Sunday, February 14, 2010

It's All Dad and Mom's Fault

I have a lot of thoughts about some things I have been ask, and some of the things I have read. They are are kind of related and maybe they warrant there own posts but I am going to lump it all together but have decided to set it up like a 3 chapter book. No need to flip to the last page first because we all know the end of the story from our own guilty feelings, "It's All Dad and Mom's Fault."

Chapter 1 --- I'm Sorry Officer, I Didn't See The Sign
Chapter 2 --- Good Advice Is Good Advice
Chapter 3 --- Bitter Realism

Chapter 1 --- I'm Sorry Officer, I Didn't See The Sign

We were having a conversation with friends and the conversation turned to that question. What would you have done different? That question we all ponder endlessly. The same question that stabs us in the heart. The question that causes untold hours of missed sleep. The question we would gladly speak for hours to answer, if only it helps someone else.

What would you have done different? This time we changed the question. Give me a break politicians do it all the time. What signs should we look for and which ones did we miss? Maybe there should be parenting cops to "light us up" when we blow right through signs as if they aren't there.

Teenage alcohol use is not a right of passage, we all did it too, cannot justify us failing to exercise our parental responsibility. Seriousness with our kids and grounding them and then laughing about it latter is just not wise. .......Guilty Officer.

Kids are going to try pot. It's just a little weed no big deal. I'm sure there are addicts out there that didn't start with weed but I have never met them. We have heard the term, gateway drug. Weed is a drug. Not every kid that tries weed will become a heroin addict, can you tell me which ones will and which ones won't? .......Guilty Officer.

The cops, teachers, judges, security are being assholes. Don't worry baby, it wasn't that bad. We'll help get you out of it. All we have to do is pay extra and the trouble goes away. .......Guilty Officer.

Why did that intake person at the drug rehab facility ask if there were any addiction/alcohol problems within the family? Why is that relevant, it's really none of their business we are here with our child not to talk about relatives problems. .......Guilty Officer.

My kid wouldn't do that or go that far he's just having fun. You know, boys will be boys. Basically he's a good kid and he knows his limits and we taught him better than that. No sir, I am not in denial. .......Guilty Officer

I really don't like the way you dress, talk, music you have changed too, your friends, your manners, your disrespect, your grades, your tattoos, your piercings. Any one thing may not be indicative of an "addict to be" but behavior changes do mean something. .......Guilty Officer.

Everybody has role models and mentors. I do, you do, and your child does. What is the modeled behavior your child is seeing. Do you even know? .......Guilty Officer.

Being a parent to a teen and being a friend to a teen is two very different roles. Do not confuse your role. .......Guilty Officer.

Every one of those charges could be explored endlessly and debated for hours. I am not calling an attorney, I'm not really up for the debate, or the hourly charges. I just know my list is not complete, but it is my list. Feel free to add to it as you see fit.

Chapter 2 --- Good Advice is Good Advice

I don't know if it is a cultural thing, a time issue, or an unrealistic expectation. Seems to me we have confused "advice" with "instructions". Advice does not guarantee outcomes. Advice is the learning's of one person or a group of people given to others in a well intentioned manner. Instructions are a list of directions that if followed step by step are meant to guarantee an outcome.

Dealing with teens and children concerning drugs and drug abuse there are volumes of advice. Just look at all of these blogs and comments. Thousands of words and hours of time devoted to offering advice in hopes the outcomes are what we expect. However, when dealing with human beings are outcomes ever exactly as we expect? And sometimes, aren't the outcomes much better than we could even imagine let alone expect?

We did the things people said to do concerning our son about drugs. We had family dinners, my kids still hate my opening standard question, "What was the best thing that happened at school today?" But I bet they ask the same question to their kids one day too. We talked about drugs and our family values. Mom took them to church and Sunday school. We always tried to make every kid feel special.

The outcome of following all of that advice, we have 3 great kids. One of them has the disease of addiction. NEWS FLASH.........not a single one of the three is perfect and exactly as dad and mom pictured.

