My update

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by RN0441, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. RN0441

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

    Our son has been in a faith based program for seven weeks.

    We only get to speak with him ten minutes once per week and there is someone with him.

    We are grateful for this communication but also dread it in some ways because we are never sure which way to go with the conversations.....don't want him to miss home, miss the dogs, be homesick. Ask mainly about what HE is doing there.

    He works in their car wash or their thrift store every day. He gets up at 5:30 am and showers and shaves daily. Everyone there has a job. There are some that cook for everyone and some that do laundry for everyone.

    His day is very structured. No TV, no computer, no cell phones. Basically cut off from the world he has known. No mail from anyone other than immediate family. No calls other than to us once per week for ten minutes. No distractions.

    He said when they don't have customers in the car wash they have to stand outside with a sign to advertise. It is in a very undesirable area. He said homeless people talk to them when they are holding the sign. I am grateful that he has food and shelter and is in a positive environment.

    He asked to be baptized a few weeks ago. He was baptized as a baby so it's not that we didn't do that. When we talked to him after that he asked if he could come home. I don't know if he thought being baptized would do it but we told him he has to finish the 13 month program. He won't be released until November of 2018.

    Believe it or not they do NOT push the religion there. It's just there for them and they can partake as much as they want. They have meetings and study the bible which is similar to AA meetings - which he never liked. They do go to church and he said he really likes the church.

    I tell him that hopefully when he finishes the program he will look at the world differently. He will think differently. This will be a fresh start for us as a family. He desperately needs to change his thinking.

    He has been using substances on and off since the age of 15. He has gone many months sober and then would go back to using. He never was really committed to sobriety long term. He was very young. I know that this has affected his brain. There is nothing we can do about that.

    My therapist is an addiction specialists. She said that it takes about a YEAR...yes a YEAR of not using substance for your brain to really be healed where you can truly think clearly. That explains why nothing has worked for him thus far.

    We are going to see him on December 16. He cannot leave on a pass yet but we can stay for a 4 hour visit. We are allowed to bring him two Christmas presents. They are not allowed to wear anything with hoods. (YAY). They play a lot of cards so maybe we'll do that. We're a bit anxious. I have not seen him since April so I am looking forward to seeing him. I don't know how I will feel and I am really scared about how it will affect me emotionally.

    I have pushed my feelings so far down and detached so that I can get through each day and try to live my own life with purpose and meaning. I have told him that he has to find purpose and meaning in his own life also and hopefully he can do that in this program. He said it is very hard there and I said that is what he needs. We'll find out more on the visit I guess.

    I am cautiously optimistic. We have been through so much for so long but this is different and I'm hoping that the program, the faith and maturity will somehow kick in so he can move on with his life.
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  2. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    RN-I'm hoping for you. Maybe instead of expectations of program completion and health you could just attempt to simply reinforce in yourself thankfulness for these seven weeks. 7 weeks clean is huge. 7 weeks of relative peace for you and hubs also huge. Remember when a minutes peace seemed impossible? Every step that way clears their mind a little, (and ours). For this I am thankful for you.
    Our son came by invitation on Thanksgiving and acted relatively reasonable (and we watched him like a hawk) By 5 days later, crazy drama via text again. Blocked again. Rinse, repeat. BUT we had a pretty good visit on Thanksgiving. I'm finally beginning to understand to be ok with that little victory. Because it's what I've got...
    Try to look forward to seeing your son well when you go, you can do this-you have already. Prayers.
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  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The program sounds exactly what I would have wanted for Daughter. It is teaching your son to amuse himself in wholesome ways and to reflect and hopefully love and trust God, which I understand is a personal bias of mine. What you son can get out of this is endless coping skills, a new look at the world and life and the trust of others who can hope him through this. This group of recovering people can sustain long after the program is over.

    I love this program, even the part about not being able to dress like a thug.

    It is teaching your son hard work, teamwork and a new way of life. Being such a young man a d, when not intoxicated, a good person, I feel this could really do the trick long term.

    There are certain young men who have gone off the rails but seem highly capable of steering back on track. Lil's son was one. My intuition tells me your son can do this too. I will pray this is so.

    RN, I also pray for you and hub and other sons that you can all find peace.
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  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The program sounds exactly what I would have wanted for Daughter. It is teaching your son to amuse himself in wholesome ways and to reflect and hopefully love and trust God, which I understand is a personal bias of mine. What you son can get out of this is endless coping skills, a new look at the world and life and the trust of others who can hope him through this. This group of recovering people can sustain long after the program is over.

