Quote of the Week

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Letter to My Son - by Brigitte
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, November 19, 2012



Letter to My Son

Below is the letter than Lloyd asked me to post. I wrote it to my son because I felt he needed clarification on a few things, and so did I. We had a good talk about this afterwards during his home pass.



 Hi (son),

I don't get to see you that much and when I do, we seem to be regularly interrupted, so I thought I'd write some additional thoughts that came up after our visit last night. First of all, I don't think I tell you enough how proud I am of you. You surprise me (in a good way!) with your plans and effort. I'm especially proud that you will have 90 days clean on the 23rd.

I'm a little confused about something you said yesterday. You said that you relapsed in the past because you weren't trying to stay clean, but at your ISP meeting you said that you didn't intend to relapse; it just happened. After I thought about it, I really didn't get it. Were you saying that you didn't intend to relapse but that you also weren't really committed to staying clean? Because you seemed to be committed each time, just as you seem to be committed right now. It's hard to tell though because after each relapse you usually say "Oh well, I wasn't really trying." It seems to me that it would be better to try, fail and be honest about it than to not try and fail and keep making the same mistakes.

This leads to our discussion about your car. Let me be clear about a few things so that we don't keep having the same discussion. Yes, it is your car. We gave it to you; you earned it; you will have it one day. Nevertheless, dad and I will not give a car to someone who is newly in recovery. We made that mistake before and we don't want to make it again. For reasons you won't agree with or understand, we are uncomfortable with handing you the keys until you are on much firmer ground. Of course, we are expecting you to do well and to have your car back at some point. However, I honestly can't say when that would be. I know this makes you angry and that you feel we are trying to control your life and also reneging on our promise. I can see your point of view on that. Regardless, we aren't going to change our mind. Make other plans for the time being. I would think that (your sponsor) would understand that you can't drive there yet. I did offer to pay for a bus pass once probation is over and that offer still stands. The good thing about you is that you are very resourceful when you have to be.

I hope I was clear about school as well. We are willing to reimburse you each semester as long as you maintain a 3.0 average, same expectation we would have of (your brothers). If they fail to maintain a 3.0 in high school, they would also have to come up with the first year of college tuition, then would be eligible for reimbursement. It's up to you whether you want to take us up on it.

Anyway, weird that you just called while I was writing this. Good luck on orientation. Hope it's a job you like.

Lots of love,



Lloyd Woodward said...

Seeing it in writing is so different than hearing it. It speaks more loudly, and it also says, "Son, I care enough about you to write all this down." You use plenty of affirmation, and in this letter I see your love, concern and resoluteness.

At the same time, you leveled with your Son about some things that continue to baffle you. The hope is that for him to see himself in your letter will somehow aide him in making better decisions.

This is a tool that I wish that I had used more of when my children were growing up.

Letters like this can become a keepsake that can outlast us. Even as an adult, in challenging times, we are lucky to have something from our parents to re-read. If we have something like that it can help us though the rough times. In other words, for all we know we might have to wait fifty years to judge the real influence of a letter like this.

Thanks for sharing this letter.

Jenn said...


I loved seeing all the PSST-isms in this letter! After awhile, some of these ways of thinking & expressing ourselves become ingrained - thank goodness, because it hurts my brain having to think so hard all the time when communicating with my son.

I see the affirmation, the use of "nevertheless" and "we are not comfortable with that". A letter can be the best way to state our expectations, and you did that so clearly. How much better in a letter, where you don't have to get interrupted after the first sentence with attempts by your son to engage you in a debate, and you know that he is not listening to a word you say.

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your letter. This week after another disappointing pass with Bam and not discussing some important issues in addition to and resolving troubling ones initiated on the visit I decided I am going to try this technique with Bam. I haven't written the letter yet and I'm hoping not to have any resistance from Fred . However I think it's the only way to be heard.

Thanks again.



This layout (edited by Ken) made by and copyright cmbs.