Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dwelling On Mistakes

It is the time that everyone with school age children is packing them off to school. An exciting time if they are old enough for college. It was always an exciting time when we sent each of of kids off to college. Dad and Mom did not take advantage of that opportunity to go to college when we were young; and with kids and life we never got around to it. So when our kids were packing and excited to go off to college we were proud and very excited to see the doors that could be opened for them with an education.

With our son we had the same excitement. If he had stayed in college this would have been his senior year. He had big plans too, but something in a needle got in his way.

Three years ago we were naive. We knew he had used but had no idea to the extent of his addiction. Neither of us had any experience with any type of addiction. We were probably like many others that are in this place now, we considered it a phase he would grow out of in time. During the summer he was getting ready for school I took him to a NA meeting. It was an open meeting so I stayed too. I spoke with a couple of addicts in recovery at the meeting and told them about his plans for school. At that time I had not faced up to, nor had any understanding of this problem. They both advised, do not send him away to school. How I wished I had listened.

Sending him away to school allowed the freedom he needed to do anything he wanted. He became out of control. Twice in the emergency room, once unconscious and not breathing he nearly died. This all in the first semester. Kicked out of the dorms so he crashed with a bunch of other users. Finally, when we got that call from the hospital in the middle of the night that he was unconscious and they were trying to restore his breathing and to come quickly we realized the gravity of our situation.

After that episode we got him into rehab. We got him into rehab that next day, I went back to the house where he was crashing and could not find anyone so I climbed through a window and got his clothes and stuff. That is my only episode of B&E in my life. I would not be a good burglar. Hell as big as mess as there was in that house I'm sure the other druggies didn't even realize anyone had been in there.

My point in bringing all of this up. Addiction doesn't cure itself. We learned that a hard way. Sending our son off to college with a problem that is bigger than him and bigger than us will not make the problem go away, the problem loves that scenario.

The title of my post may be a bit misleading. We no longer dwell on this mistake. However, we did dwell on it for a long time. As parents of addicts learn, the past is over, we must prepare for the present and the future is too far off to consider. One of the most important things we keep in mind now after every episode with with our son, good or bad, "What have we learned?"

This time of year we see the excitement and promise of parents sending their kids to college. Listening to them talk about the expenses and complaining about writing so many checks and getting loans for tuition, books, housing and food. (I'd rather go broke writing checks to colleges than rehab facilities) It has been a long road but I now feel joy for them instead of wallowing in my own regrets.

ps.: In my last post I mentioned a hearing that Alex had to attend for missing the bus. Last night one of the hearing officers was a no show so it has been moved to Monday.


Marsha said...

The scary thing about parenting is there is entirely too much learning in the process. There are so many unwritten unknowns that come along. There is too much that simply can't be known until it hits.

Mom of Opiate Addict said...

Another great post. We sent our son out of State to stay with his step-brother and he was lined up with a good job. Within one month, he had been "hurt" on the job (probably just trying to get pain meds.) He started getting Ambien and got into a head on collision that almost killed him and injured others. Totalled his brother's car so we helped buy him another used one. It is kind of like trying to help someone and banging your head against a brick wall, that is why it is necessary to accept what is and let go. You both are an inspiration to me, thanks for sharing.

Gin said...

I always keep that thought in mind regarding my husband as well. I think back about what I learned about a particular episode and it keeps me from stepping into the same alcoholic mind game again.

kristi said...

It is a nerve wracking time for me. Being that my son has autism,it is especially challenging.

clean and crazy said...

and here i am complaining about my girl complaining about me. she is a great kid with a heck of a future and i cannot own the future now, i keep thinking i am going to f&*^ it up like i have the rest of her life, but those are her mistakes to make, not mine. and look she hasn't made them yet. thanks for this post, we too are worried about financing KU.

Madison said...

Of course you know this, but I have to just add that I moved one daughter into a lovely college dorm in our city. All hell broke loose. So, I moved the other daughter (when she was college bound) into an apartment off campus in our city. All hell broke loose. I have wondered if maybe I should have sent them to a college out of state. Your post made me realize that once again I have to tell myself that all hell did not break loose because of me. I am the loving parent.

Syd said...

I don't think that I would be cut out to be a parent. Things are much different than when I was in college. You did what you thought was right and good. That's all anyone can do.

Anonymous said...

The same thing happened with our son. Seemed to be getting wild by his senior year in HS, but just a phase, we thought. We sent him off to college a couple of hours away. He did poorly in school and came back with a full blown opiate addiction.

Anonymous said...

My son is a heroin addict, alcoholic and is one week into rehab. I have no hope.