email from son in prison

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by jodiehooks, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Well, things are not too bad right now. Son is still in prison and will be for some time yet. He entered a drug program this week and says it is the same one he was in the first time but he is planning to take it more seriously this time. Wrote me a letter thanking me for standing by him, visiting and giving support. It was a nice email, he told me how hard drugs have been for him and how he never ever thought that things would get this bad for his life. He acknowledged the loss of all his family and friends and how hard that is on him now. He also shared his anxiety over the future. I have not answered yet, I am considering my reply carefully. This is so hard, knowing how many times drugs can grab a person, that I am just frozen with fear over how to proceed. Of course I want to give him support and wish to see him do well. But the boundaries that we all talk about here makes me cautious as to now have him become dependent upon me and me upon him, co-dependent. I see how this could set up that scenario. Middle line I don't know where it is at times. So, any input as normal helps here. My inclination is to encourage him and let him know that I understand his anxiety over what he will do when he gets out, where he will live and how he will manage being alone. But to tell him there are many resources that if he is serious he can make it on his own and that I am at an age that I cannot allow myself to become anyone's helper.
  2. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    Keep letters like that to show to him in the future.
  3. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    You should ALWAYS encourage improved behavior and thought processes, but you also need to protect your own emotional well being. Addicts relapse. A lot. Some never stop relapsing. Some never even experience a lapse in the first place. Unfortunately, it is what it is. The hardest thing for us to do is to truly accept that we have lost all control, if we even had it to begin with. We are accustomed to instant gratification, and recovery is anything but that. It takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of discomfort. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. We have to rebuild ourselves from the ground up. It isn't as simple as just not taking drugs. Good chance your son is not taking drugs right now, but that isn't an accomplishment when you have no choice in the matter. The true test comes after he is released. He WILL, sooner or later, find himself in a position where using is convenient. It is how he faces that situation that will be telling. He should do everything in his power to cut out any and all parts of his life that could lead to that, but you can't get EVERYTHING. Unless you're willing to strand yourself on a deserted island with a volley ball named Wilson.

    Keep in mind, for an addict truly in recovery, relapse isn't necessarily failure, or completely bad. If we can take something away from that relapse, then we have yet made some progress. So, while it is disheartening to see, it doesn't necessarily mean he has failed, or that he doesn't want to succeed. Encourage and support him in endeavors that will actually benefit his life, and refuse to be a part of any that will hurt him. Ultimately, the ball is in his court. Any relationship you have with him from this point on needs to be on YOUR terms, and not his. You've already compromised enough. When he is ready to move forward, he will accept that compromises will need to come from him, as well.
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  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jodie, I think DarkwingPsyduck said it all in the above statement. It is YOUR call. YOU set the boundaries. YOU decide. While he is in jail, get your tool box of resources and strong boundaries together and let him know you support him of course, but the heavy lifting is now ALL HIS.

    You're doing well Jodie, hang in there......
  5. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Hi Jodie,
    While this sounds like good news, I would go slow here in responding to your son. Caution is the word now. Do not get too excited by his recent email.

    It was only last week (Nov 22nd) where you posted on your other Parent Emeritus thread these comments:

    My son, in prison, is talking about wanting to have a relationship when he gets out and had sent me an email a while ago that turned into an email hell. Now he says that he has thought over things and wants us to be close again. Of course I know that caution is the word here.
    Read more:

    This latest email letter today is so early in your prison communications with him. He will be there in prison a while. There will be time to see how he does, how he keeps thinking, and what the future brings, other opportunities to say more to him, depending on how your relationship evolves, and what future emails relate.

    If you want to keep a communication open with him to show support and respond to his email now, I suggest to keep your reply very simple and general. Perhaps you could simply and shortly reply with something like:

    Glad you are taking time to understand how your choices have steered your life to where you are now. You appear to realize change is needed, and understandably have concerns about the future. You can get support, guidance and assistance from many places, if you really commit to wanting change in your life. Seek out available resources from your prison counselors, chaplains, case manager, etc. I will keep in touch …. Love you.

