Unconditional Love vs. Detachment

Miracle

New Member
My 20 yo son is in a mental health/treatment center. He’ll be discharged on the 27th to Sober Living.

Had a phone chat with him and the therapist today. She said she doesn’t feel he has any trauma or significant issues - his psychosis was likely caused by drugs (mostly weed). She recommended Sober Living near home and monthly injections for medications. Son was argumentative and set on Sober Living where he is (19 hrs from home) and no monthly injection.

These are his choices to make. What bothers me is his prideful insistence that he knows what is right vs. willingness to carefully consider wise advice. I feel that’s what led to his current state.

This summer, we kindly told him we would not pay for more college. We advised him to stay home for a semester or 2, work, take a break from school until he was ready to apply himself to it. He thumbed his nose in our faces, said he’d do it on his own, and left. 2 months later we got a call from friends to pick him up. In the 3 months since, he has wrecked havoc in our family and cost us a lot of money. Now, he’s stable and wants to do it HIS way again.

I want to love and encourage him, but I don’t know if I have it in me to watch him destroy his own life. I already went thru 20 years of this with my mom. I feel I am reaching a point where if he’s going to go his own way, he needs to go his own way. I don’t know how to lovingly explain to him that I can’t remain in his life if he’s going to continue like this. His dad will remain in contact, but I feel like I need to block him out of my mind for my own well-being. I have 7 other kids (ages 1 to 16) who need my love and attention.
 

Miracle

New Member
It also really bothers me that my son has not acknowledged the decisions that brought him here, apologized, expressed any gratitude, etc. And it is not that I want him to do this for my sake. I just don’t understand how there can be a genuine change without remorse. I am truly baffled by all of this because he never gave us any trouble until about age 17 and even that was just bad attitude type of stuff.
 

RN0441

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

I am sorry that you are going through this with your son. Our son was a wonderful son until age 15. As you can sell by my signature we have gone through A LOT with him.

My son was really bad at the age of 20 and had been in several rehabs. We finally sent him out of state to sober living at that age and he did good for a bit (I had high hopes) but then spiraled out of control for another year or so until we got him into a Christian based program. Prior to that he was getting worse yet begging to come home. Hell no! I was no about to go back to that nightmare.

At that time I also had to pull back for myself. I felt like I would have a nervous breakdown if I did not. My husband, his father, took the reins for some time. My husband was so much better equipped to deal with it than I was.

During this very difficult time I saw a therapist that specialized in addiction, talked to close friends, found this site and prayed a lot. That is what got me through it all. I wouldn't wish what I went through on my worst enemy and I really mean that.

I was very close to my son prior to this so maybe that is why it hurt so bad. I think some of us love deeper than others do and it is a curse and a blessing.

I think you have to go with your gut. Do what you feel is best. Your son will do what he will do. He is still very young so can turn this around but it's up to HIM and not in your control - I learned this the hard way.

Prayers, Hugs and keep us posted!
 

Deni D

Well-Known Member
What bothers me is his prideful insistence that he knows what is right vs. willingness to carefully consider wise advice. I feel that’s what led to his current state.
Miracle, I'm sorry you are going through this, I know how it feels. Some of our young ones, for whatever reason, crash into adulthood instead of bump into it. The "I'm an adult and can do what I want" mantra sounds good to them but smacks of toddler behavior to us when it comes with absolute uncountability for natural consequences. Ours may do what they do to a more extreme because of mental health issue's, it's kind of like the same as one would expect under normal circumstances only multiplied by 10. I see it as a total lack of responsibility for one's self, which doesn't bode well for someone in life in general. All we can do once they reach adulthood is to step aside as much as we can tolerate to let the train run over them instead of us. Then maybe they will accept guidance, just maybe. Gratitude on the other hand I think comes with maturity which often is a result of life's experiences in those who "know better" in their younger years. I think RN's advice above is priceless.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
Dear Miracle

I'm sorry, too, you're going through this hard, hard thing.

