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Old 02-24-2015, 07:44 AM
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Question for those in Recovery

Please don't be offended, but as the mother of an AS who has been through hell and back (both of us), I want to know how to walk the fine line between "reminding" him of why he is in this position or focusing on the future in a positive manner.

It's difficult being positive and I don't want to encourage plans that are probably unattainable now, or at least in the near future. I want to be realistic without crushing his spirit. Actually, deep down, I want to scream and rant and remind him of all the things he has put us through. I know that would be detrimental as well. I just don't know how to speak to him sometimes. I am VERY supportive of his recovery efforts, mentally, physically, and financially.

For those in recovery....how do you want to be treated by those who's lives you've impacted by your alcoholism or drug abuse?What is the most helpful thing a family member can say to you that would aid in your recovery?

Thank you.
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Old 02-24-2015, 07:55 AM
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The most useful thing is to stay out of it. He knows why he's in this position, and he may still choose to drink again. But you won't in any way have control of that situation. I know you want to 'help'; you can't. You're already supporting him financially, right?

You don't 'need' to be positive or negative, because it won't make any difference except to give him the impression you'll take on his burden for him.

My suggestion as a sober A, is that you allow him to work his own way through this. Have you attended Al-anon meetings yet? I'm sure you'll find lots help there from people who have been in the same situation.
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Old 02-24-2015, 07:57 AM
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For me, the less said the better. I don't want to be "reminded" of the mess I've gotten myself into, and I don't want someone who really doesn't understand how I'm feeling to tell me how I should feel.

Probably the best thing you can do is to treat him the way you would if none of this drama was happening. If he has responsibilities to meet at home, insist that he meet them. Otherwise, talk about a good book you read, a movie you saw, a news story or whatever. Don't make him and his "situation" the focus of your interactions.
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Old 02-24-2015, 07:59 AM
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I'm not an A, but having grown up with a highly codependent mother, I can safely say that your input is resented and mistrusted and best kept to yourself. The best thing you can do is have loving but clear and firm boundaries. And like Lexie says, to have ways of relating to him that have nothing to do with his life choices you disapprove of.
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Old 02-24-2015, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
For me, the less said the better. I don't want to be "reminded" of the mess I've gotten myself into, and I don't want someone who really doesn't understand how I'm feeling to tell me how I should feel.

Probably the best thing you can do is to treat him the way you would if none of this drama was happening. If he has responsibilities to meet at home, insist that he meet them. Otherwise, talk about a good book you read, a movie you saw, a news story or whatever. Don't make him and his "situation" the focus of your interactions.
yup.
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Old 02-24-2015, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by INgal View Post
I just don't know how to speak to him sometimes
this really stuck out to me as i completely relate to this in regards to ras. what i did early on (good or bad) was i just stopped talking if all i could talk about was addiction/recovery. that was awkward!

i then started to apply a concept a dad here said to me - take addiction out of the equation. this didn't become workable for me until i became healthier in my own self care. wasn't much to talk about outside of addiction if i spent all my time obsessing about addiction!

recently i was questioning, in my thoughts, how i wasn't real happy with how ras was communicating with me. thinking he could be more loving, respectful, understanding, supportive, compassionate, etc. there's a saying that when you're pointing the finger you have 4 more pointing back at you. so now i find myself practicing the communication i would like from him in the ways i communicate to him. power of example maybe?

just some thoughts your post brought to mind. it is a fine line. as we hear over and over - taking care of ourselves, our own needs, and keeping ourselves in the mainstream of life really can help the process.

sending good thoughts to you and your son!
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Old 02-24-2015, 08:50 AM
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INgal,

Hi there. This is the second time that I've seen that you are concerned that your AS' future plans are not realistic. You might be the first to pick disordered thinking up. Are you possibly seeing signs of a secondary diagnosis? I guess it is hard to know how far out there these plans are, but you are concerned. I know last week he wanted to be a MD.

That is a tough question I think, "how to support future plans but not unrealistic plans."

As a parent, this question is best animated in "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." Hermie the elf wants to be a dentist. But he is stuck making toys for a living. Boy is he a thorn in his Elf supervisor's suspender. Clearly he must have studied dentistry off camera though, because he was ready! Who would ever think the abominable snow man would someday be his patient!? And that one famous patient segued into a life of caring for elven teeth.

