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Old 05-09-2018, 08:37 AM
DWBMOM DWBMOM is offline
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Unhappy Surreal: Tips / advice on how to keep him on right path & encouraged?

So my son was sentenced to 7 months at a Substance Abuse Treatment Facility yesterday (we are in Texas) and taken into custody immediately. The judge told him he could get time for good behavior and be released early. Any tips or advice on how to keep him on the right path and encouraged while he's in there? I've never dealt with this as my other child went to college, graduated and has a great career. This younger one just walked down a different path and got caught up in drugs and so here we are.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-09-2018, 09:01 AM
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So my son was sentenced to 7 months at a Substance Abuse Treatment Facility yesterday (we are in Texas) and taken into custody immediately. The judge told him he could get time for good behavior and be released early. Any tips or advice on how to keep him on the right path and encouraged while he's in there? I've never dealt with this as my other child went to college, graduated and has a great career. This younger one just walked down a different path and got caught up in drugs and so here we are.

Thanks in advance!
Simply this. He has been given a second chance. This site is full of parents, wives, husbands, friends of people sitting in prison for decades whose criminal acts are perpetually and totally tied to drugs. If your son continues using drugs after release, next time is big time prison term.

I know nothing about SATF in Texas. We have one here in California. We also have 33 other prisons and about 6 prison hospitals. In other words 1 in 40 inmates, maybe less, get to SATF. Maybe Texas numbers are different, but he is in a better situation than most and will not get this opportunity again. Don't let him waste it.

When he releases, he needs to continue drug rehab treatment. 7 months is not enough time. He needs years of treatment and sobriety before you can start to have confidence he is on a good path. Your son need to take his time at SATF seriously and think about what he will do when he releases.
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Old 05-09-2018, 11:30 AM
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Continue to be supportive of his effort to get, and continue to be drug free. It will be completely up to him though, so hope for the best, but don't be surprised if there are some setbacks. It's sometimes a very fine line, but try to love and support him without enabling/ignoring any bad behaviors.

I hope his prison stay is uncomfortable enough that he comes out determined to do whatever it takes to avoid returning there.
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Old 05-09-2018, 11:54 AM
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I'm not a parent so take this advice for what it's worth--

The people in my life who dealt with addiction needed someone, anyone, to not only see an addict but a person with choices and the ability to make good ones (even when that wasn't happening). Remind your son that he's loved, that he has inherent talents and abilities, that his future is still unwritten. Acknowledge that you don't know what it's like to be in his shoes (if that's true) but that you have a desire to listen when he wants to talk; make sure that space to talk is a safe space, family counseling if that's an option.

I agree that 7 months, especially if reduced is not enough time. However, hopefully it's enough that he sees the value in treatment and chooses to continue when he's out.

Best of luck.
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Old 05-09-2018, 11:56 AM
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You poor thing; this is such an awful road to have to travel.

Best thing you can do - get to NarAnon meetings!!! They're for the loved ones of addicts. They will give you a network of people to rely on, they will point out to you when and if you're enabling your son, and give you people who are experienced about traveling on this road. There is simply nothing better you can do, nothing you can say to him, that will help him....this is his process to go through.
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Old 05-09-2018, 04:24 PM
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Hi and welcome DWBMOM. I agree with all the advice given so far. The main thing to remember is that the only way your son will be on the right path is if he chooses it for himself. Let him know that you love him and that you believe in him, but there is little else you can do. He will succeed only if he wants it and not because he wants to please anyone else. I sincerely hope heíll take advantage of the substance abuse program because it could be the beginning of leading a clean and healthy life. Otherwise, things can get a whole lot worse. I hope he realizes this.

My son is also an addict and he had numerous opportunities to get clean. He eventually blew every one of them and ended up with 12 years in prison. He didnít believe it could ever happen, but it did. If only he had listened to all the good advice and help he was given, he might have been able to avoid all the heartache he has caused himself and his family. I hope that it turns out well for your son Ė and for you, of course.
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Old 05-10-2018, 08:10 AM
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Thanks for all of the advice.