Maybe if your son wants to do it his way, 100 percent, without taking guidance, he would be better off in the sober living in the other city. There are 2 ways to see this: Does he want independence and has his judgment and insight improved? Or is he still full of himself, and is he wanting freedom to seek drugs and get himself back in trouble? If it's the latter, I don't see where he or you is served by his being down the street. You're not asking, but I agree with you--this is too, too hard, if he's not going to be treatment compliant, and accept moderate guidance.

Ours is a cautionary tale.

My son has always left treatment and sober living at the first chance he could. He never ever considered the risk to him. He always sought freedom and the drugs,. He would whimper home when he had no money or nowhere to go, or both. And if we wouldn't let him stay, he would squat in the yards. It was no better closer to home than farther.

I wish this was easier.
 

RN0441

100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Actually all of the programs my son was in recommended they be far enough away from home that they could not leave the program and hitchhike home. I embraced this 100% because my son would have done just that! I wanted him someplace warmer just in case so we sent him to Memphis. We were living in Chicagoland at that time.

In fact, my son told me after 2 weeks at the program that finally changed him, he was going to "leave". Luckily another guy there talked him out of it and he eventually said he was so glad that he did not leave. I did not know this at the time however, thankfully.

It's hard for them to face their demons. It's hard for a fully mature adult to face their demons so these boys do not want to do it either. It's easier to pretend they're "fine". That is what my son would say yet his life was in shambles. It is just completely unexplainable to a normal person.

It is very very hard work for any one of us to change. It can be done but it is so hard that I think that is why when they are early 20's they just don't care to. They figure they have plenty of time. It's the youthful brain. It's just not rational the way they live.

Okay I'm going to go to the Bible for a minute. I am not sure where but it is written there that when a man is an adult he should leave his parents home and find his own way. I'm sure that is meant at age 18. I really do believe that and if they are home and doing the right thing and working towards their independence, then that is fine, otherwise it is counterproductive to have them home. That helped me let go tremendously.

We are moms but we don't have all the answers.
 

Deni D

Well-Known Member
Actually all of the programs my son was in recommended they be far enough away from home that they could not leave the program and hitchhike home.
I think this is so true. I can't say for sure, but I think maybe a more rural location may have worked better for my son when I sent him to a "failure to launch" program when he showed me I could not direct him into adulthood would have been better. I sent him to a place in Salt Lake City Utah, an excellent, very expensive dual diagnoses program with a strong male influence I knew my son had missed growing up. I was very concerned about his access to a good psychiatric doctor for his mental health treatment.
But in my son's case that location seemed to be his downfall. My son was able to find a Mormon Bishop who believed his fictional story of lifetime abuse who bought him a bus ticket the 2000 plus miles back here. Here where my son had also been able line up a random middle aged woman who was an acquaintance of a recent girlfriend who couldn't take care of her adult self let alone anyone else. This woman said she would take him in to live in her home but really she thought he would come in and help her out. That rescue mission on her part lasted exactly two days after he landed in her lap here.
Just one more nightmare in my list of experiences but I'm thinking depending on your son's ability to twist people's heart strings, cows and horses might be better acquaintances for him in the near future than people if you are considering sending him to a treatment program.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
I am commenting on your title, Miracle, Unconditional Love or Detachment.


Actually, as I think about it, I think the two are not necessarily in opposition. I think if we detach we do have the possibility of loving them unconditionally. We hold them in our hearts, profoundly without limit, and we turn them over to G-d.

It is when we enable that we set "conditions." (I think I need to legally change my name and call myself that. Conditions.) To them it feels like we are withholding our love, unless they do as we want. They feel that resistance is autonomy and freedom. When we pull back, and there is no resistance, that unhealthy power play has no place to feed in us or in them. They are left 100 percent in them, and we are 100 percent in us.

I think this is where unconditional love flourishes. I am going to go and copy something by Ram Dass that appeared today in my email, which helped me better understand.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
This excerpt is from Ram Dass's book about Love, to which I referred in the above post.

Imagine feeling more love from someone than you have ever known. You're being loved even more than your mother loved you when you were an infant, more than you were ever loved by your father, your child, or your most intimate lover -- anyone. This lover doesn't need anything from you, isn't looking for personal gratification, and only wants your complete fulfillment.

