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parents of addicts, setting boundaries?

Old 06-06-2007, 08:59 AM
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parents of addicts, setting boundaries?

This afternoon my AS, husband and I will meet for a counseling session. The AS is 29 years old, two months out of a residential treatment of 28 days, unemployeed, bankrupt and demonstrating signs of using again.

I am having problems deciding what to say in the session . . . to my own son. Our family has a history of poor communication and codependency. I don't want to dredge out the sins of the past; I am anxious to move on with a new relationship, yet I want to protect myself and my husband from being used. Of course, I want a better life for my son, but I cannot make it happen. I need help, support, prayer, hugs and suggestions for making time with the counselor count.

I know the ills of a life in ruin cannot be healed in a counseling session. What would you say to your adult child in a session?
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Old 06-06-2007, 09:09 AM
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((((Guinevere))))
I know how hard this can be.
I can only comment on what seemd to happen with me...
I had to really place myself outside of the mother role in many of our conversations when doubt ran high, and I had finally fell into "protect myself" mode.
I had to look at things from the outside...as I would a friend asking, or a family member that couldn't pull at my guilt quite as much as my own son could.
What would I say to them?
Then I had to remind myself often that "I" was just as entitled to happiness as my kids were. I was someone's child too...and my life was important, not just as a mom, but as a person.
And the only way to allow for that happiness was to step back and let him find his own way.
So I laid down what I would accept in MY life, rather than stating what he needed to do in his.
It worked for me...with some weak episodes in between
I wish you well in your counseling
((((Hugs))))
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Old 06-06-2007, 09:49 AM
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((Guinevere))

Our AD is also 29 yrs old, pregnant with her 3rd child. She doesn't have custody of the other 2 children due to her addiction. She is using off & on during this pregnancy & living with her abusive boyfriend.

I, too had to seperate the "Mom" feelings (not easy, but it helps) and look at her as an adult. She has been thru an inpatient treatment and knows what to do when she is ready to start her recovery again.
So, I had to set the boundaries
can't come to our home while under the influence - she hardly ever visits. Has been there once since Christmas
Boyfriend not allowed in our home, I will not go to their house.
I will occasionally buy maternity clothes for her or baby clothes, but will not give her any money.
When she is using, my statement to her is "Your disease will not allow you to be totally honest with me, so therefore I need to end this conversation. I love you and good-bye for now." Then I hang up the phone.

Usually then I call a Program friend, and scream or cry my eyes out, but at least I'm setting boundaries with her and distancing myself from her drug abuse.

Maybe you can write down what you want to say in the session, so that you don't forget because of emotions racing during the meeting.

Wishing you & your family peace
Rita
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Old 06-06-2007, 09:54 AM
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I don't want to dredge out the sins of the past; I am anxious to move on with a new relationship, yet I want to protect myself and my husband from being used. Of course, I want a better life for my son, but I cannot make it happen.

That looks like a good start, to me.

No addict I know has ever...ever...ever given me "permission" to set a boundary. Never.

I set boundaries for me. What makes me feel better. What makes me feel less bad. What allows me to live my life. What keeps me sane.

It has nothing to do with him or his opinion.

I hope you can discuss his moving out on his own. If not at 28, then when?

There are Oxford houses and men's shelters - damned uncomfortable. But when he rises out of THOSE places based on HIS own doing... what pride he can take in that! I stole those opportunities to gain that sort of pride from my children time and time again.

Today, I know better, so I do better (at least sometimes).


I wish you the best.
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Old 06-06-2007, 10:12 AM
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just hugs, i understand how difficult it is. i try to ask myself everytime my daughter needs/wants something from me - "how is this going to help my and her our recovery?"

blessings, k
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Old 06-06-2007, 10:57 AM
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When does the light bulb pop on?

My husband is an addict, drugs and alcohol, in denial. He spent 5 days in detox with an outcome of a cocaine and alcohol abuse diagnosis. However, his mother is in serious denial, saying that he only did it "once" and that he is not an addict.

