letting each other go

A Better Day

Posted by Leo G on February 27, 2007

I think his “stash” is gone. His behavior has improved, along with his attitude. He got to go to a professional basketball game last night and had a great time. We’re also looking at options. We have a meeting with a counselor (for him) tomorrow. We are educating ourselves about treatment options. It helps to feel like there might be some good resources to help us with this.

The overwhelming thing is when I see lists like this:

Physical Signs

* Change in sleeping patterns–check.
* Bloodshot eyes–check.
* Slurred or agitated speech–check.
* Sudden or dramatic weight loss or gain–nope.
* Skin abrasions/bruises–nope.
* Neglected appearance/poor hygiene–nope.
* Sick more frequently–check.
* Accidents or injuries–nope.

Behavioral Signs

* Hiding use; lying and covering up–check.
* Sense that the person will “do anything” to use again regardless of consequences–check.
* Loss of control or choice of use (drug-seeking behavior)–possibly
* Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities–check.
* Emotional instability–check.
* Hyperactive or hyper-aggressive–check.
* Depression–check.
* Missing school or work–check.
* Failure to fulfill responsibilities at school or work–check.
* Complaints from teachers or co-workers–check.
* Reports of intoxication at school or work–nope.
* Furtive or secretive behavior–check.
* Avoiding eye contact–check.
* Locked doors–check.
* Going out every night–check.
* Change in friends or peer group–nope. (I wish they *would* change.)
* Change in clothing or appearance–nope.
* Unusual smells on clothing or breath–check.
* Heavy use of over-the-counter preparations to reduce eye reddening, nasal irritation, or bad breath–check.
* Hidden stashes of alcohol–nope.
* Alcohol missing from your supply–check (but only once, cuz he got caught.)
* Prescription medicine missing–nope.
* Money missing–nope.
* Valuables missing–nope.
* Disappearances for long periods of time–nope.
* Running away–nope.
* Secretive phone calls–nope.
* Unusual containers or wrappers–do soda can “pipes” count?–check.

He’s definitely using. It’s impossible not to see that. He’s tested positive for marijuana and benzos. (ativan or valium, most likely.) Is he addicted? Possibly. Is he using enough to have serious consequences? Definitely. And the million billion dollar question: How can we help?

We’re trying to figure that out, but it’s not as “cut and dried” as it may seem. We could force him into treatment, but that’s not really the most effective way to help. (When kids feel forced they resist all the more.) We’re going to try to get him to think of this counselor as a resource to deal with what we know is not an easy life. We’ll get his professional opinion on what to do next.

And, I’ll write here. Because I know I need to process my own anger, sadness, anxiety, fear, and pain in order to be a better dad.


2 Responses to “A Better Day”

  1. Amy H said

    I’m just reading through today!

    I think these:
    * Sudden or dramatic weight loss or gain–nope.
    * Skin abrasions/bruises–nope.
    * Neglected appearance/poor hygiene–nope.
    Are signs of narcotics.

  2. Amy H said

    Sorry, I mean like methamphetimine…

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