Out of detox


Active Member
Son is home. He was discharged and has weekly outpatient counselling. He has been going to a few AA meetings also.

He seems healthier and in a better mood but I am not as naive as I have been. I saw his little journal I gave him when he went in and I read it.... probably shouldn't have.

He mentions on day 3 a resident sneaking in some sleeping pills and it looks like he had a few. After that he talks about wanting to get out but needing to do this so as not to disappoint his family.

He says the right things most of the time, but I'm not convinced. He has been home earlier ... close to 12, instead of 6am. But he is still sleeping a lot. He has only been home less than five days, and I told him Monday he needs to start on a daytime routine. He claimed to have a job for tomorrow helping a friend with pressure washing houses. Hmmm

I am so sceptical now that I feel like a police officer interrogating him. I have told him I'm done with lies. But is he??? I don't want to be so pessimistic as to make it worse for him. I know a big part of his issue is our disappointment in him. He has so much shame around it, it's all through his writings and poems. I told him we are not holding it against him, to let it go, but maybe we are unconsciously. I can be so objective and respond in a non judgemental way with my teens at school but it's so hard with my own... I can't do it.

I actually accepted a new guidance counsellor position in my district for next year at a city elementary school and will only be working with younger students. I need a break from the issues the older ones have, suicide, self harm, drugs, pregnancy... I know it's wearing on me and moving down to lower ages will still have heartbreak in its own way, it will not be so close to home. I am looking forward to it. Two more weeks of school and I will be off. Sigh.... my whole body hurts.

Trying to navigate this without projecting onto my son. I am no longer even looking past the day, the week. He needs to take the direction of his life. I'm done. I am offering no advice or wisdom. He doesn't want or listen to me anyway.

I have no idea what is going to happen.


Well-Known Member
Colleen. Hi. There is so much in your post that resonates. Let me pick out a few things.

First. I think we do become traumatized.

Second. I think our kids become traumatized by their lifestyle.

Third, I think our relationships with our children become mutually traumatizing and this traumatizes us. We hate the role we have been thrust into with our children. Interrogators. Mistrusting. Fearful. Vigilant.

That said, I think stepping back from work that itself is overstimulating and demanding, seems sensible and prudent. But I think for me, it was only a first step.

I am thinking about myself now as a traumatized person who needs help. I am thinking about equine therapy, bodywork, somatic therapy. To find a way to calm and center myself. Because I am seeing that my whole life has been an accretion of trauma which I have never addressed. I am beginning to think of my child in the same way. And I am beginning to look at our relationship as like two people caught up in an echo chamber of screams.
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Crazy Cat Lady
Copa, horses might help you, because you HAVE to center yourself in order for horses to be comfortable around you. Because they are pure prey animals, they are extremely sensitive to the "vibe" humans, which are predators, give off.

When I was at "Old Friends" I met a stallion named Sarava. He is the horse that spoiled Funny Cide's attempt at the Triple Crown. Sarava is his "own horse" and lives life on his own terms. He isn't cuddly. He's "all man", and will bite, etc. I was able to feed him a few chunks of carrot and avoid being bitten, but I had to really calm and center myself before he even deigned to come over to the fence, and then he stopped a few feet away and fixed me with a piercing stare as if he were reading me. Once he decided that not only was I not a threat, I wasn't afraid of him. He came over, took the treats, gave me another long stare, and, ignoring the other visitors, trotted off. It was a very strange sort of communication and even the guide said, "Wow, that was strange!"\


I agree with Copa that we do become traumatized by all that happens. I am now so overly sensitive to drama that I pull away as quick as I can...even if that means bolting from the room...the relationship..whatever. Been there done that and wont do it anymore. Colleen i think its great you are taking a new path in your career and doing good things for you. With the son i would stay arms length...he sees your help as a form of control and hence he pushes back. If things get too unruly at the house ask him to find a new place to live. He will find his way in his time but doesn't need to take you down his life path. You have your own! Hugs!


Well-Known Member
Colleen, I'm kinda in the same spot as you, except my son is not actively looking for help. But he is at home after being kicked out and arrested twice. He's in quite the pickle with no car and no job. But we've 'bailed' him out so many times, given him so many blank slates that I'm just not stupid enough to do it again. It's hard because I do see a path where he could get around all this and I start trying to figure out all the logistics in my head. But one thing sticks out that he said to me a few months ago. He said 'Mom I don't want your treasure maps.' when I was laying out a detailed path for him , ie Step 1 - stop associating with friends, Step 2 - find a job, etc etc. That resounds with me. He doesn't want my 'treasure maps' but that is what they are. And they are mine. He's rejected them and must come up with his own. Somehow this line of thinking helps me detach from the constant worry and anxiety. I just wish he didn't live here. If he doesn't come up with his own 'treasure map' soon, he will be homeless. And that's ok.


