Sunday, May 30, 2010

Learnings & Victories

Sunday night and it’s time to go home - home after a 2-day “family weekend” at rehab.
Daniel looks OK. More importantly, he is happy to be there and even excited to enter the extended program (after completing a 28-day inpatient program). It’s designed for addicts prone to relapse: high-accountability with intensive therapy designed to address some of the underlying issues that contribute towards his addiction. Recovery success rates double for participants that complete it. Yes, we are happy that he is willing, and happier still, that he is excited.

It was a long weekend of lectures; the content was excellent, delivery – a little boring due to the lack of interaction. But worth it.

What did we learn? (I’m including my husband’s responses here too – good discussion for the 2-hour drive home)

• We learned about “Family systems” and the roles of: scapegoat, mascot, hero, and the lost child
o I am the hero in my family of origin (responsible, achiever, successful, perfectionist)
o My husband: scapegoat (the one to take the blame) and lost child (overlooked)
o My son: scapegoat and mascot (clown, joker)
o Our other children: hero and scapegoat

• We learned the 7 characteristics of addiction:
1. A lot of time spent supporting the addictive behavior
2. Increasing tolerance
3. Experience withdrawal symptoms
4. Unsuccessful attempts to cut-down or stop using
5. Isolation
6. Loss of control
7. Keeps using in spite of negative consequences
Conclusion: Michael is addicted to caffeine

• We learned that healthy families are characterized by some of these traits: Roles are flexible; Sibling loyalty versus rivalry; Outsiders are welcome into the home; Fun; Individuality supported and growth is celebrated; Ok to talk about feelings; Relaxed atmosphere
o Michael and I are creating a healthy family home – we have most of these traits (whoo hoo for second chances!!!)

• We learned that we are codependent
o Codependents (that’s us) are also addicted – to the addict, that is. Obsessively focused on the addict’s out-of-control life (to the extent of neglecting our own needs) in an attempt to control him
o Codependents are prone to “relapse” (extreme anger, bailing addict out, policing, obsessing over and trying to control the addict)

• We learned that – like it or not – relapse is a very real possibility

• We learned that the 12-Step program works.

• We learned that recovery happens, primarily for those who commit to the recovery process every day

As for our victory (drum roll, please…): Both Saturday and Sunday nights, following the program, Michael and I successfully “let go”, enjoyed dinner out, and being together. I even beat him at a game of pool, which won me an ice cream sundae. As for the anticipated foot rub (anticipated Saturday night), I had to get a rain-check, since Michael was, once again, snoring way ahead of me….well, uhhh, maybe that was my fault – for blogging too late.

Not to worry, foot rubs are redeemable on Sunday nights!


  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful, positive weekend. I'm happy for you.

  2. I am really glad for you. Hope that you focus on your recovery as co dependents. Twelve step program do work if we are willing.

  3. Glad you had an educational weekend and got to spend some time with your son.

  4. Sounds like you have learned a lot about yourselves and addiction--all helpful.

  5. I just found your blog; and I'm so happy for you that it was a weekend full of hope and love. I don't believe I would be where I am today without my belief in God; although I am first to admit that I am still working on and building this relationship. My son is 7 months clean after four years of opiates addiction (drug of choice...heroin...but took it all). I have never given up hope; although I've hurt so bad that I thought my heart was going to explode.

    Take time to study and learn about codependency as well. Everything we've done as parents and family members, we do out of love. But often we have not helped them, even though that was our only motivation.

  6. I am happy for you...sounds like your boy is in the right place :0

  7. I am not looking forward to family therapy. When I went while Stevie was in detox, the 'facilitator' pretty much blamed me for Stevie's drug addiction. If I tried to understand, rather than discipline him for smoking oxy, he would not be in this mess. Really not looking forward to the single mom, natural statistic BS!