At a crossroads, need advice please

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by lovemyson1, May 13, 2015.

  1. lovemyson1

    lovemyson1 Active Member

    Hello my good people. My son has been in his Victory Outreach progam for 77 days. This is a Christian program where he prays, goes to church, reads his bible and works daily to live there for free. I'm super happy with his change and he has been sober and a new person in the Lord since day 3 there. He now is telling us that he feels like a slave working there. Getting up at 5am every day and not getting home til 5pm. This is the way the program works and it's free, food and everything. But he shares a room with 4 guys and often loses his shoes, clothes, etc. to the people that live there. He has no internet, no phone, no tv, can't leave. He tells us that he wants to do something with his life and not just work. We agree.
    The question I'm throwing out here for you all is, should we let him come home? We miss him, love him and believe he's changed but we are so nervous to bring him back. He doesn't have a job but said he is willing to work hard and go to school for a career. We think we should bring him back and monitor his moves (time consuming) put him on our phone company so we can monitor his calls, watch his bank account, etc. If he agrees to us being up in his business, we believe he will have accountability and eventually we will be able to trust him more. We are both just so scared to be hurt again. What are your thoughts??
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    JMO here... but most of the time, the only way forward is to move forward, not back. Coming back home puts him into the same environment that was a problem to start with.

    Where ELSE can he go that will be a step in a right direction?
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  3. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Reading your signature it doesn't like bringing him back home is very promising. You have kicked him out and brought him back four times. What makes you think a fifth time will be any different. Please don't think I am being harsh because that is not my intent. It's just that I have heard all the promises myself and they were empty. I can understand him wanting to move on with his life but using heroin for 3 years and only been in rehab for 2 1/2 months. I would think long and hard about bringing him back with you. Putting yourself as his monitor is not a good idea. I remember our rehab counselor telling us that when they come home we should make sure our expectations are very clear and that they were in charge of their recovery, we were not. If he did come home I would make it clear that it was a temporary situation, say 6 months, until he got a job and could support himself. Any slip up and he must leave your home.

    I am not convinced he has changed in that short a time but I also understand you wanting to believe him and help him move on. I am jaded I suppose, I don;t believe a lot of what an addict tells me, they have to show me by their actions.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree with Nancy. I waited a year before I even half believed my daughter would stay sober and keep working and even then she was already out of the house and stayed there. I never think that coming back to Dad and Mom is good for a grown kid who is an addict. Three months is not a long time and you don't know how he will function without the strict restrictions of his environment. In fact, my guess is, since he is addicted so some VERY addictive drugs, he would relapse.

    Not trying to be negative, but what he needs t he most right now is to work (he IS an adult after all and that's what we mainly do) and work on himself and if the church is working for him spend more time in that environment. What does he want to do besides work? Party? Text or FB his old friends?

    For me, there would be no way he'd be able to rely on us at all anymore. My daughter quit for short periods of time many times, but she relapsed. You don't know yet if this is the real thing. It is way too soon. It's a stretch from major drug addict to three months in rehab to good job PLUS going to school...I don't think he'll be able to keep that up and I think it would cause major friction for both of you and problems on the streets for him. The streets don't change. Does he know how he will resist the compelling urge of heroin, the most addictive drug that exists? He needs a plan, a doctor, therapy...and tons and tons of other supports. Heroin is not pot...
  5. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

    My daughter and I agree that she can never move back home and the rehab joked that they would like that in writing (well, maybe half It is not that I don't love her and want to be with her. Quite the contrary! We both remarked how much we love spending time together now when before it was always tension. But moving back home would be a backwards move and putting her right back in the environment where she just does not succeed.

    He feels like a slave, why? Everyone works all day. That is life. He does not pay rent or bills - that is why he is working! My daughter's paychecks go straight to rent (which does also cover food, utilities, etc). It is a routine and he needs to have a routine. I am sorry, but 77 days is nothing. That is not even 90 days yet. Everyone has highs and lows - rehab is HARD. It sounds like he is going through a low, which is normal. But he needs to push through it. We just had a family counseling session on the dangers of leaving rehab early. Personally, I would not want that on my shoulders...

