Detox, Rehab, then sober living?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by RN0441, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    We went to see my son in detox last night. The first day he was in there (Wednesday) he called and hung up on me when I spoke of getting sober, cleaning up his act and I did not take calls from him the rest of the day. Yesterday he asked me to visit and not exactly happy when he knows dad is coming because he knows dad tells him like it is.

    I did ask my husband to leave his anger at the door because it does no good but he did tell our son how much damage and money he costs when he goes into his addiction rants and that he is NOT coming home and has to go to rehab or we will evict. My son is not very responsive to what HE has done. Has excuse for everything. He agreed to go to rehab (no other choice).

    He was in a very expensive rehab (me being naive) when he was 15 and spent his 16th birthday there (how sad), mainly for pot and drinking. Then again at age 17 and now he's 20 and here we go again. So he gets it, he knows the effects on the brain from drugs and everything else he has been taught. He is well educated on all of it.

    He has spent a lot of time sober in between but when he is sober he doesn't really "do" anything. When he gets a job he relapses and most recently when he started college (2 classes and one is on line so low stress) he relapsed again worse than ever and now with pills which are scary. I don't get it. He has anxiety and depression but it's like he can't function in the world or something.

    I don't know how much he will get out of rehab this time if he is only going because he is being forced. I also think that sober living will be a good thing since he needs to learn life skills that for some reason he doesn't have and I don't know why. He doesn't really seem to want to work unless he makes a lot of money but DUH you have to start someplace. I'm thinking sober living will help him to feel more independent but again, not sure because I don't know anything about it. Does anyone have any insight on this?

    He really wants to be in college but like I told him last night, that was what set him off on this latest horrible binge and he seems to completely lose control.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My opinion as one who has battled rather severe mental illness all of my life (three hospitalizations, but never gave up and am doing well). It takes determination, willpower, and hard work, but is worth it.

    I doubt two college courses, one at home, set him off on this binge. He has the disease of addiction and anything can start him off. Usually it is the desire for the substance the ill person craves. Just seeing someone drink can do it. Or just the thought. He may have been around some drinkers and been given a drink. Happens a lot.

    On the other hand, I am not convinced he cares about college considering how he lives t he rest of his life. He doesn't even like to work and college is hard work. I think he is talking about college to gain brownie points from you. He knows YOU want him to want it. I feel it is a manipulative thing, not a true desire...a college education.

    He drinks because he is an alcoholic. Binging, I read, is actually more physically treacherous than drinking every day. Until he faces his alcoholism and wants to cure it, nothing will happen. As soon as he wants to stop, he will work hard to quit. Alcoholics stop drinking every single day. He can be one of them, but he has to recognize what he is and to work hard.

    I have a lifetime of serious anxiety of every type and depression. Before my current medication cocktail, which rocks, I was also suicidal. But mental illness does not cause one to substance abuse. It is a good excuse though that tugs at a moms heart. Drinking actually makes both mental health issues worse, which is why I don't do it.

    Your son isn't that fragile. He can both work on his anxiety/depression and get sober. People do it every day. But it is up to him. Is he in duo diagnosis? It is hard to diagnose any mental illness and be accurate about it until the person has been sober for at least six months. The drugs/alcohol itself causes symptoms of mental illness and alcohol is a depressant. Makes depression worse and can even start up depression that was not there before.

    Hugs and wishing you the best. I hope this isn't too harsh. I just think maybe you don't want to see how serious this is and who is the one who has to do the hard work...him. I wish you a peaceful day. Yes, you can have one. You are NOT him. You deserve to be happy. Your unhappiness will not help your son one bit. So enjoy the day and pray a lot, if you pray. If not, just let go of the outcome (there is a thread about this now). You can't control your son. Be nice if we could, right?
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    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
  3. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Thank you Somewhere. No not too harsh. I can take it. I need it. I guess maybe I don't want to see how serious it is to protect myself but I think now I have been forced to. For some reason the pills scare me way more than the drinking. My mother was an alcoholic (died long ago at a young age) and he has it on his dad's side too but most families do, not an excuse; if anything a warning.

    I think he hangs onto the college thing because that is what normal people do and hopefully someday he will be able to reach his goals. I am not giving up hope.

