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Value of a Sober House?

Old 03-04-2012, 09:43 AM
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Value of a Sober House?

Hello, everyone. I'm new to this community and am so happy to have stumbled upon the site. I am seeking some advice regarding my AS. I learned in Fall 2011 that he was using heroin. He attempted a five-week Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), but tested postive after a few weeks even though he was taking Suboxone. He dropped out, used up all his Suboxone, and the heroin use started again. He recently was arrested for shoplifting (his first offense, stealing to support his addiction), and the day after, went into an in-patient rehap program for 12 days. The day after he was released, he used again, and the two days after that. He was then clean for two days, then relapsed again for one day. He has now been clean for two days, in anticipation of his court hearing where he expects to be drug tested. He expects to be put on probation as a result of the criminal offense and ordered to submit to frequent random drug testing. He was supposed to start an IOP the week he was released, but didn't do it. Monday starts the second week since his release and he plans to start the IOP on Monday. He knows he should be going to NA meetings, but also hasn't done that.

I allowed him to come home after rehab with the understanding that he would aggressively pursue recovery. Obviously he hasn't done that so far, but we are supposed to sit down today to work out a structured daily plan. He says he wants to quit, but his behavior suggests that he doesn't want it badly enough and/or doesn't understand the level of commitment required to succeed. I have looked into several sober/recovery houses and am having trouble determining if this is a good option. From what I've seen, the ones I can afford demand structured living, random drug tests, and attendance at recovery programs, including NA meetings. It seems like I can demand the same if he stays living with me, and like the sober houses would do, throw him out if he doesn't stick with the program. I am a little worried about the sober house idea because I have seen some reviews posted on-line that suggest they don't necessarily provide the best environment -- living with drug addicts, sometimes drug use in the house, overly harsh and disrespectful.

Another question: To what extent should I tolerate relapse? I'm told (by the inpatient program in which he participated) that relapse is a part of recovery, so it seems like a zero-tolerance, "I'm going to throw you out if you use again," may not be the right approach. Or is it? And if not, at what point to I draw the line and conclude that the amount of relapses equals a person who is not sufficiently serious about recovery?

Thanks for any advice you can give.
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:23 AM
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How old is your son?
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:29 AM
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I lived in an Oxford House and it was a huge part of my (so far) successful sobriety and recovery.

While relapse is often part of people's story is not part of recovery ..... it's called active using.

YOU get to decide your boundaries, if that includes "No using or your out." There's not a thing wrong with that. I set that boundary when my actively using mother had no place to live. The rules were, no drinking and find a job. She did neither. I kicked her out. One of the hardest things I've ever done. I'm happy to report she is now 8+ years sober.


I have a few questions for you.

How old is your son?
Have you considered Alanon?


BTW, 12 day inpatient rehab sounds more like detox to me. I went to inpatient for 30 days.
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by SeekingGrowth View Post
I have looked into several sober/recovery houses and am having trouble determining if this is a good option.... It seems like I can demand the same if he stays living with me, and like the sober houses would do, throw him out if he doesn't stick with the program.
It is a great option and will save your sanity, maybe even your personal relationship with him. To run your home like a recovery house puts you in a position of authority over him, not just your home. It will cause resentment for both of you, and most likely rebellion from him.

Most SLE's (sober living environments) require residents get a job. He'd be surrounded by other addicts because he's one, too. Those that run them are tough because that's what it takes. There's always a possibility someone will use/bring in drugs, but that is no different from what your son is doing now.

You can always call the rehab/detox facility he was at and ask for referrals.

Please know that unless your son is going through awful withdrawals that look like the worst case of flu ever, he's still using. Heroin leaves the system pretty fast and I'm sure he knows this by now. He could use the night before court and it won't show up in drug screen.

Another question: To what extent should I tolerate relapse? I'm told (by the inpatient program in which he participated) that relapse is a part of recovery, so it seems like a zero-tolerance, "I'm going to throw you out if you use again," may not be the right approach. Or is it? And if not, at what point to I draw the line and conclude that the amount of relapses equals a person who is not sufficiently serious about recovery?
The only relapse I ever tolerated by my daughter, was the one I didn't know about. She was one and done, jumped back on the wagon immediately, and there were no changes in her behavior. She told me about it later.

