Enquiring minds want to know…

Do your recovering addicts/alcoholics not go any where that alcohol is served? I am just kind of curious because maybe this is where it all went wrong.  J is 21 nearing 22 actually. I really did not think it was a big deal for him to be out after 10:00pm nor did I think it was wrong that he was at a club to watch a band.  Is it the after 10:00pm thing or the fact that he was at an establishment that offered alcohol?

I am really confused. I thought the idea was for him to live a healthy lifestyle in the real world. In the real world some restaurants sell alcohol. If J wants to use, I no longer believe there is a damn thing I can do about it. Hell, the last time he used, he had drugs delivered to our home the night before going into rehab. He doesn’t need to drive anywhere to get his drug of choice. Am I really being that stupid? Maybe I am? Is this the denial that my friendly blogger was trying to bring to my attention?

Are we harming J by allowing him to go out? Which seems to go against the idea that only J has control over what kind of life he will lead.  I have a feeling I am going to hear an ear full…I am almost afraid to post this.


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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14 Responses to Enquiring minds want to know…

  1. Ron Grover says:

    J’s recovery belongs to J.

    Your recovery belongs to you.

    I’ve read a lot of comments too and some may be mean spirited and some are from a place of concern. My place is just what I wrote in the first two sentences. My son is now 23, been in recovery for almost a year. He knows exactly what relapse would do to him. He also knows how happy everyone close to him is to have him back.

    Using is Alex’s choice, just as it is J’s choice. Maintaining his sobriety is also his choice and how he does that is up to him to know his own boundaries. If you demand or expect J is not around alcohol or even places where there will be drugs, such as concerts, bars or basically anywhere, anyplace in the world then J nor Alex will live a life of recovery. They will be living for someone else and that is proven to never work for anyone, clean, addicted or alcoholic.

    The life J lives must be his life just as Alex’s is his life. I have made sure Alex understands how proud of him I am in the life he chooses to live now and how painful it was for me to live during the life he lived in active addiction. Alex knows what he stands to lose by going back, he won’t make a choice because of what I do or don’t do.

    • madyson007 says:

      I almost wrote exactly what you so elegantly said in your response but I was afraid it might sound arrogant. J does not want that old life back. As time passes that becomes clearer and clearer. This one, the life he is leading now is hard enough. He can’t imagine trying to maintain it and not be sober. Probation, drug tests, a job and being a brother and a son is hard work. He really wants a job.

      I am proud of J and it never occurred to me not to trust him because their might be alcohol where he is heading or bad things happen after midnight. I guess that could be true but I am not sure what that has to do with me?. I would be devastated if J used again. He knows that…

      I think very few comments that have been left on this blog were meant to be mean spirited. I don’t always agree but I still want to hear it. It is what keeps me growing and learning.

  2. Annette says:

    Well your question “are we harming J by allowing him to go out?” says a lot. J is almost 22 and an adult. I can’t tell my 22 year old daughter where she can and can’t go, but I can set rules for my home. No drugs, no alcohol and don’t bring anyone actively using or drinking home with you. In my experience people pursuing sobriety know what they can and can’t handle. They know what feels safe and what is playing with fire. They have to make wise choices and it is their responsibility to do so.

    My opinion and thats all this is….is that being young and newly sober, going into a bar/club even just to hear a band, late at night, where alcohol is being served is playing with fire.

    I just heard a mom in a meeting say that she told her son after an “episode”…thats why I don’t hang out in bars because nothing good happens there after midnight.” :o)

    • madyson007 says:

      The “are we harming J by allowing to go out” was exactly my point…I thought the idea was that J was in charge of himself. You are also so right the rules in our home are very clear he can not use and live in my house period and he knows that. That is what is different this time. He thought he could occasionally use…I kid you not. Dumb kids. Thank god that is crystal clear and very motivating.

      I spoke with his friends and the cop involved. He said J did absolutely nothing wrong. The person checking ID thought he was using his big brothers license. He just did not believe it was him. He wasn’t unruly, rude, drunk or aggressive. What I would like to know is, does that person have the right to take someones ID?

  3. Lou says:

    Andrew doesn’t go to bars/clubs/concerts because he is a convicted felon, and if he is anywhere where there is a fight, etc. he will be the first to go to jail. He is totally paranoid about it. Also, he does not have the money!

    It is completely his choice not to go, not mine or anyone else.

    He does not want to go back to prison, he has over a year clean, he has a wonderful life–he will take NO chances to jeopardize it.

    IMO, there are many ways to “live in the real world” without going to places where people are getting drunk. I also believe that alcohol will lead Andrew back to his drug of choice…eventually. This is an accepted theory in addiction treatment.

    But the bottom line is, it is J’s recovery, and he will have to make his own choices.

  4. madyson007 says:

    I am grateful that he has good friends who invite him out and see him safely back home. It is a luxury and a special treat not a habit. Most time is spent home. I like when he invites friends over in our neighborhood and they play guitar and sing. Sometimes he will walk to their house and play. What I never for a moment thought was that J being sober meant being in before dark and not frequenting anyplace that might draw an ounce of attention. Heck, there was a ridiculous fight at our local StarBucks on Friday afternoon. I am glad that J was far far away from there but who new?

  5. onemomtalking says:

    Dear Friend, My son Dan is 21. He is a recovering addict and alcoholic. I’d say that, during his first six months or so, he did not go anywhere where there was alcohol. But now he does go to concerts or dancing in clubs where other people are drinking. In my opinion, it’s not about whether you should *let him* or *not let him* do anything. I agree with you that he needs to learn to function in the world. If he feels he can handle being out then he goes out. It’s all a process, and things went wrong that night. I don’t think any of you did anything wrong.