    Right now you are both in safe positions. Enjoy your relative peace. His words sound hopeful, and I lift a prayer that this may be a "turning point", but don't put yourself in a position of vulnerability. It's all up to him. He needs to walk his own path at his age, can't depend on you.
    Take care. Kalahou
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    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
  6. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Kalahou, you worded that perfectly. I actually replied in sort of that fashion. I have encouraged him to seek our sponsorship through a recovery program, prison counselors and chaplains and advised him that anything I do is on my terms, that his life is his to manage. You do have a good way with the formatting and composition of words. Thanks for your input, I would love to be able to do better at writing what I feel in a better way. You sound like you know what your talking about and I respect your wisdom.
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree to keep your distance. I think your response to him was perfect. I learned the hard way when I tried to involve myself in my daughter's recovery. It wasn't mine to be involved in. It was just another way I enabled her.
  8. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    What you said there, another way I enabled her, despite my son's good intentions, this is what I fear. And besides all this, I remember a different world. When I grew up, you did not expect your parents to take care of you beyond the point of leaving home at a young adult stage. I can't imagine what my mother would have done had I kept getting into jail and drugs during my life then whined to her about helping me. It was just expected that when your of age that you do for yourself. I do understand that we did not have the severe drug and crime problems then that exists now. But your point, that my son's recovery is his own is so true!!
  9. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    good idea!!
  10. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I agree with what others have said. I think it is important for him to know you continue to love him and give him moral support by set boundaries one what practical support you will provide. One thing I did when my son was recently in prison was to find a lot of funny silly cards and send them to him regularly so that he got regular mail. That is a loving supportive thing to do without offering him solutions that he needs to find.

    Now my son is back at home and living with us and I am learning to just let go and he has to figure things out. It is harder than I thought it would be to do this but i am also learning some things are just better if I dont know and dont get involved.
  11. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    good idea!! And even though this has been hard to learn to step back and let things work themselves out, it is the best. I think your brave having your son live at home and generous to give him help. My son is facing living in a homeless shelter until he can get back on his feet unless someone can see enough progress to risk having him in the home. His case is that he and his girlfriend was making meth in the basement of a relatetives house and it exploded leaving the girl burned and hospitalized for a month. So all involved are afraid of having him in the house.
  12. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Also I can see that since I am the only one besides his sister who was into drugs with him, has just about abandoned him, understandably. I hope to not create unhealthy dependency between him and I. That is tricky to me. I wish I felt that I could help him and give him a home until he is on his feet but I know better.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If he was going to get on his feet, I feel it would have been long ago and not because of you. You need to live your life. In ten years when you are 81 and he is 58 do you still want this to be your life?

    He is old and wise and knows what to do without your help to get on feet. He doesn't seem to understand that he is not a little boy and that you are not his young mommy.

    Can you and your husband travel and have fun before it is too late? There is a "too late" for all of us. Your adult kids will be on their own when you are gome and well into their 50s. That is not young. They will either change or not but it doesn't depend on you.

    Have fun. Live well. Is it not finally time to let go? For yourself?
  14. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Somewhere: Well, I just got back to see your post and am glad to hear from you. I do have fun, no doubt. As for my in 10 years I will only be 76, a technicality but still want to get as much time as possible lol. And yes he has not yet in his 48 years been real well. For a while after he left home he struggled to earn money, as he was only 18 with no high school diploma and no experience. He got married, then divorced and re married to a phys-co woman. They moved to Florida, him working at a Arabian horse farm, mowing and cleaning horse stalls. Her staying at home doing nothing. They both eventually ended up on crack and moved back here to Indiana. She never worked in her life until after they were divorced and she was sent to prison for drugs. He has had 20 years of the drug life and since his divorce from her nothing has gotten better. He has had a learning disablilty from childhood and has has other issues in life due to that. It has been a long hard road for me to watch all this. He is actually a very nice person as I am sure many of these problem adult children are, which makes it hard when they do not nice things and end up in prison. And I have talked to him in preparation of him expecting help from me, so that he focuses on helping himself. I have told him that at my age I can't involve myself in his money issues or provide housing and that he will have to look elsewhere. But, at times I think back to when he was young and wish that he had that opportunity again as I see on here other young adult children able to have. Youth is wasted on the young and I see it all the time. So no, I do not plan to house him or provide monetary options to him. He will have a long hard road at best even if he decides to "get it". But oh, a mothers heart can wish and hope.