possible relapse

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by rebelson, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    My son has really appeared to be flourishing in sober living. He doesn't complain. Ever. He has been cheerful on 90% of our calls. Seems to always be hanging out with a sober living roommate. He had the job but lost it, yes. Still not another one, yet. He goes to all IOP's. Talks about AA mtgs. To the gym, a lot. Is much more humble, sweeter. The 'real him' is showing through.

    Still no sponsor, which is REALLY bothering me. :mad:

    Ok. Several weeks back I logged in to my son's gmail account, as he was having issues with his food stamps application. Wanted to see if there were emails from the state about his app. Living in sober living, they all are encouraged to apply as they are considered 'homeless'.

    I know I shouldn't have logged in as this was 'getting involved'. But, I know myself and knew that until he had food stamps flowing in, my son has to eat..that I wouldn't relax. He gave me his password more than an year ago, when he had his accident.
    I found it.

    I don't have a gmail email account, but apparently if one does, when you log in to it...it logs you in to GOOGLE. And it also then logs all of your 'searches'. Can you get where this is going yet?

    So, at some point after this, I was on my phone and wanted to google something. Unbeknownst to me, I was still logged in to HIS google account/searches. To my dismay, as now I can see all his searches. I have little willpower when it comes to him. I think most of you know that by now.

    He is unaware of this whole story ^^^^.

    Since the revelation that I can see his searches, I have been checking. Thanks to my O C D.

    Some (not exact wordings) search examples he typed in have been: Craigslist jobs, steroid cycles (he lifts), a bank name, some store names, and lots and lots of search entries on different aspects of social anxiety or anxiety.

    Some (not exact wordings) were:
    *social anxiety and good posture
    *social anxiety tips
    *anxiety better to be in hyper or slow mode?
    *are people always sad or mad

    I have been finding a search on anxiety almost daily. On these days, I would check in with him to check his 'mood', see if it was something worrisome or not. Usually he would be in good spirits. Hiding it?

    Occasionally, he has called me to relay an incident about someone in public who was rude or short with him. These type incidents really seem to bother him and 'ruin' his mood. Does anybody have any insight on this? As to why he is so affected by the actions, behaviors of others in public? (I have a brother like this and my father also was like this. I also have this trait, but as I get older, I am better at letting things roll off my shoulder.) As he would relay these incidents to me, I would listen and show compassion and try to gently give him advice (let if roll off, everybody encounters those ppl, try not to ruminate on it, etc.). Sometimes, he gets angry and says 'look, I didn't call you for a therapy session...' So, then I would back off.

    The other day, he called me as he had gone in to Publix with a sober living roommate to buy a sub. It was a 'hot' sub which I guess is an ebt no-no. Only cold. The checkout girl was not saying anything about it-she was fine, but I guess a manager came over and called it out. 'Is that a hot sub?.....Not allowed on ebt.' Son said he gave it to the cashier and left. But, it really bothered him. This guy's reaction. Maybe embarrassed him? Not sure. But, this is the type of stuff that stresses him out. And, maybe also he is self-conscious when in a conversation with other ppl he doesn't know well? Hence the social anxiety searches.

    So yesterday. At 3:43 he texted me: 'Sup mom:).' Hmmmm. That was out of the blue. I did my short, sweet reply. He writes: 'about to meet up with a friend.' I said: 'oh, who?' No reply. I said: 'where ya going?' No reply.

    Hours later, 6ish, I check his searches. I have deleted them as I was so angry but it was something like:
    'how to beat a breathalyzer test' :sneaky:

    I think all those sober living places give a breathalyzer test every night before bed.

    I called him. I was fit to be tied. No answer x4 calls. Finally, I waited a few minutes and called again. He picked up and was all nicey nice.

    "Hey mom, I'm with a girl at her place...and it reminds me of Nana's-where she used to live (a villa type house)."

    Aha!!! He's with a girl! Totally makes sense why he'd want to drink. (He has told me a few examples in the past year that when he was with this girl or that girl, he did a line of coke (<---rare) or drank or took a xanax, blah blah. Said he did it to relax. To him, girls = stress? Not good.)

