Couple thoughts from rehab

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by toughlovin, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Hi all,

    Well I just read some family info from the rehab my son is at.... For some reason I did not get all the info from email but my husband did... and he just shared it with me last night. I wish I had gotten it sooner.

    Anyway there were some tidbits I thought others of you might find helpful. I certainly did.

    So one of the questions it addresses, which many of us have, is what is the difference between "helping" and "enabling". It said to ask yourself two questions. 1) Are you solving a problem for your loved one? If you are solving the problem then you are not helping. Addiction shuts down parts of the brain and if you are solving the problem then you are reinforcing the addiction!! However if it is helping them build up areas of functioning then it is helpful. So for example paying a bill for them is probably enabling... helping pay for vocational school might be helping. Of course it is all a fine line.
    2) Who did your loved one go to before they came to you? It says that addicts have two sources of supports... the substance and you. Part of recovery is expanding their social support system and it points out there is plenty of supports out there in AA groups etc. So if they are only coming to you then they are not expanding their support system.

    The other thing it talked about was how often to talk to your loved one while in treatment. I have not talked to my difficult child since he went in 3 weeks ago and that has kind of been bothering me... but yet my gut says that I need to hold back. In a way this reinforced that. It said again by limiting contact it forces them to develop their own problem solving skills and support systems. And also they try to limit too much external stimulation while in the early phases of treatment.

    Anyway I found all this helpful and so thought I would share.

  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks TL. I appreciate what you shared. My difficult child is not a substance abuser, however there are so many similarities as a parent. Since I am in an odd place of leaving town while my difficult child is homeless, it helped to read about your decision to not talk to your difficult child for 3 weeks because your gut says that you need to hold back. I feel that as well, and it bothers me that I will be so far away, but my intuition tells me that having limited or no contact is the right thing to do right now. Apparently, my difficult child feels the same way since I haven't heard from her either.

    I'm sure we all have these thoughts, but the other night I had dinner with a dear girlfriend of mine who knows this situation inside out. She asked me, "have you given any thought to how you would feel if your difficult child died?" Yikes. I've thought about that in those dark moments at night when I can't sleep, but no one has ever asked me that before. It was such a direct hit to my heart. What would I do? Would I blame myself? Would I feel guilty for the rest of my life? Hearing someone else state that out loud was a truth grenade of some magnitude. Being that my difficult child is living out there in her car, she is not safe. That may be the greatest fear I have. And, that I couldn't protect her. I hear other parents on this site talk about their feelings when their kids are on the streets, I think we all share a common fear.

    When our children are mentally incapable, it is so difficult to leave them to their own devices. And yet, what else can we do when they won't help themselves?
  3. wantpeace

    wantpeace New Member

    Thanks for sharing. The treatment facitlity my son is in doesn't allow contact during the first week, so I don't have a choice. I have a phone intervention this afternoon, so I will ask how my difficult child is doing. The helping/enabling thing is the toughest thing with our minor children. I struggle with it every single day!
  4. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you TL, I will ask myself those questions every time I think of helping her to make sure I am not enabling.

    Our treatment center also said to limit contact after the first two weeks where they were not allowed any, to short phone calls, very light and nothing serious, and if they start complaining just say something like "hope this week goes better."

    I think the fact that you have not heard from him is good. In the past he always contacted you because he needed something. So his needs are being met and hopefully he is working on him.

    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  5. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That is helpful. Thank you for sharing.

  6. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Great help! Thank you. I agree-with a minor it is sketchy but these guidelines can work no matter what if you understand what is developmental.