Another family day in rehab

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Nancy, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It was a good day, much different than last week. Since last Sunday she has moved into the extended care wing and got to go to the beach Thursday and an outside AA meeting. Her counselor reports she has not had any issues with her this week. difficult child said she spent a good deal of time by herself thinking about her life. She will be doing step 4 of AA this week and has to dump all the garbage from her life.

    Yesterday her friend from home came to visit and brought her letters of support that she had had her friends from the hs flag team write. The letters were awesome, so sincere and supportive. She taped them all to the wall in her room. She also had her friend cut her hair in a cut short layered look and said she is making major changes in her life both inside and out.

    Her demeanor and atitude is better than I have ever seen. In group today she said she is so grateful we have stuck behind her and realizes for the first time in her life that we are really neat people. She said she called this guy she had been talking to from rehab that tried to take her out and told him she wanted to concentrate on her rehab and didn't want a boyfriend. If that's true it's huge, she has never dumped a guy who showed her attention.

    She is allowed to have her cell now that she is in extended care but I talked to her counselor and sd I was worried about her being obsessive with it. She agreed and sd I should tell her I forgot it, which I did. To my surprise she didn't complain at all, just asked if I would consider bringing it next week.

    We told her it would take a long time to be able to trust her and she said she knew that and was willing to wait. It was a very good day, we saw more progress in this past week than in the last month. She gets a 4 hour pass this week so we can take her shopping and dinner.

    I love this program. We have watched other families go through the same thing we have and recovery is a wonderful thing to watch. This is a gift she has been given, we have all been given. She has a lot of work to do yet and it will be a lifelong commitment, but I am so grateful for this chance.

  2. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Excellent. There is great joy to seeing her succeed one step at a time. Enjoy every minute. It's a long road up from the bottom and I'm sure
    it will take time.
  3. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    What a wonderful post!!!! Put a big smile on my face this morning - thank you :)
  4. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest

    Nancy, this is such good news!
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I am thrilled reading your post. There is hope. You all remain in my thoughts and prayers. DDD
  6. MrsMcNear50

    MrsMcNear50 New Member

    Wonderful news Nancy. I will continue to keep you all in prayer. Maybe someday I'll get to post something similar about SB. SO happy for you!

  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks Julie, I hope you will too. But I'm not celebrating yet. This can all change in a minute you know.

  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I've only kept up with things minimally lately- sorry - but I am glad to hear your difficult child is on the right path and appears to be trying as best she can. This is great news! Remember- it isn't how quick she gets thru the steps that matters and sometimes the slower a person takes them the more likely they are to "stick" so I'd recommend encouraging her to take her time, especially on step 4. But I have read a couple of your posts about how she's doing and there are definitely good signs there and reason for you to see some hope again.
  9. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Sounds like she's taking some positive steps! I'm happy for you, Nancy. Many, many hugs.
  10. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    klmno, her counselor told her and us that step 4 should take some time and also her mood may not be so good while doing it because it is so emotional and brings up so much garbage. I hope she calls today so I can ask her how it's going. This is the step I am really interested in seeing her complete well, because if she does she may finally take responsibility for some of her actions.

  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That's good to hear, Nancy. It sounds like she is in a good prgram. I went thru one in my early 20's for substance abuse and there were some people who "flew thru the steps"- who knows if the motivation was to prove they were "cured" so they could go right back to doing what they had been or if they were just compulsively trying to get thru them, unaware that you won't get the full effect that way. And then well-meaning but unknowing people outside the program would sometimes try to rush people to thru the program or say things like "well, you've been doing very well so I don't think you need to stick to all the program's recommendations". The biggest one in that area was to "make no major changes for one year". People would see me doing well and think that I was reluctant to change anything else because of anxiety or just having an excuse not to. I stuck to the recommendations of the program and my therapist and never went back to drugs. I still have other issues- especially lately- but drugs aren't one of them, TG! I wish the same or better success for your difficult child. She is very lucky to have your support thru this.
  12. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you for sharing that klmno. I think she will only get through to step 5 by the beginning of Oct when she is released. But her outpatient program requires her to do 90 in 90 AA meetings and continue with the rest of the steps. I am so hoping she sticks to the program, she says she is going to but I never know what to believe from her. And yes teher are some people in there who are court ordered to be there and are just putting in their time. The program is only as good as you make it.

