There are a lot of things that I would like to talk to him about and many questions that I would like to ask.
But, thinking them is one thing and asking them is another. There is a saying that goes, “Don’t ask any question that you don’t want to know the answer to.”
That seems to fit in with one aspect of my life right now. I am terrified to ask the question “Are you on anything, or using anything?” I am actually more afraid of the reaction to the question than I am afraid of the answer.
One of the reasons that we don’t talk very much anymore is because he doesn’t like me or my husband to ask him questions and so we don’t have very many ways to start a conversation. And, when I ask a question, I don’t know if will I even be able to believe the answer, if I will get a straight answer, if I will even get an answer, or if I will get his rehearsed answers. Nobody ever learns anything when he just gives the rehearsed answer. But, it makes me just as crazy when he gives the answer that he thinks people want to hear. All of the people who care about him and want to help him—myself, friends and family, his sponsor, his school counselor, his therapist, and his doctors—don’t have any idea of what he really is thinking and feeling.
I hardly ever ask him questions about school anymore. I don’t even dare ask how each class is going, what homework or assignments he has, and if there is anything that he needs help with. He just bites my head off every time I express any concern over school.
Since I was pretty sure he would run into people from his past at his high school, one of the questions that I have asked him a couple of times is: “If you get the urge to use, or someone tries to get you to—would you call me or your sponsor so that we could talk you through it or come and get you?”
The rehearsed answer: “I would call you, or my sponsor and there isn’t really anybody who is going to ask me to.” Okay, I hope I can believe that.
One of my other questions: “Have you seen anyone from your using days?”
He usually says, “Not really.” But, once, he admitted that he had seen some of those people, and all they do is nod at each other.
I wish he could/would make some new, awesome friends, so I asked him if he had found anyone to hang out with at school during lunch.
He answered, “Yeah, but I don’t know any of their names.”
He doesn’t know the names of the people that he hangs out with every day? Has he never asked or heard anyone’s name in conversation? Does he just not care? Or, is there another reason that he doesn’t want to tell me the names of kids he might be associating with?
One day, he called me from school and asked me to bring his hacky sack to him at the beginning of his lunch period. When I pulled up to the curb in front of the school, he said, “I can’t talk to you because if I don’t hurry, I won’t be able to hang out with J*** at lunch.”
Well, there is a name. I know who J*** is. He has always acted as if my son is just a friend of his other friends and that is all. They weren’t first-hand friends before rehab. Some people have said that J*** is a pot-head. Others have said that he is one of the kids who is clean, clean, clean.
I wish I knew what to think about J***. It would be nice to know if he was sober or not.
After school the next day, my son told me that someone stole his hacky sac out of his back pack while he was talking to a teacher.
I realize that this could be a believable story. However, there is one little part of me says, “Or, he traded it for something.” It was a $10.00 hacky sac. It could have some value in the world for getting what you want if you are not allowed to hold or keep real money.
Once again, feelings of doubt override feelings of trust.
Another kid from his using days is in his World Civilizations class. My son told me about him when he mentioned that they are working on a project together. Great. If there were 5 kids that I would not want my newly clean and sober child hanging out with, Z*** could be at the top of the list. There would be no working on this project outside of school together as far as I was concerned. I was prepared to raise holy heck if that were required by the teacher. This kid just exudes a "don't trust me" demeanor. I KNOW that Z*** is a user. I have seen him blatantly walking around with a glow-stick hanging around his neck claiming to wear them because he just likes glow-sticks. Yeah, Z*** and you like a little ecstasy with your glow stick, too. Z*** is one of those kids who has the freedom that my son used to sneak around to get, except Z*** doesn’t have to sneak around. I wouldn’t put it past him to try to get my son to relapse.
Other than having to work on this project in World Civ with Z***, does my son just give him the nod that he gives other past “using” friends? Or do they talk outside of class?
What really goes on at school every day? Is everything about it starting to get to him? Does all of the work, the atmosphere, the challenges, the peer pressure, or other aspects of it contribute to the increased swearing and over-reacting that has been happening a lot lately?
He said that nothing was going on to cause any of it, just that he was very, very bored and that swearing is one of the only things he has. He has said that several times, and the only thing I can think of is that it is his control issue. I can’t MAKE him stop swearing, so swearing is one of the ways he shows that he has power. And, he knows that it bothers me to hear the F-bomb and he knows that it hurts me to be called names. So, he even has power over me.
In my mind I scream, “Oh, okay. You want to feel control over something in your life and you are bored. Go ahead and swear about every little thing, then. Over-react to every question you are asked or to every comment that people make that you don’t like. Be bored, and don’t try to get a life or get out of your safe little box and try to make new friends. Don’t explore other possibilities of entertainment that aren't just playing video games. Just be bored and swear a lot.”
I wish that wasn’t how he felt, though.
The solitary little box that he has created for himself probably feels safe. In the box, nobody can entice him to do things he knows he shouldn’t be doing, or at least things that he knows will get him sent back to rehab, or worse. It is his safety zone. He could feel that the box helped him stay sober for the last 11 months.
Is he still taking it one day at a time? Or is he just going through the motions and passively coasting through life because he doesn't think there isn’t anything else to do, BUT go THROUGH it? Is he afraid to actually try to LIVE life? Is the fear of going back to rehab the biggest motivation to stay clean?
Is it easier to watch life go by without really engaging in it? I hope not. I hope he soon realizes that there are many good things out there waiting for him to discover and enjoy. I wish I knew how to get him to see the wonderful things in the world that are just outside his box.
Is he satisfied with being content, feeling nothing else? Just going with the flow unless someone comes up with a request, thought, idea, or comment that interrupts his rhythm? Are there times when he is actually happy? Because rarely have I seen sheer happiness about anything (unless it is a new X-Box game and even that doesn’t seem to give him any kind of lasting happiness).
Does he even know how to BE happy anymore?
Was he happy even before he used drugs? Maybe he wasn’t. I have no idea how long he had untreated depression. Maybe that is one of the reasons that he started using. This kind of thinking gets me into the blaming myself mode where I think that if I had just figured out how to deal with his defiance better, then maybe we would have had a better relationship, we all could have been happier, and he wouldn't have gotten depressed.
So, now, I think in a lot of ways he is just going along with not returning to his old “using” life again. It doesn’t necessarily make him feel any joy and it doesn’t necessarily make him feel any sadness. He is just a kid who used to use drugs and now he doesn’t. Somehow he needs to find a way to be more than that.
Well, we did everything we could to get him off drugs, but what do we do now to get him to find out who he is and what he can do with his life? How can we advise him and help him?
How do we know what he is thinking?
Because we don’t ask very many questions.
So questions don’t get answered.
And there is a lot of silence.