Sunday, May 29, 2005

My Other Son, and Others

I have, on occasion, mentioned my children in my blog entries and comments. I've mentioned my oldest, the Lieutenant in the Air Force, several times. I've mentioned my young son and daughter in passing.

I have a third son, whom I haven't talked about. But I think it's time.

He's 20 years old. He's an accomplished visual artist. He's an excellent writer, and a very good musician. He has a fantastic sense of humor, and is wonderfully likeable.

In my life I've had friendships with screenwriters, directors, actors, stand-up comedians, cartoonists, and recording artists. He has at least as much talent as any two of them combined.

I made him leave my house at the end of March. He now lives with one of his aunts, who is about to kick him out as well. Because, at 20, he's never had a full-time job, and has never gone to college. He has never used any of his wonderful gifts. For at least the last ten years of his life, whenever he has had a task to do, he would figure out the least amount of work it would take to claim he did the job, and would almost do that much.

My son is an addict. He's addicted to several things, including people. But not if you ask him. He'll deny it. He can't see that someone two years out of high school who has never had a full-time job (or even a part-time job that's lasted longer than six months) has serious problems that need addressing.

There's a woman I know who has three lovely children, a beautiful house in a lovely suburb, nice cars, a good job and a thriving side business selling jelly. Her husband is a manager, owns a building that he is in the process of renovating, and is a partner in the jelly business. He's a very likeable guy. Extremely charming, and very outgoing. On Tuesday, their divorce will be final. He was never home, and even when he was, he would be on the computer. They hadn't been intimate since the birth of their youngest child. She repeatedly expressed her unhappiness in the situation. She found a marraige counselor (he rarely showed up for the sessions). She is handling all the details of the divorce. He'll just sign on the lines when it's time to do so. He couldn't take the time off to do anything more.

He's an addict too. Addicted to work. He couldn't stop working, even at the cost of his marraige.

The accepted, very narrow definition of addiction is uncontrolled, compulsive use despite harm.
Harm applies to both the addict, and those around the addict as well.

The spouse of an addict will suffer every symptom of addiction that the addict does.

And this will continue until one thing happens:

Rock bottom.

Because when you're going down, rock bottom's what you have to hit before coming back up again.

Rock bottom is different for everyone and everything. I hit mine last July. My wife hit hers in August. But for some, rock bottom only comes at death.

For some, rock bottom comes sooner. For some, the realization comes after one too many morning afters. The person will realize the unhealthiness of their behavior, and modify it on their own. God bless them.

Others will lie, cheat, steal, and break every moral code they once held for themselves to continue using.

And they will justify it. Deny, deny, deny.

Interestingly enough, this model of addiction can be applied to organizations as well. Seemingly healthy, thriving businesses and corporations will suddenly crumble, with terrible results.

Enron, Worldcom, Global Crossings, and others. And now, apparently, AIG. The addiction? Money and power. Uncontrolled, compulsive use despite harm.

Apply that same filter to our current government. What conclusions can you draw?

Where will rock bottom be for this country?

My son hasn't hit his yet. His aunt just called me. He was leaving his crappy, part-time job at a video store at 8pm, and was walking home. It's now 1 am, and he's still not there.

He may be hitting rock bottom now. Or he may not.

It's different for everybody.



Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Don't we all get lost along the route BP? Man, between the ages of 11-16 I was so lost, so destructive, utterly at war with myself and the world around me.

I did terrible things but I awoke from that and stepped up to the plate, I rose above.

Funny thing is I'm glad I took a dark path for a time, glad I spent some time in a nasty place becasue without that I'd be half the man I am.

Everyone needs a time to kick against the pricks, this is your sons and he is very aware of the gifts he's been blessed with and these make him feel under pressure to achieve and some people take pressure badly.

Keep loving, keep offering yourself completely and welcome him home.

7:47 AM, May 29, 2005  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

Thanks for those kind words, Daniel. The thing is, he has yet to awake. And I gave him the only gift I could, which was loving detatchment.

If he stayed here, he would continue to do exactly the same things that he was doing before, and exactly the same thing he's doing at his aunt's house:

Take without giving. It's a way of supporting his addictions.

I've had some incredibly dark times in my recent past. And if it wasn't for those times, I would never be at the place I am now, and would never get to the place I wish to be.

Like I said, rock bottom is different for everybody. When he finds his, and starts back up, I will support him any way I can in his recovery. But I will not support his addictive behaviors.

Peace, and Yeharr

9:33 AM, May 29, 2005  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Yeharr my good man.

11:46 AM, May 29, 2005  
Blogger Cranky Yankee said...

Could be

2:37 PM, June 06, 2005  
Blogger ed said...


hey....newbie blogger showbiz guy just found you by urls that appeared on my spanking new blogger webumacallit thingy.

you seem to be varied.....

and not afraid to spew.


ed ward

10:33 AM, June 08, 2005  

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