At least on Monday or Tuesday, the U/A would have been more accurate.  The results on the U/A wouldn’t be back until Tuesday at the earliest.

I asked the alternate therapist to contact our regular therapist and give her a chance to help my son, but he didn’t act like he would even try.  I tried to email her, but she had put a vacation stop on her email.  I felt very abandoned and afraid.  I didn’t know what we were going to do with him if he were expelled.

I was upset because it didn’t make any sense to me that they would expel my kid for relapsing.  He didn’t bring the pills and he didn’t pass them along to the other kids.  His mistake was accepting them.

I wanted them to give him another chance.  But, I really didn’t think they would. 

The reason for the suspension was that they have to keep their community safe and they can’t have kids who bring drugs there and they can’t have kids who enable them by not alerting the staff about it.  Apparently the pills had been taken them from the kid’s grandparents.  He took Lortab, Seizure medications, and high blood pressure medication. Someone could really have been hurt by taking these pills.

I asked why they don’t search the Day Treatment kids every single morning when they are dropped off, but I guess there are legalities that keep them from doing it.  I think every parent would sign a release allowing their child to be searched because none of them would want drugs brought into Day Treatment endangering their child and giving them a chance to relapse while still in treatment.

I got the feeling from the alternate therapist that a lot of the staff think that my son is so stubborn that he isn’t getting anything out of the program.  It made me wonder if this was going to be just the excuse they needed to expel him and get him out of their hair. 

My older son said that expelling my son for relapsing or almost relapsing, was like taking a bleeding person and throwing them into the water with sharks.  They will be eaten alive.  My son would probably relapse for sure if he thought they had given up on him.  He was not ready for the real world.  He may have wanted to be back in the real world, but mostly because he is tired of being in rehab, not because he is ready for life yet.  If he accepted Lortab from a kid in treatment, then what would he do the first time someone on the outside offered him weed or cocaine?

He said that the addict part of him was the first to jump when he was offered pills.  But, then he thought about it and changed his mind.  I want to believe him.  I want to feel like he can use his wise mind skills like that.

But, I began to wonder about the Monday that he came home from Day Treatment and didn’t talk very much or give us the hard time that we thought he would about being switched to Psych from C.D.  He did not give us the reaction that we expected—that he normally would have based on how things had been going lately. 

We thought that maybe he had just radically accepted his new course of treatment and decided not to fight it.

The final thing that made me skeptical now that I thought about it was that he fell asleep VERY easily on Monday night.  He was almost asleep before I even gave him his sleeping medications.  Was it because he was on Lortab that night?  Or was he just really tired?

If I just believe his story, then he must have been really tired.

I want to believe him.

He wants me to believe him.

Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde

His whole attitude and behavior were just not improving.

Most of the time at home, he was angry, belligerent, defiant, uncooperative, demanding, disobedient, arguing, fighting, and disrespectful.

He was even getting disrespectful to his therapist.  When she mentioned at Family Therapy that it might be a good idea for us to just sell the X-box, he said “F-that” right to her face!

But, usually, in a group, or in public, he may have appeared to be sullen or quiet, but he wouldn’t show the obvious hatred and anger that he had toward us.  He would wait until we were back at home.

We go out to eat a lot after Family Therapy, after Family Group Therapy, or after AA.  I haven’t cooked very many meals during this whole process since we are always gone at dinnertime.  At restaurants, he isn’t supposed to have caffeinated beverages after 7:00 p.m., but he got away with it that night and then, he couldn’t go to sleep when it was time.  I was sure that it was because of the Dr. Pepper or whatever he had that night at the restaurant.  He ended up staying awake watching TV until 2:00 a.m.  I didn’t feel well that night and letting him stay up was easier than fighting with him about turning the TV off.  My husband had gone to bed early and didn’t even know what was going on.

The next night, I don’t know if my son was trying to get away with the same thing that he got away with the night before or if he legitimately couldn’t sleep, but by midnight, he was still wide awake.  We wanted him to try to go to sleep without his TV on, since we had been doing better at not having midnight arguments with him about it, lately.  But, he dug in his heels.  He even told my husband that he and I had worked out a system the previous night.  That wasn’t true.  He just played me and then tried to use it to his advantage.  Every time I give him an inch he wants to take a mile.  He thinks that the inch is a new pattern to live by. 

