In exactly one hour my husband will be checking our 17yo son into Capstone Treatment Center in Arkansas.

My favorite question that I’ve been asked during this hideous and terrible journey (by well-meaning people, who just don’t know any better) is, “Is it really that bad?” Well, exactly how bad does it have to be? Do we have to wait until he ruins his life? Gets a girl pregnant? Loses his job, his health, his driver’s license? Will it be bad enough if he ends up in jail? Maybe we ought to wait until he’s killed someone first? Or maybe we should just wait for that call from the morgue to pick up his body? Is that when it will be “bad enough”?

So without all the above typical sign posts of drug addiction that parents usually wait for, we’ve decided to act before our son turns 18 and it is too late. It has been a very frightening time full of doubt and uncertainty, but we finally realized that if we didn’t get in the game in the final two minutes of play, we would be permanently shown to the spectator seats and forced to endure watching our son’s life possibly self-destruct before our very eyes and not be able to really do anything about it.

This horrible nightmare began in March of 2007 during our annual spring vacation pilgramage back to San Diego. Having lived there for all of our lives we have some significant friends there. So do our children. We rented a small cottage near the beach and had planned a nice little wedding vow renewal for ourselves to celebrate our 20th anniversary. Along with this little event, we had invited both our children’s friends to spend the week at the beach with us.

Our son’s bestfriend, our former nextdoor neighbor, unbeknownest to us, had become involved with marijuana. Of course, we should have knownest it. This should not have come as a surprise or a shock to us. While we lived nextdoor, his mother had allowed her 19yo nephew to live with them. Kyle smoked pot and had beer parties and girls over every weekend. We confronted our neighbor with our serious concerns about the wisdom of allowing a 19yo involved with drugs and alcohol to live with her and her impressionable 13 year old (not to mention OUR impressionable 13 year old, which is how old the boys were at the time), but she felt there was no danger whatsoever. Her son spent his weekends away with his dad and wasn’t there for the beer and pot parties, and besides, “Kyle would never do anything to hurt Derek.” Furthermore, she believed that drugs were inevitable anyways and that “Either you’re an addict or you are not and there isn’t anything you can do about it.” We told her we felt like that was handing her child a loaded gun and with a hearty “Good Luck” telling him to play Russian Roulette. No matter what we said, she just couldn’t see the harm and she was unwilling to take any action.

My husband and I were furious and limited our son’s activities at her home, but we love Derek and allowed the friendship to continue. Honestly, short of selling our home and moving away (which is actually what we eventually did) it wasn’t feasible to end their friendship anyway. In retrospect, we obviously should have called the police, but we didn’t. As I said, we did move away, but San Diego was our home. All our family is there. That’s where my husband and I and our children grew up. So we returned, and we included Derek in our vacation plans.

So while we were planning our wedding vow renewal, our son was planning a week of pot-induced debauchery with his bestfriend.

BTW, a little side note. Kyle, the guy who would never do anything to harm his little cousin, was the drug supplier. Nice. And entirely too predictable.

Now you’d think we’d have noticed that our son was stoned for a week, but we didn’t. He hid it by acting angry and sullen about the move away from San Diego (which had become by then the common theme for our relationship with our son). To our credit we uncovered the truth very shortly after arriving home and slapped the kid into counseling.

Our son saw this highly recommended counselor 3 times, we had several tearful, soul-bearing conversations with our son, and we bought 100 drugtest kits off the internet and began random drug testing. And the problem seemed to go away.

Until this last Spring.

Within a matter of what now seems days, our son entirely changed on us. He dumped all his former friends (who we knew) and started up a secret life that he just wouldn’t let us in on. We tried to get in. We eventually took him back to the highly recommended counselor who informed us that our son was almost an adult and we ought to “let go”. In his opinion, our son’s behavior was normal, we were over-sheltering parents who were overreacting and that if we didn’t stop we’d push him into even further rebellion. It all made sense and so we believed him. And thus began “Operation Let Go”.

Let it suffice to say that “Operation Let Go” was an absolute failure. We watched in horror as our son’s risk-taking behaviors escalated beyond our wildest imagination (for him anyway…we just never imagined that he’d do the things he was doing). The more freedom we gave him, the darker and bigger the cloud of looming bondage over his life became. Sure he would be free of us and our rules, but he was risking everything and no matter what we said he just refused to see the danger of his behaviors.

