letting each other go

Archive for the ‘Downs’ Category

What Happened

Posted by Leo G on March 15, 2009

Bup's childhood best friend.

Bup's childhood best friend.

I’ve been putting off writing this post, but I finally realized that it just might help exorcise the dull ache in my chest to tell the story and write out the feelings that go along with it. A lot of people have been wondering if I am okay. I am, if by “okay” you mean functioning. I can work, walk the dog, eat, sleep, and do my job. I can even pour myself into my job in a way that seems to be working. The people I work for have been appreciating the extra effort and my openness, which feels good.

I don’t really know where to begin. Bup and I have been living alone in an apartment since he returned from “Observation and Assessment” last summer. At first things were much, much better. He was motivated and cooperative and even grateful. But little by little, as always happens, that wore off. There were new underage drinking charges. There was a party held in our home on a weekend when I was out of town for a very important interview that almost ended in eviction and cost me the job. (I had to deal with my son’s arrest and was understandably distracted. I did the best I could, and I think I did well–but it wasn’t my best and I understood when they said, “You have a lot to offer, but we went in another direction.”

Oh, and the other thing that really hurt was that I explained to my son exactly how much the job possibility meant to me. I extracted a promise from him that he would be on his best behavior. His response, “Look, I know it’s important to you. I would never do anything to mess that up.” That was less than 24 hours before he had the party. A party with alcohol, pot, loud music, screaming, kids passed out, kids getting sick, and something that ended with at least two holes in the walls.

Then the disappearances started again. “I’ll be home at 9 pm” became out all night without even a call to let me know he was okay. “Going down to the workout room to lift weights” became going missing for 36 hours. And so on. Everything was a lie. I knew if I let him out of my sight I probably wouldn’t see him for hours or even days. My anxiety was through the roof and I was spending tons of energy trying to manage him.

The only really good thing about the party weekend was that I picked up the book Beautiful Boy by David Sheff in the airport and read it on the way home. It is an amazing book. Painfully and beautifully honest in a way that broke through the isolation and the shame that kept me from reaching out for help or even writing here. As I read, I realized that compassion came easy when it was someone else’s son. And I realized that I needed to extend some of that compassion to myself. The book also explained a little about Alanon and introduced me to the “3 C’s”:

You didn’t cause it.
You can’t control it.
You can’t cure it.

Believe me, I’ve me clinging to that. Because the most painful thing about this disease is the terror that it’s my fault. That if only I’d loved him more, raised him better, been more of a disciplinarian, built up his self-esteem more, seen the signs earlier, sent him to private school, not paid for a lawyer, paid for a better lawyer, gotten divorced sooner, not gotten divorced, never moved away from California, not been the kind of person I am, talked more about drugs, talked less about drugs, been more open, never told him about my own experimentation…

sigh. You get the picture.

I carry all that and more around in my head and heart, along with the voice that screams at me, “How can you possibly have kicked him out? He’s barely eighteen! He hasn’t finished high school! He’s never held a job! He doesn’t have any money! He’s going to die and it’s all your fault…”

But I know too that I can’t live any longer with the lies and the insanity. Another few months and I wouldn’t have been able to do my job. I was getting lost–used up–eaten alive by the constant crisis. The band of pain in my chest was getting scarier by the moment. My heart seemed to be actually, physically breaking.

Not that the heartbreak has stopped. But the constant need to try to control this disease and prevent it from taking my son from me–that battle is over. I can’t control it. I was fighting and fighting and fighting a battle in which I could make no progress whatsoever. If my son is going to survive, he is going to have to fight for his own life. Even though I would gladly give my life to save his, I can’t. The only one who can save his life is him.

Have I given up on him? No, not in any way. I’ve given up on me and my attempts to control his behavior, his cravings, the consequences. I’ve given up on reasoning with an irrational disease. I’ve given up trying to get him to see the pain he is causing or the self-destructive spiral he’s riding. I’ve given up trying to be his “Higher Power” and am instead, trying to truly let him go–giving him to his own Higher Power, hoping that there is someone who can keep him safe, guide him, break through his denial, bring him healing.

