Thursday, January 6, 2011

Working On Myself

While my son is incarcerated it gives me a chance to take inventory of where I am. It's so important to take time for ourselves for personal reflection but when you are dealing with an addict in active addiction the drama and crisis is never ending. There comes a point that between the emergencies all you can do is collapse. We've been at that point for 5 years.

I don't want to give the impression of us sitting around waiting to resume our life of crisis and drama. When my son entered jail he was clean and had a determination of sobriety that I had never seen in him before. In all of our correspondence it seems that determination is seated deeper. My hope is that he is what he says now.

At this point I am reflecting on our life for the last few years. How did we, not him, get to this point? What have I learned? It's hard but I have let go of my expectations of what he could have been. His life is his to make the most of and if he wants it he can make it. It is not my job to hand it too him. That would be cheating him of his dignity, pride and life learning. He will make mistakes, I did and I have never been an addict or alcoholic. Life is about discovery and mistakes are a part of healthy discovery. He's not a failure if he makes a mistake, he's human.

Just because my son suffers from a disease that does not justify me robbing him of the chance to discover life by being a helicopter parent. That's another point not just for parents of addicts. If you are always hovering above to shelter your child from the pain of discovery, you are also robbing them of the reward. Sure wish I would have followed my own advice 7 years ago when I was enabling my son's using.

I am tired of, and done parenting. I want to be a father. Looking back I can see as a teenager, as most teenagers, I resented my parents. They were the ones telling me "no". They were the ones I depended on and limited my independence. At that age I couldn't live on my own but in my mind I knew it all and could recite every mistake they were making as a parent. As I matured and began living a life of independence and responsibility a transformation from resentment to respect occurred within me. Dad and Mom the parents morphed into Dad and Mom the father and mother, people with knowledge and wisdom. It would be unfair for me to rob my son of that personal experience.

This is a time to charge our batteries. Our son could come out of jail a monster, I don't believe that but I have learned in all of this time anything is possible. I don't fear the possible, I am prepared for the best.

In the meantime, my mother is getting progressively worse with her dementia. We got her to quit her job effective Jan. 1. That has been a traumatic experience for all and now she is obsessing over her job. Soon it will come a time the car needs to go. It is very trying on my sister because she lives with mom and is the primary caregiver. She needs breaks, we have to make sure she doesn't assume the martyr role. It will be hard on us all. I am so glad Alex wants to fly straight. He probably can not fathom how much help that is to us and how much lighter the load becomes.


Syd said...

Isn't it amazing how much lighter we feel when we stop carrying another on our backs and let them walk?

BMelonsLemonade said...

One of my grandfathers suffered from dementia. Taking the car away was a very diffucult task for the family. He also had diabetes and liver problems, neither of which he could manage on his own...he was apt to pass out at the wheel from sugar problems, and that is in addition to driving demented. He refused to give up driving because it was such a loss of independence, and adulthood, really. My sister was very young at the time, and he lived right down the street from her. We were eventually able to talk him into giving up driving by pointing out that his driving could really hurt my little sister...he could accidentally hit her in the neighborhood if he passed out or was not paying attention. He was still sane enough to understand this, and he reluctantly gave up driving for fear of harming his favorite grandaughter. Maybe your mom will find a scenario like this she can relate to when she has to stop driving.

Annette said...

In most states you can report anonymously to the DMV that you are concerned about an elderly person's driving. They will then invite them in to be tested and to see how things are going...without saying that they received a complaint or a report.

Just a thought in case it doesn't go well persuading her to give them up. You would need to check the laws in your state.

Dawn said...

My father has dementia that is progressing as well. They go south every winter and this year has really been confusing for him. He keeps asking mom who's house they are at and where are the people that live there - They've owned that house for 12 years. We need to come up with a plan - I don't think they can go back next year. I am going out to spend some time with them and I hope all stays quiet on the home front while I am gone. I've told my husband not to call me with any bad news, it can wait until I return.

Verity Vaudeville said...

You're much stronger than you were before. The worst is possible, but you've prepared for the best, I really hope that happens for you all. Hopefully when he comes out you can all knit together to mourn the decline of your mother. I loved your use of the term 'helicopter parent', it really is apt. Still, I can't help but feel your writing is tinged with sadness.

All the best


clean and crazy said...

i am so glad to hear how healthy you feel inside. i found a suppliment that is supposed to help with late stage alzhiemers. there was this couple who worked for the government and i guess when they retired he started getting confused so they took him to the doctors and found out he had onset alzhiemers. the wife was not going to let that be the end and she did some research. she changed his diet and added 'phosphatidylserine complex' it is a suppliment. look it up, we started taking it, i am looking at the bottle now. but it really makes you less forgetful, and that couple, she reversed his alzhiemers and they are very outspoken about this. it is not a cure all, but maybe it will help back off the dementia. i know you are a good researcher so maybe if you look this up, it might help you. and maybe even mom. good luck with the new year.

Barbara said...

This is one of your best yet (imo). You've come a long way in the time I've been reading here. I also have a good feeling about Alex this time based on the progress reports you've posted here. I'm also prepared for the best for him!

You should read my post today on Writing From the Inside Out - its about our "justice system" and believe it or not was written over 25 years ago. :(