difficult children will always confound us...


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As COM says.

difficult child coming up on 6 months' sobriety, seemed like he was doing great and even starting to help others with their relapses.

husband and I planned a long weekend hiking in the mountains many months ago. To celebrate this milestone we invited difficult child to come along. We were to fly up tomorrow night.

This morning he called from the parking lot of detox to say he came home to his sober living house drunk last night and his choice is to immediately check into detox or he's kicked out.

He started drinking again "4 or 5 days ago" and has been drinking "pretty much every night."

Except I saw him 3 days ago and he was basking in my praise for how well he's done. He even slipped in a few other good things he did that I didn't know about.

He can't come back here. He knows that. He didn't ask. His boss offered to help him with a place to stay until he can get $ together for an apt.

I told him it was his choice but I thought other than this relapse it seems the house he is at has been great support for him. I told him relapses are a part of addiction and all he can do is learn from them and not drink today. He decided to check himself into detox.

I didn't yell or make a big scene about his dishonesty the other night, or in general. To be fair, I didn't have to. He apologized for it repeatedly before I got the chance.

Still going on the trip without him, still going to have a lovely weekend. But I'm still really angry. I get relapses, but the dishonesty...confounds me.


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Well dang! What a shame. I hope he takes this time in detox and gets his head back on straight. Have a great trip and just remember the lies are all part of the alcoholism and the shame he feels about it.


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Do you think that sometimes they sabotage good things 'accidentally on purpose'. It's like they can't handle the extra stress of us being proud of them and planning good things for them, so they go over the edge again. I've had this sort of thing with my son.

I'm going to see him this Friday, H is taking our youngest to work with him so I can have the day to drive to the forest. My son's been upbeat lately, despite the troubles at the squat, and I've been meaning to visit for a while. I'm hoping for a nice day, taking some food etc, hoping to chill out and just spend some peaceful time together. I hope he doesn't sabotage this by being miserable /angry /despondent /desperate /dramatic. It's a risk though isn't it to be optimistic and plan a good time with them? It's like setting ourselves up for heartache sometimes when our plans go pear-shaped.

I hope you have a great trip away anyway and your son gets his act together so that maybe you can do the joint planned trip at some time in the future.


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I do believe that sometimes praising our difficult children has a boomerang effect. It seems that they have a hard time believing us when we do say positive things to them, and sometimes the good things that we are praising them for are in fact things that they made up. Then they feel bad about it and engage in negative behaviors to punish themselves. This is my take on it sometimes.


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Do you think that sometimes they sabotage good things 'accidentally on purpose'. It's like they can't handle the extra stress of us being proud of them and planning good things for them, so they go over the edge again.

My difficult child once told his psychiatrist that he can't handle praise. He hates it. He said he doesn't feel like he deserves praise and when people do praise him it causes him to sabotage his efforts so that they stop.

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I taught in a special program for very young children. We were taught to acknowledge their accomplishments rather than praise. A child comes to you with a picture that they have drawn. Instead of saying," Wow you drew a frog". You would say, "Tell me about your picture. I noticed that you drew curved lines and circles. What happened when you mixed yellow and blue together."

I use this with my youngest. "I noticed that you came home on time. You went to all your classes today. You cleaned up your room. Tell me about your project."

It really does work. It shows genuine interest in them. I wish I had this information when mine was younger. He was a praise junkie.

Scent of Cedar *

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I may be under some kind of dark cloud this morning, but if I really think about it...I think there is a certain satisfaction for difficult child to destroy good things to punish us for putting anything ahead of them.

I am very cynical this morning.

But here is the thing.

Even if you go without difficult child, you'll be thinking about him. It will be bittersweet instead of celebratory.



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I did compliment him on the nice thing he had done for his boss. I did congratulate him on 5 months coming up on 6 of sobriety. He let me, and smiled, and even modestly let slip a few other nice things he had done for his friends and roommates.

And it wasn't true, any of it.

He wasn't coming up on 6 months. I am sure he has been drinking for more than 4 or 5 days; I smelled it on him early last week and then chided myself for believing the worst.

After I posted the above, he called me and told me the detox unit was full and wanted to stay here just one night. I told him no. I found out today that detox wasn't full, he was too drunk to be admitted and they sent him to the hospital. The hospital took his BiPolar (BP) and told him to go back to detox.

He would have gone with us on this trip and left us to deal with his drinking and/or withdrawal (because he has no money, because he was lying about his job situation too) when we were 1o00 miles from home and could do nothing about it.

Maybe the praise contributed, maybe the upcoming trip set him off. All of the things you all pointed out make sense. I don't know.

I'm just SO TIRED of not being able to just...be NICE without worrying about the fallout.

You are right, Cedar. It is bittersweet. I am at least very grateful I am not dealing with his drama on this trip. But I am still really torqued and so very sick of the lies.

Anyway, hope everyone has a lovely weekend.


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Oh Albatross, I'm so sorry to hear it.

I'm just SO TIRED of not being able to just...be NICE without worrying about the fallout.

This reminded me of my husband. The other day he was complaining about our son talking his ear off about nonsense. I said I'm just so glad he's in a good mood, I don't mind a bit. Husband said, "Well I spend the time waiting for the other shoe to drop."

At least he has chosen detox, instead of just giving up.



one day at a time
Alb I have been reading along but just read it all again and wanted to post to you.

First I know you were crushed after seeing his progress and thinking that maybe this time is THE time. I think this experience is an important bellwether moment for us all.

Sobriety for a while does not guarantee sobriety forever but it does show that he can do it, he now knows what to do, what it feels like, looks h

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one day at a time

Looks like and how to do it again. This relapse does not negate what he already did.

And I believe that every rehab, AA meeting, detox and other positive step---even jail---which is a break from the life of an addict and from the life on the street---can be a positive step.

I also think that the attitude you describe in difficult child is a positive one.

I know this is not what you wanted to have happen but it is not going back to square one and I am so glad he chose to go back to detox.

This too shall pass Alb. I hope you are okay today. Warm hugs. We see here for you.

Ps sorry for the messed up post. I got interrupted in the middle and pressed send accidentally.

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