He is a child that had a zero percent chance of being successful, happy and normal. He had a 100 percent chance of being an alcoholic, drug addict or felon. Few children were raised in a more dysfunctional environment.
This child is my son.
His mother was, a raging alcoholic. She drank throughout his infancy, often passing out, leaving him on his own before he reached the age of one.
She drove with him in the car drunk countless times. She would show up at friends houses, with him in tow, reeking of alcohol.
She would engage in violent, bitter alcohol fueled rages (but she did not strike him, only me). She ignored the pleas of everyone to stop drinking, or to enter rehab. As sure as I can say anything in this life, alcohol was, by a great distance, the most important thing in her life.
The lunacy never ended. As she aged, the drinking got much worse, and my son suffered unimaginably. Recently, he who is now an adult (and never complained) spoke eloquently of the horrors of having her as a mother. As is often the case with him, he was soft spoken and as non judgmental as possible.
If my son had to endure just her, that would have been tragic enough.
But there was also me.
Starting in the year 2002, I entered the world of serious mental illness. Several suicide attempts were accompanied by several mental hospital visits, one for three years in length.
Since 2002, I have endured a roller coaster ride of positive, negative, and very negative mental health.
And so has my son.
But the awful gets worse, for I also, concurrently, was a drug addict. Years of addiction to painkillers turned me into a liar, a thief, and a very dangerous person.
In my son’s senior year in high school, I drove him to school every day, completely stoned. Most days, I did not even remember driving him.
At night, instead of caring for my son, I loaded up on Ambien (a terribly dangerous sleeping pill), and that is where INSANITY went into overdrive.
So with all this horror in his life, how did he turn out?
I will tell you.
As a child he never gave a reason to punish him. He displayed early signs of incredible intelligence. He played beautifully with others. He had a loving, infectious laugh. He loved to be read to.
He entered school and was always at the very top of his class. He started sports and played in them all. He was a natural leader in everything he took part in.
In high school, he had the highest grades, served as president of every club, and captained the swim team. He dated the nicest girls. He left as valedictorian.
College? He had his choice of Harvard, Notre Dame and Duke. (He attended Duke).
There is more.
He currently has a job as a stock broker with a very prestigious Wall Street firm in New York City.
In my 63 years of life, I have never known anyone to overcome such adversity to magnificently thrive.
I would love to take credit, but for all the above mentioned reasons, I can’t.
He is a miracle that was dropped in our laps, and basically, we tried to kill him.
So how do my son and I get along today? We text everyday and talk on the phone a couple of times a week. Because we have identical sick senses of humor, we constantly entertain one another.
With regard to my son, I have to say I never had great religious faith. But in his case, my faith has grown greatly.