No I've never been in his shoes. We told him we loved him (not that we haven't told him this daily since birth, literally) and that this was for the best. We put him in treatment after the last arrest last fall but he only did IOP (intensive outpatient - 8 hours a day) for 1.5 months. He was doing really well after leaving the rehab but we knew he still faced sentencing for the arrest and hoped for the best. I think that the judge was more than fair with his sentencing and am not disappointed. My son deserves to pay for his actions, I am just trying to figure out the best way to help him while he's there and then once he gets released.
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Old 05-10-2018, 06:29 PM
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His mind set has to change. Control issues are usually big in addicts. They ultimately want to feel good and this is there way to do, so coping skills.. exercise and otjrr healthy replacements should be encouraged.

The mind is the largest part once the body stops the cravings.

My LO has the same issue. When he complains about being there, I remind him to never forget it and use it as fuel to never go back. There are lessons he needs to learn and he can do it the hard way or the easy way. In the beginning he got his lumps, and now stops trying to control things and gets less frustrated.

Introspection is the most important. Also, that you love them for them. The light and dark side. The more they reveal the dark side...the more it can be healed.
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Old 05-13-2018, 01:55 PM
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From a mom that has been there and supported my son in all ways - encouragements, hugs, gentle love, hard love, talking, listening, writing, visiting, being there, praying for him, providing medical, money, attorneys, loving him unconditionally, defending him, etc. for 20+ years and now I feel like my help hurt him even though I quit enabling him in many ways, just my help seemed to enable him to continue his addictions. So I disengaged last fall completely and finally just re-engaged some as I was convicted to write him, so I wrote my son a letter back just a couple of days a go after not writing or speaking or seeing him for 7+ months. (My son is a 3rd timer in, 4 years, a 12 years that ended up being 8 and now another 12 years).

Anyways, my advice is probably not the best, but my advice would be to let him "lay in the bed he made" but let him know you love him, visit him a little, write him a little, send him a little money or goods, but keep it very limited and small and let him figure it out that he is in a place that he does not want to be. I feel like I made it too comfy for him, if that makes any sense. I have been forced to let my son go now in the hope that if I do he will start making healthy choices. I wish I would of let go along time ago and as cruel as it it, let him suffer for the choices he made, even though I did tough love before, maybe with my son he needed it more tough, maybe he would be in a better position now. My son has mental and addiction problems and as much as I wanted to fix it I could not and as much as I still want to I can not. He has to want it as bad as I do.

I will always love him, pray for him and hope for him and sincerely hope someday we can have a relationship that is healthy; but if not as horrible as that would be, my hope is that he is healthy and have a half normal life with normal up and downs, even if it without me.

So as I said my advice "Let him lay in the bed he made" is probably not the best, but it's the best I can give with my own painful journey. Good luck, I hope all turns out well for you, your son and family!

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Thanks for all of the advice.

No I've never been in his shoes. We told him we loved him (not that we haven't told him this daily since birth, literally) and that this was for the best. We put him in treatment after the last arrest last fall but he only did IOP (intensive outpatient - 8 hours a day) for 1.5 months. He was doing really well after leaving the rehab but we knew he still faced sentencing for the arrest and hoped for the best. I think that the judge was more than fair with his sentencing and am not disappointed. My son deserves to pay for his actions, I am just trying to figure out the best way to help him while he's there and then once he gets released.
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Old 05-13-2018, 08:55 PM
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From a mom that has been there and supported my son in all ways - encouragements, hugs, gentle love, hard love, talking, listening, writing, visiting, being there, praying for him, providing medical, money, attorneys, loving him unconditionally, defending him, etc. for 20+ years and now I feel like my help hurt him even though I quit enabling him in many ways, just my help seemed to enable him to continue his addictions. So I disengaged last fall completely and finally just re-engaged some as I was convicted to write him, so I wrote my son a letter back just a couple of days a go after not writing or speaking or seeing him for 7+ months. (My son is a 3rd timer in, 4 years, a 12 years that ended up being 8 and now another 12 years).