Let me just say that we now completely disagree with this counselor and have junked his advice. Frankly, it is easy for him to wax eloquent about the wild young adult male when he isn’t the one the police or the morgue are going to call.

So the short end to a really long story is that in 15 minutes my husband is going to check our 17yo son into drug treatment in Arkansas.

This has been an agonizing decision. I never knew my heart could hold this much pain and sorrow and not burst. I do not know how a parent lives with the pain of losing a child to death because my child is yet alive and I cannot imagine bearing anymore pain than this. I just can’t. If anyone reading this has lost a child, please forgive me for my words if they aren’t right. I just don’t know how you can hurt more than this and live. How do you live?

The “intervention” part when we told our son he was going to drug treatment was excruciating. I’ll spare you the details, but it was harrowing. After that, my poor husband has had the awful task of travelling across the country for 2 days to get our son to Arkansas.

So there it is. The truth. I have no idea how this will turn out. The financial hardship alone of this action on our part is profound. I guess fixing parenting mistakes isn’t cheap. And there is no guarantee of success. After mortgaging our house and cashing in our retirement we may end up with a son who decides that he wants to self-destruct anyway. Sigh.

But I do believe that we are in the battle of our lives for our son’s life. If he had cancer we wouldn’t consider the cost, and this has the capacity to destroy him as quickly and as terribly as any cancer.

Of course, I struggled with writing this blog because of my shame. Admitting that I’ve failed as a mother is devastating, especially since I really did try. But here’s my feeble attempt at offering hope to anyone who might be out there and stumbles on this sad little blog….God is faithful. And He loves me and He loves my son. And I will cling to Him and I will fight the devil to my last breath for my son. My son belongs to God and I claim him for God and I will not let go.


28 thoughts on “>Capstone

  1. >I love you Chloe. If it makes you feel any better, I feel I’ve failed a lot with my own 17 yo son.I learned yesterday he’s smoking ciggarettes. I’m sure you would gladly take the cigs over pot. But, the bottom line is, that I feel as unable to quell whatever fire is burning in this child’s heart as you do with yours.Like I said, raising kids is easy. Raising adults is another matter all together.If you want to call and chat – you can. Anytime. Maybe I can shed some light on my own stupid teen years.Much love,Magnolia – one very nonjudgmental mom.

  2. >Chloe,My heart breaks for you and I will be praying for your family. Please, though, don’t take too much of the blame on yourself. Your son is almost an adult and has made some adult decisions. This doesn’t mean that you are a bad parent because he made some bad choices. In any case, hang in there. I have no practical advice to offer, but will be praying.Blessings,Catherine

  3. >I know we’ve already talked about this, but I just wanted to encourage you today. Here’s are two paragraphs I copied from my recent blog post on success. I will know that I’m a successful as a mom when – * My kids know who Jesus is and how much he loves them* My kids have the skills to make wise and responsible decisions* My kids have been taught and shown how to serve and be kind to others* My kids understand what a good work ethic is* My kids know I love them unconditionallyOne more thought before I wrap this up. You may have noticed that my indicators of success as a mom didn’t have much to do with my childrens’ behavior. Many moms will say they’ll know they were a good mom when they’re kids have grown into godly, responsible members of society. The problem with that is those moms have forgotten the element of their child’s will. There are no guarantees in parenting, which is why there are some lousy parents with great kids and some great parents with lousy kids. All I can do is give my kids the skills and knowledge they need. What they do with the skills and knowledge will determine their success, not mine.

  4. >Chloe, I have always admired you, and my admiration for you just grew exponentially. You are an amazing mother, and don’t let this make you doubt that. You’re the first on SL to say that we can’t control our children’s actions, and as heartbreaking as that may be, it’s the truth. This is not your fault.My step-dad is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, and my cousin is currently an addict, as is my first serious boyfriend. Neither my grandparents nor my ex’s parents were willing to stand up and take action, and I think that’s why these men are where they are today. I’m guessing it’s not going to get easier at this point, and maybe not for a while, but I pray that this will be a milestone in his life where he will one day look back and rejoice in what the Lord has saved him from through the quick decision on his parents part.:hugs:

  5. >Dearest Chloe….Sending as many cyberhugs as my mouse will muster. I’m glad you were able to share with “us”. You are on a hard road. Now we know better how to pray. I have not gone down this same road as you have but have seen my share (or more) of counseling and treatment for abuse. I have also buried children. Today… nearing their 19th birthday…. it still hurts. It doesn’t make sense. My only answers are that I wasn’t allowed to raise them b/c I’m not a good enough mom. A tiny twinge of me says that can’t be true… but there is no other reason. I care about you! Feel free to email me if you want.:hug:

  6. >The candle is still burning for you, Chloe.Regarding losing a child, I think there is an acceptance that eventually comes when there is nothing left to be done. All you can do is accept. What you’ve said is fine and I totally understand what you mean.

