Thoughts on recent posts...

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by toughlovin, Sep 16, 2012.

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  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Hi all and Rumpole,

    I missed your original post and so dont have your whole story. I find it helpful to hear your point of view as it can help mem think about the issues with my son. I think your thoughts on talking about the life you want, rather than clean or dead was insightful and true. I know that was the approach the last tx place my son was in was taking... and I think it helped.

    Clearly what you said in some of your early posts felt to some like you didnt understand the parents point of view... I cant respond to any of that as i didnt see them and now they are gone or I cant find them. I would be interested in what finally helped you turn your life around as you obviously have.

    I do want to say that we have done everything possible to help our son. Yes we did kick him out of the house when he was 18.....and maybe it wasn't best for him from his point of view but it was absolutely necessary.... and I am not sure staying here doing drugs whenever he wanted would have been good for him either. He has had to live a very hard life because of the choices he has made, but they are his choices. In the last year we have helped him when he asked for help and he has gone to multiple tx programs at a huge financial cost to us... and the last time he walked away. That was his choice. What I have come to realize is that I cannot do this for him, and at times I do think he wants help but he has to be the one to really do the work to get help. He is almost 21 and is now living who knows where across the country from us. It truly breaks my heart.... but really I dont see that there is anything more I can do to help him unless he is willing to do the work to help himself.

    And Nancy I am glad you updated that quote, to clean, dead or in jail. Because I know an addict who was on heroin for 27 years.... so that is not clean or dead.... but he did do time in prison!!! And eventually did get clean.... and his point to young addicts is similar to Rumpoles, do you really want to be like me and be 50 years old and still trying to get your life together?

  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    One of his posts is in moderation and I don't know how to get it out. I have asked for help on that and if we can get it posted it may become clearer why we reacted the way we did. His editted post also would have been helpful to see. But neither post explained how he got clean other than it was a non chemical way and because he saw his future and wanted it to be better.

    Hopefully Rumpole can educate us on how he was able to control his addiction so easily and completely that he is now a successful student in law school. That would surely be beneficial to all our difficult children and insightful to many addiction counselors.

  3. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The moderated post is now posted on Teree's thread. Please continue to post comments here or under Rumpole's thread so that we don't disrupt Teree's thread.

  4. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I have to say, that I think Rumpole has some excellent points. Especially the one TL also noted. Trying to scare kids, when educating them on drugs or trying to get them stop is not effective. I live in the country, there drugs are much less prominent issue than in most western world. We do have them, but little less. And especially we have much less casual users. For example pot just isn't that popular or common. Still twenty-five years ago our education system made it a point to teach kids about drugs. It was total scare tactic. They found some 'ex-druggies', who look horrible and they went from school to school to tell kids how drugs kill, how you get hooked from first time you try pot and are living under the bridge and shooting heroin in six month from that, in prison a year from that and dead two years from first trying pot. Most kids saw pot first time of their life when these 'educators' showed them a packet police had confiscated.

    You can probably guess how well that worked? When someone still tried, and wasn't in prison a year later but still going to school like everyone else absolutely all credibility that any drug education had went out of the window for the kids. In the end maybe some kids skipped trying pot because of the education, but we certainly have our share of heroin users. Partly because kids simply didn't believe a word they were said about dangerous of drug use. Still alcohol seems to be a drug of choice for us, and we still have less drugs than most western countries. But no thanks to that drug education.

    Little bit same seems to be true with alcohol. We have two different popular alcohol/addiction treatment system models. Other is AA and Minnesota treatment centres. Other is public health system with addiction psychiatrists and quite different approach (many would say softer, trying to minimize health detriments, using medications, more willing to take customer's/patient's opinions to count, based of newest scientific studies) and while the AA side tends to keep much more noise, it seems that the other approach is more effective in actually lessening the harms of addictions and getting their patients to decrease their substance abuse especially with those who are more treatment resistant. At least it is clear, that 12 steps approach is not the only possible one or best one to every addict. That is something worth keeping in mind.

