Active Member
I mentioned thinking of the Robert DeNiro movie when viewing my son and his friend in their recovery process...they are awakening. There is a bit of humour involved as I watch it unfold and I thought I'd share some lighter moments I've observed with these two.



  • act of waking from sleep.
  • act or moment of becoming suddenly aware of something:"the war came as a rude awakening to the hardships of life"

  • 1.coming into existence or awareness:
Coming into existence or awareness is the most appropriate description of these two after years of drug addiction. Living in darkness, sleeping in daytime hours, they are now started to emerge into the light aka daytime hours. My son has battled addiction since he was 16 and his friend was either 14 or 15.

1) Early one morning my son looked out the window and was astounded that garbage trucks have a mechanism attached to the trucks that pick up the garbage bins and are operated by 1 person. He had never been awake previously to observe our city has had these new bins for years.
2) My son's friend has enthusiastically taken up cooking and decorating the home. I suspect with his background he always yearned for a normal life. The first 5 years he lived with drug addicted parents, foster care and has been homeless most of his life. He picked the potted geraniums I had placed outside, placed dirt in a vase and plopped the geraniums in the vase and happily announced he decorated the bathroom. Yes dirt in the vase not water.
3) I walked into the home another morning and he proudly announced he had cooked a roast. My partner and I both smiled and asked if that's what they planned on having for lunch. No, he responded ..."dinner, but no worries as I put it on 150 so it will slow cook".
4) For the first 2 weeks they ate all the snacks and didn't touch the fresh fruit, vegetables and other things in the fridge. They were so used to living in a car that it took some getting use to that now had a fridge and stove and could prepare meals.
5) They piled their dirty laundry in garbage bags and asked if we could stop at the thrift store so I could purchase items for them. I had to remind them they had a washer and dryer and didn't have to throw out those items. Again living on the streets or in the van - clean clothes is not the norm to them.
6) They slept in a bed for the first time in years. They both couldn't get over the comfort. They make their beds in the morning and wash the bedding on weekends.
7) They take looooong showers and baths. Hot running water seems foreign to them.
8) They were so excited to watch movies on an old VCR I I had brought over.
9)They didn't do the dishes at until they ran out - so used to eating on styrofoam plates the church ladies handed out to the homeless. They now do the dishes daily.
10) My son's friend was in heaven when he bit into a nectarine as he hadn't tasted one since childhood and the look on his face was pure joy. He oohed and awwed over the taste I couldn't help but smile.
11) They opened up bank accounts. My son's friend had one but lost his card. My son didn't have a bank account or card for aprox 10 years. It was an ordeal at first trying to get ID for him but slowly he is obtaining all of it. He got his birth certificate and then was able to get picture ID. First time in 6-7 years he's had it.
12) Arriving home from work today my son started making homemade soup. He enjoyed watching cooking shows when he was 14/15 but had never attempted to make homemade soup. Dunno why but this one really made me smile...perhaps because it was comfort food?
13) Son arranged all the flower beds in the garden, moved the lawn, and decorated the doorstep with fall flowers. He loved doing this as a kid and I suspect it's re-emerging with his landscaping job.He wanted his home to look nice.
14) I opened up the kitchen drawer to discover our old dogs food neatly assorted in individual baggies for the weeks meals. My son and his friend had asked if the dog could stay with them and I hesitated as I wanted to make sure they were responsible and the dog is old and currently under vet care with a special diet.I feel so much better he was in good care when I discovered this.

I get they are slowing emerging back in the real world and while not everything is rosy...son still has wicked mood swings. I smile at each step they are taking with their "awakening" from their previous drug addicted lives. I'm so afraid they may slip back into their previous life but I'm hoping these experiences that we take for granted are not lost on them. Simple pleasures of daily living.
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Well-Known Member
Staff member
I enjoyed reading your post Nature, it was poignant and so sweet, I could "see" it from your descriptions.
I have to admit it brought a tear to my eye because it was just so......real ......and lovely ,to watch them come back to life in such simple but profound ways. I hope with all my heart they make it....... and continue awakening.


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Nature, this is wonderful! Thanks for sharing their steps towards recovery. I think it's really beautiful that you are acting as a parental figure for his friend. How wonderful it must be for them to wake up and see the world again! Little steps, little pleasures.


Active Member
Thank you everyone that left comments and words of encouragement.

I should correct myself and say son mowed the lawn not moved the lawn but I suspect all of you realized it was a typo.

Again, not everything is 100% rosy. The day after I posted this - they had slept in when I arrived. Normally they get up at 6:30 for work and need to leave the house between 7- 7:15 for the job site. It was 7 am when I arrived and they were still in bed. Son was ranting, telling me it wasn't worth it, his mood was very ugly but I chose not to engage with him at that moment. They did manage to get to work with a min to spare. The following day they were ready.

As their job sites change daily and rotate weekly I have been driving them to work to prepare them to know the various bus schedules at the different job sites. It reminds me of when I had use to teach life skills to people with disabilities- banking, bus routes, utility payments, rent and other responsibilities of everyday life. Some of this they are experiencing for the first time. In two weeks, I return to work and will need to back off to get them to take on more responsibilities on the road to recovery. They will have to do this on their own but at least had a head start on what is expected of them.

What I've learned in our journey through all of this is that I will not respond to his rants, rages and will not get into verbal battles with him when he is in his ugly moods. I will save that for moments when he's lucid, calm and reflecting on his life.

I don't know if they will be able to keep it up but yesterday was their 2 wk mark at their job. I'm hopeful but guarded.