Thursday, April 23, 2009

How Did We Arrive Here?

Caution!!!! Open and read with care. Random rantings and thoughts. Another posting from after I have been deliberating on these last few days of his sobriety.

After this last month of our son being clean I am thinking about what has transpired. I know that a month of being clean is tenuous at best but everything has to start somewhere.

People always talk about about learning from their mistakes. I guess that may be effective for many but in my backwards way I have always had my best lessons by studying successes. Somehow the thought of browbeating the failures of my life have provided me little significant learning experiences. Of course it isn't like I ignore those colossal screwups I have been apart of but, take your medicine and move on is something I have learned in my life. My preferred method of problem solving and analyzing issues is to study successes and replicate the behaviors, methods and actions in other situations.

Looking back over this month I see a change in our son's determination. Every day I have my doubts and reservations but his life and choices are his. The question then becomes what truly is my role? Too many years in human resources, I'm looking for my job description. I guess my job is simply the last line of most all job descriptions, "and other duties as assigned."

In this past month I have done a lot of self examination and a lot of questioning. Questioning of myself and him. Before my questioning was done as an accusation and I think this was more to make me feel better without regards to creating more damage in an already damaged area. Hell, 90% of the time I already knew the answer before I ask the question. There is no value to that. It's time to look at what is effective and has worked and replicate that, there is no excuse for repeating failed actions.

Another accolade to Ketch is that he told me, "It is impossible to learn from experiences that you never had." Going through this struggle with an addict is an experience I have not had, so it is more important to fall back on the learnings of all of you that have been going through this and to apply the actions and methods that have demonstrated successes in my life.

How can I help?
So much simpler than formulating an answer and developing an action plan before you even ask the question. Over the last month I have asked this question with an open mind, not with an answer already in my mind. I remind myself of my boundaries and if it doesn't fall outside of those boundaries I can do. If it is outside my boundaries I do not have to go there.

Meaningful work is important.
He doesn't have a job. We are in a bad position, we live in the outer suburbs. There is no mass transit, there are no jobs within walking distance, he has no vehicle or license. I have given him jobs. He was falling down on getting something done and I didn't berate him about doing the work, I simply ask as I would with the people I work with, "When can I expect this to be done?" I observed an energy from him I had not seen for a long time. In addition he is actually worried about his quality of work. I will pay but I know money is hard for him to handle. We have to work that out somehow but it is not a difficult issue.

Interaction in a social environment is progressive.
I had gotten to the point while he was using that I didn't want to be around him and neither did anyone else. Dad & Mom both know he is a social animal. He has been that ever since he was little, in school and everyplace. By putting him on the outside we were striking at his core but how much damage we were doing to him in the name of our own self preservation is hard to measure. My boundary now is as long as he is making progress in his actions and accepting of societies behavioral norms he should be included and accepted. I am hoping others can accept the same boundary but that is their decision and he must learn to live with that.

Hiccups are inevitable.
No one is perfect, especially an addict. Hiccups concerning behavior and actions are normal for human beings. Mistakes in judgement happen. We have to be in a position when mistakes happen we must stop and ask, "What have I learned?" Relapse is outside of my boundaries and I do not have to accept it or be there for him if I choose not to be.


Syd said...

It sounds as if you have some healthy boundaries for yourself. And that you can move those boundaries if needed. Support and love for your son are awesome. Doing for him what he can do for himself isn't a good idea. I once heard an AA friend say that newcomers complain about no transportation to a meeting. His comment was that they were able to get to a bar so why not a meeting. It was a good point.

Anonymous said...

You have no idea how much I think about you and your son. I feel as though we share similar thoughts, pain and triumphs. I have been very silent and I haven't blogged much about my son. I'm taking a mental break from it all-- but, believe me, I follow your story and I wish we could all sit down and support one another.

Somewhere, I think I have your email, but I'm not sure. Do you have mine? I've been wanting to send you some personal comments, that I don't want to air in this very public arena.

For now, my son is coasting along. He's testing clean-- and they are all random. He is not using opiates.

Was it "moi" you were referring to as an artist/cook? BIG GRIN... I never considered myself an artist. To me, my hobby (cooking/blogging) is my therapy. I needed to disconnect from always talking about my son's addiction.

Thinking/praying for all of you,

Dad and Mom said...


My e-mail is

Yes it was you I was refered to as the as the cook/artist.


sydney said...

Sounds like you have soem pretty great boundaries in place. You have come a long way from your first post.

Lou said...

I wish I could be as reasoned and pragmatic as you. We haven't heard from Mom..maybe she is an emotional basket case like me. I try to be rational; some days I succeed. Other days I see a picture of my son and I break down.

It's is a hell of an ordeal no matter how you look at it.

Dad and Mom said...

Mom is not a basket case but she does need her rest and and a break. I hope this week in Cozumel will help her. It is a struggle for Mom to write. She is not a public person. Unlike me, who just let's it all hang out. I ask her write often because from the followers and readers that comment I see many of them are women and I think she would be helped by connecting too. I will tell you she reads all the posts and all the comments.

clean and crazy said...

my Wes, with 19 years clean is as reasonable as you are today. sometimes i think he was never an addict or high school drop out looking at 2 5to 10's and a 3 to 5 hard time. today he is a college graduate, in fact he is going for his masters this fall, we manage finances with Suze Orman our financial guru and we do it all together with open communication.
you are my hero, you know the way you love your family and are willing to have an open mind about it all, there is a daily meditation I read called "the language of letting go" it is by Melody Beatte, she also wrote "Co-dependent no more" both of which are wonderful books to learn about dealing with family, in or out of recovery, you might get some good use out of them. Take care.

Bar said...

This is really great stuff. I wish I was "backwards" in my learning life lessons like you are! I always learn the hard way.

I see you looking at the positive with your son and still remain aware that he's in a precarious place.

I'm so glad you write your thoughts here, I get so much out of what you are saying. As for me, I don't know how my son is doing....I have no evidence that he's doing drugs at all...none...yet I have this sick feeling inside.

Annette said...

Hey Dad, I left something for you on my blog.