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How can an addict who actively uses make rational decisions about sobriety?

I am glad I came across this site. My 28 year old son has been in and out of rehabs. He has stayed sober for up to 8 months, and then he gets worse than ever. I spent Mother's Day in the ER with his overdose which by the way was not his first. He tested for 6 different drugs. Now, he has stolen money from his brother's bank account. I don't want him to die, but I cannot understand why he is destroying himself. He has had years of therapy; he is on methadone maintenance and it is hard to believe they continue to dose him when he is loaded. His sober living lets him live there in this condition. His Dad & I will buy him food but we do not give him money. We have paid for sober living, but now he is out of control. After 8 rehabs, I am not sure why he does not want sobriety. He suffers from anxiety, depression, sleep issues,etc. Tomorrow he will be given the ultimatum of detox & rehab or we are through. I am not sure I can deal with it if he won't go. I got to therapy & Al Anon, but I just can't give up on him. I love him and when he is straight, he is so caring. I know he suffers, too. I am torn about trying to get a guardianship. I don't want him to die, and I don't want to drive him away. What other choices are there?
8 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi and welcome. I'm so glad to hear that you are going to Al anon, that's the first thing suggested. You sound utterly tormented,which means (and I'm not saying this is easy) that you have detached yourself yet. You are still trying to figure out why why why. The answer is: addiction is cunning, baffling, powerful. Emphasis on baffling. This will never make sense to a non addict. I would try to stop wondering, you will only make yourself more crazy than you are right now.

A few things that stood out in your post. Spending mother's day in the ER. Loved ones of addicts often forget that they matter. That they aren't put on this earth to worry and manage an addict. You have purpose and meaning. You don't need to subject yourself to any more addict related drama or chaos.

You said you don't want to drive him away? Guess what, what you're doing isn't working is it? You don't want to do what's called "enabling him to death." That means, STOP paying for anything, rehab, sober living, food and therapy. Absolutely everything. I'm sure he knows Mom will be there when the going gets rough: that's a safety blanket to an addict. You wanna help increase the chances of saving him? Cut him off completely. Do not do one more thing for him except love him from afar and pray for him. This is a must. It will sting, but you will increase his survival rate. I would still be inhaling pills if someone was there to bail me out.

