He should be able to say that he is two years sober now.
Another entire year has gone by since we celebrated the big one year milestone. These last 12 months have been full of conflicts, blow-ups, and crazy anger issues. The problems happened so often, that I didn’t quite know how to write about them. He started doing poorly in school and then just quit going all together, argued with us about everything, was charged with assault (by me) and criminal mischief (for breaking things), had to appear before a probation officer, wasn’t doing very well at living life, started a new school, but still failed all of his classes, and couldn’t stop blowing up about anything and everything. It was not the greatest year in our family.
At least, though, it was another year of staying clean and sober and we had to be hopeful about that.
Until one night last week when an odor woke me up and five minutes later, I found myself in a nightmare that turned the world upside down.
At first, I thought it was our dog (who was sleeping in our bedroom), emitting one of her really offensive dog smells. I quickly ruled that out and thought maybe it was burned popcorn. But, it wasn’t quite the burned popcorn smell either, so I got up to investigate.
I descended the stairs into the basement level of our house, and my heart dropped into my stomach with every step I took.
I knew what that odor was.
Really? Marijuana? He relapsed? When? Why? How long ago?
He had been fairly nice that day. He thanked my husband for making him some French toast. Instead of just staying up late without permission, he asked if he could stay up until midnight or so to play StarCraft on the computer and we said he could. He always told us that we didn’t trust him and we kept trying to show him that we were trying to. Allowing him to stay down on the main level of the house in the office was one of our acts of trust.
But, he wasn’t in the office playing a game.
Even though this last year was fraught with turmoil, I did not expect this. We were warned repeatedly, that it was likely. Most of the kids that we knew from rehab relapsed within weeks or months of commencing from treatment. But, since so much time had gone by I really believed my son when he told me that he was through with that part of his life and never wanted to use drugs again.
Apparently, all this time--talking the talk and going to his weekly AA meetings—he was just being compliant with our expectations of sobriety without being committed to sobriety for himself.
I walked into that basement room, gagged on the awful smell and said, “What the heck are you doing?”
He looked at me and blatantly lied, “I am working on my amp.”
I said, “You were just smoking pot!”
He denied it. As I stood there in that disgusting smelling room, with my head spinning and feeling like I was going to vomit--he denied it.
“Your eyes are bloodshot, this room reeks of marijuana, the smell was coming up through the furnace into my room, and it is obvious by the temperature in here that you have had the window open! I am not stupid!”
He just looked at me with a smug look of mis-guided power and said, “So what if I was smoking a bowl? I can smoke pot if I want to and there isn’t anything you can take away from me or ground me from that will make me stop.”
No! Not again! This could not be happening again.
At the New Year most people resolve to make the coming year better than the last one.
My 16 year-old nephew’s New Year’s Resolutions were something like this:
No more junk food or soda.
Get at least a B in all of my classes.
Work out more.
Get a job.
Go to church on Sundays.
Better myself in all aspects.
And yet my 16 year-old son seemed to have come up with this one--
Smoke pot whenever I want to
because there isn't
anything wrong with it and
there is nothing
that my parents can do
to stop me.
We heard that exact thing from him 2 ½ years ago.
And now it was like experiencing Déjà vu.
Why, oh why, oh why?