Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

I was driving into town the other day, thinking about my situation and feeling very sorry for myself. I kept wondering, why me, why us, why is this happening to my family. I was feeling a lot of anger and bitterness because I felt like we had done everything right as parents and made so many sacrifices for our kids, and therefore we did not deserve what was happening. Lately, everywhere I look, there seems to be happy people. I search faces wherever I go, and wonder, are they as happy as they appear to be on the outside? My answer came to me the other day as I was driving into town. I had stopped the car at a red light and looked over at the car next to me. At first glance, it appeared to be a perfectly content family. Nice car, handsome father, car seat with a cherubic toddler safely buckled in. And then I looked at the woman in the passenger seat and realized that she was crying. Fat tears slid down her face as she gazed off into the distance. Pain was etched deeply in her face. I will never know what was causing her such sorrow, but it made me realize that appearances can be very deceiving. We all have sadness, regret, and situations that test us and sometimes break us. I am no more fortunate, nor unfortunate than anybody else. We may have periods where we sail blissfully through life, oblivious to the pain of others, not realizing that our turn will come eventually. No one gets through life unscathed. Bad things happen to good people, and we have to learn to accept our circumstances, one day, one moment at a time.

It's been a difficult few days around these parts. Three nights ago, Justin came home from a party. He drove my father's car home, and when he walked through the front door, I could immediately tell that he was stoned. I took the keys from him and called the cops. He knew that I had called and left home, yelling that he hated me and that he would never be back. I immediately regretted my actions, feeling that I may have driven him away, before he had the opportunity to receive treatment. The cops arrived and took his description. They found him about an hour later at a local teen hangout. He went with them willingly and they had a long chat and then they brought him home. During their conversation, Justin had mentioned that he wanted to become a firefighter. They took pity on him and decided not to press any charges. They carefully explained that a drug charge or a DUI would completely derail any hopes of being hired by the fire department. Part of me was relieved that he was not charged, and then there was the other part of me that realizes that my son always seems to get himself out of trouble without any serious consequences. I know, though, that his luck is running out. In a few short months, he will be considered an adult. If he continues to abuse drugs, he will eventually face charges. I would rather that he faced charges at seventeen then at eighteen, where it will remain on his record. The only good that came out of this was my father promised to never let him use his car again. I could not take the guilt, if my son killed somebody with his recklessness, and my father now understands how foolish he was to trust him. Since that night, the tension in our home has been thick. Justin is angry at me for calling the cops. I know that someday, he will understand and forgive me.


  1. We never know what seeds might have been planted, when doing the next indicated step. Maybe he heard something he needed to hear from those police officers...you did the right thing...no matter how much he tries to punish you for not buying into his bad behavior. He doesn't see it yet, but he's blessed to have you as his mom.

  2. Hannah,

    You did the right thing. I know how hard it is to do what you did but it was right.

    My son also had dreams of teaching but with his record now I am not sure that opportunity will ever be open to him. It is hard to sit by and watch them destroy their own dreams without even realizing it but at some point we hope they wake up and pick up the pieces and create new dreams.

    The financial risk is too great for your father or anyone else to allow him to drive. Let alone the moral risk. Think of it in the place of an innocent victim. Justin is stoned, you know he is an addict and you allow him to drive a vehicle and he has an accident killing someone innocent. If I were the innocent's family I would do everything I could to hold not only Justin liable but also the owner of the vehicle that allowed him to drive. In a sense I would fault the person allowing an adict to drive even more than Justin.

    Sounds like you had an experience like we have had with the local police. Until my son got to be an adult they seemed to give him a benefit of doubt and he skated on lots of stuff. Now as an adult he gets by with nothing, finally. I'd rather they get busted early and learn a lesson young and soon than to let them believe they can get by with things.

  3. Wow. This brings back memories of both my husband and my son...Not good ones.

    The good news is you will get through this - time will help Justin in the forgiving process, the bad news is that until he is ready to make changes you will need to focus with all of your might on your program and as a mom - staying as consistent as you can possibly muster, protecting your boundaries... as a mom - that is much easier said than it is done...

    Hang in there.

  4. SOOO many nights crying that same mantra, "How could this happen, I did every thing I could possible do right"

    You are so not alone and neither was I and neither is my niece.
    It always amazed me how the addict (of whatever) could BS his way out of things.

    I would love to find a way to connect blogs of this subject (parents of addicts) because we usually have a history of our own parents to share and the TOTAL LACK OF HOPE due to the addiction of our children.

    I look forward to sharing

  5. You did absolutely the right thing Hannah. This is one of the boundaries that I set with my husband. If I find out he is drinking and driving I will call the cops on him.

    If he gets through this and gets sober he will in time be able to see that you were only trying to help and he will appreciate what you are doing.

    Hang in there Hannah! You're doing the right thing.

  6. Two tmes tonight, in comments I've been reading, CAT has nailed doen the essence of what to do, and the fact that it is not, will not, be easy.

    Peace to you, Hannah. God's peace!

  7. I STILL get stuck in the pain of what I thought our life was going to be....as opposed to what it really is! How my Golden Child has become a hopeless alcoholic. The pain he lives in. Now my second son, lost in a haze of smoke. I'm old...had children later in life, thought I knew SO much. At least with my year and wisdsom, I've seen that no one has a perfect life...and there are so many "perfect" families with a lot of pain. So, all I can do is live today and try and do the right thing.

  8. It's true you never know what is happening in others peoples lives or behind closed doors.

    You did the right thing calling the cops, he has to learn that his actions even though driven by the disease of addiction do have consequences.

  9. I believe that you did right by your son. He may be angry, but he needs to realize that his actions will cause him to suffer consequences. I think that is a lesson that is sadly lacking among many young people today. Taking responsibility for actions is part of being mature: Wrong actions, bad consequences--responsible actions, good consequences. Hopefully, he will understand this. Take care of yourself and stay strong with your program.

  10. I believe when I took the kind of action you did, that was one day (or one hour) that my son was not doing drugs.
    Or putting his life in danger.

    Remember Hannah, you call the shots at your house, not him.

  11. It takes courage and strength to do the right thing. Even if you doubt yourself, I also believe you took the correct action.

    As to the result - the cops not pressing charges - God is in charge of that. We take the action and leave the results up to our Higher Power.


  12. My mother always said that if I traded my problems with someone for a day, I would beg for mine back...it makes sense to me now, as every single family has pain and problems. I think being the parent of an addict fills us with so much fear, disapointment and a sense of failure that we just can't imagine any other problem feeling so awful and desperate. That is the good thing about these blogs and all the comments, we now don't have to feel so alone in our struggle with this disease inflicting our loved ones. I pray that God provide a divine intervention in all our loved one's lives, to help them to heal and return to us as we know them. God Bless.

  13. Hannah, very nice job my friend. I know the courage it takes to call the police on your own child. As for making your son angry, well, yeah. Been there too. Don't let that stop you.