Thursday, March 25, 2010

In or Out, Make A Decision

Another night of drama as parents of an addict.

I am leaving. The proverbial straw has broken this camel's back. I will no longer live in hell. I am moving, my forwarding address will be the same place I lived before all this crap began.

At some point everyone reaches their limit, mine was last night. My son either lives an honorable life beginning right now or I want to no longer be a part of his life. I cannot go on with this charade and trying to be a father to someone that holds no respect for his life, my life, his mother's life or for anyone he touches.

It is now up to him. He can either continue down the same path, in which he shall walk alone or he can change his life. I don't how he does it or what it will take but he is responsible.

When I told him of his option his response was, "I didn't know I had been that bad."

??????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't even respond.

Never thought I would lose a son this way.

This is not the post I had planned to write today. I had planned to list some helpful books I had been reading. That post will be coming soon.


clean and crazy said...

an honorable life.. interesting choice of words. did he relapse again?

it is good to set such boundaries to protect you and your family, a using addict is not someone i would trust, i know i was one.

you seem shaken, but strong. i know you will be OK. this is a hard decision and you are right he must figure it out. he will feel abandoned and he will act like a victim. he will try to reach out to mom and make you the bad guy who doesn't understand how hard he is trying.

when addicts begin to reach their bottom, they wriggle like a fish out of water and try desperately to cling to their enablers.

i know you will wonder after a while about him, i don't know how long it will take but when he starts working a program of recovery in NA, and gets a sponsor and works the steps, really works them, you will have very little doubt that he has changed.

you will wonder though, if he will relapse, the key to continued recovery for me is to work the program and to adapt my life to the program. when you see him become a part of service, you will feel better. and when he finally gets to the step of amends, you will know it is not just an empty apology.

you are an amazing parent, strong and stubborn sometimes overbearing, but you are amazing. you give strength to those going through this same thing. take care of you, this too shall pass

Bristolvol said...

Yup, I totally understand where you are coming from. I never thought I'd lose a daughter this way. But it's their choice, their decision. You can only be supportive so long, before your head starts hurting from banging it against the wall. Keep the faith, look out for yourself and the rest of your family. Do not let him destroy you too.

Fractalmom said...

Ron, I am so sorry that you have to go through this. Moving back to where you used to be, good. But it is not easy.

Put your head in a place where the anger is not taking over.

Start going to a counselor to help you get through this so that you do not fracture the rest of the family, or what is left of your brain.

Alex will do what and when he decides.

YOU will do as and when YOU decide. you have crossed an important line. you have decided to control your life instead of letting your life control your situation.

now, admit that you cannot do it all and get your ass to a counselor.

dawn..with lots of love and compassion.

Brother Frankie said...

i agree with fractal mom, this is one of the healthiest posts you ever wrote. now get your ass to a counsler and dont look back.

ask for help if you need it. ya got my number, ya got fractals email, i am praying for you and am sorry for your loss.

Boundaries are barriers that protect from external harm and guard against internal harm. Those involved with someone struggling with a chemical dependency need to learn how to set appropriate limits on what they do for their loved one. These boundaries will help prevent you from taking on excessive responsibilities that belong to your loved one. Boundaries serve to keep the addict's problem from becoming your problem.
"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." (Proverbs 4:23)
Give up all expectations of the addict.
"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him." (Psalm 62:5)
Learn to detach from the addict's problem, and take control of your life.
"My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare." (Psalm 25:15)
Shift your focus from the addict's behavior to your responses.
"Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord." (Lamentations 3:40)
Learn all you can about drug abuse.
"How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!" (Proverbs 16:16)
Stop acts that are enabling (making excuses, protecting).
"These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face." (Psalm 50:21)
Let the addict know the effects of the addiction on you and on others.
"Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body." (Ephesians 4:25)
Pray for and expect God to bring consequences into the addict's life.
"A man's ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths. The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly." (Proverbs 5:21-23)

awaiting the shout
brother frankie
(jesus is trying to kill me)

Pat N. said...

Bristolvol said, "But it's their choice, their decision." I see this statement a great deal and encourage all my fellow parents to understand that addiction is a primary disease, a brain disease. The addict does have a choice when he is clean but when they are in relapse and/or in active use they have no choice. This is where it is necessary to intervene and "raise" their bottom so that they do not "hit" bottom. You do know what bottom is, Game over!

The addict said, "I didn't know I had been that bad." No addict ever see's their behavior in the same sense as the family. Addiction is a disease of denial. It is a disease that tells the addict he is OK regardless of his circumstance or the consequences.

Drama should be expected by us and a "Plan B" should always be in effect. This is best accomplished by an "Expectation Agreement" written & adopted by all family members and the addict; then reviewed by an AOD counselor. Now, everyone is aware and reminded of the agreement when the disease takes back it's control. Sanity can be accomplished & maintained. The agreement spells out specifically the choices the addict has should he seek recovery. This also gives the family some "contentment" in knowing they have done all they can do.

