Nuggets of Wisdom from Sober Living

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Albatross, Aug 1, 2018.

  1. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    My son graduated from his year-long sober living program last month. We attended his graduation, as well as the graduation of his good friend last night.

    I have gained so much from listening to these young men speak about what they've learned in the program! The best part of it for me is that they condense it into a quick catch-phrase that they can fall back on when faced with temptation. Here are a few of my favorites:

    1. Play the Tape Through. Think ahead to what the long-term consequences of a decision are, not just the short-term effects. My son applies this to all major decisions, not just the decision to abstain.

    2. Suffer Like A Boss. Sometimes doing the right thing HURTS. We can feel victimized, resentful and trapped as we do so, or we can remember those who have come before us, like Gandhi, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and Jesus. We can suffer with purpose and commitment.

    3. We Don't Deserve It, but We're Worth It. None of us "deserve" the grace of a second chance or the blessings we take for granted. But we are all worthy to receive those things. We know that because we are here.

    4. Addiction Has A Good Side Too. People come to rehab with no choice but to work through their unhealthy coping mechanisms and personality defects. If they don't, they will likely die. Non-addicts may also have dysfunctional coping or personality issues, but they may manage to go through their lives without ever having to address those problems. They MANAGE. In that sense, the recovering addict might be better off than the non-addict. They address the things that hold them back, while others might not ever feel the call to do so.
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    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  2. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Alvie what a fantastic post. I do not get here often and I am trying to catch up. I am so glad I did not miss this post.
    I am so hop FYI for your son to stay clean and move forward with his life.
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Albatross. I cannot believe I almost missed this. What gifts. Thank you so much.
  4. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Albie, so happy for you and your son. Thank you for sharing these nuggets, they are applicable to everyone!
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I was so impressed by the wisdom imparted in Albatross's son's program I began to think about identifying faith based programs, should i ever be in the position to influence my son in this direction. I had assumed that what was required was a full fledged treatment program or rehabilitation program, such as Teen Challenge or Salvation Army (which is 6 months) and I am not confident, now, if I know what works.

    My question is this: do you guys know of programs that you feel are positive, anywhere in the USA? Faith -based, one year, preferably.

    In California there is Salvation Army and there is Teen Adult Challenge. My son out of hand rejected the latter, some months ago, saying it was a discipleship program. (I don't exactly know what that is, or why that would be objectionable to my son.)

    I got these names off the internet: Lighthouse faith based sober living. Sober living network in southern California. But I know nothing about either one.

    Does anybody have recommendations? I want to live with the belief this could get better.
  6. EarthIsHard

    EarthIsHard Member

    Copa, I am familiar with the programs you listed. I'll pm you.
  7. EarthIsHard

    EarthIsHard Member

    Albie, Congratulations!!! I'm so happy for you, your family, your son, and his friends. So, so nice to hear!
  8. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Copa you have faith and hope. What you must embrace is no expectation. Focus on yourself also. If things don’t get better that is your sons path to travel. This is the hardest thing I learned is to love what is broken knowing I can’t fix it. I feel so much of me in your post. E is on his way out of his 3rd rehab the first long term intensive program -6 months - I have no control but one thing I do know is regardless of the outcome I know I must preserve myself and love him for what ever he shall be.

    By no means does that mean I will accept him into my home MY home!, without my expectations and boundaries being adhered to. This is so easy to write yet Mount Everest in nature to achieve.
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  9. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    My son is in a Teen Challenge program. I won't say where as I do want to remain somewhat anonymous but it is a 13 month program for any aged male.

    Many there are there due to court order but many are not (my son). My son has made a complete turnaround and I will spend the rest of my life letting those know that ask that God saved my son's soul. I know that he was entrenched in evil thoughts and his thinking was so very skewed I did not think he'd ever be normal.

