Was told we should not shame the alcoholic?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by tryingtobestrong, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. I have gone to many Alanon meetings and it is stated that we are not to shame the alcoholic or addict. Exactly what is shaming?
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I dont think you are shaming him. I call that setting boundaries. I also dont think it is shaming to point out that the addict is making poor choices and can change. You arent calling him names. You are telling him your expectations when he is around you. I personally dont feel it is shaming somebody to point out that drinking makes them sick and intolerable and that the person needs to stop in order to live a good life. If you dont want him around you when drunk that is completely reasonable.

    Cutting back is a joke. Stopping is the only way. And its up to each person to do it. Or not.

    If your son is being mean or unreasonable or demanding money from you Id tell him you are ending the text/call and will only talk to him when he is not intoxicated and can be calm and nice. And its fine to refuse to listen to drinking woes that HE brings on. Nobody else is pouring booze down his throat but him. Then end the current contact. End it each time he steps across your boundaries.

    If any of this is considered shaming in your Al Anon group I would find another one. Each group has its own personality.

    One thing I would stop doing is telling your son what to do. He knows all about rehab and how to find many. He knows that medically he can not stop on his own or he gets sick. He knows he needs more money and should work. Nagging doesnt help. I would give him short responses. Example:

    Him; i feel dizzy and sick and I cant stand up.

    You: im sorry you dont feel well.

    Him: thats all you can say? You dont care?

    You: I care but you need to get help yourself.

    Him: Oh, youre bringing up drinking again! Im cutting back!

    You: Ok.

    Him: I am! But I missed work and need money or Ill get evicted! Will you at least send me money and show you care about me?

    You: Im sorry about that. I do have to go now. Somebody is at the door. I love you. (Disconnect call or the text as he cusses at you and dont answer or read anything he sends for a designated amount of time that you decide on.) You cant do anything for him from far away (or close) and this will make you sick if you keep it up. You need space from him.

    You deserve to treat yourself well and focus on you and your loved ones who are kind to you.

    Love and light!
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    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
  3. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I dont think you are shaming him... however you are engaging with him more than you need to I think. I totally agree you need to keep setting boundaries, and not talking Occupational Therapist (OT) him when he is drunk and cursing at you is a very good boundary. Telling him to go to the ER is good when he is feeling sick..... and if he is really dealing with alcohol withdrawel and he tells the ER that they can help him with detox which is a medical issue. However I wouldnt engage too much in whether what he is doing is working or not working or what he should or should not do or how you will react or not react or any of that, whether he is working or not. I would just keep it really simple with things you will do (help get him into detox) and answer direct questions and make direct suggestions when he asks... but keep it simple and try to keep the emotion out of it.

    That being said I know that is much easier said than done. I have gone off on my son many a time but with practice have gotten better. I just find it works better when I can be matter of fact, solution based and keep the judgement out of it as much as possible. (Doesnt mean I dont have judgement just that I dont express it directly).
  4. I guess I have made him feel even worse about himself... he called last night and told me he only wanted to talk to his dad and that I needed to get off of the line. That is huge because he never really spoke much to his dad all of these years. It was always me. I couldn't hear exactly what he told him but I do know he didn't go to work yesterday... I seriously don't know how he can expect to pay his bills. My husband said that he said that he keeps screwing up and he did something really bad the night he broke his phone. It sounded like something more than booze or weed so of course now I am really worked up. I read some stories last night from parents whose adult children were into other serious drugs and they made it through so I have to keep praying and hoping.
    He said to my husband he was going to try to make it to work today. I also heard him say that he is so far down the hole he can't see himself ever getting out. I know last week I said in a text that for all of the days he missed and went in late or left early, he could have gone to detox. I guess he knows he would just come out and start all over. I sure hope he soon realizes he needs professional help. My husband encouraged him to go to aa meetings and seek his higher power but he has been told that numerous times. He actually told my husband that he loved him which never ever happens. Not sure quite what is going on.
    I guess me yelling at him pushed him away but I can't take it anymore. The money we have spent on him and he isn't improving is so upsetting. Someone I know asked me today if I have any cruises booked?? Seriously, if i ever see a palm tree or cruise ship again, I would have had to win the lottery. I realize I am "co-dependent" but I don't see how I can ever be happy when my child is struggling so. I know he doesn't want this life but he doesn't seem to have the fight to get past it.
  5. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Trying, my son is also living with the fallout of alcoholism. (Also other substances, but I really think the alcohol has been the biggest problem for him.) He is currently homeless, jobless, and out of friends he can sponge off of. I hope and pray your son is able to turn things around before it gets to this point.

