What to do (or not do) next

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by RN0441, May 17, 2016.

  1. RN0441

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

    As per my post last week, my son's therapist wasn't too happy with him. I was very angry with him after I talked to her and deferred further contact to his father for the time being.

    After much thought and conversation with his dad, we felt that son IS doing pretty well. Works 35 hours per week and has been for 6 weeks, has gotten one promotion (busboy to food runner) and now trying for server and has been sober 3 months.

    He said he was depressed at home. Is happy in Florida. Likes his job. Feels he's "doing good". It's a different world for him. Doesn't want to come home. All positive things.

    He even called his dad this weekend to say he told work he needs more hours and stressed that he did want to be a server. However it's the slow time there right now so there could be some delay. Tried to get an additional job at the beach and was told it's slow time; not hiring now.

    I left a message for his therapist yesterday stating that we DID feel he is doing well and I attribute that to their program, contrary to her saying that he wasn't getting anything out of their program.

    Today he had his session with her and she got me on the phone. She was being pretty negative I felt. Saying that he left an IOP last week. If they leave 3 IOP's they are asked to leave the facility. He left because there were only 3 people in there and he said he just didn't want to be there. First time he has done that (and hopefully last). It was not good judgement on his part.

    She then said she appreciates our feeling he is doing well and acknowledges but she said he is not improving from a therapeutic standpoint. Again mentioned he may not be able to stay there - he can't just "live" there but he is sober, working and going to the three required IOPs per week.

    I spoke to my son after the call and told him we really want him to stay there and finish the program and he wants to also but now she is being so negative. He wanted to start over with her today but she wanted me on the phone. She is taking away from the fact that he is doing well. He's not doing perfect but he is doing better than he ever has. Why isn't that good enough? I also told her that I felt someone sober 3 months may not have the right attitude already as someone on this site mentioned. I asked him to please ask her for ways he can move forward and improve himself and get a fresh start with her when he sees her next Tuesday.

    If he does not meet standards to stay there as of next week, should I just tell him to look for another sober living? It seems everyone he works with lives at one. Maybe he has had enough intensive therapy and is ready to step down a bit and move to a step down house. He said he really likes the man that runs the IOP program there and would love to see him on an outpatient basis when he is no longer where he is. He seems to have a connection with him.

    It's all up to him but he is looking for direction and I'm at a loss right now.
  2. worried sick mother

    worried sick mother Active Member

    I didn't comment last week but I was thinking that your son sounded like he was doing well, holding down a job and sober 3 months. That's a big accomplishment!! I can't believe she was so negative towards him, can you or your son request a different counselor?? Aren't counselors suppose to be supportive and encouraging?

    If he can't stay there then I would definitely suggest your son find another sober living and stay in Florida. Sounds like he is doing way better there than at home. Does your son feel he is ready for step down house? Do you think he might not be cooperative with IOP due to wanting kicked out? Maybe for more freedom??
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    JMO. I don't think he's ready to stay sober on his own. Maybe the therapist has seen enough addicts to see red flags. I don't know, of course, but she's seen it all, heard it all I'm sure.

    Remember, you're Mom and love him like crazy. That's why it's so hard to see our kids with objectivity. You may not know everything that happened there. He has privacy rights.

    Maybe he relapsed once or more and he won't go to the meetings that this chosen facility has seen work. Doing better isn't enough with addiction. It's too easy for addicts to go all the way back to square one. Why not ask the counselor what she is looking for from him and don't get upset. Usually the counselors were once drug addicts and they know things we don't. There is supportive and there is falsely hopeful. I would want my kid to have a counselor who wanted my kid to STAY sober. My opinion is (and it's JMO) he has not been sober that long even if he hasn't relapsed and still needs the structure and support. We didn't exhale with my daughter's sobriety until she had been sober for well over a year.

    If this were my kid, I'd encourage sober living. He has not been sober long enough.

    Hugs and, having been there, I know it's horrible and scary and I'm sorry.
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
  4. RN0441

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

    SWOT we do want him to stay in sober living. I agree with you.

