Saturday, July 23, 2011

Some of my past history

I’ve shared my story in bits and pieces over the years but not in this blog, so bear with me as it is a bit long. 

As I became more knowledgeable about addiction since joining FA (Families Anonymous), the
curtain opened and deeper issues were now more evident. Turns out that my
grand-father died of alcoholism, his son (my dad) also died from
complications due to alcoholism, my brother had a health wake up call at 50
and suddenly quit drinking….apparently he started his day with alcohol in
his coffee for many year. (Sadly his abstinence only lasted one year).

I met my husband in a bar and he liked to party and liked to drink every
night. Since I was raised in that environment I never gave it any thought
until the later years when my husband’s drinking started to affect our
marriage in more ways than one. I had learned from my mother unknowingly
how to put up with this and how to ignore/deny the severity of what was
going on.

Along the way, we had started a family. Our first born son brought us much
joy and pride with no worries ever, our second son couldn’t have been any
more different. This boy required our constant attention…from crying 24/7
to troubles at day care through high school. During those years he had also
been diagnosed with ADHD and put on medication from the time he was in 2nd
grade. That brought quite a bit of chaos in our household and it was
overwhelming for me….as most incident would happen in the evening as my
husband was passed out, leaving me to handle it all by myself.

My son’s  first encounter with the police was when he was 12, he had
decided to skip school with an older boy and they went on a spray painting
spree in a resort garage across the street from where we lived. That was
his first experience with facing a (mock) court and jury who ordered
restitution and community service….which we made sure he completed. Also
during those teen years, as a result of our inability to control the
constant chaos, we enlisted the help of several counselors and therapists
as well as private tutoring hoping to help him improve his self-esteem. I
myself took evening classes on parenting because I felt totally inadequate
in my parenting ways as far as he was concerned.

Then high school started and I truly feared what we would face then. Though
he started playing in the orchestra and was first chair, he also
participated in the youth symphony and I had high hopes that his music
talents would help along the way. But it wasn’t meant to be a pretty song
after all. The communication stopped as my son refused to talk to us and if
he did talk, he was lying. The funny thing was that he actually got himself
part time jobs after school and held those jobs. Though he came home with
items that I questioned…the usual answers was that people had given these
things to him or he was holding them for people. Over the years he was
caught and called on for having stolen items and at the time I hadn’t
realized how serious this was. Then when he was 17, I found alcohol in his
closet….I thought it was teenager stuff….or wanted to believe
that…..we discussed the fact that he might have addiction genes in him
and that it would be dangerous for him to even consider drinking and we
poured the booze down the drain.

Soon, I thought to myself, my son will turn 18 and I will not be
responsible for him anymore. Little did I know…..that everything was
going to multiply and become so much more heart breaking.

The last year of high school was underway, the gown had been ordered and
vision of prom dates was in the near future. My son turned 18 and went to
celebrate with friends and didn’t bother to come home that night. A
couple of weeks later he was arrested on school grounds for smoking pot in
his car with a ninja star in the glove compartment (weapon on school
ground). We got a call from the school informing us that he had been taken
to jail. We contacted a lawyer and decided to keep our son in jail
overnight. That evening I stripped his bedroom down to the bare
minimum…mattress, sheet, pillow…jeans and 2 plain white t-shirt. My
plan was to show him what his life in jail would be like if he continued on
in this path…..again…..little did I know how often he would land in
jail and how futile my attempts were.

We paid a private school so that he could finish high school and get a
diplomat….though I think it was more important for me than it was for
him. He worked full time and paid us back most of the money for the
lawyer’s fees. He attended the court ordered classes and meetings. He was
told that if he stayed out of trouble, his record would never be revealed
to the general public. His plans to enlist with the Air Force kept on
getting put off to a later of wanting to enjoy some
‘summer timer’ off before embarking into a career.  At that point the
relationship at home had become a nightmare, finally one day I told him
that if he didn’t like our rules that he was welcomed to move out and he
did. He lived on couches and in his car until it was totaled. His boss
called us at one point and pleaded his case and we ended up opening our
home for him again. Soon after he met a girl and the day after, he left
with her and moved into another state. I felt relieved.

