Friday, August 7, 2009

Do you make the call?

Yesterday in the meeting, a mother spoke about her daughter who is in a bad way from alcohol/drugs. She wasn't a newcomer to Al-Anon. Over the years, she had been down the road to hell to get her daughter out of scrapes, jails, debt and all the other woes that occur with addiction.

This time the mother doesn't know whether to initiate efforts to get her daughter into rehab. She doesn't know whether to make the call that will get her daughter off the streets. All efforts in the past were made, only to go through the heartache of relapse. She said that as a mother she wants to do what she can to get her daughter the help that is needed. But she said that the "powerless" part of her wants the daughter to reach out for help, to want to be well. The mother doesn't want to enable anymore.

I wished that Lou, Cat, Karen, Mom and Dad, Pam, Mary and other bloggers who have dealt with the struggles of having a child be addicted had been there to offer their E, S, and H. I know what I felt in my heart. I knew without much thought that I would do whatever I could to reach out to someone I loved to get them to a treatment facility. But as a member shared, he let go of any expectations once he made the call to get his son into treatment. He tossed the life ring; it was then up to the addict to grab hold and save himself.

I am glad that I don't have to make a decision about whether to jump in the water and place his hands on the ring and and then pull him to shore. My prayers go out to all of you who deal with these decisions on a daily basis and to those who are still sick and suffering. May God hold you in his hands.


  1. Syd some of the most enlightening tells I have heard have been by parents - many in the program helped me figure out that there was a better way to go about this life...

    Wishing you a very happy weekend.

  2. I'm the daughter of the father who could of been the kid who needed help. In the end he didn't want me around or my help. All I could was take care of my side of the street. Do I wish my dad would of grabbed on the lifeline - 100 times over. But there comes a time and place it truly is out of your hands. (Hugs)Indigo

  3. sometimes the saying"there are none so blind that will not see" comes into play.All we can do is take care of our own house first,and keep slamming our heads into a wall when others do not want to be part of a program that really works.
    I for one never had any children in either of my two marriages.

  4. Having traveled the road back and forth, are around in circles, I would never tell anyone what to do one way or another. In fact, the only thing I do understand about addiction is that there is no "right" answers.

    I use my heart, head, sponsor, and professionals now. I used to make crazy, panicked decisions that only made the situation worse.
    AlAnon doesn't give me finite answers, it gives me the strength to listen to my own inner voice
    about my own family.

  5. I am the alcoholic.

    My last drink was before an ER visit with my best friend in tow. She brought me in, sat at my bedside and the second the doctor walked in she looked me dead in the eyes: "Either you get sober or don't call me again".

    I've been sober for over 20 years. I'm still white knuckling some days, specially as of lately, but I will never forget the dead a** stare she gave me. She meant it.

    We fell out of favor for awhile until my pride forgave myself for hating her for making it so hard to choose.

    She, and I, did the right thing. Somehow the one holding out is the one needed to shake the person into recovery.

  6. I know I had to do it myself. No one could get me there (recovery) but me. By the time I got here I wanted it so badly that I have stayed. One day at a time.

  7. I understand how she feels and I will say a prayer for her. She doesn't want to enable. She realizes that her past efforts have not worked. I'm glad she's going to Alanon meetings.

  8. As a parent I know I would do whatever I could to help one of my daughters, but ultimately the addict has to make the decision to get sober or clean. I believe that only when this occurs will rehab and recovery programs work.

  9. Bless her heart. I've discovered thru the years that during some of the mayhem I have lots of strength and conviction about the right thing to do, and others....I just hide in the bathroom.
    I'm at a loss right now about my son. I'm doing nothing at the moment and that does not feel right, but Houston is too large to go driving around looking for him. I pray...It beats hiding in the bathroom.

  10. I wish her well and prayer for her.
    Weird timing as I just wrote a similar post about my own situation.

  11. I don't know the answer. For me, as the alcoholic, no one told me I needed to get help or made any interventions. But when I put out word that I wanted help (which was, actually, about half a year after I mentioned I was thinking about getting help to a couple people close to me, who only told me they would be there for me the second I gave them the go ahead), they were immediately there, helping me make the calls and visiting me in rehab and being totally supportive.

    I don't know that everyone has such a great support system. I don't know that every alcoholic or addict hasn't burned every bridge before they get to the point where I was. I think, also, my support system knew that once I raised the white flag that I was going to give things my all. Perhaps that was why they stayed back from pushing anything on me. I'm not entirely sure, but I do know that I would not have responded well to any sort of pressure. If I had been abusive to my loved ones during this period, gotten into any kind of legal or social trouble, they might have lost patience. But the toll was primarily on my health (which was not kind to them in any way, and I am not condoning it) and they never knew me to "get ready to ask for help" before. They kinda knew it was a momentous thing that I was hinting at needing anyone else at all.

    So, like many have said in a much more eloquent manner, the addict won't get sober until the addict is ready. Before then, I think the best the friends and family can let the addict know that they love the addict and when they are ready to get clean, they will help.

  12. Heavy sigh...I know of two addicts who died this week from their disease. With that said, the addict themselves has to want to take that first step. Even just lift their eyes and let someone know they need help. Anything. I like the life preserver story...throw it out there, but they have to grab on. The biggest hurdle for me was to understand that its not my journey. I can't direct it or control it...I can only be available to be there, to love and give a ride if the request is made.

