You know how every single one of us parents dreads the phone call that tells us something is wrong with our kids?
Mine came one evening in May. As I picked up the receiver I noted the caller I.D. revealed it was the eldest of my five children, Nick.
“Mom, I’m in trouble and I need help.”
That phone call launched a series of events in our lives which could have gone one of two ways; it could have catapulted me (as his mom) into denial and despair, or it could (and, by the grace of God, did) allow me to pull my head out of the sand and work with my son toward a positive resolution.
But it wasn’t quick, and it sure as hell wasn’t easy… in fact, it is probably one of the hardest things our family has ever gone through. Upon reflection, Nick’s problem with teenage alcohol abuse had slowly developed over a five-year period of time.
The “trouble” my son referred to during that May evening ended up being his admission of a day long fight through the physical and emotional repercussions of binge drinking to a point of a three-day blackout. Nick shared with me this wasn’t the first time it had happened to him. In fact, the cycle was becoming a regular occurrence in his life, and he really wanted help to turn things around.
After my initial shock and disbelief, I realized I had only one choice: set aside my own anxiety and shame as a mother for having missed all of the signs put directly in front of my face over the past several years and, instead to invest my energy into learning how to help my twenty-year-old son (at the time, living 1,200 miles from our home) develop a plan to turn his life around. [Read more…]