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Unread 05-24-2009, 01:07 PM   #1
Julie G
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Default Adult alcoholic son

Hi. I’m new. I started reading stories so much like mine, especially the ones from Mandela--they break my heart! I have a 27 yr.old son in a similar place as many here. So many of your stories give me hope.

I was a horrible enabler. Although my son has not lived at home since he left for college, I have helped him monetarily many times. I was clueless about the disease and ignored all hints that he had a serious problem, even after he was kicked out of college in the first semester. He tried living with my ex for awhile, broke some rules, and then moved away to work at a National Park, where he spent a night in jail a couple years later because of his drinking. It was my first clue that he had a problem, though it had really started during his football parties in high school a few years before, he told me recently. Actually, he said it started when he was four and couldn’t stop drinking from the bottle of chocolate syrup in the kitchen cupboard.

As of today, he's been in rehab 5 times. Of those, he completed the 3 month programs. 2 of those times, he stayed in sober living for a year sober, before he succumbed to alcohol again. He has lived with friends and with my ex on occasion, until each time his drinking got him in trouble. I have helped to get him into rooms for rent, and in the last case, an apartment, when he needed a place to stay. He found a job that he loved, and seemed to control his drinking so that he could go to work. Of course, I was unaware and thought he was sober and attending meetings.

But the weekend binging caught up with him. He would call me to come visit and help him detox and monitor his DT's so he could go back to work on time. I did that 3 times, taking off from my own job unexpectedly to drive those 3 1/2 hrs to my son's place. (Note here: being “on alert” 24/7 in order to save my son was not only destructive to me, but to my husband and daughter, as well. But, I didn’t realize it at this time.) Each time, I forced him to go to AA meetings in his town before I left. Then I'd call him when I got home to pester him about how much he had to drink and if he'd gone to meetings everyday. He admitted to lying to me later. My fault. It's a part of the disease to lie.

His manager liked him and let him come back on 3 different occasions when my son called in sick. I helped my son come up with some good excuses, too. (I guess that make me a liar, which is good to know so I can improve.) But that 4th time he called in sick, I advised him to quit so he wouldn't get fired and have that on his record. Again, my bad. I know now that I should let the crisis happen.

That was about 8 months ago. He binged for 3 weeks over his beloved lost job. He didn't ask for help, but I'd ask my ex who lived close by to check on him. There were times my son was passed out on the porch and couldn't be roused. He didn't want help on these occasions, but I advised my ex to get him to detox. He did, and my son returned to drink again after 5 days. Repeat that 3 times.

I had started Al-anon meetings by then, and I knew some of the things I should and shouldn't do. But I couldn't let go of his calls. We are so close. All I wanted to do was fix his problem. The best times for me were when he called in the morning when he had his next bottle ready to drink, but he wasn't blitzed yet.

Finally, my current husband wanted the craziness to stop, and he wanted the car we given my son at his HS graduation to come back home so he wouldn't get into an accident. I told my son we were coming to take the car away, and I offered to take him to rehab while we were there. What could he do? He had no money and no where else to go. The DT’s caught up with him because he’d drank 2 liters of vodka before we delivered him to the rehab facility. His hallucinations and shaking were so bad, that I had to leave work the next day and drive back to the emergency room. He spent 5 days there, but I left the next day when he was stable. It made me feel terrible to leave him, but I had to balance my life at home, too.

Looking back, I realize that each time he went to rehab, he was desperate for a place to live, and I'm not sure that he was ready to surrender...though he does know he has a problem. That's at least half of the 1st step. I know, because I'm working through the same 1st 3 steps with Al-anon, and it's the best thing I've ever done.

I promised my husband that if he let me pay for that last 3 month rehab so that my son would be eligible for the sober living apartments afterward, that it would be the last time I would rescue him.

I kept my promise. My son began drinking in his second month in the sober living apartments and was kicked out. He'd gotten another job by then, and though he went to cheap motel and kept drinking, he also kept his new job for a month before he quit.

Then, he binged, and my ex helped with the “checking up” thing again. My ex found the hotel door wide open with our son passed out at 10pm one time.

That was 2 months ago. I wasn't going to help him this time. I would have let him drink his final pay checks and do what he needed to do to survive. If every mother on this post doesn't understand the horror of that decision, I'd be surprised. I know you do, Marilyn.

