My journey with an addict.............

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  1. This is really hard for me to post. But I feel as though my tPF family are the only ones I can turn to right now. You see, I have a son (my youngest of two) that is addicted to pain killers and/or spending money. I am a single mom and he came to me again, letting me know that he is back on the pills. He agreed to go to out-patient rehab and I went to the first "family meeting" on Monday. They suggested that the family member go to al-anon meetings as well as write a daily journal. I would like to write my journal here. I hope that I might get some support and maybe help someone else that may be going through this journey as well. Here is the first entry of my journal:

    Well, I went to my first "family support meeting" and found myself at the brink of tears several times throughout the meeting. It was primarily about "co-dependency" and what the signs are of a co-dependent person. Of course, having been through this with my son before, I knew this all along. However, when the speaker started suggesting that we (the co-dependents) need to "let go" or detach from the addict, it really overwhelmed me and I felt extremely sad, scared, and a number of grief-related emotions. As you know, you try so hard to "protect" your children, even when they are "adults". Evidently, at some point, this becomes very counter-productive and it can cause more harm than good for the addict. I consider myself a fairly intelligent person and I think that deep down inside I knew that I was "enabling" my son to continue his addiction, but my "mothering" instinct just went into overdrive and I was determined to get him cleaned up and back on track. Obviously, that didn't work. I need to let him be responsible for his own actions and suffer the consequences as well as the accomplishments that he experiences himself.

    The counselors strongly suggested that I find an al-anon or narc-anon meeting and go regularly to help me learn the steps to accomplishing this "detachment". You know, it's funny but, my DH has been telling me for years that I don't "have a life" or time for myself. I seem to be the core and my family just evolves around me and not in a good way. In other words, every time something goes wrong, I am the first person everyone calls to vent or fix things. I am constantly worried about my family and their happiness. I want peace and harmony within the family, but never see it. YIKES, even writing this to you makes me want to cry. My only real time for myself is on Sunday when I go to my church. Luckily for me, I had renewed my spirituality several months ago and it has helped me immensely. I go by myself and that's kind of a good thing for now. I am learning a lot and finally feel the presence of God at my side. I will get through this, I have to.

    My next step is to find one of those al-anon or narc-anon meetings somewhere nearby. I want to find one in a nearby city and not in the city that I live in because this is a small community and I know (through our restaurant) many people in this town. I am on the board of directors with our Chamber of Commerce and very involved with community and political affiliations here. I'm not ashamed of my son's addiction, I just don't think that my community needs to know our business.
  2. I went to my first al-anon meeting last night and I must say that it was rather depressing. I heard other mothers relating incidents of their children telling them how much they hated them and I can't imagine how I would feel if my son told me that. It scares me. If either of my sons were to say that to me, I don't know how I would be able to handle it!!! It makes me wonder if I should go back to the same group or not.
  3. My son is bipolar and self medicates on alcohol and gawd knows what else and he has on many occasions said he hated me it hurts but i know he doesnt mean it. the meeting you choose to attend is up to you, just know that everyones experiences and feelings are different and no ones is wrong or worse or better. good luck I will pray for your son and you.
  4. I had a cousin who was addicted to cocaine. It's very hard to stop "helping" someone you love and care about, but in the long run, the only help you can give them is helping them help themselves.

    Good luck. :smile:
  5. Thank you so much for your input rendodan110 and Charles. I need so much input and support at this point in my life.

    I just spoke with my son tonight and told him my experience with the al-anon group and even he seemed dumbfounded.

    I guess that I am afraid that he might turn against me as well. I have decided that I will set boundaries and not let him pass those limits that I have set. I pray that he does not hate me for it. I will be going to a different al-anon meeting on Friday. Hopefully it wont be so depressing.

    I will be entering my journal here about this long and hard journey. Please help me with any info that you might share.
  6. Someone very close to me suffered from addiction...well, actually, he still is going through the motions of recovery. Not your traditional alcohol or drug addiction, but rather a gambling addiction. For so long all I wanted to was be "miss fix-it" and help him, but, without realizing it, my entire family and I became his enabler.