If you want instructions come here and we will go down to my shop and I will tell you how to build something and oversee your work and you WILL be happy with the outcome. Just like I'm sure Debby could take me into her kitchen and give me the instructions and oversight to create a delicious dinner. Advice and instructions are as different as night and day. However, just like night and day we all need both.

Chapter 3 --- Bitter Realism

The Don Quixote in me will not allow me to stop and not dream "The Impossible Dream". That is what we do each day. Does that mean I have to give up on reality to fight these demons? No it means I MUST stay grounded in reality if I wish to even have a chance in my fight.

Who am I fighting? I'm fighting anyone that says it can't be done. I'm fighting anything and anyone that says it is hopeless. I am fighting the past and the statistics. I am fighting all of the failures in the past by my son and the millions who have failed before him.

Sometimes winning a battle is almost as meaningful as winning the war. I have a rechargeable battery. Just a spark gives me a full charge. Only one minute of my son when I see him not under the influence means there is a flicker of hope that maybe someday can be fanned into a raging inferno.

I have an analogy to this whole life and what we are going through as a parent of an addict. Life could be compared to a game of poker. We are dealt a hand. We have already said we are "all in." The cards are crappy. I have choices, I can fold, I can blame the dealer, I can be angry with the cards, I can be mad at myself for betting everything. But the reality is, I'm in the game, either get out of the game or play the hand. I'm staying in the game so give me another card (day) I'm into it for all I've got.

"The Impossible Dream"

from MAN OF LA MANCHA (1972)

music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion

Click here "The Impossible Dream" (a .MP3 file courtesy MGM).

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star


LisaC said...

What your post says to me as a parent of an addict is this...I parented the best I could, with the love for him and skills and knowledge that I had, and today, I don't believe there is anything I could have/would have done differently, all things being equal.

I still love my son. I still hope that as he continues to take control of his life, he will see the value of a life without heroine (or pot, or other opiates, or meth, etc. etc. etc.) and recognize that even with life's challenges and hardships, it is a better life without drugs than with drugs.

Dad and Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barbara aka Layla said...

WOW! Great post. This needs to go in the "must read file".

Syd said...

It is best to have hope as long as I am also grounded in reality. An alcoholic or addict could change at a moments notice. Great post.

Her Big Sad said...

A LOT of good stuff here, Dad. Warrants several reads to absorb it all!

And I think Syd nailed one very important thing, which goes along with our previous discussions about "will this ever end"? The "grounded in reality" is ESSENTIAL for exactly the reason he stated. It is self-protection for US!

Anyway, great post!

Mom of Opiate Addict said...

Great post, wonderful message. Oh, and if they actually charged people and locked them up for the above "offenses", we would all be pretty crowded in there!

Anonymous said...

I blame myself for both of my sons drug abuse problems. I must of been a horrible mother. Although I don't really remember how bad I was. I was young, and did the best I knew how. Their father abused cannibus, and I admit, I did too.. my son's drugs of choice after they reached age 25 was opiates. I blame myself. Both are in rehab and doing well, I am thankful, and proud. Yet, the guilt that I feel is awful. They both live with me now, *maybe I wasn't that bad* I don't enable anymore.. learned that long ago. Just providing a place for them to live. However, I am on a prescribed anxiety medication and I notice that sometimes it gets missing. Once an addict, always an addict. I did not raise thieves but it seems this is part of the addict lifestyle. When I confronted them about stealing from me, I got the words thrown back in my face about how when they were teens I told them pot over alcohol.. as I feel alcoholics have way more screwed up lives than pot heads. I responded in a very sarcastic and hurtful way by telling them no i expected them to grow up and take pills and shoot heroin. I suck. Thanks for letting me vent. I apologized to them for what I said but it's said and now I'm worried that even on the medicine for treatment, they might just say screw it and start back using again. I suck. I hope they dont, but if they do, its all my fault. It is hard being a mother of one addict, try being the mother of two, and staying positive 100% of the time. I'm proud of them for their progress.. and they know I am. I just screwed up and said the wrong thing. End of rant. I suck.