It makes me so angry and I feel like I have been backed into a corner when I am a little lenient sometimes. 

We were being set up for an Ambien argument.  His body wanted him to be asleep, but he was fighting it.  We gave him one more half hour and then he said he would turn the TV off.

30 minutes later, he did turn his TV off, but insisted on listening to his I-Pod.  The unreasonableness that Ambien brings out in him started to show through as he plugged his I-Pod into his surround sound speakers in his room! 

He argued with me when I told him that he could only listen to the I-Pod with his ear-buds.  But, he didn’t know where his ear-buds were and it was all MY fault because I must have been the one to move them!

We finally found the ear-buds and everything quieted down except the throbbing in my head.  About an hour later, I went to the kitchen to get some more ice for my ice-pack and all of a sudden, my son was standing there, too.  He scared me to death!  I thought he had finally gone to sleep.

He wanted me to let him turn his TV back on.  When I said, no and told him it was time for him to just try to go to sleep, all heck broke loose.  He swore and swore and swore at me telling me that everything was so F-ing this, that, and the other.  He wanted to go live somewhere else.  He thought the rules were stupid and that our trying to enforce them was stupid.  He hated us and wanted us out of his life.

When he seemed to have finished ranting, I told him to go to bed.  I went to bed.  I cried and cried.  My head hurt so badly and the crying didn’t help.  It made me sad to think that he would say those awful things to me.  It made me sad that he hated us so much that he didn’t want to live here anymore.

The next morning, he said that he didn’t remember much of what went on the previous night, but I know that he did because he sure seemed to pick it right back up where he left off.  It was like a continuation of the night before.

He started talking about how everything around our house is B.S. and dropped a lot more F-bombs just because he couldn’t play the X-box when he wanted to. 

We were subjected to another tirade about how we shouldn’t have put him in rehab
We shouldn’t have any control over his life
He doesn’t want us to care about him and if we would just stop, it would make things a lot easier
He doesn’t want to do what he has to do to commence from the program and even if he does, he is just going to end up right back in it two months later because he will probably go out and “use”...
There is nothing good about rehab and he is not getting anything out of it
He hates us and doesn’t want to live here anymore and wants to find a place to live where he has all control over his life.


He seriously thinks that we should just let him do whatever the heck he wants to do, whenever, and for however long he wants to do it, and if we did that, things would go a lot smoother around here.

Too bad though.  We wouldn’t just let him have all of the power.  We know that watching TV all night while taking sleeping medication does not make sense.  We know that playing the X-box for hours and hours without stopping isn’t good for him.  We know that the best chance he has right now in his life is sticking with the rehab program. 

We can’t stop caring about him, either.

All of these emotional roller coasters that we kept riding were tearing me apart.  My husband was doing a better job of being detached than he had been previously.  Every book I had been reading about bringing your recovering addict home from rehab said that you have to be emotionally detached from their behavior, but it was HARD!  I kept going from being mad at him for how he was acting to being devastated about how he was acting.  I just couldn’t stand all of the hatred and darkness that was hanging over everything.  I felt like I was being ripped to shreds inside.

I began to wonder if he had something else going that was causing all of this Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde stuff.  I asked his therapist about having him re-evaluated to see if he was Bi-Polar.  I even asked her if he could be re-admitted to see if they could get a handle on whatever was causing all of these issues since everything seemed to be getting worse and worse.  I told her that his anger was so much more of an issue at that point than it had ever been and something had to be done.  I even thought that they might move him from the Chemical Dependence Program to the Psychiatric Program.  Sometimes kids have to do both programs at one time—majoring in one and minoring in the other.  I really didn’t know if they would do that with my son, or not.  He started out majoring in Chemical Dependence, but had a therapist who was also skilled in Psychiatric issues in order to help him with his depression.  So, I thought it would have just been a matter of her shifting the focus.

