Sunday, August 3, 2008

Have a teenager using alcohol?

If you are a parent now on this path
Much love to you...


.

An experience with my teen aged son some time back.

Though I was careful to raise him to strongly believe that alcohol was not ever an option. *sigh
His father actually had an allergy of sorts to alcohol and I felt it necessary to protect my son from ever experiencing these horrid effects.
We had these deep and meaningful conversations from like the age of 2 or 3 years old about this, lol.
All while growing up he assured me that he was disgusted by the idea of drinking, how stupid some of his friends choices were, etc.
In a million years I would have NEVER imagined he himself would experiment and take a liking to it's power. ughhhhhhhhh.....
I was so wrong!
I was so shocked to discover the path he had chosen, so hurt really.
No amount of displaying my distaste for for this behavior mattered...
He simply began lying about it.
Note: this was also something he'd never done before.
We could always openly talk about ANYTHING with pure honesty with each other.
This broke my heart immensely...
What did end up happening; while heartbreaking at first turned out to be a huge blessing for both of us.
For his 17th birthday (note: he had already graduated highschool early) I purchased some plane tickets for him to go on vacation to a state in which we previously had lived and still we had many friends and family there. His vacation was to be for two weeks and his itinerary included both staying with friends of his choice and family members. But ultimately he was responsible for himself, his own actions and behavior.

This was like well a gift of independence and trust I'd say. Yes, I was worried as heck but he was so very excited about seeing his friends he hadn't seen in more than two years... and thus it went like this:

He left on vacation taking really very few items.
He packed much lighter than he likely should have, lol Hugs and kisses between us and everything was great. He called when he arrived and kept in fairly close contact letting me know he was here or there and how "grown up" all his friends had become, etc.

Then somewhere in there I get a phone call from the local police department there saying that my child was found out past curfew it being (11:30 pm) there and that while he was with a group of drunk friend he seemed to be not using alcohol himself. The police officer asked where he was supposed to be and if a local adult could come collect him.

I called my friend (one of the other boys dad's) and asked him to bring my son home with him too while collecting his own. Etc. Though I did not speak with my son about the event, I knew he knew "I knew" lol...days went by and he contacted me
acting very strangely. I wasn't sure what was up, but suspected at this point he was using drugs of some sort. Now I was flipped out!!!

Oh you have no Idea! I was kicking myself in the butt for having allowed him to go there in the first place, let alone supplying him the means!
What kind of stupid mother would do this?
My heart ached tremendously and really I felt like collapsing at the very thought that I had trusted him with this HUGE thing, that I had had faith that this may help him mature in some way. I was just dying inside Linda, oh my gosh...

All to terrible things I imaged that could and may be happening in his life was just unbearable. Then just as I thought it could get no worse....

It was time for him to come home...
I was just out of shower getting dressed and ready to drive to the airport to actually pick him up when I get this phone call from him:

"hey mom.. what are doing? really... well um... I got something to tell you. K, mom... Are you you sitting down?.... Mom, please sit down...

No I'm well uh, not on the plane.. you see I'm not going to be on the plane I'm gonna hang out a few more days and then road trip back with some of my friends on the weekend... money?.... oh well were getting together some gas money now ...and um... mom are you there?..... Yah, well my friend "insert mysterious name here" gets paid on friday then we'll head out... everythings cool mom... really"

Then the next phone I got was something along the lines of this:
"Mom, I know that that you are gonna freak out. So I can't say I blame you but well you know how we were talking about college and while I know what I want to do we still hadn't decided on where I wanted to go. well ah mom I'm just gonna stay here. Yah, I am going to go to college here. I'm not coming back home. I already have a place to live and a job and well I just need to do this for me you know. I need to be a man now and make something of my life.. Mom are breathing?...
Mom this his nothing to do with you, nothing at all. Nothing to do with us... You should feel very proud in fact because you have raised to be responsible and strong and capable... mom you raised me to be independent, and to think for myself. To be sufficient and focused. and well you should just be happy for me and trust that this is where I need to be for "ME" not anyone else." I promise to call you you every single day and mom... mom, I love you. click".....

I came un-glued!!!!
My first reaction was to load up in my car and go pick his sorry ass up and haul him home immediately! Was I pissed? Oh yah! Was I hurt, Oh yah! Was I confused, oh yah! The more I sat and thought about it I realized all the wisdom that had just spewed from his mouth....

I decided to calm and wait just a bit..

I called my dad for emotional support (someone to have my back and unload on) He was very epitome of the opposite as I would have suspected however. Not only did he support my sons decision he further validated that I was overreacting.