It is not easy. I don’t have an easy faith in a personal God who involves himself in our lives. My faith is complicated and my sense of God as the “Spirit of Love” or “Beautiful Mystery” does not inspire the same confidence as I see in my friends with more traditional beliefs. But I realized that I don’t know how to let him go if I think I’m just letting him fall into the abyss and be lost in the void. I need to believe there is something or someone who will keep trying–who will compassionately draw him toward health. I need to believe in a Love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

When I named this blog “letting each other go” I never imagined it would mean kicking him out of my home. I never imagined that I’d be worried that he was sleeping in the cold. I never imagined that I would know that my actions make it impossible for him to graduate from his high school. I never imagined that I would refuse to give him money when he complains of having no food. (I gave him more than sixty dollars the day he moved out. It was gone in less than 48 hours.) I never imagined I would be the kind of dad who kicks his son out the day before he turned eighteen.

I didn’t want to be this dad. But my son has taught me that this is the only way. I don’t get a gradual, incremental letting go. I don’t get a slowly emptying nest. I don’t get the bittersweet joy of leaving him at his first day of college. Instead, it is my responsibility to do what I have come to know is best for my son. And that means getting out of his way, allowing him to face the consequences of his choices. And if I’m lucky, watching him eventually take credit for his successes.

And in the meantime, I wait. And continue to practice letting go.


Posted in addiction, Consequences, Coping, Downs, parenting | 2 Comments »

Made it through the arraignment

Posted by Leo G on June 23, 2008

Bup was there only by video. Handcuffed. He didn’t sound sorry. He asked a couple of questions–one contesting the facts, one about what happens with summer school. In a sad way, it shows how naive he is. No, son, they are not going to let you out to finish your classes…

The judge had already decided to keep him in custody until the hearing on Thursday when she asked me, “Do you have anything to say about that?” I simply said, “It seems appropriate.” They set the court date for Thursday and assigned him a public defender.

The probation officer seems like a good one. He agrees that Bup needs serious treatment. Lock down. He suspects he was using either crack or meth. If not, then there is the possibility of mental health issues, probably caused by earlier use. He affirmed that “Healthy people do not attack their dad for turning off the cell phone.”

The good news is that he won’t be coming home for a while. Of course, that’s also the bad news. Five new charges for this. Some of them will be felonies. I lost the battle to do this in a more humane way. He has chosen the hard way. What he may not understand is that he just made it impossible for the court to let him come home. Because if he were to hurt me again, they would face liability issues.

The next question for me to face is do I visit him? I know I’m not ready yet. Maybe after the hearing on Thursday. Right now, I’m too angry, too tender, too hurt and confused. I don’t even know what to say to him. And I sure don’t want to hear anything from him except a sincere apology. And from the tone of this morning, I won’t be getting that soon.

In the meantime, this is an extremely busy week at work. That may be a good thing. After today, it will serve to keep my mind occupied.

Posted in Consequences, Coping, Downs, legal issues | 5 Comments »

Thoughts from “way down…”

Posted by Leo G on June 22, 2008

So, I’m now alone in my big house. My partner and daughter moved out yesterday. That’s been a long time coming and was only tangentially related to Bup and his issues. My partner and I have been trying to heal our relationship for three years. I finally had to say “enough.” I know that the tensions between us were unhealthy for us and for both kids. So, here I am–waiting for the house to sell in a market where that could be a long, long wait.

I am feeling pretty good physically. A bit sore here and there, but nothing too serious. I’m amazed at the human body and its ability to heal. So quickly. I wish hearts, spirits, and emotions had the same healing properties.

