Am I expecting too much?


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Many of you know my story but the short version is my son has been in a faith based program for 3 months as of 1/10. Prior to that he was in rehab for 30 days after spending a week in a psychiatric ward for threatening suicide to his girlfriend. He was using at the time. She was moving to another part of Florida to go to school. She is not a user and most of the time they spent together he was sober.

Prior to that he had totaled his car (our car we let him use while in Florida and sober) when he took too many benzos and passed out. Thankfully he did not get hurt nor did he hurt anyone else. The last few months he declined.

We had sent him to Florida in March of 2016 to an IOP and sober living after rehab here and hopefully get a job and go to school. We had him home many times before after rehab and he'd use again after 3 or so months sober. He did well there for six months or so and after that has been in and out of rehabs/sober living. Wash, rinse, repeat.

I had found faith based programs before but they were long term and knew we were now at the point where there was nothing else left. He never stayed sober long term although I really felt he wanted to. Husband picked him up in Florida and drove him to a program I found in Tennessee in October. He fought tooth and nail but husband left him at the new place, backpack in hand and tears.

We did visit last month for 5 hours and attended a graduation there of another young man. I was so very impressed with the program and my son looked absolutely amazing. All the young men were in dress pants and shirts and he introduced us to a lot of them and I kid you not, had I not known many of these guys were there court ordered I'd never have believed it in a million years. How did they get like that so quickly?

Son says program is VERY hard and I tell him he needs it to be hard. As SWOT said, if it were easy he'd done it a long time ago.

We talk to him once per week for ten minutes. Most calls are good but I have heard the addict a few times also which sends me into immediate PTSD: cold sores, IBS etc. We are going to see him this weekend. When we talked about it with him the other night he asked us if we were "bringing him home with us". This gets me SO VERY upset. Husband said that he should not want to come home. That he should know he is not ready. We have continually told him he had to graduate the program and have a life plan and only then would we help him get himself together. Then son said he knows he is not ready to leave and that he doesn't want to live that life anymore and he would not throw away all that he has accomplished.

Am I expecting too much too soon? The fear and PTSD of him coming home late this year is somewhat overwhelming. I don't want to go through what we have been through ever again. Even if it means I don't see him ever again. I know that sounds crazy and I can't believe I said that but I am in full protection mode. I am so confused about my feelings. I can't see him fail again and again anymore. If anyone had told me we'd be doing this "seven years later" I would not have thought I could survive.

Any thoughts or comments welcome.


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He is going to take a lot longer than three months. Maybe longer than this program. He may need more than this and he may quit, but I would not even consider his request. I think going home at any time could cause a relapse. But now.....absolutely impossible. I would stress that he has to finish then go to sober living. Is that the plan? I always like to see how they do in the community before they are considered sober.

Don't feel guilty.

Hugs and love. You are strong and can bounce back!
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100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
We told him he has to graduate from the program which should be in December. We are moving to another state before that; he does not know it yet, but job transfer for me and a new start for him in a smaller, WARMER town which should be good.

I would never let him out of the program early. They work locally full time for about 5 months and their money is all saved so when they leave they have a little nest egg. We will let him live with us if he has a plan to work and go to school and continue to attend church. I'll know if he's ready. We will not let him stay with us long term once he's out either way. Has to have a life plan.

We do want him close to us though because we've all been through so much.


Well-Known Member

This seems to be a recurring theme in your talks with him, not just since he has been in this program, but since he went to Florida.

It sounds like your son’s main focus is moving back home, rather than focusing on his sobriety and his future.

It seems to be his crutch, so he doesn’t have to do the real work of getting his life together.

I have to wonder if this is a good thing for him.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Agree that we do not want him to focus on home or on us and this program doesn't encourage this as well since they are only able to call once per week for ten minutes.

I cannot control how he is thinking, all I can do is keep redirecting him. I do think he is learning a lot in the program about himself and creating good habits.

As with anyone with this problem, it's up to them. He knows he has to have a plan before he can be close to his family again.

I don't know what the answer is really.

Lost in sadness

Active Member
I am not great at ‘advice’ at the moment, being in the thick of stuff myself. However, some wiser mums on here told me only a for months ago when I was considering my son coming home again at Christmas that this was not a wise move. It’s thought that part of growing and being an adult is that they can fend for themselves independently and a healthy young person would not want to come home. It’s hard to think of saying no, to imagine them never coming back, to think about how this must feel for them when they have worked so hard but I also wonder if it’s some kind of trigger to relapsing back. I’m thrilled for your son that he is doing well at the moment but I am also sorry to say those ‘wiser’ mums were right and we are back to square one. I felt the same anxiety - next time I will listen to that doubt! Hugs xx


Long road but the path ahead holds hope.