    But if he has issues there do you think it's okay to let him find a new one?
  5. RN0441

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

    Hi Worried Sick:

    I didn't see your post initially. I think he is sick of so much therapy. It's been about 90 days and he just feels he's ready to move on but doesn't seem opposed to continue being in sober living; just a bit more freedom. I feel being sober has to be in your heart and you can be in therapy everyday forever but it has to be something you really want.

    After I posted his therapist called me and seemed to maybe feel a bit bad about the conversation earlier. Obviously she was thinking about it. Hopefully next Tuesday will be better when they meet. She said she told him to work with her on being a better person/better student etc. and finish the program. That is kind of exactly what I told him.
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  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    RN, I think he may find issues with any. I don't think he wants sober living, but I think he needs it...somewhere. and he HAS to be tolerate therapy. To stay sober, and really mean it, he needs constant support and reinforcement from others going through the same thing. It's not easy.

    Have you ever gone to Al Anon? Bet you could get better answers from people there who are also in the battle field. Even if you don't like 12 step meetings, the participants are a wealth of information. I really got help there.
  7. RN0441

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


    I don't think he is thinking he needs to be sober "the rest of his life". At 20 how can you say you'll never have a beer? Is that even honest or realistic?

    I feel he needs sober living too.

    My son abused benzos. I can't say he'll never be able to handle a few beers in his entire life. I think you have to just look at one day at a time and where your life is. I know that isn't what the professionals say but that's just my feeling.

    I have gone to Alanon and it wasn't for me. It felt depressing to me. I may at some point go to my therapist again but I was unable to get in recently.

    He told me last night that yesterday he swam in the ocean to "clear his head". Wow that is a big deal to me. He would never do that before...go to the beach alone.

    He also started a new Facebook page today. That has been a point of contention with us in the past. He'd post pictures of pills and weed and set me off because I'd get reports from family members that he was friends with; wouldn't be friends with me or dad. Progress? I hope so.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    RN, yes, some people don't drink and if he isn't sober the rest of his life, he may fight addiction on and off. Alcohol kills MANY alcoholics and is unsafe for those who are. If he is already talking about using or drinking, I'd call it a danger sign that he doesn't realize that he is not like other people regarding substances. I think he has a long way to go. Benzodiazepines, like alcohol, are a depressant.

    Time will tell if he can drink responsibly or if he gets addicted to alcohol too. Some people can not drink without getting drunk. That is alcoholism. It's dangerous, like all drugs. And if you can't use one substance responsibly, you are often unable to responsible with others. Does he know he is an addict?

    I am just being honest about my feelings. I hope I don't sound harsh. I do not think he is of the right mindset yet. I sure hope I'm proven wrong. He HAS made some positive changes. Hope it all works out.
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    Last edited: May 18, 2016
  9. RN0441

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

    No you are not harsh. Yes he has a long way to go and a lot of growing up to do - however thank GOD he's not doing it in my home. We have a peaceful home now.

    He doesn't see himself the same as those that use hard drugs. Your're right. And I'm thankful he hasn't done that and I hope he never does but it's out of my control.

    He has to get there in his own time I guess. You can't force anyone to do anything unfortunately.
  10. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I've been following along, though I haven't posted before now. I have to say, I completely understand how you feel. It's so easy to see the improvements. Really, ANY improvement and get optimistic. And when they are out of your house, and you house is peaceful and calm again, it feels SO good!

    And they do have to make the changes themselves. You can warn and you can lecture and you can point out that addiction is in their personalities or their genes or whatever, and they won't listen. But hopefully, some day they'll understand.

    To me, keeping a job for 3 months and working almost full-time and talking about a second job, and being sober all that time - that would be a big deal to me too. But it always does seem to fall apart just as you're starting to lower your guard (at least it does in my case) so be prepared for backsliding.
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  11. RN0441

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


    Oh gosh I know. I hold on to all the tiny improvements I see. His dad even more so! He says I am negative but I say that I have to protect my heart.