SLE's and rehab, whether in or out patient, don't tolerate relapses. They are out the door. Whoever told you they're a part of recovery must have meant elsewhere, not at their facility during that stay.

Please, please, please strongly consider "working the recovery program you wish he would," if you're not already. Addicts and enablers need each other. I quickly learned "if you're not a part of the solution, you're a part of the problem."

Welcome to the board and good for you, reaching out for help!
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:13 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the replies so far. They are very helpful. My son is 19 (will be 20 in April). He no longer has a job. I haven't attended a Naranon meeting yet, but I know there are meetings near my house on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and I plan to attend one of these this week.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:44 PM
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I have most definitely heard the term "relapses are part of recovery" and I think it is double sided and dangerous. On one hand it is meant to get recalcitrant relapsing addicts to "keep coming back" but on the other hand it leaves a back door open in the addict mind...that it's "okay to relapse". I relapsed every single day as an alcoholic. Every day I promised myself I wouldn't "do that again". In recovery I finally really made the commitment and have done whatever it takes to stay sober.

How many relapses "should you tolerate"? How many "relapses" CAN YOU tolerate?

I am so so so thankful that SLEs have zero tolerance. SO thankful.

I also found a curious twist in my ex A's thinking. He got a little excited when I started adding al anon to my program. They have a premise that "YOU can have serenity whether the A is using or not". I think my A thought somewhere that if I worked it hard enough I wouldn't mind his using!! wow, how twisted is that?? what I came to find is that yes, I AM serene, and yes he IS using. but guess what...that only works because I finally learned to detach. and I did detach with love, I do love him, but I know the reality of his addiction and will not allow him in my reality any longer. I love him on a spiritual plane and I am serene with that.

it is his choice, his life, to use or not.
sober houses have zero tolerance
and so do I
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:45 PM
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My son is in a 1/2 way house, on a campus of a rehab hospital. He is 26, he asked for help, after he ended up in ICU from OD. He went to meetings and counsoling, He then remained clean 60+ days and at that point pleaded for help,Without relapsing. He is now in his third month in the house. It has worked great for him persoanlly. He asked to stay this month again. The home only works for those that want it to work, period. He has watched those that were "put" there leave, those that were only semi trying leave also. It was his best shot ever and he is thankful for it.
I will pray for your son.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:25 PM
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Your question is the same as my own was 4 years ago when I discovered this forum. Looking back, what I wanted to do was control my, then 19 year old daughterand her choices and recovery. Her drug of choice was also heroin- not that it matters.

I had been unable to find a SLE that had a bed that was not in the middle of inner city open air dope markets. I had come across some SLE where the entire house relapsed at once. Many made their guests leave during the day, presumably to seek employment or attend school. The reality is they hung out in local libraies looking to make connections.

Against advice, I chose to bring my daughter home cause mama knows best Unlike mama moose ( that's me) my daughter is tiny. I feared for her safety in SLE and wanted to keep her safe is how I rationalized my choices.

She relapsed within hours and was stealing anything not nailed down to support her habit. I kept rationalizing all of it and made myself nuts trying to create new opportunities for her and prevent her usage. Then came the DIY detoxes in my home followed by relapse and repeat.

I eventually reached a point that I found myself in a position where I was going down with her ship or I had to make a decion to survive. I chose to save me, the only person I controlled. I made the decision I would not have an active addict or one in early recovery in my home.

While I never did go completely no contact, I limited my contact and occasioanlly would meet to buy her an sandwich. Invariably, these opportunities turned into pissing contests as she attempted to manipulate me for money. That if I did not give her money, she was going to be forced to prostitute herself and it would be all my fault and all that. It got to a point where, I became tough enough to hold my own boundary.

Learning to sit with it- not fly in to rescue was tough work on my part as I came to accept I had no control or influence over my daughter/her choices- an off the charts humbling experience for me.

All along I thought I had been battling her demon-addiction. I eventually accepted that the real demon was within me- my ego. If our love could cure them, none of us would be here. We just are not that powerful.

My daughter eventually got clean on her own and did so in spite of me and in her own time.

No one has the right to impose themselves between someone's addiction and the consequences. Without consequences, there is no hope for recovery.