    We were talking to our easy child about the program the other day and my husband said he would like to go there. Of course he was just kidding but I think he has seen that it gives you the time to reflect on your life.

    I'm so glad you have stayed in recovery all these years. I'm curious, do you still go to meetings?

  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am glad things are working out so well with this program When the right program is there at the right time, amazing things can happen. She is blessed that you have given her this opportunity. SWIW, my older bro has 8 years of sobriety and still goes to at least one meeting a week. A few people are able to not go to meetings after a period of time being sober (usually years).

    One thing gfgbro has said that might be useful is that the interest in alcohol never goes away. He might not think about it daily, but when the urge hits it is still as tempting as it ever was. It is one reason that the people I know who have 20+ years of sobriety still go to meetings at least every week or so. One delightful man in his late 50's has gotten over a decade of sobriety twice and is on a third time but he has never gotten even 15 yrs sobriety. In the past he would think that since it had been 10+ years of sobriety, he could stop going to meetings, stop working the steps, etc... Each time he ended up drinking again, and having to start back at zero. This time he is going to more meetings to fight that urge to think he has done "enough" and is no longer at risk.

    Klmno is not common for a recovered addict, at least from what I have known. People like her, who are able to go through the process and after a period of time are able to stay clean and sober without ongoing support make me believe that their IS a genetic basis for addiction. Those with-o it can get into trouble, and can stop abusing substances and after a while stay stopped with-o continuing to go to meetings, get support, etc... Others are unable to stay sober and clean without that regular, even nearly constant support, even after years of sobriety, because they have something in their wiring that makes them keep craving the substance and tricks them into thinking they can stay sober with-o the ongoing support because they have had X years of support. It just seems that having a gene that makes your body keep wanting to be addicted to things makes sense when you think about it that way.

    Or that is my two cents. Whatever happens, I hope this helps your daughter stay clean and sober, and that the entire family becomes healtheir.
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    90 in 90 is pretty aggressive after an inpatient stay- that's usually what they do as an initial outpatient if inpatient isn't an option. I'll give you a bit more background of my experience to put things in context, then answer your question.

    I had been raped by a family member as a teen and with that, plus some other "traumatic" experiences as a child, had PTSD and although I first went into treatment for a substance abuse issue, it soon became clear that the substance abuse was secondary to PTSD, albeit still an issue that I needed to address. I also have a cousin who suffered PTSD for different reasons and was treated after it was revealed thru treatment for substance abuse- his experience was about 1-2 years before mine and our two expereinces are the ones I am most personally familiar with. He was treated by the VA and I was treated while on active duty, by the military. They, of course, used basicly the same treatment modality. I am not positive how much the specific focuses might differ when PTSD is not determined to be the underlying cause of trying to reach outside oneself to find answers and relief from pain.

    In any case, for me treatment focused more on identifying emotions, digesting them, working thru them, learning how to meet my own needs, a lot of psychoeducation involving dysfunctional families, etc. For myself and my cousin, step 4 was VERY important and considered key in whether or not we would be able to beat addictive tendencies. I am not sure if it was more crucial for PTSD sufferers or not. I tend to think it's crucial for anyone needing a 12 step program. After Step 4, it seems that working the steps in order is not quite as critical- the most important thing was to keep working them whether there starts to be some overlap between them or not, and incorpaorate them into life in general.

    I attended meetings, stayed off everything including alcohol, and actively worked a program for about two years. About 4-5 years after treatment, I started drinking very lightly and occasionally. Keep in mind that I had gone into treatment for street drugs. Anyway, it was that way for many years. I have gone to meetings sporadically at times but not often since that time period. I still do try to live by the basic concepts- the Serenity Prayer and always making amends, as examples. Over the past 1-2 years, my drinking has increased and I have discussed with VA people whether or not the drinking in itself is now a problem. (Fortunately, I have been able to get VA medical treatment starting a few months ago.) There has been a glitch in my access to appropriate tdocs there, primarily due to waiting lists and I haven't pushed it too much because I know the people coming back from recent wars need help more than me and deserve it before I do. Anyway, the goal there is to get some help for current PTSD issues, decipher if the current alcohol usage is another addiction issue or not, get whatever treatment necessary. They were going to give us family therapy, too, which I honestly believe would have helped my difficult child with his issues and us in general but he couldn't stay out of trouble long enough.

