Change in Temperament

In the fall of my son’s Kindergarten year, a shift occurred.

He was a typical rough and tumble little boy, and seemingly overnight, there was a noticeable change in his temperament – and it wasn’t for the better.  

As first time Kindergarten parents, his father and I were plugged in and excited about what lay ahead in his new school community. He started Kindergarten with established pre-school friends, he was meeting new friends, teachers were excellent, etc.  
It was sure to be a positive experience for all of us, right?   
Age-wise, he was in the middle of the pack.  We never considered that he might not be ready for Kindergarten, but with more structure in his days, attentional issues began to emerge.  If his teacher gave the class a 3-4 part assignment, he usually completed the first task, maybe the second and almost never closed the circle on the remaining two instructions.  In addition to not being able to complete his own work, he became a distraction to others in the classroom.

Mrs. W. worked tirelessly with us throughout the year to come up with creative ways to channel his focus.  Talk about pushing a boulder uphill…
and it was only Kindergarten. By spring, we decided that he should go back to Kindergarten for a second year, in hopes that with some maturity, he might outgrow some of the inattentiveness and impulsivity.

Mrs. W. was the lucky one who delivered the news to him.  His father and I held our breath, waiting for the eruption.  The eruption came in the form of total denial. According to Mrs. W., he listened respectfully and seemed to hear her message. However, when we broached the subject at home that evening, he simply acted as though he was headed right on to first grade with his friends.  

He did, in fact, go back to Kindergarten the next year.  He had another amazing teacher who did everything in her power to help him acclimate to a new group.  A few of these boys had also been with him in Nursery School, so there was some re-connection. Mrs. S., his new teacher, tried to give him small leadership roles to build self-esteem.  

Overall, it was a pretty good year, thanks to all hands on deck …. 

The next year didn’t go so well.


The Book Club

For a number of painful years, I felt so alone in my world of mothering addiction. 

Then miraculously, one by one, I crossed paths with old friends and acquaintances who also came out of the shadows to reveal their reality of having an addict child.  
Five of us (mothers) formed a small Al-Anon group, where we have been following the 12 Steps.  
We call ourselves The Book Club.  
Easier to say when you don’t want to get into details…  
We cry, we belly laugh, we spew expletives – VERY therapeutic – and then we get back to the 12 Steps.  
The focus remains on ourselves and how we can reframe our relationship 
with our child. 
Alot easier said than done.

To this day, it doesn’t take much for those old emotions to push back up to the surface and attempt to wear me down again. 

Now, I have a small group of angels who are but a phone call away…  🙂 


Rock Bottom

How many times have you heard the term rock bottom

It can relate to many struggles of life …. jobs, marriage, children and, of course, addiction. It’s a relative term. What one substance abuser calls rock bottom, another one might call just getting warmed up.

My son has been incarcerated several times for drug related charges. My husband and I nicknamed him Houdini, because many other times he seemed to slip slide his way out of charges. Maybe it’s also because the Colorado courts are overcrowded and they cannot begin to house all of the minimum to moderate risk offenders. 

I’d like to think his close calls would have left him appropriately fearful of being arrested and jailed again. But honestly, I don’t think they’ve been enough of a deterrent. This most recent test of fate landed another felony charge and at last, the Judge handed down an appropriate sentence.  As of today, he is still in transition from the Receiving and Diagnostic Center, still on 23 hour lockdown and can’t seem to get an answer as to when he will be processed to a permanent facility.  This maximum security situation is wearing thin, as was evident in his voice on the phone last night. I pray that he will take this time, behind bars, to do some serious soul-searching.

In prior conversations, he stated that he has finally reached rock bottom. Spending five weeks in a 23 hour lockdown would certainly do it for me….
Only time will tell. The recidivism rate is high if offenders don’t follow through with consistent aftercare.  I hope that this rock bottom is real.