    I love him too much I know.
  12. lovemyson1

    lovemyson1 Active Member

    I think it's great that he's holding down a job and sober for 3 months RN! However, in my experience, that is not a done deal. My son has failed several times, even after 6 months. Now he's ready to leave again and he's been in his men's home for 266 days. He's really tired of it. They don't do therapy, they work, and go to church, help people, things like that. But he's ready to move on. 266 days is a very long time. But we still won't let him come home. We tell him that's going backwards. I've learned so much here and it's given me strength and knowledge. The last time he came home, he relapsed within a week. I couldn't believe it. So, my answer is, our kids must go to a sober living or whatever is the adult thing to do. Not come home, not be coddled by mom and pop. My humble opinion is for you to support him in his keeping his job and finding a place to live on his own. That doesn't mean you don't love him. It means they have to grow up and face responsibility. My son would be back at our house in a second if we said yes. He understands that he has to set up his path now.. we are here for support but not to baby him. I believe he will thank us one day. Good, good, good luck to you!!
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  13. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    I'm going to agree with SWOT, and I am going to sound harsher than she, but there is a whole lot of denial and excuses being made, on both sides.

    Yes, he has made improvements, but sobriety isn't just the act of not using, and I think that what the counselor is saying is that he is just going through the motions, doing what he needs to do to get what he wants and not actually embracing sobriety. He is not doing the work it takes to maintain sobriety.

    Addiction is a family disease. We all have our role in it. Your attitudes actually closely match your son's. In that the groups aren't for either of you, in the downplaying of the benzo addiction. An addict is an addict is an addict. One is no better nor no worse than the other nor no less serious than the other. More people died last year from prescription drug overdoses than all street drugs combined. It's a HUGE issue. In that he will be able to drink in the future. This isn't just a blip on life's radar, this is going to have to be a life long commitment. If I remember correctly, this is not his 1st stint in rehab. It is obviously a problem, and an ongoing one.

    I am familiar in this area. The excuses. "They won't let me smoke." "The therapist doesn't like me." "I don't like this group." "I can't live there because of the curfew." "I don't like my roommate." "One of the girls in the group slept with my baby daddy." They are just all excuses for not dealing with the issues that are underlying the addiction. They are excuses for not putting in the hard work it takes to get sober.
    SWOT is right. At this point there will be a "problem" with every therapist and every program. Listen to the therapist. Yes it is good that he has a job. That is a productive thing, but I think that you should believe her when she says that your son is not doing the work and just going through the motions. Don't align yourself with your son against the therapist. Your son is manipulating you by dividing and conquering. He has you seeing the therapist and negative as the bad guy so that you will enable his leaving the program. Like SWOT said, she is able to see things objectively, trust her instincts. She doesn't have a stake in the game. It is natural to want to protect and defend the ones we love, but we often can't see the forest for the trees.
  14. RN0441

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

    Absolutely not done. Nowhere near done!!

    We do not want him home and he does NOT want to come home. He likes being in Florida (duh who wouldn't). He wishes he had enough money to have his own place but he doesn't and he isn't near ready for that anyway so it's a mute point.

    Sister's Keeper:
    I am not at all aligning with my son against the therapist. I am only saying what I say on this forum. I told him he needs to find a way to work with her to better himself. He needs them to feel he's doing good/improving, not just him feeling it or us seeing an improvement. I am not making her the bad guy at all but I want her to stay positive and not give up on him. Perhaps try a new approach?

    I post here. I talk to friends. I have been through a family program a few times. I do a lot of research. I am well educated on this subject however my heart gets in the way like a lot of us here. I don't want to immerse myself in his problem anymore than I have done the past five years. My husband and I are enjoying our freedom now with him away. I don't want to go to meetings if they make me depressed. I've done meetings. I don't see any benefit in that for ME. People that do should absolutely go if it makes them feel better.

    I know he has a horrible addiction to mainly benzos or being in an altered state. If he did not, he would be at home going to college and working a part time job like we planned.

    My son is 1500 miles away from home and we sent him there to work on all of this. To work on himself and the person he wants to be. Make the kind of life he wants to live. He has to figure this out. He has support from us as long as he's staying the course. The choice is his to make and not ours. We are not letting him come home and he knows that. He doesn't even ask. We know that he is a good person but he is struggling.