Tomorrow I’ll see Bup in the courtroom. I am not looking forward to it. I imagine the judge will ask me to say something–she has every other time. So many things have crossed my mind to say. Some are healthy and helpful. Others, not so much. Here is a sample:

“I’ve clearly failed at the most important job ever entrusted to me.”
“I will not live with someone who beats me or threatens to beat me.”
“Under it all, there is a very good person in him. I just don’t know why there is also this monster. Maybe he sold his soul to the devil.”
“He needs help. Reasonable consequences for his actions are a part of that. But he needs help more than punishment.”
“He needs to be controlled.”
“I’m done. I’ve given all I can, tried everything I know and have learned.”
“If you put him back in my home, you run the risk that he will kill me. God knows, he’s threatened it enough.”
“I can forgive him, but I cannot forget. I would like to request that he be temporarily placed in the state’s custody.”

There are other, less coherent thoughts too. Like when the dog starts barking and I’m sure that he’s escaped from detention and come back. Or when I make mental plans to send him to his uncle in Istanbul. Or when my mind sticks in a loop about how I’ve failed and was wrong about tough love and clearly wasn’t a good enough parent, or strong enough…

The one thing that helps me is to write this and realize these are the effects of addiction. Addiction is not really about blame. It’s an illness. It’s a compulsion that makes rational thought very difficult and traps the addict in pure ego and drug-centrism. So it’s not entirely my fault. And it’s not entirely Bup’s fault. Blame isn’t helpful. So I come back to the question that is guiding my life right now:

“What can I do that improves the odds of health for us all?”

Posted in Coping, Downs | 3 Comments »

Up, Down, Way Down

Posted by Leo G on June 21, 2008

So, things were getting better. Bup was complying with treatment, in summer school and staying pretty connected. But only on the weekdays.

Weekends became hell. All he wanted was to be “free.” His major argument was “I stopped using. I succeeded at treatment. Why do the consequences have to keep going?” He’s on probation, which comes with a curfew. (A very fair 11 pm curfew, if you ask me.)

Here’s the rub. The only way the curfew gets enforced is if I enforce it. So every weekend was a battle. He can’t understand why it matters to me if he’s “not doing anything.” I can’t get him to understand that to regain trust and show maturity he needs to comply with probation. “But nothing bad will happen unless you call and tell them I stayed out.” And whenever I said I was going to call, the threats and insults started. He threatened to kill me, to kill my dog. He told me I deserved terrible (and very specific) violations. He got in my face and tried to intimidate me. He told me I was stupid, I didn’t love him, etc.

Writing it out, it seems so clear. This is abuse. Verbal and emotional abuse. Escalating. And last night, he assaulted me. When he didn’t come home and wouldn’t answer my phone calls, I disabled his cell phone. Before that, I tracked the last few people he’d called. It was a familiar pattern of many very short calls. When this was happening before, it was because he was setting up drug deals. So disabling his phone made sense.

At 3 a.m., when he finally told me where he was and let me come pick him up, he was verbally abusive and threatening. He was enraged that I had turned off the phone and that I was clear with him that I was going to call his probation officer and report his behavior. (I’d actually already left a message on the probation officer’s voice mail.) He cooled off some and when we got home he went down to his room. Then, a few minutes later, he was suddenly in my room, demanding I turn the phone on. He got more and more enraged the more I refused. He pushed me and jabbed me in the chest. I told him to back off and not to touch me. He jabbed me again. I yelled to wake up my partner and asked him to call the police.

That was it. He threw me down on the bed and began punching my head. He must have landed six or eight punches before he realized that my partner was in the process of calling the cops. He left me and went after him, grabbing his wrist and the phone. My partner went on to the next phone in the house, and then the cell phone. My son overpowered him and got all the phones. My partner took off to a neighbor’s house. My son followed, taking the phones out on the front step and smashing them on the sidewalk.

I grabbed the chance, slammed the front door and locked it. Unfortunately, we had an oval faux stained glass panel on the door. My son punched it in and unlocked the door. He was crazy–like in a slasher flick–He yelled, “Yeah! *Bup’s* in the house!” He gleefully dripped the blood running from his hand all over the house. I went out the back door and ran down the street. Miraculously, the police arrived just then. (The neighbor who called was still on the phone when they arrived. It was less than five minutes.)

