>First off, my son is alive and well. I still have no idea what will happen next but I do believe that he’s been disabused of this whole “I wanna be a hobo” idea altogether. I believe that it took cutting off all his money, doing whatever we could to block others from helping him, and finally turning his phone off, in love, to make it real for him and that all this was what was necessary to shake him awake. I’d like to believe that all that attachment parenting we did helped bring about the glad outcome that he could only stand 20 minutes of being totally cut off from us and alone in the world, but I don’t know. Still it makes me happy to think that.
I want to reiterate that the techniques we used–stay calm, stay loving, and stick to the contract–were taught to us at Capstone Treatment Center. As he broke the contract bit by bit we held to the consequences one by one. God granted us the ability to do this with external calm and with abiding love. At no time did we lose our temper with our son. Thank GOD every encounter was gentle and purposely infused with our undying concern and commitment to him and his future. Refusing to allow ourselves the privilege of taking anything he was doing personally was very, very difficult but essential. Letting our enduring love be the only guiding emotion was paramount above all else. Making sure that our voices and our comments were bathed in gentleness, concern, and love was always foremost in our minds.
The other very important component in handling a child who is trying to dive head first off into a bucket of concrete is sticking together. I don’t say this as some sort of recipe for rescuing a prodigal. I fear more than anything that anyone would think that I have any answers for anyone. I’m just writing about our experiences and losses and victories. Nothing I say is prescriptive for anyone. But I can say with confidence that clinging to your marriage is vitally important because when all is said and done all you really have is each other. While my husband and I may at times have disagreed about certain courses of action, in the end we worked together to come to consensus and acted always as one. To God I give the glory on that. Fortunately, both my husband and I were prodigals what am! Why it was necessary for us to live this parable outloud playing now nearly every character, I can’t say, but it is true. For everything our son has done, my husband and I have done far, far worse. I think that has benefitted us mightily and has granted us a perspective that not everyone gets to have. We understand clearly the necessity for tough love because we’ve seen people die, literally die, from the lack of it. Enabling kills. Therefore we were willing to endure the excruciating pain necessary in our attempt to save our son’s life.
And the pain was nearly unbearable, honestly I have considered taking my own life to stop the agony, but for now it would appear we’ve prevailed and sanity has been restored to both our son and ourselves. We feel as though we’ve played a life or death poker match with the devil, and while I would never, ever gloat and say we’ve won the game, it appears we’ve at least won this hand.
Unfortunately, now our son has a mighty hard row to hoe since he’s going to have to do some things on his own that we would have gladly helped him with IF our help was helpful. He doesn’t get the blessing of having parents pay for college or do the sorts of things we always dreamed of doing for him. We will help again when he shows us something but for now he’s on his own. In the meantime, he calls frequently, we know he is safe and making good choices, and we feel good about where he is and what he is doing even if it wouldn’t be our plan. I’m content that he’s in God’s hands.
All things considered, I’m doing much better now. Whenever I try to pick back up my worry and codependency I remember that my son isn’t my problem to worry over anymore. My son is God’s problem, and I take comfort in knowing deep within my heart that it is not possible for God to forsake the son of such tears. Somehow this will all work out some way.