Meanwhile, she is blaming me for our marital problems, keeping the kids from her and him and spreading gossip about her son. She is also enabling him by letting him live with her free and clear.

Hello!...He is currently going through treatment in an outpatient program. He attends 4 days a week for 3 hour sessions. She is well aware of that!!!!

All the blame is being placed on me...I sent him to detox...I sent him to rehab...I caused our family to break down, etc...etc..

When does she at least realize there is a problem?

I know that it is hard for parents to realize some truths about thier children. I am a mother too, but come on. Isn't the truth as real as black or white? Right or wrong? One time or hundreds of times? He is an addict with a problem.
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Old 06-06-2007, 11:13 AM
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Sorry Guinevere about sounding so "rash" in my previous comment.

I think you should be honest and open in the sessions with your son and expect nothing less in return.

You are exactly right, one session cannont heal everything, but baby steps can. Remember, Rome was not built in one day. You must work hard and keep working hard if you want to build something great.

Set your bondaries also. That is so important. Do not let him cross those boundaries ever.

Good luck!
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Old 06-06-2007, 11:29 AM
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I've learning to "LISTEN" and just express my feelings in the very moment. There is no boundary that hasn't been explained before and there is no pleading,teaching or critical comment that hasn't been expressed. I try to show compassion for the disease of addiction and express my hope for recovery. I didn't use to be able to speak to my son either. Now I come from a place of compassion, love + emotion.
He doesn't ask for my advice or anything else. I just have unconditional love.
I HATE the disease, I remember I do love the son.
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Old 06-06-2007, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by jennchip View Post
When does the light bulb pop on?

I know that it is hard for parents to realize some truths about thier children. I am a mother too, but come on. Isn't the truth as real as black or white? Right or wrong? One time or hundreds of times? He is an addict with a problem.
Jenn, my son admitted he is an addict. It is real and true; he admits it and so do I.

My concern right now is being able to communicate when it is uncomfortable. I have always had a hard time hurting others' feelings. I have never had to face anything as painful, even childbirth, as dealing with my son's addiction. I have seen his father and siblings cry like babies. I have witnessed his detox and recovery process while in treatment. I understand his pain, now I am trying to handle and deal with my own.

I thank the Good Lord regularly that my son is not married and does not have children. I would hate to see either a wife or children suffer as I have. My deepest pain is seeing how sad and depressed my husband is.
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Old 06-06-2007, 11:38 AM
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I work daily at moving away from the pain and into all the joy in my life. I must not let my joy be in the shadow of my pain because not much willl grow in the shadows.
I've learning to "LISTEN" and just express my feelings in the very moment. There is no boundary that hasn't been explained before and there is no pleading,teaching or critical comment that hasn't been expressed. I try to show compassion for the disease of addiction and express my hope for recovery. I didn't use to be able to speak to my son either. Now I come from a place of compassion, love + emotion.
He doesn't ask for my advice or anything else. I just have unconditional love.
I HATE the disease, I remember I do love the son.
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Old 06-06-2007, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by BigSis View Post
T
I hope you can discuss his moving out on his own. If not at 28, then when?
BigSis, thanks for your words of wisdom!!

I guess you would assume that my AS is living at home. He has not lived in our home for years. He actually has his own house that is about to be repossessed. He has clean friends who have asked him to stay with them. He had his act together BD (before drugs).

I love what you stated about boundaries being about yourself. I will try to keep that in mind.
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Old 06-06-2007, 02:05 PM
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I hope your session went well...I find it is a little easier to be firm with my boundaries when i am not front and center, so I am glad for you that he is living outside your home. I agree with Big Sis...boundaries are about what is acceptable and unacceptable to me, not about attempting to change behavior. Once I gave up that thought of wanting to control (Naranon meetings and 12 step work helped me there so much) it was easier for me to learn to say what I mean without saying it mean. LIke you, I spent my life until last year trying to please everyone and i had a very hard time saying no.

