Monday, April 09, 2007
My broken heart
I am tuffenuff. There is not too much that life can throw at me that I haven't seen before. After all, I had a job for 25 years that showed me the ugly underbelly of society. Last Tuesday I got the shock of my life when the school called and said, "We have your son here in the clinic and he is drunk." I made them repeat it because I couldn't believe what they were saying. I said, "I'll be right there". Time slowed down, my mouth dried out. The 15 minute ride to the school took forever. The ambulance was out front of the office as I entered. My son was on the nurse's cot crying. He had a bloodied nose and lip from struggling with the police. Everyone gave me "the look". You know - poor you - your son has bad, bad problems look. I was numb. Preston was drunk out of his mind. I worried about the amount of alcohol that he had consumed. I have seen kids poison themselves to death this way. I have had to break the news to parents of teenagers who have done similar things. I had the ambulance transport Preston to the hospital. We spend the rest of the day in the ER, then went from there to the mental health hospital and spent most of the evening there. We finally arrived home at midnight. In retrospect it could have been much worse. My heart is broken. Preston has always been a good kid, always followed the rules and been respectful. He and his friend had decided the night before the incident that it would be fun to get a "little drunk" and go to school. They conspired to steal liquor from their respective homes and carry it to school in water bottles. Preston brought straight vodka in a water bottle; the other boy brought a mixture of whiskey and tequila. I guess the other boy only pretended to drink, while Preston "chugged" down the deadly stuff. I estimate that he drank 8 to 10 ounces. Having never been around alcohol before, he had no idea how much to drink. He starting getting sick almost immediately, and was taken to the clinic from his first class. He was talking crazy and doesn't remember most of the day. He was still puking at 10:30PM. The counsellors and psych doctor decided after talking to Preston, that he was not trying to deliberately harm himself, but rather made a really stupid teenage choice. He is suspended from school for 5 days, and we are participating in a drug & alcohol awareness class for the next six weeks. He will also be going to counseling. I am scared to death. All of his life I have been an overprotective mom; now I am just plain nuts. I am frightened to let him out of my sight. Needless to say he is restricted from everything. He just turned 17. I know teenagers want to spread their wings and try new things. I just feel like our trust is broken, and I don't know how to get it back. I tell you this story because I am looking for some advice from my blog friends. This summer Preston is scheduled to go to Europe for 10 days on a school trip. It will be chaperoned, but I wonder if I will be a fool to let him go. This is a chance of a lifetime. He says that he has learned his lesson the hard way, and vows to never go near alcohol again. What happens if another temptation presents itself? Will he be strong enough to resist? I have never been so distressed in my lifetime.