I ran across an email I had filed away several years ago and felt I should share it with you.
I am not sure who the author is and there were some of the 99 original suggestions that were no longer usable. Others needed updating, so I took the liberty to do that.
My suggestion is to read through this and pick out those suggestions you find helpful. Forget the rest.
* All change depends on a willingness to learn, to educate yourself and others.
* The disease uses three primary tools to hold you hostage. They are fear, pity and guilt. Listen carefully to your addicted child and be on guard and ready with a preplanned and appropriate communication response. One that leads your addicted child to recovery.
* Parents get in the way of their child’s recovery when they attempt to control. Asking if they are going to their meeting, how many job applications they submitted and other such inquiries only signal the child they aren’t capable. This hinders the opportunity for continued recovery.
* “Say what you mean, and mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.” You hear this in support groups and it is so true. Here’s another favorite of mine: “You don’t have to go to every battle you’re invited to.”
* One of the keys to attending support groups is they teach you how not to get drawn into the chaos that addiction creates. This is accomplished not by others giving you advice but by the readings, traditions and simply feeling the love and understanding in the room. You may get lots of support from family and friends but only those who have walked your walk can give you the comfort, peace and serenity you need.
Support groups have proven to be successful for the great majority of parents:
Note: Call these organization and tell them what you are dealing with. This will tell you if the organization is possibly a good fit for you and other family members.
It is best to experience these meetings in person and you should attend at least six meetings before determining if this is the right place for you or not. If not, try another meeting — do not give up, keep trying.
* One of the keys to freeing yourself from your child’s chaos is to focus on your passion once again. For example, my wife always wanted to learn to paint, so she began taking lessons and she put her time and passion into this. It is therapeutic.
* Allowing “the disease” to live in your home rarely has proved to be a healthy decision.
* Bailing “the disease” out of jail sends a message to the disease that all is well. It is best to have an understanding with the disease (your child) that this will never be an option for the family.
* Paying for your child’s attorney if the charges are directly or indirectly involved with alcohol or other drugs.
* Warning: The disease will make you think you are in control. It’s a trick that it uses frequently and that is why the disease can last for decades!
* The disease takes great joy and is strengthened when you do not forgive. Forgiveness is the primary ingredient for healing and failure to deal with our anger and frustrations continues to make us “victims.” Forgiveness is for “you.”
* It rarely works when only one member of a family is in recovery.
* The great majority of families find it does not prove successful to “attempt” to have a relationship with an actively using child. It is unhealthy for everyone and never works in the long term.
* It is important to understand that to your addicted child nothing is more important than his next high. To make this clear, say you are on your death bed and only have two hours to live but your addicted child needs those two hours to score his next fix. Guess what? Your son will choose to find his drugs first.
* In reality, your child does not need a cell phone provided by you or another family member. If he needs to talk with you, he will find a phone. For every one call you receive, he will be calling his dealer 10-, 20-, 30-plus times. When you pay for his phone, you are actually helping him score his next hit, which he may just overdose on.
* It takes the average family seven years to come to the realization that its child has a “problem” with alcohol or other drugs. Then it takes an additional two years for the family to begin dealing with the addiction in an appropriate manner.
* When the opportunity arises, and it will, your family doctor can have a huge impact on your child (any age). However, few doctors are knowledgeable about the disease of addiction and even if they have had some training they are unlikely to feel comfortable mentioning abuse of alcohol or other drugs.
Call the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) at (301) 656-3920 (email@example.com) and ask for membership assistance. Society members can help you locate the right doctor.
Doctors can play a key role in both formal and informal interventions. They can write letters to the courts and/or treatment programs, do drug tests etc.
If you still can’t locate the right doctor, then ask your doctor to review “The Physicians Guide to Helping Patients with Alcohol Problems.” This is a good guide, regardless of the drug involved.
* Here’s a tip from a mom: “If you know you are going to have a ‘difficult’ conversation with your child (any age), take them to a restaurant or other public place.”
* If you are going to drug test your child, it is wise to find a professional company. Professionals can provide you with accurate information and answer your questions about drug testing before going to a local drug store and buying a drug-testing kit off the shelf.
* If your child has a mental illness and addiction, you will gain great insight in reading the book, “At Wit’s End” by Jeff Jay and Jerry A. Boriskin, Ph.D.
* It has been proven that the most success in creating a relapse agreement is one that has been reviewed by a professional alcohol/drug counselor.
You might find it helpful to review this Web site: http://www.tgorski.com/. The author is an expert on relapse and has excellent resources and educational material for you and other family members.
Note: It is estimated that 50 percent will relapse during the first 90 days after treatment.
* “Drugs alter thinking; Thinking controls behaviors; Behaviors determine habits; Habits determine character; Character determines destiny.” “As a result of their addiction, our addicts are incapable of having intimate, lasting relationships. It is not that they are willfully acting badly toward us, they are being driven by the disease.” — Unknown author.
* Here is information that may be of help, review the cycle of acceptance at http://www.thwink.org/sustain/glossary/CycleOfAcceptance2.gif
* “Four Quadrant Problem Solving Aid”: It works like this, (1) draw a vertical line down the middle of a page, (2) in the center of the page draw a horizontal line across the page. In the upper left quadrant you will list all anticipated positive outcomes for taking the proposed action on the issue being considered. Now, in the lower left quadrant you will list all the anticipated outcomes for “NOT” taking the proposed action on the issue being considered. In the upper right quadrant you list all the anticipated negative outcomes in taking the action. Now, in the lower right you will list all the anticipated negative consequences for “NOT” taking the action. — “Four Quadrant Problem Solving Aid,” October 2010,Counselor magazine, by Robert Proehl, CADC
* “Don’t do for them what they can do for themselves.” A common saying from counselors.
* Tell your child you love him whenever possible but the only support you can give is the support that leads to recovery.
* Accept Christ as your Lord and Savior. You may find the “Life Recovery Bible” very helpful for your child’s recovery and that of the family.
* It is best, before confronting your child about his/her substance abuse, to first visit with your spouse and come to some common agreements then visit with a alcohol/drug counselor. If you don’t do this, then a desirable outcome is less likely.
* Where your child goes to treatment is not near as important as the willingness to change.
* Please review the “Stages of Change Model” at http://bit.ly/eVKOiS. Watch the short video at the end of article first, for an overview.
* Blogs I recommend:
* Warning: when you are on various blogs written by parent(s) and you review comments made by their followers, make sure you investigate what you are reading. The majority of blogs I have read by parents, the writers appear not to be very well educated in addiction. Many do not see a counselor on a regular basis, do not attend any 12-step groups or have a sponsor. Their information is unreliable.
* How to find the comfort you need to proceed, to succeed? Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.