My son

Old 01-29-2017, 08:00 AM
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My son

Good morning. I've been reading posts for a couple of hours and decided to join. My son is battling heroin, for 2 years that I know of. He's in his mid-20s. He is a college grad and had a promising future. I'm not too comfortable with the correct verbage, but I'd say he was a "functioning addict" in that although he lives home, we didn't suspect what was going on for a very long time. He worked, socialized with friends and family, was very present in our lives. Then in one day all my illusions were shattered. Someday I guess I'll talk about that, if the thread/conversation seems right.

Right now I just wanted to say that I have a raging headache. My son is asleep, but starting to wake up. My husband is up and pretending all is right with the world. We had one of those "illusions shattered" evenings last night. Something was missing from son's room (something valuable), and when I asked where it was, he casually said he'd left it at a (sober) friend's house. I bet some of you can guess the truth -- he pawned it, and was desperately trying to get in touch with the sober friend to go get it out of pawn for him so he could bring it home. The truth came out and my husband lost his mind about it.

I hate the lying, and with such ease!

He went to an in patient program just before Christmas, and AMA'd after two days because he didn't think he needed anything beyond detox (and apparently he had not been using much and detoxing wasn't so bad, wasn't even taking any meds there, so he walked out because he "didn't need" rehab. He wandered, basically homeless, for two days, until early one morning I found him in our driveway, taking some things out of his car (which had just died on him a couple of weeks ago and was scheduled for donation)... heavy coat, extra gloves. Seems he'd found someone who let him sleep at his apartment, but he had to be out when the guy went to work in the morning, and couldn't come back until the guy came home from work. So he was wandering outside in bitter cold weather all day.

And of course those two days I was constantly praying, when I wasn't crying, and thinking "is he cold?" and "is he hungry?"

He came in side to talk and asked for a hot shower, and I cooked him some breakfast. He asked me, with a real fear (in his voice and facial expression) "can I come back? Can I live here?" So yes, he could come back, but as soon as he finished eating that meant getting back on the phone to the detox/rehab and begging for his spot back. Which he did.

He had a total meltdown in the 1.5 days before he could go back, crying, realizing how much he HAD going for him when he graduated college, and how he lost everything of monetary value, lost respect of so many people, etc.

I thought A-HA... he has HIT BOTTOM it's going to be ok now.

Damn insurance would only let him stay in patient for 2 weeks! That's not enough! But he's been in an IOP program and in some kind of a weak moment he'd signed permission for his counselor to speak with me, so she did call me late last week to tell me he'd tested dirty.

Long conversation, but basically her next meeting w/ him is that he can test clean from now on and she will keep him in the program, he can test dirty and she will drop him fro the program and inform his probation officer he's out of treatment, or if he tests dirty he can readmit to in-patient.

Naturally I pray every day, and have stepped it up a lot over the weekend. Last night we had a huge blow up in our house because we found out the aforementioned piece of property was not at the friend's house but was pawned. My husband was out of control, screaming -- really hurtful, devastating things, and get out of the house. I got everyone calmed down, husband to bed, son in the house. The good thing that came of it was he talked to me for about 2 about two hours afterwards about his step work, and the problems he's having (he is agnostic) reconciling some of the "God" aspects with his own philosophy. If anyone knows of a good source along the line of "12 step NA for agnostics" I'd love the link!! I Googled a little about it, but there's so much info that it becomes overwhelming, so if anyone has personal experience/suggestion, thank you.

I was really worried at one point when my son was saying that he didn't care about himself, that he's in recovery "for you, mom" -- that's wrong. It's supposed to be for himself, I know that. But he was saying things like if it was not for me and how much it would hurt me, he'd just live homeless, he would not care, because he doesn't deserve to have a home, he doesn't deserve my love, he hates the way he has disappointed and hurt me. Well, I hate that, too, but it doesn't mean I want him shivering out in the January cold with nothing.

My son builds walls, always has. It's like he thinks he's handling "this" on his own and doesn't want to let anyone else in (and I doubt he's even being honest with his therapist). I know he's embarassed and disappointed in himself. He says over and again that he wants to be healthy and sober, and was for at least six months before this relapse.