    I love this program, even the part about not being able to dress like a thug.

    It is teaching your son hard work, teamwork and a new way of life. Being such a young man a d, when not intoxicated, a good person, I feel this could really do the trick long term.

    There are certain young men who have gone off the rails but seem highly capable of steering back on track. Lila son was one. My intuition tells me your son can too. I will pray this is so.

    RN, I also pray for you and hub and other sons that you can all find peace.
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  5. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Holt has it been 7 weeks already. Time has flown in someways and crawled in others. I am sure you feel the same way.
    Friends of mine are neurosurgeons, they have spoken a lot with me about neuroplasticity. Essentially they feel the brain has a miraculous way of rewireing to heal itself. They encourage me to believe that with sobriety (and even short period of sobriety) that the brain function does recuperate. They indicated that if there is long term sobriety before the Age of 25/26 even after many years of alcohol and drug abuse that the brain does recover. I know it is so hard to think about long term. I just read a quote today from Melody Bestie
    “Detachment doesn’t mean we don’t care, it means we keen to love, care and be involved without going crazy.” It is a process and I can understand your anxiety Abington this upcoming visit. I am so hopeful that all goes well.

    The feeling of impending visits or engaments. We all know that feeling oh so well. Please try to live in the moment and not think to far ahead....that’s when we go Crazy and lose our hold on detachment.

    Hard is good. Someone once said to me if your addicted son is unhappy or angry, we must be doing something right.

    This is a tremendous gift of love that was no easy task for you and your husband to orchestrate for your son.

    One day at a time mama, that is all any of us can do. If not the swilrey Whirle Crazies set in.

    I am hopeful this visit goes well.
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  6. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    I’m so glad to hear he is doing well. Amazing considering how hard it must be for him so that means he must want it.

    I can’t imagine how nervous you would be. I know how hard it is, having hope. I’m still waiting for the shoe to drop. We only have less than a month of sobriety and I am trying to find some peace for the time being.

    Thinking of you ....
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  7. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    RN, so good to see you. Your update is very positive.
    I hope it kicks in too. I can understand being cautiously optimistic, so much water under the bridge.
    I fear the same for my two. It has been a longer haul for them.
    It is what it is.
    There are many stories of addicts recovering and living productive lives.
    Even with affected brains.
    The brain has a marvelous capacity to heal.
    I hang on to that hope.

    A year for the brain to heal and think clearly. There is a lot of work to be done on his part. But, he is still in the program. In a rough neighborhood. He is still trying. Such good progress. I am glad he is there till 11/18. It is as much for you, as for him.
    One day at time.
    Healing for all of you.
    I understand pushing the feelings down.
    Getting through the day, week, month.
    After hubs passing, the feelings were so intensely magnified, I felt as if I would drown.
    So much to process.
    Couldn't do it all at once.
    So, I kept feelings at bay, in order to be able to get up out of bed.
    But, that stuff has a way of eeking out.
    It will find its way out one way or the other.
    The thing is, to find healthy ways to sift through.
    It will be two years come April.
    I can hardly believe it.
    Time truly flys by.

    One day, RN, you will be able to process everything and find that strength in yourself, to look at everything that has happened, without holding on to, or fearing the grief of it.

    No matter the outcome.

    A few years back, my sister asked me why I was not painting and drawing anymore. Part of it, was because I was just so darned busy, part of it, I answered, was because in order for me to create art, I had to allow myself to feel.
    There is something to be said for that.
    A sadness.
    I had to step outside of who I am, to deal with it, to survive.
    It became a sort of hollowness.

    It was and is a survival technique, like nurses and doctors in an E.R. In order to do their job, they have to callous over the emotional response to the reality they face.

    I am working at processing the feelings, which is hard, because I have come to admire my “callouses”.
    I hate them at the same time.
    Does this even make sense?
    "Fake it till you make it"
    I don't want to live the rest of my life, covering over stuff.
    Holding on to it.

    I'm downsizing physically and mentally.

    Going through stuff in my house that I have held on to, for one reason or another.
    Chucking it.
    Or donating.
    It is a release.

    Working at my health.
    Walking helps, it is a meditation in movement.

    I have found that I am able to sort through old photos without grieving over what was, and is.

