Sunday, May 12, 2013


In the past I have solicited questions from readers they want answered. I think it is time to do that again. In a comment a mother asked a couple questions and I am going to answer to begin this process. If you have a question please put in the comments or you can simply e-mail it to me. I will answer all questions in future posts. You can be anonymous or provide your name. I ail not use last names.

From Holly: 

For those of us who read your blog, can you write about what specifically your son did to help himself get sober? What helped him then and does he do anything special now in order to continue being sober?  

Dear Holly,

This is a somewhat long story and I want you to remember that what worked for Alex and us is not a road map for others. Each person finds recovery in their way and what we do must be for us.

In the Spring of 2010 it began getting obviously worse for Alex and our family. We didn't really now what was happening but we sensed a bad turn. At that time Alex was not living with us, he was with his girlfriend but he was also on the street at times.

We sensed things were going bad, didn't know what but we knew it wasn't good. Through the grapevine we learned Alex was speedballing. We knew that speed balling was a bad thing and the more we read the worse we felt. We come to realize that soon our son was likely to die. We also knew that our son was likely to die no matter what we did or didn't do.

Realizing our son was likely to die and from our mind it may be imminent due to this behavior caused us to face reality in a harsh way. We discussed what this meant for us. After many evenings of talk and tears we decided it was time for us to begin making plans for our son's funeral. We drove through the cemetery and picked out a plot in which to bury our son. We decided on a funeral home and discussed pall bearers and I began putting together thoughts about what I wanted to say at his funeral if I was able. In our mind we were burying our son. We just didn't have a body. Strange as it may seem this exercise did give us some peace to know that some unknowns were now known between Mom and I.

As I said Alex was living with his girlfriend. For some reason she threw him out. I have a guess what happened but I don't know. He naturally thought he could come back home. That was not happening. Mom and I had already discussed that we could not live in our house if we found him dead in our home. We decided up front what we needed to say. "I am sorry son but you cannot live here any more." When he arrived we had already packed what he had left here, a few clothes, in a garbage bag. We told him he could n't live here.

In fact, we not only told him he couldn't live here we also told him that we could no longer take another step down this path with him. We told him that we were finally OK with him using if that was the life he choose to live. But if he choose that path we could no longer be there for him. We told him that we had a granddaughter that needed us and we could not be what we felt were good grandparents with this in our life. Told him that if he chooses to follow this current path please do not even acknowledge us on the street if he sees us. We knew that just a simple, "Hi" would rag us back onto that horrible path. We wished him well in his decision and said goodbye.

We heard nothing from him or about him for two weeks. Our thoughts were that he had made his decision and in reality we were grieving the loss of our son, we just had no body.

At the end of two weeks his girlfriend called Darlene and ask if Alex could come to visit us. She said he was clear and sober. He showed up at her home on the third day after we sent him away. Don't know what was said but she allowed him in and he went cold turkey in her basement.

She told us at times she thought he was going to die he was so sick and convulsing so bad. It is true, a person can die from going cold turkey this way.

She told us that he had a profound experience that he had just lost the only people in this world that believed in him. In fact he said once that us continually telling him that we believed in him was what kept him going.

Alex was clear and sober.

I don't know exactly what keeps him clear and sober. His recovery belongs to him. Our recovery belongs to us. He has a job and a baby. He says that is a huge part of his recovery. For him that works, for others that means nothing. You see, it is personal.

I learned a lot in my recovery. I wrote about it as lessons learned parenting a addict in recovery.

I re-read your questions and I could have just answered, went cold turkey and I don't know. But I know you wanted more and you deserve more. Holly, I hope I answered your questions.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Ron for your thoughtful answer to my questions. I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to share your family's experiences. I'm glad that your son has found his way to a drug-free life that he is happy with. He is living a normal life now.
Take Care,

Haven House said...

Nice article...Keep posting ..

MommaG said...

What strong parents you are. Continue to write about your it helps so many of us.

Momma G

Anonymous said...

I stumbled on your blog from reading another and have been pouring through your posts for several hours now. I hope and intend to comment more at some point, but did want to at least clear up one incorrect statement you made in this post - claiming that someone can die from opiate withdrawal. That is simply NOT TRUE. It is true that you may wish you would die, but while it can be the most uncomfortable thing you ever go through - you will not die from it. This is not the case for Bezos (valium and the like) or from alcohol. Those can be deadly. However, opiates cannot. Trust me, my medical degree says so. :)

Anonymous said...

@Anon: I hate to play devil's advocate but I just don't like mis-information being spread around. While technically you're mostly right that opiate detox (cold-turkey) is not usually deadly, it would be wrong to dismiss the documented cases of it happening. Usually in those cases, they had other pressing health issues but guess what, even a 'healthy' young man like myself could have undiagnosed issues. All I'm saying is it's always better to detox under medical care. Peace and Love to you all!! -Blake

Anonymous said...

It sounds like we are either splitting hairs here or you are trying to be right just to be right - in any way possible. Certainly if there are other medical issues at play I guess death is possible - but then again, it was those "other issues" that caused the death - not the detox from opiates. I mean, this really is not that complicated nor a close call nor disputed - look at the CDC website, talk to any ER doc (at least any decent one) or rehab professional - hell talk to any jail. They don't even take someone out of a jail going through withdrawals when it is confirmed they are "only" withdrawing from opiates. Most certainly it makes much better sense (especially if you are the person in withdrawal) to have comfort meds to detox with but even then, that medical detox is different than alcohol or benzodiazepines. The mis-information would be that people die from opiate withdrawal - it simply is NOT true. Just don't confuse that with alcohol or benzos as there are thousands of cases of people dyeing from going cold turkey from that - it is truly very dangerous and can be a medical emergency. I have treated thousands of both of these types of patients - and the treatment is very different. In fact, it's malpractice or at least not standard of care for a doctor to cut someone off of benzos without a taper plan or medication to aid the withdrawal - not so for opiates. If you look it up (I'm talking PDR here - but even on the Internet), you will find this over and over again:

QUESTION: Can you die from Opiate withdrawals?

ANSWER:No. Deaths from withdrawal usually occur after someone has been detoxing and then returns to take their usual dose of opiates. System overload (overdose) or from other causes such as extreme dehydration.

The only people that will claim you can die from opiate withdrawal are detox centers trying to make a fast and usually large buck by scaring people. Even they will often claim a danger from effects "associated with".

SadMomma said...

Ijust read some of your stuff and felt like you were writing about me. It is so nasty. I am a life long enabler and I am working hard on changing that. I am wartching my two beautiful sons slowly kill themselves and leave who they used to be behind. My self and their family love them dearly and miss very much who they used to be.

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