A good reality check for me

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Nancy, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    As I posted in another thread, I attended an AA meeting yesterday where the young 19 yo man who helped get my difficult child into the sober house gave the lead. It was very inspiring and I pray that someday my difficult child is up on that podium celebrating her one year sobriety date. But while I was listening to his mother speak at the end it dawned on me that I am still far too invested in difficult child's recovery.

    I have decided it's time for me to pull back, emotionally. Yes difficult child is living on her own and has a job and is going to meetings but when I heard this young man speak he is following the program and I'm not sure she is.

    I found out that she has been associating with a druggie from our neighborhood that has a serious drug problem and has been in jail several times. This person is good friends with the kid down the street who damaged out door. They all run together and they got difficult child into pot and drinking at age 14. He and his family have enabled difficult child many times in the past. She knows our feelings about him but she says she is helping him and that's what addicts do, they help each other. She is only two months sober from her last relapse and is in no position to help anyone else. He is a bad guy and only in the program because the court sent him. I have no doubt he will be back using/dealing once it's over.

    husband and I discussed this with her and she is determined to "help" him. Funny thing is it doesn't appear she is following the rest of the program. All of her contacts are with guys, in the program, but guys anyway. She does not "help" or hang with other women. Her phone calls are all to several different guys, none to any females. She doesn't have a sponsor or if she does she has no contact with her. She isn't working the steps. She has a great deal of fun with these guys and it appears she is at their apartment 24/7 when she's not working.

    I need to pull back and stop worrying about her recovery. The AA meeting yesterday showed me in real life that it is her fight, not mine and I can't keep her from relapsing. If she isn't following the program sooner or later it will blow up and I have to stop worrying about when or if that day will come. She always has let guys use her and loves to be the center of attraction. I think this is all fun for her because she is surrounded by men and the only female in the group and gets all the attention she wants.

  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I agree. She has to be the one to run her own recovery, it can't be you. If she isn't ready or willing to do it, I think you are only frustrating yourself to keep finding out what she's doing and who's she's doing it with. But just like a recovery plan is new to her, it's new to you, too, and it takes time for everyone in the family.
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    What happened to the recovering girl who was spending time with her? DDD
  4. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    Seems you were invested more in her recovery than she is. As a parent, you want it so very badly for her. Good for you to realize that on your own; That's growth!
  5. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It's hard to resist the urge to check up on them constantly, and follow every step of their recovery, to make sure they're "doing it right." But you're right, it's not our business. It falls into the category of "you're working harder than she is." When you obsess over whether she's doing this, or not doing that, you only make yourself crazy, and it won't ultimately change the outcome. Only she can do that.

    I have to chuckle at her hanging out with mostly men, though. I can empathize becuase I personally get along with men better than I get along with most women, and have more male friends than female, so this doesn't seem odd to me at all. But I'm not her, and her motives may be different as you say. At any rate, hey, at least they're in the program.

    Try to get busy with your own recovery. If you can't find a good Al-Anon meeting where you're comfortable, maybe just reading their literaure will help for now. The book "Codependent No More" is helpful as well. The more you focus on yourself and not her, the better you'll get at remembering that it's not your job to make sure she follows her recovery program.
  6. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I was thinking about this some more, and remembering a pamphlet I picked up at an Al-Anon meeting years ago, called "A Merry Go Round Named Denial." I remember that it helped me a great deal with understanding my role in the craziness, and understanding what I needed to do to change it (at that time, it was my husband's alcoholism). I did some Googling to see if I could find the pamphlet, and while the "official" pamphlet is not on line that I can find, I found a few sites that had posted the text. Here's one: alcholism

    It's a long read, but worth it in my opinion. You can substitute "Alcoholism/Alcoholic" with "drug addiction/addict," and substitute "wife/husband" with "parent/child" and the message is the same. It paints a good picture of the crazy merry-go-round and all the players.