Anyways, my advice is probably not the best, but my advice would be to let him "lay in the bed he made" but let him know you love him, visit him a little, write him a little, send him a little money or goods, but keep it very limited and small and let him figure it out that he is in a place that he does not want to be. I feel like I made it too comfy for him, if that makes any sense. I have been forced to let my son go now in the hope that if I do he will start making healthy choices. I wish I would of let go along time ago and as cruel as it it, let him suffer for the choices he made, even though I did tough love before, maybe with my son he needed it more tough, maybe he would be in a better position now. My son has mental and addiction problems and as much as I wanted to fix it I could not and as much as I still want to I can not. He has to want it as bad as I do.

I will always love him, pray for him and hope for him and sincerely hope someday we can have a relationship that is healthy; but if not as horrible as that would be, my hope is that he is healthy and have a half normal life with normal up and downs, even if it without me.

So as I said my advice "Let him lay in the bed he made" is probably not the best, but it's the best I can give with my own painful journey. Good luck, I hope all turns out well for you, your son and family!

Iím happy to hear that youíve written your son although Iím sure that it wasnít an easy decision for you. Having been through much of what you have with my own son and feeling the same anger that you have at times, Iíve always felt that if I stopped communicating with him I might regret it someday. I still donít know if my support will make a difference, but at least I can say I tried. You seem to be giving it another try and I commend you for that. I know that there are no guarantees, but I hope the 7 months that your son didnít hear from you has made him realize that HE needs to change and that your relationship can get better and stronger if he is willing to do the work. (((Hugs))))
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Old 05-14-2018, 05:42 PM
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This is to TGLSMOM:

Thank you TGLSMOM and yes it was very hard; but I felt convicted to at let him know that I still love him and pray for him; but still meant what I said when he was out, that if he got into legal trouble again I would not be there the way I was; but just wanted him to know that it would be his choice or not his choice this time as I'm doing it different. But either way wanted him to know that I have not given up on him; but just know he needs to do it his way and I would be supporting him from afar. (As I definitely do not want to be the person he blames, which he did in his letter, which was a first for me, but I guess I should of known it was coming). Basically explained what I told him when he was out, but maybe he was so high or mentally confused that he didn't hear me or didn't want to - lol. Anyways I don't know where it goes from here and he may decide to not write me back and I definitely understand as I did not write him back. I just want him to have a half way normal and happy life or more with or without. We shall see. But just wanted to say thank you, I know you have been through it too. I not sure how much I'll be communicating with him; but I guess it is what it is. Time well tell and I hope that it all turns out better. Hope you had a great Mother's day, hang in there & Hugs back to you!


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Iím happy to hear that youíve written your son although Iím sure that it wasnít an easy decision for you. Having been through much of what you have with my own son and feeling the same anger that you have at times, Iíve always felt that if I stopped communicating with him I might regret it someday. I still donít know if my support will make a difference, but at least I can say I tried. You seem to be giving it another try and I commend you for that. I know that there are no guarantees, but I hope the 7 months that your son didnít hear from you has made him realize that HE needs to change and that your relationship can get better and stronger if he is willing to do the work. (((Hugs))))
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Old 05-14-2018, 09:04 PM
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This is to TGLSMOM:

