Monday, October 4, 2010

Have you gone Mental? (XXXVII)

We all have problems. I grew up in the house of an alcoholic Father. He was a good man who loved his family, nevertheless he was often verbally abusive. I know my Dad loved me for many reasons. He was the one the night I went to my 1984 hospitalizaton that said, "Jeff if you killed ... if you did anything like that it would kill me." Then he hugged me tightly with tears in his eyes. I think that was the day we began to accept one another for who we were and began our relationship anew. As I outgrew my childhood I became a good man too. I do not think any of the problems I am having were in anyway caused or authored by my father. I worked that out long ago. I am fully responsible for who I am today.

Dad worked hard as an owner and truck driver of a wholesale distributorship under the Standard Oil Company. I remember when I was a young boy about 10 when I asked, "Dad, will your trucks say Brockway and Son on the doors one day?" His response was powerful and impactful as I look back, although it sounded disappointing at the time. He said, "Son you're not going to be a truck driver. You're going to make something out of yourself." He seemed happy in his job, but somewhere down deep lay this seed of disatisfaction that sprouted into a little boy. HIS son would make something out of himself. That is why the high expectations, that is why the pride when I earned my doctorate. That is why the pride when I went to work for my last employer. To talk to him you'd think I was the CEO of the hospital for which I worked, although I never rose above middle management!

As vulnerable as I was statistically I did not become an alcoholic or an addict. I drank a few beers and quite a few gin and tonics over a few years, but never developed a habit or formed an addiction. In fact, one day I stopped all that. My drinking now is comprised of a (very) occational marguerita or pina colada and a hot buttered rum on Christmas eve.

Then it became my turn. I was raising kids of my own, beginning in my 21st year of my life. Erin, Kelly, Jon, Josh, and Jeffrey. Beth came into my life when Janet and I got married. She became much more than a step daughter to me and for all intents and purposes she is my daughter and I love her as such. Then there was Andy, my Great Nephew, who came to live with us when he was 5. Jeff (17) and Andy (14) still live at home.

Its difficult to think that your kids could develop an addiction. It absolutely breaks your heart. In my current state, I of course got overcome by my depression. I felt horrible as this addiction has developed over a two year period. I was in deep denial, not wanting to believe one of my grown kids was an addict. Maybe it was arrogance. Maybe I was naive. At any rate It happened under my nose. The feelings about this are new and they are still raw. I wish I could reach out and flip a awitch and the addiction would just leave. I wish I could take away the pain. The grief process will be a large part of the healing: denial, anger, depression, bargaining, fear, and (hopefully) acceptance. A good friend (the drug) will be left behind if all goes according to plan. Having treated addicts for 15 years, I know it reaches remission only sometimes. That realization brings me to tears. I know many of you have been through this (and worse) with addiction in your family.

As I sit here tonight, having talked through a treatment plan with his mom, my wife Janet, and one of my daughters. I am cautiously hopeful. The intervention has been done. The drug is very potent so detox is necessary. My depression tells me that he is doomed and my anxiety tells me that my depresson is right. It sucks. It has been a roller coaster since this came to light. Depression and anxiety; anxiety and depression; prayer, silence, hope, desperation, and fear. God help me!

That is what I'm facing tonight. I am sad when I think what my child is facing. My problems are probably insignificant compared to this young suffering addict. I know the problems are different and know if he accepts and applies the treatment and support meetings there is a good chance of overcoming his present pain and then entering recovery; not just abstinence. My role: encouragement, prayer, and compassion.

I am not a victim in this case. Do not feel sorry for me. As much as my depression-anxiety has been activated to new highs and lows I am not my greatest concern now. I am a Dad who may have been on the brink of alcohol addiction at age 32, when the Lord reached down and brought strength to me. He gave me the gift of stopping cold turkey.

Well all that aside, I hope you will pray for my child. Please pray that the heart will soften and the treatment that has been offered will be accepted and applied to life.

Thank you for your gracious prayers for this precious child of mine.

Typos and all ... God bless you.

1 comment:

  1. everything will work out the way it's supposed to. I just know it. Love you - Owen