What should the question be?

I read Ron’s blog today and felt such empathy for the situation his son finds himself in…living the fragile sober life and still paying the price.

My husband has decided that the only answer for my son’s future is for him to go into rehab. Now I am not opposed to this at all. Here is where the problem lies…I will not force or coerce my son into rehab. (Actually if I thought it would work…I would take him there by gunpoint BUT, I know unless J see’s rehab as the solution to his problem and not a punishment, it is not going to work).

My husband will SCREAM at my son “You have thrown your life away, Get a job! Go back to school! Fix it!” I cross my eyes because I am really not sure what he expects J to do exactly?

J’s life is pretty close to what it was a year ago only he is not using any opiates.  I really am not sure about anything else. Remember I shared that he called a week a go in tears because he has come to the realization that he is stuck. Well the truth is he really is stuck…he has no car, no phone, lives in the middle of no where and has no ability to change any of those things. So he does nothing…it is all to overwhelming for him and it is to easy for him to sit back and do nothing. Again, I cross my eyes because I am not really sure how to help him, help himself. I know it sounds like enabling but I am seriously not talking about fixing it. I am talking about giving him some tools to help himself because this is a dead-end, with not a lot of hope going on. All these doors that slam shut on recovering addicts is really an unfortunate thing. Digging themselves out of the hole they dug is a MONUMENTAL task under the best of circumstances and let’s face it part of an addicts weakness is his in-ability to see the big picture and plan beyond the end of their noses.

My husbands answer is to force him into rehab and then give him help…and it really is not at all clear to me what kind of help my husband is offering.  I just know that this is not going to work. He may even eventually force J into rehab but it will not be the answer until J decides it is.

I know the answer lies with J.  Only I am not sure what the question should be?


About madyson007

I am a mom of 4 who thought she was home free when my oldest son went off to college. My serious blunder? Genetics and being naive or maybe just plain stupid.
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17 Responses to What should the question be?

  1. Ron Grover says:


    I’ve not been commenting very much on blogs lately. Just trying to catch up on work and family stuff but I have tried to write my own and keep everyone informed on our progress.

    This is what I did in trying to figure out the difference between enabling use and assisting recovery. It was a very hard exercise because I really had to examine deeply what I believed, what I wanted, what I wished and what is the closest thing to reality that I know.

    Inside I had to examine deeply about what I believed about addiction. Is it a disease as I see disease like maybe cancer or diabetes. I came to a conclusion it is a disease, nothing else makes sense but to classify it as an disease. It is not just a brain disease but it affects every part of a person. Then if it is a disease what does that mean to me?

    How do people get better when they are afflicted with a disease? What is a valid treatment and can that be different for different people?

    Finally I got to the point where I believed my son’s desire to get well, his work on himself was not an act.

    Then I could see observable behaviors that influenced my efforts.

    Now I got to the point of looking at my son as a cancer victim. If my son had the disease called cancer and got a diagnosis that his cancer was in remission and basically had been fighting this disease for 7 years and missed out on very important formative years in his upper teens and early twenties what would his life look like? I the actually sat down and listed all those things on paper as if he had cancer and then listed his issues as he has suffered with addiction. The lists somewhat similar.

    Then I started looking at each side and what would I do to help my son out of the hole. Truth is after a lot of contemplation I realized I couldn’t just lift my son out of the hole even if he had cancer. If I did that I would cheat him of very important lessons he needs for life. It is just the same as for addiction. I cannot cheat him out of those lessons because of addiction.

    We also live outside of the city. No mass transit, no jobs even within walking distance unless you consider over 5 miles walking distance. How do you get a job and begin learning lessons of work. I firmly believe is a basic psychological need of the human experience. What tools do I have at my disposal to help? Do I throw a shovel in the hole or a rope so to speak? What happened, I have a mechanic friend that like 2 days after I had been thinking about this he called me and ask if I knew anyone that needed a good car, old man wanted him to sell it for him for $1000. I bought it for my son, it sat in the driveway until he found a way to pay for insurance and taxes. Did I do good? I don’t know, he used it to get a job and work but I didn’t know he had a suspended license and that is why he got 6 months in jail, 2 driving on suspended. Always remember no good deed goes unpunished. 😉

    The one thing I know for sure is there are no absolutes. There is no one right way but I think there are some definite wrong ways. One of my conclusions was when they are in recovery it seems to be more about me than ever. I have to examine myself more closely. And I have to understand recovery is a progressive progress. I’d love for him to drop to his knees and ask forgiveness, pay me back for all he stole, make promises, act contrite and everything else. But all of that requires him to look into the mirror very hard and long. I not sure I’d have the stomach for that. To expect that is too much for him right now. I have to accept what he has to give, he cannot give what he does not have.

