Monday, May 10, 2010

No Rhyme or Reason

Lately things with the Kyd have been...ok.  Not great, but ok.  Knowing that I have no real control over Kyd's self-medicating addictions, or his mental states, I laid down some basic rules and boundaries to keep me and Lexi safe and to keep the chaos to a minimum.

He's not allowed to come home intoxicated.  He's not allowed to invite anyone over without ok'ing it with me first.   If either of these things happen, or if he causes other major disruptions including my being woken in the middle of the night by a call from him, his friends, or authorities, I will pack his things and help him find a half-way house to live in until he can figure something else out.

These boundaries are terrifying for me.  I always had a rule with my kids that if they got into a situation they didn't feel safe in, that they could call me and I would come and get them, no questions asked.  This works for Lexi, but not for Kyd.  Such parent-child contracts are meant for the kid who may misstep but is able to learn from mistakes.  Kyd doesn't.

He gets in trouble, I bail him out of trouble, and he goes right back to it.

So it terrifies me that I've had to set such a radical boundary that goes against my deep wish for my children's safety.  I'm sad and angry that I can't have reasonable contracts with my son that help him to feel safe and loved, but instead I have to set major boundaries so that my daughter and I can feel secure in our own home.

Lexi once asked me why Kyd never seemed to learn.  She was angry in part because she felt I came down harder on her for much smaller transgressions, and when she complained that I didn't come down this hard on Kyd I had to explain that I had many times, but he wasn't capable of learning the lessons he was meant to from consequences.  I also pointed out that I rarely had to dish out consequences for her because she was so quick to learn.  

She felt better, but I can understand her confusion.  Even though I have a much tougher boundary for Kyd ultimately, there are smaller more reasonable boundaries I can't even think about having.  I can't say, "don't drink" because he'll agree but it will be a lie.  Then I would have to enforce a consequence for the lie, but first have to prove the lie.  Even then, it wouldn't matter because he would break any consequence, or if not, his behavior wouldn't change.  The lesson wouldn't be learned. 

There's no rhyme or reason to most of Kyd's behavior.  So much of it doesn't make sense.  I don't know if things are calm at the moment because of my new, and very clear boundaries that only tackle the things I can't handle, or if it's just an upswing in his cycle.

All I know is that I'm living through this one tiny moment at a time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Like Telling Water Not to be Wet

Let's get a little housekeeping admin out of the way.  I've decided on names for the main characters in this story.  My son, who is 18, will be referred to as The Kyd, or Kyd for short.  He is named after Kydoimos, the spirit of the din of battle, confusion, uproar, and hubbub.  Though this doesn't capture all that he is, particularly all of his positive attributes, it works for writing.

My daughter, who is 17, will be called Lexi for no particularly reason other than I heard the name recently, and I liked it.

Back to our story:

The first time I met someone who truly understood what I was going through with Kyd it was a recovering alcoholic.  Kyd had just come back from a month in detox and rehab after nearly killing himself by driving extremely intoxicated, but things were getting tense at home fast.  Kyd was attending AA and staying sober, but he was struggling with feelings of anger and depression.  It was at an AA meeting that he met Jes.  Jes was a young man in his early 20's who had already lived as fast and hard as a person can live in that short amount of life, but he had seen the light of sobriety and took the 12th step quite seriously.

Jes had started a sober house nearby and invited Kyd to come and live there.  I was nervous and relieved all at once.  I didn't know how to help Kyd, didn't know how to keep him sober or how to pull him back from the jaws of a mood swing that could come out of nowhere.  I had only just discovered how far back Kyd's alcohol and drug use had gone, and I was still reeling from trying to make sense of whether Kyd was "just an addict" or if he was self medicating mental illness.  Whatever the answer, I didn't have it, couldn't find my way to it, and was exhausted with the years of chaos we had already been through.

In a leap of faith and desperation I let Kyd go.  I drove him to the sober house and met Jes.  We talked a little on our own, and as I told him a little background he could see how worried I was.  I kept talking about how I knew I was supposed to "let go", and I was trying....and then he said, "Telling a mother not to worry is like telling water not to be wet."

"Yeah," I said quietly.