Tough Love; It works!<-----

Old 10-29-2007, 08:32 AM
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Tough Love; It works!<-----

I am posting this here... If it can help ONE person I'll be happy.. If it doesn't help ANYONE I still will be happy; because I am getting this stuff out of my system.. I'll try to keep it short; it probably won't be though.

Alcoholism and drug addiction run all over my mother and fathers side of the family. My sister who is 35 spent years panhandling on the streets of NYC for Heroin. She now has 9 years clean. What helped her get her act together was losing her son to CPS. She fought her b-tt off to get him back.. and she did..

But I am not going to get into her story I am going to get into MY story!

I never got into the heavy drugs; I am a prescription drug addict..I also tend to with alcohol.. but I like Vicodin, Tramadol and Valium alot better than alcohol.

When I was 16 years old I suffered my first panic attack while walking down one of the hallways of my highschool. It was so bad that I was rushed to the ER. My Heartrate was skyrocketing.. I kept getting these panic attacks.. tests were done (for adrenal, thyroid, you name it) they all came back negative.. My parents brought me to a psychiatrist and I was prescribed Ativan. It worked; the panic attacks went away. I was switched from Ativan, to Xanax Klonopin Valium through the years.. and then started to abuse those precriptions.

After I got married in 2000 I moved from my hometown of NY to Florida. I guess I was in a bit of "culture shock" so I started drinking 24/7. I was in unfamiliar territory, away from family and lonely. I started drinking 24/7.. I wound up in detox twice in 2 months..I stopped drinking..

My daughter was born in 2004.. When she was 6 months old.. I developed peripheral neuropathy in my feet. (my feet were numb and I felt pain).. I saw a dr. maybe 7-8 months later; and he prescribed me Tramadol AKA Ultram (it's a synthetic opiate).. I loved it.. It took the pain in my feet away and left me feeling high as a kite.. I remember my daughter was 14 months old.. I would get high on it while taking care of a 1.5 yr old. Not a very good mother.. not a mother FIT to take care of an almost 2 year old... when I ran out of it I would abuse the valium my psychiatrist was prescribing.

I can get into more; but I don't want this to end up being a really long post (I friggin hate long posts)..

In May 2007 I WAY overdid it with Valium.. I am lucky to be alive today. I told my husband what I did and I checked myself into rehab.. The first 7-10 days were a complete and total blurr. I remember distinctly On day 11 I asked my husband if he would come and pick me up.. He said he would; and I could stay in the house long enough untill the divorce papers were final.. He had allready talked to lawyers.. He wanted to petition the courts to take away my rights as a mother, he wanted to take my name off the house..and wanted a divorce. If i had left rehab against medical advice I would have LOST everything!!! He wanted me to stay the duration of the program..28 days.. I did..... It was very hard to focus on the program..I was scared I was going to get served with divorce papers in there..

I am angry at my husband for not giving me much support while i was in rehab but looking back; maybe I didn't deserve it.. I will say one thing though.. I know he loved me and still does.. he did come to family therapy sessions, brought me clothes, my name it.. I needed those threats.. I know if I am to relapse today and he is to find out about it I WILL LOSE EVERYTHING!!! getting high on Vicodin and tramadol isn't worth losing my daughter, my house, my husband..

I have posted about forgiveness on the boards.. I am finding it hard to forgive my husband for the threats.. but he did what he had to do to protect himself and my daughter..because of it I am clean today.. I am also clean because I want to be clean..

He played tough love.. You are all friends and family members of Substance abusers.. You all love an addict.. But comming from an addict, we lie, cheat.. we love our drugs; and alot of the time we put them ahead of our family.. If you have an addict in your life who is still in active addiction, it may be time to put some "threats" in place.. It may help your loved one get his/her act in order.. It sure as h-ll helped me get my act in order.. I hate to say this but Rehab statistics are grim.. They say that over 90% of people that walk out of rehab WILL use again in their lifetime.. Tough love is probably MORE successfull than rehab!!! It's less expensive too "wink." My insurance denied my rehabilitation stay..

