Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Answering A Comment

If you want to share, I was curious, what changes do you see when he is clean and with you and the family? I mean, is he like you expected him to be before the addiction or do you still see the addictive thinking present?

This is the question I was ask in the comment section of a previous post. I've been going back to this question often wanting to answer VJ but after a lot of thought I begin to realize it was much to important of a question to answer in a comment. I am still not sure I do this justice and a lot of my thoughts are still random but I want to get some things down while I have this time.

I see a respect in my son that I would not have expected. Maybe it is more of a humbleness that I would not expect of a 22 year old male. My son was a very self confident person before he began using. He felt he had the world by the tail and I am not sure he wasn't right. I can still see confidence in him that he can do what he sets his mind to do but I also have a feeling that he is now scared of what he has been through. This is a scary observation for me because I am trying not to inject what I wish into what I observe.

Our family has always been a very close family. That is not just from us 5, it is a generational thing in our family, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, I don't want to sound too "Mafia" but blood really meant something. There is nothing you wouldn't do for family. My son has hurt many people in his family and some have not forgiven him. This troubles him greatly. He has reached out to some but they are not yet willing to embrace or even shake hands. He is still to young in his recovery to understand amends. Some of us understand and help without formal apologies and others don't yet, time is a healer of this wound. He is apprehensive around family, maybe that is good right now.

To understand my expectations you need some details of how I got where I am with my son. My son is smart. I don't mean normal "my kid" smart I mean testing in the 95th percentile and above in multiple subjects of skills testing in school. A kid that we were ask about accelerated schooling tests and when we ask him about it he said he would fail them purposely, he didn't want to be a geek. A kid that skipped freshman math, instead he took senior level pre-calc and trig. As a father, he was to be everything I could not be, nothing like my life, no unloading trucks and jack hammering concrete for him.

My expectations, that is so hard. When we started this and for many years I lived in blissful ignorance. Some think I still live there but we all change. I thought this was just something he would go through and come out the other side and resume life. Back on track and off we go. It doesn't work that way. Today my expectations for my son are very simple, happiness. I still believe he can be anything he sets his mind to be. But now I am happy when he is tired from a hard days work, I am happy when he cashes a paycheck that he worked for, I am happy when he smiles at his niece or his family, I am happy when he hugs his mom and he isn't high.

Addictive thinking I believe is in his every thought. He is just a baby in recovery. I want, and impatience is with him all the time he is with us. I can see him struggle with himself with those things. I can see him struggle when we go out to eat to just sit still and converse quietly. It's so much easier when we "walk and talk." I think him working this issue is another one of those things that only gets better with more time.

Damn you VJ you ask such hard questions. Hope I answered it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Examine Your Axioms

I am probably going to open up a whole can full of worms with this post but worms are good for fishing so if the comments get too hot, I’m going fishing. ;-)

Over and over it is repeated about addicts; you cannot make a person get clean. Addicts get clean when they want it for themselves. I believe there is enough truth in that statement that it has become the accepted knowledge. However, I do not believe that is the driving force for many addicts to give up their life of drugs. Sure there are some addicts living a life of homelessness with absolutely no one to call on that eventually clean-up based upon a desire that is wholly internally driven. From my experience that is not the norm.

My proposition as it relates to young addicts based upon personal observations: Younger addicts need role models, mentors, loved ones or sponsors as a key component of recovery. They get clean because of, or for someone else, they maintain their sobriety for themselves and the fear of losing a love or respect of those people that replace the void a drug has filled.

The rationalization for my theory follows much cognitive dissonance in my own analysis of the behaviors and observations of young addicts that remain addicted and those that have lived an extended time drug free that are now older adults. This is not a study that examined mountains of empirical evidence, these are my conclusions based upon anecdotal evidence gathered in discussion and observations. In reading this, remember the source, I am not a scholar or professional in this subject, I am just a father of an addict trying to make sense of insanity.

Why would an addict decide to or even want to get clean and give up using? I have never taken drugs in an illegal way to get high or whatever. I can only guess what it is like based upon others descriptions. What I am told about getting high, it is good, it is real good, I’ve been told imagine this, it is like 100 orgasms throughout your whole body. The feeling is over and over it is there whenever you want. Now, truth is why would anyone not want that once it has been experienced? Why would someone give that up experience voluntarily? As an addict why am I expected to give up an experience that in my life is as essential to my brain as food, water, oxygen and procreation?