Seeing the police calmed Bup considerably. Or maybe that was the taser they had leveled at his belly. He did not resist arrest. He had to be taken to the hospital to have the glass removed from his hand and get stitched up. Today, he is in detention. I am swollen and bruised and sore, but after being thoroughly checked out, I’m okay. They even proved I do have a brain in there. They saw it on the CT scan. The ironic thing is that because I’m his parent, they called me to come and get his prescription for antibiotics filled. I had to drive all the way to detention, pick up the prescription, get it filled, and return it to them, so his hand wouldn’t get infected. The hand he beat me with.

When the detention center called, I declined to speak with my son. I did not visit him today. He has a hearing on Monday morning. I am sad beyond words that he is now essentially in jail. Seeing the “cages” where the youth get their one hour a day outside was gut-wrenching. But I’m also scared to death they will release him back into my custody. Because if he was mad before…

So that’s real life with an addict. He was probably using. But even if he wasn’t, the addictions have stunted and warped his thinking. He is the center of his universe and all that matters is him. He is willing to do anything–including assault his father–to get his way. He is addiction.

Even though I am a professional trained to provide counsel to others, I observe myself going through all the thinking processes of a victim. I blame myself. I excuse his behavior. I get angry. I get scared. Today, when a young man who looked like my son came into the clinic, I flinched. That’s what we’ve come to. I’m afraid of my own son, the boy who toddled around saying, “Bup. bup. bup.” The boy whose diapers I changed, whose wounds I dressed, whose hurt feelings I soothed. The boy who has brought me such joy. And such sorrow.

Posted in Downs | 3 Comments »

It’s been a long couple of months

Posted by Leo G on May 10, 2008

There is no question anymore. My son is an addict. No gentle abuser of marijuana and alcohol–no, addicted to crack cocaine. Lying, stealing, violent, criminal behavior have all happened. There is no denial available to any of us any more.

To his credit, he came and asked for help. The years of loving, respectful relationship paid off in that way. Down deep, he still knew he could come home. Even after he stole our stuff. Even after he gave me a black eye. Even after he ripped up the house, breaking things and stabbing our bed and the couch. Even after he got caught shoplifting three times in eight days. Thank God he still knew he could come home.

It’s been hard. How else could it be? And yet, there is still hope.

He’s seventeen now. One year before all of this becomes felonies and prisons. One year before the consequences are even more life-altering…life-destroying. One year to clean up messes, rebuild relationships, and find him help so that he can continue to grow up.

It all hit the fan in March. At its worst, I knew there was no longer anything I could do. He was beyond my expertise. The problem is, all the treatment centers were full. All but one. The one with the worst reputation and a propensity for talking about “tough love.” I hated to do it, but I signed him in.

It was a “scared straight” experience for him and for me too. As soon as the papers were signed, everything changed. The “four to six week” course of treatment became six months. The “three days” until you get your clothes back became “six weeks.” The “educational opportunities” became “We don’t have classes that advanced so you’ll have to settle for what we have.” I kid you not. They gave him three hours of testing and educational evaluation. He missed *one* question. They looked at him and said, “We don’t have the classes you need.”

Because I have the advantage of being college-educated and in a career that gives me insight into the mental health profession, I began to investigate. Of the five people on his treatment team, one was unlicensed. One had the minimum license possible in our state, requiring only a bachelor’s degree in social work. One was properly licensed but would never see him face to face because her job was simply to supervise his therapist. And two–the nursing director and the clinical director–had only recently had their licenses reinstated after serving suspensions for misconduct.

I took him out of there four days later, “against medical advice.” Our insurance may well not pay for those days, and I’ll be damned if I will. They totally misrepresented their program. They were not at all about recovery, they were a prison/warehouse for unwanted kids.

To his credit, while he was in the facility, he tried to help. He told the kids to cool down, to go with the flow, to try to endure so they could get out of there. They told him it was impossible. Most of them had been there for months, some for years. Many were from other states where there was no lockdown facility available, and had never had a visit or family therapy. They knew they wouldn’t get out until they were eighteen and it was illegal to keep them against their will.

