2nd NY Times Article in Substance Abuse series

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Calamity Jane, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

  2. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I liked this article... and it clarified something for me. I have heard people say that hitting rock bottom is not always the best way.... and that has always left me feeling like ok but then what we have done everything!!! But in this article it does say basically do what we have done, which is offer help when help is wanted but dont give them anything that they can then use to buy drugs.... but he does say to keep the communication lines open, dont cut off all contact. I always felt we were letting our son hit bottom.... but we also have always kept the communication lines open and been there when he has wanted help.

    I dont know if I am making sense but I found this article validating of my approach, and the approach of most of us on this board.

  3. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    I thought of you when I read that part of the article. Your thread responses usually suggest keeping communication lines open, but walking the fine line of not enabling. I always get that sense from your posts, and it has helped me in my own conversations with difficult child when things were bad. His psychiatrist used to say the same thing - I would let disappointment, desperation, fear, anger and hurt feelings color my interactions with difficult child, and communication would devolve from there. He finally avoided me altogether and just texted husband instead! Healthy communication is what I'm always striving toward.
    difficult child's guidance counselor used to talk about "raising the bottom" for difficult child, instead of letting him hit bottom on his own. Different things work for different people, and, in my opinion, difficult child's "hot button" is not allowing himself to be marginalized. The drug use made him irrelevant in the circles he wanted deep down to move around in. He always was very smart, very sought after for advice, whatever, and when he finally saw that the drugs and the crowd he cultivated was going nowhere fast, he sort of stopped on his own.
    The lack of emotional empathy (I think that's in the last paragraph) which makes pleading and begging useless was an eye-opener for me.
  4. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    I also found this article confusing.

    "Nor does treatment have as good a chance at succeeding if it is forced upon a person who is not ready to recover. 'Treatment does work, but only if the person wants it to,' Mr. Moyers said."

    That statement contradicts itself. If a forced treatment doesn't have as good a chance then it indeed has a chance. But then he says it only works if the addict wants it. So which is it?

    and later in the article:

    "Rather, he urged families to remain engaged, to keep open the lines of communication and regularly remind the addict of their love and willingness to help if and when help is wanted. But, he added, families must also set firm boundaries — no money, no car, nothing that can be quickly converted into the substance of abuse.Whether or not the addict ever gets well, Mr. Moyers said, 'families have to take care of themselves. They can't let the addict walk over their lives.'

    He says to not giving them anything that can be sold for money for drugs/alcohol and to set firm boundries which many of us found often had to include not allowing them under our roof. How is that not letting them reach bottom? I do not think any of us ever cut their kids off completely and all of us were willing to help when they wanted help. So I guess what is confusing is that he never defines what exactly he considers "rock bottom" only states that it can lead to death. Just what exactly is it that the family is supposed to do when multiple attemps at treatment fail and the addict only asks for help to get off the streets or to get medications etc? Are they supposed to continue to finance treatment when the history is that the family has spent much time and money in repeated attempts and the addict never follows through?

    Is his lack of bottom merely the addicts' knowledge that there are people who care about them? And really what addict truly knows that when they are caught up in the throws of their addictions and their families are witholding the things they want?

    And as for not putting guilt on the addict. Well it can be said that just defining boundries and telling an addict why you have put those boundries in place is often interpreted as a laying on of guilt by the addict.-RM
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    With my difficult child I always thought rock bottom was whatever level she was at that was finally intollerable and caused her enough pain to want things to change. She hit that bottom a couple times but could she go lower, oh yes!!! So it wasn't her rock bottom and how does anyone know what rock bottom is, isn't it death? I believe one only has to see their life is so bad that they have the motivation to want to get better.

    I also am so glad I always kept the lines of communication open with my difficult child. Even when she was out of the house living in a drug basement we were there if and when she called or texted. She knew that and she says now she knows we have always been there for her. Her fb status yesterday of "I'm so thankful for my mom. She's always been there for me and helped me with any and every problem I've ever had. I don't know what I'd do without her. Love you mom ♥"tells me that in her heart she knows that. We won't enable her in her drinking or using but we will help her when she shows she is helping herself.
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Thanks Jane. When we kicked my son out when he was 18 I was ready to just wait for him to call us and knew it might be a long time. I was of course distraught, heartbroken and angry. We had been willing to give him a chance to follow our rules but he had threatened me and then we said he needed to leave. Anyway I talked to my therapist at the time and I think she gave me very very good advice. She said if I just wait for him it will be a matter of pride for him and he wont call me, that I in a sense have kicked him out and so dont put him in a position where he has to come begging for contact with us. That hit me and was such a relief to me in a way. And it helped me to start being clear that I love him, will always love him but I will not enable him. So at that point every few days I would text him and he would ignore me but he did call us when he got arrested.

    So like Nancys daughter, I think my son knows without a doubt that we love him and are there for him when he really wants help.... but he also knows now without a doubt that we will not rescue him.

    RM - I think what the article said is confusing because IT is confusing. I think it is true that recovery is much much more likely if the person is not forced into it and wants it, but there are times when interventions and forcing someone does work.

    I think we use the term hitting bottom in many different ways and that has been what has bothered me when people say you dont need to let someone hit bottom. I think what he is saying is you dont need to force them to the bottom, like you dont need to throw them into the pit, but you do need to let them face their own consequences and if they climb into the pit themselves you will only hold onto the rope if they are willing to climb up.....you dont keep throwing them more rope.... or just walk away completely. Does that analagy make sense?

    I think the hard part for me in all of this is the idea some people have that we as their parents have any control over the situation. We dont really and that is a hard reality to come to grips with as a parent.

  7. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    I can't imagine not knowing where my difficult child is and though we do not take phone calls from prison (due to the frequency of his cals and the cost of $5/minute) we do write and husband goes to see him and as you know I still advocate for him. I also worry about the inevitable time when I am not able to do those things for him. I sadly think that will be his rock bottom, ie. death, unless we can find something that works for his anger issues and his substance abuse. When he is sober he knows we love him and he knows we care. He also understands why we have put some distance between us when he is not doing well. I do not think he knows anything of the sort when he isn't sober.

    I had alot more to say but realized that maybe I should start my own thread LOL. -RM