My conclusion is without someone or something to fill that void it is highly unlikely, that any addict would give up their drug. In fact, I can rationalize that there is no reason any addict would give up their drug of choice without that “something” either real or spiritual, to fill the void.

Based upon my above mentioned conclusion my son’s only hope in living a life free of mind altering drugs is to have someone or something to fill the void of abstinence from drugs. A profound experience is required as a first step. And that is only a first step not the whole solution.

With that it begs the question, what is the role of a parent, significant other, friend or child?

My son’s addiction is by far the most complex issue I have faced in my life. In dealing with this issue as a parent you grasp at whatever straw, lifeline or sliver of hope you can find. I don’t believe this is wrong; this just is the way it is. Without doing these things you will not grow and learn. As adults and parents we grow and learn through experience. With your own child drowning in the crisis of addiction it is unlikely we will learn from experiences we had not personally tried. There is a tough learning curve we all must experience and some round the curve quickly and some not so quick but there is no cutting the corner. There are proven processes in this path but there is no step by step formula to insure success either for the addict or the person who is a loved one of the addict.

It is my belief that love is one of the most basic and strongest of human emotions. This is the emotion that ensures the survival of our species. Anyone can procreate but without a love bond between a mother, parents or caregiver of a child there is no survival for that infant. As such, without that continuing love for the addicted young adult I believe survival is a marginal proposition, at best.

Love does not mean enable. Love does not mean remove all the pain and misery in your addict’s life. Love does not mean you give up your life at the expense of loving an addicted child. Love means being there, it means not abandoning your addict emotionally. It may be that your child cannot live in your home but that doesn’t mean you do not try to empathize with their pain and fear. It just means you set good boundaries for yourself but be sure you show your child where the gate is on the boundary so they know how to enter your life safely. Do not put locks on the gate.

As parents we develop problem solving skills that continue to evolve to a higher level as we age and accumulate life experiences. A young person that becomes addicted does not have that knowledge in which to draw. I believe someone or something must be the light at the end of the tunnel. Otherwise the darkness will swallow a young person and lost is an outcome, not a current state of being.

A young adult does not have the life experience to find their way out of the morass of addiction. Abandoning your child physically and emotionally is a path some choose but that leaves your addicted child to wander aimlessly in the darkness, some find the exit but many do not. But sometimes that path for a parent or loved one is necessary for self preservation; each family situation is unique and must be handled in context. That is why I believe there is no cookie cutter program that fits every family and every situation, no step by step recipe for success just a group of processes that have proven to be successful for individuals and families in the past.

Now for a harsh reality I have come to accept and am just now beginning to understand. Every addict I have talked to or read about that was addicted as a young adult, not one of them got clean because of Dad and Mom. That’s a hard pill to swallow for this parent.

But when I speak to addicts that have come out the other side about getting clean they spoke of someone or something as the driving force that drove their efforts in recovery.

Sometimes for dumb old me to grasp a concept I have to create analogies to my situation. Hench some of the other ones you have read on my blog, like the “sidewalk of life”. So, as my son drives along his road to recovery I must accept that no matter how much I love him and want him to succeed I am not the driver, I am not the car, I am not the highway or road. At most, I may simply be a gas station along the road. Sometimes he may stop for fuel and sometimes the fuel gauge may read full and he passes me by. That is not a reflection of his love for us as parents or our role in his recovery, it just means there are days he needs fuel and some days his tank is full. My role is to have fuel when he needs it and for the sign outside to always read “OPEN”.

I never know what kind of fuel he may need, emotional, physical or spiritual. So if his tank needs to be topped off with an “I love you, I believe in you” or simply a dinner on Friday night that is the new role of this dad of an addict.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Taking It As It Comes

Progress?? I don't know but it means something to us. We had another weekend with our son (clean). He actually called on Thursday to make plans for Friday. That may not seem like much to anyone else but to us that was a significant step. To us it meant he was actually thinking beyond the minute or that day, he called one day in advance to make a date. Another nice dinner.

He and his girlfriend were going camping on Saturday and Sunday with her godfather. Our daughter called us on Saturday and wanted to go to the lake. So we went but we went to the lake where they were camping. That way he could wakeboard. Before addiction my son was an accomplished boarder. Wake to wake, inverts and a host of other tricks. He had not been on a board for quite some time. He was very frustrated that his skills had deteriorated so much but in reality what did he expect. But overall another good time was had by all.

