Can parents really ever reduce their expectations for their children? As I see my son trying work his sobriety I realize it is a day to day struggle for him. Sometimes I see comments on his facebook about how he feels that hurts me to the core. I think the comments are probably not any different than any other young adult feels and probably makes. In fact I can remember some of the same feelings when I was younger. There is a huge difference in the confidence level of a young man and a "seasoned veteran". ;-) The troubling aspect is not knowing how much of this can be attributed to the drugs and how much to just normal life experiences. The more important question is can he realize that these feelings afflict people without addiction issues too.
I know a big frustration for him and all of us is the job situation. The job outlook in the KC area is no different than anywhere else in the country, terrible. Realistically speaking I know every single day people get new jobs, there is someone hiring someplace. But is it a job you're qualified for? Is it a job that is realistic for your experience and knowledge? And finally do you have the wherewithal to actually get to and do the job? Add the extra weight of an employment gap of 3 years, a felony conviction for theft and a lack of a drivers license and transportation; what are realistic expectations? In all of my son's flaws being a hard worker and quick study is not one of his flaws. But that doesn't count until you get your foot in the door.
These are the immediate concerns. The important concerns are so much larger. I know this is outside the realm of dealing with a recovering addict but we still cannot let the urgent overshadow the important. We all could probably debate for pages on the actual meanings of important and urgent as it relates to an addict, and thinking through this post that would probably be a good idea. But for now the context of urgent and important is how it relates to dad's view of the world.
I've been unemployed before. What I would consider long term, 8 months. It is hard on your mental well being. Work and contribution is important to the human psyche. Do our leaders understand the impact this economy and their petty bickering is having on our our nations mental health? Dems and Repubs, pretend you are actually leaders and get your heads out of the snow in DC and grow up. Sorry, that's another post on another blog.
Patience with himself is not one of my son's virtues. It is difficult discussing patience and the economy with my son about jobs and independence and the need to keep his eye on the prize. All the while I know the real help for him in his recovery is a job.
Back to the title of this posting, tempering expectations. Is it possible for me to really change what I see in my son. Over twenty years of watching him grow, rocket through anything in school and seeing potential in him I could only dream of in myself. How do you let that go, or do you let it go or are you forced to let it go? For myself, I am not letting it go, it just has to stay inside for a bit longer. I just have to remember there are new dawns every day.
The down side, for every day there is a dawn, that bastard of addiction and those SOB's promoting it are prowling and destroying others. I'm taking another step front and center to fight the bastard. The second week of March I will be speaking to students and I hope parents will come too, at our local high school about the effect of addiction on a family.