    He has said he is not happy with his life because he does not do the things that other 20 year olds are doing and won't be happy until he is doing those things. I finally realized I cannot do that for him nor can I make him happy by buying his favorite food. Sounds so stupid doesn't it.

    I know he has to do a lot of work on himself and I pray that he will see that.
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  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    He has anxiety and depression.
    Getting a job... he relapses. Why? I'm guessing... anxiety.
    College... huge anxiety trigger.

    And yes, anxiety CAN make it so you can't really "function in the world".
    And no, you can't just medicate it away (either legally or not).
  5. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Insane he is on Effexor and started to see a psychologist recently - but won't see her for now since he's going to rehab. Not sure what else he/we can do for this anxiety.

    Wonder if sober living would help after rehab?
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    A dual-diagnosis facility MIGHT help, but "anxiety" usually isn't seen as worth the trouble to deal with. It's too "ordinary". Sober living, as such, doesn't help with mental health issues.

    Does the rehab not have any staff that can jump-start some anxiety therapy?
  7. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    The problem is that the waters are all muddied with drug and alcohol addiction. SWOT is right, the anxiety/depression cannot even be addressed while he is an active addict. There is no way to tell here which is the chicken and which is the egg.

    Is her depressed/anxious because he is using, or is he using because he is depressed/anxious?

    I agree with SWOT. I think that he is using the anxiety/depression to make RN feel sorry for him and play on her sympathy so she won't evict him. "It's not my fault I do this, I'm sick, I can't help it."

    Personally, stealing my car and vandalizing my garage door would be the end of my rope. I would have told him to go or I would call the police and press charges.

    I think rehab and sober living is the way to go, but you have to stick to your guns. Your son has proven that he can function. He can have a job, and he can succeed in school.

    The using while having a job isn't, I don't think indicative of anxiety, I think it is more typical of a substance abuse money is a HUGE trigger. Sober living will teach him how to live and work in the community while maintaining his sobriety.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My daughter worked the entire time she used hard drugs because, while we clothed and fed her and sent her to therapy (which for her was a waste) we didnt give her even five bucks. So she needed money for drugs. But we sure were not going to provide drug money. Let her work hard for it.
    Anxiety is the most common complaint mental health professionals hear. Most function even through their fear. To me it needs treatment, but its not an excuse to do nothing in life or use drugs. And I have a very bad case of it and always have. Therapy often centers on doing what scares you. Like if you sre airplane phobic, you may be encouraged to fly.
    But the drug use has to stop before anxiety therapy can really take hold. Drugs make every issue worse.
  9. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    He says he uses because of the anxiety and depression and I know that he knows that does NOT help (we've talked about it) but we all know THAT story. He says he can't get any relief from doctors so he does it himself. The latter statement is mostly when high.

    He is going to a rehab that is dual diagnosis so that is good and also the detox that he is in is actually a psychiatric hospital that has a detox unit so that is covered as well. He will be home a day or two prior to going to rehab which is not ideal but hopefully it will be ok. I can't control it; have to wait for bed. We took his phone so that will help.

    He agreed last night with his dad he would go to rehab and then called me today and left a message affirming that he will go to rehab and that he has NA meeting schedules. So it's in the works right now. Prayers this goes smoothly right! If I was the mom I was five years ago I'd be jumping for joy right now!

    I kind of think the job/money thing is a major trigger but what in the world can be done about that unless they want to stay sober = nothing! I thought if he went to sober living and did their "program" that would help tremendously but I just don't know anymore and don't know anything about sober living except they work and stay sober.
  10. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    RN, I know a lot about sober living in our area and Kathy knows even more than I do since her daughter has been in many sober loving houses. Hopefully she will be along soon.

    The rehab he is in should help him/you find sober living before he is released. You should ask them what support they offer after rehab because as we all know rehab is just the start. We have quite a few sober living places in our area. You can either go there directly from rehab or you can go on your own at any time before or after rehab. Many go after they have relapsed and they have the tools to get back on track but need a structured living arrangement.