  6. Dawn says:

    Lets face it. If he ends up using or not using, there isn’t a dang thing you can do about it anyway. maybe the recent experience will cool him off from going into bars for awhile anyway. maybe not. the only danger i see is IF he does relapse, you guys feeling sorry for him and allowing him to stay in the home because he promises he won’t again. THAT is a trap to beware of. Until then, there isn’t a whole lot you can do. you can’t control him, cure him, etc. that being said, what is your plan for making sure you can test him if you think he is using? or do you have to prove it according to your contract? or do you simply say “J, we love you but we believe you are using and you must leave?”

    those are all that come to mind

  7. Renee C. says:

    You cannot stop him if he wants to go to bars to hear music or be with his friends. If he surrounds himself with people who do not drink he probably wont end up going to these places. My daughter went to a bar about 4 months after being clean and it was a horrible experience for her. She ended up having to call another NA member to talk her out of using. She then didnt go for another 8 months or so but when she did go she went where her brother was playing music and was surround by family so there was no temptation. She had red bull and ginger ale. She really doesnt frequent these places, not that she cant its that she doesnt want to. She instead volunteers and does other things that make her happy without being at a bar, etc. She goes to many concerts where she is with people who do not drink or do drugs so she is safe and enjoys it tremendously. I hope J understands all that happened. Life isnt fair and what happened to him at the bar stinks but they will be judged by others, it just happens.
    I am glad you posted this and hope everyone realizes that all of this is up to J. Hugs to you

  8. beachteacher says:

    I think that nobody above (at least in these comments) thinks that you were at all responsible for where your son went….or you approving or not of where he went. I think that what was communicated was that going to bars can be very slippery for addicts….and that your son would be helped by realizing that….but that’s not saying that it’s up to you to get him to realize that…not saying that at all.

    Even when alcohol is not the main issue for someone….the alcohol can lead him/her to being very vulnerable to using their drug of choice. I’m assuming J doesn’t drink at all. If not, while in early recovery, that can often be a difficult position to be in ,….especially for someone young like him. It seems that everyone young drinks…..from what I can observe anyway,…if they’re not alcoholics in recovery,…but I’m sure that’s also an exaggeration. My son says that alcohol isn’t at all his problem….(I’m not sure that I agree with him on that either),…but if he drinks…it makes him want cocaine, which is definitely his problem to the nth degree. : (

    This is all very hard for your son to navigate…I’m sure. And it’s also hard for you to not worry about. I get that too,…so much. Just know that we’re all on your side…and wishing the best for J…so much so.

  9. Syd says:

    Madyson, J. is the only one who does have control over whether he uses or not. And yes, he does have to navigate in the real world. That being said, I know of many young people who are fairly new to sobriety. Their AA sponsors tell them that it is a mistake to go to a bar so early in sobriety. I imagine that NA sponsors say the same thing. The physical craving and the mental obsession to drink or use are often strong at the beginning of sobriety. My wife still does not go into bars. She doesn’t enjoy the crowd and does not want to be around a lot of people who are drinking or drunk. She is just one drink away from throwing her recovery out the window. Why have temptation thrown right in front of a person? As Annette wrote, it seems like playing with fire. I don’t know whether J. has a sponsor, but I believe one would be helpful to him in recovery. But again, that is up to him. No one can force him to stay clean. He has to find what works.

  10. Barbara says:

    Keven is not 21 yet so the bar issue hasn’t entered my mind….but my hope is that Keven will figure out what he can and can not do. When trying to eat healthy, I can’t walk into a bakery with cookies fresh out of the oven even if I just want to buy a cup of coffee…I know myself! By the time I realize what I’ve done its too late, I just ate half my days calories in two cookies that were not worth it!

    There will always be bars, etc. and even restaurants serve booze, I just hope that he can choose on his own to avoid places where trouble usually happens and bars are a magnet for trouble.

  11. Momma says:

    I have found that I cannot “let” or “not let” my son do anything anymore. What he does or doesn’t do is his choice. I do offer suggestions, or my opinion if asked.

    Your son will make his own path. He will figure out what works for him, how to do his recovery. Maybe it will involve NA, or cutting all past ties, avoiding situations. He has to learn his own boundaries.

    I worry, I admit that. I agonize and fuss and over think everything that happens, and lay awake in the middle of the night.

    BTW, I still don’t completely trust my son, and he has been clean for almost 2 years. I don’t feel comfortable with him in bars, I’ll tell him that. He mostly stays away from them, but not completely. His girlfriend drinks, which makes my uncomfortable. Just another thing to worry about 🙂

  12. Jackie says:

    I don’t think you should monitor J’s behavior. I would hate it if someone did that to me.
    Everyone is different in how they treat being around alcohol. You have to do what is comfortable and safe for you and, of course, that changes with time. At first, I was terrified. I had no experience saying no. My job sometimes requires me to be around alcohol. I would call my sponsor before and after. I would monitor my feelings and make sure I had an out.
    Now, I mostly don’t think about it. I went on vacation with my adult kids and they asked me how i wanted to handle it. I said alcohol while out was fine but I’d prefer not to have it at the house we rented. One night my son realized that he had forgotten his id and asked me to order. I shocked us both by snapping “no”. That felt dangerous to me where it might not have bothered someone else. Last year I said no alcohol at my house for thanksgiving. This year I will ask people to take home what they bring. At least I feel that way now.
    So, while I was surprised that J would be at a club with alcohol so early in sobriety, it’s not a judgement. It’s his comfort level that matters and that’s a matter for him to decide.

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