Tuesday, May 31, 2011

There Will Be Another Crisis, I'm Skipping This One

With time to reflect I look back and think about my reactions to life parenting an active addict. As you all know each of us only have to change the names, our lives are the same. One crisis after another. Down time is nothing more than a pause to breathe before the next crisis.

In my way of thinking it was my role to react to each event. I'd worry that if we weren't in the middle of the crisis, the immediate crisis would cover all of us over and there would be no digging out of the mess. Like I said, does this sound familiar?

How do you take care of yourself? We all need downtime. I'm not talking about climbing aboard our lifeboats this time. I am talking about how do you process life when life is like a machine gun ready to cut you down at every move. It is not enough to work on ourselves when time allows. We have to take time purposely, selfishly regardless of the crisis of the moment.

I had to really work hard to figure out what worked for me. Each of us must figure out what is effective for us to maintain sanity in an insane world. What worked for me was writing. Writing organized my thoughts, affirmed my deliberations and my thoughts set my resolve in doing things that at times seemed contrary to my natural instincts as a father.

I heard these words from Darlene many times, "What are you doing on that damn blog now?!"

This blog was my therapy, my counselor and my meeting time all rolled into one. It was as if I was in an intense therapy session and each of you were in sitting in the room with me.

Living life as a parent of an addict I cannot stress how important it is to be selfish. Each of us MUST explore and find out what works for you. There is not a single answer that works for everyone. There is not a right or wrong because someone tells you this is how it is suppose to work. I'm not talking about dealing with addiction, I talking about how do you deal with yourself?

Go to a meeting, see a counselor or therapist, go to church or pray, deliberate, meditate, scream from the top of a mountain; just do something and do it regularly and it is most important to do it when it seems the crisis are never ending. It OK to skip a crisis, don't worry there will be another one real soon.

Most of the time I forgot to take care of myself, my inner self needed treatment as much as my son and if I didn't take that time I would surely become as sick as my son.

This is just a little reflection on my own actions over the past few years. The most important learning in our lives is the learning we have about ourselves.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


On Tuesday Alex was released from the county jail here in Leavenworth. He still has to do a weekend in another county but we all think that should be his last but you never know when you still have court dates to attend.

I am proud of him. Some may question, "How can you be proud, he just got out of jail?" Those would be the people not familiar with addiction and what it does to a person. They don't understand that some illegal activities are symptoms of addiction. Addiction is the real problem, not the activities. But when you do the crime you gotta do the time.

Jail time comes and goes. This was not his first time behind bars. Despite what some may believe jail isn't a cure for addiction. Jail may facilitate time to reflect and think but that in itself does not ensure recovery. Time and time again behind bars will attest to jail wasn't the solution. It may be a piece of the puzzle to a larger solution but to anyone that has ever put together a 1000 piece puzzle knows that without the larger picture you are fighting a losing battle.

His profound experience? I don't know for sure. That is his private strength, it matters only to him. What matters to me is I have what appears to be a lost son that has found his way home.

ps.: Please go here, say hi and give a mom a hug: My Beautiful Son - The Addict

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, Go KU

Our daughter, KU Graduation Ceremonies, 2011.

Erica Jana Grover-Woodbury 
Masters of Nursing, Kansas University

Friday, May 20, 2011

Living Our Own Life

I know we aren't suppose to allow the actions of our children to dictate our reactions and what type of moods it puts on us but this weekend I am going to throw that out the window.

Two daughters, one graduating with her Masters Degree on Sunday from KU. The other one is nothing short of an amazing mother to our granddaughter.

A son that is being released on Tuesday that is a pleasure to be around. Nothing less that an miraculous change from less than one year ago.

Dad and Mom are proud parents of three great children and son/daughter in-laws.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Answering Comments

In my "Excitement" post a couple of comments ask the question how do you know this it it?

The first thing this is how I chose to feel. I heard and bought into the promises before. Each time I was disappointed and hurt when the path was the same. Every time I looked at myself and ask the questions of "Why?" and "What did I learn?" Of course I was only able to seriously consider those questions after the anger and hurt subsided. My hope was each time of hurt and disappointment not only did I learn and become one step closer avoiding the hurt and anger but Alex also became one step closer to his time.

What do I see different? The actions match the words. There is no constant promises of sobriety, there are actions that demonstrate change, done privately and without announcement.

I am letting go of the past. Nothing I can do to change the sidewalk behind me. I can only shape today and tomorrow. Holding on to past hurts and disappointments is not healthy for me but I believe if I don't let it go and keep "reminding" Alex of his past disappointments it would be easier for him to live down to my disappointments. I've always been a believer in setting high expectations and getting out of the way because most people will surpass anything you can imagine. Of course if a person has an active disease such as addiction all those bets are off.

