Thursday, February 27, 2014

Question #1 from Guest Blogger

My question would be... If I'm the only positive, constructive and truthful voice in my son's head... when he asks me to back off from talking about drug abuse OR anything negative relating to it for whatever his reason ... do I? I guess I feel like if I do "back off" I will just lose him to the demons of addiction that already seduce his mind with it's voice and he will lose himself even more. How does a loved one of an addict determine when to walk away?

Your question is one probably all of us struggle with every day. How do we communicate more effectively? No matter if it is with your son who struggles with addiction or if it is with a spouse, friend or boss. I am going to stick with communicating with your son in my answer, I have no advice or answers for the others, especially spouse, says Darlene.

You are the light for your son. You cannot stop providing your message of love and the dangers of addiction however sometimes it isn't the message but the delivery. Often times I would say to my son while he was using, "My eyes can hear much better than my ears." It was hard for me to internalize my own statement but it got better when I did.

Sometimes actions speak much louder than words. Actions demonstrate your words. Hugs and positive reinforcement when they do small things right provide the lubricant for those times when it is time to say the things he doesn't like to hear. You have to remember that you can say the same thing 100 times but if he isn't "hearing" what you say no communication takes place.

Become cognizant of when it the right and wrong time to talk about this with your son. Just like when driving on the street, there are red lights and green lights. There are days when you hit every red light no matter where you are going and any direction you take. Other days every light is green and the sun shines on you no matter where you are. The same thing happens in communicating with your son. Most of the time in his actions you can see the yellow light of caution, yellow doesn't mean speed up and blast through. Many times determining what color the light is can be as simple as asking.

I could give you a lot of good pointers but in truth when I was trying to communicate with Alex while he was using, I WAS THE WORST! My communication style was reminiscent of a Marine Drill Sargent on Paris Island. I was a slow learner but I did learn to speak with Alex instead of speak at Alex.

Some of the things I learned the hard way was already known by some really smart people about all of this and put into a short guide. I've been pitching this thing a lot lately, only because it is so good and makes so much damn sense. Go to The Parents 20 Minute Guide. Third button top of the page is about communicating.

How does a loved one of an addict determine when to walk away? You walk away when it is not healthy for YOU. You must take care of yourself. You can't help anyone if you aren't healthy inside. I know you've heard my simple question before. "If your son was ready to stop using today, or ready to talk, are you healthy enough to know what to do or say?" You must take care of yourself too so that your ARE ready when that day comes.

Thank you for your question. I have answered it the best I know know how. There is a lot of wisdom out there with my readers. I hope they chime in too with comments. None of us are alone in this, we all need each other.

For anyone interested the mother that ask this question also writes her own blog about her life with an addicted son. You can read her story here: Hands Full Of Tears


Renee Sechrist said...

I read a really powerful blog the other day and the part below really stuck with me. I think it applies to question asked by the parent in this blog. It read:

"At this point I know I seem like I’m contradicting myself. I just said you can’t fix a broken brain with a broken brain, and now I’m telling you that an understanding of my disease helped set me free. I can only tell you this: all alcoholics and addicts have moments of lucidity – tiny cracks of sanity where we see the truth of ourselves and our lives. And I believe some of us are lucky to get the kind of help we need during that moment of clarity, or surrender, or internal death. And if we’re set on a path from that point, we might make it."

I think we don't stop speaking to them about that addiction and trying to help because we hope that we can hit a bulls-eye during one of those moments of lucidity...when they are experiencing a crack of sanity.

I don't want to quote a blog without also leaving the link to it so...

Ana Counts said...

Thank you!!! Thank you so much for the advice. Somedays I feel like I can handle all this and some days I completely shut down.

Its so hard to determine when the light is green and when the light is red because I feel so color blind right now. Like I'm trying to feeling my way out of a large dark room with obstacles all around me trying not to knock anything over while trying to find my way out. It seems impossible sometimes.

When my son asked - told me to stop with the drugs talk/text, I thought to myself... please don't ask me or tell me to do that because I can't I won't, you need to hear the truth. Renee, that's exactly how I feel, I hope and pray one of these days I hit the bulls-eye and something I said sinks in and makes the difference.

Thank you for posting my question. Your advice is what I needed to hear, it helps.

Dad and Mom said...


When your color blind just ask your son what color the light is that day.

"Son, I am really troubled about something but there are times I don't say things the way I mean them. Is today or now a good time to talk about what is bothering me?" yes/no (green/red)

Yes / Thank you, I would like to tell you how I feel and what I am scared of…………. How does that make you feel?

No/ Thank you for letting me know that it is not a good time. It makes me feel better that you know I need to talk. I'm sure we will find a good time later.

There are no magic words or silver bullets you can say. I said every word in the English language, I am sure. But he kept using. Remember, sometimes the words you say can have a bigger effect on you than it does on your son.

There are only 4 words that I found that ever had any effect. They are: "I" "LOVE" "IN" and "BELIEVE"

I love you
I believe in you

Al's Mom said...

This really help more than you know! I'm at a stand still with my son and I'm finding myself at a new crossroad. I just would like some clarity and this has given me some... THANKS again! Please keep posting and speaking out about this. It's parents like me who need this kind of support and knowledge to help guide us on this long deserted road.

Have a wonderful weekend my friend!

Al's Mom said...

I'm Ana... and I'm Al's mom! ;) It's a pleasure to meet you!

Syd said...

Good stuff, Ron.

Raging Alcoholic said...

Taking care of yourself is a good idea. Once they are really ready to start recovering, when they are between the contemplation and the actions stages of change you want to be well rested and ready for anything. when the time is right you have to be ready to act. If they need detox, have some money set aside. Get momentum on your side. Once they have been sober for awhile they can begin to think. Thinking to soon can lead to shame and regret. These two emotions are enemies. Later, they become allies, but now, no good.
You are going to need a lot of energy.