    I laid in to him. I pretended he was a bit 'slur-ry', he wasn't, well, there could've been a tinge if I listened really closely. I had to embellish it as I could not tell him my secret search tool. He would be very angry if he knew and I did feel bad for peeking! But, how could I not? :oops: I need help.

    I told him: "Are you drinking or something? you sound slur-ry...you need to get your anxiety under control...you have a therapist right there where you're living and you are not talking about your anxiety...you are sweeping it under the rug...whenever you've relapsed it's been due to anxiety....stressors....you still don't have a sponsor.....this is your life, your choices...but don't involve ME in your poor choices that may result because you're not addressing your anxiety. I will be here for your as LONG as you're sober and trying....but if you relapse don't call me!'

    He firmly denied drinking. Then, he hung up. If he was having a 'nice time' with the girl, I def ruined it!

    This anxiety is the elephant in the room. He HAS to acknowledge it. Or he will relapse over and over.

    My husband is super angry. I shouldn't have told him about the finding, he is that angry. We are not 100% sure that he drank, but it seems very likely.

    "IF" he did, he obviously got away with it, as he hasn't called me to say he failed breathalyzer last night and he's out on the street.

    How can he ever 'spend time' with a girl if he has to be 'on' something? He can't!

    Pretend he had one beer. Is this a relapse?

    I am angry. I feel sad. I feel numb. I want to cry. But I can't.

    It would be really nice, to tie him in to a chair, so he couldn't walk out, and be able to just vent to him- tell him how much he has going for him, how he has little siblings who love and miss him. And, how this all affecting me! :cry:
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
  2. RN0441

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


    I am so sorry to hear this. You know where I'm at right now with all of this.....

    You don't know for sure and you are being way TOO INVOLVED right now for your own good. I know that the guys know how to beat the breathalyzer. My son told me about it but at that time he wasn't doing it.

    I have to go to a meeting but PM me or email me if you want to talk more.

    Remember you can't control any of it.

    Hugs and stay strong.
  3. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I have to get to work, but the best on the run advice I can give you is to stop stalking him on FB. You dont know what everything he writs means and if he finds out he may stop trusting you and could refuse to tell you anything. He may have considered drinking then thought better of it, which is great.

    in my opinion this is his recovery. You can't do it for him.

    Hugs and try to keep busy!! Have a great day.
  4. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    Rebelson, I can relate but I agree with the above advice....About a year and a half ago, I would read every single text and history etc in a desperate attempt to get into my son's world and keep him safe. It just about broke me. I would read something he texted to a trusted friend and desperately reach out for help for him. It honestly was a form of torture. And I would spin and spin trying to find ways to help him. And you are not necessarily getting the whole story from these searches. Like SWOT said, perhaps he considered drinking and thought better of it. He is in sober living if I am following correctly and you HAVE to find a way to let him work things out. I so get where you are. I am way better (thanks to this site) about my involvement but am still guilty of reading things I shouldn't from time to time. What helps me is that when I slip and do snoop, I usually experience tremendous anxiety and slip into a dark place. And then I notice that he is just going about his business, happy as can be , living his life while I am sick with worry. I am working really really hard to live happily and without fear and cloaking myself in his ups and downs does absolutely nothing for me nor him. hang in there, you can do it! We are all here for you.
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  5. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    rebelson, my therapist would say that you can't stop him from drinking even if he is so you are just torturing yourself by reading the emails and checking his searches.

    As far as the anxiety, direct him back to the experts. He is in IOP for a reason. They should be helping him with this. You can't fix it.

    I purposely don't have a facebook and deleted an email account I once shared with my daughter. It really is easier to detach if you don't have access to check up on what your son is posting on social media or searching for on the Internet.

    As hard as it is to do, you need to detach and let your son handle his own recovery. That took me two years of therapy to learn.

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  6. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    FB has not been involved in any way. My FB is deactivated, has been for awhile. Sorry if I gave that impression.

    I know I need to not be checking. But, I am. My O C D takes over when I am anxious and that is now. I try.

    I tried to call him awhile ago. No answer. I checked his latest (today) search. "liquor store" - a search that pulls up the closest, local liquor stores.
    No wonder he didn't answer my call.

