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Old 09-11-2011, 05:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I love my son. Oxy and heroin use.

I am seeking any advice on how to talk to (see, there it is "to" instead of "with") my son. He's 25, addicted to oxy's and has used heroin since he was 18. He's in jail (Idaho). Detoxed (arrested June 7) so probably was detoxed by end of June (Jail put him on Vicadin). I am not familiar personally with drugs (smoke marijuana twice when I was about 15-made me sick), rarely drink (mother was an alcoholic...).

Phases since arrest: Arrested, begging us (his parents) to bail him out of jail (we didn't) obviously detoxing.

Couple weeks later still detoxing I suspect: Nasty phone call from jail. His response to a letter I sent saying "look at your life...blah blah blah). Maybe not so smart of me?

End of July and into August (6-8 weeks after arrest, and physically detoxed): Admitting that he needed treatment (after detoxing).

Presently: Saying he does't need treatment.

He's a ping pong ball. I have read just about all I can on the mental and physical toll of drugs, and how they work.

I wish I could say something to him (jail phonecall) which would "make" (yup, I'm a control freak I guess...) him realize what a mess his life was on drugs before arrested, and that "NO" he cannot manage his life without help...

I spent years in co-dependency treatment/alanon. My mother was an alcoholic.

FYI: I have never paid for his drugs by giving him money or allowed him live in our home while he used drugs. He's always worked construction and paid for his habit. As a result, he's got nothing to show for years of hard work in the construction industry... because he gave it all to drug dealers.

I have read more "self-help" books than I care to count (since I was 21, and I'm 48). As a result, I didn't financially enable him. BUT, I have figured out one thing as a result. It seems to me, that MOST enablers, do FINANCIALLY control/support their addicts or alcholics. This actually gives them some control.

In my case, my son has no problem telling me to take a hike (not literally), because he hasn't relied on us (husband/his father) for years for financial support.

What I do have, are infrequent calls (about every 2-3 weeks from the jail). Last time he asked for a recipe for home made ice cream. Not a joke. (He's not violent, never been arrested before.)

Is there a way to speak with someone, and help them to see they need the tools only a treatment center can provide? (I know treatment is not magic, but he doesn't have the tools/lingo/understanding. He needs treatment, or he'll end up dead from drugs.)

I love my son...

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ANY ADVICE.
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Old 09-11-2011, 06:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I wish I could say something to him (jail phonecall) which would "make" (yup, I'm a control freak I guess...) him realize what a mess his life was on drugs before arrested, and that "NO" he cannot manage his life without help...

He's in jail. If he doesn't realize his life is a mess now, you can't "make" him realize it. Sorry, there are no magic words. If there were, why would we all need this Site?

My heart aches for you. Please take care of yourself. That you CAN do.
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Old 09-11-2011, 06:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I hoped for advice, not sarcasm. The site consists of words, which I believe many have found helpful.

I love my child. He is drowning in drugs. I cannot simply "take care" of myself while he kills himself.

I am not looking for magic words.
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Old 09-11-2011, 07:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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(((MTUSA))) - I'm a recovering addict, as well as a recovering codie. There was nothing anyone said or did that made me see what I was doing to myself and my life. I was quite content smoking crack 24/7, selling myself to support my habit.

I finally got locked up for longer than a day or two, and had enough clean time that I didn't want to go back to crack. I stayed clean, more or less, for about a year (yes, I dabbled), but I wasn't in recovery.

I relapsed for a couple of weeks, ended up back with the XABF#3 who also used, and when he said something about "so you lose your car, what's the big deal?" I realized I just couldn't do that any more. My car was the first thing I got that made me believe I really could get my life back together.

That was 4-1/2 years ago and I've been in recovery ever since. XABF#3 died a couple years ago.

I have an 18 year old niece, I love as much as if she were my own child. My dad and stepmom have raised her since her mom was killed in a car accident when niece was 1. I've seen her totally whacked out on liquor and anti-anxiety meds.

I've talked to her about MY recovery, where drinking/drugs will take you, but she moved out over a year ago and she doesn't want to hear it.

I can't stop her from the path she is choosing, though I sure wish I could. The "taking care of you" part comes in when I realize the best I can do is be a good example. I can't stop my dad from giving her money, can't make her get her GED, I can't make her do anything except let her learn from her consequences.

