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Family Therapy was a Nightmare

Old 10-16-2013, 11:35 AM
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Family Therapy was a Nightmare

My AH and I had our first family therapy session yesterday at the detox facility he checked himself into on Saturday, and it was a nightmare! I knew it was going to be difficult, but I never expected it would be that bad. The man who asked for help on Saturday, cried, apologized for the hurt he has caused himself, me and his family and admitted that he would die without an inpatient treatment plan was not the person I saw yesterday. The addict came back, with full force!

I'm really not sure if having a family session on day 3 of detoxing from opiates was the best idea. From what I have heard, most detox facilities do not allow the patient to contact anyone within the first few days. I have heard that other places don't allow patients to make calls until they are on day 7-10 of treatment. But he was able to call me the day after he checked in. When detoxing from opiates, days 3-4 are the worst, and we had our session on day 3. And not only was he having opiate withdrawals, but also withdrawals from xanax & nicotine as well. So put it simply, he went bananas.

He was so angry, blamed me and his mother for putting him there. He claims the only reason I made him leave the house was because I knew he would be homeless and that this would force him to go to inpatient rehab. I am forcing him to go to inpatient, he doesn't have a choice. He believes all he needs is outpatient treatment and is angry because I don't believe in him. He pulled the "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health" crap and said that I lied to him when I married him. I even brought him a new wedding band because this is a new start for both of us. I thought that would have some kind of impact on him, it would make him see that I am not just bailing on him if he is getting help. He didn't seem to care about the wedding band at all. After a few minutes of therapy he slammed it on the table, told me "**ck you! It's over!", slammed a chair into the table, and left the room. Two minutes after he walked out he stormed back in, tried pleading with me to let him come home. Got angry again. And then grabbed the ring, put it back on his finger and left the room again. It was crazy town!

I remained calm the entire time. I did get angry a few times, but I didn't raise my voice much. I cried a little, because his words hurt me. But I got through it ok. Well, I was a frazzled mess afterwards and did the only thing that would make me feel better - bought a pair of shoes! Yes, I know, new shoes don't solve problems, but they were really cute and damn it, I deserved them! Now I want to return them because I don't like them as much as I thought I did, lol.

His therapist told him that if he was really serious about recovering from his addiction he would be willing to do anything, and refusing inpatient rehab tells her that he is really not ready to stop. He argued that he knows he won't do it again and that it isn't fair that we won't let him to this his way. I said that he can do whatever he wants to do, it's his choice, but I don't trust him. I need to feel safe in my own home, and I will not feel safe allowing him back in after only 10 days of detox. I have a choice too, and I choose not to allow him back in my home until he can prove that he is serious about his recovery, and I don't know what it will take to prove that to me at this point. Maybe there is nothing he can do that will ever make me believe he is serious? But I am human, and I am allowed to have feelings just like everyone else, right? He didn't like that very much. So overall, therapy was very unproductive, for me at least.

I'm trying to look at this from the therapist's perspective. She got a first hand experience of the insanity in that room, so she definitely has a better understanding of who he becomes when he is using, or unable to use because he has run out of dope. She saw the angry, violent side of him, not just the sweet, manipulative side. Also, maybe they encourage family sessions this early in the process so that they can target what the REAL PROBLEM is. There is a reason he is abusing drugs, so maybe these sessions will shed light on the underlying cause of his addiction? But for me, it was a very unproductive experience. I left very shaken, unsure, and I lost a lot of hope. I don't know if this relationship will survive through this. I don't know if I will survive this, emotionally speaking. I am really trying to keep it together, but another session like that will break me.

I am sticking to my boundaries, and I have decided to visit him tonight to try and work through this. I am going there and asking him what his goals are, what he really wants, and what can he do to achieve those goals. And then I am going to tell him what I am willing to do. And I guess we will go from there. I know I am not willing to take him back, let him live in our home if he doesn't go to inpatient rehab. He has a choice, I am not forcing him to go. But I am keeping my boundary in place. If he yells at me or insults me, I am leaving. And he will be well aware of that the minute I walk through the door.

Hopefully tonight will be better than yesterday. Either way, this too shall pass.
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Old 10-16-2013, 12:12 PM
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This could have been pulled from my life only a couple months ago, almost exactly, down to the wedding ring replacement!