In prayer for all who suffer from this disease

Mom of Opiate Addict said...

We are in a very similar place right now. I felt like this a couple of weeks ago, like I hit my bottom. I agree with the others, run to a counselor and give it a couple of times. My counseling sessions have been extremely helpful. I am thinking of you and mom. Oh, and that anger list proves to be quite the tool;)

Barbara said...

Dad and Mom -

Its not fair is it? We raise our children well, teach them, guide them, love them, all that good stuff...then this drug invades their body and takes over every brain cell, every nerve, everything.

I do believe its a disease but it doesn't look like one - it looks like they don't give a damn...and eventually they don't. The disease takes over more and more and there's not much left of the person we once knew and loved and had high hopes for. And its like WE suffer more than they do. Like Alex said - he didn't even realize he'd been so bad. He's not living in the same "world" as you anymore. His world is so sick that right from wrong is a fuzzy line, stealing doesn't seem THAT bad, etc. etc.

I'm so sorry you have to endure this. I wish there were better solutions. I care about your family.

LisaC said...

Ron, I'm so sorry for you and Mom. As we've all been through multiple treatments, and relapses, we understand the frustration, anger and pain you are feeling. And at some point, you have to step away and take care of you and Mom. It becomes imperative; and it seems to me that is where you are now.

In watching again, Pleasure Unwoven, the DVD about addiction by Dr. Michael McCauley, he talks about how the drugs overtake the middle brain, and moves to the top of the list of "have to haves" for the addict simply for survival...overshadowning sleep, eating, sex, etc. For me, that starts to explain why they don't see their behavior as bad, and they can't let go. Their brains don't let them. He also talked about the fact that it is a "disease about choice", as opposed to simply a disease or simply a choice. It makes some sense. You are someone who makes significant efforts to to "learn," and you may want to get a copy of this DVD.

I can't speak as strongly as everyone else about getting to a counselor, because that has not been a particularly successful approach for me. Although attending the codependency group at BMC has been extremely helfpul. What I can say is that you need to find someone to discuss your anger and frustration with and develop your plan for moving forward. You will find your way with that, I am sure.

In the meantime, your son is still "in there," but he is buried under drugs and their affects. Other than death, I think that is the most painful thing we watch as parents, because the outer shell looks like our son or our daughter, but nothing else is remotely close to that human being we raised and love.

I know I'm rambling a little bit because my heart is hurting for you so much. Take care of yourself and Mom. (Alex has to do what Alex has to do.) I will continue to pray for you and keep you in my thoughts. I wish I was close by to come and visit, drink coffee or tea, and talk about other things in life. You deserve to let go know.

Bristolvol said...

I said "it's their decision, their choice" and I mean to be clean and live a productive life. While I totally relealize that our kids suffer from a disease, you cannot help someone who does not want to help himself. Bottom line for me, anyway.

Pat N said...

"you cannot help someone who does not want to help himself." Our children do want to help themselves! The very last place they want to be is in a crack house or on the top of a bridge preparing to end their life. If they "could" help themselves, they would! That is why the very great majority of chronic addicts find recovery when either the criminal justice system and/or those that love the addict do a intervention. I onced hired a private investigator who had just retired from the sheriff's office to track down my son. He found him living in an apt. with several others selling/using meth. he informed him that he was either going to use the information he had to have him arrested and face twenty years in prison or he would take him to an inpatient treatment program. He choose treatment. He Later told me of his situation and said, "I think you saved my life."

Of course, that's just my experience so take what you feel is helpful and forget the rest!

Brother Frankie said...

just to let ya know...

sometimes "they" are not still in there. the damage we do to our brains, body, etc.. is brutal.. after 3 years on opiates (prescribed) i jumped off. i am glad i stopped. there is so much damage to my brain and body i am glad i caught it. i no longer produce endorphins and serotonin the way i used to.

i needed to find natural ways to reverse the opiate damage my brain suffered. i needed to get the hundred of thousands of recepters that opiate use caused my brain to manufacture in order to keep up with the drugs to become dormant. go to sleep. so normal levels of our bodies natural opiates will work instead of the oxcy's, percs, etc....

i am doing ok but i counsel others that are not so fortunate. they feel no joy, they are without energy, they are for lack of a better explanation are in a pit.

for some of them i dont see a reversal to their bodies and brains. this is extreme cases.

BUT>>> and i hate when folks use the word but..

but, i do believe in the healing power of Jesus Christ.

I do believe in miracles.

i do believe in prayer..

so, keep praying, rest in the Lord. Not for yesterday, not for tomorrow, but for today.. YUP, JUST TODAY...

