Sigh! Friggin enablers!

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Trpl, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. Trpl

    Trpl New Member

    I have my difficult child on complete and total lock down. He can't even go Pee without permission. His birthday is Monday. He's not getting any presents or a party. I am however going to surprise him with a trip up to the guardians house so he can visit and see his girlfriend. And he has rules there to. He's not allowed out of my sight at any time (except bathroom which i will escort him to and from).

    For some reason that eludes me, No One else is understanding this. My sister wants to go up to the guardians house with her kids to visit with him also. Fine same rules, no party, no presents. She's pushing for a present from her and her kids. Told her fine, care package. Shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, shaving creme. That's it.
    Now the guardian wants me to buy groceries so my easy child can make a special lunch. Ummm, no party! So i shot that down. Then she says well bring bathing suits and we'll go to the river...
    WTF!? What part of this are you not getting!? I mean i know i shouldn't expect less because there is a reason i took him away from there in the first place, but really!?
  2. 92025

    92025 Member

    aww, it's his auntie; she wants to make sure he know his family still loves him. Just a small cake with family?
  3. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest

    I've struggled with this. For me, I've decided that showing love does not necessarily equal enabling.

    Enabling, to me, is doing something for them that they should do for themselves and/or doing something which keeps them in active addiction.

    I think most of our difficult children have what I call a hole in the heart. Don't get me wrong, it isn't from not being love enough -- it is because all that love will never fill up a vessel with a hole. But, I try to always make certain difficult child knows I love him.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I'm with AG on this.

    We've had to deal with some pretty extreme stuff, but... there are some things that never get taken away - at least, not as long as they are at home... and one of those is birthdays. (If he's in jail, then you can't - different story, Know what I mean??) Another is family vacations. Now, we might trim back - not because difficult child doesn't deserve to be loved and gifted as much as anyone else, but because he can't handle getting all the stuff at this point in time. But difficult child would get real presents - not "care packages", not clothes for school (unless it was a really cool shirt that he really wanted and we think is appropriate). And a birthday cake or special meal, even if it was only with family.

    Stop and think about whether you are trying to punish him, or if these are logical consequences. Because... punishment backfires.
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with the others, there is a distinction between love and enabling. Enabling is doing for someone something they should and can do for themselves. It sounds as if your family and the guardian are simply attempting to celebrate your sons birthday. Your reaction does appear to be a punishment. It's hard sometimes to make those distinctions.
  6. Trpl

    Trpl New Member

    I completely understand the point of view that certain things should be allowed regardless of punishments.

    My main goal with difficult child right now is to impress on him what he's lost and to make him *earn* back what he lost. It's only been two weeks. He has been doing very well. Not complaining about school, doing his homework with out being asked, not complaining about chores given to him daily, coming up clean on spot checks. So, at this point my point of view is *It's working* and while he is earning things is in very small steps. I guess I just feel like they are trying to throw the progress I feel I'm making out the window.

    As for showing him I love him, I am. He may be.. well, now I might as well say 17..but I still tuck him in every night and tell him how proud I am of him for doing the things we've asked of him and staying on track. I tell him every day that because I love him, I will not let him fail. I will do everything in my power to help him become the man he wants to be, even if it means protecting him from hisself.

    So far, he's earned back the privileges of listening to music, he's allowed to get a drink without asking, and yesterday I even left him at home alone for half an hour.

    I'm taking this very slow and in tiny increments. My cigarettes (yes I realize that issue) all the pills in the house, all the car keys, money, computers and phones are still locked down. I wear the key 24/7. And all I can think is, so far it's working. I Don't want to lose it by giving him this gift of a trip and time with his girlfriend. This will be his first *social* event since we brought him home..should he really be allowed to ignore his punishment, grab at that freedom and then have to start all over? Go back under chains? I just don't think, at this early point, that's the way to go.

    I appreciate and value all of your opinions so much because you've all been there but I think I'm going to have to stand strong in this.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Any way to get family and guardian to "defer" their birthday stuff? Maybe target having his birthday "party" a month late? Because... the timing life presents for some stuff just doesn't fit the therapeutic needs of the moment. To me, there's value in still having a "real" birthday, even if it's a month or two late... rather than to JUST have a non-birthday on the real date. Would "they" understand that concept?
  8. Trpl

    Trpl New Member

    InsaneCdn that's perfect! It wouldn't be the first time I've done a late party, I dunno why it didn't come to me last night. I will bring that up today with Sister and TG.
    Thank you!! (huge hugs)
  9. Trpl

    Trpl New Member

    The trip up to the guardians on Sunday went well. When difficult child first figured out where we were going he got quiet. After bugging him for about 10 minutes he finally admitted that he was happy to go but wasn't going to want to leave.
    I gave him a few minutes of silence (no nagging) then explained I understood his point of view. He didn't want leave in the first place, he loves them, and had a life built here.
    Then I asked him if he'd be willing to hear another point of view. He said yes. I told him that, in my opinion, he should take this opportunity to show them that he is ok, healthy, and determined to better him self so he can come back a better man. Also that he should not take advantage of the time and use it to show the people he cares about that he does love and appreciate them and then take the time to say good bye properly.
    He asked if his girlfriend would be there. I told him "surprise, I have been in contact with her since his first day home letting her know how he is doing and that she has been making changes in her life also and had good news for him." (she moved out of her mom & step dad's alcoholic house where they let my difficult child stay with her drinking and smoking into her clean father's house and then went to talk to a recruiter about joining the military.)When we got there, there was some extra kids there that weren't supposed to be but I didn't complain. He stayed where I could see him like I asked. His girlfriend was determined to make sure he stayed out of trouble also. My sister, her husband and kids came up and bought stuff to make lunch (quickly turning party here, but I kept my mouth shut about it) they thankfully didn't bring presents that I would have felt I had to keep from him. We spent about 5 hours with them (he was attached to his girlfriend mostly). When we left, he let me in on a few things under the surface I didn't know. The extra kid was the boy that he'd been smoking pot with, BUT I heard that kid tell my difficult child to stay clean and make good choices unlike he did him self. It kinda made me feel bad for him because I guess he doesn't have anyone to help him get things straight. He was very respectful to me and of difficult child's rules. The other under the surface thing was that TG's oldest son (also 17) was high while we were there and difficult child mentioned he'd probably gone with TG's husband to smoke it. I asked him if he saw anything wrong with that..he said "no, it's just fun. What's wrong with having fun?" SIGH!