Got a question for y'all

Old 01-04-2005, 06:10 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
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Location: Denver, CO
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Got a question for y'all

Hello to the brain trust of SoberRecovery. I'm thinking that there's enough experience here to get a couple of useful answers in this situation.

Here goes. A friend's 21 year old son, has like ten months ago graduated from a formal coke rehab program. Mom and Pop have set him up, with a few of his graduate friends, in a house that they share (and the kids pay rent that covers the mortgage). Said son goes to college, works a job that pays a portion of his expenses, Mom and Pop pay the rest. The kid's pulling down A's and B's and the occasional C, putting in a reasonable amount of time on the job, and staying off the drugs. Here's the rub. Said kid comes home a couple months ago and talks with Mom and says he's having an occasional "social" drink. Kid knows that Pop will lose it, and has Mom keep this a secret from Dad, which Mom goes along with. Dad finds out that the kid is drinking and that Mom has been less than 100% about it. There's alcoholism in the family, but no problem drinking in the home where the kid was raised, in the mom's parent's home. Dad's view on this is pretty simple. It's basically "not on my dime". Dad feels that an addict is an addict and it doesn't matter what the substance is. Dad spent months volunteering at the rehab where the son went to recover, in an attempt to re-direct his "caretaker" tendencies and learn as much as he could about the issue. Mom's view is apparently that it's no big deal, that it's only a few drinks, the kid didn't have a problem with alcohol, only coke, and she felt strongly enough about it to just sort of not mention it to her husband.

Okay folks, how do these guys handle this, in the best interest of the kid first off, and then in the best interest of the parents? Is there a compromise?

Not going to post here what I pretty much said to him as a recover(ed/ing) addict/alcoholic/ACOA/CoDa. I wanna hear what y'all have to say.
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Old 01-04-2005, 06:19 PM
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Nature Girl
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Dad's dime = Dad's call.

Kid gets to earn his own way in the world and look after himself and live happily every after.

Mom gets to be mad at Dad and blame him if all goes wrong.

The answer is really that if we each take responsibility for ourselves and our actions, nobody else gets to control us. Just my opinion.

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Old 01-04-2005, 06:26 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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My opinion...
Kid may or may not be playing with fire. Addicts are addicts. And every single one is different. Common disease. Singular lives.

My experience...
I quit a cocaine habit that was running well into the thousands of dollars a week. No big rehab revelation or twelve step meetings or counseling. I just happened to change cities, and didn't bother looking for a new dealer. I had a new job, and part of me was happy, really, to be sleeping and eating again. I started buying a six pack on friday nights. Fast forward ten years or so...
Chronic alcoholism, psychiatric ward/ residential rehab combo. Skid row, sleeping in my own filth. The whole nine yards.

Big ups to the father for everything in this story.
For his beliefs, his willingness to learn about his son's disease, and his black on white outlook. If it smells like smoke...

Kid needs to own what he gave his mom to take care of.
Bottom line.
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Old 01-04-2005, 06:35 PM
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Hi, Welcome to SR. I think you already know the answer. I speak only for myself. If I told you that I never had a problem with coke, only alcohol. Then I proceded to state that for this reason I was going to use coke. What would you say? The problem is he's in an enviroment that could lead to using. We are at our weakest point when using any mind altering substance. I would be willing to guess that before the son used coke he started with drinking. I would only be replacing the alcohol with coke. I did smoke pot, I can also say that the only time remember smoking it was at a party while drinking it was offered. I'm not sure I wouldn't have tried anything else offered to fit in. I never knew that much about coke, only that I never wanted to try it. Until I was in a treatment program and someone said coke helped him drink more. I sat right up and took notice. If, I had known that, no dought I'd have used. It is my belief that being in this type of setting, it is only a matter of time that alcohol no longer fills his need. I'm sorry but, his mother, although thinking she's a help, is I believe an enabler. She and his father should check out Alanon. I'd be rich if I got a $1 for everyone concerned about me that this or that was no big thing. Mom needs to add, YET, to her no big deal statement. This is why they call it a family illness. I'm sure if it wasn't her son, she'd never think it is OK. Eveyone gets blinded by addictions so she isn't a bad person, she's listening to and adictive mind of someone she loves. Don W
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Old 01-04-2005, 08:24 PM
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A drug addict is a drug addict...period. I've never in my life used street or script all my drugs from the liquor store, but I'm still a drug addict and one drug is as bad for me as another. The problem is not what substance we put in our body, it is that we do put SOMETHING in...

Specifically to the question at hand:

Regardless of recovery issues, it's Dad's money and his attitude, in my opinion, should be..."My money, my rules, your money, your rules."

Dad and Mom need to get their honesty issues cleaned up.

Da Kid, especially since he went through rehab, knows the deal on substituting one mind altering substance for another and needs to get honest with himself. I'd remind him of what DENIAL is an acronym for...Don't Even Notice I Am Lying.

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Old 01-04-2005, 11:58 PM
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It's Mom and Dad's money. Seems to me the communication problem here is primarily between Mom and Dad, who both pay the bills.

I don't believe that 'an addict is an addict'. Addiction to one drug does not necessarily lead to another. It would be great if in a formal coke rehab program they helped him learn some behavioral techniques for recognizing when he's developing a compulsive behavior and dealing with it.

I don't believe he necessarily has to be abstinent from every drug that he will face. He might want to educate himself about the signs of increasing alcohol dependence--if he's drinking daily, if he sometimes drinks more than he intended to, if his use of alcohol is affecting his finances, relationships, work performance, emotional health, etc. As others have pointed out, he has a tendency towards substance abuse. There are useful online tests he can take, but he has to be honest about it.

I can't tell you which parent knows him better. Nor would I predict his behavior based on my own -- I could take coke or leave it, have never smoked cigarettes, but drank heavily. All of those are considered addictive substances. There's no reason to assume that if you put coke in front of me that I'd use it, or that if I did that I'd become addicted. And the notion of smoking cigarettes is waaaay out of the realm of my consideration.

To answer your question....I'd urge him (and his mother) to be honest with his father. I suspect that's the big issue here. That they all learn some moderation guidelines for alcohol; Moderation Management has some information on their web site. And that if he exceeds those guidelines at any time, he commit to abstinence.

I believe that the father's concern and anger are partly based on fear, and that fear is not entirely misplaced. Abstinence may be the answer for him, or he might prove to be able to drink moderately (people do, including people who have used other drugs or who once drank heavily). But the son is going to have to learn this lesson on his own, and mom can't keep lying for him.

Don S
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Old 01-05-2005, 12:17 AM
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A boundary set and not upheld will become a waffle...filled with holes.
The kid knew he was doing wrong when he asked mom to hide it from dad.
Mom is becoming an enabler by helping the son hide the drinking.
What the son should have done... asked for forgiveness as he seeked to make amends for his drinking (crossing the parent's line)
the drinking may or may not become a problem. The problem at the moment was honesty. A trust broken and then trying to hide it.
If the son was to ask forgiveness and I felt he could be truthful in his asking and repentive... maybe? Burn me once shame on you... burn me twice, shame on me. A Trust was broken. Trust would need be gained back.
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Old 01-05-2005, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by BubbaBob
The problem is not what substance we put in our body, it is that we do put SOMETHING in...
Amen. This is my experience as well.

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