Please don't forget to give yourself credit for each little step you take. This didn't happen overnight and getting better...our recovery takes time too. If you and your husband can find some Alanon or Naranon meetigns, that may help the hurt too. Addiction IS a family disease...you have my prayers and hope that you all may find recovery. Hugs
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Old 06-06-2007, 02:24 PM
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Guinevere,

I found that when my daughter first began recovery she had no clue as to what "open and honest" was. But guess what? I found neither did I. "Open and honest" requires a person taking a very good look at themself. That's painful, thus that's why a lot of addicts continue to lie to themself enabling them to stay in their addiction, just like I did when I went into denial about my daughter's problem.

One thing I've learned in the room of Al Anon is to not have expectations. Expectations are what we call pre-meditated resentments. And not having expectations went against everything I ever thought and taught. But getting knocked on my behind by addiction brought me to Al Anon meetings. And there they taught me to NOT expect much from my addict. And that when and if she got into recovery, she would have to work it at her own pace. I just think expecting openness and honesty from your son is setting yourself up for a resentment. If he's in recovery and really working at it, he'll grow into his openness and honesty, but it takes a long time. That's been my experience anyway.

Now, in the meantime, I was taught to get the focus back on me and see what needed changing in my life. I was told, "Go to Al Anon." I thought, "Naaaa." I was told again by the counselors, "Go to Al Anon!" I still thought, "I don't need that."
I was told again, "GO TO AL ANON!" I finally listened, dropped my pride and fear and went. That's the best thing I've ever done for my life. I hope you'll try some meetings. What I've learned in Al Anon has opened up a whole new relationship for me and my daughter, one I wouldn't trade for the world.

Big hugs to you cause this mama understands,

Hangin' In
P.S. Forgive me if this seems off subject, but I read somewhere in here about openness and honesty coming from the addict. And that just rung a bell with me, thus my comments. As always, take what you like and leave the rest.
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Old 06-06-2007, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by cece1960 View Post
Then I had to remind myself often that "I" was just as entitled to happiness as my kids were. I was someone's child too...and my life was important, not just as a mom, but as a person.
And the only way to allow for that happiness was to step back and let him find his own way.
So I laid down what I would accept in MY life, rather than stating what he needed to do in his.
It worked for me...with some weak episodes in between
I wish you well in your counseling
((((Hugs))))
Cece
Thank you for your words of wisdom. I am amazed at the helpful responses members of SR have to offer. My family is in the infant stages of discussion about setting necessary boundaries. I appreciate your comments about my having to set my own boundaries. My boundaries are about what is acceptable to me. I even feel wishy-washy about what I want to set as my boundaries. (Is that crazy?)

I especially liked the reminder that I am someone's child too. I doubt my 96 year old mom would want her daughter to suffer from drug-induced codependency.

I have experience with many weak episodes!

(((Cece)))
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Old 06-06-2007, 07:00 PM
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Guinevere, It is all so overwhelming to even know where to begin. I understand your wishy washy feeling. Somedays I feel really strong and think about what I want as my boundries..........my trouble is sticking to them. Now I am trying not to set boundries that I know I will not be able to keep. I also have to keep in mind that what is good for someone else may not be good for me. Maybe a start would be just a few things that you know that you would be able to stick to.

Yes, we do deserve to have a good life regardless of what our AD's an AS's do but it sure is hard to enjoy ourselves when we live with this weight that we are carrying.
I'm trying to be happy........but the saddness overwhelms me at times. I just can't get past knowing that this is my daughter's life. My only girl who I never thought in my wildest dreams would be living this horrible life. Having so much trouble moving past this.
I'm sorry Guinevere...........I didn't mean to ramble on. I guess I'm not having a very good day. I just want it all to go away.

I pray for you and your son...........
Love............Lois
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