Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Thinking clearly (I hope) about goals.

Well...Evan is gone and I have 30 days to figure out what my strategy will be when he returns. Will I require drug screening? Attendance at counseling? I am very capable of tough love and will throw him out if he doesn't do what I want him to do...So I have to be very careful. I would prefer NOT to toss him out, so I need to establish conditions that are reasonable and necessary.


  1. Take care of myself. (If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy).
  2. Take care of my relationship with Hubby.
  3. Protect Andrew and Brian -- not from everything, but certainly in the sense that I cannot allow Evan to live here if he engages in behavior which is damaging to them.
  4. Communicate with words and actions to Evan that he is LOVED unconditionally -- but that does not mean he can LIVE here unconditionally. (NB: This is a goal for what I will say and do. It is not a goal for what I can expect Evan to understand).
  5. Provide an environment (to the extent that it is within my power) in which he can complete high school -- be it with a diplomma or GED.
  6. Provide an environment (to the extent that it is within my power) in which he can stay clean.

Those goals are in order of priority.

It is more important to me that he leave here with a HS diploma, GED, or equivalence than it is that he leave here clean. That means, that IF I decide that telling Evan that attending NA meetings, going to counseling, having UA's are a condition of living here, it will only be because I become convinced that doing so is necessary to achieve one of the higher goals.

Will Andrew and Brian be harmed if Evan is using? Will Evan's chances of completing high school be lessened if he is using?

The answers to those questions are not simple. Evan was using all last semester. Andrew and Brian did not know. Evan has an independent source of income, so there was no theft. He uses and abuses to cope, not get high. Sadly, it may be that at this point in his addiction, he is easier to live with when he IS using. However, I also promise not to enable his use because it is easier for me or others.

Evan also did well (for him) with school while using.

Right now Evan believes that his use makes it possible for him to do the things that he is required to do. I clearly half believe it too. What I know to be the case is that if Evan is going to cope WITHOUT his drug, then he must learn some skills that he currently does not have. In the long run, he will do better if he is not using -- BUT THAT IS NOT MY GOAL. It is NOT my job. It is NOT in my control.

I have been reaching back to all my Alateen education (Alanon for teenagers), trying to remember that Evan's sobriety is Evan's job. I canNOT control that. So what can I control? What is the cost to me to try to control it? What are my goals and will that activity serve those goals?

I have decided to use this space to work these things out. I cannot obsess about this all the time, so I am going to only allow myself one post a day (let's see if I can keep that commitment). Today is all about goals.

Over the next few days I am going to try to clearly state what I understand the needs of each of the family's needs are. One person at a time.

I know...I know...I must not go all co-dependent on everyone else. Andrew and Hubby should be making their own lists of needs and goals. Even Brian (11 years old) should be doing his with some help. I should NOT be defining them for them. I get that...but...well...I'm going to do it there!

Future posts:

  1. My understanding of the needs of each family member and what I can and should do (and NOT do) with respect to those goals.
  2. The difference between what the kids want and need. (Especially Andrew, who by the way, does not and never has liked Evan. I decided long ago that living with a sibling you don't like is an opportunity for growth, not a danger to your pyche).
  3. Consideration of various possible house rules. This one will require assistance of drug rehab counselor.

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