The big issue now is finding a job. We don't pound on it. We do let him know when we see places that may be hiring but it is his issue to solve. It is hard for him to accept when I tell him the economy as far as the job market is as bad as I have ever seen it, plus with his baggage. He just has to keep plugging along, remember the two "P"s, patience and persistence. I think from my observations those are the two hardest things for and addict, even in recovery.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How Addiction Has Changed Me

I’ve been trying to do some self reflection lately about these last few years. That’s not fun because I much rather point out all the things wrong with you than look at myself.

When a loved one suffers from addiction I don’t see how it cannot help but change people close to them along with all the changes we see in the addicted as well. I admit some of the changes in me are what I see as good and some of them I am not particularly proud of admitting. Of course I spent less time on those.

I’m going to just start listing and commenting on the changes I have thought about and anyone that wants to point out things I am missing or just plain wrong about feel free.

- I have more patience with people suffering from addiction, alcoholism and mental illness. Shamefully, in the past I just looked at those people as being “weak of character.” I still struggle with addiction and alcoholism about “why do it the first time” question but I understand how it becomes the center of their being and why it is classified as a disease.

- I have less patience with people that claim to believe in absolutes. I often fell into that type of thinking. There are shades of gray and the truth is most of life is lived in varying shades of gray.

- I have always had a quick temper but it wasn’t a violent temper. I try hard to do that less, not successful most of the time but I am better. It was just a yell and scream then 10 minutes later I was like nothing ever happened and everyone else was still in shock. I try now to reserve those outbursts only to really egregious things in life like paraphernalia and drugs in my house or people talking and texting while driving.

- I have learned judging people as a group does me a disservice and I will jump at the chance learn from anyone that will take the time to teach me. I have seen some of the biggest, baddest looking bikers wearing leather, tattooed, scraggly beards and hair, arms the size of small barrels with a gut to match have the biggest hearts I have ever seen in a man. And I have seen church going, god fearing, holier than thou people that are the most selfish, judgmental and un-accepting people I have ever met. All bikers are not good and all churchy people are not bad, everyone deserves to be judged as a single person and I try to do that respectfully.

- I accept people that accept me. By nature I am more a “pleaser” personality. If someone didn’t like what I was, I spent time thinking about what is wrong with me or them. I now am a person that feels if you can’t accept me and my family with its addiction then I don’t have time for you either. I come with my baggage and if you can’t accept my baggage then life is too short.

- I do not like how I look at young people now. I look at teenage kids and see potential addicts. This is contradictory to what I said above. Most kids are great and do not become addicts and drugs are not the center of their life but my mind tells me constantly, “if it can happen to my son it can happen to anyone.” It just seems like every teenager is an addiction time bomb; that is wrong.

- I am a trusting person. I always thought of it this way, I am too lazy to not trust people because not trusting took so much energy. With my son I am distrustful to a level that is detrimental to him and me.

- I have always been fairly liberal in my thinking but when it came to law and order I was a straight down the line, lock’em up type guy. Lock’em up is not a generic solution to all of our crime and drug problems. Some people need to be locked up. Locking up addicts, alcoholics and the mentally ill solves no problems, not the person locked up or societies. I hate taxes as much as the next guy but I’d rather pay to try and fix a problem than to just shove it under a rug. “Out of sight out of mind” costs us more as a society, morally and financially than it would to build centers to help rather than to warehouse.

- I have a controlling personality. That serves me well in some areas of my life but I have learned there are times it is necessary to let go. It’s OK for others to do their thing their way, outcomes are more important than process. I allow others to learn their way and sometimes that involves them making mistakes I know that are going to happen but sometimes it is best to keep my mouth shut. In the past my mouth was not shut most of the time.

That is a start for me. How has addiction changed you?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Doesn't Get Better

Dad, Mom, Son and Granddaughter. Each day as it comes, live in the moment, and appreciate the good times. This is why we care and hope.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weekend of Hope

We had a weekend like we hadn't experienced for a very long time. It was nice and rewarding.

On Friday our son wanted to go out to eat with us on our normal Friday date night. That's good we will always allow him to be involved as long as he is clean. We met friends and our son and his girlfriend joined us. It was a very pleasant dinner with laughs and no discussion of drugs and addiction. We went to Coldstone Creamery for ice cream afterwards and when it was our turn to order lightning struck a tranformer and killed the power in the whole shopping district so we wound up at the Dairy Queen instead.