I hope this post helps at least one person, I know we have loads of lurkers too.. people who don't post at all.. It helped me too write it too..

I wish you all lots of love and luck.. and for some people it may be time too look after yourself.. and not your friend or family member that may tend to put their drug of choice in front of you.
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:50 AM
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Hi Liz!

Glad to see another RA over here on this forum. I actually came on this forum because I'm so codependent (a codie) and knew I would probably get lots of good advice and support (I have!!).

It's been humbling to see what we have put our F&F's through. They'll be the first to say they don't always do everything right, but they ALWAYS love their addict - recovering or not.

More people will be along soon. There is tons of support here. They help me with my codie behaviors, I try to help them with my experience as an A, and now an RA.

I'm really glad you posted here and are staying on the addicts forum, too.

Hugs and prayers!

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Old 10-29-2007, 08:59 AM
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It took courage to share that, and, as a mother of an addict, I want to say thank you.

Maybe what I am about to share may help you with forgiving your husband, I hope so.

I too had to stop enabling my son. I had to stop giving him a soft place to land when he got in trouble. I had to let him live on the street when living in my home made it become a war zone. I had to say no to giving him money for anything, although I would still meet him and buy him lunch if he was hungry. I had to stop giving him cigarettes every day, money for bus fare that was used for drugs, and I had to stop bailing him out of jail and recognize that maybe jail was where his HP wanted him to be. There was more that I had to do or stop doing, but I think you get my gist.

I never once thought of this as tough love, because my love for my son never stopped, not even on his worst day. It wasn't about him at all, it wasn't to punish him or to make him get clean.

What I had to do was about ME. It was about reclaiming my home as a safe, peaceful place to be. It was about not allowing myself to be drawn into hell with him, although I was for a while anyway. It was about me having panic attacks and night terrors because I had a front row seat to his drama. It was about being so exhausted and sick that I had no choice but to drag my neurotic butt to a meeting and find help for myself before I had a complete collapse.

I love my son with all my heart and I tried everything I knew to stop him from using. In the end, I had to surrender and admit I was powerless over his addiction. I knew that I could not live in his addiction and my recovery at the same time, it just wasn't possible.

I was able to do that by saying a prayer each morning asking God to do for my son what I could not and then trusting that He would. That lets me live a happy and healthy life today, even though I have not seen or heard from my son in over 3 years. That's not about being tough, that's about surviving.

I think you and I are at the same place with how this works. Letting go of our addicts and letting go of any thoughts that we can save them when they won't save themselves, is the only way I know for either one of us to survive.

Your husband made his decisions to save himself and your child. He probably knew that he could not save you. He left the consequences for your actions in your hands.

I am so grateful for you that however it worked, it has given you the motivation you need to take good care of yourself.

Every time a recovering addict shares here, you each bring a beacon of hope to those of us who wait and wonder. Each time you share, I know there is hope for even the saddest case.

From this mother's heart, thank you again.

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Old 10-29-2007, 10:38 AM
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Thank you for sharing, you made my day! As a mom, I always wonder if this or that will matter, even when I know God is in control. Your post gave me hope, thanks.
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Old 10-29-2007, 12:53 PM
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Thankyou for sharing today I just posted regarding my AS, your right stats on rehabs oare not good. Only a stepping stone to give them the tools they need. That itself is a wonderful thing however when they step out that front door its up to them. We have tried everything. You helped me today to make a big decision. As a parent tough love is the hardest thing to do we worry about suicide, freezing to deathe etc. but we have done all we can. To keep helping him he will put us in to bankruptc. Your spouse sounds like a good man one that loves you and your family. Thankyou so much.
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Old 10-29-2007, 01:18 PM
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Cool So True!

Lizrox--thanks so much for your honesty!

