Tuesday, May 22, 2012


My son goes to therapy every other week or so.  I don’t know what he is getting out of it or if it is even helping.

One of his biggest issues is his anger.  He over-reacts to everything and when someone says something to him that he doesn’t like, or if they try to get him to do something that he doesn’t want to do, he freaks out.  He has to learn that he can’t just fly off the handle yelling, swearing, and wanting to fight.

It seems like he is a time bomb and I never know what is going to set him off.

Some people say this is normal teenage behavior.  Yeah, for normal teens.  But, once your teen is an addict, no behavior is normal anymore.  You don’t know which mood, behavior, or event is going to trigger the desire to use drugs again.  And for him, we don’t know what is going to trigger his raging anger. 

Uncertainty is the name of the game and it is hard to live with. 

We hope for some good times that we can enjoy with him, but we always seem to be walking on eggshells around him--wary of the land mine being tripped and everything around it blowing up.

I purposely avoid talking to him just so that he won’t have anything to get upset about.  I don’t ask him any questions about his day or how he is feeling just so that he won’t bite my head off for asking.  Even if he does seem to want to talk, before we know it, he gets really negative, won’t listen to suggestions, or anything else that we have to say.  He thinks that I always expect the worst of him, but I don’t.  Part of the problem is that I expect the best from him and it is disappointing when he doesn’t even try to be the best that he can be. 

Therapy usually either starts a big blow-up right after we leave, or things stay calm for a day, or week.  But, there is always that one day every couple of weeks that turns into a big deal,  no matter how hard we try to avoid it.  Every time we feel like we are moving forward, we seem to get slammed back and we don’t catch up to where we started. 

It is so frustrating that we can’t find any way to get him and this family on a good path. 

I don’t know what else to try besides therapy.  I have to hope that something gets through to him and that his therapist will eventually figure out how to help him.  He does not like her though, and thinks that everything she does is stupid.  He usually won’t do any of the assignments that she gives him. 

She gave him an assignment to think about what other parts there are to him besides the addict and the recovering addict because she thinks that is mostly what he sees himself as.

He never did the assignment, but I did.

This is what I wrote:

I see him as a young man looking at the world in a new way, discovering new things.
I see him as a wonderful son.
I see him as an uncle who loves his nephew.
I see him as a talented photographer.
I see him as someone who can do anything he sets his mind to.
I see him as someone who is so smart he can teach himself new things.
I see him as someone who wants to be accepted and loved.
I see him as a scared young man.
I am so proud of him.
And so nervous for him.

I don’t know for sure how he sees himself.  I think the statements that I made about him would be like this if he had written them:

“I don’t know how I fit into this world.  I don’t feel like I fit in with people at school, church, or even my family.               
I think I am the person that everyone expects the worst of and that no one will ever trust.
I am the kind of person that no one really would want to have love them or would want to be loved by.  I think my nephew is cool, but I would not want him to be like me.
I think being a photographer would be cool, but it probably will never happen for me.  I will never have enough money or good enough cameras to become one.
I know what I want and I will do whatever I have to do to get it even if I have to get in an argument with my parents.  Eventually, I will get my way. 
I am smarter than everyone around me and I can’t believe how stupid everyone else is.  I can’t stand it when people try to tell me things that they think I should know.  I already know everything that they are trying to teach me and even if I don’t, I will never admit it.
I wish people would just accept me like I am and stop trying to get me to change.  I am what I am. 
The future scares me, but I will never admit that.  I want everyone to think that I am tough and that I know exactly where I am going and how I am going to get there. 
No one is proud of me.  No one thinks that I will ever be able to do anything good again.  I will never be able to be good enough.”

It makes me sad to think that he would see himself that way.  It is too bad that the positive outlook that he seemed to have this summer did not stick with him.

Rehab made an impact on him and he seems committed, most of the time, to stay off drugs.  But, somehow, something was missed in helping him to see that he can be whole and happy and that he doesn’t have to be angry at life.

One recovery program has this philosophy:  We understand that abstinence is not recovery.  Once clean and sober, the addict must be given the opportunity to recreate their life.  Our job is to allow those in recovery to ACT their way into right thinking, rather than THINK their way into right thinking.  This brings about the psychic change necessary to recover from alcoholism and drug addiction.  

I think my son did not have a chance to get all that.  He got the abstinence part.  Over the summer, it seemed like he might have started to recreate his life.  But, once school began in the fall, he seemed to fall out of the re-creating his life step.  He started having to live his life according to the rules of attending school and acting like a good student.  It made him seem to lose track of the person he had started to like being. 

And now, I don’t know how to get him back on the track of recreating his life.

I am afraid that if someone doesn’t figure out how to help him, one of these days it will be too late.   

I don’t want it to be too late.

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