WHAT!

me overreacting to my teenaged son maybe drunk and using drugs two states away with me who had cared for him with all my heart and patience and love all these years what was HE THINKING!!!!

He asked me at what did I move out....

He reminded me at what age he himself moved out...

He assured me that this too will pass and that if I went and "collected my son" as I wished to do it would surely backfire and he'd resent me... Not only this but he'd just pack up and leave anyways.

Then he repeated back those very words my wise son had just spoke to me.

You need to trust that you gave him the tools and support to make his way in the world. You have been a good parent you have given him the skills, and courage, and independence to actually care for himself.

Let him know that you support him, tell him that you do trust him, tell him you love him, and everything is OK... Be sure he knows you trust him and everything will be OK... He's not gone forever heck he may come home next week just be sure to let him know the door is open.

With much hurt and pain in my heart I drudged those words to my son, between tears and likely hyperventilation I let those very words escape my lips I did let him how very much I loved him, I did let him know while there were many other options I would support his choices, I let him know that should it not work out so well for him that this too would be OK he could come home anytime (the door was ALWAYS open) It would not mean failure to come home just simply time for another new path to be explored, etc.
I let him know that I trusted him, that I did have faith in him. That my concern with this choice was that school may be overlooked or put on the back burner, etc. and this was HIS FUTURE, this was very important to stay focused etc. He assured me he would do well and stay focused....

Next while I meant all those things my heart still felt crushed... No amount of preparing for the loss of a child (rather the growing up of, lol) can do... really!!!! I felt violated. This was worse than death because I had to keep silent and detached while he made choices that did not include me. He was the love of my life, my whole world you see and now he was gone... BY CHOICE
I felt depressed, really depressed... wondering where I may have gone wrong...
While hugging my pillow over the next few weeks in tears...
I realized he was doing well, he was happy, and no this was NOT about me.... True to his word he called me everyday. Our relationship changed we grew less and less Dependant on one another

He spoke of all these funny responsibilities he now had. He spoke of how much more he appreciated me and what really I had done for him all these years, etc. He shared funny stories about his job. He told of drama with roommates and how he maturely worked through them.

He worked, and worked, and worked... He found he had no time for girlfriends anymore and that this really wasn't such a big deal or important anymore because this was his income in which to support himself through college, this was his future.. He'd have plenty of time to spend playing with girls after he graduated, etc.

Each day via telephone I witnessed him growing, maturing, becoming a man. Alcohol and drugs were no longer questioned in my mind. It was clear this boy of mine had moved forward and learned the lessons he needed to be a responsible citizen in this society we live in. College time came he supported himself fully Yes, he worked not one but two jobs and attended school fulltime. he was eating healthy even discovered he enjoyed doing so (one job was cooking in a small mom n pop restaurant) where he'd begun as a dishwasher... and now in this years time he had been promoted all the way to a MANAGER! I was very proud to see that he not only had good work ethics but that his school grades never suffered due to the amount of work hours he held.

Finally Linda, finally, he came home for a visit....
There before me stood my son, a man. He had strange hair upon his face I'd never seen before... He had his beautiful gentle smile and we held each other and cried. He spent a week and half at home and then we returned to his home (my dad and I) to stay for 4 days while attending his first year college graduation ceremony and celebration.

During the after party and subsequent day I met his friend, employers, coworkers, and classmates. Every single flippin' one of them told me again and again what a beautiful person my son was. How responsible he was. How smart and focused, and Loving he was. How he had helped them in this way or that way... How lucky I was to have such a "good child"

I noticed too that while people all around us were popping open beers at the parks, at the restaurants, at the after parties, etc. my son never flinched, never skipped a beat, he never touched nor acted if if he'd even like to have a single drop of alcohol. This friend of his secretly told me that Jeremy (my sons name) used to always be the designated driver but now he's to good for that, lol. He wouldn't even take the time to go out with them anymore; because he's got better things to do.

So when it was time for me to return home. Though it was hard to leave... It was in honor and honest faith in his maturity and choices that I was able to do so. I not only felt safe but realized for the first time ever that my son was actually a man in whom I respected and enjoyed as an adult.

He turned 18 years old just after his first year college graduation. I couldn't be with him for his birthday as I'd just left there.... I assure you however alcohol was not a part of the equation.

While I know this is a long story, somewhere in there is a message for you as well...

I do absolutely hope you never experience the heartache that I did... But looking back on it now, I'd never trade it for anything in the world. It was during these times that my spirit was able to be properly tested and and most iimportantly grow.... It was under these conditions that my son was able to learn about choices and how they really affect his life.

Please hang in there...

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