You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing. You don't have to do anything to earn it. Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success -- none of that matters. No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.

Imagine that being in this love is like relaxing endlessly into a warm bath that surrounds and supports your every movement, so that every thought and feeling is permeated by it. You feel as though you are dissolving into love.

This love is actually part of you; it is always flowing through you. It's like the subatomic texture of the universe, the dark matter that connects everything. When you tune in to that flow, you will feel it in your own heart -- not your physical heart or your emotional heart, but your spiritual heart, the place you point to in your chest when you say, "I am."

This is your deeper heart, your intuitive heart. It is the place where the higher mind, pure awareness, the subtler emotions, and your soul identity all come together and you connect to the universe, where presence and love are.

Unconditional love really exists in each of us. It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It's not "I love you" for this or that reason, not "I love you if you love me." It's love for no reason, love without an object. It's just sitting in love, a love that incorporates the chair and the room and permeates everything around. The thinking mind is extinguished in love.

If I go into the place in myself that is love and you go into the place in yourself that is love, we are together in love. Then you and I are truly in love, the state of being love. That's the entrance to Oneness."
 

Miracle

New Member
I am commenting on your title, Miracle, Unconditional Love or Detachment.


Actually, as I think about it, I think the two are not necessarily in opposition. I think if we detach we do have the possibility of loving them unconditionally. We hold them in our hearts, profoundly without limit, and we turn them over to G-d.

It is when we enable that we set "conditions." (I think I need to legally change my name and call myself that. Conditions.) To them it feels like we are withholding our love, unless they do as we want. They feel that resistance is autonomy and freedom. When we pull back, and there is no resistance, that unhealthy power play has no place to feed in us or in them. They are left 100 percent in them, and we are 100 percent in us.

I think this is where unconditional love flourishes. I am going to go and copy something by Ram Dass that appeared today in my email, which helped me better understand.
Thank you, Deni, RN, and Copa. I do agree with you that if he still wants to do it his way, it is better to do it elsewhere.

His therapist and caseworker convinced him it would be better to do sober living close to home, and because the sober living homes near us are so expensive, he will have to live at home and do IOP.

We talked to him Thursday night, and he said that he knows he has not made things easy on us and he appreciates everything we have done. This is the first time he’s expressed sorrow or gratitude, and I also felt I caught a glimpse of my real son.

I feel overwhelmed at the thought of him coming home so soon. I do not want to try to control a grown man. Your thoughts above, Copa, are so helpful.

He lived here last summer without any major issues, so maybe it will go better than expected. I am praying and hoping for the best.
 

Barbaro

New Member
I think this is so true. I can't say for sure, but I think maybe a more rural location may have worked better for my son when I sent him to a "failure to launch" program when he showed me I could not direct him into adulthood would have been better. I sent him to a place in Salt Lake City Utah, an excellent, very expensive dual diagnoses program with a strong male influence I knew my son had missed growing up. I was very concerned about his access to a good psychiatric doctor for his mental health treatment.
But in my son's case that location seemed to be his downfall. My son was able to find a Mormon Bishop who believed his fictional story of lifetime abuse who bought him a bus ticket the 2000 plus miles back here. Here where my son had also been able line up a random middle aged woman who was an acquaintance of a recent girlfriend who couldn't take care of her adult self let alone anyone else. This woman said she would take him in to live in her home but really she thought he would come in and help her out. That rescue mission on her part lasted exactly two days after he landed in her lap here.
Just one more nightmare in my list of experiences but I'm thinking depending on your son's ability to twist people's heart strings, cows and horses might be better acquaintances for him in the near future than people if you are considering sending him to a treatment program.
Many years ago I used to work for the State Alcohol and Drug programs. I don't think they had restrictions on where you came from to enter treatment programs but they were highly concerned about where you went after you completed rehab. They did not want you to return to the area you lived in before you came for treatment. The feeling was if you returned it was too easy to fall in with the same crowd and start repeating the same behaviors that put you in rehab.
 
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