    You can feel the love when you walk through the door. I cannot explain the feeling and I cannot explain enough how this has changed our son's life for the better. I had lost all hope. He was actually inhaling computer air spray cleaner cans to get high in a hotel room at his lowest point. It hurts me to even type that.
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Thank you ladies. I don't know where your courage comes from. I guess it is the other side of love. Love. Copa.
  11. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Well. So much for those nuggets. Son is in the wind again. He came over for dinner last night and seemed fine -- eyes clear, well dressed, seemed to be feeling positive about things, etc.

    The police showed up this morning to do a well-being check. His car was found submerged in a body of water a few counties over. No sign of a driver or passengers.

    Hubs and I drove to his apartment and got the landlord to let us in. Son had not been home. I could see from his computer that he had arranged a get-together with a drugging buddy, and that he has been planning his departure to head west again. He even mentioned that he got to have a good last visit with his folks before he took off. Wow.

    Our best guess is that he and his buddy got together and somehow the car ended up in the canal. Not surprising, given how drunk they "sounded" in their messages. They were probably so impaired they decided they'd deal with it in the morning, but the police beat them to it. Phone off. No response from his "friend."

    Two days ago he had his charges dismissed, so I guess without a hammer over his head this is what he wants.

    Here we go again...
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Albatross. Oh no.

    I do not understand our children. I do not understand our lives. Maybe I do not understand life itself. If such a thing can happen.

    There is hope. He will crash. Not just the car.

    We have to believe that this was the real him in the program. To have faith he is in there, still That this person who he really is will reassert himself. That this is one part of him. Only. Only what one part of him wants.

    There will be a dialogue. In time.

    You wrote of it so beautifully. The place to stand. Without preconditions or expectations. Why can't I ever remember what you wrote! When it was so meaningful to me.

    It is hard to hold on to. That. But it is all each of us has. The love.

    I am so very sorry albatross. And I really cannot believe it.

    I know this was unintended. The cruelty of this. That you be collateral damage. And that he is not a cruel man. But what a cruel, cruel blow. I am sorry.


    I wish I knew what to say. It is a blow for all of us.

    After half an hour I find myself asking instead of why, but how?

    Is this compartmentalizing? Self deception on his part. Is it a fugue state? Does he go into oblivion! Or seek it. Kind of like my online shopping.

    There is a real innocence about him. I had a nice farewell dinner with my parents. This is not deception. It is clueless. It is as if he is operating on one frequency and the rest of us on another. Or maybe we are the ones out of synch.

    He really, really seems to have not factored in at all the effect of this on you, or thought at all about how this would play, or cared. I am trying to fathom this. Because maybe if I can understand, I will not have to be so terribly crushed about my own son. Who seems to not love me much of the time, or care if he hurts me.

    He will resurface. Not just physically. But I believe he will have regret and awareness. It need only be a moment's lapse. I am praying.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018
  13. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    I am so so sorry to hear this Albatros. Someone once said each trip to rehab brings them a little closer to being sober. I hope and pray that this relapse is short and is the final one. I will also pray that he and his friend let you know they are safe.
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  14. CareTooMuch

    CareTooMuch Active Member

    So very sad for you, it shows that we have little effect in the long run, they have to want it badly enough to follow through. My ds is only 20, but I feel he is on the same path. We have to remember that we're worthy of a life too a life to live at its fullest. Huge hugs and prayers.
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  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    There is real wisdom in care's and tried's posts.

    The awareness we are in this for the long game not measured even in a year.

    That this is a marathon and the need to guard ourselves, our essence and stay in our own lives, lest we be spent.

    I don't know how to do this. I have no wisdom.

    I would have been elated. Over the moon with joy and pride. If my son had had the kind of year that had your son I would have been in ecstasy.

    And then devastated.

    How do we exult for them? How do we trust what we see, if not as you did, albatross? How do we live this?

    Is there any hope for a relationship with our sons? If this can happen. If even when it goes great, goes swimmingly, there is this kind of undertow.

