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Stories - page 3



The Need to Let Go...

Hi,

I am a mother of 3 adult children 2 are married with children and my son, until recently was living with me, he is 28. My son has been on drugs since he was 16, and says he doesn't want to get off because he likes it. He is a really good hard worker in the construction industry but recently has not been going to work, maybe a day here or there. He overdosed on heroin and tablets last year when he was involved with a woman of 45 also using. I got him to be assessed but it was very hard to get him to go and I eventually got him to see a psychologist. My partner and I got him clean for 3 months but he obviously went back to drugs again. He has never stolen from me or anyone, he does have a heart of gold. I had just bought a house and he was so happy, but he has gone backwards again. He is with people who like to use as well.

I have found needles hidden in my house and I confronted him with it, as well as not going to work. I stay at my partner's place on the weekend as he lives on the other side of town and I work full time. My son had another older woman in the house using as well while I was not there, so when I came home he was in bed and I said to him we needed to talk about things.  He then got up and screamed at me that I should just put my head in the sand and let him do what he wants. I told him that I don't want to live like this and with that he said he was going and if I kept nagging him I will never see him again. He has never spoken to me like that before.

I have been bailing him out of financial problems for years and am realising it's not helping him. I worry about him, if he is in a clean, safe environment  and going to work, I love him so much. He grew up without his father who was a very violent man. I have tried to talk to him about getting professional help. He refuses and says he is not ready to get off what he is doing. I never wanted him to leave like this but I think I am part of the problem for helping him out of so many financial and driving offences over the years I need some help too as I am very soft. My heart is breaking as I know the good side of him but he is changing even more lately.

- C.D.

 

Dear CD,

Addiction is a progressive illness, that is, it tends to get worse as time goes by.  There are very few addicts who can maintain their drug use and behaviour at a constant level over time. It also sounds like your son is in denial about the problems being caused by his addiction.  Of concern is the fact that he has become verbally abusive with you and has used threats/emotional blackmail to try to get you to do what he wants ("if you keep "nagging me" (= objecting to my bad behaviour in your house) I will leave and you will never see me again").  Abusive and controlling behaviour is also progressive, and you need to nip it in the bud. If you allow him to return to your house, it would be a good opportunity to set boundaries and appropriate rules of behaviour.

It sounds like you have achieved a good deal of insight on your own into what is making you soft with your son.  Mothers are particularly vulnerable to being too soft with their addicted children...(the "invisible umbilical cord").  As well, as parents, if we think that our child has missed out on something (in your case, growing up with a father) we can easily over-compensate by being too soft, indulgent or over-protective, and not setting proper boundaries. These are exactly the things that the Nar-Anon program can help you with.  I urge you to find a Nar-Anon group to attend as soon as you can.  If that is not possible, please look for a counsellor, ideally someone with a D&A (drug and alcohol) background.

Best wishes,
Dave

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The Addict becomes the Focus of the Family...

My brother is 39 and unemployed for over 10 years due to his dope addiction since he was a teenager. My mother has always enabled him and refuses to see that she is still doing so. He was married and living with his wife and child until she finally left 2 years ago. My mother used to give him money for their grocery bills, or their mortgage payment when they didn't have enough with his wife's salary, never asking why they needed it, which of course gave him more money to buy drugs. His wife ASKED my mother to stop giving him money but she continued to do so.

My mother then paid the full mortgage and all expenses to allow him to live in that house for another year after his wife left, smoking pot all day and playing games, until his ex-wife got lawyers to force the sale of the house. My brother rarely saw his child during this year, and my mother would get his "custody time" every week instead.

A year ago my brother moved in with my mother when his house was finally sold. He still does nothing except use drugs all day and has one of my mothers credit cards for his use for any "expenses". He acts like it is his right to not work and have other people pay for him and his drugs. He does not even get any Centrelink payments as he doesn't qualify (wouldn't look for work) so contributes nothing and my mother pays for everything.

There is now a custody battle between my brother and his ex-wife over my 4 year old niece. My mother is paying for the best lawyers available and it is going to a full court battle, at massive expense. This is obviously about my mothers access to her granddaughter since my brother VOLUNTARILY did not see his daughter for months on end and was then completely distant with her on the odd occasions my mother could get him to see her. Even when living with my mother, when my niece was visiting he would lock his bedroom door and rarely interact with her.

My father also died in the last year, and he was living in a very nice house in another suburb as my parents had been separated but were 'dating' again. The will from 30 years ago was not remade so everything went to my mother. She has now decided she is keeping the house for my brother to live in for free. Myself and my siblings, including a sister from his first marriage, will get nothing. My mother says it is none of my business since it is her house now. Since the court has ordered supervised visitation with his daughter while the battle continues, he still lives with my mother part time, but has a whole other house to go to when he isn't allowed to be in the house during his daughters overnight stays.