Keep going to alanon and sharing. Increase your meetings. Have coffee w/ fellows after. You'll be reminded that you aren't alone. Keep posting here too. Best of luck to you.
Avatar universal
*oops, that you HAVEN'T detached yourself yet.
Avatar universal
Hi,  reading your post reminded me very much of my closest friend and what she and her family are going through.  She has a daughter, same age as your son, who has been battling heroin and opioid addiction for years now.  She has been in and out of almost a dozen rehabs; none of it worked.  Is on methadone now but says she can't go off it or she will relapse, but its strongly suspected she is using on top of it.  She doesn't want to go to any meetings (NA or AA) because claims they 'make her want to use.'  Its heartbreaking, because the addiction is wrecking so many lives around her.   My friend's family doesn't know what to do.  They are afraid to cut her off (food, money, shelter)...if she OD's they feel it will be their fault.  It's an impossibly difficult situation.  I don't know what I can offer except to tell you that you're not alone.  Prayers to you.  This is such a horrible disease.
7163794 tn?1457366813
COMMUNITY LEADER
It's a ****** situation for any parent to be in....and there is no easy answer. However, I can tell you that in my N/A group, the people that make it, are the people that fall flat on their face!  You can give them the gift of "desperation!"  When they have NO WHERE left to go, and their TOTALLY starving, and have NO MONEY left....then and ONLY then, will they give up!  They have to give up!  In addiction, their fighting....fighting themselves, fighting their demons, fighting the drugs.....surrender is the only option that works!
Avatar universal
Hi E424 Welcome to the forum. The support/advice given above is accurate.. There is only 1 love in a active addicts life That is his drugs They will come before family love health money dignity life. Not we ourselves Want to get clean do we do it. Addiction is very selfish and self centered we lie cheat steal use our loved ones. As long as you enable your son your son will continue to use Unless He Himself comes to a Different conclusion. I know this is Harsh as much as reading the above but it is the truth of Addiction You have to let go to get them back. We have to Feel Ourselves the pain of what we are doing. The sooner you stop enabling him Hopefully the sooner you will get him back. Pleading crying getting angry Rehab therapy has not worked. Take it from a bunch of addicts he will quit when it becomes too painful to continue.. I wish you and yours well. lesa
1 Comments
Not till we ourselves want to get clean do we do it..
Avatar universal
Thanks to all of you for your responses. It is a heartbreaking, gut wrenching situation. At one point, I cut him off and he lived on the street. Nothing is rock bottom. I will somehow find the strength to detach with love. Thank you for giving me the strength.
1 Comments
E424. mom I have lived on the streets I have stolen meat from stores to supply my heroin habit I have stolen from my family forged checks stolen from strangers department stores I hitchhiked across the united states with 2 guys 1 a junkie like me I have slept under bridges fields being homeless I have also OD Thank the Good Spirits for watching out for me.. This is just a small sampling what many of us have been thru. Take Heart mom we are still here! I have been married for 36 years now have healthy great children we do come back we may struggle here and there as this is a life time of trying to survive this Disease thru pain operations just you name it. Pharmaceuticals are like poison any thing that can cause a effect.. So Yes it is hard but we do come back. So Please take a lil comfort we are pretty durable. Put out Good Energy for you son. love him but mom do not give anymore till he shows thru actions that he wants the help.. Prayers going up for your Son.. lesa
Avatar universal
I am the mother of a former heroin addict. My son is now a few years older than yours but, trust me, I could have written your post. I was a world class enabler. My son had everything: college educated, loving family, handsome as hell, charismatic and very bright. But addiction gripped him for at least 6 years. Like you, we tried everything and then we tried it all again. Finally, after the encouragement from a couple of "angels" on this site, I realized I had to walk away. It was the darkest and saddest time of my life...and I know sad because I am a cancer survivor.
I told my son to leave our home and not come back until he was ready to clean up. I honestly thought he would come back home within 30 days. He has never been arrested or experienced any legal issues.
Unfortunately, it took him 10 months to realize the game was over. He slept in his truck. He was arrested 7 times and my heart ached as letters from attorneys would arrive in the mail.
One of my angels reminded me when I was at MY bottom during this time: "you are trying to save his life. You can deal with the legal issues later. He can move on but you can not give in. He needs to walk this path alone."
Please understand that we are a family with means. No one has ever had any legal issues. It was devastating.
In January of 2016, my son came home and said he was ready to clean up. Thank God for Kaiser because they would not give up on him. It took almost 6 months of Intensive Outpatient Daily involvement for him to realize he needed to go to rehab. After 60 days, he came out a different person.
He just celebrated One Year Clean. We have wrapped up all the legal issues but he does have one Misdemeanor conviction for possession on his record. The attorney tells us that after 18 months, he will file to have the record expunged.