Another lesson I learned along the way is that recovery is business, big business.There are places that encourage families to take out a second mortgage to pay their fees. It is quite possible to bankrupt oneself trying to save someone from themselves.

Your son is 20. What are his plans for the rest of his life? Let him own his recovery, or not.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:54 PM
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My son came home last July from a 28 day rehab. What I have discovered is that what I want for my son and what my son wants are two different things. I expected him to work very hard to turn his life around. He said he wanted to do what was right, but he didn't put much effort into doing so. After seven months of his laying around the house day in and day out, blaming anxiety on his inability to get a job and refusal to go to AA or NA, I finally reached the place where I had had enough. Fortunately for me, he decided to move in with his girlfriend instead of my giving him a deadline to move out. By fortunate I mean I didn't have to enforce my decision that he leave by a certain deadline. He moved out sooner than I had decided he would need to move out--and I am so grateful for that blessing.

I believe we as parents often do not stand firm regarding our boundaries and expectations of our children. I know my husband and I didn't. People here advised against our son moving home, but we wanted to be the exception to the rule. We weren't. I believe places like sober houses do stand firm or the resident is promptly evicted.

My son today told me (and I hope he's telling the truth and not merely telling me what I want to hear) that he has developed blisters on the heels of his feet from walking the neighborhood trying to find a job. He didn't do that while living in the comfort of our home. Maybe he's beginning to grow up and take some responsibility for his life now.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:56 PM
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Yes Outtolunch hit the nail on the head, Big Business. We were advised at a $300/hour DR to take out a mortgage to "save" our son. We did not have too thankgoodness. It is very expensive, but after the years of enabling the addiction, it is actually cheaper and our last offering. My son said to the a couple guys in the house to "cut the "hood crap" it cost a lot of money to be here and none of us are from the hood". It is so true, the parking lot looks like a luxury car lot on visiting day sadly. It is up to him 100%, no second chance with us. I make sure, He sees every bill and oh boy are there bills, no insurance for him
I think we each have to do what is best for the situation we are in , taking in all the experience here from those that have been through it. I could not have "let go" if I had not come here last fall. I have learned so much and each of the posters here have great insight to the situation.
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by SeekingGrowth View Post
Another question: To what extent should I tolerate relapse? I'm told (by the inpatient program in which he participated) that relapse is a part of recovery, so it seems like a zero-tolerance, "I'm going to throw you out if you use again," may not be the right approach. Or is it?


Relapse is not a part of recovery. That is treatment "speak." Relapse is a part of active addiction. The term "relapse" infers that there was some quality recovery (not just abstinence) and then he used again.

I am a long-term recovering addict/alcoholic (21+ years) and my parents were my best enablers. I was able to stay in active addiction for 10 years.

I hit my bottom at age 28 and went to inpatient rehab. I stayed clean/sober for 4 years and then used/drank again. It's only by the grace of God that I was active in addiction for 2 months and made it back into the rooms of recovery. Today I know that another relapse spells death for me.

Not only did I move over 2 hours away from my abusive alcoholic/addict husband, but I am also 80 miles from my parents. They were toxic to me when I got clean/sober. They came close to "loving" me to death.

As long as an addict has a roof over their head, food in their belly, and a bed to sleep in, they have no motivation to get into recovery.

I didn't hit a bottom till I was face down in the dirt with no one left to pick me up.

Sending you hugs of support.
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Old 03-05-2012, 01:23 PM
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I was where you were when my AS was 18. I unfortunately continued to enable him for another 7 years. Trust me from experience; running your house like a sober living facility doesnít work at all and it is a bad idea. I would give him the opportunity for a sober living house/rehab, and if he doesnít take it, make him move from your home, and have no contact with him. No rides, no food, no money(if you have contact with an active drug users they will lie to you and manipulate-avoid this). Do not let him move back into your home when he is out of rehab. Remember, he is not 10, you canít put him in the corner for a time out, and you certainly cannot ďloveĒ the addiction out of him.