On Saturday I got to catch up on yard work. It has been unbearably hot here in KS the last few weeks. The weeds around the Koi pond were out of control so I weeded it and it took a lot longer than I anticipated. After that it was time to do the yard, our yard is 2 acres along with my small orchard in back so it is not a small task to get it all done. The bike needed cleaning so that is another one of my private pleasures. If you are not a Harley owner you wouldn't understand.

Our daughter called and ask us if we would watch the granddaughter, of course. Our son then ask us if they could come up to visit Saturday night too. So we all went to the county fair together. Our granddaughter is a thrill seeker. She really got excited about riding the rides, merry-go-round, flying dumbos, motorcycles and cars. You all know the drill. She kept pointing at the ferris wheel and the wheel of fire but we didn't let her do that one. Our son rode with her on a couple rides and it was very pleasing for us to see them both laughing and having fun.

On Sunday he came back again. This day was for a little work. I am slowly replacing the windows in our house and mom does not like being on a scaffold so he helped me instead. He was good help and was learning that it is a slow methodical process then the job comes out well done. He went and picked his girlfriend up from work and brought her and her girls back for dinner. We grilled some pork chops and we all had a very nice dinner.

If all of this activity and a few dinners helps him with his recovery then it is the cheapest rehab I have paid for. It is so nice to see that there still is a real person inside and if allowed that person can come back.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Teachable Moments

I forwarded the method my friend uses with her stepson to The Partnership. I guess they thought it was a good idea too:

Share Your “Teachable Moments”

If you have innovative ways to work this issue with kids, LET'S HEAR THEM!

My point of view is the only way we break this scourge is education and get them young before they start.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Almost Speechless

Have you ever had someone tell you something so surprising and amazing that you were almost speechless? Something they are doing that was beyond my imagination.

This morning a person in my office told me what she was doing with with I write in my blog. She told me she was having her 10 year old stepson read my blog to help him with his reading skills and his comprehension. After he reads the blog she asks him what he thought I was trying to say and what he understands about my blog entry. She then says she has an opportunity to discuss what drugs and addiction does to a person and a family. She said she uses examples that he can relate too for his age level to help him understand the message. He is learning at that age to say NO.

I was completely amazed, touched and almost dumbfounded that she had found a way to create a message for a 10 year old boy from what I write in our blog.

Here is an e-mail I got to illustrate the message above.

****** and I looked at some of your latest updates today and he sees that the girlfriend took Alex back in. ******** ten year old mind thinks that is “not the right thing to do because he is probably just lying again” and she will just have to kick him out again soon. He bets it was “ real hard for Mom not to take the call” He further said he figured she was sad because of it. For what it’s worth, he thinks you are just trying to help Alex help himself by making him make his own decisions.I told him one day when he is offered drugs I hope he remembers how sad life becomes for those who don’t say “no”, and he said . He thought he would and it would be easy to say no. I told him it might not be so easy because of peer pressure. Then he told me. “ Alex only had to say no one time, that was the first time, and then he would have been okay”….Wow the thoughts from a child.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Heartwrenching E-mail

I received another e-mail today that everyone should get the chance to read. No matter how deep the despair about the addict you love, hope.

After the e-mail I am going to post what Darlene wrote me back after I forwarded it when she read the e-mail.


I don't know if you will remember my husband and I, but we met you when you spoke at Church of Resurrection some time ago. I have been wanting to email you for some time now but have not been able to put the words together. Our son Travis was killed in a car accident on his way back to Pittsburg State University on April 21st. He had just had his 23rd birthday 4 days earlier.

We had been living the same nightmare you are going through. We had been living in fear and living in grief for our son for quite awhile. He had been using heroin and trying somewhat successfuly to go to college at the same time. He was in the court system, he had been to rehabs, he was clean, he was using, he was clean, using etc. You know the story. He was out late, on his way back to school, fell asleep and ran into a semi head on. Travis and the car was destroyed. Nearly nothing left. He had to be identified by dental records. He was alone in his car and the semi driver was not hurt at all. That part is a blessing.

The reason I wanted to tell you this story is that no matter what living hell we were going through, it was better than this. At least during all the chaos and pain of his addiction, there was hope. We thought we had lost our hopes and dreams, but in reality, we still had hopes and dreams for Travis. They may have been different, but at least we could hope. I think that is what ultimately keeps you going. Now we just have memories, good and bad. We are left now with overwhelming grief. He will not have the chance to turn his life around. No hope for him in THIS life. Our fear of his addiction and all its ramifications is replaced now by extreme sadness. Again, no hope.

