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Trying to keep the focus on me.

Old 01-12-2012, 12:17 PM
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Trying to keep the focus on me.

Hi there,

I'm a recovering alcoholic with 2 years in the program. Before I slipped in 2009 I had 19 years--with no program. (No wonder I slipped!) I'm glad for the slip, though--it brought me into contact with my Higher Power.

I'm anxious about my 15-year-old son coming home from court-ordered rehab. He was smoking pot, and selling his Adderall and my Ativan to kids at school. I was in deep denial.

I am going to my first Alanon meeting tomorrow with my husband, and will continue to attend with my sponsor next week, until I've formed the habit of going on my own. I'm committed to learning how to detatch with love, but I haven't done it yet, so I don't actually know how to do it. He has played me like a fiddle, lied to my face, and generally made home life miserable. I'm sure his ADHD doesn't help.

I don't know how it's going with him in rehab--we have a family session once a week, the counselor calls me and makes general comments (HIPPA laws, I guess.) I've written him letters, but none in return, which isn't surprising.

Truth be told, it's a relief not to have him around for awhile--I didn't realize how exhausting the tense situation at home had become for my husband and me. But he will be home in two weeks, and I am driving myself crazy trying to think of every contingency, what the rules will be, etc.

I am also trying to prepare myself for a relapse (his, not mine) and praying that I will be able to let go with love if in fact that happens.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. But I'd love to hear anything you have to say about teens coming home from rehab, especially if you had a teen go through it.

I'm sure Alanon will help a lot, but I am struggling in this moment, so I reach out. I should be working with another alcoholic, but I find I don't have a lot of energy these days. Am going to AA meetings, calling my sponsor, etc.

I do believe that all is exactly as it should be, but I worry about my anger flaring up, and the whole cycle starting all over again, and I understand in my head, but not my heart, that I can choose to step outside of that craziness.

Gosh, I have no idea what I'm trying to say...maybe just that I'm scared.
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:26 PM
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Ann
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I am the mother of an addict, however my son is much older than your son and has been at this for years and years.

What helped me find my balance was meetings, Al-anon and CoDA helped me more than I can ever say.

Your son is young. I often suggest (regarding older addicts) that "we" are not the solution, and that living at home is not their only option. Your son is only 15 though, so it may be good to set boundaries and make them clear when he returns.

Take a read around, especially the "sticky" threads at the top of this forum, and you will find a lot of helpful information.

Again, welcome to SR.
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:33 PM
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Thanks for responding!

Yes, I'm reading tons of threads. The post that made me sign up was one by the mother of a 22-year-old pot smoker (can't recall her name right off). The advice she received on that thread was so excellent that I've bookmarked the post for quick reference.

We learn what we need to learn, when we need to learn it--IF we want to learn it. And I do. I want to learn how to stop enabling him.

He IS young. I've read that many parents whose children have OD'd wished they had stopped enabling their children sooner.
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:12 PM
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but I worry about my anger flaring up
One of the most important and life changing things I've learned in this journey, is that nothing is personal. It's a choice to make or take anything personally. I intellectually grasped that before I accepted it, and it was really hard when I was face to face with my daughter when she was acting out.

When she was out of control, my habit of wanting to control kicked in, and then I'd get really angry because I couldn't control her or her actions, anger, pain, etc. I was so focused on her issues I didn't realize it had become an issue for me. My responses to all of it did not resemble love in any way, shape, or form. It didn't feel like it, either.

So my therapist asked me, what does love look like to you? And that's how I began to change my responses. I treat her with the love and respect I want; it does not matter how she treats me. I am lovingly firm with my personal boundaries and we both benefit from it. I had to fake it 'til I made it, though, because it was so foreign to me.

If you're able, please consider seeing a therapist who specializes in addictions and families. Your son's rehab can probably give you a few referrals. The one on one time to work on changing my responses has been invaluable.

