To update everyone Alex is still doing wonderfully. He's learning that "dad role". I'm not sure any of us dad's ever learn that one really well. We all eventually learn that all you can really do is your best then hope.
For myself I have been thinking a lot about the years of Alex's active addiction and his ongoing recovery. At first it was easy to focus on the millions of my little and big mistakes and how those must have been the trigger to that terrible path for my son and myself. There are no answers to those issues. It is best to leave those mistakes where they are, in the past.
Then I began to look at what did I gain from this experience. How do you get beyond the heartache, anger and regret to the point of appreciation for life lived. I have a firm belief that no matter the experience or how horrible it is there is learning and growth. With some experiences we just have to dig a little deeper to recognize that something good can grow from what I have often described as nothing but hell.
Would I ever wish to do this again or wish this experience upon anyone else? No, not just a simple no but one I would scream at the top of my lungs standing at the top of Mt. Everest. This must be one of the worst things a parent can experience. I am not minimizing all of those mom's and dad's that have lost a child to anything, I am just saying there are many hell's and this is one of them.
What have I learned, how have I changed for all of this? Where is the good? For me that is deeply personal.
Growing up my dad was not a touchy feelly guy. I honestly cannot remember my dad ever saying I love you to me until the day he died and we said to each other out loud what had been understood all of my life. My dad was a quiet man of few words. He never had to say a thing for you to understand where he stood. His love for his family was never doubted. I grew up to be a father in the ways of my father. This experience with my son has taught me that even things understood should be said. I had 6 months of illness with my dad to prepare for that last day. With addiction you don't know if you have 6 minutes. Real life is you never know. I have learned to say "I love you". This is not a statement that should be left as just understood.
The world was mine to make as I saw fit. OK, just a little arrogance here. There are things out of my control no matter how much I worked. To find peace with myself I must accept my own limitations and the cards dealt. For any of you that are Star Trek fans you might recognize the term Kobayashi Maru. (no, I am not a secret trekkie) Kobayashi Maru was a fictional no-win scenario which was given to Starfleet Commanders. Much like Captain Kirk I did not believe in no-win scenarios. If I could not beat this thing I was going to change this thing and the rules to provide me the edge. Sometimes it isn't about winning, it is just about living. Right now, this very minute is what life is about.
My legacy isn't my kids. That is too much and unfair to put on anyone. My legacy is me. My kids don't have to be better, smarter, and more than me. They should be allowed to be themselves. I was allowed to be what I am, I must allow them to make their way in this world too, just like me and their mother found our way. Anything I want my kids to do I should do and if they see the value they will emulate but if they don't it is OK too.
Family and friends are the most important things in the world. Time alone to think and deliberate are the most important things in the world. Without a recognition of these axioms I would not be where I am today and who knows what other things that matter would be different. Once I was in a place where I had all I could take. I went for a 4 day motorcycle ride alone. Life changes when you change. Life isn't about everyone that around you. Life is about YOU first, then everything fits. Kind of like a puzzle, nothing fits no matter how hard you try until you are able to align your edges. Aligning my edges helped me to understand me a little better.
"Where there is life there is hope." I know people are going to get tired of hearing this from me. I have said it, written it to people and I have even written articles about it. Where there is life there is hope isn't about addiction, our addicts, and our children, it is about life and hope.
Finally this experience has taught me to write about all of this experience. Truth is I still think my writing sucks but this is the thing that at times I credit with saving my life. Along with all of your comments.