He had one friend left...they call each other "brother". This friend drove from Oregon with his sister to pick up my son and take him home with him. They drove my son's truck back with him. (we had giving him his truck back when he got the job during sober living the last time.)

That's where he is now. He's tried one AA meeting, but only after he finished off the roommate's bottle of vodka and was threatened with the streets. His friend called recently to ask for my monetary help, and I told him that it has taken a year of Al-anon training to get to the point that I could say no. I told him it was easier to send money than to deny my son the necessities of life. I advised him to go to Al-anon meetings regularly, not just once, like he'd done before rescuing my son.

Last week, only 3 weeks after the above incident, my son called to come for a visit, that his friend was going to drop him off at my home for a few days. I didn't expect that call so soon. I am afraid to let him visit-one night, maybe--as a test. I asked him if he planned on going back with his friend. And he said, yes. But I could tell that my question bothered him. Then, I asked if he'd go to a AA meeting with me while he was here.

He didn’t answer at first, and then he said, "if he had to". I explained that I still didn't know if I trusted his method of sobriety. (He'd told me earlier that his program was to do yardwork to keep busy so he wouldn't drink.) There was a good thirty seconds of silence on the phone, and then I begged him to tell me what he was thinking. I could tell his both angry and hurt. All he said was that he didn't know what to say "to that." I explained that my fear was my problem, but that I needed to wait for a visit from him until I gained some trust. I told him that it had nothing to do with my love for him. I told him that I think about more minutes of the day than I should, that I plan for many happy occasions, visits, trips, and even with helping him with college in the future--but he needs to get himself well first. He said he had to go. And I'm sure that he felt like he needed family right now at this low point in his life, and that I--the person who loves him most in the world--failed him.

He didn't come. He left a very reserved message later that day that he was going to stay and look for a job. I haven't heard from him since then. I'm sure he is still hurt.

The hardest thing about his disease is knowing what to say and what not to say. I think I know what to do and what not to do, though. I have a disease, too. I need to get better, and I am working on it. I go to my Al-anon meetings regularly and have made some very healthy changes and some wonderful lifetime friends in my group. We have the same problems and the same questions, and there are not always definitive answers. But I keep searching, and when I fail, I learn from my mistakes and think about anything right I might have done.


I know that my words can sometimes push my son further into his sickness. No, I don't believe his drinking is my fault, but yes, I do believe I have "bought" his next drink many times in the last years. The best gift I can give him is to let him live his life without my help or advice. He may end up on the street, and that scares me the most. But I know he has God and his guardian angels to help him. And I believe that my dad and two grandfathers who died from that awful disease are whispering in his ear with the hope that he will hear and listen one day.

One thing the disease can never take away from him is my love. It’s the only constant that I CAN control.
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Unread 05-24-2009, 06:43 PM   #2
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Julie

Thank you so much for sharing your story. You've told it so beautifully yet the content is far from beautiful.

IMO, you are making amazingly difficult decisions but with so much love behind the decisions. Some day he will see this although deep down he knows it's the right thing for YOU at this time.

I hope your path continues to be positive for you and at some point are able to share positives about your son, too. Your story will help many and hope you continue to tell it with us.

On a treatment note, has your son been offered any medications to use long term for this disease? My first thought is that Vivitrol would be an excellent choice for him. www.vivitrol.com

SLynn
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Unread 05-27-2009, 04:57 PM   #3
mendela
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Dear Julie G, I was able to read your thread. WOW! did it bring back memories for me. Your situation with your son is so similiar to what I went through for the past 20 plus years. If I can offer any encouragement to you is that I have learned that when they really hit bottom or start to get up in age mine being 40 now, they realize that things will remain the same until they want to change them. I too enabled with monetary and looking for employment for Mike and begging one employer to take him back three times, looking for rooming houses. Took him to numerious short term rehabs. to him saying I have all the tools to stay sober only to relapse and start all over again. I ended my second marriage because of the stress Mike had put us through after 1year and nine months. I vowed this time me and my husband came first. I believe we get so caught up in their emotions and disapointments that we try so hard to make things better for them instead of ourselves.