Congrats to you on your recovery!
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:23 PM
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hi and welcome,


My son turning 21 soon just returned from rehab, since your son is much younger you can enforce stricter rules, mine seems to be doing fine atm its only been about a week or so but i definelty see improvement hes not hanging around with his "old" friends, broke it off with his gf saying she gave him stress , shes a user as well but apparently has stopped herself,i do see him struggling though , he gets panic attacks at little things i think its just facing life without the drugs ,for a fact i know he hasnt relapsed to his DOC but he is going back on suboxones. Your son is really young, mine is 21 but i swear hes like a 10 year old , honestly speaking im prepared for ups and downs, at such a young age one must learn from ones mistakes?? yes?, i hope so , rehab wasnt a cure and he didnt magically come back and everything is all better but it did teach him alot about himself , his drug use and tools to stay clean, for now its helping, just try to breath and relax because if nothing there is always hope
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Old 01-12-2012, 02:06 PM
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Chino,

You touched upon something I "know" but haven't squarely faced: my control issues.

My Higher Power has helped me let go more than I've ever been able to. But my son will test this. Therapy--yes. Alanon, yes. And my sponsor has told me many times "it's nothing personal," and I can finally feel what that means.

The thing that has me confounded: Beyond not using, and not bringing drugs into the house, what are realistic expectations of him? Behavior at home and at school? Chores? (Not worried about his grades at this point--recovery comes first.)

Also--what about electronics? He uses them to isolate. My husband says (and I tend to agree) that when he gets home, there will be no cell phone or video games, and no TV in his room. He can use the computer downstairs, where we can keep an eye on him, and watch TV with us. He can earn back his TV, but the phone will be the last thing he gets back, and I don't want to return the XBox at all--he's on it constantly. I'd like him to try getting into other activities, but I don't want to overwhelm him.

Does this all sound too punitive and/or controlling, or fair? He can earn back some of his electronics, but they're a privelege, not a right. Right?

Also, there will be some sort of aftercare--maybe an outpatient group with other teens that meets 3 times a week for 3 hours at a time. But I'm wondering whether to give him a choice to to attend AA meetings with me M-F. Haven't discussed \with his counselor yet. He doesn't need to sit with me, but I'm thinking it might be more "real" than a group.

I'd love to hear anyone's perspectives on any of this. Thanks!
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ISOHumility View Post
Also--what about electronics? He uses them to isolate. My husband says (and I tend to agree) that when he gets home, there will be no cell phone or video games, and no TV in his room. He can use the computer downstairs, where we can keep an eye on him, and watch TV with us. He can earn back his TV, but the phone will be the last thing he gets back, and I don't want to return the XBox at all--he's on it constantly.

Sounds like a plan to me.

I started seeing red flags going up with my youngest when she was 15. We were doing individual and family counseling. All the other resources I turned to said they could not offer any help until she attempted suicide or ran away. (That is a story in and of itself). Shortly thereafter she did run away, with a 24-year-old predator.

Long story short, she was in "the system" for 16 months, 4 months in juvenile lockup, and in a foster home for high risk teens for 12 months.

St. Frances was the placement agency, so I had a worker with them and also one with Social Services.

I had to make out a behavioral contract before she came home. The workers helped me with it. She had to read it and either sign it, or she could "age out" in the system.

It had to do with the things I would not accept. I wouldn't accept behavior such as screaming, door-slamming, name-calling, etc. If she crossed the line, she lost her phone privileges and we're not talking a cell phone either. She didn't have one. She had no TV in her room, and no gaming system. She was only allowed on my computer when school work required it.

She was also subjected to random UA's by St. Frances ( we were under an aftercare program with St. Frances for a year after her release back to me, with the worker doing regular home checks and school checks). She was required to get weekly counseling. She was also required by the court to get a part-time job after school. She has never been out of work since.

I thought neither of us would ever get past that painful period in our lives, but we did, and both took many good things away from the experience.

She's almost 24 now, and we have a pretty good relationship.
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:52 PM
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wish i could help you with this. i do want to welcome u to S.R. this site saved my sanity. i have a son & grandson,19, (his son) that just can't seem to get it right. my son tries but not hard enough. my grandson is just not ready & says he likes to do drugs.
both are in prison as of now. prayers are going up for u & your son,
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:45 PM
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Thank you, hope213. I'll pray for your son and your grandson, as well.

I know that prayer helps, if only to connect me to God and his goodness and mercy. And all will be well, for all of us, in God's time.
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