    Also, WHY would you offer to step up and act as the rehab for him? You are not educated or experienced in drug rehabilitation to take over this for them. I know how badly we want to scoop our children up and make everything okay when they are not happy, but that does not normally make everything okay. I am not trying to be mean, just trying to stop you from doing something you may seriously regret. You will do him no favors by rescuing him from getting the help that he is getting.
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  6. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    This is so true, Somewhere--

    Lovemyson1, there was a time not that long ago that I would have been considering the same as you, and in fact my heroin-addicted son did live with me for 18 months after having been on his own for 10 years. He and his family just moved out about a week ago. My son had been on heroin for about a year when he was arrested and given house arrest (at our house). Between his incarceration and house arrest, he was clean for 8 months. I was elated, thought he had "beat it," and then he relapsed as soon as they removed his ankle monitor, the same week in fact. He's still using, though not as heavily as before, but is (I think) sincerely trying to quit now. He goes to counseling and a 12-step program. Let's just say the relapses aren't as frequent as before.

    Now that your son is not living with you, the boundary is already there. You just need to enforce it by not offering him to move back or, at the very least, by putting up a strict deadline for him to get an apartment and a job. My son was "forced" to move by the fact that my daughter needed to move back into her old bedroom (college semester was over). I gave him and family a few months notice. When it turned out that she wasn't moving back after all, I told them that they still needed to find their own place and it was time to move on. By that time, son and daughter in law both had jobs. They're now quite happy to be on their own again.

    This part of your post is worrisome, as it looks like you're setting yourself up for a lot of "policing" of the situation. I'm afraid you'll be working harder and worrying more than your son will. His recovery needs to be his project, not yours. Of course, you can give him moral support, but you can't do it for him. If you let him move back, I would set up some very simple and specific rules (ie. no drug use, not having friends over without permission, curfew, etc.) and take action if he violates your house rules. Constant monitoring is just exhausting, in my opinion.

    Take care, Lovemyson1, and try to relax and go with your heart to the right decision. The other posters have offered great advice and suggestions.
  7. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I completely agree with everyone else. It seems to me that he's just having a hard time right now...but life is hard. So he gets up at 5 a.m. and gets home at 5 p.m? So what? Lots of people get up at 5 and lots of people work long days. He wants to "do something with his life and not just work"? do I! But I have bills to pay so I work. What else does he want to do? Going to school is great, but when school is over it's right back to work.

    He is a heroin addict! That doesn't go away in 3 months! Going right back to the environment he was in three months ago sounds like a recipe for disaster.

    I know you'd love to help him. You want your son not only well, but happy. I think it's probable that he isn't ready. You cannot police him constantly, both you and he will resent it in time.
  8. lovemyson1

    lovemyson1 Active Member

    Thank you for your honest responses, I appreciate the wisdom. Oh boy. I kinda figured I would get this advice. And I'm totally ok with it, no harsh feelings at all. I totally respect each of you because I know you've been there, that's why I asked your advice. Ugh.. he doesn't have any money to get his own place and I don't know if he really needs to stay where he is. I understand he wants to move forward in his life and I want to support that. But no, I don't want to monitor him at all! I don't want my husband to be stressed out like before and feel tight in the chest from the stress! I wonder what to even do next? How long is the right amount of time to be in there? When will I ever know if he's ready? And how will he ever move forward if he stays there?
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm serious when I say give him a YEAR of being sober. Even then, he could relapse and it could be as quick as the first user he runs into in the street. He needs a plan to fight his addiction cravings, which will be there strong, once he gets out. For all you know, he is putting on an act to get out and use again. Heroin is Heroin. It overrides family, civility, is very physically addicting and users and addicts do all they can and will step on a beloved grandmother's face to get it.He has picked the demon of all drugs to try to detach from and it will take more than three months in a rehab or a religious conversion to keep his body from making him look for heroin. He has a lifetime fight on his hands and does not sound motivated enough for that level yet. He doesn't even address his addiction. Just says hes bored. Bored??? Um, he's an adult. We work most of the time. We don't party. We obey the law. We pay rent. We are men and women and we don't live with Mom and Dad anymore. Or else we are not ready to get out of rehab after heroin...and there really is no "after." He will always crave it.