You need to try to keep emotions out of it, even though his words hurt, remember they are coming from a sick mind. My husband told me the same kinds of things, I was abandoning him, I wasnít on his side, and it was because I was behind his going to inpatient treatment based on what the doctors were advising. What happened was someone came in to talk to him about treatment options, I know she was only doing her job, but once she talked about the option of outpatient then he grabbed onto that. He could come home, life would be normal, what he was familiar with, and as a side he would go to outpatient. NO.

He was injecting cocaine and coming down with stuff like heroin, he was deadly sick. I donít think we had as much anger as you are describing because he was unconscious for a lot of his detox due to infections, internal bleeding the mess he made of himself while he was on his drug run. I got more of the sad, guilt trip, mixed with comments that made me feel like I was evil. His wedding ring was pawned, stolen I donít know what while he was on that run, and I ordered him one to replace it. I gave it to him when he was calm though, right at rehab time and he cried because he was so emotional.

My husband came home for a weekend visit after the first month on Labor day weekend. It went well, until he got back tested positive and admitted to shooting up Valium in his closet right under my nose. One month was not enough, he had PAWS symptoms , anger at rehab, broke things, cut himself had to be taken to the hospital for xrays. He is on his 3rd month now and seems better, but I still donít know if he is ready to integrate back into real life.

But PLEASE donít take the things he is saying now to heart, he is not making sense in his own mind, trying to justify, not understanding what is necessary to fight this. The detox doctors should able to tell you all about how it affects their brain function and the areas where reason and emotion exist. I was told (by his parents) if he wouldnít agree to go to rehab then I had to tell him in the hospital he could not come home. I had to do that and it was so hard to be strong, I donít even know if I could have followed through especially if he had agreed to an outpatient. I think I would have let him try, let him come home. But I think in his case it would have failed. I donít mean anything bad about outpatient, its just he was too sick, he needed to be in a safe place, away from it all. I think one thing helped a little, I tried to explain it was not punishment to go to rehab, it was a safe place, he needed a break to get better. He learned about what the rehab offered and saw pictures and the visual I think helped somehow, he knew we could visit, and he wasnít going to be isolated, things like that.

Im sorry your going through something close to what I did, I cried over it a lot. His words and the look in his eyes still haunts me. I had never seen him like that, talk to me like that.

Glad you bought the shoes, sorry you dont like the shoes, buy more shoes ! I have done my share of retail therapy, goes good with family therapy, individual therapy. But its more fun !
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Old 10-16-2013, 12:54 PM
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Wow...I agree! In the 3rd day of detox isn't a good "family time" moment.

My son wouldn't talk to me for 2 weeks in rehab. Blaming me; hating life; agitated etc.

I didn't want to talk to him either!

Then....a switch and he become "normal." Someone that could think logically and talk like an adult.

I think whatever talking you do, at this point, is fruitless. He still is getting stabilized.
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Old 10-16-2013, 01:23 PM
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BlueChair,

Everything you said is correct, and I am going to do my best not to take anything he says personally. I know he is sick, really sick, and that this is only the beginning. He has a long way to go. Hopefully he won't give up. I told him that if he continues to get help, I will be there every step of the way. He's done this before with his ex, and refused inpatient rehab after detoxing. That wasn't enough for her either, and eventually she ended the relationship and moved on. Not until she started dating someone else did he finally go to inpatient rehab. But it was too late to save their relationship, and when he lost her he lost his daughter as well.

The last time we saw my step-daughter was in February. We were at a Mardi Gras parade party and she was there with her neighbor and her kids. We didn't even know she was going to be there, and she just ran to my husband when she saw him. She's only 6, but she is smart enough to know who her Daddy is even though we haven't seen her often over the past few years. He was so happy to see her, yet it crushed him. I know his feelings about his daughter and not being able to see her at all anymore is really eating at him. But that's not the root of the problem. There is another demon he is battling, but what that is, well none of us really know. He doesn't know or he doesn't want to face it. Either way, until he is completely clean and in safe and healthy environment, he won't be able to face it. That is why I believe inpatient is the best place for him. My home is not safe, I can't watch him 24/7. And that's not healthy for me either. Always having to look over my shoulder, always worrying if today is going to be the day he will relapse and abuse drugs in our home again. I can't take that chance right now.

I am glad your husband decided to get the help he needed, and hopefully he will continue to do so even after inpatient rehab. There are lots of misconceptions about what it really takes to not only stay clean but WANT to stay clean and continue recovering from addiction. It is a LIFELONG process. Inpatient rehab doesn't just make the addiction go away - they will be addicts for the rest of their lives. In order to stay on track they have to have follow up treatment, like outpatient treatment, therapy, getting a sponsor, and going to NA or AA meetings. And they have to do this FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.

