Savoring Summer & Sobriety

Growing up, my mother used to sing “Summertime and the livin’ is easy.” With her Southern drawl – she was from Georgia; it was nearly 40 years before she relocated to Iowa, where I was born — the lyrics, melody and beat transposed this Midwestern kid to another time and place.

That same song used to get my three kiddos laughing and hamming it up when it came on the oldies station. #SoberSon, in particular around age six to 10, used to get a real kick out of it. Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face, a memory of truly good times.

Since embracing sobriety during summer 2014, #SoberSon has made such progress in recovery. He successfully completed a treatment program and continues to see his counselor regularly. He enrolled in college classes and earns tuition and books with his part-time job.

The first semester (spring 2015) that he started at the community college, he did so with a sense of responsibility but it took an inordinate amount of time and energy to take placement tests, write an appeal letter, register for classes, meet with his academic advisor, order textbooks and get ready for class. But, come the first day of classes, he was ready and he dug in to studying, earned excellent grades and committed to taking classes again for fall semester 2015.

During that first summer without classes, I worried about him having time on his hands, but he managed it quite well and was rested and ready for fall semester. By this time, he knew the ropes and truly committed himself as a student. Ditto for spring 2016. Excellent study habits paid off with excellent grades … and exhaustion – welcome summer break 2016.

This summer is so pleasant. He isn’t sleeping in all day. He isn’t playing video games all day. In addition to his part-time job, he’s been reading books, catching up on some television series, taking the dog on adventures, helping his sister ad brother in-law out with their dog, and sharing the family car with his younger brother. He’s also had a bit more social life this summer catching up with old friends.

In other words, he’s savoring summer and we are all thoroughly enjoying the routine. But, he’s also looking forward to the school year ahead. Before the end of June, he’d outlined his fall semester classes and completed registration in July. What’s more, he had already earned the tuition. And, just this weekend, several of his fall textbooks arrived. Last night, he even shopped for school supplies.

Sobriety and recovery continue to evolve for #SoberSon. Being able to savor today while looking forward to tomorrow is clearly an encouraging sign. The “Summertime” tune is stuck in my head as I do a little mom dance just thinking about his sobriety!

Midwestern Mama

©2016 Our Young Addicts   All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Anoka-Hennepin Schools – Parent-Awareness Event #1

Thank you for attending the Anoka-Hennepin Schools Parent-Awareness Event #1
Thank you for attending the Anoka-Hennepin Schools Parent-Awareness Event #1

Tonight, you have done one of the most important things that you can do. You have connected with parents and resources within the Anoka-Hennepin school district to learn more about substance use among young adults.

When my son – now 18 months sober and embracing recovery – was using drugs, it was a quagmire of situations and decisions that impacted our family and friends. There was nothing easy about the journey except for the wonderful people who supported us and tried to help.

That’s why I began sharing the journey, and why I created Our Young Addicts as a community for parents and professionals who are concerned about substance use among adults.

During the presentations tonight, you heard from Know the Truth, a substance-use prevention program that goes into schools throughout Minnesota. This organization has an excellent pulse on what young people are feeling and experiencing. They offer incredible insights into the mindsets of our students.

We also had data provided and interpreted by an epidemiologist, Melissa Adolfson, from Substance Use in Minnesota. She highlighted perceptions vs reality as reported in the most recent Minnesota Student Survey findings and broken down for us specific to the Anoka-Hennepin Schools.

Thank you for coming to the Our Young Addicts website. Here you will find our blog, with regular posts from parents and professionals as well as posts from me. You will also find resources and links to helpful organizations.

If I can be of help, please email me: OurYoungAddicts@gmail.com  You can also follow on Twitter and Facebook.

Please return for future events on March 3 and April 12.

Many thanks,

Midwestern Mama aka Rose McKinney

 

98.6 and Feeling Good

Final exam grades are starting to post, and Midwestern Mama’s son studied hard – especially for his college chemistry course.

Our son is smart. School was never a challenge for him. He could read something once and remember it. He could listen to the lesson the teacher was giving and remember it. And, his grades and test scores reflected this – until he was a junior in high school.

That’s when everything changed. His attitude, his behavior. Everything. And, it didn’t take long for us to learn that he was using drugs. From there, it all fell apart. He was lucky to graduate, but that’s another story.

We always hoped that he would one day return to school, but realized that he had a long way to go through addiction, treatment, relapse, treatment, and ultimately commitment to recovery.

That day arrived last year when he signed up for spring semester courses at the local community college. Although he was on academic probation from previous attempts at college, he appealed and registered, and throughout the semester, he worked his tail off to earn an A in English and a B in Differential Equations and Linear Algebra. He’d never worked or studied so hard in his life. Not only did he learn the subjects, he learned that he had discipline and tenacity to succeed.

Exhausted, he took the summer off from school. Again, we were hopeful he’d return for fall semester, and he did. This time, he signed up for a full load of courses, and continued to amaze us with his perseverance – everything from earning the money for tuition and books to putting forth significant study time.

It’s paid off. This week is the final week of fall semester and he’s already received an A in chemistry with a 98.6 percent on the final exam. Other projects and exams continue, but without hesitation, he opened up the online grading portal and shared his progress with us throughout the semester. (The sharing part is not only heartwarming, but a true sign of progress and recovery.)

He’s registered again for spring semester 2016 and after a few weeks of holiday break, he’ll be ready to hit the books again.

From a rough end of high school to a life-threatening start to college in 2011, #SoberSon is exhibiting the transformation of recovery and we couldn’t be more proud.

Midwestern Mama

©2015 Our Young Addicts            All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Registered & Ready – It’s Almost Time to go Back to School

True to his word, Midwestern Mama’s #SoberSon will return to community college this fall, and he’s doing it on his own. Another example of recovery in progress!

Back to the lecture hall for fall classes at community college.
Back to the lecture hall for fall classes at community college.

Fall classes at my son’s community college don’t start until the end of August, but he’s already registered and has earned enough money for tuition and books. This is significant. It’s nothing short of an amazing transformation from addiction to recovery.

Just think, a year ago he had started another treatment program and it really felt different – better – this time. That alone was encouraging for us and empowering for him. We had hope, but in the past the new-car smell would wear off and we’d be left with another broken-down clunker.

As he went through the treatment program and began living in recovery, he started talking about going back to college part time. By December, he had completed the necessary steps including an appeal to override previous academic suspension from his addiction days.

His spring classes were tough, but he dug in and committed to attending and studying – receiving an A in English Composition and a B in Differential Equations and Linear Algebra.

While building his confidence, it also stressed and exhausted him to the point that he decided not to take summer classes.

It's takes hard work to get back in the swing of doing home work and studying for college classes.
It’s takes hard work to get back in the swing of doing home work and studying for college classes.

Amid a more relaxed schedule this summer and a lot of video games, we’ve been hopeful that he would return to community college in the fall. However, we know not to push or hover because that stresses him.

True to his word, however – and this is a new behavior that we are coming to appreciate more and more each day – he just registered for fall classes AND informed us that he’s earned enough from his part-time job to pay tuition and buy books. He’s moving from eight credits up to 12 credits, a nice manageable load, and I’m looking forward to the routine of having him in class and doing homework, but not until we enjoy another month of summer!

Midwestern Mama

©2015 Our Young Addicts            All Rights Reserved