He cannot handle money. If it's in his hand, it's gone. He had a job that directly deposited his pay into my bank account (he didn't have one because it was constantly over drawn so it was closed). That worked well because we'd sit together at month-end and pay his bills, and then he'd have a set amount of cash for the week that seemed reasonable for gas, lunch, a dinner or two out, etc. Then he got a new job working in a restaurant and they paid part cash, part by check, and he'd just take that check to the bank that it was drawn on and get the money, and having all that cash was really bad for him.

Right at the beginning, I said to him, was he opening a checking account, and he was not, so I said don't forget to set aside "X" dollars then to give to me for this/that bill. At the end of the month, he didn't have anything to give to me. He said he's spent it all on a ticket. Yet then when he was going to rehab, he had to admit that he had not paid his ticket in full, he had monthly payments.

Sorry this is so long it just felt so good to get some of it off my chest.
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Old 01-29-2017, 01:35 PM
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Welcome, CV, I am am so sorry for what you are going through but glad you found us.

My son is also an addict, he is early 40's now but began this long long journey when he was in his mid 20's. We let him come home many times, thinking if we loved him enough and gave him a good home and safe place to be, he would get clean and stay clean. Each time it ended badly, with our home turned into a war zone.

He stole from us and pawned things many times. Even things he knew had great sentimental value and could not be replaced. In hindsight, I wish I had charged him the very first time. Letting him off with feelings of remorse just led to more thefts.

He stole from our friends, or conned them with his sad stories and made us feel terrible that he would involve friends and family.

He lied about where he was, he hid drugs in our home and stolen goods too...WE could have been arrested for his crimes.

Each time we "let him fall" he ended up on the street and I felt so bad for him that I would continue to buy him a warm jacket and shoes and some clean clothing to wear...which he would sell for money for drugs.

He went to many many rehabs and each time stayed clean for a while, once as long as 3 year, but always he relapsed and the cycle continued. (By the way, the Salvation Army rehabs are long term and free and they offer a very good program. My son just didn't have the willingness to work what he learned to live a sober and clean life).

He never hit bottom but MY bottom came one night when I drove to a town an hour away to go get him out of a crack house. I banged on the crack house door and threatened to kick it down if they didn't open the door and send my son out. This behaviour is not "me", I have never been violent but I was just so afraid...and angry. He came out, we went to his apartment where I spent the night on his sofa and in the morning I left to come home and he left to go back to the crack house.

On my way home, I began to cry, hard enough that I had to pull off the highway, and I told God that I was done, that I could not do one more day of living like this. I turned over my son's care to God that night and felt a huge burden lifted.

I began going to meetings, CoDA was my home group, others here go to Al-anon or Nar-anon. I found my balance again, reclaimed my sanity and began building a life that was worth living. I found SR and this March I will have been here 15 years. I come to share my story and what helped me, and to draw strength from others here to help me through the rough days.

My son has been missing over 10 years now, lost in his addiction somewhere. I suspect he is still stuck in the revolving door of recovery/relapse/full addiction . He knows how to find us if and when he gets clean for a long period of time. I don't seek him out because if he is using I simply cannot get drawn back into his dark world of addiction. He knows he is loved, that matters to me.

Each morning I say a prayer and ask God to watch over my son, then I live my life in faith that He will. Today I find joy and beauty in each day. I live in faith that things are as they are supposed to be and all is well with my world.

I share my story because I want you to see that it could be a very long journey. Many find and stay clean early in the journey, others take years and years, some never find it.

We can't "love" them clean. We can kill ourselves trying but in the end, we have no power over their addiction. If we did, not one of us would be here.

Please take a good read around. If you can, find some meetings near you and go, I promise you will be glad you did.

I hope my story doesn't frighten you, when I read yours it was like reading my life all over again.

Hide your valuables including bank cards and checkbooks (stealing a check from the middle of a book is a common ploy), hide your medications and say your is almost impossible to out think an addict desperate for drugs.