Thank you TGLSMOM and yes it was very hard; but I felt convicted to at let him know that I still love him and pray for him; but still meant what I said when he was out, that if he got into legal trouble again I would not be there the way I was; but just wanted him to know that it would be his choice or not his choice this time as I'm doing it different. But either way wanted him to know that I have not given up on him; but just know he needs to do it his way and I would be supporting him from afar. (As I definitely do not want to be the person he blames, which he did in his letter, which was a first for me, but I guess I should of known it was coming). Basically explained what I told him when he was out, but maybe he was so high or mentally confused that he didn't hear me or didn't want to - lol. Anyways I don't know where it goes from here and he may decide to not write me back and I definitely understand as I did not write him back. I just want him to have a half way normal and happy life or more with or without. We shall see. But just wanted to say thank you, I know you have been through it too. I not sure how much I'll be communicating with him; but I guess it is what it is. Time well tell and I hope that it all turns out better. Hope you had a great Mother's day, hang in there & Hugs back to you!
I totally understand how you feel considering what youíve been through for so many years. At least youíre reaching out once again and in a way that feels right for you. I think thatís the perfect way to do it. I hope your son responds positively and that he realizes what a caring and loving mom he has. So many guys don't have anyone and he is one of the lucky ones to have you. Keeping my fingers crossed that it really does turn out better. You deserve that!
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Old 05-16-2018, 09:51 AM
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Thank you for your kind words, I appreciate it very much and I too hope it turns out better.

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I totally understand how you feel considering what youíve been through for so many years. At least youíre reaching out once again and in a way that feels right for you. I think thatís the perfect way to do it. I hope your son responds positively and that he realizes what a caring and loving mom he has. So many guys don't have anyone and he is one of the lucky ones to have you. Keeping my fingers crossed that it really does turn out better. You deserve that!
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:01 PM
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So my son was sentenced to 7 months at a Substance Abuse Treatment Facility yesterday (we are in Texas) and taken into custody immediately. The judge told him he could get time for good behavior and be released early. Any tips or advice on how to keep him on the right path and encouraged while he's in there? I've never dealt with this as my other child went to college, graduated and has a great career. This younger one just walked down a different path and got caught up in drugs and so here we are.

Thanks in advance!
My son had been using drugs since he was 12. Addicted to opiates after prescriptions for several broken bones in one year. He was inpatient, outpatient, counseling - not all directed at drugs but at his mental health because we didn't realize he was an addict. Even after arrest and good plea which left him with intensive probation type rules, a felony conviction that would have been expunged, he kept using. He wanted to quit but didn't seem able to do so on his own. No health insurance at that point. He got caught with a dirty test and went off the deep end, figuring on killing himself through an overdose or the cops shooting him. He lived through that and was given 8 years. Sadly, his first use of heroin was after he went to prison. Somewhere along the way another inmate decided he was worth the effort. Despite everything before, I guess this time was his rock bottom that made him ready for change. He has now been clean for almost 5 years. He has attempted to pass on the gift that inmate gave him and help others.

One of the things he has noted is those with short sentences mostly come back. The longer sentences in which an inmate has stayed clean for 2 years or more, don't come back as often. As Gvalliant has stated, "7 months is not enough time. He needs years of treatment and sobriety before you can start to have confidence he is on a good path."

Prison treatment classes are not as intensive or as good as the program your son is in, but he does need to realize it is only the beginning. Sobriety takes longer to become a new habit. He needs to find new things to do to replace what he was doing before. It is why so many inmates become big on exercise. Endorphins without drugs and to avoid being bored and falling into the prior bad habits. He needs to continue his "program", whatever that may be. Routine seems to help in maintaining sobriety.

Like you, my two children went down very different paths. My oldest, a daughter, put herself through school and is a teacher. My son, put us through hell, and had to grow up the hard way. I think he has gotten there. Even though clean almost 5 years, I will continue to worry when he is released he will face the problems he has ahead in starting life with 2 felony convictions and I can only hope he will do so without resorting to using.

Mostly, I have looked at my job as being there for him, loving him despite the bad acts, and trying to provide him with direction because he is like an 18 year old facing leaving home for the first time - but instead he will have been in prison from age 22 to age 29, and his growth was already stymied by drug use since he was 12. His expectations need to be tempered while still encouraging him in his dreams.
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