FROM THE SIDELINES TO THE BLEACHERS
Learning to Step Back
Our son is one of those “natural-born” athletes. He has always excelled at any sport he ventured to play, and most of the time enjoyed being the coach’s “pet.” He was a great team player and everybody liked him. Sports activities were a big part of our family life with 4 kids (3 boys!), and my husband and I were at every game of theirs, even dividing up so that we could make more than one kid’s game. For years we would watch our son play lacrosse, exhibiting quick, agile moves to send the ball rocketing into the net. We were so proud of him.
As the years went on and drugs became a part of his life, we continued to try to “coach” him through it while pushing, covering up, becoming angry, confronting and taking him to counseling – but it never stuck long term. I was in utter turmoil inside, wondering everyday what I could do to “help him” get out of this “lifestyle.” It consumed my every thought and I was exhausted and spent.
There were times between the short-terms rehabs when we thought he finally “got it” and was going to turn the corner. I felt like if we relayed to him how much we wanted him to be sober and how much he could do in his life with the potential he had, that he would want it that much, too. More coaching. More guiding. More pep talks. It didn’t work.
I could fill a book with all the enabling things we did. My older children were ready to “disown” us at some point, seeing what we were doing and knowing we were not able to handle the situation. But we didn’t give up on our star player! We were going to help him, persuade him, hover over him, “protect” him. I even ran down the driveway one afternoon after a car filled with a few of my son’s friends after they picked him up and were leaving, screaming at them that if anything happened to him, I would hold them responsible. Yep, I really did! My son had just had a serious heart infection a couple of weeks before and I was deathly afraid for him to do any drugs. I would go to any extreme right there on the sidelines. Talk about a coach desperate to keep their most valuable player in the game!
After multiple rehabs and multiple relapses, we started feeling like defeated coaches. We had learned of New Life House a couple of years previous and felt like we had to give it one more shot…the Hail Mary, if you will. We also went to some Al Anon meetings, read MANY books and had lots of personal counseling. I joined a mom support group (they will be my friends for life!) of mothers who had been through all the craziness that we had been through.
I am SO PROUD to say that my son has just graduated New Life House and will be moving out in the near future to take another step on his newly paved path in life, the life of sobriety. I can’t even begin to express my gratitude for this amazing place. This Miracle House is truly a miracle. Our son needed the structure that New Life provides, along with the support from others going through the same issues or from more senior members of the House that had more insight into what our son needed to attain. They, in essence, took over the job of “coaching” him, and allowed us to realize that we needed to move to the bleachers and cheer him on from there.
From the minute you walk into that House, you feel the positiveness and the support they give each other, as well as the parents and relatives. It has taught our family to not judge anybody with any addiction. These young men are wonderful beings that are working hard to get their life back on track, hoping to repair damaged relationships with their families. I thank God every day for New Life House!
We are more proud of our son these past 13 months at New Life House than for any sports game he ever played. We love our son dearly and will always be there to support his good choices in life…from the bleachers.