    Hope it helps.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    DDD as far as I know she is still living with this girl. But from my snooping around it seems like she spends every free minute and some nights I think, at these guys apartment. I actually am not sure how much time she spends at her apartment but I don't think it's very much.

    CrazyinVa I have read Codependant No More a couple times. I have most of the al-anon reading material but not the pamphlet you mentioned so I will try to pick that up. I also have many of the daily meditation books that help somewhat.

    I really have no reason to believe she is drinking or using. She is sober everytime we see her or talk to her. She is acting appropriately around us. It's just that I don't see her doing the things she needs to do to stay sober because so as soon as these guys get tired of her, and they will, she is left on her own without having formed the support group she needs. But I have to stop worrying about it. She is sober today!

  8. Elsieshaye

    Elsieshaye Member

    Oh, wow. This jumped out at me from the pamphlet text link as EXACTLY describing my role in things with-difficult child:

    "She controls, she tries to force the changes she wants; she sacrifices, adjusts, never gives up, but never forgets. The attitude of the alcoholic is that his failure should be acceptable, but she must never fail him!! He acts with complete independence and insists he will do as he pleases, and he expects her to do exactly what he tells her to do or not to do. She must be at home when he arrives, if he arrives. This character might also be called the Adjuster; she is constantly adjusting to the crises and trouble caused by drinking. The alcoholic blames her for everything that goes wrong with the home and the marriage; she tries everything possible to make her marriage work to prove he is wrong. She is wife and housekeeper and may, in addition, feel compelled to earn part of the bread. Living with a man whose illness is alcoholism, she attempts to be the nurse, doctor and counselor. She cannot play these three roles without hurting herself and her husband. She is so upset that she cannot talk to her husband without adding more guilt, bitterness, resentment or hostility to the situation, which is already almost unbearable. Yet the customs of our society train and condition the wife to play this role. If she does not, she finds herself going against what family and society regard as the wife's role. No matter what the alcoholic does, he ends up "at home': this is where everyone goes when there is no other place to go."

    "Act two is now played out in full. The alcoholic in his helpless condition has been rescued, put back on the job, and restored as a member of the family. This clothes him in the costume of a responsible adult. As everything was done for him and not by him, his dependency is increased, and he remains a child in an adult suit. The results, effects and problems caused by drinking have been removed by others. They have cleaned up the entire mess made by the alcoholic. The painful results of the drinking were suffered by persons other than the drinker. This permits him to continue drinking as a way to solve his problems. In Act One the alcoholic killed all his pain and woe by getting drunk; in Act Two the trouble and painful results of drinking are removed by other people. This convinces the alcoholic that he can go on behaving in this irresponsible way."
  9. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Oh Nancy.... so true this has to be her journey, not yours. (Or yours is a separate journey). Our difficult children are so similar.... there is the substance abuse issue AND there is also their issues around relationships. It sounds like your dtr is dealing with her drug issues and is at least sober...that is big. The other thing she needs to deal with is her issues around men and relationships..... is she seeing a therapist? I think she needs to find someone she can trust and really work on those issues because i suspect her feeligns around men relate to why she uses drugs... and so she probably needs to deal with those to stay sober.

    However you can't do it for her. All you can do is let her know you support her getting some therapy for her relationshp issues and she has got to do it.

    I think my difficult child is approaching it from the other end... he knows he has problems with relationships with women and that is a motivating factor for him. I think he wants to deal with those issues because he knows they make him miserable and I think he wants to figure out how to have a good relationship. I am much less sure he is really dealing with his substance abuse issues.... and I think the two issues are very interwined.

    But it has to be their journey. I think as long as we are more invested than they are they will lie through their teeth to us to get what they want and to keep us at bay. I think one reason my son and I had a good and honest conversation the other day is I made it clear it was his choice, his journey..... and had already told him I wouldn't give him cash so lying or playing the game with me wasn't going to get him anything.

    Hang in there.... maybe stop snooping for a few days and see how you feel.