July 19, 2008

Combat Veteran and Son Make Amends

In this article I have included a letter to my sons. My behavior and inability to communicate effectively with their mother, along with my alcohol abuse, separated and alienated my sons and I

A, you have continued to be one of my best teachers in life, thank you for that. J, I hope that we can both mend as your older brother and I have.~~Dad

It was about 2006 (I was in a drug and alcohol treatment center during this time) when I was able to start to regain trust with my sons and started to build a relationship with them again. It was through the therapy, counseling, addiction education, and psychiatric treatment that I received over two years that enabled this reunion. I have two sons, ages 17 and 19.

My oldest son (19) and I have been working on reconnecting, he has yet to let me into that inner sanctum. His intelligence shines through as well as his dark humor an remorse sarcasm. He will be starting college soon in the medical field, still trying to decide on nursing, medical school or becoming a pharmacologist. He has found my arrogance and mistrust that I have lost. We have a greater wall to scale due to his abandonment issues. I value him as much as my youngest son, I just do not know him as well as I do the youngest.

My youngest son (17) and I have been reconnecting and communicating about life, my experiences, male bonding and Oh My God he is even asking for my advice. Something I never would have done with my father. He has been staying at my house quite a bit, which is the coolest thing. I have been noticing things in him that reflect on me, I see me in him so much that it is frightening and enlightening. He has showed interest in making changes and identifying characteristics and talking about boundaries at an age that gives me extreme hope and faith in him that I had to write this letter to him.

Since this letter was written, both my sons have changed roles with me. So, most of the relationship dynamics have flipped after two years. The picture was added today also, a symbol to what can be achieved when we work and live together in a supportive community then we can achieve our dreams.

Letter to my sons:
Hello my son,

Have I told you that I love you enough? Well, I don't think so, so I'm going to say it. I LOVE YOU MY SON.

I think about you all the time son, I want the best for you and am willing to help you achieve the goals that you have set for yourself. I see that you have some long term goals and some short term goals. That’s great to have a vision of where you want to be in the future.

Right now it’s the little things that will get you there that need to be worked on. Setting little steps to achieve the short term goals is the key to accomplishing the long term goals. There is a process to progressing toward realizing a fulfilling and meaningful life. Like setting goals of submitting at least 10 applications a week, become willing and open to talking with your significant other about your feelings and thoughts at least once a week when the time feels right. Or, research information about apprenticeships and other jobs that may interest you. Get all of the information so you can make a sound decision on the direction you want to go.

Figure out how much it will cost to maintain your own apartment, rent, gas and car expenses, insurance, electricity, cable, phone, groceries and entertainment. Another thing to consider is where exactly you want to live, what part of town. Then there is the cost of acquiring furniture and kitchen items.

Make an effort to talk with me about things that may have bothered or upset you when you were younger. Son, it is important that you face these issues and work them out with me. By interacting with me in this way you can acquire the skills of assertiveness, coping, anger management, stress reduction, interpersonal (person to person) communication, and confidence in knowing how to handle stressful situations.

All of this stuff is taxing and stressful, with the right planning and accomplishing the little steps you will grow into a more responsible and respectful young man; a man of honor, character and integrity. Set these values and principles for yourself and use them as a compass to your life, you are the captain of your ship. By filtering your decisions, thoughts and feelings through a set of ethics we gain that integrity we have talked about. By doing these things you will gain confidence and a sense of self about who you are.

Find some activities that you would be interested in getting involved in, like a softball league, hell I would do that too. That way we could socialize with more men; do the manly thing you know, testosterone. We can sit down and go over a plan for accomplishing these things, it will help relieve some of the stress and give you a focus and direction.

Well, I have preached enough,

Love, DAD

Originally published as "Hello my son."

1 comment:

  1. Dear Scott,
    Thank you for sharing. What a great letter to your son. I know many men and women can relate to having a distant father. After returning home from Desert Storm you self-destructed mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Today you are rebuilding with stuckpoints along the way. Sometimes three steps forward and two backwards. Today you are committed to healing.

    Remember under Anger is hurt, under hurt is fear, under fear is unmet needs. As you know we can search forever to replace that hole inside with drugs, alcohol, food, gambling etc.

    I am honored to be your friend.

    In His Name,


Please share your comments, stories and information. Thank you. ~ Scott Lee