Sunday, March 25, 2012

A small miracle

First off, let me just say that my wife and I are totally exhausted--emotionally and physically--from the events of yesterday. It was by far one of the most challenging days of this seven-year odyssey we've been on.

Having our son show up at our house yesterday, totally unannounced and out of the blue, was not something we were planning on. But it wasn't a total shock, either. My wife and I kind of suspected that coming back to our house was our son's ultimate goal. I guess we just didn't expect it so soon.

We talked with our son for hours in our backyard. He was insistent on coming back home. That he could change. That he would follow the rules. He even wrote up a contract stating everything that he would and wouldn't do. The problem is, we've had several contracts like this before, and they were all broken.

My wife and I were adamant: Our son was not coming back home to live. Period. We heard it all. "I have no place to go." "I promise I'll change." "You don't care about me." "I need my family." "Just give me one more chance." We've heard all those things before, and as recent as several months ago we might've given in and let our son move back in with us. But not this time. We've finally learned how to set a boundary and stick to it. And we've learned that the majority of addicts say that they never really found the proper road to recovery until their family cut them off.

At one point, our son said, "If I can't come back home, you may as well kill me now." That stuff is tough to hear, but again it's nothing we haven't heard before. When it became obvious that our son wasn't going to take any of our suggestions--he even ripped up a list of sober living houses and phone numbers we gave him--and wasn't going to stop pressuring us to come home, I asked him to leave. And when he refused to leave, I told him I was calling the police to have them make him leave. While I was on the phone with the police, our son gathered up some stuff and left, yelling "You guys make me sick" as he walked down the driveway. Thankfully, the police never had to come to the house, which is a good thing. (It's happened way too many times over the years.)

After our son left, my wife and I decided to call a friend of ours who has been in recovery for several years and helped get our son into recovery for the first time six year ago. We explained the situation and our friend said that he would call our son and meet with him.

To make a long story shorter, our friend called us and told us he knew of a very structured sober living house not far from our house and that our son had agreed to go. He told us to put our son's things on the front porch and that they would come and pick them up on the way to the sober living house. (He told us he did not want us to have any contact with our son before he left.) So that's what we did.

A little while later, our friend called to tell us everything went very well. He also stopped by our house on his way home to talk to us.

As it turns out, there are a couple of guys living in the sober living house who our son already knows from local AA meetings. That made our son happy, because he was worried about being in a totally new situation again. In fact, his roommate in the house will be one of those guys he knows.

This house is indeed very structured. All of the guys have to go to 14 meetings a week, including "early bird" meetings every day at 7:00am (which could be a huge challenge for our son). The owner of the house also has a painting business, and our friend said the owner is going to put our son to work right away, so that he can earn money for his rent. That's a great thing, because finding a job has been a huge stumbling block for our son.

My wife and I feel like a small miracle occurred yesterday. There are not enough words to express how grateful we are for our friend's assistance. He took the time to meet with our son, found a place for him to go, and took him there. We hope this new development is what our son needs to truly make progress with his recovery and help him become the independent adult he wants to be.

My wife and I are very proud of how we handled the situation yesterday. We used to be soft and easy. But we've finally toughened up and are a team that knows how to stick to our guns when we set a boundary. Yesterday was the ultimate test and we passed with flying colors. We love our son dearly. But sometimes tough love is the only love that works.

One last thing. Last night, after our friend left, my wife got a text message from our son. It read:

"I am in a great place. Thank God for [our friend's name]."

That put a smile on both of our faces.

Please keep our son in your thoughts and prayers. And thanks to everyone, both here and on Facebook, for your continued support.



  1. You are so strong. So proud of you. Now take a nap. :)

  2. Wow! What a day! What great resolve you and you wife had! I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to stick to your boundaries, and not to let your son move back in, especially with all the 'guilt lines/threats, etc' he was tossing to you. I'm praying that this will be a new beginning for both you and your wife, and most important, for your son. Take care!
    Shelley in SK

  3. You did the right thing for everyone! If you make it clear now that he is a legal adult and likely will never move back home again he will have to make better choices because there is no more caving in and there are consequences to his actions. Your logic is right on target, and so is your love for him...although he may only realize this later. WAY TO GO!!! STAY TOUGH!!!

  4. Hey man, you don't know me but I read your posts on RAA for years and then found you on Twitter. Stay strong, you're an inspiration. Guy C

  5. GOD was with you all yesterday. You knew what you had to do and had the fatih to do it. Thank you fr a great example of faith in action. You and yours are in my prayers!

  6. I am so very proud of both you and your wife.

  7. Wow,...that's all I can say ! I'm SO impressed with the strength that you & your wife both used. And I agree with Lauren's opinion about God being with all of you. It's a beautiful hand of God what some addicts in recovery do by reaching out to those struggling as your son now is. When I read about you calling the police to remove your son,...I could relate to it so much that I felt like I could even hear your son's voice, & it brought tears to my eyes. That's a VERY tough thing for you to have to get yourself to do. Phew.
    How wonderful that your son was able to go where he can try to recover & be safe. I will continue to pray that he's really now ready to surrender & work hard on his recovery. And I also agree, deserve a nap ! Be well.

  8. I hope that I can be as good and dedicated a father to my young son as you are. You're truly inspiring.

  9. Keep doing what you need to do. Stay hopeful and look for a positive outcome. Take care of yourselves. Our LORD can work miracles.

  10. There is only one word for this post: INSPIRATIONAL

  11. First off, I am so happy that things ended this well. Like many others, it broke my heart to read your FB post after he showed up on your doorstep. It sounds like this is a great place for your son, and I will keep my fingers crossed that it works out.

    As for you and Kathy, I echo Carol's statement--I am incredibly proud of both of you. What you guys did has to be one of the toughest things parents can ever do, but you stuck to your guns and did what needed to be done.

    Now I hope everyone involved gets a little peace and happiness here for a while. All of you--your son included-- have earned it.

    Brad M.

  12. You are very strong and good parents. health of your son. you could do it and all will be good. I will pray for you and your son. I'm with you all my heart.

    P.s. sorry if i have mistake in words