    I’ve learned over the years that the less I try to advise, persuade, or lecture the better. He knows he needs to stop drinking. He knows when he doesn’t show up on time to a job he will lose it. He knows when he is drunk bad things happen. He also knows he is responsible for his own choices. When I engage with him, either getting angry or going into rescue mode, I am trying to take responsibility for those choices. I can’t.

    Some phrases that have been especially useful for me with my two always-in-crisis children:
    • That sounds really hard
    • I’m sorry that happened (resist the urge to add ‘but it’s your own fault’ - they know that)
    • Things sound really tough right now
    • Why do you think this happened?
    • I know it’s tough, but you can figure this out
    • I know it’s hard, but I can’t fix it for you
    • I know it’s rough, but I can’t help you until you’re ready to help yourself
    • What are your ideas?
    • What are your next steps?
    • What do you think might help make this better? What can YOU do to make that happen?
    • Let me know what you decide to do about this
    • Let me know when you think you’re ready to get sober
    • I know you know what you need to do. I believe you can do it, when you’re ready.
    Shifting from anger/frustration/blame to these kinds of statements hasn’t fixed things - obviously - but it has transformed my relationships with both of my difficult children. They don’t expect me to fix or rescue anymore. They know I have boundaries. But they talk to me, and when they do they are pretty open about what’s really going on with them. They are more willing to take responsibility for their own choices when I’m not the one telling them it’s their own fault. When I say it, they go into defense mode, and it’s a battle. When I pull back, they are able to be honest with themselves and me. Does that make sense? I have to get out of Mom mode - fixing, guiding, telling - and just try to listen as a non-judgmental friend.
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    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    As hard as this is to believe, and I remember, its not personal or about him hurting you or anything to do with you. Alcoholism causes brain changes. Hr isnt trying to hurt you except in the way of using you to fund his habit which is what matters most to him now.

    I think Elsi gave you lots of great ways to talk to him. Whether he talks to you or Dad doesn matter. Talking doesnt matter....addicts lie. Mine did. And she tricked me by lying while she.looked me in the eyes. She made me believe she did only pot until i found her doimg pills in my house with her friends.

    I didnt get the real story until she quit for real. It was meth and cocaine and she stopped that. I didnt expect it. She never let us know anything until she quit. A no rehab quit. If he wants to quit, he will. Just remember it is not
    about you. And he knows how to quit, how to make money, eveeything.

    If he mentions suicide call 911. You dont know how to deal with that. Professionals do.

    I gently ask you to remember that you didnt cause it, you cant control it and tou cant cure it. Let him talk to your husband. You probably didnt hurt him as much as make him angry because you wouldnt do what he wants so he tried Dad. Dont make his illness about you. If he had epilepsy you wouldnt make it personal. This isnt perspnal either. His words may hurt but he is tryong to get you to help his addiction. Nothing more or less. Alcohol is what he cares about right in this moment.

    Love and.light!
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
  7. RN0441

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


    You have gotten great advice here. YOU CANNOT FIX YOUR SON. You just can't. You can kill yourself trying though!

    Once I realized I could not fix my son, I felt relieved. I had spent so much energy trying to figure it out.

    I had to accept that I am a mom who loves her son. I am not an addiction professional. I don't have all the answers. My son has to decide how he wants to live his life and who he wants to be. That is something each and every one of us has to do.

    The ONLY thing holding your son back is YOUR son himself. This is a realization he must make. You cannot make it for him. No one can.