This has become a massive issue more recently for my husband and I since we are now starting our own family. We have struggled to become pregnant via IVF as my husband is a leukaemia survivor. My mother was completely unsupportive of us during this process, despite having some truly terrible times with illness and heart wrenching sadness. We started refusing to visit her house as it was always filled with dope smoke and I did not want to be exposed while trying to get pregnant. My mother "put her foot down" and made him smoke just outside the back door, where he now has a recliner chair to sit in so that he is comfortable while being 'forced' outside, but of course the smoke is still everywhere. She also insists on telling me in detail about every 'drama' that he is going through although I have told her I don't want to know about it.

It has gotten to the stage where I refuse to see my brother or and will not talk to my mother is she talks about him, as I get so frustrated by it all. She tells me I am too harsh and need to be supportive since he is going through a hard time (like we were supported through our hard times?) She says she will NEVER kick him out and that I am a terrible person for suggesting it. She tells me I am just jealous. She refused to see his manipulative behaviour, or even that he has an addiction. I do not know what to do to help break the unhealthy situation. Previously my mother and I were very close. And selfishly I am sad that I am losing my mother over this and that she will choose to not know our children if it comes to that to continue her enabling. I cannot understand her choices.  I am very sad and struggling with how to manage this. Are there any suggestions?

 

You are right that this is an unhealthy situation (to say the least!), but you are not right to think you are being selfish at feeling sad that you are losing your mother over it.  The addict in a family nearly always takes centre-stage and sucks resources out of the family, however this case sounds more extreme than most.

There is possibly a reason for your mother's extreme enabling behaviour, such as a feeling on her part that she owes your brother a particular debt of some kind.  It may be difficult for you, even as a family member, to see what that might be, although it may be productive for you to think back over earlier events in your family.  Enabling behaviour is usually engaged in to make the enabler feel better in the moment.  In any case, your mother's treatment of your brother is very destructive of his ability to be a mature, self-sufficient adult with a sense of personal achievement.  Why would he not think that it his right to not work, and to have other people pay for him, when that is the message he is constantly being given?

I am sure that attending a Nar-Anon group would be very helpful for you and your husband, and I suggest that you both join a group as soon as you can.

Best wishes,
Dave.

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Commitment to Recovery...

Hi,

I am 36. I have a partner who has a heroin and alcohol addiction. Reading these stories has helped me in a way that makes my situation real, the stories show me a degree of urgency to change things for myself. I reach out to Naranon to share my story, I know there are so many families affected by drugs and alcohol in Melbourne. Today I saw my best friend in the world and I could not bear to tell her another dramatic story. I listened to her news, it was good for a change - but I need to share it with those who are going through the same.

I have been with my addict partner for almost 8 years and I knew he had a cocaine and alcohol problem when I met him but it didn't scare me off. he was wonderful, a successful artist and a gentle-natured man. We have 1 child together, and my 13 yr old daughter lives with us full time, he has a 13yr old son, who stays only twice a week. I simulate a happy functioning family very well, when it all falls apart, I cannot hide it, it's very damaging. My addict partner did rehab 4 months ago - and is doing NA, he had been clean for 4 months, but he had started drinking heavily then evidently used heroin this weekend. He is still using. Before rehab - his habit lasts for about 5 days, then clean for about 6 weeks, then on again........ It has been going on for 4 years with heroin, I have gone through all the stages of hysteria, extreme fear, anxiety, migraines, wanting to control, now I want my joy back.

In his clean time, I managed to forget the anxiety and despair I had - but when he used on the weekend - it surfaced again and it seems like the feeling never went away. I feel so destroyed and angry.

The events were very dangerous for the children, he is remorseful and explaining that he wants to stop, and saying that I should see that he has good intentions. It baffles me how he can expect me to trust him or to believe him. Saying he WILL stop, when he actually hasn't STOPPED, or saying he won't drink, when he had just used heroin.

I have said I will have to move out, that it is the end of the line for me. I also said that before he went in rehab, We are financially ok -( for now ) so I could set myself up elsewhere, I keep looking at houses to rent. I want the mental escape, the peace, the ownership of my own energy. But I cannot bring my body to make it happen. It must be shock. I feel like there is poisonous gas inside of me.

In his clean time with the help of NA, I kept encouraging him, loving him, mentioning how good it was to just 'be'. I still wanted more and more love, I wanted to catch up on what I hadn't received, I have been obsessed with feeling loved and wanted. Even wanting to actually have a wedding, we have been engaged for 6 years. I should really just give up I know.

I am addicted to living out the plans we make, to the hope, the hope keeps me going. But Hope seems endless and without form.

It's the handing over to the higher power that makes me feel the strongest. I pray for myself, I pray that I can provide a stable honest family, even if it's just one parent for my girls. Me. I let go of the nuclear family dream with him, My self-preservation instinct is more powerful, I concentrate on what I CAN actually feel, not what I dream of feeling.