I knew that a program switch would make him mad though, so I hoped that it would just require a medication adjustment.  I thought that maybe he should be on a different type of anti-depressant, or a higher dose.  I wasn’t hoping that he was Bi-Polar, I just didn’t know what else to think.  His emotions, attitude, temperament, and behavior were all over the place and I didn’t know what to do about it. 

Some of the things that I read about Bi-Polar sounded just like some of the things that we had been going through.  In a manic episode the person could become angry, irritable, aggressive—picking fights, lashing out when others don’t go along with their plans, and blaming anyone who criticizes their behavior.


But, then I wondered if his sleep medication might need to be changed.  When he lets the Ambien work, it works just fine.  But, when it doesn’t work, it is just awful.  He gets so ANGRY at everything we do or say when he is on it and isn’t asleep.  Ambien side effects that apply to my son are:  depressed mood, decreased inhibitions, aggression, feeling restless or agitated, loss of personality, forgetfulness, impaired thinking or reactions.

I thought that the therapist might think that we were trying to diagnose him ourselves, but we really were at our wits end and didn’t know what else to do.

At the same time that I was emailing my concerns to her, she was in a staff meeting where they were discussing the same things about my son.  I think she was seeking help in knowing what to do for him since I was constantly emailing her and calling her about the problems that we kept having.  She also knew that after months of being in the program, he wasn’t getting anywhere.  After the meeting, she called me to ask me how my husband and I would feel if they moved the focus on my son more toward Psych than it had been before.  He would officially be classified in that program, but would still have to complete his C.D. work, too.  She was also going to talk with the doctor about my other concerns, but she felt that this was the best course of action to take at the time and didn’t think he was Bi-Polar.

It was a Thursday when she called me with the decision and she wanted to know if she should tell him right then, or on Monday.  I asked her to please wait until Monday so that at least we had a chance to have a good weekend.  I was pretty sure that he would not react well to the news of the change.  Not that we had been having any good weekends, but I was always hopeful.

I had a lot of questions about the change.

I wanted to make sure that he still was minoring in C.D. so that he would still have all of the coping skills in his mind when he completed the program.  I knew that he still hadn’t admitted out loud in front of anyone in Family Group or in AA that he had committed to staying sober.  He wasn’t even sure if it was worth it to be sober or not.  Once, in one of our recent arguments, he even made the ridiculous statement that if he had a kid who was using drugs, he would smoke weed with him, not put him in rehab.

I wanted to know what his Psych assignments would be like and what they would do to help him figure out how to have a life that wasn’t filled with anger and animosity.  He was at a point where he didn’t know how to be happy and wasn’t even sure if he wanted to try.  He had no goals and no desire to improve his situation through his own efforts.   The therapist told me that she carefully chose his Psych assignments so that he would be doing the ones that she thought would be the most beneficial to him.

Surprisingly, we had a fairly good weekend.  I was so nervous when Monday came.  It was a long day.  The therapist called me late in the day and told me that he did not have much reaction at all when she broke the news to him.   

He came home that day and said, “They switched me to Psych with all the _________, _________ crazy people.  Great, huh?”

I said, “So stop acting crazy then.”

And that was the last thing he said about it that night.

Friday, June 24, 2011


I think his sponsor told him that he needed to apologize because he gave me a hug and told me that he was sorry when I gave him the letter.  At least he didn’t seem to be in a worse mood after he read it.  He admires his sponsor and thinks of him as his higher power (AA Step 2), and I appreciate all of the good things that come from that.  I especially like the fact that his sponsor asks him every day, “What did you do nice for your mom?”  At least it gets him thinking that he should be nice.

My husband told him that he had to do a bunch of chores for all of the swearing that he had done.  Until he did the chores, he wouldn’t get to play the X-box.  He refused to do the chores on the basis that he was “provoked”.  So, the activity of the day was watching TV, until we dragged him to my grandson’s first birthday party.  He chose not interact with anyone and repeatedly asked how long we had to stay.  This should have been one of the happiest days of the year, and my son just couldn’t stop trying to drag us down.  This did not make me very happy with him.