    Wait until he has made a plan with rehab for restrictive and strict aftercare or he will fail. N/A is not enough for heroin. Also...wait until he has a job and can pay for his own place. Wait until he has ventured out in the streets and give him los and lots of time to be sober. Even then, I would not allow him to come home. He can pay to go to school. My daughter did after she quit drugs. She got a loan and some grants all by herself. She worked at the same time. Every night she had a stable home to go to, but it wasn't ours and she did not ask for money nor did she even ask us what to do with her life. She had made a decision to leave drugs behind and she meant it. She was ready to do it and to grow up. She was 12 when she started. She was 19 when she quit. Your son is not too young to stop. It's better to do it young before all the damage to your brain and body...and so much baggage you can't take back

    It is eons too soon for your son and the stakes are too great. He will relapse...then what????

    Do you have a plan for that probability?
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    Last edited: May 13, 2015
  10. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

    I think any rehab should be at least a year long...seriously.
  11. lovemyson1

    lovemyson1 Active Member

    Yes everything you say is very true. However, we want to help him succeed if he is ready. Our plan is to control his bank account and save every penny when he gets a job. If he screws up, we give him the money saved and send him on his way. We just don't see any other way for him to transition. He doesn't make money at V.O., and needs money to get his own place. But after reading all your responses, I agree that we should not be monitoring his recovering and it is his job. It's his decision and his choice. My husband and I are going to think very hard, pray and come to a decision soon.
  12. Tired Mom

    Tired Mom Member

    Hi lovemyson1 - I don't have the answers and am struggling with a similar issue. My son went to rehab a 1,000 miles away at the end of October after overdosing on heroin. He completed a six month program and is in a halfway house until this August. Even before my son overdosed he started saying that he wanted to finish his culinary associates degree and has been consistently saying it the whole time he has been in rehab that he wants to go back to school. Initially his counselor wanted him to stay where he was for a year but then the next time they called she seemed convinced that he had a good idea of coming back and finishing his degree. I think legally now he will have to since the center he was at wrote his probation officer that they recommend that he stay there until August and she said that if that was what was clinically recommended she would approve it. For us while financially it would be tempting to have him stay with us when he comes back but I don't think I want him in our house until after his younger brother graduates from high school in 3 years if ever. We have told him that if he wants to go to school we will help him with his expenses until he graduates as long as he is clean and working and paying as much towards his expenses as he can. We have gone around on whether he should go to the school in our town or somewhere else. He's not a strong student and so academically it would be easiest for him to finish at the school he started at but I don't thing its far enough away from his old friends. Also if he is nearby I think I will be tempted to try to police his every movement like you mentioned which is just to tiring. In August we will be at 10 months in recovery with my son which is not the min 12 months everyone talks about. You may have seen more change in your son but I haven't seen drastic changes in my son. It is so hard.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Having had a daughter who quit (and I think PatriotsGirl would agree) you can ALWAYS tells when your adult child REALLY wants to quit. That does not mean they will not relapse, but like both of our girls, they picked themselves up, brushed off their pants, and got back to it. It is a total transformation that tends to show a desire to join t he world of normal people and grow up and be responsible and they stop asking for things.
  14. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My vote is no. He is so early in his recovery. We were told at one of our Difficult Child's rehab programs that the best chance of a lasting recovery is if the person stays where they got sober (city . . . not necessarily rehab) for at least a year while participating in an aftercare program.

    I would absolutely not let him come home and monitor him. Monitoring will accomplish nothing. I know because we tried to monitor our daughter in a similar situation. We would test her for alcohol and go to bed and then she would drink. She also was shooting up heroin in our house and we had no idea. It made me so angry that I was put in that position.

    If anything, since your Difficult Child is so young and has expressed an interest in going to school, I would look into college programs designed for students in recovery. When my Difficult Child was younger, a program like that was suggested but she didn't want to go which told me that she really didn't want to stay sober.

    Here is a great link about college recovery programs:

    Honestly, though, I would not even talk to him about leaving until he has at least 6 months of sobriety behind him and the people running the program think he is ready for the next step.