I also caution, since he has already relapsed, I would look into the Salvation Army for free programs, you can go broke from treatment- I have spent thousands.
If I could turn back the clock, I wish above all things that I had not enabled my son for so many years. Maybe he would have still wound up the addict he is today, but I didnít give him the chance to learn from his mistakes, and suffer the consequences of his actions.
I didnít let go, and I didnít let him fall on his own. I was selfish, and full of pride and guilt.
Today, I have no contact with my AS, because I love him, and because I love myself.
His recovery is completely up to him.
Take care, my thoughts and prayers for you and your son
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Old 03-05-2012, 01:28 PM
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Freedom
Today I know that another relapse spells death for me.

I wish every addict could understand that simple truth.

I loves your posts, they always make me cry-- i mean that in a good way, but your posts were one of the number one advice I held onto when making the tough choices to stop enabling my AS

bless your heart
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Old 03-05-2012, 04:17 PM
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My son went to an SLE after graduating a 4 month in patient structured rehab program (considered the hardest one in our city by the courts). He is living with 10 people/ co ed. He is expected to pay his rent, work, clean up after himself and follow the rules.
If he uses, he is immediately kicked out. I have noticed that my son is much harder than he used to be when using drugs. he is quite arrogant and thinks he has all of the answers. I would rather he learn how to live with others if this is his true nature, than suppress his emotions and succomb to living with us, which is destined for failure.
I understand that he is an adult, I need to leave him to his choices. Sober living is also his choice.
Its only been a few weeks so I really dont have any other feedback to share yet.
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:33 PM
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SLE vary widely. Outtolunch, was very correct when she said it is a business. Think about a normal size house and 4-8 guys living there each paying rent. Big money. At least in Chicago, many are located in inner city neighborhoods drug infested where rent is cheap. The rules can be very strict with a relapse & you are gone to basically just, pay the rent and it's fine. Some SLE have contracts with Illinois Department Of Correction and those folks don't want to be there, they just want to be out of prison. I would do a lot of research because when it comes to Halfway Houses they can be completely different environments.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:24 PM
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Freedom 1990, thanks so much for this very helpful post. I so appreciate the advice and comments that everyone has shared. It has helped me to be stronger. Yesterday, I told my AS that he needed to start the IOP TODAY and meet with the recovery house owner TODAY (I found one that sounded good). I had to go to work, and when I returned, my AS wanted to talk to me. He said that he had decided that he needed to just get away from everything, to think about things, and work on changing his attitude. He had decided to go up north to stay with a friend until Sunday. This is the friend who first introduced him to heroin, who has shot him up in the past because my AS can't shoot up himself. He said that this friend is clean now and that he wants to relax with this friend and talk about recovery. He forgot that he had told me two weeks ago that the friend OD'd on heroin and had to be rushed to the hospital. My AS claimed that when he returns on Sunday, he will be clean and ready to enter the recovery house.

I have not doubt that he will be doing drugs with his friend up north, and that he has been continuing his active addiction since he was released from rehab just over a week ago. I think that he may actually think that this is his "last hurrah" before getting serious about getting clean, but I also think that he is fooling himself. He won't be able to get clean by Sunday, or thereafter. In any event, he will not be moving back into my house. Our understanding when he left was that he would either test clean and go to a recovery house when he returned, or if he tested dirty, he would go somewhere else but definitely not in my house. I'm going to be spending this week packing and organizing his things so that everything is ready to go when he returns. This is all so heartbreaking, but it is helpful to know that everyone posting on this forum has been where I am now. I draw strength from all the support I find on this site.
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Old 03-06-2012, 05:56 AM
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SeekingGrowth Have you (your son) checked out Brighton Hospital(center for recovery)? I see you are in Livonia.
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Old 03-06-2012, 07:01 AM
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My son was in-patient at Brighton Center for Recovery for 12 days and was released a week ago Friday with an aftercare program that included an IOP at a local clinic. He went back to using the day after his release, has not started the IOP, nor gone to meetings, read literature, or checked out this site, which I highly recommended. I conclude that he's not ready and it's time for me to let go and focus on my own life.
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Old 03-06-2012, 07:13 AM
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I'm sorry you're going through this hard time. You are doing the right thing though. Learn to detach with love.
I wish you nothing but the best!

Keep posting, you'll find a lot of support on this site.
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:27 AM
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Hang in there, you cannot make him want recovery. I will pray for his safety and your peace.
Hugs,
Teresa
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