If you want to share, I was curious, what changes do you see when he is clean and with you and the family? I mean, is he like you expected him to be before the addiction or do you still see the addictive thinking present?
This is the question I was ask in the comment section of a previous post. I've been going back to this question often wanting to answer VJ but after a lot of thought I begin to realize it was much to important of a question to answer in a comment. I am still not sure I do this justice and a lot of my thoughts are still random but I want to get some things down while I have this time.
I see a respect in my son that I would not have expected. Maybe it is more of a humbleness that I would not expect of a 22 year old male. My son was a very self confident person before he began using. He felt he had the world by the tail and I am not sure he wasn't right. I can still see confidence in him that he can do what he sets his mind to do but I also have a feeling that he is now scared of what he has been through. This is a scary observation for me because I am trying not to inject what I wish into what I observe.
Our family has always been a very close family. That is not just from us 5, it is a generational thing in our family, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, I don't want to sound too "Mafia" but blood really meant something. There is nothing you wouldn't do for family. My son has hurt many people in his family and some have not forgiven him. This troubles him greatly. He has reached out to some but they are not yet willing to embrace or even shake hands. He is still to young in his recovery to understand amends. Some of us understand and help without formal apologies and others don't yet, time is a healer of this wound. He is apprehensive around family, maybe that is good right now.
To understand my expectations you need some details of how I got where I am with my son. My son is smart. I don't mean normal "my kid" smart I mean testing in the 95th percentile and above in multiple subjects of skills testing in school. A kid that we were ask about accelerated schooling tests and when we ask him about it he said he would fail them purposely, he didn't want to be a geek. A kid that skipped freshman math, instead he took senior level pre-calc and trig. As a father, he was to be everything I could not be, nothing like my life, no unloading trucks and jack hammering concrete for him.
My expectations, that is so hard. When we started this and for many years I lived in blissful ignorance. Some think I still live there but we all change. I thought this was just something he would go through and come out the other side and resume life. Back on track and off we go. It doesn't work that way. Today my expectations for my son are very simple, happiness. I still believe he can be anything he sets his mind to be. But now I am happy when he is tired from a hard days work, I am happy when he cashes a paycheck that he worked for, I am happy when he smiles at his niece or his family, I am happy when he hugs his mom and he isn't high.
Addictive thinking I believe is in his every thought. He is just a baby in recovery. I want, and impatience is with him all the time he is with us. I can see him struggle with himself with those things. I can see him struggle when we go out to eat to just sit still and converse quietly. It's so much easier when we "walk and talk." I think him working this issue is another one of those things that only gets better with more time.
Damn you VJ you ask such hard questions. Hope I answered it.