    Sorry this got so long- the short answer is "no", I currently do not attend 12 step meetings but feel certain they are in my future. Whether that's for PTSD issues, NA, or AA, I don't know and don't really care- the principles are the same. I also should mention that since I am the guardian of a juvenile with legal involvement, I am being a little cautious about how I go about this. My son has had a GAL and others who focus more on the fact that I have had issues and use any effort I make to get help as means to justifying blaming my previous issues for everything he does. So, I am being cautious about jurisdiction I use, move to, etc. (This wouldn't be such a big problem except that in this jurisdiction, the juvenile courts people want to- and CAN- take over any treatment program- not just monitor it - and that scares the koi out of me- obviously, their idea of "treatment" hasn't worked so well for my difficult child.)

    I will say though, that after my treatment in the military, I put myself thru college, became a licensed professional with a decent career, was able to live independently with no "crutch", 11 years later had a son and raised him on my own, and was considered a pretty good success story by most who knew about it. It is worth it. It just all crashed down on me about 2 years ago, a couple of years after my son became a difficult child and instead of getting the help he/I/we needed, we got more things that caused us more crisis and a reoccurence of my PTSD symptoms.

    In regards to Susie's post, this is another area where I'm not sure how it all plays into each other. With my cousin and myself, it eventually became more than obvious that our compulsions were due to excessive use of "stuff" as we tried to self-medicate PTSD symptoms. When those symptoms were adequately dealt with (and not by substituting an illegal substance with a legal one- ie, an rx'd one), by working thru it all, the compulsions went away. There are different trains of thought about this. One is that a "true addict" will always have the compulsion. Another is that if the compulsion is still there after many years, then the program was not successful, for whatever reason- including that it might not have been worked appropriately. I don't have the answer for that. I can tell you that my compulsion went away and I still don't have it for my drug that I had so much problem with before, however, with the reoccurence of PTSD symptoms and feeling like I have no way to work thru it yet, I am "reaching" for relief and clearly see this. So again, this might have a lot more to do with whether or not substance abuse and compulsions are secondary to a bigger problem or the primary problem.

    That's a debate and question that has been around for years, I think. From what I heard in meetings- it varies for people and no one has that answer for sure.

    I did hear many times that if the internal struggle remained as hard as it had been initially, no one would remain off their drug of choice and I tend to beleive that. Also, that a person continuously trying to struggle thru that is called a "dry drunk"- they got off the substance but whether attending meetings or not, never really dealt with their issues and changed. I can't speak for Susie or her family but if this is the same bro of hers that she's referred to in other posts, I am not positive that this description might not fit him as well.

    Again, I apologize for this getting so long.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2010
  15. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Susie I truly believe my difficult child has that gene. I also believe that the interest will never go away. From all the lectures we have sat in at the center we have learned that they all still have that interest and if they saw a glass of wine or beer or drug of choice in front of them it would be a struggle. That is why they focus so much on what their line of defense will be when they get out. I believe my difficult child has that wiring that akes her crave alochol/drugs/sex/risky behavior. The program she is in makes her address those issues and that is why they put so much emphasis on step 4. I have also learned that relapse is a part of recovery for most and that is why it is important to have a strong support system. For your brother to go back to sobriety after each relapse says a lot about him and I wish him well. They told us not to concentrate on the years of sobriety lost when they relapse but on the days of sobriety from that day forward. Thanks for sharing.

    klmno they do put a lot of emphasis on step for for the reasons you describe and that is why they want them to do that step before they leave, and the others can be done during their home recovery period. I may have the 90 in 90 incorrect. It may be that she is required to do 90 in 90 from the time she got there, so when she gets out she will have done 60 and have 30 to go. She has highlighted all the meetings that are near us so she can find her home group as soon as possible. She needs to find a sponsor too, and that will be crucial for her. If it's someone she clicks with that will help a lot.

    Also for our difficult child the alcohol was not her main problem. From all the years I have been here you know her problems began long before she ever took her first drink. Those issues need to be dealt with and they are trying to do that in treatment but for her the issues run so deep I am not sure that is possible. She has been through years of therapy and certainly none of them could stop the course she is on now. I belueve she was born with so much baggage that it will take many years of treatment to identify them let alonbe work to resolve them. That is why our hope is so tentative. She can stop drinking now but unless she address the issues she has that will not change anything.