He spent the entire weekend without the X-box and became more and more withdrawn, acting like there was nothing to do in the world. 

On Monday, when he came home from Day Treatment, he asked if we had anything planned to do.  I couldn’t resist and said, “No, you quit the Monday and Thursday night activities, and we don’t have anything else planned to do.  Do you want to change your mind?” 

He said, “No, Tae Kwon Do is stupid.  The only thing I have in my life is Day Treatment and coming home to nothing.”  I told him that he could hang out with me and we could talk while I made dinner, but he just went to his room to lay down on his bed. 

Later, I asked him if he had any other activities in mind that he would like to be a part of and naturally he said no.  I told him that if he wanted to start guitar lessons or anything else, he should let me know.  He took that opportunity to inform me that now he hates playing the guitar too. 

At dinner, my husband suggested several other activities that my son could get involved in from football to swimming.  All of those ideas were shot down.  We tried valiantly to make conversation, tell jokes, and laugh about things to draw him out, but we got no response or reaction.

After dinner, I asked him if he wanted to watch a TV show with me, but he began to insist that I give him his Ambien so that he could go to sleep (at 7:00 p.m.)! I told him that he couldn’t have it until bedtime. 

“For me, it is bedtime,” he whined as if I would fall for that.

I replied, “Sorry, Ambien is not an antidote for boredom.”  Then, I walked away as he continued trying to convince me that he needed his sleeping pill right then.  I suggested that he work on his therapeutic assignments and he said that there was no point.

He wanted us to feel sorry for him, give in on the chore penalty, and let him play the X-box again.  Then, all would be well with him.  I kept trying to think of something to do to get him to do the chores and get it over with just to get rid of the cloud of gloom that was hanging over all of us.

Any other time, sooner-- rather than later--he would want to get his X-box back.  He would have radically accepted that he had chores to do and would get them done.  But, he was being very stubborn this time.  I don’t know if it was to try to prove something or if he couldn’t figure out how to pull himself back out of the pity party that he had gotten himself into.

The therapist tried to help us get through this current conflict on Wednesday night at Family Therapy.  As we left the building, I said, “When you were talking about the chores for swearing penalty, you said that you wanted to be able to pick the 10 chores, instead of doing the ones that Dad wrote down.  Would you like to talk about the chores you would be willing to do?”

He said, “I’m not going to do any chores.”

So much for Family Therapy.

I was so frustrated that we hadn’t gotten any results in family therapy. 

On the drive home, I told him that I had apologized for how things went last week and had tried to make things better.  I asked him why it was so hard for him to accept and work on improving the situation, too.  He said that he is just not like that anymore.  Once again, he pointed out that he was done trying and had just quit.

I said that I just didn’t understand his attitude because even though we had a big blow-up last week, we really have had a lot fewer conflicts like that lately.  I pointed out that we learn something from the ones that we DO have which can help us to avoid them in the future. 

But, he insisted that nothing has gotten better over the last few months and that it wasn’t going to get better.

I changed the subject and asked him how much homework he had.  He said he didn’t know.  I asked him if he wanted to work on his Leisure Packet so that he could move to Phase 2 soon. 

He said that he didn’t want to be a Phase 2 anymore.  I asked him why and he said that having Phase 2 friend privileges would mean that he could either skateboard with friends or play the X-box with a friend.  He didn’t want to skateboard anymore and he played the X-box all the time, anyway, so why bother becoming a Phase 2?  He felt that these were the only two things that his friends would want to do, so why bother doing the work just for that?

I wondered if he was using the current situation to have an excuse not to progress because he was afraid to hang out with his friends again?  Was he as worried as I was about what would happen when he got more freedom?  Was that why he didn’t have any motivation?  Was that why he kept picking fights with me and my husband, because he knew that every family conflict would hold him back in the program?

Or did he just have a compulsion to make sure that we knew that we had ruined his life and that everything was as bad as it could get because of what we did?

That night he wouldn’t eat dinner.  The therapist had brought up the fact that he was still losing weight.  He said that since everyone thinks that he doesn’t eat, he might as well not eat.  I couldn’t convince him that every time the issue of his weight gets brought up, it wasn’t to pick on him, it was out of everyone’s concern for him to help him understand the importance of eating good food and gaining some weight.  Of course, hearing that people cared about him and his health did nothing to break the ice.