My husband is a heroine addict. For a while he was on methadone--got off that all by himself (10,000 kudos to him!!) and was clean for a year and a half. Then--pain from a car wreck led to pain killers, then right to heroine almost overnight.

Bottom line is he definitely wants to come off H and he is going to try Suboxone.

In the meantime---my life has become a mess. I no longer contact my friends or family, as I am always having to make excuses for him. NOBODY knows what is going on. They just think he is "sick" a lot.
Because of his addiction I cannot have a normal life. I can't make new friends, cannot have people over. My nerves are so shot, that I quit job, school, everything.

I love my husband with all that I am--and I sure hope Suboxone will work, b/c otherwise he said he will go cold turkey.
He knows he will loose me if he continues with the Heroine. Maybe not loose me thru divorce--but maybe to a!

My heart just breaks for him *everyday* and I just want my "clean" husband back. He is amazing!! **He is amazing now too--just sick**

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Old 10-29-2007, 01:29 PM
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Liz, Thanks for sharing. I am the mom of a heroin/crack addict. She is 21. I don't think of it as practicing tough love with her. I think of it as setting boundaries that will help me to stay well. Loving an addict can kill you if you don't take care of yourself. I was so close to suicide a year ago last June when my daughter relapsed. I chose life. I did not decide to be mean to my daughter, just let her live her own life and I will live mine. I see this as the gentler approach to loving her. If I keep enabling her, all I am doing is helping her to kill herself. I won't do that. Hugs, Marle
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Old 10-29-2007, 01:41 PM
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Thanks Liz,
My husband is a crack addict, I finally told him Ive had enough, Im not taking his calls and Im getting things in the works to get full custody of his son. Im not in anyway trying to be mean, Im trying to protect all of us. I know the way things were my husband would never get clean.
All said in done Im not sure we will ever be a family again but I do hope in the end he's able to really be a father to our son.
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Old 10-29-2007, 01:47 PM
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Sounds like your stinkin' thinkin' is recovering too and you are letting go of resentments. Way to be honest with yourself and the rest of us. Healthy thinkin will lead to healthy livin" You are doing so well !!!!!
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Old 10-29-2007, 03:22 PM
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Sometimes you just have to let go.. My parents did that with my older sister; and by the grace of g-d she is still alive today... I hid my addiction from my parents for years..

It's hard for me to see it through a parents prospective.. You all must be heartbroken, not knowing what the H-LL to do.. thinking YOU did something wrong as a parent.. you didn't.. don't blame yourselves.. there were nights I heard my mother in tears thinking SHE did something wrong to contribute to my sisters heroin addiction.. but she did finally let go.. there is only so much you as parents can do..but set some boundries, and just pray..

Girlfriends, wives, husbands, boyfriends.. you also have to try to set boundries.. and take care of YOURSELVES.. stop enabling.. if the addict wants to destroy themselves there is NOTHING that you can really do..sometimes you just have to let go..

When I was 18 I dated an alcoholic for 4 years. He would emotionally and physically abuse me and i kept running back for more. the day after his tirades he always PROMISED it would never happen again.. but it did..and I stayed with him because I LOVED him and thought he would change.. he never did..

There is only so much rehab can do. You are protected in rehab..they teach you relapse prevention, coping skills, give you therapy.. but I have heard of many out of towners who just left rehab, went to the airport and the first place they hit was the bar....

I posted my story hoping that some of you will try to start practicing tough love..if you aren't allready.. It worked for me; and I hope it works for all of you that are practicing it..

