Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More food for thought from a comment from "our" side

I am starting to really appreciate  the lively comments that happen when I post a comment that I've received.  I posted Ryan's comment, because I appreciated what he had to say. I would like to post a comment to that comment-- one that was sent from Fractal Mom.  Ryan-- and anyone else who is an addict-- I mean no disrespect or offense.  In all fairness I wanted to post a very thoughtful comment from a parent who has been on my side.

Before I post the comment, I want to share my view from those of you who are encouraging me to help my son get out of his dangerous situation.  Angelo, this is also a time I want to say how much I feel that you have become a caring "friend" on my blog, and I thank you. You don't have an email address, and that's okay. I'm anonymous, and I certainly can understand why others remain anonymous. Isn't that part of the "program"?

Anyway-- when you read Fractal mom's comment, she reflects much of how I feel. My son has lived with us twice. We allowed him back into his childhood home to help him go to college and to find sobriety.  My son never completed one college course. Not one.  Expensive books were lost, and our money thrown away with it. Unfortunately, my son has relapsed multiple times-- despite the love and encouragement we (his step dad and I) gave him. Multiple times, we found the telltale foils hidden in his room. Multiple times, my son had stories on how they were old. We did the drug testing, and my son cleverly hid stored urine in a body cavity that he shrewdly switched in the bathroom--though my husband stood outside an open door. I felt so deceived when I found out that all the "negative" results were a lie. My son knew that he would have to move out, if we found drugs in the house. After several "second chances", this move is final. I cannot allow my son to move back. The only way I would change my mind is that my son has been clean and sober for one year, has a job and wants to go to college. That's it.

As far as my son's trust fund goes-- what's left of it (most went to pay for his rehab), there is only enough to pay for a sober living environment for 2-3 months. Tops. I won't allow it, anymore. My mother worked hard, her entire life, to save this small token of her love for her grandson. That money was intended for my son's college, or for something that would be a good thing.  My mother's heart would break if she knew that her grandson was a drug addict.  I can't throw the money away for drug addiction, anymore.  I am the trustee of this money for four more years. I pray that my son will find sobriety, by the age of 25, and that this money will be a precious gift from his grandmother...who loved him very much.

My son's dangerous living situation is a direct result of his own choices. My son chose to lie to us, and he brought drugs into the house. My son chose to buy drugs, on credit, and then found that he works and works, only to pay off drug debt.  While my son is a sweetheart, when he is sober, he has to make a decision on what to do. All the options and tools are before him. I ahave empathy for his addiction, but there are countless folks who are working a program, and who are staying clean. I have reached the point that I cannot be the person who enables his inability to learn to think for himself. I must distance myself, as much as I can. I could help my son, in a heartbeat, to move out of his apartment.  But, once again, I would be the person who enables B's inability to figure things out on his own.  My son needs to learn to take care of his own messes. I believe that my son wants sobriety, but I don't think it's top on his list.

So, without further adieu, I want to share what Fractal Mom had to say.  It's raw, and it's obvious that she's been through so much heartache.  She speaks words of wisdom that parents who struggle with codependence and enabling their addict children to take a look at the results:

well. I have the following to say to any parent of an addict who is entertaining the idea of letting the addict live in their home while they attempt sobriety.

any other kids in the home? (bad move)

do you work or can you devote your entire life to 'assisting' the addict in his/her quest.

can you sleep with your purse and all your valuables?

can you provide 24 hour eagle eye watching?

can you use every single iota of your energy on the addict and leave nothing for yourself?

I don't hate addicts. I hate what they and the addiction do to the real victims, the families of addicts.

we spent almost 8 years trying to be supportive and allowing our addict to be surrounded by loving family members to help her find sobriety. She went on to have two children, steal us blind, and screw up my relationship with her three siblings who ended up hating her for taking their mom away from them because all of my energy ended up going to 'being supportive' and also taking care of her children while she was still using over and over.

Yah, if you are single, have a good income, work from home and have lots of time and energy to devote to your son, maybe it's a good idea.

but truthfully, an addict who WANTS to get clean will find a way.

anything else is just plain old enabling. Not supportive.

