Where’s the reset button? It’s time to reboot.

Techie or not, most of us know that when something electronic is not working that hitting the reset button – rebooting – is often the best thing to do.  Amateurs and professionals alike suggest it as a first course of action.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

It got me thinking that we have hit the reset button and attempted to reboot many times since addiction started messing with our son’s wiring.  Research on drugs and alcohol continues to show substantial, detrimental impact on the brain – a complex network of wiring and chemicals – even when used recreationally.  So, it seems like the computer analogy applies when a loved one is affected by chronic substance use and its various repercussions.

Within a few days of leaving his recovery program – early, against their recommendations and without a solid plan in place — my son reverted to his previous coping mechanisms and behavior patterns.  It’s now been about five weeks and what I’m observing is not very encouraging.  It’s downright sad.

When a loved one has gone haywire, it feels like it’s time to  is an attempt to do just that: to push the reset button, to reboot. However, the only buttons to which we have access are our own.  Hard as it is, the only reboot button that I can push is my own.

Midwestern Mama




Ebbs & Flows, Ups & Downs, Twists & Turns – That’s Life

When a woman is pregnant, people often ask whether she thinks it’s a boy or a girl. I’ve noticed that most people expect the mom will answer that it doesn’t matter as long as the baby is happy and healthy. This dialogue is no different from asking, “How are you?” and responding, “Fine, and you?” The typical response is the expected one even if you are far from fine.


The same is true when it comes to talking about my son’s addiction and recovery. Everyone wants the happy story, the one where everything is working out and is moving toward happy and healthy.


That does happen, sometimes, but often after many ups and downs, twists and turns, ebbs and flows. It is, in fact, a life of first one thing and then another. Sometimes happy and healthy comes quickly, but more often than not, it takes time. After all, the addiction didn’t manifest itself overnight and it won’t be changed or helped overnight either. Recovery is not a straight line; it is anything but, because recovery is life and life is always evolving.


Similarly, for the addict’s family and friends, most notably the parents, we too experience these opposing adjectives. We might move from unaware to aware. From denial to acceptance. From confused to knowledgeable. From devastated to grateful. Any pairing of opposites applies.


When I first started noting my observations about my son and his use, the adjectives that I used were more negative, more sad. Today, these same adjectives have actually taken on more accepting and positive connotation, at least for me. And, the experience has taken on a far more meaningful and encouraging tone.


On Twitter earlier today, someone posted a quote about growing stronger as a result of our struggles. It is true. I am stronger today. I don’t wish this path on anyone, but I am not bitter or sad. I am engaged and empowered. I am committed to sharing my observations in hopes that it helps other adults who are concerned recognize signs of drug and alcohol use – the signs that go beyond the use to nuances in behavior, the ones that others might dismiss.   I hope I role model that it’s OK to be sad, angry, discouraged, but that I can also live a happy and healthy life in spite of my son’s circumstances.


Long before drugs entered my son’s life, I realized that the true answer (for me) wasn’t about happy and healthy kids. It was about hoping they would have the skills, temperament and will to weather the inevitable ups and downs of life. After all, that’s what life is, a series of ups and downs, ebbs and flows, twists and turns.


Midwestern Mama