I have always loved and kept the faith that Mike would find his way, as they do survive some how. My worry was always that they would be hurt or found dead and I would never know about it. I spent sleepless nights when I had no word from him, or where he might be or who he was with.

This past weekend however, was so wonderful. We picked Mike up at the Friendship House in Portland,Me, he showed us around, it was a beautiful place, homey and clean. We met his room mate, who seemed nice. He spent the night at the campground with us and really was socialable. We celebrated his birthday with a cake and cook out on Sunday. His brother and his family joined us on Sunday and he seemed glad to have them there. I did an album of his beginning years of life to present and he was so taken by all the memories he had as a young child. The thing that really took me back was we got him a Happy Birthday Balloon and I had put it in the tent he was going to sleep in, when he saw it he was so taken that it was near his pillow and happy, go figure! Well he tied it outside on Sunday and it flew away, I went to get his cake and got him another and he was like a little kid that he had his balloon to take back with him.
When it was time to go back, he had to be back by 10PM that night, I gave him a big hug and a tear or two did fall, he said "Don't cry Mom I will see you again soon."

Although it was a great time I must say a few times when he said I'm going for a walk, his step father and I were concerned because he had birthday money and not being as smart as to who may be in the campground with something. So I think we will always have doubts until enough time that he is sober and is self sufficient goes by.

I hope I have given you some words of encouragement that your son may find his way. You need to know that it is nothing you have done wrong,you are his mother and the love and bond we have with our children is so strong that we go with our instincts at the time. Taking away their pain is how we fail with them, as we can't make them happy until they want to be happy and share their life with family and loved ones. Welcome to the Site! Take Care. I will keep you in my prayers. Marilyn
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Unread 05-27-2009, 11:20 PM   #4
Julie G
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Default Thanks, Marilyn.

You can't believe how much your past posts helped me through this weekend, Marilyn! Thanks so much for replying today. I love the story of the balloon. You know he'll keep it until it deflates to the ground, and forever after that. Sadly, though, I could feel your mistrust when he took his walk. But, he went to Freedom House on his own. That was his choice, and it gives me an abundance of hope. You should be proud. He should be prouder. Forty's a good age to start the second half of one's life.

Let's keep in touch.
Julie
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Unread 05-28-2009, 08:07 AM   #5
mendela
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Hi Julie, Have you heard from your son yet? Is the friend he is staying with have contact with you? I believe the not knowing what is happening is as bad or woarst when they are in front of you. Is his sister older or young than him? Mike's step sister is the same age and she also has had a rough time with substance abuse, but four years now she is living a sober life. Mike has been in touch with her and they are forming a bond, sharing her experiences of ups and downs during her recovery.

I hope that you find peace in the Alanon meetings and just keep saying it is nothing you have done wrong. I found that going back to the past only brought out the anger in me. This disease makes you crazy with anger and mistrust, so taking one day at a time is the way to go. Believing in God that he only gives you what he feels you can handle, at times it seems overwhelming though!

Your son is still very young and your offer for him to go back to college is quite generous. Do you feel he tries to reach expectations that are too much for him? I ask for Mike now realizes that his OCD makes him crazy when others around him don't do things as he does. Their control of different things varies I have been told.

I will continue to pray for you and your son, may the future bring you contentment and happiness. Keep the faith, and continue to let us know how things are going for you and your family. Marilyn
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Unread 05-28-2009, 09:04 AM   #6
Julie G
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Yes, he called on Sunday very subdued and told me he'd "done it again." You know, that way that has self-loathing about taking a drink. His friend was on the road trip, but he'd heard from the other roommate, so my son has been told he would have to leave soon. My son then said that he drank for four days, up to last Sunday, to get up the nerve to commit suicide. That hit me hard, but he promised he wouldn't do it now. My second worst fear--that he might have to live on the streets--could be a real possibility. I'm still waiting to hear. I know I will get a call first. He was going to try to get into rehab. But the county facilities are very full and there is usually a wait.

My daughter, his stepsister, is 17, and they are very close. I don't really have guilt anymore, only volumes of hope. Reading your story, I realize I might have to wait another 10 years, and I know I have the strength in me to do just that, but it will be so hard. Say lots of prayers. I might hear something today and I'll send another post.