Ask anyone who has been there for over 10 years with a heroin addict child, male or female. Living in the home DOES NOT WORK.

And, it puts you at risk of losing your home in a drug bust.

just my opinion.


Anonymous said...

It is so hard to tell your adult child they are no longer welcome to live in the home they grew up in for so long...that being said...I agree with Fractal husband is on several pain meds for severe arthritis in his back...we have bought over a dozen different safes over the years to lock up prescription meds, wallets, purses, and jewelry...we finally wised up and stopped letting him come home...the sad thing is, and the thing we can't get him to understand, is that it's not about the "stuff"'s about his addiction...and the lies...we would give up everything we own to have our son back in his right mind...but until he is ready, willing, and able to change, we wait.....

Midnitefyrfly said...

It is just so very painful from either side. The horrible truth is that while the parents are going through all of the realities and the pain, the addicts are high and convinced it is all ok.

I can see how after years and years of dealing with this, a parent would HAVE to keep themselves safe. There is a huge difference between enabling and providing opportunities within boundaries.

Fractal Mom made me painfully aware of how impossible it really is to keep those boundaries with an addict in your home.

Sometimes in looking for answers when it comes to addiction- I just end up with so many more unanswered questions.

I don't feel sorry (for myself) for what I had to go through to get clean at all. I deserved it and I am pretty sure my addiction would have lasted MUCH MUCH longer and I would have hurt many more people if I had parents around that even gave me a place to live.

I am sad for some of the missed opportunities for emotional support, but a very well made point is "truthfully, an addict who WANTS to get clean will find a way"

I had to create my support system and safe places, and I had to find my own opportunities for change. I just had to want it.

Thank you again for the information you share and the wonderful networking and support it creates.

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel said...

Amen, Fractal Mom. Hang tough, Debby. When he is ready to get clean, he will. And you will know it.

Her Big Sad said...

Fractal Mom nailed it. Painfully truthfully!

I wish that wasn't the case. But it is my humble opinion that every word is true.


Barbara(aka Layla) said...

I understand and agree also.

I am choosing to let my son come home when he is done with his 90 day rehab because 1) this is his first real try at getting clean, 2) he's only 18, 3) by that time he will HOPEFULLY have 175 days clean which will be a good start (I think). But he knows that if he uses, he's out. I have slept with my purse, car keys, etc. and I suppose I will have to keep doing that until I am SURE. This will be his one chance. I feel sick thinking about it....I want him to make it.

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

P.S. Part of me feels so naive to have hope for my son, the odds seem to be against him. But until he proves me wrong I will continue to think the best and deal with the worst if it happens.

Athena said...

Fractal Mom is not afraid to speak her mind, and often the part others find so hard to express. I also know she is a true friend in need and walked me over the phone through some very tuff situations.

Hang On and do what you can to take care of you.

Brother Frankie said...

i am a regular here and the other places with like stories. i consider all of you very real and dear friends. Fractal Mom is right on, and so are most of the rest.

one important thing. If you are insane enough (you know what i mean) to allow your addict back in your home, regardless of clean time, you need to have a fire escape plan for when relapse happens.

it is not if,
it is when.

you need this set up before they move in. you need the consequences set in concrete and made known. you need to stick to it.

you cannot go back on your word. anything other would make you a liar and enabling.

so make that plan. you have homeowners ins, car insurance, disaster flood plans...

be smart and have a relapse plan.

it will happen.

i am allowed to speak on this. i am an addict. my wife is an addict. i take in foster kids who are addicts.
i minister to addicts.

even as a pastor/preacher i have told my family that this is the plan. I will move out go in patient treatment if possible. i have a list of things i will do to regain sobriety and i will abide by my word. i have a plan for me. even after all this time.

so, make a plan...

you are loved
Brother Frankie
A Biker for Christ

Anonymous said...