I am too precious and beautiful to be disrespected, he cannot have someone like me, I cannot love someone like him.

I start my own recovery.

- Pris

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Let Go, Let God

Hi,

These stories have helped me so much, especially your share Dave. I am an addict, 5 years clean thanks to the grace of God and the 12 steps. Last year I fell in love with another recovering addict who relapsed about 3 months ago. The last 3 months has been hell as I have watched him become consumed by his addiction and ultimately hardly resemble the man I fell in love with. I have remained with him now through 5 relapses, several over-doses and probably several hundred lies.

Thanks to these stories I am now certain that the most loving thing to do is to detach with love from this man. I don't know what God's plan is for him but I now understand I need to get out of his way. Even though my heart tells me to keep loving and supporting him I can now see this is actually contributing to the problem and causing me enormous emotional stress.

Thank you for all who shared their experiences. It has really helped me.

 

___________________

 

In love with an addict...

I am amazed to read all these stories. It makes me very sad.

I am 36 years old. Two years ago I fell in love with a man my age, who was five years clean after 15 yrs of heroin addiction. He got clean after rehab and being committed to NA.

We had a deep relationship. Sometimes I noticed he was addictive and OCD about certain things, like gym/body image, or being clean. We broke up after one year, as I am wanting a child in my near future, and he is not ready. After we broke up, he started drinking again and soon spiralled back into heroin addiction. It was his first big love (clean) and he didn't know how to deal with the emotion of a breakup.

I was devastated, watching him rapidly loose everything in addiction. I joined Co-dependents Anonymous, which helped immensely. After two stints in detox this year he still can't break the habit. He is going to NA meetings and has a sponsor, but has realized from his relapse that there were certain levels of his emotional pain and childhood wounds he had not dealt with in recovery. He also had not done the steps, nor did service in NA, even though he went to regular meetings. Often people say you relapse again to realize you're not god, and it really wakes you up to true recovery and healing.

He has left town and gone back to his mum's until he can get into rehab (too many heroin connections here now).

The difficult thing is we still love each other, though we are not in relationship. He wants to be with me, wants what I want (kids etc), sees what went wrong etc, but I am not going back there, too much risk (yet?....ever?...). 

However we are in contact, and I am trying to be supportive, but I am feeling despair about his terrible condition. He already overdosed this year (was revived in an ambulance) and I feel, even though he is honest about his commitment to heal and be clean, he has a looooong way to go. 

It breaks my heart so much. I am trying to find the balance between being a kind support and detaching myself from him, and taking care of myself. I really went downhill this year when he relapsed. I don't want to suffer and worry any more.

There is no Nar-anon in my area. I wish there was, or a SKYPE meeting, but I have CoDa which is pretty good, and a supportive therapist and meditation practice. Maybe I could go to AL-anon as there is a meeting in my area.

I am aware I am in a dysfunctional situation, though the love and care is genuine as well. What I also struggle with is the guilt, shame and frustration that I feel this way, and I am still involved on some level.

___________________

 

Danger signs!

Wow! As I write this I feel a little sad but much strength. 

I have been involved with a recovering heroin addict. He is so out of touch with reality and gets very angry when his lies are not believed. Last night I asked him to leave my home as I wanted to have me time in my own house. He is looking for work but currently unemployed. I refuse to make him feel comfortable about his story telling and I do let him know that I do not believe in his grand gestures of sincerity. One of his favourite things to say is "honest to God in heaven".

Back to last night. I got up to use the bathroom and I saw him standing outside my front door. I looked closely and made sure I was seeing what I was seeing. I then went to bed. Over a three hour period he stood outside my door texting me. I kept going out to check to see where he was. The last time I went, he had walked around the house and was trying to peek in my bedroom window. He thought he had ducked down in time but hadn’t. I decided this was enough. When he came to my home in the morning I told him about what I had seen. He vehemently denied it. It just angered me. He had tried to convince me before that I had a prowler. He smashed my violin and denied it and only confessed to it when I let him know that he was filmed doing it. I refuse to let him know where the hidden camera is.

His family is tired. I get tired of his attempts to try and control my life. He gets frustrated and throws tantrums because apparently I am not easy to fool. Now I have had enough. Not only is it boring. But when someone is addicted and refuses to join reality. The battle is already lost. I am done. I thank everyone for their stories.

 

You are playing a very dangerous game with this person, and you must stop engaging with his antics immediately.  What you are describing is very typical controlling behaviour, including stalking, harassment, intimidation, abuse and violence against property. It stems from a feeling on the part of the perpetrator that you are in a sense their property, and can be made to do what they want. It is progressive (gets worse with time). People behaving in this way are potentially extremely dangerous. This is a matter for the police, and I urge you to involve them immediately.

I also urge you to start attending Nar-Anon to help you to explore the reasons that you are prepared to engage in this kind of dangerous game with such a person.

Best wishes,
Dave.
 

___________________

 

Living with an addict

Hi, I'm Rod. I've never been to an Alanon or Naranon meeting, but I've been urged constantly to do so by a couple of friends who are recovering addicts and long time members of NA. After reading the stories posted on this site I have felt a little hope and I would like to share my story. 

I have known my addict since she was 12, when she was fostered by a friend’s parents because her parents were out of control, abusive alcoholics. She was like my little sister then, smart, beautiful, with a zest for life. Let’s say that my mate’s parents weren't fit to foster a dog. Due to circumstances beyond her control she lost her relationship with my mate’s parents at age 15, and started babysitting a heavy heroin-using prostitute’s children while she worked, became involved with the wrong people, and became involved with a man who bashed and raped her constantly over 6 years, and produced a beautiful son. We met again at a friend’s 21st birthday party. I knew something was going on as she had aged beyond her years and wasn't the happy girl I had known. We had gone out to a hotel, drinking together and one thing led to another. We started seeing each other, and very soon I fell in love with her. She had left her abuser and moved in with me with her 4 year old son. She was addicted to heroin and was on a methadone program. For years I thought I was helping her to get well but I was just enabling her drug use. Her 4-year-old is now almost twenty; we have three beautiful daughters and two more sons.

Things have been bad for years, she started using ice and cocaine almost 6 years ago briefly to get her over her post natal depression she said, none of which I believed at the time and I know now was something she had been doing all along. She doesn't cook, clean the house, wash clothes, take kids to school or any normal motherly activities. I've lost my family, friends, jobs, sanity and everything I ever had to her and her addiction. I'm still here looking after all my kids by myself. I'm so ashamed of my life. I haven't formed a relationship outside of work with anyone for 15 years, money still disappears and bills and rent don't get paid. When I give her the slightest glimpse of my trust she takes it and runs. My soul is destroyed and I'd almost lost hope until I read some stories on this site. I now know that I am an enabler, but I'm trying.

 

Hi Rod,

I would also urge you to start going to meetings.  Plainly your partner's addiction and behaviour have come to pretty much dominate your life.

It is very common that people in your situation become isolated, partly because of shame and embarrassment, partly because of the demands of caring for the family and running the household single-handed. Isolation means that the normal, healthy process of comparing notes with other people cannot take place, and you are vulnerable to accepting increasingly mad and bad behaviour in your partner as normal.  Attending meetings is a way to re-establish contact with other people in a non-judgmental environment where you will not need to feel shame or embarrassment.

Working the Nar-Anon program will also help you to stop enabling your partner's behaviour.  This, and your recovery, have the best chance of stimulating the desire for change in your partner.

(Yes, in Nar-Anon we talk about "recovery".  Living with, and caring for, an addict, makes us sick because it involves a degree of going along with the addict's mad view of the world and conforming to their often outrageous requirements.  Over time we come to see this as more-or-less normal, so, in effect, the addict has drawn us into their craziness. The Nar-Anon program is a powerful tool for reversing this process).

Best wishes,
Dave

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Update from "In Love With an Addict"

I wrote in a story a few months ago. The title to my story was 'in love with an addict'.

A lot has changed since then. As there was no Nar-Anon in my area, and the Al-Anon group here is dwindling to nothing, I joined Coda (Co-dependents Anonymous), which seemed to meet my group needs.

I'd been in Coda for a while when my co-sponsor, who I am working the steps with, told me I needed to stop all this figuring out how to have contact with my ex with 'healthy boundaries' and in a safe supportive way (he is a heroin addict) as it was still doing my head in. She said I needed to cut all contact indefinitely. My co-sponsor is in two other fellowships and is a recovering alcoholic and heroin addict herself, so she knows the territory.

Feeling the small strings of love and thoughts I still had of him, even though I knew it was hopeless, her words resonated and I knew I finally had to cut all ties.

This method of detachment may not be for everyone, nor necessarily the right thing to do, but it's what needed to happen in my particular case.

The following morning I told him I would not contact him again. He responded angry, harsh.

I was tremendously upset doing this. I cried deeply all that day and night. I woke up the next morning feeling lighter than I had in such a long time. I had done the right thing. I had set us both free.

I have had no contact with him since, and I also don't talk about him with people we mutually know. I don't want to know if he is using, or in detox, or in rehab, or clean or whatever. its just too much an emotional roller coaster for me and I was going crazy.

Since the day I let him go, I have been feeling better and better. I am happy now. Peaceful. I've even started dating again, but I am taking it very slow!

I regularly send my ex light and love in my prayers, and I also cut the 'energy cords' between us. I still feel sad when I think about it, and shudder at the trauma I/we went through.

But I am going deeper into my own life and interests. Its so nice to focus on myself.

I am committed to my Coda program, read literature from Coda, Al-anon, and have just received the Nar-anon daily reader. I also read Melody Beattie, have my own daily meditation practice and do prayers to connect with my Higher Power.

I am feeling good, but know how easily I can get off track, so I have to maintain 'four feet on the ground'. Art and creativity help me too.

Thank you everyone for sharing.

Holly.

___________________

 

From darkness into the light...

I never told my story to any one outside of my family, here I go.

I've always been around drugs and alcohol, my mom was the drug user my real dad the alcoholic that left when I was 4.

My mom's drug use had gotten a lot worse over the years that I knew her. She remarried to another drug user, and we were locked in our rooms or sometimes in our basement for hours. If it was warm outside well we was not allowed back in until bedtime.

My mom would send us away to live with her mom when she couldn't stand us around any longer. I remember one time my mom's mom asked me why I didn't do something about her drug use. Mind you I was eight years old at the time and I had to grow up too fast, but even at that age I knew she would not stop unless she thought she had a problem, which she never thought she did.

A few years later she left my step dad for another man. Needless to say he was ten times worse than my step-dad, he beat us and her, but mostly us, while she watched. I would get so mad and say mean things to her.

Well she gave me away to my step-dad. I did love my step-dad and step-mom, and I know they did me too, then one day my mom wanted me back a few years after giving me away. I would not go. I was angry at her for giving me away. I told her I would go back if she left the man that was beating us and sad part, she chose him over me.

In the eyes of her family I was just being a little brat about it, don't get me wrong I LOVED MY MOM MORE THAN SHE EVER KNEW. I FEEL GUILT EVERY-TIME I THINK OF HER WHICH IS DAILY.

Then a few months later she was killed in a car accident when I turned 13 yrs. old by a drunk driver driving a coal truck in Kentucky.

Boy, do I know about addiction, my whole family are addicts to something even at some point in my life I was, and now I'm watching my sisters putting their family though what our mom put us though. I have brought this up and they have turned against me, and all of my so called family have blamed me for my mom's drug use even tho I was just a kid.

I still feel like I could have done more even tho I knew I could have done nothing differently even if I had a chance to do it all over again. This just some of the stuff we gone though if I told everything it would be a book, but anyway they made me feel like I could have done more, my mom's family has nothing to do with me because I don't drink or do drugs. Funny as this sounds I'm the bad person for letting them down when all I've done was be there for them. Out of my family I'm the only one that never gone to jail. Over drugs.

But, I'm the evil person in my family because I stopped being their victim or victim of my up bringing. I still feel guilty and still feel the pain and cry myself to sleep most night, but everyday I try to look at all the good that has come out of this pain and abandonment. That my kids have a better life than I did because I did everything differently.

Dawn...

Hi Dawn,

I'm so sorry you had such a sad childhood, but the way you have risen above it is a real inspiration.

One thing though, it's time to stop feeling guilty about your mom.
Kids are not responsible for their parents - it is supposed be the other way round!  Kids don't sign up for the kind of world their parents and the other adults around them bring them in to.  Kids are completely helpless at first, and have to rely on their parents to provide a safe, loving and nurturing environment for them. 

There is an old saying that "kids will always find a way to blame themselves for everything that's wrong in the family".  Their thinking usually goes something like this: "If I wasn't so bad/naughty/annoying, my parents would be happy, and everything  would be OK in my family."  Nearly always, what is really going on is that the kids are being bad, naughty or annoying because they are troubled by problems in the family that the parents are failing to deal with properly, or maybe even creating.  The parents are supposed to be in charge, and are supposed to behave as responsible adults.  Bad behaviour in young kids is really nature's way of  warning the parents that something is wrong, a bit like a baby crying.  It is the parents' job then to fix the problem.

You were not responsible for your mom's drug use.  The only person responsible for that, and the only person who could be responsible for it  was your mom.

It is sad that your family judges you and won't have anything to do with you.  One (very negative) way that people sometimes deal with situations where they feel that another person is doing better than they are is to try to sabotage or bring the other person down in some way.  If this is what is going on in your case, you would have to ask yourself if it is such a bad thing that they don't talk to you - or your kids!

Best wishes and thanks for sharing,
Dave.

___________________

 

The addict as partner and parent...

Hi 

Thanks for sharing your stories! My partner is not addicted to a class A drug (I guess it could be worse!) However he is an active addict of pot and more recently a substitute bought legally at tobacconists. I also believe that he is a sex addict, he seems to tick a lot of boxes to indicate this. 

We have 2 small children - 3 and 1. He is a loving parent and partner at times but his addiction and addictive behaviour is destroying our relationship and family. He holds down a job, actively plays and enjoys the children (with frequent interruptions of drug use admittedly) but his addictive nature is rocking the very foundation of our relationship. I guess I have been his enabler for years! I've just realised this! In the early days I legitimized the drug use as I smoked pot too. However I can take it or leave it. I've used for years but never seek it, buy it or crave it. Since children I've had long periods where I didn't smoke. However my actions and communication about his dependency over the last 3 years, I now realise had perpetuated and supported his addiction.

He spends long periods of time sitting in his garage smoking or using pornography on his phone. If questioned about it, he will deny how much or have an excuse as to why it's happening. Every task or activity he does is punctuated with a bong. Bathing our oldest child just the other day was interrupted by him feeling the need to disappear, leaving my son in the bath unattended. His attempt to quit has involved buying copious amounts of a substitute high....a mix of potent herbs bought legally from a tobacconist. This stuff is almost worse. It seriously mongs him, more so than pot. After a couple of bongs he resembles someone with narcolepsy. He can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, mid conversation. His eyes will roll back into his head while eating. I occasionally have private classes in the evenings and am out of the house for a few hours, leaving him in charge of the kids. On a number of occasions I return to find him zonked out, my baby screaming and my 3 year old sat in front of the TV shouting for daddy!!!!!! It also has ruined the small bit of time we get to spend together. I know that adapting my life and not working would just enabling him to abuse. I don't know how to help him. I love him and want to be with him but need this dependency to stop. If I point out his behaviour to him- I get a lot of denial, defensiveness and blame. He lies constantly about his drug use. He will tell me he is just smoking the 'black stuff' he collects from the bong and that he doesn't have anything. Then I find it! I have become a suspicious detective, not trusting anything he says and does because he can be so blatantly dishonest. I tell him I needed honesty and trust and would rather he communicates his need for drugs rather than lie but his guilt in needing to use can be so strong that he can't help himself. 

I realise I cannot make him seek help but I can set boundaries concerning my children. I asked him years ago now not to drive with the kids in the car when he has smoked. I cannot begin to count how many times he has broken this rule. He will do it secretly, lie about it or tell me it is all in my mind. Sometimes just to avoid an argument I try and ignore his use, pretend I don't know so that we can have a day out together as a family and go ahead with the plans for the day. (I don't drive!) most of the time especially at the weekend, I will police his every move in the morning, if I hear that terrible sound of the bong I will cancel the day's plans ruining the day for all of us. An argument will ensue which will often last days! 

I am deeply concerned how this will affect my children. I want us to break this addiction so it is not passed on to my children. I am originally from the UK so don't have much support here. As a direct result of our problems I have been diagnosed with depression and am on anti-depressants. I have had therapy and spoken to a number of experts who all point to my partner's problem as the cause. Of course he says differently and believes that all of our problems come from my attitude and outlook on life!!!!! Something which is echoed constantly by his mother. (she is unaware of his problem) I am very willing to admit that I'm not perfect and have sought a number of ways to help myself. I just wish he would do the same. 

I am very happy to have found this site and hope that I can seek the support I need in a meeting. I intend to call tomorrow.  Things can only improve. 

___________________

 

From Sadness to Anger to Awakening

My 20 year old son is an addict. For the last 4 years i have enabled my child, believed his stories and accepted his behaviour, but today things are different. Today i am walking away from his addiction and handing the problem back to him.

It all began when he was 15. Up to that time he was a gifted athlete. All his sports were at a high level, often winning state competitions and we felt he would one day compete at the Olympics or commonwealth games. Academically he was in the top 5% of his class and attended a good private school.

At 15 he asked to transfer to the local high school, i was apprehensive but he insisted it would be a great move for his sporting career as the government schools had more to offer.

Within the first 6 months i was called to the school because of his truancy. He had started sneaking out of home at night and hanging around the streets of our small beach front town. Our garage often housed goods that didn't belong to us, and when we confronted him the answer was always "someone gave it to me". I was again called to the school a few months later and he was charged with supplying an ecstasy tablet to a girl in his science class. This offence resulted in a court appearance where he was represented by his rugby coach and a solicitor. We felt that this court case would scare him into stopping his teenage rebellious behaviour. He received 40 hours of community service and no conviction recorded. "Phew," we thought, "he would be ok now." Again 2 weeks after court I received a call from the principal - my son had been caught with a joint in his wallet on school grounds. As i sat in the office waiting for the police once more, my son laughed, saying how dumb the teachers were because he had 2 joints and they didn't find the other one. I looked at my beautiful over-achieving son and listening to the language he used describing other people and the police. It was like he was a hardened criminal and i wondered where he picked up the language.

We removed him from the government school and moved him to another exclusive private school which cost us $12,000 a year. We were honest and open about his problems with the new principal who looked at his past sporting and academic history. On paper he was a child that any school would love to have. In real life he was a lying cheat. For the first few months he seemed to be fitting in well. He made the first XV rugby team, he ran cross country, he played water polo, tennis and anything else he could get his hands on. Then it started again, truancy, lies, wanting money and abusing us because we were not as wealthy as some of the other parents. He did everything he could to get money from us and we now know it all went on pot.

He completed his final years at this school but i don't know how he managed because his marks went down so dramatically and he started to drop off sports one by one. He was smoking pot every day, he even lied to me on the day of his grandmother's funeral that he needed $30 for his final sport practical and he wouldn't be able to attend the funeral because of his exam on the same day. I later saw a text he had written to a friend on the day of the funeral "i have money, yeehah, to the tube of destiny be there soon".

So many times we have argued, so many times we have threatened to kick him out, so many times he has disappeared only to return home 3 days later complaining how hungry he was and that he hadn't eaten. Every time we confronted him about his drug use, he denied it. He always denies it. He still denies it.

He was accepted to university to do a degree in paramedics. He was so pumped and said "this is good mum, i can get onto some sporting teams and study hard at university away from any influences of drugs". It lasted 3 weeks. In his first year he refused to work, stating he needed the time to study so we gave him an allowance of 2 split payment $50 so we were able to monitor his money. He always managed to get more out of us but by the end of the year the lies were becoming harder to cover up. In his second year he got a scholarship of $500 a fortnight and had money to burn (on dope). Now 3 semesters later he has moved back home with us, he is half way through the degree, about to go to court for possession of a drug implement and kicked out of his college. He has to plead not guilty, as a charge would not able him to get employment with the ambulance service when he graduates. This alone has cost us $2000 so far with fines, flights, court costs and it will continue for 6 months. Solicitor fees alone will be $5000. As all this is going on he continues to see his mates and get stoned - we can't believe the lack of remorse or assistance. He has given the problem to his parents and as enablers we have run with it and tried to fix his problems again.

I found out his addiction now not only is limited to weed, but he has also dabbled in ecstasy, methamphetamines, speed and alcohol. He went to a psychiatrist last week who diagnosed anxiety and depression and started him on Lexapro. The psychiatrist enforced that his drug behaviour must stop. It took 5 days on Lexapro and no weed to start seeing a small difference in his abusive and often destructive behaviour and I thought we would be ok again, then he disappeared for 2 days once again. When he came back home the antidepressants were missing and he said he didn't need them. He had destroyed them in favour of smoking weed or other drugs.

I don't go to any meetings but am sitting here now researching where i can go. I'm not going to supply him money or enable his behaviour any more. He has caused us so much grief, financial burden and emotional pain. I used to look at him and see my beautiful, able, fantastic son and persevere in my attempts to bring him back from the darkness. Today after being called a disgusting name once more i realise my son died 5 years ago, the day he started smoking weed. I can't bring him back because he isn't who i want him to be. He isn't who he wants to be either, but the job is now his to decide what he wants to be. 

My heart aches for him and i often wonder if he did die at least i could grieve for him and move on with my life, but this way is no way to live. I can't live with him constantly using our home and our family as his pawns in this game of drug addiction. I also know that he will never be a paramedic, he will be a patient that they scrape out of the gutter. When that happens is his journey, i don't want to be there to see it. I want to remember him as he was, healthy, happy and alive.

LB

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Still Letting Go, Letting God



Hi there
I wrote four years ago about my obsession and pain with my adult son, an addict with whom I managed to have a loving friendly relationship prior to his marriage with a using addict. It has got worst, and it’s got better. I’ve gone through the steps looking at what I am doing. I’ve had continuous enabling relapses, yet mostly I have, on the whole, a happy life. I have made my bedroom a place where there is no mention of children. I have plunged into the beauty and god connection I find in my garden, totally transforming it which gives me huge pleasure. I accept that I am not in my granddaughters life as I hoped to be. I am also not in the life of my stepdaughter, who has palled up with my daughter-in-law and stirred the pot, even though she is herself in recovery. I’m not a victim. I am not a persecutor. I am not a rescuer. I am not enabling or accepting blame or guilt for their feelings and behaviors. I’ve given up the fight, to get them to see how it is for me, to go to counseling and work it out, to visit their home which is unsafe and has each time had dire repercussions for me. There is an elephant in the room and forgiveness and compassion does not mean I have to walk on eggshells and live a falsehood. I love my son, and I love me, which means boundaries. These apply with my mother-in-law who has taken over my grandmother role and says she’s the winner, I’m the loser, but at 89 living all her life in a family of addiction, I know full well I can’t change her. It’s my job to keep me safe. I send my grandchildren presents and write them letters. I am collecting a glory box for them, which gives me pleasure and hopefully one day will them. I’m working through the naranon steps with my sponsor. I have multiple years clean, yet my pain is from my obsession and codependent desire to control and fix others for me to feel ok. Looking for relief one day at a time. Another member said she noticed my letter on the website, which reminded me that its here and gave me some peace. I give my sons my step daughter my daughter-in-law and my mother-in-law to god and giving them to you is one other way of doing it, and I need a lot of ways to let go. I was crying earlier, writing out my naranon step 2, not believing, without hope. that was two hours ago, now I’m smiling and feeling there is hope, just for today, I’m going to have a happy day.
Thanks for being there
Sarah

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"I am concerned about my lack of belief in a higher power"

Hi Dave

I have been reading members stories and very quickly came to realise that I have been enabling my narcotic addicted boyfriend. I know I would benefit from the support and information I would gain from attending meetings but I am concerned about my lack of belief in a higher power. I don't lack a sense of spirituality but I have always believed that we have to take control of our own lives and that we have the ability to change when necessary, so I can't really see myself handing the reigns over to a higher power. It is my misguided belief in the healing powers of love that has gotten me into trouble in my relationship. Your members stories have helped me to realise that you can't love someone back to health when they have an addiction. I most definitely intend to hand the responsibility for his addiction back to him! I can't believe that I thought I was helping. Do you think that naranon and I would be a good fit. I really need some assistance.

Chris


Hi Chris,

The "higher power" issue is a stumbling block for many people approaching 12-Step programs (as it was for me). It is fortunate that most people eventually come to terms with it in some way, since the concept of a higher power is central to all these programs. For one Nar-Anon member I know, her higher power was our Nar-Anon group; for another member (who happened to be religious) it was God, and the Nar-Anon program was pretty much re-asserting the teachings of his religion. 

I did not find either of these approaches very satisfactory, but I had been told repeatedly that I needed to find my higher power in order to progress. I was pondering this problem one morning, debating the issue in my head, when it suddenly occurred to me that there was a conversation going on in there - that one part of me seemed to be putting a question to another part, with the hope, or expectation that this other part would provide the answer. Could it be that this second part was actually my higher power? It seemed that there was a wiser, and largely hidden, part of my mind that I was questioning. And had it not just answered my question by revealing itself?

Since the "light bulb moment" that morning, my relationship with my higher power has become established and comfortable. For me, my higher power is a part of me that has always been there, but was unrecognized, even denied. I think that in psychological terms it probably resides at a deeper level of consciousness,  possibly in that part of the mind that is responsible for intuition, inspiration and creative thinking. I think that the "higher power" part of 12-Step programs is a way of tapping into this higher intelligence, and is therefore a very powerful tool.

By the way, the "higher power" concept, and many of the other spiritual elements of 12-Step programs came about from the influence of the psychiatrist Carl Jung. Jung had treated Rowland H., an alcoholic who later joined the then fledgling Alcoholics Anonymous. Through the connection with Rowland H., Bill W., the co-founder of AA, began an extensive correspondence with Jung, and later credited him with much of the groundwork of the program. 

I do not believe that handing the problem of coping with an addicted loved one over to our higher power amounts to handing over the reigns , rather it is tapping into a higher and more powerful level of functioning in order to deal with the problem. It does involve a letting go of control, which is often difficult, but becomes easier when we realize that we cannot control or change the addict, and that what we have been doing so far has not worked (see Step 1). The trick is to let go of the kind of control we have been trying to exert, give the problem to our higher power, but stand ready to do what our higher power leads us to do.  In practice, this usually means starting to take care of yourself, ceasing to enable the addict, and allowing them to feel the consequences of their actions, but being ready to help them if and when they decide to get clean.  

I do think Nar-Anon would be a good fit for you. You have obviously already gained insight into the problems of your relationship with your addicted boyfriend, and are ready to change. Attending a Nar-Anon group would help you to build on what you have already achieved.

Best wishes,
Dave.

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LOVING AN ADDICT


Wow! Reading these stories - I could relate!!

My mother was an alcoholic and I was married to an addict for 21 years. But his drug was not heroin or pot or meth. His drug was sex.  Sex with whoever he could find to give it to him. (he did like to drink and dabbled in street drugs and magic mushrooms).

For 21 years, I lived in an abusive, roller coaster marriage and could never figure out what was going on. It wasn't until I finally left, depleted and terrified of his outbursts, his physical abuse, his threats of suicide, his lies, manipulations and blaming that I found out he had had multiple affairs and encounters from day 1. He told me he got a high from sex. His need for sex was insatiable and his "drug seeking" behavior became the focal point of his life. He was continually scanning women to find one who could give him his "fix".

Although people may think that this type of addiction is not as bad as a drug user, the behaviour and devastation it brings to the life of the addict as well as the enabler is the same. It took me 10 years to sort out that this was truly an addiction and I had been the enabler. I excused his bad behavior, repeatedly forgave him, took blame for his actions and completely lost my own identity in the relationship. After much reading on addiction medicine, I've concluded that it doesn't matter what the addiction is, it's devastating to the family.

We as enablers have to learn to take care of ourselves, learn what having "good boundaries" means, understand that we are not to blame and that we cannot do an addict's "recovery work" for them. Letting the addict go, as painful as it is, allows them to take responsibility for their own lives. And that is truly loving an addict.


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