Saturday, July 21, 2012

Going in the right direction

This week has been a pretty big one for my son, who, at age 22, still doesn't have his driver's license. He took driver's training when he was in high school and took the test to get his license when he was 16; but he had some problems with parallel parking and the tester failed him. He never tried taking the test again and his depression/addiction issues sidetracked the whole process for years. Until Monday.

On Monday, he planned to go to the Secretary of State's office to finally get another driving permit. His last permit expired when he was 18, so he hasn't driven in over four years. Before getting his permit he also had to get a replacement Social Security card, because he had lost his original one.

I took my son to the Social Security office Monday morning to get the replacement card and he took care of the whole transaction himself. That in and of itself was a big accomplishment for him. He seems to be overcoming his shyness and fear of such situations. Later in the day, my wife took him to the Secretary of State's office to get the permit. He took care of all the "business" there, too. And walked out of the building with his permit, which is actually a Level 2 driver's license.

In Michigan, a Level 2 license allows holders to drive a car unsupervised. The only real restriction is that they can't drive alone between 10:00pm and 5:00am. In order to drive during those hours, they have to be accompanied by either a parent or licensed driver who's 21 or older.

My wife and I didn't realize that our son could actually drive by himself now. He's the one who educated us about that. So on Wednesday we let him take my wife's car for the day so he could go out to a local mall and put in job applications. He also borrowed the car yesterday to drive to the pool with some housemates. And today he borrowed the car to go to an AA picnic at a local park.

Of course, my wife and I are a little bit nervous about all this driving stuff, but we decided our son needs to do this in order to mature and continue making progress with the basics of life; and, maybe most importantly, to continue gaining independence and self-confidence. Besides, my wife's car is pretty much a beater--it's a 1997 Lincoln Mark VIII that has a lot of issues, but still drives well. (We call it "The Pimp Car.") So if something were to happen to it, it wouldn't be the end of the world. (As long as our son or anyone else wasn't hurt, of course.)

To be perfectly honest, I was wondering if this time would ever come. But six-and-a-half years later, my son is behind the wheel and eligible to take the test for his full-blown driver's license whenever he's ready. (The Secretary of State waived the 30-day waiting period because he's over 21.) After some driving experience and some practice parallel parking, I think he'll be prepared to do that. And I'm very confident that he'll pass the test this time. He has way more self-confidence than he did when he was 16.

I'm still incredibly proud of my son for recognizing the fact that he was in a bad situation in Atlanta and realizing that he needed to get out of it. He's doing well at the sober living house. He is amongst friends in recovery, all of whom seem to be great guys. And the owner of the house has told my son that he sees a definite change in his attitude. I have, too. Example #1: He went to the midnight showing of the new Batman movie the other night and the movie didn't get out until about 2:45am. But my son still got up at 6:30am and went to an early bird meeting. Example #2: Yesterday he went to not one, not two, but three meetings.

I also have to say that it's nice having my son close to home again. Granted, it's a bit more stressful having him close by, but when he's far away my wife and I miss him so much. So does his little brother. And our three cats.

My son is 19 days clean today. It's not 90 days, but I think this time he's on his way to 90--and beyond. I sense that he's definitely going in the right direction. And for that, I'm grateful. And proud.


  1. 19 days and the only day that matters is what?

    Congrats! Enjoy ! and the car thing kinda correlates a bit w/ my post today ... the little Big steps..

    Dean ..keep writing!

  2. Your joy really shines through your writing today. I am so happy your son is in a good place. It is nice to take a nice long breath every now and again, isn't it?

  3. Praise God for your son's return. I know about the more stress but oh so worth their being back in the fold going the right direction. I pray that it will continue to be a joyful walk together and that God will continue the healin and restoration He has begun.

  4. It's so nice that you are so supportive. Many families give up hope and write their loved ones off. Good for you :) I'm so glad your son is doing so well...

  5. How do I find a decent sober living house? My son has been in several - one had a drug dealer doing drive-bys, other two had little supervision/accountability.

  6. mcc529... Unfortunately, there are good sober living houses and bad ones. Sometimes it just comes down to trial and error. I would highly recommend calling a reputable rehab facility in your area and asking them for recommendations.