  7. >I just realized something about my comment wasn’t clear because I got distracted. My step-dad’s life is a testimony to the power of God’s grace. We just celebrated 20 years of his sobriety…on St. Patrick’s Day!What I meant is that my grandparents are enabling my cousin, and that’s cotributing to him being trapped in his addiction.And for what it’s worth. I sent this to my step-dad, and he said: “Wow. Very powerful. I’ll be praying for her and her family. They’ve done the right thing, as hard as that is.”

  8. >Joyce, it cannot be true that you didn’t get to have your babies because you aren’t a good mom. Trust me, I’ve seen plenty of really, really bad moms have perfectly healthy babies. This is a lie that the enemy tells us to cripple us in our pain. The devil is horribly cruel. But God is good. And someday we’ll either have our answers, or we won’t need them anymore. Either way…we’ll have peace and God WILL wipe away our tears. But in the meantime…..love, chloe

  9. >Mandi, I totally saw the “recovered” part about your step-dad and I know there has to be a miracle behind that story.It is very difficult not to enable your child. There is precious little good help out there for a parent with a child with these problems. First of all, the shame alone keeps a parent from asking for help. And then when you do ask, the advice you often get is sooooooooooooo bad that you probably were better off not asking at all.

  10. >I know how hard this must have been to write but I thank you for it. Our now 18yo daughter ran away last November and has yet to come home. She ran away for a very destructive relationship that we would not (could not) condone. We now know there was much more to it than a “boy” that we just didn’t see. This has devastated our family. I just kept thinking, “but we homeschooled, and tried to ‘raise her up in the way she should go’, and we did this, and we did that, etc” I finally realized that I had put my hope in the wrong things. It was never up to us. We are not her savior. We are called to “raise them up” but that’s not a formula for salvation. In spite of all we tried to do we still are sinners and frustrated her and sinned in front of her and against her. If any of our children grow up to belong to Christ it will be in spite of me and not because of me. Don’t get me wrong. I know that all of this is for her good, but also ours. We are being sanctified through this as well. Lord, how we are being sanctified! Sorry to make this so long but we have felt really alone through all this among other Christians. We’ve even had other Christians tell us that we “just weren’t letting her grow up.” Like this behavior was completely normal and we should just stand back and watch. I will be praying for you and your family. Thanks, again, for sharing. Somehow, it’s been an encouragement to me.

  11. >Chloe, YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE! You are doing your best as a loving mother with a son who is making awful decisions out of his own free will, not of any failings on the part of his loving parents! I will be in prayer for you. Thank you for your vulnerability & transparency. I hope that I can be an encouragement to you now in your time of anguish, just as I pray that someone will come alongside me when those inevitable times of trial come, when our children horribly disappoint us.(((hugs)))

  12. >Chloe (hug) I wish I had words that were adequate, but I don’t. Everything I type just seems, I don’t know, not enough. So I’ll just let you know that I am praying for you, your dh and your ds right now.

  13. >I appreciate the understanding and support. I’m not in any shape to be kicked when I’m lying here bleeding all over the place. I haven’t received any negative comments to this blog, but here at least I have some control if they happen.I do want to mention that I have received some very good support from some lovely Christian women who I trust (and I thank them; they know who they are). They may not have trod this path but they understand sin and grace enough to remind me constantly that these are my son’s choices.Thanks everyone who is praying. THAT, above all, we could use.love, chloe

  14. >Chloe,I am an SL lurker (many years!). Please know that you are in my prayers. I can’t imagine your pain. I am thankful you have some good IRL support. Thank you for your transparency–a very admirable quality! We, the body of Christ, need to live real lives with each other. It is a privilege to rejoice with those who rejoice, and also a definite privilege and honor to weep with those who weep. We pray for God’s omnipotence to be manifest in your ds’s life. Cyber hugs–DeLynn

  15. >Chloe,You are not a failure, you didn’t choose to give up and your son chose what he did. Life is full of mistakes, I’m glad that you are helping him to deal with his. Both of my brothers chose strange paths that were not what was expected, both have changed those paths now but the pain is still recent.:hugs: to all of you.

