It doesn't surprise me that my kid is going about treatment differently and at his own pace from others, and it's not just my perception but that of his treatment team, too. That doesn't mean that he doesn't share some of the common characteristics and it doesn't mean that he should be treated differently. It means he simply isn't responding in the expected ways -- he just doesn't follow the typical patterns or timelines.
We're at eight weeks, and he's not that far along. It explains why this experience is akin to treading water instead of grabbing the life preservers that are within arm's reach. (Granted it's a part-time, out-patient program, but that's what he accepted, and it's better than what he was doing.)
I've written about his denial, his stubbornness. It's not so much that he doesn't believe he has a problem, it's that he doesn't want to address the truths of his problem. So like a little kid, he's saying, "Not me. I won't do it. You can't make me." He's right, of course, and that's just plain frustrating to those who want nothing more than to see him progress toward the fulfilling life he deserves.
Instead, he still behaves like a user even though he's not currently using, because he doesn't embrace recovery, and I'm learning that this takes a long, long time for some people.
Spring Break, but not Spring ForwardOne of his best friends since kindergarten is privy to quite a bit of what's been going on and has been supportive and nonjudgmental. The friend is home for spring break and wants to get together to play video games and eat junk food. But our son shuns him, won't return texts or calls. He tells me he's embarrassed because his friend wants to sleep over. This isn't true because the friend knows about our current overnight restrictions, but our son made this up so I will get off his case about reconnecting with true, good, non-using friends who like him for him.
He says he doesn't want anyone to know what he's doing, especially where he's living. He doesn't want their support. What he's really saying is it would mean admitting and addressing his problem, and then being accountable. Keeping up a façade, as exhausting and distancing as it is for him, is still his preferred way to cope.
He says I have no idea what he's going through and that I should understand why he doesn't want anyone to know. True, I've not experienced his situation first hand. There's a long list of things he's experienced that I can't even fathom. As much compassion as I have for his challenges, it is difficult to understand how he must feel, how he must be struggling. So, he's right. I have no idea what he's going through - in large part because he will not share the experience with us, with anyone.
"Because" is Reason Enough to ShareWithout sharing and looping in the experts and people who care, it is going to be challenging to move forward, to recover. We can encourage him, but he has to choose to let us in. He has to choose to recover.
On the flip side, he doesn't know what it's like to be his parent and he doesn't know the solace and support that comes from sharing the story. It's not like I tell complete strangers - OK, I'm telling you but with appropriate anonymity, I hope.
I don't shy away from telling people. Because, it's true. Because others more often than not come forward with similar truths. Because, it may help them now or at some point in the future. Because when others shared their stories with me, it helped me put my own experience in perspective. And because sharing the story may help our son in the future when he is ready to see the whole situation.
Sharing, for me, is recovering.
You Never Know What's NextEarlier this week, the treatment facility called me under their emergency release because our son hadn't shown up two days in a row, hadn't called in and didn't return their calls. They were worried. In another one of those depends-on-your-perspective truths, he hadn't gone to treatment because he got a job and had an orientation and a first shift that conflicted with treatment hours. He didn't bother to tell them or care enough to call them back when they expressed concern of his whereabouts.
I was relieved they called me and I wasn't surprised that he hadn't alerted them. It's part of a pattern of not engaging in treatment. Of moving back to the familiar and dangerous (for him) pattern of working at a convenience store, having access to cash, eating gas-station turkey sandwiches and consuming lots of energy drinks, buying (or stealing) cigarettes, lighters and Visine.
Will he go back to treatment? I don't know. The work schedule for this week will make it difficult to attend any treatment sessions. I don't think this is a good thing. Will he call them and tell them? Will he find a way to accommodate a job and treatment? Based on past history, probably not.
Am I optimistic? Always. Am I confident in the optimistic possibility? No. More to come next week.