It has been awhile since I penned, okay typed, a full blown update on 26 and his recovery. This morning seems like a really good time for such an update since he is crossing a major threshold.
If you haven’t been on here before let me give a brief synopsis. My oldest son, 26, struggled with alcohol and drug addiction since he was 20. It started, innocently enough, with high school drinking, “Skittles” parties, and then blew to full on pain pill addiction in college. The pain pills, also, started innocently enough during his senior year of high school with a serious ankle injury during baseball and getting his wisdom teeth out. We tried a residential program in Florida and out patient treatment here at home and there were signs of clarity every once in awhile. Unfortunately, what one of the out patient directors told us came true…he got hooked on heroin! It spiraled to the point where on May 19th of this year he overdosed for the 2nd time. Both times, someone found him and called 911 and he was able to pull through. The 2nd time, it was me because he overdosed at home. Very painful! Oh, and he had two DUI’s during a three year period and does not have a license.
He agreed that day he was ready to get clean. We had been planning an intervention and thankfully his overdose provided the impetus he needed to realize he had hit bottom. I mean, when the EMT is asking him what happened and you hear your son say: “I died…” something finally triggered in his head.
Fast forward to today.
After a full 90 days in a residential program which included a step down house on property, 2 months in a sober living house, and just under 2 months sub leasing an apartment for cash (I’ll get into that later), he and another one of the young men he met at his residential program who is as dedicated to staying clean as 26 is are moving in to their own leased apartment! It has been a bit of a struggle letting go but he has grown up so much since May. The best part: he has been clean & sober now for 200 days!
He has a job as a server at a nice restaurant/bar walking distance to his apartment. He has established a budget and knows how much he has to put aside every month for his rent, utilities, etc. He graduates with a degree in chemistry in two weeks and thanks to his job he is getting lots of offers from folks in the sales space: real estate, medical equipment, etc. to apply for jobs because of his personality. This kid could sell ice to Alaskans in December. I will never truly be comfortable knowing just how powerful an addiction to heroin is; however, I am proud of where he is today.
He has also decided to stop taking the anti opiate time released injection so he is truly flying solo. At some point, I knew this day would come and even though he is not going to NA meetings there is a core group of men from his residential program that live in our area and they all get together every other week to check on each other and keep themselves on track. Probably not the most traditional way to work a recovery program but it is working for these 6 men.
Now for the concerning issues…!
First: He has a live in girl friend who is still married but separated with two kids. She has tattoos (which can be covered) and has her ears gauged. She does not have custody of her kids because she has never had, other than while she was married, a permanent residence. Her in-laws have custody apparently because her husband is a deadbeat. It really doesn’t add up to me. She does not drive, at 27, and does not have a high school diploma. Now, before you go all sideways on me for being judgmental let me say this, she seems like a nice person and talks a good game about getting her GED and wanting to go in to nursing. We will see.
So, last night 26 called to lay out the plan for him and his roommate to come by and pick up his furniture and stuff (he had an apartment at college before the addiction took over and our house looks like a damn warehouse) and informed me that he was depositing his girlfriends checks/tips/etc. (she is also a server at a different restaurant) in to HIS checking account. When I told him I didn’t think that was a smart idea, and even though I thought he handled it brilliantly, he just said: “Dad, I wanted to tell you what we were doing. I realize you and Mom don’t like it but it is what we are doing.” I reiterated how I thought it was not a good idea to be comingling monies (even though MrsL and I have for nearly 28 years but we are married) but would respect his decision. He thanked me for accepting his decision and we moved on to another topic.
Second: even though he is getting asked by people who he is serving at his job to apply for jobs he is PROCRASTINATING about doing so. Every time I ask he says he needs help with his resume and every online application ask for one. I have offered to help him with this resume and even provided him with mine and examples of some really good ones to start with and he is still dragging his feet. For whatever reason he still harbors some thought that if someone mentions a job to him that it is a done deal and all he has to do is show up.
Well now that he has an apartment and responsibilities he is going to figure out just how far a dollar goes! He says he is working on his resume. I hope so because I am not going to do it for him.
Third: he has hit the 2 year mark of his 4 year license revocation and can apply through the DMV for a restricted privilege. Again, he has to make the phone call to his attorney to get the process started. He talked about that halfway point for the past two years. Now that it has come, and gone, do you think he has called his attorney. NOPE. MrsL did and set up a meeting last Monday where he was told everything he needs to do before the request for a hearing can take place. Okay, it has only been 8 days and he has been diligently searching for an affordable place to live, but he has done nothing he was told to do. I guess he likes riding the bus and using Uber?
HOWEVER; even with all of my concerns, I am so very THANKFUL that I have them because that means he is still with us!
Only time will tell. For now, he is taking a major step toward his new life!
One of these days, I will write a lengthy piece on just how proud I am of my other son. He is such a rock and obviously learned valuable life lessons watching his brother. I am SO PROUD of him as well!