Finding out for certain that your son has been smoking pot is not unlike having a houseful of kiddos with swine flu: A parent worries and stresses, plans to prevent, and prepares for the worst, then once it happens, the energy shifts. Now it is time to take action and do all the things that need to be done.
Over the last 6 days there has been very little talking. There has been no yelling, no lecturing. There have been no temper tantrums (by parents or son). Everything has been communicated through actions.
My 17 year old has been following me around the house a bit. He just seems to want to be with me.
This evening he started to talk. He said he was feeling anxious and a little stressed. We actually ended up lying on the floor, facing the ceiling and talking.
He is wondering when some of the consequences will be lifted...he is starting to ask questions: What do the clothes I wear have to do with smoking pot? Why can I not see my friends? Why are you meeting me off the bus? Why can't I ride in the car with friends? He says he has stopped smoking pot now and he wants to return to his B.C. (Before Confirmation of drug use) life. Why do I have to see a therapist if I have already stopped smoking?
Ahhhhh, finally, an opportunity for me to teach him. No lecturing, just answering questions.
So, here are some simple short points I wanted to be sure to make:
1) When a boat hits rough waters on the ocean, the sails are pulled in, the cargo is sure to be tied fast. We hold on tighter until the storm is over and the sails can be opened again. We are in rough waters right now, and we are pulling in. Not because we don't think that we will get through the storm, but rather because we know that if we take these steps we will get through to the other side with less damage. Dad and Mom are the captains. We are in charge.
2) Stopping drug use is easy. Living life off drugs is hard. Our job is to help him to live life now. The therapist offers expertise we don't have. We need the resource. We are doing things now to help him live his life without needing to smoke.
3) The consequences are not punitive -- they are constuctive. What do we need to do to help you get through this? We are not out to get you. We are in this together. We are on your side.
He stayed on his back for over an hour. We talked, I listened. He was quiet. Most of the time. I was quieter. I was just there, beside him.
And I decided that I had to be the one to out-wait him. He had to be the one to get up first. I wanted to symbolize that I was not going to leave him. I wanted him to feel that although we have 8 kids, he is special enough for me to give him this gift of time.
Quiet, solid, still. I need to offer him what he needs. He needs to be willing to reach out and take it.
I think he is getting it.