I’m compelled to post tonight about the latest episode of the saga of what has become of my son’s life. I’m sure this would be mind-blowing to me if it had happened a few years back but now, nothing surprises me. I’ve heard so many stories from other parents of addicted/problem children that the mention of jails, rehabs, and institutions doesn’t even faze me anymore. Trust me, this is not the picture I had in mind for my dear little baby boy’s “college” years. Oh yeah, he dropped out of college.
What he is doing now is curious to me. He lives moment to moment, doing nothing much other than getting high and drinking, and “looking for a job”. Yep, I’ve heard that one before. I am becoming jaded. So his latest twist is this. He was very, very lucky.
The “friend” that my son has been living with recently was arrested the other night. Here’s the story with a few details left out.
A police commander wants to have a home where police uncovered underage drinking and drug use late Thursday declared a nuisance property. The house, has been “nothing but a source of complaints from residents in the community.” Early Friday, police arrested a man who lives in the home, two other men and a 17-year-old girl after police found marijuana, pills and underage drinking. The man was charged with possession with intent to deliver, corruption of minors, and other crimes after neighbors called 911 to report smoke coming from a second-floor window. Neighbors told officers they saw people running from the house and believed others were inside. Firefighters forced their way in and the owner “came at them in an aggressive manner,” prompting officers to come in and take him to the ground, according to police reports.
Turns out that my son was not in the house when the raid happened, as I said, he was very lucky. Two weeks ago that same guy beat up my son, gave him a black eye and brandished a sword at him. That’s one of the nights we got a 4am phone call.
When you make bad choices, and hang out with other people who make bad choices, bad things happen. And this is what’s happening to my son. The other funny part about the story is that the house is probably considered a crime scene now, so it’s highly unlikely he’ll be getting his TV, X-box, and clothing out of there any time soon.
When my daughter went into recovery a little over three years ago, I read Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff. The book was wonderful and compelling and very scary for a Mom with a drug-addicted kid to read. But read it I did during her time in rehab and it was a better choice than the other things I was reading, the blogs of mothers with heroin-addicted children that never could seem to find recovery. Relapse after relapse after relapse. I may have felt safe reading Sheff’s book because his son’s favorite drug of choice was Meth and I was convinced that my daughter had never tried that one. Oh how intricately we weave that web of denial. Those were dark times and I had to pull myself out of the trenches of despair more than a few times.
So I guess I was more prepared this time around. I’d been through it with my daughter. After all, during the worst of times she was in love with a young man who went to prison and God only knows what they were doing together before he went in. I have a pretty good idea but still have so much shame about it that it’s hard to even think about. The difference between my daughter and my son is that she somehow managed to keep up a good front during her drug and alcohol usage. She was in the honors classes at our local high school, was a member of the National Honor Society, got into every college she applied to and was awarded scholarships for her academic success. Somehow she managed to work the system with relatively little effort.
So now comes the shame part. Shame is something I’ve lived with my whole life. My sponsor helped me see that. I can remember one of the first times I really felt guilty and shamed was when I was about three. I had broken a small dish and would not admit it because I was afraid. So my Mom said it must have been “Mr. Nobody” when both of us knew it was me. Since then I’ve always tried to look good on the outside, to appear innocent, when inside I knew deep down that I was really, really bad. This blog is an attempt to break through the shame, shatter it, I hope.
So it turns out that I am not the perfect parent and I did not have perfect children. I’m an alcoholic, the child of an alcoholic and I really had no idea how to parent appropriately. I tried so hard to be a good mother, to do all the right things, but I didn’t have the manual. I’d like to know where the parenting manual is. Please let me know when you find it. I can tell you this, I really love my kids. I fear my son doesn’t believe that I love him, and that he, too, feels deeply flawed inside. So flawed that he cannot even seem to make an effort.
But it is all much more complicated than this and if I listen to the people who love and care about me, and the professionals, the truth is that my son has a disability, some form of autism. The problem is that he looks normal to most people. When he was younger he would never look anyone in the eye. I think he’s gotten better at that. Weed helped him come out of his shell. My guess is that it makes him feel normal. When I described some of his behaviors the other day to another Mom in Al-Anon, she said, that’s classic Asperger’s. Easy for her to say. He got that diagnosis in middle school but we’ve had conflicting reports since then.
So what can I do? Pray. Turn it over. Stop trying to fix him. Love him. That is the eternal struggle. I want to fix him so badly. I want him to have a happy, fulfilled life with meaningful relationships. And I don’t want to be ashamed of him anymore. There, I said it. That really sucks, feeling ashamed of your own kid. Something else I really need to pray about.