Life gets so dark and it can take time...but it is their time and  their life. I was floored the day my son came home from Kaiser and said "Mom, I am going to inpatient for 60 days because I am just going around in circles right now."
It was 100% his decision and only a mother who has walked this road to hell will understand how special it felt to see him step up and say "I am done".
Nothing we say or do ha one bit of impact on them until they are ready. That was probably my greatest learning after all the years of pain. He never heard one word we said.  One day, he was just "done".
Your son will get there. But trust me, you need to separate with love and an open door when he is ready. There may be some legal problems but that, unfortunately, will be part of the process. I honestly think the reason my son finally called it quits was because of the arrests. He knew life was going nowhere and he finally realized the damage he was doing to his future.
Back away. Don't give him money or pay for gas. Tell him to stay away until he is done.
He will come home one day and he will be ready to move on.
Take care of yourself and know that we are here for support if things get rough.
1 Comments
Damn, I wish every loved one of an addict could read what you just wrote. It should be in alanon literature!:) Excellent!
1530493 tn?1410056636
Hi E424,
I hope you haven't left, stay close, we won't let you do this alone !!
I can't add much to the above posts, they are spot on.
I too am a mom of a recovering iv heroin addict, he is going on 6 years clean.  To this day I still can't believe I can say that.
I came here about 10 years ago a TOTAL train wreck, took a long time for me to open up & post my story, I was very ignorant to addiction.
the advice given to me, was the exact advice given to you above.
As much as I wanted to do what I was told, my heart wouldn't let me.  My son was so sick...my question was how do you push your sick child away...right ?
What became painfully obvious over time was the simple fact just feeding him, putting a roof over his head was not helping him, it only intensified his addiction (he had NO reason to change )
I wasted precious time, getting my head in the right spot.
Our kids bank on and use our love to stay active.
the day came I was numb, as strongerone above said....I hit my rock bottom, I had no where to go but follow all advice given to me.
I too was given an "angel" that walked or should I say pushed me along my path.
words he said to me that I'll never forget were " Deb do you want to save your son, the ONLY way to do that is to let him go "
My son got clean several times because he was forced, but he wasn't ready.
Now this is a momma process...we need to learn to follow or gut, not our heart and look at the situation as it truly is, it doesn't come easy
if your son was in the terrible 2s, you would set boundaries and not cross them to change that negative behavior, that's what we need to do with our adult addicted children.
I left my son under a bridge on a cold Jan night, after he ran from 1 drug house to the next...he had no where left to go....I'm not proud of this in fact only being as numb as I was allowed me to do what it did.
he sent me a text, begging to come home. He told me he held enough heroin to not wake up.
I responded about an hour later, that he is my world, but I could no longer live his addiction, I wasn't going to watch him kill himself. I told him I loved him and I only wanted peace for both of us. I didn't want him in my life as an active addict.  
When I pressed send, I felt peace.  It was that moment I knew something was going to change, because "I" changed.
he got and stayed clean for alittle over a year....it was the first time he did it for himself.
he did relapse, for about 3 months, I repeated my process.
I stood my ground, also learned each relapse is one step closer.
after the 3 months of use he began to look at my love in a different way....he knew he was surrounded by love & I would give my all, only if he could be part of that process of saving his life.
that was nearly 6 years ago, things still get tough for him, but he's learning coping skills.
I will never claim victory but we both know where "our" boundaries are.
don't for one minute believe backing away from your son will compromise the love between you...you'll hear it all, very negative nasty ugly words. Know that's addiction talking not your son.
in the end you'll find a love that many will never understand....I call it a love beyond love. Just a simple look between you...you'll feel something only survivors of addict will know.
it's a LONG HARD heartbreaking road...don't try to do it alone, lean on people that understand your position.
BELIEVE ....change can happen & does more than were aware of.
That change needs to start with us as parents.
I've met many mom's/ dads here, that now have recovering addicts. I keep telling them they need to return to the forum, to give hope to those who need it.
most cant...it's very painful to relive.
As jifmoc said we can love them to death, those are strong true words.
leza, she was one of my guiding lights
Strongerone...oh sweet lady, you hold a very dear spot in my heart.
one year clean...what a BEAUTIFUL thing to read !!!
I celebrate with you & am SO PROUD of him, but I have to say I'm just as proud of you <3
A long post...I apologize, they seem to be my norm :)

E424...your not alone here


1 Comments
Please listen to Deb. She is one of my angels. Her words are based on pain and knowing from having walked in our shoes. I would trust her with my life and the life of my precious son....and I did. I don't think he or I would be in this recovery place without her. So hard to follow these sage words...we know and understand. If you aren';t ready yet, we will stay with you until you are ready.
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