Q: Dear Joe: My son went to rehab for 30 days and just got out of jail (45 days). He is back living with my husband and me. My husband calls him constantly during the day to see what he is doing, He averages at least once an hour. When my son gets ready to go out for a walk or a bike ride, my husband right away is on him with 20 questions.
Am I wrong to think that all the questions and constantly checking on my son is pushing him back into trouble? When my son went to jail, he had a fight with his dad and ended up getting caught doing drugs. He ended up getting arrested and we did leave him there for the 45 days (His drug of choice is heroin). I feel that my husband needs to back off or my son will be back to the drugs. How are we supposed to treat our son?
I have read your book and really learned a lot from it. I even passed it along to a friend of mine that was going through her son’s problem with Vicodin and alcohol.
Walking on eggshells in Illinois,
~ Julie E., Chicago, Ill
A: Dear Julie,
I agree, your husband is putting undue pressure on your son right now. Showing some concern and wanting to encourage is a good thing.
Being suspicious of his every move will only make things worse. It sounds like you’re already doing many things right especially letting him sit in jail. Your son going through thirty days of treatment was also a plus.
The next stage of recovery is ongoing support. Is he going to some kind of group that talks about staying away from drugs and alcohol? AA or NA are the two obvious places to go. NO ONE recovers all by themselves. Going to meetings, working the 12 Steps, and getting a sponsor are the most important three signs of a willingness to do whatever it takes. If he will do this he will succeed.
They talked a lot about this when he was in treatment. If they didn’t I would be very surprised.
I would tell dad to back off some. If your son wants to use dad can’t stop it anyway.
Keep in mind that recovery is a process. I don’t know your sons age but if he is in his late teens or early twenties then he is still an adolescent in some ways.
Be sure to take care of yourself while dealing with all the above. Al-anon is something to consider, or even some “open” AA meetings. Ask his treatment center for guidance as well. There are resources available.
With effort and time this can all pass and life can be much more enjoyable again. Sometimes it’s a matter of just getting them from here to there.
People can and do recover all the time. Your son is no exception. If he wants change bad enough he will make it happen.