live life well

The World Disappears

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Heaven and Hell blurred together in my life today. Let’s start with the good bits.

Six months ago, I bet on Nvidia and AMD. Every bankable dollar I had. Today was Nvidia OMG day! A blessing. Not retirement money, but a nice perk.

Now, the other side. First, my car’s battery was dead when I tried to get something out of it this morning. It’s parked in the garage, a bit more of an effort to roll the car out to jump it and take it for a new battery.

Second, I tried to use my phone and my ATT plan said SOS service only. A nationwide outage possibly tied to a cyberattack disabled my phone. And if you’ve got a friend on Android and you’re on iPhone and you have a morning schedule to play tennis, guess what, you can’t reach them. I had to use Facebook to call his wife on Messenger. Whew!

Finally, I went digging in my kid’s bag and found evidence of a serious issue. Suspicions began weeks ago. A moment arrived, “the bag” was left out. Boom. Lights out for me. Blind, deaf, and dumb. Devastated.

When You’ve Got No One to Call

So, cell service outage prevented me from contacting several of my mentors. (BTW: I’m going to make this post about me, to obscure the hard evidence.) Let’s see: car dead, phone dead, me dead. Okay, not dead but on parental life support.

I was alone with my discovery and my anguish. It was 6 am, my normal wakeup time. There was no one to call. No way to call them. Just me and my higher power.

As the day progressed, my co-parent finally responded around 10:30. By noon my son arose from his coma, did not greet me, and headed out on the back porch for a cigarette. He was feeling the walls closing in, due to evidence we questioned in our first family therapy session last week. Later, in the heat of it, he would say he was planning to bolt that night. To where? He didn’t know, but out of this painful situation.

Unfortunately, a geographic relocation does not often solve these types of issues. You cannot run from yourself. In the famous words of Buckaroo Banzai, “It doesn’t matter where you go, there you are.”

What a day we had. His mom came here and arrived while he was still smoking his first cigarette of the day, about 1 pm. When he came inside and saw her sitting on the couch, I’m sure his heart was shattered, as were both of ours. I tried to explain to him, in the heat of the ensuing conversation, “When you see your dog lying on its side bleeding, you want to help. We want to help.”

Help. That’s a very tricky word.

Rescue. Not a helpful word at all.

We could not rescue our kid. We could not force him to give up his current trajectory. At 23, his choices and decisions are what got him to this point, and his next series of choices was going to determine a good bit of the next phase of his life. I also tried to put a metaphor on this one as well.

“You are at an inflection point. You can keep leaning into the dark side, or you can turn back to the good side. The choice is yours and yours alone.”

At this moment, 4 am, I am not sure where he is. He drove away from my house at 2 am, left a note, and took a good portion of his things. I was happy to see he took the full tray of blueberry muffins I bought for him, and a bag of breakfast tacos he purchased the previous night. At least he has food.

I have no one to call at this moment. He and I have exchanged a few texts. He’s okay. He sounds confused. Angry. Depressed. But… And here’s the good part, he doesn’t sound afraid anymore.

Something Or Someone Has Got To Give

The options in my mind for recovery are pretty clear. He’s the driver. He must decide what he wants to do next.

My options, as a parent, and fellow neurodivergent human, are also simple. I have to focus on myself and my program. My son has to find his own path to recovery. The first step, admitting there is a problem, has been breached. The second step is in progress.

There were a lot of tears from all three of us. The two dogs were happy to have so many people in the house. And ATT service came back online around 3 pm. As I sit here typing, I long to help my son. I also know I have done 100% of what I can do. The rest of the steps are up to him. I have to work my own recovery program. Perhaps, not from substances, but from overwhelming moods.

I feel sad and solid at the same time. Taking the next right action for me is going to be found in prayer and returning to the actions (work, creative, relationships) that I have set in motion. I have a huge presentation today to several hundred people. I will be a bit more tired than I would’ve liked, but I will rise to the occasion. I’ll shave down my grey beard. I’ll put on a nice shirt or sweater. (It’s a webinar.) And I will speak the truth about artificial intelligence and how businesses today can use the available tools.

Happiness is an inside job.

Being solid and happy even under horrific circumstances is not psychopathic, it is what recovery is all about to me. I alone am responsible for my happiness. My son, ATT, my girlfriend and her two dogs, my ex-wife, my daughter, my friends, all of them can’t help me when I’m lost to myself.

I am not lost. I am sad. I am strong. And my sister used to tell me in her hippie-spiritual way, “Everything is in its right place.”

Namasté dear boy.

Part 1 of this journey is here: My Beautiful Boy Moment

John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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