Hello its Ryan again... First off I wasn't at all saying your son needs to move back home. I was just stating that has worked best in my case as opposed to rehab, sober living, and living on my own. Second of all I agree with pretty much every comment that has been left regarding the post from Fractal Mom. Sad but true us addicts are bound to relapse at some point, jump back on the wagon and do it all over again till it sticks. My only argument to the parents is this... I have lived with my father the majority of my life. He suffers from severe depression and has attempted suicide on one occasion that I am aware of. Last year he decided to get electric shock therapy as a last resort and I had to visit him in the Pysch ward. Now as a child who looks up to their parents for strength this was very weird for me. I had a lot of anger and resentment towards him for it. I couldn't figure out why he couldn't just snap out of it. I felt like a victim as it was affecting my life. I wanted to abandon him as I couldn't handle it. He has a disease just as someone with cancer does. Yes your son has made the choices that got him in the situation he his in, but who's to say that some cancer patients haven't done the same? Whether they are a smoker, obese from a poor diet, lack of excercise, ect ect. I guarantee they get a lot more sympathy and respect. They made unhealthy choices that got them there just as we did. Not all cancer patients, but there is plenty of them out there. We never intended on ending up this way and neither did they. I understand dealing with an addict is different as our behavior can be erratic. Point being we are sick. And underneath the sickness is an underlying cause. There is more to it than just the want to get high. We are trying to kill some kind of emotional pain and in the midst of that we become physically addicted. An addict needs to get to the root of that pain to completely understand. All I ever seem to hear from parents is how they are the victim. I never hear them acknowledge the addict is a victim as well. It is a very complex situation. I have felt very much a victim to my fathers situation, so much that I neglected the fact he is in the same boat as I. He knows the pain he has caused my sister and I but I also know the pain I caused him by playing the victim and abandoning him briefly. Set your boundries but never completely abandon them. Love them for what they are not for what we "were" and what we can potentially be. We hurt as much as you. I agree when an addict is ready to stop he/she will. But how long can you continue to think that way? With that train of thought you may wake up 20 years later and realize the mess you have made. If there is any kind of desire to quit there is a chance. He just needs to see the light. So do whatever you feel is right to help him but don't sit around waiting for him to just snap out of it. I could ramble on forever but every sitiuation is different. Do what you feel is best for your son. The situation he is in now is definitely not condusive to sobriety

Madison said...

Well, our addicts have proven time and time again that their conclusions about what is best for them does not birth sobriety. That's why it's a brain disease. The best thought an addict has ultimately leads to drugs/alcohol. If assistance from loving family members doesn't help on try #1, 2, 3, 4, 5... It's more than likely not going to help on #6. Whatever the multiple reasons that an addict has for doing drugs, whether its an illness, a compulsion or a choice, loving family members admitting that they are not going to be able to fix this and now need to protect themselves from this behavior is one of the most healthy steps in the process of recovery. I agree wholeheartedly with everyone who writes about the likely outcome of parents housing an addict. If not one thing about an addict changes for the next fifteen years, recognizing that we are too emotionally attached and too easily manipulated, gives everyone in the vicinity of an addict their own life back. It is then up to the addict to seek out a large community of recovering addicts who totally get all the games being played and to support the road to recovery. Parents are there to love. This is just my two cents. When an addict returns to the very place where all the trouble began, parents return to living in a controlling, oppositional relationship monitoring behavior with a list of rules a mile long, sleeping in fear. This is not the best way to express love. All that to say, way to go, Fractal Mom. And, Debby, love your boundaries.

clean and crazy said...