"Today" I Am Loved
brother frankie
a biker for Christ

Brother Frankie said...

one more thing *****NOTE TO DAD*****

i know u have cold weather there.. but the scoot was a gift from god... riding brings me pure JOY....

i have rode a few thousand mile past few days... its been a freezing 75 degrees, so i am roughing it and wearing long sleeves..

LOL sorry dad, you know how us gray bearded bikers are.. outright mean. hope ya smiled.


Bristolvol said...

To Pat N., I am glad that it worked out for your son that way. It did not for my daughter. Some of us are not quite so fortunate. Dad and Mom, you and your son are in my prayers.

Debby of Oxycontin and Opiate Addiction: A Mother's Story said...

Ron, I'm so sorry. Damn. I really thought Alex had rounded a corner. I hate this. You have been such an encourager to so many people. I have no doubt that you will get through this, and that this is not a knee-jerk reaction. You have tried so hard. I know you won't give up. You're are battening down the hatches, and not allowing Alex to tear your family apart. The damn drugs have him... but maybe, just maybe... he will make it. I keep hoping that for my son. He's three months and holding, which is huge for him.

Anonymous said...

I can feel the anguish in your post and I am so sorry you are dealing with the alien who has once again invaded your sons body. You know the one that you don't recognize, because he cares about nothing including himself. I hate ADDICTION! You are in my prayers because it is the only thing I can do.

Syd said...

I am sorry about this. I can sense the frustration. I don't have anything to add but will repeat to take care of yourselves. Your lives are important and you deserve to live without so much stress.

Heather's Mom said...

This stinks so bad that you and Mom are dealing with this. I too was hopeful that A had turned the corner, but in actuality he did, and then it sounds like he turned another one in a way we didn't want to see him go. This is so hard as a parent :(

You've held on very rationally, but this post shows emotion, and rightfully so. Nothing is written in stone, make the choices that you feel are right for you and Mom... remember, you do have a choice.
It's just so hard, that's why I too think talking to a counselor would be good, and attending Al-Anon meetings. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself and Mom.

Keeping all of you in my prayers.

Anna said...

Save yourself first. Then,and only then do what you can for the addict. I think and think about this choice and disease stuff. Do people really just choose to die this way? Or are they beyond repair at some point.

No matter what the answer is you still have a right to peace in your own home. You have a right and even an obligation to appreciate the good that is left in your life.

Sorry for your troubles,

Annette said...

Oh gosh..I'm sorry. I haven't been around. I am so so sorry. It sounds like are doing the right thing...hard as that is. The phrase "I will not help you to kill yourself" has always stuck out to me. It helped me to understand that the hard lines we had to take from time to time were really an act of love, as painful as they were to take.

Carol said...

You know Dad, maybe its ok to "leave". Maybe its ok to "move out." If you've been reading my blog, you know that's what my husband has done. He simply "left" when things got really bad. And now its become one of J's missions to "get that relationship back with my Dad." He tells me this a LOT! Its become a motivation of sorts for him. Sometimes it takes them seeing that they are losing you. Sometimes that may be the brick to the side of the head that they need.

I agree with the others - save yourself first! It may be just what Alex needs right now!

Em said...

I wanted to write something to you for some time- but the words just wouldn’t come. I opened this page- wrote a few words, deleted, re-wrote and then deleted again. I guess all I really wanted to say is that I understand...

I have shared a house with an addict, sometimes when I’m feeling down I let myself think that he is the reason I never really had a childhood- I was forced to grow up too soon. Other times, I try to focus on the good things- like- the morning coffee, the cat, a long path that I have walked to get away from it all...

In my case, it was my brother. I left that part of my life behind now, but I sometimes have nightmares- more often than one would think- my nightmares usually involve a situation where I realize that I have been dreaming up this new life all this time and actually I still live in that house that I grew up in- scared that he’ll come in again- in the middle of the night, heat the metal rod in the candle flame and touch it on my skin and ask me for the money that I had earned teaching some 5th graders....

Some nights I wake up sobbing, other nights I simply do not sleep- I have a severe case of insomnia.

I just wanted to say that I understand, even though I don’t talk about my past life much- I cannot seem to talk about it still. I still have some healing left... I guess. But I’ll get there. Meanwhile- if you think I can somehow be of help- I live here when I’m awake, and here when I should be sleeping.

Anonymous said...

This feels like one of your most honest posts. Thank you for sharing your pain and vulnerability. I liked the phrase that Lisa C used - that addiction is not just a disease, or it's just not about choice, but a "disease about choice". Good description. I think you've been honest in setting an important boundary for yourself, but the outcome of doing this is scary and uncertain. I'm not sure that your ultimatum to Alex will result in his "choice" to get/stay clean. But, I think it is an important step for you. I feel your pain, frustration, and helplessness. Peggy