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Recovery for Family

Old 09-28-2012, 08:54 AM
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Recovery for Family

My sister has had a problem with opiates for a long time. A very long time. Since she was 12. She's nearly 30 now. Most of her life, she's been high. She got out of rehab a few months ago, and recently relapsed and ended up in the hospital. She's going back to rehab in about a week.

The thing is, I thought she was going to die when she went to the hospital. And I guess I still think she'll die if she continues to use. But when I got the call, I knew there were so many things I wish I had said. And so many things I wish I could have explained. I've detached for the most part, but I think she doesn't understand why, and just feels rejected.

I have a hard time talking to her on the phone. Mostly because she's such a manipulator (read: drug addict). And face to face she can at least look me in the eye. And honestly, I do not hate her face to face, and after so many years, I almost forget who she is until I'm looking her in the face.

So, she's leaving for inpatient rehab round one million in a week. I feel like I should get on a plane, sit down with her, and have a conversation. I know she's detoxed already, I know she's not using. But I feel this urgency to talk to her before she goes to inpatient. You know, so she can carry that with her when things are hard.... support, a good hug. Maybe some hopeful things like that I want to take a trip with her or cook thanksgiving dinner together or I don't know.... things I just want to do with her when she's sober.

But I almost wonder if this is just me (naively) thinking I have some control in this. Or that I can help. Or maybe it's the right thing to do. Or maybe it's just some dramatic grand gesture that's unnecessary and just full of emotion that will just get everyone all worked up. Maybe a rehab setting is better for this kind of thing.

Thoughts? Advice?
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:30 AM
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Do whatever makes you feel better. Regret sucks.

It's ok to tell her you love her and you look forward to getting to know her sober. (even though you know it might not stick.)

It's ok to mention the detachmnet and why you had to do it.

Do your best to avoid control/manipulation/guilt topics.

Good luck
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:37 AM
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If you can afford the time and plane ticket, and it is what you want to do..then do it. But do it without any expectations, no conditions - would be my suggestion.
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:24 AM
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I also have a long distance heroin-addicted sister, although she's slightly younger. I could have written this post myself. I have felt exactly how you feel. I have wondered if I should have a face-to-face with my sister to talk about all of this stuff (this was just after she came out of jail-mandated correctional sober living). I'm far away, and I feel like I probably don't even know her, or who she would be if she wasn't on heroin. I know she thinks I abandoned her. I want to know her sober. I'm so scared, though, that I'll be taken advantage of again. In the end I didn't fly there, because I knew that I was not yet in a place where I would be able to healthily and productively deal with her responding negatively or blame shifting or anything outside of the perfect moment I had romanticized in my head.

I wasn't in that place yet. I'm still not in that place. If you are and you want to do it, I say go for it. But the gesture has to be without expectation, like LoveMeNot said.
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:41 AM
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It sounds like you already regret not telling her these things.

Anything could happen to any of us at any time. I think you should tell her how you feel. But, like the above posters said, without expectations of anything from her.

Maybe you could write her a letter, so she can't react immediately to you, and get your hopes up, but she'd still know how you feel about her; that you love her.
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:54 AM
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Thank you everyone. If I flew there, I'd be out $1000 and I'd have to flake on a friend for something I promised I'd help her with. Short story - I'd give up my own needs for hers. I think the letter is the way to go.

I'm going to call her today and tell her I'm proud she made the choice to go to recovery (I am) and that I have so many things I want to do with her when she's sober. And I'll tell her that I wrote a letter and put it in a box with some photos and sent it to her rehab facility. The letter thing might be better anyway so she can read and reread if she needs to. And hold onto it if it helps her.

Thanks again.
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Old 09-28-2012, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Elvira View Post

If I flew there, I'd be out $1000 and I'd have to flake on a friend for something I promised I'd help her with. Short story - I'd give up my own needs for hers. I think the letter is the way to go.
Hmm. Not being snarky here, really...

Your initial intent to fly out was your need to communicate why you made the decisions you did ( maybe some guilt?) and perhaps try to influence her outcome.

It's so easy to mesh our own needs with what we perceive is best for people we care about. Sounds like you established some sound boundaries for yourself, over the years. If so, take some pride in this because addiction can take the whole family down, if they allow it to do so.
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Old 09-28-2012, 12:34 PM
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I have found that writting a letter can help sometimes in a situation like this. We all have things we want to say and aren't sure of a right time to say them, but it will give you the chance to say exactly what you want without them interupting and pulling the conversation another way. It can also give you the feeling that atleast you put it out there weither they chose to read it or not is up to them, as talking is the same no matter what you say they have the choice to tune it out or make excuses. Atleast you will know that you said the things you wanted/needed to and that is really all you can do.
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Old 09-28-2012, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
that I have so many things I want to do with her when she's sober. And I'll tell her that I wrote a letter and put it in a box with some photos and sent it to her rehab facility. The letter thing might be better anyway so she can read and reread if she needs to. And hold onto it if it helps her.

Thanks again.
Writing a letter is often a good idea. Sometimes just the act of writing it (not even sending it) helps us to feel better.

I'd caution you to not get your hopes up about her reaction to it being what YOU want it to be. Also, the actuality of the two of you doing "sister" things together may not live up to the dream you've created in your mind. I don't mean to be "mean" about this, I just wouldn't want you to expect too much or be upset.

I hope your sister finds what she needs this time.
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