    I think the writing is on the wall. Has he relapsed? No proof yet. And not 100%, going solely on search entries here. Not enough. He's still in sober living. If he's relapsed, sooner or later, he will be found out.

    I am so sad. How do you separate the sadness from the anger? I'm almost positive his out-of-control anxiety is at the core. This makes me feel 'sorry' for him. But then again, he has his therapist a phone call away, sees her once a week. He has his own primary MD, he could see him for a script, or advice. He goes to IOP 3/wk. He could grab someone there. Does he? I think not. He could call his sponsor. Oh, wait, he doesn't HAVE one. :cautious:

    I feel sick. My stomach feels like a rock in it. Is this 'here we go again'?

    I ask again. How do you separate the sadness from the anger?

    I need help getting mad.
  7. RN0441

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

    If you figure it out, let me know. I have been angry for a week now. Our sons are more alike than we thought. You called it right from day one.
  8. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    I prefer when I am angry over sad. When I am mad,it is much easier to carry through on detaching. I am so sorry for the awful dread and anxiety you must be feeling when you see that he is searching for a liquor store. Feeling like the train is barreling down the tracks and there is nothing you can do to stop it. I hope he reaches out to the resources he has around him. Perhaps he will.
  9. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    If his drug of choice is alcohol, then yes; a single beer is a relapse. Hell, a single beer for ANYBODY early in recovery is a relapse, even if alcohol isn't their drug of choice. Recovery is about being clean in general, not about stopping one specific drug. I am only addicted to opiate pain medication. I have done a lot of parting in my day, but alcohol was never a problem. Only drank in social situations, really. However, when I first stopped taking the pills, I had to stop drinking entirely, as well. And stop smoking pot, which is something I rarely did to begin with. It is very dangerous territory, for a new to recovery addict to be in an altered state of mind. It leads to lowered inhibitions, and can never have any effect other than negative.

    There is no such thing as "just one" to an addict. Just one drink, just one snort, just one shot, etc. Other people may be capable of having just one, but we are not. If we were capable of stopping at just one, we wouldn't be junkies. We wouldn't have allowed it to destroy our lives, and the lives of everybody around us. Just one is a very dangerous fantasy for an addict, especially when early in recovery. The message must be that NO mild altering substances are okay. I didn't drink a beer for over a year. Even now, I drink MAYBE once a month. Generally when friends are visiting town, or something. Doing so earlier than that would have been very dangerous, and silly.

    That said, I am more concerned with the way you are taking all of this. It sounds like your mental and emotional state depend ENTIRELY on your son's going ons. That isn't a good thing. For you, or for him. Look what it does to you. Does you freaking out somehow improve the situation for him? For you? Of course it doesn't. Detachment isn't just for the benefit of the addict, but for the one detaching, as well. You have a very codependent relationship that yields only negative outcomes for all involved. Just as your son needs to get to the point where his mental and emotional well being doesn't rely on mind altering substances, you need to get to the point where YOUR mental and emotional well being doesn't rely on his. I suggest removing whatever ability you have to monitor his e-mails, texts, stuff like that. It's a bit invasive, and is causing you way more trouble than it is really worth. It is making you sick with worry over something you aren't even entirely sure happened yet.

    I am not a parent and cannot imagine what it is like on your side of things, but I do know what was and was not helpful for me in my own recovery. Constantly terrified I was going to disappoint my aunt once again..... Always thinking about the effect it might have on her was not actually helpful to me. It made my entire recovery about her, and not me. I am still working on being better for myself. I struggle with it, because I don't like myself very much. I like my aunt a hell of a lot more than I like me. Trust me, you will both be in a much better place when his recovery is about him, and yours about you. It is so much easier to be happy together when both parties are capable of being happy apart. Of course you are going to worry about him, but with time, it will get better. Assuming he does get better. Or maybe he doesn't get better yet. That'd be very unfortunate, but are you going to let it destroy you?