    Same goes to tough love ideas. They do work with some. With some, something else may work better. And I have to say, and this is only my personal experience, it seems that most well recovered addicts I personally know, have not been helped by tough love, 12 steps or have not been reaching any personal rock bottom. Many have recovered on their own, many have recovered slowly through positive changes in their life, many have not stopped in certain day or moment they could remember but first decreased their abuse and finally stopped totally and often through finding some positive elements to their life. For some it has been treatment for their underlying mental health issue (and they have been treated while still abusing substances), for some life situation changes or goals they have started to work for. But as I say, these are just people I know. There is very little actual studies about efficiency of substance abuse treatment and everyone I have seen has pointed that most recovered addicts recovered without any treatment. So at least it seems, that there is not the one, right treatment option, that should be pushed to everyone.

    I also can see Rumpole's point in not throwing a young adult child out of home, if not necessary. I can see the point in that too. Young troubled kid with little skills simply doesn't often do so well out on their own. But again it is difficult to know, which approach works better. And it is very important to remember that it is not only about the troubled child. Well-being of the parents and especially other children at home are just as important. Even if it would be beneficial for troubled young adult to stay at family home, it is not possible, if it is harmful for younger siblings and too stressful for parents. And this is often the situation. And leaving home can also help troubled young adult. My difficult child's situation is rather unique, but for him living independently has helped. He has had to grow and learn and doing that and copying have been huge plus to his self esteem. It has also made our relationship better which also helps. We are more able to support him, when we are not caught up by daily struggles with him. Things tend to have pros and cons, so does this matter.
  5. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Rumpole was candid about his/her unique experiences, and I think honestly trying to offer advice, not intending to be judgmental or disrespectful in any way. At least I didn't read it that way at all.
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Perhaps because he editted out his post you may not have had the same reaction as some but his comments were very offensive and critical. I don't think we ever said AA was the only way to go. I asked if he had ever been to an AA or NA meeting not to suggest he should go but to point out that there are countless stories of how they only got help after their family left them or they got fired or they got kicked out of the house. You just cannot discount the effect that such an event has in someone's life like he has. Not one of us has asked our difficult child to leave because it was the easy way out. I suspect that if this person was a serious addict and he never stole from anyone that his parents must have enabled him by giving him money, especially in his early years.

    Like I said previosuly, his tone was critical of us warrior moms and his experiences seem to be far different from my difficult child's at least. Reminding my difficult child that she has a good future in front of her did nothing and allowing her to stay in my home and continue to break the law and have no motivation for anything and terrorize our home was not good for any of us. Rumpole suggested that the reason he was able to overcome his addiction was because his mum dragged him out of the house to excercise with her. If it were only that easy.

    I believe the part about him being 15,000 miles away from home and on a full ride scholarship to law school in the UK was in the post he deleted. Don't we all wish our difficult child's could be that successful if we just invite them out to excercise with us.

    Yes I am anxious to hear how he has overcome his addiction too.

  7. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I didn't see a comment he edited out. But in the comments I did see, I think he was appropriate. There are many ways to deal with addictions and think about these matters. There is no one truth or one working method. There are different approaches that may work or may not. A problem of course is, that you never know what (if any) would work beforehand. You just have to choose one.

    This is soft place to land for parents and there should not be overly critical tone to these choices around here. But still advises should be able to be given and it should be possible to discuss. And it should be okay to have a different opinion than many do.

