By Mo Breden
Some people, who know me fairly well, might not even know that I have a son. Even close friends who ask, “How are your kids?” rarely hear about my son. I have a tendency to chatter on about the accomplishments and successes of my daughter to such a degree that friends and family don’t have the time for me to get to my son. I will write about my daughter, because her story is one of courage, strength and compassion. But today, I have a son.
My son is twenty-two. He lives with his father about twenty minutes from the home he grew up in and me. His father and I divorced when he was five. At five he would occasionally look up at me and say, “Why did you kick my father out”? Also at five, he got a neat pair of cowboy boots that he loved. He would put on those boots and become “the man”. One day he had had enough of my daughter and me, hiked on his cowboy boots and announced he was running away from home. He was about to round the corner of the street when I went out and threatened him with deadly harm if he did not return. He did return, but he’s always had attitude. Yes, this is my son.
He has challenged me and defied me at every turn. He has taken every path except the one that I wanted him to take. His choices have sometimes had devastating effects–mostly on him–but also on our family. He has also kept me accountable to the beliefs and standards that I have professed to both my children, all of their lives. He has always had the ability to make me look at myself and my own behavior in relationship to him. This always irritated me.
On Monday my son was admitted to the hospital and discharged to a facility for treatment, counseling, and intervention. He went willingly and honestly. Initially, I was horrified. Shortly after the initial reaction I inherently knew–this was a good thing.
For many years I struggled with a food addiction. I sought help through infinite methods. Early on I settled in with a 12 Step Program for food addiction. But, I could never quite put it all together, as it related to a way of living my life.
At one point, I was so despondent about my son I went to an Al-Anon 12 Step Program. Al-Anon is a program for anyone who has a friend, or family member who has a problem with alcohol. Al-Anon is not a program for the alcoholic; it is a program for the families and friends of alcoholics and gradually, gently shows you how to live your life in a healthy way. Al-Anon is the 12 Step Program that put it all together for me and it is the way I live my life today. I owe this to my son. I owe my honesty, my happiness, and the person I am today to my son.
My son now looks down at me from his height, which towers over me, but he still says insightful things. One day when discussing my relationship with his father, he looked down at me and said, “You both have issues.” I had to laugh– it was so right on. It not longer irritates me.
At every turn in his life, now, it’s an opportunity for me to live my life the way I profess to live it. This is the gift that my son gives me.
As a mother, I still have concerns for the choices my son makes, but I know these are his choices. I love him. So today, I give him my love; I help him in the ways that my way of living allows. I check myself to assure that I support him, express my feelings honestly, and then step back and allow him to live his life. I measure my success as a mother by only one standard…. that my son knows how much he is loved.
For more information on Al-Anon: http://al-anon.alateen.org/?gclid=CJ-S6N-AiroCFcbm7AodhD0AEQ
Thanks for stopping by to read my post. I hope to see ya’s next week, for Life with Mo.