If he knows anything now, he knows that I love him and will never give up on him. Even if that’s true of no one else, including my partner. My marriage was already broken, but this has shown us both how deep that brokenness goes. We’re separating, and my son will stay with me. My daughter will go with my partner, where we hope she will be less affected if her brother relapses.

Today I stumbled upon something that helped a lot. It’s an article from the January 2007 issue of The Sun magazine. Odd that I had never read it, since I usually devour The Sun as soon as it arrives. But somehow this copy had gotten misplaced and had only now appeared on my shelf. And what was the lead article? “The Myth of Tough Love” an interview with Maia Szalavitz on the epidemic abuses in the teen-help industry.”

The whole thing isn’t available online, but parts of it were so amazingly important for me to read today:

Polonsky: What is a “tough-love” treatment program?

Szalavitz: It’s any program that operates on the premise that teens in trouble need to be broken down and rebuilt. The idea is that suffering is good for the soul; therefore, we will inflict suffering on them to “help” them. Sometimes people ask me, “Well, there are teen boot camps, emotional-growth centers, wilderness schools, behavior-modification programs — aren’t they each a little different?” On the surface they are, but what they all boil down to is “Let’s be mean to teens in the woods,” or “Let’s be mean to them military style,” or “Let’s be mean hippie style.”

There are some wilderness programs that claim to take a loving approach, but with so little regulation, it’s impossible for parents to know what they’re going to get. The people selling the program tell consumers what they want to hear. The parents of Aaron Bacon, a teen who died in one of these programs, had been told that North Star Expeditions used kind, gentle methods. Then their son came home in a coffin after being starved and denied medical care.


I would say the vast majority of parents who send their children to these programs are devoted mothers and fathers who would honestly prefer to have their child at home. Most would likely have chosen family therapy were it more widely available and had they known that research supported it over these programs. A large percentage of these parents are in the middle of a divorce. Their children are acting out, unhappy, and vulnerable. That’s why family therapy makes the most sense. But the parents don’t want to think the divorce is what’s causing their son or daughter to rebel or take drugs.

Many parents are simply fooled. Unless you’ve been told otherwise, you’d think these programs are run by experts who have some knowledge you don’t. Aaron Bacon’s parents are smart, well-intentioned, and kind. They were in no way negligent; they asked all the right questions, consulted all the right authorities. But they were lied to. It could happen to anybody.

and most importantly:

Polansky: How did you manage to overcome your own addictions?

Szalavitz: It wasn’t easy. I avoided treatment for a long time because I’d heard about all these places where they try to break you down. I thought, “I’m using drugs because I’m already broken. I don’t need to be broken anymore. I need to be fixed.”

Frankly, I think tough love makes the world more dangerous for everyone. You cannot teach teens to be citizens in a free society through authoritarian programs. in a climate of absolute obedience, where any creative thought is punished, children learn to be selfish and callous and to wield power arbitrarily. “Tough love” is an oxymoron. I believe love is love.

There are times when you have to say no to a child and enforce rules, which can be difficult and emotionally draining, but there is never any time when you should deliberately inflict pain in the name of helping somebody. It’s hard enough to be a human being without someone adding extra pain.

I don’t know how I’ll do it. But I will love this child–really love him–while we look together for ways for him to heal. For us to heal.

He matters too much to do any less. So does every single “troubled teen” out there. Next time you see one, remember that he might be my son.

Posted in Coping, Downs | 6 Comments »

It Was Getting Better Until…

Posted by Leo G on February 1, 2008

About a week ago when we got a “notice to appear” in the mail. It’s a strange thing. It’s serious–an assault charge–but they are not taking it very seriously. Thank heaven, they didn’t show up at the door to take him into custody. Just a notice to appear.

Today we met with a lawyer. After only a little parental pressure, Buppie confessed. I don’t know what to do or think. He hasn’t been using lately. His grades have been going up. He actually turned over a new leaf. He’s been going to school and has extra credit points in several classes. This incident happened in early November (before his personal reformation.)