Thanks for your posts, Marilyn!
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Unread 05-28-2009, 09:47 PM   #7
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Julie,
It's so unfortunate. One can hope some for sort miracle to turn him around.
It sounds like you have learned to care for yourself and other family members.
Thank you for sharing.
All the best,
Jerry
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Unread 05-29-2009, 09:01 AM   #8
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Good Morning Julie, Please don't believe that you have 10 more years of this insanity! I learned from others in similiar situations that each individual is different. Some substance abusers get to the bottom ssooner than others and begin their recovery sooner than later. My son had nothing really going for him, he had only himself to think about. Yes he had his family but it seemed easier for him to drink into a stuper and forget about everyone and everything. I too was greeted a few times on the phone with the suicide threat, yes you get very upset and usually you don't know where they are so that adds to the anxiety, because you can't run to them. After a number of years of counceling I started to realize they know the buttons to push and they get better each time. So take it for what it is. I used to say to Mike where do you want to be buried when they find you! New Hampshire or Vermont or where? and he would say What do you mean? Reality hit I believe! Never got a answer.

I hope your weekend will be happy for you. Hang in there! Your a good Mom with lots of Love and Support, your son knows it and loves you also. If anything I learned they only hurt the ones they care about, crazy as it may be. If he chooses to not enjoy the family right now then it is his choice not yours. Take Care. Prayers and hope coming your way for better days! Marilyn
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Unread 05-29-2009, 08:54 PM   #9
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Default Hi and Welcome to the Forum Julie G.

Hi Julie,

You sound like you are very educated about alcoholism and that you have learned a lot from Al Anon and the treatment centers.
I know it is difficult say No, to NOT help your son, it goes against every natural instinct we have as parents, we see them in pain and want to stop it. Then, knowing that it may be enabling him, it is a catch 22 .

You know him, his patterns, maybe start there, along with counseling/and/or Al Anon with making a plan to help him help himself but not enable. It is not an easy task, you are asking the right the questions imo- when is it beneficial to help him and when does that help pay for that next drink?

I had to hit rock bottom at age 27, after many attempts, my family attended Al Anon and basically took the tough love approach. They cut off contact with me. I went downhill for about a year after that, but it was a lonely and miserable existence. When I got into real trouble, there was no one to call to bail me out and for the first time, it clicked, I had to do it for myself. That got my attention long enough to stay put and I stayed in residential then on to a half way house for a year.
I did what was asked of me, for the first time, I never wanted anything so badly in my life, as I did to be free of the chains of addiction.
I hate that I put my family through the embaressment, that took many years of work to ask for forgiveness and mainly to forgive myself. I hated myself to the very core of my being. But in the end no one could help me unless I really wanted it. Many times I went through the motions, but when I hit bottom, something happened and I started working on my issues.

Never give up hope, but I think you need to take care of yourself, you will burn out, if you don't. I am so glad you posted and you have the great people here to support you. This is a great place to vent and share. And if you ever have any questions, we will do our best to find the answers.

Reading your posts as well as Marilyn's was so emotional, remembereing what I put my own loved ones through but also because I know some of what Marilyn has been through this past year, and reading about Mike's sober birthday brought tears of happiness and joy ! Marilyn I am so happy for you and your family.

Julie, hang in there, people do recover, sending prayers for each of you that your sons find their way to a happy and healthy life.
Take care, Carly
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Unread 05-30-2009, 10:45 AM   #10
Julie G
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Carly, thank you for your amazing story. You have come so far! I can't imagine how difficult your journey must have been, especially not knowing if your parents cared at all. I want to cry about the part where you hated yourself to the core of your being. That's the worst hell right there. I know my son is living that now. What else do we have if not the belief in ourselves.

Thanks for giving me hope.

My son has called the state, and he is now on the list for a live-in program. Maybe this time he'll be ready to surrender. It's pretty obvious that I'm praying for that outcome. He is able to stay with his friend and go to AA meetings until he gets the call for an available bed.

