Sunday, December 4, 2011

Back to Michigan

Through a series of unfortunate events, my son's California treatment/sober living days have come to an end after a little more than three months. There's no need to detail everything that happened, but the unfortunate events did include another relapse, which resulted in a positive drug test and my son's expulsion from his sober living house. Rules are rules, and if you break them you will suffer the consequences. At some point, that has to sink in, doesn't it?

During the series of unfortunate events, one thing did happen that made me extremely proud of my son. A girl he knows, who is also in recovery and was also kicked out of her sober living house, texted him late one night from her hotel room. She told him that she had just taken all of her meds. My son reacted by waking up someone in his house who had a car, going to the hotel, and taking the girl to the hospital. The woman who runs the sober living house told my wife that our son "saved that girl's life." That's pretty powerful.

So tomorrow, my son flies from Palm Springs back to Michigan. He's coming "home," but he's not coming home. Arrangements have been made for him to move into a sober living house in Ann Arbor, which is about an hour's drive from where we live. The house appears to be a decent place--though nowhere near as nice as the Palm Springs digs--and the guy who owns it is in recovery himself. It's near a bus line (Ann Arbor has a great bus system), near the University of Michigan Addiction Treatment Services (which has top-notch outpatient care), and is reasonably priced. Ann Arbor is also supposed to be a very recovery friendly city, with lots of AA and NA support meetings to attend, a large recovering community, and a strong support network. I think there should be some decent job opportunities there, too.

This whole "move" is happening pretty quickly, and my wife and I were scrambling a bit yesterday, making sure our son got all his "extra" stuff to the UPS Store so they could pack it and ship it back here. (He ended up with more stuff in Palm Springs than he originally took there because we had sent him things he had needed/wanted over the course of his stay there.) One observation: Having a bunch of clothes and books and a guitar packed and shipped from California to Michigan isn't cheap.

Late tomorrow afternoon, we will pick our son up at the airport, take him to his new sober living house, and help him get situated. It'll be great to see him, but I wish it was under different circumstances. I'm also not sure how it's going to be having him in sober living so close to home. Yes, it's an hour away, but it's way closer than California. I'm pretty sure he might lobby to come home at some point. But that really isn't an option anymore. At least not until he gets some quality sober time under his belt and gets back to working the program seriously.

December is going to be a tough month. My son's 22nd birthday is only eight days away. And, of course, Christmas is right around the corner. I'm not sure how these days will be celebrated, but I guess we'll figure it all out as it comes.

I really hope this Ann Arbor thing works out, because it's probably the last option we can afford. The last few months--the last few years, really--have drained us financially, and at some point my son is going to have to take full responsibility for his recovery; if he ultimately chooses to recover. My wife and I have to do what's best for us and for our younger son. We have lives, too.

The next couple of days will be interesting and challenging. But then, being the parent of an addict is always interesting and challenging. That's the nature of the beast. If you're reading this post, please take a moment to say a prayer or think a good thought for my family...especially for my son.


  1. I have all the names of the parents and addicts that I know from blogs written in this little book I carry around. I look at it every day (to make sure I don't miss anyone) and send out my prayers and/or thanks for each of them and you. I don't know if it does anything, but I do it anyhow.

    I'm sorry to hear things didn't work out for him in PS. Apparently he is not ready to commit himself fully to recovery, because it can be done. Its just so much harder to do than it sounds and your boy, like mine, is still very young. It seems the younger they are the harder it is, but each person is different.

    I'm glad that young lady chose to call YOUR son! And I hope he feels good for intervening to save her life. My son did something similar once and it really shook him up after it was all over and he realized how serious the situation could have been.

    Anyhow, I am hoping that our boys both get a lot out of their newest place of residence and are finally ready to put 100% into recovery.

    (Keven's b-day is in Dec, its Wed! time flies.)

  2. Thanks for sharing.
    Dave G

  3. Every post I read from you Dean...reminds me to say a little prayer for all of you.

  4. My love and prayers are always with you. always there in my thoughts and hopes and wishes.

    much love to you always

    rod f

  5. Yes, praying for your son and all your family. the kitties, too. Ann Arbor is a great town, and an hour is a good distance. He will be independent, but you'll be able to see each other.

    I've always admired your decision to quit drinking - be the change you wish to see - but I didn't quite understand it. Thinking about your son trying to figure out how to live sober, I again admire the modeling you're doing for both of your boys.

    Wishing you space to carve out peace this busy season.

  6. Sending thoughts your way, Dean. So sorry to hear about all that you're going through.

  7. Dean....I am praying for your family, and hope this environment brings something new to the equation to help your son towards the Light of Recovery. I pray for you and Kathy because I know this is Hell on Earth to be so worried about your kid and also helpless to "fix" him. I pray for his brother so that he can have some focus in your family, and that he can be shown by you guys that his brother's disease is not his fault or doing. He didn't create it, cure it, and can't control it. And neither can you guys (his parents). Please keep reminding yourselves of that...and remember to keep doing joy bringing things this holiday season. Love you guys!

  8. Dean, the FRN and Heroes in Recovery community has you and your family in our thoughts and prayers. We understand how difficult this time is for you and want to let you know that we are here for you. Please let us know if there is anything that you need.

  9. The set backs have been so sad to read about, Dean. Please take strength in Kathy and your younger son and the love that is not broken yet. If I knew how to pray, I would for Sam. He must know that your love for him has been incredibly strong, but love works two ways, giving & receiving. Sam needs to give back, he needs to start healing himself. Hopefully Michigan will open some doors to recovery. XO

  10. This post was great. Really informative. If you need resources for a sober coach then you should check these guys out and get your life back on track.