Once he told the truth, it was clear this is a “defense of friend” case. He and a friend asked some guys to leave a party. The guys and four or five of their friends jumped them. Bup was able to get free, but looked back to see his friend on his back on the ground being kicked and punched by five guys. Bup ran over and protected his friend by stabbing one of the guys in the forearm with a tiny pocket knife. Then they ran. They jumped in a friend’s car. That friend is the one who gave the police Buppie’s name.

I’m so sad and mad and worried. A trial is likely to cost us around $6000. He may lose. He may still end up in detention, which is the one thing he says he’d run from. He is feeling stupid for admitting he did it. He is scared and mad and worried too.

I never thought my kid would be the one who actually stabbed someone. Granted, there were mitigating circumstances and the pocket knife was tiny. Clearly, he didn’t intend to fight with a tiny little weapon. The four other guys involved were all adults. He says one of them already admitted to attacking a juvenile and went to jail for a couple of months. We’ll see…

If you have spare prayers, send them our way.

Posted in Downs, legal issues | 5 Comments »

The Good, The Bad, The Difficult Way to Learn

Posted by Leo G on November 27, 2007

Let’s see. Well, I lived through (okay, I admit it…I actually enjoyed…) our five days in a cabin in Zion National Park with no TV, electricity only by generator, no phone or cell reception, and no internet. Instead of staring at screens we talked and played games and ate a nice Thanksgiving dinner and the kids drew and made houses of cards and we all slept a lot. We tended the fire (our only source of heat.) We played with the puppy. We absorbed the beauty around us and some of us hiked. We saw sunrises and sunsets and admired the full moon. We hung out together. It was good and powerful family time. It refreshed me personally and I feel especially grateful to be reconnected with the kids.

Then we came home to the “real world.” (Wasn’t that peaceful, connected world real too?) My son went to school yesterday to find out that one of his friends died over the weekend. He’d been drinking pretty heavily and fell down a flight of stairs, hit his head, and died of exposure. They’ve arrested a man in his 30’s for child endangerment for giving the kids a LOT of vodka. According to the other boys who were there, the boy who died fell down the stairs while they were there. They took him into the man’s house, where he seemed responsive and okay so they left him on the couch to sleep it off and went home to check in. About six o’clock the next morning, the police found his body at the bottom of the stairs. No one knows exactly what happened in between.

My son sat for several hours with his friend’s father, who was hysterical with grief. He talked to me a little about how hard it was to watch him cry and repeat over and over, “My boy, my boy. Why did they have to take my boy?” I reminded him as gently as I could that it could have been him, with me crying like that. “As much as you want to believe nothing bad will ever happen, it does.” “Yeah,” he said, “he was such a big, tough, kid. It didn’t seem like he could die.”

Parenting is hard. I want to protect him. I want to shake him and wake him up to the danger he’s been flirting with. I want to run away to that cabin and keep him there until he is old enough and wise enough to take care of himself. But mostly, I want to be able to trust him, but he’s just not there yet. He’s getting closer, but he still gives in to his impulses too often and believes the magical messages that he will never get caught, never get hurt, never die.

This is a hard way to learn these lessons.

This weekend he talked about his new practice of talking to God about stuff. He talked about a time he asked God if he should stay with his friends or come home and God told him to come home. Those friends went on to have a car accident that night. Luckily the worst injury was a broken collar bone. Then he admitted that sometimes he thinks that I must be God. Who else could know him so well? Who else would love him enough to want him to always do the right thing?

It made me chuckle and it made me happy that he thinks of me that way. It gave me some hope that he is developing, in his own way, his conscience and his judgment. And then I asked him to imagine that God was someone who knew him even better and loved him even more than I did. I so hope he can.

Posted in Coping, Downs, gratitude, parenting, teenagers | 3 Comments »

Six Hours

Posted by Leo G on March 21, 2007

Last night I spent six hours talking first with my son (2 hours) and then my partner. It was intense and hard and confusing and heartbreaking. It feels like so much is falling apart.

I am having to begin to deal with the fact that my son is an addict and addicts are liars. His rage is so intense that he was threatening bodily harm. And to burn our house down. All because we set one simple limit: you cannot drive a car if you are testing positive for drug use.