This is a challenging time for all of you. It is what it is and one day at a time is how we all survive.

It is difficult when we get inside our own heads and begin to fill our thoughts with dreadful anticipation. It is especially difficult when your son keeps on with the question of coming home.

Have you talked about this with your therapist lately?

We will let him live with us if he has a plan to work and go to school and continue to attend church. I'll know if he's ready

A great plan all in good time, December is a long way away.

Have you and your husband tried to pause and not answer this question before? This is a technique I learned in redirecting. The pause gives son time to ponder his question and usually redirect himself to the answer that has been given many times before. If he does not answer and continues to press the technique is to identify that this has be n discussed and the answer remains the same and move on to a different topic.

Is there someone at his program you can speak to about this?

There is no doubt this is a stressful time for you. Work move, rehab in another state, the continued question that brings the addict back to life. Deep breathes and find time to focus on yourself while he is safe and in the program.

The positive is he says the program is hard but he hasn’t left. He also has verbalized his need to be there.

I do hope the visit goes well and I pray that he stops asking when he can come home. Its not time for that discussion yet.

Every morning I meditate and remind myself. It is what it is, one day at a time. I try to express my thoughts and feelings in a safe environment. I try very hard not to get ahead of myself or stuck in my own head too much. It is my sons life to live and like you we have done evrythig we possibly can to help him. The rest is up to them it is their story to write.

A very big Hug to you!
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100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Thanks ladies.

His dad had told him he can come back home if he successfully finished this program. Again, it is not a long term solution, but a stopping point for him. Of course if he is going to school or trade school and staying sober he will have a place for him. He has to have a life plan. There will be strict rules. We are not afraid any longer of having him leave and we will be in a warmer climate living in a new state where he does not know anyone. He is like many others here and does not like to be alone nor do I want him alone. This to me is where the CRAFT model takes over. Giving him the support he needs to find his way in life. I'm okay with that. We will not enable him though.

This is not me bringing someone home that is actively using. This is after a 13 month successful program and over two years out of state and a thousand miles away from us. He has fallen many times but he always gets up.

In the program he is in now they really don't talk to you about how their doing since they are adults and it's nothing like the rehabs he's been in before. If he was not doing well and following the rules he would not be able to stay there. I have seen a big change in him but he is far from "done" and will never be done. This is much different than anything we have experienced before. This is a lifelong change for anyone that has a problem with addiction and they are never done. But it's on him. I have had to accept I cannot control the outcome and it is very hard.

My therapist agrees with what we are doing and the boundaries we have set so I feel pretty good about it. We have all learned a lot.

He does not ask about home every time we talk to him and he did not bring it up at all on our last visit but I know he thinks about it a lot. I agree, I don't want him to think about home but if he does it simultaneously with working on himself I have to be okay with that. When he does bring it up we redirect him to his goal there. He does acknowledge that it is easy to stay sober there and the longer he is sober the better it is for him. My son is very smart and is finally learning self awareness which is a very important part of this journey. I am just trying to stay positive and hope for the best. It really is in God's hands.


Well-Known Member
RN I read your posts and my heart just aches for you...I see my own boy - same age - and think of how I'd feel if he had asked to come home. I know how very, very hard it must be. But I think you have a great plan in place. Successfully complete the rehab, he'll have some $$$ in place for living expenses (BANK THAT MONEY)! Let him come home, find work, and then find his own place. He'll know it's short-term. He'll know that he can't live with you forever. He'll be in a new place too...away from old, bad influences.

I hope your visit goes well. Hang in there. :hugs:


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Staff member
This is strictly my opinion but I don't think he should live with you when he finishes the program. I think the next step should be a sober living facility and then independent living. That could include living in a dorm in a recovery program at a college.

You said that he admits it is easy to stay sober while in a residential program like the one he is in. My daughter was always successful when she was in those situations. It was once she was out that she would relapse. I think that there needs to be a step-down that still has a structure and drug testing. The one my daughter went to the last time where she was finally successful had different levels where they earned more and more freedom before she went to a transition house and then her own apartment.

I don't know anything about his program but it might be structured like that. I hope so.

Another thing to think about is that it is very easy to regress when an addict returns to a situation that was problematic in the past. I know that I still see my daughter regress when she is with us for even a short period of time like the holidays. I am not talking about a relapse . . . just that she exhibits immature behaviors and becomes more childlike if that makes any sense. I find myself regressing, also. I treat her like she was in the past rather than the adult she has become.

When my daughter was in the first three-month program we sent her to, her single goal was to get to come back home. The director told her point blank that was a bad idea and she needed to work on becoming a functioning adult and that functioning adults don't live with their parents.