    Have you ever attended alanon meetings, or anything of the sort?
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  10. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    The 12 step mantra applies to the loved ones of addicts, as well. Change the things you can, and accept the things you can't. You cannot control every aspect of your sons life, or pilot his body and make the right choices that he is getting so wrong. Not only is that impossible, it wouldn't actually be of benefit. Do you plan on living forever, and controlling his life entirely? Unless you have discovered the fountain of youth, I suggest you start looking at it a different way. Where would he be once you were gone if he couldn't handle his life himself? He'd be a lot like me, really. My mom died before I was capable of making an adult decision. I couldn't vote. I couldn't join the military. And the effect of that still shows to this day. I am a man child in a lot of ways. Behind every friend I have emotionally. I have had to learn EVERYTHING through trial and error. And it turns out that I am so much better at making errors than correcting them. It is a struggle, and one you have the opportunity to spare your son right now. By getting him ready to exist without you.
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  11. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    Oh, and if you did discover the fountain of youth, you can probably just disregard every word I typed here.
  12. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    I am not doing well.
  13. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    I'm so sorry. I can almost feel your pain coming through the keyboard.

    It is hard when you are so invested in their recovery to watch them backslide. Do you attend Al-anon/Nar-Anon? They really are helpful. It is a great source of comfort to know someone in real life who is going through what you are.

    I know it is so much easier said than done, but you have to distance yourself. You have to stop checking the internet searches. It's tearing you apart.

    He has to figure this out himself. Only he can make the decision to embrace recovery. It has to come from within. There is no way for us to know what that internal motivator is, or what it will be that will trigger them to make the change. We just have to hope that they discover it.

    I have watched my sister throw away her whole life. I tried, to the point of emotionally and financially bankrupting myself and almost ruining my marriage to "help" her before I realized that I can't help her. There is nothing I can give her emotionally or physically that will get her in that place.

    Like someone said on another thread, "Let go of the results." We have to look at this like addicts. Not looking toward tomorrow, not looking back to yesterday. One day at a time. Today sucked. Tomorrow is new.
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  14. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    rebelson, I am sorry that you are hurting. It is so hard to watch your beloved son struggle with substance abuse. darkwing gave you some great insight. It is time to let go of trying to fix your son. You can't do it. He has to.

    What you can do is help yourself. Go to a therapist. Start attending AlAnon or NarAnon meetings on a regular basis. Another good one is Families Anonymous. Listening to others with the same struggles can be enlightening. Listen to what helped them.

    When I went to a Families Anonymous meeting, every parent there told my husband and I that their children didn't start getting better until they had completely detached from the situation. One told me that her son lived in a tent for three months but is doing well now. I didn't believe it at the time but it is true. It wasn't until my husband and I learned to set boundaries that my daughter got serious about her recovery.

    I even had to cut off contact for a while until I learned how to detach with love. I struggled with that for a long time.

    Please don't let your son's addiction destroy your life, too. It is possible to have a happy, fulfilling life even when your child struggles with addiction. You are two separate people who make your own choices.

    Keep posting here, too. We truly understand what you are going through. We have all walked that path.

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  15. RN0441

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

    Rebelson I am where you are now but possibly worse. My son was turning blue from something he did to himself.

    The sad thing is I still don't know if he's ready to jump in 100% to what is needed to be done. My son has one foot in, as Darkwing says. I started to see a therapist so I can deal with this. I use this forum as my group support. I have many friends that I can talk to about this. My husband is hurting too and we try not to make this the entire focus of our life together.

    I look at the positives in my life. I have a good marriage and am married to my best friend. We are healthy. I have a good job. I have a lovely home. We have two sons that are doing great and are happy. I have one son that is finding his way and he's not doing it accordingy to my schedule that's for sure.

    Last night I was coming home from a get together at a friends house and I was thinking of my son and crying because I just can't believe where we all are in this right now. I just can't believe it.

    I know that my suffering won't make him any better.
  16. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    please dont make the mistake of becoming distracted and unavailable for you two sons who are doing really well. Too often we focus on the one in trouble and neglect the other ones.
  17. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    SO hard. A year ago, March, my son had an accident where he should either be paralyzed from neck down or dead. And who knows how many times that I am unaware of, where son was close to OD'ing. He has had alcohol poisoning twice that I know of, once was in 9th grade, he was briefly hospitalized. This thing is not a competition between us or our addicts.

