Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It feels different this time

I took the day off work yesterday to give myself a bit of a break. Work's been incredibly busy and stressful, and I get a lot of vacation time. It's just hard for me to take it in big chunks. So I've decided to take a day off here and there to take care of things around the house and recuperate a bit.

In the morning, the phone rang. Looking at the Caller ID, I could see that it was my son calling. Not too long ago, seeing his number on the Caller ID would send me into an immediate panic. Sometimes--no, most of the time--I wouldn't even answer. But yesterday I didn't feel that panic and picked up the phone.

My son has been wanting to get a new tattoo for a while, and he was calling to see if I would be willing to take him to the tattoo place after he got off work. (My son still doesn't drive.) He had earned the money to pay for the tattoo by working, which I thought was a huge accomplishment. So I agreed to take him. It actually worked out well, because I had to drive my younger son to an appointment around the same time, and both places were relatively close by.

When we picked up my son at his house, one of the first things he told us was, "I got my 30 day chip today." That was great to hear, and I gave him a fist bump, congratulated him, and told him I was very proud of him.

After dropping my younger son off at his appointment, my older son and I headed to the tattoo place. During the drive there, my son and I talked quite a bit. I told him again how proud I was that he had 30 days of sobriety under his belt. What he said in response came as a pleasant surprise to me. "I've had 30 days of clean time a few times before, but this is the first time it feels like 30 days of recovery instead of just 30 days of not using."

I thought that was a very revealing statement. My son went on to tell me that he hasn't even thought about using during the last 30 days. He said he's had some bad days, and some bad moments during other days, but that he's been able to deal with things without thinking about using. After seven plus years of battling addiction, a few stints in rehab, and six sober living houses, that statement by my son is a huge reason why it feels different this time. He said it with such honesty and conviction. It might be the most amazing and promising sentence I've heard come out of his mouth in seven years.

After getting his tattoo--which, by the way, is "XO" on his chest over his heart (XO is the name of an album by one of my son's favorite singer-songwriters, Elliott Smith; and also the subtitle of a song on that album, "Waltz #2 [XO]")--we went and picked up my younger son and headed home. When I dropped my son off at his house, I told him yet again how proud I was of him and how much I loved him.

It feels different this time.


  1. What a great day and a great post Dean. Sending mountains and mountains of hope your way this time.


  2. Wonderful to read and congratulations to your son and to you all. Love the tattoo!