I guess the best answer to the comments is this learning. In the past I often let circumstances control my temper and emotions. My son's addiction has taught me a very valuable lesson. I don't have to go where I do not choose to go. I can choose to be sad or happy, I can accept hurt or put into place shields the mitigate the pain. I am not responsible for others actions or words, my responsibility is controlling how their actions and words affect me.

If Alex relapses, I've been there before. I am smarter about addiction and myself than I was yesterday. I am making a conscious choice to live today and accept him in his sobriety, for as long as it lasts, tomorrow or forever. Today he gets every bit of love, confidence and help that his sisters get. In my mind I am not willing to punish him because of his disease.

Do You Believe In Jinx

For some people when things are going well nothing is to be said about the good conditions or expected good fortune. Mom is one of those people, she says that if something good is to happen don't talk about it or you will jinx it. I'm about to jinx the week ahead.

In one week our oldest daughter will "walk the hill" in Lawrence, KS. A few years ago she graduated  with her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Baker University in Baldwin, KS. Since that time she has worked and she went to school in the evenings. Next Sunday she will graduate with a Master of Science in Nursing, majoring in Organizational Leadership and Management from Kansas University. Mom and Dad are proud. She was the first person in our family to ever go to college and graduate. She is the first to get a Masters Degree.

Alex is down to eight days. He will be released a week from Tuesday. We are sad that he can't be a part of this celebration next weekend but we are just as proud of him with his changes. He and his girlfriend have already got a townhouse set up for them to live when he is released. The doctors say the baby is on track and healthy, still due mid August. Alex is nearly unrecognizable from one year ago. His speech has changed, his attitude is bright, his behaviors are of a person dedicated to success and even his physical appearance shows a sign of health.

I just had to share my good feelings about the near future to come. Well I guess the jinx has been activated. It's all my fault.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Containing My Excitement

Two weeks from today Alex will be released. It is good to see him each day picking him up at the jail for work and taking him back but I think both he an I both share the excitement of his release.

I know he wants out. Just thinking out loud, what would be more miserable, being in jail can't wait to get out to use again or being in jail and can't wait to get out to begin a new life? I ask, Alex says this time it is waiting on starting his new life.

I know why I am so excited and I have told him many times. I can't wait to have him free to be with all of the family again to share all the good times, we all miss him so much. Six months seems like such a long time to the end of over 7 years.

To all those parents reading this and being so jealous and angry that I am writing about this event I know how you feel. For so many years Darlene and I would get so jealous and angry, yelling and crying, why can't we have a son that can be like that??!!! Our sincerest wish for every mom and dad, your day will come.

For some strange reason inside I keep getting pulled to and have gone back to this post many times in last few weeks, Tuesday, July 20, 2010. http://parentsofanaddict.blogspot.com/2010/07/cant-think-of-title.html  This post was less than one year ago. Everyday the sun rises we get a new chance. One day at a time. Find a way to enjoy what is today, somehow, some way.

Where there is life there is hope.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Why Do We Link Blogs and Follow?

This morning when I was getting ready for work I looked and there was new follower of our blog, Jane. Jane clicked on the follow button and there was her identification. So naturally I checked her profile and saw that she had just began writing her frustrations, anger and heartache in a blog.

It's not that long ago that I began An Addict In Our Son's Bedroom. First a of couple comments and then more and more people read our blog and I read others blogs and the feeling of doom and despair began to subside. We began to feel a comfort that we weren't the only people that had ever been on this path. We gained advice and reassurance from strangers that were soon to become friends.

That is why we link our blogs. I'm sure many of you have experienced the same thing.

We may travel this path individually but we are never alone.

Another Mom

Here's another mom writing a blog that thinks she has no where to turn.

Despair Comes A Calling

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Life Clean Sometimes Sucks

This is not a negative post, it is a reality check for us parents (me) tip toeing around our son's recovery.

It's hard to watch my son struggle with the problems associated with real life. We want to reach out and "fix" all of those problems. We feel this way because of our fear that bumps in the road will send them into the ditch and we are so fearful of that past life again that no problem within our power to correct  is worth that experience for us again. But, just as I imagine an addict in recovery at times must fight the urges to use we must fight the urges to fall back into our old life too. It's a matter of taking a breath and remembering my role as a father and role model, not as dad to fix everything.

It's rewarding to watch my son struggle with the problems associated with real life. He is fixing problems where in the past he would have responded by, "F it, I'm getting high." Bumps in the road are his to experience. It would be selfish of me to ride in on my white horse and solve all of the problems just to steal the pride and be the hero. It's time for my son to experience that pride and be his own hero.

Being the parent of an addict in recovery has its own internal struggles with self but I wouldn't trade them for the world.