Take a read around, you will see that there are many parents here and we are all walking with you. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Hugs from one mama's heart to another's.
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Old 01-29-2017, 11:37 PM
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My daughter used to have a terrible relationship with money. It's what initially led to her opiate addiction. She had been a passenger in a car accident and her portion of the insurance settlement was around $15k. She immediately blew it on clothes and an escalating drug habit. Next thing you know, she had graduated to shooting dilaudid in her veins.

Fast forward 10 years (holy cow I just realized it's been ten years!!!) and another wreck, this time way more devastating with way more money, being kicked out a few times, a few detoxes, an IOP and then inpatient, arrests and probation ... she has a much healthier relationship with money now after hitting her bottom.

She's been on the wagon now for about 6 years, maybe 7? I don't know because I don't ask and we don't talk about it. I learned to let go of her disease after we went around the block several times. She's doing really well, one day at a time.

Like Ann, I had to hit my own bottom, too. I was sooo exhausted and my health was taking a major hit. People just don't realize how devastating all that stress is on our health! Addiction can and will take us down too, if we don't distance ourselves from it.

I hope you and your husband will find resources for yourselves, too. An old saying around here is "work the program you wish your addicted loved one would." I took that advice after I read it and started seeing an addiction specialist. Next thing you know, my daughter told me I was acting different and then she started seeing someone, too. I simply stopped fighting, manipulating, and controlling.

Every now and then she'll bring up that moment, like she did last month. She still maintains it's the singular moment that led her to her bottom.
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Old 01-31-2017, 11:05 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
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Thanks, Ann. Thanks, Chino.

I will keep both of you and your families in my prayers too. Ann, that your son, wherever he is, is well, and Chino that your daughter will remain strong and sober!

I have a trusted therapist who I talk to weekly. She is not experienced in addictions, but nonetheless I find her helpful. It's kind of nice that the hour is about "ME".
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:03 PM
  # 5 (permalink)  
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Welcome Cherry! I am another Momma of a RAS who's drugs of choice are heroin and meth. 6 long weary years of the relapse-recover-repeat cycle. I can only say that the one thing that keeps me sane in any of these cycles is to detach and love my son (sometimes from a distance) and NOT get involved in his choices. I do support his choices to recover and love to spend time with sober JJ, but when he goes astray, I have to detach. Recovery and Relapse do not look or feel the same. Your gut knows the difference.
Keep reading and we are all here to support you!
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:59 PM
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I have a trusted therapist who I talk to weekly. She is not experienced in addictions, but nonetheless I find her helpful. It's kind of nice that the hour is about "ME".
That is so important and YES about you!!! Have you given any though to al-anon or nar-anon and another hour of your week for YOU?

And welcome, glad you found us!
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Old 01-31-2017, 03:38 PM
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Welcome to the forums; we're glad you are here and sorry that you need to be.

There is much experience and wisdom here, several of the more experienced moms have already checked in. I am somewhat an oddball / misfit here - I am the dad with the heroin addicted daughter, but the stories and the pain are still the same regardless of the genders of those who are involved.

Your story of the pawned "valuable item" sounds familiar. I had my deceased mother's engagement ring with a fair sized diamond, plus numerous diamond service pins and tie-tacs from various Fortune 500 companies from grandparents, some of my wife's and my service pins, etc. We had a diamond of some size to represent all 4 of her deceased grandparents plus mom and dad.

We took our little diamond collection to a jeweler who made them into a custom ring which we gave her on her 21st birthday. This was before she admitted her addiction and well before we had any clue she had a problem. To fast forward by several years, that ring was pawned and retrieved several times, was placed in the guardianship of an NA sponsor, retrieved and ultimately lost to a Florida pawn broker. I have never asked how much money she got for the ring but, I am certain it was not near what even the diamonds and white gold were worth. We finally admitted to ourselves that the ring was "worth" way more on a sentimental basis to her mom and I than it ever was to her. This is just how addiction and addicts behave, we are not unique and we have accepted that.