It is my wish that perhaps this story will help you understand that in the darkest of times during your son's addiction, you understand that you do have hope. Dreams can still be realized as long as you still have you son. I don't think that I ever thought in this way when Travis was still with us. I guess I just thought of all the pain we were all going through.

As you know, as a parent of an addict, you feel if you can help even one person in anyway get through this painful situation, you want to do whatever you can. I continue to read your blog and wish I could write as well as you. You have been so awesome to share and inspire the way you do. Keep hoping and dreaming even as hard as the situation is. You son is alive and has a chance. Blessings to you and your family.


OMG she is the pretty lady, with the husband, that I talked to for so long & then you join in, remember, We felt we had so much in common because the boys were nearly the same age. Both had gone to Pitt and doing the exact thing. Trying to go to school, but kept running back here for "stuff". I know she is right. We have thought the same thing, that at least we have hope. HOPE is very big, cuz we do still have our son. My heart cries for Vicki and her husband. I know that will always be in the back of their minds- could he have gotten better, could he have turned his life around. OR was this the blessing, because he would not have gotten better? That of course will be the big question in their minds, forever. I am glad she wrote and let us know. Just when we were giving up, she reminded us, that there is still "HOPE" for us, for Alex. "HOPE", that things can get better!

My heart goes out to Vicki and her family, they do not get to have any more, HOPE :(

I am sad, for sure, now, D

Thank you all for sharing and allowing me to post your words.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Gone????? But Not Forgotten

As soon as all of this occurred that I wrote about in the last post we left the next morning for a long weekend at the lake. It's easier to not have the impact in our face by being at home but that doesn't mean it isn't forgotten.

Girlfriend texted that she took him back, conditionally. I don't know if that is good or bad but she must go through her own learning growth too. The hard part for her is she loves the clean Alex, hates the using Alex. When Alex is not using he is a charming man. When he is not using he is what I wish I could be. A relative we are staying with at the lake remarked, "When Alex came into a room he raised the energy of that room by just coming in, what a shame." That is the person we are struggling with giving up, that is what makes it so hard. And I am sure many of you have the same experience.

Yesterday was Mom's birthday. Alex texted her Happy Birthday. She did not respond. She made that decision herself and I know it is killing her.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Those Eyes

It never ceases to amaze me how my son continues to try and manipulate people. We came home from work on Wednesday and he had used. He'd been caught by his girlfriend and she kicked him out so of course he was at our house. He was trying to be normal but you other parents know that you can tell. It's the different tone in the voice. It's the body language. But most of all it's the eyes. Those eyes that are nothing more than pin points even when standing inside away from the sun.

Events on my part had been building to a head. His violation of our contract was a message to us that he was not serious. Most of the time in the past my temper had gotten the best of me when dealing with him and when he was high. That's the problem I have to work on. I had been contemplating how I was going handle the issue in a calm way. He helped me with the decision.

On Tuesday he had to report to his probation officer. One of the conditions of his probation is that he attends at least 2 NA meetings per week and he has a signature page that he has to get signed. Well on Wednesday evening he said he was going to a meeting. Of course he had used and was still high. The straw the broke the camel's back was him going to a meeting.

I said, "You won't go to a NA meeting for yourself, you wouldn't go to a NA meeting because we ask you to and when you signed our contract, but when your probation officer says go or go to jail you decide to go. Well I'm glad you are going but I know for a fact how you feel about yourself and us. I'm glad you hold your PO in so much high respect, more than yourself or us. I understand with your actions today you have made your choice. You cannot live here any longer."

Mom really put it in perspective. He said he used because he had a really rough day and was overwhelmed. She told him, "When it was tough, you didn't call me, you didn't call your dad, you didn't call your girlfriend, you didn't call your sister, you have no sponsor to call, you called one person, you called Keri your dealer. Maybe she will take you in, you should go live with her." He had a look of horror on his face when she said that.

He left for his meeting. After the meeting he called and ask he could at least spend tonight till he found someplace to go. Mom's response was, "No, your clothes are in your suitcase on the back deck, good luck." He tapped on the back door and mom went outside. I don't know the details but she spoke with him alone for a couple minutes and she came back inside and he was gone. I am proud of her.

