Friday, March 20, 2009

Only One Bite Allowed

I don't know if I'd go so far as to state that today has been the worst day of my life but it certainly does rank much higher than do many others for that "honor."

My emotions today have been all over the place. Angry -downright furious one minute and the next, I am ready to dissolve into tears in a heartbeat.

All of this pertains to the post prior to this in which I told you Mandy had just left to go to the State Police Barracks near hear to pick up my son -her only brother -who had been "picked up" earlier and was in the process of being charged with a DUI.

To explain a bit further, as a few people left comments indicating they didn't know what the term "DUI" means. Simply put, he was arrested for driving his vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

This is something we -my daughters and I -have worried about for a long time now. My son, although he is not a rocket scientist, is not stupid -and yet, he is that -very stupid, at times.

He is a truck driver. To perform his job, he has to have a special drivers' license called a CDL All individuals driving certain types of equipment -big rigs, tractor trailers - triaxles, operators of other types of heavy equipment -in this country, must have this special license -this CDL. There are also other categories within the basic CDL too that allows some drivers to haul hazardous materials too -special knowledge, skill sets -for which they must be tested in order to be permitted to haul those components.

He took a truck driving training class about 2 1/2 years ago to acquire this license and he should, by all rights, be very cautious about things that he does to protect himself, his ability to be hired, to work in this field because if he loses hat license, he automatically loses his job.

He has very few other marketable skills or work experience with which to find even low grade employment particularly in the job market that exists in the area where we live. Oh, he could work in a restaurant as a grill cook, a dishwasher, or a gas station attendant perhaps but what kind of future, in terms of earnings do jobs like that hold? Bottom of the pay scale, minimum wage positions are about the only kinds of work that would be available to him around here and for someone in his age range, his responsibility range with respect to living expenses, he can not afford to work at positions along that scale.

All of the above is one set of concerns I have about him. And yes, they are very valid concerns that many of us have all too often in our day-to-day living, aren't they?

Because of his drinking habits, my daughters and I have been growing more and more concerned that this was becoming a big problem in his life too. Not just for the fact that if he went out, roaming about, drinking here, drinking there, then opting to get behind the wheel and drive while unable to see properly, to function properly in the event of changing road conditions, that he would create or be involved in an accident in which someone else could be injured or killed or that he could be injured or killed, but because he was becoming more and more dependent on alcohol -his drug of choice -to function on his off-duty time.

He was rapidly becoming a danger to society as well as a danger to himself.

Now, while he was working, plying his trade, driving the big rig, gone for five or six days from home at a clip, running with another driver, those days, those hours, had become virtually the only time I was pretty much at peace as I knew he shouldn't but more than that, that he wouldn't drink while driving that truck.

As I have tried today to come to terms with this recent development in his life, some would probably say why should I worry about this as it is his problem due to poor choices he made. And yes, that is true -very true. But I am sick, deep inside my gut over all of this.

Try going from being so relieved with the realization that there was no accident, no injuries, no death(s) -which there very easily could have been under these circumstances to being so angry that I just want to lash out, to scream at anyone and everyone regardless of what is being discussed, stated about this or virtually any other topic too for that matter. And at the same time, I want to just go off, sit in a corner, pull my hair out, one strand at a time and cry -sob, bawl my eyes out because of the worry of what will become of him. What can he do, what will he do, now -to earn a living? Where will he live? How can he afford to pay for his house with no employment?

He is in need of coming to terms with the seriousness of these charges. He need to realize too that he has an addiction that will only continue to grow -to mushroom over and over until it causes more and more problems for him -not just with his employment, his employability but also with his health on all levels -physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. It can, if left untreated, kill him.

But the only person who can make the changes necessary to stop this process is him. Nothing I can do or say, nor his sisters or his Dad or anyone else who cares about him can stop that chain reaction but my son.

I think about all these things, all rolled together and it scares the living daylights out of me. I love my son -dearly and his sisters do too. His older nephew and his niece adore him -Kurtis is too small, too uncomprehending to grasp the concept of love and adoration as yet.

He's a handsome man, sweet, soft and kindhearted to a fault. Sentimental to the point of overflowing at times. He has a wonderful, absolutely fantastic sense of humor. And yet, he is single. And this is one issue that eats away at him as he would love to have a fulfilling relationship with a young woman, to build a life together with someone, have a family of his own. But he can't seem to find anyone with whom he shares mutual feelings, goals and such to build such a relationship with. Mandy and I have been telling him that he's been shopping in all the wrong malls and needs to look in areas that don't color the vision the way alcohol clouds sight, thoughts, movements, etc.

He is also old enough to know better, to have the ability to make good rational decisions and not those that are on the same level as a risk-taking teenager might be immature enough to choose.

And now, with this charge against him, the odds are very strong that he will lose his license to drive, therefore his ability to earn a decent living. And a CDL license, once you have that and you lose it, it is gone forever.

There is no second bite at that apple. That is something I understand and yet I don't. Because you see, other people who are charged with this offense can still, after paying their fines, taken part in rehabilitation programs, even served time for the offense, can frequently return to the line of work, the job or same type of job they previously held and try to pick up where they left off and move forward.