    I have anxiety/O C D.<---- that is what is making this so hard on me. As SWOT alluded to on CB's anxiety thread, others without mental illness shouldn't compare themselves to or judge others with it.

    I have had a few good cries since last night. I got on my insurance website today and called some therapists. I have an appointment with a male one next Tuesday night, but he's not In-Network YET. They are working on getting him in. It will be $100 self-pay. If he turns out to be turned down by my insurance company, I do not want to keep paying $100. So, I will have to find another. *Sigh. Maybe this is a bad idea to see him, in particular. But, he was recommended and could get me in soon.

    I have to get more angry than I am sad. It just seems so wrong to even WRITE that (make my anger>sadness). But, it is necessary for my survival.

    I texted the point person at the sober living place son is at, yesterday. Asked how he's doing. He said: "the best I can tell you is no news is good news..from my understanding (son) has gotten very involved and attending mtgs regularly with the other guys. Very respectful, following all the rules. Hasn't been an issue. I am not his housing mgr though."

    I responded to say that I was concerned about son's unmanaged anxiety causing a relapse. And that I think he's hiding anxiety from therapist, others.

    He appreciated my heads up and said he'd relay to house manager and son's therapist.

    If my son has relapsed, he will be found out. This needs to play itself out..he needs to feel that repercussion.

    I'm now trying to control my urge to call his # or to check his searches. It's like a kid staring at a plate with his favorite cookie on it, and he's been forbidden to touch it. I HATE O C D.

    Kathy and others are correct. I cannot do this. He has to do this.

    As a mother, the helplessness SUCKS.
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    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
  18. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I do understand Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and you're right...nobody should judge it. Or anxiety, which I do have, and I can see how it makes people use drugs. I've thought of it,trust me, but I have always been too afraid to do drugs. Guess thats one place the anxiety was good!
    Sounds like maybe you ruminate. I do too, although I am trying to stop.
    Of course the hell you are going through with your son would make it hard for anyone not to ruminate!
    I really hope your dear son can get help for his anxiety. It just is not fun. The only up side is that there IS good therapy there for it now and I hope he gets the best.
    And I totally hope he can get better in every way. He is still young and people quit using every day.
    Sincerely wishing you and your son can get some much needed peace very soon.
    My oldest son had such bad Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that he had to quit college. He couldnt concentrate because he kept counting all of his professor's words. He is better now...but he still ruminates very badly. It is not easy to just quit doing it. Or all three of us would.

    Please take care.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
  19. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    The rumination & obsessing is AWFUL. The past 2 days, especially. I literally am tempted every minute, to 'just check once...his latest searches, then, you'll feel better'. Only problem with that is, if I do it 'once', there will be another 'just once' later tonight or in the morning. It won't end and I have enough foresight from this horrid O C D, to know that it won't end with just once.

    It's cognitive behavioral therapy, I believe?

    Please tell me, SWOT-is this thought process (in green text) a good one? To NOT give in to it as it 'won't be just once'? I have to stop it somewhere, right?

    He has loads of 'help', he just isn't utilizing it for the anxiety. I'm almost positive he feels it is a weakness to medicate for or admit to, anxiety. My father was that way too. Very stoic, stubborn, proud. To the degree that it was a detriment to self, his health. His cardio MD told him he needed a pacemaker as HR was on low side. He did not trust MD's to start with. He said "NO"! And never would go back to that MD.

    Oh dear!
  20. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    I think that your thought process is good. I'm no expert, but aside from knowing that once you start you won't stop, checking his searches doesn't make you feel better. So it sounds like what you are doing is a good thing to me.

    The thing with recovery is that, I think, most addicts deal with anxiety in recovery. These are people who are used to dealing with the world only on their own terms, numbed out. I would think that it would be an incredibly scary thing to actually feel things, especially uncomfortable things, when you are so used to being tranquilized.

    I guess the question is whether, or not, this is a part of recovery that he has to work through, or whether it is something underlying.

    I'm glad you are staying strong. Is there anything that you can do to distract yourself from these thoughts and temptations?