This situation of Alex living at home while in recovery and not using takes the balance and finesse of a ballet dancer, my style is more like a bull in a china shop with 10 red capes being waved at each corner. I am sure it is tough on both of us.
Last night we had a discussion about our expectations. It was a good discussion and I felt it more age appropriate than a standard parent/child talk. Moving forward in baby steps I guess. We are always guarded in everything we say and do. It is uncomfortable at times but it is something Mom and I feel we have to do. I'm sure he feels the same way. Complete openness hurts, it is early.
I tried to be a better listener. I tried to ask questions instead of make make blanket statements. But on reflection I know I did make a lot of statements. The real world is stark at times and just because he is in recovery he cannot be sheltered too much or he will not grow.
Our son said when he is with a big group in the family, we are a large close family, he feels a tremendous amount of stress. He said he is on guard with everything he does. He said he is constantly watching what he is saying. And he said he is wondering what people are thinking about him. Dad and Mom responded with a simple suggestion but probably the hardest thing to do. Be the old Alex, be the pre-drug Alex. This is a person everyone loved. This Alex was witty, entertaining and an excellent conversationalist. I see it is hard for him to realize that his family is probably the one of the most forgiving families out there, but we all have our defenses up too.
I visualize this situation as an old medieval army. There is one outcast warrior standing alone on the field of battle. The whole army is standing in a line begging this one lonesome warrior to re-join the troupe. However the offers to re-join are coming from an army with their shields still raised and weapons at hand. Just eyes peeking over the shields but their smiles about his return are still hidden behind the shields. What is hard for Dad and Mom is seeing the shields still raised but when we look in the mirror we realize we still have our shields in our hands too.
I have come to realize this healing process is not just a process of love, it is also a process of time.