It was in this last program when my daughter finally got sober that she stopped talking about living with us and looked forward to living on her own. She never even thinks about moving back home anymore. I think that getting sober and growing up go hand in hand. I know that your son is much younger than my daughter so that is why I mentioned the possibility of going back to school and living in a special dorm for students in recovery.

RN, please know that I will support your decisions 100%. I am just giving you food for thought. I am glad that you are working with a therapist and she is on board. That is very important.



Roll With It
Your son is at one of his BIG relapse points right now. It is actually very much HIS NORMAL that he wants to come home with you when you leave after this visit. Think about it a little. He goes to rehab, comes home to you, and then after about 3 months, what happens? He relapses. So his addicted brain is at roughly that point, give or take a little bit, and it is going to get that trigger. It is going to see you. So he is already thinking about coming home so he can go and use. THIS IS A GOOD THING.

Yes, that was a totally mind bending thing for me to say. It is a good thing because when you are there, you can say something about it to his therapist. Or, if you are more comfortable, print out what I typed and give it to her. It all depends on what is going on this weekend. I don't know if you have a family session over the visit or if it is unstructured. This IS something that needs to be addressed while he is there. He needs to be able to confront this pattern so that he can make a choice about breaking it.

You all, as a family, have very strong established patterns of behavior for who does what, when at the times that your son lives with you after rehab. Returning to your home after this long term rehab will trigger those established patterns of behavior. I am not really sure that there is a whole lot that could prevent it from happening. I am not saying that you could not help him establish himself (if you are able), but having under your roof will probably just not be healthy or comfortable for any of you. Not for a living situation, though a visit would be a different story (weeks, not months would be my suggestion).

Right now I don't think that you know what is reasonable to expect at any point in this process. Your son hasn't been in recover for very much longer than this in the past. At least that is my understanding. This is about the point that he usually relapses, isn't it? If his brain wasn't turning to drugs, I would find it strange. Of course, I am not an expert. Thankfully, he is with professionals who know how to redirect his thoughts so that he can maybe get a better grip on recovery.

You have not had a long time to break the behavior patterns that you learned either. Addiction makes us sick, too, remember? We do better if we get help for the PTSD and the codependence and the awful feelings and behavior patterns that we learned to cope with the substance abusers in our lives. That takes a substantial amount of time, and you just have not had a whole lot, yet. Do what you can to insist he stay in the program and hopefully he will make the changes he needs to make while he is there.

(((((hugs))))) (((((extra hugs)))))


Well-Known Member
I agree with Kathy. And I will also support any decision you make and I know you are moving but I feel that going to live with you in any location is risky.

He in my opinion needs to go to sober living and plan for his future. Living at home is easy and can be a trigger. in my opinion when he is well he won't want to live with you. He is past the age that one longs to be with parents. If he still wants to, I personally would take it to mean he is still not healed, which he can't be anyway after three months. He still likely craves those drugs. He will crave them forever and needs to learn to live life ignoring those cravings.

There are drug users everywhere in every state and every large city and tiny Town. I feel addicts need extra help after completing a rehab program and the more the better. Then they, with aid, move onto adulting and caring for themselves. I don't think that generally they go to rehab and then they go back home where life is easier and go on as if all is well.

I think our wish to have them near us may be more for us than for their good. Short term can turn into long term can turn into our giving them money (which is never good for an addict) which can turn into life before rehab in a second. One benzo and he is using again.

My daughter never came home but she paid for college, bought a car, worked, eventually bought a house....she adulted. She never relapsed. She was way too busy and her mind had grown up. She was immature...all addicts are....but she was ready to grow up anyway. And she did!

Like Kathy, this is my opinion. I too am puzzled that there is no sober living where they can test sobriety with their peers and be drug tested. And learn to function productively out there without us. The parent/child dynamic tends to kick in when they live with us.

Anyhow, this hit me hard. I said it. I'm done. Will support you no matter what.

Love and hugs!
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100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Thanks ladies.

Actually they have a work program for the last 5 months of his program there where they live in a separate step up house on the property and work off site. So I am sure that is their version of sober living. Remember he is in a faith based program and they do not have AA meetings etc. It is all spiritual and I am so very good with that.

They save their money so when they graduate the program they have money for an apartment or down-payment on a car. It is usually several thousand dollars. He has never asked to leave the program. If he wanted to, he could have by now. The guy that graduated last month had left but returned when he realized he made a mistake.

He sent us a very beautiful letter a few weeks ago that addressed all of our concerns. It was an amazing letter and something that I could have only dreamed about months ago. Every time I read it it brings tears to my eyes. He is definitely starting to think clearly and understand everything that has happened. He actually said he is grateful that he is there which will give him time to heal which he admits he has never done.

We will see where this path takes us. Everyone there says he is doing very well and he has grown and matured a lot. I cannot expect perfection from him because that will never happen. He has ten more months of healing to go and then we'll see where he is and where we are. I am staying optimistic and hoping that this time it sticks! They work with them to find a church where they will be living and plan their next steps. It is up to him to tell us what his plans are. He has to figure this out.


Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
Progress not perfection is critical to keep in mind. The dicsion you are thinking about now will be one to mull over for the next several months . Don't put too much pressure on yourself to have all the answers now.

Come September you will have a better idea of where you son is at in his recovery. Because you felt home would be good for him doesn't hold you to this plan.

When the time comes if alternate plans are better for his sobriety you will do what is right for his continued sobriety. Weather that is with you at home with boundaries in place and a plan for his future, or in alternate living arrangements one thing is clear; you love him and support his progress and sobriety. That is the most important thing to focus on.

Be good to yourself my dear RN, don't get too far ahead of yourself, one day at a time. We are all unique, what works for one does not always work for another. We make the best supportive decisions we can.


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Staff member
We told our daughter that she could come home after her first long term rehab program, too. However, once she was in the program we realized that would not be the best thing to do for her or ourselves. So, at that point, we told her she would have to go to a sober living house after the rehab program and could not live with us ever again.

She cried and screamed and accused us of lying to her. We told her that while we had at first told her she could come home, we realized that was not for the best and had changed our minds. We told her that we had learned and grown since then just like she was learning and growing.

Of course, that was just the first of many rehabs and sober living stays. In each one, she told us her goal was getting to move back home. We stuck to our boundaries, though, and eventually I think she realized we meant what we said and that is when she finally got serious about recovery.

I do think it was a good thing that she ended up moving back to our state (albeit an hour drive away). After she got sober, it made it possible for us to really start working on our relationship and healing our family.


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Staff member
RN, it sounds like the program is designed to set them up for independent living once they graduate. Have you talked to them about your promise to let your son come home?

Since they don't participate in AA, what do they suggest as a support group once he leaves the program? Are their faith-based support groups? I truly believe what has kept my daughter sober is NA. Not the meetings . . . but the group of close friends in recovery that she has developed through her NA home group.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Their vision of them staying sober is by staying active in church and staying busy and using the good habits that they develop while they are there. He does say he is learning new ways to cope rather than the way he was used to doing it. I'd have to really share his letter for you to understand the way he feels now. If you send me your cell I can text to you since I took a picture of it.

They said that in the "reinsertion program" as they call it, they work with each person to decide what they will do after they graduate the program. There are many options for him. We are letting him decide what he wants to do when he leaves there. We'll have to see what works best for our family.

I'm just glad he is there and doing well and taking one day at a time. We will visit Saturday and they have three graduations that we get to witness. I am not sure how they will fit us all in the room that we were in last time that was busting at the seams with only one graduate! I need to bring more Kleenex this time because these are very emotional for everyone and I cry at commercials so there's that.


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Imsl surprised they don't use AA and NA. I think our kids need an addiction specific group to help out. Church members don't usually understand. I would encourage others even if the program didn't.

Why don't they use AA? It is all about trusting your higher power.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
They have their own form of AA meetings there. They are all addicts so they get it.

The program is based on accepting God into your heart. They feel that is the missing link for these young men and I swear when I see them I think they are on to something! The feeling you get when you walk in the door is just something I cannot explain.

My son needed a miracle and I really think we found it with this program.


Well-Known Member
Their vision of them staying sober is by staying active in church and staying busy and using the good habits that they develop while they are there.
This is good to plant seeds for good habits, and for receptive participants, the practiced good habits “while they are there” may carry over to when they are “no longer there.” Only time will tell, as they grow and get into other settings and other routines.
My son needed a miracle and I really think we found it with this program.
I hope you are right with this RN. Only time will tell down the road when he is released and shows it in independent living. We take one day at a time.
This is strictly my opinion but I don't think he should live with you when he finishes the program.
The parent/child dynamic tends to kick in when they live with us.
I so agree with these persepectives. It is true for a child of any age, when they are still in the parent / child roles. (as opposed perhaps to when an adult child may have to be the parents’ caregiver and roles are then somewhat reversed.) Maturing and growing independent young adult children do not want to live with parents (whether they realize it or not). And once they have been away and lived elsewhere (even in jail, sober house settings, dorms, military, etc). Then if and when they come back, in many cases it makes it even harder for them to live with parents, and also even harder to leave again.
Once DCs have been away, and not been daily involved with parents setting house rules / schedules and plans etc., then when they come back to that, there is an underlying friction / resentment and watchfulness of both parties ~ not good.
Be good to yourself my dear RN, don't get too far ahead of yourself, one day at a time. We are all unique, what works for one does not always work for another. We make the best supportive decisions we can.
So many questions, so many variables and no set answers ! Sigh !
Take care RN. Bless ~ ~ Ka la hou