i love this post!! really, and bless your heart, Debby, for not wanting to offend us, I'm sorry but you of all people have every right to offend the addict. period. we need to hear the TRUTH!!! and Fractal Mom- RIGHT ON!!!! Thank you. but brutal honesty is needed, you have no IDEA the denial blanket we addicts use!! We manipulate, we use guilt oh my favorite one was, you love so and so more then me!!
Oh the crap i used to pull on my mother!! I stole over $20,000 dollars from her!! are you kidding me offend me, no give it to me, tell me the truth, I need to know it so I don't forget. I am lucky, I only quit one time. and so far, it works. i had no idea people quit and started again. I am supposed to have empathy for the still suffering addict and i do, it is those who are given the tools of recovery and refuse to use them that i have issues with. those that i see where Fractal Mom and Mom and Dad are coming from, and yet they speak with forgiveness in their hearts. They just don't own my shit. and there en-lies the rub. how do you not own your babies crap?
how do you detach and be rational. Lou is going through it too, for months now her addict has done well ,but push come to shove and he is twisting like a fish out of water wanting to go home again!!
today i have a 2 and 3 year old and they have my heart. i read stories every night, we play together i listen to parental tapes i devote an equal amount of time to both of them and let them each be themselves. and they may become addicts. they may choose one day to stick a needle in their arm.
it is not your fault your child is an addict. there were 5 of us and i am the one who went down that road.
i used drugs because i was selfish and didn't want to grow up and be responsible. even when i worked i simply kept a little money for my dope and handed my check over to my mother to pay the bills.
i think if more addicts were faced with life on lifes terms more often they would stay clean. i lose more sponsee's due to the fact that i don't co-sign their stuff. if it does not pertain to recovery and step work, it doesn't matter, if life is hard work your steps. keep working steps and you will learn to not let little things get to you.
we lose more members to the disease than i would like to count. i hate this disease. ultimately when you come into recovery though, it becomes your choice. you can either walk through what ever you are going through, or you can go and get high and let me know how that works for you. NA is about growing up. and it is not for those who need it. if it was everyone would be cured. NA is for those who want it. we cannot force recovery on anyone, and we cannot cease to live life just because you choose to be miserable in yours. we each are given one life on this earth and we each have the choice to live it. i pray your addict makes it and i pray you have some peace and serenity you truly deserve it. thank you.

Fractalmom said...

oh my. the old 'disease' vs 'lifestyle choice' issue rears it's very ugly head again. sigh.

it doesn't matter anymore whether you believe addiction is a disease or a bad lifestyle choice.

there are a few differences.

an obese person who eats themselves into diabetes doesn't steal to get food. they do not tell lies to family members. they do not take credit cards out in other people's names and max them out to buy food.

a smoker usually works and has the money to buy cigarettes. They may smoke in their own home and subject others to secondhand smoke. But they OWN the home.

those with cancer obviously could have made lifestyle choices which contributed to their cancer.

the majority of the above worked and have medical insurance to pay for the medical fallout from their bad choices.

smokers, obese people and cancer victims do not fall asleep in the middle of the conversations. they do not try to bathe a 3 day old baby and fall asleep while doing so and drown the baby.

they do not steal other people's bill money to afford cigarettes or food and then lie about it to the very person they stole it from.

heroin addicts use illegal substances. they do not hold down jobs for the most part. they use people over and over, mostly family members who love them. they may, in fact, hate ever thing they do while they continue to do it. but, it does NOT stop them from doing it.

if they get arrested, they cry UNFAIR !! I should be given HELP not prison.

whether anyone likes it or not, cigarettes and eating are LEGAL. We don't go to jail for using them.

so maybe it is sad. maybe it is a disease. maybe every addict deserves treatment and a second, or third or 17th chance.

but, it's still ILLEGAL and DANGEROUS and leads to crime and hurt.

And, no one gives me any sympathy for my smoking related illness. They just tell me its MY OWN FAULT.

And, they are right!!

to the addict, I say the SAME THING>

I didn't CAUSE your addiction. I cannot CONTROL your addiction. I will not CURE your addiction, nor will I CONTRIBUTE to your addiction by enabling your behaviors.

I do not feel 'sorry' for heroin addicts. I do not believe they did not know what they were doing. Someone said to me "well MY son didn't know it was Oxycontin he was it's the fault of the Oxycontin manufacturer.


have ANY of you parents ever snorted something and THOUGHT that it was OKAY?

The only heroin addict who could NOT be held responsible is someone who was bodily restrained over and over and shot up by someone else until they became addicted.

Short of that scenario, the addict, and ONLY the addict is culpable for their addiction.

as always, just my opinion.

Mom of Opiate Addict said...

I tried to leave a comment about Ryan's first comment but again it didn't show up?

Anonymous said...

Just some thoughts to reason the process out a little for me. I know it is not okay to smoke because I saw a close family member suffer with CPOD, cancer, and emphysema and ultimately die a slow painful death. I was afraid so I never tried it.