We just don't know entirely what paths our lives will take. So maybe the best approach is to ask questions about the future goals and why it calls to him. Ask him how he would pursue these goals. And just listen without criticism or suggestions or a Google search of schools with that program or a big story about someone famous who made it in via an alternative path. Just be.
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Old 02-24-2015, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
For me, the less said the better. I don't want to be "reminded" of the mess I've gotten myself into, and I don't want someone who really doesn't understand how I'm feeling to tell me how I should feel.
I needed to read this to remind MYSELF to mind my business when it comes to my AH.

Good words right here!
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
I don't want someone who really doesn't understand how I'm feeling to tell me how I should feel.
Even though I am a non-A who is in recovery for Codependency & ACoA issues, *I* don't want to talk to someone about my recovery if they haven't walked in my shoes. Sometimes I just don't want to talk about it at all because I just need a mental break when I'm at home with my family.

Having said that, I also agree with Lexie that none of that negates him managing his responsibilities in the household & being accountable as a member of the family.
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by INgal View Post
For those in recovery....how do you want to be treated by those who's lives you've impacted by your alcoholism or drug abuse?
With respect & affection. When I'm in a good way, if I need help, I'll ask for it. When I'm in a bad way, I'll resent anyone who offers it.
Originally Posted by INgal View Post
What is the most helpful thing a family member can say to you that would aid in your recovery?
Occasionally, it would be helpful to be told that someone cares.
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:45 AM
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One other suggestion. If he's moping around and complaining to you about how his life is over, etc. (wallowing in self-pity), you can just say something like, "I'm sorry you're feeling that way. Let me know if I can do something to help." That way, the ball stays in HIS court and you don't have to go through the agonizing (for both of you) exercise of trying to figure out what he wants. But you've left the door open for him to come to you if he wants advice or suggestions.
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Old 02-24-2015, 11:45 AM
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THANK YOU ALL! I really appreciate the info. Common sense would tell me that I need to keep my advice/thoughts to myself unless asked. It just helps to hear it. Many times I hold everything in and it builds until I have to deal with an inconvenience that was either directly or indirectly caused by alcoholism. And then I blow, like Vesuvius. I realize it is unfair.
My goal is to keep distance, keep emotions in check, show my support, and get on with my life. Thank you for the help. You are all a font of wisdom.
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Old 02-24-2015, 11:48 AM
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Codejob, wonderful analogy. I can see that things could change on a dime for him, but sometimes HE can't see it. He has always followed the beat of his own drum and it worked. Legal issues are throwing a huge wrench into his plans and he has a hard time waiting for the final outcome.
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Old 02-24-2015, 08:25 PM
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What I'm going to say isn't going to help much at all because the parent/child relationship is one that is very different. Within a marriage if one person gets fed up enough they walk away. As a mother... whole different story. When I was going through outpatient recovery there were certain sessions where we got mixed in with young adults (a lot of us were old enough to be their parents). Honestly it drove a lot of us crazy because there was a maturity level that just wasn't there which made it difficult for us. That said the stuff that was driving these young whippersnappers;-) crazy about their parents that are what NOT to do were:
-Micro managing recovery. This included demands for details of how many drugs, with whom and for how often. LOT of pressure there
-Telling them to stop drinking (or drugs,most of these kids were drugs) and then as a parent continuing to to do the things they weren't allowed to do.
-Flying off the handle in anger but expecting the kids not to
-Endless reminders of the fact they were being financially supported and how could you have done this to me?
-Micromanaging their own children's futures

Can you tell I witnessed a lot screaming parents and young adults? Wasn't a pretty sight. Decide how much you want to support him and under what conditions and if he doesn't meet them clip the wings and let him fly. Otherwise basically stay out of the minutia.

Even as an adult after having been reminded ad nauseum of all the things I had done I ultimately got tired of all of my misdeeds being brought up. This is really about your anger that you need to process through but other outside help may be a better venue than your son.

Best wishes
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Old 02-24-2015, 10:21 PM
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INgal,

Although it probably really doesn't seem like it, the absolute best thing we can do to help is often through programs such as Alanon or Celebrate Recovery. Anytime you're ready, there is probably a meeting within reach.
http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/local-meetings
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Old 02-25-2015, 04:17 AM
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Yeah, my mother often brings it up - usually in an over-the-top congratulatory way, but I don't want my past drinking to define me. Hope that helps xxx
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Old 02-25-2015, 06:02 AM
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Thank you again. Yes, I went to my first AlAnon meeting last week, and will be going Friday. Im having such a hard time with all of this.
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