Well-Known Member
So much wisdom here. And love. Thank you Colleen.
With the son i would stay arms length...he sees your help as a form of control and hence he pushes back
This is exactly how my son experiences my "help." He resents it. He feels contained by it. Without using these words, I think he feels almost emasculated or infantilized by it. And he blames me--for holding him back.

Support makes him ambivalent about risking and seeing where his life takes him. He feels, I think, as if my support buys into his weaker self, and reinforces it. And this resentment is played out within our relationship. He becomes stuck and I become critical of his stuckness. Telling him what he should do and not do. The "help" seems to bring out the worst in each of us. When I tell him he is mistreating me, he mocks and taunts me for "playing the victim," his victim and he calls it for what it is, a manipulation on my part.

So, the message in the bottle is this: help does not help.
He will find his way in his time but doesn't need to take you down his life path.
Which is exactly what happens when we begin this dance with them, feeling and acting like our "help" gives us a ticket to ride along on their life. And blaming them for how horrible it feels to us, to be along for the ride.
'Mom I don't want your treasure maps.' when I was laying out a detailed path for him
I truly love this. Your treasure maps.
I just wish he didn't live here. If he doesn't come up with his own 'treasure map' soon, he will be homeless.
My son is leaving today. After about 15 months with us or near us, this treasure map has run its course. All of us see there is nothing at all for any of us, positive, that can come from his staying. He hates our town and WILL NOT look for anything positive here for himself. That has become manifestly clear, even to me, the champion of treasure maps. (Except for the fact that he was safe here. And taking his anti-viral.) Which is the true thing that M held onto.

Because M fears for ME. As long as I knew him to be safe, I could breathe. But not much more than this.) M is bereft, more than, am I. And furious. He cannot see or accept that my son is on strike. Either that or holding his breath. A 28 year old holding his breath in a fit, is not what I had in mind as a treasure map.

And he seems to blame us for the state of his life. Because he blames us for indulging or catering to his desire to be dependent on us. And he blames us for his ambivalence because he wants to be accountable to himself. He wants to live his own treasure map. And he cannot or will not accept responsibility for having come here to our house wanting our help and shelter and support. Rather, he blames us for making it too easy, by either pushing him or having conditions, he feels we are trying to undermine his power and autonomy.

He knew all along that our town, with us, was not his treasure map. No matter how much we talked up its glitter. We just all got lost. And ended up in the dump.

The unjustness of this hangs us up. He came here to us. I told him NO. He came because he wanted to be safe and secure and loved. And after a while he hated that he wanted that. And he blamed us. Because he wants more. Which is a good thing.

That is the horribleness of our situations here. There is a double edged sword. While to a point they want our help, they resent it and feel it holds them back. Or diverts them from their true destiny. We are damned if we do and if we don't. Should I have turned my son away? I don't think so.

I see and feel the pain of this as I type. The bloody pain of it, for us. Their true destiny? Homelessness? My son said with a chuckle, last night: Well, at least H will let me sleep in the back of his truck. He is positively gleeful to be leaving. Not fearful, happy.

And me? I am acting like a jilted lover. He just called now from the train station to say he did not have time to bring me the key to the apartment. And me? I felt spurned. Because I had believed he would come back to say goodbye.
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Hi Copa...I know how hurt you must feel but here is the thing. He is ready to move on. Let him go. It does not mean he does not love you. He just needs to find his path. Hugs!!!!!


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

Sorry to hear your despair. I do agree that the new job sounds like a break that you really need. I hope that you can find some peaceful ways to enjoy your summer.

I think your son is at the beginning of his journey. As my therapist said last week sometimes you have to plant many "seeds" before they take. We do not know how many times or how many seeds our own children will need before they see what they are doing to themselves and those that love them.

I also do not know how things will turn out with my son. He is in sober living but I am pretty sure that is only because he has nowhere else to live. I wish that I didn't feel that way but I too have been beaten down. I'm okay with that for now and am trying to take one day at a time and see what happens. He finally seems to accept that he cannot come home. I have been down this path for a long time and as long as we can do it, we will keep him away from us. My life is better and his is too although the worry never stops.

I agree you cannot tell anyone what to do in this situation. It's all just too hard and there is no right or wrong answer. I fantasize about the day that I will no longer have to worry about him. I do not know what I will do with all the time and energy that I'll have.

Copa I bet your fantasy is that some day soon your son will return and have it all together. If we only could put our finger on that magic that we are waiting for our Difficult Child to discover that will turn their lives around.