    I have rambled on a lot but there is so much to this. Be sure to write me anytime or if you or husband need to talk, e-mail me I will send number.


  2. VJ says:

    I have learned there are only two ways a child gets to treatment, (1) they are forced there by the criminal justice system or (2) the family does a formal intervention.

    The child will now discover new options as his brain has time to heal.

    In prayer for all our children.

  3. Dawn M. McCoy says:

    Wow. This is the ultimate sticky wicket.

    I sort of agree with Ron. And, I sort of don’t agree.

    other than we have differences on the whole disease issue, which don’t bear going into right now….

    the prisons are literally FULL of people who were remorseful for what they have done RIGHT AFTER IT STARTED AFFECTING THEM IN A NEGATIVE MANNER AND THEY GOT SENT TO PRISON. And, yet, they STILL have to serve out their sentence.

    becoming a heroin addict, or opiate addict has consequences. And, no matter what, your son is going to live with those consequences for the rest of his life.

    I don’t see any way to minimize them, nor, do I think you should. It doesn’t actually help. Not fun to write, not fun to live, and true anyway.

    Maybe the consequences are so tough that it defeats them and they go back to using.

    Maybe the consequences are such that they make the decision to never ever use again, knowing what it has cost them.

    either way, they are THEIR consequences to deal with. Not yours.

    Maybe the kindest thing you could do is buy him a bus ticket to the closest major metropolitan area that has a salvation army where he could stay cheap, mass transit, give him enough money to eat on for a week, and directions to the closest day labor employment agency.

    That would be a hand up, not a hand out. What he does with his life after that is pretty much up to him. He will be on his own to either sink, or swim.

    best of luck, and I sure wish I had all the answers.

    • madyson007 says:

      Believe it or not…I totally see your point of view as well and there are days that I want to gas up the car and drop him off at the nearest bus station. I am just not there yet. Who knows one day I may reach that point but right now, I believe in him…still. Yes, I know I am probably setting myself up for a big fall but it is all I can do at the moment.

  4. Syd says:

    No answers for you, but wishing you the best. I know that forcing someone into recovery doesn’t seem to work. They have to want it.

  5. Lisa C says:

    Your question is profound and the comments that have been given cover the entire scope that parents face. I believe that the difference between helping and enabling is a very personal decision and is based on the individual circumstances that your addict, you and your family are dealing with. I think that is why we all have thoughts on it. The only thing I know for sure is what works for one is unique to that one.

    You have to decide for yourself how much help you want to give and to figure out if you are enabling or helping, check your motives. Why are you helping and what is the expected outcome?

    I do agree with Syd that for rehab to work, the individual has to want it. But wanting it and making it happen can be two different things. You remain in my thoughts and my prayers.

  6. Dad 4 Truth says:

    How does the diseased mind of an addicted child ever just “want it?” This is a deadly disease so you should do a formal intervention and get him to treatment. It is in treatment that they discover “recovery” and not out on the streets looking for their dealer.

    There is nothing “unique” about your situation! We have been dealing with addiction for 5000 years and there are clearly defined and acceptable paths you can take.

    Now is the time to quit playing games and get serious about learning all you can about addiction. Learn what has proven successful for the great majority of other families. Educate yourself and find an above average AOD counselor. Go to Al-Anon and/or Families Anonymous. Attend an open AA meeting. Read/study like you are preparing for a Ph.D

    Helping vs enabling: Basic rule says, “Don’t do for them what they can do for themselves.” With proper education you can determine the difference and in those situations where we end up in the grey area you can then rely on your Al-Anon sponsor and/or your AOD counselor.

    Quit fighting with your husband and join together as a team to help your son in his recovery and “yours!”

    Take aggressive and positive action, stay the course and you will have a very good possibility of success.

    Don’t take appropreiate action and you can be assured that a great deal more pain and suffering is coming. Are you OK with that?

    Blessings and prayers for your family.

    • madyson007 says:

      I am not sure I agree totally. I do my best to educate myself. I have been to a few Al-Anon meetings. I embrace the philosophy but it is not the answer for me. It is unfortunate that sometimes my husband and I are not on the same page, I would like to think we are not so different then many couples going through this. The problem with your scenario is…he is not on the street looking for his dealer at the moment. He is NOT using and living in a house, with his girlfriend in the middle of no where, with no phone, no car and no future BUT he is not using.

  7. terbear says:

    The finest addiction counselor I know, & the one who finally helped my husband see the light, firmly, adamantly believes interventions rarely work, no matter what the age.

