taking a back seat!

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by standswithcourage, Nov 28, 2007.

  1. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Well I am taking a back seat! This man from Trion Ministries saw me at the jail the other day. My friend was with me from alanon. Anyway, he helps addicts get rehab if they want it. He talked to my son yesterday. Of course my son he was ready to go to a long term facililty. The man asked me if I could get any info out of the PO or the PD. I said I would try. The PD said he hasnt gotten all of the paperwork yet. thinks there might be a hearing in a couple of weeks. Says it just depends on the judge what his sentence is. They could violate his probation or they could continue it. Anyway I asked him if it would be appropriate for him to go to a long term program if we had one available. He said yes. I could write a letter to him saying To Whom It May concern and say we would be willing to take him to a treatment facility for 6 months to a year - if he is willing to go, etc. He said it is worth a try. The other ooption is prison and that also is a possiblity. So I called the guy from Trion back and he said let him know - he wants to know if we can write a letter to the trial judge - he says that trial judge likes rehabs! I am trying not to stress. I havent written my son and he hasnt written me. I am just answering questions. Trying to stay focused. :smile:
  2. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member

    Do you have a facility in mind, Stands?

  3. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Susan....if you are "taking a back seat" then why are YOU writing the letter? Wouldn't it make more sense if you are taking the back seat for your difficult child to write the letter? He's the one who needs to demonstrate that he want to go to rehab, not you.

    What am I missing here?

  4. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I had the same question. Seems to me like you are very much in the driver's seat here.

  5. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member

    I agree.

    There is such horror in simply saying "no" though, or in simply doing nothing.

    It throws us back into that place where we harbor all those secret, guilty feelings of "Maybe if I had tried harder, or done this or said that."

    I was able to say no to difficult child only when I had an alternative to offer ~ like treatment. At that point in my own journey, I just wasn't strong enough yet to do what needed to be done for difficult child's own sake.

    I wasn't able yet to claim the right not to rectify a situation I had not created.

    At that point, I still could not understand that helping is not helping ~ that it encourages dependence and enables the addicted person to continue to believe the rules everyone else must live by do not apply to him.

    The right thing for me to have done was to have disengaged emotionally.

    I literally could not do it.

    Offering treatment enabled me to say "no" to difficult child's moving home. It gave me an out from taking further responsibility in a situation I had not created and had lost all faith in solving.

    So in that sense, researching treatment centers and financing and admission policies gave me two things. I was doing SOMETHING to help ~ and I was able to tell difficult child what his options were as far as husband and I were concerned.

    And I was able to say, with a clear conscience, what I would NOT allow.

    What we told him was that we would not help unless he completed a treatment program. No moving home, no more money, no nothing without an acknowledgement of the basis of the problem and treatment. We gave him admission forms for two treatment centers. We gave him information regarding free classes offered in his community for anger management and for issues relating to substance abuse.

    I offered to attend the classes with him.

    I researched the physiologic actions of the drugs I suspected difficult child was using, and I even found information relative to dietary supplements which might help re-establish the chemical balance in the brain.

    difficult child refused any of those things.

    What he wanted was money, and someone to mirror for him that he was not to blame for the actions he had taken.

    That is why I think Stands should go ahead and research those options and present that information to her son, too.

    Until I was stronger, there was just no way I could say no and mean it.

    And live with myself, that is.

    The centers we chose were Hazleden and Teen Challenge. Information for both facilities is available on the internet.

    Interestingly enough?

    difficult child had no problem saying "no" to his father and I.

    He refused treatment.

    But because we had an alternative to offer, we were able to cut ourselves loose once or twice.

    Because the thing is that, when you are trying to help someone who is addicted, the crisis never ends.

    I posted and posted, through those times.

    The other parents here helped me learn how to talk to our son when he would call, wanting money or wanting to come home or needing help for himself or for his dogs.

    It's all about making it through this part, Stands.

    If it will help you to research treatment centers and offer that information to your son, then I say do that.

    Progress happens in small steps.

    You are thinking differently now.

    And that is the first, and most important, step.

  6. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    Barbara has written a wise course of action. This is basically what we did with our son. We researched places he could get help and then basically sat back until he came to us to ask for help.....unfortunately he never asked for help from us, except to get an attorney. At this point he is sitting in jail, we have not heard from him or talked to him in person since May. He has found friends who seem to be supporting him, don't know who they are or if they have his best interests at heart.....
    He will soon be getting a public defender and we will lose all contact with him. Not what we wanted, but something is going on in his life that we are not a part of. He has not lived with us for five years. I think we truly lost him a very long time ago....
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Count me in with the others. Why doesn't this minister make these arrangements with your difficult child to accomplish this? If he wants treatment, he should write the letter.

    You seem to be in the driver's seat with map in hand. The problem is, it seems that difficult child isn't even in the car.

    Will you do me a favor? Please print this thread out and give it to your Al-Anon friend and ask her what she thinks. Maybe I'm totally missing something here, but I don't see this as much of a change.
  8. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Stands, I noticed that your difficult child is ADHD and wonder if he can read and write? If he cannot then go ahead and write the letter for him. If he can but not well let him write it and you write an attachment. That way everyone will know that he is both willing to change and is asking for help. This is what I do with my son because he doesn't write well. Believe me when I say it is very important that our difficult child's are a part of the process. It gives them a degree of ownership that they don't have if everything is done for them.