Regardless of what you son does or does not do, whether he continues to use or not, goes to rehab or not, actually works a program or not, learns to manage money or not -- you need time and energy spent on you.

My wife and I belong to a "parents of addicts" group which meets monthly with a professional therapist. This group is comprised of parents of alumni from the first rehab where my daughter first found her sobriety. The meeting is essentially a professionally facilitated Nar-Anon meeting with cross-talk and group feedback encouraged. A very small group, parents of addicts and alcoholics, intimate with only about 8 people typically in attendance. The therapist has always claimed that parents in our situation all have PTSD and I believe she is correct.

Some here have found peace with private therapists, many more have reclaimed their sanity in the rooms of Nar-Anon, Alanon, CoDA or CR. My point is that we all need to get out and find some support for ourselves - the forums of SR are a good place but there is nothing like face-to-face contact with others who are or have walked in your shoes.

Nar-Anon Step 1: " We admitted that we were powerless over the addict - that
our lives had become unmanageable."

I encourage you to find a meeting near you and give it a try - Google: Nar-Anon Family Groups and click on "Find a Meeting". Attend at least six meeting before you pick a homegroup or decide if the program is right for you. Each meeting group will have a slightly different personality and culture.

Keep coming back,

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Old 01-31-2017, 04:23 PM
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Thanks Jim. I have not attended six; only two, but nar anon just didn't feel like a good fit. The counselor I met when my son was in patient gave me literature about a parent group that meets weekly, very near my home. I'm embarrassed I can't remember the name of the program and the papers are in my car. I'm working up the chutzpah to attend. 😊
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Old 02-01-2017, 03:09 AM
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Another mom of a heroin addict here. My son is 24 and currently in rehab.
I can totally relate to your comment and your son building walls and thinking he can handle this. Exact same story with my kid. He didn't, and still doesn't want us too involved in his program (not a bad thing). I know he considers asking for help to be a form of weakness and is embarrassed about his situation even though he tries to hide it.

I agree with the comment that this situation creates PTSD in parents. Please take care of yourself. I still suffer from insomnia after not being able to sleep for so long because I was afraid he was dead.
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Old 02-01-2017, 05:41 AM
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" ....but nar anon just didn't feel like a good fit. The counselor I met when my son was in patient gave me literature about a parent group that meets weekly, very near my home. ...........I'm working up the chutzpah to attend. ��"

It is OK that Nar-Anon was not a good fit for you. Try the parent's group! If that does not fit either try Alanon, if that does not work try get the idea.

I do not think it makes a tremendous difference what group you get involved with as long as you find some face-to-face support on a regular and frequent basis. Given that the family group was recommended by your son's counselor, I am sure they have a positive message and philosophy.

Now, get working on that chutzpah quotient!

Keep coming back,

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Old 02-02-2017, 02:06 PM
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Hi Cherry,


I remember the first time I walked into NarAnon - listening to the other folks sharing really depressed me. I didn't go back . . . until about 6 months later when I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, when my son's drug addiction had made me more sad, angry and depressed than the meeting did. Then I went running back with open arms and embraced everything that group had to offer.

But, like Jim said, every group is different and you have to find what works for you. NarAnon on Thursday, Alanon on Friday and Sober Recovery are what worked for me!
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Old 02-02-2017, 05:32 PM
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Hi Cherry,
Attending NarAnon meetings was the best decision my wife and I made through all this. We live a crazy life and only the people at nar-anon can relate.
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Old 02-04-2017, 09:08 AM
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Thanks for all your responses!
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Old 02-05-2017, 06:39 PM
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Sorry you are in this but thre are many here just like you. I have two boys in that age group struggling with the same doc . One who works the program and the other who thinks he knows better and can do it "his way" what I know is that it was so uncomfortable for me to walk into a room of strangers at a meeting and talk.. I kept going and never spoke cause all I did in the beginning was cry and listen. Eventually I got up the nerve and been at it for 2 years. not every meeting is good , gotta look around but don't give up It has helped me to survive this life. This forum also has saved me many times from myself as a mom of two addicts...............Stay strong, please keep coming back even to read and listen to the words
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