  15. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I really don't know anything about rehabs, but surely there is something between being in a very structured rehab facility and being on his own or in your home. Surely there are less strict facilities that have TV's and recreation times, or halfway houses or sober living facilities where people can stay and go to work while living in a more structured and supervised environment? If his counselors at the rehab feel he is ready...and only if they think he is...maybe that should be the next step?
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  16. comatheart

    comatheart Active Member

    I agree with most everything already said. It's toooo early in recovery!!

    Are you in a position to help him get set up in a good sober living home? Maybe you can give him something to work for, say if he stays 6 months, then you'll pay his first month in a sober living? One that's structured, tests them etc. Something he can afford on his own as soon as he gets a job.
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  17. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    LMS - Oh I feel for your dilemma. I totally understand wanting to really help him. I think however him coming home is a bad idea for a couple of reasons. First to be successful he should complete the program he is in... how long is it usually. I think he needs to stay and finish his time there... he is getting so he doesnt like it there. I think that is pretty normal and may be the start of him falling back into old ways. So if he is really going to be successful he needs to get through this period of doubt and wanting to go backwards.

    Secondly I really think he needs to find his own recovery. You being the cop and trying to control his use, and checking on him will not be good for your relationship or his recovery. I just think it sets up this strange dynamic between us as parents and them as our adult children. It is a parent/young child dynamic rather than parent/adult child dynamic. It puts you in an awful position, one you have been in before and really dont want to be in now. He has to face his own demons.


  18. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

    My daughter has been having rough times, too. Not everyone there likes her and she is one that often seeks approval from others. She told me it gets really, really hard at times. And she told me that if she didn't want this so badly, she would have left.

    If your son really wants sobriety, he will dig in and push through. If he leaves before his time and relapses, for one, he could die. You never ever know if this is his last chance. Do you want to be responsible for that? If he leaves before it is time, it could counteract all of the progress that has been done so far. I feel so strongly that you should not do this. I pray you encourage him to dig in and keep working his program...
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  19. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    I think you are getting really good advice on this thread.

    First, you can't monitor any adult, anytime, whether in recovery or not. I would not monitor him, his comings and goings, his bank account, his employment, his anything. He is now a grown man. He will have to monitor himself and his life...or not.

    I went through this several times with my son. I know you are so hopeful right now, and you are thinking that he is a fragile being and needs a lot of support after being in rehab for this period of time, and doing so successfully. First, this is great, and a wonderful first step.

    He does need structure and a plan and ongoing support when he leaves this place, whenever that is.

    What kind of services/support do they provide for a person's transition? I would strongly suggest he go directly to a halfway house or sober living house. Most of those require the person to get a job within the first two or three weeks and then they have money to pay for those expenses. If they don't have a car, they will take them and pick them up from work and/or they can walk or ride a bike or take the bus.

    My son lived in one, and sadly, he wasn't ready for recovery and ended up using and stealing from the other people there, and getting kicked out. I paid for the first two weeks, and then we had planned to pay partially for the next periods of time until he was getting full paychecks and could take over his own bills. That never happened.

    I don't believe God intended for our adult grown children to live with us after they are grown. I know some can/do/need to do it temporarily, but it's my experience that it's not good for us and it's not good for them.

    Someone already said: You already established this boundary and it's a good, healthy one. Bringing him back into your home is going backward for you and for him.

    I have also heard that a minimum 90 days is what every drug addict needs, and the more time the better. My son was also in a Salvation Army rehab, and again, wasn't ready for recovery, and he was angry that he worked full time and got no money except a small allowance. He conveniently neglected to see that they were providing his food and shelter and utilities and medical care and recovery tools. Whatever---we can't make them see and appreciate what they don't see and appreciate.

    Your son needs to learn---with support and structure---how to exist and function in the real world. He may be ready, and he may relapse. I hope not, but be prepared in your mind and heart for all eventualities.

    Hang in there. You can only do what you can live with and we are here for you regardless.
  20. lovemyson1

    lovemyson1 Active Member

    Thank you all for your wisdom & support. He is calling us at 9:30 this morning and we will
    Talk to him about everything. He really has changed and wants to begin making a life for himself. God changes people. So my hope is in faith rather than fear. Either way, we will not tolerate any form of drug use if he relapses. Now or in the future. I'll let you all know what the outcome is.