  13. like most things in life there is no 'right' answer

    ive seen people who say they wanted to stay sober repeatedly relapse after extensive rehab. plus i see many very normal ex-rehabs relapse simply because i believe it is not very effective at keeping people stopped. basically i have yet to find a rehab with a percentage success rate higher than that of my home group of ? 200-300 ppl. I think i've only met ? 1 in 20yrs that I discovered had been drinking from the home group in 88. perhaps there are more, but i havent met em. but it is very hard to keep up with 200-300 ppl so I can only comment on the ones i have bumped into since. if we had had facebook back then keeping in touch would have been sooo much easier!

    so rehab can fail even those that want it.

    all i know is that if someone wants to drink they will. and that the way i learned how to 'do' that was step 1. and that many tsep 1's ae inadequate in that respect. in my opinion.

    having said that. if i thought death was imminent, i might use rehab as a way of delaying that prospect for a little bit longer. buying time if you will.

    also if i was a parent in this situation i might consider detoxing them at home. but you need no job. 24hr caring for ? 8 weeks, and the right personality for the job. its the same as rehab, but very !!! hard work for 8 weeks. not sure if many would have sufficient grit or financial resources to do it.

    the more you know about the situation, the easier it is to draw a conclusion. but yeah i dont envy your friends decision. i hope she manages to reach a decision she is reconciled to.

  14. With my wife I never had any expectations that she would enter rehab because I wanted her to. She had to do it herself. I simply kept a dialogue going with her about her problems at the time. Thank god that day finally came and she seems to "get" it.

  15. I have a friend here who I always think of when people start to share their anger, frustration, hopelessness...

    He has a strength in him that I am in Awe of when it comes to his son's addiction and actions.

    With a loving imperfection, C always seems to find strength to love just enough to let go completely, and Alanon is all the more blessed with his willingness to share his ESH.

    I find so many bloggers who are doing the same. And I'm all the better for it shows me that my pain is worth sharing, I can help others...and feel... strength in that to face the things in me.

  16. Ugh, sometimes the stuff we choose to experience is overwhelming.

  17. Parent of an Alcoholic/Addict is not a badge I wear publicly but I do know that while my spouse's drinking brought me to my knees, my kid had me flat out on the ground asking God for help. I went to 6 meetings a week, stuck like velcro to my sponsor, prayed, prayed, prayed, and the peace came..but not quickly nor easily. Funny thing is that I needed a lifeline too. Thank the heavens for Alanon.


  18. I understand her situation very well. After five years of encouraging my addicted child I want to give up. The bottoms are so ugly but when things get better, self-will comes back in and away they go on another run. Over and over.

    I am out of idea's and hope. This child needs to do it on their own. No help from me.

  19. When I had my own very recent experience with what you write about here, I am so grateful to have been in Al-Anon long enough to know where to turn.

    I liked what Lou said. She wrote, "I use my heart, head, sponsor, and professionals now." That's what I did. It wasn't easy by any means, but it was the right way to approach deciding what course of action to take.


  20. I have a friend who helps me and I help her to define that fine line between help and enabling. We ask each other 2 simple questions:
    1) Am I caring more about their sobriety than they are?
    2) Am I doing (or about to do) something they could do for themselves?

    If the answer is yes to either one of these, I've probably crossed that line. These always seem to help when getting involved with others who aren't quite done yet.

  21. I thank God this person has a group with you in it. I have opinions about this. I have my own experience, strength, and hope - about myself and about being the mother of an addict and alcoholic.

    I sobered up because I wanted to. My daughter did too. That is an inside job.

  22. It's nothing we thought of as parents when they were born, went to kindergarten, joined their first soccer team, excelled in science in Middle School, took up the saxophone in the 6th grade, had there first girlfriend....joined the football team.......graduated HS after their first DUI..........had a second DUI Soph. yr. in college.............3rd DUI months later...................................treatment, 3/4 house, relapse, community college, relapse, job, relapse, loss of job....
    Excuse me, I need to call my sponsor. Thank GOD for the program.

  23. I am with Lou, also. There is no "right" answer.

    Also, what Mary C says is SO true, it is an inside job. Nobody, NO one is going to "keep me sober". Also NO one got me sober in the end, it was me seeing the problem, and making a decision...and I'm sure God was there also.

  24. ..sometimes it's all I can do ...NOT to chase my addicted son around like a little one (he's 19).. His choice of addiction can be found anywhere ...cough and cold meds..(kids call it robotripping) ,gasoline,air-dusters for cleaning computers....u name it ..he's probably tried it.I once told him I would handcuff him to me if I thought it would help him stop destroying his life.(months and months in various rehabs and being made a ward of the state and locked up just to keep him alive didn't seem to have a long term success rate) ...Trying to detatch from an addicted son or daughter and allowing them to"learn to make good choices" in life feels a lot like leaving a toddler alone in a room filled with sharp objects.. it just doesn't feel so wring your hands and bite your lip and wonder ...did I ...did I ..did I..and what if ...what if...what if....and you constantly want to peek in..My son doesn't live at home anymore (his decision ) and is now facing legal issues resulting from his addictions...and I am trying to remind myself I was and am a good parent ...after all...I do remember "counseling" him about running with read your posts here daily and it helps me try to work on my own control issues and let him deal with his...just for today...I will choose to remember the good days with my son ..and hope today is one of those.

  25. i hope she accept the helping hand...

  26. Sometimes al-anon isn't enough for a particular addict. Sometimes they need to go through an alcohol rehab program first. Learn more about alcohol addiction treatment here:


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