    My son has alot of problems getting organized and staying organized. I know that he cannot navigate much of the system he is in BUT I do not do anything for him that he can do for himself. Be careful not to do everything for your son. Not only is it not good for him it could blow up in your face when/if it goes wrong. With him taking ownership and participating in the application process that that is less likely to happen.
  9. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I like RM's proposal. It lets you do something constructive for your son but also forces him to take an active role in getting help.

    I do wonder why the minister asked you to write the letter. It's not like your son is a minor. It seems like the judge would be far more impressed with a letter from him, not you.

    I do understand your need to help in this. You do have to give him every chance to save himself without totally rescuing him. This way, you've given him the push to go in the right direction. Whether he continues in the direction you pushed is up to him. Just remember that whatever choice he makes is his to make. You can't do anything about that choice.

    Good luck!
  10. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Ok - so you suggest that I maybe write my difficult child a letter and tell him to write a To Whom It May Concern letter to give to his attorney telling the judge that he is willing to go to treatment? That would make more sense. I think the lawyer wanted me to write the letter because we would be willing to send him to a treatment facility. I guess he thought it was going to cost money and that we would be willing to do that for him. the treatment centers are Overcomers in Greenville, SC. I have researched Teen Challenge for years. I know a lot of people that have been there. My counselor tried to get my difficult child to go there for a long time. I would like for my difficult child to go to Teen Challenge. I have given him info on it before and lots of other places. I can print it out again and send it to him or the lawyer or whoever. I am just tired of being "shot down" every single time. How can you be so blind to what you are doing to yourself that you constantly refuse help!!!!!!!
    Now he is saying he WANTS to go - which I cant believe. So you think I should send him the info again? I havent sent it lately. I will tell the minister about Teen challenge. I wonder if he can have any connections with them. thanks everyone. :flower:
  11. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I didn't know anything about Teen Challenge but I was curious about whether they would work with a 24-year-old. I was glad to see that they do take adult males and females along with teens.

    However, I did notice this:

    That sounds to me like it is not something you can do for your difficult child.

  12. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Let's face it, you could write all the letters in the world but if your son isn't on board, all they will be is a waste of time, effort, paper, ink and stamps.

    If you are willing to pay for the all or part of the rehab, it would make sense for you to write a letter AFTER you son has written his (both could go in the same envelope). If you're not or can't, I would simply add a note letting the ministry know you will support your son as much as possible so long as he is in rehab. He will, however, have to make arrangements once out of rehab to find a place to live, get a job, etc. because you cannot have him back home under any circumstances.

    As to Teen Challenge, I see nothing wrong with sending your son the info again. Who knows, he might actually read it this time and maybe even contact them for help.

    Giving him advice and guidance is, to me, what we as parents of older children should be doing. Holding his hand and doing things he should be doing himself is not what should be done.
  13. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Ok thanks for the advice. Obviously I need it. I will write my difficult child and tell him if he wants to go to a rehab long term he will need to write a letter stating that and then I will write one saying that we will support him - finacially as well as emotionally as long as he is in rehab. How can he contact Teen Challenge in jail? this gets to be so complicated to me. It makes me tired just thinking about if I dont do "one" thing maybe that "one" thing would make the difference. that is what drives me crazy. :hammer: :hammer: :hammer: :hammer:
  14. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I would send along with the note a list of places he can contact if he so chooses. He can mail letters, so if he writes a letter that needs one to accompany it from you, have him mail his letter to the treatment center to you or to his lawyer asking you to forward it to the treatment center along with your letter of support.
  15. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member

    Kathy 813 is right.

    Teen Challenge will not work solely with the parent of a child over 18. What they will do though, is encourage a visit and present the troubled person with opportunities for the potential to change.

    Our son refused even that.

    Your son may agree.

    So it's worth a shot.

    I felt the same way, Stands ~ was I missing something that might set off the change we hoped to see?

    Some little something that, in retrospect, I would just kick myself for missing?

    What I did to cope with those feelings was to keep a notebook of actions I had taken, phone calls I had made, information I had or wanted to learn about. In the notebook (it was one of those kinds with the clear plastic coating you can put pictures or whatever under). Anyway. I put things I found strengthening or uplifting to me under that plastic cover.

    Pictures ~ one of them was of a woman breathing in the sunshine.

    I don't remember the other things I put under there.


    Lots of quotes on lined index cards.

    That way, however hopeless it seemed, I understood that it might not be hopeless.

    I felt organized.

    Whatever the outcome, I knew where I had been, why I had made this or that choice, and what I had not tried.

    Desperate and controlling mom that I am, I could often see a new way to present the same information.

    It seems crazy to me now, but I needed something then to track through the pain and the chaos.

    And it was all in one place.

    All the phone numbers, all the potential solutions ~ everything.

    Right alongside the good, positive, strengthening things I had found and put under that clear plastic cover.