    I couldn't bare to look at them in the past

    It was a reminder of what was, what could have been, what is missing.

    What was missing, too, was a part of me.

    I am still sorting through my emotional baggage, the feelings. Trying to figure out a way to accept what is happening with my two, process the grief of it, and not only hang on to myself, but to rebuild, restore, revitalize.

    Slowly, gratitude is replacing the despair and sadness of it.


    I guess what I am trying to encourage you to do, and all of us, gently, is to work very hard on yourself, as hard as your son is working on his recovery, there is recovery we need, also.
    I am glad you have a therapist to help you walk through this.
    I am writing to myself as well.
    Keep working at it Leafy. Keep trodding on.
    We are worth it.
    Life is precious and short.

    I am beginning to be able to feel again, to sift through the memories, good and bad, to see the beauty in the world and to want to be able to express it.
    My desire and need to go back to my art is slowly reappearing.

    I hope that your son finds his meaning.

    I hope you find peace and joy no matter what.

    You are truly worth the effort to make that happen.

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  8. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    How nice to read your positive update, RN. I have wondered how your son is doing in the program.

    I was a nervous wreck when we went to see my son for the first time after he started at his current place. I considered not going at all because I didn't know what I was going to say, didn't know if I would have the strength if he started angling for us to let him come home, didn't know, didn't know, didn't know...

    The thing I remember the most is how GREAT he looked. Clear eyes, good color, gaining weight and obviously getting regular sleep. It was easy to tell him that much, even if the changes weren't so obvious on the inside yet. And I tried to remember that as hard as the visit was for us, it was harder for him with all the emotions he had churning around in his first couple of months of sobriety.

    It sounds like your son recognizes that this is doing him good. It all sounds very promising.
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  9. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Such a bittersweet post, Leafy. I was never much of a Partridge Family/David Cassidy fan, but the other day on the radio I heard David Cassidy's daughter recalling his last words. They really struck me:

    "So much wasted time."

    This is it, this life we have now, the good and the bad. I don't want to look back on my life with regret for all the times I was mired in misery, over things I didn't have any control over. I want to be able to say I loved the best way I knew how at the time, which is all any of us can do. We have so much to be grateful for.
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  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    rn. hi.

    in some ways we are in a similar place emotionally. i find it exceedingly hard when objectively there is hope but i have no control.

    as an observer (of your situation) i will say this: there seems to have been remarkable change in your son's commitment to and willingness to engage and accept structure and support. he seems humble now. no arrogance or entitlement.

    to me this is real and undeniable

    now here is the hard part for me: letting life unfold

    there is no control here. no guarantees. bad things can happen. the worst.

    but good things too. people work things out. they grow.

    in my case i had quite limited parents. my dad was an addict. i have that always in my subconscious. i fight the fear of bad things happening. because i know they do.

    your son is a good and loving man/boy. i believe he will come through this strengthened. but there is no timetable or guarantee. of course we know that. it leaves us vulnerable, raw and afraid. which to me is in a way, love.

    we pray.
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  11. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    I need to get my tablet fixed, or get a bigger phone Ye gads the typos.
  12. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Wow. Sad.

    Truly, we do. Even in the face of this. I am grateful for the times I had with all of my kids, growing up.
    We had some really wonderful moments.

    It is really rainy here, a good day to sort through and fix my old photo albums.

    Have a wonderful weekend Albie, and all.
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  13. RN0441

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

    Thanks for all the support and comments.

    I must admit I am very nervous about visiting him on 12/16. He said it is VERY hard and will explain more when we see him. Do I even want to hear it?? I don't really care how hard it is.

    I liken this to him being in training, learning how to live his life with purpose and meaning. I think when it comes down to it, that is what we are really all searching for. The meaning of life. Why are we here. I really think we are put on this earth to help others. It's not about us at all.

    I really think that is the secret to all of it. If he can learn this in his 20's he will be way ahead of the game.

    I wish I could say that he "really wants" to be there. I think he would come home in a NY minute...but he has no choice but to be there. He knows he cannot be with us until he graduates from the program. If I knew he wanted to be there that would fill me with joy and maybe that day will come. I just don't know.

