Rescuing Our Children
anonymous Asks ...
My son is a recovering alcoholic that is living with me. He has been to rehab (twice) and he has been in AA off and on for over 10 years and he was almost in complete liver failure 4 years ago and his liver function is still touch and go, especially since he cannot maintain total sobriety.
He goes to 2 AA meetings a day and I believe he is trying. He is emotionally very fragile and he is not working. I am letting him stay with me rent free and I have been since he was out of rehab 16 months ago. He has nowhere else to go.
The problem is he still drinks. He hides it from me but I can see that he is still drinking. I believe that if I made his not drinking a condition of his staying with me he would become homeless very shortly. He is trying but he cannot seem to stop himself
completely. I believe that I am enabling the problem but I do not know how sending him to the streets is going to help things. In fact I think it would be a death sentence. What should I do?
Loren Gelberg-Goff Says ...
I understand your concerns and care for your son. While on certain levels he is telling you that he is "trying", it seems to me that his efforts may be very limited and focused only on what he has been doing and not necessarily looking for new ways to handle his addiction. I also am concerned about the support (or lack of support) that you receive. It sounds like your son has not yet hit his "bottom" since he is still drinking and continuing the very behavior that he knows will kill him.
First and foremost, I'd look into applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and then apply for Medicare &/or Medicaid. At least this way he'd be eligible for some community programs, would have an income and health benefits. (I don't know if he already has these things in place, but he certainly needs to!)
If you want him to continue to live with you, then it is imperative that new boundaries and limits are established. You both need good therapy, both together and individually, preferably with a therapist who specializes in dealing with addictions and their impact on families and relationships. I don't know what your son's motivation is to heal himself, or if he feels helpless. It sounds like you have reached your limit, and need the support, guidance and structure of both therapy and groups (have you ever attended Al-Anon groups?) Some possible therapeutic interventions that I believe can be helpful are: neurofeedback, hypnotherapy, Emotional Freedom Therapy (EFT), It is important that you look into new modalities of therapy for yourself and your son since whatever it is he is doing is not the right modality, or is not enough.
While I understand your concerns, I also hear from your question, that your son is not really taking responsibility for his behavior and its consequences. You cannot make him do this, but you can learn to feel stronger within yourself to handle the choices and decisions that he is making, and to help you change how you respond to him. While it may be enabling him on some level that he continue to live with you, I am not suggesting that you immediately cut him off. Like any other sudden drastic move, it is rarely sustainable, so you need to be willing to look at what changes you are willing to make. This is one of those crossroads in life that are not easy, but necessary on many levels. I wish you the best as you move forward in new ways so that you can both make the best of your lives.