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Some weeks ago, folks here gave me some information about LD and related. I really appreciate that. For reference, he's 18-years-old, not legally a "kid" anymore, but in my mind, he'll always be the "kid" nephew. We got together again this weekend and here's an update.

First, the bad news: no, he hasn't gone for counseling or assessment yet in general. He said he's thinking about it, but that he "wants to wait until he's more..." stable, time, energy, etc. to do it. In other words, I think he's afraid and worried of actually going into counseling so he's backing off for now. FYI, I've talked to him by telephone a few times since we talked some weeks ago and I've been sensing he's backing off a bit.

Now, bits of good news: It seems he's taken some other recommendations of mine to heart. He's stopped smoking. He went cold turkey on New Years and despite the withdrawal and mood swings that resulted from it in the first several days, he's been able to stay off it: he still gets nicotine cravings, but he's doing well with no smoking. Background on his smoking, he's been smoking for about two years and he's tried to quit for a long time, usually never able to stay off it completely for more than several days. Drinking: he's cut down a lot apparently. He's told me, though, that he's been getting physical withdrawal problems; it's hard to completely quantify how much drinking he was doing, but he tells me he was averaging three gallons of malt liquor in recent weeks. He said at this point, he only drinks when he believes it's related to withdrawal issues, but he's cut down a lot. Sleep: He's always had erratic activities and schedules, but he's been trying to get more sleep. He notices it makes a big difference for himself. He has some environmental issues beyond his control that typically interfere with his sleep. Eating: Since quitting smoking (and cutting down drinking), he's noticed that he's a lot hungrier than before as he's got a really good appetite again and he seems to eat several times a day. At this, I remind him he's 18 and he's *supposed* to eat me out of house and home (only half joking). The upside of this: I was able to use him as a guinea pig for some cooking and he enjoyed my cooking. Part-time job: He started a part-time job for the holidays to make money and he's still there, enjoys his co-workers, his boss, and (sometimes) the customers. He planned this to be a temporary job, but he's comfortable enough he might just stick around: his boss likes him there and he may easily get to stay longer term. He said, since we've talked, he's been paying attention to how he feels in general, both physically and mentally. He said he's surprised at how much better he feels in general. Overall, he looked noticeably different, as in healthier, good complexion, better skin, etc., etc. and gained a bit of weight. He seems more stable, relaxed, and related.

Honestly, I didn't expect this degree of progress, but he used the New Year as a push off point. He still has numerous other issues, but I had an unexpectedly good weekend of progress from him. The fact that he was really, really proud and couldn't wait to give me a 'status report' of how he's been doing is something, too. Unstated, he did not once mention any aggressive or hostile playing around with people in general. Since he has what I consider a lot of violence and aggression issues, I'm hoping this is a good sign. We talked about a lot of other things and he gave me more updates on other stuff.

The most impressive part of much of this is he is finally starting to seem like he's thinking longer-term, or that he's planning for a *future* even if it's just months out, or even one year or so out. Hearing him talk this way is great. Hearing him start to really think about becoming independent and responsible for himself is absolutely awesome. To be realistic, I realize it may not be smooth sailing, but I'm just glad that *HE* sees and feels what changes he's capable of doing and that he's doing it all himself, in his own way.

And despite being so happy to hear all the good news, I must confess there's a part of me that's absolutely terrified for him still. I'm always scared about/for him, but oddly, I didn't expect the good news to scare me, nor why. I think this is more my own issue, and not his, but it is absolutely amazing to know that I have apparently been on the right track with him, at least till now.
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