    He says he used because he was depressed living here because we moved away from where he grew up (20 miles so not that major). He started getting off course and we took that opportunity to move closer to my job. His downward spiral continued. I told him not to use the move as an excuse. I don't buy it. When he complains about where he is we shut him down and tell him to finish the program. If they discharge him he has to go to another sober living house. Just taking one day at a time.
  15. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    There is a saying in AA: Your drug of choice lays in the bottom of the glass. When I asked my daughter what that meant, she said drinking inevitably leads to using the drug of choice. I doubt your son will be able to drink but stay away from benzos. My daughter couldn't do it.

    I have read many of your posts and thought to myself that they sound just like my daughter when she was your son's age.Your son doesn't sound like he really wants to be sober. I think that the therapist sees that in his lack of surrender.

    We were told that an addict will not stay sober until they surrender. That means that they reach the point where they realize that their way doesn't work and they are willing to do what they are told to do whether they like it or not. Your son leaving IOP because there was only three people there was an excellent example. He decided it wasn't worth his time rather than staying and doing what he was supposed to do. That is not surrender.

    My daughter has worked for three month periods successfully but has never been able to sustain sobriety. I think that your son has a long way to go. I worry about him moving to another sober house because there are so many shady ones with less rules that he might be drawn to.

    That said, is there a possibility of switching to a different therapist? Sometimes the patient/therapist relationships just doesn't click.

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    Last edited: May 18, 2016
  16. RN0441

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

    He is sober now but will he be long term? No one can answer that but him.

    He wants to stay where he is. He can go to a step down sober house when they say he is ready. We'll see what happens. I can't predict the future.

    I am trying to look at the positive things he is doing. He isn't doing everything that I wish he would do but that's on him not me.

    I am going to see how next week's therapy goes with her and then see what happens.

    We are just trying to support the positive things he does. If he fails, then at least he is not in my home.

    I can't just sit here and be negative and depressed all the time. That's not who I am.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Kathy, that is one of the best posts about addiction I ever read. And it's true. I tended to not face the whole truth when my daughter used. This didn't help her. She is lucky that she is so strong as to turn away from meth without rehab because I was in denial, thought it was pot only, and did not think she needed rehab. I found out the truth after she quit. Because she did quit, I got to see the incredible difference between a drugged mind and a sober mind in the same person. It actually is not baby steps. Once they truly decide that drugs suck, it is night and day.

    I don't think any of us really know all of the drugs our kids use. Benzos are serious enough, but could be mixed significance heroin. The counselor knows. She can't tell.

    Addiction is in my opinion a family disease. Until I cut the minimizing, excusing, believing her crap and letting my heart rule my logical mind, I was her worst enabler even when my husband found white powder in baggie and she swore it was planted and I believed her. How stupid of me. I couldn't bear it.

    Having said all that, disagree that RN should not live her life in pain over her son. But denial makes up do unhelpful things that actually hurt our kids sometimes.

    As an interesting aside, my daughter is an addict and no longer even cares much for alcohol. But she CAN have, say, drink about twice a year without suffering relapse. Maybe this is because her drugs of choice were speed. Have no idea.

    She does not drink to get drunk
  18. RN0441

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

    So next question:

    What do you suggest I do that I am not doing now? What can I do that will make anything different/better?

    I am certainly open to suggestions and that is why I post my story here.
  19. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    RNO441, please don't misunderstand! I realize that you are walking a thin line between encouragement and enabling. I have fallen off that tightrope many times.

    My suggestion is to back off as the intermediary between your son and his therapist. Let him deal with it. My daughter would often call me complaining about the therapy or house rules and our family therapist said that we should direct her back to the therapist or therapy team with her concerns/complaints. It is all part of the recovery process.

    There is nothing wrong with being hopeful. We like to say . . . hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

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  20. RN0441

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

    Yes Kathy; I don't want to be on the conversation! I am not doing it again. I get too involved (as my husband says). Son didn't want me on call this time but she did.

    I told her he wants to start over with her next week on a positive note. He said he goes in there positive and she is negative. I'm sure it's because he isn't saying what she wants to hear or he has attitude. But I can't do anything about that and she has to know that.