    I don't know if you see a therapist or have some kind of outlet for your frustration, hurt and anger but I did and it helped me tremendously.

    I love the responses that Elsi gave you and I would use them.

    Your son is playing you off your husband and my son did that and I do not like it. My husband (my son's father) and I will be together whether our son stays sober or not. I will never let him do that to us again. Period.

    You really need to work on your boundaries with him. He needs them as much as you do. You have to protect your heart. I am not saying this is easy but I was able to do it through prayer, this site and seeing a therapist. It takes time but it does work. This could be a long haul for him. He may not get sober for years or he may never get sober. You must do it to survive or you will go down with the ship too.

    As far as shame, yes that is an addict's biggest hurdle to get over I'm told. But that happens during their recovery not now. From what I can tell you are not at fault for anything.

    Hugs and please take care of YOU.
  8. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Dear Trying. He already feels bad about himself.... you are not causing him to feel bad he already does. He is avoiding talking to you because you call him on his stuff and he feels bad about it. His dad may be more accepting.. I know that is true of my husband as well... my husband is also more oblivious and it is much easier for my son to pull one over on him than on me!! You need to give your self a break... you are a loving caring mom who desperately wants her son to get help. He knows you love him and that probably adds to his own guilt. So if you can take a step back, let your husband have contact with him for a few days. Do some things for yourself.

    The thing is unless he really wants help and to make some changes nothing you say will make any difference. So my suggestion is to stop saying anything about it. The suggestsions you got from Elsi were excellent.... keep the relationship there. Keep the love there but stop giving advice unless he asks for it.

    I remember the feeling you have about not seeing how you can ever be happy when your son is so unhappy and is such a mess. I felt that way for a long time... I used to feel that being ok was as good as it could be. I am here to tell you that it is possible to have a fulfilling and good and happy life even with a kid who is a mess. Yes of course it would be happier if your kids are all doing well....but It is possible to be happy even if one of your kids is not. The key is to find things in your life that you love and to start living your life the way you want to... and to find other things in your life to focus on besides their problems. And yes there will still be times of worry and heartache but it does not have to be all consuming.


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  9. He called again last night and I didn't even bother to answer it. I left my husband talk to him and went to bed.
    This morning my husband tells me that he didn't go to work again yesterday, he is afraid to leave his apartment because apparently the drug dealer was at his door looking for his money... I can't take this anymore. He just met that guy on Saturday night and now he is at his door. If that is the case, who knows what will happen now.
    There are no words.
    Not sure what he is into now or how he will get out of this situation. Now I can sit and worry about this in addition to him losing his job.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    There was no drug dealer standing at his door. A drug dealer wouldnt politely stand there then go away. He would have broken in. This is a common story addicts tell their parents so that the parents send them thousands to pay off the drug dealer. Then they use the money themselves for drugs.

    He plain got fired and doesnt want you to know or doesnt want to work. The drug dealer story is recurrant. I have seen it used a lot. Do drug users give drugs on credit??

    One poster here drove her son to the dealer so that her poor son would not be killed for non payment. She sneaked after him to watch the transaction. Surprise!!! It was just a drug deal and son bought drugs. No pay off to the dealer.

    Question everything you hear.

    Love and light!
  11. So, he is leaving for another treatment place tomorrow. He made the calls to 3 places and the one was way out of range. The place he is going is a bit larger than I feel is good but not sure what else to do. He said he doesn't want to live this way. We told him if he doesn't complete the program then we are taking our name off of his lease. He was like "then I will be homeless? You would really do that?" We said yes, we can't continue this way. I told him we are just allowing him to slowly kill himself if we don't do something.
    I sure hope he stays in the program.
    I guess families just pay off the rehab debt as best they can over a few years.
  12. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    Hugs for you and your hubby. I don't know where these people get the idea that as parents we are stuck with them and their bills for the rest of our lives. Have him pay his own co-pays. Who cares if he only pays 5.00 a week let him do it and be reminded of the mess he made for himself.
    I hope and pray for you and him that he stays with the program. That he somehow realizes his life can be SO much better than he is allowing it to be.