  16. >Chloe, I’ve never posted on a blog before but I’m gonna give this a try.Something occurred to me as you were sharing your plans at Chevy’s. I didn’t say it then, but I want to share it now.In the beginning, Father God had two kids. He gave them lots of quality time (daily walks in the garden), a perfect environment with only ONE rule to follow all their needs supplied, and a future as bright as can be. Well, you know the story. They chose horribly, with devastating consequences. But that doesn’t make Him a failure as a parent, and it doesn’t make you one either. It makes my heart ache to hear you recriminating yourself for Wolfie’s choices. They are his choices, not yours. You didn’t make them, and couldn’t even if you had tried. Even God won’t violate our free will. Sure, you made some parenting mistakes, but you did the best you could with the light you were given. There are no foolproof parenting recipes, where you just follow the steps and your results are guaranteed. Please give yourself the same grace you would now give one of your friends if she were in your shoes.God is a Redeemer and a Restorer, and the most faithful being in the universe. He isn’t done with Wolfie yet, even if Wolfie might think he’s done with Him.Love, Stephanie

  17. >ChloeThank you for being transparent. For being honest. For caring. These are the things that will help Wolfie overcome. That will assure him that the void he is trying to fill with drugs, can be filled with good things. With love and with life. You have consistently shown your love for your family through your various posts. I see no where in God’s word that we are called to produce perfect children. Where we are called to never misstep, or to never make a wrond decision. What I see is that we are called to love. To walk with our God and be a light to the world. You have done/are doing just that. I will be praying with all the rest of you for the Father to draw Wolfie to himself. To comfort your hearts, and to give you His peace.

  18. >Chloe, I am so sorry for your pain. I can understand it only slightly. My mother has a wayward brother and I have watched the pain he has caused my grandparents through the years. It is agony. I will pray for you and your family. Most of all, I will pray that at the end of this long and difficult road you will be able to say that you have seen the face of God. May He show you and remind you daily just how very much HE loves you and how very, very much HE loves Wolfie.

  19. >Chloe,I’m so sorry for what you are going through. It’s heartbreaking and incredibly painful, but it isn’t your fault. I PM’d you on the Sonlight forums. I live in Arkansas and would love to help in any possible way.

  20. >(((((hugs)))))& prayers for you The Tick and Wolfie. Your mumma's heart must be breaking.Please know God is still on the throne and He loves you all so much!!!! Just maybe Chloe there will be some other hurting parent out there down the track who will crying out for understanding that you will be able to give because you have been there… Take care ok.

  21. >You are not a failure as a mom, Chloe. Your son has made his own choices. I’m so sorry that they haven’t been good ones. I’ll be praying for him and for you.Natalie (from SL)

  22. >Wow Chloe,Just got caught up on all this! You are doing the best you can. Speaking as a big sister who saw my little brother doing this…there is hope.Later, after he got cleaned up, he said that he always knew the right path, he knew that his parents were praying for him and he thinks that their prayers are what kept him from getting deeper into drugs than he did. He said that he really believes that God tripped him up and made him get caught early in the process.My brother is still not a conformist, but he is a productive, artistic member of society. Happily married, albeit his second marriage. Loving and serving God. There is hope, and you are stepping in while you still have the power to do so, to trip Wolfie up and give him the chance and tools to follow a better path.God be with you, and I will be remembering you in my prayers.

  23. Chloe,I'm so sorry for what you are going through. It's heartbreaking and incredibly painful, but it isn't your fault. I PM'd you on the Sonlight forums. I live in Arkansas and would love to help in any possible way.

  24. The candle is still burning for you, Chloe.Regarding losing a child, I think there is an acceptance that eventually comes when there is nothing left to be done. All you can do is accept. What you've said is fine and I totally understand what you mean.

  25. Chloe, I have always admired you, and my admiration for you just grew exponentially. You are an amazing mother, and don't let this make you doubt that. You're the first on SL to say that we can't control our children's actions, and as heartbreaking as that may be, it's the truth. This is not your fault.My step-dad is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, and my cousin is currently an addict, as is my first serious boyfriend. Neither my grandparents nor my ex's parents were willing to stand up and take action, and I think that's why these men are where they are today. I'm guessing it's not going to get easier at this point, and maybe not for a while, but I pray that this will be a milestone in his life where he will one day look back and rejoice in what the Lord has saved him from through the quick decision on his parents part.:hugs:

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