Alex is living at home and it has been an eventful couple of weeks. The main event right now he appears to to be clean and working to stay that way. The alertness is back. A sharpness in his voice has returned and he is actively looking for a job and investigating what it will take to go back to college. I know it's a long road for him but the old cliche, every journey begins with one small step is so applicable in these circumstances I cannot help but repeat what we all know.
I recognize the difficulties in finding a job in his present circumstances but it is something he must do. It is healthy for him and critical in his recovery. I caution him not to become impatient but to just keep plodding along. In the '90's I was once out of work for 8 months so I know how discouraging it can be even for someone not suffering from addiction. Right or wrong in this society most of us tie our worth and self esteem to our job or profession. I believe, addict, non-addict or recovering addict, that is a universal trait. A principal difference is our coping mechanisms.
These are Alex's steps forward. He is definitely plodding along although in a bit of a trepid pace at the moment. Even Brooke had to learn to crawl before she could walk. I would expect an addict with many years of addiction also must re-learn many things that come naturally to the rest of us. We still find it really hard at times to figure out the balance in helping with his recovery versus enabling his addiction. I'm sure the answers to those questions will remain fuzzy for a long time. One other thing I am sure of is dad and mom will continue to make mistakes in this process, but we do try to learn.
All of you parents out there can probably recite the behaviors of your addict when they are using. After a while they become so clear. Alex has them too. The ironic thing is from what I have heard from other parents their addicts believe they are acting normal, even while using, Alex does too. I work on it but when I see those things I "go nuts". Yes that is a real diagnosis, my cousin's son who was an emergency room doctor in a hospital said many, many people are diagnosed in the ER with JPN disease. He is a real doctor and really, really smart, in fact he has diagnosed many in our own family with JPN. (Just Plain Nuts) Back to my real point.
Less than 48 hours after Alex's release he relapsed. We noticed the signs and found the evidence, like I said I went nuts but was able to calm down after a few moments or extreme anger and elevated voices. There is always an excuse. I have finally learned after all this time not to make decisions, take rash actions or issue ultimatums while angry. Hollering, cursing, and crying is OK, just keep it at that and remember my self imposed boundary, no decisions about addiction can be made during anger times. I know Alex hates it but I will only communicate decisions, actions or ultimatums in a calm discussion setting. He hates discussions.
We talked more calmly the next day. I said my piece and of course had a hard time listening but I am trying to get better. We all have things to work on with this disease that effects the whole family. His sister had a day with him and hopefully they cleared some air and I hear she took him to a meeting. So we are up to about 1.5 weeks of clean. Truthfully, from my perspective I have never seen him struggling this hard and this devoted to making it work. But only time will tell.
One step forward, one step back is actually measured as progress in our book. In the past everything was always measured as one step forward, five steps back. My business side talking, the trend is moving in the right direction.
ps.: My presentation is tomorrow. I'm just going to be myself, this isn't worth getting all nervous about. Everybody gets what they get.