Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 500

Today marks 500 days since I last had a drink. "Be the change you want to see in your son."

I am far from anything even remotely close to perfect, but I am trying my best to set an example, not only for my oldest son, but for my youngest son, too. It's the least I can do.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Powerful, powerful words

On my way home from work today, I was listening to From a Late Night High Rise, the fine 2006 album from Matthew Ryan, one of my favorite (and one of the most underrated) singer-songwriters. The last track on the album is called "The Complete Family," and it's a spoken-word "song" that Matthew wrote about his older brother, who suffered from addiction and is now serving 30 years in prison. There is one part of the "lyrics" that totally mirrors how I felt when my wife and I picked our son up from rehab (both times):

"Now I remember that day you had just gotten out of rehab.
And I was happy to see you.
Happy to hope.
That from that point forward.
All would be better.
And I was proud of you.
And we were going home.
The complete family.
A complete family.
Just you and me.
Mom and Dad.
A complete family."

The other passage that crossed my mind today is from the book called Addict in the Family by Beverly Conyers, which I've quoted in my blog before:

"Some family members admit to harboring a secret wish that the addict would die. 'At least I could mourn him and get on with my life,' they may reason. 'She's not really living anyway. God might as well take her so I can stop worrying,' they say. 'Don't I deserve a little peace of mind before I die?'

"Such sentiments are indicative of the deep suffering that many families of addicts experience. A sense of hopelessness arises when every conceivable effort to save the addict has failed. When families have given everything they have to give, and when the only result seems to be endless unhappiness, they may long for an escape no matter what the cost."

There aren't words enough to tell you just how much both of these passages move me.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thinking and driving

Because I left work a little later than usual today, my drive home was a little bit slower than usual. I spent a lot of time stopped in traffic or driving very slowly, which allowed my mind to wander a bit.

While I was giving my brain a workout, two questions popped into my head and wouldn't leave. They are actually questions I've been asking myself a lot lately:

1. Will I ever be able to trust my son again?

2. Will my son and I ever have a good relationship again?

Those are incredibly huge questions for a father to ask himself about his 20-year-old son, and it hurts me to have to ask them all the time. But I really don't know the long-term answer to either one. Right now, the only answer I can give for either question is, "I hope so."


For a good portion of my long drive home today, I was listening to my favorite sports talk radio station. They were ragging on former St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire pretty good for having admitted yesterday to using steroids while he was an active player. The radio guys were questioning McGwire's sincerity and one of them was mocking McGwire for crying while reading his statement. "When was the last time you cried," the radio guy asked his fellow talking heads, as if to say, "What kind of man cries???" For the record, the "When was the last time you cried?" question was--unlike those other two questions I mentioned earlier--a very simple question for me to answer. The last time I cried was this morning.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What happened?

What happened?

I ask myself that question a lot lately. I just wonder where things went wrong with my son. It's been more than five years since his troubles began, and there doesn't really seem to be an end in sight. Never in a million years would I have expected things to be how they are today. My son is 20 years old, doesn't have any friends, doesn't have his driver's license, has never had a job, and struggles in school. He's still severely depressed and still has issues with drug use. And nothing seems to help. Hospitalizations, therapy, rehab, intesive outpatient programs, 12-step programs, etc. My son's been through it all. But there has been very little progress.

What happened?

Friday, January 1, 2010

0 for December

Not a single blog post in December? Wow. It's definitely been awhile (again) since I've posted here. It's also kind of weird that the post that broke a six-week absence from blogging was one that covered my favorite music of 2009, and had nothing at all to do with what's been going on in my life or my son's life. That's not to say that there hasn't been stuff happening on both those fronts. Trust me. There's been a lot going on. It's just that I've struggled with actually sitting down and writing about what's been happening. Hopefully I'll be able to get back in blogging mode soon. In the meantime, happy new year. I hope 2010 is a better year for all of us.

My favorite music of 2009

These are the 15 albums from 2009 that I enjoyed listening to the most. The ones I went back to continuously and that stuck with me for some reason or another.

1. Matthew Ryan: Dear Lover
2. Robert Francis: Before Nightfall
3. Buddy & Julie Miller: Written in Chalk
4. David Bazan: Curse Your Branches
5. Gregory Alan Isakov: This Empty Northern Hemisphere
6. Ryan Bingham: Roadhouse Sun
7. Dave Rawlings Machine: A Friend of a Friend
8. Neko Case: Middle Cyclone
9. Patterson Hood: Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs)
10. Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
11. M. Ward: Hold Time
12. A.A. Bondy: When the Devil's Loose
13. Wilco: Wilco (The Album)
14. William Fitzsimmons: The Sparrow and the Crow
15. Rhett Miller: Rhett Miller

Favorite Song:
"Chalk" (Buddy & Julie Miller)

Artist I Was Happiest to Discover in 2009:
Gregory Alan Isakov

Favorite Reissue/Box Set:
Do What You Want, Be What You Are: The Music of Daryl Hall & John Oates

Favorite Music Video:
Matthew Ryan: City Life

Favorite Live Show I Attended:
Kathleen Edwards w/ Clare Burson @ The Magic Bag, 2/4/09

Hyped to High Heaven, But I Like Their Earlier Albums Better:
The Avett Brothers: I And Love And You

Biggest Disappointment:
U2: No Line on the Horizon

Album I Just Didn't "Get" (And Still Don't):
Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest