Quote of the Week

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

Life After Rehab
Posted by:Jenn--Friday, March 15, 2013

Take Care of Yourself After Your Teen Returns from Rehab ~ by Roxie
The whole family has been awaiting this wonderful next chapter in Lenny’s 17-year-old life as he comes home to live with the family permanently. We were so excited, anxious with anticipation of his long over-due presence in our otherwise boring household. We are very proud of his clean journey, thus far. Yet, Lenny has a way of livening things up while returning to his own room / man-cave.
“You bull******* the counselor by never using the talking rules at home. You’re a liar,” he stated, after I vehemently tried to persuade him to attend an NA meeting close to home. “We can attend one five minutes away in three hours instead of going to the one 45 minutes away in 15 minutes,” I rationalized. “I have plans tonight,” he said. “This sucks. I don’t have money for ice skating - drop me off to put in job applications – I’m hungry – buy me face wash – go get dressed to take me to the meeting, and hurry up,” he demanded.

I retreated to my bedroom again, similar to what I did when he was living at home before. I did not cry, though. What did I expect? Love stiflingly thick in the air, the smell of cookies in the oven while Lenny offers to clean up the kitchen after the dough rose. My happy home is Lenny’s handy home – roof, food, bathroom, clothes, internet-connected X-box, laptop, Facebook, webcam, cable in three rooms with a big screen TV. Quite handy for someone who left our home with nothing, and moved back with expensive tennis shoes and high-end placement clothes purchased at fashionable Plato’s Closet.

It should have been my special time of growth while Lenny was gone. I mentally matured, but I feel that now will be a major time in my life for change. I think I hit bottom while Lenny was away, chugging my own sorrow until I became chock-full of emotional up-chuck. I am more confident now, taking charge over issues with Lenny, and coming into my own.

I promise to support Lenny physically, spiritually, financially, and emotionally. I will be at every school meeting to encourage his 12th grade graduation. He will obtain free rides to meetings from me, three to seven days a week. Cooking, cleaning, and attempting to converse with a quiet voice will be a forceful, deliberate part of my day. It ain’t easy. In order to take care of Lenny, Roxie has to take care of herself. Consequently, I need to engage in the following activities to stay empowered while Lenny is at home:

1.     Attend a Parent Support Group meeting such as PSST. A treasure trove of knowledge is within each parent that attends meetings, especially PSST (Parents Survival Skills Training). When Lenny was in placement, the meetings provided information for me on how to deal with him being away. Now, my ears are attentive for advice on what to do since he has returned home. The key is to give and gain support in a group setting while maintaining your own sanity through talking with others.

2.     Find something you love and just do it! Whether it is working out at the gym or taking time to read a great novel, find an activity that makes you feel good about yourself. It will bring out the best in you, and keep your mind from wandering to negative, unpleasant thoughts of ‘what if’ scenarios. As soon as those thoughts begin, turn the treadmill up to the 20 mph steep hill climb, or begin to speed read; depending upon the activity. Let your imagination take you to a happy place.

3.     Share your thoughts with a close friend. The last few years could have made you feel like you have lost your mind. Don’t fret, you did. Find a friend to confirm that your feelings are normal. If that person loves you, they will never steer you in the wrong direction. Do not be embarrassed to seek validation.

4.     Determine it is OK to make mistakes. No one is perfect, including my dysfunctional family as we attempt to change. Make those heart-felt raising-your-child blunders, admit them privately or within the family, and move on. Do not wallow in parental guilt.

The above list sounds so selfish, like a “me, me, me” statement; making myself an idol. As parents of addicts, we need to become selfish in order to help our children. If we fall apart, who is going to be there when and if they crumble? We are saving their lives by taking care of ourselves.

The way I perceive Lenny conditions my behavior towards him; with the decisions eventually affecting Lenny. I resolve to build our family’s hopes, accomplishments, and dreams for his future. I purposely consider him in recovery, in his right mind, with him choosing the correct path for a worthwhile, meaningful life.

I have a strategy to strengthen Lenny outwardly and within. He will accompany me to the gym so we can both become empowered, purposely fortified, and confident in our life’s journey together. I will take him to an NA meeting afterward. He may even be the speaker, based on the assertiveness and courage garnered at the gym with his mom, Roxie.

            “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow.”       ~   Thomas Paine


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