The new love relationship didn’t last….her parents called us and told
us they had been caught with many drugs and paraphernalia and were thrown
out of the apartment. Then they broke up and my son called to say that he
was coming home….we told him he couldn’t live with us anymore. And so
his homelessness started……and it lasted an entire year. This was my
hardest year as I wondered where he was, how he was and I couldn’t see
him get himself out of that situation….so I extended a trip home, a job
at my café, and room and board at a friend’s house. He seemed genuinely
eager and happy to get a chance to start over…..little did I know that I
could take him out of homelessness but I couldn’t take the homelessness
out of him… was evident when I watched him pick up cigarettes butts
in the parking lot and watched him talk to himself. Not long after that,
the room  & board was eliminated when he brought a stolen van in the
driveway. He was told to return the van and to move out. A few months later
he called us from jail and dad bailed him out. At this point the
relationship was taking a nose dive…we told him we couldn’t work with
him anymore. A month later he was arrested again, this time with 13-3rd
degree felonies. We did not bail him out.

It was shortly before that time that I found FA….not a moment too soon. I
was so relieved to hear that I didn’t cause it, I couldn’t change it
and I couldn’t cure it….it was out of my hands and I could finally
breathe a sigh of relief. I was no longer alone and had found people who
understood what I was going through and who had been there before. I
started to work the Steps, attend the MWW meetings and e-meeting and got
myself a sponsor. I was able to let go of the anger that I had been
carrying for so long and also learned about addiction which made me realize
that it wasn’t a moral issue after all. It made me more compassionate
toward my son and I let myself love my son again for who he was, and
stopped concentrating on what he had become. I was also learning to detach
from his problems and issues….more difficult to do but certainly not

He was released from prison after 16 months and found an apartment in our
town. Shortly after, his prison pal/partner joined him. Then, different
issues, challenging demands started to occur…..hard to decipher between
the truth and the scams….as his partner was twice his age with much
wisdom (being sarcastic here) to teach our son. One of those wisdom was to
help my son file for disability and all the other government freebies he
could get his hands on. During this time, we were asked for loans, for
advances, for rides, for assistance, for food etc. I also noticed how my
son seemed to be manipulated and most likely mentally abused by his
partner. I offered my son a list of phone numbers to call if ever he wanted
assistance with abusive issues, he thanked me but declined the offer. After
being a free man for 11 months, he was arrested again….this time one 2nd
degree felony and 2- 3rd degree felonies….which could add up to 25 years
if charged to the maximum. He has been sitting in jail now, still waiting
for a sentence. He was offered a 5 yr plea deal which he declined, the
judge has ordered an evaluation as he deemed our son incompetent to stand
trial. (2011 – plea deal of 3 years was accepted and after being in jail
for 1.2 months – he was moved to a prison to finish his sentence – due
to be released Feb.2013)

Now, here we are today…. I’m tempted to write as much about myself but
that would constitute another book LOL….sorry for such a lengthy post,
but let’s face it…my story is what brought me to FA. Anyway, as the
result of finding FA and working the Steps, I was able to shift the focus
away from my son and all his baggage, not only that but I shifted my focus
away from my husband and his drinking as well. I think in a way that my
husband started to sense the changes that was taking place within myself
and started to make changes within himself as well…..I think my growth in
the program as well as my own recovery made me a better person and as a
result of those changes….everything started to change. My husband barely
drinks nowadays and he keeps praising who I have become. I feel better, I
feel more confident, I have become more assertive and I go after what I
want. I am happy, my daily life brings me a lot of joy and the friendship
that I have come to know with the people in the fellowship has made me rich
in ways that no money can buy. My life is not perfect, there are still
issues being worked on and on a bad day I can still have a pity party but
overall I am experiencing a better way to live….and I’ve got FA to
thank, for giving me the opportunity to get  my life back….and Tom (another member of FA) for
his idea to make it possible for people to have an e-meeting available

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. It's a tough road for all of us.

    Families Anonymous is the best parent support group available for those who truly seek understanding and help. I have been a active member for five years.