    Don't apologize for your posts, the information is so helpful.

  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I honestly believe she's in an appropriate program and probably one of the "tried and true". The only other thing I can suggest is that when she's out, continue to be suppoortive and not take over it and remember this is between her and her Higher Power. You have no control or responsibility as long as you don't interfere with it and she's better off in a lot of ways if no one does. That might not sound like much, but most people going thru it find it one of the most important things. She's lucky to have someone support her- try to hear her out and go to al-anon if you need to.

    bless all of you- it really sounds like she's trying. If she relapses and it takes a month, a year, or whatever, she has found something already.
  17. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks for the reminder. We have been told in no uncertain terms that this is her responsibility and we are not to interfere. It is up to her to find her meetings and sponsors and not follow her around. I am working on that because I am so use to cleaning up after her. I am going to go to al-anon. She wants me to go and I think it will be helpul. I went years ago because my dad is an alcoholic so I am familar with it. Thanks for all you input, it just confirms everything we have learned.

  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Sounds good... Nancy, it isn't just a matter of responsibility. I didn't go to therapy to become a person someone else wanted me to be- I went to become the person I wanted to be. If someone- anyone- had tried to turn that into "molding me" into who they wanted, I would have walked in 2 seconds. She has to be in control of her own recovery and her own destiny. It's her life and her choices.

    I'm saying that with as much kindness as I can- in 12 step programs, responsibility and control go hand in hand. She's old enough to be able to handle that. All you can do at this point is be a support system and wait and see what person she develops herself into.
  19. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I am so glad that she is participating and becoming active in her own recovery process. Even if she relapses as a high percentage may, she has a cornerstone built now and the experience to know she CAN do it. She CAN find tools and work them to keep herself on the right path. This program will not be for nothing, and that is hope in itself. I wish her well and hope that this continues and that she can maintain her sobriety when she goes home as well as further healing herself and her issues. It is something to be commended when one goes off to get help they truly need. Step four does sound intimidating so I'm glad to hear she'll be workign on that while in a supportive and structured environment with others there for her.

    Regarding the genetic portion of this thread, and dry drunk states, etc. I can see why it is a much debated topic. I think it is so individual and I too believe some people have a genetic predisposition and others have alternate causes of their addictions. My S/O was a seriously hard core drinker before we met. When we met, he was trying to "manage" his drinking. I didn't know until I was in deep emotionally. He then went on a dry drunk for several years. We were very happy much of the time, but boy did it rear its ugly head several times. In each instance I required him to leave, that day, no warning, just me saying GO. I couldn't live with that in my life. THen back on teh wagon he'd get and do well, but then the dry drunk would come out in him. It was ugly and from such a passive, gentle and loving man it was shocking to me each and every time. finally I said enough. I loved him with all of my heart but he wasnt' getting any help and I realized he might not be drinking but he sure was not sober, Know what I mean?? Then he fell into a bottle one night, and when I made him leave I didn't take him back. I had one, and only one, conversation with him.I told him how much I did love him and that yes, I even believed in him. I knew he could do it RIGHT. But could and would were two different things. And I couldn't and wouldn't stick around while he wasn't getting serious about changing his life. We didn't speak for about 7-8 months. He drank heavily for a couple of months. Then something changed in him and he for the first time was able to admit to himself that he needed help and that staying sober wasn't enough, he needed true sobriety. Many many months later, after working on himself, getting support in the right way, we spoke again. It took several months for my faith this was real to emerge and I agreed to give him another chance. I can tell you I have no regrets. I see the difference from dry drunk state to sober state. And it is enormous. It seems your daughter is at that place too. Sounds like she is committed to making it work. If that remains, even if she falters, she is on her way to making it life long. I will keep her in my thoughts and prayers!
  20. klmno

    klmno Active Member


    I like that approach, too. MM didn't enable or become a victim, yet she told him where she stood and gave him the space to sort things out himself. This approach proved that she really loved him- she wasn't trying to just fill some dysfunctional need in herself. His path shows that he had to figure out where he was and what he really felt and wanted, and he took that space and did it. It takes longer and might be more painful, but you know you have something valid that way- not perfect- but genuine.

    I'm not sure yet how to translate that and incoporate it into life as a prent instead of a potential spouse but this is food for thought as I work on myself and still try to help my son.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2010