    I understand it feels very hurtful, if it feels that someone is criticising your parenting and especially the tough choices you made with your dear children. Especially if that other person has not been there done that. But still it is often beneficial to listen also different point of views. I for example have found reading this SA forum very beneficial even though my personal experiences and thoughts about addiction and my experiences and choices with my difficult child are little different from mainstream here. I'm hesitant to write about anything controversial though, because as I said, my point of view is different and I have not wanted to either sound unsupportive to others or get too many comments I would consider unsupportive to me. We are talking about our children here and very serious and scary things with them. It is emotional for all of us. And sometimes that can be little tricky especially if your point of view is little different from the mainstream.
  8. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    How well tough love works probably depends a lot on the addict and what the issues are. And some may depend on where the heart is of the person giving tough love. And for some the opposite of tough love is pure unadulterated enabling.... and I really dont think enabling is helpful at all... and in fact usually leads to worse addiction.

    I agree that the AA approach may not be for everyone... and it may make sense to look at other treatment options.

    However to me not setting appropriate boundaries and limits with an addict does not help the addict and puts your own safety and mental health at risk. Learning to not enable our beloved child is so painful and difficult but I think is necessary for them to really recover.

    I also believe that it makes sense to continue to let our addict know that we love and care for them. I do think that to be effective with tough love, or not enabling, that it needs to come from a place of love not from a place of punishment. So yes at least at this point I will accept any collect calls from my difficult child, I will love him and let him know I love him. However I wont take abuse from him, am very wary of any manipulation by him, and will not put my family at financial risk because of him.

    The bottom line is he needs to find his path and way out of this... I will support him however I can in doing that but I have realized I can no longer try to find the path for him.

  9. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I said I was finished on the other thread. So now I am posting here.

    Really because upon my second, midday re-read of his posts- I see an earnest desire to provide insight; and he makes many good points. Food for thought.

    I think his premise is fundamentally flawed. We don't ask our children to leave because we are mad and they are bad. If only it were that simple and black and white. But I won't defend my point of view again. been there done that

    What I am struck by is the poster's repeated theme that our kids need to understand that they are sacrificing their future security & enrichment for their current addiction.

    "What should really scare young addicts is asking them if they want to be a 40 year old addict? Do they want to get to that age and not have a spouse, not have assets, not have travelled and met interesting people, not to have pursued a university education, just drifted for years?"

    And later in another post
    " ... that in exchange for giving up heroin you get real freedom (financially, in terms of travel, socially etc), experiences, memories, anecdotes, that are far more gratifying than drugs. I know now how important it is to have a clear direction and path in life, so that you always know where you're going."

    I guess I am struck by the irony. All of us-in our middle age- having compromised our own assets, travel, enrichment, marriages, you name it because of our child's addiction. Living with a young adult addict who requires much more 1x1 parenting, attention, sleepless nights, financial resources than they did as a baby. All this - right at the time in our lives where we are expecting to experience an empty nest!

    Ironically, the poster failed to notice that our adult child's addiction robs us of the freedom he holds up as a goal.
  10. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Having gone back to reread all of Rumpole's posts I see the most offensive comments we in his deleted post titles, Mad or bad. He took many of the things we ahve said in posts and quoted them as being wrong and harmful.

    However these comments have me shaking my head:

    "There's a lot of "tough love" rhetoric, talk about "enabling" and so on, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that these concepts are not just fallacious, they're harmful."

    This This is just the complete opposite of what most addiction counselors and former addicts believe. Furthermore it is hurtful to be told that what we are doing to our difficult child's by no longer enabling their drug use is harmful

    "So.... I'm not a medical practitioner, but I can tell you what got me past my addiction phase. It was my Mum methodically (and irritating as it felt to me at the time) forcing me to get out of the house to get some exercise with her, getting me involved in things (as I wasn't working or studying), whatever she was doing, but essentially not allowing me to hide away in my bedroom. It was her making sure I took suboxone and Omega-3 and multivitamins, and perhaps most importantly, talking to me about my education and career and making sure I knew where I was going. Having a future tends to make it worthwhile to take a rain check on the drugs."

    Forcing my difficult child to go excercise with me or take multivitamoins is almost a joke and I have a hard time accepting that R understands addiction at all.