    I had a paper record of what I had done, and of where I was running into a blank wall. This enabled me to make a clearer choice about what I would try again, and why or why not.

    I no longer need to do that.

    But it helped me so much in those times when everything was so out of control and everyone had a suggestion and I was so afraid I would miss the thing ~ whatever magical thing it was ~ that would change things back to the way they were.


    I think they want family members to write letters mostly to indicate to the sentencing authority that the person has family support.

  16. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I think these wise mom's gave you great suggestions.
    Give him support and options and let him make a leap towards self help by making choices and doing some of the work.
  17. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    I think you are all right. You are all very wise. Barbara you sound exactly like me. Why dont you still have to do those things? Is it because your son doesnt do that anymore? or like me I feel so numb to it all and so out of any solutions that it feels like I just want to let go! It has taken me a lot of years to get to that point but again I am still trying to turn over that last rock that might be it! I will take your advice. I believe it is good advice for me. I did get aletter from him today. It said he had talked to that man - he said he would rather go to a rehab - that I could have it court ordered - he still needs canteen money and for me to get his medicine! I will write him back with all the info I have and put the ball in his court. I will send support whereever and send a letter to the lawyer saying we will support him whatever he decides to do toward recovery but he doesnt need to be let go on the street!!! I cant believe they do that and expect it to get better.
  18. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Well today I wrote my difficult child a letter tellinghim he needs to write the lawyer and tell him he wants to go to rehab. I will write a letter also saying we will support him as long as he is doing the right thing on the road to recovery.

    Today I get a call from the jail - it is difficult child - a bondsman evidently let him use his phone to ask if we could send money to get him out of jail! - OMG - why would I do that! It is sad. To think that my son is in jail and we wont get him out seems sad to me - we have gotten him out before - what good did it do us. He will have to sit so more. I didnt respond to the message.
  19. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member

    Stands, I don't mean to sound like I know everything, or like I did everything right, because that is very far from true. But if this were my son, I would try to view this as an opportunity for me to change some of the basic rules of the game.

    However you are able to contact your son, do so. Tell him (to his face, if you have the strength to do it) the truth.

    That your heart is heavy (true!) and that you have been doing so much thinking about how this all came to be. Tell him that you now understand the best way to help him change his life into something he will be proud of is to allow him to face up to the consequences his choices have brought him.

    Tell him you will miss his presence at Christmas, and that you resent the pain he has brought into all of your lives so he could use drugs.

    Then, tell him another true thing.

    That you have missed him for a very long time.


    Tell him he was raised better than this ~ that he was raised better than to do this to his own mother.

    Don't elaborate.

    I always get into trouble when I elaborate! :bag:

    Keep it simple.

    Write the phrases down on index cards and keep them in your purse if you have to.

    I did.

    Keep something near the phone so that when he calls unexpectedly, you will remember how you choose to respond to him NOW.

    I needed to do that, too.

    But I did find the strength to change the underpinnings of the game.

    We did not hear from our son for a very long time, after I was able to do that consistently.

    I missed him and was generally miserable about that, too ~ but I was able to think how I could use this loneliness to make me stronger, too.

    The objective is to enable your son to reclaim his life.

    Whatever it takes, he is the one who will have to do it.

    I think that when we make it very clear to our sons that we are no longer the easily manipulated soft touch, it helps them to understand that the world is a tougher, saner place than they thought.

    And that makes the child stronger.

    If you can use that kind of thinking as a motivating force, I think you will find that you have the strength to do what has to be done at this point, Stands.

    All the lovingkindness in the world would not help my son change. But you know? He did not have a clue how to respond to a mother who had found her good, safe ground and begun to stand up.

    There was a message from difficult child the other day. He has been doing (marginally) better lately (it seems ~ but....)


    Know how he identified himself?

    As "It's the good son."

    We only have one son, Stands.

    difficult children get it.

    In a way, it's your responsibility as his mom to respond with clear-eyed toughness now.

    It isn't so hard once you steel yourself to face their shock and disappointment without flinching (where they can see you, anyway). :smile:

    And Stands?

    Nothing, nothing else, has worked.

  20. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member

    Stands, you asked why I no longer needed to use the notebook. Mostly because difficult child has not overwhelmed me lately.

    I am very sure that if he showed up here needing help, I would be back on this Board without a clue in about fifteen minutes.

    So, even though I would like to say I am stronger now (and even though that is true)?

    The reason I don't need the notebook is because difficult child has turned down the heat.

    Plain and simple as that.

    It's easy for those of us not in the thick of it to forget how truly devastating these times with our troubled children (adults or not) are.

    There is no substitute for managing our own interpretation of events. It is the troubled child who is in trouble, here.

    Not the parent.

    The primary reason the troubled child needs his mother again is because he got caught.

    But before he got caught, the difficult child continued to engage in wrong behaviors even after you told him not to.

    So, because the difficult children continue to do the same thing again and again, WE have to take control of our part of the situation from our end.

    It's really hard, Stands.

    But you can do it.

    And really, it's the only chance your difficult child has.

    At least, it's the only chance he has from within your sphere of influence.