Learning from my childhood to my difficult child's

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by notsureeither, May 14, 2012.

  1. notsureeither

    notsureeither New Member

    I am the adult child of an alcoholic. My dad became sober after I left the house and has remained so for the past 25 years. Both of my siblings are/were alcoholics. I am the middle child. My family life was one crisis after another. How I got through everything was a total gift from God. I have been in Alanon since I was 16. When I got married at age 24, my husband promised me that I wouldn't have to go through another day of what I went through living with my father. He kept that promise. Come to the present day, a few years ago, my 39 year old sibling died of cirrhosis of the liver. For the last six weeks of his life, I literally watched him bleed to death. It was absolutely horrific. I kept my own children at a distance from what was going on, as they were all under 12 at the time. My other sibling is a raging alcoholic and we don't have contact, only through my parents... and that's another story.

    Come to the present, I have three children and my middle child, my son who is about to turn 16, has started smoking pot, drinking, having sex, and making stupid, apathetic decisions about everything else. My husband and I have lost control over the situation. It is getting worse and I'm frozen.

    One of my biggest fears is that my son will turn out like my brother. My brother struggled with chronic alcoholism from age 16 until his death. My children know this. I feel absolutely frozen about how to deal with my son. In Alanon, we learned to let the addict go, but what if the person is 16?
  2. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I am so sorry you are going through this. And -- yes -- at 16 your son is too young to let go. You are much more advanced in Alanon than I, but for me; I think letting go and detaching is a last step; not a first.

    I know too well the tendency to freeze. You want to chalk it up to normal teenage behavior and wish you didn't know about it all. And when there is a history of addiction in the family - it is likely that your son's "normal" experimentation triggered genetic/metabolic reactions that quickly turned into addiction/abuse. That's how it was explained to me about my own son. And that makes it harder for our kids - because they don't understand why so and so can use and "just" be a partier while they they can't. And they want so much to "just be a partier" and we know better. And that makes it hard on them.

    At 16, you have a very short window of time to MAKE him get help. And I think you need to exhaust all possibilities before he turns 18 and is completely out of your jurisdiction. I would call his doctor and ask for advice. Find out your local resources and seriously consider rehab and counseling. I think you need to move boldly and swiftly to get him as much help as possible while it's still in your realm. The time may come when you must detach - but that time isn't now.

    I am glad you found our little corner of the world - this board - but I am sorry you are hurting so. Please keep posting and know you have found friends who understand.
  3. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I was thinking explaining as graphically as possible about the addictions in your family and taking him to AA meetings.

    Everything you do might not change his actions but you will have the peace of mind of knowing that you did everything possible for your son. And who knows that somewhere down the road he might remember something someone said to him in those years you made him go to therapy or AA or rehab and it might help.