But it can be done At this point, I am no longer pushing him to do anything. I am letting him make his choice on his own, and then we will take it day by day from there. That's all I can do, right? Maybe he'll be thinking a bit more clearly in a few more days. I still have hope!
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Old 10-16-2013, 01:29 PM
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Txhelp,

That is exactly what I am hoping for - that in a few days the anger will subside and he will have some real emotions. He is not thinking clearly right now. A friend of mine and recovering heroin addict told me that in his mind, he has already relapsed even though he hasn't actually abused drugs. He has been thinking about it, he still wants to do it, and he is angry at himself for feeling that way. He is angry at himself, not me, but he has no one else to take that anger out on so I become the "punching bag". I get it, and I try not to take it personally, but some things hurt no matter how big of a wall I have up.

But I am going to try my best tonight to not take what he says personally, and just be supportive. I think it will get a bit easier as each day passes.
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Old 10-16-2013, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by PhotoArtist View Post
BlueChair,

Everything you said is correct, and I am going to do my best not to take anything he says personally. I know he is sick, really sick, and that this is only the beginning. He has a long way to go. Hopefully he won't give up. I told him that if he continues to get help, I will be there every step of the way. He's done this before with his ex, and refused inpatient rehab after detoxing. That wasn't enough for her either, and eventually she ended the relationship and moved on. Not until she started dating someone else did he finally go to inpatient rehab. But it was too late to save their relationship, and when he lost her he lost his daughter as well.

The last time we saw my step-daughter was in February. We were at a Mardi Gras parade party and she was there with her neighbor and her kids. We didn't even know she was going to be there, and she just ran to my husband when she saw him. She's only 6, but she is smart enough to know who her Daddy is even though we haven't seen her often over the past few years. He was so happy to see her, yet it crushed him. I know his feelings about his daughter and not being able to see her at all anymore is really eating at him. But that's not the root of the problem. There is another demon he is battling, but what that is, well none of us really know. He doesn't know or he doesn't want to face it. Either way, until he is completely clean and in safe and healthy environment, he won't be able to face it. That is why I believe inpatient is the best place for him. My home is not safe, I can't watch him 24/7. And that's not healthy for me either. Always having to look over my shoulder, always worrying if today is going to be the day he will relapse and abuse drugs in our home again. I can't take that chance right now.

I am glad your husband decided to get the help he needed, and hopefully he will continue to do so even after inpatient rehab. There are lots of misconceptions about what it really takes to not only stay clean but WANT to stay clean and continue recovering from addiction. It is a LIFELONG process. Inpatient rehab doesn't just make the addiction go away - they will be addicts for the rest of their lives. In order to stay on track they have to have follow up treatment, like outpatient treatment, therapy, getting a sponsor, and going to NA or AA meetings. And they have to do this FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.

But it can be done At this point, I am no longer pushing him to do anything. I am letting him make his choice on his own, and then we will take it day by day from there. That's all I can do, right? Maybe he'll be thinking a bit more clearly in a few more days. I still have hope!
I hope your family session tonight goes better. we do a family session every week together and I look forward to them. We have been taught addiction is a disease and has to have monitoring like any other chronic disease. My husband is in TALKS with his doctor about what kind of follow up care he needs, and how it will taper. We have been in TALKS also, but now I can tell he is thinking with a clear mind and I will support whatever choices he makes, as long as they are in line with the doctors recommendations.
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Old 10-16-2013, 02:25 PM
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my boyfriend hasn't had like...a single real emotion for over two months. You really should give it more time. Don't worry, about what's going on cuz right now he's not himself and honestly wont be for a long time. I think i've talked to you before. Anyways, like i said it's so hard and you just gotta calm down youll destroy yourself with worry if you do that to yourself. He is going to find out who he is with this program on his own not based on anybody else's efforts. If he truly loves you, which i'm sure he does... things will be fine but remember how much longer you have to go. this isn't him just getting clean this is him finding himself again.
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by PhotoArtist View Post
I'm trying to look at this from the therapist's perspective.
Please don't do that. What she sees and how he feels does not excuse the abuse that happened in that room.
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:45 PM
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PhotoArtist, the therapy session does sound exhausting, but maybe in some ways it was actually kind of productive? He screamed and acted like a child and used every move in the manipulation handbook to try to guilt you into letting down your boundaries. He did this in the hope of getting his way, but maybe you can use this as a reminder of why you have set those boundaries? Imagine how much more exhausting this kind of behavior would be if there were no therapist there and he was back in your home indefinitely!
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Old 10-16-2013, 09:52 PM
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Thanks for all the responses and support.

