Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2 Steps Forward, 14 Steps Back

For most of 1he summer, we had been going to the arcade at the bowling alley following my son’s After Care meeting at the rehab center.  They had two for one games on Tuesdays.  We were earning points on our ticket card to redeem for a prize at the prize counter.  We joked about how many times we would have to go to the arcade and how many points we would have to earn each time to be able to use them for the laptop computer that was in the display case.  He seriously wanted to be able to get it with points, but finally became resolved to the fact that it would take us years to accomplish that feat.  We always had fun playing skee ball, air hockey, basketball, and even Wheel of Fortune.

After our road trip to Bryce Canyon, he got more serious about getting a laptop.  He had legitimate reasons for feeling that he needed to get a laptop as soon as possible.  He wanted to be able to work on a blog to exhibit his photography and start the plans for his foundation.  He had been earning money at his part time job with the family business, but he wasn’t earning enough—fast enough to suit him.  When my son wants something—he wants it NOW.  He doesn’t want to work for it.  He doesn’t want to have to wait.  For him, it has to happen now—or life is over. 

So, he came up with a plan to work in our garage to earn money faster in order to get the laptop sooner.  I did not want him to work in the garage because I didn’t know if our garage had any hidden stashes of stuff that I might not want him to come across.  I knew that the thing that opened up our world to this whole adventure—the lightbulb pipe—had come out of that garage.

For the last several months, his access to the garage had been very limited.  But, my husband couldn’t pass up my son’s willingness to work in there, which would help put a dent in the huge accumulation of electrical materials, tools, and supplies that always seem to pile up in an unorganized fashion. And, there was no talking my son out of the idea, once he had it. 

The first day or two went all right, even though he didn’t like it and he complained about how much unnecessary junk we have.  He wanted to throw everything away, rather than organize it.  Other than listening to him rant about that every time he came into the house, it seemed like working in the garage was not going to be too bad.

But it was.

As the days went by and he wasn’t earning money as quickly as he wanted to, he became irritable and hard to communicate with.  Sometimes he would work for several hours for my older son or husband on a job and then come home and work 6 hours more in the garage.  He is a kid who is not used to working and would rather have the stomach flu than work and I hoped that this experience would teach him some things about sticking to something.  I would have been really proud of him for that--if he hadn’t gone off the deep end. 

He was trying to sort things into categories—keep, questionable, and trash.  Some tools and equipment that probably should have gone in the questionable bin were put in the trash can.   Then, he swept the floor and dumped the dirt all over it.  He thought he was doing a pretty good job.

He wanted to show us that the garage was looking better and that I would even be able to walk on the floor instead of on top of piles when I had to get something out of the freezer.  So when my husband went out to check on him and see what progress he had made, my son was expecting some praise. 

Instead my husband asked him why there were tools in the garbage can with dirt poured all over them.  That was the wrong thing to ask.  Emotions exploded all over the garage.   My husband was trying very hard to remain calm, but my son totally overreacted to everything that was said to him and started swearing, calling my husband a not-so-nice name, quitting his job for the company, and saying that everything was just a bunch of crap.  He was on a roll.   He just kept getting angrier and angrier.  We did not have a good night after that.  Nobody was talking to anybody and none of us could sleep.

The argument affected my husband more than I thought it would.  He decided to take off and spend the next day, Sunday, by himself.  I wasn’t really happy about that, but there wasn’t much point in getting in an argument with him, too.  So, I went to church by myself for an hour.  My son refused to wake up to get ready to go with me.    

He slept almost all day and I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt about sleeping for so long on.  He had been working so hard, the previous day’s argument was very emotional, and he had stayed up quite late the night before.  But, I began to wonder what the real cause of his exhaustion might be. 

During one of his short periods of consciousness, I asked him if his behavior from the day before had anything to do with taking any kind of drugs from a stash that he may have found in the garage.  He swore that he hadn’t and said that he was still sober and volunteered to take a drug test. 

But, he made sure to remind me that if he took a drug test, it would show positive for amphetamines because his daily Adderol medication is an amphetamine.

That raised my suspicions.  Did he really take something that he thought would be masked by a positive amphetamine reading on the drug test?   Even then, I didn’t drug test him.  I was afraid that if I did it when my husband wasn’t home, I might have to deal with unwanted results all by myself.

So, I talked to him about how overreacting and freaking out makes me suspicious and, it makes me feel like I have to drug test him all the time since he tends to freak out whenever anyone says anything to him that he doesn't like.

He said that he had been thinking a lot about going back to school in a few weeks and that he was scared.  He said he hadn’t been out in the real world for so long that he was really nervous about it.  

I appreciated him sharing his feelings with me and told him that he needed to come up with a plan of what he would do at school if someone came up to him and wanted him to do something he shouldn't.  He said that is where a cell phone would come in handy because then he could go to the bathroom and call his sponsor or me and he could talk to us about it.  That made sense. 

But, I think he was trying to make me feel that his overreaction the day before was related to all of those nervous feelings.  And I knew it wasn’t.  I think he was trying to send my train of thought in another direction so that I wouldn’t be suspicious that he had relapsed.

Something was going on and I was sure that it was related to working in the garage and/or drugs.   

I did not have a good feeling about it at all.

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