How often do you think the first time a person uses heroin (especially at 13 or 15) that they have seen someone before their eyes lose everything, steal from people, and die from an overdose?

Likely the first times is at a friends house in a relaxed environment with a peer saying its ok, just one time, its the best stuff ever.

Young people especially tend to feel immortal and in control and are not often capable of understanding how powerless they will become to a physical addiction.

They likely are thinking about grades, keeping mom and/ or dad happy, cool clothes, fitting in, crushes, sex, first cars.... cont

Anonymous said...

If my 30 year old child started using it would be fully acceptable for me to expect him to be capable of understanding the need to protect his body, his health, his future, and abide by the law.

How do you hold an 18 or 21 year old addict to those same standards when they have been using for years and have missed the thought process of a normal adolescent because of a substance?

Eating and smoking are not illegal, but what if they were? What if all processed food was suddenly banned by the FDA? You could only buy and possess naturally grown and unaltered food because the government realized that doing so would essentially cure the phenomenon of obesity in 5-10 years?

What if possessing over a gram of sugar or cooking oil was considered illegal? Don't you think there would quickly become an underground market to get fatty and sweet filled foods to food addicts? Do you not think these "criminal food dealers" would not find a way to make more money and use fillers to addict people to their products? That stealing and lying may occur to obtain these foods? People are addicted to feeling good or better.

Food works by way of taste and fullness. If shooting it up tasted better or made me more full and I was a food addict I would probably try it at 15. Tobacco works best by smoking it. If you knew you would not get addicted or get cancer and you would eventually feel the same nicotine fix say if you just had a nicotine pill 5 times a day, would you just quit smoking? What if having a cigarette was considered possessing a controlled substance and you got sent to jail and put with molesters and murderers for it- would you quit today?

Anonymous said...

... cont
I understand this is a complete exaggeration because I know heroin and oxycontin are dangerous and you are right, people do not fall asleep in the middle of a conversation while smoking or eating. I understand illegal drugs are illegal because they are dangerous. I am just trying to demonstrate how the ADDICTION is the same and the reasoning addicts have for abusing anything from nicotine to food is that they can control it, THEY will not get obese, THEY will not get cancer, THEY will not get addicted...

Addiction to nicotine and food very rarely steals away a young and rather innocent life and so we have the propensity to sit idly by and watch people slowly kill themselves because they have some quality of life left and are functional in life and society. Yes they chose to slowly close the gap between their birth and death. As loved ones we watch it unfold until the day that perhaps diabetes takes hold and we watch them lose one left then the other and slowly go blind before dying.

People usually work and have homes so that they can feed themselves and support their legal habits or hobbies. If you had to steal to get food because it was illegal, perhaps you would be too busy stealing to go to work and you would lose your job. Maybe if your parents kicked you out because you were hiding sugar under the bed and you had no place to sleep except at the bakery down the street, you might be tempted to go there and eat cake (your not going to get caught). If you get fired and have no where to shower for work, comfortable place to sleep, or money to get cake, maybe you will just stay at the bakery and do what the baker tells you so you can have cake. Or maybe you will just STOP EATING cake.

If it was illegal and we could potentially go to jail because our daughter baked a cake, and kept stealing all of our money to go buy sugar (which of course costs $130 a lb on the street because it is illegal) and it made her sick and withdraw after eating the cake because the dealer laced it with (insert addicting substance here) and so she started stealing to get more sugar for more cake... Would we still enable her to make cakes?

Would we want her in prison because she spent all day trying to go find sugar and left her kids at home with us? Would we take her kids away and kick her out because she got caught driving home with the sugar and got arrested and charged with felony possession of sugar? If she wouldn't quit stealing to make illegal cakes I guess we might have to right?

