Newbie here... I saw David being interviewed on TV about a year ago. Couldn't believe there was another human being that was going through what I was going through. Now, I am having a terrible time adjusting to my adult child being clean after 10+ yrs of meth use. After the absolute horror, is now back at home with 3 months clean, none of the behaviors are changing. Up late, sleep late, avoid, avoid, avoid, hide, avoid some more. No effort to make any changes; all talk, no do. I feel like I'm enabling all over again and I'm becoming codependent again -- although no use is involved, yet... Is this at all normal?
this is the slippery slope we all face. Whenever my son came home after periods of sobriety he relapsed, he has had 6 and even 8 month stretches of recovery but once back in the same environment a switch gets turned on. and he reverts to his old ways (and I revert to my old ways, it's just an inevitable part of the syndrome). A few months is just not enough time to set up entirely new patterns of thinking and behaving. Probably the best thing for your son is to have him spend the next 6 months in a structured sober living environment, like Salvation Army, Teen Challenge (which is also for adults) or any other well run facility. He will need a lot more time working a program to begin the real recovery.
Hello Onetwothree...Hello Lori...and All! I have had extentive experience of seeing kids coming off drugs. My grand-son-in-law did go to prison for a year and then later was on strict probation (was drug tested weekly). He still acted like a druggie. The reality is that until they want to become clean....absolutely clean...the rehabs, even prison are a big waste. Today he's back on drugs...does not work.....age 43. I know a couple who worked for my son....they quit meth ater 15 years cold turkey. They are clean today but are in deplorable health. Lori, you are right..a few months is not enough time. What is the answer? I don't know. We need ranches set up were hopefully new passions are developed. The stays would have to be 2 or 3 years. Onetwothree, Lori, Do your sons show other passions? Take care, Deb
My son has been a heroin addict for 6 years. He was sober for almost 2 years after 90 days of treatment and 6 months of sober living. He's relapsed twice in the past 18 months, and we haven't offered treatment again. He no longer attends AA or NA, and simply isn't showing a commitment to sobriety. The point that you've all made is a good one. Even when addicts become sober, they continue to experience "stinkin thinkin", where they just can't seem to move on with their lives. There's a lot of anxiety, self-doubt, guilt and shame. My reading would suggest that this is because they've been checked out of life, have numbed themselves for years, and really no longer know how to deal with the daily struggles that life presents. I really believe that even a year is not enough time to help an addict reintegrate back into life. It seems that once rehab is over, there needs to be a time when addicts are coached about daily living skills, employment, etc. I understand that there are countries in Europe that insist on a 3 year committment. I don't think that our cases are that unusual. Many stints in rehab, months and years of being clean and sober, and then repeated relapses appear to be the norm. We all just have to hope and pray that their lives aren't lost in the struggle to finally get clean for good.
Deb makes an excellent point. I have thought the same thing, learning life survival skills on a ranch for 2-3 years, cut off from all drugs, could start the shift toward a new, healthier mental state, but this is something only available to people who could afford the half million dollars it would cost for this. But there are still no guarantees that the addicts could ever really function on their own afterwards, since many cannot handle independence, their impulsivity is just "off the charts" and probably just part of their brain wiring and unfixable. There are many people in prison who don't belong there, they just cannot manage their lives and compulsions, and prison is the new clearinghouse for the mentally ill. I wish I had an answer.
I have no answers either. My son is currently in 90 day rehab and I am hopeful and cautiously optimistic. I hope he is getting help early enough in his life and in his addiction that he can really stay sober. I know it is best for him and for the rest of us if he does not come back home to live.... and reading your posts convince me of this even more. As I think about it I know if he comes home we will fall into the same patterns and that will set him up for relapse.
One thing I will say is that through my work I have met several recovering addicts. They also give me hope.... because there are those who do get sober and stay sober, although relapse is always something they have to guard against. I think one thing that is really clear is that the motivation to be clean has to come from within the addict. Maybe it can start by external motivation, but to stay clean that has to come from within.
Hello All, You are right Lori....the cost would be unreal. I was thinking maybe the goverment might finance such camps. Then again, maybe it's just spinning wheels in mud. How do you change one's thinking? Maybe we already have a good part of our mind-set at birth. I see and read evidence of that every day. My oldest grandaughter M came over to my house to pick up something. I had just bought 50 6 inch potted zinnias from the wholesalers and lined them by the stone walk before planting them. M walked into the house, never said a word about the display. She was on drugs. Her goal was getting whatever to buy for the day. Who knows. Maybe she even stole a thing or two. Whenever I would see even the tiniest shard of her being normal I celebrated inside. Now I know a lot was play-acting to please me for the moment. She is now 40, 41 in May and looks deplorable, health is failing. At one time she was a raving beauty and had loads of smarts, talents. Was offered an art scholarship at college in Santa Fe. Her goals today still center around the drugs and advoiding the police. She has had a few stints in prison but always returned to the drug lifestyle. I don't know the answers. I just grasp at ideas. Each time she came out of jail, rehap, prison I felt she would change her life. How much are genetics involved? We need think-tanks all over the country on this subject.Hugs, Deb
Hi onetwothree. You asked "Is this at all normal?" The answer is yes, totally. 10 years on meth causes profound changes to the brain. Healing takes a long time. 3 months clean is a wonderful, wonderful start though. My son is 14 months clean (drug of choice was weed) and he still has some persisting druggie thought patterns and behaviors, but overall is much better. Gets a little better every month.
My son relapsed after rehab, but was actually able to see that it was partly due to hanging out with the same old people in the same old places. He has AA to thank for being able to see that.
I'm no expert, God knows, but I found that going to Al-Anon and reading Al-Anon books helped me calm down and get a better grip. My son found AA helpful at first, although he doesn't go anymore. He still sees a wonderful chemical dependency counselor once a week.
My son told me that in the early months of sobriety, it was important for me to praise him. I have a tendency to always spot the flaws in everything, so it was too easy for me to criticize his every error. Even if I was right, I was screwing things up for him. Al-Anon helped me focus on the positive and help him along. It helped turn the tide. These ill children of ours, they are starving for approval. It's a catch-22, because at first they don't really "deserve" it. When I let go of being critical and started smiling at him more, hugging him more, and acknowledging his struggle, it made a big difference. Quitting drugs is as hard as a 500-pound person losing the weight, keeping it off and running a marathon.