    It is important that your son take the step to realize that he is the only one responsible for his actions, and he needs to face his issues and deal with the consequences of his behavior. He need not prove it to you or anyone else that he can overcome his addiction-- he needs to prove it to himself.

    I know that is a hard thing for you to do as a parent- to let go and allow your son to face his addiction. Of course be there for his support, but also understand that you too need support, which is why those meetings will be so good for you in the long run. Don’t neglect your feelings and the roller coaster of emotions that you may be experiencing. Addiction involves and touches so many people-- not just the addict, but also everyone who interacts him him/her-- friends, relatives, spouses, co-workers, etc.

    Your son may blame you, or say he hates you...realize that it might not be him saying this, but rather it is the addict within him that is saying such comments to you. But, in the end, I can guarantee that he will most likely thank you for aiding him in his recovery. You seem like such a loving and caring mother, and your son will be so grateful for you in the end. Hang in there! :hugs:
  7. Honestly, he might hate you and he might turn against you, but that's what true love is all about. You have to put aside your need to be loved by him in order to put his health first.
  8. Ahh Miu I'm so sorry to hear that you and your family are going through this. I wish you the best of luck and the strength to hang in there :hugs:
  9. So sorry, miu2........And this is where those meetings are going to help get over your feelings of failure for letting him "pass those limits" you have set and hoping that he won't hate you. Of course, he'll hate you, but it will pass for him, too. You have to be strong and the only way you can help him is by letting him work out these things for himself. I am trying to speak from experience, but my experience takes a different path, and that is one of adult children co-dependant on me and my husband for money. To make a long story very short, we just can't help our adult children any longer with their credit card debts because of uncontrollable spending. We cut them off. It hurt for us because we felt like we were letting them down, but when we rose above the entire situation and and looked at our situation like we were outsiders, we realized that we were only making matters worse for our kids by allowing them to take advantage of us. We are all better for it. I know this isn't as hard as drug dependency, but I think the concept is the same. You will feel hurt and like a failure at first, but in the end it will get better. I wish I could say more to help. But you are not alone. :heart:
  10. Oh Compass Rose, I don't know if you missed it in my first post, but my son has a "tandem" addiction. The first is to prescription drugs and the other is to spending money. My money!! I guess that we found out about the drugs around 3 years ago while he was still living on his own and going to school in San Diego. It was around 2 years ago that he asked to go to an in-patient rehab in Malibu. We went to visit the facility and it was like an upscale beach resort. The house that he shared with another patient (and I can only tell you that the roommate was a well-known movie star), was right on the beach. Really beautiful house. The main facility was a mansion that sat in the hills of Malibu overlooking the ocean. Anyway, my point is that we agreed (like idiots) to this facility. It cost us $44,000 (his insurance wouldn't cover this particular facility) and we agreed. We just threw 44k down the toilet!!!

    While he was there, he had his computer with him and ordered all kinds of junk. Clothing, sunglasses, jewelry from NM, Saks, etc. He managed to rack up around $17,000 on my credit cards (which he was a signer on as well. I closed those accts now). The Malilbu rehab was a JOKE to say the least and the only thing he actually seemed to get out of it was a smoking habit (cigarettes). Fast forward to now and he still has his own credit card debt (while he was in school evidently the cc companies just love to throw cards at the students). My dad (his grandpa) has been helping him to pay them off, but I don't think that he "gets it".

    My son works here with me and never seems to have enough money or feels that we should be paying for his expenses and that the money he makes is just for him to go have fun with. I had him on a salary here at work until I realized that he was pretty much showing up when he wanted to and didn't always stay the whole work shift. So last week I put him on a time card and told him that now he can really earn his pay. He seemed to be happy with that.

    Compass - I think that you probably are a wealth of info that I might benefit from. You see, the pills are the main addiction and now that he is off of them (he's on Suboxone) I am really worried about the spending. I mean he's 24 years old, and still has no idea how to budget or manage his money whatsoever. How will he ever get along in his life?
  11. miu2, I posted this last year on another thread about my daughter:

    read your first post again. This friend has not hit rock bottom. Why? Because she is at a motel instead of rehab. If she was ready for help, she would be there.