That's what led me to recovery...I got sick and tired of all the consequences. FWIW, XABF#3 went to a 2-year treatment, was locked up numerous times in county jails and prison. None of that phased him.

I pray that your son doesn't go back to the drugs, and that you can find some peace and serenity. There are a LOT of parents here who are going through or who have been through the same thing. I actually have a friend from here who lives down the road, and her son is in prison. I share my ES&H, answer any questions she has, but has her son hit his bottom? We don't know.

Hugs and prayers,

Amy
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Old 09-11-2011, 07:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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if he has not been arrested before can he qualify for a state mandated chemical dependency program ? then sober living for 60 days , the beauty of jail is there is leverage
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Old 09-11-2011, 07:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Im pretty much in the same boat as you, son 20 using not sure what , hes in a pretty bad state atm. Since he was a little boy I talked to him of the dangers of drug use, it didnt stop him from trying and then continuing ,at times I think i didnt do enough of a good job, wasnt smart enough, wasnt there enough , Im also coming to hard terms with the fact that I am helpless in getting him to recover. Im sorry what your going through I can offer my prayers to you and your family.
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Old 09-11-2011, 07:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have no sage words of advice on how to talk to your son.

I've talked to my 33-year-old addicted daughter more times than I care to remember, to no avail.

On top of that, I am a long-term recovering alcoholic/addict (21 years) and she has paid no heed to what hell I went through in my own addictions.

If ever she seeks help, I'm the last person able to help her. She needs other addicts in recovery (excluding me) who can give her guidance. I'm too close to the problem.

I am so sorry for the heartache that your son's addiction continues to bring you. As someone has said here on SR, being the mom of an addict isn't for weenies. It's a tough job.

Sending you hugs of support!
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Old 09-11-2011, 07:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I hoped for advice, not sarcasm. The site consists of words, which I believe many have found helpful.

I love my child. He is drowning in drugs. I cannot simply "take care" of myself while he kills himself.

I am not looking for magic words.


I am sorry that I upset you. I did not mean to be sarcastic.

I was always looking for the magic words that would make my AH see what he was doing and how it was affecting us. I thought it was my fault that I could not make him see this. I thought if I could just phrase it right, with enough emotion, he would finally understand and want to change.

After he was hospitalized and went through a horrifying detox I was so glad he had the alcohol out of him and the shakes would be gone and the drinking over and life would be good again. He refused any programs and any follow up doctor appointments and went right back to drinking on release. I couldn't believe that he still didn't understand how awful this was for him, me, the kids, our marriage. I thought I had failed to explain it to him properly. I had failed everyone.

That's when I finally went to Alanon. I thought they would give me a lesson on how to make him stop. I thought they had the tried and true way of getting an alcoholic to stop. I was furious at my first meeting when they were telling me that I had the problem and I had to change and that there were no magic words. I felt cheated. I had looked for so long for the magic phrase that could change everything. (I did stick with Alanon, 3 years now, and it's made a huge difference for me, although he still drinks daily.)

When things were at there worst I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I was on edge and worried all day, every day. When I see pictures of me from that time I look so different from before those awful days, and thankfully, so different from now. I didn't mean to sound trite. I just found, for me, everything is easier to handle when I make sure to look after myself, to make myself eat when everything had no taste, to rest even when sleep would not come. When everything was spinning out of control, that is all I could control.

My heart does ache for you. I am sorry my words added to your pain.
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Dear Amy,

Thank you so much. I NEEDED to hear from a recovering alcoholic or addict. You explained so kindly, something no one else has been able to do. I can do little.

We have sent funds for phone cards (commisary in jail). If he's now saying he does not need treatment, should that stop? Would he decide we don't love him and then use that as an excuse to use when he gets out?

Just your thoughts. I could send a card every few weeks, just saying I/we loved him and no funds. Course, then he'd be mad.

Help me with this if you will. I am grateful beyond words for what you shared. Thank you so much.

Deb
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It's not so simple. We took him to a local CDC, the only one within a hundred or more miles (federal/state/city funded-taxpayers). He agreed to go, took their drug tests which confirmed oxy use (no heroin). They told him how much the fee was, and he said he had no money (hello!). They told us not to pay, as then we would be being "co-dependent."

He refused to pay. Then the center run by recovering addicts said he wasn't ready for treatment.

By the way, we were there to get a referral to a state hospital as he obviously has no health insurance. A referral is required...

That was 2 months before he was arrested.