His tone and his attitude was so insolent and rude that I couldn’t stop myself from asking, “Do you hate your Dad and I that much?”

He knew how to cut me to the core when he answered, “I’m getting there.”

I don’t know how I possibly could have expected him to say “No, I love you guys.”  I am a crazy glutton for punishment, that’s for sure.  I had to try very hard not to show that the tears were right at the surface.  

No matter what we did... 
No matter how hard we tried... 
No matter how much we love him and care about him... 
No matter how we tried to not have contention and blow-ups... 
He didn’t want to get over us putting him in rehab. 
He didn’t want to leave the arguments of the past couple of years in the past. 
He didn’t want to accept any responsibility for the course his life was taking right now.
He just wanted to blame us for everything. 
He wanted to justify his drug use by making it seem like we drove him to it.

Inside I was screaming!
"I am sorry that you don’t realize how much I want things to get better between us!"
"I am sorry that I yell!"  (At least this time I was screaming in my head, not out loud!)
"I am sorry that after I tried every single thing I could think of to do calmly, helpfully, and nicely in the face of defiance and stubbornness—that I resorted to yelling!" 

I wish I could have figured out how not to do that.
I tried.
I read parenting books.
I read books on how to deal with Oppositional Defiant kids.
I took classes on dealing with O.D.D.
I brainstormed with my husband all the time about how to not have things turn into blow-ups.
We both tried.

But, our son didn’t try.
He just started drinking, smoking, and using drugs. 
He didn’t even think he should accept that the only person who made him start using drugs was himself.
He justified everything with the fact that we argued a lot.

We wanted to forgive him for the things that he did.
We wanted to move on from there and work on improving our relationship.

But, he didn’t want to.

He wanted to hate us for everything we had ever said or done in the past 14 years.

Then, out of the blue that night, he came to me with a list of ten easy, yet stupid, chores to do.  They took him about 10 minutes--total--to finish.  It was the lamest effort at work in history.  At this point, I didn’t even care.  At least he was doing something!

He got the X-box back. 

You would have thought that would make him happy, but he just couldn’t resist pushing the envelope.  He tried to set it up in his bedroom instead of the family room!  He insisted that it would be so much for comfortable to lie on his bed to play it.  Explaining that nothing had changed in the last few days about where the X-box could be used was maddening!  He knew that we didn’t want him to isolate himself in his room with the X-box and that it had been a rule ever since he started Day Treatment that the X-box would be played in the family room, and yet he thought he could just set it up wherever he wanted to.

My husband and I didn’t argue with him, though.  We just stated the facts and then shut our mouths.  He finally realized that he wasn’t getting any results from this course of action and gave up. 

But, he seemed to feel that he had to get in one last word just in case we would change our minds. 

He said, “I can’t believe that I AM THE ONE THAT HAD TO GO TO REHAB and I can’t even be comfortable NOW when I play the X-box.”

That didn’t help his case.

We laughed for the first time in days at the absurdity of that statement.

He played the X-box for one hour while sitting in our big comfy chair that he moved out of the corner of the family room right in front of the TV.

After that hour, his tone of voice and attitude were happier than I had seen in days.

All because of the X-box.

The next morning, he claimed to be sick.  He may have not felt well, but it sure seemed like he was using that as an excuse to stay home and play the X-box all day.

He showed his symptoms of stomach sickness, combined with coughing in as many ways as he could right up until my husband left for work.  Then he went back to sleep for several hours.  When he woke up, he was not coughing and didn’t show any signs of stomachache anymore.    

I told him that now I could take him to Day Treatment, but he was sure that he still needed to take it easy.   

He began to get himself all set up and ready to relax while playing the X-box. 

But, I had sent every single X-box controller to work with my husband.

It never crossed his mind that I would make sure that he wasn’t able to just fake sick in order to stay home and play games all day.

I laughed to myself.

He was not laughing. 

Far from it.