If things go for him the way they very probably will, he will not have that option to go back to doing the work that he actually enjoyed -driving a big rig all over the country.

RIght now, trying to explain my feelings tonight -the confusion that permeates me right now, is such that I might just as well be trying to do something I am incapable of explaining -something far fetched perhaps, something as confusing as maybe explaining the need for video cards of a specific caliber in a computer -and about which I have zilch comprehension.
Or quantum physicis, or just trying to explain the persistent pain deep inside me as I hurt and worry about someone I love with every fiber within my body and for whom I want a life that is stable, constant and filled with not necessarily every single thing life has to offer, but at least a chance for success.

Thank you to those of you, my regular readers who commented on the previous post and have given me moral support through your words. I do very much appreciate your thoughts, feelings expressed, and prayers for at least a reasonable outcome from this mess.

The ball -or the apple, if you will, is out of my hands and it is up to my son to try to pick up the pieces and begin rebuilding his life from this point forward. I realize that.

But it still does not lesson my confused frame of mind at this point in time either. Eventually, I hope that will come about but right now, it is all about anger, pain, hurt, worry, the fairness of the DUI laws and yet, also that they can be somewhat unfair as well.

I know too that life is often very unfair. My kids would tell you I used that sage expression on them time and time again when they were children, teens and still do even though they are all three adults.

But I still hope he finds a way to get a second bite at that apple.


Toni Lee said...

from the time they are born 'till the time they die, they will always pull on your heart strings. There is nothing I can say to aleviate your pain, nothing I can add to what you already know, just know I will keep you in mytoughts and prayers.

lattégirl said...

My own mother could have written this. I put her through all of this worry, fear, and heartbreak.

You said it well. Your son is not stupid. And alcoholism is a disease that colours and clouds EVERYTHING. With alcohol, there is no right or wrong or the ability to make good choices. If your son feels that losing his license is sinking low enough, then the next step is to get himself into a treatment centre -- or, if that is too expensive (we have free government-run ones here in Canada) into a FREE AA meeting.

He hasn't lost everything. He has time to make things right. I very nearly lost that right and I am grateful every day that I was given more than my share of chances to live again.

My heart is with you and him.

terri said...

I can't imagine what awful, sinking, low feelings this leaves you with. The feelings of being powerless. The fear of what to do now... But as you said, it is up to your son to pull himself back up again. I do hope that you, all of you, can find encouragement in the fact that so many others have taken the same path as your son and have come out stronger and successful in the end. There are such a vast number of programs that will offer the help your son needs if that's the direction he chooses to go. I will continue to pray for him and all of you.

Anonymous said...

My dear, my heart bleeds for you and understand completely the pain you are in. Not because of drink or drugs, if my kids used them it was long after they left home and they were feeling their way and, thank be they never became hooked. No, that pit of stomach dread, that cold sweat, sleepless nights, the terror for your children has been mine for the past three months when it looked as if my son and his wife would lose their home, their savings and, perhaps their sanity; at the same time my second daughter was made redundant.
They are all quite grown up and independant but the worry does not stop when the door closes.

Sadly there is nothing you can do but be there, no amount of 'I told you so's' will help. Perhaps this will be the nudge he needs to address the problem.

Huge hugs.

amy said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this. Even though my children are very, very small it's already hit me that I will never, ever stop worrying about them. It amazes me that I kept having them after getting that realization with the first, that the rest of my life I'd be worried about something happening to my child. I don't have any advice or wise words, just commiseration. Being a mother is a hard, hard job.

Hammer said...

I've watched people destroy themselves with booze. I felt exactly the way you do..I wanted to fix it for them but they have to do it themselves.

You'll know if he is serious about turning his life around soon enough.

The hardest part about getting off of the sauce is staying away from the "drinking buddies". They are never supportive and will say things like ohh come on man you can have "one" beer.

I hope things get better and your son finds the strength inside himself to quit the destructive behavior.

Travis said...

I'm sorry this is happening. I can't imagine the emotions you're going through now, and will face in the days and weeks to come.

Keith said...

Sorry you're hurting. Sorry you're son is hurting.

Know this...
It can be overcome. He just has to want it. Encourage him. Tell him to reach out and grab the hand that will pull him up.


SnoopMurph said...

This is hard and your son is deeply tethered to you and I cannot imagine how you must be feeling or him.

Yet, sometimes we must hit bottom and learn how to climb back out. I know you will be there to lend a hand, give tough love and assure him that he is loved. But again, it is up to him how he ultimately decides to deal with life. I wish you all much patience and encouragement as you deal with these issues.

Red said...

THings happen for a reason and you and I both know this. THey say that when one door closes another opens. This happened as part of God's plan. Give the good Lord your faith that he will assist in guiding you through this. I am not one to get religious in my comments or blog but I have learned a very valuable lesson in faith, esp over this last week.
Good luck dear heart.

Mrs4444 said...

Addiction is so painful for those around the addict. I would strongly suggest that you attend an Al-anon meeting or at least read up on it. Sorry you're suffering.