Even though yesterday felt like a disaster, I went back to the detox facility tonight for visiting hours. I know this is very difficult for him, and I was okay today and could handle him lashing out in anger, if that is what it came to again. I still want to support him while he is getting help. I think turning my back on him because he went a little crazy yesterday is a bit extreme, and he is getting help. The situation may not be the one I hoped for, but he is getting help, and that is a big, very big step for him.

I was really nervous because I didn't know what to expect. I wasn't sure if he and I would be by ourselves, or if there would be someone monitoring us, or if there would be a ton of people visiting other patients. I was expecting the worse, but to my surprise, things couldn't have gone better.

There were only a handful of other patients with visitors, which automatically made me feel sorry for the ones who had no one there to visit them. What can I say, I have a big heart? Anyway, my husband and I sat together and talked for an hour. He was irritated at first, said he feels trapped, like he is in prison. And he hates the psychiatrist (go figure). But instead of me telling him not to feel like that, I asked "why?" He said the psychiatrist tells him what he needs to do and won't let him express how he is feeling. Not sure if he is being honest or not, but if that is the case I wish the doc would let him express his feelings. He bottles things up inside, and letting it all out is GOOD. So I just encouraged him to share as much as possible in group therapy.

I told him that the season premier of The Walking Dead was awesome, and he begged for me to tell him what happened. He sad there for 10 minutes, listening intently like a child listening to a scary story by a campfire. That made me very happy, to see him so interested in something so simple. He is so excited about hearing what happens on this weeks episode. I might even buy him the comics so he won't be so bored.

He also told me that the doctor put him on a mood stabilizing medication. I think that is great that his doc is trying a mood stabilizer. Maybe it will help. I didn't push him to spill his guts, but halfway into our visit he just starting talking about how he was feeling about all of this. He was frustrated with himself, he's been beating himself up over putting himself and me in this situation, and he knows he has been hurting the people who love him most, simply because we are there and everyone else has abandoned him. He apologized and said he would really try to communicate in a healthy manner rather than losing it like he did yesterday. We talked about inpatient rehab, and he has decided that he is definitely going to go. But what he said next was the biggest step I have ever seen him take.

He asked me, "What if it doesn't work? What if I fail?". My heart nearly crumbled, but I held it together. He is terrified of going to rehab because he already thinks he will fail! Why did I not figure this out sooner?! I told him to try not to think that way, and that if in 28 days he doesn't trust himself to leave rehab, or if he is unsure if he is ready to come home then he can get into a longer program. He agreed that that is a good idea. And he also agreed that when he is ready to come home, he will go to outpatient rehab and that WE will attend meetings at least 2 days a week (there are some great meetings about 40 minutes away from our house that we can go to, he goes to NA and I go to CODA or ALANON).

So, I walked out of there feeling much, much better. I'm not doing cartwheels or anything like that, but I will be able to sleep well tonight knowing that the person I fell in love with is slowly coming back. I saw HIM for the first time in a very long time, not the addict. He has a long way to go, but today I am hopeful.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:40 PM
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wonderful news.

When my husband first entered treatment, he had a lot of highs and lows. We were allowed communication from the start, and I found it really did help to try to look at things not only from my perspective, but also from his. There were thoughts and feelings he expressed, some seemed irrational to me, but he was sharing what he genuinely felt. I needed to listen, because that is part of communication in a marriage IMO. My husband also had a lot of insecurities, lots of guilt, shame, regret - at different stages it changed. He wanted to leave a couple times, once in the beginning, and once later on. In the beginning, he didn't like his main doctor, or any of them for a while, but the end of treatment he had nothing but respect for them, the big picture became clear to him.... and to me.

It took a lot of courage for you to meet yesterday, and today. I was reading your post from yesterday about his wedding ring. What strikes me, is not that he took it off and threw it on the table, but he came back and put it on.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by allforcnm View Post
wonderful news.
It took a lot of courage for you to meet yesterday, and today. I was reading your post from yesterday about his wedding ring. What strikes me, is not that he took it off and threw it on the table, but he came back and put it on.
Thank you, that made me smile. I hadn't thought about it that way, probably because I was focused on what went wrong yesterday. He did put the ring back on, and was wearing it when I arrived today. He said he really loves it.

Thanks for this post, I'm going to sleep with a smile on my face tonight.
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