    These are men now.

    Can you. Will you ever be able to be so present with him again, in his struggle? Are these the wrong questions. I think they are.

    I never believed I could turn away my son, as I have. But there came I time I could not not do it.

    How is there a way to hold this, that is not so soul killing?

    Your post shows restraint.

    I am Anna Magnani.

    Anna Magnani does not know how to do this.

    When bad is bad. And good is bad? Where do we stand?
  16. Deni D

    Deni D Active Member

    Oh lord, Albatross. I can’t even imagine getting to the point where I think my son has finally gotten it only to find out it seems he was just “holding his breath” to get back to his normal.

    But I do know a few people in AA/NA, full fledged adults who’s anniversary meetings I have gone to. They talked about the dangerous times of slipping back, an ending of what they called the pink cloud period. It’s like all of the good feelings go away and they are stuck dealing with real life, and it hurts, it’s so much more than building one’s self up. It’s the boring and hard everyday life, dealing with normal issues and continuing on. In those coin meetings multiple people talked about “slipping up” and starting again at those times. I’m praying your son is safe and has done enough work on himself to see he needs to pick himself up and start over.
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  17. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Thank you for your support, ladies. It means a lot. I'm vacillating between fear, sadness, and anger this morning.

    So he came for dinner and had nice conversations with us, a hike with me, a promise to take Hubs to the beach next week for his birthday. And he had already planned his exit.

    What kind of person does stuff like that? I hear what you are saying, Copa, and in his mind I guess he thought he was being kind, by seeing us before he left. But that's so cruel.

    I can see from looking at our cell phone plan that he hasn't used his phone since early yesterday morning. It could be he's on a bender. It could be he's lost his phone. It could be something worse.

    I don't see his name on the arrest records. If he were arrested or hurt, it seems the police would have checked that before they came to our house to do a well-being check.

    So I don't know what to do...most likely it's a bender. But I'm worried, and I'm pissed that I have to contemplate these things (again). And he's been kicked out of his sober living complex, so now we have to go pack his stuff, so I'm pissed that once again we are dealing with the fallout.
  18. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Ugh Albie

    I'm beyond sorry this has happened again. Your son had given me hope for our son. He will be 23 in six days and has been in a 13 month faith based program.

    He sounds good and seems changed but is he really? I can't let go of all the pain and suffering he has instilled on me. We used to be so close. He wants that again. I get it but I am afraid. He said that fear means I don't have faith. Okay that is possible. So I am relying on my faith that this will be the time that truly makes him change.

    If he does not, he cannot be around us. We are stronger now. We will help him as long as he helps himself and moves in the right direction.

    Hugs and again I am so terribly sorry and I hope that what your son has learned may surface and save him.
  19. EarthIsHard

    EarthIsHard Member

    Albie, So sorry you're going through this again. I can see why you are angry he came over while planning another exit. At least he still has some sense of his family still being important to him. It's a whole separate thing from his struggle. Of course he didn't want to tell you about a departure and hear what you had to say but he wanted to spend time with you.
    On the other hand, why do you have to go pack his stuff? Let him deal with it. If he ends up with nothing because he didn't deal with it, then he'll have to figure out how to start over.
    Unfortunately, after reading so many of these posts, it seems like a lifelong struggle for most. All the more reason to take care of yourself and watch with a little distance. Hugs to you.
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  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Rn. I do not believe fear means you do not have faith.

    That would be blind faith.

    Is this what son means he expects you to bring to the table?

    Faith is complete trust, usually g-d.

    Blind faith is believing something without taking into account your perceptions, reality itself.

    Really? Do our sons have the expectation we be in relationship with them, as with g-d, denying what we know, what we have experienced?

    There is a reality to see here. To see it just makes us not brain dead.

    Our relationship with g_d is a whole different thing.

    I am getting mad here at my son. Which is a good thing because I woke up very sad

    Thank you ladies
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018