Thanks for all the posts!
Julie

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Unread 06-02-2009, 08:13 AM   #11
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Dear Carly, Thanks for sharing your story, I really didn't realize all that your life has dealt you with. You are a very strong person now, I read many of your posts to all the forums on this site. You have been an inspiration for all of us. Keep up the good work and stay happy. Take Care and God Bless! Marilyn
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Unread 06-02-2009, 08:17 AM   #12
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Hi Julie, So happy to hear that your son may soon be in a in-patient faciality. Just keep the lines of comunication with him open. I find with Mike just listening to him and letting him vent gives me peace of mind and keeps him in control of his decisions. Prayers and Hugs coming your way! Marilyn
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Unread 06-02-2009, 10:21 PM   #13
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Hi Julie and Marilyn,

Julie, This is good news, I do hope that he can get someplace that will allow him time to work on himself. The fact that he sought out help for himself is always a good sign that he wants to take action about his situation. Sometimes it takes what it takes to get us to the point of wanting to change.
I do not know if this will help but even when I went to long term treatment, I was advised to leave my family alone, especially my mother. I eventually learned and understood that she needed a break from me, from worrying about me. We had to break an unhealthy cycle of my dependence on her. But we did end up with a great relationship and I will treasure it always.
I hope something becomes available soon. Hang in there !

Hi Marilyn, Thanks - I am definitely still a work in progress. I am just so happy for you and Mike. I do not know him but I certainly know his struggle.
I pray he continues on his journey and finds happiness.

Take care ladies, sending prayers your way : ) Carly
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Unread 06-03-2009, 08:32 AM   #14
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Hi Marilyn and Carly. Yes, I am happy my son will have another chance at sobriety. I see him detaching from me as much as I am detaching from him lately, as he waits for the call from the rehab with a bed. I know he gets that I won't help him with money, and I've also stopped questioning whether he is going to meetings and getting a job and not drinking.... I only call about once a week, or he calls me, and we keep it brief, mostly so we can express our love. I make sure he knows that my love for him won't change, that I am always incredibility grateful to God for giving him to me. That's real detachment for me, not divorcing my son, but leaving him alone, while making sure he knows where he stands with me. That way, if we don't talk for a period of time, and if he is going through any rough spots, he has that message of love from me etched in his heart.

Thanks to both of you for all your help and encouragement. Carly, your message about your mom is so powerful, and I will keep that hope in my heart.

Julie
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Unread 06-16-2009, 05:56 PM   #15
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Hi Julie, It has been awhile since you have posted. Hope things are going well for you and your family. Prayers are with you all! Marilyn
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Unread 06-17-2009, 10:21 PM   #16
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Hi Julie,

Ditto on Marilyn's post, I do hope you are doing well and your son is settled some place that will help him. If you need us we are here.

Hi to you too Marilyn ! Hope all is going well : )

Prayers to you both, take care, Carly
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Unread 06-18-2009, 10:31 PM   #17
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Hi Marilyn and Carly. Thank you so much your notes. My son is stable, for the moment (two weeks.) He says he's not drinking, and that he's doing good (volunteered that info). He told me he's gone to some meetings. He's had a temporary job and that has helped his ego. I have a prayer box charm, and he's in there. Both of you know how powerful "Let Go and Let God" works. I hope...hope...hope he can make it this time.

How are the both of you? How's your son doing, Marilyn?

Take care.
Julie
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Unread 06-18-2009, 11:43 PM   #18
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Hi Julie,

This program he is in sounds promising, if he wants it bad enough he will do what he needs to do.
I pray he finds his path and soon realizes that he has a great life ahead of him !
Hope you and the family are doing well. Take care of yourself : ) Carly
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Unread 06-24-2009, 08:46 AM   #19
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Hi Julie,

I am so happy to hear things are looking better for your son. I will keep the faith, prayers and vibes going that he contine to go forward in his sobriety. The newest saying I have heard from Mike is "Sobriety is Awesome" We went to Maine last Wednesday to see him, he is doing well, looks great and loves the Goodwill job but the Wendy's is not the greatest, he works from 11AM to 4PM with no breaks and it is the longest trip from where he stays with buses. So he is looking for another job if he can't work full time with Goodwill. He just sounds so postiive and happy. He is busy with work and meeting and VIP at the Friendship house. I was looking for a bike for him and he called the other night to say a friend got him one and it works fine for now. He sent his step father a nice Father's day card. Things looking up each day! Take Care, Prayers keep comiing your way. Marilyn
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Unread 06-25-2009, 12:26 AM   #20
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Hi Julie, thanks for sharing this. I guess we all need to take action at the early before thinsg get out of hand. Your story is a lesson for all parents out there. You have to monitor your kids closely at an early stage. You can do this without embarrasing him orher. You are doing that so that you will be saved the troubles of monitoring him or her later in life just like Julie is doing now. Parents, create the time for your kids. Let them know what is good and bad. This will give you rest when they grow up.
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Unread 06-27-2009, 02:17 PM   #21
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Hi Marilyn,