    While he has been gone (since April of 2016) I have been working hard on myself. I have been trying to cope with him being gone and our lives not being normal. It's living in "the upside down" or an altered reality (for those of you that are 'Stranger Things' fans). It really is an altered reality for us. I also love to help people sort out their problems and be a sounding board for them. Mainly close friends. My husband calls me "Dear Rhonda" (instead of Dear Abby). I don't mind because I like that I can offer whatever it is I have to give if it helps. I have a lot of friends that confide in me. I am much calmer now knowing he is "safe".

    I find a lot of comfort coming here and offering what little advice I have to others, hoping to pay it forward and somehow strike a chord with someone during this madness we are going through. Hoping to help make their journey a bit less frightening or lonely, because I know how frightening and lonely it has been for me. Taking one day at a time is hard when you don't know what your child's future holds, yet knowing that every moment you spend in misery you cannot get back and it doesn't change the outcome.
  14. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    I can not fathom how so many who have beeen throufh so much are still so sane. I find in encouraging but frightening at the same time.
    You are a fine example and support RN. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Suggestion if son says it is so hard. "If it weren't hard, you would quit on your own. It is supposed to be hard." In other word, agree with him and explain that it is a good thing that it is hard. Cut him off with the pity stories. Don't let him go there. He has a warm bed, hot meals, counselors who care, a church for comfort if he wants it and he is learning he will have to WORK. He is working! So for those who never worked hard, the expectations ARE hard, but a learning experience (You can tell him that too. It's true).
    Turn his negatives into positives. Don't stress over the visit. You know in advance that he will try to make you feel bad. But he is in a warm, safe place learning skills. So his complaints really do not need to bother you. You know he is where he has to be for him and for you.

    You are so strong. You can do this!
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  16. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi RN. It was so good to see a positive update. One of my daughter's therapists from one of her treatment programs told us that it does take a year for the brain to heal. She said that after a year the brain quickly starts to catch up to fully normal functioning. It also depends on the drug of choice . . . some drugs cause more permanent damage to the brain than others. She told us that my daughter's drug(s) of choice do less permanent damage so we were thankful for that. Another positive is that the interventionist we used told us if the person stays in the vicinity of where they got sober for a year there is a much higher chance of lasting sobriety. That one year mark seems to be important in so many ways.

    I totally get the nervousness about seeing and spending time with your son. Let the program help guide you.

    The fact that he is still there is telling. He could find a way to leave if he really wanted to. I have often said that I see so many similarities in your son and my daughter. If you think about it, neither of them ever really ended up living on the streets or in a drug den. I truly believe my daughter always wanted to find a way out and never let herself fall past the point of no return. I think your son is the same way. I don't think he wants to live a druggie life and I am glad he is a safe place where he can heal and recover.

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    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  17. RN0441

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

    Thanks Kathy.

    He asks why no one sends him letters. I had given our older sons his address and they promised to. I said just get a funny card and write something in it. It doesn't have to be long-winded.

    I tried to write a letter but when husband read it he said it was way too negative and depressing. I threw it away.

    I have so much anger how am I supposed to write a letter? It comes out in the letter. Maybe because I haven't heard him acknowledge all the pain he has

    I will not even try to rewrite it. Maybe when I see him I will feel differently but how am I supposed to write a loving letter when deep down I guess I'm really pissed! I can't pretend that since he's in this program all is well.
  18. StillStanding

    StillStanding Active Member

    I'm so happy for your son RN. To be honest, that program does sound hard. However, I think it would be hard to be hungry, cold, wet, lonely, living on the streets. But, our kids do that and much worse.

    I think the idea of a card is a great idea. Maybe you could just send him one that says you're thinking about him. You don't have to say a lot if it feels fake.

    Good luck.
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  19. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think StillStanding has the right idea. Send him funny or encouraging cards that just say you are thinking of him. I don't think you need to pour your heart out at this point. I don't think either you or he is ready for that.

    Your son has to face that his behavior has caused this rift and getting sober and making amends is his to do.

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  20. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    In my son's program they spend 3 MONTHS working on steps 8 and 9, making amends.

    I was speaking to a long-term recovering alcoholic friend of ours about son's progress, and he said in his experience it is crucial to honestly and diligently work on making amends.

    Son has referenced it a few times -- that he is working on letters to the people he has hurt the most, etc. -- and I catch myself thinking, "Well! You'd better mention THIS...and THAT...and...OH! Don't forget the time you..."

    But it's not my amends to make, it's his.

    So I would keep it light and easy, both on the cards and on the visit. The rest of it will come when the time is right, hopefully once the wounds have had the chance to scab over a little bit.
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