I have heard of so many people getting help. He went willingly (not happy exactly), and was denied help.
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:26 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Hi Lonely Star,

I went through the "if I had been a better parent," or if "We had been better parents." We too, thought we had talked to all our children about drugs, and of course, they would NOT use them. I now think that is pretty typical.

The idea that kids come from bad homes, is absurd. Neither my husband nor I have ever been drug users (I tried marijuana twice-made me sick). I rarely drink, and he does have a few beers. Our children grew up in a stable home (husband has only had 2 jobs and he's mid 50's), I've been a stay at home mom.

I know we (and you) didn't teach our kids this. Even the parents who have struggled, are not to blame if their children do the same. I realize they made the choice to try drugs and became addicted.

I'm curious as to how to show love to someone who is actively using drugs. I am so sorry about your son. Get a drug kit that is oral and uses saliva. Then you don't have to ask him to pee in front of you. You can order on internet, or maybe the pharmacy has some. Anyway they are out there.

Thank you... Deb
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:31 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Hi DeVon and the Zoo Crew,

Thanks so much for sharing about your recovery and your daughter's continued struggle. What makes one user stop and others continue?

I guess that's the question we'd all like to have the answer for.

Was there anything significant that anyone said or did, that was a "wake up" call to you, or did you just decide one day, that enough was enough?

Thank you so much for your honesty and kindness.

Deb
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:38 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Dear Well Now What,

I grew up in a single parent home, with a mother who was an alcoholic. I participated in 3 interventions where she went to treatment 3 times. I attended Alanon for 7 years. The majority attending Alanon were women whose husband's were alcholics. Few parents attended. To be honest, these meetings were like reruns of I Love Lucy. We (co-dependent's) knew that we needed to take care of ourselves, but let's be honest heree. When you love someone who is an alcohol or drug user, it's pretty hard to feel good when they are dying before our very eyes. My mom was killing herelf before my very eyes. I watched this happen almost every day of my life until she died. I knew I had no control (after the 3rd treatment-failure). But let's face it, you cannot be emotionally well, when you truly love someone on alcohol or drugs. Impossible. You can only learn to put it out of your mind and function for periods of time. I am not willing to become a zombie, pretending all is well. It's not ok, and I am not a pretend woman. In fact, I think we have too many people with displaced anger, who are covering up their pain by lashing out at those who don't deserve it. I did that for those 7 years I attended Alanon. After all, that's what I was taught. To be fake, and play pretend. It's ridiculous.

Having been the child of an alcoholic, I absolutely believe that having an alcoholic for a parent (spouse?), does not compare to having an alcholic or drug addict for a child, and watching your own child die.

There is no greater love or grief, than watching a child slowly die.

Last edited by MTUSA; 09-11-2011 at 08:49 PM. Reason: I needed to state better my feelings regarding difference between a parent and one's child. It is different...
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:39 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Was there anything significant that anyone said or did, that was a "wake up" call to you, or did you just decide one day, that enough was enough?
One thing that stood out in my mind was when I went to rehab to see my then husband (also an addict). I wasn't fooling anyone with my own addictions, and at one point, the director asked to see me alone in his office.

He told me they would have a bed for me in rehab when I was ready.

That was the first time in years anyone ever got through to the emotional side of me. I felt that man's kindness. He was/is a long-term recovering addict/alcoholic himself.

A few weeks later I hit my bottom, and cried out to God for help. I was carrying 109 pounds on a 6' frame, was pregnant and had blown out most of the veins in my arms.

I was told later I was literally days away from death and had I not shown up for rehab when I did, the director was going to call the police to look for me and pick me up.

It was a low bottom for sure, but one I had to hit in order to embrace recovery.
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:50 PM   #15 (permalink)
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(((Deb))) - when I was in jail, we didn't have phone cards, but dad let me call collect once a week (those collect calls from jail are expensive!!). Yes, he did put a little money on my books, I got junk food, paper, pencils, stamps...gave most of the food away to other girls who didn't have any.

Some would say that's enabling, and he had bailed me out the first time I got arrested (that's when he found out I was addicted to crack) but he told me he'd never bail me out again (it was $650) and he didn't.

I see nothing wrong with the occasional card, as long as you don't do it with the expectation that it will help him "get it". Those darned expectations are hard to let go of and that took me a while. I'd do something, thinking it was out of kindness then get all bent out of shape if they didn't respond the way I wanted them to.

