Friday, April 27, 2012

Conned again

It's Friday morning, and what started out as a great day has suddenly gone downhill fast.

I just got a call from my son's sponsor, who is the person who got him into his current sober living house. The call was to tell me that my son is on the verge of being kicked out of the house he's in. Evidently he's been skipping meetings, not working the program as he should be, not communicating with his sponsor, etc. The owner of the house told my son this morning that he's on his last leg. The owner then called my son's sponsor to tell him the same thing. And, unfortunately, this is the second time this has happened in the last few weeks.

I'm incredibly disappointed, but not the least bit surprised. My wife and I have been conned again. It's not the first time. It's probably like the 4,275th time. And it won't be the last time. It's what addicts do. They live in their self-centered world, do what they want to do, and tell their loved ones what they think they want to hear. It's just part of the disease.

Our son's sponsor thinks our son has been lying to us so if he does get kicked out of the sober living house, we'll let him come back home...because he's clean. But I will tell you right now, that will not happen.

The only good news here is that my son is clean. So there is that. But if he gets kicked out of the house he's in, he's going to have to find somewhere else to live. And he's going to have to do it without mom and dad's help. My wife and I are done fixing things for our son. He's an adult and has to figure things out for himself.

His sponsor told me that we should not have any contact with our son until he has six months clean--with one exception: we're supposed to call him later today and tell him that we made a mistake by letting him come by the house over the last 30 days, talking to him on the phone, taking him places, etc. And that starting today, we are cutting off all contact. In fact, after I finish this blog post I'm going online to block my son's cell phone number from my wife's cell phone. (I don't have a cell phone.) No more calls. No more text messages.

I admit that my wife and I screwed up by not avoiding all contact with our son over the last month. It's just so hard to cut your child off completely. But that's what we need to do. Starting today.

If our son ends up getting kicked out of his sober living house, his sponsor said he can probably get him into some kind of shelter. So he won't be living on the streets. But his situation will drastically change.

Our son's sponsor is going to call him today and lay everything on the line. We're praying that our son will get the message and change his ways. But if not, we will accept whatever happens and let him deal with it on his own. That's the way it has to be.

Happy Friday.

"I've always thought I could use my brain and my heart to jockey everyone around to the good. But life is not jockeyable. When you try, you make people infinitely crazier than they already were, including or especially yourself." --Anne Lamott


  1. Thoughts and prayers, Dean. Thoughts and prayers.

  2. Oh dear...hold on for a second and breathe. This is the kind of stuff that really gets me angry. What makes his sponsor in charge of his life? For many addicts, recover comes with 12 step meetings, but for some it comes without 12 step meetings, sponsors and all those trappings. My son is not a meeting person. He tends to be on the quiet, shy side socially, and he never felt comfortable at meetings. It isn't his thing! Forcing him to attend would most likely result in resentment and possible relapse. As it stands now, he is in charge of his own recovery...and he is doing a fine job with 8 months clean. Being clean is the ONLY thing that matters. How he gets or stays clean is up to him...not me, not his sponsor or anyone.

    Also, why would you have to cut off contact with him? Your son is new to recovery. I think he needs your support now more than ever...if for nothing else than an Atta Boy from time to time. What he is doing right now is the hardest thing he will likely ever do in life. It would be terribly sad to go through that alone.

    I'm not saying you should let him manipulate you or use you...absolutely not! On the other hand, to deny him access to you and your wife seems unnecessarily cruel.

    For the record, I know many people in sober living that play the meeting game just to stay in the house. What's any better about that vs saying honestly that meetings are not your thing, but remaining sober in other ways.

    My son has heard "People who make meetings make it." He likes to say "People who make meetings make meetings"

    I'm sorry you are struggling. If there is anything I can do to help...if only to listen, I'm here.

  3. Gotta love Anne, a wise lady.

    I felt sick reading this because I know the feeling so well.

    Notmyboy has made some really good points. You and your wife have to decide for yourself what is best in your situation. If past experiences proves that cutting him off works for his good do it. I know that when I cut Keven off completely it taught him a good lesson and that I meant business. But he also was used more than ever and almost died. I don't know the answers for your son, but soul search. You know him better than anyone.

  4. Oh sweetie. big hugs to you and Kathy. Nothing else to say. Just love and strength coming your way.

  5. Dad- i can tell that you are pissed. Do not come down hard on the boy. Now is the time to be calm, cool and positive. He has made a lot of progress. All he is doing is being a kid. Things are so much better than they were a month ago. Do not loose perspective. Look at the matter as 'correctable'. Like is not black and white and a bit of subtlety is called for.

  6. Dean- dont throw the baby out with the bathwater. The boy,technically, has not fucked up yet. A little compassion now will go a long way down the road.

  7. Dear DDD,
    How I feel for you. We never seem toknow whats right. I see both sides of contact and no contact. How I hate life some days. I live in the area and this drug situation in our metro area is out of control. I think daily of nothing else. As of a week ago, my son was about 4 weeks clean but I am having my doubts the last week. Nothing seems to motivate him. We let him come home but somedays i feel it was a mistake-most days! Found your blog a couple of weeks ago from a post on mom and dads comments. It seems I have found a few from this area. Missing Notmyboys blog-glad to see she's still out there sharing her words.
    No one can tell us whats best. I will pray for you. it seems my list gets longer everyday.
    take care

  8. I feel differently. Requiring your son to attend meetings in order to stay in the house is not "too much to ask" whether or not he "embraces" the AA steps or not. I am confident there is something there for him to learn from. I think people who reject "the program" are just "dry" drunks or "dry" users, personally. Maybe they are not using, but they are not transforming. I know AA is not for everyone, but what's the alternative? Your Higher Power can now be a blade of grass, that's how far AA has evolved. I believe in the program -- I have seen it work miracles. As far as I can tell (or remember) the total severing all contact is not an approach that you have tried yet, is it? Maybe this is the time...While he is clean & sober? You certainly can't do it when they are in the active stage of their disease...Because then they really could die. I don't know. I'm thinking there's some healthy anger & boundaries happening here. I know this is the hardest thing in the world, but how long can you guys keep this up before it destroys your souls too? Sending huge prayers your way...."Keep coming back; it works when you work it..." Peace.

  9. It's all part of the sucky game, Dean. It sucks, but I think he still needs to hit a much deeper bottom than he has. Overall, he's had it pretty easy (much easier than you, K, and J). It sucks, it sucks, it sucks, but this could be a good thing. This can be an opportunity for him to grow and begin to heal. To "figure it out."

    Stay strong, for him, and for you, and for the rest of your family. You are doing the right thing. It sucks that you have to do it, but it is right. <3

  10. Thoughts and prayers to you and the family,Dean.

    If you haven't already read it, there's a great book by Jeff and Debra Jay called "Love First." They're professional interventionists in GP and I like their approach to addiction.

    Having worked many years with addiction on Cass Corridor and in my private practice, I can say with certainty that for most people, working the program is the best way out. As enablers, when we focus on the problem, it becomes more of a problem; but can you distance yourselves without shutting him out altogether? I guess that's something only you and Kathy can decide.

    It seems like you're approaching this with love, clear expectations and boundaries. I hope you remember that even in the toughest times you are doing an awesome job. Love you guys, Miriam.

  11. Nice informative blog, thanks for sharing.