We would still have to protect ourselves and let her get over her ADDICTION. Drugs are evil as are dealers and corporate drug (and alcohol and tobacco) companies. They are aware of the PHYSICAL addiction [that sugar alone BTW does not have so unless it was indeed laced, likely would never occur :)] and they make money off other people's weakness to make good choices. The process of addiction starts with a usually UNINFORMED choice saturated with a little too much belief in one's self control, it then becomes engulfed of the flames of physical addiction followed by a horrible cycle to feel "normal" again without making the same choices. As adults we have the capabilities to understand keeping our lives stable, remaining safe from our addicted children, and not enabling them to keep making those same choices. We have the means to change their choices into informed ones and perhaps to inform them well before the choices have occurred. How many of you parents sat down and were able to watch a show with a heroin addict plot and explain to your then 13 or 15 year old what happens when they make that choice?

Anonymous said...


Ryan is right and addiction is a disease. As defined by Merriam Webster: Disease- 1 obsolete : trouble 2 : a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms : sickness, malady 3 : a harmful development

Criminalizing possession or manufacture of illicit drugs does nothing to deter the constant need or want to feel happy. It criminilizes the means of GETTING them and leads to often unbearable life situations that create criminals. We are then faced with... Do we love our criminal anyway and enable them to keep making the same choices? or Do we keep ourselves safe and functional until they are capable to make different choices and keep them away from the society they harm to get some sugar... err heroin?

Anonymous said...

I lurk here often but never post, in part because as I wander down this terrible path as a parent with a 20 year old addict son I doubt myself and my opinions because they dont align with "one size fits all" mentality that surrounds most of the discussions on addiction, sobriety and the path between. It has been refreshing to read different perspectives on this blog.

Mom of Opiate Addict said...

Holy conversation Batman!! The comments on this post really make one think outside the box a bit. For me, "one size does not fit all" is what I got from all of the above comments. Thanks Debby for opening up the platform.

sydney said...

Rock on Fractal Mom!

Angelo said...

WOW! Not sure what I want to say. I see that he needs to deal with this and hit his bottom. I was hoping for anything to happen to get out of M's house but I guess there is no way unless he does it on his own. The comments in your mesage made alot of sense. I'm kind of confused now as I relapse myself and just started on the suboxone today again. But, for some of the comments hear (as least one) if you don't thing addiction is a disease you need to do a little research so you can accept that it is.


Cool and Dread said...

Lady you and the comment trading one addiction for another,I will tell you a story,There was a young girl that was also addicted to oxy contin because of a car accident,and the surgeries left her in endless pain,so after she had enough of the Meds that were killing her Dr.s tried various combinations of drugs,so she turned to a MMP, she was doing just great until her christian Mother told her to believe in the lord and stop the Methadone she was so scared to stop the Mehadone
but she did to satisfyher Mothers wishes,she could'nt take the pains anymore and out of disparation,she swollowed a hand full of Zanax,which Killed her,ask your self if you want to write about your sons private dealings so you can be in the top 100 blogs,stop what you think is right and let the man do as he wishes,you have made your decisions leave him with are something else.sad so damn sad.

Anonymous said...

Hi there how are you? My name is Avron Appollis and I'm from Wellington South Africa.I see you institute is doing research on drug abuse.I have been addicted to methamphetamine and mandrax and dope for 8 years of my life and decided to make. a U-turn in my life.I'm clean now for over 3years and still going strong .I've have started a support at our church and we are doing good.And got involved with the Department of Social development where I did various courses on drug abuse .And did programmes in the schools .I am currently doing a Social Auxiallary Course and working at Lindelani Place of Safety(a facility where we look after youth that been arrested for criminal activities) for the goverment.And helping others that is still in drug addiction.God bless

Anonymous said...

My son admitted to his addiction to oxycontin a year and a half ago. He is 20 years old. I knew he was using something but he would never admit to anything before. When he finally admitted it to me, it was of course very upsetting but I felt relief to finally know the truth. He said he was trying to stop but wasn't sure if he could do it on his own. I took him to the doctor the very next day. He was already in withdrawl. The doctor gave him a Tylenol 3 perscription and a few sleeping pills, along with the number to the suboxone clinic. He has finished his grade 12 and been working the same job for over a year and doing really well.
The day before yesterday I caught him in a relapse. I'm not sure how to deal with this. I warned him that if this continues I will have to tell him to move out. I hope I'm handeling this the right way? Worried Mom