Anonymous ask: In a previous post you mentioned that you didn't do the 'god thing'. It seems obvious that you found support from your blog, but I'm curious about Alex. Did he follow a 12 step program that asks you to believe in a higher power? Does he currently participate in a recovery program, have a sponsor, go to meetings, etc? My own son does not like the traditional AA route and believes he can succeed in recovery without that -- that's why I'm curious what helped your son.
This is a difficult question to answer. I learned a while ago that his recovery was his to manage. The more involved in his recovery I got the more I screwed up everyone.
To provide context to my answer I must give you some important background. When we were new to this and he had been to rehab we reminded him to go to meetings, we drove him to meetings and we went to meetings and we kept track and counted how many meetings he attended. This was us trying to force our idea of recovery on him. I even regularly told him I didn’t think he was serious unless he was attending meetings and working an “active” recovery program. Of course by active I meant one that I could monitor and observe. I was all about controlling this disease and forcing it out of my son.
Not until I gave up trying to control him and his addiction could he take control in whatever manner he chose.
The difficult part of this question is for me to try and speak for my son. I really don’t know what he does to manage his recovery. I don’t know about his belief in a higher power. I don’t know of a sponsor in his life. Truthfully, I don’t ask these questions of him and he doesn’t ask about my recovery.
I can tell you what I observe. I know he has a girlfriend that he loves and she loves him. I know he loves her daughters. I know he loves his son and he is a good father. I know he is not perfect but he now works on living a life of honor as he was raised. I use the phrase, ”I know” because from his observable behaviors and words, these things are self evident.
NA and 12 Step programs have saved the lives of millions of people across the globe. There are spin-off programs in church’s called Celebrate Recovery, there are partner programs like Nar-Anon. I believe these programs are wonderful. In truth, when someone comes to me for help, either parent, addict or loved one the first resource I mention is NA and Nar-Anon. I have tremendous respect and admiration for these programs and the people they have helped. However, one size shoe does not fit everyone.
Your son must find the shoe that fits. I really don’t know what my son does to keep from using again. It is his process to manage. The most you can do at this point is to provide a model for your son. Seek what works for you and work it. When you are healthy his methods will make more sense to you. And, if he relapses, you will still be healthy and be in a much better position to help him when he needs help and encouragement.
This question also gives me a chance to expound on what has helped me. You are right in your observation this blog is my principle recovery model. But it is not the only thing. Comments and questions play a huge role in my recovery. I learn from each person that reads this and writes. I learn from the many blogs I read each day and comment to those others in this club. My recovery includes all of those parents that privately email me or call me on the phone with questions and can barely talk through the tears, these parents teach me. My recovery program is talking to students at schools every chance I get. My recovery involves being a Parent Ambassador with The Partnership at Drugfree.org. Most importantly my recovery involves listening.