Much Love,

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Old 10-29-2007, 03:45 PM
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Thanks for the Tough Love advice. My son has been back for a a few mos. now.
He was making a real effort. But now as things aren't going smoothly he is not coping and the drinking is accelerating along with the lies and all the rest.
I am seeing with my own eyes that he just does NOT deal with everyday responsibilities.He lives life w/o integrity and then lies to try to present to those around him that he is. I am giving his food + shelter but nothing else. He finally got a warehouse job but lost that after a week.Then he lied and said he had the job until it is obviouse he is not at work today. I have to think carefully about how I want to react.
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Old 10-29-2007, 03:59 PM
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So many of us have suffered and I give you all a hug. I believe in tough It took me many years to come to terms with the fact I couldnt help my son. We now have a great understanding (thanks goodness) that we both love each other but we just cant live with one another.
Good Luck to you all. Be strong and stand firm.... thats what they need.
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Old 10-29-2007, 04:02 PM
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After hating my kids for all the lies.... time after time... it finally occured to me one day how much alike we are...

They lied - about everything. I'll quit. I'll stop. This is the last time. I promise. I'll call you.

But *I* also lied!! About everything. I'll never let you back. I'll never talk to you again. I'll never let you have the car. You may not live in this house "if".

Overall, it comes down to actions, not words. For both of us.

Just as my daughter, mom and sister have each found their own way to stay sober, so have I found my own way to deal with the active addiction still in our lives.

None of us asked for this, but each of us is learning from it.

One of the things I often tell newcomers to Alanon is to go to a few open AA or open NA meetings... and listen for the gratitude toward those who finally said, "no". When I heard that in those meetings, when I heard someone say that the one who saved their life was a wife who left or a girlfriend who said "no more"... it gave me strength to go back and do what I needed to do.

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Old 10-29-2007, 09:16 PM
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thank you ofr this. It was much needed today.
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Old 10-29-2007, 10:02 PM
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As the mother of an addict I had to learn new ways of living in recovery in order to
save my own my own mental, physical and spiritual well being. I learned to set firm boundaries, say what I meant and mean what I said, draw a line in the sand and not allow the line to be crossed. What you call threats, I refer to as boundaries or consequences. The love was always there and still is in my heart.
I think I understand what is meant by tough love. It's very difficult or tough to change from wanting to take care of a seriously afflicted loved one lost in addiction to accepting and realizing it is best for all concerned to detach, to care about the loved one, not for him/her, to let go.

Thanks for sharing your story. I've heard recovering As express gratitude for loved ones and family who set firm boundaries, said no and were consistent in allowing the addict to face his/her own consequences and reality without rescuing or allowing unacceptable behaviors.
Loved ones of As must change in order to live a more abundant and better quality of life just as addicts do. Our paths to wellness and recovery are very similar one day at a time. :day4. You are so right about the facts of the recovery odds. Recovery is a miracle, a precious gift of life for As and codies.
I wish you all the best. Hugs. Thanks.

Last edited by frankie_b; 10-29-2007 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 10-30-2007, 05:23 AM
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Thank you for posting this. It shows that RA's do realize that the family still loves them. I am a mother of a RA, and had to have my son leave, I haven't seen him since. But the one thing that will never die is my love for him. I am glad you saw what you could lose and chose to get well. I know it is hard for you, I go to rehabs and speak to the families and try to let them see there is hope for them. The patients come up and say thank you to us for being there and showing them,patients, that we still love our addict.
Your recovery is shining, please keep working on you and posting, it gives us hope for our addicts.
Hugs coming to you and your family
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Old 10-30-2007, 06:12 AM
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Congratualtions on your clean time and thanks for your honesty!

I had actually read your post about forgiveness over on the ACOA board, (I was one of the ones who responded in support of your husband....)and I think you have come light years in your own recovery. It takes a huge amount of courage to look at yourself instead of blaming others. I'm very proud of you!!!!

(((((((((big hugs from Tennessee)))))))))))
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Old 10-30-2007, 06:20 AM
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thank you for this post.i am the mother of an addict is not tough love but being tough enough to let go & let god do the this that i can not do. prayers, hope
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Old 10-30-2007, 07:14 AM
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Wow. I sure love this place!

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Old 10-31-2007, 04:19 AM
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Me too Cats! I know that if it wasnt for this place, I'd still be trying to save them. It is so wonderful to have a place to vent all and know that people understand you.
A special thanks from me.
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