The power of his desperation and rage is devastating. He can’t imagine going without pot for long enough to come up negative on a drug screen. That’s about three weeks. He says we are trying to ruin his life. He’s doing that well enough on his own. It’s ripping my heart out.

Today, there is nothing to be done. He won’t voluntarily go into treatment, so we have to wait until he is court-ordered to do so. That means watching him do something that lands him in the juvenile justice system. The very place I’ve dreaded and fought ever having my child. He’s an African-American youth. He may not come out alive.

Today is grief writ large. Pray for us, if you have a moment.

Posted in Downs | 15 Comments »

Quiet Days…or not

Posted by Leo G on March 16, 2007

I’m not feeling great, which makes it hard to write every day like I’d hoped. I have one of those nasty colds that just drags on. Not quite bad enough to stay in bed all day, but at about half energy. Today it’s hit my chest and I am coughing. My lungs burn as if I’d inhaled rubbing alcohol and lit a match. But enough whining.

We’ve had almost two weeks of quiet now. I got a rude text message today when my phone was off. (Think “answer the *expletive* phone!”) He was in a very difficult situation where he was being treated unfairly, so I get where his anger and rudeness came from. Still, I replied that he shouldn’t be so rude. I’m to the point where I don’t know exactly when to confront him and when to let things go. The text was inappropriate and talking like that isn’t acceptable to me. On the other hand, he was in a really crappy situation and was extremely frustrated. It’s a small deal in the long run, but saying nothing felt like submitting to abuse.

Well, as I was writing, the day got a lot less quiet. Buppy called and we talked/argued for a long time. You see, there is this band trip. They leave next week. He wants to go, but is supposed to have a certain grade point average and a certain citizenship grade. When he tried to turn in the deposit check, he didn’t meet those requirements. Now he says the band teacher never said that, but only returned the check because he was supposed to pay in the office, not to the band teacher. I asked him why he didn’t just go to the office and turn it in, and he had no real answer. So in therapy, we outlined a plan that would get us what we needed: We’d write an email to the band teacher confirming that Bup was allowed to go. He’d find out if there was any documentation–a parent permission slip, an information packet, anything–he said there was nothing. We emailed the band teacher who confirmed that Buppy did NOT have the requisite grades. So, of course, now we ruined everything. If only we’d just paid the money without asking, he’s convinced no one would have ever checked and he’d get to go.

Sigh. The crappy thing is, he’s probably right. The school is pretty dang disorganized and he’s well enough liked that it could easily have happened that way. But we went and did the right thing. Which means no trip. He is furious and his arguments are so distorted and illogical that it would be funny if he weren’t so explosively angry. We’ve ruined everything. Never mind that it was his actions that made his grades unacceptable. Sigh.

Posted in Downs | 6 Comments »

The Truth Lies In-Between

Posted by Leo G on March 4, 2007

Trying to see the world through my son’s eyes the story might go something like this:

I know I said I’d be home by 10 pm. Yeah, I know I didn’t come home all night. I was with Jack. My phone was dead, so no, I didn’t get your voice mails and texts. But I texted you to tell you that I was staying. You didn’t get it until 2:30 in the morning? That’s not my fault. I texted you. I told you where I was.

And from our point of view:

The kid isn’t home. The kid isn’t answering his phone. I don’t know Jack’s number or last name. The number I have for his other friend turns out to be wrong. Last time he hung out with Jack, Jack got drunk and couldn’t drive him home. Omigod. What if they were in an accident? Surely, if he’s okay he would have called? If he’s in jail, he’d get at least one phone call, right? What if he was in an accident and doesn’t have his wallet on him? They won’t know who he is. They won’t know who to call. I guess if I haven’t heard from him by morning I’ll start calling hospitals. Where is that damn kid? Can’t he understand what he’s doing to us? I’m going to ground him for life. Unless he’s hurt. Then what am I going to do? Why isn’t he calling? Where the hell is he?

Update: Urine test upon returning home: positive for THC and benzos.

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