    Every sober living house is different, many have very strict rules, some not so strict. They don't force you to stay, you can leave any time you want. But if you stay there is a real good chance your recovery will be more successful. The sober house my daughter was in she was required to go to 12 step meetings every day for three months. After three months she was permitted/required to get a job and continue to go to meetings and be involved in the recovery community. Our sober houses are all run by recovered addicts. They know the pitfalls and they are prepared for dealing with them. The one my daughter was in was one of the best.

    If you have any specific questions I will be happy to answer them for you.
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  11. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    Anxiety is a common complaint because addicts want benzos (xanax, klonopin, ativan) becasue they increase the intensity of the high from opiates, or help those trying to get off heroin with methadone get high.

    RN, that is exactly what sober living is supposed to do. It is supposed to help them learn to live and function in the community while maintaining their sobriety. You do know the truth, though, that no one will maintain their sobriety unless they really want to. Triggers or no triggers.

    The one sober living situation that I knew of, that I don't believe exists any more, was pretty much the same as Nancy said. The residents are required to attend a 12 step meeting daily. There were house rules and rules regarding hours and employment. It is, essentially, a more structured home in the community that helps newly recovering addicts become a part of general society while maintaining their sobriety.

    A thought. Is there a chance that your son could find a sober living arrangement for those 2 days prior entering rehab? Those 2 days could be a huge downfall.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Agree about using anxiety to abuse drugs just like some fake back pain for same reason.
    RN, if your son really gets so anxious at the idea of work or school that he has to use, and understand as one with high anxiety I really doubt it, then he can never live a normal life because you have to be able to work without shooting heroin or whatever he uses.
    I believe he is exaggerating. He may well have anxiety but nit enough to risk death by drugs. One of the reasons I never took drugs was the fear theyd kill me. Yes, we are all different but I dont buy the excuse. I think he knows that it makes you pity him so he tells you that.
    Now every single post here is just our own take on things, myself included. Take what you find useful and leave the rest. My own feeling is that risk takers are likely to take serious drugs. Highly anxious people, who like me could once not even leave my house out of fear, tend to be terrified of death and may smoke pot but not risk their lives. Just my own experience/opiniin. Disregard if you feel its unhelpful. Hope again that this is not too harsh. More hugs.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Two sides to this.
    I know actual real-life people for whom anxiety came first - sky high Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and no help from medical community early on - so they got desperate and went the "self-medicating" route and made things even worse. But ... anxiety isn't necessarily an "excuse".
    Trouble is... sometimes, it IS an excuse. Which makes it even harder for those people who are really dealing with full-blown debilitating Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
  14. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

  15. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Hi RN,

    Your son sounds very similar to mine in many ways. I do think sober living is the way to go if you don't want him living with you (which makes perfect sense for many reasons).

    I have lots and lots of experience with sober livings. There is a wide range of sober livings.... My son has been in some very good ones, which provide structure and support and some bad ones which are literally flop houses for drug users. So getting someone at the rehab to help him figure out a decent sober living is important.

    And if your son is not really ready to stay sober he probably won't. I hate to be so blunt but it's the truth. My son at this point I think wants to get and stay sober and he is still relapsing when he has problems. He is getting back on track faster but he is still relapsing. You really can't do it for him. But rehab and sober living is a step in the right direction and he will see and meet others with the same issues and that can be helpful.

    I know alcohol feels less scary than pills... And I am thankful in a way that my sons drug of choice at this point seems to be alcohol rather than say heroin or meth. BUT alcohol has dangers too. One thing we learned this time around is that it is more dangerous to detox from alcohol than heroin.

    Hang in there.

  16. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member


    I posted that same link on Facebook. It's extremely concerning.
  17. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Im just as scared of alcohol. Alcoholism kills. I know of several people who lost loved ones to alcohol ay fairly young ages. DUIs and liver disease and one young man of 26 who died of alcohol poisining. It isnt safer to abuse alcohol. Often other drugs are also used with the alcohol.
    Alcoholism and drunk drivers have always scared me.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
  19. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    But alcohol is legal SWOT and so you have many people who don't have the same appreciation for that. It is why I am so afraid of marijuana becoming legal.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Nancy, you and me both. Many people dont understand that legal doesnt mean safe or better. Pot will get the same rep as safe for all since its legal.
    But you and I both know legal doesnt mean safe.
    Another example is cigarettes. Hardly safe.
    By the way, you have such a cute dog!