I believe Samantha's letter from my last post gave mom and I enough strength to do what was needed. Thank you Samantha and to all of you all that write.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Beneficial E-Mail

I received this e-mail today and thought it would be a wonderful read for many of you following our blog and dealing with your own addicted loved one. Samantha, a wise 21 year old woman graciously granted me permission to publish her e-mail. Every bit of it is very much worth your time to read.

Hello Dad and Mom (as you refer to yourselves on the blog),

You don't know me, but I feel as though I know you to some degree. I've recently found your blog, and have read the all of your entries with hope to find some inspiration, as well as a few answers. Before I go on, I want to say thank you for being so honest in your blogs, I know your life isn't merely a story and as of now there's not a set fairy-tale happy ending that you can put down for an ending. This is real life, and all you can do is take it one day at a time. Sometimes one hour at a time depending on the stress of the day.

I'm a 21 year old female, who is also in recovery. My drug of choice wasn't opiates, but it soon would have been had I not gotten the help I did when I was 19. I was a severe alcoholic by the time I was 19, at this time I started experimenting with drugs hardcore and my life was going nowhere. I was an honor roll student, graduated with a 3.9 gpa, all-star athlete;my life looked great, but I was far from happy. Drugs and alcohol were my life, they were the only thing that made me feel whole. I know now, it was all a fake happiness. I hate this disease more than anything, I've seen people get sober and change their lives for the better, while some I've seen lose their life to this disease.. it's so sad. I'll being going on 2 years sober September 1. I must say, there are days where it's easier than some, but some days I can only take it one hour at a time.

I can very much relate to some of the battles you're facing with your son. My ex-boyfriend was a heroin addict, and I must say it was the hardest battle I've ever faced. We met over a year ago, when he was claimed to be sober. Ryan, was 22 and grew up in Texas. His family sent him to Minnesota to seek professional help and get sober, however, Ryan hasn't been able to stay sober for a long enough time to return home. I've gone around the ringer with his drug-addiction, it literally has taken every part of me. Since his family was 1300 miles away, it put me in a tough position: do I stay to try and help him, so in case something happens at least he's not alone or do I walk away, but if something happens is it my fault. At 21 years old, these are tough questions to be asking. Somethings I've realized in being apart of Ryan's addiction is there's not much anyone can do. The addict must become willing on their own time. For as hard as it is, they are the only one's who can change. Sometimes I forget this part, because I so badly want Ryan to do this because why would he want to stay in the misery. But then I think about my recovery, and there is no one else making me stay sober, but me. I'm staying sober because I want to stay sober. My life was a living hell when I was using, I was desperate for change..

I really like how you made a checklist of the all rules in order to bail your son out. I can't stress enough how important it is to stay with your rules and boundaries. Often times, I get so frustrated with Ryan's parents because they enable him financially. They send him a weekly allowance of a few hundred dollars, pay for all his needs and don't expect nor stay put in their rules. They enable him to continue this lifestyle. Ryan sits at home, no job, no school, no 'true' friends, no expectations to do anything. His boredom leads him back down to drugs every single time. I always felt that if his parent's would stop enabling him financially it would push Ryan to his bottom a lot quicker, or to the point where he's ready to seek professional help because he can't afford his habit. Unfortunately, I can't control it. I share this story with you, because I pray that you stick to your guns, for as hard as it is you might be helping the addict more than you think. Sure there's always that fear of what if, there will be a lot of fights and manipulation coming from the addict's perspective. But let me tell you: it will soon end when they are ready. Had my parent's not stuck to their rules, I would have been out partying a lot longer, but because I knew they weren't going to bend the rules anymore, not matter how much I begged, cried, and pleaded, it was time I changed.

I can't say I know exactly how you feel, because I'm not a parent to an opiate addict. But I have shared many, many of the trials and tribulations that you've experienced. I've taken on the co-dependent role for Ryan, the girlfriend, the care-taker, and the parent. I feel bad about walking away, and apart of me didn't want to. His drug addiction pushed me away. I believe Ryan is using again, and I'm torn. Since I don't have any proof, I don't know if I should contact his parent's. I'd hate to stir the pot when I don't have solid proof. Seeing how it is from the parent's side from my own experiences, and reading your blog it's an awful thing to hear that of your child.

I pray for your family and for your son. Addiction is a painful disease that effects all members of the family, not just the addict. Addiction isn't even fun anymore, it robs the addict of joy, love, goals, and happiness. I pray that your son will seek help sooner rather than later and that your family can learn to heal. Just keep doing what you're doing, and remember stick to your boundaries!