I just typed out a post and Lost it ! Ack ! Anyway - Wow - this is great news, I am so happy for Mike and you. Thank you for keeping us updated, I know it gives others hope to read what you have been through and that things can and do get better!

Take Care, Carly
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Unread 10-16-2009, 09:57 AM   #22
Katherine
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Default Thank you

These posts have been extremely comforting to me. It helps tremendously for me to know there are so many other mothers in the same situation. You have given me some direction and I really appreciate your openness.
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Unread 10-16-2009, 11:42 AM   #23
CarlyO
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Default HI Katherine, Welcome to the forum : )

Hi Katherine,

Welcome to the forum ! I can start a new thread for you or you can if you would like to share a bit more about what your situation is with your loved one.

It does help to know that we are not alone, and to know that there is help out there !
Also, maybe read on the other forum to get the perspective of those who may be trying to deal or Surviving their alcohol issues.

Please feel free to share and ask questions, this is a very caring group.
Take care, Carly : )
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Important disclaimer: Any information in this post is not and does not constitute medical advice under any circumstances. Addiction Survivors, Inc. does not warranty or guarantee the accurateness, completeness, adequacy or currency of the information contained in or linked to the Site. Your use of information on the Site or materials linked to the Site is entirely at your own risk. NEVER take any online advice over that of a qualified healthcare provider. Any information contained on AddictionSurvivors.org should only serve to inspire further investigation with credible, verifiable references sources such as your physician or therapist.
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Unread 10-16-2009, 12:07 PM   #24
mendela
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Hi Katherine, Welcome to the best forum! As Carly has said please share your situation with us, the group has been wonderful to me (Mendela) (Son). They offer their words of encouragement and life experiences that has helped me through some rough times as you will read on my thread. I will be here to listen to your written words and give what I can. Keep the faith and hope. We care! Take Care of yourself. Marilyn
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Unread 11-17-2009, 10:54 PM   #25
Nikko74
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Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds so much like my story for my son. I have felt so alone in my struggle to help my only child. I now feel like maybe I can make it through life one day at a time. I had all but given up hope for any kind of tomorrow. Thank you for your story.
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Unread 11-18-2009, 10:37 AM   #26
CarlyO
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Default HI Nikko74 - Welcome to the Forum !

Dear Nikko,

I wanted to welcome you to the forum, if you care to share a bit more, we will try our best to help and we are always to here to listen.

Keep reading - both sides of the forum and especially the links to the educational information, there are new treatments available, many options for support. The more you know - the better equipped you are should your child want help.
I think you will find great support here.

Again, welcome and take care,

Carly : )
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Important disclaimer: Any information in this post is not and does not constitute medical advice under any circumstances. Addiction Survivors, Inc. does not warranty or guarantee the accurateness, completeness, adequacy or currency of the information contained in or linked to the Site. Your use of information on the Site or materials linked to the Site is entirely at your own risk. NEVER take any online advice over that of a qualified healthcare provider. Any information contained on AddictionSurvivors.org should only serve to inspire further investigation with credible, verifiable references sources such as your physician or therapist.
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Unread 11-18-2009, 01:17 PM   #27
R. Lee
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Nikko, Welcome to the site. Come back & share. I like your 1 day at a time. That is how I stay sober after being a drunk for 42 years. R. Lee
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Unread 11-24-2009, 01:35 PM   #28
mendela
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Nikko, How are things going with your son and you? Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving. Prayers and thoughts are with you. Marilyn
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Unread 04-27-2010, 12:29 PM   #29
recovered
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Default found this helpful already

there is a book out now that is very helpful. Called Addictions of a Loved One. Found it on Tate Publishing.com here is the link.

http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookst...-1-61663-214-4
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