I can assure he knows you love him. That was one thing I never had doubt of...the love of my family. However, it took me getting into recovery before I appreciated it, was grateful for it and didn't just take it for granted.

Hugs and prayers,

Amy
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:03 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Amy,

THANK YOU so much. You are speaking to me, speaking your sincere and truthful thoughts. That's what I had hoped for.

I cannot put myself into the mind of someone who is an addict or alcoholic. I don't know how they think. I have proven this time and time again.

I don't want him to think we've disowned him (we haven't), but I also don't want to provide a parachute of any kind. He needs treatment where he will learn to use tools, and change his behavior.

Oh, I so appreciate your honesty and candor. I am beginning to think that NA and AA members need to show up at ALANON and give us some advice.

See, we (codependents) always...want to FIX the problem. It's not that we are trying to be controlling, it's that we can see what others can't when they are using drugs.

Makes us a little nuts, but what else is one to do when they love someone?

I love my son as your father loves you.

Thank you...

Deb
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:15 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Presently: Saying he does't need treatment.
  1. Has he shown any indication that he wants to quit?

  2. Has he been through treatment before?

  3. Has he tried anything else, like NA?

    (He'll likely be introduced to NA in prison.)
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:32 AM   #18 (permalink)
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sorry you are going throu all of this...but you have AL ANON..go back and keep going back....the room carries lots of wisdom in those rooms...or NAR ANON will help too..youre lucky if you have one where you live, i dont...but i keep going back, and keep working on me and my recovery of my codependeny...i work and work this program every single day for me and my SANITY....

your son needs to hit rock bottom, and that is the only way you can help him....

its our kids...its a struggle with tough love..
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:34 AM   #19 (permalink)
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NA and AA members need to show up at ALANON and give us some advice.

they do...but i also go to AA and NA meetings...you can also do that too
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:40 AM   #20 (permalink)
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MTUSA,

My father was an alcoholic and we watched him die slowly while he made everyone around him completely miserable for decades. As adult children of alcoholics it affects us very deeply when someone we love falls into addiction... it is so very painful because of our helplessness that we felt as children.

My brother is an addict and his drug of choice is alcohol but will add everything under the sun once intoxicated. He has been in jail over 20 times since he was 13 years old (the year he started drinking from daddy's bar). He has been in 7 rehabs and knows recovery backwards and forwards. During his sober moments he would actually open buildings and lead meetings. He is abstinent today but not really in recovery.

My mother is a 5 star enabler and she ran interference with lawyers, bail bonds and court ordered treatments for decades. My brother should have gone to prison many times but hot shot expensive lawyers got him "deals" and a bed in a rehab instead... usually a state funded rehab.

With only 1 out of 10 wanting treatment and rehab being able to get a bed it is unfair when someone is being "forced" into rehab when they have zero interest in getting sober... it is taking that bed from someone else who may truly want recovery. That is why those people wouldn't let your son take a bed when he clearly was not "ready" for rehab.

The catch 22 of addiction is that in order to get sober the addict must desire sobriety above all else and be willing to do anything and everything under the sun to get it. We cannot love them to sobriety nor can we force them with incarceration or threats.

That is why many of us have found peace by turning over our loved one to our Higher Power because we are powerless ourselves to effect or force the change we desire so much. It has been my faith that has sustained me at the most difficult times when I was sure that my loved ones were going to die ... both of them are on a good path right now and they didn't die but the truth is that they are both severe alcoholics and either could relapse at any time. Living with that fact and finding and keeping serenity for ourselves is the challenge that all of us face each day.

Can you buy books for your son in jail? Many times they allow you to buy through Amazon and have them delivered straight to jail if you cannot give books directly. Check this out ... a great book to send him would be Beautiful Boy ... it is the true story of a codependent father whose son gets addicted and he pours his heart and his life into "saving" Nick. One of the best books to help others understand how addiction affects the family ever written.

Sending cards and letters are very appropriate ... he is in a prison of the addicted self ... let him know you love him but cannot support or help feed the addiction. Small gifts and commissary is not enabling in MY OPINION... jail is a difficult and hard place and a cup of cocoa or chocolate bar in not the same as giving cash to an active user.

My prayers are with you and your son ...
__________________
Life with an active alcoholic is like going down in an elevator to h*** together with both having the ability to push the button and choose what floor they wish to get off on. Don't wait until your shoes are on fire like I did!
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