    I have a 27 yr old daughter who is an alcoholic. She is the sweetest young lady you would ever meet. I sent her to boot camp for 4 months, she has been in jail for PI (public intoxication), she has been in 3 rehabs. I enabled her because as her mom, it broke my heart to see her drunk out of her mind, and the thought of her not being near me so I could watch her, was absolutely horrifying. I did this for years. I finally came to the realization that she would have to hit rock bottom and ask for help. She was literally destroying me inside because I could not bear losing her to alcohol but there was nothing I could do any longer; including giving her a place to live, money for food, etc.

    She finally came to the realization herself. She checked herself into a rehab where she could take her daughter with her. It is called Volunteers of America. It cost her nothing. She had her own "apartment" where she slept and cooked herself, and had to be self sufficent. She had to attend classes all day long. They teach you how to be financially independent, parenting classes if you had children, AA, and many others ALL DAY LONG. Her apartment was on the grounds of where the classes were held. She could have visitors on Sat and Sun 2-5. She had to be there for 3 months. They help you get on your feet while there, including finding a place to live once you graduate from the program (government will help pay), money for food, they take you to church, they have a once a month "girls day" where they are treated with hair cuts, coloring, etc., and manicures and pedicures. The good thing is, that you are tested weekly for alcohol and drug use. This continues even after you graduate the program and move into your own apartment. They randomly test you every week. They help you find a job also.

    This is a great program. Look on line for VOA in your area. It is awesome. My daughter is doing wonderful. She has to attend AA/NA meetings 3 times a week at VOA but this keeps her sober.

    I could go on and on about this program and the benefits, so if you need additional info, please feel free to just ask here, or send me a private message. I will be glad to help any way I can.

    But please, under no circumstance should you take her in. You will be enabling her with that good heart of yours and she will take advantage of you in ways you could never imagine.

    Pls feel free to contact about anything......I dealt with it for years before I understood what needed to be done.
  12. It's so hard when a child is involved, miu2. We're told as mothers, that we protect our children. When the child needs boundaries and to feel the consequences of his/her actions it isn't always natural for us to step back.

    Detaching with love is difficult, but the support meetings will help with that. Different meetings have different vibes. Hopefully there will be several you can try at least once or twice to find the ones that are right for you. You may not feel comfortable right away at any of them, so give them a chance.

    I hope that in rehab they can start to work on your son's sense of entitlement. He won't fully be a mature adult until he realizes that the handouts are stopping and he's expected to work for his paycheck or he can find another job. Possibly it's been too easy for him till now. The timecard is a great step.

    Gosh, I know how hard this will be. You and your son are in my prayers.
  13. i have a close family memeber who is an addict and has other issues. unfortunately my family have just spoiled this individual they have literally paid at least 100,000 euros on various courses universities buisness ideas etc etc . This individual in my eyes will never get better as long as they continue to support him in this parallel world where he takes no responsibility for his life completes nothing and faces no consequences for his behaviour. I truely believe that my familys behaviour of helping him has in fact been his greatest hindrance .
    I feel for you but i do beleive the hard love approach is sooooo much better than trying to buy your way out of the situation. Trust in the long term turning your back is the best love for your son. to carry on supporting him with a job etc etc is colluding with his adiction .I do not mean to be harsh at all and as a mum i do feel for you and pray your son gets the help he needs and you find the support you need.
  14. Thank you so much for this information. I will be looking into this as soon as I get off of tPF.

    At this point, I have already committed to let my son try out-patient rehab. Of course, he has agreed that if he tests positive or misses any meetings (unexcused), he will immediately go to in-patient rehab for as long as it takes. I think that it is important for me to stick to my word.
  15. Again BoxerMom, you are right on the mark. I know that I need to try several different meetings and I have found a different one that is scheduled to meet tomorrow evening. Hopefully it will be the right one for me.

    BoxerMom - Thanks for the support as always, I can't express to you how much it means to me!! :heart: