COMING HOME

Jeff and niece Iysa

Jeff and niece Iysa

A mom wrote to me, My son is coming home from treatment next week and I am excited to see him and at the same time afraid he will relapse. He knows what we are asking of him, but I remember when he was living at home we had many arguments because he was using and did not listen to us. Now that he is coming home, what should I do if he goes back to using and doesn’t listen to us again?

My reflection: I asked Dr. MacAfee for his advice, and he explained that, before the son left treatment, it was important for him to have a plan for continuing care and a list of people to call for help and support. For the family, boundaries were critical to put into place, i.e. what would they do if he were to relapse. The son needed to tell his parents how he would like them to help him accomplish his plan for sobriety along with him, not for him.

Today’s Promise to consider: When Jeff completed treatment and came home again, I felt great joy and hope But I was also afraid. Would he use again? Would he come home and respect the boundaries we had in place? These were normal fears. Al-Anon and other family support programs helped me. So did prayer.

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Joan Cook
Joan Cook
7 years ago

Love and prayer is all you can do, the rest is up to them.

Carri
Carri
7 years ago

I just experienced this exact scenario. My son has been in and out of many treatment programs and jail. He was recently released from a short sentence in prison and came home to live. Another chance, right? Maybe going to prison would have changed him, I thought. He had a plan, I had boundaries. It was awesome for the first 2 weeks and then all the familiar behavior started up again. Before it had a chance to spin out of control, we found a sober house for him to live, where he could get the support he needed and I could have my serenity back. I need to take care of myself and can’t have the chaos in my house. Unfortunately he tested dirty at the sober house a week later and was asked to leave. I don’t know where he’s staying. Its devastating watching my son relapse. I know he wants to live a sober life but for some reason he’s still struggling. He’s still welcome to come home to visit, we share text messages and we love each other very much. Im still full of hope for my son. It’s his journey and I need to stay out of his way. I don’t regret letting him come home, the few weeks of normalcy we had was unbelievable. Maybe it will be part of his story one day when he gets clean? I am hopeful.

Theresa Taylor
Theresa Taylor
7 years ago

Thanks for sharing wisdom and great advise. My son, Ben, whom you have prayed for is back in rehab and I am grateful everyday to God for keeping Ben in a place of recovery and hope. My son is a gift from God and I want him to always remember that even when healthy boundaries separate us. The whole family rallies around his recovery and prays for his continued deliverance and we pray for families that we read about here.

pat nichols
pat nichols
7 years ago

“The son needed to tell his parents how he would like them to help him accomplish his plan for recovery along with him, not for him.” That is a key statement I learned the hard way!

I really believe that the addicted child should stay wherever they get clean/sober. I would even suggest they do not come home for a “visit” for at least one year, if not longer.

Relapse is so common when our children return to familiar territory and boundaries will be difficult to communicate and maintain.

Regardless of how strong I was in my own recovery and even with the aid of a sponsor and a counselor addiction would always find a way to break through what we thought were strong family boundaries.

Just my experience.

Barbara
Barbara
7 years ago
Reply to  pat nichols

I agree but have NO WHERE WE CAN AFFORD TO PUT HER. She’s at a neighbors house and I can love her froom a distance since I’m afraid to love her like before. I can’t take the pain or the daily where is she and what’s she up tp, who’s she talking to or what is she planning. I have NO CONFIDENCE!

Barbara
Barbara
7 years ago

There’s nothing that I found that was there when I was all alone but prayer.

Linda
Linda
7 years ago

Yes, we have been there 3 times with our son, and it is very frightening when they return home. With the first two relapses, however, it was very difficult for us to follow through on our boundaries. There was always that voice saying “he’s trying so hard to stay sober….don’t abandon him if he slips….just love him through it….” Didn’t work. It was a revolving door, as they say in Al-Anon. When the third relapse came, we made the hardest decision we have ever had to make as parents – we walked him to the door, and asked him to leave….knowing your son is completely on his own, not knowing where he would end up, but just giving him completely over to the care of God….oh so very difficult. I hear your fears. However, I will share with you that our son tells us to this day and in his many leads in AA that it was the ONLY thing that finally saved him, and the BEST and most LOVING thing we could have ever done for him. To the outside wold, tough boundaries seem uncaring, harsh and unimaginable. But for the parents of an addict the best PRAYER for our children is to let go and stick to the boundaries. I believe to this day that God truly honored our decision….took 3 heartbreaking relapses, but seeing our son finally claim his life back with 6 years of recovery is the truest blessing. Set those boundaries, take care of yourselves by attending al-anon meetings, stick to them, and yes, pray, pray, pray! <3

Barbara
Barbara
7 years ago

When my son came home from rehab, I, too, was scared to death of relapse and the things that go with it, such as, stealing, etc. Especially, the stealing of my husband’s property that he would sell for drug money and the conflicts between me and my son that go along with it…I was scared to death!

Since my son died at the hands of drugs, my faith has soared to heights I never dreamed of. Prayer is not the only answer, but if you practice positive thinking to keep your spirits up, and pray every day, it’s amazing how it can heighten your spirit so you may think more clearly,

Libby, what a beautiful picture of Jeff and Lysa. She is absolutely beautiful, and Jeff looks so healthy and handsome!

Thank you for another important meditation.

With love,

Barbara

beryl singleton bissell

Your reply to this so helpful advice from Libby resonated deep within me. I remember the hope and fears generated each time my beautiful daughter returned from treatment, the importance of those boundaries, and the heartache when they were flaunted. The last time my daughter asked to return home, because she was frightened for her life, I felt that same elation and terror of what might lie ahead. My daughter never made it back. She was shot that night. So now I write the sequel to my first book, this one about the journey my daughter and I took into the heart of darkness and the light that writing has instilled back into my life.

Karen
Karen
7 years ago

Because he has been clean for five months, my son is currently in a 3/4 recovery house and, for as much as I can ascertain, living clean of alcohol and drugs. The house is about 15 minutes from my home and 10 minutes from my job. He has no car and has to walk or run to appts. One saving grace is that he lives within walking distance of the church he has become very involved with. I often provide the transportation he needs to get to and from our visits. I am enjoying my time with him, but remain apprehensive. He is making arrangements to return to college to complete his BS. While this may sound like a positive step, he’s been working on these plans since November, so I’m not convinced he will see them through. I mention this because he will have to leave the recovery house in a month because his funding will run out. He currently has a grant that pays for his stay. He insists he’s going to get a job, so he can afford remain in the house, but that hasn’t happened. Believe me, because he has stayed clean, I’ve often thought about telling him that he can return home when the grant expires. This way he can go back to school and not worry about paying rent. The voice in the back of my mind keeps reminding me that I have to stop being a helicopter mom and let him work it out. I try to fool myself into thinking everything will be different when he comes home this time. He’ll be home where I can keep an eye on him and set boundaries. This will keep him on the right path. Then reality sets in and I reflect on what it was like the last time. Making it easy for him hasn’t been the answer. Maybe if I stay stronger, he will too. God only knows.

Barbara
Barbara
7 years ago

Oh Karen, how I know how you feel. It’s so difficult for parents to let go. It was the most difficult decision I ever made in my life, to let go and let God. But, I know in my heart, it was the right decision. Our addicted children need to face life on their own – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Listen to the voice in the back of your head, for it’s telling you to do the right thing.

With deep respect,

Barbara

Sue
Sue
7 years ago

I think it is so important to have a plan in place for both addict and loved ones.

The last time my daughter came home I was sure she wanted to change her life. With everything that I have read and all that we have been through you think I would have been well prepared for this last visit. Much to my surprise I did too much for her yet again, taking over her recovery and being disappointed the outcome was not what I hoped for.

It wasn’t till after she was gone I realized my daughter was not ready at all for recovery. She did not have a plan in place nor did I. I think I was just grasping at straws and hoping for the best again.

Maybe next time she will want a clean life and hopefully I can be better prepared to cope.

Jimmy Washington
Jimmy Washington
7 years ago

Stop thinking negatively. I suggest that in helping your son after the treatment you must be ready. Before your son comes home you must get rid of any drugs left around so that it will never trigger him to use it. You can also discuss your situation with your immediate family to encourage him in his recovery. I recommend that you consult for medical information so that you will exactly know how to take care of your son and how to deal with him to stay sober. Participating in support meetings and group therapy sessions would also be a great way to help him stay clean.