Cause for celebration

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Childofmine, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Good Morning dear friends and Warrior people,

    Just a note to say that I'm celebrating this week. It's been two years since Difficult Child last got out of jail and started on what has turned out to be a path of consistent progress.

    Today, he begins a new job making $23 an hour as an electrician's helper. He will be working 56 hours a week, with 16 of those hours being overtime. He will be off on Sundays only.

    He is so very proud. He said yesterday: Mom, I was homeless a year and a half ago and look where I am now.

    I tried not to overdo my pride and joy and peace. I said, yes, you have done it yourself. You need to stop for a few minutes and just relish what you have done over the past 18 months.

    Later, I sent him a text and told him how proud I am of him for his persistence, hard work and determination. He has always had that in spades. Whatever he really wanted, he worked hard to make happen.

    Unfortunately, for a long long time, that persistence was focused on the wrong things. Now, because I believe he was terrified of prison when he was in jail that last time, he somehow, someway got ready to change. And then he worked at it.

    We stood back for a long long time---from the end of June to the end of October---while he worked full time at McDonald's, walking or biking to work, sleeping outside on a bench all night long, still homeless. During that time, he came here after work one day and wanted to sleep for a while, as he had nowhere to sleep except a bench at night where the police had directed him. I said no. At the end of October, a local homeless advocate, who had gotten to know my son, helped him get into an apartment. My son asked for some help then, and his dad and I had some long discussions before we both decided to help. We paid money directly to the apartment people and utility deposits. Difficult Child also paid part. He still didn't have a car, and continued walking and biking to work for a long time.

    We worked very hard to stand back and let him do it. We were cautious and skeptical because we had been burned over and over again. We had been taught the very painful lesson of what happened when we stepped in and how that undermined his progress and set him back.

    I can't tell you how grateful I am for his progress. I know you know and understand. I pray it continues. He is planning to move out of the trailer at some point and get into an apartment. We will help him move, but the money part will be on him. We are not offering to pay any of that. My ex-husband (his dad) and I have been helping with his health insurance on the exchange and part of his medical out of pocket expenses. I imagine we will stop doing that soon.

    Yesterday he said he would take me to dinner once he gets paid.

    There is hope. People can claw their way back. They have to want it bad, and for our DCs, I believe, realizing they are earning something with every day, with every step, that they never want to lose again, is key to continuing progress.

    Every situation is different. There is no one way to respond to DCs. I respect everybody's unique situation and just hope we can continue to support each other, encourage each other, and provide options and ideas.
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  2. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    Your post is so timely today. My son just relapsed yesterday after four months sober. Having to do tough love. It sucks. I see that it worked for you. I am so happy that your son is doing so well. What a burden off your shoulders. I only hope my son get there some day soon!
  3. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Childofmine, I don't have the words to do justice to my feelings on this. Your son is my hope that maybe my son can also find his way. You have every right to be proud.

    This is for him!
  4. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    RN, hang in there. Looking back, the lengths to which I had to go to change our dynamic were...unreal. Getting to the point of talking to him once a week on the phone within a one-hour span of time---turning him away from here for any reason (a meal, a shower, a nap), watching him sleep on a bench outside the day shelter 1.5 miles from my house night after night, month after month, knowing he was walking to McDonald's at 3 a.m. from that bench to get there by 4 a.m. to work without a place to brush his teeth even.

    Believe me, it was agonizing for a long time. I struggled a lot. But nothing, and I mean nothing I had ever tried to do had ever worked even a little bit. He just got worse and worse the more I tried to "help." I finally had to completely let go like I have described. Sometimes I would buy him food---paying the money directly to the food place. A couple of times I washed his blanket that he wrapped up in on that bench after it rained really hard. That truly was basically it. I felt "mean" a lot of the time. But I also knew I had to be different because I was going insane.

    My son is now almost 27 (end of July). I think it is really hard for younger men/older boys to have the brain bandwidth to sustain a change. And as you know, relapse is a part of the disease. My son relapsed over and over and over again.

    Hang in there. We are here for you during all of the times good and bad.
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  5. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Lil, hang in there. There is hope (and I know we can debate about the pain of hope). I know you and Jabber are in the throes of it all right now. Do what you can live with, that is all you can ever do. I got stricter with myself as the years went on, as I was ready to do so. There is no one way to do this thing we are all trying to do. We are all doing our best, and it is so freakin' hard.

    We're here for you, no matter what.
  6. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    COM, how awesome! You and your story are an inspiration to all of us.

    I think you and I would compare notes from time to time. My son has held his job for over two years, doesn't call in anymore, and is budgeting money and paying for his phone, bus card, health club membership and food. Off his substance since October. Finally on the right antidepressant after 12 years.

    Just trying to move him along to a better job or at least some training.
  7. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Congratulations to him, COM! The "right" thing to do is so hard to know with our difficult children, but you and your son are such a shining example of the difficulties and the rewards of standing back and letting them make it on their own. I'm so happy for him, and for you!
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  8. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly Active Member

    I am so sorry about the relapse RN, 4 months was a good start. Hoping that he picks himself up and tries again. It's a hard walk for us to watch and hard for them to "make it happen".
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  9. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly Active Member

    COM, I am so proud of your son and the life changes he has made for himself. Proud of you and kudos for the hard choices you had to make in order to point him in the right direction.