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New here, advice welcome

Old 02-25-2011, 06:01 AM
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New here, advice welcome

Hi Everyone, I have an alcoholic son who is 21. When he gets drunk he uses drugs. Says he really wants to give up but only seems to manage for 1 1/2 days and then seems to drink again. He is having counselling once a week and they said if he could stop drinking for a period they would try and get him into rehab. Am worried that I am enabling too much and nagging. Am I allowed to say "why did you drink last night when you said you wouldn't" or "please don't go to the pub etc.," or is that "nagging" which you are not supposed to do. I'm also not quite sure about this enabling thing. I don't give him money although he is getting into quiet a lot of debt which will all explode soon. I do give him a home and food but have stopped doing his washing. I do give him a call to get up for work in the morning as think losing his job at this time of recession might make things too awful. It hurts so much to see him do this to himself and just don't know what to do for the best. Any advice would really help.
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Old 02-25-2011, 06:24 AM
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Welcome to the SR family!

Thank you for introducing yourself to the rest of the family. We are glad you are here.

I am sorry that your son's alcoholism is what brought you here. I want to encourage you to keep reading and posting as much as you need. We understand.

You will find lots of information and support for yourself here. I recommend reading in the sticky (permanent) posts at the top of the forum pages. They contain some of our stories and loads of wisdom from members who have walked the same path's we find ourselves on.

I can answer a question for you. You've asked your son why he drank/used after he said he wouldn't, right? He does this because that is what alcoholics/addicts do. It's frustrating to see them say one thing and do another, isn't it?

Be patient with yourself, you are beginning to find ways to stop enabling and start taking care of yourself. One day at a time.

Here is a link that help me and many other members:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...l-problem.html
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:04 AM
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Welcome, Linda!
What a tough space to be in! We feel you!

So, do a little intellectual exercise with me. You don't need to respond on this board, if you don't feel like it (or even do it at all, if you don't want!)

What if you could trust that your 21 year old son could take care of himself? That it was healthy for him to take care of himself as an adult?
No one to pay his way or feed him? No one to call and wake him up for work? No one to do anything for him at all?
What would happen? What possibilities might open up for him?

A book that has helped me is Melody Beattie's Codependent No More. You might check it out. The stickies at the top of the forum are rich in wisdom, as well.

A second thing to consider is what kind of behavior is acceptable to you?
If you try to disentangle that he is your son and you love him and he is in trouble, ask yourself what is acceptable to you?
Is he doing drugs or drinking in your home? Is that okay with you?

Part of the journey we take (certainly I have taken since finding this board) is in taking the focus off my A and thinking about me and what I need and deserve in a relationship. I found some powerful answers in those questions and still and exploring it.

Welcome to a wonderful support.
You can make it through!

Hugs, peace
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:57 PM
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Short answer..you are enabling..plz do read the stickies and get to alanon as soon as possible.PAIN is what motivates people out of addiction..pain of banctruptcy, losing their job,going to jail, becoming homeless, etc. When you supply wake up calls, food, shelter, etc..there is no feeling the consequences of their addiction. My daughter was 18 when I had her leave and let her wallow in her addiction..she had to feel every lonely, scary, homeless, sick, sad, hungry moment to want recovery.
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Old 02-25-2011, 01:48 PM
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Welcome to the forum, Linda!
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Old 02-26-2011, 08:58 AM
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Thanks so much for your reply. The more I read the posts the more it seems as though this is what I have to do. It sounds so obvious that they need to experience life as it will be if they continue as they are - but how on earth do I ask my son to leave? I can hardly breathe because of the pain I feel at the moment so would like to ask how you keep going? It is so true that tough love is the hardest thing. I hope that your daughter doing okay now?

Last edited by linda1; 02-26-2011 at 09:00 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-26-2011, 09:18 AM
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Hi Linda - Welcome to SR.

I had to kick my son out at 19, too. Was it easy? Hell no. Was it the only way to really help him? Yes. Nothing else worked.

When I came to SR the education I got here made my head spin - much like yours is probably doing right now. I came to understand that it wasn't about trying to control HIS behavior, it was about defining and expressing what I will and will not accept in MY life. That's called defining your boundaries. There's lots of reading here and in the real world about boundaries -- shouldn't be hard to find.

Your boundaries might be something like this:
1) An adult living in my house will pay fair room and board
2) Intoxicated people are not allowed in my house. If you are intoxicated, find another place to sleep until you are sober.
3) An adult living in my house is responsible for keeping his living space tidy and clean and will contribute regularly to other household chores
4) An adult living in my house will be treated like an adult and will not receive 'wake-up calls' to make sure he is up getting ready for work
5) If any of these house rules are not observed, you will have one week to find other living arrangements. At the end of that week the locks will be changed and any remaining possessions of yours will be given to charity.

etc...

HERE IS THE CRITICAL PART: There is absolutely NO use in creating and defining these boundaries unless you are fully prepared to follow through with #5!! Do not ever create a boundary unless you are absolutely certain you are ready to follow through with the consequences.

Nothing has to be decided today. All of the information and experiences you read about here are a LOT to process in a short time. Stick around, read all you can, and allow yourself to sit with these concepts. If you can, get to an Al-Anon meeting and attend regularly.

I hope things get better for you and your son very soon. (((Hugs)))
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