    Obviously, you & your husband see things differently; he seems to be viewing addiction like an “earth” person, while you seem to have an understanding that addiction is not a “fix-it” situation.

    Just my 2 cents – I feel for you! I have no ideas to offer but my thoughts are with you as you struggle with this situation.

  8. terbear says:

    One other thought, and my intention is not to flame Dad 4 Truth, but if there are “clear & acceptable paths to take”, why aren’t more addicts successful with recovery? I respectfully disagree with the notion that this situation is not unique – while I hear people tell similar stories to my own in mtgs I attend, the players are always slightly different. No 2 stories are EXACTLY the same & I think this is why it is so hard to give practical, workable advice. Again, you & your family will be in my thoughts…

  9. Dad 4 Truth says:

    I apologize, I misunderstood your post. It appeared to me that you felt he needed an inpatient treatment program, so I presumed he is addicted to alcohol or other drugs. I might suggest that just because he is in “remission” does not mean he is in recovery. I would think that you had him assessed by a physiologist who has his accreditation in addiction, if that is true, what was the diagnosis? Does he have the disease of addiction? If so, start planning for “Plan B.” By the way, you are not so different from other couples. In fact, you are just like other couples and that is what makes this disease a “family disease.” May I also suggest you and your husband get a copy of Melody Beattie’s book, “Codependent No More.” Continued prayers for your family and son.

  10. Dad 4 Truth says:


    Are you kidding me? Interventions rarely work? That is the most ridiculous statement I have ever read on anyone’s blog. Your counselor is an idiot! Research after research indicate the exact opposite. Again, this is a clear example of parents not doing there own hard work of recovery and education.

    This idea that no two stories are exactly alike is just an excuse for families to continue to try it “their way.” Well, “their way” does not work. So what, that no two stories are exactly alike, addiction is addiction just like cancer is cancer. And with cancer there is a proven program that is acceptable for the greatest chance of success. The same approach applies to addiction. Why is that so difficult for parents to understand? The answer is, you don’t want to do the hard work that recovery requires. You want the “easy” way.

    Yes, there are “clear and acceptable paths” that lead to the greatest opportunity for long term recovery. I never said I had a “cure” for addiction. I just know what is workable for the “greatest majority” of families. Recovery is not just for the addicted child but for their immediate and extended family members.

    The reason most recovery program are not successful is that they are not long enough. In addition, the family is not prepared properly when their addicted child returns home.

    I don’t post to me “liked” but to give families the “hard truth” that is required for this deadly disease. If you disagree with what I say then make sure you do an “appropriate” research before discounting my statements. I don’t make up anything — I have done a complete and thorough research on every statement I have ever made.

  11. Jackie says:

    There is always research. There is also life. And, if this were cut and dried and simple than thee would be more recovery.
    Intervention may work and it may not work. It may work because the addict and the family reach the end of their ropes at the same time.
    I don’t understand why anyone needs to be the absolute voice of authority on this subject. If you truly believe that if everyone would do exactly as you say that there would be no non-recovering addicts in the world, then you may be more in need of your own recovery program than you understand.
    I appreciate the passion. I just doubt the absolute certainty in your own rightness.

  12. TerBear says:

    Wow. Clearly, Dad4Truth, I believe you when you say you don’t want to be liked.

    All I know is my husband has been sober for almost 3 years after following the advice of his questionable (?) counselor. Works for me!

    • madyson007 says:

      I am so happy your husband was able to find sobriety! Gives us all hope to hear success stories. I appreciate that you read and support my blog. Could you tell me what state your husbands counselor is in? If he is in the area that our family lives in, maybe we could exchange emails and I could get more information. Always looking to find a good counselor. We have run into some very good counseling services and some very bad services.

      • TerBear says:

        Sure! We are in Indiana. My husband, after 5+ years of drinking, rehabs, DUIs, etc finally found something in an Intensive Outpatient Program at a major hospital here. I think the reason he connected with this counselor is b/c the counselor didn’t believe in BSing, had his own wild “drunkalog” stories (so my DH could see that he could become successful again, no matter how far he had dropped), and never gave up on him. While the program is officially 12 weeks in length, my DH attended for NINE months.

        While reading your post, I did read parts to him about rehab, and he said “You know, she’s right. We hate to be told what to do, and you know how I am – when forced to do anything, I rebel and do the exact opposite.” I don’t know much about those addicted to other substances, but it’s likely the same.

        Feel free to email me privately any time. I know how difficult it was with my DH, I just can’t imagine how difficult it must be to have this happening to someone you gave birth to and have so many hopes and dreams for. My heart goes out to you!

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