On June 28/29th we will mark two years into our journey. We are so grateful for the time, which has been full of positive change and family healing. When we sent our son to Wilderness therapy with the help of a transport company in 2017, we took a giant leap of faith. We had no idea what to expect. Would this “reboot” work? Would he resent us? Would we get our son back?
Our decision was excruciating. But ultimately after trying everything, we knew we had to do something drastic to keep him safe and stop the downward spiral. He was just shy of his 16th birthday. Today our family can see a future as he turns 18 next month. We all have come a long way!
A couple of weeks ago, our son was home for a quick visit and I asked him a few questions, sort of an interview. His answers might surprise you!
Son: I don’t have a lot of memories from that time, since the drugs heavily affected me. After wilderness, my memory got better at the RTC (residential treatment center).
Son: The last part of my freshman year was the worst. I was spiraling out of control. I thought that you should have sent me sooner.
Warrior Mom: What are some of the positive parts?
Son: Being sober. My mental health is stable. My happiness level is better. My anxiety is better. My self confidence is better.
Warrior Mom: Thoughts about the two year anniversary of going to treatment?
Son: In some ways it feels short, in some ways it feels long.
Warrior Mom: Do you think that others at your local high school would benefit from treatment?
Son: Yes, I know at least fifteen kids who have been to some kind of treatment. A lot of kids from California are in Utah!
Warrior Mom: What was it like when you visited your old RTC last month?
Son: It was really surreal. It looked the same. Some new kids, a few from when I was there. I liked being there without the same rules. A bunch of us from the step down answered questions about it and what it was like to have more independence and privileges.
Warrior Mom: You also had a chance to go to one of your RTC mentor’s wedding. Tell me about it.
Son: It was really fun. We were no longer just staff and students, instead we interacted like friends. I had a good time. We got to decorate the wedding get away car! It was a long day and we got back around 11pm.
Warrior Mom: You have made lots of friends in treatment. Do you keep in touch?
Son: Yeah, I text them and most of them are doing well. One friend and I have talked about working a couple of shifts at our old Wilderness program next Summer.
Warrior Mom: Wow, that sounds like fun!
Warrior Mom: Can you share some of your current goals?
Son: I want to earn money by getting a job. (He was hired at McDonald’s last week and has completed orientation and two training sessions on the grill so far!) I want to move into the Bridge Independent Living House. I want to go to college. (We are going to tour University of New Mexico in July).
Warrior Mom: We are very proud of you. You should be proud of yourself, too.
Son: Thanks. I am!
We have so much to be grateful for as a family. The past two years have been filled with renewed opportunities for growth, communication and love. It has been joyful and at times tearful. The financial end of it is unimaginable! We have met so many wonderful professionals and had support from family and friends. We have made many new friends who are going through similar journeys. Thank you to all who read this blog. I know writing it helps me and hopefully I can shed some light of hope for others.
It is a one day at a time process. This hits home to me this very moment, after hearing of the passing of one of my son’s most extraordinary teachers today. She was a special person to my whole family. I want to dedicate this blog post to her. Her positive outlook was contagious and she touched all of us who knew her. I am saddened with her passing, yet she was able to see my son in person not long ago and witnessed the 2.0 version of him in action. RIP dear Christy. You were there with us the past two years and of course for all the years before as well. I will miss our weekly walks and your unwavering support. Thank you. My thoughts are with your family.
7 thoughts on “2 Years…….Full of Gratitude and Positive Changes”
Great post and always enjoy hearing your positive and grateful approach to what you and many of us are going through. I’m so glad to hear about Luke’s progress and share your feelings of hope. We are embarking on our transition right now as we have just picked up our son from Utah 2 years and 3 mos after leaving home. I think we are giving ourselves and our kids a gift.
Thanks for your comments. I can imagine your excitement in bringing Daniel home! I am happy for all of you! Life will be different- all of you have learned so much- time is the secret ingredient! Keep me posted! We will get our guys together down the road! Thinking of you as we head to our new Parent Days! I think fondly of our DR parents days that we shared with you! WM
I’m so glad you have this blog. Your journey has meant a lot to me. I’m very glad it brought your family to this place and gave your son back to you. I wish we had done the same for our daughter. She might still be alive today. Or maybe not. I know we and members of her birth family did all they could to help her, but it wasn’t enough. I’ll always be sorry we didn’t look into those wilderness camps before it was too late.
Hi Barbara! Wow- your words had such an impact on me. Thank you. Real life is not a dress rehearsal and some times no matter what we do it’s not enough like in your daughter’s case. I am so sorry, but appreciate your following along with us. We know ultimately it’s up to my son to make his choices. We are so grateful for each day. WM
I read this with tears in my eyes. Thank you for treating this the way you did and still do.i wasted so many years abusing alcohol and drugs. I didn’t get help until I was 38 years old. I look forward to seeing Luke again and seeing him smile. You and Kimberly gave him the gift of life. I know how hard it was, but it’s clear that you did the right thing. I’m so happy for the three of you.
Christy was a gem. She was such a special woman.
Thanks as always Cindiferous! You have been steadfast in your support! WM
Wow! This is such a great post and definitely a heartfelt story. Your relationship with your son is extraordinary. It’s never easy to do something you’re never sure of if it may help them or not. I admire you for being brave. I can sense so much love inside of you, and the love that you provide for your family. I’m sending my deepest and warmest prayer to you and your family. Keep on fighting a good fight! Everyone is here to support you.