    "If I were to go back and speak to the 17 year old version of myself, I'd say, how badly do you want to have a good life? Do you want to have a nice house, a good job, an education, a spouse? Because the longer you use drugs, the further away that stuff gets."

    And do you honestly think if yousay this to most young addicts it will make a difference?

    "I still cause my Mum to worry because I forget to respond to text messages and the like.... the only thing that's different to when I was a bona fide difficult child is that I've learned to manage the chaos so that nothing ever gets close to causing the whole thing to capsize."

    I don't know what this means.

    "What I know in hindsight would have induced me as a 17-year old would be to describe my life now, tell him what you can do with a modicum of effort and without any chemical assistance, that in exchange for giving up heroin you get real freedom (financially, in terms of travel, socially etc), experiences, memories, anecdotes, that are far more gratifying than drugs. I know now how important it is to have a clear direction and path in life, so that you always know where you're going."

    Drugs do not allow one to have a clear vision of where they are going.

    Rumpole knows what he said and the tone he used in his deleted post that was so hurtful and I believe that is why he editted it out and for that I am thankful. But it is hard to take seriously someone who attacks us and minimzes the seriousness of the situation by saying if we just drag our difficult children out to excericise and make them take omega 3 they will get better.

  11. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I started posting the above an hour ago & didn't finish until just now. So I missed the many posts in between.

    I think there is a misunderstanding of the OP's original intent and tone. He has since deleted a very preachy, sanctimonious denouncement of parents who ask adult children to leave home. It appears he has also edited some of his other posts.

    I stand by what I wrote earlier. Yes, there is a place for different points of view on this forum. We give and take as parents and mothers with the same goal & hope that our children will be healthy someday. However - in my point of view- there is no place for a poster who comes here simply to be critical or even to be a well meaning "devil's advocate." While I will always welcome insight into my son's substance abuse, someone who is here simply to represent a counterpoint is not helpful and is in fact hurtful. When we criticize each other's parenting choices; we do so constructively and with a mutual respect and a knowledge that we are all fighting for our kids and have the same goal despite our different approaches. We honor one another and the love we have for our children; never questioning that we want what's best for our own and each other's kids. We all seem to understand that when there is no way to make things right for our kids, we have to stop making the wrong things easier thru enabling. And that when there is no progress in their journey; we need to start making things right for ourselves. Even if only so those resources are renewed for when they are ready & willing to be helped.

    I fear the OP was here simply as a tempest in a teapot.
  12. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I agree! I find his (in my opinion) extremely arrogant posts hurtful and disrespectful. This is a student, that I also doubt is an addict, posting advice that contradicts experts.

    I will no longer read or post to any of his replies. I still think this new member's post are similar to one in the recent past that just loves the drama their posts cause.

    (((huggs, blessings, peace)))
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I didn't read that original post either but get the gest that it's a completely different perspective about addiction. In my mood to play mediator, I want to throw out a couple of be taken for what they're worth. LOL!

    I was taught that no one can help the fact they have an addiction no more than they can help being bipolar or diabetic. We cannot control, nor should be "blamed", for the the hand we are dealt. We are, however, responsible for how we play that hand. IOW- once a person is fully aware that they are biploar, diabetic, an addict (or whatever), that person is responsible for accurately treating it, assuming the person is an adult and mentally capable and has access to adequate tx. Of course there might be times when a diabetic splurges on the diet or forgets the insulin and then must spend some time getting health back into "maintainance mode" (where it isn't a crisis situation anymore but is still critical to maintain).

    IMVHO, the biggest thing that sticks out to me on this section of the CD board is that most are parents of young adults with varying issues and the parents firmly believe the young adult is an addict and that is what is causing a great deal of problems in their lives. That might be 100% accurate but obviously, most of these young adults have not accepted that as their own "truth".

    It appears to me that some parents are trying "to get the difficult child's to realize they are an addict" (for lack of better phrase) by rewarding andd giving consequences, then when that doesn't work, the parent tries to detach nd whether it's felt or not, the tone in many threads over here is very angry toward the difficult children.

    I tend to think that from the difficult children' perspective, they aren't getting the point that they are, in fact, an addict this way. I thinnk they are hearing "you're bad, there's something wrong with you, why can't you just change, we're ashamed of you", etc, from their parents, that makes them feel worse, be angry, rebel more, and self-destruct more.
    Yes, probably they are in denial, but still, I can't see many success stories from this approach. The young adults ddon't sseem to be getting the lightbulb moment of and realizing for themselves that their hair is brown or they can't run fast or they are an addict when they are focused on feeling defensive, angry, ashamed, depressed because of what others said or get the idea. And it's highly unlikely that a young adult who does know deep inside that they have a problem is going to reach out to the person who did or said such things to them.

    That certainly doesn't mean a family member needs to stand there and dish out money to a practicing drug addict or act like they condone it or don't care. But if the person hasn't realized it themselves, whether or not you think they should have already, I honestly think it's futile to keep getting angry at them and/or keep trying to coerce them into getting tx. It seems like that would just constantly frustrate oneself, to me. And if you asked me "how can we make them see it"- that's the whole point- you cannot- it won't be on your timeline and you can't control it.

    I'm not trying to take sides with one board member or another- I have no idea what that original post said- and I'm not trying to defend a difficult child over a parent but just trying to see both perspectives and help bridge a communication gap between well-intentioned people.
  14. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Open season on the sa board! Thanks klmno! So much for a soft safe corner of the www.

    As you said, you did not see the op. your assumption that it was a well intentioned post from a different perspective is way off base.

    But thanks for joining in the fray.
  15. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    In fact his posts really don't contradict experts and scientific research of addiction. They are valid point of views in addiction medicine. They do contradict AA and most popular (especially most popular In the Northern America) lay perspective.

    I'm a one mom who has purposely kept her addicted child as far away from 12 step treatments as possible for reasons he discusses and steared him to addiction medicine based programs. That is something I have not felt comfortable telling in this forum this boldly before. It may be bad idea to do it now, but I just wanted to point out, that these ideas are not just something addicts or people wanting to stir trouble hold. There are also parents of addict children who agree. And yes, because I quickly understood, what kind of reception that would get, I have mostly kept my mouth shut about these matters here.
  16. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree Tired and I seem to remember him also.

  17. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Thank you for making my point Suz. You've steered clear because you knew that it may not be received well and you didn't want to be hurtful . I suspect it may have been a lively debate but that no one would have misconstrued your intent to be helpful. Because it would have been just one of many posts you've made, a mere blip on this board from a mother we all know to be a compadre in parenthood; whose struggles mimic our own, who has lovingly reached out to us in need and in turn, someone to whom we've reached out to in caring as well.

    This new poster does not resemble any of that. It's time to circle the wagons to protect each others mommy hearts.
    Lasted edited by : Sep 16, 2012
  18. Rumpole

    Rumpole New Member

    I think that's a rather cruel way to dismiss someone's arguments, as if telling someone about a treatment that works is not well-intentioned.

    Interesting. I hadn't been to this website before yesterday.

  19. Rumpole

    Rumpole New Member

    Yes, it didn't go down well and it occurred to me that this is your forum and I'm not on the Guardian website so it's advisable to row back a little.

    No, I've certainly come to see that. But frankly, you can't ever say no one tried telling you.

  20. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Suz I suspect that a discussion on different ways to reach sobriety would be welcome on this board. It is the criticising of one way and outright saying it doesn't work and has no validity that would offend. If your experience has shown a successful way to sobriety I think we would all be willing and eager to hear what you say. I have never thought AA was the only way to sobriety and I fully understand reluctance on some people's part to their program, but it works for many many people and I donlt think you would ever come here and try to prove it doesn't.

    We don't advocate one program over another here and respect everyone's journey out of this darkness.

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